March 25, 2010

Recollection of a Pilgrim Talk – by Hooper Dunbar, Member of the Universal House of Justice

Haifa, Israel
Friday 5th March 2010

This is most likely the last time that I will address the pilgrims (Mr. Dunbar retires from the House on March 20). You know the pilgrims are referred to as the life blood of the Bahá’í World Centre. And the beloved Guardian used to say that there were two purposes of pilgrimage. The first was to imbibe, fill yourself with the spirit. The second was to impart – that after you leave the World Centre with your stories, memories, and photos, impart that spirit to others, because only a tiny proportion of the Bahá’í world can come on pilgrimage.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá says that no action is more meritorious than remembering and praying for loved ones in the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh. Ask Bahá’u’lláh’s assistance and forgiveness on their behalf.

When the pilgrims go the Shrines there are all kinds of responses. You may be wondering why everyone around me is in tears and I’m not – am I some kind of dried potato? You may be in the Shrines and remember things about your life that you are not particularly proud of. It happens. What do you do? Friends, leave the things you are not proud of in the Shrines – leave them there. The past is the past. You have to move on. You know Bahá’u’lláh says over and over again that God is the most merciful, the most forgiving God. [e.g: O Thou Provider, O Thou Forgiver! Grant us Thy grace and loving-kindness, Thy gifts and Thy bestowals, and sustain us, that we may attain our goal. Thou art the Powerful, the Able, the Knower, the Seer; and, verily, Thou art the Generous, and, verily, Thou art the All-Merciful, and, verily, Thou art the Ever-Forgiving, He to Whom repentance is due, He Who forgiveth even the most grievous of sins.] Friends, we have to trust that this is the case and move on to serve the Cause, assuming that our past is forgiven. This is one purpose of pilgrimage. But it is God who forgives. We should not play God. We should not think I cannot forgive myself for this or that. Or think how can I arise to do this or that knowing what I have done? God forgives. Move on. Serve the Cause. (Note: Mr. Dunbar was very strong on this point and I am sure helped many).

March 18, 2010

Teaching Problems – A Message from Hand of the Cause Ruhiyyih Khanum, March 18, 1949, Haifa, Israel

We often wonder why it is that when we have the remedy for all the ills of the world, the world won't take it. Sometimes it is very disheartening. We feel we are like a man standing at a fork in the road, voluntarily inconveniencing himself by acting as a signpost. He points right with a sign that reads "Safety This Way" and left is marked "Danger, Precipice", but he finds most people rush the high road to the precipice and very, very few take the little unattractive path to safety. And we Baha'is, always trying to offer our priceless gift, many of us out in strange places as pioneers, many more traveling around as teachers or working hard and eagerly on National, Regional or Local Teaching Committees and allied Committees, wonder what on earth is the matter. Are the people all blind or is there something wrong with us?

The Ills of Mankind

The answer, of course, is, that broadly speaking, the human race today is certainly distracted, and, compared to an absolute standard of normalcy, somewhat demented, and we ourselves are far from being what we should be. The combination of mass disobedience to the Laws of God, and our own incomplete adherence to them, acts as a brake on the success of our labors.