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5 years ago  ::  Sep 06, 2009 - 4:32PM #1
world citizen
Posts: 5,588

[This is the first entry of weekly miscellaneous quotes from Baha'i sources other than Scripture that welcome discussion.]



Education is seen by Bahá'ís as a continuous and creative process. Its aim is to develop the capacities latent in human nature and to coordinate their expression for the enrichment and progress of society. At certain moments in history, Bahá'ís believe, education may also act as a powerful instrument for profound societal transformation. Within this creative process, it is possible to achieve an essential harmony between faith and reason through an approach to education that encourages the free investigation of all reality and trains minds to recognize truth, irrespective of its origin.
[Baha'i International Community, 1989 January 02, "Position Statement on Education," Bahá'í International Community Task Force on Education]


Can someone offer an example of education having been an "instrument for profound societal transformation" or having brought science and religion into alignment on any given subjects?

Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love. ~Baha'u'llah
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5 years ago  ::  Sep 13, 2009 - 3:04PM #2
world citizen
Posts: 5,588

Bahá'u'lláh tells us that prejudice in its various forms destroys the edifice of humanity. We are adjured by the Divine Messenger to  eliminate all forms of prejudices from our lives. Our outer lives must show forth our beliefs. The world must see that, regardless of each passing whim or current fashion of the generality of mankind the Bahá'í lives his life according to the tenets of his Faith. We must not allow the fear of rejection by our friends and neighbours to deter us from our goal to live the Bahá'í life.  Let us strive to blot out from lives every last trace of prejudice - racial, religious, political, economic, national, tribal, class, cultural, and that which is based on differences of education or age. We shall be distinguished from our non-Bahá'í associates if our lives are adorned with this principle.


The Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies, July 13, 1972
"Lights of Guidance," p. 528


                                                                                        



Some of these prejudices are self-evident but many don't see prejudice for what it is in politics or economics.  Want to discuss?

Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love. ~Baha'u'llah
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5 years ago  ::  Sep 20, 2009 - 12:47PM #3
world citizen
Posts: 5,588

To someone who asked whether prayer was necessary, since presumably God knows the wishes of all hearts, 'Abdu'l-Bahá replied: -- If one friend loves another, is it not natural that he should wish to say so? Though he knows that that friend is aware of his love, does he still not wish to tell him of it? ... It is true that God knows the wishes of all hearts; but the impulse to pray is a natural one, springing from man's love to God. ...  Prayer need not be in words, but rather in thought and action. But if this love and this desire are lacking, it is useless to try to force them. Words without love mean nothing. If a person talks to you as an unpleasant duty, finding neither love nor enjoyment in the meeting, do you wish to converse with him?


Dr. J.E. Esslemont, "Baha'u'llah and the New Era," p. 94
(from article in Fortnightly Review, July-Dec. 1911, p. 784 by Miss E. S. Stevens)

Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love. ~Baha'u'llah
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5 years ago  ::  Sep 23, 2009 - 3:31PM #4
Seefan
Posts: 3,969

Sep 20, 2009 -- 12:47PM, world citizen wrote:

To someone who asked whether prayer was necessary, since presumably God knows the wishes of all hearts, 'Abdu'l-Bahá replied: -- If one friend loves another, is it not natural that he should wish to say so? Though he knows that that friend is aware of his love, does he still not wish to tell him of it? ... It is true that God knows the wishes of all hearts; but the impulse to pray is a natural one, springing from man's love to God. ... Prayer need not be in words, but rather in thought and action. But if this love and this desire are lacking, it is useless to try to force them. Words without love mean nothing. If a person talks to you as an unpleasant duty, finding neither love nor enjoyment in the meeting, do you wish to converse with him? Dr. J.E. Esslemont, "Baha'u'llah and the New Era," p. 94 (from article in Fortnightly Review, July-Dec. 1911, p. 784 by Miss E. S. Stevens)



 


I like this quote! Does it leave anyone with a question? UndecidedIt does me! Esslemont states that to pray is natural, stemming from our love of God. I don't disagree for in my own life I do desire to pray at times but not all the time, nor even when it may seem appropriate. Esslemont continues: "if this love and this desire are lacking, it is useless to try to force them." So! My question: "How do I increase a love for God, especially if I want to pray; in thought, word or deed, and to my rather sensitive mind, I simply don't seem to get much from it, and it becomes burdensome?


Looking forward to your wise but sensitive answers ...


Wink

Today the one overriding need is unity and harmony among the beloved of the Lord, for they should have among them but one heart and soul and should, so far as in them lieth, unitedly withstand the hostility of all the peoples of the world ... (Baha'i Writings)
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5 years ago  ::  Sep 23, 2009 - 8:54PM #5
world citizen
Posts: 5,588

Hi Seefan ~

I think Esslemont was quoting 'Abdu'l-Baha and not speaking his own thoughts.

You might find that you get more from daily prayer (even if limited to the requisite Obligatory Prayer and 95 Allah'u'Abhas) than you realize.  I once had a small plaque that read "A day hemmed in prayer is less likely to unravel."  This was reinforced for me after I became a Baha'i when I read the following words of 'Abdu'l-Baha:  "... prayer and fasting is the cause of awakening and mindfulness and conducive to protection and preservation from tests..."  (Baha'i World Faith, p. 368)  Prayer should never be burdensome and there's something in the Writings about that.  Perhaps someone can cite that for us because I can't put my finger on it right now.  I don't always have time for a proper morning prayer but find that saying a few simple "Allah'u'Abha"s instead still sets the tone for my entire day.  :-)

Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love. ~Baha'u'llah
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5 years ago  ::  Sep 25, 2009 - 12:26PM #6
maxmar
Posts: 104

Seefan, you say "How do I increase my love for God, especially if I want to pray; in thought, word or deed, and to my rather sensitive mind, I simply don't seem to get much from it, and it besomes burdensome?"


Nike says, "Just Do It!" and some psychologists say act your way to the behaviour you want.  


Baha'u'llah  says prayer is obligatory, and only excused if you are sick.   It does say in the Writings that prayer shouldn't be prolonged and burdensome.   I've seen that quote WC refers to but can't find it at the moment either!     Often one is extremely fatigued, just not 'in the mood' or 'hasn't the time' (which is rarely the case as it can really only take one minute or less!)    But your soul (and others) will benefit if you do pray in faith, even if you can only manage a very short prayer, such as:


"O God, my God, my Beloved, my heart's Desire." ~ The Bab


Baha'u'llah tells us the benefit and importance of prayer to ourself and others:


  "Intone, O My servant, the verses of God that have been received by thee, as intoned by them who have drawn nigh unto Him, that the sweetness of thy melody may kindle thine own soul, and attract the hearts of all men.   Whoso reciteth, in the privacy of his chamber, the verses revealed by God, the scattering angels of the Almighty shall scatter abroad the fragrance of the words uttered by his mouth, and shall cause the heart of every righteous man to throb.    Though he may, at first, remain unaware of its effect, yet the virtue of the grace vouchsafed unto him must needs sooner or later exercise its influence upon his soul.   Thus have the mysteries of the Revelation of God been decreed by virtue of the Will of Him Who is the Source of power and wisdom." (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah p. 295)


What does He mean by "intone"?   Dictionary says it means "to speak or recite in a singing voice; to chant".     It does feel a little strange if one is not used to it, but for some reason it does seem to fix prayers in memory better than just speaking, and does give a spiritual spark to the heart.


One's devotional attitude is important:


"O friends!  Prefer not your will to Mine, never desire that which I have not desired for you, and approach Me not with lifeless hearts, defiled with worldly desires and cravings.   Would ye but sanctify your souls, ye would at this present hour recall that place and those surroundings, and the truth of My utterance should be made evident unto all of you." ~Baha'u'llah (Persian Hidden Words)


Another quotation that you may find helpful is this:


"It is seemly that the servant should after each prayer, supplicate God to bestow mercy and forgiveness upon his parents.   Thereupon God's call will be raised:  'Thousand upon thousand of what thou has asked for thy parents will be thy recompense!'   Blessed is he who remembereth his parents when communing with God.   There is, verily, no God but Him the Mighty, the Well-Beloved."


Prayer for Parents


"Thou seest, O Lord, our suppliant hands lifted up towards the heaven of Thy favour and bounty.   Grant that they may be filled with the treasures of Thy munificence and bountiful favours.   Forgive us, and our fathers and our mothers, and fulfil whatsoever we have desired from the ocean of Thy grace and Divine generosity.   Accept, O Beloved of our hearts all our works in Thy path.    Thou art, verily the Most Powerful, the Most Exalted, the Incomparable, the One, the Forgiving, the Gracious." ~ Baha'u'llah


I sincerely hope you'll find these quotes "may kindle thine own soul" and will be of benefit in your spiritual journey.

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5 years ago  ::  Sep 27, 2009 - 1:04PM #7
world citizen
Posts: 5,588

"Each of us is responsible for one life only, and that is our own. Each of us is immeasurably far from being 'perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect' and the task of perfecting our own life and character is one that requires all our attention, our will- power and energy. If we allow our attention and energy to be taken up in efforts to keep others right and remedy their faults, we are wasting precious time. We are like ploughmen each of whom has his team to manage and his plough to direct, and in order to keep his furrow straight he must keep his eye on his goal and concentrate on his own task.  If he looks to this side and that to see how Tom and Harry are getting on and to criticize their ploughing, then his own furrow will assuredly become crooked."
~ Shoghi Effendi (from letter to an individual May 12, 1925), Comp: "Lights of Guidance," p. 92


___________________________________



At a recent Ruhi gathering, an individual placed a large plate of trail mix on the table for all to nibble during the class.  Hands were diving in by some while others, maybe/maybe not aware of Aqdas law, ignored the dish.  No one, however, possibly lest they be viewed as judgmental, said a word that the Aqdas forbade this practice:


"Take heed lest, when partaking of food, ye plunge your hands into the contents of bowls and platters."  This prohibition was defined by Shoghi Effendi as "plunging one's hand in food".  In many parts of the world it has been customary to eat with the hands from a communal bowl.  (The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 198)


Are there ever times when it IS appropriate to "criticize the ploughing" of others in the event or likelihood that they might not be aware of certain laws?  Does trying to be helpful cross the line of being judgmental?  Your thoughts?

Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love. ~Baha'u'llah
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5 years ago  ::  Sep 28, 2009 - 2:56AM #8
turngaaluk09
Posts: 18

 


Education has no borders and indeed is gained in various ways.  Nonetheless, humanity, through an evolutionary process has been able to form a general scholastic means to educate the masses.  However, the oldest form of education is through spiritual process.  If society as a whole has a high level of scholastic and simultaneously spiritual education, there will be an advancement in technology and its spiritual useage.  Like I may have quoted sometime before, the knowledge of how to use the internet is now known by many.  But the degree of useage of this technology could swing toward evil or toward the good of all.


For every scientific advancement there naturally comes with it a form of spiritual responsibility.  Case in point, many people used to openly smoke in public places, but now after years of scientific research, a growing number of societies of humanity have put a ban on smoking in public places.  For the betterment of health and well-being of the masses, we are now not allowed to smoke in aircrafts, having to stand a certain distance from entrances to public buildings, if we need to smoke, and the list goes on.

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5 years ago  ::  Oct 01, 2009 - 11:00AM #9
maxmar
Posts: 104

" It does say in the Writings that prayer shouldn't be prolonged and burdensome.   I've seen that quote WC refers to but can't find it at the moment either! "


 As often happens, when one is reading something else, one finds the quote that could not be recalled.   I found it this morning during my daily readings.   The quote is at the end of a passage from Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 77-78 where Bab is writing about one's devotional attitude.   Here it is, and I've underscored the part that prayer shouldn't be prolonged. 



"WORSHIP thou God in such wise that if thy worship lead thee to the fire, no alteration in thine adoration would be produced, and so likewise if thy recompense should be paradise.   Thus and thus alone should be the worship which befitteth the one True God.   Shouldst thou worship Him because of fear, this would be unseemly in the sanctified Court of His presence, and could not be regarded as an act by thee dedicated to the Oneness of His Being.    Or if thy gaze should be on paradise, and thou shouldst worship Him while cherishing such a hope, thou wouldst make God's creation a partner with Him, notwithstanding the fact that paradise is desired by men.


Fire and paradise both bow down and prostrate themselves before God.   That which is worthy of His Essence is to worship Him for His sake, without fear of fire, or hope of paradise.


Although when true worship is offered, the worshipper is delivered from the fire, and entereth the paradise of God's good-pleasure, yet such should not be the motive of his act. However, God's favour and grace ever flow in accordance with the exigencies of His inscrutable wisdom.


The most acceptable prayer is the one offered with the utmost spirituality and radiance; its prolongation hath not been and is not beloved by God.    The more detached and the purer the prayer, the more acceptable is it in the presence of God.  


 VII, 19.  (The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 75)


The Bab tell us reason saying prayers in private is important.


"THE reason why privacy hath been enjoined in moments of devotion is this, that thou mayest give thy best attention to the remembrance of God, that thy heart may at all times be animated with His Spirit, and not be shut out as by a veil from thy Best Beloved.    Let not thy tongue pay lip service in praise of God while thy heart be not attuned to the exalted Summit of Glory, and the Focal Point of communion.  ... ."  IX, 4.  (The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 93)


Hope these quotations are helpful to you.   


May God bless.


 



 


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5 years ago  ::  Oct 02, 2009 - 8:28PM #10
world citizen
Posts: 5,588

maxmar ~


Thanks for locating those quotes for us.  For some reason I was thinking of something said or written by 'Abdu'l-Baha because I vaguely remember it as being more to the point (which, as you know, was his way of speaking).  Regardless, what you've discovered is perfect!  Smile

Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love. ~Baha'u'llah
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