April 8, 2017

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

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


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

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

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

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

March 10, 2017

Duties of a Board of Consultation – Spiritual Assemblies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 24, 2017

"I am ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and no more”

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

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

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

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

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

February 10, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

January 25, 2017

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

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

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

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

January 10, 2017

Need for an International Language

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

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

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

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