Archive for March, 2019

Baha’i Month: Baha/Splendor 1, 176 B.E. (3/21/2019)

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

THE BANNER OF PURE SPIRITUAL DEMOCRACY

“This meeting of yours tonight is very different in character. It is a universal gathering; it is heavenly and divine in purpose because it serves the Oneness of the world of Humanity and promotes international peace. It is devoted to the solidarity and brotherhood of the human race, the spiritual welfare of mankind, unity of religious belief through knowledge of God and the reconciliation of religious teaching with the principles of science and reason. It promotes love and fraternity among all humankind, seeks to abolish and destroy barriers which separate the human family, proclaims the equality of man and woman, instills divine precepts and morals, illumines and quickens minds with heavenly perception, attracts the infinite bestowals of God, removes racial, national and religious prejudices and establishes the foundation of the heavenly Kingdom in the hearts of all nations and peoples. The effect of such an assembly as this is conducive to divine fellowship and strengthening of the bond, which cements and unifies hearts. This is the indestructible bond of spirit, which conjoins the East and West. By it the very foundations of race prejudice are uprooted and destroyed, the banner of spiritual democracy is hoisted aloft, the world of religion is purified from superannuated beliefs and hereditary imitations of forms, and the oneness of the reality underlying all religions is revealed and disclosed. For such a meeting is established upon the very foundation of the laws of God. Therefore, in its constraining spiritual bond it unites all religions and reconciles all sects, denominations and factions in kindliness and love toward each other. In this way and by the instrumentality of such a gathering the causes of animosity, hatred and bigotry are removed, and enmity and discord pass away entirely. Every limiting and restricting movement or meeting of mere personal interest is human in nature. Every universal movement unlimited in scope and purpose is divine. The Cause of God is advanced whenever and wherever a universal meeting is established among mankind.” (‘Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace (PUP), p. 447-448

Dear friends,

Allah’u’Abha! And Happy Naw Ruz to all!

This Naw Ruz (New Years Day) marks a high plateau and supreme spiritual achievement for the Kingdom of God all throughout the world. ‘Abdu’l-Baha explains:

“The foundation of this Cause is pure spiritual democracy, and not theocracy” (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 449).

He explains:

“Just as in the world of politics there is need for free thought, likewise in the world of religion there should be the right of unrestricted individual belief. Consider what a vast difference exists between modern democracy and the old forms of despotism. Under an autocratic government the opinions of men are not free, and development is stifled, whereas in democracy, because thought and speech are not restricted, the greatest progress is witnessed. It is likewise true in the world of religion. When freedom of conscience, liberty of thought and right of speech prevail–that is to say, when every man according to his own idealization may give expression to his beliefs–development and growth are inevitable.” (‘Abdu’l-Baha, PUP, p. 197)

This “right of unrestricted individual belief” is the foundation of true and “pure spiritual democracy”–that “unity in diversity”–that is at the heart, root, and foundation of real Divine Civilization of the Kingdom. Baha’u’llah explains that the foundation of this society is the “Covenant of friendship” (Baha’u’llah, 7 & 4 Valleys), in which the right of unrestricted individual belief is preserved, fostered, and maintained. Through this diversity–and not the oppression of the despotism of theocracy–God, as immediately experienced in our individual lives, may become “all in all” to everyone (1 Cor. 15:28).

Shoghi Effendi explains:

“The Baha’i Faith, like all other Divine Religions, is thus fundamentally mystic in character. Its chief goal is the development of the individual and society, through the acquisition of spiritual virtues and powers. It is the soul of man, which has first to be fed. And this spiritual nourishment prayer can best provide. (Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian, pp. 86-87).

For the core of religious faith is that mystic feeling which unites Man with God. This state of spiritual communion can be brought about and maintained by means of meditation and prayer. And this is the reason why Bahá’u’lláh has so much stressed the importance of worship. It is not sufficient for a believer merely to accept and observe the teachings. He should, in addition, cultivate the sense of spirituality which he can acquire chiefly by means of prayer.” (Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian, p. 86)

Baha’u’llah explains that this interior mystic feeling–that wells up from within the deep recess of the souls of everyone, like the cool soft flowing waters of the wellspring of Siloam on Holy Temple mount–that mystic feeling that unites Humanity with God, and preserves the “right of unrestricted individual belief” organically appears as a diversity of degrees of “spiritual understanding” to such a natural extent that this reality is “certain and settled” and “can in no wise be averted.” Baha’u’llah states:

“But since all do not possess the same degree of spiritual understanding, certain statements will inevitably be made, and there shall arise, as a consequence, as many differing opinions as there are human minds, and as many divergent beliefs as there are created things. This is certain and settled, and can in no wise be averted.” (Baha’u’llah, The Call of the Divine Beloved)

For these reasons–meaning the manner and style in which each one of us is created wholly individual and unique–Our Covenant, the Covenant of God, is a “Covenant of friendship” and not a covenant of homogenization, despotic doctrine, dogmas, or creeds. The “point of unity” in our Covenant is that of the family of humankind, with the symbol of the throne of David, and the friendship of the person of the living Guardian, as an equal fellow servant and fellow co-worker in this Cause, that is a “sign of God” (W&T, p. 11) that distinguishes us as a single worldwide family in God. As a family we have a oneness of relationship (king comes from the word kin–meaning kinship) and Jesus teaches that we all (men and women folk alike) shall become “kings and priests unto God.” What this means is that we all have the right of individual belief to experience God directly and immediately in our lives, as we understand that for ourselves, and not how other people tell us we should be, like this or that; and as priests (teachers) to express that mystical experience, in our individual diversity, unique talents, and true geniuses. As “kings” what this means is that we are to guard each our own selves and our own true pure hearts that we sanctify in the inner chambers of our selves; and further have the freedom to express that reality outwardly in the way we choose to conduct ourselves with one another, and in the manner and style we choose to grow our own unique contributions to the Baha’i culture for the purpose of promoting this ever advancing civilization. Shoghi Effendi tells us that “unity in diversity” is our watchword, for it is precisely by our diversity that we find we have this right to individual belief in common with one another. It is the right we have in common, not the same doctrine or dogma of beliefs or beliefs systems. Thus in this “Covenant of friendship” we are all friends with one another, as we also have in common the friendship of our God, as we each understanding it. Baha’u’llah continues: 

“As to perceived differences, these can be attributed to the divers stations that have been attained by them that tread the path of search and mystic knowledge. Thus, at one time the wayfarer beholdeth the lover hastening in search of the beloved through the wilderness of desolation, and at another he seeth the beloved yearning for the lover across the wilds of longing and devotion, or wandering, aimless and bewildered, the wastes of love in his pursuit. “O for a drop to drink!” the thirsty soul doth groan; “O for a thirsty soul!” the spring in turn doth moan. 

“From yet another vantage he perceiveth that the lover and the beloved are one and the same, and that the seeker is himself the very object of his search. “How can the lover from the loved one ever part?” (Rumi). So it is that, at times, the lovers of the celestial Beauty sound the clarion of “Say: All things are of God”, while, at others, they raise the call of “It is from thyself” (Qur’an 4:78-79). (Baha’u’llah, The Call of the Divine Beloved)

Thus the foundation of the Most Great Justice (seeing the truth with our own eyes and not through the eyes of our neighbor–see Hidden Words for this definition of Justice) is the foundation of this “the right of unrestricted individual belief” which is pure spiritual democracy of the Kingdom, and not any repressive despotism of the monomaniacs. ‘Abdu’l-Baha warns us very clearly against this despotism:

“With Divine Unity for his excuse deprived himself and perturbed and poisoned others.” (W&T, p. 11)

Therefore both Baha’u’llah, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi have established a clear diversity of pluralism at the foundation of true Baha’i society and Divine Civilization. The mystical unity of God is preserved in personal individual experiences, which is the RIGHT of every individual for individual belief and personal expression. The “Covenant of friendship” allows us to function as a group, a people, a culture, a world-wide family of diversity, identified in common by the outward sign of the point of unity without autocratic opinions or oppression of thought, emotion or spirit:

“Under an autocratic government [that includes a theocracy] the opinions of men are not free, and development is stifled, whereas in democracy, because thought and speech are not restricted, the greatest progress is witnessed. It is likewise true in the world of religion.” (‘Abdu’l-Baha)

The throne-line of David symbolizes the ever-advancing civilization as the generations of God proceed from one another, as it is stated in the Holy Koran “You proceed from one another.” Future discoveries will always overturn past conceptions that fall short of any mark. But Baha’i Culture will ultimately prevail because it is an open ended progressive understanding, and not any closed or rigid fixed system of mass conformity to external beliefs of imposed upon us by others. Those who usurp the Kingdom throughout history (Matt. 11:12) have attempted to usurp our own rights to the freedom of God we experience within our own selves. In reality our interior spiritual life cannot really be usurped by others if we don’t let it. Therefore Jesus states we should “wise as serpents” and have “hearts peaceful as doves.”

“From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it” (Mt. 11:12 NIV).

For this cause they remove themselves from our affiliation, (or as Paul says in Hebrews 6:6 crucify Christ on their own account) when they seek to oppress others with their own concepts autocratically and attempt to foist their unwarranted demands without critical thinking, or consideration. Do we all not allow certain truths to have a voice, a vote, or a veto in our lives? Thus when we do in fact make an offering to the group–it is just that an offering. In the pure spiritual democracy of the Houses of Justice (Baha’i Councils) including the UHJ with the Davidic King as president, chair, and executive branch (W&T, p. 15), “whatsoever they decide” either by “a majority” vote or “unanimously” (W&T, p. 19) the course of action in appropriate matters of jurisdiction (in every day and age) will be settled amicably and decided.

This pure spiritual democracy and its true meaning against theocracy as defined by ‘Abdu’l-Baha–this unity in diversity–is one of the most attractive aspects of the Cause of God at this time in world that desperately needs this medicine for global recovery, human rights, and the end of gross afflictions (see SAQ for more) such as war, abject poverty, and ignorance.

Once thoroughly attracted, we all need to be converted–converted away from despotic dogma and thought control–and opened to the Oneness of Humanity, the Independent Investigation of the truth (the direct personal experience of the ultimately Real) and the deep spiritual truths that the “Covenant of friendship”–vouchsafed in the everlasting Covenant of David–both truly means and maintains. Only after clear reflection, personal transformation, dedication unto God, can we then consider ourselves ready for the third process after attraction and conversion unto God: that of the holy consecration of our own true selves. Baha’u’llah is clear! We are to be “quickeners of human kind” and “not fishers of men.”

To conclude:

The positive spiritual vortex generated by the dual teaching effort in the East and the West, in India and the Americas, is vastly influencing the spiritual development of all the peoples of the world. We see this in light of the prophecies of God as enfolding in current world events. The efforts exerted by the friends in America and India; their steadfastness in what Baha’u’llah defines as this “Covenant of friendship” (7 & 4 Valleys); and their loyalty and “fealty” (Gleanings XXX) to the living Branch of Baha’u’llah alive in the world today is further stimulating the friends all throughout the world; and the focus and development of the teaching effort in both the African and European continents is achieved.

While “the material progress of the Cause is dependent upon material means” Baha’u’llah has cautioned us; the spiritual progress of the Cause–as embodied fully in the living temple of the hearts, minds, and souls of the friends everywhere–has an unlimited (ex-caliber: “beyond measure”) range of progress for the transformation of both the people and society. We are seeing the fruits of this spiritual progress ripen the believers, so to speak, into the sweetness of God, as preserved in every single provision of the sacred Will and Testament of The Master, ‘Abdu’l-Baha.

May these days of Fast, and this wonderful Day of Naw Ruz–the first day of Spring (the Vernal Equinox) elevate and exalt everyone in all lands, in spiritual feelings of loftiness and ascent, to enjoy the eternal and everlasting desires of God, His will for us all, and His good pleasure in this day of days, today, the Great Day of God.

I remain yours,

Your servant,

Neal.

“God witnesseth that there is no God but Him, the Gracious, the Best-Beloved. All grace and bounty are His. To whomsoever He will He giveth whatsoever is His wish. He, verily, is the All-Powerful, the Almighty, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. We, verily, believe in Him Who, in the person of the Báb, hath been sent down by the Will of the one true God, the King of Kings, the All-Praised. We, moreover, swear fealty to the One Who, in the time of Mustagháth, is destined to be made manifest, as well as to those Who shall come after Him till the end that hath no end. We recognize in the manifestation of each one of them, whether outwardly or inwardly, the manifestation of none but God Himself, if ye be of those that comprehend. Every one of them is a mirror of God, reflecting naught else but His Self, His Beauty, His Might and Glory, if ye will understand. All else besides them are to be regarded as mirrors capable of reflecting the glory of these Manifestations Who are themselves the Primary Mirrors of the Divine Being, if ye be not devoid of understanding. No one hath ever escaped them, neither are they to be hindered from achieving their purpose. These Mirrors will everlastingly succeed each other, and will continue to reflect the light of the Ancient of Days. They that reflect their glory will, in like manner, continue to exist for evermore, for the Grace of God can never cease from flowing. This is a truth that none can disprove.” (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings XXX)

“Now, praise be to God! In all countries of the world, lovers of peace are to be found and these principles are being spread among mankind, especially in this country. Praise be to God! This thought is prevailing and souls are continually arising as defenders of the Oneness of Humanity, endeavoring to assist and establish international peace. There is no doubt that this wonderful democracy will be able to realize it and the banner of international agreement will be unfurled here to spread onward and outward among all the nations of the world.” (Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith, p. 234)

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The 12 Fruits Of God’s Covenant-God’s 12 Point Moral Compass For Humanity-Directing All To The Axis Of Love

Holy Day: Naw-Ruz-Sunset, Ala’ 18, 175 B.E.-Sunset, Baha’ 1, 176 B.E. (3/19/2019-3/21/2019)

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Naw-Ruz

Naw-Rúz is the first day of the new year. It coincides with the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, which usually occurs on 21 March. Bahá’u’lláh explains: “The Festival of Naw-Rúz falleth on the day that the sun entereth the sign of Aries, [The vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere] even should this occur no more than one minute before sunset.”

This year the sun enters the constellation of Aries on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 5:58 pm EDT

The Fast period ends at the begining of the Baha’i day at sunset, Ala’ 18, 175 B.E./Tuesday, March 19, 2019.

The Baha’i Holy Day of Naw-Ruz is celebrated from sunset U.S. Eastern Time on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 until sunset on Thursday, March 21, 2019 corresponding to the Baha’i dates of Ala’ 18, 175 B.E. through Baha’ 1, 176 B.E.

Prayer For Naw-Ruz

Praised be Thou, O my God, that Thou hast ordained Naw-Rúz as a festival unto those who have observed the fast for love of Thee and abstained from all that is abhorrent unto Thee. Grant, O my Lord, that the fire of Thy love and the heat produced by the fast enjoined by Thee may inflame them in Thy Cause, and make them to be occupied with Thy praise and with remembrance of Thee.

Since Thou hast adorned them, O my Lord, with the ornament of the fast prescribed by Thee, do Thou adorn them also with the ornament of Thine acceptance, through Thy grace and bountiful favor. For the doings of men are all dependent upon Thy good pleasure, and are conditioned by Thy behest. Shouldst Thou regard him who hath broken the fast as one who hath observed it, such a man would be reckoned among them who from eternity had been keeping the fast. And shouldst Thou decree that he who hath observed the fast hath broken it, that person would be numbered with such as have caused the Robe of Thy Revelation to be stained with dust, and been far removed from the crystal waters of this living Fountain.

Thou art He through Whom the ensign “Praiseworthy art Thou in Thy works” hath been lifted up, and the standard “Obeyed art Thou in Thy behest” hath been unfurled. Make known this Thy station, O my God, unto Thy servants, that they may be made aware that the excellence of all things is dependent upon Thy bidding and Thy word, and the virtue of every act is conditioned by Thy leave and the good pleasure of Thy will, and may recognize that the reins of men’s doings are within the grasp of Thine acceptance and Thy commandment. Make this known unto them, that nothing whatsoever may shut them out from Thy Beauty, in these days whereon the Christ exclaimeth: “All dominion is Thine, O Thou the Begetter of the Spirit (Jesus)”; and Thy Friend (Muḥammad) crieth out: “Glory be to Thee, O Thou the Best-Beloved, for that Thou hast uncovered Thy Beauty, and written down for Thy chosen ones what will cause them to attain unto the seat of the revelation of Thy Most Great Name, through which all the peoples have lamented except such as have detached themselves from all else except Thee, and set themselves towards Him Who is the Revealer of Thyself and the Manifestation of Thine attributes.”

He Who is Thy Branch and all Thy company, O my Lord, have broken this day their fast, after having observed it within the precincts of Thy court, and in their eagerness to please Thee. Do Thou ordain for Him, and for them, and for all such as have entered Thy presence in those days all the good Thou didst destine in Thy Book. Supply them, then, with that which will profit them, in both this life and in the life beyond.

Thou, in truth, art the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

Baha’u’llah

End Of Fast: Sunset-Ala’ 18, 175 B.E. (3/19/2019)

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Prayer

I beseech Thee, O my God, by Thy mighty Sign, and by the revelation of Thy grace amongst men, to cast me not away from the gate of the city of Thy presence, and to disappoint not the hopes I have set on the manifestations of Thy grace amidst Thy creatures.

Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come.

I beseech Thee, O my God, by Thy most sweet Voice and by Thy most exalted Word, to draw me ever nearer to the threshold of Thy door, and to suffer me not to be far removed from the shadow of Thy mercy and the canopy of Thy bounty.

Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come.

I beseech Thee, O my God, by the splendor of Thy luminous brow and the brightness of the light of Thy countenance, which shineth from the all-highest horizon, to attract me by the fragrance of Thy raiment, and make me drink of the choice wine of Thine utterance.

Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come.

I beseech Thee, O my God, by Thy hair which moveth across Thy face, even as Thy most exalted pen moveth across the pages of Thy Tablets, shedding the musk of hidden meanings over the kingdom of Thy creation, so to raise me up to serve Thy Cause that I shall not fall back, nor be hindered by the suggestions of them who have caviled at Thy signs and turned away from Thy face.

Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come.

I beseech Thee, O my God, by Thy Name which Thou hast made the King of Names, by which all who are in heaven and all who are on earth have been enraptured, to enable me to gaze on the Daystar of Thy Beauty, and to supply me with the wine of Thine utterance.

Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come.

I beseech Thee, O my God, by the Tabernacle of Thy majesty upon the loftiest summits, and the Canopy of Thy Revelation on the highest hills, to graciously aid me to do what Thy will hath desired and Thy purpose hath manifested.

Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come.

I beseech Thee, O my God, by Thy Beauty that shineth forth above the horizon of eternity, a Beauty before which as soon as it revealeth itself the kingdom of beauty boweth down in worship, magnifying it in ringing tones, to grant that I may die to all that I possess and live to whatsoever belongeth unto Thee.

Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come.

I beseech Thee, O my God, by the Manifestation of Thy Name, the Well-Beloved, through Whom the hearts of Thy lovers were consumed 242 and the souls of all that dwell on earth have soared aloft, to aid me to remember Thee amongst Thy creatures, and to extol Thee amidst Thy people.

Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come.

I beseech Thee, O my God, by the rustling of the Divine Lote-Tree and the murmur of the breezes of Thine utterance in the kingdom of Thy names, to remove me far from whatsoever Thy will abhorreth, and draw me nigh unto the station wherein He Who is the Dayspring of Thy signs hath shone forth.

Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come.

I beseech Thee, O my God, by that Letter which, as soon as it proceeded out of the mouth of Thy will, hath caused the oceans to surge, and the winds to blow, and the fruits to be revealed, and the trees to spring forth, and all past traces to vanish, and all veils to be rent asunder, and them who are devoted to Thee to hasten unto the light of the countenance of their Lord, the Unconstrained, to make known unto me what lay hid in the treasuries of Thy knowledge and concealed within the repositories of Thy wisdom.

Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come.

I beseech Thee, O my God, by the fire of Thy love which drove sleep from the eyes of Thy chosen ones and Thy loved ones, and by their remembrance and praise of Thee at the hour of dawn, to number me with such as have attained unto that which Thou hast sent down in Thy Book and manifested through Thy will.

Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come.

I beseech Thee, O my God, by the light of Thy countenance which impelled them who are nigh unto Thee to meet the darts of Thy decree, and such as are devoted to Thee to face the swords of Thine enemies in Thy path, to write down for me with Thy most exalted Pen what Thou hast written down for Thy trusted ones and Thy chosen ones.

Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come.

I beseech Thee, O my God, by Thy Name through which Thou hast hearkened unto the call of Thy lovers, and the sighs of them that long for Thee, and the cry of them that enjoy near access to Thee, and the groaning of them that are devoted to Thee, and through which Thou hast fulfilled the wishes of them that have set their hopes on Thee, and hast granted them their desires, through Thy grace and Thy favors, and by Thy Name through which the ocean of forgiveness surged before Thy face, and the clouds of Thy generosity rained upon Thy servants, to write down for everyone who hath turned unto Thee, and observed the fast prescribed by Thee, the recompense decreed for such as speak not except by Thy leave, and who forsook all that they possessed in Thy path and for love of Thee.

I beseech Thee, O my Lord, by Thyself, and by Thy signs, and Thy clear tokens, and the shining light of the Daystar of Thy Beauty, and Thy Branches, to cancel the trespasses of those who have held fast to Thy laws, and have observed what Thou hast prescribed unto them in Thy Book.

Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come.

Baha’u’llah

The Fast-Sunset 2/28/2019-Sunset 3/19/2019

Friday, March 1st, 2019

PRAISE be to Thee, O Lord my God! I beseech Thee by this Revelation whereby darkness hath been turned into light, through which the Frequented Fane hath been built, and the Written Tablet revealed, and the Outspread Roll uncovered, to send down upon me and upon them who are in my company that which will enable us to soar into the heavens of Thy transcendent glory, and will wash us from the stain of such doubts as have hindered the suspicious from entering into the tabernacle of Thy unity.

I am the one, O my Lord, who hath held fast the cord of Thy loving-kindness, and clung to the hem of Thy mercy and favors. Do Thou ordain for me and for my loved ones the good of this world and of the world to come. Supply them, then, with theHidden Gift Thou didst ordain for the choicest among Thy creatures.

These are, O my Lord, the days in which Thou hast bidden Thy servants to observe the Fast. Blessed is he that observeth the Fast wholly for Thy sake and with absolute detachment from all things except Thee. Assist me and assist them, O my Lord, to obey Thee and to keep Thy precepts. Thou, verily, hast power to do what Thou choosest.

There is no God but Thee, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. All praise be to God, the Lord of all worlds.

Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations #VII

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Happy is your condition for you have executed the divine command; and have arisen to fast in these blessed days. For this physical fasting is a symbol of the spiritual fasting, that is, abstaining from all carnal desires, becoming characterized with the attributes of the spiritual ones, attracted to the heavenly fragrances and enkindled with the fire of the love of God.

Abdu’l-Baha’, Tablets

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As regards fasting, it constitutes, together with the obligatory prayers, the two pillars that sustain the revealed Law of God. They act as stimulants to the soul, strengthen, revive and purify it, and thus insure its steady development.

The ordinance of fasting is, as is the case with these three prayers (obligatory) a spiritual and vital obligation enjoined by Bahá’u’lláh upon every believer who has attained the age of fifteen. In the Aqdas He thus writes: ‘We have commanded you to pray and fast from the beginning of maturity; this is ordained by God, your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers. He has exempted from this those who are weak from illness or age, as a bounty from His Presence, and He is the Forgiving, the Generous.’

And in another passage He says: ‘We have enjoined upon you fasting during a brief period, and at its close have designated for you Naw-Rúz as a Feast… The traveller, the ailing, those who are with child or giving suck, are not bound by the Fast… Abstain from food and drink, from sunrise to sundown, and beware lest desire deprive you of this grace that is appointed in the Book.’

Also in the ‘Questions and Answers’ that form an appendix to the Aqdas, Bahá’u’lláh reveals the following: ‘Verily, I say that God has appointed a Great station for fasting and prayer. But during good health its benefit is evident, and when one is ill, it is not permissible to fulfill them.’ Concerning the age of maturity, He reveals in the appendix of that same Book: ‘The age of maturity is in the fifteenth year; women and men are alike in this respect.’ Regarding the vital character and importance of the Divine ordinances and laws, and the necessity of complete obedience to them by the believers, we thus read in the Gleanings, p. 175:

‘Know verily that the essence of justice and the source thereof are both embodied in the ordinance prescribed by Him Who is the Manifestation of the Self of God amongst men, if ye be of them that recognize this truth. He doth verily incarnate the highest, the infallible standard of justice unto all creation. Were His law to be such as to strike terror in the hearts of all that are in heaven and on earth, that law is naught but manifest justice. The fears and agitation which the revelation of this law provoke in men’s hearts should indeed be likened to the cries of the suckling babe weaned from his mother’s milk, if ye be of them that perceive…’

Shoghi Effendi, Directives of the Guardian, containing quotes from Baha’u’llah