Reflections on the Ascension of Baha’u’llah

(The following article is by Matt Giani from bahaiblog.net)



 

On May 29, 1892, shortly before dawn began to break, Baha’u’llah passed on from this mortal life and His spirit was finally “released from the toils of a life crowded with tribulations.”[i] He was surrounded only by family members and a small but loyal band of followers. His body was laid to rest, reverently and without any extravagant ceremony, in one of the buildings of the property in Bahji, outside of Akka, Israel, where He had spent the last twelve years of His life. He died a prisoner, a captive of one of the many governments that had persecuted Him for the past forty years and exiled Him from Tehran to Baghdad to Constanstinople to Adrianople to Akka and finally to Bahji. In fact, of the countless themes which run through Baha’u’llah’s Writings, his imprisonment and suffering is one of the most recurring:

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The Bahá’í Statement on Nature

(Editor’s note: In honor of Earth Day this April 22nd, the following article from Bahai.org offers the Baha’i perspective on our approach and responsibilities to our earthly home.)



 


In September of 1986 the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) launched its Network on Conservation and Religion, bringing religious leaders representing Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews and Muslims together with environmental leaders in Assisi, Italy. Each of the five religions represented there issued a declaration on nature. As of October 1987, the Bahá’ís became the sixth major religion to join this new alliance, and put forward this statement in support of the Network’s objectives.

 

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“Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by varying causes, and in this diversity there are signs for men of discernment. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world. It is a dispensation of Providence ordained by the Ordainer, the All-Wise.” ~ Bahá’í Writings

With those words, Bahá’u’lláh, Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, outlines the essential relationship between man and the environment: that the grandeur and diversity of the natural world are purposeful reflections of the majesty and bounty of God. For Bahá’ís, there follows an implicit understanding that nature is to be respected and protected, as a divine trust for which we are answerable.

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The Spiritual Design of Creation

The Spiritual Design of Creation: Solving the puzzle of human life and destiny
By Hushidar Hugh Motlagh

In its pages, the author presents his case for understanding the creation and process of our world as a spiritual enterprise. He makes his case with successive chapters employing information from a wide variety of fields of study, including branches of science such as biology, chemistry and physics, mathematics, medical specialties including neurology and physiology, and the humanities and social sciences.

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Naw-Ruz: Spiritual Springtime

(The following article is by Preethi from bahaiblog.net)


 

Every year, on March 21st, Baha’is from all over the world and of all cultural backgrounds celebrate Naw-Ruz.

Naw Ruz has its origins as a Zoroastrian observance in ancient Iran and, to this day, is celebrated as a cultural festival by Iranians of all religious backgrounds. In addition to being celebrated by Iranians and members of the Iranian diaspora, the observance of Naw Ruz has also spread to many other parts of the world, and is celebrated a a cultural holiday in India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Iraqi Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Naw-Ruz, which means “New Day”, is celebrated at the vernal equinox, on the first day of spring. It is a time of joy and celebration, with the darkness of winter coming to an end and the reappearance of light, warmth and the beauty of spring’s flowers. It is a day of new beginnings – of change and hope.

However, for Baha’is, Naw Ruz also has deep spiritual significance. Naw Ruz marks the end of the 19-day Baha’i Fast, which is a period of reflection and profound spiritual reinvigoration for Baha’is. Naw-Ruz was ordained by Baha’u’llah as a celebration of humanity’s “spiritual springtime”: the Baha’i dispensation.

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What Bahá’ís Believe: Love and Knowledge

The following article is from bahai.org.



 

Spiritual qualities flourish as love and knowledge grow within our minds and hearts. In this process, we become better and better able to discern between that which is conducive to loftiness and that which leads to abasement, and we advance in our understanding of the physical universe, the human being, society, and the life of the spirit. Love grows with knowledge and true understanding is enhanced by love.

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One Reality: The Harmony of Science and Religion

Compiled by Bonnie J. Taylor
Introduction by John S. Hatcher

One Reality is a compilation of sacred Baha’i writings on the topic of the unity of science and religion as expressed in the Baha’i faith. The introduction by John S. Hatcher provides context for exploring the writings that follow in the body of the book. Ms. Taylor has arranged the chapters in an order that emphasizes developmental and logical progression in understanding the concepts presented, and the chapters are also sub-divided at times to emphasize individual ideas. The reader is presented with sequential passages that build understanding of the Baha’i perspective, and open understanding of both the concept of unity and the ways we can understand the world around us. Helpful for both personal deepening and understanding for teaching, this book is a valuable addition to any Baha’i bookshelf.

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Circle of Friends Book Club

*** Next bookclub meeting: Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 7 pm at the Bahá’í Center. All are welcome! ***
The February meeting will be a group reflection/consultation to evaluate the direction the bookclub is taking and fill in our future calendar. Please join us and add your ideas!

The Circle of Friends Book Club is one of the many groups that are meeting at the Bahá’í Center. Dedicated to exploring books of all sorts, the group meets on the second Wednesday of every month from 7-9 pm. Both Baha’is and non-Baha’is are welcome at bookclub. Please join us for lively conversation, new information about books, and exchange of ideas in a comfortable small group atmosphere. Come and enjoy light snacks and lots of laughter too!

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Universal Peace

(The following article is from bahai.org)

The teachings of Baha’u’llah are vast in their scope, exploring as they do such themes as the nature and purpose of Revelation, the inherent nobility of the human being, the cultivation of spiritual qualities, and humanity’s interactions with the natural world. The Bahá’í Writings are also replete with references to universal peace—“the supreme goal of all mankind”—as well as explanations of the social principles with which this peace is associated.

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Falling Into Grace By Justice St. Rain

Falling Into Grace: The Trials and Triumphs of Becoming a Bahá’í
By Justice St. Rain

This book is directed to those new to the Baha’i Faith. Its focus is on examining the process of becoming a part of the Baha’I Community, and attempting to make that process smoother and easier for the new believer. Written with candor and humor, the author’s perspective makes this book a valuable read whether one is a new Baha’i, a member of long-standing, or someone in between. It contains a wealth of well-organized information, as well as insights for how to approach difficulty whether struggling with an issue oneself, or attempting to assist someone else in the Faith. And it also speaks at length to the blessings of membership in the Faith and the value of approaching difficulties from a positive perspective. Although Justice St. Rain is very clear that the book is written from his individual perspective, and that readers should practice independent investigation of truth, his experience and insight make for thoughtful reflection and increased understanding of a reader’s own personal experiences as a member of the Baha’i Community.

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What Christmas Means to Baha’is

(The following article is by Preethi from bahaiblog.net)


 

Do Baha’is celebrate Christmas? This question is a bit of a tricky one to answer because Christmas means different things to different people.

Based on the understanding of Christmas as a commemoration of the birth of Christ, the day is clearly of significance to Baha’is, who believe that Christ was a Manifestation of God. Baha’is do not, however, celebrate Christmas within their communities as one of the Baha’i Holy Days.

While the principle of progressive revelation means that Baha’is believe in the divine origin of the other world religions (and consequently, the significance of each of their Holy Days), the Baha’i Faith is an independent religion with its own Holy Days. Baha’is – while believing in the divine origins of all other world religions – follow the teachings of Baha’u’llah, whom we believe to be the latest in the line of Messengers sent from God with laws to address the needs of humanity in this day and age.

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