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."