The All-Knowing Physician . . .

The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.

We can well perceive how the whole human race is encompassed with great, with incalculable afflictions. We see it languishing on its bed of sickness, sore-tried and disillusioned. They that are intoxicated by self-conceit have interposed themselves between it and the Divine and infallible Physician. Witness how they have entangled all men, themselves included, in the mesh of their devices. They can neither discover the cause of the disease, nor have they any knowledge of the remedy. They have conceived the straight to be crooked, and have imagined their friend an enemy.

Incline your ears to the sweet melody of this Prisoner. Arise, and lift up your voices, that haply they that are fast asleep may be awakened. Say: O ye who are as dead! The Hand of Divine bounty proffereth unto you the Water of Life. Hasten and drink your fill. Whoso hath been re-born in this Day, shall never die; whoso remaineth dead, shall never live.

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, ch. 106

Here is another quote that thrillingly calls us to attend to the needs of the world around us. Bahá’u’lláh tells us what anyone reading a newspaper or watching TV knows is all too true: The world is “sick[], sore-tried and disillusioned.” We have been blinded by misconceptions and have entangled ourselves in these errors. Separated from God, we cannot identify the underlying problems nor solve them. These problems differ from age to age, and the appropriate remedy will vary, too, but the remedy for today is known to the Divine Physician for today, Bahá’u’lláh. What is that remedy? To recognize Him and to follow His teachings, the “Water of Life.” What is particularly interesting to me about this passage is that, while acknowledging that the benefit of drinking that Water is personal rebirth, the passage’s main focus is not the individual but all of “mankind,” “the world,” “the whole human race.” Indeed, rather than look inward to our personal salvation, He urges us to look outward: “Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.” Our focus should be to “[a]rise, and lift up [our] voices, that haply they that are fast asleep may be awakened.” By awakening the slumbering and pointing them toward Bahá’u’lláh, we help the world to take the remedy it needs today. Thus Bahá’u’lláh closes the circle. By following His teachings, we can achieve the “particular aspiration” of our individual souls, but by helping others to recognize and follow them we can collectively achieve the far greater remedy for the current ills of the whole human race. How thrilling is that?

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Published in: on September 7, 2008 at 10:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Give a hearing ear, O people

Give a hearing ear, O people, to that which I, in truth, say unto you. The one true God, exalted be His glory, hath ever regarded, and will continue to regard, the hearts of men as His own, His exclusive possession. All else, whether pertaining to land or sea, whether riches or glory, He hath bequeathed unto the Kings and rulers of the earth. From the beginning that hath no beginning the ensign proclaiming the words “He doeth whatsoever He willeth” hath been unfurled in all its splendor before His  Manifestation. What mankind needeth in this day is obedience unto them that are in authority, and a faithful adherence to the cord of wisdom. The instruments which are essential to the immediate protection, the security and assurance of the human race have been entrusted to the hands, and lie in the grasp, of the governors of human society. This is the wish of God and His decree. . . . We cherish the hope that one of the kings of the earth will, for the sake of God, arise for the triumph of this wronged, this oppressed people. Such a king will be eternally extolled and glorified. . . .

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, ch. 102

Here we have a reminder of one of the central tenets of the Baha’i Faith, to obey the government of the country in which we live. I immediately think of Jesus’s similar teaching to “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” I also think of how hard this must have been and still continues to be for so many Baha’is. When Baha’u’llah recorded these words, His followers had been persecuted and many killed by the very “Kings and rulers” of what is now Iran and Iraq. Yet He called on them to obey, while reminding the Kings and rulers (and the Baha’is) that they hold the “instruments” for the protection of the people. In this verse and communications sent directly to several major rulers of the time, He also called out for ruler to make the choice–not compelled by Him–to exercise those instruments to protect the Baha’is. Today, more than a century later, the persecution continues and call to the rulers of today continues as well.

Published in: on September 6, 2008 at 10:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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The purpose underlying the revelation of every heavenly Book

“The purpose underlying the revelation of every heavenly Book, nay, of every divinely-revealed verse, is to endue all men with righteousness and understanding, so that peace and tranquility may be firmly established amongst them.  Whatsoever instilleth assurance into the hearts of men, whatsoever exalteth their station or promoteth their contentment, is acceptable in the sight of God.  How lofty is the station which man, if he but choose to fulfill his high destiny, can attain!  To what depths of degradation he can sink, depths which the meanest of creatures have never reached!  Seize, O friends, the chance which this Day offereth you, and deprive not yourselves of the liberal effusions of His grace.  I beseech God that He may graciously enable every one of you to adorn himself, in this blessed Day, with the ornament of pure and holy deeds.  He, verily, doeth whatsoever He willeth.”

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, ch. 101

A fitting first quote, it seems to me.  This is why we read the scriptures–to help us gain “righteousness and understanding.” But I especially love that Bahá’u’lláh goes on and reminds us that we’re not merely to seek to personal improvement. The scriptures aren’t just self-help books. Personal improvement is a means to the end of creating unity among humankind–“peace and tranquility among [us].” And that will take work by us, not just study.  Scripture calls us to fulfill our “high destiny” and achieve our lofty station, but in the end we also need to undertake “pure and holy deeds.” He also reminds us that we don’t have a lot of time to “adorn” ourselves with the ornament of such noble deeds.

Published in: on August 31, 2008 at 6:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Welcome

Welcome!  Let’s talk about the ocean of Baha’u’llah’s Writings.  For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Baha’u’llah is the founder of the latest world religion, the Baha’i Faith.  He left us a large body of Writings and called on us to study them every day.  These and writings by others about the Faith and its history are available online at the wonderful bahai-library.org.  Together we’ll dip into them and share some of our reflections from these scintillating, life-altering waters.

Published in: on August 31, 2008 at 5:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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