October 1, 2017

Anniversary of the Declaration of the Báb

May 15, 1910
Mount Carmel, Haifa

[On the day of the annual celebration of the Declaration of the Báb, held on Mount Carmel, when Baha’is from various backgrounds such as Jewish, Zoroastrian, Christian and Muslim were seated around the table and ‘Abdu’l-Baha was serving them all personally:]

There are different gatherings and various meetings held in the world which apparently are in the utmost degree of arrangement and order; in the palaces of the kings many feasts and banquets are held which are incomparable and peerless; also, in the castles of the opulent ones great entertainments are presented and various kinds of foods and victuals are served; the singing of melodious tunes and playing of musical instruments exhilarate and deeply affect the concourse. Associations for political affairs are formed and convivial banquets for pleasure and gratification are offered; assemblages for exhibition of arts and sciences, literature and acquirements are established; meetings for the promotion of industry and commercial matters are being held; extraordinary conventions and religious congresses are arranged.

But all these assemblages and different gatherings are not to be compared with and equal to this, our meeting. Although from those gatherings and conferences certain results and effects are produced which render great service to the human world and make mankind progress and develop on the plane of civilization, promulgate the attributes and virtues of the world of humanity; yet the results are limited, the fruits thereof are finite and the signs are bounded; whereas the traces, the lights and the results of this gathering are unlimited, boundless and infinite, for it is held on the Supreme Spot (the Tomb of the Báb) and under the shadow of the Blessed Beauty.

September 12, 2017

Divine Love

[‘Abdu’l-Baha spoke these words to a number of Jewish, Zoroastrian, Christian and Mohammedan Baha’is seated around His table and while serving them all:]

Haifa
May 13, 1910

Among the human race, the bonds of and means for love are numerous, for man cannot live without it; nay, rather, human life is dependent upon friendship and affection. Both the material and intrinsic development of man are conditional upon amity and love, and the greatest honor and pleasure in the human world is love; but the ways and means are different.

Sometimes the cause of love is simply relationship and kinship; and sometimes it is a racial bond, patriotism, political affairs, etc. But, through all these various bonds and means it is impossible to obtain a real and pure love; it is rather superficial and temporary. Such love may easily be changed into enmity and rancor, for it is affected by the slightest manifestation of hostility; whereas a true and ideal love is faith and assurance.

Those who believe in God and are confident in His Word shall enter the Kingdom, and the essential oneness appears among them to such an extent that all become the drops of one ocean, the rays of one sun, the fishes of one sea, the trees of one garden, the birds of one orchard, the candles of one assembly and the stars of the same heaven. Such love is real; there is no interruption for this connection, nor any separation for this union; this foundation shall never be destroyed, for it is eternal; hence it is established that the love which exists among the beloved of God is everlasting, for it is a Divine bounty, a Godly appearance, a melody of the Kingdom and a heavenly cohesion.

August 18, 2017

Fourth Annual Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – [NAACP]

Chicago, 1910
Handel Hall, Chicago
April 30, 1912

God has stated in the Bible, the Old Testament, "We have created man in our own image and likeness" This statement indicates the fact that man in some particular is of the image and likeness of God; that is to say, the Perfections of God, the Divine Virtues, have become reflected or revealed in the human reality. Just as the effulgent and the light of the sun, when cast upon a mirror, is reflected fully, gloriously, if the mirror be polished, so likewise the virtues of Divinity are possible of reflection in the human reality. And this makes it evident that man is the most noble of God's creatures.

When you observe created beings, you find that the mineral kingdom is endowed with certain virtues. And we observe that the vegetable kingdom has not only the virtues of the mineral kingdom but it is endowed with another property namely, the virtue augmentative or the power of growth. The animal kingdom possesses the virtues or powers of the mineral kingdom plus those of the vegetable kingdom, and moreover it possesses certain peculiar properties of its own. The human kingdom is endowed with the virtues or perfections of the mineral kingdom and those of the vegetable kingdom, and the perfections of the animal kingdom, and moreover has the human virtues. This makes it evident that man is superior and most noble, and he is the most glorious of beings!

July 9, 2017

“…all the prophets of God have come to unite the children men and not to disperse them, and to put in action the law of love and not enmity.”

Fanwood, New Jersey
Published in Fanwood Newspaper, June 1, 1912

Material objects in the material world are subject to change, but the cause of The Kingdom is never ending. Therefore it is the most important. But alas! alas! day by day the power of the kingdom is weakened, the material forces of nature gain the ascendency. The divine signs are becoming less and less and the material powers more and more. It has reached such a degree that the materialists are daily progressing and advancing, and the divine are vanishing.

Irreligion has conquered religion. The reason for the chaotic condition lies in the differences among the religions themselves, and animosity and hatred among the sects and denominations. The materialists have availed themselves of this difference amongst the religions and are constantly attacking them so that they may uproot the tree of religion. As the religions are contending among themselves they are being vanquished. If the general is at variance with his army on account of military tactics there is no doubt that he will be defeated by the enemy. Now religions are at variance; war and strife exist among them, and they are backbiting each other, shunning each other's association nay, rather, if necessary, they engage in shedding each other's blood. Read history and see what horrible events have transpired. All the prophets were sent for the sake of Christ, but alas! that the Talmud and superstitions contained therein could veil Jesus to such a degree that they crucified their promised Messiah. Had they forgotten the Talmudic traditions and investigated in reality the religion of Moses there is no doubt that they would have become believers in Christ. But imitations deprived them of their Messianic bounty. They were not refreshed by the downpour of rain of mercy; neither were they illumined by the rays of the sun of truth.

June 16, 2017

Abandon any discord and establish harmony, love, equity, justice and mercy

Lake Geneva, Switzerland
1911
[Many people of different nationalities were present.]

O ye who are present!

How long this drowsiness and sleep! How long this ignorance and blindness! How long this heedlessness and misery! How long this oppression and injustice! How long this hatred and discord! How long this rage of ignorant ones! How long this grasping with frail imaginations! How long this strife and argument! How long this turmoil and these battles! How long these racial prejudices! How long these patriarchal prejudices! How long these political prejudices!

Does it not behoove the believers to have their hearts submissive through the mentioning of God? Has God sealed the hearts and has the eye become veiled with the clouds of injustice, that the souls are not aware of God's bounty overflowing unto all?

He has created all with His Power, supplied all with His Mercy, and trained all with His Divinity. You will not find in the creation of the Merciful any differences. Then let us follow the glorious Lord in our good policy; dealing with justice, favor and generosity. Let us leave oppression and wickedness. Let us be as one family, with justice and kindness. Let us blend as water and wine. Let us unite as the unity of the souls. We cannot establish a policy greater than the policy of God. We cannot find anything which is suitable to the world of humanity greater than the Bounties of God. Then be ye guided with the examples of the Lord. Do not change the gift of God -which is perfect unity - in this Path!

It is incumbent upon ye, O servants of God, to abandon this discord; establish harmony, love, equity, justice and mercy.

O ye who are present: The old centuries have passed and the carpet of hatred and struggle have rolled up, because this age has shone with the Luminous Lights, glorious bounties, admirable verses, apparent signs, lights which are dispersing the darkness - alleviating pain - conductive to unity and uprooting inharmony. Thus the eyes have seen, the ears have heard, and the hearts have comprehended.
(Star of the West, vol. 5, no. 10, September 8, 1914)

May 11, 2017

“I am waiting. I am patiently waiting!”

April 2, 1914 
Holy Land

Friends, the time is coming when I shall be no longer with you. I have done all that could be done. I have served the Cause of Baha’u’llah to the utmost of my ability. I have labored night and day all the years of my life.

O how I long to see the believers shouldering the responsibilities of the Cause! This is the time of the proclamation of the Kingdom of Abha! This is the hour of Union and Accord! This is the day of the spiritual harmony of the friends of God! All the resources of my physical strength are exhausted and the spirit of my life is the news of the Unity of the people of Baha. I am straining my ears toward the East and toward the West, toward the North and toward the South, perchance I might hear the songs of love and good fellowship raised from the meetings of the believers. My days are numbered, and save this there is no joy left for me.

O how I yearn to see the friends united like unto a strand of shining pearls like the brilliant Pleiades, like the rays of the sun and the gazelles of one meadow! The nightingale of significance is singing for them; will they not listen? The bird of paradise is warbling; will they not heed? The Angel of the Kingdom of Abha is calling to them; will they not hearken? The Messenger of the Covenant is pleading; will they not obey?

Ah me! I am waiting, waiting to hear the glad news that the believers are the embodiment of sincerity and loyally, that they are the incarnation of love and amity and the visible symbols of unity and concord! Will they not rejoice my heart? Will they not satisfy my cravings? Will they not comply with my request? Will they not fulfill my anticipations? Will they not answer my tall?

I am waiting. I am patiently waiting!

- ‘Abdu’l-Bha (‘Diary of Ahmad Sohrab’; Star of the West, vol. 5, no. 7, July 13, 1914)

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.

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.