February 18, 2011

Question: What Divine wisdom is there in fasting?

February 1907

Answer: The Divine wisdom in fasting is manifold. Among them is this: As during those days (i.e. the period of fasting which the followers afterward observe) the Manifestation of the Sun of Reality, through Divine inspiration, is engaged in the Descent of Verses, the instituting of Divine Law and the arrangement of Teachings, through excessive occupation and intense attraction there remains no condition or time for eating and drinking. For example, when His Holiness Moses went to Mount Tur (Sinai) and there engaged in instituting the Law of God, he fasted forty days. For the purpose of awakening and admonishing the people of Israel, fasting was enjoined upon them.

Likewise His Holiness Christ in the beginning of instituting the Spiritual Law, the systematizing of the Teachings and the arrangement of counsels, for forty days abstained from eating and drinking. In the beginning the disciples and Christians fasted. Later the assemblages of the chief Christians changed fasting into Lenten observances.

Likewise the Koran having descended in the month Ramazan, fasting during that month became a duty. In like manner His Holiness the Supreme (the BAB), in the beginning of the Manifestation, through the excessive effect of descending Verses, passed days in which his nourishment was reduced to tea only.

February 7, 2011

Baha’u’llah compares humanity to the leaves of one tree and not two

Paris 1913

From the beginning the followers of all religions have believed in two seas, — one salt and one fresh; in two trees — the tree of good and the tree of evil. For this men have called one another heretics. Misinterpreting the divine commands, men have acquired prejudices and on these prejudices they have waged religious wars and caused bloodshed. Behold what is happening to-day! Men are killing their brothers, believing this to be a cause of salvation, believing that such work is approved by God, believing that those whom they kill will be sent to hell.
Baha’u’llah speaks to humanity in a different tone, declaring humanity to be like the leaves of a single branch, the branches of a single trunk.

For the new day hath dawned — awaken the sleeping ones! Thanks be to God, you are the beloved of the universe that love the whole world. Praise be to God your affection is for all, you are the enemies of none, lovers of humanity, a precious mine for the souls.

Thus will you disperse the heavy clouds of prejudice. The doors of the kingdom are open to you, the divine good news of the ages has come to you. Go further into the teachings and you will arrive at the splendors of divine mysteries.

The teachings of Baha’u’llah will give to the hearts the necessary impulse for bestowing eternal life and will cause the breeze of the Holy Spirit to waft upon you, so that with a single heart you will turn toward God. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, From a talk given in Paris in 1913, ‘Abdu’l-Baha on Divine Philosophy’ compiled by Isabel Fraser Chamberlain, 1918, The Tudor Press, Boston, Mass., approved by Baha’i committee on publications)