December 26, 2010

“Behold how the power of Bahá'u'lláh has brought the East and West together.”

22 April 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

See how good Bahá'u'lláh is to us, how great the power of His Word! From what distant parts of the world He has brought us together in this house and caused us to meet at this heavenly table, for love has prepared a feast and bidden 'Abdu'l-Bahá to let this entertainment be in His name. What a union of hearts and what a confirmation of Bahá'u'lláh between East and West has been established! How His bounty has embraced all! How His favors have been perfected for all!

When the Muslims conquered Persia, the chief of the Zoroastrian high priests went to drink wine. According to Muslim law wine is forbidden, and he who drinks it must be punished by eighty-one strokes of the whip. Therefore, the Muslims arrested the high priest and whipped him. At that time the Arabs were considered very low and degraded by the Persians, scarcely to be accounted as human beings. As Muhammad was an Arab, the Persians looked upon Him with disdain; but when the high priest saw the evidences of a power in Muhammad which controlled these despised people, he cried out, "O thou Arabian Muhammad, what hast thou done? What hast thou done which has made thy people arrest the chief high priest of the Zoroastrians for committing something unlawful in thy religion?" By this circumstance the prejudice which caused the Zoroastrian to shun the Muslim had been overcome, for he recognized in what had happened to him the great influence Muhammad exercised over these people.

December 20, 2010

All the “meanings, perfection, and qualities” of previous Manifestations of God are now manifested in Baha’u’llah

“In the Book of the Zend-Avesta the Zoroastrians are awaiting the Coming of two Manifestations. Also, in the Old Testament Scriptures there is the promise of Elijah and Messiah. In the Gospel of the New Testament they are expecting the Father and the Second Coming of Christ. Likewise, in the Qur'án the Muhammadans have the promise of the Imám Mihdí and Christ. In brief, all the Holy Scriptures announce the Coming of two Manifestations, and these two Manifestations are the Báb and the Blessed Perfection. If you look into the Bible, it is Elias and Christ; in the Qur'án it is the Mihdí and Christ. These tidings are the same in all the Holy Books, only expressed in different ways -- two successive Manifestations. And all the Universe is promised these two. We must not search for the outer word in Elijah and Christ but look for the Reality. The Blessed Perfection said in His Tablets that once He was Abraham, once Moses, once Jesus, once Muhammad, and once the Báb. This is explained clearly in the 'Book of Íqán,' that is, the meanings and perfection of qualities which were once hidden are now revealed in Bahá‘u’lláh. Therefore, we can consider Bahá‘u’lláh to be all the Prophets, no matter by what Name He chooses to call Himself; for all their meanings, perfection, and qualities are manifest in Him. Bahá‘u’lláh is the center of all their perfections. For instance, in Moses the world received the Revelation of material laws, in Jesus spiritual laws, while in Bahá‘u’lláh we have received both material and spiritual laws. The Laws of Moses would cover but few pages, and the Teachings of Jesus could be gathered into a small pamphlet. The Old Testament contains nothing but material laws; no mention is in it of spiritual laws such as we find in the New Testament. In the New Testament there are no material laws except the laws of divorce and of the Sabbath. The New Testament contains no answers to questions of science. But all knowledge has been revealed by the Blessed Perfection in books which if gathered together would make many volumes. He has revealed demonstrations in sciences, and He is the epitome of all previous Revelations.” (‘Abdu’l-Baha, a table talk recorded by Julia M. Grundy in 1905, ‘Ten Days In the Light of ‘Akka’, Baha’i Publishing Trust, Wilmette, Ill., 1979)

December 6, 2010

Voice and Music

Voice is the vibration of the air, and is like the waves of the sea. The voice is produced through the instrumentality of the lips, throat, teeth, tongue, etc. These cause a wave in the air, and this wave reaches the nerve of the ear, which is thereby affected. This is the voice.

There are two kinds of voices. One when the complete instrument is perfect, then the emission of sound is perfect. The second is when the instrument is imperfect, it affects the voice in such a way that it is far from pleasing. What we have just said refers to the voice itself.

It is natural for the heart and spirit to take pleasure and enjoyment in all things that show forth symmetry, harmony, and perfection. For instance: a beautiful house, a well designed garden, a symmetrical line, a graceful motion, a well written book, pleasing garments -- in fact, all things that have in themselves grace or beauty are pleasing to the heart and spirit -- therefore, it is most certain that a true voice causes deep pleasure.

What is music? It is a combination of harmonious sounds. What is poetry? It is a symmetrical collection of words. Therefore, they are pleasing through harmony and rhythm. Poetry is much more effective and complete than prose. It stirs more deeply, for it is of a finer composition.

November 26, 2010

Prejudices “arising from adherence to religious forms and imitation of ancestral beliefs have hindered the progress of humanity thousands of years.”

21 April 1912
Talk at Universalist Church
Thirteenth and L Streets, Washington, D.C.
Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

The doctrines and creed of this church, so capably expressed by its revered minister, are truly commendable, sanctified and worthy of praise and glorification, for these precepts are opposed to the deep-rooted religious prejudices of the day. It is evident that prejudices arising from adherence to religious forms and imitation of ancestral beliefs have hindered the progress of humanity thousands of years. How many wars and battles have been fought, how much division, discord and hatred have been caused by this form of prejudice! But inasmuch as this century is a century of the revelation of reality -- praise be to God! -- the thoughts of men are being directed toward the welfare and unity of humanity. Daily the mirage of imitations is passing away, and the ocean of truth is surging more tumultuously. All the existing nations had a divine foundation of truth or reality originally, which was intended to be conducive to the unity and accord of mankind, but the light of that reality gradually became obscured. The darkness of superstitions and imitations came and took its place, binding the world of humanity in the chains and fetters of ignorance. Enmity arose among men, increasing to such an extent that nation strove against nation in hatred and violence. War has been a religious and political human heritage.

Now it is enough! We must investigate reality. We must put away these superstitions. It is a self-evident truth that all humanity is the creation of God. All are His servants and under His protection. All are recipients of His bestowals. God is kind to all His servants. At most it is this: that some are ignorant; they must be educated in order that they may become intelligent. Some are immature as children; they must be aided and assisted in order that they may become mature. Some are sick and ailing; they must be healed. But the suffering patient must not be tested by false treatment. The child must not be warped and hindered in its development. The ignorant must not be restricted by censure and criticism. We must look for the real, true remedy.

November 24, 2010

The “love which has blended the Orient and Occident” is “through the power of the Holy Spirit” brought to humanity by Baha’u’llah. It will gradually “enchain the world” causing an “evolution in civilization unparalleled in the history of the world”

21 April 1912
Talk at Studio Hall
1219 Connecticut Avenue, Washington, D.C.
Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

I have come here to visit you. With the greatest longing I have wished to see you. Realizing it was only with great difficulty that you could come to me and that very few could make the trip, I decided to come to you so that all might have the pleasure of meeting. Praise be to God! I am here, and I am looking into your faces -- faces radiant with inner beauty, hearts attracted to the Kingdom of Abha, spirits exhilarated through the glad tidings of God. Therefore, I have experienced the greatest possible happiness. And surely this happiness must be mutual, for the hearts are connected with each other and are filled with the same vibration. The flame and the light of love are reflected in all. Spiritual susceptibilities and heart longings fill every heart. If we should offer a hundred thousand thanksgivings every moment to the threshold of God for this love which has blended the Orient and Occident, we would fail to express our gratitude sufficiently. If all the powers of earth should seek to bring about this love between East and West, they would prove incapable. If they wished to establish this unity, it would prove impossible. But Bahá'u'lláh has accomplished both through the power of the Holy Spirit, and this bond of unity through love is indissoluble. It shall continue unto time everlasting, and day by day its power shall increase. Erelong it shall enchain the world, and eventually the hearts of all the nations of the world will be brought together by its constraining clasp. The world of humanity shall become the manifestation of the lights of Divinity, and the bestowals of God shall surround all. From the standpoints of both material and spiritual civilization extraordinary progress and development will be witnessed. In this present cycle there will be an evolution in civilization unparalleled in the history of the world. The world of humanity has, heretofore, been in the stage of infancy; now it is approaching maturity. Just as the individual human organism, having attained the period of maturity, reaches its fullest degree of physical strength and ripened intellectual faculties so that in one year of this ripened period there is witnessed an unprecedented measure of development, likewise the world of humanity in this cycle of its completeness and consummation will realize an immeasurable upward progress, and that power of accomplishment whereof each individual human reality is the depository of God -- that outworking Universal Spirit -- like the intellectual faculty, will reveal itself in infinite degrees of perfection.

November 7, 2010

“The West has always received spiritual enlightenment from the East”

October 23rd, 1912, Paris

When a man has found the joy of life in one place, he returns to that same spot to find more joy. When a man has found gold in a mine, he returns again to that mine to dig for more gold.

This shows the internal force and natural instinct which God has given to man, and the power of vital energy which is born in him.

The West has always received spiritual enlightenment from the East. The Song of the Kingdom is first heard in the East, but in the West the greater volume of sound bursts upon the listening ears.

The Lord Christ arose as a bright Star in the Eastern sky, but the light of His Teaching shone more perfectly in the West, where His influence has taken root more firmly and His Cause has spread to a greater degree than in the land of His birth.

The sound of the Song of Christ has echoed over all the lands of the Western World and entered the hearts of its people.

November 5, 2010

“Music … has a great effect upon the human spirit.”

Music is one of the important arts. It has a great effect upon the human spirit. Musical melodies are a certain something which prove to be accidental upon etheric vibrations, for voice is nothing but the expression of vibrations, which, reaching the tympanum, affect the nerves of hearing. Musical melodies are, therefore, those peculiar effects produced by, or from, vibration. However, they have the keenest effect upon the spirit. In sooth, although music is a material affair, yet its tremendous effect is spiritual, and its greatest attachment is to the realm of the spirit. If a person desires to deliver a discourse, it will prove more effectual after musical melodies. The ancient Greeks, as well as Persian philosophers, were in the habit of delivering their discourses in the following manner: -- First, playing a few musical melodies, and when their audience attained a certain receptivity thereby they would leave their instruments at once and begin their discourse. Among the most renowned musicians of Persia was one named Barbod, who, whenever a great question had been pleaded for at the court of the King, and the Ministry had failed to persuade the King, they would at once refer the matter to Barbod, whereupon he would go with his instrument to the court and play the most appropriate and touching music, the end being at once attained, because the King was immediately affected by the touching musical melodies, certain feelings of generosity would swell up in his heart, and he would give way. You may try this: If you have a great desire and wish to attain your end, try to do so on a large audience after a great solo has been rendered, but it must be on an audience on which music is effective, for there are some people who are like stones, and music cannot affect stones.

October 28, 2010

Interviews with ‘Abdu’l-Baha in Haifa

Some Questions and Answers. Written shortly after the interviews with ‘Abdu'l-Baha, from notes taken at the time, by Charles Mason Remey, while in Haifa, Syria, May, 1910.

Question: Many of the American believers desire to worship daily in accordance with the Teachings. What prayers should they use daily? No instruction has yet been revealed for them regarding daily worship.

Answer: Later on I will give instructions.

Q. Was Baha’u’llah of the seed of Jesse?

A. Yes. He was the ninth generation in succession from Jesse, but this was not the Jesse of the Bible.

Q. What is the Command regarding the giving of tithes: Is it 19% of the increase of one's capital, or is it the one nineteenth part of one's income?

October 24, 2010

Mount Carmel was physically visited by “all the prophets” – many times by Elijah and Christ, twice by Muhammad.

"The gathering of the friends is very good. In one month's time it will be very fresh and green here. This wilderness is where Baha'u'llah has crossed. This is the place where the tent of the Blessed Beauty was pitched. Many of the Divine Teachings and Tablets were revealed here. This is the ground where all the prophets have trod, they dwelt here and gave the Glad Tidings that a day will come when the tent of the Lord will be pitched upon this spot. His Holiness Christ always used to cross this Mount Carmel, Haifa and Nazareth. Therefore, these cities and this Mountain have a spiritual atmosphere. If man is in the mood of quiet and meditation, and passes through here and at the same time meditates, he will feel as though this mountain and this wilderness are speaking to him. Such will be his feeling. His Holiness Muhammad came here also. He came here twice, once when He was eleven years old and once when He was twenty-eight. The cave of His Holiness Elijah is here. He used to stay there and had many pupils around him, and was wont to teach them until they were educated." (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha to Harry (Henry) Randall during his pilgrimage in 1919; ‘William Henry Randall, Disciple of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’, p. 173)

October 11, 2010

May “American and Persian nations …be conjoined and united in reciprocal love”

20 April 1912

Talk at Orient-Occident-Unity Conference
Public Library Hall, Washington, D.C.
Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

Tonight I am most happy in presenting myself before an audience such as this. I am an Oriental and have come into the West to meet the people of the Occident. Praise be to God! Upon the faces of those assembled here I perceive the light of God. This I consider an evidence of the possibility of uniting the East and the West, of establishing a perfect bond between Persia and America -- one of the objects of this conference. For the Persians there is no government better fitted to contribute to the development of their natural resources and the helping of their national needs in a reciprocal alliance than the United States of America, and for the Americans there could be no better industrial outlet and market than the virgin commercial soil of Persia. The mineral wealth of Persia is still latent and untouched. It is my hope that the great American democracy may be instrumental in developing these hidden resources and that a bond of perfect amity and unity may be established between the American republic and the government of Persia. May this bond -- whether material or spiritual -- be well cemented. May the material civilization of America find complete efficacy and establishment in Persia, and may the spiritual civilization of Persia find acceptance and response in America.

October 7, 2010

‘Abdu’l-Baha counsels Baha’is of Chicago before He left their city

Sunday, May 5, 1912

As it was the last day of the Master’s stay [in Chicago], there was much commotion among the friends visiting the Master’s apartment. A large number of Baha'is and their children had gathered in the hotel's salon. 'Abdu'l-Baha embraced and kissed each child with love and kindness. Giving them flowers and sweets, He said to them:

“According to Christ you are the children of the Kingdom and according to Baha'u'llah, the candles of the world of man, for your hearts are in the utmost purity and your spirits are sanctified. You are not soiled with the things of this world. Your hearts are pure and clean like the mirror. Your parents must bring you up with great kindness and must educate you in morals and praiseworthy attributes so that the virtues of the world of man may he exemplified perfectly in your characters and conduct, that you may progress in all fields of endeavor, may acquire knowledge of the arts and sciences, and may become the cause of the manifestation of eternal bounties and universal advancement.”

Then addressing the entire assembly, He said:

September 27, 2010

The station of the poor

19 April 1912

Talk at Bowery Mission
227 Bowery, New York
(From Stenographic Notes)

Tonight I am very happy, for I have come here to meet my friends. I consider you my relatives, my companions; and I am your comrade.

You must be thankful to God that you are poor, for Jesus Christ has said, “Blessed are the poor.” He never said, “Blessed are the rich.” He said, too, that the Kingdom is for the poor and that it is easier for a camel to enter a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter God’s Kingdom. Therefore, you must be thankful to God that although in this world you are indigent, yet the treasures of God are within your reach; and although in the material realm you are poor, yet in the Kingdom of God you are precious. Jesus Himself was poor. He did not belong to the rich. He passed His time in the desert, traveling among the poor, and lived upon the herbs of the field. He had no place to lay His head, no home. He was exposed in the open to heat, cold and frost — to inclement weather of all kinds — yet He chose this rather than riches. If riches were considered a glory, the Prophet Moses would have chosen them; Jesus would have been a rich man. When Jesus Christ appeared, it was the poor who first accepted Him, not the rich. Therefore, you are the disciples of Jesus Christ; you are His comrades, for He outwardly was poor, not rich.

September 6, 2010

"Our desire is for spirituality and for union with God"; We must "give to all hearts the love of God"

September 13th, 1911
Discourse at Mrs. Thornburgh-Cropper's,
London, England

Thanks be to God, this is a good meeting. It is very enlightened, it is spiritual.

As a Persian Poet has written: -- "The Celestial Universe is so formed that the under world reflects the upper world." That is to say whatever exists in heaven is reflected in this phenomenal world. Now, praise be to God, this meeting of ours is a reflection of the heavenly concourse; it is as though we had taken a mirror and had gazed into it. This reflection from the heavenly concourse we know as love.

As heavenly love exists in the supreme concourse even so it is reflected here. The supreme concourse is filled with the desire for God -- thank God, this desire is also here. Therefore if we say that this meeting is heavenly, it is true. Why? Because we have no other desire except for that which comes from God. We have no other object save the commemoration of God.

Some of the people of the earth desire conquest over others: some of them are longing for rest and ease; others desire a high position; some desire to become famous: -- thank God our desire is for spirituality and for union with God.

September 2, 2010

Human beings are “the highest specialized organism of visible creation”; scientific knowledge and attainment are the “most noble and praiseworthy accomplishment of man”; the “faculty of intellectual investigation” is conferred by God to every human being; the “most important principle of divine philosophy is the oneness of the world of humanity”

19 April 1912

Talk at Earl Hall
Columbia University, New York
(From Stenographic Notes)

If we look with a perceiving eye upon the world of creation, we find that all existing things may be classified as follows: first, mineral -- that is to say, matter or substance appearing in various forms of composition; second, vegetable -- possessing the virtues of the mineral plus the power of augmentation or growth, indicating a degree higher and more specialized than the mineral; third, animal -- possessing the attributes of the mineral and vegetable plus the power of sense perception; fourth, human -- the highest specialized organism of visible creation, embodying the qualities of the mineral, vegetable and animal plus an ideal endowment absolutely absent in the lower kingdoms -- the power of intellectual investigation into the mysteries of outer phenomena. The outcome of this intellectual endowment is science, which is especially characteristic of man. This scientific power investigates and apprehends created objects and the laws surrounding them. It is the discoverer of the hidden and mysterious secrets of the material universe and is peculiar to man alone. The most noble and praiseworthy accomplishment of man, therefore, is scientific knowledge and attainment.

August 14, 2010

As the sun is to the body of a man so is the Sun of Truth [Prophets/Manifestations of God] to his soul

Paris, France, October 22nd, 1911

It is a lovely day, the sun shines brightly upon the earth, giving light and warmth to all creatures. The Sun of Truth is also shining, giving light and warmth to the souls of men. The sun is the life-giver to the physical bodies of all creatures upon earth; without its warmth their growth would be stunted, their development would be arrested, they would decay and die. Even so do the souls of men need the Sun of Truth to shed its rays upon their souls, to develop them, to educate and encourage them. As the sun is to the body of a man so is the Sun of Truth to his soul.

A man may have attained to a high degree of material progress, but without the light of truth his soul is stunted and starved. Another man may have no material gifts, may be at the bottom of the social ladder, but, having received the warmth of the Sun of Truth his soul is great and his spiritual understanding is enlightened.

A Greek philosopher living in the days of the youth of Christianity, being full of the Christian element, though not a professing Christian, wrote thus: 'It is my belief that religion is the very foundation of true civilization'. For, unless the moral character of a nation is educated, as well as its brain and its talents, civilization has no sure basis.

August 10, 2010

Interview between ‘Abdu’l-Baha and a San Francisco Newspaper Reporter, October 3, 1912

(From the Diary of Mirza Ahmad Sohrab)

Correspondent: Are you pleased with the United States?

‘Abdu’l-Baha: The continent of America is most progressive. The means of instructions are prepared; the educational institutions are thoroughly equipped and the pupils are being systematically trained and educated. The wealth is on an upward tendency. Its government is democratic. Its advancement is unceasing. Its nation is hospitable. Its people are loyal, energetic and noble. Its inhabitants are free and the lovers of liberty. Its men are civilized and its women are cultured, refined and idealistic. On the other hand, all these advantages are on the material plane, and I observe the majority of the people are submerged in the sea of materialism and agnosticism. The natural civilization is well-nigh perfect; but it is in need of the civilization of heaven -- Divine civilization.

Correspondent: What do you mean by "Divine civilization"?

‘Abdu’l-Baha: Divine civilization is the light. Material civilization is the lamp. Material civilization is the body; in itself it is not sufficient, and humanity from every standpoint stands in sore need of divine civilization. Natural civilization insures material welfare and prosperity; Divine civilization vouchsafes to man ideal virtues. Material civilization serves the physical world; Divine civilization serves the world of morality. Divine civilization is a symposium of the perfections of the world of humanity. Divine civilization is the improvement of the ethical life of a nation. Divine civilization is the discovery of the reality of phenomena. Divine civilization is the spiritual philosophy. Divine civilization is the knowledge of God with rational and intellectual evidences. Divine civilization is Eternal Life. Divine civilization is the immortality of the soul. Divine civilization is the Breath of the Holy Spirit. Divine civilization is heavenly wisdom. Divine civilization is the reality of all the Teachings of the ancient prophets. Divine civilization is Universal Peace and the oneness of the world of humanity. The Holy manifestations of God have been the founders of Divine civilization, the first Teachers of mankind, and the spreaders of the fragrances of holiness and sanctity amongst the children of men.

July 23, 2010

Soul, Mind and Spirit

January 30, 1913, at 30 rue St. Didier, Paris
From Persian notes; translated by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab

One of the ladies present has asked me to speak on the subject of soul, mind and spirit. She desires an explanation of these terms.

The terminology of ancient philosophers differs from that of our time. In later ages certain terms have developed through which we see these subjects in a different light. According to some ancient philosophers, the words soul, mind and spirit imply the underlying principles of life, expressing the various phases of the one absolute reality. They were different names for the operations of one essence. For instance, we say a man sees, hears and speaks seeing, hearing and speaking are the different performances of the same power which animates man. Different schools of thought have given different names to the various operations of the one essence. For instance, when some speak of the emotions of consciousness they call it soul; when they express the discovering power of man they call it mind, and when they refer to the animating essence of the world of creation, they call it spirit.

The differentiation which we make of these subjects is as follows: By soul we mean that power which is the mover of this physical body which is entirely under its control and lives in accordance with its dictates. The soul that lives in the material world is dark for in the material world there is aggression, struggles greed, vice and transgression. If the soul remains in this station, and moves along these paths it will receive no uplift, but if it becomes the recipient of the world of mind, its darkness will be transformed into light; its tyranny into justice, its ignorance into wisdom and its aggression into loving kindness. There will be no more struggle for existence and man will become free from egotism. He will be released from the material world and become the embodiment of justice, the personification of the virtues. He will become a sanctified soul and be the means of the illumination of the world of humanity and an honor to human kind. He will confer life upon the children of men so that all nations will attain to the station of perfection. To such a person we may apply the name of "a holy soul."

July 21, 2010

Religion is the “greatest bestowal of God in the world of humanity”

Talk at Temple Emmanu-El
450 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California
Notes by Bijou Straun

The greatest bestowal of God in the world of humanity is religion, for assuredly the divine teachings of religion are above all other sources of instruction and development to man. Religion confers upon man eternal life and guides his footsteps in the world of morality. It opens the doors of unending happiness and bestows everlasting honor upon the human kingdom. It has been the basis of all civilization and progress in the history of mankind.

We will, therefore, investigate religion, seeking from an unprejudiced standpoint to discover whether it is the source of illumination, the cause of development and the animating impulse of all human advancement. We will investigate independently, free from the restrictions of dogmatic beliefs, blind imitations of ancestral forms and the influence of mere human opinion; for as we enter this question, we will find some who declare that religion is a cause of uplift and betterment in the world, while others assert just as positively that it is a detriment and a source of degradation to mankind. We must give these questions thorough and impartial consideration so that no doubt or uncertainty may linger in our minds regarding them.

How shall we determine whether religion has been the cause of human advancement or retrogression?

We will first consider the Founders of the religions -- the Prophets -- review the story of Their lives, compare the conditions preceding Their appearance with those subsequent to Their departure, following historical records and irrefutable facts instead of relying upon traditionary statements which are open to both acceptance and denial.

July 15, 2010

Baha’u’llah and the history of the Baha’i Revelation

18 April 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall L. Emery
273 West Ninetieth Street, New York
Notes by Miss Dixon

Tonight I wish to tell you something of the history of the Bahá'í Revelation.

The Blessed Perfection, Bahá'u'lláh, belonged to the nobility of Persia. From earliest childhood He was distinguished among His relatives and friends. They said, "This child has extraordinary power." In wisdom, intelligence and as a source of new knowledge, He was advanced beyond His age and superior to His surroundings. All who knew Him were astonished at His precocity. It was usual for them to say, "Such a child will not live," for it is commonly believed that precocious children do not reach maturity. During the period of youth the Blessed Perfection did not enter school. He was not willing to be taught. This fact is well established among the Persians of Tihran. Nevertheless, He was capable of solving the difficult problems of all who came to Him. In whatever meeting, scientific assembly or theological discussion He was found, He became the authority of explanation upon intricate and abstruse questions presented.

Until His father passed away, Bahá'u'lláh did not seek position or political station notwithstanding His connection with the government. This occasioned surprise and comment. It was frequently said, "How is it that a young man of such keen intelligence and subtle perception does not seek lucrative appointments? As a matter of fact, every position is open to him." This is an historical statement fully attested by the people of Persia.

He was most generous, giving abundantly to the poor. None who came to Him were turned away. The doors of His house were open to all. He always had many guests. This unbounded generosity was conducive to greater astonishment from the fact that He sought neither position nor prominence. In commenting upon this His friends said He would become impoverished, for His expenses were many and His wealth becoming more and more limited. "Why is he not thinking of his own affairs?" they inquired of each other; but some who were wise declared, "This personage is connected with another world; he has something sublime within him that is not evident now; the day is coming when it will be manifested." In truth, the Blessed Perfection was a refuge for every weak one, a shelter for every fearing one, kind to every indigent one, lenient and loving to all creatures.

June 19, 2010

The Pitiful Causes of War and the Duty of Everyone to Strive for Peace

Paris, October 21st, 1912

I hope you are all happy and well. I am not happy, but very sad. The news of the Battle of Benghazi grieves my heart. I wonder at the human savagery that still exists in the world! How is it possible for men to fight from morning until evening, killing each other, shedding the blood of their fellow-men: And for what object? To gain possession of a part of the earth! Even the animals, when they fight, have an immediate and more reasonable cause for their attacks! How terrible it is that men, who are of the higher kingdom, can descend to slaying and bringing misery to their fellow-beings, for the possession of a tract of land!

The highest of created beings fighting to obtain the lowest form of matter, earth! Land belongs not to one people, but to all people. This earth is not man's home, but his tomb. It is for their tombs these men are fighting. There is nothing so horrible in this world as the tomb, the abode of the decaying bodies of men.

However great the conqueror, however many countries he may reduce to slavery, he is unable to retain any part of these devastated lands but one tiny portion -- his tomb! If more land is required for the improvement of the condition of the people, for the spread of civilization (for the substitution of just laws for brutal customs) -- surely it would be possible to acquire peaceably the necessary extension of territory.

June 10, 2010

Divinity, the Divine Sovereignty, the Manifestations of God & Our very dependence on the Manifestations of God

An Address by Abdul-Baha at the Theosophical Society,
2228 Broadway, New York City, December 4, 1912
(Taken stenographically by Miss Esther Foster from the interpretation of Ish’te’a’l-Ebn-Kalanter.

It is my hope that you are all well. It is my hope that you are happy, that you are in perfect health, in the utmost degree of joy and gladness.

Those who are uninformed of the world of reality, who do not comprehend the existent beings, who do not perceive the realities of things, who do not discover the real mysteries of the existent objects, and who have but a superficial grasp of things such persons are but embodiments of pure ignorance. They believe only in that which they have heard from their fathers and ancestors. They of themselves have no hearing, no sight, no reason, no intellect; they rely upon tradition. They are after the thoughts of their fathers and forebears. Such persons imagine that the dominion of God is an accidental dominion or kingdom.

For instance, they imagine that this world of existence was created but six or seven thousand years ago as though God did not reign before this period of seven thousand years, had no creation before this, had no world before this. They think that Divinity is accidental, for to them Divinity is dependent upon existent things, while, as a matter of fact, as long as there has been a God, he has had a creation. As long as there has been light, there have been recipients of that light, for the light does not have a manifestation unless there are those who perceive and appreciate it. The world of divinity presupposes creation, presupposes recipients of bounty, presupposes the existence of worlds.

No Divinity can be conceived as separate from creation, for otherwise it would be like imagining an empire without a people. A king must needs have a kingdom, must needs have an army, must needs have subjects. Is it possible to be a king and have no country, no army, no subjects? This is an absurdity. Were we to say that there was a time when there was no country, no army, and no subjects, how then could there be a king, a ruler? For a king must needs have a country, an army and subjects.

June 3, 2010

Whenever this world becomes dark and divided, God sends one of His Holy Messengers

London, at Miss E.J. Rosenberg’s unity meeting
September 8th, 1911

Praise be to God, that such a meeting of purity and steadfastness is being held in London. The hearts of those present are pure, and are turned towards the Kingdom of God. I hope that all that is contained and established in the Holy books of God may be realized in you. The Messengers of God are the principal and the first teachers. Whenever this world becomes dark, and divided in its opinions and indifferent, God will send one of His Holy Messengers.

Moses came during a time of darkness, when ignorance and childishness prevailed amongst the people, and they were waverers. Moses was the teacher of God; He gave the teachings of holiness and educated the Israelites. He raised up the people from their degradation and caused them to be highly honoured. He taught them Sciences and Arts, trained them in civilization and increased their human virtues. After a while, that which they had thus received from God was lost; the way was prepared for the return of evil qualities, and the world was oppressed by tyranny.

Then again the rumour of the Light of Reality and the breathing of the Holy Spirit became known. The cloud of Bounty showered, the Light of Guidance shone upon the earth. The world put on a new garment, the people became a new people, the oneness of humanity was proclaimed. The great unity of thought transformed humanity and created a new world. Again, after a time, all this was forgotten by the people. The teachings of God no longer influenced their lives. His prophecies and commandments became fainter and were finally obliterated from their hearts, and tyranny and thoughtlessness once more prevailed.

Bahá'u'lláh then came and once more renewed the foundation of Faith. He brought back the teachings of God, and the humane practices of the time of Christ. He quenched the thirst of the thirsty, He awakened the careless and called the attention of the heedless to the Divine secrets. He declared the unity of humanity, and spread abroad the teaching of the equality of all men.

Therefore, all of you ought with your hearts and minds to endeavour to win the people with kindness, so that this great Unity may be established, that childish superstitions may pass away, and all may become one. (Abdu'l-Baha, Abdu'l-Baha in London, pp. 44-45)

May 23, 2010

The great spiritual lights have always appeared in the East; We must endeavor to increase our capcity daily

17 April 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney
780 West End Avenue, New York
Notes by John G. Grundy

In the Holy Books it is recorded that when the Sun of Truth dawns, it will appear in the East, and its light will be reflected in the West. Already its dawning has taken place in the East, and its signs are appearing in the West. Its illumination shall spread rapidly and widely in the Occident. The Sun of Truth has risen in Persia, and its effulgence is now manifest here in America. This is the greatest proof of its appearance in the horizon of the world, as recorded in the heavenly Books. Praise be to God! That which is prophesied in the Holy Books has been fulfilled.

On Sunday last at Carnegie Hall the revered soul who introduced 'Abdu'l-Bahá gave voice to the statement that according to tradition demons would appear from the land of the sunrise, but now we find angels appearing instead. At the time this statement was made a reply was not possible, but today we will speak of it. The great spiritual lights have always appeared in the East. The Blessed Perfection, Bahá'u'lláh, appeared in the East. Jesus Christ dawned upon the horizon of the East. Moses, Aaron, Joseph and all the Israelitish prophets such as Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah and others appeared from the Orient. The lights of Muhammad and the Báb shone from the East. The eastern horizon has been flooded with the effulgence of these great lights, and only from the East have they risen to shine upon the West. Now -- praise be to God! -- you are living in the dawn of a cycle when the Sun of Truth is again shining forth from the East, illumining all regions.

May 7, 2010

The Pathway of the Disciples of Christ – it should inspire us in our humble services to Baha’u’llah

A talk given by ‘Abdu'l-Baha,
June 11, 1912, at 309 West 78th Street, New York City
Translated/Interpreted by Dr. Ameen U Fareed

[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?”

May 5, 2010

Individuality and Personality

Feb. 14, 1913 at 30 rue St. Didier, Paris
(from Persian notes; translated by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab)

Today one of those present asked a question on personality. From what source does it come? What are its attributes? What are its characteristic features or aspects?

Personality is one of two kinds. One is the natural or God-given personality which the Western thinkers call individuality. Individuality is the inner aspect of man which is not subject to change. The second is personality. Personality is the acquired virtues and perfections, with which man is adorned.

When the individuality of man, i.e., his God-given natural virtues, is adorned with acquired virtues and perfections then we have character. When the infinite effulgences of God are revealed in the individual, then divine perfections which are invisible in all creation will become manifest in him.

For instance, one man is the manifestor of knowledge, i.e., divine knowledge is revealed to him. Another man is the dawning place of power, a third is wealthy, another is generous. Again a person is faithful, and another with whom you come in touch, is merciful. All these attributes are God-given and natural in man.

May 1, 2010

The Holiest Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the Bahá'í world (Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Baha'i World, 1950-1957, p. 146)

1 May 1912
Talk at Dedication of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar Grounds
Wilmette, Illinois
Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

The power which has gathered you here today notwithstanding the cold and windy weather is, indeed, mighty and wonderful. It is the power of God, the divine favor of Bahá'u'lláh which has drawn you together. We praise God that through His constraining love human souls are assembled and associated in this way.

Thousands of Mashriqu'l-Adhkars, dawning points of praise and mention of God for all religionists will be built in the East and in the West, but this, being the first one erected in the Occident, has great importance. In the future there will be many here and elsewhere -- in Asia, Europe, even in Africa, New Zealand and Australia -- but this edifice in Chicago is of especial significance. It has the same importance as the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in Ishqabad, Caucasus, Russia, the first one built there. In Persia there are many; some are houses which have been utilized for the purpose, others are homes entirely devoted to the divine Cause, and in some places temporary structures have been erected. In all the cities of Persia there are Mashriqu'l-Adhkars, but the great dawning point was founded in Ishqabad. It possesses superlative importance because it was the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar built. All the Bahá'í friends agreed and contributed their utmost assistance and effort. The Afnan devoted his wealth, gave all he had to it. From such a mighty and combined effort a beautiful edifice arose. Notwithstanding their contributions to that building, they have assisted the fund here in Chicago as well. The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in Ishqabad is almost completed. It is centrally located, nine avenues leading into it, nine gardens, nine fountains; all the arrangement and construction is according to the principle and proportion of the number nine. It is like a beautiful bouquet. Imagine a very lofty, imposing edifice surrounded completely by gardens of variegated flowers, with nine avenues leading through them, nine fountains and pools of water. Such is its matchless, beautiful design. Now they are building a hospital, a school for orphans, a home for cripples, a hospice and a large dispensary. God willing, when it is fully completed, it will be a paradise.

I hope the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in Chicago will be like this. Endeavor to have the grounds circular in shape. If possible, adjust and exchange the plots in order to make the dimensions and boundaries circular. The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar cannot be triangular in shape. It must be in the form of a circle. (The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 70)

April 24, 2010

Holy Spirit is the intermediary that brings God to man

(Notes from an address given by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in Paris in 1911)

The Divine Reality is far removed from man. It is absolutely remote and independent in its essence -- beyond the comprehension of man -- abstract, limitless and impersonal.

Man is limited, weak, fearful, poverty-stricken and helpless. The Divine Reality represents the Power Absolute, capacity for all things, fulfillment for all the needs of man.

The Divine Reality is to man what the sun is to the earth. The sun is life, radiance, heat, energy, power. The earth is dead, inert, helpless, incapable of initiative or change. It is poor, cold, and without resources.

The sun in its remoteness could never reach the earth, and the earth, wretched indifferent clod, could never attain to the glory and splendor of the sun. In order that one may gain the other, that life and fragrance may come to the helpless earth floating alone in dim space, there must be an intermediary. In some way the life-giving power of the radiant sun must be brought to the sodden earth, and this becomes possible through the media of light and heat. Through their means the glory of the distant luminary is transmitted to the dark ball of earth, and instantly it becomes the home of fragrance and blooming life. The glory of the magnificent source of light touches our dim planet and banishes death and darkness.

April 15, 2010

God Comprehends All, He Cannot be Comprehended

Friday evening, October 20th, 1911
Paris, France

Numerous meetings are held in Paris every day for different purposes, to discuss politics, commerce, education, art, science and many other subjects. All these meetings are good, but this assembly has met together to turn their faces towards God, to learn how best to work for the good of humanity, to seek how prejudices may be abolished, and the seed of love and universal brotherhood sown in the heart of man. God approves of the motive of our gathering together and gives us His blessing.

In the Old Testament we read that God said, 'Let us make man in Our own image'. In the Gospel, Christ said, 'I am in the Father, and the Father in Me'. [St. John xiv, II] In the Qur'án, God says, 'Man is my Mystery and I am his'. Bahá'u'lláh writes that God says, 'Thy heart is My home; purify it for My descent. Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation'.

All these sacred words show us that man is made in God's image: yet the Essence of God is incomprehensible to the human mind, for the finite understanding cannot be applied to this infinite Mystery. God contains all, He cannot be contained. That which contains is superior to that which is contained. The whole is greater than its parts.

April 5, 2010

Proofs of the Immortality of the Soul

9 November 1912
1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D. C.
Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

Every composition is necessarily subject to destruction or disintegration. For instance, this flower is a composition of various elements; its decomposition is inevitable. When this composed form undergoes decomposition -- in other words, when these elements separate and disintegrate -- that is what we call the death of the flower. For inasmuch as it is composed of single elements, the grouping of multitudinous cellular atoms, it is subject to disintegration. This is the mortality of the flower. Similarly, the body of man is composed of various elements. This composition of the elements has been given life. When these elements disintegrate, life disappears, and that is death. Existence in the various planes, or kingdoms, implies composition; and nonexistence, or death, is decomposition.
But the inner and essential reality of man is not composed of elements and, therefore, cannot be decomposed. It is not an elemental composition subject to disintegration or death. A true and fundamental scientific principle is that an element itself never dies and cannot be destroyed for the reason that it is single and not composed. Therefore, it is not subject to decomposition.

April 1, 2010

Short Summary of the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh

September 30th, 1911
At the Theosophical Head Quarters
London, England

O respected Assembly! O friends of Truth! The inherent nature of fire is to burn, the inherent nature of electricity is to give light, the inherent nature of the sun is to shine, and the inherent nature of the organic earth is the power of growth. There is no separation between a thing and its inherent qualities.

It is the inherent nature of things on this earth to change, thus we see around us the change of the seasons. Every spring is followed by a summer and every autumn brings a winter -- every day a night and every evening a morning. There is a sequence in all things.

Thus when hatred and animosity, fighting, slaughtering, and great coldness of heart were governing this world, and darkness had overcome the nations, Bahá'u'lláh, like a bright star, rose from the horizon of Persia and shone with the great Light of Guidance, giving heavenly radiance and establishing the new Teaching. He declared the most human virtues; He manifested the Spiritual powers, and put them into practice in the world around Him.

March 26, 2010

Existing criteria or avenues of human knowledge are not sufficient. They are faulty and unreliable. The reality of knowledge can be attained by the breaths and promptings of the Holy Spirit.

 17 April 1912
Talk at Hotel Ansonia
Broadway and Seventy-third Street, New York
Notes by Howard MacNutt

During my visit to London and Paris last year I had many talks with the materialistic philosophers of Europe. The basis of all their conclusions is that the acquisition of knowledge of phenomena is according to a fixed, invariable law -- a law mathematically exact in its operation through the senses. For instance, the eye sees a chair; therefore, there is no doubt of the chair's existence. The eye looks up into the heavens and beholds the sun; I see flowers upon this table; I smell their fragrance; I hear sounds outside, etc. This, they say, is a fixed mathematical law of perception and deduction, the operation of which admits of no doubt whatever; for inasmuch as the universe is subject to our sensing, the proof is self-evident that our knowledge of it must be gained through the avenues of the senses. That is to say, the materialists announce that the criterion and standard of human knowledge is sense perception. Among the Greeks and Romans the criterion of knowledge was reason -- that whatever is provable and acceptable by reason must necessarily be admitted as true. A third standard or criterion is the opinion held by theologians that traditions or prophetic statement and interpretations constitute the basis of human knowing. There is still another, a fourth criterion, upheld by religionists and metaphysicians who say that the source and channel of all human penetration into the unknown is through inspiration. Briefly then, these four criteria according to the declarations of men are: first, sense perception; second, reason; third, traditions; fourth, inspiration.

March 11, 2010

At a Memorable Feast Hosted by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in West Englewood, New Jersey, USA

June 29th, 1912
Address from stenographic notes by E. Foster
[To see some pictures of this historic event please visit: 'Abdu'l-Baha Visits the West]

This is a good gathering. With sincere intentions have you all gathered here. The intention of all is the attainment of the virtues of God. The purpose of all is unity and agreement. The desire of all is attraction to the Kingdom of God. Since the intention of all is toward unity and agreement, it is certain that this gathering will be productive of great results. It will be the cause of attracting a New Bounty. This is a New Day and this hour is a New Hour wherein we have come together here; all are turning to the Kingdom of Abha, seeking the Infinite bounties of the Lord. Surely the Sun of Reality, with its great and full effulgence, will illuminate us and all dark disagreements will surely disappear. The utmost of love shall result. The favors of God shall encompass us. The pathway of the Kingdom will be made easy. The souls like unto candles will be ignited and made radiant through the lights of the Great Guidance.

This gathering has no peer or likeness upon the surface of the earth, for all other gatherings and assemblages are due to some physical basis or material interests. This outward meeting is a prototype of the inner and complete spiritual meeting; likewise are the other meetings and assemblages in different parts of the world which are thus held.

March 10, 2010

The Flag of Divinity has been raised

October 23, 1911, Paris, France

When a man has found joy in one place he returns to that same place to find his joy again. When a man has found gold in a mine he will return again to that mine to find more gold; this is a natural law and shows forth the vital and spiritual powers which God has bestowed upon man, and the natural instinct which is born in him. The Great Light of the Spirit has ever arisen in the East, but it has shed forth its radiance into the West. And in the West has it found its greatest force of expansion.

Christ rose like a star in the horizon of the East, but the Light of His influence has taken root more firmly in the West. This shows us how the people of the West are very faithful in their hearts and that they do not easily forget. The West is like a good plant. When the rain falls gently upon it to give it nourishment and the sun shines upon it to give it warmth, then does it blossom forth and bear good fruit.

It is a long time since the Sun of Righteousness has shed its Radiance upon the West, for the Face of God has been hidden by the sin and forgetfulness of man; but now, thanks be to God! The Sun shines forth in all its glory and the breath of the Holy Spirit is watchful over the nations. Let us pray to God that the light and refreshment may awaken the people and give them new life, that they shall find a second life and there shall he a new creation. Humanity shall put on a new garment and the Mercy of God will be bestowed upon the people. My earnest desire is that you will work for this end, that you may be the cause of it. It is certain that the Flag of Divinity has been raised and the Sun of Righteousness of God appears upon the horizon. Be faithful and loving workers that you may be among the blest of God and receive the benefits of the Kingdom of Abha.  (Star of the West, vol. II, No. 16)

February 27, 2010

The East and the West must unite to give to each other what is lacking

October 20th, 1911, Paris

In the past, as in the present, the Spiritual Sun of Truth has always shone from the horizon of the East.

Abraham appeared in the East. In the East Moses arose to lead and teach the people. On the Eastern horizon arose the Lord Christ. Muhammad was sent to an Eastern nation. The Báb arose in the Eastern land of Persia. Bahá'u'lláh lived and taught in the East. All the great Spiritual Teachers arose in the Eastern world. But although the Sun of Christ dawned in the East the radiance thereof was apparent in the West, where the effulgence of its glory was more clearly seen. The divine light of His Teaching shone with a greater force in the Western world, where it has made a more rapid headway than in the land of its birth.

In these days the East is in need of material progress and the West is in want of a spiritual idea. It would be well for the West to turn to the East for illumination, and to give in exchange its scientific knowledge. There must be this interchange of gifts.

February 22, 2010

Unity of East & West, Future World, and the Role of America

16 April 1912

Talk at Hotel Ansonia to Bahá'í Friends of New Jersey
Broadway and Seventy-third Street, New York
Notes by Ahmad Sohrab

Souls from the East and West have been brought together here through the power of the Holy Spirit. Such a gathering as this would be impossible through material means. A meeting of this kind has never been established in New York, for here tonight we find people from remote regions of the earth, associated with the people of America in the utmost love and spiritual unity. This is only possible through the power of God. Christ appeared in this world nineteen hundred years ago to establish ties of unity and bonds of love between the various nations and different communities. He cemented together the sciences of Rome and the splendors of the civilization of Greece. He also accomplished affiliation between the Assyrian kingdom and the power of Egypt. The blending of these nations in unity, love and agreement had been impossible, but Christ through divine power established this condition among the children of men.

February 16, 2010

Divine Prophets are Manifestations of Truth

November 24, 1911

At the home of Mademoiselle Gastea, Paris, France

All the 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 Chosen Ones of God proclaimed the Truth. His Highness Baha’u’llah unfurled the ensign of Truth. All the 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.

February 13, 2010

Man vs. Nature

15 April 1912

Talk at Home of Mountfort Mills
327 West End Avenue, New York
Compiled from Stenographic Notes by Howard MacNutt

A few days ago I arrived in New York, coming direct from Alexandria. On a former trip I traveled to Europe, visiting Paris and London. Paris is most beautiful in outward appearance. The evidences of material civilization there are very great, but the spiritual civilization is far behind. I found the people of that city submerged and drowning in a sea of materialism. Their conversations and discussions were limited to natural and physical phenomena, without mention of God. I was greatly astonished. Most of the scholars, professors and learned men proved to be materialists. I said to them, "I am surprised and astonished that men of such perceptive caliber and evident knowledge should still be captives of nature, not recognizing the self-evident Reality."

February 9, 2010

God is the Great Compassionate Physician Who Alone Gives Healing

October 19th, 1911, Paris

All true healing comes from God! There are two causes for sickness, one is material, the other spiritual. If the sickness is of the body, a material remedy is needed, if of the soul, a spiritual remedy.

If the heavenly benediction be upon us while we are being healed then only can we be made whole, for medicine is but the outward and visible means through which we obtain the heavenly healing. Unless the spirit be healed, the cure of the body is worth nothing. All is in the hands of God, and without Him there can be no health in us!

There have been many men who have died at last of the very disease of which they have made a special study. Aristotle, for instance, who made a special study of the digestion, died of a gastronomic malady. Aviseu was a specialist of the heart, but he died of heart disease. God is the great compassionate Physician who alone has the power to give true healing.

January 31, 2010

Reality of Divinity

St. John's, Westminster.
September 17th, 1911

O Nobel Friends! O Seekers for the Kingdom of God! Man all over the world is seeking for God. All that exists is God; but the Reality of Divinity is holy above all understanding.

The pictures of Divinity that come to our mind are the product of our fancy; they exist in the realm of our imagination. They are not adequate to the Truth; truth in its essence cannot be put into words.

Divinity cannot by comprehended because it is comprehending.

Man, who has also a real existence, is comprehended by God; therefore, the Divinity which man can understand is partial; it is not complete. Divinity is actual Truth and real existence, and not any representation of it. Divinity itself contains All, and is not contained.

Although the mineral, vegetable, animal and man all have actual being, yet the mineral has no knowledge of the vegetable. It cannot apprehend it. It cannot imagine nor understand it.

January 26, 2010

The Oneness of the World of Humanity

14 April 1912

Talk at Union Meeting of Advanced Thought Centers
Carnegie Lyceum
West Fifty-seventh Street, New York
Notes by Mountfort Mills and Howard MacNutt

I have come from distant lands to visit the meetings and assemblies of this country. In every meeting I find people gathered, loving each other; therefore, I am greatly pleased. The bond of union is evidenced in this assembly today, where the power of God has brought together in faith, agreement and concord those who are engaged in furthering the development of the human world. It is my hope that all mankind may become similarly united in the bond and agreement of love. Unity is the expression of the loving power of God and reflects the reality of Divinity. It is resplendent in this Day through the bestowals of light upon humanity.

Throughout the universe the divine power is effulgent in endless images and pictures. The world of creation, the world of humanity may be likened to the earth itself and the divine power to the sun. This Sun has shone upon all mankind. In the endless variety of its reflections the divine Will is manifested. Consider how all are recipients of the bounty of the same Sun. At most the difference between them is that of degree, for the effulgence is one effulgence, the one light emanating from the Sun. This will express the oneness of the world of humanity. The body politic, or the social unity of the human world, may be likened to an ocean, and each member, each individual, a wave upon that same ocean.

January 21, 2010

The Power and Value of True Thought Depend Upon Its Manifestation in Action

October 18th, 1912, Paris

The reality of man is his thought, not his material body. The thought force and the animal force are partners. Although man is part of the animal creation, he possesses a power of thought superior to all other created beings.

If a man's thought is constantly aspiring towards heavenly subjects then does he become saintly; if on the other hand his thought does not soar, but is directed downwards to centre itself upon the things of this world, he grows more and more material until he arrives at a state little better than that of a mere animal.

Thoughts may be divided into two classes:

(1st) Thought that belongs to the world of thought alone.

(2nd) Thought that expresses itself in action.

January 15, 2010

Material vs. Spiritual Civilizations

14 April 1912

Talk at Church of the Ascension
Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street, New York
Notes by Ahmad Sohrab and Howard MacNutt

In his scriptural lesson this morning the revered doctor read a verse from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face."

The light of truth has heretofore been seen dimly through variegated glasses, but now the splendors of Divinity shall be visible through the translucent mirrors of pure hearts and spirits. The light of truth is the divine teaching, heavenly instruction, merciful principles and spiritual civilization. Since my arrival in this country I find that material civilization has progressed greatly, that commerce has attained the utmost degree of expansion; arts, agriculture and all details of material civilization have reached the highest stage of perfection, but spiritual civilization has been left behind. Material civilization is like unto the lamp, while spiritual civilization is the light in that lamp. If the material and spiritual civilization become united, then we will have the light and the lamp together, and the outcome will be perfect. For material civilization is like unto a beautiful body, and spiritual civilization is like unto the spirit of life. If that wondrous spirit of life enters this beautiful body, the body will become a channel for the distribution and development of the perfections of humanity.

January 9, 2010

The Duty of Kindness and Sympathy Towards Strangers and Foreigners

October 16th and 17th, 1911, Paris

When a man turns his face to God he finds sunshine everywhere. All men are his brothers. Let not conventionality cause you to seem cold and unsympathetic when you meet strange people from other countries. Do not look at them as though you suspected them of being evil-doers, thieves and boors. You think it necessary to be very careful, not to expose yourselves to the risk of making acquaintance with such, possibly, undesirable people.

I ask you not to think only of yourselves. Be kind to the strangers, whether they come from Turkey, Japan, Persia, Russia, China or any other country in the world.

Help to make them feel at home; find out where they are staying, ask if you may render them any service; try to make their lives a little happier.

In this way, even if, sometimes, what you at first suspected should be true, still go out of your way to be kind to them -- this kindness will help them to become better.

After all, why should any foreign people be treated as strangers?

Let those who meet you know, without your proclaiming the fact, that you are indeed a Bahá'í.

January 5, 2010

'Abdu'l-Baha's First Public Talk in the West

Address given by 'Abdu'l-Bahá at the City Temple in London

Sunday, September 10th, 1911

O noble friends; seekers after God! Praise be to God! Today the light of Truth is shining upon the world in its abundance; the breezes of the heavenly garden are blowing throughout all regions; the call of the Kingdom is heard in all lands, and the breath of the Holy Spirit is felt in all hearts that are faithful. The Spirit of God is giving eternal life. In this wonderful age the East is enlightened, the West is fragrant, and everywhere the soul inhales the holy perfume. The sea of the unity of mankind is lifting up its waves with joy, for there is real communication between the hearts and minds of men. The banner of the Holy Spirit is uplifted, and men see it, and are assured with the knowledge that this is a new day.

This is a new cycle of human power. All the horizons of the world are luminous, and the world will become indeed as a garden and a paradise. It is the hour of unity of the sons of men and of the drawing together of all races and all classes. You are loosed from ancient superstitions which have kept men ignorant, destroying the foundation of true humanity.

January 3, 2010

Spiritual World is the Counterpart of Physical World; Appearance of Manifestations of God is Like the Renewal of Springtime

13 April 1912

Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Morten
141 East Twenty-first Street, New York
(Notes by Esther Foster)

Praise be to God! This is a radiant gathering. The faces are brilliant with the light of God. The hearts are attracted to the Kingdom of Baha. I beg of God that day by day your faces may become brighter; day by day you may draw nearer to God; day by day you may take a greater portion from the outpourings of the Holy Spirit so that you may become encircled by the bounties of heaven.

The spiritual world is like unto the phenomenal world. They are the exact counterpart of each other. Whatever objects appear in this world of existence are the outer pictures of the world of heaven. When we look upon the phenomenal world, we perceive that it is divided into four seasons; one is the season of spring, another the season of summer, another autumn and then these three seasons are followed by winter. When the season of spring appears in the arena of existence, the whole world is rejuvenated and finds new life. The soul-refreshing breeze is wafted from every direction; the soul-quickening bounty is everywhere; the cloud of mercy showers down its rain, and the sun shines upon everything. Day by day we perceive that the signs of vegetation are all about us. Wonderful flowers, hyacinths and roses perfume the nostrils. The trees are full of leaves and blossoms, and the blossoms are followed by fruit. The spring and summer are followed by autumn and winter. The flowers wither and are no more; the leaves turn gray and life has gone. Then comes another springtime; the former springtime is renewed; again a new life stirs within everything.

January 1, 2010

Love is the First Principle of Divine Teaching

12 April 1912

Talk at Studio of Miss Phillips
39 West Sixty-seventh Street, New York
(Notes by John G. Grundy)

I give you greeting in love and unity. The affairs of this world are to be accounted as nothing compared to the joy and heavenly happiness of meeting the friends of God. It is to experience this great joy and blessing that I have come here although weary from my long voyage upon the sea. Tonight I am in the greatest happiness, looking upon this concourse of God. Your meeting here is surely an evidence that you are upholding the Cause of God, that you are aiding and assisting in establishing the Kingdom of God. Therefore, the culmination of my happiness is to look upon your faces and realize that you have been brought together by the power of the Blessed Perfection, Bahá'u'lláh. In this meeting you are upholding His standard and assisting His Cause. Therefore, I behold in you the making of a goodly tree upon which divine fruits will appear to give sustenance to the world of humanity.

With hearts set aglow by the fire of the love of God and spirits refreshed by the food of the heavenly spirit you must go forth as the disciples nineteen hundred years ago, quickening the hearts of men by the call of glad tidings, the light of God in your faces, severed from everything save God. Therefore, order your lives in accordance with the first principle of the divine teaching, which is love. Service to humanity is service to God. Let the love and light of the Kingdom radiate through you until all who look upon you shall be illumined by its reflection. Be as stars, brilliant and sparkling in the loftiness of their heavenly station. Do you appreciate the Day in which you live?