Friday, October 31, 2014
Therefore, the seeker must be endowed with certain qualities. First of all, he must be just and severed from all else save God; his heart must be entirely turned to the supreme horizon; he must be free from the bondage of self and passion, for all these are obstacles. Furthermore, he must be able to endure all hardships. He must be absolutely pure and sanctified, and free from the love or the hatred of the inhabitants of the world. Why? because the fact of his love for any person or thing might prevent him from recognizing the truth in another, and, in the same way, hatred for anything might be a hindrance in discerning truth. This is the condition of seeking, and the seeker must have these qualities and attributes. Until he reaches this condition, it is not possible for him to attain to the Sun of Reality.
The first condition of a seeker is to be just and severed from all except God. How often it is that one is barred from the Truth because one is attacked to a particular religious form or a past Prophet. When Truth approaches from a different angle it is rejected. Those of one religion fail to see the Truth in all others. Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”[i] Yet Christ is rejected if He approaches from unfamiliar ground.
“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”[ii] Yet His followers fail to see the timelessness of Him. When He appears at a different time in a different person, He is rejected. His followers will say, “this is not Christ who was born of a virgin, was crucified and rose from the dead.” Unless Christ returns again in the body of Jesus, they will not accept Him. What will He look like. They have all seen pictures of Jesus, so it is obvious that He is a white Anglo-Saxon protestant with long hair who will confirm everything they already believe. If He was to appear otherwise, He would assuredly be rejected. Thus attachment to the form, no matter how imaginary it is, causes them to reject the Truth when manifested in an unexpected way.
When people make up a God, they tend to make Him agreeable to all they believe, willing to do whatever they want Him to do, and of the same ethnicity as they are themselves. Such a God is their best friend and cannot do them any wrong, no matter how corrupt they are. It is very difficult to break anyone away from such a belief and when the One True God sends another Messenger with that same Christ Spirit that existed from the beginning that had no beginning and will be with us until the end that will never end, (in other words, He is with us for eternity), He is assuredly rejected by the masses because He does not conform to human expectation.
Thus it is only those who are detached from such belief who recognize Him. We see in the Bible how the religious leaders of the day rejected Him, yet the devils recognized and feared Him.
And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
(Matthew 8: 28, 29)
It is clear that we must detach ourselves from pride, learning, religion, persons and anything at all that could bar us from recognizing the Truth. When Jesus said, “I am the Truth,” it was the Christ within Him that was speaking and whenever we find the Truth, we find Him. They will be known by their fruits. If the fruit is Truth, assuredly the Tree is Christ.
Monday, September 8, 2014
Baha’is follow the Truth. But what is Truth?
As human beings we are inclined to error. At one time everyone believed the earth was flat. Did that make it true? All the earth once believed that the sun circled around our planet. If all believed it, was it the truth? In the future we may be astounded at how many things we believe to be the verifiable truth that will, one day, be disproved.
Humans are subject to error, but God is unerring. Once in about every one thousand years, God sends us the embodiment of Truth in the form of one who manifest His own being. Thus it is that “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
As Baha’i’s we believe in the latest Manifestation of God who brought the Truth for this day. We also accept all the past Manifestations of God who brought Truth into the world. Moses brought to us the ten commandments and many of these are yet today embodied in civil law. The Word of God said “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13) and throughout the world there are laws against murder. Moses led the people in Truth away from the land of bondage and to the land of the free.
Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8: 32) When Jesus was on the earth He found the people in bondage to sin. He confronted the Jews with these harsh words. “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8: 44) The shining light of Truth as manifest by Jesus is still visible today.
Mohammad revealed in the Qur’an, “And those who believe in Allah and His messengers -- they are the Sincere (Lovers of truth), and the witnesses (who testify), in the eyes of their Lord: they shall have their Reward and their Light, but those who reject Allah and deny Our Signs -- they are the Companions of Hell-Fire.” (The Qur'an (Yusuf Ali translation), Surah 57: 19) again a Manifestation of God came to lead the people out of the darkness of error to the Light of Truth.
Bahá'u'lláh urges us, “Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility.” (Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 93)
In past dispensations there were parts of the world that were unknown. In this age we have not only discovered every part of the world but technology has advanced to the point where we know what is happening in every quarter. Communication flies around the world at lightning speed. Someone posts to a blog and instantly it is available all over the planet. Today, Truth can be Manifest in all parts and we can all come together under its power. No longer do we need to hate each other and lash out in fear of what we do not know. Truth has come to us in a Omnipotent way and we can all follow it in unity. If we love Truth it will set us free and we will be free to love. Hatred and error are darkness. Truth and love are light. Today the light of Truth shines so brightly that even the blind can see.
Do you agree? How do you see the Truth? Is world unity and peace now possible? Please leave your comments or send me and email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are committed to peace, let the world know.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
O HUSAYN! God grant thou shalt ever be bright and radiant, beaming with the light of the Sun of Truth, and mayest unloose thy tongue in magnifying the Name of God, which is the most laudable of all acts.
(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 234)
1. laud·a·ble (ˈlôdəbəl/)
1. (of an action, idea, or goal) deserving praise and commendation.
"laudable though the aim might be, the results have been criticized"
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Celebrating 1,000 views.
I Started my fireside blog on 26th of October 2012 and as of today, July 27th, 2014 it has had 1,000 views. My more popular blog, the London World Peace Forum was started on June 6th 2011 and it would take a year to break the 1,000 views mark. Then, in July of 2012 it had 602 view followed by 1,996 in August that year. Currently, at time of writing, it stands at 19,607 views.
I made a post on the Peace Forum blog on July 3rd, 2012 that got a lot of attention. To date 2,047 people have viewed this post alone. I titled it “Addition vs Subtraction. I compared the Teachings of God to Mathematics and likened the rejection of God’s latest messenger to be the same as rejecting new concepts of math. The student that has just learned to add is now being asked to subtract and he wants nothing to do with it. There is an uprising among additionists as they try to squash the influence of subtraction, but the subtractionists explain that the full purpose of addition can never be realized without subtraction. I have repeated the argument below for your convenience.
Addition vs Subtraction
One and One is Two
Addition vs Subtraction
I just love addition and I do not want to see it corrupted by subtraction. We all know from the very beginning of addition that one plus one is two. Now subtraction wants to confuse the issue by saying one minus one is zero. Tell subtraction to get a life. What good is zero? What do we do when there is nothing left? With addition we will always have more. Whatever we have we can add to it and get more. There is power in addition, but subtraction wants to take that away. If you love addition you will not allow subtraction make a negative impression on you. And if subtraction does take hold, what’s next? Multiplication, division or perhaps even fractions; we don’t need these. Addition serves all our needs. It gives and never takes away. Don’t let our pure methods of addition get corrupted with these new age ideas.
Addition is good, but it doesn’t do everything. Addition is getting, but if we keep adding and never taking away, we will become bogged down in materialism. Subtraction is giving and sharing. If I have ten apples and give five away, I still have five. Addition can’t do that. Without subtraction there would be no room for addition. Our storage facilities would be full and we would starve to death. Subtraction is necessary for live. If we have ten apples and we eat one, we have just subtracted. Yes, with addition we can get all we need, but we can’t use it without subtraction. If the additionalist would examine the principles of addition they would see it was just a first step leading to subtraction and beyond. Yes it will progress to multiplication, division and even fractions, but this is a fulfilment of addition and not a corruption.
It is plain to see that the Divine Teachers teach us what we are capable of learning at the time, but if we reject the Divine teachings of the present because they introduce new ideas that we are not familiar with and were not taught in the past, we lose big time. The new teachings do not negate the teachings of the past, but they add to it. It is not a denial of the past but a fulfillment of it. When we close our minds to the new ideas, we become handicap and the old ideas will no longer work for us. If we don’t learn to subtract, addition will lose its power and be of no use to us.
Moses brought the revelation of God to humanity in His age. He brought social and spiritual laws to help us live. Among them was the law of the Sabbath that was designed to give us humans a break and a day of rest. By the time Jesus appeared the followers of Moses had interpreted the law in such a manner that people became slaves to the law. Moses led the people out of slavery and Jesus found them in a new kind of slavery.
When Jesus introduced new spiritual and social concepts, He was rejected by the majority of the followers of Moses. When He explained that the law was made for man and not that man was made for the law, He was accused of blasphemy and corrupting the law of God. Have the followers of Jesus suffered for accepting His teachings? No, they went on to found great governments and establish kingdoms on earth. They did not reject the teachings of Moses, but added the teachings of Jesus to them. Many more became acquainted with the teachings of Moses through the efforts of the Christians and there was no harm whatsoever done to the law of Moses.
Again humanity progressed and became in need of new ideas and teachings. The people of the Arabic area were nomadic tribes living in a constant state of war. God sent Mohammad and the tribes were united into a great nation. The Muslim universities became renown over the world and even many Christian leaders were educated in these Muslim institutions. If you doubt the advantages of these new ideas, try balancing your bank account or filing your tax return using roman numerals. Our present number system and mathematics is an outcome of Muslim educational techniques.
Over the last few hundred years we have seen the world increasingly being ravaged by war. Each nation wanting to protect its way of life would rise up against anyone perceived to be a threat to its ideals. Politics, religion and materialism all contributed to the greed of expanding territories and defeating the enemy. Christ’s injunction to “love your enemies” was forgotten as even one Christian ideology would rise up in war against another. At such a time, God’s twin Messengers, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh came with a message of love and unity. Bahá’u’lláh annulled the rule of the sword and replaced it with the power of utterance. He says;
Know thou that We have annulled the rule of the sword, as an aid to Our Cause, and substituted for it the power born of the utterance of men. Thus have We irrevocably decreed, by virtue of Our grace. Say: O people! Sow not the seeds of discord among men, and refrain from contending with your neighbor, for your Lord hath committed the world and the cities thereof to the care of the kings of the earth, and made them the emblems of His own power, by virtue of the sovereignty He hath chosen to bestow upon them. He hath refused to reserve for Himself any share whatever of this world's dominion. To this He Who is Himself the Eternal Truth will testify. The things He hath reserved for Himself are the cities of men's hearts, that He may cleanse them from all earthly defilements, and enable them to draw nigh unto the hallowed Spot which the hands of the infidel can never profane. Open, O people, the city of the human heart with the key of your utterance. Thus have We, according to a pre-ordained measure, prescribed unto you your duty.
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 303, 304)
We see in the past how, despite insurmountable odds and extreme opposition, the law of God was established and human society was advanced. We also see that, without these new ideas, human society was doomed and its destruction would have resulted. Now, more than ever we see the destruction of the human race looming on one side while the revelation of God is rushing in on the other to save it. The world is waiting for the life giving Message that has been entrusted to those faithful followers who have recognized it. The veils must be rent asunder, the clouds dispersed and the hearts unlocked so the revelation of Glory may shine with its life giving rays on all of humanity.
Yes; many problems can be solved with addition, but we need subtraction, multiplication, division and many other aspects to solve all the problems. Even so, the past revelation of God was good and sufficient to solve the problems of the Day in which it was revealed, to solve the problems of today we need the current revelation of God and we must learn the rules and conditions of the future world order which is currently being established.
Monday, July 21, 2014
From KITAB-I-'AHD (Book of the Covenant), Bahá'u'lláh states.
O ye that dwell on earth! The religion of God is for love and unity; make it not the cause of enmity or dissension. In the eyes of men of insight and the beholders of the Most Sublime Vision, whatsoever are the effective means for safeguarding and promoting the happiness and welfare of the children of men have already been revealed by the Pen of Glory. But the foolish ones of the earth, being nurtured in evil passions and desires, have remained heedless of the consummate wisdom of Him Who is, in truth, the All-Wise, while their words and deeds are prompted by idle fancies and vain imaginings.
(Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 220)
Many wars have been fought and often the opponents both had the belief that God was on their side. As they attempted to rid the world of evil forces they forgot to ask God if it was what He wanted them to do.
Bahá'u'lláh makes it clear that the religion of God is for love and unity. Many people see God as a warring God that divides humanity against itself and inspires people toward hatred and strife. Many atheists cannot believe in such a God. A friend of mine would often tell such people that she did not believe in the God that they didn’t believe in either. She explained that, in order to not believe in God they must have some concept of God that they don’t believe in, and that concept of God she did not accept either.
The Religion of God, in its pure form, is a very powerful thing. Unfortunately, even watered down, it can be very powerful and have a great influence. Thus evil men have used the religion of God to promote their own interests. By watering down and distorting the facts they come up with a new religion that resembles Truth but promotes hatred and division.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Thus the wolf comes in sheep’s clothing intent on dispersing the flock and devouring the weak ones. If we remain united, the wolf does not have chance, so he must first divide the flock and scatter it into sects, religions, cults and other divisions that will weaken the True religion. Be assured that if anyone is attempting to divide God’s sheep, he is not the True Shepherd. When we realize that all of Gods Messengers taught us to love, we will all embrace the Ancient Faith of God and be in unity.
Let your principal concern be to rescue the fallen from the slough of impending extinction, and to help him embrace the ancient Faith of God.
(Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 316)
Did you find something in your scriptures that caught your attention? Why not share it with us. Click on comments below to leave your comments.
Friday, July 18, 2014
For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Matthew 23:39)
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)
Those who know the truth do not need to seek the truth but those who seek the Truth find the Truth. This common theme runs through all religion. Those who consider themselves learned and righteous feel they have no need of knowledge or forgiveness. Therefore they go on assured of salvation while despising the sinner. Yet, when one acknowledges sin and continues a lifelong search after Truth, he or she is rewarded abundantly.
But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Matthew 9:13)
Until we say “Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord,” we can in no wise recognize Him. This is evident throughout scripture. How many Priests, Rabbis, Mullahs, Ministers or clergy of any religion have failed to recognize the one sent by God when they came face to face with Him? This is repeated throughout history. Those who believe they have perfect knowledge feel they need no more and therefore reject the Word of God even if they meet Him in person. Yet the true seeker recognizes His voice even if he or she is hearing His words hundreds of years after they were revealed.
But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: (John 10:26-27)
If we love the Lord, Our God, we thirst after His Knowledge while ever mindful of our own shortcomings. We love our neighbor and, desiring that he suffer no shame, we hide his deficiencies any praise his attributes, but for ourselves, we must scrutinized our lives and always be working on bringing it more in accordance with God’s Will. We have only one live to control and that is our own. If we do that in accordance with the will of God while intently listening for the Voice of God, we will hear Him calling us into the unity of the One Fold under the One Shepherd.
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)
Now we have a challenge set before us. Can we do as the Holy Spirit guides us? Will we follow the Spirit of Truth when he comes to us with All Truth? When we go forth in humbleness to accomplish that which God has ordained our reward is beyond our imagination. We are being watched from the Heavenly Realm and He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our capabilities and when He says to try He knows we can succeed even if we feel the task is impossible. Yes, we need to look at our own shortcomings, but only so we can correct ourselves and learn how to lead a more Godly life. If we use these shortcomings as an excuse to fail, then we are not relying on our Almighty God to see us through. He will aid us so long as we try. He will bring a passage of His word to our minds when we need it most if we but take the time to read His Word.
Let your principal concern be to rescue the fallen from the slough of impending extinction, and to help him embrace the ancient Faith of God. Your behavior towards your neighbor should be such as to manifest clearly the signs of the one true God, for ye are the first among men to be re-created by His Spirit, the first to adore and bow the knee before Him, the first to circle round His throne of glory. I swear by Him Who hath caused Me to reveal whatever hath pleased Him! Ye are better known to the inmates of the Kingdom on high than ye are known to your own selves. Think ye these words to be vain and empty? Would that ye had the power to perceive the things your Lord, the All-Merciful, doth see -- things that attest the excellence of your rank, that bear witness to the greatness of your worth, that proclaim the sublimity of your station! God grant that your desires and unmortified passions may not hinder you from that which hath been ordained for you. (Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 316 - 317)
Still there are some who doubt the Power of God. They see evil in the world and think that God has lost control. We find ourselves in difficulty and doubt that God can help us, however at such times we are taught to pray:
Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants, and all abide by His bidding! (The Báb, Baha'i Prayers, p. 27)
He says, “all abide by His bidding.” It is hard for us to understand. He gives us free will and with that free will, we suffer the consequences of the decisions we make, yet we are powerless to work outside of His will. He has perfect knowledge and therefore knew everything we would do even before He created us, so we wonder why. Why does He allow wars? Why does He allow little children to be abused? We cannot understand because we only see this earthly plain, but in His perfect Wisdom and Knowledge, He knows how much pain we need to correct our ways. We suffer when we turn away from Him and He allows that suffering in a measure that will help us to turn back to Him.
Many of us, with imperfect knowledge, would like to advise God and tell Him a better way of doing things, but He has perfect knowledge and knows what is best for us.
I can already hear the cry of the people. They will tell me that I don’t know what happened to themselves or their loved ones and how could I believe that was the will of God and I need to make clear that all that happens is not necessarily His will, but since it is His will to give us free will, we must also be allowed to suffer the consequences of our actions. Therefore, when people commit terrible acts there is terrible consequences. Many times innocent victims are hurt, but the recompense for their hurt will come. If not in this life time, it will surely come. Those who did the evil things will have to live with the knowledge of the results of what they did and they too will receive the recompense for their actions. And yet, we have a forgiving God. When we learn to be forgiving we will suffer much less.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (Matthew 6:12)
How are you feeling today? Let me know your thoughts. Leave a comment.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
O foolish one! Know thou that he is truly learned who hath acknowledged My Revelation, and drunk from the Ocean of My knowledge, and soared in the atmosphere of My love, and cast away all else besides Me, and taken firm hold on that which hath been sent down from the Kingdom of My wondrous utterance. He, verily, is even as an eye unto mankind, and as the spirit of life unto the body of all creation. Glorified be the All-Merciful Who hath enlightened him, and caused him to arise and serve His great and mighty Cause. Verily, such a man is blessed by the Concourse on high, and by them who dwell within the Tabernacle of Grandeur, who have quaffed My sealed Wine in My Name, the Omnipotent, the All-Powerful.
(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 207, 208 )
This quote is from a tablet written to Shaykh Muhammad Baqir. However I still wonder if the address, “O foolish one!” may also apply to myself.
“Know thou that he is truly learned who hath acknowledged My Revelation,”
I have acknowledged the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, so am I truly learned? Wait! There is more conditions.
“and drunk from the Ocean of My knowledge,”
Well I’ve taken a few sips from this Ocean.
“and soared in the atmosphere of My love,”
I know Bahá'u'lláh loves us, but am I soaring in the atmosphere of His love?”
“and cast away all else besides Me,”
This is tough. I’m not sure I’ve done that. If I’ve cast away most other things, does that count?”
“and taken firm hold on that which hath been sent down from the Kingdom of My wondrous utterance.”
I am trying. I am desperately trying to grasp every word that comes from Bahá'u'lláh, but can I say I have taken firm hold of it?
The words of praise that Bahá'u'lláh has for the truly learned makes one long for such a position, and yet how unworthy we feel. And this for a good reason. The qualifications for the truly learned are tough. Is there anyone who can honestly say they have met all those qualifications? I wonder what qualifications there would be for the fifty percent learned.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
Question : What is the changeless commandment of God?
Indeed thou didst grasp the significance of rendering assistance unto God and didst arise to achieve this through the power of wisdom and utterance. Say: To assist Me is to teach My Cause. This is a theme with which whole Tablets are laden. This is the changeless commandment of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future. Comprehend this, O ye men of insight. They that have passed beyond the bounds of wisdom fail to understand the meaning of assisting God as set forth in the Book. Say: Fear ye God and sow not the seeds of dissension amongst men. Observe ye that which hath been enjoined upon you by your Lord, the Almighty, the All-Knowing. He knoweth the reality of victory and hath taught it to you with an utterance that the vain imaginings of them that rove distraught in the wilderness of doubt can never corrupt.
(Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 196)
Question. Why is the changeless commandment of God to teach His Cause?
Say: If it be Our pleasure We shall render the Cause victorious through the power of a single word from Our presence. He is in truth the Omnipotent, the All-Compelling. Should it be God's intention, there would appear out of the forests of celestial might the lion of indomitable strength whose roaring is like unto the peals of thunder reverberating in the mountains. However, since Our loving providence surpasseth all things, We have ordained that complete victory should be achieved through speech and utterance, that Our servants throughout the earth may thereby become the recipients of divine good. This is but a token of God's bounty vouchsafed unto them. Verily thy Lord is the All-Sufficing, the Most Exalted.
(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 197)
Friday, June 27, 2014
Every Deed has its Own Reward
As to Paradise: It is a reality and there can be no doubt about it, and now in this world it is realized through love of Me and My good-pleasure. Whosoever attaineth unto it God will aid him in this world below, and after death He will enable him to gain admittance into Paradise whose vastness is as that of heaven and earth. Therein the Maids of glory and holiness will wait upon him in the daytime and in the night season, while the day-star of the unfading beauty of his Lord will at all times shed its radiance upon him and he will shine so brightly that no one shall bear to gaze at him. Such is the dispensation of Providence, yet the people are shut out by a grievous veil. Likewise apprehend thou the nature of hell-fire and be of them that truly believe. For every act performed there shall be a recompense according to the estimate of God, and unto this the very ordinances and prohibitions prescribed by the Almighty amply bear witness. For surely if deeds were not rewarded and yielded no fruit, then the Cause of God -- exalted is He -- would prove futile. Immeasurably high is He exalted above such blasphemies! However, unto them that are rid of all attachments a deed is, verily, its own reward. Were We to enlarge upon this theme numerous Tablets would need to be written.
(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 188)
Bahá'u'lláh says that, in this world, Paradise is "realized through love of Me and My good-pleasure."
He also says, " For every act performed there shall be a recompense according to the estimate of God." And "unto them that are rid of all attachments a deed is, verily, its own reward."
I began to think, what greater happiness is there than to do good deeds and be rewarded for them. And since the deed itself is the reward, there will always be a reward. Sound s so simple, but why then did Bahá'u'lláh say, " Were We to enlarge upon this theme numerous Tablets would need to be written."
Then I started thinking of specifics. Let's say we have a friend who is going through a hard time. We help him out and cheer him up. Now, we feel rewarded and feel we have done something good. But what if that friend is unappreciative and refuses to be cheered up? Was it really the deed that was the reward or was it our friends response to the deed that rewarded us.
However we know our friend needs help, so we go back and help him again. He comes to expect our help and takes it for granted, but he is still downcast and in misery. He never smiles and he shows no appreciation. How many of us would give up at this point? We may start to wonder if he wants our help. We may feel we are laboring for nothing. Is this deed its own reward?"
This reminds me of the story of the Boy Scout who came home and told his mother that he had a hard time doing his good deed for the day.
"Why, What did you do?" his mother asked.
"I Helped a little old lady across the street." He replied.
"What was so hard about that?"
"She didn't want to go."
Yes we do need to determine if our help is wanted before we act. That is why it is important to listen. But also, if our help is conditional of the recipient showing some appreciation, then we must examine again our motives. " However, unto them that are rid of all attachments a deed is, verily, its own reward." Are we truly rid of all attachment?
Just something to think about. As Bahá'u'lláh says, "numerous Tablets would need to be written" if we are to enlarge on this theme.
To sum up there are a few basic questions we need to ask ourselves.
"Does the little old lady really want to cross the road?" If we are helping someone to do something that they don't want to do it does no one any good. Perhaps the little old lady needs to catch a bus and is trying to find a bus stop. We can ask and listen to her to find out what her needs are.
"What is our motivation for performing the deed?" If we expect a show of appreciation we may have the wrong attitude. Actions speak louder than words, so what are your actions saying. Perhaps the one you are trying to help hears, "I, your rich benevolent friend am helping you poor unfortunate scum and you better show me some respect because I have powered over you and can turn my help off at any time." Any time we are helping someone because they are less fortunate than ourselves, we are vaunting ourselves over them. Friendship should always be on equal terms. Yes, I see your need and since I have more than I need I want to help you, but you also have things that I need and would love to accept your help as well.
O ye rich ones of the earth! Flee not from the face of the poor that lieth in the dust, nay rather befriend him and suffer him to recount the tale of the woes with which God's inscrutable Decree hath caused him to be afflicted. By the righteousness of God! Whilst ye consort with him, the Concourse on high will be looking upon you, will be interceding for you, will be extolling your names and glorifying your action. Blessed are the learned that pride not themselves on their attainments; and well is it with the righteous that mock not the sinful, but rather conceal their misdeeds, so that their own shortcomings may remain veiled to men's eyes.
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 314, 315)
If we have never had the opportunity to live in poverty, we do not know what it is like. By listening to those who are so afflicted we can gain an understanding of their needs and wants. We can gain much useful knowledge that would otherwise be unavailable to us. Everyone loves a fairytale with a happy ending, but not every story in real life has a happy ending. Can we listen to those sad stories and not be moved to do something about them? Perhaps the ending of the story is up to us. Can we give the story of someone else a happy ending. First we need to hear their stories. Maybe the chapter where they meet us will be a turning point.
These points are much to vast to enlarge on. We can only handle a little at a time. Perhaps the earth could not contain the number of books required to exhaust such a subject.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
In the Sermon on the mount Christ is reported to have said, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” (Matthew 7:6)
We also read in the Bible how Christ was accused of associating with sinners. “But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Matthew 9:12,13)
It appears that Christ would give His Holy utterance and cast His pearls of knowledge to the sinners, but when these same words got to those who considered themselves righteous, they turned on His Holy Person and had Him nailed to a cross.
A few months ago I heard a radio broadcast about “Absolute Moral Authority.” The discussion on this subject involved instances where individuals or groups exercised such authority to the detriment of others. The residential schools in Brantford were cited as an example. In these schools, the government and churches joined forces and decided what was best for the aboriginal population. They enforced their plan with brutality and in the process damaged a society to the point where it will take many generations to heal. I was married to a product of those schools and witnessed firsthand the damage they had done. It is now recognized how this experiment went bad and steps are being taken to correct the damage, but those so damaged are unlikely to trust the judgement and the motives of a society that caused such damage. The leaders and organizers of this experiment meant well. There concern was the betterment of the people in their charge. Their only fault was in that they sincerely believed they had superior knowledge and absolutely knew what was best for another culture.
If there is any words I dread hearing said about myself it is, “He meant well.” Usually when you hear this phrase it means that somebody really messed up. However there is lessons to be learned. Just as the Scribes and the Pharisees during the time of Christ felt that they knew the absolute truth and therefore had no need of the teachings of Christ, there are many throughout history who took a similar approach and caused great loss to themselves and others. It is a continued reminder that we are fallible servants and God is the All-Knowing Master. When we start to believe we can act as gods and dictate the lives of others, we are in big trouble. We become the Swine that will turn and tear God’s Servant apart when we hear the Pearls of Wisdom coming from His lips.
Thus it is that we must take a humble approach when we disseminate the Teachings of God. We offer them as a gift to a king, and if it is not accepted, we move on. We know not who the swine are and it is not for us to judge, but if we try to force the Pearls of Knowledge on those swine, we risk being torn apart.
The scariest part of this is that those who fall into this category do not know and I must be on constant guard less I become one of the swine mentioned by Christ. If I find myself becoming so sure of myself that I turn in anger towards one who disagrees I may very well believe my knowledge is absolute. Instead I must take the approach that we must together look at the facts and determine the truth. If you believe differently than me, I must discover why you believe differently. Perhaps you have seen things from a perspective I haven’t. I need to honour your culture and your past that led you to such a belief, then together we can discover the truth.
The lady that first taught me the Faith of God taught me a pearl of wisdom. When someone would tell her that they did not believe in God, she would reply that she did not believe in the God that they did not believe in either. She would explain that, in order to not believe in God you must have some concept of God that you don’t believe in. Since this concept must be a distortion of the truth in order to produce a concept of God that one could not believe in, it must therefore be a false concept. She could now tell the person about the God she believed in without arguing if their God was real or not.
This is one example of how we can take the time to hear the other persons perspective before we judge them is being in error. If we start with differing definitions of key words we will never come to an agreement. First we must learn what a person means, then we can work on determining truth.
“I know that you understand what I said. What you don’t understand is what I said is not what I meant.” This is a quote that I heard many years ago and have no recollection of where it came from, but it rings true very often. Let us first determine what we mean. Then the steps we can take to reconcile differences will flow more easily.
As I prepare to go for eye surgery, and for the first time in my life consent to have a part of my body cut by another person, one may wonder why I took time to write the preceding. I decided to join my wife at the church for prayer and she was leading a discussion on the Sermon on the Mount when I arrived. Thus, when I arrived at work and turned my thoughts to God, this was fresh on my mind.
Another interesting thing happened as I walked to the shop. As I walked I was distracted be something floating in the air. At first I thought it was a butterfly, but as it got close I recognized a leaf. Then, as it fluttered a few inches from my face, a sudden gust of wind blew it against my forehead. Being today, the first of April, it has been a long time since the season for falling leaves, but a few leaves always seem to hang on to the branches of trees throughout the winter. As I thought of such a stray leaf falling just at such a time to display itself mid air in front of me and then for this gentle gust of wind to cause it to touch my forehead, it made me think that perhaps I had just been touched by the hand of God. Perhaps, from the beginning of time, he had arranged things so that that leave would fall just as I was walking by. Many will think it was mere coincidence and that God is far to busy to pay attention to such details, but still, it makes one wonder.
As I have been blessed I will pray for the blessings of all. I hope today God will guide you in all you do. I pray that the hands and heart of my surgeon, and all other surgeons who are performing surgery today, will be guided by God’s will. Next time I see you I will actually see you instead of seeing a blur that resembles a human being.