Archive for the ‘Religion’ Tag

22 August ―3 Asmá   Leave a comment

From the Universal House of Justice quoting the Beloved Guardian, Shoghi Effendi:

On page 25[1] of “The Advent of Divine Justice” the beloved Guardian is describing the requirements not only of chastity, but of “a chaste and holy life” — both the adjectives are important. One of the signs of a decadent society, a sign which is very evident in the world today, is an almost frenetic devotion to pleasure and diversion, an insatiable thirst for  54  amusement, a fanatical devotion to games and sport, a reluctance to treat any matter seriously, and a scornful, derisory attitude towards virtue and solid worth. Abandonment of “a frivolous conduct” does not imply that a Bahá’í must be sour-faced or perpetually solemn. Humour, happiness,joy are characteristics of a true Bahá’í life. Frivolity palls and eventually leads to boredom and emptiness, but true happiness and joy and humour that are parts of a balanced life that includes serious thought, compassion and humble servitude to God, are characteristics that enrich life and add to its radiance.

[1 On page 25 in the 1956 U.S. edition; on page 30 in the 1984 U.S. edition.]

Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 53

MORNING:

The word of God which the Supreme Pen hath recorded on the eighth leaf of the Most Exalted Paradise is the following: Schools must first train the children in the principles of religion, so that the Promise and the Threat recorded in the Books of God may prevent them from the things forbidden and adorn them with the mantle of the commandments; but this in such a measure that it may not injure the children by resulting in ignorant fanaticism and bigotry.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 68

EVENING:

The word of God which the Supreme Pen hath recorded on the fifth leaf of the Most Exalted Paradise is this: Above all else, the greatest gift and the most wondrous blessing hath ever been and will continue to be Wisdom. It is man’s unfailing Protector. It aideth him and strengtheneth him. Wisdom is God’s Emissary and the Revealer of His Name the Omniscient. Through it the loftiness of man’s station is made manifest and evident. It is all-knowing and the foremost Teacher in the school of existence. It is the Guide and is invested with high distinction. Thanks to its educating influence earthly beings have become imbued with a gem-like spirit which outshineth the heavens. In the city of justice it is the unrivalled Speaker Who, in the year nine, illumined the world with the joyful tidings of this Revelation. And it was this peerless Source of wisdom that at the beginning of the foundation of the world ascended the stair of inner meaning and when enthroned upon the pulpit of utterance, through the operation of the divine Will, proclaimed two words. The first heralded the promise of reward, while the second voiced the ominous warning of punishment. The promise gave rise to hope and the warning begat fear. Thus the basis of world order hath been firmly established upon these twin principles. Exalted is the Lord of Wisdom, the Possessor of Great Bounty.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 65

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE CAUSE OF GOD ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

It has been shown conclusively therefore that the foundation of the religion of God remains permanent and unchanging. It is that fixed foundation which insures the progress and stability of the body politic and the illumination of humanity. It has ever been the cause of love and justice amongst men. It works for the true fellowship and unification of all mankind for it never changes and is not subject to supersedure. The accidental or non-essential laws which regulate the transactions of the social body and everyday affairs of life are changeable and subject to abrogation.

Let me ask what is the purpose of prophethood? Why has God sent the prophets? It is self-evident that the prophets are the educators of men and the teachers of the human race. They come to bestow universal education upon humanity, to give humanity training, to uplift the human race from the abyss of despair and desolation and enable man to attain the apogee of advancement and glory. The people are in darkness; the prophets bring them into the realm of light. They are in a state of utter imperfection; the prophets imbue them with perfections. The purpose of the prophetic mission is no other than the education and guidance of the people. Therefore we must regard and be on the lookout for the man who is thus qualified; that is to say any soul who proves to be the educator of mankind and the teacher of the human race is undoubtedly the prophet of his age.

Foundations of World Unity, p. 94

21 August – 2 Asmá’   Leave a comment

MORNING:

IMG_8593These are they who, in truth, were not enjoined to prostrate themselves before Adam. They have never turned away from the countenance of Thy Lord, and partake at every moment of the gifts and delights of holiness. Thus hath the Pen of the All-Merciful set forth the secrets of all things, be they of the past or of the future. Would that the world might understand! Erelong shall God make manifest this people upon the earth, and through them shall exalt His name, diffuse His signs, uphold His words, and proclaim His verses, in spite of those that have repudiated His truth, gainsaid His sovereignty, and cavilled at His signs.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 14

EVENING:

IMG_2062O CHILDREN OF ADAM!

Holy words and pure and goodly deeds ascend unto the heaven of celestial glory. Strive that your deeds may be cleansed from the dust of self and hypocrisy and find favor at the court of glory; for ere long the assayers of mankind shall, in the holy presence of the Adored One, accept naught but absolute virtue and deeds of stainless purity. This is the daystar of wisdom and of divine mystery that hath shone above the horizon of the divine will. Blessed are they that turn thereunto.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Persian Hidden Words, #69

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE COVENANT ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

The supreme bestowal is the appearance of the heavenly messengers. How can we ever define or circumscribe this bestowal? If the scientists have proven that a molecule is an aggregate of myriads of atoms and the atom in turn is an aggregate of infinite electrons, how can the sun be comprehended? If the drop is infinite in its particles, how much more the sea! If the material world is infinite with regard to its manifestations of life, can the spiritual world be finite? The prophets of God have ever appeared in the ages of the past and will continue to appear throughout the ages of the future. Where was Adam when God was exercising his divinity? Where was this petty infinitesimal world of ours when God was bestowing his bounties upon this infinite universe? If we limit the number of his appearances through his prophets, it is equal to limiting God himself.

Man has ever longed for a direct means of communication with his Lord and has ever been in a state of anticipation for the unique advent on this earth of a divine being. The followers of all religions have been expecting the coming of a promised one and have longingly prayed for the dawn of the sun of truth. Alas! A thousand times alas! that when he appeared they remained of the heedless, nor turned their faces toward him. Pitiful indeed is their condition! In lamentation, during the darkness of night they prayed for the light of a new day; but when it dawned from the eastern horizon they cried clamorously: “Where is the sun? We do not see it!” They are of those who are bereft of sight.

Divine Philosophy, pp: 170-171

12 August ― 12 Kamál   Leave a comment

MORNING:

Ponder then in thine heart: Matters being such as thou dost witness, and as We also witness, where canst thou flee, and with whom shalt thou take refuge? Unto whom wilt thou turn thy gaze? In what land shalt thou dwell and upon what seat shalt thou abide? In what path shalt thou tread and at what hour wilt thou find repose? What shall become of thee in the end? Where shalt thou secure the cord of thy faith and fasten the tie of thine obedience? By Him Who revealeth Himself in His oneness and Whose own Self beareth witness to His unity!

Should there be ignited in thy heart the burning brand of the love of God, thou wouldst seek neither rest nor composure, neither laughter nor repose, but wouldst hasten to scale the highest summits in the realms of divine nearness, sanctity, and beauty. Thou wouldst lament as a soul bereaved and weep as a heart filled with longing. Nor wouldst thou repair to thy home and abode unless God would lay bare before thee His Cause.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 13

EVENING:

Yea, the seeker reacheth a station wherein that which hath been ordained for him knoweth no bounds. The fire of love so blazeth in his heart that it seizeth the reins of constraint from his grasp. At every moment his love for his Lord increaseth and draweth him nearer unto his Creator, in such wise that if his Lord be in the east of nearness, and he dwell in the west of remoteness and possess all that earth and heaven contain of rubies and gold, he would forsake it all and rush forth to the land of the Desired One. And shouldst thou find him to be otherwise, know assuredly that such a man is a lying impostor. We, verily, all belong unto Him Whom God shall make manifest in the latter Resurrection, and through Him shall we be raised again to life.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gems of Divine Mysteries, pp. 75-76

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE COVENANT  ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

There is not one soul whose conscience does not testify that in this day there is no more important matter in the world than that of Universal Peace. Every just one bears witness to this and adores that esteemed Assembly because its aim is that this darkness may be changed into light, this bloodthirstiness into kindness, this torment into bliss, this hardship into ease and this enmity and hatred into fellowship and love. Therefore, the effort of those esteemed souls is worthy of praise and commendation.

But the wise souls who are aware of the essential relationships emanating from the realities of things consider that one single matter cannot, by itself, influence the human reality as it ought and should, for until the minds of men become united, no important matter can be accomplished. At present Universal Peace is a matter of great importance, but unity of conscience is essential, so that the foundation of this matter may become secure, its establishment firm and its edifice strong.

Therefore His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh, fifty years ago, expounded this question of Universal Peace at a time when he was confined in the fortress of ‘Akká and was wronged and imprisoned. He wrote about this important matter of Universal Peace to all the great sovereigns of the world, and established it among his friends in the Orient. The horizon of the East was in utter darkness, nations displayed the utmost hatred and enmity towards each other, religions thirsted for each other’s blood, and it was darkness upon darkness. At such a time His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh shone forth like the sun from the horizon of the East and illumined Persia with the lights of these teachings.

Tablet to the Hague, pp: 3-4

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11 August ― 11 Kamál   Leave a comment

Say: O people! We shall put to you a question in all truthfulness, taking God for a witness between you and Us. He, verily, is the Defender of the righteous. Appear, then, before His Throne of glory and make reply with justice and fair-mindedness. Is it God Who is potent to achieve His purpose, or is it ye who enjoy such authority? Is it He Who is truly unconstrained, as ye imply when ye say that He doeth what He pleaseth and shall not be asked of His doings, or is it ye who wield such power, and who merely make such assertions out of blind imitation, as did your forebears at the appearance of every other Messenger of God?

 

His Holiness Baháú’lláh

Súriy-i-Haykal

The Tablet of the Temple, ¶58

The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p.30

 

MORNING:

O thou who hast soared to the realm of guidance and ascended to the kingdom of virtue! Shouldst thou desire to apprehend these celestial allusions, to witness the mysteries of divine knowledge, and to become acquainted with His all-encompassing Word, then it behoveth thine eminence to inquire into these and other questions pertaining to thine origin and ultimate goal from those whom God hath made to be the Wellspring of His knowledge, the Heaven of His wisdom, and the Ark of His mysteries. For were it not for those effulgent Lights that shine above the horizon of His Essence, the people would know not their left hand from their right, how much less could they scale the heights of the inner realities or probe the depths of their subtleties! We beseech God therefore to immerse us in these surging seas, to grace us with the presence of these life-bearing breezes, and to cause us to abide in these divine and lofty precincts. Perchance we may divest ourselves of all that we have taken from each other and strip ourselves of such borrowed garments as we have stolen from our fellow men, that He may attire us instead with the robe of His mercy and the raiment of His guidance, and admit us into the city of knowledge.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gems of Divine Mysteries, pp: 14-15

 

EVENING:

If He be truly unconstrained, behold then how He hath sent down the Manifestation of His Cause with verses which naught in the heavens or on the earth can withstand! Such hath been the manner of their revelation that they have neither peer nor likeness in the world of being, as ye yourselves beheld and heard when once the Daystar of the world shone forth above the horizon of ‘Iraq with manifest dominion. All things attain their consummation in the divine verses, and these indeed are the verses of God, the Sovereign Lord, the Help in Peril, the All-Glorious, the Almighty. Beyond this, He hath been made manifest as the Bearer of a Cause whose sovereign might is acknowledged by all created things, and this none can deny save the sinners and the ungodly.

His Holiness Baháú’lláh

Súriy-i-Haykal

The Tablet of the Temple, ¶59

The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, pp:30-31

6 August – 6 Kamal   Leave a comment

MORNING:

He should not hesitate to offer up his life for his Beloved, nor allow the censure of the people to turn him away from the Truth. He should not wish for others that which he doth not wish for himself, nor promise that which he doth not fulfil. With all his heart he should avoid fellowship with evil-doers, and pray for the remission of their sins. He should forgive the sinful, and never despise his low estate, for none knoweth what his own end shall be. How often hath a sinner attained, at the hour of death, to the essence of faith, and, quaffing the immortal draught, hath taken his flight unto the Concourse on high! And how often hath a devout believer, at the hour of his soul’s ascension, been so changed as to fall into the nethermost fire!

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 265-266

EVENING:

The glory of Thy might, O my God, beareth me witness! Every time I attempt to remember Thee, I find myself overpowered by the sublimity of Thy station and the immensity of Thy might; and every time I hold my peace, lo, I am impelled by my love for Thee and by the potency of Thy will, to unloose my tongue and mention Thee. He who is poor and needy, O my God, is calling for his Lord, the All-Possessing; and he who is destitute of all strength remembereth his Master, the All-Powerful. If He deign to accept His servant’s supplication, He is, verily, of unsurpassed bounteousness; and if He cast him out, He is of those who judge equitably the best. He indeed is acceptable, O my God, who hath set his face towards Thee, and he is truly deprived who hath been careless of the remembrance of Thee in Thy days. Blessed is he that hath tasted of the sweetness of Thy remembrance and praise. Nothing, not even the arising of all the peoples of the whole world to assail him, can hinder such a man from directing his steps towards the paths of Thy pleasure and the ways of Thy Cause.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 204-205

FROM ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ, THE EXEMPLAR OF THE FAITH:

This day is the day of purification, the day of sanctification, the day of turning toward God, the day of severance from all else save God, the day of lowliness and humiliation, the day of serving the beloved ones of God, the day of becoming utterly destitute of and free from egotism and desire and the day of purity and sacrifice in the path of God. This is incumbent upon thee, so that thou mayest be accepted in the court of the Almighty and praised in His lofty Threshold of Holiness.

Tablets of Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 636

31 July ― 16 Kalimát   Leave a comment

IMG_2733

Then the long line of interviews commenced. One was an ardent suffragist, a militant one. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá advised her that the women who are working for the interest of the enfranchisement of women should not commit unseemly acts, nor resort to violent measures, such as window smashing, police beating, train wrecking, letter-box destroying, etc.; nay, rather they should demand their rights with the power of intelligence, with scientific accomplishments, with artistic attainments. Unseemly deeds would rather retard the realization of their cherished hope. In this age a weak person resorts to frightful measures, but an intelligent person uses the superior power of intelligence and wisdom.
20 December 1912

SOW – Star of the West, Star of the West – 3

IMG_9594

The declared purpose of history’s series of prophetic revelations, therefore, has been not only to guide the individual seeker on the path of personal salvation, but to prepare the whole of the human family for the great eschatological Event lying ahead, through which the life of the world will itself be entirely transformed. The revelation of Bahá’u’lláh is neither preparatory nor prophetic. It is that Event. Through its influence, the stupendous enterprise of laying the foundations of the Kingdom of God has been set in motion, and the population of the earth has been endowed with the powers and capacities equal to the task. That Kingdom is a universal civilization shaped by principles of social justice and enriched by achievements of the human mind and spirit beyond anything the present age can conceive. “This is the Day,” Bahá’u’lláh declares, “in which God’s most excellent favours have been poured out upon men, the Day in which His most mighty grace hath been infused into all created things…. Soon will the present-day order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead.”

Commissioned by

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

One Common Faith

Bahá’í World Centre, 2005 edition, pp: 54-55

MORNING:

O people of the world! Follow not the promptings of the self, for it summoneth insistently to wickedness and lust; follow, rather, Him Who is the Possessor of all created things, Who biddeth you to show forth piety, and manifest the fear of God. He, verily, is independent of all His creatures. Take heed not to stir up mischief in the land after it hath been set in order. Whoso acteth in this way is not of Us, and We are quit of him. Such is the command which hath, through the power of truth, been made manifest from the heaven of Revelation.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶ 64

EVENING:

Lament not in your hours of trial, neither rejoice therein; seek ye the Middle Way which is the remembrance of Me in your afflictions and reflection over that which may befall you in future. Thus informeth you He Who is the Omniscient, He Who is aware.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶ 43

FROM HIS HOLINESS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

If man were to care for himself only he would be nothing but an animal for only the animals are thus egoistic. If you bring a thousand sheep to a well to kill nine hundred and ninety-nine the one remaining sheep would go on grazing, not thinking of the others and worrying not at all about the lost, never bothering that its own kind had passed away, or had perished or been killed. To look after one’s self only is therefore an animal propensity. It is the animal propensity to live solitary and alone. It is the animal proclivity to look after one’s own comfort. But man was created to be a man — to be fair, to be just, to be merciful, to be kind to all his species, never to be willing that he himself be well off while others are in misery and distress — this is an attribute of the animal and not of man. Nay, rather, man should be willing to accept hardships for himself in order that others may enjoy wealth; he should enjoy trouble for himself that others may enjoy happiness and well-being. This is the attribute of man. This is becoming of man. Otherwise man is not man — he is less than the animal.

The man who thinks only of himself and is thoughtless of others is undoubtedly inferior to the animal because the animal is not possessed of the reasoning faculty. The animal is excused; but in man there is reason, the faculty of justice, the faculty of mercifulness. Possessing all these faculties he must not leave them unused. He who is so hard-hearted as to think only of his own comfort, such an one will not be called man.

Man is he who forgets his own interests for the sake of others. His own comfort he forfeits for the well-being of all. Nay, rather, his own life must he be willing to forfeit for the life of mankind. Such a man is the honor of the world of humanity. Such a man is the glory of the world of mankind. Such a man is the one who wins eternal bliss. Such a man is near to the threshold of God. Such a man is the very manifestation of eternal happiness. Otherwise, men are like animals, exhibiting the same proclivities and propensities as the world of animals. What distinction is there? What prerogatives, what perfections? None whatever! Animals are better even — thinking only of themselves and negligent of the needs of others.

 

Foundations of World Unity, p. 42

26 July ― 14 Kalimát   Leave a comment

The only division that is real is this: There are heavenly men and earthly men; self-sacrificing servants of humanity in the love of the Most High, bringing harmony and unity, teaching peace and goodwill to men. On the other hand there are those selfish men, haters of their brethren, in whose hearts prejudice has replaced loving kindness, and whose influence breeds discord and strife.

 

HIS HOLINESS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ

Paris Talks, pp: 148-149

 

MORNING:

This is the Day whereon the Ocean of God’s mercy hath been manifested unto men, the Day in which the Day Star of His loving-kindness hath shed its radiance upon them, the Day in which the clouds of His bountiful favor have overshadowed the whole of mankind. Now is the time to cheer and refresh the down-cast through the invigorating breeze of love and fellowship, and the living waters of friendliness and charity.

They who are the beloved of God, in whatever place they gather and whomsoever they may meet, must evince, in their attitude towards God, and in the manner of their celebration of His praise and glory, such humility and submissiveness that every atom of the dust beneath their feet may attest the depth of their devotion. The conversation carried by these holy souls should be informed with such power that these same atoms of dust will be thrilled by its influence. They should conduct themselves in such manner that the earth upon which they tread may never be allowed to address to them such words as these: “I am to be preferred above you. For witness, how patient I am in bearing the burden which the husbandman layeth upon me. I am the instrument that continually imparteth unto all beings the blessings with which He Who is the Source of all grace hath entrusted me. Notwithstanding the honor conferred upon me, and the unnumbered evidences of my wealth — a wealth that supplieth the needs of all creation — behold the measure of my humility, witness with what absolute submissiveness I allow myself to be trodden beneath the feet of men….”

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 7-8

EVENING:

Every eye, in this Day, should seek what will best promote the Cause of God. He, Who is the Eternal Truth, beareth Me witness! Nothing whatsoever can, in this Day, inflict a greater harm upon this Cause than dissension and strife, contention, estrangement and apathy, among the loved ones of God. Flee them, through the power of God and His sovereign aid, and strive ye to knit together the hearts of men, in His Name, the Unifier, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

Beseech ye the one true God to grant that ye may taste the savor of such deeds as are performed in His path, and partake of the sweetness of such humility and submissiveness as are shown for His sake. Forget your own selves, and turn your eyes towards your neighbor. Bend your energies to whatever may foster the education of men. Nothing is, or can ever be, hidden from God. If ye follow in His way, His incalculable and imperishable blessings will be showered upon you. This is the luminous Tablet, whose verses have streamed from the moving Pen of Him Who is the Lord of all worlds. Ponder it in your hearts, and be ye of them that observe its precepts.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 8-9

FROM HIS HOLINESS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

Concerning the prejudice of race: it is an illusion, a superstition pure and simple! For God created us all of one race. There were no differences in the beginning, for we are all descendants of Adam. In the beginning, also, there were no limits and boundaries between the different lands; no part of the earth belonged more to one people than to another. In the sight of God there is no difference between the various races. Why should man invent such a prejudice? How can we uphold war caused by an illusion?

God has not created men that they should destroy one another. All races, tribes, sects and classes share equally in the Bounty of their Heavenly Father.

The only difference lies in the degree of faithfulness, of obedience to the laws of God. There are some who are as lighted torches, there are others who shine as stars in the sky of humanity. The lovers of mankind, these are the superior men, of whatever nation, creed, or colour they may be. For it is they to whom God will say these blessed words, ‘Well done, My good and faithful servants’. In that day He will not ask, ‘Are you English, French, or perhaps Persian? Do you come from the East, or from the West?’

The only division that is real is this: There are heavenly men and earthly men; self-sacrificing servants of humanity in the love of the Most High, bringing harmony and unity, teaching peace and goodwill to men. On the other hand there are those selfish men, haters of their brethren, in whose hearts prejudice has replaced loving kindness, and whose influence breeds discord and strife.

 

Paris Talks, pp: 148-149