Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What is a Baha'i?

What is a Baha’i?
Stated simply a Baha’i is one who believes that Bahá’u’lláh was the latest messenger or Manifestation of God.
Baha’is understand that God has given us laws and guidance to improve our life. These laws are a great gift from God.
In the Baha’i Faith there is no clergy and no rituals. Obedience to the laws is left up to the individual. Only if disobedience is directly harming the Faith will the administration step in to correct the situation.
Central Figures and chain of authority:
Unity is the most important principle of the Baha’i Faith. Bahá’u’lláh has initiated laws to prevent the Baha’i Faith from splitting into sects. Whenever differences arise, there is an authority that can settle the question. Individual thinking and initiative is encouraged. The administration only becomes involved when someone insists that their way is the only way or if they try to undermine the authority of the administration.
The Báb
The Báb is a title meaning the gate. He founded an independent religion. His main purpose was to prepare the way for Bahá’u’lláh.
Bahá’u’lláh, The Glory of God
The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh are often referred to as the Twin Manifestations. They each brought a revelation direct from God.
Bahá’u’lláh says:
The essence of belief in Divine unity consisteth in regarding Him Who is the Manifestation of God and Him Who is the invisible, the inaccessible, the unknowable Essence as one and the same. By this is meant that whatever pertaineth to the former, all His acts and doings, whatever He ordaineth or forbiddeth, should be considered, in all their aspects, and under all circumstances, and without any reservation, as identical with the Will of God Himself. This is the loftiest station to which a true believer in the unity of God can ever hope to attain. Blessed is the man that reacheth this station, and is of them that are steadfast in their belief.
               (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 166)
Baha’is believe that all the Manifestations of God brought the authoritative Revelation of God. It is as though God is directly talking to us through His Manifestations. When His followers adhere to the principles set down by any of the Manifestations, there can be no disagreement. Differences occur only when man introduces his own ideas and undermines the Religion of God.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá says;
The third teaching of Bahá'u'lláh is that religion must be the source of fellowship, the cause of unity and the nearness of God to man. If it rouses hatred and strife, it is evident that absence of religion is preferable and an irreligious man better than one who professes it. According to the divine Will and intention religion should be the cause of love and agreement, a bond to unify all mankind, for it is a message of peace and goodwill to man from God.
         (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 181)

Bahá’u’lláh appointed His Son ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as the Center of His covenant and the One to which all should turn when He ascended from this earthly plain. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was the only one authorized to interpret the Words of His Father. Thus the unity of the Cause of God was assured.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá appointed His grandson, Shoghi Effendi as the Guardian of the Faith. He was the authority to which all Baha’is turned when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left this earthly plain.
Bahá’u’lláh also laid out the plans for the Universal House of Justice to be elected by the Baha’is when the Cause of God had grown enough to support it. In 1963 the first Universal House of Justice was elected. It is now the authority to which all Baha’i turn and its guidance is considered infallible.
There are also Local Spiritual Assemblies and National Spiritual Assemblies that will one day be known as Local Houses of Justice and National Houses of Justice. Although not considered infallible these institutions are to be obeyed. Again, Unity is the key word. We are told that obedience, even if in error is better than disobedience. Since all is in unity the wrong will be made right and the error will be corrected. However disobedience would lead to disunity and would lead to a thousand wrongs even if the one being disobedient was in the right.
A constant flow of guidance comes from all levels of our administration. It is in the form of love and guidance to help us adhere to the principles laid down by Bahá’u’lláh. We must remember that love and unity are the most important and all measures are used to avoid or remove estrangement. All mankind are considered the members of one family, the flowers of one garden, and the fruits of one tree. The Baha’i see diversity of thought, culture, social standing, and race as a beautiful thing that adds to the colour and structure of our garden. A garden with flowers that were all the same kind and same colour would be monotonous. By using various forms and colours we add charm and beauty to the garden. Differences are celebrated, not avoided. But all the differences contribute to a unified whole that makes up the family of mankind. It is like parts of a body. We may think the brain is important, but if the body was all brain it could not function. The body needs a heart, lungs, feet, hands and many other parts to function properly. When all these parts work together as a unified whole, the body excels.
If you would like to know more about Bahá’u’lláh, His teachings or any other aspect of the Baha’i Faith I would be most happy to discuss them with you. My knowledge is not one hundred percent so many times we will need to learn together. There are many resources available through internet, books and Study Circles. There are also devotional gatherings that you could attend, or you can host one of your own. There are many Baha’i who like to do home visits and would love an opportunity to visit with you and answer any questions you may have. For more information email me at george@sowingpeace.ca . I will do my best to put you in touch with Baha'is in your area. You can also check out http://www.sowingpeace.ca/links.html for links to some great resources.
If you now agree that Bahá’u’lláh is the messenger of God for this day, then you are welcome to join us. There is a short registration process just so we can keep track of you and be sure to send you news and invite you to events for the Baha’i. For instance, every 19 days the Baha’i community holds a Feast were the members of the community can consult with the Local Spiritual Assembly, make recommendations and receive guidance. As a member of the Baha’i Community you would be expected to participate in any way you feel comfortable.
Don’t worry if you feel you don’t know enough. None of us do. We are all learning together. That is why your input would be most valuable to us. It is like each of us has a piece of the puzzle and together we can complete it.
Since we have no clergy, each Baha’i is expected to teach the Faith. Again, don’t worry if you feel you don’t know enough. We are assured of the guidance of the Divine Concourse if we make the effort, plus you can call on other Baha’is to help. Teaching in the Baha’i Faith is different from the way teaching is usually perceived. In the Baha’i Faith we don’t have teachers who are considered learned while their students are considered ignorant. It is more like we are all students and we are all teachers. All of us have something to offer and all of us have something to learn. When we teach the Faith to others it is one of the greatest ways we can learn for ourselves. Of course we also need to study the writings on our own so we can answer questions. In fact we are expected to read something from the writings of the Baha’i Faith twice a day. Bahá’u’lláh says;
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.
        (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 295)
When we read the verses of God aloud, even though it is in the privacy of our own room, it will have a far reaching effect and will affect our own souls.
Also Baha’is are required to pray every day.
There are three obligatory prayers. We can choose any one of the three. They can be found in many of the Baha’i Prayer Books.
The short obligatory prayer, if chosen, is to be said once a day between Noon and Sunset. When we wish to recite this prayer we perform our ablutions, (the washing of our hands and face) and turn to the Qiblih, (the resting spot of Bahá’u’lláh which from Canada is to the East) and we say:
I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee. I testify, at this moment, to my powerlessness and to Thy might, to my poverty and to Thy wealth.
There is none other God but Thee, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.
In order to enrol in the Baha'i Community we just need to get a little information from you.  The enrolments process may be slightly different in different parts of the world, so if you email me george@sowingpeace.ca I will do my best to put you in touch with Baha'is in your area if you don't know any already. Feel free also to email me if you have any questions or suggestions.  You may also post a comment on this blog.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Basic Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh

Bahá'u'lláh, the Sun of Truth, has dawned from the horizon of the Orient, flooding all regions with the light and life which will never pass away. His teachings, which embody the divine spirit of the age and are applicable to this period of maturity in the life of the human world, are:
 The oneness of the world of humanity
 The protection and guidance of the Holy Spirit
 The foundation of all religion is one
 Religion must be the cause of unity
 Religion must accord with science and reason
 Independent investigation of truth
 Equality between men and women
 The abandoning of all prejudices among mankind
 Universal peace
 Universal education
 A universal language
 Solution of the economic problem
 An international tribunal.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Intro to the Baha'i Faith

The Bahá’í Faith is a world religion whose purpose is to unite all the races and peoples in one universal Cause and one common Faith.
Bahá’u’lláh says, “The Great Being saith: O ye children of men! The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men. Suffer it not to become a source of dissension and discord, of hate and enmity.         (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 215)

Bahá’ís are the followers of Bahá’u’lláh, Who they believe is the Promised One of all Ages.
Throughout the world, people of all religions are looking for the coming of one who will unite the world. For example Jesus said; “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:16)
We believe that the promised hour has come and that Bahá’u’lláh is the great Personage Whose Teachings will enable humanity to build a new world order. He is the Voice of Christ returned to gather His sheep into One Fold.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

the creation thereof is without beginning and without end

Subject: the creation thereof is without beginning and without end

26 October 1912, Talk at Assembly Hall, Hotel Sacramento, Sacramento, California
Notes by Bijou Straun
I have visited your Capitol and its gardens. No other Capitol has such beautiful surroundings. Just as it is imposing and distinguished above all others, so may the people of California become the most exalted and perfect altruists of the world. California is, indeed, a blessed country. The climate is temperate, the sun ever shining, the fruits abundant and delicious. All outer blessings are evident here. The Californians are a noble people; therefore, I hope they may make extraordinary progress and become renowned for their virtues.
The issue of paramount importance in the world today is international peace. The European continent is like an arsenal, a storehouse of explosives ready for ignition, and one spark will set the whole of Europe aflame, particularly at this time when the Balkan question is before the world. Even now war is raging furiously in some places, the blood of innocent people is being shed, children are made captive, women are left without support, and homes are being destroyed. Therefore, the greatest need in the world today is international peace. The time is ripe. It is time for the abolition of warfare, the unification of nations and governments. It is the time for love. It is time for cementing together the East and the West.
Inasmuch as the Californians seem peace loving and possessed of great worthiness and capacity, I hope that advocates of peace may daily increase among them until the whole population shall stand for that beneficent outcome. May the men of affairs in this democracy uphold the standard of international conciliation. Then may altruistic aims and thoughts radiate from this center toward all other regions of the earth, and may the glory of this accomplishment forever halo the history of this country. May the first flag of international peace be upraised in this state. May the first illumination of reality shine gloriously upon this soil. May this center and capital become distinguished in all degrees of accomplishment, for the virtues of humanity and the possibilities of human advancement are boundless. There is no end to them, and whatever be the degree to which humanity may attain, there are always degrees beyond. There is no attainment in the contingent realm of which it may be said, "Beyond this state of being and perfection there is no other," or "This has achieved the superlative degree." No matter how perfect it may appear, there is always a greater degree of attainment to be reached. Therefore, no matter how much humanity may advance, there are ever higher stations to be attained because virtues are unlimited. There is a consummation for everything except virtues, and although this country has achieved extraordinary progress, I hope that its attainment may be immeasurably greater, for the divine bounties are infinite and unlimited.
There are some who believe that the divine bounties are subject to cessation. For example, they think that the revelation of God, the effulgence of God and the bounties of God have ended. This is self-evidently a mistaken idea, for none of these is subject to termination. The reality of Divinity is like unto the sun, and revelation is like unto the rays thereof. If we should assert that the bounties of God are not everlasting, we are forced to believe that Divinity can come to an end, whereas the reality of Divinity enfolds all virtues and by reason of these bounties is perfect. Were it not possessed of all these perfections or virtues, it could not be Divinity. The sun is the sun because of its rays, light and heat. If it could be dispossessed of them, it would not be the sun. Therefore, if we say that the divinity or sovereignty of God is accidental and subject to termination, we must perforce think that Divinity itself is accidental, without foundation and not essential.
God is the Creator. The word creator presupposes or connotes creation. God is the Provider. The word provider implies recipients of provision. Another name for the Creator is the Resuscitator, which demands the existence of creatures to be resuscitated. If He be not the Provider, how could we conceive of creatures to receive His bounty? If He be not the Lord, how could we conceive of subjects? If He be not the Knower, how could we conceive of those known? If we should say that there was a time in past ages when God was not possessed of His creation or that there was a beginning for the world, it would be a denial of creation and the Creator. Or if we should declare that a time may come when there will be a cessation of divine bounties, we should virtually deny the existence of Divinity. It is as though man should conceive of a king without country, army, treasury and all that constitutes sovereignty or kingdom. Is it possible to conceive of such a sovereign? A king must be possessed of a dominion, an army and all that appertains to sovereignty in order that his sovereignty may be a reality. It is even so with the reality of Divinity which enfolds all virtues. The sovereignty thereof is everlasting, and the creation thereof is without beginning and without end.
Among the bounties of God is revelation. Hence revelation is progressive and continuous. It never ceases. It is necessary that the reality of Divinity with all its perfections and attributes should become resplendent in the human world. The reality of Divinity is like an endless ocean. Revelation may be likened to the rain. Can you imagine the cessation of rain? Ever on the face of the earth somewhere rain is pouring down. Briefly, the world of existence is progressive. It is subject to development and growth. Consider how great has been the progress in this radiant century. Civilization has unfolded. Nations have developed. Industrialism and jurisprudence have expanded. Sciences, inventions and discoveries have increased. All of these show that the world of existence is continuously progressing and developing; and therefore, assuredly, the virtues characterizing the maturity of man must, likewise, expand and grow.
The greatest bestowal of God to man is the capacity to attain human virtues. Therefore, the teachings of religion must be reformed and renewed because past teachings are not suitable for the present time. For example, the sciences of bygone centuries are not adequate for the present because sciences have undergone reform. The industrialism of the past will not ensure present efficiency because industrialism has advanced. The laws of the past are being superseded because they are not applicable to this time. All material conditions pertaining to the world of humanity have undergone reform, have achieved development, and the institutes of the past are not to be compared with those of this age. The laws and institutes of former governments cannot be current today, for legislation must be in conformity with the needs and requirements of the body politic at this time.
This has been the case also with the religious teachings so long set forth in the temples and churches, because they were not based upon the fundamental principles of the religions of God. In other words, the foundation of the divine religions had become obscured and nonessentials of form and ceremony were adhered to -- that is, the kernel of religion had apparently disappeared, and only the shell remained. Consequently, it was necessary that the fundamental basis of all religious teaching should be restored, that the Sun of Reality which had set should rise again, that the springtime which had refreshed the arena of life in ages gone by should appear anew, that the rain which had ceased should descend, that the breezes which had become stilled should blow once more.
Therefore, Bahá'u'lláh appeared from the horizon of the Orient and reestablished the essential foundation of the religious teachings of the world. The worn-out traditional beliefs current among men were removed. He caused fellowship and agreement to exist between the representatives of varying denominations so that love became manifest among the contending religions. He created a condition of harmony among hostile sects and upheld the banner of the oneness of the world of humanity. He established the foundation for international peace, caused the hearts of nations to be cemented together and conferred new life upon the various peoples of the East. Among those who have followed the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh no one says, "I am a Persian," "I am a Turk," "I am a Frenchman," or "I am an Englishman." No one says, "I am a Muslim, upholding the only true religion," "I am a Christian, loyal to my traditional and inherited beliefs," "I am a Jew, following talmudic interpretations," or "I am a Zoroastrian and opposed to all other religions." On the contrary, all have been rescued from religious, racial, political and patriotic prejudices and are now associating in fellowship and love to the extent that if you should attend one of their meetings you would be unable to observe any distinction between Christian and Muslim, Jew and Zoroastrian, Persian and Turk, Arab and European; for their meetings are based upon the essential foundations of religion, and real unity has been established among them. Former antagonisms have passed away; the centuries of sectarian hatred are ended; the period of aversion has gone by; the medieval conditions of ignorance have ceased to exist.
Verily, the century of radiance has dawned, minds are advancing, perceptions are broadening, realizations of human possibilities are becoming universal, susceptibilities are developing, the discovery of realities is progressing. Therefore, it is necessary that we should cast aside all the prejudices of ignorance, discard superannuated beliefs in traditions of past ages and raise aloft the banner of international agreement. Let us cooperate in love and through spiritual reciprocity enjoy eternal happiness and peace.  
               ('Abdu'l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 376 - 380)

George McNeish
639 Nelson St (at Adelaide)
London, ON
N5Z 1J6

email: wholesale@drdiscount.ca

Community List of the Baha'is of London, Ontario

Friday, October 26, 2012

So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly.

25 October 1912, Talk at Hotel Sacramento, Sacramento, California
Notes by Bijou Straun
When Christ appeared, certain blessed souls followed His example. They were with their Master, ever watching and observing His conduct, movements and thoughts. They witnessed the persecutions which were heaped upon Him and were informed of all the events appertaining to that marvelous life -- recipients of His kindness and favors. After the ascension of Christ they hastened to various regions of the world, scattering broadcast the teachings and instructions which He had given them. Through their devotion and efforts other places and remote nations became informed of the principles revealed by Him.
Through their instrumentality the East was illumined, and the light which flooded the East flooded the West. This light was the cause of guiding great hosts of people. It proved to be a preventive of warfare in many instances. This is evidenced in the unification and conjoining of various nations which had formerly been hostile to each other -- such as the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Syrians, Chaldeans and Assyrians. Through Christ the oneness of the world of humanity received its expression and proved to be the cause of spiritual illumination for mankind. The breaths of the Holy Spirit became effective in the hearts of people.
Now we have, likewise, come from the Orient, announcing the appearance of Bahá'u'lláh, Who shone from the horizon of the East. We have observed His life and beheld His deeds. We have been witnesses of His ordeals and sufferings, observers of His imprisonment and exile. We are fully acquainted with the persecutions heaped upon His blessed Personality. Therefore, we who are His disciples have been scattered throughout the world in order that His teachings may be widespread and be heard by every ear. Thus may the people receive the glad tidings of the dawn of His great dispensation, become aware of the divine evidences manifest in Him, be informed of the wonderful episodes of His marvelous life, the greatness of His power in withstanding the kings of the Orient, the might of His spirit in upholding under all circumstances the standard of the oneness of the world of mankind. Perchance you have heard or read of Him. I will give you a brief epitome of His life in order that you may be informed of the history of His great movement and know His teachings.
Bahá'u'lláh was a Persian personage descended from prominent lineage. During His early years a Youth Whose name was Ali-Muhammad appeared in Persia. He was entitled the Báb, which means door or gate. The bearer of this title was a great Soul from Whom spiritual signs and evidences became manifest. He withstood the tests of time and lived contrary to the custom and usages of Persia. He revealed a new system of faith opposed to the beliefs in His country and promulgated certain principles contrary to the thoughts of the people. For this, that remarkable Personality was imprisoned by the Persian government. Eventually, by order of the government He was martyred. The account of this martyrdom, briefly stated, is as follows: He was suspended in a square as a target and shot to death. This revered Personage foreshadowed the advent of another Soul of Whom He said, "When He cometh He shall reveal greater things unto you."
Thus, after the martyrdom of the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh appeared. The government arose against Him. The priesthood in Persia opposed Him, subjecting Him to severe persecution. His possessions were confiscated, His relatives and friends were killed, and He was placed in a dungeon. For a long period He was imprisoned, chained and subjected to severest suffering. Afterward, He was exiled to Iraq, or Mesopotamia, from thence to Constantinople, then transferred to Adrianople and finally to 'Akká in Syria. He spent twenty-four years in the prison of 'Akká, where He underwent the severest ordeals and privations without a day or night of relaxation and repose. Notwithstanding this imprisonment and suffering, He manifested utmost spiritual power and majesty. Although imprisoned, He withstood two tyrant kings and eventually overcame both.
Shortly after His imprisonment He addressed Epistles, or Tablets, to all the kings and rulers of the world, summoning them to universal peace, to unity and international brotherhood. Among these sovereigns was the Shah of Persia, through whose instrumentality chiefly He had been imprisoned. In His letter to that ruler He arraigned him severely and prophesied his downfall, saying, "Thou art a tyrant; thy country will be laid waste; and thy family, humiliated and debased." He wrote to the Sultan of Turkey in similar terms, saying, "Thy dominion will pass away from thee." The Epistles to the kings and rulers summoning them to international peace were written by Bahá'u'lláh fifty years ago. Everything He wrote has come to pass. These letters were published in Bombay thirty years ago and are now spread broadcast throughout the world. Briefly, Bahá'u'lláh endured forty years of vicissitudes, ordeals and hardships for the purpose of spreading His teachings, which may be mentioned as follows:
The first teaching is that man should investigate reality, for reality is contrary to dogmatic interpretations and imitations of ancestral forms of belief to which all nations and peoples adhere so tenaciously. These blind imitations are contrary to the fundamental basis of the divine religions, for the divine religions in their central and essential teaching are based upon unity, love and peace, whereas these variations and imitations have ever been productive of warfare, sedition and strife. Therefore, all souls should consider it incumbent upon them to investigate reality. Reality is one; and when found, it will unify all mankind. Reality is the love of God. Reality is the knowledge of God. Reality is justice. Reality is the oneness or solidarity of mankind. Reality is international peace. Reality is the knowledge of verities. Reality unifies humanity.
In brief, His theme was that reality underlies all the great religious systems of the world. He summoned the nations and peoples of the world to it. Hostile nations because of their acceptance of the reality of His words became unified. Strife, discord and contention among them passed away; they attained a station of utmost love. At present in Asia those who have accepted His teachings and followed His example, although formerly most hostile and bitter toward each other, now associate in brotherhood and fellowship. The strife and warfare of past times have ceased among them. Jews, Zoroastrians, Christians, Muslims and others have attained to a superlative state of love and agreement through Bahá'u'lláh. They now consort together as one family. They have investigated reality. Reality does not accept multiplicity, nor is it subject to divisibility. These irreconcilable peoples have become unified and agreed.
The second teaching of Bahá'u'lláh is the principle of the oneness of the world of humanity. God is one; His servants are, likewise, one. God has created all; He is kind to all. Inasmuch as He is such a tender Father to all, why should His children disagree? Why should they war and fight? Like the Heavenly Father we must live in love and unity. Man is the temple of God, the image and likeness of the Lord. Surely if one should destroy the temple of God, he will incur the displeasure of the Creator. For this reason, we must live together in amity and love. Bahá'u'lláh has addressed the world of humanity, saying, "Verily, ye are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch." This signifies that the entire world of humanity is one tree. The various nations and peoples are the branches of that tree. Individual members of mankind are represented by the twigs and blossoms. Why should these parts of the same tree manifest strife and discord toward each other?
The third teaching of Bahá'u'lláh concerns universal peace among the nations, among the religions, among the races and native lands. He has declared that so long as prejudice -- whether religious, racial, patriotic, political or sectarian -- continues to exist among mankind, universal peace cannot become a reality in the world. From the earliest history of man down to the present time all the wars and bloodshed which have taken place were caused either by religious, racial, political or sectarian bias. Therefore, it is evident that so long as these prejudices continue, the world of humanity cannot attain peace and composure.
Among the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh is His declaration that religion must be the cause of love and fellowship, must be the source of unity in the hearts of men. If religion becomes a cause of enmity and hatred, it is evident that the abolition of religion is preferable to its promulgation; for religion is a remedy for human ills. If a remedy should be productive of disease, it is certainly advisable to abandon it.
Furthermore, the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh announce that religion must be in conformity with science and reason; otherwise, it is superstition; for science and reason are realities, and religion itself is the Divine Reality unto which true science and reason must conform. God has bestowed the gift of mind upon man in order that he may weigh every fact or truth presented to him and adjudge whether it be reasonable. That which conforms to his reason he may accept as true, while that which reason and science cannot sanction may be discarded as imagination and superstition, as a phantom and not reality. Inasmuch as the blind imitations or dogmatic interpretations current among men do not coincide with the postulates of reason, and the mind and scientific investigation cannot acquiesce thereto, many souls in the human world today shun and deny religion. That is to say, imitations, when weighed in the scales of reason, will not conform to its standard and requirement. Therefore, these souls deny religion and become irreligious, whereas if the reality of the divine religions becomes manifest to them and the foundation of the heavenly teachings is revealed coinciding with facts and evident truths, reconciling with scientific knowledge and reasonable proof, all may acknowledge them, and irreligion will cease to exist. In this way all mankind may be brought to the foundation of religion, for reality is true reason and science, while all that is not conformable thereto is mere superstition.
The teachings of Bahá'u'lláh also proclaim equality between man and woman, for He has declared that all are the servants of God and endowed with capacity for the attainment of virtues and bestowals. All are the manifestations of the mercy of the Lord. In the creation of God no distinction obtains. All are His servants. In the estimation of God there is no gender. The one whose deeds are more worthy, whose sayings are better, whose accomplishments are more useful is nearest and dearest in the estimation of God, be that one male or female. When we look upon creation, we find the male and female principle apparent in all phenomena of existence. In the vegetable kingdom we find the male and female fig tree, the male and female palm, the mulberry tree and so on. All plant life is characterized by this difference in gender, but no distinction or preference is evidenced. Nay, rather, there is perfect equality. Likewise, in the animal kingdom gender obtains; we have male and female, but no distinction or preference. Perfect equality is manifest. The animal, bereft of the degree of human reason and comprehension, is unable to appreciate the questions of suffrage, nor does it assert its prerogative. Man, endowed with his higher reason, accomplished in attainments and comprehending the realities of things, will surely not be willing to allow a great part of humanity to remain defective or deprived. This would be the utmost injustice. The world of humanity is possessed of two wings: the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly. Until womankind reaches the same degree as man, until she enjoys the same arena of activity, extraordinary attainment for humanity will not be realized; humanity cannot wing its way to heights of real attainment. When the two wings or parts become equivalent in strength, enjoying the same prerogatives, the flight of man will be exceedingly lofty and extraordinary. Therefore, woman must receive the same education as man and all inequality be adjusted. Thus, imbued with the same virtues as man, rising through all the degrees of human attainment, women will become the peers of men, and until this equality is established, true progress and attainment for the human race will not be facilitated.
The evident reasons underlying this are as follows: Woman by nature is opposed to war; she is an advocate of peace. Children are reared and brought up by the mothers who give them the first principles of education and labor assiduously in their behalf. Consider, for instance, a mother who has tenderly reared a son for twenty years to the age of maturity. Surely she will not consent to having that son torn asunder and killed in the field of battle. Therefore, as woman advances toward the degree of man in power and privilege, with the right of vote and control in human government, most assuredly war will cease; for woman is naturally the most devoted and staunch advocate of international peace.
Bahá'u'lláh teaches that material civilization is incomplete, insufficient and that divine civilization must be established. Material civilization concerns the world of matter or bodies, but divine civilization is the realm of ethics and moralities. Until the moral degree of the nations is advanced and human virtues attain a lofty level, happiness for mankind is impossible. The philosophers have founded material civilization. The Prophets have founded divine civilization. Christ was the Founder of heavenly civilization. Mankind receives the bounties of material civilization as well as divine civilization from the heavenly Prophets. The capacity for achieving extraordinary and praiseworthy progress is bestowed by Them through the breaths of the Holy Spirit, and heavenly civilization is not possible of attainment or accomplishment otherwise. This evidences the need of humanity for heavenly bestowals, and until these heavenly bestowals are received, eternal happiness cannot be realized.
In brief, the purport is this: The teachings of Bahá'u'lláh are boundless, innumerable; time will not allow us to mention them in detail. The foundation of progress and real prosperity in the human world is reality, for reality is the divine standard and the bestowal of God. Reality is reasonableness, and reasonableness is ever conducive to the honorable station of man. Reality is the guidance of God. Reality is the cause of illumination of mankind. Reality is love, ever working for the welfare of humanity. Reality is the bond which conjoins hearts. This ever uplifts man toward higher stages of progress and attainment. Reality is the unity of mankind, conferring everlasting life. Reality is perfect equality, the foundation of agreement between the nations, the first step toward international peace.
               ('Abdu'l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 370 - 376)

George McNeish
639 Nelson St (at Adelaide)
London, ON
N5Z 1J6

email: wholesale@drdiscount.ca

Community List of the Baha'is of London, Ontario

Post by email

I have just added email posting as an option on this site. If you would like to post a fireside, let me know. I will let you know how to post it from your email.
George McNeish
639 Nelson St (at Adelaide)
London, ON
N5Z 1J6

email: wholesale@drdiscount.ca


Starting an on line fireside blog. Share your thoughts on the Baha'i Writings. Express your views. Send and email to george@sowingpeace.ca with your post. If it meets my guidlines (to be established) I will post it. Basically any positive uplifting message is acceptable. I will not publish anything that is critical of any group or is predjudice.

Once I know your style, I will add you to the account as a blogger and you will no longer need me to approve your posts.

So far this is just a concept. My vision for this is to get a group of people to discuss on an open forum their understanding of various Baha'i subjects. Being on a public blog, anyone in the world could find us on search engines and everyone is invited to participate, however I reserve the right to refuse to publish or remove published material if I feel it is a detriment to any nationality, religion or social class. I will also remove anything that a recognized Baha'i administrative body asks me to remove.

For those interested in world peace London World Peace Forum blog is up and running and enjoying a great deal of success. You may submit your thoughts on Peace to me to include on that blog and once we have built a level of trust I will give you posting rights on that blog.

My Sowing Peace web site is another great resource for lovers of peace. Suggestions for content is always welcome.

I will be putting up my first fireside shortly. Feel free to suggest a subject.