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15 November ― 12 Qudrat   Leave a comment

From

‘Abdu’l-Bahá

 

NINTH PRINCIPLE — THE NON-INTERFERENCE OF RELIGION WITH POLITICS
4 Avenue de Camoens, Paris

49.1
In the conduct of life, man is actuated by two main motives: “The Hope for Reward” and “The Fear of Punishment.”

49.2
This hope and this fear must consequently be greatly taken into account by those in authority who have important posts under Government. Their business in life is to consult together for the framing of laws, and to provide for their just administration.

49.3
The tent of the order of the world is raised and established on the two pillars of “Reward and Retribution.”

49.4
In despotic Governments carried on by men without Divine faith, where no fear of spiritual retribution exists, the execution of the laws is tyrannical and unjust.

49.5
There is no greater prevention of oppression than these two sentiments, hope and fear. They have both political and spiritual consequences.

49.6
If administrators of the law would take into consideration  158  the spiritual consequences of their decisions, and follow the guidance of religion, “They would be Divine agents in the world of action, the representatives of God for those who are on earth, and they would defend, for the love of God, the interests of His servants as they would defend their own.” If a governor realizes his responsibility, and fears to defy the Divine Law, his judgments will be just. Above all, if he believes that the consequences of his actions will follow him beyond his earthly life, and that “as he sows so must he reap”, such a man will surely avoid injustice and tyranny.

49.7
Should an official, on the contrary, think that all responsibility for his actions must end with his earthly life, knowing and believing nothing of Divine favours and a spiritual kingdom of joy, he will lack the incentive to just dealing, and the inspiration to destroy oppression and unrighteousness.

49.8
When a ruler knows that his judgments will be weighed in a balance by the Divine Judge, and that if he be not found wanting he will come into the Celestial Kingdom and that the light of the Heavenly Bounty will shine upon him, then will he surely act with justice and equity. Behold how important it is that Ministers of State should be enlightened by religion!

49.9
With political questions the clergy, however, have nothing to do! Religious matters should not be confused with politics in the present state of the world (for their interests are not identical).

49.10
Religion concerns matters of the heart, of the spirit, and of morals.  

49.11
Politics are occupied with the material things of life. Religious teachers should not invade the realm of politics; they should concern themselves with the spiritual education of the people; they should ever give good counsel to men, trying to serve God and human kind; they should endeavour to awaken spiritual aspiration, and strive to enlarge the understanding and knowledge of humanity, to improve morals, and to increase the love for justice.

49.12
This is in accordance with the Teaching of Bahá’u’lláh. In the Gospel also it is written, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things which are God’s.”

49.13
In Persia there are some amongst the important Ministers of State who are religious, who are exemplary, who worship God, and who fear to disobey His Laws, who judge justly and rule their people with Equity. Other Governors there are in this land who have no fear of God before their eyes, who think not of the consequences of their actions, working for their own desires, and these have brought Persia into great trouble and difficulty.

49.14
Oh, friends of God, be living examples of justice! So that by the Mercy of God, the world may see in your actions that you manifest the attributes of justice and mercy.

49.15
Justice is not limited, it is a universal quality. Its operation must be carried out in all classes, from the highest to the lowest. Justice must be sacred, and the rights of all the people must be considered. Desire for others only that which you desire for yourselves. Then shall we rejoice in the Sun of Justice, which shines from the Horizon of God.

49.16
Each man has been placed in a post of honour, which he must not desert. A humble workman who commits an injustice is as much to blame as a renowned tyrant. Thus we all have our choice between justice and injustice.

49.17
I hope that each one of you will become just, and direct your thoughts towards the unity of mankind; that you will never harm your neighbours nor speak ill of any one; that you will respect the rights of all men, and be more concerned for the interests of others than for your own. Thus will you become torches of Divine justice, acting in accordance with the Teaching of Bahá’u’lláh, who, during His life, bore innumerable trials and persecutions in order to show forth to the world of mankind the virtues of the World of Divinity, making it possible for you to realize the supremacy of the spirit, and to rejoice in the Justice of God.

49.18
By His Mercy, the Divine Bounty will be showered upon you, and for this I pray!

50

 Paris Talks, p. 157

MORNING:

Magnify My Cause and promulgate My teachings and commandments, for none other course beside this shall beseem you, and no other path shall ever lead unto Him. Would that ye might heed Our counsel!

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Tablet of the Temple

The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 37

EVENING:

IMG_2461Say: We have ordained that our Cause be taught through the power of utterance. Beware lest ye dispute idly with anyone. Whoso ariseth wholly for the sake of his Lord to teach His Cause, the Holy Spirit shall strengthen him and inspire him with that which will illumine the heart of the world, how much more the hearts of those who seek Him. O people of Baha! Subdue the citadels of men’s hearts with the swords of wisdom and of utterance. They that dispute, as prompted by their desires, are indeed wrapped in a palpable veil. Say: The sword of wisdom is hotter than summer heat, and sharper than blades of steel, if ye do but understand. Draw it forth in My name and through the power of My might, and conquer then with it the cities of the hearts of them that have secluded themselves in the stronghold of their corrupt desires. Thus biddeth you the Pen of the All-Glorious, whilst seated beneath the swords of the wayward.

If ye become aware of a sin committed by another, conceal it, that God may conceal your own sin. He, verily, is the Concealer, the Lord of grace abounding. O ye rich ones on earth! If ye encounter one who is poor, treat him not disdainfully. Reflect upon that whereof ye were created. Every one of you was created of a sorry germ. It behoveth you to observe truthfulness, whereby your temples shall be adorned, your names uplifted, your stations exalted amidst men, and a mighty recompense assured for you before God.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, pp: 78-79

FROM HIS HOLINESS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

Know that, verily, this day is the day of teaching, this day is the day of diffusing the fragrances of God, being severed from aught else save God, attracted to the Word of God, and clinging to the Covenant of God. There is no work greater than this. Be ye entirely spiritual, purely brilliant, cut your dependence from any other mention, thought or purpose, and confine your mentions, thoughts and occupations to spreading the fragrances of God, and devote your attention to this great work. By God, the True One, verily, the Sun of Truth will cast forth its lights in your assemblies and will make you shining lamps, glittering stars, brilliant signs, and as souls attracted to the Holy Spirit. This is the great prosperity! This is the manifest light!

Upon you be greeting and Praise!

Tablets of Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 28

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27 August ― 8 Asmá’   Leave a comment

MORNING:

O Baqir! Rely not on thy glory, and thy power. Thou art even as the last trace of sunlight upon the mountain-top. Soon will it fade away, as decreed by God, the All-Possessing, the Most High. Thy glory and the glory of such as are like thee have been taken away, and this verily is what hath been ordained by the One with Whom is the Mother Tablet. Where is he to be found who contended with God, and whither is gone he that gainsaid His signs, and turned aside from His sovereignty? Where are they who have slain His chosen ones and spilt the blood of His holy ones? Reflect, that haply thou mayest perceive the breaths of thine acts, O foolish doubter! Because of you the Apostle* lamented, and the Chaste One** cried out, and the countries were laid waste, and darkness fell upon all regions. O concourse of divines! Because of you the people were abased, and the banner of Islam was hauled down, and its mighty throne subverted. Every time a man of discernment hath sought to hold fast unto that which would exalt Islám, ye raised a clamour, and thereby was he deterred from achieving his purpose, while the land remained fallen in clear ruin.

* Muḥammad

**Fatimih, daughter of Muḥammad

Consider the Sultan of Turkey! He did not want war, but those like you desired it. When its fires were enkindled and its flames rose high, the government and the people were thereby weakened. Unto this beareth witness every man of equity and perception. Its calamities waxed so great that the smoke thereof surrounded the Land of Mystery* and its environs, and what had been revealed in the Tablet of the Sultan was made manifest. Thus hath it been decreed in the Book, at the behest of God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.

*Adrianople

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp: 212-213

IMG_1091EVENING:

Take heed, O concourse of the rulers of the world! There is no force on earth that can equal in its conquering power the force of justice and wisdom. I, verily, affirm that there is not, and hath never been, a host more mighty than that of justice and wisdom. Blessed is the king who marcheth with the ensign of wisdom unfurled before him, and the battalions of justice massed in his rear. He verily is the ornament that adorneth the brow of peace and the countenance of security. There can be no doubt whatever that if the day-star of justice, which the clouds of tyranny have obscured, were to shed its light upon men, the face of the earth would be completely transformed.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 164-165

FROM THE INTERPRETER  ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

I hope you are all happy and well. I am not happy, but very sad. The news of the Battle of Benghazi grieves my heart. I wonder at the human savagery that still exists in the world! How is it possible for men to fight from morning until evening, killing each other, shedding the blood of their fellow-men: And for what object? To gain possession of a part of the earth! Even the animals, when they fight, have an immediate and more reasonable cause for their attacks! How terrible it is that men, who are of the higher kingdom, can descend to slaying and bringing misery to their fellow-beings, for the possession of a tract of land!

The highest of created beings fighting to obtain the lowest form of matter, earth! Land belongs not to one people, but to all people. This earth is not man’s home, but his tomb. It is for their tombs these men are fighting. There is nothing so horrible in this world as the tomb, the abode of the decaying bodies of men.

However great the conqueror, however many countries he may reduce to slavery, he is unable to retain any part of these devastated lands but one tiny portion — his tomb! If more land is required for the improvement of the condition of the people, for the spread of civilization (for the substitution of just laws for brutal customs) — surely it would be possible to acquire peaceably the necessary extension of territory.

But war is made for the satisfaction of men’s ambition; for the sake of worldly gain to the few, terrible misery is brought to numberless homes, breaking the hearts of hundreds of men and women!

How many widows mourn their husbands, how many stories of savage cruelty do we hear! How many little orphaned children are crying for their dead fathers, how many women are weeping for their slain sons!

There is nothing so heart-breaking and terrible as an outburst of human savagery!

I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity.

Thoughts of love are constructive of brotherhood, peace, friendship, and happiness.

When soldiers of the world draw their swords to kill, soldiers of God clasp each other’s hands! So may all the savagery of man disappear by the Mercy of God, working through the pure in heart and the sincere of soul. Do not think the peace of the world an ideal impossible to attain!

Nothing is impossible to the Divine Benevolence of God.

If you desire with all your heart, friendship with every race on earth, your thought, spiritual and positive, will spread; it will become the desire of others, growing stronger and stronger, until it reaches the minds of all men.

Do not despair! Work steadily. Sincerity and love will conquer hate. How many seemingly impossible events are coming to pass in these days! Set your faces steadily towards the Light of the World. Show love to all; ‘Love is the breath of the Holy Spirit in the heart of Man’. Take courage! God never forsakes His children who strive and work and pray! Let your hearts be filled with the strenuous desire that tranquillity and harmony may encircle all this warring world. So will success crown your efforts, and with the universal brotherhood will come the Kingdom of God in peace and goodwill.

In this room today are members of many races, French, American, English, German, Italian, brothers and sisters meeting in friendship and harmony! Let this gathering be a foreshadowing of what will, in very truth, take place in this world, when every child of God realizes that they are leaves of one tree, flowers in one garden, drops in one ocean, and sons and daughters of one Father, whose name is love!

Paris Talks, pp: 27-30

17 June ― 13 Núr   Leave a comment

An illumined Tablet in the handwriting of Bahá’u’lláh “When I contemplate, O my God, the relationship that bindeth me to Thee, I am moved to proclaime to all created things ‘Verily I am God!’; and when I consider my own self, lo I find it coarser than clay!”

MORNING:

Concerning thine own affairs, if thou wouldst content thyself with whatever might come to pass it would be praiseworthy. To engage in some profession is highly commendable, for when occupied with work one is less likely to dwell on the unpleasant aspects of life. God willing thou mayest experience joy and radiance, gladness and exultation in any city or land where thou mayest happen to sojourn. This lowly servant will never forget that distinguished and kind friend. He hath remembered and will continue to remember thee. The decree lieth with God, the Lord of all worlds. I fain would hope He may vouchsafe divine assistance and grant confirmation in that which is pleasing and acceptable unto Him.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 175

Bahá’í Temple. Apia, Samoa

EVENING:

It is enjoined upon every one of you to engage in some form of occupation, such as crafts, trades and the like. We have graciously exalted your engagement in such work to the rank of worship unto God, the True One. Ponder ye in your hearts the grace and the blessings of God and render thanks unto Him at eventide and at dawn. Waste not your time in idleness and sloth. Occupy yourselves with that which profiteth yourselves and others. Thus hath it been decreed in this Tablet from whose horizon the day-star of wisdom and utterance shineth resplendent.

The most despised of men in the sight of God are those who sit idly and beg. Hold ye fast unto the cord of material means, placing your whole trust in God, the Provider of all means. When anyone occupieth himself in a craft or trade, such occupation itself is regarded in the estimation of God as an act of worship; and this is naught but a token of His infinite and all-pervasive bounty.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 26

‘Abdu’l-Bahá and His entourage on the main drive at Leland Stanford Junior University in Palo Alto, California, following His address on October 8, 1912

ATTRIBUTED TO  ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

There are certain forms of work which are beyond human endurance and others which are within it;  and these differ according to the early environment and training of each individual…The struggling, winning, successful man is he who accustoms himself to the accomplishment of those things which are beyond human endurance.  Only a soul thus great can stand the tests of life and come out of the crucible pure and unspotted. …if one cannot raise to this height he can at least school himself to perform the tasks which are within the range of his endurance.  If a man cannot qualify in one of these two classes he becomes a social burden.

Words attributed to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá from the diary of Ahmad Sohrab

Star of the West, vol. 13, no. 10, pp: 270-271

Fire and Gold, p. 147