April 8, 2017

Materialistic and spiritual “pathways” in the world of humanity; Teachings of Baha’u’llah

June 9, 1912
Baptist Temple,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

I have the utmost pleasure this evening in being present. Truly this is an assembly gathered together in the utmost condition of spirituality. I perceive the fragrance of spiritual susceptibilities of the Kingdom among you -- devotion to God, sincere intention and spiritually. Glad Tidings!

From the beginning of the creation of Adam up to our day, there have been in the world of humanity two pathways, one the natural or materialistic pathway, the other the religious pathway.

The pathway of nature is the pathway of the animal realm. The animal acts in accordance with the requirements of nature -- it can do whatsoever it may desire. Whatsoever its proclivities may be, it can gratify them -- it is a captive of nature. The animal cannot deviate one hair's breadth from the natural pathway. It is utterly minus spiritual susceptibilities, it is utterly ignorant of the Divine Religion, it is utterly uninformed of the Kingdom of God. The animal has no part in the power of ideation or conscious intelligence; it is a captive of sense perceptions; deprived of that which is beyond the plane of the senses. That which the eye of the animal sees, the ear hears, the nostrils sense and the taste detects, that which it can feel by the sense of touch these are the five senses to which the animal is captive and subject. The result of these sensations are acceptable to him. But that which is beyond the sensibilities, that which is from the conscious pathway to the Kingdom of God, the spiritual susceptibilities, the Divine Religion, of these the animal is completely unaware, for the animal is utterly a captive of nature.

One of the strangest things witnessed is that the materialists are proud of their natural proclivities. They state, that which is sensible or tangible is worthy of credence, but that which is not within the realm of the sense perceptions is unreasonable. By their own statements they are captives of the senses. Of the spiritual world they are uninformed: of the Divine Kingdom they are unaware; of the Divine bestowal they are unconscious. If this be a virtue, the animal has attained to a superlative degree, for the animal is absolutely unaware of and not at all in touch with the spiritual realm.

March 10, 2017

Duties of a Board of Consultation – Spiritual Assemblies

November 2, 1912, Chicago
At Mrs. True's home

[He (‘Abdu’l-Baha) then went to Mrs. True's home where the friends had gathered for consultation. They asked Him about the duties of a board of consultation. He said:]

The first duty of the members is to be in harmony and unity among themselves, for this will bear good results. If there is no unity or -- God forbid! -- if it becomes the cause of differences, then of course its non-existence is better than its existence. If Assemblies of consultation or the general meetings of the friends become the cause of ill feelings, they must be abandoned.

How pleased I was with the believers in California who said, `We do not want any board of consultation because it would lead to striving for leadership and power and will become the cause of differences. Now, praise be to God!, we are serving as much as we can, having no other thought than the diffusion of the divine fragrances.'

Then, when the unity of the members has been achieved, their second duty is to recite verses and prayers in a state of contriteness and spiritual awareness so that they will feel themselves to be in the presence of God.

Third, their thoughts and discussions must be directed to the teaching of the Cause of God in all areas and regions. They must arise with all their strength for this great matter and make the necessary arrangements and prepare for the teaching of the Cause.

Fourth, they must be occupied and concerned with rendering help to the poor, the needy and the sick.

Fifth, they must improve and administer the affairs of the believers and other matters.

The Master spoke on similar topics and the meeting concluded in an extraordinary spirit of happiness among the friends.
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Chicago, November 2, 1912, recorded by Mahmud Zarqani; ‘Mahmud’s Diary’)

February 24, 2017

"I am ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and no more”

Tonight, I desire to speak to you on a most important subject, which you must engrave on the tablets of your hearts like unto the engraving of pictures on adamantine tack, to the extent that you may never forget it, and as you travel through life will relate it to the believers of God.

It is this: The Holy, Divine Manifestations are unique and peerless. They are the arch-types of celestial and spiritual virtues in their own age and cycle. They stand on the summit of the Mount of Vision and they foreshadow the perfections of the evolving humanity.

For example: during the dispensation of His Holiness Moses -- Peace be upon Him -- there was not a single human soul similar or like unto Him. He surpassed all the Holy Souls who came after Him, even the hosts of the Israelitish prophets.

In a similar manner all the people who lived during the cycle of His Holiness Christ -- May my life be a sacrifice to Him -- were under His spiritual authority. They had no will of their own. He was the Sun and the others were the lamps. He was unique and peerless, the center and the focal point of the mighty forces. Everyone else was under His shadow. He was the Orb and the others were the stars. He was also unique and peerless. Everyone caught the rays of Light from Him, and was enkindled through His Fire.

In a like manner was the epoch of His Holiness the Báb -- May the life of aught else be a ransom to Him -- and He was matchless and without a peer. All the rivers received their strength from that great sea.

February 10, 2017

“Confirmations of Baha’u’llah” - “...hovering like the birds of paradise!"

One day, when ‘Abdu'l-Baha was very tired, He said to several young Baha’is who came to see Him:

“My work is done. The tree of my life has yielded its fruits. I have set a fire in the world. Your duty is to add to its flame.

“My Sons, it is now your turn. The members of nay bodily constitution are well-nigh disintegrated. You are young, and your blood is pure; your intelligence is keen. You can bear the difficulties of this life. I would like to remain silent for some time, and listen to the incoming news of those who are endeavoring to spread the Fragrances of God. How far shall they succeed? How will they promote the Word of God? How will they raise the melodies and sing the songs of 'Ya Baha’u’l-Abha!

"Assuredly the Blessed Perfection is with such souls. They shall see with their own eyes the Confirmations of Baha’u’llah; just as I saw them when addressing large gatherings in churches and temples. I saw them hovering like the birds of paradise!" 
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, recorded by Amhad Sohrab, December 11, 1913, ‘Diary of Mirza Ahmad Sohrab; Star of the West, vol. 5, no. 1, March 21, 1914)

January 25, 2017

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s advice to a travel teacher

Consecrate all thy time to the service of the Kingdom of God and the propagator of its principles. Let thine own supreme concern be the promotion of the Word of God.

Thou wilt ever be surrounded by the invisible angels of Confirmations and they will always come to thy assistance. Whenever thou dost enter a meeting, raise thy voice and say:

“O ye believers of God! This day is the day of your attraction! This day is the day in which you must diffuse the Fragrances of God! This day is the day that you must unfurl the Banner of the Kingdom of Abha! This day is the day of Peace and Concord! This day is the day of the proclamation of the oneness of the world of humanity! This day is the day of forgiveness and leniency! This day is the day of Truth and righteousness! This day is the day of conciliation and beatitude! This day is the day of awakening and enkindlement! Waste not your precious time in fault-finding and backbiting. Polish the surface of the mirrors of your hearts from the dross of human frailties. If you live according to the standard of other communities, then what difference does there exist between you and them? Baha'u'llah has summoned you to such a lofty summit the very thought of which is too dazzling a prospect! He has not chosen you to be satisfied with water and clay!"

January 10, 2017

Need for an International Language

Edinburgh Esperanto Society
Edinburgh, Scotland
January 7, 1913
[From The British Esperantist, February, 1913]

Every movement which promotes unity and harmony in the world is good, and everything which creates discord and content is bad. This is a century of illumination, surpassing all others in its many discoveries, its great inventions, and its vast and varied undertakings. But the greatest achieve anent of the age in conferring profit and pleasure on mankind is the creation of an auxiliary language for all. Oneness of language creates oneness of heart. Oneness of language engenders peace and harmony. It sweeps away all misunderstandings among peoples. It establishes harmony among the children of men. It gives to the human intellect a broader conception, a more commanding point of view.

Today the greatest need of humanity is to understand and to be understood. With the help of the International Language, every individual member of a community can learn of world happenings and become in touch with the ethical and scientific discoveries of the age. The auxiliary international language gives to us the key -- the key of keys which unlocks the secrets of the past. By its aid every nation henceforth will be able easily and without difficulty to work out its own scientific discoveries.

It is a well-known fact that the Oriental student coming to the west, in his efforts to acquaint himself with the discoveries and achievements of western civilization, must spend precious years of his life in acquiring the language of the land to which he comes before he can turn to the study of the special science in which he is interested. For example, let us suppose that a youth from India, Persia, Turkestan or Arabia comes to this country to study medicine. He must first struggle with the English language for four years, to the exclusion of all else, before he can even begin the study of medicine. Whereas, if the auxiliary international language were taught in all the schools during his childhood, he would learn the language in his own country, and afterward wherever he wished to go, he could easily pursue his specialty without loss of some of the best years of his life.

November 18, 2016

Walking in the Pathway of the Disciples of Christ

June 11, 1912,
309 West 78th Street
New York City

[After instructions upon certain matters, ‘Abdu'l-Baha continued]

The essence of the intention is that I wish you to pray for me and I will pray for you. The pathway we shall walk together is the pathway of the disciples of Christ. After the departure of His Holiness to the Supreme Paradise, the disciples who had followed His teachings met together in consultation upon the summit of a mountain near Jaffa. Such a consultation was never before held.

They said to each other, "His Holiness Jesus Christ has been crucified. He offered His life in this way, gave up His rest and comfort, forfeited His happiness, renounced His possessions, family and life, and quaffed the chalice of martyrdom. He educated us in order that we might arise after Him in His Cause. He sacrificed His life that the oil in the lamps of our souls might become ignited and His Light shine forth from them. He suffered on the cross that we may irrigate the tree of His planting. He consented to a cruel death in order that the seed of His sowing might be cultivated and preserved by us. Now must we be loyal to His Holiness. If we wish to be loyal we must arise to carry out the duties of loyalty. Otherwise each of us will continue to seek after his own livelihood, rest and comfort; each, like other people, find repose, enjoy a family, have a household, provide food and strive to gain glory and power. Shall we do this?” All said, "No! We must be loyal and faithful to His Holiness Jesus Christ. Therefore, with our worldly attachments we cannot attend to His service in a true spirit of severance. We must either be occupied with ourselves or engaged in His service. This Cause is a very great Cause; a Cause that is weighty and important, not light and trivial; a Cause that is not easy to carry and serve.”

October 12, 2016

Need for a universal language; Esperanto

February 12, 1913
Paris Esperanto group
Paris, France

In the material world of existence, human undertakings are divided into two kinds universal and specific. The result of every universal effort is infinite and the outcome of every specific effort is finite.

In this age, those human problems which create a general interest are universal; their results are likewise universal, for humanity has become interdependent. The international laws of today are of vast importance since international politics are bringing nations nearer to one another. It is a general axiom that in the world of human endeavor, every universal affair commands attention and its results and benefits are limitless. Therefore, let us say that every universal cause is divine and every specific matter is human. The universal light for this planet is from the sun and the special light here tonight, which is electric, illumines this banquet hall through the invention of man. In like manner the activities which are trying to establish solidarity between the nations and infuse the spirit of universalism in the hearts of the children of men are like unto divine rays from the Sun of Reality, and the brightest ray is the coming of the universal language. Its achievement is the greatest virtue of the age, for such an instrument will remove misunderstandings from among the peoples of the earth and will cement their hearts together. This medium will enable each individual member of the human family to be informed of the scientific accomplishments of all his fellowmen.

September 4, 2016

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s answer to a question by French Pasteur Monnier concerning the station of Christ

February 17, 1913
Pasteur Monnier's Theological Seminary, Paris
[The audience was composed of professors, clergy and theological students]

Question by Pasteur Monnier: As we are students of theology, and are in the rank of clergy, we would like to know your belief about Christ, who He was and what He was?

‘Abdu’l-Baha:  Our belief in regard to Christ is exactly what is recorded in the New Testament however we elucidate this matter, and do not speak literally or in a manner based merely on the foundation of blind belief. For instance, it is recorded in the Gospel of St. John, that in the beginning there was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Now the majority of Christians accept this principle as a matter of belief, but we give an explanation and exposition which is accepted by reason, and in such a way that no one may find occasion to reject it.

The Christians have made this statement the foundation of the Trinity -- but philosophizers deny it as mere superstition, stating that Trinity as regards the identity of the Divinity is impossible and in turn the Christians do not give a satisfactory explanation and interpretation to be accepted by philosophers.

As the former base their whole exposition of this subject upon the authority of the Holy Scriptures the latter do not accept it, saying, "Is it possible to have three in one, and one in three?”

We explain this subject as follows: The eternity of the Word is not an eternity of time, for if this were an eternity of time, the Word would have been accidental, and not eternal. By the Word we mean that this creation with its infinite forms is like unto letters, and the individual members of humanity are likewise like unto letters. A letter individually has no meaning, no independent significance, but the station of Christ is the station of the Word. Complete and independent significance is implied in a word. That is why we say Christ is the Word. By complete significance we mean that the universal bestowals of the perfection of Divinity are manifest in Christ. It is obvious that the perfections of other souls are particular, or only a part, but the perfections of the Christ are universal or the whole. The Reality of Christ possesses complete and self-sufficient perfections.

August 17, 2016

One’s Thoughts

The "reality" of man is his thought - not his material body. Although man is part of the animal creation, he possesses a power of thought superior to the rest of the created beings. If his thought is directed continually towards heavenly subjects, he becomes saintly; if, on the other hand, his thought does not soar above things of this world, he is little better than an animal.

Thoughts are of two kinds:

a)  Thoughts that belong entirely to the world of thought.
b)  Thoughts that result in action.

The thoughts of our Lord Jesus Christ belonged to a high spiritual world, but he also brought them into the world of action.

Some men and women have exalted thoughts, but if they do not realize them in the world of action, they are useless. The power of thought is dependent on manifestation in the world of action.

Nevertheless in the world of progress and evolution thought has an effect, even if it is not always expressed in action. To this class of thought the majority of philosophers give expression; their thoughts are above their actions, too high for them to live up to themselves. The difference between philosophers and spiritual teachers is this: Spiritual teachers follow their own teaching, bring down into the world of action their spiritual conceptions and ideals, whereas mere philosophers do not. We often find philosophers emphasize the importance of Justice, while in their private lives they are most unjust.  This state is impossible with spiritual teachers. No man can separate himself from his thought. 
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha; From a compilation of ‘Discourses of ‘Abdu’l-Baha given in London and Paris’; Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 19, March 2, 1912)

August 10, 2016

“You must manifest the most sincere love for all.”

Let those who meet you know without your saying so that you are a Bahá'í. You must manifest the most sincere love for all. Your hearts must burn with love for all. Let the people see that you are filled with universal love. If you meet a Persian, talk with him without ceremony, ask where he lives and try to help him. Likewise speak to all strangers who seem lonely and give them your willing service. Be loving to them, Turks, Arabs, Indians, Chinese, Americans, Japanese - all. If they are poor, help them with money; if they are sad, comfort them; if they are distraught, quiet them; till all the world shall see that you have in truth the universal love. It is all very well for you to say that you agree with all this, that it is good-but you must put it into practice. 
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha; From a compilation of ‘Discourses of ‘Abdu’l-Baha given in London and Paris’; Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 19, March 2, 1912)

August 1, 2016

Aims and ambitions of Bahá'ís

Paris, France
6 November 1911
  • Pity and good-will towards all mankind.
  • The rendering of service to humanity.
  • To guide and enlighten hearts.
  • Each member must try to be kind to everyone and to show forth great affection towards every living soul.
  • Humility towards God and constant prayer to Him so as to be enabled to grow daily "Nearer God".
  • Always in every word and action to be faithful and sincere, so that each member may be known to the world as embodying the qualities of Sincerity, Faith, Kindness, Love, Generosity and Bravery.  That we may be detached from all that is not God, attracted by the Heavenly Breath, divine beings - so that the world may know that a Bahá'í is a perfect being.
(Notes of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s words in a compilation: ‘Discourses of ‘Abdu’l-Baha in London and Paris’; Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 19, March 2, 1912)

July 22, 2016

Thornton Chase

At the grave of Thornton Chase,
San Francisco, California,
October 19, 1912

This revered personage was the first Bahá'í in America. He served the Cause faithfully and his services will ever be remembered throughout future ages and cycles. He has written many books in this Cause and they will be studied carefully by the coming generations. He travelled once to 'Akká and there we associated with each other for several days. Indeed he became free from the troubles of this world. No matter how long he might have remained here, he would have met nothing else but trouble.

The purpose of life is to get certain results; that is, the life of man must bring forth certain fruitage. It does not depend upon the length of life. As soon as the life is crowned with fruition then it is completed, although that person may have had a short life. There are certain trees which come to fruition very quickly, but there are other trees which attain to fruition very late; the aim is fruit. If the tree brings forth its fruit young, its life is short; it is praiseworthy. How regretful it is that a man may live a long life and yet his life may not be crowned with success, like unto the cypress tree which does not give any fruitage.

Praise be to God! the tree of Mr. Chase's life brought forth fruit. It gave complete fruit, therefore he is free. He attained to eternal rest. He is now in the Presence of Bahá'u'lláh.

July 11, 2016

An example of “true brotherly love”

One day some soldiers came to the house of a believer and asked for one of his guests to be brought to them, that they might take him to his execution, according to their warrant. The host gave himself up in his guest's place and was killed in his stead. This is an instance of true brotherly love. 
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (From a compilation of ‘Discourses of ‘Abdu’l-Baha given in London and Paris’; Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 19, March 2, 1912)

July 2, 2016

An example of how the East and the West are embracing other

The feeling that existed between the East and the West is changing in the Light of Bahá'u'lláh's teaching. It used to be that if a Westerner drank from the cup of an Easterner the cup would be thought polluted, and the Easterner would break it. Now it is, with believers, that when a Westerner dines with an Easterner, the vessels and the plates that he has used are kept apart and reverenced in his memory. 
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (From a compilation of ‘Discourses of ‘Abdu’l-Baha given in London and Paris’; Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 19, March 2, 1912)

June 28, 2016

Impact of the British believers on ‘Abdu’l-Baha

Heaven has blessed this day. It was said that London should be a place for a great proclamation of the Message. I was tired when I boarded the steamer, but when I reached London and beheld the faces of the believers, my fatigue left me. Your great love refreshes me. I am very pleased with the English believers. 
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (From a compilation of ‘Discourses of ‘Abdu’l-Baha given in London and Paris’; Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 19, March 2, 1912)

June 20, 2016

God wants differences between nations to disappear

It is God's will that the differences between nations should disappear. Those who help the Cause of Unity on, are doing God's work. Unity is the Divine Bounty of this brilliant century. Praise be to God, there are many societies and many meetings held for Unity. Hatred is not so much the cause of separation now as it used to be; the cause of disunion now is mostly prejudice. 
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (From a compilation of ‘Discourses of ‘Abdu’l-Baha given in London and Paris’; Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 19, March 2, 1912)

June 13, 2016

Progress towards unity and peace in the last seventy years -- as of 1912

These are wonderful days!  We see an Eastern guest received with love and courtesy in the West.  I have been drawn here, in spite of my ill health, by the magnet of your love and sympathy.

Some years ago an ambassador was sent from Persia to London where he stayed five years. (His name was 'Abdu'l Hasan Khán.)  When he returned to Persia they asked him to tell them about the English people.  He answered:  "I do not know the English people.  Although I have been in London five years, I have only met the people of the Court."  This man was a great man in Persia, and scent to England by princes, and yet he did not know the people, although he lived among them five years.  Now I, a prisoner, come to England for the first time, and although my visit is so short, I have already met many dear friends and I can say I know the people.  Those I have met are true souls working for peace and unity.  Think of this subject:  What a difference there is between this time we are living in now, and seventy years ago!  Think of the progress! the progress toward unity and peace! 
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (From a compilation of ‘Discourses of ‘Abdu’l-Baha given in London and Paris’; Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 19, March 2, 1912)

June 4, 2016

Truth – “All divine prophets are the Manifestations of Truth.”

Home of Mademoiselle Gastea
Paris, France
November 24, 1911

All divine prophets are the Manifestations of Truth. His Highness Moses declared the Truth. His Highness the Christ spread the Truth. His Highness Muhammad established the Truth. All the elect of God proclaimed the Truth. His Highness Baha’u’llah unfurled the ensign of Truth. All sanctified souls who have stepped into the arena of existence have been the lamps of Truth.

Truth is the oneness of the kingdom of humanity. Truth is love among the children of men. Truth is the proclamation of Justice. Truth is divine guidance. Truth is the virtues and perfections of the human world. Truth is equality between the people of all countries. Truth is the illumination of the realm of man.

All the prophets of God have been the heralds of Truth. All have been united and agreed on this principle. Every prophet predicted the coming of a successor and every successor acknowledged the Truth of the predecessor.

Moses prophesied the coming of Christ. Christ acknowledged Moses. His Highness Christ foretold the appearance of Muhammad, and Muhammad accepted The Christ and Moses. When all these divine prophets were united with each other, why should we disagree? We are the followers of those holy souls. In the same manner that the prophets loved each other, we should follow their example, for we are all the servants of God and the Bounties of the Almighty are encircling every one.