Friday, December 11, 2009

Encouraging to Imagine Abdu'l-Baha's Thoughts

I am very busy, because I am moving. I only have time to post this link:>, Read this news and then try to imagine what thoughts Abdu'l-Baha might have had on hearing such good news.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thoughts on a Gadget

Three years before Abdu'l-Baha came to the United States, General Electric Edison introduced one of the country's first gadgets--the light bulb. It called that light bulb the "Mazda bulb." That name must have amused Abdu'l-Baha when he was traveling in the U.S. The name "Mazda" is close to "Hoda," the Persian word for "God."

It would be interesting to learn about anytime when Abdu'l-Baha had to deal with changing a light bulb.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thoughts on a Treaty

Today I learned about another important event that took place in 1912, the year that Abdu'l-Baha was in the United States. That event focused on Spitsbergen, an island in the Arctic Ocean. During the year of 1912 representatives from a number of different countries signed a treaty. They agreed to give sovereignty over Spitsbergen to no one nation. The treaty they signed made the resources of that isand open to all nations.

I find it interesting that this treaty was signed while Abdu'l-Baha was traveling across the United States, and advocating for world unity.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thoughts of Pilgrims

At one in the morning on November 28, 1921, Abdu'l-Baha passed into the next world. He was at his home in Palestine. A number of pilgrims were closeby, because they had come to visit the Baha'i shrines. Here are a few passages from a letter written by one such pilgrim:

"Abdu’l Baha, after having gone to bed, again slept apparently until nearly eleven o’clock. Then he roused and his daughter Rouha Khanum came to his bed. She saw that Abdu’l Baha had perspired much. She poured some water for him which he drank. She then went to his dresser to obtain a fresh night garment for him. But, alas, she found none! Her father, as usual, had given everything away.

At the time this was related to me I thought of a beautiful cotton night shirt that my husband and myself had brought along with us from a believer in Germany who sent it by us to Abdu’l Baha as a present. It was a fine gentleman’s garment, all handmade by the sender, of the best pre-war cotton goods and embroidered with Abdu’l Baha's monogram. It seemed superfluous to ask what had become of it – no doubt it had gone by the way all such things would go when given to Abdu’l Baha, “the father of the poor.”

Rouha Khanum then ran over to her own house and returned to her father’s bedside with the needed garment secured from her husband’s drawer. Afterward she gave Abdu’l Baha some water to drink and presently he fell asleep again."

I have chosen not to post the passages about the moment that Abdu'l-Baha departed from this world. I feel extremely thoughtful after reading the above passage. It underlines the generous spirit of Abdu'l-Baha.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thoughts Directed at Children

On Sunday, Nov. 24, 1912, a group of children came to visit Abdu'l-Baha. They had seen him several days earlier, while on their way to school. Abdu'l-Baha received them graciously, and gave them some candies and flowers. He also gave those children a bit of advice. Here is what he said:

"I hope you will be educated as you ought to be and that each of you will become the pride of your family. May God assist you to acquire divine knowledge in the school of the world of must obey your parents so that they may be pleased with you, and so that God will be pleased with you, and that you may become the children of the Kingdom and mirror forth words of Christ."

The above statement can be found in Manmud's Diary, a book written by Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani, and translated by Mohi Sobhani.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thoughts on Detachment

As Abdu'-Baha traveled around the United States, he did not show much concern for his clothes. He made a point of keeping them clean, but he did not have lots of different things to wear. He did not worry much about where he would get his next meal. He was very detached from the concerns of everyday life. He modeled the life stylye about which he had written:

" ye not, seek ye no composure, attach no yourselves to the luxuries of this ephemeral world, free yourselves from every attachement and strive with heart and soul to become fully established in the Kingdom of God. Gain yer the heavenly treasures. Day by day become ye more illumined. Drae ye nearer and nearer unto the threshold of oneness."

The above quote, written by Abdu'l-Baha, comes from page 87 of Tablets of the Divine Plan.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Discovering Thoughts

Yesterday I discovered a thick book that contains the thoughts of one of the Persians that traveled with Abdu'l-Baha. I leafed through the book, knowing that I can return to the same group of bookshelves next Sunday.

Later I took part in a discussion about Abdu'l-Baha and his father. During our discussion, the members of a our group read some thoughts on traveling, thoughts written by Adu'l-Baha. Here is what he had to say:

"O that I could travel, even though on foot and in the utmost poverty, to these regions, and raising the call of 'Ya Baha'u'l-Abha' in cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, promote the divine teachings! This alas I can not do. How intensely I implore it! Please God, you may achieve it."

The above quote was taken from The Divine Plan by Abdu'l-Baha.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thoughts on an Unveiling

Tomorrow, November 12th, is the birthday of Baha'u'llah, the father of Abdu'l-Baha. Tomorrow, Nov. 12, 2009 the Charter for Compassion will be revealed. You can read more about that charter at this website: I think you will agree with me, when I say that both Abdu'l-Baha and his father would have praised the unveiling of this charter.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Link to Profound Thoughts

Today, the Iranians who want to follow the teachings of Abdu'l-Baha face threats of persecution. Seven of those followers are now in prison. Read what has been said about them by this one knowledgeable diplomat:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thoughts on a Truthful Label

When I wrote the short story that was later included in an anthology, I assumed that the company making Life Saver Candies adhered to a truth in labeling policy. I never imagined the possibility that a candy could have harmful ingredients (other than decay causing sugar). Today, however, I have read about one candy that did have such ingredients.

Today the makers of Jelly Belly candies had to recall the containers with the phrase "49 flavors" on the label. The company had failed to put on the label all of the ingredients. The ingredient list lacked mention of the peanut butter and peanut flour that were used in making the Jelley Belly candies.

When I read about that, I immediatey tried to envision what Abdu'l-Baha might have said or thought, if told that he should return his roll of candy and get his money back.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thoughts About a Prayer

When Abdu'l-Baha was sailing from New York back to Europe and eventually Egypt, he met a man who was a professor at Mount Holyoke College. When he learned that the professor taught at an all female institution, Abdu'l-Baha promised to pray for that College.

Have his prayers been answered? To discover what is happening at that College this week go to

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thoughts on a Candy

In my short story about Abdu'l-Baha's visit to the United States, I imagine a meeting between the Persian visitor and two young boys. Those boys share with the strange gentleman a new candy, Lifesavers. Today I learned about another hard candy that was in stores long befor the arrival of Lifesavers. That was the roll of Necco wafers.

Today the Necco company announced that it is going to stop using artificial colors and flavors in its wafers. It is going to use only red beet juice, purple cabbage, cocoa powder, paprika and tumeric. It will, for the time being, need to discontinue the making of lime wafers. However, the Necco company will continue to make chocolate, lemon, orange, clove, wintergreen, cinnamon and licorice wafers.

I wonder if Abdu'l-Baha ever tried a Necco wafer. I find it hard to guess what flavor he might have tried. I would guess that it was either a lemon, orange or cinnamon wafer. Those are flavors that I have frequently encountered whenever I was enjoying some Perisan food.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thoughts on a Vote in Washington, D.C.

On October 23, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 407 to 2 in favor of House Resoution 175. That Resolution condemned the persecution of Baha'is in Iran. On ten prior occasions, the House has voted in favor of a similar resolution. The House appears firmly behind support for the Baha'is of Iran. Meanwhile, the world awaits a decision from Iran on how it will respond to the proposals regarding its pursuit of nuclear energy.

Passage of this resolution does not free the seven plus Baha'is who remain in Iranian prisons. While Baha'is keep those people in their prayers, they plan to go ahead with planned celebrations, marking the birthday on November 12th of Baha'u'llah, the fatheir of Abdu'l-Baha.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thoughts on a Song

Here are the words (translated from Farsi) to a song written by an Iranian singer and song writer:

We are searching for the dawn\With the help of a breezeand with hearts filled with BAHA\We are searching for the dawn\Wherever there is a ray of light; we must search\Perhaps that source of light is a passage out of this endless night\We are searching for the dawn\Perhaps the lovers of Messenger would sing about the New Message.

Those seemingly innocent words have now caused the writer of that song, Behnam Rohani Fard, to be taken and imprisoned by the Iranian government. Those words reflect the degree to which Behnam was inspired by the thinking and writing of Abdu'l-Baha. That is why I have mentioned Behnam's imprisonment here in my blog.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thoughts on Family Relationships

While Abdu’l-Baha often chose to speak about his dreams of world unity, he never overlooked the importance of unity within the family structure. The types of family relationships that develop within a loving and cooperative family unit help insure the eventual development, on a global scale, of genuine unity. Therefore Abdu’l-Baha encouraged the demonstration of love and understanding, in any interaction with other family members.

Abdu’l-Baha had been raised by parents who followed traditional Persian customs. The Persian culture highlights the value inherent in any display of loving and caring attitudes towards close and even distant relatives. Abdu’l-Baha never failed to respect any family member, including those relatives who questioned the authoritative wisdom behind each of Abdu’l-Baha’s many statements.

The above paragraphs about family relationships have made the contents on this blog part of a mass blogging. I am participating in that mass blogging. A woman on Writing (WOW) has gathered a group of “blogging buddies,” and has asked those buddies to write about family relationships. WOW is celebrating release of the novel, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, the first novel authored by Therese Walsh. That fictional book, scheduled to come out on October 13, 2009, relates the mysterious journey that helps a woman to learn about herself and her twin, whom she lost when they were teenagers.

Today, Therese and each of her blogging buddies has put some reflections on family relationships within each of their numerous blog entries. If you want to read those reflections, then you should go to At that same website, you can also read about what Therese and each of her buddies felt compelled to say about family relationships. If you want to learn more about Theresa Walsh, then go to this website:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thoughts on a Question

There is a question that is troubling me. I have placed that question in a blog post at this website: I encourage readers of this blog to set aside a brief period of time for looking at the third article on that web page.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thoughts on Unity

Today, as the world reacts to the announcement about the winner of the Noble Peace Prize, I would like to share some of Abdu'l-Baha's thoughts regaring unity:

"...the Cause of the Ancient Beauty is the very essence of love, the very channel of oneness, existing only that all may become the waves of one sea, and bright stars of the same endless sky, and pearls within the shell of singleness, and gleaming jewels quarried from the mines of unity; that they may become servants one to another, adore one another, bless one another, praise one another; that each one may loose his tongue and extol the rest without exception, each one voice his gratitude to all the rest; that all should lift up their eyes to the horizon of glory, and remember that they are linked to the Holy Threshold; that they should see nothing but good in one another, hear nothing but praise of one another, and speak no word of one another save only to praise." (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 229)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thoughts on Scientific Advances

This week, a number of scientists have been singled out for receipt of a Nobel Prize in 2009. On October 8, 1912, Abdu'l-Baha was speaking at the Leland Sanford Junior University in Palo Alto, CA. He presented a number of thoughts that reltated the importance of scientific advancements. Here is what he said:

"The greatest attainment in the world of humanity has ever been scientific in nature. It is the discovery of the realities of things. Inasmuch as I find myself in the home of science—for this is one of the great universities of the country and well known abroad—I feel a keen sense of joy.
The highest praise is due to men who devote their energies to science, and the noblest center is a center wherein the sciences and arts are taught and studied. Science ever tends to the illumination of the world of humanity. It is the cause of eternal honor to man, and its sovereignty is far greater than the sovereignty of kings. The dominion of kings has an ending; the king himself may be dethroned; but the sovereignty of science is everlasting and without end. Consider the philosophers of former times. Their rule and dominion is still manifest in the world. The Greek and Roman kingdoms with all their grandeur passed away; the ancient sovereignties of the Orient are but memories, whereas the power and influence of Plato and Aristotle still continue. Even now in schools and universities of the world their names are revered and commemorated, but where do we hear the names of bygone kings extolled? They are forgotten and rest in the valley of oblivion. It is evident that the sovereignty of science is greater than the dominion of rulers. Kings have invaded countries and achieved conquest through the shedding of blood, but the scientist through his beneficent achievements invades the regions of ignorance, conquering the realm of minds and hearts. Therefore, his conquests are everlasting. May you attain extraordinary progress in this center of education. May you become radiant lights flooding the dark regions and recesses of ignorance with illumination. "

The above quote can be found in the book The Promulgation of Universal Peace.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thoughts on the Human Spirit

Abdu'l-Baha has compared the human spirit to sunlight. Since poets of the past have written about the sun of October, on this October 1, 2009, I want to share with the readers of this blog the following quote:

"The human spirit may be likened to the bounty of the sun shining on a mirror … This spirit has the power of discovery; it encompasses all things. All these wonderful signs, these scientific discoveries, great enterprises and important historical events which you know are due to it.But the spirit of man has two aspects: one divine, one satanic -- that is to say, it is capable of the utmost perfection, or it is capable of the utmost imperfection. If it acquires virtues, it is the most noble of the existing beings; and if it acquires vices, it becomes the most degraded existence." ('Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 143)

Thoughts on the Human

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thoughts on a Memorial Service

Today, a group of Baha'is from southern California gathered at the gravesite of Thorton Chase, one of the first American Baha'is. That gravesite is located at a cemetery in Inglewood, CA. Abdu'l-Baha was well on his way to California on September 27, 1912. Below you will find part of a talk that he gave on Sept. 25, 1912, when he set aside time to give a talk to an audience in Denver:

The purpose of all the divine religions is the establishment of the bonds of love and fellowship among men, and the heavenly phenomena of the revealed Word of God are intended to be a source of knowledge and illumination to humanity. So long as man persists in his adherence to ancestral forms and imitation of obsolete ceremonials, denying higher revelations of the divine light in the world, strife and contention will destroy the purpose of religion and make love and fellowship impossible. Each of the holy Manifestations announced the glad tidings of His successor, and each One confirmed the message of His predecessor. Therefore, inasmuch as They were agreed and united in purpose and teaching, it is incumbent upon Their followers to be likewise unified in love and spiritual fellowship. In no other way will discord and alienation disappear and the oneness of the world of humanity be established.

The above quotation can be found in the book The Promulgation of Universal Peace.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thoughts on Peace and Unity

On Wednesday, September 23, 2009, the TV news was full of reports about speeches at the UN. At the same time, a number of people offered on the air opinions about how well the UN has contributed to the advancement of peace and unity.

In 1912, long before there was a UN in New York City, Abdu'l-Baha arrived in New York, and he brought with him a message of peace and unity. In fact, when asked by reporters why he had come to the United States, Abdu'l-Baha told them that he had journeyed to the U.S. in order to open the door to a "universal peace." He then followed that bold statement by saying that he intended to lay the foundation of the "oneness of mankind."

During the 8 plus months that Abdu'l-Baha spent in the United States, he continued to focus on this same message--a message about the world's need for unity and peace. Since Abdu'l-Baha could not present a talk at the UN, he traveled all over the U.S. giving talks before those groups that showed an interest in promoting peace and unity.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thoughts on Cross Cultural Competence

Yesterday I received an email from another Baha'i writer. That Baha'i used the term "cultural competence." When I read that term, I go thinking about the cultural competence of Abdu'l-Baha.

Before coming to the United States, Abdu'l-Baha had developed an acute cultural awareness and a sound cultural knowledge. With those capabilities as a foundation, Abdu'l-Baha had managed to form a noteworthy cultural sensitivity. During his visit to Europe and the United States, Abdu'l-Baha displayed the degree to which he had progressed beyond cultural sensitivity.

During his visit to the United States, Abdu'l-Baha took in huge amounts of information. He allowed that information to transform his cultural sensitivity. He directed his efforts towards transforming his cultural sensitivity into a sort of "cultural synergy," a quality of the spirit, one that can be found in all those who have developed cultural competence.

Abdu'l-Baha made use of his cultural competence, allowing it to become an energizing force in his life.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Thought Provoking Timeline

Here is a link to a website with a thought provoking timeline: This timeline for events within the Baha'i Faith reveals how advances in the Faith took place in time with important world events.

Note the two events that happened on May 23 of 1844. The justaposition of those two events should certain give rise to some deep thinking.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Thoughts on Cooperation and Teamwork

I just received an email from a member of the online Baha'i writers group to which I belong. That email contained some thought provoking words from Abdu'l-Baha. Here is the quote from that email-- a quote that really got me thinking:

"Through solidarity. In some animals mutual co-operation is frequently seen;when in time of danger, each will try to surpass the others in help. One dayas I was standing near the border of a little stream on Mt. Carmel, Inoticed a number of locusts that had not yet developed full wings."These insects wishing to pass from my side of the stream to the other inorder to procure some food, threw themselves forward, each one trying toemulate the other in flinging itself into the water, so that a bridge wasformed in order that the others might pass over and this was accomplished; yet those who gave themselves as a bridge finally perished.Consider how much solidarity makes for life as compared to the fighting forself interest which destroys it." (Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 187)

I am not suggesting that each of us has to sacrifice some of our time on this earth in order to contribute to the betterment of society. Still, the above quote implies that each person should be willing to offer up at least a small sacrifice.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thoughts About an Archived Item

Last night, when I went to a special anniversary celebration at the Los Angeles Baha'i Center, I had a chance to view a collection of archived items. One item on display was the hand woven gown worn by Abdu'l-Baha. One could see, by looking at that gown just how short in stature Abdu'l-Baha was. Still, many people referred to him as "the Master."

Abdu'l-Baha displayed well the virtue that I repeatedly struggle to develop, the virtue of assertiveness. He knew how to project his voice without assuming an agressive stance. He understood how to go about making his point to others. He could get others to listen to him, even when he did not share speak their language.

Thorton Chase, one of the first American Baha'is, and a resident of Los Angeles had looked forward to seeing Abdu'l-Baha during the Master's visit to the United States. Unfortunately, he died just days before Abdu'l-Baha arrived on the west coast. After hearing about the passing of Thorton Chase, Abdu'l-Baha traveled down to Inglewood, so that he could attend the funeral.

Abdu'l-Baha encouraged the Baha'is of Los Angeles to hold a memoraial service every year at the gravesite of Thorton Chase. I plan to attend such a service this year on Sunday, Sept. 27th.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thoughts on Coming Celebration

A couple days ago, I wrote that I would be attending an anniversary celebration on Sept. 9, 2009. I also wrote that the first Los Angeles Assembly had been formed on Sept. 9, 1909. I must correct my mistake.

On that date, there was a Baha'i activity taking place in Los Angeles. Baha'is in Los Angeles began hosting activities in their homes during the year of 1909. In 1910 the Baha'is in Los Angeles formed their first Local Spiritual Assembly, the administrative body for the local Baha'i community.

Today I got a picture taken in 1916. It showed about 25 Baha'is outside, at some sort of picnic. The women wore long dresses and hats.

While the attire of Baha'is have changed during the past century, their beliefs and ideals have not.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Thoughts on Future Plans

Last night I received notice of a special celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009. At the Los Angeles Baha'i Center they will celebrate the 100th year anniversary for the founding of the Los Angeles Spiritual Assembly. That notice indicates that nine or more Baha'is were living in Los Angeles in 1909, three years before Abdu'l-Baha came to the United States.

Abdu'l-Baha got down to southern California during his visit. He stopped at the graveside of Thorton Chase, the first American Baha'i. That graveside is in an Inglewood cemetary. There is a special service at that graveside every September.

I plan to attend both the anniversary celebration at the L.A. Baha'i Center and the graveside service in Inglewood. I will reflect on both later, here on my blog.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thoughts on Communicating a Spirit

Recently, I have been watching a number of movies with my husband. The actors in those movies speak Farsi, and many of the movies have no English subtitles. Although I have only a rudimentary understanding of Farsi, there are certain scenes that I understand, without any translation. The spirit of the scene makes the words clear.

Aparently Abdu'l-Baha had the ability to communicate with others by conveying the spirit of whatever he intended to say. A Baha'i writer with whom I correspond by email has told me about a time when Abdu'l-Baha was speaking here in the United States. He was of course speaking in Farsi, and he had to pause periodically, so that his words could be translted into English.

Apparenty, one American in the audience was quite annoyed by the constant interuptions. He could understand what Abdu'l-Baha had said, even before it had been translated into English. Abdu'l-Baha had managed to convey the spirit and emotion of whatever topic he had planned to address.

I am trying to learn the source of this story. I have been told that it was probably shared by a speaker at a conference in San Francisco. I will seek to confirm that fact.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thoughts on the Education of Children

Today, as many children attend some type of Sunday school, and as an even larger number of children prepare to return to the public, private or Parochial classroom, I offer this thought:

"... the beloved of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful must train their children with life and heart and teach them in the school of virtue and perfection. They must not be lax in this matter; they must not be inefficient. Truly, if a babe did not live at all it were better than to let it grow ignorant, for that innocent babe, in later life, would become afflicted with innumerable defects, responsible to and questioned by God, reproached and rejected by the people. What a sin this would be and what an omission!" (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - p. 396)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thoughts on Money and the Soul

I have not posted anything on this blog for more than a week. I was having some computer problems. While I lacked access to a working computer, I was reading the book The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist. I just put some quotes from that book on the blog for this website:

I would now like to offer a quote about the soul, a quote taken from the book Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha Abbas. Here is that quote:

"The mysteries of which man is heedless in this earthly world, those well he discover in the heavenly world, and there will he be informed of the secret of trugh; how much more will he recognize or discover persons with whom he hath been associated. Undoubtedly, the holy souls who find a pure eye and are favored with insight will, in the kingdom of lights, be acquainted with all mysteries, and will seek the bounty of witnessing the reality or every great soul. Even they will manifestly behold the Beauty of God in that world. Likewise will they find all the friends of God, bot those of the former and recent times, present in the heavenly assemblage."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thoughts on Offering a Helping Hand

This morning I want to open with a short quote from Abd'ul-Baha:

"Where there is love,nothing is too much trouble,and there is always time."-Abdul'Baha

A number of Baha'is living in and around the area of the Bonny Doon fire have taken those words to heart. They have provided shelter to staff and others who live at Bosch, a Baha'i School/Camp that is located in that region of the country. I have been to Bosch, and I pray that the fire does not harm that School. That is a wonderful place in which to ponder the thoughts of Abdu'l-Baha.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thoughts the Encourage Action

On August 8, 1912. the people of Dublin, New Hampshire had a lot to think about. Abdu'l-Baha had presented his own sort of "call to action" two days earlier, when speaking to an audience in Dublin. Here is part of what he said, in response to one question:

"mere knowledge is not sufficient for complete human attainment. The teachings of the Holy Books need a heavenly power and divine potency to carry them out. A house is not built by mere acquaintance with the plans. Money must be forthcoming; volition is necessary to construct it; a carpenter must be employed in its erection. It is not enough to say, 'The plan and purpose of this house are very good; I will live in it.' There are no walls of protection, there is no roof of shelter in this mere statement; the house must be actually built before we can live in it.
Briefly, the teachings of the Holy Books need a divine potency to complete their accomplishment in human hearts. In Persia Bahá’u’lláh reared and taught souls, established a bond of affiliation among various peoples and united divergent religious beliefs to such an extent that twenty thousand devoted ones sacrificed themselves for the Cause of God in the glorious unity of martyrdom. No differences whatever remained among these blessed souls—Christians, Jews, Muslims, Zoroastrians, all blended, unified and agreed through the potency of His heavenly power, not by mere words, not by merely saying, 'Unity is good, and love is praiseworthy.' "

The above passage comes from the book The Promulgation of Universal Peace.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thoughts on the Real Purpose of Religion

While Abdu'l-Baha was here in the United States,he would frequently talk to groups that were of a certain faith. Sometimes he would focus on the purpose of religion. Today I found one of those talks posted on another blog. Here is the link to that blog:

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thoughts on Prayer

On August 2, 1912, Abdu'l-Baha was about to set out on his trip to Dublin, New Hampshire. During his journey, he certainly prayed for his friends and family. Did he expect all of his prayers to be answered?

Actually, Abdu'l-Baha talked about prayer during one of his talks in Dublin. On August 5th he said ther following:

"God will give to us when we ask Him. His mercy is all-encircling.
But we ask for things which the divine wisdom does not desire for us, and there is no answer to our prayer. His wisdom does not sanction what we wish. We pray, “O God! Make me wealthy!” If this prayer were universally answered, human affairs would be at a standstill. There would be none left to work in the streets, none to till the soil, none to build, none to run the trains. Therefore, it is evident that it would not be well for us if all prayers were answered. The affairs of the world would be interfered with, energies crippled and progress hindered. But whatever we ask for which is in accord with divine wisdom, God will answer. Assuredly!
For instance, a very feeble patient may ask the doctor to give him food which would be positively dangerous to his life and condition. He may beg for roast meat. The doctor is kind and wise. He knows it would be dangerous to his patient so he refuses to allow it. The doctor is merciful; the patient, ignorant. Through the doctor’s kindness the patient recovers; his life is saved. Yet the patient may cry out that the doctor is unkind, not good, because he refuses to answer his pleading.
God is merciful. In His mercy He answers the prayers of all His servants when according to His supreme wisdom it is necessary. "

The above passage is taken from the book The Promulgation of Universal Peace.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thoughts on Expressing Your Opinion

Recently there has been a good deal in the news about acts of civil disobiedience, acts performed by those who simply wanted to make known their opinion on a certain issue.

Abdu'l-Baha has offered guiding words to those who want to broadcast their feelings and/or beliefs. Here is a passage writte by Abdu'l-Baha:

"Wherefore, O beloved of the Lord, strive ye with heart and soul to receive a share of His holy attributes and take your portion of the bounties of His sanctity -- that ye may become the tokens of unity, the standards of singleness, and seek out the meaning of oneness; that ye may, in this garden of God, lift up your voices and sing the blissful anthems of the spirit. Become ye as the birds who offer Him their thanks, and in the blossoming bowers of life chant ye such melodies as will dazzle the minds of those who know. Raise ye a banner on the highest peaks of the world, a flag of God's favour to ripple and wave in the winds of His grace; plant ye a tree in the field of life, amid the roses of this visible world, that will yield a fruitage fresh and sweet. " Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 11

Monday, July 27, 2009

a Published Expression of My Thoughts

Today, two reporters from the Los Angeles Times have put many of my thoughts together in one article. Here is a link to that article:,0,5626861.story

I was at the event mentioned in this article, the event that was held close to Culver City. I also attended a prayer meeting on the morning of July 11, 2009. I have been writing my own articles about imprisoned Baha'is since 1988. My articles have appeared in several different local papers.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thoughts on Gender Equality

Today the world has set aside time for remebering those who are imprisoned in Iran. Those brave souls recognize the importance of gender equality. They would like to see equal treatment for women in Iran.

When Abdu'l-Baha was here in the United States he spoke about the equality of men and women. Today, seven Baha'is have been in an Iranian prison for more than one year, because they follow the teachings of Baha'u'llah, the father of Abdu'l-Baha. Here is one statement that Abdu'l-Baha made while in the United States:

"In the estimation of God there is no gender. The one whose deeds aremore worthy, whose sayings are better, whose accomplishments are moreuseful is nearest and dearest in the estimation of God, be that onemale or female. When we look upon creation, we find the male andfemale principle apparent in all phenomena of existence. In thevegetable kingdom we find the male and female fig tree, the male andfemale palm, the mulberry tree and so on. All plant life ischaracterized by this difference in gender, but no distinction orpreference is evidenced. ... The world of humanity is possessed of twowings: the male and the female. So long as these two wings are notequivalent in strength, the bird will not fly. ..."

The above passage comes from the book Promulgation of Universal Peace.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thoughts on an Admission of Mistakes

Today, President Obama admitted to feeling uncomfortable with a statement that he had made earlier. At that time, he had been expressing his views on an incident that took place in Cambridge, MA. It so happens that Abdu'l-Baha spoke in Boston, MA on July 25, 1912. Here is part of what he said in a talk at the Victoria Hotel:

"Man possesses two kinds of susceptibilities: the natural emotions, which are like dust upon the mirror, and spiritual susceptibilities, which are merciful and heavenly characteristics.
There is a power which purifies the mirror from dust and transforms its reflection into intense brilliancy and radiance so that spiritual susceptibilities may chasten the hearts and heavenly bestowals sanctify them. What is the dust which obscures the mirror? It is attachment to the world, avarice, envy, love of luxury and comfort, haughtiness and self-desire; this is the dust which prevents reflection of the rays of the Sun of Reality in the mirror. The natural emotions are blameworthy and are like rust which deprives the heart of the bounties of God. But sincerity, justice, humility, severance, and love for the believers of God will purify the mirror and make it radiant with reflected rays from the Sun of Truth.
It is my hope that you may consider this matter, that you may search out your own imperfections and not think of the imperfections of anybody else. Strive with all your power to be free from imperfections. Heedless souls are always seeking faults in others. What can the hypocrite know of others’ faults when he is blind to his own? This is the meaning of the words in the Seven Valleys. It is a guide for human conduct. As long as a man does not find his own faults, he can never become perfect. Nothing is more fruitful for man than the knowledge of his own shortcomings. The Blessed Perfection says, 'I wonder at the man who does not find his own imperfections.' "

The above passage was taken from the book Promulgation of Universal Peace.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thoughts on the Responsibility of a Government

On July 22, 1912, Abdu'l-Baha was in a train, riding to Boston. The following day, he would present a talk at Victoria Hotel. In light of the current unrest in Iran, it is interesting to see what Abdu'l-Baha said in that talk. Here is one passage from that talk:

"The essence of the Bahá’í spirit is that, in order to establish a better social order and economic condition, there must be allegiance to the laws and principles of government. Under the laws which are to govern the world, the socialists may justly demand human rights but without resort to force and violence. The governments will enact these laws, establishing just legislation and economics in order that all humanity may enjoy a full measure of welfare and privilege; but this will always be according to legal protection and procedure. Without legislative administration, rights and demands fail, and the welfare of the commonwealth cannot be realized. Today the method of demand is the strike and resort to force, which is manifestly wrong and destructive of human foundations. Rightful privilege and demand must be set forth in laws and regulations.
While thousands are considering these questions, we have more essential purposes. The fundamentals of the whole economic condition are divine in nature and are associated with the world of the heart and spirit. This is fully explained in the Bahá’í teaching, and without knowledge of its principles no improvement in the economic state can be realized. The Bahá’ís will bring about this improvement and betterment but not through sedition and appeal to physical force—not through warfare, but welfare. Hearts must be so cemented together, love must become so dominant that the rich shall most willingly extend assistance to the poor and take steps to establish these economic adjustments permanently. If it is accomplished in this way, it will be most praiseworthy because then it will be for the sake of God and in the pathway of His service. For example, it will be as if the rich inhabitants of a city should say, “It is neither just nor lawful that we should possess great wealth while there is abject poverty in this community,” and then willingly give their wealth to the poor, retaining only as much as will enable them to live comfortably."

The above passsage can be found in the book The Promulgation of Universal Peace.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thoughts on Racial Equality

On Thursday, July, 15, 2009, President Obama spoke before the NAACP. He recognized the passing of 100 years since the founding of that organization. I mentioned earlier on this blog that Abdu'l-Baha spoke at the fourth NAACP convention, while he was here in the United States.

Abdu'l-Baha made clear to those in his 1912 audience that he did not approve of segregation. He saw all men and women as beings created by God. He brought a message of unity in diversity.

Today that message is about the resonate worldwide. That message is on a coin that is being considered for use on an international basis. The world leaders are talking about the possibilty of establishing a world currency.

Sue Chehrenegar

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Toughts on Justice

Today, Saturday, July 11, 2009, seven Baha'is will go on trial in Iran. What was their crime? They had helped to organize Baha'i weddings and Baha'i funerals. The Islamic government of Iran does not recognize the legitimacy of such services. Because Abdu'l-Baha took part in both Baha'i weddings and Baha'i funerals, I want to alert the readers of my blog to this trial.

Those who want to learn more about this trial can find a wealth of information at the following link:>.

After reading the information posted on the above website, then the readers of this blog can deceide for themselves whether or not the scheduled trial appears to represent a valid avenue for the delivery of justice.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Two Thoughts that Relate to Artists

Yesterday crowds around the world watched the memorial service for Michael Jackson. Today I am going to post two quotes from Abdu'l-Baha, quotes that relate to the important role of the artist in our present day society:

Words of Wisdom:"In accordance with the divine teachings, the acquisition of sciences and the perfection of arts is considered as acts of worship. If a man engages iwht all his power in the acquisition of a science or in the perfection if an art, it is as if he has been worshipping God in the churches andtemples."Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith
"Among some of the nations of the Orient, music and harmony was not approved of, but the Manifested Light, Bahá'u'lláh, in this glorious period has revealed in Holy Tablets that singing and music are the spiritual food of the hearts and souls. In this dispensation, music is one of the arts that is highly approved and is considered to be the cause of the exaltation of sad and desponding hearts."(Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Thoughts for the Start of the Work Week

As American workers return to their place of business, following a long holiday weekend, they can reflect on some of the words of Abdu'l-Baha. Here is a passage taken from a talk that Abdu'l-Baha gave on June 6, 1912:

"Praise be to God! You have heard the call of the Kingdom. Your eyes are opened; you have turned to God. Your purpose is the good pleasure of God, the understanding of the mysteries of the heart and investigation of the realities. Day and night you must strive that you may attain to the significances of the heavenly Kingdom, perceive the signs of Divinity, acquire certainty of knowledge and realize that this world has a Creator, a Vivifier, a Provider, an Architect—knowing this through proofs and evidences and not through susceptibilities, nay, rather, through decisive arguments and real vision—that is to say, visualizing it as clearly as the outer eye beholds the sun. In this way may you behold the presence of God and attain to the knowledge of the holy, divine Manifestations.
You must come into the knowledge of the divine Manifestations and Their teachings through proofs and evidences. You must unseal the mysteries of the supreme Kingdom and become capable of discovering the inner realities of things. Then shall you be the manifestations of the mercy of God and true believers, firm and steadfast in the Cause of God.
Praise be to God! The door of divine knowledge has been opened by Bahá’u’lláh, for He has laid the foundation whereby man may become acquainted with the verities of heaven and earth and has bestowed the utmost confirmation in this day. He is our Teacher and Adviser; He is our Seer and the One clement toward us. He has prepared His gifts and vouchsafed His bounties, revealed every admonition and behest, prepared for us the means of eternal glory, breathed upon us the life-quickening breaths of the Holy Spirit, opened before our faces the doors of the paradise of Abhá and caused the lights of the Sun of Truth to shine upon us. The clouds of mercy have poured down their precious rain. The sea of favor is swelling and surging toward us.
The spiritual springtime has come. Infinite bounties and graces have appeared. What bestowal is greater than this? We must appreciate the divine generosity and act in accordance with the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh so that all good may be stored up for us and in both worlds we shall become precious and acceptable to God, attain to everlasting blessings, taste the delicacy of the love of God, find the sweetness of the knowledge of God, perceive the heavenly bestowal and witness the power of the Holy Spirit.
This is my advice, and this is my admonition."

The above passage can be found in the book The Promulgation of Universal Peace.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thoughts on Citizens and their Government

As citizens of the United States move closer to enjoyment of their Independence Day celebrations, it seems fitting to read what Abdu'l-Baha had to say about the role of both citizens and their government. Read what he said on July 1, 1912, when speaking at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street in New York City:

"Difference of capacity in human individuals is fundamental. It is impossible for all to be alike, all to be equal, all to be wise. Bahá’u’lláh has revealed principles and laws which will accomplish the adjustment of varying human capacities. He has said that whatsoever is possible of accomplishment in human government will be effected through these principles. When the laws He has instituted are carried out, there will be no millionaires possible in the community and likewise no extremely poor. This will be effected and regulated by adjusting the different degrees of human capacity. The fundamental basis of the community is agriculture, tillage of the soil. All must be producers. Each person in the community whose need is equal to his individual producing capacity shall be exempt from taxation. But if his income is greater than his needs, he must pay a tax until an adjustment is effected. That is to say, a man’s capacity for production and his needs will be equalized and reconciled through taxation. If his production exceeds, he will pay a tax; if his necessities exceed his production, he shall receive an amount sufficient to equalize or adjust. Therefore, taxation will be proportionate to capacity and production, and there will be no poor in the community. "

The above statement can be found in the book "The Promulgation of Universal Peace. "

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Revisitng Old Thoughts

A letter of support sent to one group of Iranians contained a quote by Abdu'l-Baha. Here is that quote:

"Iran shall become a focal centre of divine splendours. Her darksome soil will become luminous and her land will shine resplendent."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thoughts Relating to Leadership

June 23, 1912 fell on a Sunday. The following day, June 24, 1912, a number of the residents of Montclair and Englewood, New Jersey were thinking about statements that they had heard the previous day. They had listened to a talk, a talk given by Abdu'l-Baha. His words have meaning to us today. His words relate to the events of the 21st Century.

Here is part of what he said:

"Jesus Christ established the religion of God through love. His sovereignty is everlasting. Napoleon overthrew governments in war and bloodshed. His dominion passed away; he himself was dethroned. Bonaparte destroyed human life; Christ was a Savior. Bonaparte controlled the physical bodies of men; Christ was a conqueror of human hearts. None of the Prophets of God were famous men, but They were unique in spiritual power. Love is the eternal sovereignty. Love is the divine power. By it all the kings of earth are overthrown and conquered. What evidence of this could be greater than the accomplishment of Bahá’u’lláh? He appeared in the East and was exiled. He was sent to the prison of ‘Akká in Palestine. Two powerful despotic kings arose against Him. During His exile and imprisonment He wrote Tablets of authority to the kings and rulers of the world, announcing His spiritual sovereignty, establishing the religion of God, upraising the heavenly banners of the Cause of God. One of these Tablets was sent to Napoleon III, Emperor of France. He received it with contempt and cast it behind his back. Bahá’u’lláh addressed a second Tablet to him, containing these words, “Hadst thou been sincere in thy words, thou wouldst have not cast behind thy back the Book of God, when it was sent unto thee…. We have proved thee through it, and found thee other than that which thou didst profess. Arise, and make amends for that which escaped thee. Erelong the world and all that thou possessest will perish, and the kingdom will remain unto God. …For what thou hast done, thy kingdom shall be thrown into confusion, and thine empire shall pass from thine hands, as a punishment for that which thou hast wrought. Then wilt thou know how thou hast plainly erred…. Thy pomp … shall soon pass away, unless thou holdest fast by this firm Cord. We see abasement hastening after thee….” All this happened just as announced by Bahá’u’lláh. Napoleon III was dethroned and exiled. His empire passed away and became nonexistent while the dominion and sovereignty 212 of Bahá’u’lláh, the Prisoner, has become eternal through the confirmation of God. This is as evident as the light of the sun at midday except to those who are spiritually blind. If we are afflicted with a cold, we cannot inhale the delicate fragrances emanating from the rose garden of the divine Kingdom. "

The above paragraph comes from the book "Promulgation of Universal Peace."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thoughts on an Impeded Transition

Today someone has submitted an interesting observation about the demonstrations in Iran. They have likened them to the youth movement in the U.S. during the 1960s. I want to make it clear that as Susan B. Anthony spoke out in favor of equal rights for women, a woman in Persia removed the veil from her face. She was attending a conference.

The man who had organized that conference was named Baha'u'llah. He encouraged the people of Persia to accept the equality of men and women, as well as equality among people of all races, and people of all faiths. The authorities in Persia did not like the teachings of Baha'u'llah, and they banished from Persia both Baha'u'llah and his family.

Abdu'l-Baha was the eldest son of Baha'u'llah. Before coming to the U.S., Abdu'l-Baha had been a prisoner in a Turkish city. The people of Persia/Iran have long craved equality. The actions of their government have impeded the transition to a more equalized society.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thoughts about Some World News

Today, President Obama has spoken to the people and leaders of Iran. He has asked that no one use force to impose a leader on the Iranian people. He has warned against use of violence, or the imprisonment of those who do not agree with the Iran's rulers.

I feel that the warning against the imprisonment of those in opposition groups invites a reminder about the imprisoned Baha'is in Iran. Those Baha'is did nothing more than follow the teachings of Abdu'l-Baha and his father, Baha'u'llah. Those teachings run counter to the teachings of Islam. That is why the Iranian authorities have imprisoned an entire group of Baha'is.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thoughts on Prejudice

Tonight I join people around the world, those who mourn the passing of another hate crime victim. Today, following a shooting at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., the injured guard has succumbed to his injury. At the opening of that Museum, President Clinton mentioned the persecution of the Baha'is in Iran.

Abdu'l-Baha spoke out against all forms of prejudice. On June 9, 1912, Abdu'l-Baha spoke about prejudice at a gathering in Philadelphia. Here is part of what he said:

"prejudices—whether religious, racial, patriotic or political—are destructive to the foundations of human development. Prejudices of any kind are the destroyers of human happiness and welfare. Until they are dispelled, the advancement of the world of humanity is not possible; yet racial, religious and national biases are observed everywhere. For thousands of years the world of humanity has been agitated and disturbed by prejudices. As long as it prevails, warfare, animosity and hatred will continue. Therefore, if we seek to establish peace, we must cast aside this obstacle; for otherwise, agreement and composure are not to be attained. "

The above quote can be found in the book "The Promulgation of Universal Peace."

Friday, June 5, 2009

Thoughts about a Painting

The current display of one painting would have pleased Abdu'l-Baha, if he had lived to see it. That is the ongoing display of a painting that was done by an Iranian Baha'i. That painting is being used as the backdrop by one of the Persian satellite TV stations.

The writer of this blog has learned about (and has seen one) several copies of that painting. Those copies were made by photographers. The artist came from a family of photographers. In fact, the artist put a small photograph of himself at the bottom of his painting.

The artist painted a young woman in front of the man who was then the leader of Iran. The woman was placed in a position that allowed her body to copy the general outline of Iran (as seen on a map). The program that is using this painting is one that seeks to highlight the most positive aspects of the old Iranian regime.

For a different look at the tie between painting and photography, visit this blog: The writer of this link, like the writer of this blog, is a member of the Baha'i Faith.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thoughts on the Unity of Religions

Today, the world has heard President Obama speak to all religious and government leaders. He has sought to encourage an end to violence that is fueled by religious extremism. On June 2, 1912 Abdu'l-Baha talked about the basis of religious unity.

He was speaking at the Church of the Ascension in New York City. There at the corner of 5th and 10th Street, he spoke these words:

"In the temple of the Lord, in the house of God, man must be submissive to God. He must enter into a covenant with his Lord in order that he shall obey the divine commands and become unified with his fellowman. He must not consider divergence of races nor difference of nationalities; he must not view variation in denomination and creed, nor should he take into account the differing degrees of thoughts; nay, rather, he should look upon all as mankind and realize that all must become united and agreed. He must recognize all as one family, one race, one native land; he must see all as the servants of one God, dwelling beneath the shelter of His mercy. The purport of this is that the church is a collective center"

The above passage can be found in the book "The Promulgation of Universal Peace."

Sunday, May 31, 2009

thoughts about unity and peace

One week ago, on the eve of Memorial Day, a commentator on one national TV network expressed a desire for a "program" for world peace. He suggested that a new religion might furnish the world with such a program.

On May 31, 1912, Abdu'l-Baha suggested a route by which the world could find peace. Here is part of the talk that he gave that day:

"Is it impossible for us to receive the infinite bounties of God? Is it impossible to attain the virtues of the spiritual world because we are not living in the time of Moses, the period of the prophets or the era of Christ? Those were spiritual cycles. Can we not develop spiritually because we are far from them and are living in a materialistic age? The God of Moses and Jesus is able to bestow the same favors, nay, greater favors upon His people in this day. For example, in past ages He bestowed reason, intelligence and understanding upon His servants. Can we say He is not able to confer His bounties in this century? Would it be just if He sent Moses for the guidance of past nations and entirely neglected those living now? Could it be possible that this present period has been deprived of divine bounties while past ages of tyranny and barbarism received an inexhaustible portion of them? The same merciful God Who bestowed His favors in the past has opened the doors of His Kingdom to us. The rays of His sun are shining; the breath of the Holy Spirit is quickening. That omniscient God still assists and confirms us, illumines our hearts, gladdens our souls and perfumes our nostrils with the fragrances of holiness. Divine wisdom and providence have encircled all and spread the heavenly table before us. We must take a bountiful share of this generous favor.
The work of the shepherd is to bring together the scattered sheep. If he disperses the united flock, he is not the shepherd. As the Prophets fulfilled Their mission in this respect, They are the true Shepherds. When Moses appeared, the Israelitish people were disorganized. Enmity and discord increased their disunion. With divine power He assembled and united this scattered flock, placed within their hearts the pearl of love, freed them from captivity and led them out of Egypt into the Holy Land. They made wonderful progress in sciences and arts. Bonds of social and national strength cemented them. Their progress in human virtues was so rapid and wonderful that they rose to the zenith of the Solomonic sovereignty. Could it be said that Moses was not a real Shepherd and that He did not gather these scattered people together?
Christ was a real Shepherd. At the time of His manifestation, the Greeks, Romans, Assyrians and Egyptians were like so many scattered flocks. Christ breathed upon them the spirit of unity and harmonized them.
Therefore, it is evident that the Prophets of God have come to unite the children of men and not to disperse them, to establish the 163 law of love and not enmity. Consequently, we must lay aside all prejudice—whether it be religious, racial, political or patriotic; we must become the cause of the unification of the human race. Strive for universal peace, seek the means of love, and destroy the basis of disagreement so that this material world may become divine, the world of matter become the realm of the Kingdom and humanity attain to the world of perfection."

The above material comes from the book "The Promulgation of Universal Peace. "

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thoughts Stirred by a Memory

On the night of May 28, 1912 and in the early morning hours of May 29, 1912, Abdu'l-Baha could not overlook the fact that his own father had departed from this world at 3 am on May 29, 1992.

Here is a passage that Abdu'l-Baha is sure to have read during the course of that night:

Be not dismayed, O peoples of the world, when the day-star of My beauty is set, and the heaven of My tabernacle is concealed from your eyes. Arise to further My Cause, and to exalt My Word amongst men. We are with you at all times, and shall strengthen you through the power of truth.
—Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings, p.137

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Are These Trvial Thoughts?

Today I want to pose a trivia question. It is a question that relates to the material in my anthology story. Here is my question: What do LifeSaver Candies and Superman have in common?

They both come from the City of Cleveland, OH. LifeSaver Candies were invented in Cleveland,and Superman was created in Cleveland. Cleveland's baseball stadium was the location in which Babe Ruth hit his history making, 500th home run.

All of those facts would be of interest to a young boy. The fictional characters in my anthology story would have loved discussing similar facts. I am introducing those facts in order to demonstrate my ability to identify with the characters in my anthology story.

Are These

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thoughts on a Muted Birthday

On May 19, 2009, I put this question on my blog: "My friend has a birthday coming up. How can I demonstrate consideration to my friend on that special day?" I was suggesting a possible question for submission to

Why did I think that someone might submit such a question to the writers at factoidz? I had that thought because I have answered other questions about the developement of virtues. I wrote one article about encouraging a child to overcome night fears. I wrote other articles that were intended to help someone who needed to develop a more enthusiastic approach to llife.

Today I want to talk about the idea of giving a friend an added amount of considertion on his or her birthday. I am writing about that today, because this is the date of Abdu'l-Baha's birthday. Now, I want to make it clear that Abdu'l-Baha did NOT want friends to throw him a big party on his birthday.

Today is also a Baha'i Holy Day. For that reason, Abdu'l-Baha wanted his friends and family to take part in the planned celebrations for this day. He was pleased to find that his birthday had been given little consideration.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thoughts on a friend's birthday

I wonder if anyone has sent this question to "My friend has a birthday coming up. How can I demonstrate consideration to my friend on that special day?"

If they ever got that question, or if they ever receive that question in the future, I want to make it clear that my blog will post one answer to that question on May 23, 2009. My answer will take the form of a story, a story in which the actions of Abdu'l-Baha provide the answer.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thoughts on Peace

On May 14, 1912, some of the residents of New York City were pondering the meaning of a talk that had been given at the Hotel Astor on May 13, 1912. Abdu'l-Baha had presented that talk. Here is one paragraph from his presentation:

"Today there is no greater glory for man than that of service in the cause of the Most Great Peace. Peace is light, whereas war is darkness. Peace is life; war is death. Peace is guidance; war is error. Peace is the foundation of God; war is a satanic institution. Peace is the illumination of the world of humanity; war is the destroyer of human foundations. When we consider outcomes in the world of existence, we find that peace and fellowship are factors of upbuilding and betterment, whereas war and strife are the causes of destruction and disintegration. All created things are expressions of the affinity and cohesion of elementary substances, and nonexistence is the absence of their attraction and agreement. Various elements unite harmoniously in composition, but when these elements become discordant, repelling each other, decomposition and nonexistence result. Everything partakes of this nature and is subject to this principle, for the creative foundation in all its degrees and kingdoms is an expression or outcome of love. Consider the restlessness and agitation of the human world today because of war. Peace is health and construction; war is disease and dissolution. When the banner of truth is raised, peace becomes the cause of the welfare and advancement of the human world. In all cycles and ages war has been a factor of derangement and discomfort, whereas peace and brotherhood have brought security and consideration of human interests. This distinction is especially pronounced in the present world conditions, for warfare in former centuries had not attained the degree of savagery and destructiveness which now characterizes it. If two nations were at war in olden times, ten or twenty thousand would be sacrificed, but in this century 124 the destruction of one hundred thousand lives in a day is quite possible. So perfected has the science of killing become and so efficient the means and instruments of its accomplishment that a whole nation can be obliterated in a short time. Therefore, comparison with the methods and results of ancient warfare is out of the question. "

The above paragraph can be found in the book "The Promulgation of Universal Peace."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Thoughts for Mother's Day

Today, I am going to post a few lines from a prayer, a prayer written by Abu'l-Baha:

"... confer upon me thoughts which may change this world into a rose garden through the outpourings of heavenly grace." 'Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i Prayers (U.S., 1982 edition, p. 72).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Spiritually Minded Thoughts

On May 6, 1912, Abdu'l-Baha was in Cleveland. His talk that night reveals the enthusiasm that remained with Abdu'l-Baha during his entire journey across the U.S. Here are two paragraphs from the talk that he gave that night;

"This is a very joyous evening, an evidence in itself of the possibility of uniting the East and the West—an eastern man appearing before an assemblage of reverent western people. The East and West, the Orient and Occident, shall be united. If we search history, we shall not find the record of such an occasion where one has traveled from the far East to the far West to address a meeting of this universal character. This is a miracle of the twentieth century which proves that the seemingly impossible may become real and possible in the kingdom of man. Praise be to God! The dark ages have disappeared, and the age of light has at last arrived. The Sun of Reality has dawned with supreme effulgence, the realities of things have become manifest and renewed, the mysteries of the unknown have been revealed, and great inventions and discoveries mark this period as a most wonderful age.
Through the ingenuity and inventions of man it is possible to cross the wide oceans, fly through the air and travel in submarine depths. At any moment the Orient and Occident can communicate with each other. Trains speed across the continents. The human voice has been arrested and reproduced, and now man can speak at long distances from any point. These are some of the signs of this glorious century. The great progress mentioned has taken place in the material world. Remarkable signs and evidences have become manifest. Hidden realities and mysteries have been disclosed. This is the time for man to strive and put forth his greatest efforts in spiritual directions. Material civilization has reached an advanced plane, but now there is need of spiritual civilization. Material civilization alone will not satisfy; it cannot meet the conditions and requirements of the present age; its benefits are limited to the world of matter. There is no limitation to the spirit of man, for spirit in itself is progressive, and if the divine civilization be established, the spirit of man will advance. Every developed susceptibility will increase the effectiveness of man. Discoveries of the real will become more and more possible, and the influence of divine guidance will be increasingly recognized. All this is conducive to the divine form of civilization."

The above passage can be found in the book The Promulgation of Universal Peace.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

May 3, 1912 did not fall on a Sunday. Nevertheless, Abdu'l-Baha wanted to include in the talk that he gave that day some information that could cause the ears of Christians in the audience to "tune in." Here are two paragraphs from a talk that Abdu'l-Baha gave on that day:

"Jesus Christ was an Educator of humanity. His teachings were altruistic; His bestowal, universal. He taught mankind by the power of the Holy Spirit and not through human agency, for the human power is limited, whereas the divine power is illimitable and infinite. The influence and accomplishment of Christ will attest this. Galen, the Greek physician and philosopher who lived in the second century A.D., wrote a treatise upon the civilization of nations. He was not a Christian, but he bore testimony that religious beliefs exercise an extraordinary effect upon the problems of civilization. In substance he said, “There are certain people among us, followers of Jesus, the Nazarene, who was killed in Jerusalem. These people are truly imbued with moral principles which are the envy of philosophers. They believe in God and fear Him. They have hopes in His favors; therefore, they shun all unworthy deeds and actions and incline to praiseworthy ethics and morals. Day and night they strive that their deeds may be commendable and that they may contribute to the welfare of humanity; therefore, each one of them is virtually a philosopher, for these people have attained unto that which is the essence and purport of philosophy. These people have praiseworthy morals, even though they may be illiterate.”
The purpose of this is to show that the holy Manifestations of God, the divine Prophets, are the first Teachers of the human race. They are universal Educators, and the fundamental principles they have laid down are the causes and factors of the advancement of nations. Forms and imitations which creep in afterward are not conducive to that progress. On the contrary, these are destroyers of human foundations established by the heavenly Educators. These are clouds which obscure the Sun of Reality. If you reflect upon the essential teachings of Jesus, you will realize that they are the light of the world. Nobody can question their truth. They are the very source of life and the cause of happiness to the human race. The forms and superstitions which appeared and obscured the light did not affect the reality of Christ. For example, Jesus Christ said, “Put up thy sword into the sheath.” The meaning is that warfare is forbidden and abrogated; but consider the Christian wars which took place afterward. Christian hostility and inquisition spared not even the learned; he who proclaimed the revolution of the earth was imprisoned; he who announced the new astronomical system was persecuted as a heretic; scholars and scientists became objects of fanatical hatred, and many were killed and tortured. How do these actions conform with the teachings of Jesus Christ, and what relation do they bear to His own example? For Christ declared, “Love your enemies, … and pray for them which … persecute you; that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” How can hatred, hostility and persecution be reconciled with Christ and His teachings? "

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Thoughts on the Potential of Mankind

On May 2, 1912, Abdu'l-Baha spoke to a Federation of Women, a group gathered together in Chicago, Illinois. Here are the first two paragraphls from his talk:

"One of the functions of the sun is to quicken and reveal the hidden realities of the kingdoms of existence. Through the light and heat of the great central luminary, all that is potential in the earth is awakened and comes forth into the realm of the visible. The fruit hidden in the tree appears upon its branches in response to the power of the sun; man and all other organisms live, move and have their being under its developing rays; nature is resplendent with countless evolutionary forms through its pervading impulse—so that we can say a function of the sun is the revelation of the mysteries and creative purposes hidden within the phenomenal world.
The outer sun is a sign or symbol of the inner and ideal Sun of Truth, the Word of God. Inasmuch as this is the century of light, it is evident that the Sun of Reality, the Word, has revealed itself to all humankind. One of the potentialities hidden in the realm of humanity was the capability or capacity of womanhood. Through the effulgent rays of divine illumination the capacity of woman has become so awakened and manifest in this age that equality of man and woman is an established fact. In past ages woman was wronged and oppressed. This was especially the case in Asia and Africa. In certain parts of Asia women were not considered as members of humankind. They were looked upon as inferior, unworthy creatures, subordinate and subject to man. A certain people known as the Nusayris held to the belief for a long period that woman was the incarnation of the evil spirit, or Satan, and that man alone was the manifestation of God, the Merciful. At last this century of light dawned, the realities shone forth, and the mysteries long hidden from human vision were revealed. Among these revealed realities was the great principle of the equality of man and woman, which is now finding recognition throughout the whole world—America, Europe and the Orient. "

Friday, May 1, 2009

Thoughts on a Dedication

On May 1, 1912, a group of Baha'is gathered for dedication of the land on which a new Baha'i Temple would be constructed. Below you will find the brief talk that Abdu'l-Baha gave at that dedication ceremony. Please note that when referring to the planned Baha'i Temple, he uses the Persian term for that structure.

"The power which has gathered you here today notwithstanding the cold and windy weather is, indeed, mighty and wonderful. It is the power of God, the divine favor of Bahá’u’lláh which has drawn you together. We praise God that through His constraining love human souls are assembled and associated in this way.
Thousands of Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs, dawning points of praise and mention of God for all religionists will be built in the East and in the West, but this, being the first one erected in the Occident, has great importance. In the future there will be many here and elsewhere—in Asia, Europe, even in Africa, New Zealand and Australia—but this edifice in Chicago is of especial significance. It has the same importance as the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in Ishqábád, Caucasus, Russia, the first one built there. In Persia there are many; some are houses which have been utilized for the purpose, others are homes entirely devoted to the divine Cause, and in some places temporary structures have been erected. In all the cities of Persia there are Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs, but the great dawning point was founded in Ishqábád. It possesses superlative importance because it was the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár built. All the Bahá’í friends agreed and contributed their utmost assistance and effort. The Afnán devoted his wealth, gave all he had to it. From such a mighty and combined effort a beautiful edifice arose. Notwithstanding their contributions to that building, they have assisted the fund here in Chicago as well. The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in Ishqábád is almost completed. It is centrally located, nine avenues leading into it, nine gardens, nine fountains; all the arrangement and construction is according to the principle and proportion of the number nine. It is like a beautiful bouquet. Imagine a very lofty, imposing edifice surrounded completely by gardens of variegated flowers, with nine avenues leading through them, nine fountains and pools of water. Such is its matchless, beautiful design. Now they are building a hospital, a school for orphans, a home for cripples, a hospice and a large dispensary. God willing, when it is fully completed, it will be a paradise.
I hope the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in Chicago will be like this. Endeavor to have the grounds circular in shape. If possible, adjust and exchange the plots in order to make the dimensions and boundaries circular. The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár cannot be triangular in shape. It must be in the form of a circle. "

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thoughts on Family

I am sure that Abdu'l-Baha thought of his family countless times, while he was traveling across the United States. He certainly thought about his family on April 29, 1912. That was the 9th day of the 12 day long Ridvan festival.

Abdu'l-Baha would have remembered what happened on the 9th day of that first Ridvan. That was the day when Abdu'l-Baha and the rest of his family joined his father, a man who had been living in a garden. The family moved out of their house, in order to prepare for their trip. The family set out on their trip on the 12th day of Ridvan.

The first, 9th and 12th days of Ridvan are now celebrated by Baha'is throughout the world.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thoughts Stirred by a Traveler

On April 27, 1912, Abdu'l-Baha was traveling to his next destination. I will have more information on his mode of travel in my blog for May 9, 2009, Today, I thought I would post some comments that Abdu'l-Baha made while he was in Washington D.C. Those people who heard the following statement probably continued to consider its meaning on April 27, 1912.

Here is the statement that they heard on April 25, 1912:

"In the world of existence the greatest bestowals of God are His teachings. The other bounties of God are limited as regards their benefits and provision. Human existence itself is a divine bestowal, but it is circumscribed with limitations. Sight and hearing are bounties of God; both are limited. And so it is with all the other bestowals; the circle of their operation is confined, restricted, whereas the sphere of the divine teachings is boundless. Centuries and ages pass away, but their efficacy continues like the spirit of life which animates the world of existence. Without the teachings of God the world of humanity is like the animal kingdom. What difference is there between the animal and man? The difference is this: that the animal is not capable of apprehending the divine teachings, whereas man is worthy of them and possesses the capacity to understand. In the animal kingdom there is no such bestowal; therefore, there is limited progression. At most, evolution in that kingdom is a development of the organism. In the beginning it is small, undeveloped; it develops, becomes larger; but its sphere of intellectual growth is limited. Therefore, the teachings of God are the bestowals specialized for man. "

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Thoughts on Unity

Yesterday, one group of world leaders walked out in the middle of a conference, because they could not see the speaker's comments as being a beacon for better world unity. On April 21, 1912, Abdu'l-Baha made a statement about unity. He was speaking at the Universalist Church in Washington D.C. Here is what he said:

"The doctrines and creed of this church, so capably expressed by its revered minister, are truly commendable, sanctified and worthy of praise and glorification, for these precepts are opposed to the deep-rooted religious prejudices of the day. It is evident that prejudices arising from adherence to religious forms and imitation of ancestral beliefs have hindered the progress of humanity thousands of years. How many wars and battles have been fought, how much division, discord and hatred have been caused by this form of prejudice! But inasmuch as this century is a century of the revelation of reality—praise be to God!—the thoughts of men are being directed toward the welfare and unity of humanity. Daily the mirage of imitations is passing away, and the ocean of truth is surging more tumultuously. All the existing nations had a divine foundation of truth or reality originally, which was intended to be conducive to the unity and accord of mankind, but the light of that reality gradually became obscured. The darkness of superstitions and imitations came and took its place, binding the world of humanity in the chains and fetters of ignorance. Enmity arose among men, increasing to such an extent that nation strove against nation in hatred and violence. War has been a religious and political human heritage.
Now it is enough! We must investigate reality. We must put away these superstitions. It is a self-evident truth that all humanity is the creation of God. All are His servants and under His protection. All are recipients of His bestowals. God is kind to all His servants. At most it is this: that some are ignorant; they must be educated in order that they may become intelligent. Some are immature as children; they must be aided and assisted in order that they may become mature. Some are sick and ailing; they must be healed. But the suffering patient must not be tested by false treatment. The child must not be warped and hindered in its development. The ignorant must not be restricted by censure and criticism. We must look for the real, true remedy. "

The above statement was included i the book The Promulgation of Universal Peace.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Thoughts on Ridvan

In yesterday's blog entry, I mentioned the Ridvan Festival. Today I am going to post statements about that Festival, statements made by Abdu'l-Baha.

"Thou seest, O my Lord, the assemblage of Thy loved ones, the company of Thy friends, gathered by the precincts of Thine all-sufficing Shrine, and in the neighborhood of Thine exalted garden, on a day among the days of Thy Ridvan Feast -- that blessed time when Thou didst dawn upon the world, shedding thereon the lights of Thy holiness, spreading abroad the bright rays of Thy oneness, and didst issue forth from Baghdad, with a majesty and might that encompassed all mankind; with a glory that made all to fall prostrate before Thee, all heads to bow, every neck to bend low, and the gaze of every man to be cast down. " (Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 175)

During the first Ridvan, Abdu'l-Baha was a small boy. He was with his family in Bagdad (a city that was part of Persia in 1863). After leaving that garden, Abdu'l-Baha accompanied his father, Baha'u'llah, and the other members of his family. They were banished to Constantinople, then Adrianople and then to the prison city of Akka.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Joyous Thoughts

On the night of April 19, 1912, Abdu'l-Baha must have had joyous thoughts. He was only 24 hours away from the start of Ridvan, an important Baha'i festival. Readers of this blog can gain an apprciation for the sincerity with which Abdu'l-Baha would say, "Happy Ridvan." Readers of this blog can meditate on the joyous statements found at this link:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Thoughts for the Season

On April 17, 1912, Abdu'l-Baha again spoke at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Kinney. He used the changes taking place outside to illustrate the point that he wanted to make. Here are two paragraphs from his talk:

"The world has become a new world. The darkness of night which has enveloped humanity is passing. A new day has dawned. Divine susceptibilities and heavenly capacities are developing in human souls under the training of the Sun of Truth. The capacities of souls are different. Their conditions are various. For example, certain minerals come from the stony regions of the earth. All are minerals, all are produced by the same sun, but one remains a stone while another develops the capacity of a glittering gem or jewel. From one plot of land tulips and hyacinths grow; from another, thorns and thistles. Each plot receives the bounty of the sunshine, but the capacity to receive it is not the same. Therefore, it is requisite that we must develop capacity and divine susceptibility in order that the merciful bounty of the Sun of Truth intended for this 24 age and time in which we are living may reflect from us as light from pure crystals.
The bounties of the Blessed Perfection are infinite. We must endeavor to increase our capacity daily, to strengthen and enlarge our capabilities for receiving them, to become as perfect mirrors. The more polished and clean the mirror, the more effulgent is its reflection of the lights of the Sun of Truth. Be like a well-cultivated garden wherein the roses and variegated flowers of heaven are growing in fragrance and beauty. It is my hope that your hearts may become as ready ground, carefully tilled and prepared, upon which the divine showers of the bounties of the Blessed Perfection may descend and the zephyrs of this divine springtime may blow with quickening breath. Then will the garden of your hearts bring forth its flowers of delightful fragrance to refresh the nostril of the heavenly Gardener. Let your hearts reflect the glories of the Sun of Truth in their many colors to gladden the eye of the divine Cultivator Who has nourished them. Day by day become more closely attracted in order that the love of God may illumine all those with whom you come in contact. Be as one spirit, one soul, leaves of one tree, flowers of one garden, waves of one ocean. "

The above paragraphs can be found in the book The Promulgation of Universal Peace.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thoughts Shared with Guests

On April 16, 1912, a group of Baha'is from New Jersey journeyed to New York City. There they listened to a talk, one that was presented by Abdu'l-Baha. Here is one paragraph from that talk:

"The body of the human world is sick. Its remedy and healing will be the oneness of the kingdom of humanity. Its life is the Most Great Peace. Its illumination and quickening is love. Its happiness is the attainment of spiritual perfections. It is my wish and hope that in the bounties and favors of the Blessed Perfection we may find a new life, acquire a new power and attain to a wonderful and supreme source of energy so that the Most Great Peace of divine intention shall be established upon the foundations of the unity of the world of men with God. May the love of God be spread from this city, from this meeting to all the surrounding countries. Nay, may America become the distributing center of spiritual enlightenment, and all the world receive this heavenly blessing! For America has developed powers and capacities greater and more wonderful than other nations. While it is true that its people have 20 attained a marvelous material civilization, I hope that spiritual forces may animate this great body and a corresponding spiritual civilization be established. May the inhabitants of this country become like angels of heaven with faces turned continually toward God. May all of them become the servants of the Omnipotent One. May they rise from present material attainments to such a height that heavenly illumination may stream from this center to all the peoples of the world. "

The above paragraph can be found in the book The Promulgation of Universal Peace.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thoughts to Comtemplate

Today we are a week away from Earth Day. One paragraph from a talk that Abdu'l-Baha gave on April 15, 1912 offers some thoughts that readers might want to contemplate during the coming week.

Here is that one paragraph:

"The phenomenal world is entirely subject to the rule and control of natural law. These myriad suns, satellites and heavenly bodies throughout endless space are all captives of nature. They cannot transgress in a single point or particular the fixed laws which govern the physical universe. The sun in its immensity, the ocean in its vastness are incapable of violating these universal laws. All phenomenal beings—the plants in their kingdom, even the animals with their intelligence—are nature’s subjects and captives. All live within the bounds of natural law, and nature is the ruler of all except man. Man is not the captive of nature, for although according to natural law he is a being of the earth, yet he guides ships over the ocean, flies through the air in airplanes, descends in submarines; therefore, he has overcome natural law and made it subservient to his wishes. For instance, he imprisons in an incandescent lamp the illimitable natural energy called electricity—a material force which can cleave mountains—and bids it give him light. He takes the human voice and confines it in the phonograph for his benefit and amusement. According to his natural power man should be able to communicate a limited distance, but by overcoming the restrictions of nature he can annihilate space and send telephone messages thousands of miles. All the sciences, arts and discoveries were mysteries of nature, and according to natural law these mysteries should remain latent, hidden; but man has proceeded to break this law, free himself from this rule and bring them forth into the realm of the visible. Therefore, he is the ruler and commander of nature. Man has intelligence; nature has not. Man has volition; nature has none. Man has memory; nature is without it. Man has the reasoning faculty; nature is deprived. Man has the perceptive faculty; nature cannot perceive. It is therefore proved and evident that man is nobler than nature.
If we accept the supposition that man is but a part of nature"

The above paragraph can be found in The Promulgation for Universal Peace.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Thoughts that Are not Time Sensitive

Today, April 14, 2009, the world faces some of the same challenges that faced society back in April of 1912. Abdu'l-Baha anticipated man's need for guidance in the 21st Century. He provided modern day man with that guidance. That guidance can be found in a portion of the talk that Abdu'l-Baha gave on April 14, 1912.

Here are a few paragraphs from that talk:

"Today the world of humanity is in need of international unity 12 and conciliation. To establish these great fundamental principles a propelling power is needed. It is self-evident that the unity of the human world and the Most Great Peace cannot be accomplished through material means. They cannot be established through political power, for the political interests of nations are various and the policies of peoples are divergent and conflicting. They cannot be founded through racial or patriotic power, for these are human powers, selfish and weak. The very nature of racial differences and patriotic prejudices prevents the realization of this unity and agreement. Therefore, it is evidenced that the promotion of the oneness of the kingdom of humanity, which is the essence of the teachings of all the Manifestations of God, is impossible except through the divine power and breaths of the Holy Spirit. Other powers are too weak and are incapable of accomplishing this.
For man two wings are necessary. One wing is physical power and material civilization; the other is spiritual power and divine civilization. With one wing only, flight is impossible. Two wings are essential. Therefore, no matter how much material civilization advances, it cannot attain to perfection except through the uplift of spiritual civilization.
All the Prophets have come to promote divine bestowals, to found the spiritual civilization and teach the principles of morality. Therefore, we must strive with all our powers so that spiritual influences may gain the victory. For material forces have attacked mankind. The world of humanity is submerged in a sea of materialism. The rays of the Sun of Reality are seen but dimly and darkly through opaque glasses. The penetrative power of the divine bounty is not fully manifest. "

The above passage is taken from The Promulgation for Universal Peace.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Thoughts for Easter Monday

On April 13, 1912, Abdu'l-Baha presented a talk at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Morten. That couple lived at 141 East Twenty first Street in New York City. Two of the paragraphs from that talk seem appropriate for inclusion in a blog that will be posted on the day after Easter. Here are those two paragraphs:

The spiritual world is like unto the phenomenal world. They are the exact counterpart of each other. Whatever objects appear in this world of existence are the outer pictures of the world of heaven. When we look upon the phenomenal world, we perceive that it is divided into four seasons; one is the season of spring, another the season of summer, another autumn and then these three seasons are followed by winter. When the season of spring appears in the arena of existence, the whole world is rejuvenated and finds new life. The soul-refreshing breeze is wafted from every direction; the soul-quickening bounty is everywhere; the cloud of mercy showers down its rain, and the sun shines upon everything. Day by day we perceive that the signs of vegetation are all about us. Wonderful flowers, hyacinths and roses perfume the nostrils. The trees are full of leaves and blossoms, and the blossoms are followed by fruit. The spring and summer are followed by autumn and winter. The flowers wither and are no more; the leaves turn gray and life has gone. Then comes another springtime; the former springtime is renewed; again a new life stirs within everything. "

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thoughts for Easter Sunday

When Abdu'l-Baha spoke to Americans, he often mentioned Jesus Christ, since Abdu'l-Baha knew that many of the people in his audience were membars of a Chtristian Church. Read a passage that Abdu'l-Baha shared at the end of one talk, a talk that he gave on April 12, 1912:

"let your faces be more radiant with hope and heavenly determination to serve the Cause of God, to spread the pure fragrances of the divine rose garden of unity, to awaken spiritual susceptibilities in the hearts of mankind, to kindle anew the spirit of humanity with divine fires and to reflect the glory of heaven to this gloomy world of materialism. When you possess these divine susceptibilities, you will be able to awaken and develop them in others. We cannot give of our wealth to the poor unless we possess it. How can the poor give to the poor? How can the soul that is deprived of the heavenly bounties develop in other souls capacity to receive those bounties?
Array yourselves in the perfection of divine virtues. I hope you may be quickened and vivified by the breaths of the Holy Spirit. Then shall ye indeed become the angels of heaven whom Christ promised would appear in this Day to gather the harvest of divine planting. This is my hope. This is my prayer for you. "

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Thoughts upon Arrival

On April 11, 1912, Abdu'l-Baha spoke these words to a small crowd at the home of the Kinney's:

"How are you? Welcome! Welcome!
After arriving today, although weary with travel, I had the utmost longing and yearning to see you and could not resist this meeting. Now that I have met you, all my weariness has vanished, for your meeting is the cause of spiritual happiness.
I was in Egypt and was not feeling well, but I wished to come to you in America. My friends said, “This is a long journey; the sea is wide; you should remain here.” But the more they advised and insisted, the greater became my longing to take this trip, and now I have come to America to meet the friends of God. This long voyage will prove how great is my love for you. There were many troubles and vicissitudes, but, in the thought of meeting you, all these things vanished and were forgotten.
I am greatly pleased with the city of New York. Its harbor entrance, its piers, buildings and broad avenues are magnificent and beautiful. Truly, it is a wonderful city. As New York has made such progress in material civilization, I hope that it may also advance spiritually in the Kingdom and Covenant of God so that the friends here may become the cause of the illumination of America, that this city may become the city of love and that the fragrances of God may be spread from this place to all parts of the world. I have come for this. I pray that you may be manifestations of the love of Bahá’u’lláh, that each one of you may become like a clear lamp of crystal from which the rays of the bounties of the Blessed Perfection may shine forth to all nations and peoples. This is my highest aspiration.
It was a long, long trip. The more we traveled, the greater seemed the expanse of the sea. The weather was brilliant and fine throughout; there was no storm and no end to the sea.
I am very happy to meet you all here today. Praise be to God that your faces are shining with the love of Bahá’u’lláh. To behold them is the cause of great spiritual happiness. We have arranged to meet you every day at the homes of the friends.
In the East people were asking me, “Why do you undertake this 4 long voyage? Your body cannot endure such hardships of travel.” When it is necessary, my body can endure everything. It has withstood forty years of imprisonment and can still undergo the utmost trials.
I will see you again. Now I will greet each one of you personally. It is my hope that you will all be happy and that we may meet again and again. "

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thoughts on Anticipation

On April 10, 1912, Mr and Mrs. Edward Kinney were quite busy. They needed to prepare their home for a special guest. Abdu'l-Baha would be arriving the following day, and he would be presenting a talk at their home.

Tomorrow, I will post the talk given by Abdu'l-Baha on April 11, 1912. Then the readers of this blog will get a glimpse of his thoughts, as he crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and as he anticpated his journey through the United States.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Thoughts on Justice

Yesterday I received an email from a campaigner for social justice. His comments brought home the power of the words of Abdu'l-Baha. He has put on his website,, a quote from the Baha'i book The Promise of World Peace.

Here is the quote that he is using:

"A candid acknowledgement that prejudice, war and exploitation have been the expression of immature stages in a vast historical process and that the human race is today experiencing the unavoidable tumult which marks its collective coming of age is not a reason for despair but a prerequisite to undertaking the stupendous enterprise of building a peaceful world. That such an enterprise is possible, that the necessary constructive forces do exist, that unifying social structures can be erected, is the theme we urge you to examine."

I will be writing blog articles for that website. You can read my thoughts on justice by visiting that website.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Diverging Thoughts

Today I want to post two different personal observations. One relates to an article that recently appeared on the Internet. It was an article about the "World's Ten Most Religious Cities." Haifa was one of the those cities. Haifa did not exist when Abdu'l-Baha purchased the land on a Palestinian hill. Today, that beautiful city is on the "must see" lists of many of the tourists in Israel.

Today marks 13 days since the arrival of spring. According to Persian culture, families should leave the house on that day, to avoid any bad luck that might take place at the home. Persian families like to picnic on the 13th day after the arrival of spring. In 1912, Abdu'l-Baha could not think about enjoying a picnic. He was on a boat, headed for the United States.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Energizing Thoughts

Today, the start of the Persian New Year begins a two week period of celebration. In 1912, Abdu'l-Baha could not afford to take two weeks off from his efforts. He continued to share with residents of the United States information about the Baha'i Faith.

Here is a quote for Abdu'l-Baha. It shows how his thoughts provided him with the motivation to keep going.

".....Cleanse ye your eyes,
so that ye behold no man as different from yourselves.... See ye no strangers;
rather see all men as friends, for love and unity come hard when ye fix your gaze on otherness...." Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Bahap. 23

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

When I Can't Read Thoughts

Last night I was watching a program on Persian satellite TV. It was a special about the Baha'i Faith. That program displayed a number of different pictures of Abdu'l-Baha. I could not, of course, know what thoughts Abdu'l-Baha was thinking while he was being photographed. I could, however, imagine that he might have had thoughts similar to those presented below:

"From the seed of reality,
religion has grown into a tree
which has put forth leaves and branches, blossoms and fruit. After a time this tree has fallen into a condition of decay.
The leaves and blossoms have withered and perished;
the tree has become stricken and fruitless.
It is not reasonable that man should hold to the old tree, claiming that its life forces are undiminished,
its fruit unequalled, its existence eternal.
The seed of reality must be sown again in human hearts
in order that a new tree may grow therefrom
and new divine fruits refresh the world."

(Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith -
Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 226)