Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Close one eye and open the other."



"O MAN OF TWO VISIONS! Close one eye and open the other. Close one to the world and all that is therein, and open the other to the hallowed beauty of the Beloved."

-Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, No. 12 Persian








Frank McKelvey RMA

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Why should man invent such a prejudice? How can we uphold war caused by an illusion?"



"O SON OF THE THRONE! Thy hearing is My hearing, hear thou therewith. Thy sight is My sight, do thou see therewith, that in thine inmost soul thou mayest testify unto My exalted sanctity, and I within Myself may bear witness unto an exalted station for thee."

-Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic No. 44

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THE FIFTH PRINCIPLE—THE ABOLITION OF PREJUDICES (continued)
4 Avenue de Camöens, Paris,
November 13th, 1911

 ... "Concerning the prejudice of race: it is an illusion, a superstition pure and simple! For God created us all of one race. There were no differences in the beginning, for we are all descendants of Adam. In the beginning, also, there were no limits and boundaries between the different lands; no part of the earth belonged more to one people than to another. In the sight of God there is no difference between the various races. Why should man invent such a prejudice? How can we uphold war caused by an illusion?

God has not created men that they should destroy one another. All races, tribes, sects and classes share equally in the Bounty of their Heavenly Father.

The only difference lies in the degree of faithfulness, of obedience to the laws of God. There are some who are as lighted torches, there are others who shine as stars in the sky of humanity. The lovers of mankind, these are the superior men, of whatever nation, creed, or colour they may be. For it is they to whom God will say these blessed words, ‘Well done, My good and faithful servants’. In that day He will not ask, ‘Are you English, French, or perhaps Persian? Do you come from the East, or from the West?’

The only division that is real is this: There are heavenly men and earthly men; self-sacrificing servants of humanity in the love of the Most High, bringing harmony and unity, teaching peace and goodwill to men. On the other hand there are those selfish men, haters of their brethren, in whose hearts prejudice has replaced loving kindness, and whose influence breeds discord and strife.

To which race or to which colour belong these two divisions of men, to the White, to the Yellow, to the Black, to the East or to the West, to the North or to the South? If these are God’s divisions, why should we invent others? Political prejudice is equally mischievous, it is one of the greatest causes of bitter strife amongst the children of men. There are people who find pleasure in breeding discord, who constantly endeavour to goad their country into making war upon other nations—and why? They think to advantage their own country to the detriment of all others. They send armies to harass and destroy the land, in order to become famous in the world, for the joy of conquest. That it may be said: ‘Such a country has defeated another, and brought it under the yoke of their stronger, more superior rule’. This victory, bought at the price of much bloodshed, is not lasting! The conqueror shall one day be conquered; and the vanquished ones victorious! Remember the history of the past: did not France conquer Germany more than once—then did not the German nation overcome France?

We learn also that France conquered England; then was the English nation victorious over France!

These glorious conquests are so ephemeral! Why attach so great importance to them and to their fame, as to be willing to shed the blood of the people for their attainment? Is any victory worth the inevitable train of evils consequent upon human slaughter, the grief and sorrow and ruin which must overwhelm so many homes of both nations? For it is not possible that one country alone should suffer.

Oh! why will man, the disobedient child of God, who should be an example of the power of the spiritual law, turn his face away from the Divine Teaching and put all his effort into destruction and war?

My hope is that in this enlightened century the Divine Light of love will shed its radiance over the whole world, seeking out the responsive heart’s intelligence of every human being; that the light of the Sun of Truth will lead politicians to shake off all the claims of prejudice and superstition, and with freed minds to follow the Policy of God: for Divine Politics are mighty, man’s politics are feeble! God has created all the world, and bestows His Divine Bounty upon every creature.

Are we not the servants of God? Shall we neglect to follow our Master’s Example, and ignore His Commands?

I pray that the Kingdom shall come on Earth, and that all darkness shall be driven away by the effulgence of the Heavenly Sun."

 `Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 148-151


Bahram Hajo

Monday, November 28, 2011

"All prejudices, whether of religion, race, politics or nation, must be renounced, for these prejudices have caused the world’s sickness."


"O COMPANION OF MY THRONE! Hear no evil, and see no evil, abase not thyself, neither sigh and weep. Speak no evil, that thou mayest not hear it spoken unto thee, and magnify not the faults of others that thine own faults may not appear great; and wish not the abasement of anyone, that thine own abasement be not exposed. Live then the days of thy life, that are less than a fleeting moment, with thy mind stainless, thy heart unsullied, thy thoughts pure, and thy nature sanctified, so that, free and content, thou mayest put away this mortal frame, and repair unto the mystic paradise and abide in the eternal kingdom for evermore."

- Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Persian No. 44

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THE FIFTH PRINCIPLE—THE ABOLITION OF PREJUDICES 
4 Avenue de Camöens, Paris,
November 13th, 1911

"All prejudices, whether of religion, race, politics or nation, must be renounced, for these prejudices have caused the world’s sickness. It is a grave malady which, unless arrested, is capable of causing the destruction of the whole human race. Every ruinous war, with its terrible bloodshed and misery, has been caused by one or other of these prejudices.

The deplorable wars going on in these days are caused by the fanatical religious hatred of one people for another, or the prejudices of race or colour.

Until all these barriers erected by prejudice are swept away, it is not possible for humanity to be at peace. For this reason Bahá’u’lláh has said, ‘These Prejudices are destructive to mankind’.

Contemplate first the prejudice of religion: consider the nations of so-called religious people; if they were truly worshippers of God they would obey His law which forbids them to kill one another.

If priests of religion really adored the God of love and served the Divine Light, they would teach their people to keep the chief Commandment, ‘To be in love and charity with all men’. But we find the contrary, for it is often the priests who encourage nations to fight. Religious hatred is ever the most cruel!

All religions teach that we should love one another; that we should seek out our own shortcomings before we presume to condemn the faults of others, that we must not consider ourselves superior to our neighbours! We must be careful not to exalt ourselves lest we be humiliated.

Who are we that we should judge? How shall we know who, in the sight of God, is the most upright man? God’s thoughts are not like our thoughts! How many men who have seemed saint-like to their friends have fallen into the greatest humiliation. Think of Judas Iscariot; he began well, but remember his end! On the other hand, Paul, the Apostle, was in his early life an enemy of Christ, whilst later he became His most faithful servant. How then can we flatter ourselves and despise others?

Let us therefore be humble, without prejudices,  preferring others’ good to our own! Let us never say, ‘I am a believer but he is an infidel’, ‘I am near to God, whilst he is an outcast’. We can never know what will be the final judgment! Therefore let us help all who are in need of any kind of assistance.

Let us teach the ignorant, and take care of the young child until he grows to maturity. When we find a person fallen into the depths of misery or sin we must be kind to him, take him by the hand, help him to regain his footing, his strength; we must guide him with love and tenderness, treat him as a friend not as an enemy.

We have no right to look upon any of our fellow-mortals as evil." ...

 `Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 146-148

Sunday, November 27, 2011

"The Heavenly Father gave the priceless gift of intelligence to man so that he might become a spiritual light, piercing the darkness of materiality, and bringing goodness and truth into the world."


"O MY FRIENDS! Quench ye the lamp of error, and kindle within your hearts the everlasting torch of divine guidance. For ere long the assayers of mankind shall, in the holy presence of the Adored, accept naught but purest virtue and deeds of stainless holiness."

-Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, No. 35 Persian

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 THE PERFECT HUMAN SENTIMENTS AND VIRTUES 
 November 23rd, 1911, Paris

 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

"You should all be very happy and thankful to God for the great privilege that is yours.

This is purely a spiritual meeting! Praise be to God, your hearts are turned to Him, your souls are attracted to the Kingdom, you have spiritual aspirations, and your thoughts soar above the world of dust.

You belong to the world of purity, and are not content to live the life of the animal, spending your days in eating, drinking, and sleeping. You are indeed men! Your thoughts and ambitions are set to acquire human perfection. You live to do good and to bring happiness to others. Your greatest longing is to comfort those who mourn, to strengthen the weak, and to be the cause of hope to the despairing soul. Day and night your thoughts are turned to the Kingdom, and your hearts are full of the Love of God.

Thus you know neither opposition, dislike, nor hatred, for every living creature is dear to you and the good of each is sought.

These are perfect human sentiments and virtues. If a man has none of these, he had better cease to exist. If a lamp has ceased to give light, it had better be destroyed. If a tree bear no fruit, it had better be cut down, for it only cumbereth the ground.

Verily, it is better a thousand times for a man to die than to continue living without virtue.

We have eyes wherewith to see, but if we do not use them how do they profit us? We have ears wherewith to hear, but if we are deaf of what use are they?

We have a tongue wherewith to praise God and proclaim the good tidings, but if we are dumb how useless it is!

The All-loving God created man to radiate the Divine light and to illumine the world by his words, action and life. If he is without virtue he becomes no better than a mere animal, and an animal devoid of intelligence is a vile thing.

The Heavenly Father gave the priceless gift of intelligence to man so that he might become a spiritual light, piercing the darkness of materiality, and bringing goodness and truth into the world. If ye will follow earnestly the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, ye shall indeed become the light of the world, the soul for the body of the world, the comfort and help for humanity, and the source of salvation for the whole universe. Strive therefore, with heart and soul, to follow the precepts of the Blessed Perfection, and rest assured that if ye succeed in living the life he marks out for you, Eternal Life and everlasting joy in the Heavenly Kingdom will be yours, and celestial sustenance will be sent to strengthen you all your days.

It is my heartfelt prayer that each one of you may attain to this perfect joy!"

`Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 112-114


Muteea Murad

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"The Reality is the Truth, and truth has no division. Truth is God’s guidance, it is the light of the world, it is love, it is mercy."



"We have erewhile declared—and Our Word is the truth—: “Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.” Whatsoever hath led the children of men to shun one another, and hath caused dissensions and divisions amongst them, hath, through the revelation of these words, been nullified and abolished. From the heaven of God’s Will, and for the purpose of ennobling the world of being and of elevating the minds and souls of men, hath been sent down that which is the most effective instrument for the education of the whole human race."

-Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, XLIII, p.95

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WORDS SPOKEN BY ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ IN PASTOR WAGNER’S CHURCH (FOYER DE L’AME) IN PARIS
November 26th, 1911

... "All down the ages the prophets of God have been sent into the world to serve the cause of truth—Moses brought the law of truth, and all the prophets of Israel after him sought to spread it.

When Jesus came He lighted the flaming torch of truth, and carried it aloft so that the whole world might be illumined thereby. After Him came His chosen apostles, and they went far and wide, carrying the light of their Master’s teaching into a dark world—and, in their turn, passed on.

Then came Muḥammad, who in His time and way spread the knowledge of truth among a savage people; for this has always been the mission of God’s elect.

So, at last, when Bahá’u’lláh arose in Persia, this was His most ardent desire, to rekindle the waning light of truth in all lands. All the holy ones of God have tried with heart and soul to spread the light of love and unity throughout the world, so that the darkness of materiality might disappear and the light of spirituality might shine forth among the children of men. Then would hate, slander and murder disappear, and in their stead love, unity and peace would reign.

All the Manifestations of God came with the same purpose, and they have all sought to lead men into the paths of virtue. Yet we, their servants, still dispute among ourselves! Why is it thus? Why do we not love one another and live in unity?

It is because we have shut our eyes to the underlying principle of all religions, that God is one, that He is the Father of us all, that we are all immersed in the ocean of His mercy and sheltered and protected by His loving care.

The glorious Sun of Truth shines for all alike, the waters of Divine Mercy immerse each one, and His Divine favour is bestowed on all His children.

This loving God desires peace for all His creatures—why, then, do they spend their time in war?

He loves and protects all His children—why do they forget Him?

He bestows His Fatherly care on us all—why do we neglect our brothers?

Surely, when we realize how God loves and cares for us, we should so order our lives that we may become more like Him.

God has created us, one and all—why do we act in opposition to His wishes, when we are all His children, and love the same Father? All these divisions we see on all sides, all these disputes and opposition, are caused because men cling to ritual and outward observances, and forget the simple, underlying truth. It is the outward practices of religion that are so different, and it is they that cause disputes and enmity—while the reality is always the same, and one. The Reality is the Truth, and truth has no division. Truth is God’s guidance, it is the light of the world, it is love, it is mercy. These attributes of truth are also human virtues inspired by the Holy Spirit.

So let us one and all hold fast to truth, and we shall be free indeed!

The day is coming when all the religions of the world will unite, for in principle they are one already. There is no need for division, seeing that it is only the outward forms that separate them. Among the sons of men some souls are suffering through ignorance, let us hasten to teach them; others are like children needing care and education until they are grown, and some are sick—to these we must carry Divine healing." ...

`Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 119-121

Walker Evans
Library of Congress

Friday, November 25, 2011

"The indifference and scorn of the world matters not at all, whereas your lives will be of the greatest importance."


"I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee. I testify, at this moment, to my powerlessness and to Thy might, to my poverty and to Thy wealth. There is none other God but Thee, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting."

 -Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’í Prayers: A Selection of Prayers Revealed by Bahá’u’lláh, the Báb, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 4
Short Obligatory Prayer, to be recited once in twenty-four hours, at noon 

WE MUST NOT BE DISCOURAGED BY THE SMALLNESS OF OUR NUMBERS 
November 25th, 1911
Paris

"When Christ appeared He manifested Himself at Jerusalem. He called men to the Kingdom of God, He invited them to Eternal Life and He told them to acquire human perfections. The Light of Guidance  was shed forth by that radiant Star, and He at length gave His life in sacrifice for humanity.

All through His blessed life He suffered oppression and hardship, and in spite of all this humanity was His enemy!

They denied Him, scorned Him, ill-treated Him and cursed Him. He was not treated like a man—and yet in spite of all this He was the embodiment of pity and of supreme goodness and love.

He loved all humanity, but they treated Him as an enemy and were incapable of appreciating Him. They set no value on His words and were not illumined by the flame of His love.

Later they realized who He was; that He was the Sacred and Divine Light, and that His words held Eternal Life.

His heart was full of love for all the world, His goodness was destined to reach each one—and as they began to realize these things, they repented—but He had been crucified!

It was not until many years after His ascension that they knew who He was, and at the time of His ascension He had only a very few disciples; only a comparatively small following believed His precepts and followed His laws. The ignorant said, ‘Who is this individual; He has only a few disciples!’ But those who knew said: ‘He is the Sun who will shine in the East and in the West, He is the Manifestation who shall give life to the world’.

What the first disciples had seen the world realized later.

Therefore, you who are in Europe, do not be discouraged because you are few or because people think that your Cause is of no importance. If few people come to your gatherings do not lose heart, and if you are ridiculed and contradicted be not distressed, for the apostles of Christ had the same to bear. They were reviled and persecuted, cursed and ill-treated, but in the end they were victorious and their enemies were found to be wrong.

If history should repeat itself and all these same things should happen to you, do not be saddened but be full of joy, and thank God that you are called upon to suffer as holy men of old suffered. If they oppose you be gentle with them, if they contradict be firm in your faith, if they desert you and flee from before you, seek them out and treat them kindly. Do harm to nobody; pray for all; try to make your light shine in the world and let your banner fly high in the Heavens. The beautiful perfume of your noble lives will permeate everywhere. The light of truth kindled in your hearts will shine out to the distant horizon!

The indifference and scorn of the world matters not at all, whereas your lives will be of the greatest importance.

All those who seek truth in the Heavenly Kingdom shine like the stars; they are like fruit trees laden with choice fruit, like seas full of precious pearls.

Only have faith in the Mercy of God, and spread the Divine Truth."

 `Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 116-118

Ahmad Moualla

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Why is man so hard of heart? It is because he does not yet know God."


"O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes."

-Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic No. 2


THE CRUEL INDIFFERENCE OF PEOPLE TOWARDS THE SUFFERING OF FOREIGN RACES
November 24th, 1911
Paris

‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

"I have just been told that there has been a terrible accident in this country. A train has fallen into the river and at least twenty people have been killed. This is going to be a matter for discussion in the French Parliament today, and the Director of the State Railway will be called upon to speak. He will be cross-examined as to the condition of the railroad and as to what caused the accident, and there will be a heated argument. I am filled with wonder and surprise to notice what interest and excitement has been aroused throughout the whole country on account of the death of twenty people, while they remain cold and indifferent to the fact that thousands of Italians, Turks, and Arabs are killed in Tripoli! The horror of this wholesale slaughter has not disturbed the Government at all! Yet these unfortunate people are human beings too.

Why is there so much interest and eager sympathy shown towards these twenty individuals, while for five thousand persons there is none? They are all men, they all belong to the family of mankind, but they are of other lands and races. It is no concern of the disinterested countries if these men are cut to pieces, this wholesale slaughter does not affect them! How unjust, how cruel is this, how utterly devoid of any good and true feeling! The people of these other lands have children and wives, mothers, daughters, and little sons! In these countries today there is hardly a house free from the sound of bitter weeping, scarcely can one find a home untouched by the cruel hand of war.

Alas! we see on all sides how cruel, prejudiced and unjust is man, and how slow he is to believe in God and follow His commandments.

If these people would love and help one another instead of being so eager to destroy with sword and cannon, how much nobler would it be! How much better if they would live like a flock of doves in peace and harmony, instead of being like wolves and tearing each other to pieces.

Why is man so hard of heart? It is because he does not yet know God. If he had knowledge of God he could not act in direct opposition to His laws; if he were spiritually minded such a line of conduct would be impossible to him. If only the laws and precepts of the prophets of God had been believed, understood and followed, wars would no longer darken the face of the earth.

 If man had even the rudiments of justice, such a state of things would be impossible.

Therefore, I say unto you pray—pray and turn your faces to God, that He, in His infinite compassion and mercy, may help and succour these misguided ones. Pray that He will grant them spiritual understanding and teach them tolerance and mercy, that the eyes of their minds may be opened and that they may be endued with the gift of the spirit. Then would peace and love walk hand in hand through the lands, and these poor unhappy people might have rest.

Let us all strive night and day to help in the bringing about of better conditions. My heart is broken by these terrible things and cries aloud—may this cry reach other hearts! Then will the blind see, the dead will be raised, and Justice will come and reign upon the earth.

I beseech you all to pray with heart and soul that this may be accomplished."

`Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 114-116

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"...‘Life Everlasting’ means ‘Turning to God’."


"O SON OF MAN! Sorrow not save that thou art far from Us. Rejoice not save that thou art drawing near and returning unto Us."

 -Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic No. 35


PAIN AND SORROW 
November 22nd, 1911
Paris

 ... "Today, humanity is bowed down with trouble, sorrow and grief, no one escapes; the world is wet with tears; but, thank God, the remedy is at our doors. Let us turn our hearts away from the world of matter and live in the spiritual world! It alone can give us freedom! If we are hemmed in by difficulties we have only to call upon God, and by His great Mercy we shall be helped.

If sorrow and adversity visit us, let us turn our faces to the Kingdom and heavenly consolation will be outpoured.

If we are sick and in distress let us implore God’s healing, and He will answer our prayer.

When our thoughts are filled with the bitterness of this world, let us turn our eyes to the sweetness of God’s compassion and He will send us heavenly calm! If we are imprisoned in the material world, our spirit can soar into the Heavens and we shall be free indeed!

When our days are drawing to a close let us think of the eternal worlds, and we shall be full of joy!

You see all round you proofs of the inadequacy of material things—how joy, comfort, peace and consolation are not to be found in the transitory things of the world. Is it not then foolishness to refuse to seek these treasures where they may be found? The doors of the spiritual Kingdom are open to all, and without is absolute darkness.

Thank God that you in this assembly have this knowledge, for in all the sorrows of life you can obtain supreme consolation. If your days on earth are numbered, you know that everlasting life awaits you. If material anxiety envelops you in a dark cloud, spiritual radiance lightens your path. Verily, those whose minds are illumined by the Spirit of the Most High have supreme consolation.

I myself was in prison forty years—one year alone would have been impossible to bear—nobody survived that imprisonment more than a year! But, thank God, during all those forty years I was supremely happy!  Every day, on waking, it was like hearing good tidings, and every night infinite joy was mine. Spirituality was my comfort, and turning to God was my greatest joy. If this had not been so, do you think it possible that I could have lived through those forty years in prison?

Thus, spirituality is the greatest of God’s gifts, and ‘Life Everlasting’ means ‘Turning to God’. May you, one and all, increase daily in spirituality, may you be strengthened in all goodness, may you be helped more and more by the Divine consolation, be made free by the Holy Spirit of God, and may the power of the Heavenly Kingdom live and work among you.

This is my earnest desire, and I pray to God to grant you this favour."

`Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 110-112


Hesko


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

" ... for the God of love is also a God of justice and each man must inevitably reap what he sows."



"O SON OF SPIRIT! With the joyful tidings of light I hail thee: rejoice! To the court of holiness I summon thee; abide therein that thou mayest live in peace for evermore."

-Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic No. 33


THERE CAN BE NO TRUE HAPPINESS AND PROGRESS WITHOUT SPIRITUALITY November 21st, 1911
Paris

 ... "I want to make you understand that material progress and spiritual progress are two very different things, and that only if material progress goes hand in hand with spirituality can any real progress come about, and the Most Great Peace reign in the world. If men followed the Holy Counsels and the Teachings of the Prophets, if Divine Light shone in all hearts and men were really religious, we should soon see peace on earth and the Kingdom of God among men. The laws of God may be likened unto the soul and material progress unto the body. If the body was not animated by the soul, it would cease to exist. It is my earnest prayer that spirituality may ever grow and increase in the world, so that customs may become enlightened and peace and concord may be established.

War and rapine with their attendant cruelties are an abomination to God, and bring their own punishment, for the God of love is also a God of justice and each man must inevitably reap what he sows. Let us try to understand the commands of the Most High and to order our lives as He directs. True happiness depends on spiritual good and having the heart ever open to receive the Divine Bounty.

If the heart turns away from the blessings God offers how can it hope for happiness? If it does not put its hope and trust in God’s Mercy, where can it find rest? Oh, trust in God! for His Bounty is everlasting, and in His Blessings, for they are superb. Oh! put your faith in the Almighty, for He faileth not and His goodness endureth for ever! His Sun giveth Light continually, and the Clouds of His Mercy are full of the Waters of Compassion with which He waters the hearts of all who trust in Him. His refreshing Breeze ever carries healing in its wings to the parched souls of men! Is it wise to turn away from such a loving Father, Who showers His blessings upon us, and to choose rather to be slaves of matter?

God in His infinite goodness has exalted us to so much honour, and has made us masters over the material world. Shall we then become her slaves? Nay, rather let us claim our birthright, and strive to live the life of the spiritual sons of God. The glorious Sun of Truth has once again risen in the East. From the far horizon of Persia its radiance is spreading far and wide, dispersing the dense clouds of superstition. The light of the unity of mankind is beginning to illumine the world, and soon the banner of Divine harmony and the solidarity of nations will be flying high in the Heavens. Yea, the breezes of the Holy Spirit will inspire the whole world!

Oh, peoples and nations! Arise and work and be happy! Gather together under the tent of the unity of mankind!"

`Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 107-109


Adib Fattal

Monday, November 21, 2011

"...spread the Divine Truth with all your might that men’s intelligence may become enlightened..."



"O SON OF BEING! Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent. Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation."

-Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic No. 59


ON CALUMNY 
Monday, November 20th, 1911 Paris
Part II

 ... "If a man were to declare, ‘There is a lamp in the next room which gives no light’, one hearer might be satisfied with his report, but a wiser man goes into the room to judge for himself, and behold, when he finds the light shining brilliantly in the lamp, he knows the truth!

Again, a man proclaims: ‘There lies a garden in which there are trees with broken branches bearing no fruit, and the leaves thereof are faded and yellow! In that garden, also, there are flowering plants with no blooms, and rose bushes withered and dying—go not into that garden!’ A just man, hearing this account of the garden, would not be content without seeing for himself whether it be true or not. He, therefore, enters the garden, and behold, he finds it well tilled; the branches of the trees are sturdy and strong, being also loaded with the sweetest of ripe fruits amongst the luxuriance of beautiful green leaves. The flowering plants are bright with many-hued blossoms; the rose bushes are covered with fragrant and lovely roses and all is verdant and well tended. When the glory of the garden is spread out before the eyes of the just man, he praises God that, through unworthy calumny, he has been led into a place of such wondrous beauty!

This is the result of the slanderer’s work: to be the cause of guiding men to a discovery of the truth.

We know that all the falsehoods spread about Christ and His apostles and all the books written against Him, only led the people to inquire into His doctrine; then, having seen the beauty and inhaled the fragrance, they walked evermore amidst the roses and the fruits of that celestial garden.

Therefore, I say unto you, spread the Divine Truth with all your might that men’s intelligence may become enlightened; this is the best answer to those who slander. I do not wish to speak of those people nor to say anything ill of them—only to tell you that slander is of no importance!

Clouds may veil the sun, but, be they never so dense, his rays will penetrate! Nothing can prevent the radiance of the sun descending to warm and vivify the Divine Garden.

Nothing can prevent the fall of the rain from Heaven.

Nothing can prevent the fulfillment of the Word of God!

Therefore when you see books and papers written against the Revelation, be not distressed, but take comfort in the assurance that the cause will thereby gain strength.

No one casts stones at a tree without fruit. No one tries to extinguish a lamp without light!

Regard the former times. Had the calumnies of Pharaoh any effect? He affirmed that Moses was a murderer, that he had slain a man and deserved to be executed! He also declared that Moses and Aaron were fomenters of discord, that they tried to destroy the religion of Egypt and therefore must be put to death. These words of Pharaoh were vainly spoken. The light of Moses shone. The radiance of the Law of God has encircled the world!

When the Pharisees said of Christ that He had broken the Sabbath Day, that He had defied the Law of Moses, that He had threatened to destroy the Temple and the Holy City of Jerusalem, and that He deserved to be crucified—We know that all these slanderous attacks had no result in hindering the spread of the Gospel!

The Sun of Christ shone brilliantly in the sky, and the breath of the Holy Spirit wafted over the whole earth!

And I say unto you that no calumny is able to prevail against the Light of God; it can only result in causing it to be more universally recognized. If a cause were of no significance, who would take the trouble to work against it!

But always the greater the cause the more do enemies arise in larger and larger numbers to attempt its overthrow! The brighter the light the darker the shadow! Our part it is to act in accordance with the teaching of Bahá’u’lláh in humility and firm steadfastness."

 `Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 103-106

Khalid al-Saai


Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Our methods are different, we do not attack, neither calumniate; we do not wish to dispute with them; we bring forth proofs and arguments; we invite them to confute our statements."


"O CHILDREN OF THE DIVINE AND INVISIBLE ESSENCE! Ye shall be hindered from loving Me and souls shall be perturbed as they make mention of Me. For minds cannot grasp Me nor hearts contain Me."

-Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic No. 66



ON CALUMNY 
Monday, November 20th, 1911
Paris

 "From the beginning of the world until the present time each ‘Manifestation’ 1 sent from God has been opposed by an embodiment of the ‘Powers of Darkness’.

This dark power has always endeavoured to extinguish the light. Tyranny has ever sought to overcome justice. Ignorance has persistently tried to trample knowledge underfoot. This has, from the earliest ages, been the method of the material world.

In the time of Moses, Pharaoh set himself to prevent the Mosaic Light being spread abroad.

In the day of Christ, Annas and Caiaphas inflamed the Jewish people against Him and the learned doctors of Israel joined together to resist His Power. All sorts of calumnies were circulated against Him. The Scribes and Pharisees conspired to make the people believe Him to be a liar, an apostate, and a blasphemer. They spread these slanders throughout the whole Eastern world against Christ, and caused Him to be condemned to a shameful death!

In the case of Muḥammad also, the learned doctors of His day determined to extinguish the light of His influence. They tried by the power of the sword to prevent the spread of His teaching.

In spite of all their efforts the Sun of Truth shone forth from the horizon. In every case the army of light vanquished the powers of darkness on the battlefield of the world, and the radiance of the Divine Teaching illumined the earth. Those who accepted the Teaching and worked for the Cause of God became luminous stars in the sky of humanity.

Now, in our own day, history repeats itself.

Those who would have men believe that religion is their own private property once more bring their efforts to bear against the Sun of Truth: they resist the Command of God; they invent calumnies, not having arguments against it, neither proofs. They attack with masked faces, not daring to come forth into the light of day.

Our methods are different, we do not attack, neither calumniate; we do not wish to dispute with them; we bring forth proofs and arguments; we invite them to confute our statements. They cannot answer us, but instead, they write all they can think of against the Divine Messenger, Bahá’u’lláh.

Do not let your hearts be troubled by these defamatory writings! Obey the words of Bahá’u’lláh and answer them not. Rejoice, rather, that even these falsehoods will result in the spread of the truth. When these slanders appear inquiries are made, and those who inquire are led into a knowledge of the Faith."
 ... (see tomorrow's post for part II) 

`Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 102-103

1. i.e.—Divine Manifestation.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"My object is none other than the betterment of the world and the tranquillity of its peoples."


"The One true God beareth Me witness, and His creatures will testify, that not for a moment did I allow Myself to be hidden from the eyes of men, nor did I consent to shield My person from their injury. Before the face of all men I have arisen, and bidden them fulfil My pleasure. My object is none other than the betterment of the world and the tranquillity of its peoples. The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established. This unity can never be achieved so long as the counsels which the Pen of the Most High hath revealed are suffered to pass unheeded."

 -Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, CXXXI, p. 286


THE BAHÁ’ÍS MUST WORK WITH HEART AND SOUL TO BRING ABOUT A BETTER CONDITION IN THE WORLD
November 19th, 1911
Paris

 ... "I thank God that we are at one in this grand ideal, that my longings are also yours and that we work together in perfect unity.

Today, upon the earth, one sees the sad spectacle of cruel war! Man slays his brother man for selfish gain, and to enlarge his territories! For this ignoble ambition hate has taken possession of his heart, and more and more blood is shed!

Fresh battles are fought, the armies are increased, more cannon, more guns, more explosives of all kinds are sent out—so does bitterness and hate augment from day to day!

But this assembly, thank God, longs only for peace and unity, and must work with heart and soul to bring about a better condition in the world.

You who are the servants of God fight against oppression, hate and discord, so that wars may cease and God’s laws of peace and love may be established among men.

Work! Work with all your strength, spread the Cause of the Kingdom among men; teach the self-sufficient to turn humbly towards God, the sinful to sin no more, and await with glad expectation the coming of the Kingdom.

Love and obey your Heavenly Father, and rest assured that Divine help is yours. Verily I say unto you that you shall indeed conquer the world!

Only have faith, patience and courage—this is but the beginning, but surely you will succeed, for God is with you!"

`Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp 100-101

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Every one must show forth deeds that are pure and holy, for words are the property of all alike, whereas such deeds as these belong only to Our loved ones."


"O SON OF MY HANDMAID! Guidance hath ever been given by words, and now it is given by deeds. Every one must show forth deeds that are pure and holy, for words are the property of all alike, whereas such deeds as these belong only to Our loved ones. Strive then with heart and soul to distinguish yourselves by your 49 deeds. In this wise We counsel you in this holy and resplendent tablet."

-Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Persian No. 76

THE BAHÁ’ÍS MUST WORK WITH HEART AND SOUL TO BRING ABOUT A BETTER CONDITION IN THE WORLD 
November 19th, 1911
Paris

"How joyful it is to see such a meeting as this, for it is in truth a gathering together of ‘heavenly men’.

 We are all united in one Divine purpose, no material motive is ours, and our dearest wish is to spread the Love of God throughout the world!

We work and pray for the unity of mankind, that all the races of the earth may become one race, all the countries one country, and that all hearts may beat as one heart, working together for perfect unity and brotherhood.

Praise be to God that our efforts are sincere and that our hearts are turned to the Kingdom. Our greatest longing is that truth may be established in the world, and in this hope we draw near to one another in love and affection. Each and all are whole-hearted and selfless, willing to sacrifice all personal ambition to the grand ideal towards which they strive: Brotherly love and peace and union among men!

Doubt not that God is with us, on our right hand and on our left, that day by day He will cause our numbers to increase, and that our meetings will grow in strength and usefulness.

It is my dearest hope that you may all become a blessing to others, that you may give sight to the spiritually blind, hearing to the spiritually deaf and life to those who are dead in sin.

May you help those sunk in materiality to realize their Divine son-ship, and encourage them to arise and be worthy of their birthright; so that by your endeavour the world of humanity may become the Kingdom of God and of His elect." ...

`Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks pp. 99-100, See part two in tomorrows blog post

Arthur Rothstein
Library of Congress

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Life is a load which must be carried on while we are on earth ..."


"O YE PEOPLE THAT HAVE MINDS TO KNOW AND EARS TO HEAR! The first call of the Beloved is this: O mystic nightingale! Abide not but in the rose-garden of the spirit. O messenger of the Solomon of love! Seek thou no shelter except in the Sheba of the well-beloved, and O immortal phoenix! dwell not save on the mount of faithfulness. Therein is thy habitation, if on the wings of thy soul thou soarest to the realm of the infinite and seekest to attain thy goal."

-Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Persian No.1

CONCERNING BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT - PT 2. 
4 Avenue de Camöens, Paris,
Friday morning, November 17th, 2011

 ... "You perceive how the soul is the intermediary between the body and the spirit. In like manner is this tree 1 the intermediary between the seed and the fruit. When the fruit of the tree appears and becomes ripe, then we know that the tree is perfect; if the tree bore no fruit it would be merely a useless growth, serving no purpose!

When a soul has in it the life of the spirit, then does it bring forth good fruit and become a Divine tree. I wish you to try to understand this example. I hope that the unspeakable goodness of God will so strengthen you that the celestial quality of your soul, which relates it to the spirit, will for ever dominate the material side, so entirely ruling the senses that your soul will approach the perfections of the Heavenly Kingdom. May your faces, being steadfastly set towards the Divine Light, become so luminous that all your thoughts, words and actions will shine with the Spiritual Radiance dominating your souls, so that in the gatherings of the world you will show perfection in your life.

Some men’s lives are solely occupied with the things of this world; their minds are so circumscribed by exterior manners and traditional interests that they are blind to any other realm of existence, to the spiritual significance of all things! They think and dream of earthly fame, of material progress. Sensuous delights and comfortable surroundings bound their horizon, their highest ambitions centre in successes of worldly conditions and circumstances! They curb not their lower propensities; they eat, drink, and sleep! Like the animal, they have no thought beyond their own physical well-being. It is true that these necessities must be despatched. Life is a load which must be carried on while we are on earth, but the cares of the lower things of life should not be allowed to monopolize all the thoughts and aspirations of a human being. The heart’s ambitions should ascend to a more glorious goal, mental activity should rise to higher levels! Men should hold in their souls the vision of celestial perfection, and there prepare a dwelling-place for the inexhaustible bounty of the Divine Spirit.

Let your ambition be the achievement on earth of a Heavenly civilization! I ask for you the supreme blessing, that you may be so filled with the vitality of the Heavenly Spirit that you may be the cause of life to the world."

`Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 98-99

 1. A small orange-tree on the table nearby.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul ..."


"O CHILDREN OF MEN! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory."

-Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic No. 68

CONCERNING BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT 
4 Avenue de Camöens, Paris,
Friday morning, November 17th

"There are in the world of humanity three degrees; those of the body, the soul, and spirit.

The body is the physical or animal degree of man. From the bodily point of view man is a sharer of the animal kingdom. The bodies alike of men and animals are composed of elements held together by the law of attraction.

Like the animal, man possesses the faculties of the senses, is subject to heat, cold, hunger, thirst, etc.; unlike the animal, man has a rational soul, the human intelligence.

This intelligence of man is the intermediary between his body and his spirit.

When man allows the spirit, through his soul, to enlighten his understanding, then does he contain all Creation; because man, being the culmination of all that went before and thus superior to all previous evolutions, contains all the lower world within himself. Illumined by the spirit through the instrumentality of the soul, man’s radiant intelligence makes him the crowning-point of Creation.

But on the other hand, when man does not open his mind and heart to the blessing of the spirit, but turns his soul towards the material side, towards the bodily part of his nature, then is he fallen from his high place and he becomes inferior to the inhabitants of the lower animal kingdom. In this case the man is in a sorry plight! For if the spiritual qualities of the soul, open to the breath of the Divine Spirit, are never used, they become atrophied, enfeebled, and at last incapable; whilst the soul’s material qualities alone being exercised, they become terribly powerful—and the unhappy, misguided man, becomes more savage, more unjust, more vile, more cruel, more malevolent than the lower animals themselves. All his aspirations and desires being strengthened by the lower side of the soul’s nature, he becomes more and more brutal, until his whole being is in no way superior to that of the beasts that perish. Men such as this, plan to work evil, to hurt and to destroy; they are entirely without the spirit of Divine compassion, for the celestial quality of the soul has been dominated by that of the material. If, on the contrary, the spiritual nature of the soul has been so strengthened that it holds the material side in subjection, then does the man approach the Divine; his humanity becomes so glorified that the virtues of the Celestial Assembly are manifested in him; he radiates the Mercy of God, he stimulates the spiritual progress of mankind, for he becomes a lamp to show light on their path."

 ... Read conclusion of talk in tomorrow's blog post ...

 `Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 96-98

Walker Evans
Library of Congress


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"I supplicate that you may become as new beings, illumined with the Divine Light ..."


"O YE SEEMING FAIR YET INWARDLY FOUL! Ye are like clear but bitter water, which to outward seeming is crystal pure but of which, when tested by the divine Assayer, not a drop is accepted. Yea, the sun beam falls alike upon the dust and the mirror, yet differ they in reflection even as doth the star from the earth: nay, immeasurable is the difference!"

-Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh , Persian No. 25 


THE DESIRES AND PRAYERS OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ
November 15th, 1911, Paris

‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

 "You are all very welcome, and I love you all most dearly. Day and night I pray to Heaven for you that strength may be yours, and that, one and all, you may participate in the blessings of Bahá’u’lláh, and enter into the Kingdom.

I supplicate that you may become as new beings, illumined with the Divine Light, like unto shining lamps, and that from one end of Europe to the other the knowledge of the Love of God may spread.

May this boundless love so fill your hearts and minds that sadness may find no room to enter and may you with joyful hearts soar like birds into the Divine Radiance.

May your hearts become clear and pure like unto polished mirrors in which may be reflected the full glory of the Sun of Truth.

May your eyes be opened to see the signs of the Kingdom of God, and may your ears be unstopped so that you may hear with a perfect understanding the Heavenly Proclamation sounding in your midst. May your souls receive help and comfort, and, being so strengthened, may they be enabled to live in accordance with the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh.

I pray for each and all that you may be as flames of love in the world, and that the brightness of your light and the warmth of your affection may reach the heart of every sad and sorrowing child of God.

May you be as shining stars, bright and luminous for ever in the Kingdom. I counsel you that you study earnestly the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, so that, God helping you, you may in deed and truth become Bahá’ís."

`Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 95-96


Monday, November 14, 2011

"With the fruits of the Tree of Thine Eternity nourish me, for uttermost weakness hath overtaken me."


"O God, my God! Be Thou not far from me, for tribulation upon tribulation hath gathered about me. O God, my God! Leave me not to myself, for the extreme of adversity hath come upon me. Out of the pure milk, drawn from the breasts of Thy loving-kindness, give me to drink, for my thirst hath utterly consumed me. Beneath the shadow of the wings of Thy mercy shelter me, for all mine adversaries with one consent have fallen upon me. Keep me near to the throne of Thy majesty, face to face with the revelation of the signs of Thy glory, for wretchedness hath grievously touched me. With the fruits of the Tree of Thine Eternity nourish me, for uttermost weakness hath overtaken me. From the cups of joy, proffered by the hands of Thy tender mercies, feed me, for manifold sorrows have laid mighty hold upon me. With the broidered robe of Thine omnipotent sovereignty attire me, for poverty hath altogether despoiled me. Lulled by the cooing of the Dove of Thine Eternity, suffer me to sleep, for woes at their blackest have befallen me. Before the throne of Thy oneness, amid the blaze of the beauty of Thy countenance, cause me to abide, for fear and trembling have violently crushed me. Beneath the ocean of Thy forgiveness, faced with the restlessness of the leviathan of glory, immerse me, for my sins have utterly doomed me."

- Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, CXLV, p.234

Walker Evans
Dust Bowl, Library of Congress

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"The light of the celestial world makes war against the world of shadow and illusion. The rays of the Sun of Truth dispel the darkness of superstition and misunderstanding."



"O SON OF MY HANDMAID! Wouldst thou seek the grace of the Holy Spirit, enter into fellowship with the righteous, for he hath drunk the cup of eternal life at the hands of the immortal Cup-bearer and even as the true morn doth quicken and illumine the hearts of the dead."

-Bahá'u'lláh The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Persian No. 58

 DISCOURSE AT ‘L’ALLIANCE SPIRITUALISTE’
Salle de l’Athenée, St Germain, Paris,
 November 9th, 1911

 ... "Every heart should radiate unity, so that the Light of the one Divine Source of all may shine forth bright and luminous. We must not consider the separate waves alone, but the entire sea. We should rise from the individual to the whole. The spirit is as one great ocean and the waves thereof are the souls of men.

We are told in the Holy Scripture that the New Jerusalem shall appear on earth. Now it is evident that this celestial city is not built of material stones and mortar, but that it is a city not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens.

This is a prophetic symbol, meaning the coming again of the Divine Teaching to enlighten the hearts of men. It is long since this Holy Guidance has governed the lives of humanity. But now, at last, the Holy City of the New Jerusalem has come again to the world, it has appeared anew under an Eastern sky; from the horizon of Persia has its effulgence arisen to be a light to lighten the whole world. We see in these days the fulfilment of the Divine Prophecy. Jerusalem had disappeared. The heavenly city was destroyed, now it is rebuilt; it was razed to the ground, but now its walls and pinnacles have been restored, and are towering aloft in their renewed and glorious beauty.

In the Western world material prosperity has triumphed, whilst in the East the spiritual sun has shone forth.

I am very glad to see such an assembly as this in Paris, where spiritual and material progress are met together in unity.

Man—the true man—is soul, not body; though physically man belongs to the animal kingdom, yet his soul lifts him above the rest of creation. Behold how the light of the sun illuminates the world of matter: even so doth the Divine Light shed its rays in the kingdom of the soul. The soul it is which makes the human creature a celestial entity!

By the power of the Holy Spirit, working through his soul, man is able to perceive the Divine reality of things. All great works of art and science are witnesses to this power of the Spirit.

The same Spirit gives Eternal Life.

Those alone who are baptized by the Divine Spirit will be enabled to bring all peoples into the bond of unity. It is by the power of the Spirit that the Eastern World of spiritual thought can intermingle with the Western realm of action, so that the world of matter may become Divine.

It follows that all who work for the Supreme Design are soldiers in the army of the Spirit.

The light of the celestial world makes war against the world of shadow and illusion. The rays of the Sun of Truth dispel the darkness of superstition and misunderstanding." ...

 `Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 84-85

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Celebrating the Birth of Bahá'u'lláh



Lawh-i-Ra’ís

"He is in His own Right the Supreme Ruler!

The Pen of the Most High proclaimeth: O thou who hast imagined thyself to be the most exalted of men 1 and who hast regarded as the lowliest of all creatures this divine Youth, through Whom the eyes of the Concourse on high have been illumined and made radiant! This Youth hath sought nothing from thee or from such as are like unto thee, inasmuch as from time immemorial, whenever the Manifestations of the All-Merciful and the Exponents of His unfading glory have stepped out of the Realm of eternity into this mortal world and revealed themselves to revive the dead, men such as thee have considered these sanctified Souls and Temples of Divine Oneness, upon Whom must needs depend the rehabilitation of the peoples of the earth, to be stirrers of mischief and worthy of blame. These men, verily, have all returned unto dust. Thou, too, shalt erelong take abode therein and find thyself in grievous loss."

-Bahá'u'lláh, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p.161

***  ***   ***

...  "The letter was written in a most beautiful manner, and continued warning the King and telling him of the future triumph of the Kingdom of Bahá’u’lláh, both in the Eastern and in the Western World.

The Sháh paid no attention to the warning of this letter and continued to live in the same fashion until the end.

Although Bahá’u’lláh was in prison the great Power of the Holy Spirit was with Him!

None other in prison could have been like unto Him.

In spite of all the hardships He suffered, He never complained. In the dignity of His Majesty, He always refused to see the Governor, or the influential people of the town.

Although the surveillance was unremittingly strict He came and went as He wished! He died in a house situated about three kilometers from St. Jean d’Acre."

 `Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 78-79
November 7, 1911


Friday, November 11, 2011

"The soul is not a combination of elements, it is not composed of many atoms, it is of one indivisible substance and therefore eternal. It is entirely out of the order of the physical creation; it is immortal!"


"O SON OF MAN! I loved thy creation, hence I created thee. Wherefore, do thou love Me, that I may name thy name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life."

- Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic No. 4


THE EVOLUTION OF THE SPIRIT
15 Rue Greuze, Paris,
 November 10th, 1911

 ... "The whole physical creation is perishable. These material bodies are composed of atoms; when these atoms begin to separate decomposition sets in, then comes what we call death. This composition of atoms, which constitutes the body or mortal element of any created being, is temporary. When the power of attraction, which holds these atoms together, is withdrawn, the body, as such, ceases to exist.

With the soul it is different. The soul is not a combination of elements, it is not composed of many atoms, it is of one indivisible substance and therefore eternal. It is entirely out of the order of the physical creation; it is immortal!

Scientific philosophy has demonstrated that a simple element (‘simple’ meaning ‘not composed’) is indestructible, eternal. The soul, not being a composition of elements, is, in character, as a simple element, and therefore cannot cease to exist.

The soul, being of that one indivisible substance, can suffer neither disintegration nor destruction, therefore there is no reason for its coming to an end. All things living show signs of their existence, and it follows that these signs could not of themselves exist if that which they express or to which they testify had no being. A thing which does not exist, can, of course, give no sign of its existence. The manifold signs of the existence of the spirit are for ever before us.

The traces of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the influence of His Divine Teaching, is present with us today, and is everlasting.

A non-existent thing, it is agreed, cannot be seen by signs. In order to write a man must exist—one who does not exist cannot write. Writing is, in itself, a sign of the writer’s soul and intelligence. The Sacred Writings (with ever the same Teaching) prove the continuity of the spirit.

Consider the aim of creation: is it possible that all is created to evolve and develop through countless ages with this small goal in view—a few years of a man’s life on earth? Is it not unthinkable that this should be the final aim of existence?" ...

 `Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 90-92

Asheboro Study Circle during power outage
© 2011 Chuck Egerton 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"You are of the Spirit! To you who seek the truth, the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh will come as a great joy!"


"O SON OF SPIRIT! Burst thy cage asunder, and even as the phoenix of love soar into the firmament of holiness. Renounce thyself and, filled with the spirit of mercy, abide in the realm of celestial sanctity."

 -Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Persian No. 38


Calligraphy of the Name of Bahá’u’lláh by Burhan Zahra'i
DISCOURSE AT ‘L’ALLIANCE SPIRITUALISTE’
Salle de l’Athenée, St Germain, Paris,
 November 9th, 1911

...  "You are of the Spirit! To you who seek the truth, the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh will come as a great joy! This teaching is of the Spirit, in it is no precept which is not of the Divine Spirit.

 Spirit cannot be perceived by the material senses of the physical body, excepting as it is expressed in outward signs and works. The human body is visible, the soul is invisible. It is the soul nevertheless that directs a man’s faculties, that governs his humanity.



 The soul has two main faculties. (a) As outer circumstances are communicated to the soul by the eyes, ears, and brain of a man, so does the soul communicate its desires and purposes through the brain to the hands and tongue of the physical body, thereby expressing itself. The spirit in the soul is the very essence of life. (b) The second faculty of the soul expresses itself in the world of vision, where the soul inhabited by the spirit has its being, and functions without the help of the material bodily senses. There, in the realm of vision, the soul sees without the help of the physical eye, hears without the aid of the physical ear, and travels without dependence upon physical motion. It is, therefore, clear that the spirit in the soul of man can function through the physical body by using the organs of the ordinary senses, and that it is able also to live and act without their aid in the world of vision. This proves without a doubt the superiority of the soul of man over his body, the superiority of spirit over matter.

 For example, look at this lamp: is not the light within it superior to the lamp which holds it? However beautiful the form of the lamp may be, if the light is not there its purpose is unfulfilled, it is without life—a dead thing. The lamp needs the light, but the light does not need the lamp.

 The spirit does not need a body, but the body needs spirit, or it cannot live. The soul can live without a body, but the body without a soul dies.

If a man lose his sight, his hearing, his hand or his foot, should his soul still inhabit the body he lives, and is able to manifest divine virtues. On the other hand, without the spirit it would be impossible for a perfect body to exist.

 The greatest power of the Holy Spirit exists in the Divine Manifestations of the Truth. Through the power of the Spirit the Heavenly Teaching has been brought into the World of Humanity. Through the power of the Spirit life everlasting has come to the children of men. Through the power of the Spirit the Divine Glory has shone from East to West, and through the power of the same Spirit will the divine virtues of humanity become manifest.

 Our greatest efforts must be directed towards detachment from the things of the world; we must strive to become more spiritual, more luminous, to follow the counsel of the Divine Teaching, to serve the cause of unity and true equality, to be merciful, to reflect the love of the Highest on all men, so that the light of the Spirit shall be apparent in all our deeds, to the end that all humanity shall be united, the stormy sea thereof calmed, and all rough waves disappear from off the surface of life’s ocean henceforth unruffled and peaceful. Then will the New Jerusalem be seen by mankind, who will enter through its gates and receive the Divine Bounty."

 `Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 85-87


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

" ...it was the Love of God that gave to the East Bahá’u’lláh, and is now sending the light of His teaching far into the West, and from Pole to Pole. "


"O SON OF EARTH! Wouldst thou have Me, seek none other than Me; and wouldst thou gaze upon My beauty, close thine eyes to the world and all that is therein; for My will and the will of another than Me, even as fire and water, cannot dwell together in one heart."

- Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Persian No. 31


THE TRUE MEANING OF BAPTISM BY WATER AND FIRE
November 9th, 1911
Paris

 "... Water is the cause of life, and when Christ speaks of water, He is symbolizing that which is the cause of Everlasting Life.

This life-giving water of which He speaks is like unto fire, for it is none other than the Love of God, and this love means life to our souls....

There is nothing greater or more blessed than the Love of God! It gives healing to the sick, balm to the wounded, joy and consolation to the whole world, and through it alone can man attain Life Everlasting. The essence of all religions is the Love of God, and it is the foundation of all the sacred teachings.

It was the Love of God that led Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that strengthened Joseph in Egypt and gave to Moses courage and patience.

Through the Love of God, Christ was sent into the world with His inspiring example of a perfect life of self-sacrifice and devotion, bringing to men the message of Eternal Life. It was the Love of God that gave Muḥammad power to bring the Arabs from a state of animal degradation to a loftier state of existence.

God’s Love it was that sustained the Báb and brought him to his supreme sacrifice, and made his bosom the willing target for a thousand bullets.

Finally, it was the Love of God that gave to the East Bahá’u’lláh, and is now sending the light of His teaching far into the West, and from Pole to Pole.

Thus I exhort each of you, realizing its power and beauty, to sacrifice all your thoughts, words and actions to bring the knowledge of the Love of God into every heart."

 `Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks pp. 82-83

The Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh, Bahji

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"If we are true Bahá’ís speech is not needed. Our actions will help on the world, will spread civilization, will help the progress of science, and cause the arts to develop."


"O CHILDREN OF MEN! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory."

-Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic No. 68


GOOD IDEAS MUST BE CARRIED INTO ACTION
November 8th, 1911
Paris

 ... "But Bahá’ís must not be thus; they must rise above this condition. Actions must be more to them than words. By their actions they must be merciful and not merely by their words. They must on all occasions confirm by their actions what they proclaim in words. Their deeds must prove their fidelity, and their actions must show forth Divine light.

Let your actions cry aloud to the world that you are indeed Bahá’ís, for it is actions that speak to the world and are the cause of the progress of humanity.

If we are true Bahá’ís speech is not needed. Our actions will help on the world, will spread civilization, will help the progress of science, and cause the arts to develop. Without action nothing in the material world can be accomplished, neither can words unaided advance a man in the spiritual Kingdom. It is not through lip-service only that the elect of God have attained to holiness, but by patient lives of active service they have brought light into the world.

Therefore strive that your actions day by day may be beautiful prayers. Turn towards God, and seek always to do that which is right and noble. Enrich the poor, raise the fallen, comfort the sorrowful, bring healing to the sick, reassure the fearful, rescue the oppressed, bring hope to the hopeless, shelter the destitute!

This is the work of a true Bahá’í, and this is what is expected of him. If we strive to do all this, then are we true Bahá’ís, but if we neglect it, we are not followers of the Light, and we have no right to the name." ...

`Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp.80-81

Mishkin Qalam

Monday, November 7, 2011

"The carpenters brought their saws and hammers, the butchers came with their knives, the bricklayers and builders shouldered their spades, all these men, incited by the frenzied Mullás, were eager to share in the honour of killing Him."


"O SON OF MAN! Ponder and reflect. Is it thy wish to die upon thy bed, or to shed thy life-blood on the dust, a martyr in My path, and so become the manifestation of My command and the revealer of My light in the highest paradise? Judge thou aright, O servant!"

-Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic, No. 46

BAHÁ’U’LLÁH 
November 7th, 1911
Paris

 "‘Abdu’l-Bahá said: I will speak to you today of Bahá’u’lláh. In the third year after the Báb had declared his Mission, Bahá’u’lláh, being accused by fanatical Mullás of believing in the new doctrine, was arrested and thrown into prison. The next day, however, several ministers of the Government and other influential men caused him to be set free. Later on he was again arrested, and the priests condemned him to death! The Governor hesitated to have this sentence carried out for fear of a revolution. The priests met together in the Mosque, before which was the place of execution. All the people of the town gathered in crowds outside the Mosque. The carpenters brought their saws and hammers, the butchers came with their knives, the bricklayers and builders shouldered their spades, all these men, incited by the frenzied Mullás, were eager to share in the honour of killing Him. Inside the Mosque were assembled the doctors of religion. Bahá’u’lláh stood before them, and answered all their questions with great wisdom. The chief sage in particular, was completely silenced by Bahá’u’lláh, who refuted all his arguments.

A discussion arose between two of these priests as to the meaning of some words in the writings of the Báb; accusing Him of inaccuracy, they challenged Bahá’u’lláh to defend Him if He were able. These priests were entirely humiliated, for Bahá’u’lláh proved before the whole assembly that the Báb was absolutely right, and that the accusation was made in ignorance.

 The defeated ones now put Him to the torture of the bastinado, and more infuriated than before brought Him out before the walls of the Mosque unto the place of execution, where the misguided people were awaiting His coming. ..."    CLICK HERE TO READ THE WHOLE STORY

 `Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 75-76


Walker Evans
Library of Congress


Sunday, November 6, 2011

" ... empty thyself of all learning save the knowledge of Me ..."


"O SON OF DUST! Blind thine eyes, that thou mayest behold My beauty; stop thine ears, that thou mayest hearken unto the sweet melody of My voice; empty thyself of all learning, that thou mayest partake of My knowledge; and sanctify thyself from riches, that thou mayest obtain a lasting share from the ocean of My eternal wealth. Blind thine eyes, that is, to all save My beauty; stop thine ears to all save My word; empty thyself of all learning save the knowledge of Me; that with a clear vision, a pure heart and an attentive ear thou mayest enter the court of My holiness."

-Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Persian No. 11

LECTURE GIVEN AT A STUDIO IN PARIS 
November 6th, 1911

"This is in truth a Bahá’í house. Every time such a house or meeting place is founded it becomes one of the greatest aids to the general development of the town and country to which it belongs. It encourages the growth of learning and science and is known for its intense spirituality and for the love it spreads among the peoples.

The foundation of such a meeting-place is always followed by the greatest prosperity. The first Bahá’í Assembly that existed in Ṭihrán was singularly blessed! In one year it had grown so rapidly that its members had increased to nine times their original number. Today, in far-away Persia, there are many such assemblies where the friends of God meet together in the fulness of joy, love and unity. They teach the Cause of God, educate the ignorant, and draw heart to heart in brotherly kindness. It is they who help the poor and needy and give to them their daily bread. They love and care for the sick and are messengers of hope and consolation to the desolate and oppressed.

Oh, ye in Paris, strive that your assemblies may be like unto this, and may bear even greater fruits!

Oh, friends of God! If ye will trust in the Word of God and be strong; if ye will follow the precepts of Bahá’u’lláh to tend the sick, raise the fallen, care for the poor and needy, give shelter to the destitute, protect the oppressed, comfort the sorrowful and love the world of humanity with all your hearts, then I say unto you that ere long this meeting-place will see a wonderful harvest. Day by day each member will advance and become more and more spiritual. But ye must have a firm foundation and your aims and ambitions must be clearly understood by each member. They shall be as follows:

1. To show compassion and goodwill to all mankind.
2. To render service to humanity.
3. To endeavour to guide and enlighten those in darkness.
4. To be kind to everyone, and show forth affection to every living soul.
5. To be humble in your attitude towards God, to be constant in prayer to Him, so as to grow daily nearer to God.
6. To be so faithful and sincere in all your actions that every member may be known as embodying the qualities of honesty, love, faith, kindness, generosity, and courage.

To be detached from all that is not God, attracted by the Heavenly Breath—a divine soul; so that the world may know that a Bahá’í is a perfect being. Strive to attain this at these meetings. Then, indeed and in truth will ye, the friends of God, come together with great joy! Render help one to the other, become as one man, having reached perfect unity.

I pray to God that daily ye may advance in spirituality, that God’s love may be more and more manifested in you, that the thoughts of your hearts may be purified, and that your faces may be ever turned towards Him. May you one and all approach to the threshold of unity, and enter into the Kingdom. May each of you be like unto a flaming torch, lighted and burning bright with the fire of the Love of God."

`Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 72-74
Atget



Saturday, November 5, 2011

'Write all that We have revealed unto thee with the ink of light upon the tablet of thy spirit."


"O SON OF MAN! Write all that We have revealed unto thee with the ink of light upon the tablet of thy spirit. Should this not be in thy power, then make thine ink of the essence of thy heart. If this thou canst not do, then write with that crimson ink that hath been shed in My path. Sweeter indeed is this to Me than all else, that its light may endure for ever."

-Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Persian No. 71

THE TWO KINDS OF LIGHT 
November 5th, 1911
Paris

 "Today the weather is gloomy and dull! In the East there is continual sunshine, the stars are never veiled, and there are very few clouds. Light always rises in the East and sends forth its radiance into the West.

There are two kinds of light. There is the visible light of the sun, by whose aid we can discern the beauties of the world around us—without this we could see nothing.

Nevertheless, though it is the function of this light to make things visible to us, it cannot give us the power to see them or to understand what their various charms may be, for this light has no intelligence, no consciousness. It is the light of the intellect which gives us knowledge and understanding, and without this light the physical eyes would be useless.

This light of the intellect is the highest light that exists, for it is born of the Light Divine.

The light of the intellect enables us to understand and realize all that exists, but it is only the Divine Light that can give us sight for the invisible things, and which enables us to see truths that will only be visible to the world thousands of years hence.

It was the Divine Light which enabled the prophets to see two thousand years in advance what was going to take place and today we see the realization of their vision. Thus it is this Light which we must strive to seek, for it is greater than any other.

It was by this Light that Moses was enabled to see and comprehend the Divine Appearance, and to hear the Heavenly Voice which spoke to him from the Burning Bush. 1

It is of this Light Muḥammad is speaking when he says, ‘Alláh is the light of the Heavens, and of the Earth’.

Seek with all your hearts this Heavenly Light, so that you may be enabled to understand the realities, that you may know the secret things of God, that the hidden ways may be made plain before your eyes.

This light may be likened unto a mirror, and as a mirror reflects all that is before it, so this Light shows to the eyes of our spirits all that exists in God’s Kingdom and causes the realities of things to be made visible. By the help of this effulgent Light all the spiritual interpretation of the Holy Writings has been made plain, the hidden things of God’s Universe have become manifest, and we have been enabled to comprehend the Divine purposes for man.

I pray that God in His mercy may illumine your hearts and souls with His glorious Light, then shall each one of you shine as a radiant star in the dark places of the world."

 `Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 68-70


1.Exodus iii, 2.


Man Ray
Rayograph

Friday, November 4, 2011

"If trials afflict thee not in thy longing to meet Me, how wilt thou attain the light in thy love for My beauty?"



"O SON OF MAN! If adversity befall thee not in My path, how canst thou walk in the ways of them that are content with My pleasure? If trials afflict thee not in thy longing to meet Me, how wilt thou attain the light in thy love for My beauty?"

-Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Arabic No. 50

THE SPIRITUAL MEETINGS IN PARIS
November 4th, 1911

"All over Europe today one hears of meetings and assemblies, and societies of all kinds are formed. There are those interested in commerce, science, and politics, and many others. All these are for material service, their desire being for the progress and enlightenment of the world of matter. But rarely does a breath from the spirit world breathe upon them. They seem unconscious of the Divine Voice, careless concerning the things of God. But this meeting in Paris is a truly spiritual one. The Divine Breath is poured forth in your midst, the light of the Kingdom is shining in all hearts. The Divine love of God is a power among you, and with souls athirst, ye receive the glad tidings of great joy.

You are all met here with one accord, heart drawn to heart, souls overflowing with Divine love, working and longing for the unity of the world.

Verily this assembly is a spiritual one! It is like unto a beautiful perfumed garden! On it the Heavenly Sun sheds the golden rays, and the warmth thereof penetrates and gladdens each waiting heart. The love of Christ, which passeth all knowledge, is among you, the Holy Spirit is your help.

Day by day this meeting will grow and become more powerful until gradually its spirit will conquer the whole world!

Try with all your hearts to be willing channels for God’s Bounty. For I say unto you that He has chosen you to be His messengers of love throughout the world, to be His bearers of spiritual gifts to man, to be the means of spreading unity and concord on the earth. Thank God with all your hearts that such a privilege has been given unto you. For a life devoted to praise is not too long in which to thank God for such a favour.

Lift up your hearts above the present and look with eyes of faith into the future! Today the seed is sown, the grain falls upon the earth, but behold the day will come when it shall rise a glorious tree and the branches thereof shall be laden with fruit. Rejoice and be glad that this day has dawned, try to realize its power, for it is indeed wonderful! God has crowned you with honour and in your hearts has He set a radiant star; verily the light thereof shall brighten the whole world!"

 `Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pp. 67-68

Arthur Rothstein
Library of Congress