Welcome to the Month of Names 171!
The theme for this month is a Baha’i Perspective on Death
In this issue
Books on Death by Baha’i Authors:
‘Abdu’l-Baha Comforts a Mother on the Loss of a Child
Ridvaniyyih Khanum related that when her child was ill, the Master came and gave two pink roses to the little one, then, turning to the mother, He said in His musical voice so full of love: “Be patient.” That evening the child passed away.
“Ridvaniyyih,” said the Master, “there is a Garden of God. Human beings are trees growing therein. The Gardener is Our Father. When He sees a little tree in a place too small for her development, He prepares a suitable and more beautiful place, where she may grow and bear fruit. Then He transplants that little tree. The other trees marvel, saying: ‘This is a lovely little tree. For what reason does the Gardener uproot it?’ “The Divine Gardener, alone, knows the reason.
“You are weeping, Ridvaniyyih, but if you could see the beauty of the place where she is, you would no longer be sad. “Your child is now free, and, like a bird, is chanting divine joyous melodies. “If you could see that sacred Garden, you would not be content to remain here on earth. Yet this is where your duty now lies.”
When my own mother made the “great change” from one world of God to another, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote a very beautiful tablet to me, in which He spoke of my mother as being “in the garden of rejuvenation.” One day a friend, who had not yet heard of the tablet of the Master, told me of a vivid dream she had of my mother, whom she had known and loved. “I seemed to be in a marvellous garden, where every type of rare and beautiful flower was in bloom. Moving about among the flowers was a young girl. She seemed to be a in a state of inexpressible joy over the loveliness of her garden. Her voice, as she chanted, was full of the ecstasy of a complete happiness. She listened to the song of birds, and inhaled the odour of the flowers as though she were filling her soul with their fragrance. Suddenly she turned towards me, as though conscious that someone was there beside herself. The young girl facing me with an enchanting smile was your mother, in the full beauty of youth.” (Lady Blomfield, The Chosen Highway, p. 216-217)
This is my favourite prayer for the departed, because it addresses the needs of those who have passed on as well as those left behind!
Praised be Thou, O Lord my God! Thou beholdest my perplexity, and the depth of mine anguish, and the agony of my soul, and the afflictions which beset me. By Thy glory! My heart crieth to Thee by reason of the things that have befallen my loved ones in Thy path, and mine eyes run down with tears for them who, in these days, have ascended unto Thee, who have cast the world behind their backs, and set their faces towards the shores of Thy transcendent mercy.
Clothe them, O my God, with the robe of Thy favor and the raiment of Thy loving providence, which Thou hast reserved for Thine own Self and woven with the hands of Thy manifold bounties and gifts. Give them, then, to drink, from the hands of Thy loving-kindness, of the cups of Thy measureless mercy. Cause them, moreover, O my Best-Beloved, to abide within the precincts of Thy court and around Thy most effulgent Tabernacle. Powerful art Thou to do what pleaseth Thee.
And now I implore Thee, by the eternity of Thy Self, to enable me to be patient in these tribulations which have caused the Concourse on high to wail and the denizens of the everlasting Paradise to weep, and through which all faces have been covered with the tawny dust provoked by the anguish that hath seized such of Thy servants as have turned towards Thy Name, the Most Exalted, the Most High. No God is there but Thee, the Almighty, the Inaccessible, the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Compassionate.
All Thy servants, O my God, are occupied with their own selves, so great have been the troubles which, as decreed by Thee, have encompassed them on every side. My tongue, however, is busied in extolling Thy chosen ones, and my heart in remembering them that are dear to Thee and are wholly subject to Thy will.
Look not on my state, O my God, nor my failure to serve Thee, nay rather regard the oceans of Thy mercy and favors, and the things that beseem Thy glory and Thy forgiveness and befit Thy loving-kindness and bounties. Thou art, verily, the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Generous. (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 165-167)
Graceful Endings: Navigating the Journey of Loss and Grief by Linda Kavelin-Popov, founder of the Virtues Project, offers simple strategies for creating a graceful end of life experience. It contains true stories of individuals who chose to die consciously, fully alive and open to the wonders that can arise in this fragile and sacred passage of life. It provides tools for surviving and even thriving through the roller coaster of emotions in facing death — practices that sustain the dying and those that love them throughout the journey.
With deep candor, former Hospice Spiritual Care Director and best-selling author, Linda Kavelin-Popov explores the faces and phases of grief. She shares her own experience as a caregiver for her younger brother, John, who died of brain cancer, and the inspiring story of how John faced his own death with reverence, trust, and joy.
Laurie Early is an American full time musician and singer-songwriter, who writes lyrics for herself and for musicians around the world. Her music can best be described as jazz ballads, rhythm and blues; and swing tempo.
She has been writing songs since about the age of six, when she clearly remembers creating her own lyrics and musical adaptation of The Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” as she walked to school one spring morning, and suddenly realized that she could write a song if she wanted to. It was a truly an empowering moment in her life!
In this month’s selection, Laurie sings the Prayer for the Departed. She created this arrangement in honour of her musical mentor, Ulysses L. Slaughter, Jr. Her first public performance of this song was at his memorial service. She continually dedicates her musical life to his memory.
This is the prayer she is singing:
O my God! O Thou forgiver of sins! Bestower of gifts! Dispeller of afflictions!
Verily, I beseech Thee to forgive the sins of such as have abandoned the physical garment and have ascended to the spiritual world.
O my Lord! Purify them from trespasses, dispel their sorrows, and change their darkness into light. Cause them to enter the garden of happiness, cleanse them with the most pure water, and grant them to behold Thy splendours on the loftiest mount.
Jessie Lane is an Interfaith Spiritual Counselor who uses the practice of spiritual companionship, as she helps you cultivate a loving and nurturing relationship with your self andhelps with support and encouragement, as you find your way, to whole-heartedness, authenticity, and happiness.
Her areas of speciality include:
· Death and Dying
· Anxiety and Stress-management
· Body Issues and Self Esteem
· Children’s spirituality
· Spiritual Parenting
To read more about her; on her homepage and blog
Special Ideas has long been my most favourite “go to” site for the widest range of proclamation material imaginable!
Two products I recommend for this month include – Click on the images for more information!:
Bahai Burial Planning Guide – My Final Wishes is a great guide to Baha’i burial practices, and funeral planning, all in one helpful workbook.
Baha’i Burial Rings – they offer 2 beautiful designs.
My favourite is the unique wrap-around design with double thick gold plating over pure sterling silver, which easily adjusts to any size finger.
The other is a more traditional style, with the required phrase inscribed on the front of a gold-plated base-metal ring.
Every community should have at least one in stock in case of an emergency. You’ll want to order both the rings and planning guide now, to have them on hand when needed! Trying to remember where to find them; and placing a rush order is the last thing you want to have to worry about when the time comes!
Our Readers Write:
I want to express my gratitude for the monthly journal articles you send. Last month about the marriage was very very useful. I forwarded it to my friend in China who is so in need of a marriage course for Chinese young people. I thought, although you meant to go to China as a pioneer, but now I saw you physically couldn’t be there, but your writings are going to help the Chinese people. That really touched my heart. And, also I sent them to other individual friends in China. To me your intention for going to China was so pure. Now, Baha’u’llah answered. Good for you. Love you much as ever! (Simin Rahmanian)