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Program for the Feast of Knowledge

 

 

 

The beginning of all things is the knowledge of God, and the end of all things is strict observance of whatsoever hath been sent down from the empyrean of the Divine Will that pervadeth all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth.  (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings, p. 5)

Were you to ponder, but for a while, these utterances in your heart, you would surely find the portals of understanding unlocked before your face, and would behold all knowledge and the mysteries thereof unveiled before your eyes. Such things take place only that the souls of men may develop and be delivered from the prison-cage of self and desire. Otherwise, that ideal King hath, throughout eternity, been in His Essence independent of the comprehension of all beings, and will continue, for ever, in His own Being to be exalted above the adoration of every soul. A single breeze of His affluence doth suffice to adorn all mankind with the robe of wealth; and one drop out of the ocean of His bountiful grace is enough to confer upon all beings the glory of everlasting life. But inasmuch as the divine Purpose hath decreed that the true should be known from the false, and the sun from the shadow, He hath, therefore, in every season sent down upon mankind the showers of tests from His realm of glory.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 52‑53)

In truth, knowledge is a veritable treasure for man, and a source of glory, of bounty, of joy, of exaltation, of cheer and gladness unto him. Happy the man that cleaveth unto it, and woe betide the heedless.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 27)

O SON OF DUST!  Blind thine eyes, that thou mayest behold My beauty; stop thine ears, that thou mayest hearken unto the sweet melody of My voice; empty thyself of all learning, that thou mayest partake of My knowledge; and sanctify thyself from riches, that thou mayest obtain a lasting share from the ocean of My eternal wealth. Blind thine eyes, that is, to all save My beauty; stop thine ears to all save My word; empty thyself of all learning save the knowledge of Me; that with a clear vision, a pure heart and an attentive ear thou mayest enter the court of My holiness. (Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words, Persian #11)

O my brother! A divine Mine only can yield the gems of divine knowledge, and the fragrance of the mystic Flower can be inhaled only in the ideal Garden, and the lilies of ancient wisdom can blossom nowhere except in the city of a stainless heart. “In a rich soil, its plants spring forth abundantly by permission of its Lord, and in that soil which is bad, they spring forth but scantily.  (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 191)

Knowledge is as wings to man’s life, and a ladder for his ascent.  Its acquisition is incumbent upon everyone.  The knowledge of such sciences, however, should be acquired as can profit the peoples of the earth, and not those which begin with words and end with words.  Great indeed is the claim of scientists and craftsmen on the peoples of the world….  In truth, knowledge is a veritable treasure for man, and a source of glory, of bounty, of joy, of exaltation, of cheer and gladness unto him.  Thus hath the Tongue of Grandeur spoken in this Most Great Prison.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Baha’u’llah Revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 51-52)

Gather ye together with the utmost joy and fellowship and recite the verses revealed by the merciful Lord. By so doing the doors to true knowledge will be opened to your inner beings, and ye will then feel your souls endowed with steadfastness and your hearts filled with radiant joy.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Compilation of Compilations, Vol I, p. 188)

O SON OF SPIRIT!  I created thee rich, why dost thou bring thyself down to poverty? Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself? Out of the essence of knowledge I gave thee being, why seekest thou enlightenment from anyone beside Me? Out of the clay of love I molded thee, how dost thou busy thyself with another? Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.  (Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words, Arabic #13)

We beseech God to aid thee to be just and fair-minded, and to acquaint thee with the things that were hidden from the eyes of men. He, in truth, is the Mighty, the Unconstrained. We ask thee to reflect upon that which hath been revealed, and to be fair and just in thy speech, that perchance the splendors of the daystar of truthfulness and sincerity may shine forth, and may deliver thee from the darkness of ignorance, and illumine the world with the light of knowledge. (Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 10)

And if, confirmed by the Creator, the lover escapes from the claws of the eagle of love, he will enter THE VALLEY OF KNOWLEDGE and come out of doubt into certitude, and turn from the darkness of illusion to the guiding light of the fear of God. His inner eyes will open and he will privily converse with his Beloved; he will set ajar the gate of truth and piety, and shut the doors of vain imaginings. He in this station is content with the decree of God, and seeth war as peace, and findeth in death the secrets of everlasting life. With inward and outward eyes he witnesseth the mysteries of resurrection in the realms of creation and the souls of men, and with a pure heart apprehendeth the divine wisdom in the endless Manifestations of God. In the ocean he findeth a drop, in a drop he beholdeth the secrets of the sea. (Bahá’u’lláh, Seven Valleys and Four Valleys, p 11-12)

Praise be unto Thee, O my God, that we have wakened to the splendors of the light of Thy knowledge. Send down, then, upon us, O my Lord, what will enable us to dispense with any one but Thee, and will rid us of all attachment to aught except Thyself. Write down, moreover, for me, and for such as are dear to me, and for my kindred, man and woman alike, the good of this world and the world to come. Keep us safe, then, through Thine unfailing protection, O Thou the Beloved of the entire creation and the Desire of the whole universe, from them whom Thou hast made to be the manifestations of the Evil Whisperer, who whisper in men’s breasts. Potent art Thou to do Thy pleasure. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p. 233)

 

 

 

Program for the Feast of Power

Welcome to the Feast of Power!

Opening Music:

 

  1. They who are the beloved of God, in whatever place they gather and whomsoever they may meet, must evince, in their attitude towards God, and in the manner of their celebration of His praise and glory, such humility and submissiveness that every atom of the dust beneath their feet may attest the depth of their devotion. The conversation carried by these holy souls should be informed with such power that these same atoms of dust will be thrilled by its influence. (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 7)
  1. It is in Our power, should We wish it, to enable a speck of floating dust to generate, in less than the twinkling of an eye, suns of infinite, of unimaginable splendour, to cause a dewdrop to develop into vast and numberless oceans, to infuse into every letter such a force as to empower it to unfold all the knowledge of past and future ages. This, in truth, is a matter simple of accomplishment. Such have been the evidences of My power from the beginning that hath no beginning until the end that hath no end. My  creatures, however, have been oblivious of My power, have repudiated My sovereignty, and contended with Mine own Self, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. (Baha’u’llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 39-40)
  1. Glorified art Thou, O Lord my God! I beseech Thee by Him Who is Thy Most Great Name, Who hath been sorely afflicted by such of Thy creatures as have repudiated Thy truth, and Who hath been hemmed in by sorrows which no tongue can describe, to grant that I may remember Thee and celebrate Thy praise, in these days when all have turned away from Thy beauty, have disputed with Thee, and turned away disdainfully from Him Who is the Revealer of Thy Cause. None is there, O my Lord, to help Thee except Thine own Self, and no power to succor Thee save Thine own power.

I entreat Thee to enable me to cleave steadfastly in Thy love and Thy remembrance. This is, verily, within my power, and Thou art the One that knoweth all that is in me. Thou, in truth, art knowing, apprised of all. Deprive me not, O my Lord, of the splendors of the light of Thy face, whose brightness hath illuminated the whole world. No God is there beside Thee, the Most Powerful, the All-Glorious, the Ever-Forgiving. (Baha’u’llah, Baha’i Prayers, Steadfastness)

  1. 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. (Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 197-198)
  1. Beseech thou the Almighty that He may remove with the fingers of divine power the veils which have shut out the divers peoples and kindreds, that they may attain the things that are conducive to security, progress and advancement and may hasten forth towards the incomparable Friend. (Baha’u’llah:  Tablets of Baha’u’llah, Pages 61-62)
  1. The Pen of the Most High exhorteth, at this moment, the manifestations of authority and the sources of power, namely the kings, the sovereigns, the presidents, the rulers, the divines and the wise, and enjoineth them to uphold the cause of religion, and to cleave unto it. Religion is verily the chief instrument for the establishment of order in the world and of tranquillity amongst its peoples.  The weakening of the pillars of religion hath strengthened the foolish and emboldened them and made them more arrogant.  Verily I say:  The greater the decline of religion, the more grievous the waywardness of the ungodly.  This cannot but lead in the end to chaos and confusion.  Hear Me, O men of insight, and be warned, ye who are endued with discernment! (Baha’u’llah:  Tablets of Baha’u’llah, Pages 61-62)
  1. O party of the Covenant! Verily, the Beauty of El-Abha hath promised the most great assistance to the beloved who are firm in the Covenant and to confirm them through the mightiest power. Ye will surely find in your luminous assembly such signs as will shine within hearts and souls. Adhere to the hem of the robe of the Lofty One and do your best to spread the Covenant of God and to kindled with the fire of the love of God, so that your hearts may move with joy through the fragrances of humbleness which are being diffused from the heart of Abdul-Baha. Make feet firm, strengthen hearts and rely upon the everlasting bounties which will successively pour on your from the Kingdom of El-Abha. Know, verily, the lights of Bahá will shine forth onto you during your gathering together in the brilliant Paradise. (`Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of Abdu’l-Bahá, p 1-2)
  1. Throughout the universe the divine power is effulgent in endless images and pictures. The world of creation, the world of humanity may be likened to the earth itself and the divine power to the sun. This Sun has shone upon all mankind. In the endless variety of its reflections the divine will is manifested. Consider how all are recipients of the bounty of the same Sun. At most the difference between them is that of degree, for the effulgence is one effulgence, the one light emanating from the Sun. This will express the oneness of the world of humanity. The body-politic or the social unity of the human world may be likened to an ocean and each member, each individual a wave upon that same ocean. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith, p 217-218)
  1. The source of courage and power is the promotion of the Word of God, and steadfastness in His Love. (Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 156)

Closing Music

 

 

A Program for the Feast of Perfection

Welcome to The Feast of Kamál (Perfection)!

Opening Music from the Hidden Words

Opening Prayer:

Purify, O my God, the hearts of Thy creatures with the power of Thy sovereignty and might, that Thy words may sink deep into them. I know not what is in their hearts, O my God, nor can tell the thoughts they think of Thee. Methinks that they imagine that Thy purpose in calling them to Thine all-highest horizon is to heighten the glory of Thy majesty and power. For had they been satisfied that Thou summonest them to that which will recreate their hearts and immortalize their souls, they would never have fled from Thy governance, nor deserted the shadow of the tree of Thy oneness. Clear away, then, the sight of Thy creatures, O my God, that they may recognize Him Who showeth forth the Godhead as One Who is sanctified from all that pertaineth unto them, and Who, wholly for Thy sake, is summoning them to the horizon of Thy unity, at a time when every moment of His life is beset with peril. Had His aim been the preservation of His own Self, He would never have left it at the mercy of Thy foes.

I swear by Thy glory! I have accepted to be tried by manifold adversities for no purpose except to regenerate all that are in Thy heaven and on Thy earth. Whoso hath loved Thee, can never feel attached to his own self, except for the purpose of furthering Thy Cause; and whoso hath recognized Thee can recognize naught else except Thee, and can turn to no one save Thee.

Enable Thy servants, O my God, to discover the things Thou didst desire for them in Thy Kingdom. Acquaint them, moreover, with what He Who is the Origin of Thy most excellent titles hath, in His love for Thee, been willing to bear for the sake of the regeneration of their souls, that they may haste to attain the River that is Life indeed, and turn their faces in the direction of Thy Name, the Most Merciful. Abandon them not to themselves, O my God! Draw them, by Thy bountiful favor, to the heaven of Thine inspiration. They are but paupers, and Thou art the All-Possessing, the ever-Forgiving, the Most Compassionate.  (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 197-199)

Readings selected by Curtis Wynn 

He is the Compassionate, the All-Bountiful! O God, my God! Thou seest me, Thou knowest me; Thou art my Haven and my Refuge.  None have I sought nor any will I seek save Thee; no path have I trodden nor any will I tread but the path of Thy love. In the darksome night of despair, my eye turneth expectant and full of hope to the morn of Thy boundless favor and at the hour of dawn my drooping soul is refreshed an strengthened in remembrance of Thy beauty and perfection. He whom the grace of Thy mercy aideth, though he be but a drop, shall become the boundless ocean, and the merest atom which the outpouring of Thy loving-kindness assisteth, shall shine even as the radiant star.  Shelter under Thy protection, O Thou Spirit of purity, Thou Whom art the All-Bountiful Provider, this enthralled, enkindled servant of Thine. Aid him in this world of being to remain steadfast and firm in Thy love and grant that this broken-winged bird attain a refuge and shelter in Thy divine nest that abideth upon the celestial tree. (`Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i Prayers, p. 29-30)

This is the century of the Blessed Perfection! This is the cycle of the light of His beauty! This is the consummate day of all the Prophets! These are the days of seed sowing. These are the days of tree planting. The bountiful bestowals of God are successive. He who sows a seed in this day will behold his reward in the fruits and harvest of the heavenly Kingdom. This timely seed, when planted in the hearts of the beloved of God, will be watered by showers of divine mercy and warmed by the sunshine of divine love. Its fruitage and flower shall be the solidarity of mankind, the perfection of justice and the praiseworthy attributes of heaven manifest in humanity. All who sow such a seed and plant such a tree according to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh shall surely witness this divine outcome in the degrees of its perfection and will attain unto the good pleasure of the Merciful One.  (`Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 8)

Every man of insight will, in this day, readily admit that the counsels which the Pen of this wronged One hath revealed constitute the supreme animating power for the advancement of the world and the exaltation of its peoples. Arise, O people, and, by the power of God’s might, resolve to gain the victory over your own selves, that haply the whole earth may be freed and sanctified from its servitude to the gods of its idle fancies–gods that have inflicted such loss upon, and are responsible for the misery of, their wretched worshipers. These idols form the obstacle that impedeth man in his efforts to advance in the path of perfection. We cherish the hope that the Hand of Divine power may lend its assistance to mankind, and deliver it from its state of grievous abasement. (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 93)

Oh, you of the Western nations, be kind to those who come from the Eastern world to sojourn among you. Forget your conventionality when you speak with them; they are not accustomed to it. To Eastern peoples this demeanour seems cold, unfriendly. Rather let your manner be sympathetic. Let it be seen that you are filled with universal love. When you meet a Persian or any other stranger, speak to him as to a friend; if he seems to be lonely try to help him, give him of your willing service; if he be sad console him, if poor succour him, if oppressed rescue him, if in misery comfort him. In so doing you will manifest that not in words only, but in deed and in truth, you think of all men as your brothers.

What profit is there in agreeing that universal friendship is good, and talking of the solidarity of the human race as a grand ideal? Unless these thoughts are translated into the world of action, they are useless.

The wrong in the world continues to exist just because people talk only of their ideals, and do not strive to put them into practice. If actions took the place of words, the world’s misery would very soon be changed into comfort.  A man who does great good, and talks not of it, is on the way to perfection.  The man who has accomplished a small good and magnifies it in his speech is worth very little.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 16)

There are some who imagine that an innate sense of human dignity will prevent man from committing evil actions and insure his spiritual and material perfection. That is, that an individual who is characterized with natural intelligence, high resolve, and a driving zeal, will, without any consideration for the severe punishments consequent on evil acts, or for the great rewards of righteousness, instinctively refrain from inflicting harm on his fellow men and will hunger and thirst to do good. And yet, if we ponder the lessons of history it will become evident that this very sense of honor and dignity is itself one of the bounties deriving from the instructions of the Prophets of God. We also observe in infants the signs of aggression and lawlessness, and that if a child is deprived of a teacher’s instructions his undesirable qualities increase from one moment to the next. It is therefore clear that the emergence of this natural sense of human dignity and honor is the result of education. (`Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, pp. 97-98)

With fixed and steady gaze, born of the unerring eye of God, scan for a while the horizon of divine knowledge, and contemplate those words of perfection which the Eternal hath revealed, that haply the mysteries of divine wisdom, hidden ere now beneath the veil of glory and treasured within the tabernacle of His grace, may be made manifest unto you. (Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, pp. 16-17)

Knowledge is not enough; we hope by the Love of God we shall put it into practice. A spiritual universal Force is needed for this. Meetings are good for engendering spiritual force. To know that it is possible to reach a state of perfection, is good; to march forward on the path is better. We know that to help the poor and to be merciful is good and pleases God, but knowledge alone does not feed the starving man, nor can the poor be warmed by knowledge or words in the bitter winter; we must give the practical help of Loving-kindness. (`Abdu’l-Bahá, Abdu’l-Baha in London, pp. 60-61)

Now let us consider the soul. We have seen that movement is essential to existence; nothing that has life is without motion. All creation, whether of the mineral, vegetable or animal kingdom, is compelled to obey the law of motion; it must either ascend or descend. But with the human soul, there is no decline. Its only movement is towards perfection; growth and progress alone constitute the motion of the soul.

Divine perfection is infinite, therefore the progress of the soul is also infinite. From the very birth of a human being the soul progresses, the intellect grows and knowledge increases. When the body dies the soul lives on. All the differing degrees of created physical beings are limited, but the soul is limitless!

In all religions the belief exists that the soul survives the death of the body. Intercessions are sent up for the beloved dead, prayers are said for their progress and for the forgiveness of their sins. If the soul perished with the body all this would have no meaning. Further, if it were not possible for the soul to advance towards perfection after it had been released from the body, of what avail are all these loving prayers, of devotion? (`Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 89)

It is my hope that women of the East, as well as their Western sisters, will progress rapidly until humanity shall reach perfection.  God’s Bounty is for all and gives power for all progress. When men own the equality of women there will be no need for them to struggle for their rights! One of the principles then of Bahá’u’lláh is the equality of sex.  Women must make the greatest effort to acquire spiritual power and to increase in the virtue of wisdom and holiness until their enlightenment and striving succeeds in bringing about the unity of mankind. They must work with a burning enthusiasm to spread the Teaching of Bahá’u’lláh among the peoples, so that the radiant light of the Divine Bounty may envelop the souls of all the nations of the world!  (`Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 163)

Closing Prayer:

Do Thou accept all that we have done for love of Thee, and for the sake of Thy pleasure, and all that we have left undone as a result of our subjection to our evil and corrupt desires. Enable us, then, to cleave steadfastly to Thy love and Thy good-pleasure, and preserve us from the mischief of such as have denied Thee and repudiated Thy most resplendent signs. Thou art, in truth, the Lord of this world and of the next. No God is there beside Thee, the Exalted, the Most High.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 84)

Closing Music

 

A Program for the Feast of Light

Welcome to the Feast of Light!

 

 

These energies with which the Day Star of Divine bounty and Source of heavenly guidance hath endowed the reality of man lie, however, latent within him, even as the flame is hidden within the candle and the rays of light are potentially present in the lamp. The radiance of these energies may be obscured by worldly desires even as the light of the sun can be concealed beneath the dust and dross which cover the mirror. Neither the candle nor the lamp can be lighted through their own unaided efforts, nor can it ever be possible for the mirror to free itself from its dross. It is clear and evident that until a fire is kindled the lamp will never be ignited, and unless the dross is blotted out from the face of the mirror it can never represent the image of the sun nor reflect its light and glory.

 

Dear friend! Now when the light of God’s everlasting Morn is breaking; when the radiance of His holy words: “God is the light of the heavens and of the earth” is shedding illumination upon all mankind; when the inviolability of His tabernacle is being proclaimed by His sacred utterance: “God hath willed to perfect His light;” and the Hand of omnipotence, bearing His testimony: “In His grasp He holdeth the kingdom of all things,” is being outstretched unto all the peoples and kindreds of the earth; it behooveth us to gird up the loins of endeavour, that haply, by the grace and bounty of God, we may enter the celestial City: “Verily, we are God’s,” and abide within the exalted habitation: “And unto Him we do return.” It is incumbent upon thee, by the permission of God, to cleanse the eye of thine heart from the things of the world, that thou mayest realize the infinitude of divine knowledge, and mayest behold Truth so clearly that thou wilt need no proof to demonstrate His reality, nor any evidence to bear witness unto His testimony.

 

He is God! O ye sons and daughters of the Kingdom: Day and night I have no other occupation than the remembrance of the friends, praying from the depth of my heart in their behalf, begging for them confirmation from the Kingdom of God and supplicating the direct effect of the breaths of the Holy Spirit. I am hopeful from the favors of His Highness the Lord of Bestowals, that the friends of God during such a time may become the secret cause of the illumination of the hearts of humanity, breathing the breath of life upon the spirits – whose praiseworthy results may become conducive to the glory and exaltation of humankind throughout all eternity.

 

It is clear and evident, therefore, that any apparent variation in the intensity of their light is not inherent in the light itself, but should rather be attributed to the varying receptivity of an ever-changing world. Every Prophet Whom the Almighty and Peerless Creator hath purposed to send to the peoples of the earth hath been entrusted with a Message, and charged to act in a manner that would best meet the requirements of the age in which He appeared. God’s purpose in sending His Prophets unto men is twofold. The first is to liberate the children of men from the darkness of ignorance, and guide them to the light of true understanding. The second is to ensure the peace and tranquillity of mankind, and provide all the means by which they can be established.

 

The everlasting Candle shineth in its naked glory. Behold how it hath consumed every mortal veil. O ye moth‑like lovers of His light! Brave every danger, and consecrate your souls to its consuming flame. O ye that thirst after Him! Strip yourselves of every earthly affection, and hasten to embrace your Beloved. With a zest that none can equal make haste to attain unto Him. The Flower, thus far hidden from the sight of men, is unveiled to your eyes. In the open radiance of His glory He standeth before you. His voice summoneth all the holy and sanctified beings to come and be united with Him. Happy is he that turneth thereunto; well is it with him that hath attained, and gazed on the light of so wondrous a countenance.

 

 

 

Arise thou to serve the Cause of thy Lord; then give the people the joyful tidings concerning this resplendent Light whose revelation hath been announced by God through His Prophets and Messengers. Admonish everyone moreover to observe prudence as ordained by Him, and in the Name of God advise them, saying: It behoveth every one in this Day of God to dedicate himself to the teaching of the Cause with utmost prudence and steadfastness. Should he discover a pure soil, let him sow the seed of the Word of God, otherwise it would be preferable to observe silence.

 

Consider how all created things eloquently testify to the revelation of that inner Light within them. Behold how within all things the portals of the Ridvan of God are opened, that seekers may attain the cities of understanding and wisdom, and enter the gardens of knowledge and power. Within every garden they will behold the mystic bride of inner meaning enshrined within the chambers of utterance in the utmost grace and fullest adornment.

 

Whatsoever occurreth in the world of being is light for His loved ones and fire for the people of sedition and strife. Even if all the losses of the world were to be sustained by one of the friends of God, he would still profit thereby, whereas true loss would be borne by such as are wayward, ignorant and contemptuous. Although the author of the following saying had intended it otherwise, yet We find it pertinent to the operation of God’s immutable Will: “Even or odd, thou shalt win the wager”. The friends of God shall win and profit under all conditions, and shall attain true wealth. In fire they remain cold, and from water they emerge dry. Their affairs are at variance with the affairs of men. Gain is their lot, whatever the deal. To this testifieth every wise one with a discerning eye, and every fair-minded one with a hearing ear.

 

How often hath the human heart, which is the recipient of the light of God and the seat of the revelation of the All-Merciful, erred from Him Who is the Source of that light and the Well Spring of that revelation. It is the waywardness of the heart that removeth it far from God, and condemneth it to remoteness from Him. Those hearts, however, that are aware of His Presence, are close to Him, and are to be regarded as having drawn nigh unto His throne.

 

These energies with which the Day Star of Divine bounty and Source of heavenly guidance hath endowed the reality of man lie, however, latent within him, even as the flame is hidden within the candle and the rays of light are potentially present in the lamp. The radiance of these energies may be obscured by worldly desires even as the light of the sun can be concealed beneath the dust and dross which cover the mirror. Neither the candle nor the lamp can be lighted through their own unaided efforts, nor can it ever be possible for the mirror to free itself from its dross. It is clear and evident that until a fire is kindled the lamp will never be ignited, and unless the dross is blotted out from the face of the mirror it can never represent the image of the sun nor reflect its light and glory.

 

 

 

Newsletter on the Feast!

Welcome to the Month of Beauty 172!

Hope you’re enjoying this Ridvan, the King of Festivals!

In this issue – The Feast

Articles

5 Things Anyone Can Do to Revive Community Spirits at Feast

19 Day Feast Compilation

19 Day Feast and Why it’s Important

Checklist to Ensure the 19 Day Feast is Held Properly

Unity Feasts

Programs

Devotions for 19 Day Feasts

Feast Programs and Music for Devotional Gatherings

Bahá’í Feast Readings

Quotes for 19 Bahá’í Feasts

Tom’s Web Site

Programs for Will, Power, Questions and Loftiness

Programs for Dominion, Glory, Sovereignty, Loftiness and Names

Children at Feast

Children at Feast

Children of the Feast

5 Easy Ways to Involve Children in Community Activities 

Building A Strong Baha’i Identity In Young Children: A Concrete Approach

Feast Playdough Activity

Radiant Hearts Multimedia Program

Featured Stories:

How ‘Abdu’l-Bahá showed Hospitality

 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was born on the same night that the Bab declared His Mission in Shiraz on 22 May 1844, so on that day in 1906 it was about the Bab, His work and message, that He spoke. For the occasion over two hundred guests were to dine at the Master’s table. Since dawn He had been busy helping with the work involved, Himself kneading dough to be put in the ovens, ‘in gay spirits, inspiring, uplifting, cheering all His helpers‘. Later He ‘assisted in passing the platters…the rice…the lamb…the fruits of the region (of such large size, such colour, and such fragrance as only the sunshine of the East produces and paints). Moving among His two hundred guests, He spoke to them as He served them, such Divine words of love and spiritual import. (Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 49)

Of the guests who remained to lunch or dinner, the Master would often hold out His hand to the humblest or most diffident, lead them into the dining-room, seat him or her at His right hand, smile and talk until all embarrassment had passed away, and the guest felt as though all uneasiness had changed into the atmosphere of a calm and happy home. (Lady Blomfield, The Chosen Highway)

During this second stay in Chicago, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá chose to stay in Corrine True’s home for a day or two before moving to a hotel. When He arrived with His secretaries, Corrine serve them all tea. Unfortunately, it was a type of tea that Persians don’t like, and some of them remarked that “there was a better tea”. But the Master drank it anyway, saying, “This tea is very good because it is been prepared with love.” (Earl Redman, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst, p. 192)

Julia Gundy, an early pilgrim, described a beautiful supper at which many friends were welcomed by the Master Himself in Akka. He passed out napkins, embraced and found plates for each. All were individually anointed with attar of rose. He served pilau, a Persian rice dish, to each guest. There were also oranges and rice pudding. ‘Throughout the supper, which was very simple in its character and appointment, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was the Servant of the believers. This was indeed a spiritual feast where Love reigned. The whole atmosphere was Love, Joy, and Peace. (Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)

He has been known to go into the kitchen and prepare a meal for His guests. He never failed in such small attentions as seeing that the room where His visitors were entertained contained every possible comfort, though He paid no attention to His own comfort. (Howard Colby Ives, Portals to Freedom, p. 240)

Mary Bolles (Maxwell) took an early pilgrimage to the prison city. She heard that the food man eats is of no importance, as its effect endures but a short time. But the food of the spirit is life to the soul and its effects endure eternally. She heard ‘Abdu’l-Bahá tell the touching ’story of the hermit‘. Bahá’u’lláh ‘was traveling from one place to another with His followers’ and ‘He passed through a lonely country where, at some little distance from the highway, a hermit lived alone in a cave. He was a holy man, and having heard that Our Lord, Bahá’u’lláh, would pass that way, he watched eagerly for His approach. When the Manifestation arrived at that spot the hermit knelt down and kissed the dust before His feet and said to Him: “Oh, my Lord, I am a poor man living alone in a cave nearby; but henceforth I shall account myself the happiest of mortals if Thou wilt but come for a moment to my cave and bless it by Thy Presence.” Then Bahá’u’lláh told the man that He would come, not for a moment but for three days, and He bade His followers cast their tents, and await His return. The poor man was so overcome with joy and with gratitude that he was speechless, and led the way in humble silence to his lowly dwelling in a rock. There the Glorious One sat with him, talking to him and teaching him, and toward evening the man bethought himself that he had nothing to offer his great Guest but some dry meat and some dark bread, and water from a spring nearby. Not knowing what to do he threw himself at the feet of his Lord and confessed his dilemma. Bahá’u’lláh comforted him and by a word bade him fetch the meat and bread and water; then the Lord of the universe partook of this frugal repast with joy and fragrance as though it had been a banquet, and during the three days of His visit they ate only of this food which seemed to the poor hermit the most delicious he had ever eaten. Bahá’u’lláh declared that He had never been more nobly entertained nor received greater hospitality and love. “This,” explained the Master, when He had finished the story, shows us how little man requires when he is nourished by the sweetness of all foods – the love of God.”’ (Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)

Featured Prayer

To say before starting the Feast

O God! Dispel all those elements which are the cause of discord, and prepare for us all those things which are the cause of unity and accord! O God! Descend upon us Heavenly Fragrance and change this gathering into a gathering of Heaven! Grant to us every benefit and every food. Prepare for us the Food of Love! Give to us the Food of Knowledge! Bestow upon us the Food of Heavenly Illumination! In your hearts remember these things, and then enter the Unity Feast.

Each one of you must think how to make happy and pleased the other members of your Assembly, and each one must consider all those who are present as better and greater than himself, and each one must consider himself less than the rest. Know their station as high, and think of your own station as low. Should you act and live according to these behests, know verily, of a certainty, that that Feast is the Heavenly Food. That Supper is the “Lord’s Supper”! I am the Servant of that gathering. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 429)

Featured Videos

The Dapper Rappers

This month I’d like to feature a Canadian youth group called the Dapper Rappers with musicians Nadim Merrikh, Sahba Shahmohamadloo, Shayan Majidy and Blair Cameron. They’ve put together some really creative hip-hop music which would be particularly inspiring for Junior Youth classes; as they learn about role models of the Faith; and see ways they can be the change in the world. It’s hard to pick a favorite, since I like everything they do, particular the raps telling the stories of several of the Hands of the Cause; so I recommend you listen to all of them; bookmark them and share them widely!

The video that won the top prize at the international Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s Faith Shorts awards is “Be the Change”. This contest is open to youth 14 to 18, who submit videos inspired by their faith. The producer of this film, Nadim Merrikh, was only 15 when he made this award-winning video!

 

 

The next video show junior youth gathering together in groups around the world to explore how to be agents of positive action and service in their communities. This video celebrates the inherent power in this special age-group, showing how they can rise to “Heights of Glory”.

 

 

Watch and listen to Biographies in Rap for the following Hands of the Cause:

 

Louis Gregory

 

 

William Sears

Sutherland Maxwell

 

John Esslemont

 

Martha Root

 

Read an Article About Winning the Tony Blair Faith Film Contest

Interview on Bahá’í Blog 

Follow them on Facebook 

Visit their YouTube Channel 

Download Some Of Their Raps For Free

Featured Book

The Bright Glass of the Heart

 

While we’re on the theme of early Bahá’ís who made a difference in our communities, I’d like to introduce you to a book by Heather Cardin, whose book The Bright Glass of the Heart gives us an inspiring collection of personal stories of elder Bahá’ís whose commitment and service laid the foundations of the Bahá’í Faith around the world.

We are living the future that the elders envisioned when they, themselves, were young. What was that vision? What did they do to make it a reality? What made them adopt a new religion, perhaps in the face of opposition from family and friends, and spend the rest their lives serving it? What insights can they offer to inspire rising generations? These are the questions Heather Cardin asked elder Bahá’ís. Her book gives us the authentic, powerful voices of our elders, ordinary people looking back on their many years as Bahá’ís helping lay the foundation of the Faith and looking forward to their role in the 21st century.

The book title comes from a quote of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, where he tells us:

When the scattering splendours of this light do beat against the bright glass of the heart, the heart’s purity maketh the beams to blaze out even stronger than before, and to shine in glory on the minds and souls of men. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 193)

These stories show the effect of this quote in action!

For more information; or to buy the book

Featured Coach

Susheel Croft

This month’s featured coach is Susheel Croft, an accredited dietitian and nutritionist with 30 year’s experience. She is a dietitian with a difference, in that she uses the writings and other secret texts along with NLP, Hypnosis, ayurvedic medicine, reconnective healing, reiki, art, Virtues Project strategies, hands-on energy healing and other techniques in her practice. She describes herself as an “emotional blockage buster and healing coach”!

Sushel is offering 50% off an “inner spring cleaning” to help you clear out all your trapped emotions and excess baggage; so you can experience your ultimate well-being, feel contented, loved, healthy and abundant.

To hear her talk about her services

 

To visit her homepage 

To find her on Linkedin 

To follow her on Facebook

Featured Business

Bahá’í Devotional Music – Feast Packages

 Are you responsible for this month’s Feast Program? Don’t know where to start?

I highly recommend Wendy Scott’s Feast packages. Each month she chooses Writings designed to conform to the attribute of God the month is named after and to inspire us to service and teaching. She has tried to include prayers and Writings from each of the Central Figures, and part of a talk of the Master. Her aim is to find unusual Writings you might not hear all the time to make it even more interesting.

She’s made sure that each Feast program is unique, in that the prayers and readings change from month to month.

Each program comes with three writings to be sung by everyone (or listened to) at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of the spiritual portion. They are specifically chosen to go with the name of the month and contribute to the sense of reverence. She also provides an extra song to end the business portion and start the social portion. This song usually has a lighter tone and is not necessarily related to the name of the month but may go with the season and is designed to inspire us to enjoy fellowship and unity and inspire us for service. All of her programs have all been tested “live,” so you can be confident that they’re paced well.

Her programs come in 3 versions:

  • Light ($2) – includes 10 specific Writings in a single-sheet format; and 4 MP3’s
  • Medium ($3) – includes specific Writings in a single-sheet format; 4 MP3’s; a printable booklet program for the Feast, with accompanying sheet music for the songs and a license to print out up to 9 copies of the sheet music.
  • Heavy ($4) – includes specific Writings in a single-sheet format; 4 MP3’s; a printable booklet program for the Feast, with accompanying sheet music for the songs and a license to print out as many copies of the sheet music as you need.

I hope you give her program a try at your next Feast! She makes the planning and organizing easy!

To have a look at programs for the next 3 months

Our Readers Write

I appreciate your welcome message announcing also the month of Glory. Thanks for sharing! Yours in His service, with prayerful thoughts. (Marco Kappenberger)

A Program for the Feast of Dominion

The Feast of Mulk (Dominion)
February 7-25

I’d like to start with this beautiful meditation – to be found at this page

Say: In the East the light of His Revelation hath broken; in the West have appeared the signs of His dominion. Ponder this in your hearts, O people, and be not of those who have turned a deaf ear to the admonitions of Him Who is the Almighty, the All-Praised. Let the Breeze of God awaken you. Verily, it hath wafted over the world. Well is it with him that hath discovered the fragrance thereof and been accounted among the well-assured. (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 13)

O SON OF BEING!
Thy Paradise is My love; thy heavenly home, reunion with Me. Enter therein and tarry not. This is that which hath been destined for thee in Our kingdom above and Our exalted Dominion. (Baha’u’llah: Arabic Hidden Words, # 6)

O God, Who art the Author of all Manifestations, the Source of all Sources, the Fountain-Head of all Revelations, and the Well-Spring of all Lights! I testify that by Thy Name the heaven of understanding hath been adorned, and the ocean of utterance hath surged, and the dispensations of Thy providence have been promulgated unto the followers of all religions. I beseech Thee so to enrich me as to dispense with all save Thee, and be made independent of any one except Thyself. Rain down, then, upon me out of the clouds of Thy bounty that which shall profit me in every world of Thy worlds. Assist me, then, through Thy strengthening grace, so to serve Thy Cause amidst Thy servants that I may show forth what will cause me to be remembered as long as Thine own kingdom endureth and Thy dominion will last. This is Thy servant, O my Lord, who with his whole being hath turned unto the horizon of Thy bounty, and the ocean of Thy grace, and the heaven of Thy gifts. Do with me then as becometh Thy majesty, and Thy glory, and Thy bounteousness, and Thy grace. Thou, in truth, art the God of strength and power, Who art meet to answer them that pray Thee. There is no God save Thee, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. — Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations, XLLI, pp. 59-60

Say: True liberty consisteth in man’s submission unto My commandments, little as ye know it. Were men to observe that which We have sent down unto them from the Heaven of Revelation, they would, of a certainty, attain unto perfect liberty. Happy is the man that hath apprehended the Purpose of God in whatever He hath revealed from the Heaven of His Will, that pervadeth all created things. Say: The liberty that profiteth you is to be found nowhere except in complete servitude unto God, the Eternal Truth. Whoso hath tasted of its sweetness will refuse to barter it for all the dominion of earth and heaven. — Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 336

O SON OF MAN!
Thou art My dominion and My dominion perisheth not, wherefore fearest thou thy perishing? Thou art My light and My light shall never be extinguished, why dost thou dread extinction? Thou art My glory and My glory fadeth not; thou art My robe and My robe shall never be outworn. Abide then in thy love for Me, that thou mayest find Me in the realm of glory. (
Baha’u’llah: Arabic Hidden Words, # 14)

Arise, in My Name, amongst My servants, and say: `O ye peoples of the earth! Turn yourselves towards Him Who hath turned towards you. He, verily, is the Face of God amongst you, and His Testimony and His Guide unto you. He hath come to you with signs which none can produce.’ The voice of the Burning Bush is raised in the midmost heart of the world, and the Holy Spirit calleth aloud among the nations: `Lo, the Desired One is come with manifest dominion!’ — Bahá’u’lláh, Proclamation of Baha’u’llah, p. 19

O SON OF BEING! Thy Paradise is My love; thy heavenly home, reunion with Me. Enter therein and tarry not. This is that which hath been destined for thee in Our kingdom above and Our exalted dominion. — Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words of Baha’u’llah #6, p. 5

Hearken ye, O Rulers of America and the Presidents of the Republics therein, unto that which the Dove is warbling on the Branch of Eternity: “There is none other God but Me, the Ever-Abiding, the Forgiving, the All-Bountiful.” Adorn ye the temple of dominion with the ornament of justice and of the fear of God, and its head with the crown of the remembrance of your Lord, the Creator of the heavens. Thus counselleth you He Who is the Dayspring of Names, as bidden by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. The Promised One hath appeared in this glorified Station, whereat all beings, both seen and unseen, have rejoiced. — Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 52

The moment this divine Message is carried forward by the American believers from the shores of America and is propagated through the continents of Europe, of Asia, of Africa and of Australasia, and as far as the islands of the Pacific, this community will find itself securely established upon the throne of an everlasting dominion. Then will all the peoples of the world witness that this community is spiritually illumined and divinely guided. — `Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of the Divine Plan, p. 40

Glorified is He to Whom pertaineth the dominion of the heavens and of the earth, in Whose hand lieth the kingdom of all created things and unto Whom shall all return. It is He Who setteth the measure assigned to each and every thing and revealeth His goodly gifts and blessings in His sacred Book for the benefit of those who offer gratitude for His Cause. Say, this earthly life shall come to an end, and everyone shall expire and return unto my Lord God Who will reward with the choicest gifts the deeds of those who endure with patience. Verily thy God assigneth the measure of all created things as He willeth, by virtue of His behest; and those who conform to the good-pleasure of your Lord, they are indeed among the blissful. — The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, pp. 160-161

All blessings are divine in origin, but none can be compared with this power of intellectual investigation and research, which is an eternal gift producing fruits of unending delight. Man is ever partaking of these fruits. All other blessings are temporary; this is an everlasting possession. Even sovereignty has its limitations and overthrow; this is a kingship and dominion which none may usurp or destroy. Briefly, it is an eternal blessing and divine bestowal, the supreme gift of God to man. — `Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 50