Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thoughts on Things

The news tonight spoke again about the many retail stores the would be closing their doors. The report indicated that Americans would no longer be able to buy whatever they wanted; although they could expect to have what they needed. Here is what Abdu'l-Baha had to say about the quest for material possessions:

"True religion is the source of love and agreement amongst men, the cause of the development of praiseworthy qualities; but the people are holding to the counterfeit and imitation, negligent of the reality which unifies; so they are bereft and deprived of the radiance of religion. They follow superstitions inherited from their fathers and ancestors. To such an extent has this prevailed that they have taken away the heavenly light of divine truth and sit in the darkness of imitations and imaginations. That which was meant to be conducive to life has become the cause of death; that which should have been an evidence of knowledge is now a proof of ignorance; that which was a factor in the sublimity of human nature has proved to be its degradation. Therefore the realm of the religionist has gradually narrowed and darkened and the sphere of the materialist has widened and advanced; for the religionist has held to imitation and counterfeit, neglecting and discarding holiness and the sacred reality of religion."

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Story That Inspires Thought

The following story was recounted by Inea Greeven.
Inez' sister India Haggarty was a pioneer living in a hotel in Paris in 1931. This was 10 years after the passing of the Master, and 20 years after His visit to that city. There was another pioneer in Paris at that time, and I'll call her "Mrs. S". One night in 1931 India had a vision of Abdu'l-Baha. He appeared to her and told her that He wanted her to go, right then, to her Baha'i sister Mrs. S. "Bring her flowers, and bring her money," He said. India got up out of bed and immediately prepared herself to leave her hotel. As she was fixing her hair in the mirror, her face was still radiant from the vision of the Master. She called down to the hotel clerk to summon a taxi for her. She gathered up all of her money. She set aside the money she needed for her personal expenses, and put all the rest of her cash into a small purse. She went downstairs and asked the clerk, "Where is the nearest florist shop?" The clerk answered that there was one quite close by, but as it was just 5 o'clock in the morning, it was of course closed. India said thank-you, and waited for the taxi. When it arrived she said to please take her to that florist shop. The driver said all right, but it's closed. She said, knowing that the Master had a way for her to get flowers, that he should take her there anyway. They arrived, and the windows were all dark. "I told you it was closed," the driver said. India said to take her to the next florist shop, and it, too, was closed. As they drove through the city, they came upon the farmer's market area, where all of the local growers brought in their vegetables and flowers to sell to the local stores. There was a wagon filled with flowers, and India got out of the taxi and went over to the driver. She came back with an armful of red tulips, and got into the taxi. She handed the driver a slip of paper with the address of Mrs. S. on it, and they drove across Paris in the early morning darkness. The taxi dropped India off at Mrs. S's front door, and she stood there, with her arms full of red tulips. She knocked at the door. She heard a rustling, and the door opened. Mrs. S. was standing inside, wearing a heavy black coat, and it was obvious that she had been crying. Her face showed great distress. Mrs. S looked at India, and at the red tulips, and cried out, "OH! ABDU'L-BAHA!" and burst into tears. She sobbed and sobbed. She and India went into her home and sat down, and India tried to comfort her friend. After she was composed, Mrs. S asked India, "Why have you come here?" India answered that the Master had come to her in a vision, and that He had told her to bring flowers, and money. She handed the purse to Mrs. S. Mrs. S. was astounded. When she could speak, she said, "You think I am rich. Everyone does. And I did have money, but I ran out, and I was ashamed to tell anyone. There isn't one speck of food in this house. As you can tell, the house is cold; I cannot afford to heat it. I have been suffering, and I could no longer bear it. I decided last night, to end my life. I awoke this morning, and I went and put on my coat. I decided to cast myself into the Seine, and drown myself. I went to the front door, and was just putting my hand on the doorknob to go out, when suddenly, you knocked. I opened the door, and you were standing there. I could not believe my eyes. Twenty years ago, Abdu'l-Baha came to my house, in this city. And when I opened the door to receive Him, He was standing on my front porch -- with an armful of red tulips. And to see you standing there with these tulips, and bringing this money, I could not believe it."
Inez then showed me a postcard that Mrs. S had written to her sister India. It said that for this gift to have reached her at such a time in her life, showed how great His love was. Now THAT's a true story, because I heard it from Inez Greeven, and she showed me the postcard."

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thoughts for Christmas Day

I apologize for the long lack of posts on this blog. I have been moving to a new residence. Today, I discovered a quote from Abdu'l-Baha. This quote shows the Abdu'l-Baha sought to keep the Christmas spirit present in his life at all times.

The quote is below. It was taken from "The Baha'i World Faith" page 356.

Be ye a sprinkling of rain to every meadow
.......and a water of life to every tree.
Be ye as fragrant musk to every nostril and a soul-refreshing breeze to every invalid.
Be ye salutary water to every thirsty one,
a wise guide to every one led astray,
an affectionate father or mother to every orphan,
.........and, in the utmost joy and fragrance,..............
a son or daughter to every one bent with age.

Be ye a rich treasure to every indigent one;
consider love and union as a delectable paradise,
and count annoyance and hostility as the torment of hell-fire.
.......Exert with your soul;
seek no rest in body;
supplicate and beseech with your heart and search for divine assistance and favor

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thougts Expounded

This past weekend I attended a conference at which almost every speaker shared at least one of the quotes from the writings of Abdu'l-Baha. While no one quoted the passage posted below, the words in the following passage express the thoughts expounded upon by the speakers at the Conference that I recently attended:

"There is not one soul whose conscience does not testify that in this day there is no more important matter in the world than that of Universal Peace. Every just one bears witness to this and adores that esteemed Assembly 1 because its aim is that this darkness may be turned into light, this bloodthirstiness into kindness, this torment into bliss, this hardship into ease and this enmity and hatred into fellowship and love. Therefore the effort of those esteemed souls is worthy of praise and commendation.
But the wise souls who are aware of the essential relationships emanating from the realities of things consider that one single matter cannot, by itself, influence the human reality as it ought and should, for until the minds of men become united, no important matter can be accomplished. At present Universal Peace is a matter of great importance, but unity of conscience is essential, so that the foundation of this matter may become secure, its establishment firm and its edifice strong. "

The above quote is from the book FOUNDATIONS OF WORLD UNITY

Friday, December 12, 2008

Seasonal Thoughts

During the Holiday Season, events and decorations seem to cater to the interests of children. Children delight in the sights, sounds and smells of the Hoiday Season.

In the spirit of this Hoiday Season, I would like to share a quote in which Abdu'l-Baha reveals his love for children. Here is that quote:

While the children are yet in their infancyfeed them from the breast of heavenly grace,
foster them in the cradle of all excellence,
rear them in the embrace of bounty.
Give them the advantage of everyuseful kind of knowledge.
Let them sharein every new and rare and wondrous craft and art.
Bring them up to work and strive,and accustom them to hardship.
Teach them to dedicate their lives to matters of great import,
and inspire them to undertake studies that will benefit mankind.

~ Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 129

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thoughts Re-stated

Gideon Rachman has written a article called "And Now For World Government." Abdu'l-Baha pushed for some form of world government the moment that he got off of the boat in 1912. At that time, reporters asked him why he had traveled from Persia to the United States. Abdu'l-Baha said that he had come to the U.S. to usher in a "universal peace."

On December 5, 1912, the day that he left the United States, Abdul-Baha had this to say:

"These are my final words of exhortation. I have repeatedly summoned you to the cause of the unity of the world of humanity, announcing that all mankind are the servants of the same God, that God is the creator of all; He is the Provider and Life-giver; all are equally beloved by Him and are His servants upon whom His mercy and compassion descend. Therefore, you must manifest the greatest kindness and love toward the nations of the world, setting aside fanaticism, abandoning religious, national and racial prejudice.
The earth is one native land, one home; and all mankind are the children of one Father. God has created them, and they are the recipients of His compassion. Therefore, if anyone offends another, he offends God. It is the wish of our heavenly Father that every heart should rejoice and be filled with happiness, that we should live together in felicity and joy. The obstacle to human happiness is racial or religious prejudice, the competitive struggle for existence and inhumanity toward each other.
Your eyes have been illumined, your ears are attentive, your hearts knowing. You must be free from prejudice and fanaticism, beholding no differences between the races and religions. You must look to God, for He is the real Shepherd, and all humanity are His sheep. He loves them and loves them equally. As this is true, should the sheep quarrel among themselves? They should manifest gratitude and thankfulness to God, and the best way to thank God is to love one another.
Beware lest ye offend any heart, lest ye speak against anyone in his absence, lest ye estrange yourselves from the servants of God. You must consider all His servants as your own family and relations. Direct your whole effort toward the happiness of those who are despondent, bestow food upon the hungry, clothe the needy, and glorify the humble. Be a helper to every helpless one, and manifest kindness to your fellow creatures in order that ye may attain the good pleasure of God. This is conducive to the illumination of the world of humanity and eternal felicity for yourselves. I seek from God everlasting glory in your behalf; therefore, this is my prayer and exhortation. "

Abdu'l-Baha said much more on the day of his departure. The full text can be found in the book THE PROMULGATION FOR UNIVERSAL PEACE.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thoughts Carried Across the Atlantic

Abdu'l-Baha heard his father speak on may topics. Abdu'l-Baha shared with others many of his father's thoughts. I used a few of those thoughts in a factoid that I wroter recently. You can find that factoid here:

How can I discover my own personal identity through God?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thougts on Faith

Are any of the readers of this blog reading the book "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris? A Baha'i writer is reading that book and has included one quote from that book in a recent email. Here is the quote:

"....Faith is rather like a rhinoceros in fact: it won't do much in the way of real work for you , and yet at close quarters it will make spectacular claims upon your attention."

Another Baha'i writer has shared his response to that quote. He has compared the running from faith to the running from a rhinocerous. A human can not out run a rhinocerous. That huge creature will eventually catch up with any human who has chosen to turn its back on that large and tusk-bearing mammal.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Linking to More Thoughts

I just wrote a news article for our local paper. In that article I mentioned a concern of our local School Board. That group now struggles with the issue of bullying.

Some of the school children in Iran have come under attack. Because this problem relates to the life of Abdu'l-Baha, the main character in my anthology story, I am going to post a link on my blog. I hope that some of the readers of this blog will read what is on this link.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thougts Posted Elsewhere

During November I became a vip writer on Factoidz.com. Today, I wrote an answer to the following question: Can being religious extend your life? Because I was limited to a 300 word answer, I could not include in my factoid a relevant quote, a quote made by Abdu'l-Baha.

Here is that quote:

"My only joy in this swiftly passing world was to tread the stony path o God and to endure hard tests and all material grief. For otherwise, this earthly life would prove barren and vain, and better would be death. The tree of being would produce no fruit; the sown field of existene would yield no harvest. Thus it is my hope that once again some circumstance will make my cup of anguish to brim over,and that beautous love, that slayer of souls will dazzle the beholders once again. Then will this heart be blissful and this soul be blessed."

The above quote is taken from "Selections of the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha.