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The Importance of Faith 

When the light of faith is kindled in the lamp of the heart and soul, its spreading rays illumine every limb of the body. When this resplendent light shineth forth through the medium of the tongue, it is made manifest in the powers of speech and utterance. When its beams fall upon the eyes, insight and true vision are revealed, and when it stirreth the ear, it bestoweth attentive hearing. When this light sheddeth its radiance upon the mind, it leadeth to the recognition of the All-Merciful, and when it setteth aglow the limbs, it findeth expression in purity and the worship of God. Otherwise, all physical powers, all limbs and members would remain useless and futile and their actions would fade like a mirage in the desert. (From a Tablet of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—translated from the Persian, from Give me Thy Grace to Serve Thy Loved Ones, Compilation for the 2018 Counsellors’ Conference, [4])

This is a newly translated tablet and on first blush, it seems to be a wonderful reminder of the importance of faith, and the gifts we get when faith is kindled in our hearts and souls.  It begs the question, though, what happens to those who don’t have faith?  `Abdu’l-Bahá says all their “limbs and members would remain useless and futile and their actions would fade like a mirage in the desert.”  I wonder at the analogy seeming to fall short.

Is He saying that with faith, our speech and utterance have power; we are given insight, true vision and attentive hearing; we recognize God and worship Him with purity of heart but without faith, speech and utterance have no power, we don’t get insights or recognize God?

Knowing I have faith and being reminded of the gifts it bestows, I am grateful!

What jumped out for you as you read through today’s meditation?  I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!

If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Making Friends with Sin and Temptation

 

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How to Love One Another

The purpose of the appearance of the holy Manifestations hath ever been the establishment of fellowship and love in the world of humanity. The friends should therefore lay down their lives in this arena that they may exhilarate the people of the world with the wine of love for one another and may gladden the hearts of the whole human race. (From a Tablet of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—translated from the Persian, from Give me Thy Grace to Serve Thy Loved Ones, Compilation for the 2018 Counsellors’ Conference, [15])

Bahá’ís easily accept that Bahá’u’lláh came to bring unity to the world.  I don’t know about you, but I often get lost in the Ocean of details in the Writings, forgetting that every aspect leads back to this one principle.  Even when I can wrap my head around it, I frequently forget that to get to unity, I need to manifest fellowship and love, not only among my friends and family, but even more importantly, to those who hurt me and reject the Faith.

It’s easy to get so lost in my own problems and the day-to-day minutia of my “to do” list and need to be productive, that I forget all about the importance of building relationships.  I get scared at the thought of laying down my life in learning how to have fellowship and love for others.  It’s easier when I think about laying down my “to do” list for a minute, and reach out to someone who might need help.  I can be the change I want to see, one kind action at a time.  If each of us does it, surely the whole human race will become gladdened and exhilarated and want what we have.

Remembering that teaching is easier when I take time to build relationships, I am grateful!

What jumped out for you as you read through today’s meditation?  I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!

If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Strengthening Your Relationship with God

 

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When We Argue, We’re Both Wrong

If two souls quarrel and contend about a question of the divine questions, differing and disputing, both are wrong. The wisdom of this incontrovertible law of God is this: That between two souls from amongst the believers of God, no contention and dispute may arise; that they may speak with each other with infinite amity and love. Should there appear the least trace of controversy, they must remain silent, and both parties must continue their discussions no longer, but ask the reality of the question from the Interpreter. This is the irrefutable command!  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of the Divine Plan, p. 56)

I love this quote and find it interesting that it’s embedded within the Tablets of the Divine Plan, our marching orders for spreading the Faith to every corner of the planet.  This incontrovertible law and irrefutable command of God is important to be embedded into the hearts of all travel-teachers and pioneers, because it means we don’t have to be right.  We don’t have to prove a point.  We don’t have to engage in any controversial discussion.  We can just listen and approach every interaction with a humble posture of learning.  For someone addicted to adrenaline and drama, this is such a relief!  It’s hard on my adrenals and my liver to keep fighting for my position. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be in a marriage or a job or a community, where this was taken seriously?

It can be a challenge to learn to speak with infinite amity and love, remaining silent and looking to the Baha’i Writings for some insights.  First we need to have the discipline of turning to the Writings so we can develop the habit of “asking the reality of the question from the Interpreter”.  Then we need to learn how to share them with “words as mild as milk”, and then leave the results to God, humbly asking Him to plant the truth in the hearts of those we teach.

Knowing I don’t have to dispute with anyone, and can remain silent and avoid controversy, I am grateful!

What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation?  I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!

If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Letting Go of Criticizing Others

 

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Newsletter – on the Hidden Words

 In this issue – The Hidden Words

9 Songs to Help You Memorize The Hidden Words

Baha’i Hidden Words in Images

Baha’i Song Project – Hidden Words

Baha’i Video – Hidden Words

Discovering the Hidden Words

Persian Hidden Words, Number 71

The Hidden Words of Baha’u’llah — a talk by Hand of the Cause Abu’l-Qasim Faizi

Transcript of a talk by Hand of the Cause of God A. Q. Faizí

The Hidden Words of Baha’u’llah (Persian and Arabic)

Apps

The Hidden Words: Baha’i Reading Plan for iPhone and iPad

The Hidden Words for Android

Download Android App Baha’i: The Hidden Words for Samsung

Featured Stories:

3 Stories About How ‘Abdu’l-Baha Showed Mercy

1. He had left orders that none were to be turned away, but one who had twice vainly sought his presence, and was, through some oversight, prevented from seeing him, wrote a heartbreaking letter showing that he thought himself rebuffed. It was translated by the Persian interpreter. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá at once put on his coat, and, turning towards the door, said, with an expression of unspeakable sadness, “A friend of mine has been martyred, and I am very grieved. I go out alone.” and he swept down the steps. One could then see how well the title of “Master” became him.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 109)

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The demands on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s time were constant. The English Bahá’ís tried to organize the flow of those seeking interviews and instituted a system of official appointments. One day, a woman appeared at the door and asked if she could see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. When asked if she had an appointment, she admitted that she had not and was promptly told, “I am sorry but He is occupied now with most important people, and cannot be disturbed.” Sadly, the woman slowly turned away, but before she could reach the bottom of the steps, a messenger from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá rushed out and breathlessly said, “He wishes to see you, come back!” From the house came the powerful voice of the Master: “A heart has been hurt, hasten, hasten, bring her to Me.”  (Earl Redman, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst, p.36)

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Two days earlier, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had granted a final interview to Harriet Cline and Henrietta Wagner, who were to leave for California, the following day. They waited for their interview with many others until someone announced, “there will be no more interviews this morning.” The two women were crushed and sat there in shock at the thought of going home without seeing the Master one last time. But then came the Master’s melodious voice calling, “Mrs. Klein then Mrs. Wagner.” When Mrs. Klein entered ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s presence, He put an arm around her and said, “You are my daughter, you are my daughter. I have prayed for you many, many times.” Her tears poured out uncontrollably until she looked up into ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s eyes. His smile and happiness suddenly filled her and, she said, “a sense of great inner calmness took possession of my soul.”  (Earl Redman, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst, p. 118)

Featured Prayers:

Prayers for God’s Mercy

Thou seest Thy handmaiden, O my God, standing before the habitation of Thy mercy, and calling upon Thee by Thy name which Thou hast chosen above all other names and set up over all that are in heaven and on earth. Send down upon her the breaths of Thy mercy, that she may be carried away wholly from herself, and be drawn entirely towards the seat which, resplendent with the glory of Thy face, sheddeth afar the radiance of Thy sovereignty, and is established as Thy throne. Potent art Thou to do what Thou willest. No God is there beside Thee, the All-Glorious, the Most Bountiful.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 148)

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I beseech Thee, by Thy mercy that hath surpassed all created things, and Thy grace that hath embraced the entire creation, to accept from Thy servants what they are capable of showing forth in Thy path. Aid them, then, by Thy strengthening grace, to exalt Thy word and to blazon Thy praise. Powerful art Thou to do what pleaseth Thee. Thou, truly, art the All-Glorious, the All-Wise.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 149-150)

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I beg of Thee to assist them! Do refresh these faded souls with the drops of the cloud of Thy gifts, and do illumine these lowly beings through the effulgences of the sun of Thy Singleness! I pray Thee to cast these thirsty fishes into the sea of Thy mercy; guide their lost caravan unto the asylum of Thy unity; direct these bewildered souls unto the fountain of Thy guidance, and cause these wanderers to abide in the shelter of Thy might. Suffer the thirst ones to drink from the Sweet Water of Thy gifts, and quicken the dead by eternal life. Endow the blind with light, the deaf with hearing, the dumb with speech, the lukewarm with energy, the heedless with mindfulness, the sleepers with wakefulness, and the proud with humility. Verily, Thou art the Powerful, Thou art the Forgiver! Thou art the Loving! Verily, Thou art the Generous, the Most High!
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 369-370)

 Featured Video:

This month’s featured video shows two of Bahá’u’ll’áh’s Hidden Words beautifully sung in Acappella style.

O SON OF SPIRIT! My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting.  (Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words 1)

O SON OF BEING!  Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent. Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation.  (Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words 59)

 

For those who are struggling with self-worth, Nabil Moghaddam talks about how we can use this hidden word to help:

O SON OF SPIRIT!

My claim on thee is great, it cannot be forgotten. My grace to thee is plenteous, it cannot be veiled. My love has made in thee its home, it cannot be concealed. My light is manifest to thee, it cannot be obscured.  (Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words 20)

Featured Book:

The Hidden Words of Baha’u’llah

The Hidden Words of Baha’u’llah consists of about 153 short paragraphs in two parts – Persian and Arabic. It’s a collection of lyrical, gem-like verses of scripture that convey timeless spiritual wisdom clothed in the garment of brevity. The Hidden Words is one of the most important and cherished scriptural works of the Baha’i Faith. The verses are a perfect guidebook to walking a spiritual path and drawing closer to God. They address themes such as turning to God, humility, detachment and love, to name but a few. These verses are among Baha’u’llah’s earliest and best known works.  They have been translated into more than seventy languages and read by millions worldwide.  You’ll want to get your copy, if you don’t own it already!

Featured Coach:

Shannon Beck

Shannon Beck is a certified professional life coach who provides you the opportunity to transform your weakness into strengths, your fears into action and your pain into your greatest triumph. She specializes in helping older men (45 and up) work on communication, stress, relationships, professional and personal development; and finding more meaning and joy in those later years.  She also works with young women (18-35) on personal/career development, finding their own voice, strength and balance as they come into their own.

With the help of Endless Ocean Coaching, you’ll receive the personalized guidance you need to release your inner radiance. Whether you’re looking for general life direction or want to advance your career, Shannon can give you the tools that will enable you to achieve your goals.

Through Shannon’s energizing coaching sessions, you’ll quickly realize that your life contains an ocean of possibilities. Reaching that ocean may only be a matter of recognizing the obstacles in your way, so she’s here to empower you to keep moving forward. When you choose to enroll in her services, you’re not only making the choice to grow, you’re learning how to change your reality.

Looking for better communication, less stress, more productivity, better work and personal relationships, gained emotional intelligence and an overall better quality of life?  Give Shannon a try!

 

To hear her talk about her coaching practice

To visit her home page

To read her blog

To follow her on Facebook

To find her on Linkedin

 

Featured Business:

 

Dr. O’Mead Rahmanian

This month I’d like to feature the work of Dr. O’Mead Rahmanian, a chiropractor in Alaska, a reader of this newsletter; and a member of the NSA of Alaska.  When he read that 5 months after breaking my ankle, I was still in a lot of pain, couldn’t walk or drive and was at my whit’s end, he gave me a call, quickly diagnosed the problem, and immediately gave me LOTS of easily do-able exercises and nutritional supplements to break down the scar tissue.  Best of all, he gave me the “attitude adjustment” I needed to overcome my challenges.  Because it was grounded in the Writings, it was easy to swallow!  In less than a week, I was able to walk without pain! His follow up calls really kept me motivated, propelled my recovery forward and enabled me to increase the range of motion so I could walk again!

Omid is well-known for his ability to locate the source of pain in his patients, which has won him county-wide recognition from his peers, as well as from traditional and holistic health practitioners alike.  I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that prior to pioneering to Alaska, he was voted Doctor of Choice for North County San Diego and was featured on Channel 6 Health Living in San Diego.

Omid sincerely wants to help people live a pain-free and healthy lifestyle; a life without limits.  With you, he designs a personalized wellness plan that combines nutritional, rehabilitation and ergonomic suggestions along with non-invasive and highly-effective chiropractic services.  He also throws in a smattering of absolutely timely and well-presented quotes from the Writings that I appreciated very much.  It was like having my very own Baha’i-Inspired Life Coach!

To learn more about his practice

 

To watch a patient give a testimonial

 

To visit his webpage

To find him on Facebook 

To follow him on Twitter

Thanks to all who write in!  Your encouragement really keeps me going!  

By the way, I accept donations!  If you like the materials in these newsletters and on my website, please consider making a donation. Your help and feedback is GREATLY appreciated, to defray the costs of making these available to you!!!  There’s a PayPal “Donate” Button at the bottom of every page on my website. Thank you!!!

See you next month!  Hope it’s a month filled with mercy! 

Till The Last Breath – Mr. Furutan’s Last Act of Service

By Irina Musuc
With permission

I believe that life is a series of instances, occasions, encounters that shape our personalities and form our path. And some encounters leave such profound mark in the soul, that it can change the whole perception of one’s existence.
I had such an encounter on 26th of November 2003 on the Day of the Covenant. It happened during a 9 day Baha’i Pilgrimage in Haifa and it became the most memorable and distinctive moment of my pilgrimage, a spiritual lesson and a lodestar, which enlightened the rest of my life.

That day our group went to Akka. There we saw the Greatest Prison, where Baha’u’llah and members of His family were kept, the house , in which Baha’u’llah revealed the Most Holy Book Kitab-i-Aqdas and many other Baha’i Holy Places. I was overwhelmed and full of impressions. But that wasn’t all for that day, as in the evening at the Pilgrims Reception Center we were supposed to meet with an outstanding person, the Hand of the Cause of God – Mr. Ali-Akbar Furutan.

The meeting was supposed to start at 6 p.m. It wasn’t our first meeting with him. First time I saw him on the first day of pilgrimage – 24th of November. He gave a marvelous speech and promised us to come every other day. He said that before he used to come every day to meet with pilgrims, as Shoghi Effendi mentioned, that pilgrims were the guests of Baha’u’llah. But now doctors recommended him to come once in two days because of the age. No wonder! Mr Furutan was 98 years old.

I have to say that I heard about this unique person long before my pilgrimage. Once I heard one Baha’i sharing a conversation Mr. Furutan had with a group of pilgrims. When one of them asked him what he was afraid of most of all in life, he asnwered that he was afraid of dying comfortably in his bed and not being steadfast in the Cause of God till the last minute of His life. It was an amazing thing to hear, knowing how much Mr. Furutan has suffered and how faithfully he was serving the Baha’i Faith throughout his entire life.

Now you can imagine our disappointment, when we were told, that Mr. Furutan wouldn’t come. Then I remembered that when he first came to meet with pilgrims, he looked very weak and frail. It seemed that life giving energy was slowly leaving that fragile body. Of course, the first thing I thought was that he was not able to come because of the state of health.

Many pilgrims decided to go to their hotels, but some of us, quite few indeed, decided to stay, hoping that the meeting would still take place. How happy we were when ten minutes to six we were told that Mr. Furutan would come. As soon as this unique person entered the room, it became evident what efforts it took him to come here. He looked very pale and even transparent. It seemed that he no longer belonged to this earthly realm. However, notwithstanding the weakness, he went up the stage by himself andbuckled the microphone to his suit.

Mr. Furutan’s speech was dedicated to the Duty of teaching the Faith. First he read the quotation of Baha’u’llah from the “Gleanings”:

“Say: Teach ye the Cause of God, O people of Baha, for God hath prescribed unto every one the duty of proclaiming His Message, and regardeth it as the most meritorious of all deeds. Such a deed is acceptable only when he that teacheth the Cause is already a firm believer in God, the Supreme Protector, the Gracious, the Almighty. He hath, moreover, ordained that His Cause be taught through the power of men’s utterance, and not through resort to violence. Thus hath His ordinance been sent down from the Kingdom of Him Who is the Most Exalted, the All-Wise.”

Then the Hand of the Cause shared with us his understanding of the word duty. As an example, he told us a story. “It happened in Russia, when Nikolai the II was the tsar. One day Nikolai the II was walking in the courtyard of his palace. He noticed the guard, who looked very ill, his face was red and swollen. He approached him and asked from what illness he suffered. The guard answered that he had malaria. Then the tsar told him that he needed special care and that he could go home. But the guard replied that he was not able to leave his post without the senior officer’s permission and that it was his duty to guard the palace till the last breath. Then Nikolai the II took his rifle and told him, that in such case, he would replace him at his post till the senior officer came and he would inform him that he personally let the guard go and that he fulfilled his duty. “This is what duty means” – Mr.Furutan said. “The reason I came here today is because it was my duty to come. And if it is a duty – you have to fulfill it.”

Many people know that Mr. Furutan lived and studied in Russia and that he lovedspeaking Russian whenever he had chance. Fortunately, all the Russian-speaking pilgrimswere present at the gathering. And when he was telling the story, he often translated some words into Russian, and especially, the words “duty” and “responsibility”. When the Hand of the Cause finished his speech, he immediately approached the Russian-speaking pilgrims and asked in Russian: “Friends, did you understand what I said? Did you understand what is duty?”

These words were almost the last words in his life, as in few minutes he passed away. He died before our eyes, peacefully and with dignity, on the pilgrims’ hands, whom he appreciated so much. His life and his passing became for me an example of true servitude, steadfastness in the Covenant, and faithfulness to the Cause of God. By his own life he showed us what duty was and how we had to fulfill it till the last breath!

How Wondrous the Vision – Tablets of the Divine Plan, 1916-2016

Compiled February, 2016 by Marlene Macke

O that I could travel, even though on foot and in the utmost poverty, to these regions, and, raising the call of “Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá” in cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, promote the divine teachings! This, alas, I cannot do. How intensely I deplore it! Please God, ye may achieve it.1

[In 2016] the Bahá’í world will mark one hundred years since the first of the Tablets of the Divine Plan flowed from the pen of the Master. In these fourteen Tablets, revealed during one of humanity’s darkest hours, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá laid out a charter2 for the teaching work that defined its theatre of action as the entire planet. Held in abeyance until 1937, when the first in a succession of Plans launched at the instigation of the Guardian was assigned to the Bahá’ís of North American, the Divine Plan has continued to unfold over the decades since as the collective capacity of Bahá’u’lláh’s followers has grown, enabling them to take on ever-greater challenges. How wondrous the vision of the Plan’s Author! Placing before the friends the prospect of a day when the light of His Father’s Revelation would illuminate every corner of the world, He set out not only strategies for achieving this feat but guiding principles and unchanging spiritual requisites. Every effort made by the friends to systematically propagate the divine teachings traces its origins to the forces set in motion in the Divine Plan.3

“Abdul Baha wrote these letters under dangerous conditions at the height of World War I from what was then Ottoman Palestine to the small Baha’i community in North America (the much larger community in Persia was suffering heavy persecution, as it still does now in Iran.) At that time, the American community was only about two decades old, and its members were being asked to travel to some of the most remote corners of the earth. Abdul Baha asked a visiting student who happened to have a geography textbook if he could keep the textbook, and this was used to list out the sometimes obscure places that the North American Baha’is were called on to visit.”4

TDP 1

 

Chart 1

When, to Whom and Where Were the Tablets Revealed?

1 March 26, 1916 Northeastern States5 In ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s room at the house in Bahjí
2 March 27 Southern States6 In the garden adjacent to the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh
3 March 29 Central States7 Outside the house in Bahjí
4 April 1 Western States8 In ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s room at the house in Bahjí
5 April 5 Canada9 In the garden outside the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh
6 April 8 United States & Canada In the garden adjacent to the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh
7 April 11 United States & Canada In ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s room at the house in Bahjí
8 April 19 United States & Canada In ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s room at the house in Bahjí
9 February 2, 1917 Northeastern States In Ismá’íl ‘Aqá’s room at the house of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Haifa
10 February 3 Southern States In Ismá’íl ‘Aqá’s room
11 February 8 Central States In Bahá’u’lláh’s room at the house of ‘Abbúd in ‘Akká
12 February 15 Western States In Bahá’u’lláh’s room at the house of ‘Abbúd
13 February 21 Canada In Bahá’u’lláh’s room at the house of ‘Abbúd
14 March 8 United States & Canada In the summer-house (Ismá’íl ‘Aqá’s room) at ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s house in Haifa

 

Chart 2

The Countries, States, Territories, Islands, Cities to be Opened, and the Peoples Named

1 Mar 26, 1916 Northeastern States Cities in the Northeastern States
2 Mar 27 Southern States The Southern States
3 Mar 29 Central States Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas specifically named
4 Apr 1 Western States New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Arizona and Nevada specifically named
5 Apr 5 Canada Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Mackenzie, Keewatin, Ungava, Franklin Islands and Greenland all specifically named, as well as the Eskimo peoples
6 Apr 8 United States & Canada Alaska, Mexico, the 6 Central American Republics of Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama. Belize (or British Honduras). The Indian peoples. The islands of the West Indies: Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Lesser Antilles, Bahama Islands, even the small Watling Island, the two black republics, Haiti and Santo Domingo in the Greater Antilles. Bermuda.

 

The republics of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, British Guiana, Dutch Guiana, French Guiana, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela. Islands: Falkland Islands, the Galapagos, Juan Fernandez, Tobago and Trinidad. The city of Bahia in Brazil.

7 Apr 11 United States & Canada 3 great Island groups of the Pacific Ocean – Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia: New Guinea, Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Philippine Islands, Solomon Islands, Fiji, New Hebrides, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia, Bismarc Archipelago, Ceram, Celebes, Friendly Islands, Samoa Islands, Society Islands, Caroline Islands, Low Archipelago, Marquesas, Hawaiian Islands, Gilbert Islands, Moluccas, Marshall Islands, Timor, and the other islands

Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, Japan, Asiatic Russia, Korea, French Indo-China, Siam, Straits Settlements, India, Ceylon, Afghanistan

 

Continent of Africa, Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands, Madeira Islands, Reunion Island, St. Helena, Zanzibar, Mauritius

 

British Isles, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Portugal, Roumania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Greece, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Monaco, San Marino, Balearic Islands, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Crete, Malta, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Shetland Islands, Hebrides and Orkney Islands

 

The Tablets of the Divine Plan Arrival in North America

 

TDP 2

 

  • the first five Tablets arrived in North America in the summer of 1916, written on postcards, and were published in the Star of the West, September 8, 1916
  • communications between the Holy Land and the West were suspended then, due to World War I
  • after the war, the rest of the Tablets were sent to America
  • all 14 Tablets were unveiled during the “Convention of the Covenant”, Hotel McAlpine in New York City, April 26-30, 1919
  • some 120 territories and islands were named in the Tablets, with Bahá’ís living in 35 countries circa 1919 (Balyuzi, 424)

The Strategy, or How the Tablets were Implemented

  • some individuals arose immediately, Clara & Henry Hyde Dunn, Martha Root, Agnes Alexander, Marion Jack all travelled internationally
  • institutionally, there were very few local or national Spiritual Assemblies in 1919; Shoghi Effendi spent many years patiently building the Administrative Order
  • 1937-1944 – the Guardian presented the First Seven Year Plan to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada, the primary goal of which was to establish a local Spiritual Assembly in every state and province, thereby inaugurating the first systematic implementation of the Tablets of the Divine Plan
  • 1946-1953 – the Second Seven Year Plan, also given to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada, a primary goal of which was to spiritually revitalize Europe, then suffering for the second time in the 20th Century from the ravages of war (Note: seven other regional/national Spiritual Assemblies were also given Plans by the Guardian in this period)
  • 1953-1963 – the Guardian unveiled the Ten Year Crusade, giving every Bahá’í the mandate to fulfil the Tablets of the Divine Plan. Bahá’ís who settled virgin countries and territories were designated “Knights of Bahá’u’lláh”.

Guiding Principles

  • The apostles of Jesus travelled outward from the Holy Land to the known world to bring the Glad Tidings. As ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote,

“Consider! The station and the confirmation of the apostles in the time of Christ was not known, and no one looked on them with the feeling of importance—nay, rather, they persecuted and ridiculed them. Later on it became evident what crowns studded with the brilliant jewels of guidance were placed on the heads of the apostles, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of John.” 10

Core Elements

  • “…we must not consider our ability and capacity, nay, rather, we must fix our gaze upon the favours and bounties of God…” (Tablet 1, paragraph 3, or 1-3)
  • “… you must either go yourselves or send a number of blessed souls … so that they may guide the people to the Kingdom of Heaven.” (2-3)
  • “Appreciate ye the value of this time and be ye engaged in the sowing of the seeds …” (2-5)
  • “Send to those parts teachers who are severed from all else save God, sanctified and pure.” (3-3)
  • “… it is better for those who intend to go to Mexico to teach, to be familiar with the Spanish language.” (6-6) “The teachers traveling in different directions must know the language of the country in which they will enter.” (8-19)
  • “Attach great importance to the indigenous population of America.” (6-8)
  • “Books and pamphlets must be either translated or composed in the languages of these countries and islands, to be circulated in every part and in all directions.” (7-12)
  • “Thus far ye have been untiring in your labours. Let your exertions henceforth increase a thousandfold. Summon the people in these countries, capitals, islands, assemblies and churches to enter the Abhá Kingdom. The scope of your exertions must needs be extended.” (7-16)
  • “Be not concerned with the smallness of your numbers, neither be oppressed by the multitude of an unbelieving world.” (13-5)

Preparing Oneself

  • Intention – “Exalt your effort and magnify your aims.” (6-12)
  • Detachment – “Now is the time for you to divest yourselves of the garment of attachment to this world that perisheth, to be wholly severed from the physical world, become heavenly angels, and travel to these countries.” (6-13)
  • Purposefulness – “With hearts overflowing with the love of God, with tongues commemorating the mention of God, with eyes turned to the Kingdom of God, they must deliver the glad tidings of the manifestation of the Lord of Hosts to all the people.” (7-5)
  • Selflessness – “Consequently, one must close his eyes wholly to these thoughts11, long for eternal life, the sublimity of the world of humanity, the celestial developments, the Holy Spirit, the promotion of the Word of God, the guidance of the inhabitants of the globe, the promulgation of universal peace and the proclamation of the oneness of the world of humanity! This is the work!” (7-18)
  • Prayer – “Whoso sets out on a teaching journey to any place, let him recite this prayer day and night during his travels in foreign lands…” (7-22)
  • Sacrifice – “We must not sit inactive for one moment; we must sever ourselves from composure, rest, tranquillity, goods, property, life and attachment to material things. We must sacrifice everything to His Highness, the Possess of existence …” (10-7)
  • Firmness – “… become ye sanctified above and purified from this world and the inhabitants thereof; suffer your intentions to work for the good of all; cut your attachment to the earth and like unto the essence of the spirit become ye light and delicate. Then with a firm resolution, a pure heart, a rejoiced spirit, and an eloquent tongue, engage your time in the promulgation of the divine principles…” (10-10)
  • Steadfastness – “The teachers of the Cause must be heavenly, lordly and radiant. They must be embodied spirit, personified intellect, and arise in service with the utmost firmness, steadfastness and self-sacrifice. In their journeys they must not be attached to food and clothing. They must concentrate their thoughts on the outpourings of the Kingdom of God and beg for the confirmations of the Holy Spirit.” (12-10)

Promise of Divine Confirmations

  • There is no doubt that the assistance and the bestowal of God shall descend upon you.” (2-1)
  • “…the believers of God must become self-sacrificing and like unto the candles of guidance become ignited… Should they show forth such a magnanimity, it is assured that they will obtain universal divine confirmations, the heavenly cohorts will reinforce them uninterruptedly, and a most great victory will be obtained.” (5-2)
  • “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.” (7-5)
  • Know ye of a certainty that whatever gathering ye enter, the waves of the Holy Spirit are surging over it, and the heavenly grace of the Blessed Beauty encompasseth that gathering. (7-5)
  • Therefore, know ye of a certainty that whosoever arises in this day to diffuse the divine fragrances, the cohorts of the Kingdom of God shall confirm him and the bestowals and the favours of the Blessed Perfection shall encircle him.” (7-7)
  • Consider ye, what happiness, what joy is this! I declare by the Lord of Hosts that had this respected daughter12 founded an empire, that empire would not have been so great! For this sovereignty is eternal sovereignty and this glory is everlasting glory.” (7-9)
  • “Should one of them turn his face toward some direction and summon the people to the Kingdom of God, all the ideal forces and lordly confirmations will rush to his support and reinforcement.” (8-3)
  • “Behold the portals which Bahá’u’lláh hath opened before you! Consider how exalted and lofty is the station you are destined to attain; how unique the favours with which you have been endowed….” (8-6)
  • “… rest ye assured in the confirmation of the Merciful and the assistance of the Most High…” (10-10)
  • “… your mission is unspeakably glorious. Should success crown your enterprise, America will assuredly evolve into a centre from which waves of spiritual power will emanate, and the throne of the Kingdom of God will, in the plentitude of its majesty and glory, be firmly established.” (11-11)
  • “This is the most great work! Should you become confirmed therein, this world will become another world, the surface of the earth will become the delectable paradise, and eternal Institutions be founded.” (14-11)

Unchanging Spiritual Requisites

  • “To attain to this supreme station is, however, dependent on the realization of certain conditions:13
  • “… firmness in the Covenant of God …” (8-8)
  • “… Fellowship and love amongst the believers. The divine friends must be attracted to and enamoured of each other and ever be ready and willing to sacrifice their own lives for each other…. O ye friends! Fellowship, fellowship! Love, love! Unity, unity!” (8-9, 10)
  • “… Teachers must continually travel to all parts of the continent, nay, rather, to all parts of the world, but they must travel like ‘Abdu’l-Bahá … sanctified and free from every attachment and in the utmost severance….” (8-11)
  • “The aim is this: The intention of the teacher must be pure, his heart independent, his spirit attracted, his thought at peace, his resolution firm, his magnanimity exalted and iin the love of God a shining torch.” (8-13)

Supplications Found in the Tablets of the Divine Plan

Tablet 6 – Revealed to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada

O Thou Incomparable God! O Thou Lord of the Kingdom! These souls are Thy heavenly army. Assist them and, with the cohorts of the Supreme Concourse, make them victorious, so that each one of them may become like unto a regiment and conquer these countries through the love of God and the illumination of divine teachings.

O God! Be Thou their supporter and their helper, and in the wilderness, the mountain, the valley, the forests, the prairies and the seas, be Thou their confidant—so that they may cry out through the power of the Kingdom and the breath of the Holy Spirit.

Verily, Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty and the Omnipotent, and Thou art the Wise, the Hearing and the Seeing.

Tablet 7 – Revealed to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada

Whoever sets out on a teaching journey to any place, let him recite this prayer day and night during his travels in foreign lands:

O God, my God! Thou seest me enraptured and attracted toward Thy glorious kingdom, enkindled with the fire of Thy love amongst mankind, a herald of Thy kingdom in these vast and spacious lands, severed from aught else save Thee, relying on Thee, abandoning rest and comfort, remote from my native home, a wanderer in these regions, a stranger fallen upon the ground, humble before Thine exalted threshold, submissive toward the heaven of Thine omnipotent glory, supplicating Thee in the dead of night and at the break of dawn, entreating and invoking Thee at morn and at eventide to graciously aid me to serve Thy Cause, to spread abroad Thy teachings and to exalt Thy Word throughout the East and the West.

O Lord! Strengthen my back, enable me to serve Thee with the utmost endeavor, and leave me not to myself, lonely and helpless in these regions.

O Lord! Grant me communion with Thee in my loneliness, and be my companion in these foreign lands.

Verily, Thou art the Confirmer of whomsoever Thou willest in that which Thou desirest, and, verily, Thou art the All-Powerful, the Omnipotent.

Tablet 8 – Revealed to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada

O God, my God! Thou seest how black darkness is enshrouding all regions, how all countries are burning with the flame of dissension, and the fire of war and carnage is blazing through out the East and the West. Blood is flowing, corpses bestrew the ground, and severed heads are fallen on the dust of the battlefield.

O Lord! Have pity on these ignorant ones and look upon them with the eye of forgiveness and pardon. Extinguish this fire, so that these dense clouds which obscure the horizon may be scattered, the Sun of Reality shine forth with the rays of conciliation, this intense gloom be dispelled and the resplendent light of peace shed its radiance upon all countries.

O Lord! Draw up the people from the abyss of the ocean of hatred and enmity, and deliver them from this impenetrable darkness. Unite their hearts, and brighten their eyes with the light of peace and reconciliation. Deliver them from the depths of war and bloodshed, and free them from the darkness of error. Remove the veil from their eyes, and enlighten their hearts with the light of guidance. Treat them with Thy tender mercy and compassion, and deal not with them according to Thy justice and wrath which cause the limbs of the mighty to quake.

O Lord! Wars have persisted. Distress and anxiety have waxed great and every flourishing region is laid waste.

O Lord! Hearts are heavy, and souls are in anguish. Have mercy on these poor souls and do not leave them to the excesses of their own desires.

O Lord! Make manifest in Thy lands humble and submissive souls, their faces illumined with the rays of guidance, severed from the world, extolling Thy Name, uttering Thy praise, and diffusing the fragrance of Thy holiness amongst mankind.

O Lord! Strengthen their backs, gird up their loins, and enrapture their hearts with the most mighty signs of Thy love.

O Lord! Verily, they are weak, and Thou art the Powerful and the Mighty; they are impotent, and Thou art the Helper and the Merciful.

O Lord! The ocean of rebellion is surging, and these tempests will not be stilled save through Thy boundless grace which hath embraced all regions.

O Lord! Verily, the people are in the abyss of passion, and naught can save them but Thine infinite bounties.

O Lord! Dispel the darkness of these corrupt desires, and illumine the hearts with the lamp of Thy love through which all countries will erelong be enlightened. Confirm, moreover, Thy loved ones, those who, leaving their homelands, their families and their children, have, for the love of Thy Beauty, traveled to foreign countries to diffuse Thy fragrances and promulgate Thy teachings. Be Thou their companion in their loneliness, their helper in a strange land, the remover of their sorrows, their comforter in calamity. Be Thou a refreshing draught for their thirst, a healing medicine for their ills and a balm for the burning ardor of their hearts.

Verily, Thou art the Most Generous, the Lord of grace abounding, and, verily, Thou art the Compassionate and the Merciful.

Tablet 9 – Revealed to the Bahá’ís of the Northeastern States

The following supplication is to be read by the teachers and friends daily:

O Thou kind Lord! Praise be unto Thee that Thou hast shown us the highway of guidance, opened the doors of the kingdom and manifested Thyself through the Sun of Reality. To the blind Thou hast given sight; to the deaf Thou hast granted hearing; Thou hast resuscitated the dead; Thou hast enriched the poor; Thou hast shown the way to those who have gone astray; Thou hast led those with parched lips to the fountain of guidance; Thou hast suffered the thirsty fish to reach the ocean of reality; and Thou hast invited the wandering birds to the rose garden of grace.

O Thou Almighty! We are Thy servants and Thy poor ones; we are remote and yearn for Thy presence, are athirst for the water of Thy fountain, are ill, longing for Thy healing. We are walking in Thy path and have no aim or hope save the diffusion of Thy fragrance, so that all souls may raise the cry: O God, “Guide us to the straight path.”2 May their eyes be opened to behold the light, and may they be freed from the darkness of ignorance. May they gather around the lamp of Thy guidance. May every portionless one receive a share. May the deprived become the confidants of Thy mysteries.

O Almighty! Look upon us with the glance of mercifulness. Grant us heavenly confirmation. Bestow upon us the breath of the Holy Spirit, so that we may be assisted in Thy service and, like unto brilliant stars, shine in these regions with the light of Thy guidance.

Verily, Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty, the Wise and the Seeing.

Tablet 10 – Revealed to the Bahá’ís of the Southern States

Every soul who travels through the cities, villages and hamlets of these states and is engaged in the diffusion of the fragrances of God, should peruse this commune every morning:

O My God! O my God! Thou seest me in my lowliness and weakness, occupied with the greatest undertaking, determined to raise Thy word among the masses and to spread Thy teachings among Thy peoples. How can I succeed unless Thou assist me with the breath of the Holy Spirit, help me to triumph by the hosts of Thy glorious kingdom, and shower upon me Thy confirmations, which alone can change a gnat into an eagle, a drop of water into rivers and seas, and an atom into lights and suns? O my Lord! Assist me with Thy triumphant and effective might, so that my tongue may utter Thy praises and attributes among all people and my soul overflow with the wine of Thy love and knowledge.

Thou art the Omnipotent and the Doer of whatsoever Thou willest.

Tablet 11 – Revealed to the Bahá’ís of the Central States

Let the spreaders of the fragrances of God recite this prayer every morning:

O Lord, my God! Praise and thanksgiving be unto Thee for Thou hast guided me to the highway of the kingdom, suffered me to walk in this straight and far-stretching path, illumined my eye by beholding the splendors of Thy light, inclined my ear to the melodies of the birds of holiness from the kingdom of mysteries and attracted my heart with Thy love among the righteous.

O Lord! Confirm me with the Holy Spirit, so that I may call in Thy Name amongst the nations, and give the glad tidings of the manifestation of Thy kingdom amongst mankind.

O Lord! I am weak, strengthen me with Thy power and potency. My tongue falters, suffer me to utter Thy commemoration and praise. I am lowly, honor me through admitting me into Thy kingdom. I am remote, cause me to approach the threshold of Thy mercifulness. O Lord! Make me a brilliant lamp, a shining star and a blessed tree, adorned with fruit, its branches overshadowing all these regions. Verily, Thou art the Mighty, the Powerful and Unconstrained.

Tablet 12 – Revealed to the Bahá’ís of the Western States

The following commune is to be read by them every day:

O God! O God! This is a broken-winged bird and his flight is very slow—assist him so that he may fly toward the apex of prosperity and salvation, wing his way with the utmost joy and happiness throughout the illimitable space, raise his melody in Thy Supreme Name in all the regions, exhilarate the ears with this call, and brighten the eyes by beholding the signs of guidance.

O Lord! I am single, alone and lowly. For me there is no support save Thee, no helper except Thee and no sustainer beside Thee. Confirm me in Thy service, assist me with the cohorts of Thine angels, make me victorious in the promotion of Thy Word and suffer me to speak out Thy wisdom amongst Thy creatures. Verily, Thou art the helper of the weak and the defender of the little ones, and verily Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty and the Unconstrained.

Tablet 13 – Revealed to the Bahá’ís of Canada

Praise be to Thee, O my God! These are Thy servants who are attracted by the fragrances of Thy mercifulness, are enkindled by the fire burning in the tree of Thy singleness, and whose eyes are brightened by beholding the splendors of the light shining in the Sinai of Thy oneness.

O Lord! Loose their tongues to make mention of Thee amongst Thy people, suffer them to speak forth Thy praise through Thy grace and loving-kindness, assist them with the cohorts of Thine angels, strengthen their loins in Thy service, and make them the signs of Thy guidance amongst Thy creatures.

Verily, Thou art the All-Powerful, the Most Exalted, the Ever-Forgiving, the All-Merciful.

–o0o–

The spreaders of the fragrances of God should recite this prayer every morning:

O God, my God! Thou beholdest this weak one begging for celestial strength, this poor one craving Thy heavenly treasures, this thirsty one longing for the fountain of eternal life, this afflicted one yearning for Thy promised healing through Thy boundless mercy which Thou hast destined for Thy chosen servants in Thy kingdom on high.

O Lord! I have no helper save Thee, no shelter besides Thee, and no sustainer except Thee. Assist me with Thine angels to diffuse Thy holy fragrances and to spread abroad Thy teachings amongst the choicest of Thy people.

O my Lord! Suffer me to be detached from aught else save Thee, to hold fast to the hem of Thy bounty, to be wholly devoted to Thy Faith, to remain fast and firm in Thy love and to observe what Thou hast prescribed in Thy Book.

Verily, Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty, the Omnipotent.

Tablet 14 – Revealed to the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada

Let whosoever travels to different parts to teach, peruse over mountain, desert, land and sea this supplication:

O God! O God! Thou seest my weakness, lowliness and humility before Thy creatures; nevertheless, I have trusted in Thee and have arisen in the promotion of Thy teachings among Thy strong servants, relying on Thy power and might.

O Lord! I am a broken-winged bird and desire to soar in Thy limitless space. How is it possible for me to do this save through Thy providence and grace, Thy confirmation and assistance.

O Lord! Have pity on my weakness, and strengthen me with Thy power. O Lord! Have pity on my impotence, and assist me with Thy might and majesty.

O Lord! Should the breath of the Holy Spirit confirm the weakest of creatures, he would attain all to which he aspireth and would possess anything he desireth. Indeed, Thou hast assisted Thy servants in the past and, though they were the weakest of Thy creatures, the lowliest of Thy servants and the most insignificant of those who lived upon the earth, through Thy sanction and potency they took precedence over the most glorious of Thy people and the most noble of mankind. Whereas formerly they were as moths, they became as royal falcons, and whereas before they were as brooks, they became as seas, through Thy bestowal and Thy mercy. They became, through Thy most great favor, stars shining on the horizon of guidance, birds singing in the rose gardens of immortality, lions roaring in the forests of knowledge and wisdom, and whales swimming in the oceans of life.

Verily, Thou art the Clement, the Powerful, the Mighty, and the Most Merciful of the merciful.

Notes

1 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of the Divine Plan, Tablet #7, to the Bahá’ís of United States and Canada, revealed on April 11, 1916

2 The three Charter documents in the Bahá’í Faith are (1) the Tablet of Carmel that contains significant allusions to the establishment of the Word Centre, (2) the Tablets of the Divine Plan that call for systematic expansion of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh throughout the world,  and (3) the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that outlines the Administrative Order.

3 The Universal House of Justice to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors, 29 December 2016, paragraph 51

4 How a Textbook and Postcards Helped Establish the Second Most Widespread Religion, by Shastri Purushotma, 15 March 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shastri-purushotma/how-postcards-and-a-geogr_b_9229922.html

5 9 States of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York

6 16 States of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas

7 12 States of Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, Missourit, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas

8 11 States of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, California, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington

9 Addressed to the Bahá’í of Canada: Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Mackenzie, Keewatin, Ungava, Franklin Islands and Greenland

10 Tablets of the Divine Plan, # 7, paragraph 3

11 “…material rest, tranquillity, luxury and attachment to this corporeal world…” (7-17)

12 Agnes Alexander, teaching in Hawaii

13 Tablets of the Divine Plan, #8, paragraph 7