Archive for November, 2018

Baha’i Sabbath: Qudrat 13, 175 B.E. (11/16/2018)

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

IN THE NAME OF THE ONE TRUE GOD

PRAISE be to the all-perceiving, the ever-abiding Lord Who, from a dewdrop out of the ocean of His grace, hath reared the firmament of existence, adorned it with the stars of knowledge, and admitted man into the lofty court of insight and understanding. This dewdrop, which is the Primal Word of God, is at times called the Water of Life, inasmuch as it quickeneth with the waters of knowledge them that have perished in the wilderness of ignorance. Again it is called the Primal Light, a light born of the Sun of divine knowledge, through whose effulgence the first stirrings of existence were made plain and manifest. Such manifestations are the expressions of the grace of Him Who is the Peerless, the All-Wise. He it is who knoweth and bestoweth all. He it is who transcendeth all that hath been said or heard. His knowledge will remain forever above the grasp of human vision and understanding and beyond the reach of human words and deeds. To the truth of this utterance existence itself and all that hath appeared therefrom bear eloquent testimony.

It is clear and evident, therefore, that the first bestowal of God is the Word, and its discoverer and recipient is the power of understanding. This Word is the foremost instructor in the school of existence and the revealer of Him Who is the Almighty. All that is seen is visible only through the light of its wisdom. All that is manifest is but a token of its knowledge. All names are but its name, and the beginning and end of all matters must needs depend upon it.

Baha’u’llah, Tablet to Mánikchí Ṣáḥib (Preamble)

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Whatsoever Is Possible Of Accomplishment In Human Government Will Be Effected Through These Principles

Holy Day: Anniversary Of The Birth Of Baha’u’llah: Qudrat 9, 175 B.E. (11/12/2018)

Monday, November 12th, 2018

O ye who are the chosen ones of the Abhá Kingdom! Praise ye the Lord of Hosts for He, riding upon the clouds, hath come down to this world out of the heaven of the invisible realm, so that East and West were lit by the glory of the Sun of Truth, and the call of the Kingdom was raised, and the heralds of the realm above, with melodies of the Concourse on high, sang out the glad tidings of the Coming. Then the whole world of being did quiver for joy, and still the people, even as the Messiah saith, slept on: for the day of the Manifestation, when the Lord of Hosts descended, found them wrapped in the slumber of unknowing. As He saith in the Gospel, My coming is even as when the thief is in the house, and the goodman of the house watcheth not.

From amongst all mankind hath He chosen you, and your eyes have been opened to the light of guidance and your ears attuned to the music of the Company above; and blessed by abounding grace, your hearts and souls have been born into new life. Thank ye and praise ye God that the hand of infinite bestowals hath set upon your heads this gem-studded crown, this crown whose lustrous jewels will forever flash and sparkle down all the reaches of time.

To thank Him for this, make ye a mighty effort, and choose for yourselves a noble goal. Through the power of faith, obey ye the teachings of God, and let all your actions conform to His laws. Read ye The Hidden Words, ponder the inner meanings thereof, act in accord therewith. Read, with close attention, the Tablets of Tarazát (Ornaments), Kalímát (Words of Paradise), Tajallíyyát (Effulgences), Ishráqát (Splendours), and Bishárát (Glad Tidings), and rise up as ye are bidden in the heavenly teachings. Thus may each one of you be even as a candle casting its light, the centre of attraction wherever people come together; and from you, as from a bed of flowers, may sweet scents be shed.

Raise ye a clamour like unto a roaring sea; like a prodigal cloud, rain down the grace of heaven. Lift up your voices and sing out the songs of the Abhá Realm. Quench ye the fires of war, lift high the banners of peace, work for the oneness of humankind and remember that religion is the channel of love unto all peoples. Be ye aware that the children of men are sheep of God and He their loving Shepherd, that He careth tenderly for all His sheep and maketh them to feed in His own green pastures of grace and giveth them to drink from the wellspring of life. Such is the way of the Lord. Such are His bestowals. Such, from among His teachings, is His precept of the oneness of mankind.

The portals of His blessings are opened wide and His signs are published abroad and the glory of truth is blazing forth; inexhaustible are the blessings. Know ye the value of this time. Strive ye with all your hearts, raise up your voices and shout, until this dark world be filled with light, and this narrow place of shadows be widened out, and this dust heap of a fleeting moment be changed into a mirror for the eternal gardens of heaven, and this globe of earth receive its portion of celestial grace.

Then will aggression crumble away, and all that maketh for disunity be destroyed, and the structure of oneness be raised—that the Blessed Tree may cast its shade over east and west, and the Tabernacle of the singleness of man be set up on the high summits, and flags that betoken love and fellowship flutter from their staffs around the world until the sea of truth lift high its waves, and earth bring forth the roses and sweet herbs of blessings without end, and become from pole to pole the Abhá Paradise.

These are the counsels of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. It is my hope that out of the bestowals of the Lord of Hosts ye will become the spiritual essence and the very radiance of humankind, binding the hearts of all with bonds of love; that through the power of the Word of God ye will bring to life the dead now buried in the graves of their sensual desires; that ye will, with the rays of the Sun of Truth, restore the sight of those whose inner eye is blind; that ye will bring spiritual healing to the spiritually sick. These things do I hope for, out of the bounties and the bestowals of the Beloved.

At all times do I speak of you and call you to mind. I pray unto the Lord, and with tears I implore Him to rain down all these blessings upon you, and gladden your hearts, and make blissful your souls, and grant you exceeding joy and heavenly delights….

O Thou loving Provider! These souls have hearkened to the summons of the Kingdom, and have gazed upon the glory of the Sun of Truth. They have risen upward to the refreshing skies of love; they are enamoured of Thy nature, and they worship Thy beauty. Unto Thee have they turned themselves, speaking together of Thee, seeking out Thy dwelling, and thirsting for the waterbrooks of Thy heavenly realm.

Thou art the Giver, the Bestower, the Ever-loving.

‘Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’, #17

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Whatsoever Is Possible Of Accomplishment In Human Government Will Be Effected Through These Principles

Baha’i Sabbath: Qudrat 6, 175 B.E. (11/9/2018)

Saturday, November 10th, 2018

The Wronged One

(al-Mathlum)

Be at all times a “Wronged One,” for this is one of My attributes, though none but the sincere are aware of it. Verily, the sighs of patience uttered by one wronged (al-Mathlum) are more precious to God than any other deed, did you but know. (Baha’u’llah, Suriy-i-Damm)

Dear friends,

Allah’u’Abha! May this letter find you in good spirits and in good health!

One of the mysteries enshrined throughout the writings of Baha’u’llah is His reference to Himself as “the Wronged One of the world” or this “wronged one.” As it turns out, in the Suriy-i-Damm, Baha’u’llah explains that what is meant by this is a certain essential and important quality and attribute of God that we should all strive to obtain that is directly related to the first and foremost quality and attribute of God “patience” (See His Tablet of Job for more) and also to severance and detachment from the things of this mortal world.

The knowledge of “the wronged one” as a quality and attribute of God that we can all demonstrate in our character and spiritual personality, is an essential guideline from Baha’u’llah on how our behavior is to be transformed in our transactions with people, in order that we shall successfully walk the spiritual path with practical feet and tend to do that which will elevate our spiritual stations in certitude and experience of the nearness of God within our very own lives, hearts and souls. He explains:

Adorn yourself with My Character, in such wise that should anyone treat you unjustly you would take no heed of him, nor oppose him. Leave him to the judgment of your Lord, the Powerful, Omnipotent and Self-Subsisting. Be at all times a “Wronged One,” for this is one of My Attributes, though none but the sincere are aware of it. Verily, the sighs of patience uttered by one wronged are more precious to God than any other deed, did you but know. Therefore, be patient in the face of whatever befalls you, and set your trust in your Lord God in all your affairs. He, verily, suffices you against all the harm that any created thing can wreak toward you, and preserves you in the shelter of His Cause and the mighty fortress of His guardianship. There is no God but Him. His are the worlds of creation and command (alam-i-khalq va amr) and all seek His aid. Should anyone slander you, you must not retaliate against him in kind lest you become as he is. Turn aside from him and set your face toward the Holy Tabernacle in this exalted and sacred Canopy. Be among men as a sweet-scented knoll, that the fragrance of sanctity may be wafted among them. In such wise, you might succeed in attracting them to the court of the Holy and Beloved One. Should you find a helper among the friends of God, seek his company at eventide and dawn, throughout the months and years. In all matters, emulate God, your Succorer. Walk among men with His dignity and peace, and teach them the Cause of their Lord to the extent that they are able to hear it.” (Baha’u’llah, Suriy-i-Damm)

This concept of al-Mathlum contains within its powers and precincts a depth of right conduct and an experience of inner blissful-joy of severance and detachment, that no other religious dispensation has seen its like. Much can be said and written about this–to fill a thousand thousand books, letters and epistles!

For example consider the events manifested in the personal life and personal conduct of Baha’u’llah, Himself. In all times He remained quiescent and patient with daily troubles and personal afflictions against Himself and His character. He never arose to defend his own ego, or wrangled uselessly with worldly or mortal affairs. It was only when things escalated to necessitating protection of the Cause, or the promulgation of this soul-stirring message that He arose to teach, guard the faith, and win the hearts minds and souls over to God. In fact His behavior of patience, detachment, trusting in God, laying “all His affairs in God’s Hands” and having this peculiar characteristic of the “Wronged One” and the accompanying thoughts, words, and deeds that go along with that–also safeguarded the Cause, and His own relationship with God, as He navigated His own personal affairs of His human life, throughout His own personal journey back to God. Radiant acquiescence (rida).

This calls for pause for deep thought, reflection and consideration, as we prepare ourselves in our own personal lives for the “consecration” in the faith, that ‘Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi have spoken about, in order to successfully pass the tests, trials, and tribulations, that are to come upon the world this very year.

I would like to close this letter with the prayer that states “I lay all my affairs in Thy Hand”and then a story from the lifetime of Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha that amplifies what this more deeply means when we give something over to God for Him to resolve, trusting in Him, and patiently awaiting the outcome–without expectations or pre-conceived ideas–but with that deep sense of love and gratefulness for whatsoever shall befall us on our path of reunion with the Beloved of All the Worlds!

Your servant

Refresh and Gladden My Spirit

O God!  Refresh and gladden my spirit.  Purify my heart.  Illumine my powers.  I lay all my affairs in Thy hand.  Thou art my Guide and my Refuge.  I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being.  O God!  I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me.  I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.

O God!  Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself.  I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord.

The Unfailing Protection of God

When ‘Abdu’r-Rahman Pasha received the note from the Sublime Porte condemning the exiles to imprisonment, it boosted his arrogance. He decided to use it as a means of extracting some money for himself… Having failed to do this, one evening he called on Shaykh ‘Aliy-i-Miri, the Mufti of ‘Akka who was an admirer of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and shared with him his plan of arresting the Baha’is in the morning. His plan was to arrest them as they came to open their shops and send them to prison. He also planned to restrict ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s freedom of movement in the city. He solicited the support of the Mufti in this plan… That same night the Mufti went to ‘Abdu’l-Baha, told him the news and strongly urged the Master to bribe the Governor, as otherwise everyone would be arrested in the morning. Disapproving the Mufti’s solution, ‘Abdu’l-Baha assured him that God was compassionate and merciful, and that He would leave this matter in the hand of God. He advised him to go home and to rest assured of the outcome. It was late and Baha’u’llah had just retired. Nevertheless, ‘Abdu’l-Baha went to Him and gave Him the news. Baha’u’llah ordered that the believers be advised not to go to work in the morning. Everyone was informed and they all assembled in the reception room of ‘Abdu’l-Baha in the morning.

I was, at the time, confined to prison… but each morning was permitted to go to the house of Baha’u’llah where I worked as a cook and at night I returned to prison. On that morning, on my way, I noticed that the shop of Aqa Muhammad-Ibrahim, the coppersmith, was closed and so were other shops belonging to the believers. I was very surprised and wondered what had happened. I hastened to the house of Baha’u’llah where I found all the shopkeepers assembled in the reception room. I was told the news and went into the kitchen to work. It was approximately two hours after sunrise when a man pushed aside the curtain in front of the door with his walking stick. I looked up and it was Iskandar Effendi, the head of the telegraph office. He was in great haste but signs of joy could be detected in his appearance. He wanted to see the Master who was upstairs at the time. I went up and found that He was in the presence of Baha’u’llah. I told the Master that Iskandar Effendi had come to see Him and he was in a happy mood. The Blessed Beauty smiled and said [to ‘Abdu’l-Baha] ‘Go downstairs, Aqa! He has good news. No one can frustrate God in His purpose.’

‘Abdu’l-Baha went to the reception room where He was shown a telegram just received containing the order of dismissal of ‘Abdu’r-Rahman Pasha. After a few minutes He went hurriedly upstairs. Halfway up, I asked Him if he could tell me the news. He smiled and said in a loud voice, ‘God has struck a severe blow at the Pasha.’ He then went to convey the news to Baha’u’llah.

As to ‘Abdu’r-Rahman Pasha, in the morning, accompanied by a few soldiers, he went to arrest the believers at their shops and send them to prison. To his surprise he found the shops were closed. At first he thought the late opening was perhaps due to the month of Ramadan when people were going late to work. Soon after, he went to the Police Station where he waited for the shops to open up. During this time he was unaware of God’s intervention… The above telegram was addressed to Shaykh ‘Aliy-i-Miri, the Mufti of ‘Akka, who communicated its content to the Pasha… The Mufti had been truly astonished by this event. For it was late in the evening when the Governor’s scheme had come to light, and in the morning the telegram arrived. He considered this incident to have been a miracle. He said to the Master, “I am almost on the verge of losing my mind over this episode. Please tell me, what did Baha’u’llah say late that evening when you informed Him of the plot?” ‘Abdu’l-Baha responded by saying that the Blessed Beauty ordered the believers not to open their shops in the morning and advised them to leave their affairs in the hand of God Baha’u’llah also declared that when a person leaves hisaffairs to God, he ought not to take any other measures himself, otherwise he could frustrate the plan of God. (The Revelation of Baha’u’llah, Vol. III, pp. 411-412)

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Whatsoever Is Possible Of Accomplishment In Human Government Will Be Effected Through These Principles

Baha’i Month: Qudrat/Power 1, 175 B.E. (11/4/2018)

Monday, November 5th, 2018

“There are three processes in teaching: the first is to attract the people; the second is to convert the people; and the third is to be consecrated. There must be attraction, conversion, and consecration. The teachers must not be unwise.” (Shoghi Effendi, Memories of ‘Abdu’l-Baha: Recollections of the Early Days of the Baha’is of California, p. 115)

Dear friends:

Shoghi Effendi has explained that the key to the ultimate victory of the light is conditioned upon the inner transformation of character and personality development in service to the Cause of God:

“Not by the force of numbers, not by the mere exposition of a set of new and noble principles, not by an organized campaign of teaching–no matter how worldwide and elaborate in its character–not even by the staunchness of our faith or the exaltation of our enthusiasm, can we ultimately hope to vindicate in the eyes of a critical and skeptical age the supreme claim of the Abha Revelation. One thing and only one thing will unfailingly and alone secure the undoubted triumph of this sacred Cause, namely, the extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendor of those eternal principles proclaimed by Baha’u’llah.” (Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i Administration, p. 196)

Now we come across a deepened teaching: the principle of consecration in the faith. What does this mean “consecration?”

“The friends must realize the Power of the Holy Spirit which is manifest and quickening them at this time through the appearance of Baha’u’llah. There is no force of heaven or earth which can affect them if they place themselves wholly under the influence of the Holy Spirit and under its guidance. Such individuals who are subject to the negative influences of the world are those who are not properly consecrated in the Faith.” (Shoghi Effendi, August 11, 1957)

The catastrophe that is upon us now is primarily due to the forces of purification that are quickly liberating a dead and inanimate humanity toward the inner life of the spirit. Those who experience this purification cannot survive this catastrophe (both spiritual and material/both inward and outward) unless they are properly consecrated in the faith, thus freeing themselves from the negative influences emerging in the outer external world due to this cleansing disaster.

However being and becoming “consecrated in the Faith” will mean different inner adjustments for all of us, as we undergo the personal tests and challenges that God has set for us in this world and upon our encounters on the path of teaching in our journeying unto God. Group tests are that which we encounter as a community. Personal tests are those that help us in a very specific and idiosyncratic manner, to pass those group tests and remain growing in the school of the prophets.

In either case–as both operate upon us at once through the divine decree of God–what the deep inner experience of consecration will mean and feel like is something that we will have to discovery each and everyone for ourselves. This cannot be articulated outwardly with mere words.

The transformation, purification and consecration of the soul unto God is above all personal and private. However, once the station of personal spiritual consecration is properly attained–and the mirror of the self is severed from the dross of negative influences of this world that tend to warp the personality; and these grievous veils are rent asunder–the quality of the group meetings, 12 Principle Unity Feasts, Forums, Firesides, and Council meetings, and all other functions, activities and gatherings of the friends, will take on a reflected characteristic, that shall bring down the power, so to speak, of the light of God into the world of activity in a manner and style unheard of in all prior dispensations of the past, and never seen upon the earth in such a magnitude of focus, and consummate expression of lordly power, that all obstacles shall most easily be overcome. This we are promised in the Covenant, and this we are firmly assured is the sacred writings of God. All this in the name: Baha’i.

Consecration? We ask ourselves: “What does this really mean for me?” “What truly is this ‘consecration’ for myself? And for the group and community I associate within?”

Something for all of us to meditate upon in this coming year, something for us all to strive to acquire through the grace of God, as we prepare to gather and assemble in the first weeks of August next year.

In service,

Your servant and co-worker in the vineyard

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Whatsoever Is Possible Of Accomplishment In Human Government Will Be Effected Through These Principles

Baha’i Sabbath: Ilm 18, 175 B.E. (11/2/2018)

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

THIS is a Tablet which the Lord of all being hath sent down from His glorious station in honor of him who hath believed in God, the Almighty, the All-Loving.

Blessed is the wayfarer who hath recognized the Desired One, and the seeker who hath heeded the Call of Him Who is the intended Aim of all mankind, and the learned one who hath believed in God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.

How vast the number of the learned who have turned aside from the way of God and how numerous the men devoid of learning who have apprehended the truth and hastened unto Him, saying, “Praised be Thou, O Lord of all things, visible and invisible.”

By the righteousness of God! The world’s horizon is resplendent with the light of the Most Great Luminary, yet the generality of mankind perceive it not. Verily He Who is the Sovereign Truth moveth before the eyes of all men. Unto this beareth witness the One Who is proclaiming in the midmost heart of the world, “In truth no God is there but Me, Omnipotent over all things, whether of the past or of the future.”

Great is the blessedness of the believer who hath directed himself towards Him and hath gained admittance into His presence, and woe betide every disbeliever who hath turned away from God and followed the wayward and the outcast.

Baha’u’llah-Tablets

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Whatsoever Is Possible Of Accomplishment In Human Government Will Be Effected Through These Principles