Archive for October, 2010

The Anniversary of the Birth of the Báb – October 20th



The upper floor the the House of the Báb in Shiraz, Iran, where He declared Himself to His first believer in May 1844. Photo courtesy of Médiathèque bahaie at

The Birth of the Báb

Every religion has a herald, or forerunner, to prepare people for the coming of  that great Spiritual Counselor who is periodically sent by God to humankind to foster our spiritual development – that One whose divinely appointed mission it is to remind people to re-focus on what really matters, the eternal human spirit rather than the physical world, and to be helpful, kind, and loving to one another, rather than brutish, selfish and hateful, and to act with regard to one another responsibly and with justice in all aspects of life.

The Báb is that Herald for Bahá’ís – for those who recognize Baha’u’llah as the Creator’s guiding Voice and Spirit for this age. Today is the anniversary of the Báb’s birth, according to the Gregorian calendar, the date on which He was born in 1819 in the city of Shiráz, Iran.

The Lord acts gradually to nurture His creatures, in the spiritual world as well as in the physical one. In the physial world, the sun rises gradually to its zenith each day, gently warming the earth. If it sprang suddenly to its full noon-day potential, the sudden impact of its effect would be harmful rather than beneficial to the physical condition of the living creatures and plants of the world. In a similar way, God prepares the human heart for the renewal of His Word.

The Báb was God’s chosen Agent to play this pivotal role. His unique mission was to proclaim to the world the conclusion, with the end of Muhammad’s dispensation, of that great and long cycle of religious prophecy that foretold a time in the distant future when the peoples of the world would live together in harmony and unity, when the lion would lie down with the lamb; and to proclaim to the world that this long prophesied time had arrived, and that He, the Báb, was announcing to the world that the time for this great figure was imminent, that One whom He referred to as He Whom God Shall Make Manifest, that One referred to by many names in different religious traditions, such as Everlasting Father, the Lord of Hosts, Christ returned in the Glory of the Father, the return of the Imám Husayn, the descent of the Spirit of God, the Sháh-Bahrám, the reincarnation of Krishna, and the Fifth Buddha.

Islamic tradition expected the return of a Promised One, the Báb. It called Him the Qa’im. The tradition says this: “Knowledge is but twenty and seven letters. All that the Prophets have revealed are two letters thereof. No man thus far knows more than these two letters. But when the Qa’im shall arise, He will cause the remaining twenty and five letters to be made manifest.”

This tradition testifies well to the station of the Báb, who ranks as one of the independent Manifestations of God’s authority. But in relation to the station of Bahá’u’lláh, He for whose purpose the Báb came into existence, the Báb Himself testifies with these words:

“… I Myself am, verily, but a ring upon the hand of Him Whom God shall make manifest.”

People do not easily heed the word of God. The material world and its vices make a strong claim upon the souls of men. The Báb’s divine call was repugnant to their desires and expectations. They opposed Him and His followers. They ignored their traditions that foretold His coming. They clung to their vanity and their material privileges. They forgot God’s message of love and answered with hatred.

His message caused a storm of protest in the Islamic world. The Báb and thousands of His followers gave their lives in the service of God’s redemptive plan for humanity. They magnificently fulfilled their role. They prepared a heedless, ignorant, and abased humanity for the healing revival of God’s Word through the revelation of Bahá’u’lláh. They bore the main brunt of the ferocious opposition to the new Announcement, and by doing so, perhaps made it possible for Bahá’u’lláh’s own ministry to be more productive and creative than it might otherwise have been. The Báb’s ministry, ennobled by the courage and consecration of those who recognized His station, constitute the early years of the glorious and heroic age of our Faith. Their devotion lives in our hearts as both inspiration and example.

It is fitting for us to join together to observe His birth and to share companionship and food.

Verily, Thy lovers thirst, O my Lord; lead them to the wellspring of bounty and grace.


Thou seest me, O my God, bowed down in lowliness, humbling myself before Thy commandments, submitting to Thy sovereignty, trembling at the might of Thy dominion, fleeing from Thy wrath, entreating Thy grace, relying upon Thy forgiveness, shaking with awe at Thy fury. I implore Thee with a throbbing heart, with streaming tears and a yearning soul, and in complete detachment from all things, to make Thy lovers as rays of light across Thy realms, and to aid Thy chosen servants to exalt Thy Word, that their faces may turn beauteous and bright with splendor, that their hearts may be filled with mysteries, and that every soul may lay down its burden of sin. Guard them then from the aggressor, from him who hath become a shameless and blasphemous doer of wrong.

Verily, Thy lovers thirst, O my Lord; lead them to the wellspring of bounty and grace. Verily, they hunger; send down unto them Thy heavenly table. Verily, they are naked; robe them in the garments of learning and knowledge.

Heroes are they, O my Lord, lead them to the field of battle. Guides are they, make them to speak out with arguments and proofs. Ministering servants are they, cause them to pass round the cup that brimmeth with the wine of certitude. O my God, make them to be songsters that carol in fair gardens, make them lions that couch in the thickets, whales that plunge in the vasty deep.

Verily, Thou art He of abounding grace. There is none other God save Thee, the Mighty, the Powerful, the Ever-Bestowing.


The whole duty of man in this Day is to attain that share of the flood of grace which God poureth forth for him.


“O Friends! You must all be so ablaze in this day with the fire of the love of God that the heat thereof may be manifest in all your veins, your limbs and members of your body, and the peoples of the world may be ignited by this heat and turn to the horizon of the Beloved.”

“Teach thou the Cause of God with an utterance which will cause the bushes to be enkindled, and the call ‘Verily, there is no God but Me, the All-Mighty, the Unconstrained’ to be raised therefrom.

“Say: Human utterance is an essence which aspireth to exert its influence and needeth moderation. As to its influence, this is conditional upon refinement which in turn is dependent upon hearts which are detached and pure. As to its moderation, this hath to be combined with tact and wisdom as prescribed in the Holy Scriptures and Tablets.”

“Moderation is indeed highly desirable. Every person who in some degree turneth towards the truth can himself later comprehend most of what he seeketh. However, if at the outset a word is uttered beyond his capacity, he will refuse to hear it and will arise in opposition.”

“Righteousness and detachment are like unto two most great lights for the heaven of teaching. Blessed is he who attaineth this high station…”

“Should any one among you be incapable of grasping a certain truth, or be striving to comprehend it, show forth, when conversing with him, a spirit of extreme kindliness and good-will. Help him to see and recognize the truth, without esteeming yourself to be, in the least, superior to him, or to be possessed of greater endowments.

“The whole duty of man in this Day is to attain that share of the flood of grace which God poureth forth for him. Let none, therefore, consider the largeness or smallness of the receptacle. The portion of some might lie in the palm of a man’s hand, the portion of others might fill a cup, and of others even a gallon- measure.”

“Consort with all men, O people of Bahá, in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. If ye be aware of a certain truth, if ye possess a jewel, of which others are deprived, share it with them in a language of utmost kindliness and good-will. If it be accepted, if it fulfil its purpose, your object is attained. If any one should refuse it, leave him unto himself, and beseech God to guide him. Beware lest ye deal unkindly with him. A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning, it is the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding….”

“…If he be kindled with the fire of His love, if he forgoeth all created things, the words he uttereth shall set on fire them that hear him.”

“…Say: O people of God! That which can insure the victory of Him Who is the Eternal Truth, His hosts and helpers on earth, have been set down in the sacred Books and Scriptures, and are as clear and manifest as the sun. These hosts are such righteous deeds, such conduct and character, as are acceptable in His sight. Whoso ariseth, in this Day, to aid Our Cause, and summoneth to  his assistance the hosts of a praiseworthy character and upright conduct, the influence from such an action will, most certainly, be diffused throughout the whole world.”

Bahá’u’lláh – from various Writings


The friends should be engaged in educating the souls and should become instruments in aiding the world of humanity to acquire spiritual joy and fragrance.


“…’Under all conditions the Message must be delivered, but with wisdom. If it be not possible openly, it must be done quietly. The friends should be engaged in educating the souls and should become instruments in aiding the world of humanity to acquire spiritual joy and fragrance. For example: If every one of the friends (believers) were to establish relations of friendship and right dealings with one of the negligent souls, associate and live with him with perfect kindliness, and meanwhile through good conduct and moral behavior lead him to divine instruction, to heavenly advice and teachings, surely he would gradually arouse that negligent person and would change his ignorance into knowledge.

“Souls are liable to estrangement. Such methods should be adopted that the estrangement should be first removed, then the Word will have effect.

“If one of the believers be kind to one of the negligent ones and with perfect love should gradually make him understand the reality of the Cause of God in such a way that the latter should know in what manner the Religion of God hath been founded and what its object is, doubtless he will become changed; excepting abnormal souls who are reduced to the state of ashes and whose hearts are like stones, yea, even harder.”

“If thou wishest to guide the souls, it is incumbent on thee to be firm, to be good and to be imbued with praiseworthy attributes and divine qualities under all circumstances. Be a sign of love, a manifestation of mercy, a fountain of tenderness, kindhearted, good to all and gentle to the servants of God, and especially to those who bear relation to thee, both men and women. Bear every ordeal that befalleth thee from the people and confront them not save with kindness, with great love and good wishes.”

“The teacher, when teaching, must be himself fully enkindled, so that his utterance, like unto a flame of fire, may exert influence and consume the veil of self and passion. He must also be utterly humble and lowly, so that others may be edified and be totally self-effaced and evanescent so that he may teach with the melody of the Concourse of high — otherwise his teaching will have no effect.”

“When the friends do not endeavor to spread the message, they fail to remember God befittingly, and will not witness the tokens of assistance and confirmation from the Abha Kingdom nor comprehend the divine mysteries. However, when the tongue of the teacher is engaged in teaching, he will naturally himself be stimulated, will become a magnet attracting the divine aid and bounty of the Kingdom, and will be like unto the bird at the hour of dawn, which itself becometh exhilarated by its own singing, its warbling and its melody.”

“In accordance with the divine teachings in this glorious Dispensation we should not belittle anyone and call him ignorant, saying: ‘You know not but I know.’ Rather, we should look upon others with respect, and when attempting to explain and demonstrate, we should speak as if we are investigating the truth, saying: ‘Here these things are before us. Let us investigate to determine where and in what form the truth can be found.’

“The teacher should not consider himself as learned and others ignorant. Such a thought breeds pride, and pride is unconducive to influence. The teacher should not see in himself any superiority; he should speak with the utmost kindliness, lowliness and humility, for such speech exerts influence and educates the souls.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, quotes taken from ” The Individual and Teaching – Raising the Divine Call”

One fruitful tree will be conducive to the life of society


“O ye believers of God! Do ye not look upon the smallness of your number and the multitudes of the nations. Five grains of wheat will be endued with heavenly blessing, whereas a thousand tons of tares will yield no results or effect. One fruitful tree will be conducive to the life of society, whereas a thousand forests of wild trees offer no fruits. The plain is covered with pebbles, but precious stones are rare. One pearl is better than a thousand wildernesses of sand, especially this pearl of great price, which is endowed with divine blessing. Ere long thousands of other pearls will be born from it. When that pearl associates and becomes the intimate of the pebbles, they also all change into pearls.

“…rest ye not, seek ye no composure, attach not yourselves to the luxuries of this ephemeral world, free yourselves from every attachment, and strive with heart and soul to become fully established in the Kingdom of God. Gain ye the heavenly treasures. Day by day become ye more illumined. Draw ye nearer and nearer unto the threshold of oneness. Become ye the manifestors of spiritual favors and the dawning-places of infinite lights!…

“As regards the teachers, they must completely divest themselves from the old garments and be invested with a new garment. According to the statement of Christ, they must attain to the station of rebirth: — that is, whereas in the first instance they were born from the womb of the mother, this time they must be born from the womb of the world of nature. Just as they are now totally unaware of the experiences of the foetal world, they must also forget entirely the defects of the world of nature. They must be baptized with the water of life, the fire of the love of God and the breaths of  the Holy Spirit; be satisfied with little food, but take a large portion from the heavenly table. They must disengage themselves from temptation and covetousness, and be filled with the spirit. Through the effect of their pure breath, they must change the stone into the brilliant ruby and the shell into pearl. Like unto the cloud of vernal shower, they must transform the black soil into the rose garden and orchard. They must make the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, the extinguished one enkindled and set aglow, and the dead quickened.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from Tablets of the Divine Plan