Saturday, September 13, 2014

If You Obey Me



A piece of prose/poetry from the days I first became a Baha'i (1978).
I cam from a Christian background and the hymn Trust and Obey was running through my head while I wrote this.

"If  you obey Me you will see that which we have promised you, and I will make you the friends of My Soul in the realm of My Greatness and the Companions of My Beauty in the heaven of My Might forever. "    

Baha’u’llah  (Compilations, Baha'i Scriptures, p. 103)

If You Obey Me

We the people, arose
To sing Him praise
The words we sang
Had a sobering effect,
That made up pause
And deeply reflect
On what we’ve wrought
In God’s days.

The words,
Oh the words to that song.
Trust and Obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy today
Than to trust and obey,
Words that haunt you
All life long.

We remembered sitting
And listening in tears
To Moses as He revealed
God’s Tablets of Laws
Realizing the depth
Of all our flaws
Sensing the darkness
Of our prior years

And the words
The words that He said
Trust and Obey
Or you will never see
That Promised Day
Of entering Caanan
Through heavens gateway
Trust and Obey

We remembered them all
God’s Prophets, their days
How they taught us

More of God’s ways.
How we treated them
The blood on our hands
Actions of ours that
We don’t understand

And Their Words,
Their Words were the same.
Trust and Obey
For there is no other way
To be happy in any day
Than to Trust and Obey.
The Kingdom is God’s
He alone will reign.

We thought of today,
When God in all His Glory
Revealed Baha’u’llah, the object
Of the Prophetic story,
And how the Promised Day
Is right now, right here
And how we still long to see
Caanan, God’s Kingdom so dear.

Oh Lord, the spirit is willing
But the flesh is weak.
May our flesh be consumed
that we may speak
the praise of You
Who are eternally One.
May we be the channels through which
Thy will, will be done.

And our song,
Our song must be the same
Trust and Obey
For this is the King of Days
And there is no other way
To be happy today
Than to Trust and Obey
Trust and Obey.

Economics - some quotes from the Writings of Baha'u'llah


O Children of Dust! 

Tell the rich of the midnight sighing of the poor, lest heedlessness lead them into the path of destruction, and deprive them of the Tree of Wealth. To give and to be generous are attributes of Mine; well is it with him that adorneth himself with My virtues. 

(Hidden Words 49 Persian)
___________
O Oppressors on Earth! 

Withdraw your hands from tyranny, for I have pledged Myself not to forgive any man's injustice. This is My covenant which I have irrevocably decreed in the preserved tablet and sealed with My seal. 

(Hidden Words 64 Persian)
___________


O Ye That Pride Yourselves on Mortal Riches! 

Know ye in truth that wealth is a mighty barrier between the seeker and his desire, the lover and his beloved. The rich, but for a few, shall in no wise attain the court of His presence nor enter the city of content and resignation. Well is it then with him, who, being rich, is not hindered by his riches from the eternal kingdom, nor deprived by them of imperishable dominion. By the Most Great Name! The splendor of such a wealthy man shall illuminate the dwellers of heaven even as the sun enlightens the people of the earth! 

(Hidden Words 53 Persian)

___________

The twelfth glad tidings: It is made incumbent on every one of you to engage in some one occupation, such as arts, trades, and the like. We have made this -- your occupation -- identical with the worship of God, the True One. Reflect, O people, upon the mercy of God and upon His favors, then thank Him at dawn and at dusk.


Waste not your time in idleness and indolence, and occupy yourselves with that which will profit yourselves and others beside yourselves. Thus hath the matter been decreed in this Tablet from the horizon of which the sun of wisdom and divine utterance is gleaming. The most despised of men before God is he who sits and begs. Cling unto the rope of means, relying upon God, the Causer of Causes. Every soul who occupies himself in an art or trace -- this will be accounted an act of worship before God….  Verily, this is from naught else than His great and abundant favor! 

(Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 98-9)

What is the solution of the economic problem?

What is the solution of the economic problem?

The essence of the Bahá'í spirit is that, in order to establish a better social order and economic condition, there must be allegiance to the laws and principles of government. Under the laws which are to govern the world, the socialists may justly demand human rights but without resort to force and violence. The governments will enact these laws, establishing just legislation and economics in order that all humanity may enjoy a full measure of welfare and privilege; but this will always be according to legal protection and procedure. Without legislative administration, rights and demands fail, and the welfare of the commonwealth cannot be realized…
.
The fundamentals of the whole economic condition are divine in nature and are associated with the world of the heart and spirit. This is fully explained in the Bahá'í teaching, and without knowledge of its principles no improvement in the economic state can be realized. 

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 233-4)

The arrangements of the circumstances of the people must be such that poverty shall disappear, that everyone, as far as possible, according to his rank and position, shall share in comfort and well-being….It cannot be done by bringing to pass absolute equality between men….The law of order must always obtain in the world of humanity. Heaven has so decreed in the creation of Man….

It is important to limit riches, as it is also of importance to limit poverty….A financier with colossal wealth should not exist whilst near him is a poor man in dire necessity. When we see poverty allowed to reach a condition of starvation it is a sure sign that somewhere we shall find tyranny….The rich must give of their abundance, they must soften their hearts and cultivate a compassionate intelligence….


There must be special laws made, dealing with these extremes of riches and of want. The members of the Government should consider the laws of God when they are framing plans for the ruling of the people. The general rights of mankind must be guarded and preserved

(The Wisdom of Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 140-3)

Economics - Directives from the Guardian

"As you say, the Writings are not so rich on this subject and many issues at present baffling the minds of the world are not even mentioned. The primary consideration is the spirit that has to permeate our economic life, and this will gradually crystallize itself into definite institutions and principles that will help to bring about the ideal condition foretold by Bahá'u'lláh."

"No, Bahá'u'lláh did not bring a complete system of economics to the world. Profit sharing is recommended as a solution to one form of economic problems. There is nothing in the teachings against some kind of capitalism; its present form, though, would require adjustments to be made."

"There are practically no technical teachings on economics in the Cause, such as banking, the price system, and others. The Cause is not an economic system, nor its Founders be considered as having been technical economists. The contribution of the Faith to this subject is essentially indirect, as it consists of the application of spiritual principles to our present-day economic system. Bahá'u'lláh has given us a few basic principles which should guide future Bahá'í economists in establishing such institutions which will adjust the economic relationships of the world.
..
"Social inequality is the inevitable outcome of the natural inequality of man. Human beings are different in ability and should, therefore, be different in their social and economic standing. Extremes of wealth and poverty should, however, be abolished...

"The Master has definitely stated that wages should be unequal, simply because that men are unequal in their ability and hence should receive wages that would correspond to their varying capacities and resources."


Directives From the Guardian
pages 20-21

Economics - a short talk by Abdul-Baha

Talk given 23 July 1912

Talk at Hotel Victoria
Boston, Massachusetts

Notes by Edna McKinney
The Bahá'ís must not engage in political movements which lead to sedition. They must interest themselves in movements which conduce to law and order. In Persia at the present time the Bahá'ís have no part in the revolutionary upheavals which have terminated in lawlessness and rebellion. Nevertheless, a Bahá'í may hold a political office and be interested in politics of the right type. Ministers, state officials and governor-generals in Persia are Bahá'ís, and there are many other Bahá'ís holding governmental positions; but nowhere throughout the world should the followers of Bahá'u'lláh be engaged in seditious movements. For example, if there should be an uprising here in America having for its purpose the establishment of a despotic government, the Bahá'ís should not be connected with it.

The Bahá'í Cause covers all economic and social questions under the heading and ruling of its laws. The essence of the Bahá'í spirit is that, in order to establish a better social order and economic condition, there must be allegiance to the laws and principles of government. Under the laws which are to govern the world, the socialists may justly demand human rights but without resort to force and violence. The governments will enact these laws, establishing just legislation and economics in order that all humanity may enjoy a full measure of welfare and privilege; but this will always be according to legal protection and procedure. Without legislative administration, rights and demands fail, and the welfare of the commonwealth cannot be realized. Today the method of demand is the strike and resort to force, which is manifestly wrong and destructive of human foundations. Rightful privilege and demand must be set forth in laws and regulations.

While thousands are considering these questions, we have more essential purposes. The fundamentals of the whole economic condition are divine in nature and are associated with the world of the heart and spirit. This is fully explained in the Bahá'í teaching, and without knowledge of its principles no improvement in the economic state can be realized. The Bahá'ís will bring about this improvement and betterment but not through sedition and appeal to physical force--not through warfare, but welfare. Hearts must be so cemented together, love must become so dominant that the rich shall most willingly extend assistance to the poor and take steps to establish these economic adjustments permanently. If it is accomplished in this way, it will be most praiseworthy because then it will be for the sake of God and in the pathway of His service. For example, it will be as if the rich inhabitants of a city should say, "It is neither just nor lawful that we should possess great wealth while there is abject poverty in this community," and then willingly give their wealth to the poor, retaining only as much as will enable them to live comfortably.

Strive, therefore, to create love in the hearts in order that they may become glowing and radiant. When that love is shining, it will permeate other hearts even as this electric light illumines its surroundings. When the love of God is established, everything else will be realized. This is the true foundation of all economics. Reflect upon it. Endeavor to become the cause of the attraction of souls rather than to enforce minds. Manifest true economics to the people. Show what love is, what kindness is, what true severance is and generosity. This is the important thing for you to do. Act in accordance with the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. All His Books will be translated. Now is the time for you to live in accordance with His words. Let your deeds be the real translation of their meaning. Economic questions will not attract hearts. The love of God alone will attract them. Economic questions are most interesting; but the power which moves, controls and attracts the hearts of men is the love of God.


The Promulgation of Universal Peace
pages 238-239

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Baha'i Teachings on Economics

This is the text of a pamphlet from a long time back published by the Baha'i's of England.

I have added footnotes to the quotes in the text and published the quotes and their references at the bottom of the document.

I found this very thought provoking.

Baha'i Economics

Re-adjustment of the social economy is of the greatest importance inasmuch as it ensures the stability of the world of humanity; and until it is effected, happiness and prosperity are impossible." (1)

The Bahá'í analysis of the present condition of the world is that it is in the throes of evolution towards a new set of conditions and a new age. The economic problems reflect to a large degree the political and spiritual state of the world. Bahá'í economic principles should be seen in the light of general Bahá'í beliefs. The most fundamental beliefs are, firstly, that we should treat all people, of whatever country, race, gender or class, as of equal worth. Secondly that we should have a form of world government with a peace-keeping role. The establishment of world peace would not only free vast resources at present devoted to warfare and defence, but would also allow all areas of the world to develop unhindered by war.

At the same time, rampant materialism must give way to a more balanced view of the world, in which everyone has the right to a reasonable standard of living and in which resources can be conserved. At present, a cycle of slump and boom characterises western economies, while industrialised former communist countries strive to adapt to market forces, and much of the developing world struggles against poverty and a world economic system loaded against them.

Ultimately, Bahá'ís believe that all the world's population will become a united community, diverse in their national and individual characteristics, but co-operating in one shared world civilisation. This civilisation will be based on justice. All trade barriers will be removed, a common system of weights and measures adopted, a world currency established and interest rates set at a fair level. These measures would foster trade between countries and remove many of the difficulties faced by less developed nations.

"The essence of the matter is that Divine Justice will become manifest in human conditions and affairs and all mankind will find comfort and enjoyment in life." (2)

Work and the Individual

"It is the duty of those who are in charge of the organisation of society to give every individual the opportunity of acquiring the necessary talent in some kind of profession, and also the means of utilising such a talent, both for its own sake and for the sake of earning the means of his livelihood." (3)

"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..... Waste not your time in idleness and sloth. Occupy yourselves with that which profiteth yourselves and others." (4)

Profit-sharing is advocated as a general principle, allowing workers to have a greater role and interest in their employment:

"According to the Divine law, employees should not be paid merely by wages. Nay, rather they should be partners in every work." (5)

Implicit in this is a partnership between capital and labour. Employee/employer relations should be based on spiritual principles, backed up by laws which are just to both sides:

"The mutual and reasonable rights of both associated parties will be legally fixed and established according to custom by just and impartial laws." (6)

Redistribution of Wealth

"Absolute equality in fortunes, honours, commerce, agriculture, industry would end in chaos, in disorganisation of the means of existence, and in universal disappointment; the order of the community would be quite destroyed." (7)

Although absolute equality is not possible, extremes of poverty and wealth must certainly be eliminated. Each person has the right to the basic necessities of life but no-one has the right to more wealth than he or she can use. Taxation laws should be designed to ensure that everyone exists within comfortable limits.

The Role of the Local Community

Economic progress depends on a balance between the needs of the different members of the community. In the Bahá'í view, this will work better as mankind evolves a proper community spirit, and local communities are allowed freedom of initiative. Although many Bahá'í teachings are clearly global in application, complete transformation will be from the grass roots:

"The solution begins with the village, and when the village is reconstructed, then the cities will be also." (8)

Bahá'u'lláh, the Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, reminds us that agriculture is essentially the most important industry. Bahá'u'lláh's son, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, gave an example of how the system of local finance should work, based on an agricultural community. The principle is the same for towns and cities, but operating on a more directly financial basis.

As weather conditions vary from year to year, it is recommended that each village has a local storehouse, where a certain percentage of the harvest is kept. This would be under the control of the local authority, which would also receive income from a graduated income tax. It would also receive a proportion of the income from any mining operations in the area.

Great importance is put upon a detailed system of financial support, administered by the local authority. A family whose income exceeds its needs is taxed, but a family which does not earn enough to support itself is supported by the local community.

Each local community would contribute to the national funds, if it could afford to do so, but could also be supported by national funds if necessary. The same principle would apply at international level.

The details of how this system will operate will clearly vary from one community to another, and from one time to another.

Voluntary Contributions

In the Bahá'í Writings, great importance is given to voluntary sharing of wealth. Voluntary contributions form part of the income of the local authority. Concern for one's fellow beings is essential to the Bahá'í approach.

A form of voluntary capital gains tax is also advocated and is already in operation in the Bahá'í community. Bahá'ís pay into the international fund 19% of any increase in wealth which may have been accumulated over a period of time. The amount to be taxed is total income minus necessary living expenses. Although there are general guidelines, what constitutes a necessary expense is up to the conscience of the individual.

When people become citizens of the world, voluntary giving will be on a larger scale than at present:

"The time will come in the near future when humanity will become so much more sensitive than at present that the man of great wealth will not enjoy his luxury, in comparison with the deplorable poverty about him. He will be forced, for his own happiness, to expend his wealth to procure better conditions for the community in which he lives."  (9)

The many specific recommendations relating to economic questions to be found in the Bahá'í Writings cannot each successfully operate alone. For example, the system of financial support can only work properly when people are generally honest, and profit-sharing schemes depend upon mutual trust and goodwill.

Although the implementation of certain economic principles could improve the lot of humanity, it is only when the need for justice and social equality is universally recognised that the full impact can be achieved, for in reality:

"The secrets of the whole economic question are Divine in nature, and are concerned with the world of the heart and spirit."  (10)

Published by the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Warwick.
Approved by the National the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom,
27, Rutland Gate, London, SW7 1PD.


1)      “This readjustment of the social economic is of the greatest importance inasmuch as it insures the stability of the world of humanity; and until it is effected, happiness and prosperity are impossible.”   (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 240)
2)      “The essence of the matter is that divine justice will become manifest in human conditions and affairs, and all mankind will find comfort and enjoyment in life.”
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 132)
3)      “It is the duty of those who are in charge of the organization of society to give every individual the opportunity of acquiring the necessary talent in some kind of profession, and also the means of utilizing such a talent, both for its own sake and for the sake of earning the means of his livelihood.” (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 192)
4)      “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.”  (Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 26)
5)      “According to the divine law, employees should not be paid merely by wages. Nay, rather they should be partners in every work.” Abdul-Baha (Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Baha'u'llah and the New Era, p. 145)
6)      “But the mutual and reasonable rights of both associated parties will be legally fixed and established according to custom by just and impartial laws.” (Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 276)
7)      “However, absolute equality is just as impossible, for absolute equality in fortunes, honors, commerce, agriculture, industry would end in disorderliness, in chaos, in disorganization of the means of existence, and in universal disappointment: the order of the community would be quite destroyed.” (Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 274)
8)      Cannot confirm this quote.
9)      Found similar quote: “For example, it will be as if the rich inhabitants of a city should say, "It is neither just nor lawful that we should possess great wealth while there is abject poverty in this community," and then willingly give their wealth to the poor, retaining only as much as will enable them to live comfortably.” (Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 239)

10)  “The fundamentals of the whole economic condition are divine in nature and are associated with the world of the heart and spirit.”(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 238)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Strive to abide...as two doves in the nest







Baha'i Graphic 133
By Jack Bush

Baha'i Scripture

Strive, then, to abide, heart and soul, with each other as two doves in the nest, for this is to be blessed in both worlds.

(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 122)

June 15th in Baha'i History




1912 - Abdul-Baha in America

15 June 1912 Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York

`Abdu'l-Bahá had been invited to two large churches in Brooklyn and left New York at 10:00 a.m. Some of the Persian and American friends accompanied Him. At 11:00 a.m. the Unitarian Church was graced with His presence. As the carriage approached, we saw outside the church an announcement in large letters saying `The Great Persian Prophet, His Holiness `Abdu'l-Bahá, will speak at 11:00 a.m. in this church on the 15th [sic] of June.' What created in us such a sense of wonder was that the pastor of the church had placed the sign announcing the prophethood of `Abdu'l-Bahá on the door of his church! The moment the Master arrived, the pastor came out, and taking `Abdu'l-Bahá's arm with great reverence, accompanied Him to the pulpit. The Master's address was on the degrees of oneness and unity. At the close of His talk, He chanted, with His hands uplifted and in a melodious tone, a prayer in eloquent Arabic that was translated sentence by sentence. (Mahmud's Diary)


June 14th in Baha'i History




1912 - Abdul-Baha in America

In the afternoon at a public meeting He explained the first verse of the Bible and spoke on the reality of the Manifestations of God and the effulgence of the Sun of Supreme Oneness. In the evening He spoke with majesty and grandeur about the days of the Blessed Beauty:
Although He was a prisoner, He pitched His tent with glory on Mount Carmel. Even outwardly His power and majesty were such that for five years the governor of `Akká wished to attain His presence but was not permitted to do so by Him; indeed, He took no notice of him.  (Mahmud's Diary)

1981 - Execution of  7 Members LSA of Hamadan
WITH STRICKEN HEARTS SHARE NEWS SEVEN MEMBERS LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY HAMADAN MARTYRED AFTER BEING TORTURED. EXECUTIONS CARRIED OUT DAWN 14 JUNE WITH APPROVAL SUPREME JUDICIAL COUNCIL ON USUAL TRUMPED-UP CHARGES. THIS FRESH BLOW ANOTHER STEP IN PERSECUTION SCHEME TRADITIONAL ADVERSARIES UPROOT FAITH IN LAND ITS BIRTH. ...
 NAMES OF SEVEN MARTYRS ARE AS FOLLOWS: HUSAYN MUTLAQ, MUHAMMAD-BAQIR (SUHAYL) HABIBI, MUHAMMAD (SUHRAB) HABIBI, DR NASIR VAFA'I, DR FIRUZ NA'IMI, HUSAYN KHANDIL, AND TARAZU'LLAH KHUZAYN. ...

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE (Messages 1963 to 1986 p. 497)

June 13th in Baha'i History






1902 -  The Death of Thomas Breakwell

Thomas Breakwell breathed his last at seven p.m., on 13 June 1902, at No. 200, rue Faubourg Saint Denis. He was 30 years of age; he had been a Bahá'í for hardly one year. But from that moment on, he possessed all eternity to live and proclaim his Faith.

The mysterious nature of the unspoken communion between the lover and the Beloved can be seen in the way in which Yunis Khan learned of Thomas's death.

'I was accompanying the Master in the evening from the house where He received His visitors to His home by the seaside. All of a sudden He turned to me and said: 'Have you heard?' 'No, Master,' I replied, and He said: 'Breakwell has passed away. I am grieved, very grieved. I have revealed a prayer of visitation for him. It is very moving, so moving that twice I could not withhold my tears when I was writing it. You must translate it well, so that whoever reads it will weep.' I never knew who had given the Master the news of Breakwell's death. If anyone had written or cabled either in English or French, that communication would have passed through my hands. Two days later the prayer of visitation was given to me. It wrung one's heart, and I could not hold back my tears. I translated it into French, and later, with the help of Lua Getsinger, into English.[18]

(The Life of Thomas Breakwell p.43)

Grieve thou not over the ascension of my beloved Breakwell, for he hath risen unto a rose garden of splendours within the Abha Paradise, sheltered by the mercy of his mighty Lord, and he is crying at the top of his voice: 'O that my people could know how graciously my Lord hath forgiven me, and made me to be of those who have attained His Presence!'[1]
[1 cf. Qur'án 36:25 ]

O Breakwell, O my dear one!
Where now is thy fair face?
Where is thy fluent tongue?
Where thy clear brow?
Where thy bright comeliness?

O Breakwell, O my dear one!
Where is thy fire, blazing with God's love?
Where is thy rapture at His holy breaths?
Where are thy praises, lifted unto Him?
Where is thy rising up to serve His Cause?

O Breakwell, O my dear one!
Where are thy beauteous eyes?
Thy smiling lips?
The princely cheek?
The graceful form?

O Breakwell, O my dear one!
Thou hast quit this earthly world and risen upward
to the Kingdom, thou hast reached unto the grace of the invisible realm,
and offered thyself at
the threshold of its Lord.

O Breakwell, O my dear one!
Thou hast left the lamp
that was thy body here,
the glass that was thy human form,
thy earthy elements,
thy way of life below.

O Breakwell, O my dear one!
Thou hast lit a flame within the lamp of the Company on high,
thou hast set foot in the Abha Paradise,
thou hast found a shelter in the shadow of the Blessed Tree,
thou hast attained His meeting in the haven of Heaven.

O Breakwell, O my dear one!
Thou art now a bird of Heaven,
thou hast quit thine earthly nest,
and soared away to a garden of holiness in the kingdom of thy Lord.
Thou hast risen to a station filled with light.

O Breakwell, O my dear one!
Thy song is even as birdsong now,
thou pourest forth verses as to the mercy of thy Lord;
of Him Who forgiveth ever,
thou wert a thankful servant,
wherefore hast thou entered into exceeding bliss.

O Breakwell, O my dear one!
Thy Lord hath verily singled thee out for His love,
and hath led thee into His precincts of holiness,
and made thee to enter the garden of those who are His close companions,
and hath blessed thee with beholding His beauty.

O Breakwell, O my dear one!
Thou hast won eternal life,
and the bounty that faileth never,
and a life to please thee well,
and plenteous grace.

O Breakwell, O my dear one!
Thou art become a star in the supernal sky,
and a lamp amid the angels of high Heaven;
a living spirit in the most exalted Kingdom,
throned in eternity.

O Breakwell, O my dear one!
I ask of God to draw thee ever closer,
hold thee everfaster;
to rejoice thy heart with nearness to His presence,
to fill thee with light and still more light,
to grant thee still more beauty,
and to bestow upon thee power and reat glory.

O Breakwell, O my dear one!
At all times do I call thee to mind.
I shall never forget thee.
I pray for thee by day, by night;
I see thee plain before me,
as if in open day.

O Breakwell, O my dear one!

(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 189)





1912 - Abdul-Baha in America

The Master gave two talks in the afternoon to the gatherings of the friends. The first was about the differences among the Bahá'ís. `Bahá'u'lláh', He said, `declared that should Bahá'ís dispute, even if it be regarding Bahá'u'lláh Himself, both are wrong. He has enjoined all to turn to the House of Justice. But prior to its being established, all matters should be referred to the Center of the Covenant whom all are commanded to obey.'
After a brief rest, the Master went to another meeting where He spoke on the distinguishing characteristics of the world of humanity. His introductory words were as follows:
I was tired and so I slept. While I was sleeping, I was conversing with you as though speaking at the top of my voice. Then through the effect of my own voice I awoke. As I awoke, one word was upon my lips -- the word imtíyáz (`distinction'). So I will speak to you upon that subject.  (Mahmud's Diary)


June 12th in Baha'i History




1912 - Abdul-Baha in America

12 June 1912 Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York


After seeing a few seekers and settling the affairs of some friends, He came downstairs and delivered a public address on one of the great teachings of Bahá'u'lláh not found in previous dispensations, which is the prohibition of cursing enemies and to pray for their forgiveness.
At another meeting in the afternoon, one of `Abdu'l-Bahá's discourses was on the importance of spiritual relationship, intellectual affinity and sincere affection. `Although the nations and tribes', He said, `have material bonds between them, yet in the world of the heart and soul they are in conflict. But those souls that have close spiritual ties and affinities of the heart are always ready to sacrifice their lives for one another, though they are not outwardly related.'
He also spoke of the greatness of this dispensation. (Mahmud's Diary)

1913 - Abdul-Baha leaves Paris

On March 30 He traveled to Stuttgart, and from there proceeded, on April 9, to Budapest, visited Vienna nine days later, returned to Stuttgart on April 25, and to Paris on May first, where He remained until June 12, sailing the following day, on the S.S. Himalaya from Marseilles bound for Egypt, arriving in Port Said four days later, where after short visits to Isma'iliyyih and Abuqir, and a prolonged stay in Ramleh, He returned to Haifa, concluding His historic journeys on December 5,

(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 281)

June 11th in Baha'i History




1912 - Abdul-Baha in America


11 June 1912 Talk at Open Committee Meeting Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney 780 West End Avenue, New York

11 June 1912 Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York

11 June 1912 Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York

Before the meeting ended He was asked how to reconcile two contradictory statements in the writings: that detachment from worldly affairs is enjoined and that it is incumbent upon all to engage in a trade or profession. `Are not these commandments contradictory?' The Master replied:
In the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh it is obligatory for the individual to engage in a trade or profession. For instance, I know mat weaving and you know another trade. The service we perform is equivalent to worship if we perform it with truth and trustworthiness; it is a cause of human advancement. If the heart is not bound and attached to the world, if it is unaffected by the vicissitudes of life, unhampered by worldly wealth from serving humanity and not dejected because of poverty, then this is a human perfection. Otherwise, to profess generosity if one is poor, or justice when one is powerless to extend it, is easy enough, but this will not establish one's spiritual education and awareness.
Another asked that if, after the Master left, some of the believers considered themselves superior to others, how they could be known. The Master replied:
I have already spoken about this matter. You should, according to the saying of Christ, recognize them by their deeds. Those who relate themselves to me will be known by their deeds.   (Mahmud's Diary)



June 10th in Baha'i History


Baha'u'llah's Seating place in the Ridvan Garden in Israel

1912 - Abdul-Baha in America

When He returned home, one of the friends questioned Him about the influence of dreams, saying that it has frequently occurred that two people from widely different places would call out to each other, recognizing each other's voices in the state of sleep. The Master responded:
It is obvious that a very deep relationship exists between the spirit of man and the world of existence. It often happens that what we see in a dream comes to pass in wakefulness; indeed, even in wakefulness when the soul is unfettered, matters come to mind which later appear in visible form. This shows that between the reasoning power of man and that visible appearance there is a spiritual connection. Furthermore, the spirit of man has the power of discovering facts. When this power is realized, problems become easily resolved. Amusingly, while materialists are engaged in making discoveries concerning the strata of the earth, they are immersed in the very spiritual power whose potency and influence they deny. They also claim to forecast coming events.   (Mahmud's Diary)


1966 - Bahá'í youth will often ....have a more profound insight into a subject than their instructors

When studying at school or university Bahá'í youth will often find themselves in the unusual and slightly embarrassing position of having a more profound insight into a subject than their instructors. The Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh throw light on so many aspects of human life and knowledge that a Bahá'í must learn, earlier than most, to weigh the information that is given to him rather than to accept it blindly. A Bahá'í has the advantage of the divine Revelation for this Age, which shines like a searchlight on so many problems that baffle modern thinkers; he must therefore develop the ability to learn everything from those around him, showing proper humility before his teachers, but always relating what he hears to the Bahá'í teachings, for they will enable him to sort out the gold from the dross of human error.

(10 June 1966 to Bahá'í Youth in every Land, published in "Wellspring of Guidance: Messages 1963-1968", pp. 95-96) (Compilations, Scholarship, p. 21)


Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9th in Baha'i History




1912 - Abdul-Baha in America

9 June 1912 Talk at Unitarian Church Fifteenth Street and Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

9 June 1912 Talk at Baptist Temple Broad and Berks Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Today the Master revealed many important Tablets. One of them was to Monsieur Dreyfus:
O thou kind Friend,
I visited Philadelphia, for a few days, at the invitation of two ministers and at the request of the friends of God. Two large congregations gathered in the two churches and I spoke within the measure of my incapacity. But the confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom, as evident as the sun, descended and enfolded us. Although we are powerless, He is Mighty. Although we are poor, He is All-Sufficient. The importance of this blessed verse became truly manifest: `We shall aid whosoever will arise for the triumph of Our Cause with the hosts of the Concourse on high and a company of Our favored angels.'
I hope that both you and the maidservant of Bahá will be able to render important services on this journey and will become the cause of proclaiming the Word of God. Convey my respectful greetings to the maidservant of Bahá. I pray God for confirmations and assistance for her.
May the Glory of the All-Glorious rest upon thee  (Mahmud's Diary)


June 8th in Baha'i History




1912 - Abdul-Baha in America

8 June 1912 Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York

There were two large public meetings held in two churches. In the morning, at the Unitarian Church, `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke on the reality of divine existence and the meaning of the words of Christ that `the Father is in the Son'. He gave the glad tidings of the Manifestation of the Greatest Name and explained some of the new teachings, concluding with a prayer chanted in Persian. The audience was so transformed that everyone wanted to be near Him, if only for a moment. But it was impossible for all.
The second meeting was held in the evening at the Baptist Temple. As the distinguished pastor had previously announced the visit of `Abdu'l-Bahá and the address He was to deliver, and had also invited dignitaries and statesmen from Washington DC and vicinity, this meeting was of great significance. The Master delivered a detailed address on the methods of natural philosophy and of divine religion and then explained the teachings of the Supreme Pen. His explanations made a great impression, attracting all to His presence, such that everyone expressed humility and sincerity. They appeared to be very happy and honored to be in His presence. The Master's heart was elated with the meetings in Philadelphia and often made mention of them. (Mahmud's Diary)

1948 - Baha'u'llah's system not thought needed to establish Peace

I might add that he does not believe any radiations of thought or healing, from any group, are going to bring peace. Prayer, no doubt, will help the world, but what it needs is to accept Bahá'u'lláh's system so as to build up the World Order on a new foundation, a divine foundation!

(8 June 1948 to an individual believer) Letter on Behalf of Shoghi Effendi (Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 242)

June 7th in Baha'i History




1912 - Abdul-Baha in America

 He spoke on the importance of the steadfastness of the friends and their devotion and sincerity to the Cause and acceptance of afflictions in the path of God. He stated that the purpose of the Supreme Manifestation of Abhá in enduring the severest persecutions and afflictions, and the troubles and martyrdoms suffered by so many innocent souls, was for the purification of the souls, the detachment of the hearts, the happiness of the spirits and the spirituality of the friends.  (Mahmud's Diary)

1939 - Baha'i Principles should be incorporated into College studies

These basic principles are available in the sacred writings of the Cause, and should be carefully studied, and gradually incorporated in various college and university programmes. But the task of formulating a system of education which would be officially recognized by the Cause, and enforced as such throughout the Bahá'í world is one which [the] present-day generation of believers cannot obviously undertake, and which has to be gradually accomplished by Bahá'í scholars and educationalists of the future.

(From a letter dated 7 June, 1939 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)  (Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 302)

1972 - Announcement of the Decision to Build the Seat of the Universal House of Justice
JOYFULLY INFORM BAHÁ'Í WORLD RANGE AND ACCELERATION GROWTH CAUSE BAHÁ'U'LLÁH LOCAL NATIONAL LEVELS AND RESULTANT EXPANSION ACTIVITIES WORLD CENTRE IMPEL US NOW ANNOUNCE ERE COMPLETION NINE YEAR PLAN DECISION INITIATE PROCEDURE SELECT ARCHITECT DESIGN BUILDING FOR SEAT UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE ENVISAGED BELOVED GUARDIAN ON FAR FLUNG ARC HEART MOUNT CARMEL CENTRING SPOT CONSECRATED RESTING PLACES SISTER BROTHER MOTHER BELOVED MASTER.CONSTRUCTION THIS CENTRE LEGISLATION GOD'S WORLD-REDEEMING ORDER WILL CONSTITUTE FIRST MAJOR STEP DEVELOPMENT AREA SURROUNDING HOLY SHRINE SINCE COMPLETION INTERNATIONAL ARCHIVES BUILDING. MOVED PAY TRIBUTE EXPRESS HEARTFELT GRATITUDE OUTSTANDING SERVICES ROBERT MCLAUGHLIN IN PREPARATION FOR THIS HISTORIC UNDERTAKING. FERVENTLY PRAYING PROJECT NOW INITIATED MAY DURING YEARS IMMEDIATELY AHEAD PROGRESS UNINTERRUPTEDLY SPEEDILY ATTAIN MAJESTIC CONSUMMATION
UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE (Messages 1963 to 1986, p.220)


Thursday, June 5, 2014

June 6th in Baha'i History




1912 - Abdul-Baha in America

`Abdu'l-Bahá gave a brief discourse at the table:
Nothing in the world of existence is greater than such gatherings as these because they have been called solely for the love of God. Observe with what love people from the East are seated at the same table with people from the West. Such love and unity were previously impossible. The power of Bahá'u'lláh has created an affinity in these hearts and has drawn these souls under the canopy of one Word. No family ever gathers with such love and associates with such happiness and joy. It is through the divine power and through the potency of the Word of God that we are assembled here with such gladness and delight. We are turned towards the Abhá Kingdom and like the plants of the flower garden we are swayed by the breezes of His kindness and favor. Today is a day which shall never be forgotten, for we are under the shadow of the Blessed Beauty. Our hearts are joyous with His glad tidings; we breathe the fragrant breezes of the Abhá Kingdom; our ears are delighted with the divine summons, and our spirits are alive through heavenly bounties. Such a day shall never be forgotten. (Mahmud's Diary)
1941 - the responsibility of the Youth
The responsibility of young believers is very great, as they must not only fit themselves to inherit the work of the older Bahá'ís and carry on the affairs of the Cause in general, but the world which lies ahead of them -- as promised by Bahá'u'lláh -- will be a world chastened by its sufferings, ready to listen to His Divine Message at last; and consequently a very high character will be expected of the exponents of such a religion. To deepen their knowledge, to perfect themselves in the Bahá'í standards of virtue and upright conduct, should be the paramount duty of every young Bahá'í.
Letter on behalf of Shoghi Effendi (6 June 1941 to the Bahá'í youth of Bombay, India, published in "Dawn of a New Day" (New Delhi: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, [1970]), pp. 179-80) (Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 380)


June 5th in Baha'i History



1912 - Abdul-Baha in America

In the morning, the Master, together with some of His servants, went to Brooklyn to attend a children's event given by the Unity Club. ....Although `Abdu'l-Bahá had not planned to speak, He delivered a discourse on the perfection of creation, its present defects and the need for education capable of producing great results by removing these imperfections. He also spoke on the importance of the education of children. Although there had been many speeches, this address created a great excitement, capturing everyone's attention. When it was time for `Abdu'l-Bahá to leave, He gave permission for Him to be photographed with us. (Mahmud's Diary)

1947 - American Pioneers

They[1] must be neither provocative nor supine, neither fanatical nor excessively liberal, in their exposition of the fundamental and distinguishing features of their Faith. They must be either wary or bold, they must act swiftly or mark time, they must use the direct or indirect method, they must be challenging or conciliatory, in strict accordance with the spiritual receptivity of the soul with whom they come in contact, whether he be a nobleman or a commoner, a northerner or a southerner, a layman or a priest, a capitalist or a socialist, a statesman or a prince, an artisan or a beggar. In their presentation of the Message of the Bahá'u'lláh they must neither hesitate nor falter. They must be neither contemptuous of the poor nor timid before the great. In their exposition of
its verities they must neither over stress nor whittle down the truth which they champion, whether their hearer belong to royalty, or be a prince of the Church, or a politician, or a tradesman, or a man of the street. To all alike, high or low, rich or poor, they must proffer, with open hands, with a
radiant heart, with an eloquent tongue, with infinite patience, with uncompromising loyalty, with great wisdom, with unshakeable courage, the Cup of Salvation, at so critical an hour, to the confused, the hungry, the distraught and fear-stricken multitudes...
[1 American pioneers]

(5 June 1947 written by Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá'ís of the West, published in "Citadel of Faith: Messages to America 1947-1957" (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1980), pp. 25-26)  (Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 271)


1973 -  Establishment of the International Teaching Centre

ANNOUNCE ESTABLISHMENT HOLY LAND LONG ANTICIPATED INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTRE DESTINED EVOLVE INTO ONE THOSE WORLD-SHAKING WORLD- EMBRACING WORLD-DIRECTING ADMINISTRATIVE INSTITUTIONS ORDAINED BY BAHÁ'U'LLÁH ANTICIPATED BY 'ABDU'L-BAHÁ ELUCIDATED BY SHOGHI EFFENDI.

(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 246)

June 4th in Baha'i History





1912 - Abdul-Baha in America
Someone asked whether, with all these worldly occupations and physical labors, it is possible that such a spiritual condition can be realized. `Abdu'l-Bahá replied:
Provided they behave moderately, the more people advance in the material realm, the more their capacity for attaining spirituality is augmented. The sounder the body, the greater is the resplendency and manifestation of the spirit. Truly, what impedes spirituality are the dogmas and imitations that are contrary to true science and a sound mind. (Mahmud's Diary)

1953 - The passing of Haji Muhammad-Tahir 

After the terrible Bahá'í massacre in Yazd which occurred soon after the turn of the century, 'Abdu'l-Bahá appointed Haji Muhammad-Tahir to look after the hapless, terror-stricken remnants of the martyrs' families. For several years he devoted himself to the arduous task of organizing help for the poor, comforting the bereaved, tending the sick, and rearing and educating the children. He derived ample pleasure from giving food, money and clothing to the needy and distressed. Everybody was welcome to his home and his table. The words of praise and admiration which streamed from the Pen of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in appreciation of his beneficent work stand as a glowing testimony to his sense of love and devotion to the downtrodden.

hroughout the rugged years of his life Haji Muhammad-Tahir seems to have joined in permanent wedlock with adversity. The lifelong sufferings he bore at the hands of the enemies, the insults and indignities to which he was subjected at every turn, the perilous adventures he went through, the grievous loss of three children who perished during the Bahá'í massacre in Yazd, the weight of chains and imprisonment he joyfully accepted towards the end of his life in company with the fellow-members of the Spiritual Assembly of Yazd -- these together with many other distressing events, far from dampening his spirits, served to steel his energies and to reveal the true measure of his indomitable faith.

The evening of his life was dimmed by years of declining faculties and infirmity. Sinking beneath the gathering weight of old age and ill health, he laid down the burden he carried so worthily for nearly eighty years and passed away peacefully at his home on June 4, 1953. In his will he bequeathed all his possessions to the Cause...

(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 1, p. 323)


1957 - Divine truth is relative

Divine Truth is relative and that is why we are enjoined to constantly refer the seeker to the Word itself -- and why any explanations we make to ease the journey of the soul of any individual must be based on the Word -- and the Word alone.

(From a letter dated 4 June 1957 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada) (Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 324)

June 3rd in Baha'i History






1912 - Abdul-Baha in America

Mr Penshoe, a cabinet member of the United States government, invited `Abdu'l-Bahá to Milford [his estate outside the city]. For a day and a night many prominent statesmen and dignitaries of the Republic were enraptured, fascinated by the Master. (Mahmud's Diary)

1952 - Teaching is.... the head cornerstone of all Bahá'í service,

". . . Teaching is of course the head cornerstone of all Bahá'í service, but successful teaching is dependent upon many factors, one of which is the development of a true Bahá'í way of living and the fulfillment of responsibilities which we have incurred."

(From a letter dated 3 June 1952 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)  (Compilations, The Individual and Teaching - Raising the Divine Call, p. 31)




June 2nd in Baha'i History




1912 - Abdul-Baha in America

2 June 1912 Talk at Church of the Ascension Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street, New York

Through the pastor, Dr Grant, some in the audience requested permission to ask some questions, which was granted. Everyone who wished wrote a question on a piece of paper and submitted it through an usher. Through an interpreter, the questions were translated and the answers given to the inquirers. Oh, that the Eastern friends could have been in these churches and gatherings in the West to see with their own eyes the beauty and glory of their Master! They would have rejoiced in perceiving that which no spoken or written words can adequately describe. (Mahmud's Diary)


June 1st in Baha'i History





1912 - Abdul-Baha in America

Among them was a socialist. `Abdu'l-Bahá said in part:
Tell the socialists that sharing of property and land in this mortal world is the source of strife and warfare but sharing and inheritance in the Kingdom is the cause of love and unity. If you put your efforts into understanding the precepts of the Kingdom instead of into acquiring worldly shares and rights, you will gain perpetual joy and happiness. The Kingdom of God is vast. He will give you whatever you desire and there will be no place for strife and conflict. Is this not preferable and more pleasing? (Mahmud's Diary)
He told me to come to Him Saturday morning, 1 June, at seven-thirty.
I went in a panic. He was waiting for me in the entrance hall, a small space in the English basement where the light -- not much of it -- comes from the south. In fact I found myself faced with every kind of handicap. I always paint standing, but now I was obliged to sit, jammed so close to the window (because of the lack of distance between the Master and me) that I couldn't even lean back. No light. No room. And I had brought a canvas for a life-size head.
The Master was seated in a dark corner, His black 'aba melting into the background; and again I saw Him as the Face of God, and quailed. How could I paint the Face of God?
"I want you," He said, "to paint My Servitude to God."
"Oh my Lord," I cried, "only the Holy Spirit could paint Your Servitude to God. No human hand could do it. Pray for me, or I am lost. I implore You, inspire me."
"I will pray," He answered, "and as you are doing this only for the sake of God, you will be inspired."
And then an amazing thing happened. All fear fell away from me and it was as though Someone Else saw through my eyes, worked through my hand.
All the points, all the planes in that matchless Face were so clear to me that my hand couldn't put them down quickly enough, couldn't keep pace with the clarity of my vision. I painted in ecstasy, free as I had never been before.
At the end of the half hour the foundation of the head was perfect. (The Diary of Juliet Thompson p.91)

May 31st in Baha'i History





1872 -The Birth of Thomas Breakwell - 

Thomas Breakwell is generally recognised as the first English Bahá'í. He became a Bahá'í in Paris, and later met 'Abdu'l-Bahá. The Master was very fond of this young man and seemed very moved when Breakwell passed away at an early age

Thomas Breakwell was born on 31 May 1872

(Misc Baha'i, Lakshiman-Lepain - The Life of Thomas Breakwell, p. 12)



1912 - Abdul-Baha in America

31 May 1912 Talk at Town Hall Fanwood, New Jersey

As the village of Fanwood is a summer resort and its fields and countryside very green and refreshing, it was very much enjoyed by the Master. But when they pleaded with Him to prolong His stay for a few days, because of the excessive heat and soot in New York, He said: `We have no time for amusement and fresh air. We must engage ourselves in service to the Threshold of Oneness.'  (Mahmud's Diary)

1934 - Teaching - There is no one method

In teaching the Cause, much depends on the personality of the teacher and on the method he chooses for presenting the message. Different personalities and different classes and types of individuals need different methods of approach. And it is the sign of an able teacher to know how to best adapt his methods to various types of people whom he happens to meet. There is no one method one can follow all through. But there should be as many ways of approach as there are types of individual seekers. Flexibility and variety of method is, therefore, an essential prerequisite for the success of every teaching activity.

(From a letter dated 31 May 1934 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)  (Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 308)