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Baha’i Sabbath: Sultan 9, 179 B.E. (1/27/2023)

Saturday, January 28th, 2023

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GLORIFIED art Thou, O Lord my God! I yield Thee thanks for having enabled me to recognize the Manifestation of Thyself, and for having severed me from Thine enemies, and laid bare before mine eyes their misdeeds and wicked works in Thy days, and for having rid me of all attachment to them, and caused me to turn wholly towards Thy grace and bountiful favors. I give Thee thanks, also, for having sent down upon me from the clouds of Thy will that which hath so sanctified me from the hints of the infidels and the allusions of the misbelievers that I have fixed my heart firmly on Thee, and fled from such as have denied the light of Thy countenance. Again I thank Thee for having empowered me to be steadfast in Thy love, and to speak forth Thy praise and to extol Thy virtues, and for having given me to drink of the cup of Thy mercy that hath surpassed all things visible and invisible.

Thou art the Almighty, the Most Exalted, the All-Glorious, the All-Loving.

Baha’u’llah-Prayers and Meditations LXVII

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“Elect the Supreme Tribunal! Uphold the 1928 Covenant of International Peace! (Kellogg-Briand Paris Peace Pact)”

http://www.uhj.net

Baha’i Month: Sultan/Sovereignty 1, 179 B.E. (1/19/2023)

Friday, January 20th, 2023

 

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SINCE Thou hast, O my God, established Thyself upon the throne of Thy transcendent unity, and ascended the mercy seat of Thy oneness, it befitteth Thee to blot out from the hearts of all beings whatsoever may keep them back from gaining admittance into the sanctuary of Thy Divine mysteries, and may shut them out from the tabernacle of Thy Divinity, that all hearts may mirror Thy beauty, and may reveal Thee, and speak of Thee, and that all created things may show forth the tokens of Thy most august sovereignty, and shed the splendors of the light of Thy most holy governance, and that all who are in heaven and on earth may laud and magnify Thy unity, and give Thee glory, for having manifested Thy Self unto them through Him Who is the Revealer of Thy oneness.
Divest, then, Thy servants, O my God, of the garments of self and desire, or grant that the eyes of Thy people may be lifted up to such heights that they will discern in their desires naught except the stirring of the gentle winds of Thine eternal glory, and may recognize in their own selves nothing but the revelation of Thine own merciful Self, that the earth and all that is therein may be cleansed of whatever is alien to Thee, or anything that manifesteth aught save Thy Self. All this can be fulfilled throughout Thy dominion by Thy word of command, “Be,” and it is! Nay, even swifter than this, and yet the people understand not.
Glorified, immeasurably glorified art Thou, O my Beloved! I swear by Thy glory! I recognize this very moment that Thou hast granted all for which I have supplicated Thee, in this blessed night which, as decreed by Thee, calleth to remembrance Him Who was the Companion of Thy beauty and the Beholder of Thy face, ere I had been mentioned by Thee, or called into being within the court of Thy holiness. I perceive that Thou hast made all things to be the manifestations of Thy behest, and the revelations of Thy handiwork, and the repositories of Thy knowledge, and the treasuries of Thy wisdom. I recognize, moreover, that were any of the revelations of Thy names and Thine attributes to be withheld, though it be the weight of a grain of mustard seed, from whatsoever hath been created by Thy power and begotten by Thy might, the foundations of Thine everlasting handiwork would thereby be made incomplete, and the gems of Thy Divine wisdom would become imperfect. For the letters of negation, no matter how far they may be removed from the holy fragrances of Thy knowledge, and however forgetful they may become of the wondrous splendors of the dawning light of Thy beauty, which are shed from the heaven of Thy majesty, must needs exist in Thy realm, so that the words which affirm Thee may thereby be exalted.
Thy might beareth me witness, O my Well-Beloved! The entire creation hath been called into being to exalt Thy triumph and to establish Thine ascendancy, and all the bounds that have been set by Thee are but the signs of Thy sovereignty, and proclaim the power of Thy might. How great, how very great, are the revelations of Thy wondrous power in all things! They are such that the lowliest among Thy creatures hath been made by Thee a manifestation of Thy most august attribute, and the most contemptible token of Thy handiwork hath been chosen as a recipient of Thy most mighty name. Poverty, as decreed by Thee, hath been made the means for the revelation of Thy riches, and abasement a path leading to Thy glory, and sinfulness a cause for the exercise of Thy forgiveness. By them Thou hast demonstrated that to Thee belong Thy most excellent titles, and unto Thee pertain the wonders of Thy most exalted attributes.
Since Thou hast purposed, O my God, to cause all created things to enter into the tabernacle of Thy transcendent grace and favor, and to waft over the entire creation the fragrances of the raiment of Thy glorious unity, and to look upon all things with the eyes of Thy bounty and Thy oneness, I beseech Thee, therefore, by Thy love, which Thou hast made to be the mainspring of the revelations of Thine eternal holiness, and the flame that gloweth within the hearts of such of Thy creatures as yearn towards Thee, to create, this very moment, for those of Thy people who are wholly devoted to Thee, and for such of Thy loved ones as love Thee, out of the essence of Thy bounty and Thy generosity, and from the inmost spirit of Thy grace and Thy glory, Thy Paradise of transcendent holiness, and to exalt it above everything except Thee, and to sanctify it from aught else save Thyself. Create, moreover, within it, O my God, out of the lights shed by Thy throne, handmaidens who will intone the melodies of Thy wondrous and most sweet invention, that they may magnify Thy name with such words as have not been heard by any of Thy creatures, be they the inmates of Thy heaven or the dwellers of Thine earth, nor been comprehended by any of Thy people. Unlock, then, the gates of this Paradise to the faces of Thy loved ones, that haply they may enter them in Thy name, and by the power of Thy sovereignty, that thereby the sovereign bounties vouchsafed by Thee unto Thy chosen ones and the transcendent gifts granted unto Thy trusted ones be perfected, that they may extol Thy virtues with such melodies as none can either intone or describe, and that none of Thy people may conceive the design of appearing in the guise of any of Thy chosen ones, or of emulating the example of Thy loved ones, and that none may fail to discern between Thy friends and Thine enemies, or to distinguish them that are devoted to Thee from such as stubbornly oppose Thee. Potent art Thou to do what Thou willest, and powerful and supreme art Thou over all things.
Exalted, immeasurably exalted art Thou, O my Beloved, above the strivings of any of Thy creatures, however learned, to know Thee; exalted, immensely exalted art Thou above every human attempt, no matter how searching, to describe Thee! For the highest thought of men, however deep their contemplation, can never hope to outsoar the limitations imposed upon Thy creation, nor ascend beyond the state of the contingent world, nor break the bounds irrevocably set for it by Thee. How can, then, a thing that hath been created by Thy will that overruleth the whole of creation, a thing that is itself a part of the contingent world, have the power to soar into the holy atmosphere of Thy knowledge, or reach unto the seat of Thy transcendent power?
High, immeasurably high art Thou above the endeavors of the evanescent creature to soar unto the throne of Thine eternity, or of the poor and wretched to attain the summit of Thine all-sufficing glory! From eternity Thou didst Thyself describe Thine own Self unto Thy Self, and extol, in Thine own Essence, Thine Essence unto Thine Essence. I swear by Thy glory, O my Best-Beloved! Who is there besides Thee that can claim to know Thee, and who save Thyself can make fitting mention of Thee? Thou art He Who, from eternity, abode in His realm, in the glory of His transcendent unity, and the splendors of His holy grandeur. Were any one except Thee to be deemed worthy of mention, in all the kingdoms of Thy creation, from the highest realms of immortality down to the level of this nether world, how could it, then, be demonstrated that Thou art established upon the throne of Thy unity, and how could the wondrous virtues of Thy oneness and Thy singleness be glorified?
I bear witness, this very moment, to what Thou hast testified for Thine own Self, ere Thou hadst created the heavens and the earth, that Thou art God, and that there is none other God besides Thee. Thou hast from everlasting been potent, through the Manifestations of Thy might, to reveal the signs of Thy power, and Thou hast ever made known, through the Daysprings of Thy knowledge, the words of Thy wisdom. No one besides Thee hath ever been found worthy to be mentioned before the Tabernacle of Thy unity, and none except Thyself hath proved himself capable of being praised within the hallowed court of Thy oneness.
Praise be to Thee, O my God, that Thou hast revealed Thy favors and Thy bounties; and glory be to Thee, O my Beloved, that Thou hast manifested the Daystar of Thy loving-kindness and Thy tender mercies. I yield Thee such thanks as can direct the steps of the wayward towards the splendors of the morning light of Thy guidance, and enable those who yearn towards Thee to attain the seat of the revelation of the effulgence of Thy beauty. I yield Thee such thanks as can cause the sick to draw nigh unto the waters of Thy healing, and can help those who are far from Thee to approach the living fountain of Thy presence. I yield Thee such thanks as can divest the bodies of Thy servants of the garments of mortality and abasement, and attire them in the robes of Thine eternity and Thy glory, and lead the poor unto the shores of Thy holiness and all sufficient riches. I yield Thee such thanks as can enable the Heavenly Dove to warble forth, upon the branches of the Lote-Tree of Immortality, her song: “Verily, Thou art God. No God is there besides Thee. From eternity Thou hast been exalted above the praise of aught else but Thee, and been high above the description of any one except Thyself.” I yield Thee such thanks as can cause the Nightingale of Glory to pour forth its melody in the highest heaven: “‘Alí (the Báb), in truth, is Thy servant, Whom Thou hast singled out from among Thy Messengers and Thy chosen Ones, and made Him to be the Manifestation of Thyself in all that pertaineth unto Thee, and that concerneth the revelation of Thine attributes and the evidences of Thy names.” I yield Thee such thanks as can stir up all things to extol Thee, and to glorify Thine Essence, and can unloose the tongues of all beings to magnify the sovereignty of Thy beauty. I yield Thee such thanks as can fill the heavens and the earth with the signs of Thy transcendent Essence, and assist all created things to enter the Tabernacle of Thy nearness and Thy presence. I yield Thee such thanks as can make every created thing to be a book that shall speak of Thee, and a scroll that shall unfold Thy praise. I yield Thee such thanks as can establish the Manifestations of Thy sovereignty upon the throne of Thy governance, and set up the Exponents of Thy glory upon the seat of Thy Divinity. I yield Thee such thanks as can make the corrupt tree to bring forth good fruit through the holy breaths of Thy favors, and revive the bodies of all beings with the gentle winds of Thy transcendent grace. I yield Thee such thanks as can cause the signs of Thine exalted singleness to be sent down out of the heaven of Thy holy unity. I yield Thee such thanks as can teach all things the realities of Thy knowledge and the essence of Thy wisdom, and will not withhold the wretched creatures from the doors of Thy mercy and Thy bountiful favor. I yield Thee such thanks as can enable all who are in heaven and on earth to dispense with all created things, through the treasuries of Thine all-sufficing riches, and can aid all created things to reach unto the summit of Thine almighty favors. I yield Thee such thanks as can assist the hearts of Thine ardent lovers to soar into the atmosphere of nearness to Thee, and of longing for Thee, and kindle the Light of Lights within the land of Iráq. I yield Thee such thanks as can detach them that are nigh unto Thee from all created things, and draw them to the throne of Thy names and Thine attributes. I yield Thee such thanks as can cause Thee to forgive all sins and trespasses, and to fulfill the needs of the peoples of all religions, and to waft the fragrances of pardon over the entire creation. I yield Thee such thanks as can enable them that recognize Thy unity to scale the heights of Thy love, and cause such as are devoted to Thee to ascend unto the Paradise of Thy presence. I yield Thee such thanks as can satisfy the wants of all such as seek Thee, and realize the aims of them that have recognized Thee. I yield Thee such thanks as can blot out from the hearts of men all suggestions of limitations, and inscribe the signs of Thy unity. I yield Thee such thanks as that with which Thou didst from eternity glorify Thine own Self, and didst exalt it above all peers, rivals, and comparisons, O Thou in Whose hands are the heavens of grace and of bounty, and the kingdoms of glory and of majesty!
Lauded be Thy name, O Lord my God, and my Master! Thou bearest witness, and seest, and knowest the things that have befallen Thy loved ones in Thy days, and the continual trials, and the successive tribulations, and the incessant afflictions, which have been sent down upon Thine elect. Such hath been their plight that the earth became too strait for them, and they were encompassed by the evidences of Thy wrath and the signs of Thy fear in every land, and the doors of Thy mercy and Thy loving-kindness were shut against them, and the garden of their hearts was deprived of the overflowing showers of Thy grace and Thy bountiful favors. Wilt Thou withhold, O my God, from such as love Thee the wonders of Thine ascendancy and triumph? Wilt Thou shatter, O my Beloved, the hopes which they who are devoted to Thee have fixed on Thy manifold bounties and gifts? Wilt Thou keep back, O my Master, those that have recognized Thee from the shores of Thy sanctified knowledge, or wilt Thou cease to rain down upon the hearts of such as desire Thee the showers of Thy transcendent grace? No, no, and to this Thy glory beareth me witness! I testify this very moment that Thy mercy hath surpassed all created things, and Thy loving-kindness encompassed all that are in heaven and all that are on earth. From everlasting the doors of Thy generosity were open to the faces of Thy servants, and the gentle winds of Thy grace were wafted over the hearts of Thy creatures, and the overflowing rains of Thy bounty were showered upon Thy people and the dwellers of Thy realm.
I know full well Thou hast delayed to manifest Thy triumph in the kingdom of creation by reason of Thy knowledge which embraceth both the mysteries of Thy decree, and the hidden things ordained behind the veils of Thine irrevocable purpose, that thereby those who have entered beneath the shadow of Thy transcendent mercy may be separated from those who have dealt disdainfully with Thee, and turned back from Thy presence at the time when Thou didst manifest Thy most exalted Beauty.
Exalted, immeasurably exalted art Thou, therefore, O my Beloved! Forasmuch as Thou hast divided, in Thy realm, Thy loved ones from Thine enemies, and hast perfected Thy most weighty testimony and Thy most infallible Proof unto all who are in heaven and on earth, have mercy, then, upon those who were brought low in Thy land, by reason of what hath befallen them in Thy path. Exalt them, then, O my God, through the power of Thy might and the potency of Thy will, and raise them up to proclaim Thy Cause through Thine omnipotent sovereignty and purpose.
I swear by Thy glory! My sole purpose in showing forth Thine ascendancy hath been to glorify Thy Cause, and to magnify Thy word. I am persuaded that if Thou wert to delay to send down Thy victory and to demonstrate Thy power, the signs of Thy sovereignty would assuredly perish in Thy land, and the tokens of Thy rule would be blotted out throughout Thy dominion.
My breast is straitened, O my God, and sorrows and vexations have compassed me round, for I hear among Thy servants every praise except Thy wondrous praise, and behold amidst Thy people the evidences of all things save the evidences of what Thou hast prescribed unto them by Thy behest, and destined for them through Thy sovereign will, and ordained unto them by Thine overruling decree. They have strayed so far from Thee that should any of Thy loved ones deliver unto them the wondrous tokens of Thy unity, and the gem-like utterances that attest Thy transcendent oneness, they would thrust their fingers into their ears, and would cavil at him and mock him. All this hast Thou set down through Thine all-encompassing sovereignty, and apprehended through Thine omnipotent supremacy.
Glorified, immeasurably glorified art Thou, O my Master! Look, then, upon the hearts which, in their love for Thee, have been transfixed by the darts of Thine enemies, and the heads which were borne on spears for the sake of the exaltation of Thy Cause and the glorification of Thy name. Have pity, then, upon those hearts which have been consumed by the fire of Thy love, and been touched by such tribulations as are known only unto Thee.
All laud and honor to Thee, O my God! Thou well knowest the things which, for a score of years, have happened in Thy days, and have continued to happen until this hour. No man can reckon, nor can any tongue tell, what hath befallen Thy chosen ones during all this time. They could obtain no shelter, nor find any refuge in which they could abide in safety. Turn, then, O my God, their fear into the evidences of Thy peace and Thy security, and their abasement into the sovereignty of Thy glory, and their poverty into Thine all-sufficient riches, and their distress into the wonders of Thy perfect tranquility. Vouchsafe unto them the fragrances of Thy might and Thy mercy, and send down upon them, out of Thy marvelous loving-kindness, what will enable them to dispense with all except Thee, and will detach them from aught save Thyself, that the sovereignty of Thy oneness may be revealed and the supremacy of Thy grace and Thy bounty demonstrated.
Wilt Thou not, O my God, look upon the tears which Thy loved ones have shed? Wilt Thou not pity, O my Beloved, the eyes which have been dimmed by reason of their separation from Thee, and because of the cessation of the signs of Thy victory? Wilt Thou not behold, O my Master, the hearts wherein have beaten the wings of the dove of longing and love for Thee? By Thy glory! Things have come to such a pass that hope hath well nigh been banished from the hearts of Thy chosen ones, and the breaths of despair are ready to seize them, by reason of what hath befallen them in Thy days.
Behold me, then, O my God, how I have fled from myself unto Thee, and have abandoned my own being that I may attain unto the splendors of the light of Thy Being, and have forsaken all that keepeth me back from Thee, and maketh me forgetful of Thee, in order that I may inhale the fragrances of Thy presence and Thy remembrance. Behold how I have stepped upon the dust of the city of Thy forgiveness and Thy bounty, and dwelt within the precincts of Thy transcendent mercy, and have besought Thee, through the sovereignty of Him Who is Thy Remembrance and Who hath appeared in the robe of Thy most pure and most august Beauty, to send down, in the course of this year, upon Thy loved ones what will enable them to dispense with any one except Thee, and will set them free to recognize the evidences of Thy sovereign will and all-conquering purpose, in such wise that they will seek only what Thou didst wish for them through Thy bidding, and will desire naught except what Thou didst desire for them through Thy will. Sanctify, then, their eyes, O my God, that they may behold the light of Thy Beauty, and purge their ears, that they may listen to the melodies of the Dove of Thy transcendent oneness. Flood, then, their hearts with the wonders of Thy love, and preserve their tongues from mentioning any one save Thee, and guard their faces from turning to aught else except Thyself. Potent art Thou to do what pleaseth Thee. Thou, verily, art the Almighty, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.
Protect, moreover, O my Beloved, through Thy love for them and through the love they bear to Thee, this servant, who hath sacrificed his all for Thee, and expended whatsoever Thou hast given him in the path of Thy love and Thy good pleasure, and preserve him from all that Thou abhorrest, and from whatsoever may hinder him from entering into the Tabernacle of Thy holy sovereignty, and from attaining the seat of Thy transcendent oneness. Number him, then, O my God, with such as have allowed nothing whatever to deter them from beholding Thy beauty, or from meditating on the wondrous evidences of Thine everlasting handiwork, that he may have fellowship with none except Thee, and turn to naught save Thyself, and discover in whatever hath been created by Thee in the kingdoms of earth and heaven nothing but Thy wondrous Beauty and the revelation of the splendors of Thy face, and be so immersed beneath the billowing oceans of Thine overruling providence and the surging seas of Thy holy unity, that he will forget every mention except the mention of Thy transcendent oneness, and banish from his soul the traces of all evil suggestions, O Thou in Whose hands are the kingdoms of all names and attributes!
Lauded be Thy name, O Thou Who art the Goal of my desire! I swear by Thy glory! How great is my wish to attain unto a detachment so complete that were there to appear before me those countenances which are hid within the chambers of chastity, and the beauty of which Thou didst veil from the eyes of the entire creation, and whose faces Thou didst sanctify from the sight of all beings, and were they to unveil themselves in all the glory of the splendors of Thine incomparable beauty, I would refuse to look upon them, and would behold them solely for the purpose of discerning the mysteries of Thy handiwork, which have perplexed the minds of such as have drawn nigh unto Thee, and awed the souls of all them that have recognized Thee. I would, by Thy power and Thy might, soar to such heights that nothing whatsoever would have the power to keep me back from the manifold evidences of Thy transcendent dominion, nor would any earthly scheme shut me out from the manifestations of Thy Divine holiness.
Glorified, immeasurably glorified art Thou, O my God, and my Beloved, and my Master, and my Desire! Shatter not the hopes of this lowly one to attain the shores of Thy glory, and deprive not this wretched creature of the immensities of Thy riches, and cast not away this suppliant from the doors of Thy grace, and Thy bounty, and Thy gifts. Have mercy, then, upon this poor and desolate soul who hath sought no friend but Thee, and no companion except Thee, and no comforter save Thee, and no beloved apart from Thee, nor cherished any desire but Thyself.
Cast, then, upon me, O my God, the glances of Thy mercy, and forgive me my trespasses and the trespasses of them that are dear to Thee, and which come in between us and the revelation of Thy triumph and Thy grace. Cancel Thou, moreover, our sins which have shut off our faces from the splendors of the Daystar of Thy favors. Powerful art Thou to do Thy pleasure. Thou ordainest what Thou willest, and art not asked of what Thou wishest through the power of Thy sovereignty, nor canst Thou be frustrated in whatsoever Thou prescribest through Thine irrevocable decree. No God is there save Thee, the Almighty, the Most Powerful, the Ever-living, the Most Compassionate.

Baha’u’llah-Prayers and Meditations #CLXXXIV

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Sharaf 14, 179 B.E. (1/13/2023)

Friday, January 13th, 2023

Baha’i Sabbath: Sharaf 14, 179 B.E. (1/13/2023)

Friday, January 13th, 2023

 

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It is certain that man’s highest distinction is to be lowly before and obedient to his God; that his greatest glory, his most exalted rank and honor, depend on his close observance of the divine commands and prohibitions. Religion is the light of the world, and the progress, achievement, and happiness of man result from obedience to the laws set down in the holy Books. Briefly, it is demonstrable that in this life, both outwardly and inwardly the mightiest of structures, the most solidly established, the most enduring, standing guard over the world, assuring both the spiritual and the material perfections of mankind, and protecting the happiness and the civilization of society—is religion.

It is true that there are foolish individuals who have never properly examined the fundamentals of the divine religions, who have taken as their criterion the behavior of a few religious hypocrites and measured all religious persons by that yardstick, and have on this account concluded that religions are an obstacle to progress, a divisive factor and a cause of malevolence and enmity among peoples. They have not even observed this much, that the principles of the divine religions can hardly be evaluated by the acts of those who only claim to follow them. For every excellent thing, peerless though it may be, can still be diverted to the wrong ends. A lighted lamp in the hands of an ignorant child or of the blind will not dispel the surrounding darkness nor light up the house—it will set both the bearer and the house on fire. Can we, in such an instance, blame the lamp? No, by the Lord God! To the seeing, a lamp is a guide and will show him his path; but it is a disaster to the blind.

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It is certain that the greatest of instrumentalities for achieving the advancement and the glory of man, the supreme agency for the enlightenment and the redemption of the world, is love and fellowship and unity among all the members of the human race. Nothing can be effected in the world, not even conceivably, without unity and agreement, and the perfect means for engendering fellowship and union is true religion.

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Our purpose is to show how true religion promotes the civilization and honor, the prosperity and prestige, the learning and advancement of a people once abject, enslaved and ignorant, and how, when it falls into the hands of religious leaders who are foolish and fanatical, it is diverted to the wrong ends, until this greatest of splendors turns into blackest night.

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The purpose of these references is to establish the fact that the religions of God are the true source of the spiritual and material perfections of man, and the fountainhead for all mankind of enlightenment and beneficial knowledge.

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By the Lord God, and there is no God but He, even the minutest details of civilized life derive from the grace of the Prophets of God. What thing of value to mankind has ever come into being which was not first set forth either directly or by implication in the Holy Scriptures?

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Universal benefits derive from the grace of the divine religions, for they lead their true followers to sincerity of intent, to high purpose, to purity and spotless honor, to surpassing kindness and compassion, to the keeping of their covenants when they have covenanted, to concern for the rights of others, to liberality, to justice in every aspect of life, to humanity and philanthropy, to valor and to unflagging efforts in the service of mankind. It is religion, to sum up, which produces all human virtues, and it is these virtues which are the bright candles of civilization. If a man is not characterized by these excellent qualities, it is certain that he has never attained to so much as a drop out of the fathomless river of the waters of life that flows through the teachings of the Holy Books, nor caught the faintest breath of the fragrant breezes that blow from the gardens of God; for nothing on earth can be demonstrated by words alone, and every level of existence is known by its signs and symbols, and every degree in man’s development has its identifying mark.

The purpose of these statements is to make it abundantly clear that the divine religions, the holy precepts, the heavenly teachings, are the unassailable basis of human happiness, and that the peoples of the world can hope for no real relief or deliverance without this one great remedy. This panacea must, however, be administered by a wise and skilled physician, for in the hands of an incompetent all the cures that the Lord of men has ever created to heal men’s ills could produce no health, and would on the contrary only destroy the helpless and burden the hearts of the already afflicted.

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All passages excerpted from “The Secret of Divine Civilization”-Written by Abdu’l-Baha’ in 1875

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“Elect the Supreme Tribunal! Uphold the 1928 Covenant of International Peace! (Kellogg-Briand Paris Peace Pact)”

http://www.uhj.net

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Baha’i Anniversary: The Establishment Of The IBC/UHJ on 1/9/1991 by Dr. Leland Jensen-Sharaf 10, 179 B.E. (1/9/2023)

Monday, January 9th, 2023

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True civilization will unfurl its banner in the midmost heart of the world whenever a certain number of its distinguished and high-minded sovereigns—the shining exemplars of devotion and determination—shall, for the good and happiness of all mankind, arise, with firm resolve and clear vision, to establish the Cause of Universal Peace. They must make the Cause of Peace the object of general consultation, and seek by every means in their power to establish a Union of the nations of the world. They must conclude a binding treaty and establish a covenant, the provisions of which shall be sound, inviolable and definite. They must proclaim it to all the world and obtain for it the sanction of all the human race. This supreme and noble undertaking—the real source of the peace and well-being of all the world—should be regarded as sacred by all that dwell on earth. All the forces of humanity must be mobilized to ensure the stability and permanence of this Most Great Covenant. In this all-embracing Pact the limits and frontiers of each and every nation should be clearly fixed, the principles underlying the relations of governments towards one another definitely laid down, and all international agreements and obligations ascertained. In like manner, the size of the armaments of every government should be strictly limited, for if the preparations for war and the military forces of any nation should be allowed to increase, they will arouse the suspicion of others. The fundamental principle underlying this solemn Pact should be so fixed that if any government later violate any one of its provisions, all the governments on earth should arise to reduce it to utter submission, nay the human race as a whole should resolve, with every power at its disposal, to destroy that government. Should this greatest of all remedies be applied to the sick body of the world, it will assuredly recover from its ills and will remain eternally safe and secure.

Observe that if such a happy situation be forthcoming, no government would need continually to pile up the weapons of war, nor feel itself obliged to produce ever new military weapons with which to conquer the human race. A small force for the purposes of internal security, the correction of criminal and disorderly elements and the prevention of local disturbances, would be required—no more. In this way the entire population would, first of all, be relieved of the crushing burden of expenditure currently imposed for military purposes, and secondly, great numbers of people would cease to devote their time to the continual devising of new weapons of destruction—those testimonials of greed and bloodthirstiness, so inconsistent with the gift of life—and would instead bend their efforts to the production of whatever will foster human existence and peace and well-being, and would become the cause of universal development and prosperity. Then every nation on earth will reign in honor, and every people will be cradled in tranquillity and content.

A few, unaware of the power latent in human endeavor, consider this matter as highly impracticable, nay even beyond the scope of man’s utmost efforts. Such is not the case, however. On the contrary, thanks to the unfailing grace of God, the loving-kindness of His favored ones, the unrivaled endeavors of wise and capable souls, and the thoughts and ideas of the peerless leaders of this age, nothing whatsoever can be regarded as unattainable. Endeavor, ceaseless endeavor, is required. Nothing short of an indomitable determination can possibly achieve it. Many a cause which past ages have regarded as purely visionary, yet in this day has become most easy and practicable. Why should this most great and lofty Cause—the daystar of the firmament of true civilization and the cause of the glory, the advancement, the well-being and the success of all humanity—be regarded as impossible of achievement? Surely the day will come when its beauteous light shall shed illumination upon the assemblage of man.

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No power on earth can prevail against the armies of justice, and every citadel must fall before them; for men willingly go down under the triumphant strokes of this decisive blade, and desolate places bloom and flourish under the tramplings of this host. There are two mighty banners which, when they cast their shadow across the crown of any king, will cause the influence of his government quickly and easily to penetrate the whole earth, even as if it were the light of the sun: the first of these two banners is wisdom; the second is justice. Against these two most potent forces, the iron hills cannot prevail, and Alexander’s wall will break before them. It is clear that life in this fast-fading world is as fleeting and inconstant as the morning wind, and this being so, how fortunate are the great who leave a good name behind them, and the memory of a lifetime spent in the pathway of the good pleasure of God.

All passages excerpted from Abdu’l-Baha’, The Secret of Divine Civilization

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Baha’i Sabbath: Sharaf 7, 179 B.E. (1/6/2023)

Friday, January 6th, 2023

Indeed the actions of man himself breed a profusion of satanic power. For were men to abide by and observe the divine teachings, every trace of evil would be banished from the face of the earth. However, the widespread differences that exist among mankind and the prevalence of sedition, contention, conflict and the like are the primary factors which provoke the appearance of the satanic spirit. Yet the Holy Spirit hath ever shunned such matters.

Baha’u’llah – LAWḤ-I-MAQṢÚD (Tablet of Maqṣúd)

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Such is the true meaning of rendering assistance unto God. Sedition hath never been pleasing unto God, nor were the acts committed in the past by certain foolish ones acceptable in His sight. Know ye that to be killed in the path of His good pleasure is better for you than to kill. The beloved of the Lord must, in this day, behave in such wise amidst His servants that they may by their very deeds and actions guide all men unto the paradise of the All-Glorious.

Baha’u’llah – Tablet to Násiri’d-Dín Sháh

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Liberty must, in the end, lead to sedition, whose flames none can quench. Thus warneth you He Who is the Reckoner, the All-Knowing. Know ye that the embodiment of liberty and its symbol is the animal. That which beseemeth man is submission unto such restraints as will protect him from his own ignorance, and guard him against the harm of the mischief-maker. Liberty causeth man to overstep the bounds of propriety, and to infringe on the dignity of his station. It debaseth him to the level of extreme depravity and wickedness.

Baha’u’llah – Gleanings #CLIX

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Say: O men! This is a matchless Day. Matchless must, likewise, be the tongue that celebrateth the praise of the Desire of all nations, and matchless the deed that aspireth to be acceptable in His sight. The whole human race hath longed for this Day, that perchance it may fulfil that which well beseemeth its station, and is worthy of its destiny. Blessed is the man whom the affairs of the world have failed to deter from recognizing Him Who is the Lord of all things.

So blind hath become the human heart that neither the disruption of the city, nor the reduction of the mountain in dust, nor even the cleaving of the earth, can shake off its torpor. The allusions made in the Scriptures have been unfolded, and the signs recorded therein have been revealed, and the prophetic cry is continually being raised. And yet all, except such as God was pleased to guide, are bewildered in the drunkenness of their heedlessness!

Witness how the world is being afflicted with a fresh calamity every day. Its tribulation is continually deepening. From the moment the Súriy-i-Ra’ís (Tablet to Ra’ís) was revealed until the present day, neither hath the world been tranquillized, nor have the hearts of its peoples been at rest. At one time it hath been agitated by contentions and disputes, at another it hath been convulsed by wars, and fallen a victim to inveterate diseases. Its sickness is approaching the stage of utter hopelessness, inasmuch as the true Physician is debarred from administering the remedy, whilst unskilled practitioners are regarded with favor, and are accorded full freedom to act. …The dust of sedition hath clouded the hearts of men, and blinded their eyes. Erelong, they will perceive the consequences of what their hands have wrought in the Day of God. Thus warneth you He Who is the All-Informed, as bidden by One Who is the Most Powerful, the Almighty.

Baha’u’llah – Gleanings #XVI

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These were the very words and utterances used by the pagan Arabs living in the days of Muḥammad to dispute with and pronounce judgement against Him. They said: “Those who believed in Muḥammad dwelt in our midst and associated with us day and night. When did they die and when were they raised again to life?” Hearken unto that which was revealed in reply: “If ever thou dost marvel, marvellous surely is their saying, ‘What! When we have become dust and mouldering bones, shall we be restored in a new creation?’”And in another passage: “And if thou shouldst say, ‘After death ye shall surely be raised again’, the infidels will certainly exclaim, ‘This is naught but palpable sorcery.’”Thus did they mock and deride Him, for they had read in their Books and heard from their divines the terms “life” and “death”, and understood them as this elemental life and physical death, and hence when they found not that which their vain imaginings and their false and wicked minds had conceived, they hoisted the banners of discord and the standards of sedition and kindled the flame of war. God, however, quenched it through the power of His might, as thou seest again in this day with these infidels and evil-doers.

Baha’u’llah – Gems of Divine Mysteries (Javáhiru’l-Asrár)

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O Shaykh! We had seized the reins of authority by the power of God and His Divine might, as He alone can seize, Who is the Mighty, the Strong. None had the power to stir up mischief or sedition. Now, however, as they have failed to appreciate this loving-kindness and these bounties, they have been, and will be, afflicted with the retribution which their acts must entail. The State officials, considering the secret progress of the Extended Cord have, from every direction, incited and aided Mine adversaries. In the Great City (Constantinople) they have roused a considerable number of people to oppose this Wronged One. Things have come to such a pass that the officials in that city have acted in a manner which hath brought shame to both the government and the people. A distinguished siyyid, whose well-known integrity, acceptable conduct, and commercial reputation, were recognized by the majority of fair-minded men, and who was regarded by all as a highly honored merchant, once visited Beirut. In view of his friendship for this Wronged One they telegraphed the Persian Dragoman informing him that this siyyid, assisted by his servant, had stolen a sum of money and other things and gone to ‘Akká. Their design in this matter was to dishonor this Wronged One. And yet, far be it from the people of this country to allow themselves to be deflected, by these unseemly tales, from the straight path of uprightness and truth. Briefly, they have assaulted Me from every side, and are reinforcing Mine adversaries. This Wronged One, however, beseecheth the one true God to graciously assist every one in that which beseemeth these days. Day and night I fix My gaze on these perspicuous words, and recite: “O God, my God! I beseech Thee by the sun of Thy grace, and the sea of Thy knowledge, and the heaven of Thy justice, to aid them that have denied Thee to confess, and such as have turned aside from Thee to return, and those who have calumniated Thee to be just and fair-minded. Assist them, O my Lord, to return unto Thee, and to repent before the door of Thy grace. Powerful art Thou to do what Thou willest, and in Thy grasp are the reins of all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. Praise be unto God, the Lord of the worlds.”

Baha’u’llah – Epistle to the Son of the Wolf

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O ye faithful friends, O ye sincere servants of Bahá’u’lláh! Now, in the midwatches of the night, when eyes are closed in slumber and all have laid their heads upon the couch of rest and deep sleep, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is wakeful within the precincts of the Hallowed Shrine and, in the ardour of his invocation uttereth this, his prayer:

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O Thou kind and loving Providence! The east is astir and the west surgeth even as the eternal billows of the sea. The gentle breezes of holiness are diffused and, from the Unseen Kingdom, the rays of the Orb of Truth shine forth resplendent. The anthems of divine unity are being chanted and the ensigns of celestial might are waving. The angelic Voice is raised and, even as the roaring of the leviathan, soundeth the call to selflessness and evanescence. The triumphal cry Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá resoundeth on every side, and the call Yá ‘Alíyyu’l-A‘lá ringeth throughout all regions. No stir is there in the world save that of the Glory of the One Ravisher of Hearts, and no tumult is there save the surging of the love of Him, the Incomparable, the Well-Beloved.

The beloved of the Lord, with their musk-scented breath, burn like bright candles in every clime, and the friends of the All-Merciful, even as unfolding flowers, can be found in all regions. Not for a moment do they rest; they breathe not but in remembrance of Thee, and crave naught but to serve Thy Cause. In the meadows of truth they are as sweet-singing nightingales, and in the flower-garden of guidance they are even as brightly-coloured blossoms. With mystic flowers they adorn the walks of the Garden of Reality; as swaying cypresses they line the riverbanks of the Divine Will. Above the horizon of being they shine as radiant stars; in the firmament of the world they gleam as resplendent orbs. Manifestations of celestial grace are they, and daysprings of the light of divine assistance.

Grant, O Thou Loving Lord, that all may stand firm and steadfast, shining with everlasting splendour, so that, at every breath, gentle breezes may blow from the bowers of Thy loving-kindness, that from the ocean of Thy grace a mist may rise, that the kindly showers of Thy love may bestow freshness, and the zephyr waft its perfume from the rose garden of divine unity.

Vouchsafe, O Best Beloved of the World, a ray from Thy Splendour. O Well-Beloved of mankind, shed upon us the light of Thy Countenance.

O God Omnipotent, do Thou shield us and be our refuge and, O Lord of Being, show forth Thy might and Thy dominion.

O Thou loving Lord, the movers of sedition are in some regions astir and active, and by night and day are inflicting a grievous wrong.

Even as wolves, tyrants are lying in wait, and the wronged, innocent flock hath neither help nor succour. Hounds are on the trail of the gazelles of the fields of divine unity, and the pheasant in the mountains of heavenly guidance is pursued by the ravens of envy.

O Thou divine Providence, preserve and protect us! O Thou Who art our Shield, save us and defend us! Keep us beneath Thy Shelter, and by Thy Help save us from all ills. Thou art, indeed, the True Protector, the Unseen Guardian, the Celestial Preserver, and the Heavenly Loving Lord.

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O ye beloved of the Lord! On one side the standard of the One True God is unfurled and the Voice of the Kingdom raised. The Cause of God is spreading, and manifest in splendour are the wonders from on high. The east is illumined and the west perfumed; fragrant with ambergris is the north, and musk-scented the south.

On the other side the faithless wax in hate and rancour, ceaselessly stirring up grievous sedition and mischief. No day goeth by but someone raiseth the standard of revolt and spurreth his charger into the arena of discord. No hour passeth but the vile adder bareth its fangs and scattereth its deadly venom.

The beloved of the Lord are wrapped in utter sincerity and devotion, unmindful of this rancour and malice. Smooth and insidious are these snakes, these whisperers of evil, artful in their craft and guile. Be ye on your guard and ever wakeful! Quick-witted and keen of intellect are the faithful, and firm and steadfast are the assured. Act ye with all circumspection!

‘Fear ye the sagacity of the faithful, for he seeth with the divine light!’

Beware lest any soul privily cause disruption or stir up strife. In the Impregnable Stronghold be ye brave warriors, and for the Mighty Mansion a valiant host. Exercise the utmost care, and day and night be on your guard, that thereby the tyrant may inflict no harm.

Study the Tablet of the Holy Mariner that ye may know the truth and consider that the Blessed Beauty hath fully foretold future events. Let them who perceive take warning. Verily in this is a bounty for the sincere!

Even as dust upon the Sacred Threshold, in utter humility and lowliness, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is engaged in the promulgation of His signs in the daytime and in the night season. Whensoever he findeth time he prayeth ardently, and beseecheth Him tearfully and fervently, saying:

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O Thou divine Providence, pitiful are we, grant us Thy succour; homeless wanderers, give us Thy shelter; scattered, do Thou unite us; astray, gather us to Thy fold; bereft, do Thou bestow upon us a share and portion; athirst, lead us to the well-spring of Life; frail, strengthen us that we may arise to help Thy Cause and offer ourselves as a living sacrifice in the pathway of guidance.

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The faithless, however, by day and night, openly and privily do their utmost to shake the foundations of the Cause, to root out the Blessed Tree, to deprive this servant of service, to kindle secret sedition and strife and to annihilate ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Outwardly they appear as sheep, yet inwardly they are naught but ravening wolves. Sweet in words, they are but at heart a deadly poison.

O ye beloved ones, guard the Cause of God! Let no sweetness of tongue beguile you—nay, rather consider the motive of every soul, and ponder the thought he cherisheth. Be ye straightway mindful and on your guard. Avoid him, yet be not aggressive! Refrain from censure and from slander, and leave him in the Hand of God. Upon you rest the Glory of Glories.

Abdu’l-Baha’ – Selections #233

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When we review history from the beginning of human existence to the present age in which we live, it is evident all war and conflict, bloodshed and battle, every form of sedition has been due to some form of prejudice—whether religious, racial or national—to partisan bias and selfish prejudice of some sort. Even today we witness an upheaval in the Balkans, a war of religious prejudice. Some years ago when I was living in Rumelia, war broke out among the religious peoples. There was no attitude of justice or equity whatever amongst them. They pillaged the properties of each other, burning each others’ homes and houses, slaughtering men, women and children, imagining that such warfare and bloodshed was the means of drawing near to God. This clearly proved that prejudice is a destroyer of the foundations of the world of humanity, whereas religion was meant to be the cause of fellowship and agreement.

Abdu’l-Baha’ – The Promulgation of Universal Peace, 7 October 1912

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The first teaching is that man should investigate reality, for reality is contrary to dogmatic interpretations and imitations of ancestral forms of belief to which all nations and peoples adhere so tenaciously. These blind imitations are contrary to the fundamental basis of the divine religions, for the divine religions in their central and essential teaching are based upon unity, love and peace, whereas these variations and imitations have ever been productive of warfare, sedition and strife. Therefore, all souls should consider it incumbent upon them to investigate reality. Reality is one; and when found, it will unify all mankind. Reality is the love of God. Reality is the knowledge of God. Reality is justice. Reality is the oneness or solidarity of mankind. Reality is international peace. Reality is the knowledge of verities. Reality unifies humanity.

Abdu’l-Baha’ – The Promulgation of Universal Peace, 25 October 1912

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The purpose of this is to explain that the darkness of imitations encompasses the world. Every nation is holding to its traditional religious forms. The light of reality is obscured. Were these various nations to investigate reality, there is no doubt they would attain to it. As reality is one, all nations would then become as one nation. So long as they adhere to various imitations and are deprived of reality, strife and warfare will continue and rancor and sedition prevail. If they investigate reality, neither enmity nor rancor will remain, and they will attain to the utmost concord among themselves.

Abdu’l-Baha’ – The Promulgation of Universal Peace, 5 July 1912

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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.

Abdu’l-Baha’ – The Promulgation of Universal Peace, 23 July 1912

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Chazon Nahum

Baha’i Month: Honor 1, 179 B.E. (12/31/2022)

Friday, December 30th, 2022

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All praise, O my God, be to Thee Who art the Source of all glory and majesty, of greatness and honor, of sovereignty and dominion, of loftiness and grace, of awe and power. Whomsoever Thou willest Thou causest to draw nigh unto the Most Great Ocean, and on whomsoever Thou desirest Thou conferrest the honor of recognizing Thy Most Ancient Name. Of all who are in heaven and on earth, none can withstand the operation of Thy sovereign Will. From all eternity Thou didst rule the entire creation, and Thou wilt continue for evermore to exercise Thy dominion over all created things. There is none other God but Thee, the Almighty, The Most Exalted, the All-Powerful, the All-Wise.

Illumine, O Lord, the faces of Thy servants, that they may behold Thee; and cleanse their hearts that they may turn unto the court of Thy heavenly favors, and recognize Him Who is the Manifestation of Thy Self and the Dayspring of Thine Essence. Verily, Thou art the Lord of all worlds. There is no God but Thee, the Unconstrained, the All-Subduing.

Prayer revealed by Baha’u’llah

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Baha’i Sabbath: Masa’il 5, 179 B.E. (12/16/2022)

Friday, December 16th, 2022

My God, my Adored One, my King, my Desire! What tongue can voice my thanks to Thee? I was heedless, Thou didst awaken me. I had turned back from Thee, Thou didst graciously 20 aid me to turn towards Thee. I was as one dead, Thou didst quicken me with the water of life. I was withered, Thou didst revive me with the heavenly stream of Thine utterance which hath flowed forth from the Pen of the All-Merciful.

O Divine Providence! All existence is begotten by Thy bounty; deprive it not of the waters of Thy generosity, neither do Thou withhold it from the ocean of Thy mercy. I beseech Thee to aid and assist me at all times and under all conditions, and seek from the heaven of Thy grace Thine ancient favor. Thou art, in truth, the Lord of bounty, and the Sovereign of the kingdom of eternity.

Baha’u’llah-Prayers and Meditations #CLXXIII

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Praise be to God, the hosts of the Supreme Concourse secure the victory and the power of the Kingdom is ready to assist and to support. Should ye at every instant loose the tongue in thanksgiving and gratitude, ye would not be able to discharge yourselves of the obligation of gratitude for these bestowals.

Abdu’l-Baha’-Selections #68

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Say: ‘O my God! Wert Thou to create in every limb of my body tongues speaking, in the most eloquent of languages, pure clear meanings, far surpassing the limitations of signs and allusions, and were these tongues to praise Thee and thank Thee throughout ages and cycles, yet would they fail to discharge the full measure of gratitude I owe Thee for Thy grace and bounty in having enabled me to believe in the Manifestation of Thy Divine mercy, the Day-spring of Thy oneness, the Dawning-place of Thy mighty signs and the Repository of the secrets of Thy transcendent sovereignty in the midmost heart of the world. “And by whichsoever ye call upon Him, most beauteous are His Names” (17:110). Likewise would they fail befittingly to fulfil the debt of thanks I owe Thee for having removed from my eyes the veil that obstructed my vision, for having caused me to hearken to the melodies of the Birds of Holiness upon the branches of the Tree of Immortality and for having given me to quaff the pure water of the camphor cup from the hand of the Cupbearer of Thy gracious providence in this most great, this most exalted, most holy, blessed and august Manifestation.’

Abdu’l-Bha’-Tablet of the Universe (Lawh-i-Aflákiyyih)

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O thou maid-servant of God!

In these times thanksgiving for the bounty of the Merciful One consists in the illumination of the heart and the feeling of the soul. This is the reality of thanksgiving. But, although offering thanks through speech or writings is approvable, yet, in comparison with that, it is but unreal, for the foundation is spiritual feelings and merciful sentiments. I hope that you may be favored therewith. But the lack of capacity and merit in the Day of Judgment does not prevent one from bounty and generosity, for it is the day of grace and not justice, and to give every one his due is justice. Consequently, do not look upon thy capacity, nay, rather, look upon the infinite grace of the Bounty of Abha who grace is comprehending and whose bounty is perfect.

Abdu’l-Baha’-Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha’ Abbas, pg. 243

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Thankfulness is of various kinds. There is a verbal thanksgiving which is confined to a mere utterance of gratitude. This is of no importance because perchance the tongue may give thanks while the heart is unaware of it. Many who offer thanks to God are of this type, their spirits and hearts unconscious of thanksgiving. This is mere usage, just as when we meet, receive a gift and say thank you, speaking the words without significance. One may say thank you a thousand times while the heart remains thankless, ungrateful. Therefore, mere verbal thanksgiving is without effect. But real thankfulness is a cordial giving of thanks from the heart. When man in response to the favors of God manifests susceptibilities of conscience, the heart is happy, the spirit is exhilarated. These spiritual susceptibilities are ideal thanksgiving.

There is a cordial thanksgiving, too, which expresses itself in the deeds and actions of man when his heart is filled with gratitude. For example, God has conferred upon man the gift of guidance, and in thankfulness for this great gift certain deeds must emanate from him. To express his gratitude for the favors of God man must show forth praiseworthy actions. In response to these bestowals he must render good deeds, be self-sacrificing, loving the servants of God, forfeiting even life for them, showing kindness to all the creatures. He must be severed from the world, attracted to the Kingdom of Abhá, the face radiant, the tongue eloquent, the ear attentive, striving day and night to attain the good pleasure of God. Whatsoever he wishes to do must be in harmony with the good pleasure of God. He must observe and see what is the will of God and act accordingly. There can be no doubt that such commendable deeds are thankfulness for the favors of God.

Abdu’l-Baha’-The Promulgation of Universal Peace, July 15, 1912

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Baha’i Month: Masa’il/Questions 1, 179 B.E. (12/12/2022)

Monday, December 12th, 2022

Praise be to God Who hath ever caused His Names and Attributes to penetrate the degrees of existence; Who hath made the effects of those Names and Attributes to shine resplendent and their signs to be firmly established in both the hidden and manifest worlds. By them He hath made the holy realities that are informed by His grace and are the recipients of His outpourings to be the sole revealers of all that pertaineth unto Him, and hath caused them to move through the firmament of perfection in arcs of descent and ascent. He hath ordained these Names and Attributes to be the first and foremost origin and cause of being in the world of creation and the source of the different grades of realities in the degrees of existence. When, through its power of attraction and propagation, the Day-Star of Names and Attributes shone upon the hidden realities in the heart of the unseen realm, they issued forth, were spread abroad, scattered about, set in order, became the recipients of the grace of God and His outpourings, and were made to be the sole manifestations of the Divine conditions and Eternal signs. Emerging from behind the veils, they appeared clothed in raiments of light, moving in the firmament of the unity of God, in orbits of sanctity and circles of glorification.

Thus the suns of the praise of the one true God moved resplendent in a vast, infinite space, capable neither of being defined by limits nor contained within the compass of signs and allusions. All praise be to Him Who was its Author and Creator, Who spread it out, and adorned it with countless lamps and never-fading luminaries: ‘None knoweth the hosts of thy Lord save Him’ (Qur’an, 74:31). He made the circuits of these luminous divine orbs to be their lofty and celestial spheres; and He made the bodies of these spiritual spheres to be subtle and soft, flowing and liquid, undulating and vibrating, in such manner that these refulgent orbs swim in the circumferences of the spheres, and move in their vast space by the aid of their Creator and Maker, their Ordainer and Fashioner.

Divine and all-encompassing Wisdom hath ordained that motion be an inseparable concomitant of existence, whether inherently or accidentally, spiritually or materially. This movement must be governed by some check or rein, some regulator or director, otherwise order will be disrupted and the spheres and bodies will fall from the heavens. For this reason God brought into being a universal attractive force between these bodies to hold sway over them and govern them, a force deriving from the firm ties, the mighty correspondence and affinity that exist between the realities of these limitless worlds. By the operation of this attractive force those holy and resplendent suns, with their luminous worlds, satellites and planets, circling and orbiting in their heavens, at once exerted attraction and were subject to it, induced motion and were themselves moved, began orbiting and set into orbit other bodies, shone forth and caused others to shine. In this manner they became arranged in a perfectly ordered system, each one a handiwork of consummate fashioning and manifest beauty, each one an enduring creation and a conclusive proof. Glory be to Him Who attracted them, laid firm hold on them, imbued them with effulgence, ordered them and set them in motion; and far from His glory be that which any of his creatures can affirm of Him or attribute to Him.

O thou the recipient of overflowing bounties from the billowing, the surging, the Most Great Ocean, whose waves beat against the shores of the nations. Blessed art thou inasmuch as thou hast sought the shelter of the strong Pillar and taken refuge in the impregnable Stronghold, the station of complete servitude to thy Glorious and All-Praised Lord. Thou hast rid thyself of baseless suppositions and sanctified thyself from intellectual imaginings, hastening to the fountain-head of truths and mysteries, and thirsting for the well-spring of the river of knowledge where the seas meet and the rivers return.

Know thou that the expressions of the creative hand of God throughout His limitless worlds are themselves limitless. Limitations are a characteristic of the finite, and restriction is a quality of existent things, not of the reality of existence.

This being the case, how can one, without proof or testimony, conceive of creation being bound by limits? Gaze with penetrating vision into this new cycle. Hast thou seen any matter in which God is bounded by limits which He cannot overstep? Nay, by the excellence of His glory! On the contrary, His tokens have encompassed all things and are sanctified and exalted beyond computation in the world of creation.

These are spiritual truths relating to the spiritual world. In like manner, from these spiritual realities infer truths about the material world. For physical things are signs and imprints of spiritual things; every lower thing is an image and counterpart of a higher thing. Nay, earthly and heavenly, material and spiritual, accidental and essential, particular and universal, structure and foundation, appearance and reality and the essence of all things, both inward and outward — all of these are connected one with another and are interrelated in such a manner that you will find that drops are patterned after seas, and that atoms are structured after suns in proportion to their capacities and potentialities. For particulars in relation to what is below them are universals, and what are great universals in the sight of those whose eyes are veiled are in fact particulars in relation to the realities and beings which are superior to them. Universal and particular are in reality incidental and relative considerations. The mercy of thy Lord, verily, encompasseth all things!

Know then that the all-embracing framework that governs existence includes within its compass every existent being – particular or universal – whether outwardly or inwardly, secretly or openly. Just as particulars are infinite in number, so also universals, on the material plane, and the great realities of the universe are without number and beyond computation. The Dawning Places of Unity, the Daysprings of Singleness and the Suns of Holiness are also sanctified beyond the bounds of number, and the luminous spiritual worlds are exalted above limits and restrictions. In like manner the worlds of bodily existence the mind of no man can reckon nor the understanding of the learned comprehend. Consider the following well-known tradition and examine its meanings indicative of the vastness of the cosmos and its awesome limitless expanse: ‘God, exalted be He, fashioned one hundred thousand, thousand lamps and suspended the Throne, the earth, the heavens and whatsoever is between them, even Heaven and Hell — all of these in a single lamp. And only God knows what is in the rest of the lamps.’ The fact that philosophers and sages have posited limits and restrictions for such matters is to be explained by the limitations of people~s minds and perceptions and the blindness of the followers of allusions, whose natures and intellects have been rendered dull and inanimate by the interposition of many veils.

Every cycle and dispensation has its own distinctive character, its allotted measure of Grace. The realities of things are manifested in a degree proportionate to their stations, ranks, receptivity and capacity. For instance, regard the human reality, its spiritual perfections, the properties and virtues of the soul: their appearance and manifestation, their propagation and growth depend in degree upon the stage of development reached in the course of this earthly life, which ranges from the condition of the primal germ to the highest stations of mature development. The same principle is to be found in the whole of existence, seen and unseen.

Consider this marvelous cycle, this great matchless dispensation and say: Glorified be God, Lord of the Exalted Throne, for He hath manifested the Sun of Oneness and the Eternal Reality from this lofty and majestic, this mighty and ancient Horizon in such wise that when its ardent penetrating rays shone upon the empty worlds and desolate realms the realities of all things and the universal meanings sprang forth and were renewed through its regenerative power the hidden mysteries of the sciences, which discover the divine realities, were made known, and the guarded, preserved Secret and the Hidden Sign became manifest. For this sublime cycle, this most great Dawntide is the dispensation of truths and mysteries, of the gathering-up of the affairs of the Merciful in the centre of lights, and of the appearance of the hidden treasures in the midmost heart of the worlds of Thy Lord, the Almighty, the Unconstrained. In the reality of drops seas of divine verses surge and in the essence of atoms suns of names and attributes are manifest. In our times scientists are discovering in the strata of rocks secrets that their predecessors could not discover in perspicuous tablets of light. That is because in this most great manifestation, without investigation or deduction the gates of revelation and discovery have been thrown wide open.

The birds of men’s thoughts have escaped from the snares of superstitions, and the veils have been rent asunder and removed from those mysteries which previously held sway over men.

As weakness and evanescence are inherent in the nature of the contingent world, it was not possible that it should sustain a complete manifestation of the signs and evidences of this Revelation, which hath shone forth from the Summit of Sinai, except in a gradual manner. For this reason wilt thou discern, when thou dost look about thee with joyful gaze and uplifted vision, the tokens of this great, brilliant Luminary, see the lights of wisdom shining from the horizons on all regions, gather the luminous pearls which are cast forth by this surging, restless and billowing Ocean, and drink from the clear sweet founts which spring forth from the outpourings of this bountiful showering rain-cloud. Blessed is he who hath not been prevented by the intervening veils of profitless and fanciful sciences from beholding the verities of true knowledge and from perceiving its inmost essence in the Day of God. Joy to him who hath removed the veil and gone forth amongst the peoples of the world with penetrating vision when the eyes of all are transfixed in awe at the effulgence of the All-Powerful. Woe to him who on the Day of Judgement is raised up blind, who neglected to remember his most glorious Lord, whose ears were deaf to the call which was raised in this all-highest Paradise.

Prayer

Say: ‘O my God! Wert Thou to create in every limb of my body tongues speaking, in the most eloquent of languages, pure clear meanings, far surpassing the limitations of signs and allusions, and were these tongues to praise Thee and thank Thee throughout ages and cycles, yet would they fail to discharge the full measure of gratitude I owe Thee for Thy grace and bounty in having enabled me to believe in the Manifestation of Thy Divine mercy, the Day-spring of Thy oneness, the Dawning-place of Thy mighty signs and the Repository of the secrets of Thy transcendent sovereignty in the midmost heart of the world. “And by whichsoever ye call upon Him, most beauteous are His Names” (17:110). Likewise would they fail befittingly to fulfil the debt of thanks I owe Thee for having removed from my eyes the veil that obstructed my vision, for having caused me to hearken to the melodies of the Birds of Holiness upon the branches of the Tree of Immortality and for having given me to quaff the pure water of the camphor cup from the hand of the Cupbearer of Thy gracious providence in this most great, this most exalted, most holy, blessed and august Manifestation.’

O thou who wingest thy flight in the spacious realms of the love of God! Know thou that the knowledges and disciplines, the arts and sciences which appeared in previous dispensations, when compared to the divine questions, the eternal verities and the universal mysteries which have become unveiled, manifest and brilliant in their meridian glory in this resplendent Revelation, are nothing more than allusions and metaphors, nay, they are hardly better than superstitious fancies. For the all-embracing universal Reality is, in the eyes of thy Lord, analogous to the all-embracing human reality which passes in the course of its early development through infancy, childhood and youth. Even though these various stages may manifest certain of the characteristics and virtues of man, yet what are these early manifestations in comparison to the perfections of the mind, the truths of the Kingdom and the mysteries of God, with which the reality of man becomes plentifully endowed after reaching maturity — the period of its fullest expression?

For this reason thou must weigh all matters in the balance of this Cause and heed not the idle talk of the blind in heart and those who are captives of delusions and vain imaginations. Such talk is, to those possessed of insight, nothing more than fanciful stories and empty tales. Nay, rather thou shouldst investigate all things in a methodical and scientific way, and by clear proofs, perspicuous signs and incontrovertible evidences, seek to discover the undisclosed verities and the hidden mysteries which are concealed in the inmost heart of the realities of the universe. To those to whom God hath granted insight, whose inner natures are illumined, whose outer natures are refined, whose hearts are pure and whose minds are open and receptive, it is not acceptable, in this great and majestic cycle, to rely unquestioningly on the views of others in matters such as these. Conventional wisdoms and precepts based upon illusion and fancy, and to which no knowledgeable, experienced and intelligent person can reconcile himself, are today, in the sight of the truly learned. nothing more than ‘deranged dreams’.

Praise be to Him Who hath illumined men’s minds with the light of truth shining forth from the Dawning-place of Revelation. Glorified be the Lord of Majesty for breaking down the barriers, tearing asunder the veils, dispelling the darkness, bursting the chains of allusion, cleaving the fetters of imagination, freeing men’s minds from the tyranny of conjecture, and liberating the birds of thought in the apogee of human hearts, so that they may soar with the wings of delight in the worlds of existence and with penetrating insight rend the veils woven by the spiders of fancy in these lofty chambers and high pavilions.

Know then, with regard to the mathematical sciences, that it was only in this distinguished age, this great century, that their scope was widened, their unresolved difficulties solved, their rules systematized, and their diversity realized. The discoveries made by earlier philosophers and the views they held were not established upon a firm basis or a sound foundation for they wished to confine the worlds of God within the smallest compass and narrowest limit and were quite unable to conceive what lay beyond; even claiming that there was neither void nor matter, but merely nothingness. This view is at variance with and contrary to all the divine truths and heavenly secrets. Indeed, if thou dost compare the ideal world to the human world and apply spiritual principles to physical matters thou wilt discover that this view is flimsier than a spider’s web, because, just as the luminous spiritual worlds are sanctified above computation or limitation, so too are the physical worlds in this vast immensity of space. This is a secret of which God hath apprised His servants through His grace and mercy in order to demonstrate the idleness of the fancies of those who disbelieve in God, and to expose the baselessness of the arguments of those who are wandering blindly in their heedlessness, that the edifice they have built out of their vain imaginings may crumble and their profitless pursuits be discredited and fall into disrepute.

For their eyes have been blinded from beholding the worlds of God and their minds have fallen short of comprehending the mysteries of the Kingdom in this resplendent Vision. They believed that these worlds were contained in this small circuit, which in relation to the worlds of God is of no more account than the black in the eye of an ant in an infinity of space, even as He saith, and He speaketh the truth: ‘None knoweth the hosts of thy Lord, save Him.’

With regard to that which hath been mentioned concerning the seven spheres and the seven heavens referred to in the Books revealed by the Dawning-places of Light and Repositories of Secrets in previous ages, such references were dictated by the conventional wisdom prevailing in those times, for every cycle hath its own characteristics which are determined by the capacities of the people and their readiness to accept fresh revelations of the truth from behind the veil. All things are ordained by God according to a given measure. When the Prophets spoke of the celestial spheres what they intended was no more than the orbits of the planets falling within that greater world that embraces the sun and its attendant planetary system. For the planets circling this sun are in seven degrees in respect to mass, volume, visibility and brilliancy. The orbit of the first of these is one of the spheres of this solar world and one of the heavens of finite extent that falls within the circumference of this all-encompassing circle. The same pattern is true for all the brilliant stars shining in the face of the heavens, every one of which is a sun with its own solar world containing planets and satellites. When thou gazeth at the planets with the naked eye, without the interposition of magnifying mirrors, they will appear to be in seven degrees. The orbit or circuit of each of these degrees is an upraised heaven and an encircling sphere in the world of existence.

Know then that, as hath been clearly handed down in the accounts of old, these great orbits and circuits fall within subtle, fluid, clear, liquid, undulating and vibrating bodies, and that the heavens are a restrained wave because a void is impossible and inconceivable. All that may be said is that the celestial bodies and the material bodies of the ethereal regions differ in respect of some of the substances and elements from which they are constituted, the quantities and proportions of these that go into their composition, the peculiar characteristics causing the difference in the outward effects of these bodies, and the properties that emanate from them in rich abundance. The celestial bodies that surround the material bodies also differ one from another in respect of subtlety, fluidity, and weight. It cannot be otherwise for a void is impossible.

The existence of a container implies the existence of something contained; what is contained can hardly be other than a body, but the bodies of the celestial spheres are in the utmost degree of subtlety, lightness and fluidity as bodies may be of diverse kinds: solid like rocks, malleable like metals and minerals, fluid like water and air. Lighter still they may be of a kind that ascends heavenwards, such as that which is used in dirigibles; and lighter than all of these are fire, electricity and lightning. All of these are bodies in reality, but some of them are weightless. In like manner thy Lord hath created in these vast heavens manifold bodies without limit or number, which the minds of men can neither compute nor encompass. Souls are bewildered when they attempt to understand them and confounded by a mere glimpse of them.

As for those who claim that the celestial spheres are massive, solid and contiguous with each other; that they are glassy, transparent and penetrable to the light of other bodies; capable of neither being cleft asunder nor welded back together; forever impermeable and imperishable — these thoughts are mere suppositions and surmises made by people who have not understood the meaning of the brilliant verse that clearly states: ‘All swim in a celestial sphere’ (21:34, 36:40). The import of this verse is clear inasmuch as the act of swimming cannot be conceived of except in yielding, fluid, liquid bodies, and is quite impossible in solid, resistant bodies. Look, then, with discerning vision into this clear, conclusive and manifest proof.

Consider the fancies of the philosophers and observe how they wandered distractedly in the wilderness of philosophical preconceptions and erroneous beliefs for which the Mighty, Self-Subsistent King hath sent down no proof. As for the view that the earth revolves around the sun, that it is one of the bright planets of this solar system, and that the diurnal movement that brings about sunrise and sunset is caused by the rotation of the earth about its axis — these are not modern ideas nor discoveries of recent times. On the contrary, the first person to state that the earth moved about the sun was the sage Pythagoras, one of the five pillars of wisdom, a defender of its sanctuary and unfolder of its secrets. He it was who recognized this truth 500 years before the advent of Christ and reasoned that the sun was a center in relation to the earth, because of its fieriness. He was followed in this view by the philosopher Plato in his latter days. Aristarchus composed a treatise in 280 B.C. in which he affirmed that the earth revolves about the sun and around its own axis. However, he did not found this view upon clear evidences, convincing arguments, and positive proofs derived from the laws of geometry and the principles of mathematics; rather he based it on a mere presentiment, an apprehension, an intuition. Most of the sages of old, though, because they viewed the visible world with their physical eyes and perceived it with their outward senses only, when they observed the stars and the heavenly bodies, concluded that it was the sun that was in motion and the earth that was still. Among them was the Alexandrian, Ptolemy, Roman citizen, renowned for his knowledge of astronomy and history. He was a professor at the school of Alexandria in the second century A.D. He chose the foundation of his system from a body of ancient principles, founded upon it his observations, and drew up an almanac based on the idea that the sun is in motion and the earth is still. Because of the sway and influence of the Roman people and their dominion over all nations, his system became well-known and the fame of his almanac and astronomical observations spread far and wide throughout the earth. He wrote a book on the science of astronomy and mathematics called Almagest.

In the first centuries of Islam, Al-Farabi translated this book into Arabic, and the views it propounded became well known to Muslim scholars. These views they followed and imitated without careful scrutiny and investigation and without fully comprehending the meanings of some of the Divine verses. For He hath said, and His word is the truth: ‘All swim in a celestial sphere.’ In this blessed verse it was clearly established that all the brilliant stars and heavenly bodies throughout the expanse of these lofty heavens, this vast, limitless space, and this earth too, are in motion, travelling in their orbits and swimming in their spheres and circuits. ~lore grave than their misinterpretation of the preceding verse was the inadequacy of their attempts to interpret the other blessed verse, which indicates that the sun moves about its own center and axis. He hath said: ‘And the sun moves in a fixed place of its own’ (36:38). Their minds were baffled, their souls perplexed, and their faculties unequal to the task of perceiving its meanings, for they wished to make it conform to the rules of Ptolemy, mentioned above, and to harmonize it with the almanac which he had drawn up. They were not, however, able to reconcile the two texts and for this reason had to have recourse to implausible explanations, such as the claim advanced by some that the words ‘in a fixed place of its own’ were originally ‘it has no fixed place’, the word for ‘in’ having become mistakenly confused with the word for ‘no’ [in the Arabic text]; or the claim made by others that by ‘fixed place’ is meant the Day of Judgement, at which time the sun will cease from its orbiting and motion — this despite the fact that it is plainly stated in this verse that the sun’s motion is about its own axis and center.

Know then that those mathematical questions which have stood the test of scrutiny and about the soundness of which there is no doubt are those that are supported by incontrovertible and logically binding proofs and by the rules of geometry as applied to astronomy; that are based on observations of the stars and careful astronomical research, and are in conformity with the principles of the universal themes expounded in the divine sciences. For it is by applying the outward world to the inner, the high to the low, the small to the large, the general to the particular that, with abundant clearness, it becometh apparent that the new rules arrived at by the science of astronomy are in closer accord with the universal divine principles than the other erroneous theories and propositions, as we have explained and illustrated.

The observations of Copernicus and his almanac have been more accurately compiled and more thoroughly and carefully researched than the other almanacs. Living at the turn of the fifteenth century A.D., he pursued his astronomical observations for a period of 36 years before publicly announcing the now famous system of laws that were the fruit of his studies; and were it not for our wish to be brief and concise we would have explained for thee the details of the system and summarized its repercussions. The guidance we have given on this subject, however, is sufficient for those with a seeing eye and clear insight.

Prayer

Say: Exalted be the Self-Subsistent King, by Whose manifestation the veil of fancy hath been torn asunder; by which the sincere ones have dispensed with all else but Him through love for His manifest Beauty, a Beauty that revealeth the realities of things, seen and unseen, and exposeth the fanciful misconceptions and erroneous beliefs in the sciences; by which those that long to behold His Face have become apprised of the Hidden Secret, the Concealed and Treasured Symbol; by which they have soared on the wings of penetrating vision to the apex of reunion, the well-spring of happiness, and the station of blissful contentment, heard the sweet melodies of the birds on the boughs of the forests of revelation, bathed at the pure spring, drunk from the oceans of life in the world of light, and become intoxicated from the cup tempered at the camphor fountain in this manifest and resplendent Day, calling on their Lord in soul-entrancing accents, the like of which ear hath not heard amidst the gardens and meadows of Paradise, saying: ‘I call upon Thee, O my God and my Beloved, with the tongue of my inmost spirit, with my face set towards the Day-Spring of Thy Unity and the Dawning-Place of the Sun of Thy Sublime Oneness, sweetening my breath with praise of Thee and thanks to the Center of Thy Divine mercy, for having created me, undeserving as I am, by Thy heavenly favor, in this majestic cycle and unique manifestation. For this is the Day which Thou hast singled out from amongst all ages for the dawning of the Sun of Thy Truth, whose brilliant rays illumine all the horizons, the Day in which Thou hast showered forth Thy grace, made perfect Thy proof and fulfilled Thy testimony, the Day in which Thou hast perfected Thy bestowals and bounties unto such of Thy creatures as are wholly devoted unto Thee. Verily, Thou hast honored them by attainment to that Day for which the chosen ones of God, i~ the remoteness of their separation, would have sacrificed their spirits, yearning to inhale a single breath of the fragrances spread abroad in such a Day, and longing to behold traces of the lights that shine forth above its heaven.

Thou, in truth, hast crowned me, through Thy gracious favor, in the midmost heart of creation, with this luminous diadem and seated me upon the throne of Thy love amidst all the peoples of the earth. And Thou hast aided me to remain steadfast in Thy Cause, through which the mightiest powers amongst the concourse of thy creation were made to shake and tremble, and the foundations of all beings in the realms of invention and creation to quake. I ask Thee, O King of the seen and the unseen, by Thine Ancient Beauty and the radiance of Thy Holy Countenance and Wondrous Being, to preserve us from vain imaginings and evil whisperings, and to assist us to be persevering and constant, firm and unwavering in Thy Cause. Thou, verily, art the Great Giver, the All-Bountiful, the Most Compassionate!’

Tablet of the Universe (Lawh-i-Aflákiyyih)

by Abdu’l-Bahá

(Provisional Translation)

 

Baha’i Sabbath: Qawl 17, 179 B.E. (12/9/2022)

Friday, December 9th, 2022

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O THOU who art turning thy face towards God! Close thine eyes to all things else, and open them to the realm of the All-Glorious. Ask whatsoever thou wishest of Him alone; seek whatsoever thou seekest from Him alone. With a look He granteth a hundred thousand hopes, with a glance He healeth a hundred thousand incurable ills, with a nod He layeth balm on every wound, with a glimpse He freeth the hearts from the shackles of grief. He doeth as He doeth, and what recourse have we? He carrieth out His Will, He ordaineth what He pleaseth. Then better for thee to bow down thy head in submission, and put thy trust in the All-Merciful Lord.

Abdul-Baha’-Selections #22

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