October 23, 2019

July 1950: Pilgrimage to the Scenes of the Báb’s Captivity and Martyrdom – by Hand of the Cause Dhikru’llah Khadem, translated by Marzieh Gail

A hundred years have now gone by since the meek and holy Báb, the Gate of God, was put to death at noon on July 9, 1850, and even to the present day the world and its peoples ("except for those into whose eyes God hath shed the radiance of His Face") are fast in a deathlike sleep, unconscious of a mighty Faith, a transcendent Dispensation, which made prophets and seers of past ages cry out and weep with longing for it. At this time the Baha'is of the world, from the northernmost point of the globe to the southernmost, and from Far East to Far West, following the example of Shoghi Effendi turned their hearts toward the Country of Sorrows, to commemorate at the Guardian's bidding the first Centenary of the Bab's martyrdom. In recognition of this event the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Persia went on a nine days' pilgrimage into Adbirbayjan. This is an account of their journey and what it meant to one of them.

Journey to Tabríz
It is Thursday, the 6th of July, 1950. It is the day of Istijlál, the day of Qudrat, the month of Rahmat, of the year Javáb, of the sixth Váhid of the first Kull-i-Sbay'. The group of travelers has set out as pilgrims, in a spirit of humility and penitence and great love, going to the place of the Báb's last agony. They are traveling to that spot whose very name, some thousand years ago, set fire to the heart of Muhammad's descendent the Imám Muhammad-Báqir, so that he spoke these words of it: "Inevitable for us is Adhirbáyján. Nothing can equal it ... "

They are traveling to see the place with their physical eyes, but also to weep over the anguish of that Lord of men in the Country of Sorrows itself, where earth and air, mountains and lakes, streams, trees, and stones bear witness to the wrong that was done Him. They will pour out for Him as a libation something of the sorrow of their hearts.

The bus goes fast. Again it slows. It fulfills the promise as to the Day of the Lord and the coming of the Kingdom when, Scripture says, the earth will be rolled up. All along our talk is of the passion of the Báb.

July 17, 2019

‘Abdu’l-Baha, The Center of the Covenant – by Juliet Thompson

Juliet Thompson in her studio
'Abdu’l-Baha: Vibrant Personality and Unique Function of the Figure Who Heralds the Golden Age

In these days when a civilization is dying before our very eyes, and when the great Prophet, Baha’u’llah, has appeared, standing on the threshold of a new age with a scroll of new commandments in His hand, two other Figures stand with Him, of heart-captivating beauty: - the youthful Báb, His Forerunner, equal in rank with Him as an independent Revelator, and the Son of Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha. “’Abdu'l-Baha", translated, means "Servant of the Glory", and this is His self-assumed title. Baha'u'llah entitled Him ‘The Master’".

In the language of Shoghi Effendi, the present Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, 'Abdu'l-Baha "holds not only in the Dispensation of Baha'u'lIah, but in the entire field of religious history, a unique function. Though moving in a sphere of His own and holding a rank radically different from that of the Author and the Forerunner of the Baha'i Revelation, He, by virtue of the station ordained for Him through the Covenant of Baha'u'llah forms, together with Them, what may be termed the Three Central Figures of a Faith unapproached in the world's spiritual history. He towers, in conjunction with Them, above the destinies of this infant Faith of God from a level to which no individual or body ministering to its needs after Him, and for no less a period than a thousand years, can ever hope to rise."

Among the many titles conferred by His Father on 'Abdu'l-Baha is that of "The Mystery of God". The Guardian, referring to these titles, writes that they "invest Him with a power and surround Him with a halo which the present generation can never adequately appreciate."

February 10, 2019

Question: If all souls' thoughts were entirely given to holy thoughts of God, what would become of the world from a commercial standpoint? – Answer by Mirza ‘Abu’l-Fadl

circa 1902: Mirza Abu'l-Fadl (center)
with some early Western believers

Love, faith and being filled with the will of God are not contradictory to the temporal affairs that man has to attend to -- that is, we can be filled with the love of God and at the same time look after our worldly life and pursuits which are necessary to guarantee our social welfare and prosperity, etc. -- though in the beginning it is difficult for us to realize this state in ourselves, yet this can become feasible and practical, if we obey the laws and ordinances of God.

For instance, consider David: While he was attentive and watchful over his temporal affairs and worldly dominion to such an extent that he looked after each one of his soldiers, computed their number, arranged their sustenance and means of living, and while he was so alert in arranging administrative affairs that he was not at all heedless of the neighboring kings and their thoughts -- even through outward means -- even in such wise that through warfare and battles he strengthened that weak kingdom of the Israelites and glorified his people before the eyes of the great kings of Egypt and Assyria -- nevertheless, could it be thought that he was meanwhile separated from the love of God? Or could it be said he was so carried away by temporal occupations and cares as to make him heedless of the commemoration of God? And could we and you, as some people, bring ourselves to believe that David did sin?

January 15, 2019

Baha’i Scientific Proofs of Life after Death – a talk by Martha Root, 1927

An address given at the second Baha'i session of the Nineteenth Universal Congress of Esperanto, August first, 1927, in Danzig, Europe

"O Son of the Supreme! Death have I ordained even as glad-tidings for thee; wherefore dost thou sorrow? Light have I made to illumine thee, why veil thyself from it?" (From the "Hidden Words" of Baha'u'llah)

There is not a question of this twentieth century which interests people more, perhaps, than the scientific proofs of life after death. It is a great privilege, therefore, to present some of the scientific proofs of immortality from the Baha'i teachings.

Baha’u’llah teaches that the physical body, just as science tells us, is composed of atoms which through attraction cohere, and thus the body is formed. But later these atoms disintegrate and we have what is called destruction or death; but that the spirit within the body is entirely different. It is not composed of atoms which cohere and disintegrate; the spirit is composed of one element, one substance, therefore it can never disintegrate.

The spirit is an effulgence which shines upon the body as the sun shines upon the mirror. One can never point to any part of his body and say, "The spirit is located here." The spirit, in its very essence is immortal, and when the spirit within us is once awakened - and this constitutes what is called in the Bible "being born again" - we become immortal here and now; and when we pass on, this awakened spirit goes with full consciousness into the higher kingdom. It puts off the body as one would a garment, and it will function more powerfully without the limitations of the body. 'Abdu'l-Baha teaches that when the spirit enters the kingdom of light it puts on a spiritual body - a celestial body which will never change, and the spirit continues its progression in the higher realms.

'Abdu'l-Baha also teaches that there are many worlds of God. Everything in the physical world has its counterpart in the spiritual world, For example, the scientists say that there are three hundred million worlds quite as large as this little earth. If there are three hundred million physical worlds then there are also many spiritual worlds, even as Christ indicated when he taught, "In my Father's house are many mansions."