Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Baha'i Fast March 2-20 in Asheboro NC

March 2009
Asheboro, North Carolina

Sunrise: 6:49am
Sunset: 6:13pm

Sunrise: 6:48am
Sunset: 6:14pm

Sunrise: 6:46am
Sunset: 6:15pm

Sunrise: 6:45am
Sunset: 6:16pm

Sunrise: 6:44am
Sunset: 6:17pm

Sunrise: 6:42am
Sunset: 6:18pm

Sunrise: 6:41am
Sunset: 6:19pm
8DST Begins

Sunrise: 7:40am
Sunset: 7:20pm

Sunrise: 7:38am
Sunset: 7:20pm

Sunrise: 7:37am
Sunset: 7:21pm

Sunrise: 7:35am
Sunset: 7:22pm

Sunrise: 7:34am
Sunset: 7:23pm

Sunrise: 7:33am
Sunset: 7:24pm

Sunrise: 7:31am
Sunset: 7:25pm

Sunrise: 7:30am
Sunset: 7:26pm

Sunrise: 7:28am
Sunset: 7:26pm

Sunrise: 7:27am
Sunset: 7:27pm

Sunrise: 7:26am
Sunset: 7:28pm

Sunrise: 7:24am
Sunset: 7:29pm

Sunrise: 7:23am
Sunset: 7:30pm

Sunrise: 7:21am
Sunset: 7:31pm

Sunrise: 7:20am
Sunset: 7:32pm

Sunrise: 7:18am
Sunset: 7:32pm

Sunrise: 7:17am
Sunset: 7:33pm

Sunrise: 7:16am
Sunset: 7:34pm

Sunrise: 7:14am
Sunset: 7:35pm

Sunrise: 7:13am
Sunset: 7:36pm

Sunrise: 7:11am
Sunset: 7:37pm

Sunrise: 7:10am
Sunset: 7:37pm

Sunrise: 7:08am
Sunset: 7:38pm

Sunrise: 7:07am
Sunset: 7:39pm
Courtesy of
 Copyright © 2001-2006 Steve Edwards

"Make My love thy treasure and cherish it..."

"O BEFRIENDED STRANGER! The candle of thine heart is lighted by the hand of My power, quench it not with the contrary winds of self and passion. The healer of all thine ills is remembrance of Me, forget it not. Make My love thy treasure and cherish it even as thy very sight and life."
-Baha'u'llah, The Hidden Words of Baha'u'llah #32 Persian

Friday, February 27, 2009

..."show that love through deeds and not through the tongue..."

"Love ye all religions and all races with a love that is true and sincere and show that love through deeds and not through the tongue; for the latter hath no importance, as the majority of men are, in speech, well-wishers, while action is the best."
-'Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 68

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Happy Ayyam-i-Ha!

Baha'is celebrate the festival of Ayyam-i-Ha each year from sunset on Feb. 25 to sunset of March 1 as a preparation for the Fast, which begins March 2 and ends March 20. During Ayyam-i-Ha, members of the Faith perform acts of charity, give gifts to friends and family, and attend social gatherings.

Baha'u'llah has said of Ayyam-i-Ha: "It behoveth the people of Baha, throughout these days, to provide good cheer for themselves, their kindred and, beyond them, the poor and needy, and with joy and exultation to hail and glorify their Lord, to sing His praise and magnify His Name."

"The Valley of True Poverty and Absolute Nothingness."

"This station is the dying from self and the living in God, the being poor in self and rich in the Desired One. Poverty as here referred to signifieth being poor in the things of the created world, rich in the things of God’s world. For when the true lover and devoted friend reacheth to the presence of the Beloved, the sparkling beauty of the Loved One and the fire of the lover’s heart will kindle a blaze and burn away all veils and wrappings. Yea, all he hath, from heart to skin, will be set aflame, so that nothing will remain save the Friend."

'When the qualities of the Ancient of Days stood revealed,
Then the qualities of earthly things did Moses burn away.' (fromThe Mathnaví)

-Baha'u'llah, The Seven Valleys of Baha'u'llah, p. 36

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Man is, so to speak, unripe: the heat of the fire of suffering will mature him."

"Does the soul progress more through sorrow or through the joy in this world?" --The mind and spirit of man advance when he is tried by suffering. The more the ground is ploughed the better the seed will grow, the better the harvest will be. Just as the plough furrows the earth deeply, purifying it of weeds and thistles, so suffering and tribulation free man from the petty affairs of this worldly life until he arrives at a state of complete detachment. His attitude in this world will be that of divine happiness. Man is, so to speak, unripe: the heat of the fire of suffering will mature him. Look back to the times past and you will find that the greatest men have suffered most."

-‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p.178-179

Frank McKelvey RMA

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Baha'i Leaders on Trial in Iran

Latest news on persecution of Baha'is of Iran:

"Bahá’u’lláh has proclaimed the oneness of the world of humanity."

"But there is need of a superior power to overcome human prejudices, a power which nothing in the world of mankind can withstand and which will overshadow the effect of all other forces at work in human conditions. That irresistible power is the love of God. It is my hope and prayer that it may destroy the prejudice of this one point of distinction between you and unite you all permanently under its hallowed protection. Bahá’u’lláh has proclaimed the oneness of the world of humanity. He has caused various nations and divergent creeds to unite. He has declared that difference of race and color is like the variegated beauty of flowers in a garden. If you enter a garden, you will see yellow, white, blue, red flowers in profusion and beauty—each radiant within itself and although different from the others, lending its own charm to them. Racial difference in the human kingdom is similar. If all the flowers in a garden were of the same color, the effect would be monotonous and wearying to the eye."
-'Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 68-69
30 April 1912 - Hull House - Chicago, Illinois

Monday, February 23, 2009

"loose thy soul from the prison of self..."

"O MY SERVANT! Free thyself from the fetters of this world, and loose thy soul from the prison of self. Seize thy chance, for it will come to thee no more."

-Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, #40 Persian

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"That which contains is superior to that which is contained."

"In the Old Testament we read that God said, ‘Let us make man in Our own image’. In the Gospel, Christ said, ‘I am in the Father, and the Father in Me’. In the Qur’án, God says, ‘Man is my Mystery and I am his’. Bahá’u’lláh writes that God says, ‘Thy heart is My home; purify it for My descent. Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation’.
All these sacred words show us that man is made in God’s image: yet the Essence of God is incomprehensible to the human mind, for the finite understanding cannot be applied to this infinite Mystery. God contains all: He cannot be contained. That which contains is superior to that which is contained. The whole is greater than its parts."
-'Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 23-24

Saturday, February 21, 2009

"The whole of mankind is in the grip of manifold ills. "

"The Prophets of God should be regarded as physicians whose task is to foster the well-being of the world and its peoples, that, through the spirit of oneness, they may heal the sickness of a divided humanity. To none is given the right to question their words or disparage their conduct, for they are the only ones who can claim to have understood the patient and to have correctly diagnosed its ailments. No man, however acute his perception, can ever hope to reach the heights which the wisdom and understanding of the Divine Physician have attained. Little wonder, then, if the treatment prescribed by the physician in this day should not be found to be identical with that which he prescribed before. How could it be otherwise when the ills affecting the sufferer necessitate at every stage of his sickness a special remedy? In like manner, every time the Prophets of God have illumined the world with the resplendent radiance of the Day Star of Divine knowledge, they have invariably summoned its peoples to embrace the light of God through such means as best befitted the exigencies of the age in which they appeared. They were thus able to scatter the darkness of ignorance, and to shed upon the world the glory of their own knowledge. It is towards the inmost essence of these Prophets, therefore, that the eye of every man of discernment must be directed, inasmuch as their one and only purpose hath always been to guide the erring, and give peace to the afflicted…. These are not days of prosperity and triumph. The whole of mankind is in the grip of manifold ills. Strive, therefore, to save its life through the wholesome medicine which the almighty hand of the unerring Physician hath prepared."
-Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 80-81

Friday, February 20, 2009

"...traverse a realm which lieth hidden in the innermost reality of this world."

"As to thy question concerning the worlds of God. Know thou of a truth that the worlds of God are countless in their number, and infinite in their range. None can reckon or comprehend them except God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. Consider thy state when asleep. Verily, I say, this phenomenon is the most mysterious of the signs of God amongst men, were they to ponder it in their hearts. Behold how the thing which thou hast seen in thy dream is, after a considerable lapse of time, fully realized. Had the world in which thou didst find thyself in thy dream been identical with the world in which thou livest, it would have been necessary for the event occurring in that dream to have transpired in this world at the very moment of its occurrence. Were it so, you yourself would have borne witness unto it. This being not the case, however, it must necessarily follow that the world in which thou livest is different and apart from that which thou hast experienced in thy dream. This latter world hath neither beginning nor end. It would be true if thou wert to contend that this same world is, as decreed by the All-Glorious and Almighty God, within thy proper self and is wrapped up within thee. It would equally be true to maintain that thy spirit, having transcended the limitations of sleep and having stripped itself of all earthly attachment, hath, by the act of God, been made to traverse a realm which lieth hidden in the innermost reality of this world. Verily I say, the creation of God embraceth worlds besides this world, and creatures apart from these creatures. In each of these worlds He hath ordained things which none can search except Himself, the All-Searching, the All-Wise."
-Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 151-153

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"But the question may be asked: How shall we know God?"

"But the question may be asked: How shall we know God? We know Him by His attributes. We know Him by His signs. We know Him by His names. We know not what the reality of the sun is, but we know the sun by the ray, by the heat, by its efficacy and penetration. We recognize the sun by its bounty and effulgence, but as to what constitutes the reality of the solar energy, that is unknowable to us. The attributes characterizing the sun, however, are knowable. If we wish to come in touch with the reality of Divinity, we do so by recognizing its phenomena, its attributes and traces, which are widespread in the universe. All things in the world of phenomena are expressive of that one reality. Its lights are shining, its heat is manifest, its power is expressive, and its education, or training, resplendent everywhere. What proof could there be greater than that of its functioning or its attributes which are manifest?"
-'Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 422
10 November 1912

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"God has not intended man to imitate blindly his fathers and ancestors."

"Furthermore, know ye that God has created in man the power of reason, whereby man is enabled to investigate reality. God has not intended man to imitate blindly his fathers and ancestors. He has endowed him with mind, or the faculty of reasoning, by the exercise of which he is to investigate and discover the truth, and that which he finds real and true he must accept. He must not be an imitator or blind follower of any soul. He must not rely implicitly upon the opinion of any man without investigation; nay, each soul must seek intelligently and independently, arriving at a real conclusion and bound only by that reality. The greatest cause of bereavement and disheartening in the world of humanity is ignorance based upon blind imitation. It is due to this that wars and battles prevail; from this cause hatred and animosity arise continually among mankind."
-Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 291
29 August 1912

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rainn Wilson CNN editorial on persecution of Iranian Baha'is

(CNN) -- Why is Rainn Wilson, "Dwight" on "The Office," writing a news commentary for CNN? Good question.

It's a bit strange for me, to say the least; a comic character actor best known for playing weirdos with bad haircuts getting all serious to talk about the persecution of the fellow members of his religious faith.

Dear readers of CNN, I assure you that what I'm writing about is no joking matter or some hoax perpetrated by a paper-sellin', bear-fearin', Battlestar-Galactica obsessed beet farmer.

I am a member of the Baha'i faith. What is that, you ask? Well, long story short, it's an independent world religion that began in the mid-1800s in Iran. Baha'is believe that there is only one God and therefore only one religion.

All of the world's divine teachers (Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Moses, Abraham, Krishna, etc.) bring essentially the same message -- one of unity, love and knowledge of God or the divine.

This constantly updated faith of God, Baha'is believe, has been refreshed for this day and age by our founder, Baha'u'llah. There. Nutshell version.

Now, as I mentioned, this all happened in Iran, and needless to say the Muslim authorities did not like the Baha'is very much, accusing them of heresy and apostasy. Tens of thousands were killed in the early years of the faith, and the persecutions have continued off and on for the past 150 years.

Why write about all this now? Well, I'm glad you asked. You see there's a 'trial' going on very soon for seven Baha'i national leaders in Iran.

They've been accused of all manner of things including being "spies for Israel," "insulting religious sanctities" and "propaganda against the Islamic Republic."

They've been held for a year in Evin Prison in Tehran without any access to their lawyer (the Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi) and with zero evidence of any of these charges.

When a similar thing happened in 1980, the national leadership of the Iranian Baha'i community disappeared. And this was repeated again in 1981.

In fact, since 1979, more than 200 Baha'is have been killed, holy places and cemeteries desecrated, homes burned, civil rights taken away and secret lists compiled of Baha'is (and even Muslims who associate with them) by government agencies.

It's bad right now for all the peace-loving Baha'is in Iran who want only to practice their religion and follow their beliefs. It's especially bad for these seven. Here's a link to their bios. They're teachers, and engineers, and optometrists and social workers just like us.

This thought has become kind of a cliché', but we take our rights for granted here in America. Imagine if a group of people were rounded up and imprisoned and then disappeared not for anything they'd done, but because they wanted to worship differently than the majority.

There is a resolution on the situation of the Baha'is in Iran being sent to Congress. Please ask your representatives to support it. And ask them to speak out about this terrible situation.

Thanks for reading. Now back to bears, paper and beets!
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rainn Wilson.

"Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world."

"Say: Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by varying causes, and in this diversity there are signs for men of discernment. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world. It is a dispensation of Providence ordained by the Ordainer, the All-Wise. Were anyone to affirm that it is the Will of God as manifested in the world of being, no one should question this assertion. It is endowed with a power whose reality men of learning fail to grasp. Indeed a man of insight can perceive naught therein save the effulgent splendour of Our Name, the Creator. Say: This is an existence which knoweth no decay, and Nature itself is lost in bewilderment before its revelations, its compelling evidences and its effulgent glory which have encompassed the universe."

-Baha'u'llah. Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 142

Monday, February 16, 2009

"..significance of the outcome of the recent presidential election..."


February 16, 2009

To the American Bahá'í community

Dearly loved Friends,

Your National Spiritual Assembly has reflected on the significance of the outcome of the recent presidential election in light of the Bahá'í teachings about the oneness of humanity and their compelling vision of the destiny of America, and we wish to share the following thoughts.

The election of an African American for the first time to the presidency of the United States is an event that transcends partisan politics. It clearly marks an important new stage in the social evolution of the American people and is an achievement that all Bahá'ís can wholeheartedly celebrate. The citizens of the United States have with this action, as much as with any in the long struggle to combat racial prejudice-the "most vital and challenging issue" confronting the nation-demonstrated their will to embrace more fully the unifying spirit of the age.

The many statements of 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His sojourn in this country nearly a century ago, praising America's material achievements, her spirit of enterprise, and her democratic form of government, still inspire us. Yet He was also uncompromising in His assessment that our nation, sunk in the morass of engrained racial prejudice, materialism, and accelerating moral decay, would go through a long and difficult period of trials that would gradually cleanse these various impurities from its social fabric, thereby preparing it to realize its ultimate destiny to "lead all nations spiritually."

Concerning racial issues, much progress has been made since the beloved Master visited these shores. Undoubtedly, it is in large measure a credit to the courage, leadership, and sacrifice of countless individuals, the persistent efforts of organizations of civil society and of various religious institutions, and the bold actions of judicial and legislative bodies that such progress has been possible. The Bahá'í community also played a role, having striven earnestly for nearly a century to uphold by word and deed, in every region of the country, the pivotal principle of the oneness of humankind.

But there can be no sense of complacency nor any rest. The ideals of justice, equality, and unity have yet to be fully realized; the roots of racial prejudice are old, deep, and widespread. No single victory, political or otherwise, however groundbreaking, is sufficient to remove conditions so intractable and institutionalized.

Bahá'ís believe that the ultimate solution lies in the application of spiritual principle in the lives of individuals, in approaches to community-building, and in the operation of social institutions. People of every age and background can increase their individual and collective capacity to further progress through a learning process that is founded upon essential truths contained in the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. Promising patterns of activity, now emerging in every part of the country and throughout the world, should give us the confidence to strive with even greater urgency to address the needs of humanity.

Our ultimate success in this will depend, as the Universal House of Justice recently reminded us, "on the qualities that distinguish your service to the peoples of the world. So free must be your thoughts and actions of any trace of prejudice-racial, religious, economic, national, tribal, class, or cultural-that even the stranger sees in you loving friends. So high must be your standard of excellence and so pure and chaste your lives that the moral influence you exert penetrates the consciousness of the wider community. Only if you demonstrate the rectitude of conduct to which the writings of the Faith call every soul will you be able to struggle against the myriad forms of corruption, overt and subtle, eating at the vitals of society. Only if you perceive honour and nobility in every human being-this independent of wealth or poverty-will you be able to champion the cause of justice."

Bahá'ís of every race and ethnicity rejoice with our countrymen in this significant step forward. We remain aware of the challenges ahead and are unswervingly committed to facing and overcoming them. We march forward with unshakeable confidence that God's purpose for His children will not be thwarted, and that Bahá'u'lláh's statement of spiritual reality will be fully realized: "The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens."

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

Kenneth E. Bowers

"O My servants! Sorrow not..."

"O My servants! Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane, things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God, for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you. Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes. You are destined by Him, in this world and hereafter, to partake of their benefits, to share in their joys, and to obtain a portion of their sustaining grace. To each and every one of them you will, no doubt, attain."

-Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 329

Bernice Abbott

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Baha'i Leaders Imprisoned and on Trial in Iran

US Condemns Religious Persecution in Iran
By VOA News (Voice of America)
14 February 2009
U.S. officials have condemned Iran's reported decision to try seven members of the Baha'i faith for espionage, saying the charges are "baseless." A U.S. State Department spokesman, Robert Wood, issued a statement on Friday, saying the accusations against those detained are part of the ongoing persecution of Baha'is in Iran. Earlier this week, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported that seven members of the religious group will be prosecuted next week on charges of spying for Israel. They are also accused of "insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic." Baha'i leaders have rejected the allegations and said the accused have never taken part in any political activity. State Department said authorities have detained the Baha'i members for more than nine months without access to legal counsel or making public any evidence against them. U.S. officials said other religious minorities continue to be targeted solely on their beliefs. The U.S.-based advocacy group Freedom House has called the charges "contrived" and a new blow to religious freedom, and urged that the Baha'is be released. The Baha'i representative to the United Nations, Diana Ala'i, said it "demonstrates a concerted effort to destroy a religious community."
The Baha'i faith is a monotheistic religion that originated in Iran in the 19th century but has been banned since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Iranian officials believe the faith is heresy and have in the past harassed, imprisoned and executed its followers. The Baha'i headquarters have been located in what is now the Israeli city of Haifa since before the founding of the Israeli state. "

"That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race..."

"The Great Being, wishing to reveal the prerequisites of the peace and tranquillity of the world and the advancement of its peoples, hath written: The time must come when the imperative necessity for the holding of a vast, an all-embracing assemblage of men will be universally realized. The rulers and kings of the earth must needs attend it, and, participating in its deliberations, must consider such ways and means as will lay the foundations of the world’s Great Peace amongst men. Such a peace demandeth that the Great Powers should resolve, for the sake of the tranquillity of the peoples of the earth, to be fully reconciled among themselves. Should any king take up arms against another, all should unitedly arise and prevent him. If this be done, the nations of the world will no longer require any armaments, except for the purpose of preserving the security of their realms and of maintaining internal order within their territories. This will ensure the peace and composure of every people, government and nation. We fain would hope that the kings and rulers of the earth, the mirrors of the gracious and almighty name of God, may attain unto this station, and shield mankind from the onslaught of tyranny. …The day is approaching when all the peoples of the world will have adopted one universal language and one common script. When this is achieved, to whatsoever city a man may journey, it shall be as if he were entering his own home. These things are obligatory and absolutely essential. It is incumbent upon every man of insight and understanding to strive to translate that which hath been written into reality and action…. That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race..."

-Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p.249-250

Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Does the soul progress more through sorrow or through the joy in this world?"

"The mind and spirit of man advance when he is tried by suffering. The more the ground is ploughed the better the seed will grow, the better the harvest will be. Just as the plough furrows the earth deeply, purifying it of weeds and thistles, so suffering and tribulation free man from the petty affairs of this worldly life until he arrives at a state of complete detachment. His attitude in this world will be that of divine happiness. Man is, so to speak, unripe: the heat of the fire of suffering will mature him. Look back to the times past and you will find that the greatest men have suffered most."
-‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 178-179

Friday, February 13, 2009

"Thou hast asked Me concerning the nature of the soul."

"Thou hast asked Me concerning the nature of the soul. Know, verily, that the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, and whose mystery no mind, however acute, can ever hope to unravel. It is the first among all created things to declare the excellence of its Creator, the first to recognize His glory, to cleave to His truth, and to bow down in adoration before Him. If it be faithful to God, it will reflect His light, and will, eventually, return unto Him. If it fail, however, in its allegiance to its Creator, it will become a victim to self and passion, and will, in the end, sink in their depths."

- Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 158-159

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"By faith is meant..."

"By faith is meant, first, conscious knowledge, and second, the practice of good deeds."
-'Abdu'l-Baha, The Divine Art of Living, p. 48

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"...results depend upon means..."

"O MY SERVANTS! Ye are the trees of My garden; ye must give forth goodly and wondrous fruits, that ye yourselves and others may profit therefrom. Thus it is incumbent on every one to engage in crafts and professions, for therein lies the secret of wealth, O men of understanding! For results depend upon means, and the grace of God shall be all-sufficient unto you. Trees that yield no fruit have been and will ever be for the fire."
-Baha'u'llah, Hidden Words p. 50

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, Muḥammad, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh are one in spirit..."

"The holy Manifestations Who have been the Sources or Founders of the various religious systems were united and agreed in purpose and teaching. Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, Muḥammad, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh are one in spirit and reality. Moreover, each Prophet fulfilled the promise of the One Who came before Him and, likewise, Each announced the One Who would follow. Consider how Abraham foretold the coming of Moses, and Moses embodied the Abrahamic statement. Moses prophesied the Messianic cycle, and Christ fulfilled the law of Moses. It is evident, therefore, that the Holy Manifestations Who founded the religious systems are united and agreed; there is no differentiation possible in Their mission and teachings; all are reflectors of reality, and all are promulgators of the religion of God.

The divine religion is reality, and reality is not multiple; it is one. Therefore, the foundations of the religious systems are one because all proceed from the indivisible reality; but the followers of these systems have disagreed; discord, strife and warfare have arisen among them, for they have forsaken the foundation and held to that which is but imitation and semblance. Inasmuch as imitations differ, enmity and dissension have resulted. For example, Jesus Christ—may my spirit be a sacrifice unto Him!—laid the foundation of eternal reality, but after His departure many sects and divisions appeared in Christianity. What was the cause of this? There is no doubt that they originated in dogmatic imitations, for the foundations of Christ were reality itself, in which no divergence exists. When imitations appeared, sects and denominations were formed."

-`Abdu'l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 197
16 June 1912 Talk at Central Congregational Church, Hancock Street, Brooklyn, New York

Monday, February 9, 2009

"O My Brother! A pure heart is as a mirror..."

"O My Brother! A pure heart is as a mirror; cleanse it with the burnish of love and severance from all save God, that the true sun may shine within it and the eternal morning dawn. Then wilt thou clearly see the meaning of “Neither doth My earth nor My heaven contain Me, but the heart of My faithful servant containeth Me.” * And thou wilt take up thy life in thine hand, and with infinite longing cast it before the new Beloved One."

-Baha'u'llah, The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys,  p. 21-22

*from Hadíth

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Full Employment and Decent Work (excerpt)

"In all policies aimed at tackling unemployment and providing decent and secure work for all, the conception of work needs to transcend just the economic dimension and encompass also the human and social purpose that employment fulfills.

Work needs to be seen not only as a means to securing an individual and family’s basic needs, but also as a channel to developing one’s craft, refining one’s character, and contributing to the welfare and progress of society. Work, no matter how humble and simple, when performed with an attitude of service, is a means to contribute to the advancement of our communities, countries and global society."

Bahá'í International Community’s Statement to the 46th Commission on Social Development
New York, USA - 11 February 2008
BIC Document #07-0211 - (click direct link on left)

"Upon the reality of man, however, He hath focused the radiance of all of His names and attributes..."

"Having created the world and all that liveth and moveth therein, He, through the direct operation of His unconstrained and sovereign Will, chose to confer upon man the unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to love Him—a capacity that must needs be regarded as the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation…. Upon the inmost reality of each and every created thing He hath shed the light of one of His names, and made it a recipient of the glory of one of His attributes. Upon the reality of man, however, He hath focused the radiance of all of His names and attributes, and made it a mirror of His own Self. Alone of all created things man hath been singled out for so great a favor, so enduring a bounty."

-Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 65

Saturday, February 7, 2009

For the Feast of Mulk/Dominion: "The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind."

"The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and centre your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements."
- Baha'u'llah, The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah, p. 114

Friday, February 6, 2009

"No thing have I perceived, except that I perceived God within it, God before it, or God after it."

"From that which hath been said it becometh evident that all things, in their inmost reality, testify to the revelation of the names and attributes of God within them. Each according to its capacity, indicateth, and is expressive of, the knowledge of God. So potent and universal is this revelation, that it hath encompassed all things, visible and invisible. Thus hath He revealed: "Hath aught else save Thee a power of revelation which is not possessed by Thee, that it could have manifested Thee? Blind is the eye which doth not perceive Thee." Likewise, hath the eternal King spoken: "No thing have I perceived, except that I perceived God within it, God before it, or God after it." Also in the tradition of Kumayl it is written: "Behold, a light hath shone forth out of the Morn of eternity, and lo! its waves have penetrated the inmost reality of all men." Man, the noblest and most perfect of all created things, excelleth them all in the intensity of this revelation, and is a fuller expression of its glory. And of all men, the most accomplished, the most distinguished and the most excellent are the Manifestations of the Sun of Truth. Nay, all else besides these Manifestations, live by the operation of their Will, and move and have their being through the outpourings of their grace."

-Baha'u'llah, Kitáb-i-Iqán, p. 102

Thursday, February 5, 2009

"Our body is like the cage, and the spirit is like the bird."

"In the time of sleep this body is as though dead; it does not see nor hear; it does not feel; it has no consciousness, no perception—that is to say, the powers of man have become inactive, but the spirit lives and subsists. Nay, its penetration is increased, its flight is higher, and its intelligence is greater. To consider that after the death of the body the spirit perishes is like imagining that a bird in a cage will be destroyed if the cage is broken, though the bird has nothing to fear from the destruction of the cage. Our body is like the cage, and the spirit is like the bird. We see that without the cage this bird flies in the world of sleep; therefore, if the cage becomes broken, the bird will continue and exist. Its feelings will be even more powerful, its perceptions greater, and its happiness increased. In truth, from hell it reaches a paradise of delights because for the thankful birds there is no paradise greater than freedom from the cage. That is why with utmost joy and happiness the martyrs hasten to the plain of sacrifice."

-'Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions p. 228

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

People of African Descent: The Pupil of the Eye

O thou who hast an illumined heart! Thou art even as the pupil of the eye, the very wellspring of the light, for God's love hath cast its rays upon thine inmost being and thou hast turned thy face toward the Kingdom of thy Lord.

Intense is the hatred, in America, between black and white, but my hope is that the power of the Kingdom will bind these two in friendship, and serve them as a healing balm.

Let them not look upon a man's colour but upon his heart. If the heart be filled with light, that man is nigh unto the threshold of His Lord; but if not, that man is careless of His Lord, be he white or be he black.

-`Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of `Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 113

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"The unity of the human race, as envisaged by Baha'u'llah..."

"The unity of the human race, as envisaged by Baha'u'llah, implies that establishment of a world commonwealth in which all nations, races, creeds and classes are closely and permanently united...It does not ignore, nor does it attempt to suppress, the diversity of ethical origins, of climate, of history, of language and traditions, of thought and habit, that differentiate the peoples and nations of the world. It calls for a wider loyalty, for a larger aspiration than any that has animated the human race. "

-Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah , 203, 41-42

Monday, February 2, 2009

"..the life of the purified from place..."

"The meaning is that the life of the Kingdom is the life of the spirit, the eternal life, and that it is purified from place, like the spirit of man which has no place. For if you examine the human body, you will not find a special spot or locality for the spirit, for it has never had a place; it is immaterial. It has a connection with the body like that of the sun with this mirror. The sun is not within the mirror, but it has a connection with the mirror.

In the same way the world of the Kingdom is sanctified from everything that can be perceived by the eye or by the other senses—hearing, smell, taste or touch. The mind which is in man, the existence of which is recognized—where is it in him? If you examine the body with the eye, the ear or the other senses, you will not find it; nevertheless, it exists. Therefore, the mind has no place, but it is connected with the brain. The Kingdom is also like this. In the same way love has no place, but it is connected with the heart; so the Kingdom has no place, but is connected with man.

Entrance into the Kingdom is through the love of God, through detachment, through holiness and chastity, through truthfulness, purity, steadfastness, faithfulness and the sacrifice of life."

-`Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions p. 241

Sunday, February 1, 2009

"If God has knowledge of an action which will be it possible to resist it?"

Question.—If God has knowledge of an action which will be performed by someone, and it has been written on the Tablet of Fate, is it possible to resist it?
Answer.—The foreknowledge of a thing is not the cause of its realization; for the essential knowledge of God surrounds, in the same way, the realities of things, before as well as after their existence, and it does not become the cause of their existence. It is a perfection of God. But that which was prophesied by the inspiration of God through the tongues of the Prophets, concerning the appearance of the Promised One of the Bible, was not the cause of the manifestation of Christ.
The hidden secrets of the future were revealed to the Prophets, and They thus became acquainted with the future events which They announced. This knowledge and these prophecies were not the cause of the occurrences. For example, tonight everyone knows that after seven hours the sun will rise, but this general foreknowledge does not cause the rising and appearance of the sun.
Therefore, the knowledge of God in the realm of contingency does not produce the forms of the things. On the contrary, it is purified from the past, present and future. It is identical with the reality of the things; it is not the cause of their occurrence.
In the same way, the record and the mention of a thing in the Book does not become the cause of its existence. The Prophets, through the divine inspiration, knew what would come to pass. For instance, through the divine inspiration They knew that Christ would be martyred, and They announced it. Now, was Their knowledge and information the cause of the martyrdom of Christ? No; this knowledge is a perfection of the Prophets and did not cause the martyrdom.
The mathematicians by astronomical calculations know that at a certain time an eclipse of the moon or the sun will occur. Surely this discovery does not cause the eclipse to take place. This is, of course, only an analogy and not an exact image. "
-'Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions p. 138-139