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Exploring the Fabric of Spirituality
I'm folding the purpose of this blog into my newest effort—Our Evolution.
There will still be a spiritual focus, like here, but I'll be covering stories from around the world.
I leave you with this quote and hope to see you soon at Our Evolution:
Souls who focus their vision upon the Sun of Reality will be the recipients of light no matter from what point it rises, but those who are fettered by adoration of the dawning-point are deprived when it appears in a different station upon the spiritual horizon.
('Abdu'l-Bahá, Baha'i World Faith p. 255)
This is not the resumption of daily posting—more healing is necessary for that. . .
Had to post about what's been burning on my heart:
Whensoever ye behold a person whose entire attention is directed toward the Cause of God; whose only aim is this, to make the Word of God to take effect; who, day and night, with pure intent, is rendering service to the Cause; from whose behaviour not the slightest trace of egotism or private motives is discerned -- who, rather, wandereth distracted in the wilderness of the love of God, and drinketh only from the cup of the knowledge of God, and is utterly engrossed in spreading the sweet savours of God, and is enamoured of the holy verses of the Kingdom of God -- know ye for a certainty that this individual will be supported and reinforced by heaven; that like unto the morning star, he will forever gleam brightly out of the skies of eternal grace. But if he show the slightest taint of selfish desires and self love, his efforts will lead to nothing and he will be destroyed and left hopeless at the last.
('Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 71)
This is the Day, O my Lord, whose brightness Thou hast exalted above the brightness of the sun and the splendors thereof. I testify that the light it sheddeth proceedeth out of the glory of the light of Thy countenance, and is begotten by the radiance of the morn of Thy Revelation. This is the Day whereon the hopeless have been clothed with the raiment of confidence, and the sick attired with the robe of healing, and the poor drawn nigh unto the ocean of Thy riches.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 273)
That my tongue, my pen could thank thee were a hopeless task, nor can any praise of mine befit thine excellence. Not even a droplet of all thine endless love can I aspire to fathom, nor can I adequately praise and tell of even the most trifling out of all the events of thy precious life. In the courts of the Almighty, for this frail being thy sacred spirit intercedeth, and in this darksome world, the sweet memory of thee is the succourer and friend of this lowly one. Thy comely face is etched for ever on the tablet of my grieving soul, those smiles that refreshed my life are forever and safely imprinted in the innermost recesses of my stricken heart. Let me not be forgotten by thee in the glorious precincts on high; leave me not despairing, nor excluded from the never-ceasing reinforcements that come from the living Lord; and in this world and the Kingdom, help me to reach what thou knowest to be my dearest hope.
(Compilations, Bahiyyih Khanum, p. 29)
LET US ACKNOWLEDGE AT THE OUTSET the magnitude of the ruin that the human race has brought upon itself during the period of history under review. The loss of life alone has been beyond counting. The disintegration of basic institutions of social order, the violation -- indeed, the abandonment -- of standards of decency, the betrayal of the life of the mind through surrender to ideologies as squalid as they have been empty, the invention and deployment of monstrous weapons of mass annihilation, the bankrupting of entire nations and the reduction of masses of human beings to hopeless poverty, the reckless destruction of the environment of the planet -- such are only the more obvious in a catalogue of horrors unknown to even the darkest of ages past.
(Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice, Century of Light, p. 4)
Moreover, when a man looked about him and saw the vicissitudes of mortal existence -- nowhere more marked than in the East -- how conqueror succeeded conqueror and empire empire, how the humble was exalted and the mighty thrown from his seat, how swift was the vengeance of God in sweeping pestilence and resistless famine, and how unsparing the forces of nature, he turned to a philosophy which taught that all earthly things were alike vain-virtue and patriotism and the love of wife and child, power and beauty and the bold part played in a hopeless fight; he remembered what he had learnt from poets and story-tellers -- "Behold the world is as the shadow of a cloud and a dream of the night."
(Islamic Miscellaneous, Teachings of Hafiz (G. L. Bell tr))
I'm starting with a prayer for all the children:
O God! Educate these children. These children are the plants of Thine orchard, the flowers of Thy meadow, the roses of Thy garden. Let Thy rain fall upon them; let the Sun of Reality shine upon them with Thy love. Let Thy breeze refresh them in order that they may be trained, grow and develop, and appear in the utmost beauty. Thou art the Giver. Thou art the Compassionate.
(Compilations, Baha'i Prayers, p. 32)
The best of people live according to this:
7:9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 7:10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
(King James Bible, Matthew)
Yet, there is no dearth of folk who oppress children:
When I was seven we lived in Tihran, where my father was Mirza'Abdu'r-Rahim Khan the Kalantar (Mayor). A mulla taught us children in school. We sat in a row on the floor, each with his book before him on a bookstand. We read the Qur'án without knowing what it meant, and Sa'di, and Hafiz. The mulla had a long, slim, flexible pole (falak); whenever he thought best, a child's feet would be strung to it by a rope; each end of the pole was held by boys who twisted it so the feet were held fast, soles up; the mulla himself did the whipping, beating the soles of the victim with his club (chub) till, sometimes, the blood came. This was the bastinado. The children were terrified of it; panic made me study extra hard.
(Marzieh Gail, Dawn Over Mount Hira, p. 194)
And, governments are also culpable:
In South Africa, for example, Hlengiwe Mkhize, Director of the Children in Violence Project at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, cited evidence from her country that reveals a clear link between state-initiated oppression and domestic violence. The family unit, she said, becomes the focus of accumulated stress and a fertile ground for multiple acts of domestic violence from family torture and murder, to wife battering, sexual molestation, and the daily mental and physical abuse suffered by children growing up in alcoholic and violent families.
(Baha'i International Community, 1994 May 26, Creating Violence-Free Families)
Oh, Dear God ! Protect Our Children . . .
Question. -- What is the condition of children who die before attaining the age of discretion or before the appointed time of birth?
Answer. -- These infants are under the shadow of the favor of God; and as they have not committed any sin and are not soiled with the impurities of the world of nature, they are the centers of the manifestation of bounty, and the Eye of Compassion will be turned upon them.
('Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 240)
For far too long, women have been irreverenced by men:
When she was still a child her father selected a teacher for her and she studied various branches of knowledge and the arts, achieving remarkable ability in literary pursuits. Such was the degree of her scholarship and attainments that her father would often express his regret, saying, "Would that she had been a boy, for he would have shed illumination upon my household, and would have succeeded me!"
('Abdu'l-Bahá, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 191)
Over two thousand years (and three Revelations from God) ago , this was preached:
14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 14:35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
(King James Bible, 1 Corinthians)
Here's a bit of Truth for those who use scripture to attempt a suppression of women:
In the Kingdom of God, there is no difference between the men and the women; both are considered alike—only the one who works the hardest surpasses the other. In the time of Christ, women were the great agents in spreading the Kingdom. The disciples would not have been confirmed if it had not been for them—Peter would not have been strengthened. In cultivating a garden, it makes no difference whether the gardener is a man or a woman—but if the woman works hard and takes care of the plants, she will certainly have a better reward than the man who idles.
(Compilations, Baha'i Prayers 9, p. 55)
Often various traditions hinder the health and well-being of girls and women:
Statement to the Executive Board of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Agenda item: Women in development
In the view of the Bahá'í International Community, the advancement of civilization now requires the full participation of everyone, including women. For this to happen, girl children as well as boy children must be valued by their families and by society. We share UNICEF's distress at the blatant neglect of girl children, justified in many parts of the world as part of the culture. We concur with the recommendation, set forth in the Progress report on achievements made in the implementation of UNICEF policy on women in development (E/ICEF/1991/L.5), that UNICEF broaden its approach to maternal health to include an attempt to alter factors that affect girl's and women's health before maternity, including harmful traditional attitudes and practices.
(Baha'i International Community, 1991 Apr 22, Girl Child)
Some may violently disagree with the next quote but this blog does try to focus on spirituality:
After Unity is established, Peace reigns...
Actually Living Peace demands a lot:
Be thou a summoner to love, and be thou kind to all the human race. Love thou the children of men and share in their sorrows. Be thou of those who foster peace. Offer thy friendship, be worthy of trust. Be thou a balm to every sore, be thou a medicine for every ill. Bind thou the souls together. Recite thou the verses of guidance. Be engaged in the worship of thy Lord, and rise up to lead the people aright. Loose thy tongue and teach, and let thy face be bright with the fire of God's love. Rest thou not for a moment, seek thou to draw no easeful breath. Thus mayest thou become a sign and symbol of God's love, and a banner of His grace.
('Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 26)
It behoveth him who is a wayfarer in the path of God and a wanderer in His way to detach himself from all who are in the heavens and on the earth. He must renounce all save God, that perchance the portals of mercy may be unlocked before his face and the breezes of providence may waft over him. And when he hath inscribed upon his soul that which We have vouchsafed unto him of the quintessence of inner meaning and explanation, he will fathom all the secrets of these allusions, and God shall bestow upon his heart a divine tranquillity and cause him to be of them that are at peace with themselves.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries)
International Peace and Religion:
On the one hand, the search for justice and the promotion of the cause of international peace tend to have the effect of also arousing new perceptions of the individual's role in society. Similarly, although focused on the mobilization of support for changes in social decision-making, movements like environmentalism and feminism induce a re-examination of people's sense of themselves and of their purpose in life. A reorientation occurring in all the major religious communities is the accelerating migration of believers from traditional branches of the parent faiths to sects that attach primary importance to the spiritual search and personal experiences of their members.
(Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice, One Common Faith)
This, truly, is the Peace, this is the Highest, namely the end of all formations, the forsaking of every substratum of rebirth, the fading away of craving: detachment, extinction-Nirvana.
Enraptured with lust, enraged with anger, blinded by delusion, overwhelmed, with mind ensnared, man aims at his own ruin, at others' ruin, at the ruin of both parties, and he experiences mental pain and grief. But, if lust, anger, and delusion are given up, man aims neither at his own ruin, nor at others' ruin, nor at the ruin of both parties, and he experiences no mental pain and grief. Thus is Nirvana immediate, visible in this life, inviting, attractive, and comprehensible to the wise.
The extinction of greed, the extinction of anger, the extinction of delusion: this, indeed, is called Nirvana.
((The Eightfold Path), Buddha, the Word (The Eightfold Path))
Clear, spiritual thinking is necessary:
Moreover this was not enough for them, that they erred in the knowledge of God; but whereas they lived in the great war of ignorance, those so great plagues called they peace.
(Deuterocanonical Apocrypha, Wisdom)
Peace can be infectious:
2:6 The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.
(King James Bible, Malachi)
Utmost Perfect Peace:
Unity is the Big Solution; Unity is the precursor of Peace; Unity is the Truth of All Religions . . .
Praise thou God that at last, through the divine teachings, thou hast obtained both sight and insight to the highest degree, and hast become firmly rooted in certitude and faith. It is my hope that others as well will achieve illumined eyes and hearing ears, and attain to everlasting life: that these many rivers, each flowing along in diverse and separated beds, will find their way back to the circumambient sea, and merge together and rise up in a single wave of surging oneness; that the unity of truth, through the power of God, will make these illusory differences to vanish away. This is the one essential: for if unity be gained, all other problems will disappear of themselves.
('Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 29)
Tear asunder with the hand of Thy transcendent power, O my Lord, the veil of vain imaginings, that they who are wholly devoted to Thee may see Thee seated on the throne of Thy majesty, and the eyes of such as adore Thy unity may rejoice at the splendors of the glory of Thy face. The doors of hope have been shut against the hearts that long for Thee, O my Lord! Their keys are in Thy hands; open them by the power of Thy might and Thy sovereignty. Potent art Thou to do as Thou pleasest. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the Beneficent.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 7)
The foundation of the Divine teaching is this unity and harmony. Moses strove for unity among men; the Christ did all to promote this understanding, and Muhammad proclaimed the necessity of this union. The Buddha also worked for the same great goal. The Gospel, the Qur'án, and all Holy Writings are the basis for this unity.
(Lady Blomfield, The Chosen Highway, p. 173)
Do not give up those practices and do not break those rules which good Muslims have evolved or introduced before you, which have created unity and amity among the various sections of the society and which have benefited the masses.
(Ali b. Abi Taalib, Letters from Nahjul Balaagh)