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.

May 20, 2016

Human Spirit & the Holy Spirit

Alliance Spiritualiste of Paris
9 November 1911
Paris, France

I am very grateful for the words and sentiments expressed by the general secretary. I give thanks to God to find myself in Paris in such a spiritual assembly.

If we look at the atmosphere of this meeting, we see that the spirit floats in it, the bounties of God descend, the aid of the Holy Spirit is seen. Thanks to God, these hearts are endowed with spiritual sentiments; the vibrations of the soul make themselves felt.

The spirit is like the sea, this assembly like the waves -- though they are numerous, they all come from the same sea; though they apparently have different forms and aspects, the unity of the spirit is manifest.

All the prophets and Divine Manifestations have come to educate men, in order that the unity of the human world may shine clearly and distinctly, so that there remains no authority to the waves; that the authority be peculiar to the sea, for the spirit is like the sea and the bodies are like the waves.

It is said in the Gospels, "Jerusalem will come down out of heaven from God." This heavenly Jerusalem is not made of stone, of lime and of clay, but it is made of the divine teachings which shine among men by the power of the spirit. For a long time, the divine teachings had been forgotten, no trace remained of the light of the heavenly Jerusalem. When Bahá'u'lláh manifested Himself from the Orient, the light of His divine teachings shone forth in Persia unto other parts of the world. This divine teaching is the heavenly Jerusalem which has again "come down out of heaven". Although that edifice had fallen to pieces, it is founded anew. The corporal and material forces ruled over the Orient; now the spiritual forces have taken their place.

April 12, 2016

The True Meaning of the Prophecies Concerning the Coming of Christ

October 30th, 1911
Paris, France 

In the Bible there are prophecies of the coming of Christ. The Jews still await the coming of the Messiah, and pray to God day and night to hasten His advent.

When Christ came they denounced and slew Him, saying: ‘This is not the One for whom we wait. Behold when the Messiah shall come, signs and wonders shall testify that He is in truth the Christ. We know the signs and conditions, and they have not appeared. The Messiah will arise out of an unknown city. He shall sit upon the throne of David, and behold, He shall come with a sword of steel, and with a sceptre of iron shall He rule! He shall fulfil the law of the Prophets, He shall conquer the East and the West, and shall glorify His chosen people the Jews. He shall bring with Him a reign of peace, during which even the animals shall cease to be at enmity with man. For behold the wolf and the lamb shall drink from the same spring, and the lion and the doe shall lie down in the same pasture, the serpent and the mouse shall share the same nest, and all God’s creatures shall be at rest’.

According to the Jews, Jesus the Christ fulfilled none of these conditions, for their eyes were holden and they could not see.

He came from Nazareth, no unknown place. He carried no sword in His hand, nor even a stick. He did not sit upon the Throne of David, He was a poor man. He reformed the Law of Moses, and broke the Sabbath Day. He did not conquer the East and the West, but was Himself subject to the Roman Law. He did not exalt the Jews, but taught equality and brotherhood, and rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees. He brought in no reign of peace, for during His lifetime injustice and cruelty reached such a height that even He Himself fell a victim to it, and died a shameful death upon the cross.

March 21, 2016

The Feast of Naw-Ruz

March 21st, 1912,
Victoria Hotel, Alexandria, Egypt

According to the ancient customs everyone of the nations have general holidays when all the people become happy and enjoy themselves. That is, they choose the day of the year wherein a great event or a glorious matter occurred. On that day, they manifest great joy and happiness. They visit one another. If there are any feelings of bitterness among them they become reconciled on that day, hard hearted feelings pass away and they unite and love each other. As great events occurred on the day of Naw-Ruz for the Persians, therefore, that nation made it a national feast and considered it as a holiday.

This is indeed a blessed day because it is the beginning of the temperate season and the commencement of springtime in the northern hemisphere. All earthly things whether trees, animals or human become refreshed; they receive power from the life-giving breeze and obtain a new life; a resurrection takes place, and because it is the season of springtime there is a general marvellous activity in all contingent beings.

There was a time when the Persian dynasty became extinct and no trace remained thereof. On such a day(Naw-Ruz) it became renewed. Jamsheed ascended the throne [about 3000 B.C.]. Persia became happily settled. Its power, which had been dissipated, once more returned. The hearts and souls became possessed with wonderful susceptibilities, to such a degree that Persia became more advanced than it was in former days, under the sovereignty of Kayomrth and Hoshang. The glory and greatness of the government and nation of Persia took a higher station. Likewise, a great many events occurred upon the day of Naw-Ruz that brought honour and glory to Persia and to the Persians. Therefore, the Persian nation, for the last five or six thousand years, has always considered the Feast ofNaw-Ruz as a day of national happiness and until now it is sanctified and recognized as a blessed day.

January 12, 2016

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Farewell Words to Europe

1 December, 1911
Paris, France

I bid a loving farewell to the people of France and England. I am very much pleased with them. I counsel them that they may day by day strengthen the bond of love and amity to this end - that they may become the sympathetic embodiment of one nation - that they may extend themselves to a universal Brotherhood to guard and protect the interests and rights of all the nations of the East - that they may unfurl the Divine Banner of justice - that they may realize and treat each nation as a family composed of the individual children of God and may know that before the sight of God the rights of all are equal.

For all of us are the children of one Father. God is at peace with all His children:  why should they engage in strife and warfare among themselves? God is showering down kindness; why should the inhabitants of this world exchange unkindness and cruelty?

"Ye are all the leaves of one tree and the fruits of one branch."

Beware!  Beware! Lest ye offend any heart.
Beware!  Beware! Lest ye hurt any soul.
Beware!  Beware! Lest ye deal unkindly toward any person:
Beware!  Beware! Lest ye be the cause of hopelessness to any creature. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk, December 1, 1911, Paris, France; ‘Star of the West Vol. 2, no. 16, December 31, 1911)

January 2, 2016

“…who indeed would have thought it possible that I should be here talking in Paris?”

October 25, 1911
Paris, France

I regret that you have been kept waiting so long. Yet, I have waited so many years in prison before I could see you-surely you do not mind waiting a little to see me.  Our hearts are always together and the Bounty of the Kingdom of Abhá binds our spirits in one. For have we not one aim, one desire and one prayer? Therefore we are always together.

Last night, when I returned home, I did not sleep.  I lay awake thinking and I said to myself: "Here am I in Paris. O my God! what is Paris and who am I?" I never thought from the darkness of my prison that I should come here and be among you, for I was condemned to perpetual imprisonment. When I read the document which told me of my sentence, I said to the officials:  "It is impossible!" And they were astonished. Then I said to them: "If 'Abdu'l-Hamíd were immortal and I myself were immortal, then would it be possible for him to condemn me to be in prison forever, but as we are not immortal, then it is impossible. My spirit is free and that can no man imprison."

Now you see the powers of God, that I am no longer in prison, but here in Paris, talking with you. I am thankful to meet the spiritual friends and you also must be happy that God has allowed me to come among you. For who indeed would have thought it possible that I should be here talking in Paris? 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk, October 25, 1911, Paris, France; ‘Star of the West Vol. 2, no. 16, December 31, 1911)