June 24, 2011

Nature is governed by one universal law

A table talk in Akka, during 1904-1906

Nature is that condition, that reality, which in appearance consists in life and death, or, in other words, in the composition and decomposition of all things.

This Nature is subjected to an absolute organization, to determined laws, to a complete order and a finished design, from which it will never depart — to such a degree, indeed, that if you look carefully and with keen sight, from the smallest invisible atom up to such large bodies of the world of existence as the globe of the sun or the other great stars and luminous spheres, whether you regard their arrangement, their composition, their form or their movement, you will find that all are in the highest degree of organization and are under one law from which they will never depart.

But when you look at Nature itself, you see that it has no intelligence, no will. For instance, the nature of fire is to burn; it burns without will or intelligence. The nature of water is fluidity; it flows without will or intelligence. The nature of the sun is radiance; it shines without will or intelligence. The nature of vapor is to ascend; it ascends without will or intelligence. Thus it is clear that the natural movements of all things are compelled; there are no voluntary movements except those of animals and, above all, those of man. Man is able to resist and to oppose Nature because he discovers the constitution of things, and through this he commands the forces of Nature; all the inventions he has made are due to his discovery of the constitution of things. For example, he invented the telegraph, which is the means of communication between the East and the West. It is evident, then, that man rules over Nature.

June 8, 2011

Baha'u'llah in Chains in Tehran

Los Angeles on October 19, 1912
Extracts from a talk

The Blessed Beauty (Baha’u’llah) appeared in Persia, in Teheran. He was in the utmost of ease and affluence. He was most influential and surrounded with luxury. All the pleasures of the transitory world were provided for him, and all the grandees of Persia longed to enjoy the influence and affluence, the things of wealth and position of Baha’u’llah. But consider that he suffered all these things to be separated from him. He sacrificed his honor, his fame and his station amongst men, sacrificing all, even his life. Ever was he subjected to the sword, and many were the ordeals which he endured, and many were the indignities to which he was subjected. How many nights he passed beneath chains, how many days in dark dungeons!

When I visited the dungeon in Teheran, as a child, in order to see Baha’u’llah when the door was opened there were some steps leading down into the place. They took me as far as midway. I peered through the darkness: I could not find anyone; it was exceedingly gloomy. Then I heard the blessed voice saying, "'Take him away." When I heard his voice I tried to see the Blessed Beauty, but because of the great darkness I could not. Then I was taken out; they seated me. They said it was customary about midday to take the prisoners out for their meals; so there I sat. About noon the jailers were all ready and the prisoners were taken out. I saw Baha’u’llah, neck in chains, and another, both chained to the same links, a link about his neck and another about the person who was chained with him. The weight of the chain was so excessive that his neck was bent; he walked with great difficulty, and he was in a very sad condition. His clothes were tattered and battered; even the hat on his head was torn. He was in the most severe ordeal and his health was quite visibly failing. They brought me and seated me, and they took him to the place where there was a pond, in order that he might wash his face. After that they took him back to the dungeon and, although I was a child, I was so overcome I was unconscious. And then Baha’u’llah said, "Take the child to the house, "therefore I was taken away.

June 6, 2011

How to train children from their earliest childhood

Stuttgart, Germany
April 28, 1913

Among the children many blessed souls will arise, if they be trained according to the Baha’i Teaching.

If a plant is carefully nurtured by a gardener, it will become good and produce better fruit. These children must be given a good training from their earliest childhood. They must be given a systematic training which will further their development, in order that they may receive greater insight, so that their spiritual receptivity be broadened. Beginning in childhood they must receive instruction. They cannot be taught through books. Many elementary sciences must be made clear to them in the nursery; they must learn them in play, in amusement.

Most ideas must be taught them through speech, not by book learning.

One child must question the other concerning those things and the other child must give the answer. In this way they will make great progress. For example, mathematical problems must also be taught in the form of questions and answers.

One of the children asks a question and the other must give the answer.

Later the children will of their own accord speak with each other concerning these same subjects. The children who are at the head of their class must receive premiums. They must be encouraged, and when one of them shows good advancement, for their further development they must be praised and encouraged therein.

Even so in God like affairs. Verbal questions must be asked and the answers must be given verbally. They must discuss these affairs with each other in this manner.
(Star of the West, vol. VII, no. 15, December 12, 1916)