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Tag Archives: Baha’u’llah

      Today is the 190th Anniversary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the promised one of all religions. As my post in commemoration of this august occasion, I want to express an idea that He expounds in the “Book of the River”, and which seems to keep appearing in my life.
      The Book of the River was written in Baghdad, on the Tigris river. (Nader Saiedi translates the title as “Book of the River”, while Juan R.I. Cole chooses “Book of the Tigris”. I prefer and agree with Juan’s title, but Saiedi’s translation is superior in regards to the actual book.) The Book is not actually a book, but a letter to a man named Javád. (Saiedi theorizes that this is Javád-i-Káshání, who later became a Bahá’í) This was before Baha’u’llah had declared His Station, but He was already among the most influential of the Bábís (Followers of the Báb). I have learned, from studying a few Bahá’í scholars’ writings on this piece, that at this time Bahá’u’lláh would mix explicit denials of any divine station with implicit declarations of one. He explains in this tablet that He desperately wished to proclaim His Station as Sahibu’z-Zaman (Lord of the Age) but He was prevented from doing so by the blackness of the hearts of many of the prominent Bábís. Bahá’u’lláh likens the pressure of the two urges -both to reveal and conceal – to the tribes of Gog and Magog, and pleads for an Alexander the Great to save Him (Although, He would soon answer His own plea).

      Were it not for fear of the malice hidden in the hearts, I would have assuredly unveiled all the inmost divine analogies and all the subtleties of the heavenly principles with regard to the course of this outward river. Yet, alas, I am disinclined to approach any matter. On account of the intensity of My anguish and sorrow, in these days I am sore tried between the Gog of silence and the Magog of utterance. I beseech God to send down an Alexander who will raise an insurmountable barrier.

      Now, in addition to many other points, Bahá’u’lláh explains in this epistle that truth is relative, and human intellect cannot be used as the sole qualifier. While Saiedi himself explains in another work that Bahá’u’lláh is not simply a Neo-Platonist, these are Platonic ideas. I do not mean by this that Bahá’u’lláh learned these ideas from Plato, or even was influenced by later Muslim Neo-Platonism. The fact of Bahá’u’lláh’s education denies this.
      In this epistle Bahá’u’lláh uses the analogy of a flooding river to express the power of divine revelation. This analogy becomes very complex, and for the most part I will not go into it here. Realize however, that the analogy is already very established at the point where human intellect and absolute truth are challenged.

      For example, with reference to the same analogy of the flooding river, observe that it floweth forward in one manner and its relationship to all buildings and structures is the same, yet any valley that hath more capacity is able to take in more of it, and any dam whose foundation is weaker is less able to resist it. These differences, therefore, have arisen from the diversity of recipients. In like manner, consider the rays of the Eternal Sun, which shine with the same illumination in the heaven of human hearts but, when reflected in the forms of mirrors, differ by reason of differences among the mirrors themselves. Thus it is that some abide exalted in their essences and high in their endeavors, while others sink into the depths of lethargy and degradation. All things have their rank before God, and all return unto Him.

      Now, the fact that the Blessed Beauty is speaking specifically of divine revelation, not of Universals and Forms is not lost on me. I do think however that the application of these verses to a Platonic theory of existence is logical and obvious. Now, simplified Plato’s theory is this, that objects and qualities in this universe are not real, but existent manifestations or shadows of transcendent ideas. This is equally true with ideas, they transcend reality, and are only called into worldly existence due to the interaction of other ideas in the world. Thus, any idea we have is not our idea, but one we have accessed. A chair is not actually a chair but a conglomeration of transcendent ideas. Even our human archetype of chair is only a shadow of the higher transcendent reality of chair. These transcendent ideas are the rays of the sun Bahá’u’lláh mentions, and the mirrors are the manifest forms called into existent being by the interaction of other manifest forms. (Note that there is a distinction between transcendence and existence. God transcends, but does not exist, as existence is phenomenal, and the phenomenal is effulgent of God.)
      This is very similar to how `Abdu’l-Bahá explained that every thing in the world of creation is a manifestation of an attribute of God. While Plato may have placed the transcendent forms as independent entities, I would place them as synonyms for God, or attributes thereof, as I think the Writings explain. What must be emphasized is that these ideas and truths manifest in existence are relative, as Bahá’u’lláh here explains.

      Hidden allusions are concealed within these verses and holy letters are treasured up within these words. Blessed is the one who hath seized these pearls, recognized their value, and attained the presence of their Supreme Meaning. It is clear and evident that the root of differences, from the farthest worlds of meaning to the nearest degrees of expression, is caused by the diversity of the forms of the mirrors. Each person speaketh and expresseth himself according to that which is reflected within him. For example, with reference to the same analogy of the flooding river, observe that it floweth forward in one manner and its relationship to all buildings and structures is the same, yet any valley that hath more capacity is able to take in more of it, and any dam whose foundation is weaker is less able to resist it. These differences, therefore, have arisen from the diversity of recipients.

      As I read it, Bahá’u’lláh puts forth here that all truth is relative, even that revealed by the Manifestation. Because we earthly beings are relative, we cannot comprehend or access truth in its absolute form. In its absolute form, truth and God are synonymous. As relative beings, anything we come in contact with is relative; in coming in contact with something we are actually calling into being a shadow of an absolute. Just as a painting cannot surpass a painter, any idea we comprehend is relative to our minds. Our minds themselves are relative to creation, which is relative to God.
      As Bahá’ís we say that religious truth is relative, as it changes from age to age. In the time of Krishna untouchables were a social necessity and were morally justifiable, today the system cannot coexist with a just society, as it has surpassed its purpose (To quarantine those who handle the dead). However, I would take this a step further and say that all truth is necessarily relative. As relative beings we progress towards absolute existence, but cannot reach it (As a painting can never become a painter). As we progress we outgrow certain truths, and they cease to be true. For this reason, the dual relativity between humans and truth, we need the Manifestations of God to nudge us along now and then. Consider the Old Testament, God to us seems dark, bitter and vengeful, nothing like the God of Christ. In the time of the Old Testament, they knew that character, He was the familiar tribal leader, who maintained social order. In their time the God of Christ was inconceivable – though they felt love from the God they knew – and according to human reason and relative existence, Christ’s God did not exist. Yet in His transcendence, the Gods that are contradictory in the world of existence are mutually inclusive. Thus human reason cannot be our only guide, it is incapable of independent progression, as it denies that which it cannot comprehend. All things are miracles, as without God existence could not comprehend their transcendent reality.

      When viewed with the eye of insight, no phenomenon on earth could be comprehended by any human, whether high or low, without prior observation and experience. Observe the sun in the heavens. To the extent that it is manifest, it giveth splendor and illumination to the entirety of the inhabitants of the earth in the east, the west, and all other directions. Certainly, human reason would not be inclined to accept the possibility of the existence of such a thing by means of any rational definition or description without actual observation and experience. It is the same with all other things in God’s creation. Reflect, so that the secret of this question may become disclosed to thee. All things are miracles of the Prophets; “Repeat the gaze: seest thou a single flaw?”In the Qur’án there are many verses which touch upon this theme. Although We do not have in mind an exact text, the purport of the verses is as follows. For example: “He it is Who created you and then provided for your sustenance. Will ye not see?” “He it is Who produced you from the earth most excellently. Will ye not believe?” “He hath sent down the rain from heaven. Will ye not give thanks?” “He hath created the heavens and the earth and whatever lieth between them, and made the mountains a shelter as a token of His grace, yet few among you understand.” Thus it becometh evident that all phenomena, as things endowed with power, are also miracles of God. Is there any Creator besides God? Say: Praise be unto God. No maker is there but Him, in whose name the faithful believe.

Please note that I used Nader Saiedi’s translation of Bahá’u’lláh’s Ṣaḥífiy-i-ShaṭṭíyyihorBook of the River. I also consulted Juan Cole’s translation entitled The Book of the Tigris. I find Saiedi’s and Cole’s style equally pleasing, however Saiedi demonstrates the superiority of his translation. Both are provisional, and not official Bahá’í translations. Translation choices may reflect their own personal views, and may contain errors of translation and interpretation. Neither should be taken alone to reflect Bahá’í views, rather more important and studied texts should. Cole’s translation is available online here, and Saiedi’s translation and commentary is available online here.

They say that Jesus of Nazareth was humble and meek.

They say that though He was a just man and righteous, He was a weakling, and was often confounded by the strong and the powerful; and that when He stood before men of authority He was but a lamb among lions.

But I say Jesus had authority over men, and that He knew His power and proclaimed it among the hills of Galilee, and in the cities of Judea and Phoenicia. [ . . . ] Was He seeking shelter in words when He repeated again and yet again, “Destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in three days” ?

Was it a coward who shook His hand in the face of the authorities and pronounced them “liars, low, filthy, and degenerate” ?

Shall a man bold enough to say these things to those who ruled Judea be deemed meek and humble?

Nay. The eagle builds not his nest in the weeping willow. And the lion seeks not his den among the ferns.

I am sickened and the bowels within me stir and rise when I hear the faint-hearted call Jesus humble and meek, that they may justify their own faint-heartedness; and when the downtrodden, for comfort and companionship, speak of Jesus as a worm shining by their side.

Yea, my heart is sickened by such men. It is the mighty hunter I would preach, and the mountainous spirit unconquerable.

My Best Beloved was born 190 years ago tommorow by the Gregorian Calendar, and for me that is the closest date I have to the birth of Jesus. As Bahá’u’lláh is the Christ come again, I will do a little bit of thought on Christ’s visit to our realm 2000 years ago.

I have always struggled to accept the spiritual interpretation of Jesus’s Ressurection that Abdu’l-Bahá propounds, as in many ways it does not appear this way in the Bible, or at least the appearance of the Ressurection is the same as that of the Virgin Birth, and it is hard to accept the Virgin Birth literally and deny the literal physical Ressurection. However, this quote byKahlil Gibran that I shared above shed some light on the issue for me.

Gibran says, and rightly so, that Christ was far from meek. Christ was warlike and not afraid of creating dissension. He said that he came to bring the sword, not peace. He came to kick us out of our wayward ruts of life and into a cleansing tumult, from which we might emerge purer beings. This of course does not refer literally to physical violence or even emotional cruelty, but to spiritual turbulence. He came to shake things up, as they weren’t working in their peaceful state.

Now recently I was speaking with an Adventist friend on the Bahá’í interpretation of the Third Temple in Israel, and due to a misunderstanding he thought I believed this refered literally to a third temple, which I do not. He explained that the Third Temple means the Kingdom of God on Earth. I take it a step further and say that this Kingdom refers to the Order of things created by the Manifestations; the dharma of the Manifestation.

When I read what Gibran says about the Temple, a bell went “ding!” in my head. “Destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in three days” Christ’s ressurection is both a spiritual and prophetic statement. The temple is the body of Christ, synonymous as it often is with the body of His teachings, or His Word. (He is afterall the Word incarnate) Christ was stating that His body could be destroyed, but not the Body of His Word, or his dharma.

When Christ speaks to Thomas explaing that His reborn body is real, not a ghost or spirit, this is a further statement about His dharma. It is not hocus pocus, but Christ is very really alive and working in the world when he speaks to Thomas. His body can affect the world in real physical ways through the actions of His followers in accordance with His teachings. Thomas, touching the body, shows that the followers represent the physical limbs and hands of the new body of Christ.

Then there is a thought I had a while back about the three days. I think that may be closely aligned with the dispensations since Christ. He has as we know been reborn in the Glory of the Father, as Bahá’u’lláh. Since the time of Christ three dispensations have passed, the Sun of Truth has risen and set three times since Christ passed from this world physically. His own dispensation passed away, that of Muhammad, the Apostle of God, and that of the Báb, the Gate of God. Bahá’u’lláh rose early in the Bábs day.

I am in an American High School, and I do not say the Pledge of Allegiance. Is it because I do not love my country? Far from it, I am an ardent patriot in so many ways; no matter where I move, I will always have a love affair with America going on. However, I personally view nationalism and the very swearing of oaths as wrong. Instead I stand, with my hand over my heart and recite a prayer in my head for our country, it goes something like this each time. “O Lord, you are my only God. Please guide this nation nearer to your ways, and guide other nations nearer to its ways that the world may be unified in Your Name. Please protect this nation from corruption and wayward influences. You are the only God and we are all Your servants.”

Religiously I draw a few inspirations for my decision not to say the Pledge. First there is Christ Jesus. In the Holy Bible it says, at Mathew 5:34:

“Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”

This to me says, “Do not swear oaths, do not claim a power greater than nothingness, and do not use the Seat of Heaven for your fallible endeavors. If you are an honest man Yes and No will suffice.”

As well there is as statement by Bahá’u’lláh that says: “Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind.”
I cannot say that I love America to the exclusion of other nations. I love mankind, and becuase I believe America represents the pinnacle of our creation, I love America. I think our nation, in showing what man can acheive, is a prayer in itself. How can I take that and say that I love America and only America deserves my allegiance? Mankind deserves my Allegiance.

So this is what I do in a boring period in AP English and AP Economics and Credit Recovery, write extremely rambling explanations of my theories on philosophy.

I think that defining one’s philosophy ought to be somewhat systematic. While my system may not work for everyone, this is what I consider the simplest and most efficient way to get at your true beliefs. First must come observation and speculation. You must observe the way reality works and the truths inherent in it, and speculate on what is non-observable. If the two are separate they are useless, they must complement each other as one process. Next comes contemplation, piecing observations and speculations together, and finding what truths you believe to be evident in the world of creation and the superb, or whether you even find those to be evident. Next comes finding labels, which are used to explain your beliefs, labels cannot define your beliefs, but can allow you to consider them in a more systematic way. I think the three categories of your personal philosophy that need labeling are your philosophic method, your cosmology, and your ethic. With these you have a largely complete world view that you can compare to others. This can be called a MCE, and I will use that acronym for the rest of the post.

For me, my MCE is that of a Rationalistic <a href=””>Panentheistic Humanist. As with everyone, there may be multiple names for each category that your philosophy falls under, or none. For me mine falls well into pre-established labels.

Rationalism means that I believe that the created world works under certain logical laws and that conclusions about it must follow from observation and logical laws. This is largely true for the superb as well. I do not however believe that our logic is the highest form; I do not think this means that rational struggles are useless, just hard.

Panentheism means I believe God is transcendent over creation, yet is also the summary of creation. Some people may use this to meant that God exists in creation and outside of it. I personally do not believe that God exists as such, but that he transcends. Panpsychism, Monism, Holism and Idealism also apply, but in lesser ways. Panentheism is not the same as Pantheismwhich holds that creation and God are synonymous. I am a big fan of Platonic Universals and Forms.

My ethic is Humanism. I view the indomitable spirit of man as largely synonymous with God, though God transcends it. I believe that that which creates the highest human equilibrium is the most moral, and that the most moral actions are those that allow the largest amount of men to realize the largest amount of their human potential.

From this MCE you can draw greater conclusions. I personally, upon examination of science and world philosophical traditions am drawn to accept the claims of Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá’í Faith. For this reason I identify as a Bahá’í. As a Bahá’í I view the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh as in agreement with my MCE in every way, and adding to it. For each person these conclusions can be different, perhaps political, perhaps religious, perhaps personal.

This is the rationalization I use to define my Panentheism and Humanism. The rationalism may need a further definition, but I am glad to let its use be its own justification for use. These are statements I view to be self-evident, but mutually justifying.

  5. God is an ultimate concept.  
  6.     Ultimate concepts cannot have the dichotomy of cause/effect applied to them. They deny causality.  
  7.     Existence is an effect necessarily preceded by a cause.  
  8.         Anything which exists has a cause.  
  9. God does not exist.  
  11. (Creation = Nature. Noun, not verb.)  
  12. Creation is a relative concept.  
  13.     Existence is a relative concept.  
  14.         Relative concepts are those proceeded necessarily by a cause.  
  15.             This implies that the relative, or existent, did at one time not exist.  
  16.                 Time is existent.  
  17.     Creation at one time did not exist.  
  18.         Creation has a cause.  
  19.             Creation is a relative concept.  
  20. Creation exists.  
  22. God does not exist.  
  23. Creation exists.  
  25. Transcendence and existence are mutually exclusive.  
  27. God transcends.  
  28. Creation exists.  
  30. (God = ultimate cause. Nonentity)  
  32. Transcendence is independent of cause.  
  33.     Transcendence necessarily proceeds existence.  
  34.     A cause encompasses all attributes of the effect.  
  36. God is transcendent and causeless.  
  37.     Transcendence must be ultimate/unified.  
  38.     God is ultimately transcendent and causeless.  
  39.     Creation is relative and caused.  
  40. God causes nature.  
  42. relative concept cannot produce another equally relative concept.  
  43.     Each production is more relative.  
  44.     New productions must become increasingly relative.  
  45. Entropy.  
  47. A transcendent can cause any relative.  
  49. God is capable, and must constantly create the incapable, or dependent. (Nature)  
  51. Causing/Capable  
  52.     Increasing. Capable of continuity.  
  54. Entropic/Incapable  
  55.     Decreasing. Dependent.  
  57. God  
  58. -Ultimate  
  59. -Transcendent  
  60. -Causeless  
  61. -Causing/Capable  
  62. -Precedent  
  63. -Encompassing/Sufficing  
  65. Creation  
  66. -Relative  
  67. -Existent  
  68. -Caused  
  69. -Entropic  
  70. -Following  
  71. -Reflective  
  73. //===============  
  74. ===============//  
  76. Man’s nature is good.  
  77.     Good is that which seeks the highest possible equilibrium.  
  78.         Disruption must proceed a heightening of equilibrium.  
  79.     Evil is nonexistent.  
  80.         Evil, the concept, is latent good.  
  81.     What is evil in higher equilibriums may be good in lesser equilibriums.  
  82.         Latent good is realized by actively seeking an ever heightening equilibrium.  
  83.             Ultimate equilibrium is impossible by entropic beings.  
  84.                 Potential for good must be infinite.  
  85.                     Latent good is infinite.  
  86.                     Evil is infinite.  
  87.     Latency and stagnation is contrary to the purpose of man.  
  89. Good is the existent expression of transcendent divine attributes, or platonic universals.  
  90.     Man realizes greater good through the seeking of an ever heightening equilibrium  
  91.         Greater good lies latent as evil.  
  92.             Man contains infinite potential good.  
  93.                 Man cannot be perfected.  
  94.             Man can be improved.  
  95.     God is the source of existence.  
  96.         Evil is a comprehension of a nonexistence, an intellectual construct.  
  97.             God is the source of comprehension, an attribute of God.  
  98.             The nonexistent requires and cannot have a source.  
  99.                 God is not the source of evil.  
  100.     God intends man to express His attributes.  
  101.         Man expresses His attributes via realization of latent good.  
  102.         Serving humanity allows higher equilibrium to follow.  
  103.             Serving man is synonymous to serving God.  


God is an ultimate concept.
	Ultimate concepts cannot have the dichotomy of cause/effect applied to them. They deny causality.
	Existence is an effect necessarily preceded by a cause.
		Anything which exists has a cause.
God does not exist.

(Creation = Nature. Noun, not verb.)
Creation is a relative concept.
	Existence is a relative concept.
		Relative concepts are those proceeded necessarily by a cause.
			This implies that the relative, or existent, did at one time not exist.
				Time is existent.
	Creation at one time did not exist.
		Creation has a cause.
			Creation is a relative concept.
Creation exists.

God does not exist.
Creation exists.

Transcendence and existence are mutually exclusive.

God transcends.
Creation exists.

(God = ultimate cause. Nonentity)

Transcendence is independent of cause.
	Transcendence necessarily proceeds existence.
	A cause encompasses all attributes of the effect.

God is transcendent and causeless.
	Transcendence must be ultimate/unified.
	God is ultimately transcendent and causeless.
	Creation is relative and caused.
God causes nature.

A relative concept cannot produce another equally relative concept.
	Each production is more relative.
	New productions must become increasingly relative.

A transcendent can cause any relative.

God is capable, and must constantly create the incapable, or dependent. (Nature)

	Increasing. Capable of continuity.

	Decreasing. Dependent.




Man's nature is good.
	Good is that which seeks the highest possible equilibrium.
		Disruption must proceed a heightening of equilibrium.
	Evil is nonexistent.
		Evil, the concept, is latent good.
	What is evil in higher equilibriums may be good in lesser equilibriums.
		Latent good is realized by actively seeking an ever heightening equilibrium.
			Ultimate equilibrium is impossible by entropic beings.
				Potential for good must be infinite.
					Latent good is infinite.
					Evil is infinite.
	Latency and stagnation is contrary to the purpose of man.

Good is the existent expression of transcendent divine attributes, or platonic universals.
	Man realizes greater good through the seeking of an ever heightening equilibrium
		Greater good lies latent as evil.
			Man contains infinite potential good.
				Man cannot be perfected.
			Man can be improved.
	God is the source of existence.
		Evil is a comprehension of a nonexistence, an intellectual construct.
			God is the source of comprehension, an attribute of God.
			The nonexistent requires and cannot have a source.
				God is not the source of evil.
	God intends man to express His attributes.
		Man expresses His attributes via realization of latent good.
		Serving humanity allows higher equilibrium to follow.
			Serving man is synonymous to serving God.

One of my personal theories aligns with the Bahá’í principle of progressive revelation. I think that the evolution of man is very gradual but also dependent upon a few large leaps; this is also the way that modern science is finding that biological evolution works. (God is the unified field theory people, figure it out!) Man reaches stagnancy when seeking equilibrium. Stagnancy is contrary to the purpose of man. In a stagnant state the great latent good in man is not becoming realized, though what already has been realized remains. However, while before the stagnancy began this was enough good for man to function, at some point man needs to advance or the build up of evil over time has negative effect. At this point society has become so wrapped up in stagnancy that it is impossible to advance any further, or break free of the hold. Monolithic figures, aberrations must occur, single men who can raise society just enough to reach equilibrium again, so that again an ever advancing society can continue. The greatest of these are divinely guided, as their aberrations are beyond what can naturally occur.

I was once told a story about a Hand of the Cause of God who was accompanying the Master. A Baha’i man came up to the Hand of the Cause and began enthusiastically praising him, and thanking him for everything he had done. In response to this, and to the shock of the man giving out the lavish praise, the Hand began to cry. When the Baha’i asked `Abdu’l-Bahá why the Hand had started to sob `Abdu’l-Bahá explained that ego was a huge challenge for the Hand, and that every day he had to take all the praise he received and try very hard to ignore it and maintain humility.

While it was a different, earlier Hand, this story makes me think of Charles Mason Remey. For me Remey is the ultimate tragedy, and I think he is a figure we should remember in our prayers. Remey was the best of Baha’is, he designed the Australian and Ugandan Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs. The Master approved his design for the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in Haifa, and he designed a temple for Tehrán, and the future Shrine of `Abdu’l-Bahá.

made it very clear how greatly He trusted Remey, and how much He loved him. In fact He called him his son repeatedly, and the Sign of God on Earth, Shoghi Effendi, called him his brother. Remey traveled around the world, and was in constant communication with the Head of the Faith. In Shoghi Effendi’s time Remey lived in Haifa, as President of the International Bahá’í Council and later as a Hand of The Cause of God. His loyalty to Shoghi Effendi Was unceasing, as expressed in his diary after reading the Will and Testament of `Abdu’l-Bahá appointing Shoghi Effendi Guardian

“Never have I read anything which gave me the joy and inspiration that this Holy document produced in my heart. It filled my heart with assurance that the Cause was safely guarded and gave me a fixed direction toward which to turn and a continuous center about which we are all to revolve so long as we are in this world. I rejoice at the Bahá’í standard of excellence which it established…”

Shoghi Effendi gave him a package labeled“Coagulated drops of Bahá’u’lláh‘s All-Sacred Blood and Ringlets of His Most Blessed Locks presented as my most precious possession to `Abdu’l-Bahá‘s “dear son” Mr. Charles Mason Remey as a token of my Bahá’í affection and brotherly love. Shoghi”. Inside the package was a note: “Of all the remnants of Bahá’u’lláh‘s all-Sacred Person, the most hallowed, the most precious, confidently delivered into the hands of my brother and co-worker in the Cause of God, Mr. Remey. Shoghi March 1922″. Covenant-Breakers argue that this proves `Abdu’l-Bahá saw Remey as his son, and I do not disagree, `Abdu’l-Bahá may even have adopted him legally as they argue. Having the blood of Bahá’u’lláhin your possession seems so great an honor as to prevent you from even considering the smallest sin. I have an envelope of roses from The Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh, and even those have an unbearable power.

When Shoghi Effendi passed away Remey acted as a Hand of the Cause in agreement with the rest, declaring that Shoghi Effendi had not appointed a successor, and the decision on how to handle the situation lied with the currently non-yet constituted Universal House of Justice. As a Hand, Remey was entrusted with protecting the Faith, and had been given the complete trust of `Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi. As the President of the International Bahá’í Council he would lead the Bahá’í Faith until the Universal House of Justice was elected, and he probably would have been the first in the minds of everyone at that election.

Bahá’u’lláh enjoins us to call ourselves to account each night, to consider our actions and ponder their effects and our motives in performing them. The Hand of the Cause who broke into tears in response to lavish praise tried excruciatingly to follow that admonition. Remey must have struggled with this on an everyday basis, he was among the most powerful Bahá’ís, he had achieved so much, and the faith eternally owes an incredible debt of gratitude to this amazing and wonderful man. In the end however, he failed to call himself to account. While I cannot get inside his head, I assume that pride was the largest part of his downfall.

Soon after Shoghi Effendi’s death, and signing documents declaring that only the Universal House of Justice could decide on the course of action as Shoghi Effendi had not left a will, Charles Mason Remey declared himself to be the second Gaurdian of the Bahá’í Faith. The reasons were preposterous and ridiculous, which add all the more to the tragedy of such an intelligent and dedicated man. I won’t get into the reasons here, and I expect at least one comment defending Remey. I don’t hate Remey, or dislike him, I admire him. I want to remember to pray for him, and to learn from his example, the good and the bad.

I don’t know what called for this post, but maybe it is a good one.

O God our Lord! Protect us through Thy grace from whatsoever may be repugnant unto Thee, and vouchsafe unto us that which well beseemeth Thee. Give us more out of Thy bounty, and bless us. Pardon us for the things we have done, and wash away our sins, and forgive us with Thy gracious forgiveness. Verily, Thou art the Most Exalted, the Self-Subsisting.

Thy loving providence hath encompassed all created things in the heavens and on the earth, and Thy forgiveness hath surpassed the whole creation. Thine is sovereignty; in Thy hand are the Kingdoms of Creation and Revelation; in Thy right hand Thou holdest all created things, and within Thy grasp are the assigned measures of forgiveness. Thou forgivest whomsoever among Thy servants Thou pleasest. Verily, Thou art the Ever-Forgiving, the All-Loving. Nothing whatsoever escapeth Thy knowledge, and naught is there which is hidden from Thee.

O God our Lord! Protect us through the potency of Thy might, enable us to enter Thy wondrous surging ocean, and grant us that which well befitteth Thee.

Thou art the Sovereign Ruler, the Mighty Doer, the Exalted, the All-Loving.The Báb

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Cluster Idaho 01 had a meeting yesterday that I was lucky enough to attend. While it had decidedly poor turnout, and I was the only youth there, it was productive and incredible.

As the only youth I was in charge of spearheading the youth side of things. I explained what we have already done, and what we are planning on doing in future, and our Auxiliary Board member emphasized that this is not a time for the youth to have fun, but to work. Now we have a fireside-like meeting with friends, a highway cleanup, a Holy Day, volunteer work, and study circles to plan. Ferris Paisano, our Auxiliary Board member will be coming back down to talk to the youth soon, and explain to us all the importance of our role, and the importance of the institute process.

In addition to youth projects, our B cluster ATC had a secret plan they unveiled. They want us to embark on a practice IPG, or Intensive Program of Growth. This is a systematic approach to spreading the Word of Bahá’u’lláh. Normally IPGs are only performed once a cluster has reached A status, but we want to grow, and we want to practice. We created teaching teams and each of our teams will be teaching in a different way – in constant consultation with the Area Teaching Committee. When us youth have our next meeting I will be explaining the whole thing to the others and trying to get them to participate.

I have decided I want to get through books 2, 4, 5, and 7 this year at the very least. I want to be able to start my own study circle soon. Hopefully I can get into 2 study circles, and do 4 and 5 at once. I am most looking forward to book 4, which teaches about the lives of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh; book 5 however takes precedence, as it allows me to teach Jr. Youth Classes, which are meant to be taught by youth.

I find these meeting so invigorating, seeing the enthusiasm of our ATC and Auxiliary Board member, and the enthusiasm we all have by the end. Our Auxiliary Board member shared a bit of advice that Mr. ‘Alí Nakhjavani shared at a meeting I was blessed with attending earlier this year. Ali explained that each of us must rely solely on ourselves to serve the Faith. This is a social Faith, but we cannot be reliant upon the states or conditions of others for our spiritual progress. He said that when serving the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, we must each imagine ourselves to be Mullá Ḥusayn-i-Bushru’í . Mullá Ḥusayn, after first meeting with the Báb, stepped out onto the streets of Shiraz as the only believer on earth. Alone he held the responsibility of spreading God’s new word to every man and woman on earth, and he did a damn good job.

‘Alí Nakhjavani shared another piece of guidance at that meeting which inspired me deeply. He said that `Abdu’l-Bahá once said to following. (Paraphrased) “If you are asleep, wake up. If you are awake sit up. If you are sitting, stand. If you are standing, walk. If you are walking, march, and if you are marching, run!” (‘Alí yelled that last bit at the meeting.) He explained that this is not a faith to be made by those who sleep, sit, stand, or walk, but by those who march and run. ‘Alí had so much to say that affected me, and much of it ended up being shared at this cluster meeting. I am sure I will share more of it in the future on his blog.

There was one woman who was in attendance at the meeting that I was overjoyed to see. I have barely had a chance to speak to Shari since I have known her, but we both felt a very strong filial connection at first meeting. She had not been doing well, and I was told she was not leaving her house, but she was at the Cluster Meeting. She said she had not planned to go, but in the morning as she was struggling to stand in the shower; something told her to attend this meeting.

After the meeting she asked me to come out to her car and receive a present from her. I expressed how glad I was to see her, and how much I hoped her condition improved. When we reached the car she took our a white envelope stamped “The Mansion Bahji – Acre, Isreal -” and numbered 9. The envelope has a clear segment so you can see its content. Inside are rose petals from the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh in Acre, Isreal. She told me she has had them for years and carries them with her in times of stress, and felt like she should bring them to the meeting for some reason. They are now sitting on top of my photograph of the Master, and I will treasure them forever.

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I can’t take credit for a single one of these. My fellow Baha’i Bloggers BHP, Baquia, Ryan and a few other people I cannot remember deserve all the credit. Just some of my favorites.

You might be a Baha’i if…

…if you see “Some Assembly Required” written on a box and you think it came from a place that needs homefront pioneering.

..if a movie star offers you a night of passion and your response is “Um … can I investigate your character?”

Q: How many Bahá’ís does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Bahá’ís don’t do that. They teach the light bulb and if it wants to transform, it’ll change itself!

Q: Why do Baha’is like cellars?
A: They are not afraid of abasement.

on a similar note

Q: Why is Baha’u’llah the best interior decorator?
A: He can trun abasement into glory!

Q: Why doesn’t Dracula become a Bahá’í?
A: He can’t stop backbiting!

Q: What is the best fruit to serve at a Baha’i engagement party?
A: Cantalope.

You might be the worst Baha’i if…
…You take marshmallows to firesides.
…You’ve taken warning and built a shelter in order to protect yourself from entry by those dreaded troops.

A Baha’i, shipwrecked on a deserted island with two compatriots, finds a magic lamp and runs to share it with his new friends. The Baha’i, a kindly and simple young man, rubs the old oil lamp. Poof, a genie appears! The Baha’i asks the smiling genie if he can have three wishes.

The genie replies “I’m sorry, but the rules say I can only grant one wish to each of you.”

“OK,” says the first friend, I wish for three full treasure chests in my new castle in Aruba!” and poof!, he is gone.

The second friend, a farmer, wishes to return to his family estate, enlarged three times with the richest, most fertile soil in the world, and poof! He is gone.

The Baha’i thinks for a bit, then says, “I’m not sure… I’m really not motivated by material things, so I’d just like to have my two friends back.”

In heaven a long line of souls is waiting before Saint Peter. As each one comes to him he asks them who the Lord of the Age is. A succession of answers come in reply, and a long line of Buddhist and Hindus and Muslims and Christians and Jews walk away. The Baha’i at the end of the line is thinking “Well, I know this one. I’ll be the only one to get it right!”. When the Baha’i gets to Saint Peter, the Saint says ‘Oh, a Baha’i. Ok, here is your question; how do you spell Huququ’llah?” The long line of Buddhists and Hindus and Muslims, etc now has a Baha’i at the end.

A Bahá’í pioneer was trespassing through the jungle of some tropical country, when suddenly he found himself surrounded by naked men with bones through their noses, waving spears.

They tied him up and threw him in a stew-pot, then started piling firewood underneath. Drums sounded.

In desperation, the pioneer began reciting the “remover of difficulties” prayer. Suddenly the drumming stopped. One cannibal looked at another and said “Hey guys! I think we’ve just found the ninth member of our LSA!”

True Story: The Master owned two donkeys. No other person wanted these two donkeys, but the Master loved them like his own children. The first donkey he named Lightning, and he had been rejected by everyone else because no one could get him to move – except the Master. The second donkey he named Thunder, he had stomach problems.

Q: How did Ábdu’l-Bahá pay for his trip to America?

A: With MasterCard

Q: Why aren’t Bahá’ís allowed to be dry cleaners?

A: Because blessed is the spot.

Remember, laughter is not sac religious, the Blessed Beauty wrote a tablet in which he referred to God as the Humorist. I have only literally laughed out loud a few times on the internet, half of those times came from these jokes.

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For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken…we shall be made a story and a by-word throughout the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God…We shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us til we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going. – John Winthrop, A Model of Christian Charity 1630

I fell in love with America only a few years ago, but I fell hard, In a history class. A nation founded on ideals, which had continued through its history to uphold the standard of right government and insist that man can create a fundamentally good society. No human creation is closer to Utopian. Since that time I have looked forward to adulthood, to voting and jury duty, and taxes, and census’. I don’t see jury duty and taxes as burdens, but as relished duties by which I can prove man’s inherent good to a world which had for so lon denied and suppressed such ideas. I see America as John Winthrop did, “a city on a hill,” but I believe that unlike his America, mine can fulfill its potential. The America of Winthrop lacked something I feel is fundamental to the success of our experiment, pragmatism.

Pragmatism was embedded in our system by our founding fathers, who I do not believe expected the conditions and needs of society to remain the same. The ultimate purpose of democracy must be to rule pragmatically, or perhaps it is the ultimate requirement for a successful democracy. Our constitution admits this, allowing for infinite change to the laws and pillars of our system, as long as popular influence is not lost. In fact, as society develops we must, and have done so in the past, change to make sure the popular influence is not lost.

Yet to some great extent it has been lost. Bureaucracy has become a pillar of our system, layers and filters by which the stupidity of the people might be diluted into intelligent decisions. In the age when our democracy was founded, the average man knew little about political decisions, and lacked an education. To protect our system from the ignorant, while protecting the ignorant, only those with an education, and enough money to understand the larger effects of their decisions were involved in our system. Through time that has changed, an yet we remain terrified of the chaos that might ensue if the average American becomes the driving force in our government. So we have allowed the average ignoramus his say, but we have made sure that his say goes passes through enough layers that it become indistinguishable, and smarter of course. Our system has been successful, and I don’t deny that in the time of our founding fathers the masses would have been destructive to our “city on a hill”. In this day and age however, this age of near universal education and instant communication, democracy must become more direct if it is to remain a viable system for governance.

If we as a people truly believe that man is basically good, and can govern himself with justice and equity, bureaucracy must now be abandoned. In its place must sit a system where the say of the average man is only a few steps away from the highest point of government and reaches that point undiluted. Already we have seen a new political medium appear around the world, and it has proved its influence. This must stand as evidence that this new system of governance is an inevitable stage in man’s development, and must be embraced lest we “be made a story and a by-word throughout the world”.

In America, and Israel, and many other modern nations, the grassroots initiative has begun to rear its head, calling for recognition as a suitable medium for change, and a pillar of the new democracy. A demographic that has traditionally been seen as the bane of democracy has led the majority of these movement, the young. With a more direct access the the core of society, and a flexible position in society, the young who have not yet settled into a niche must be a driving force in this new system. Of course these are not the same young of 1776, these are youth in a world of universal education, a truth which must become truly worldwide before this system can be fully embraced.

Our current democratic system is not ready to successfully accommodate this new balance of power. Quickly, it is becoming as bureaucratically stiff and ineffective as the despotic bureaucracies it was intended to replace. As the prime and first example of a good society, the responsibility lies with America. If we cannot embrace the values of pragmatism our founding fathers set forth, our experiment will have proved forever that ultimate superiority of despotism in governing the essentially evil race of men.

I fell in love with America a few years ago, and that love has only grown, but I have a greater love. In my mind the model for this new democracy lies in the plans of Baha’u’llah, who proclaimed and taught such a form of government nearly 200 years ago. Baha’u’llah explains that such government as can unite the human race is not only possible, but our inevitable God-Given destiny. While I do not believe a single man needs to become a Baha’i for democracy to remain viable, I do believe that the values the Blessed Beauty set forth in the field of governance must be embraced universally, and first in America – whether we acknowledge their source or not.

I desire this station for you and I pray God that the people of America may achieve this great end in order that the virtue of this democracy may be insured and their names be glorified eternally. May the confirmations of God uphold them in all things and their memories become revered throughout the east and the west. May they become the servants of the Most High God, near and dear to Him in the oneness of the heavenly Kingdom . . . The people of America have remarkably quick perception, intelligence and understanding. Their thoughts are free and not fettered by the yoke of governmental tyranny. They should investigate reality and not be occupied with ancestral forms and imitations. – `Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace 1912

Mulla Musayn has fascinated me since learning my first bits of Babi history. Firstly he has my favorite name ever, Husayn. Secondly he has the unique privilege of being the Babu’l-Bab; a single mortal man through whom the fulfillment of all human potential was ushered in. And I love the name Husayn.

At Carmel Baha’i school my teacher told us that the Bab referred to Mulla Husayn-i-Bushru’i as the return of Muhammad, and that thus in a mystical way there have perhaps been more than two manifestations in this dispensation. I did not even think to doubt it, the man is a genius, and upon getting home I looked it up and he was right. (Shout out to Dr. Jay)

Consider thou the Revelation of the Point of the Bayan — exalted is His glory. He pronounced the First One [1] to believe in Him to be Muhammad, the Messenger of God. Doth it beseem a man to dispute with Him by saying that this man is from Persia, the Other from Arabia, or this one was called Husayn while the Other bore the name of Muhammad? Nay, I swear by God’s holy Being, the Exalted, the Most Great. Surely no man of intelligence and insight would ever pay attention unto limitations or names, but rather unto that with which Muhammad was invested, which was none other than the Cause of God. Such a man of insight would likewise consider Husayn and the position he occupied in the Cause of God, the Omnipotent, the Exalted, the Knowing, the Wise. And since the First One to believe in God in the Dispensation of the Bayan was invested with command similar to that with which Muhammad, the Messenger of God, was invested, therefore the Báb pronounced him to be the latter, namely His return and resurrection. This station is sanctified from every limitation or name, and naught can be seen therein but God, the One, the Peerless, the All-Knowing. [1 Mulla Husayn.] (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 184)

This passage seems at first to say that Mulla Husayn was an independent Manifestation of God, endowed with constancy, and the power of the creative word. This throws the idea of the Twin Manifestations out the window and opens up the door to many questions. However, if we analyze the meaning in context with some other quotations, it begins to make sense on both logical and mystical levels. Now, I don’t claim that the meaning I take from it is the only one or even the right one, just the one that seem apparent to my faulty reasoning. Insha’allah it is somewhere close to the intended truth.

If we examine this statement by ‘Abdu’l-Baha, the Centre of the Covenant, we can start see what I think Baha’u’llah might have intended us to gather from the above passage.

In confirmation of the exalted rank of the true believer, referred to by Bahá’u’lláh, He reveals the following: “The station which he who hath truly recognized this Revelation will attain is the same as the one ordained for such prophets of the house of Israel as are not regarded as Manifestations ‘endowed with constancy.'” (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 111)

The quote above does not say that we can become Lesser Prophets, it says that we can attain an equal station. Lesser Prophets, nabi are a thing of the previous age, however we have now the oppourtunity, by pure recognition of Baha’u’llah to reach a station that is equal in glory to them, and perhaps this even implies an equal, if different spiritual power – utterly dependent still on the Manifestation of God.

Likewise Baha’u’llah makes it clear elsewhere that the station He holds is supreme among Manifestations, and thus the power wielded by Him is greater than those manifestations of the Adamaic Age. The essence is no different, but the station is far greater, and this applies as well to the manifestations to come in this age. (As I understand it.)

And since the First One to believe in God in the Dispensation of the Bayan was invested with command similar to that with which Muhammad, the Messenger of God, was invested, therefore the Báb pronounced him to be the latter, namely His return and resurrection.

It was pointed out to me that while the return of a Lesser Prophet can well be a Greater Prophet, it cannot be the other way around – nor can a Greater Prophet return as a normal human being, as their essence is that of Manifestation. (Not to say they cannot, (He is, in truth, the exponent of ‘God doeth whatsoever He willeth’.) but it is a different concept than that return Baha’u’llah teaches us about.

However, if the believer in this Age can be exalted to the station of a Lesser Prophet of the previous age, and the Manifestations of this Age wield greater power than the previous ones, why cannot – by the will of the Manifestation of God, a soul endowed with acquired infallibility be given power to wield equal to that wielded by the Manifestations of the previous age?

So I would venture that this passage is not saying that Mulla Husayn is an independent Manifestation of his own right, nor anywhere near the level of Baha’u’llah. It seems to me that it is saying that his station has been exalted such, that he bears power equal to that Muhammad bore, while remaining human in his essence, and that his piety and human attributes are identical, through the power given him by the Bab, and through his very nature to those of Muhammad. Thus he is the same person, and equal to him in all ways but his pre-existent essence. I hope that made some sort of sense.

164 years ago, on this day, the Point of the Bayan ascended from this mortal plane, making way for ‘Him Whom God must needs make manifest’. I would like to offer a written prayer to that Point as a testament to Him and all those exalted souls who gave their lives for His cause, and that I may live.

How numerous the souls raised to life who were exposed to dire humiliation in Thy Path for exalting Thy Word and for glorifying Thy divine Unity! How profuse the blood that hath been shed for the sake of Thy Faith to vindicate the authenticity of Thy divine Mission and to celebrate Thy praise! How vast the possessions that were wrongfully seized in the Path of Thy love in order to affirm the loftiness of Thy sanctity and to extol Thy glorious Name! How many the feet that have trodden upon the dust in order to magnify Thy holy Word and to extol Thy glory! How innumerable the voices that were raised in lamentation, the hearts that were struck with terror, the grievous woes that none other than Thee can reckon, and the adversities and afflictions that remain inscrutable to anyone except Thyself; all this to establish, O my God, the loftiness of Thy sanctity and to demonstrate the transcendent character of Thy glory.

These decrees were ordained by Thee so that all created things might bear witness that they have been brought into being for the sake of naught else but Thee. Thou hast withheld from them the things that bring tranquillity to their hearts, that they might know of a certainty that whatever is associated with Thy holy Being is far superior to and exalted above aught else that would satisfy them; inasmuch as Thine indomitable power pervadeth all things, and nothing can ever frustrate it.

Indeed Thou hast caused these momentous happenings to come to pass that those who are endued with perception may readily recognize that they were ordained by Thee to demonstrate the loftiness of Thy divine Unity and to affirm the exaltation of Thy sanctity.