Exploring the Baha’i literature to “obtain a more adequate understanding of the significance of Baha’u’llah’s stupendous Revelation”… (Shoghi Effendi)

November 3, 2017

Session 11: Devotions & Service

  • Immersion in the ocean of Holy Words
  • The “core of religious faith”
  • The effect of reciting “the verses revealed by God”
  • To offer prayers with “spirituality and radiance”
  • An example of how one’s ability and capacity increase(s) as a result of saying prayers
  • Daily devotions
  • “Man’s merit lies in service and virtue”
  • Serving the Cause of God
  • How to increase one’s ability by “tenfold”
  • A “new way of life for humanity”
  • “Pure detachment and selfless service”
  • Service to the Cause “plays a particular role” in the process of gaining “a more profound understanding of Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation”

October 27, 2017

Session 10: Personal Growth and Development, Acquisition of Divine Virtues

Bahiyyih Khanum, The Greatest Holy Leaf, 
the "archetype of the people of Baha"
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  • Attitude to maintain while going through life
  • The object of every Revelation from God is “a transformation in the whole character of mankind”
  • Power of God operating through His Manifestation
  • Transformative effect of the Word of God
    • Need for “regular reading and study of the Holy Word”
    • “converting satanic strength into heavenly power”
    • “As the light of spirituality penetrates deep into the hearts…”
  • To be born again
  • “…turn your back to the darkness and your face to Me.”
  • “…virtues and attainments… [that] are the adornments of the human reality”

October 26, 2017

Session 9: Unity of Human Race

  • Points/Images to keep in mind
    • “…fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch”
    • “The world is but one country and mankind its citizens”
    • “drops of one ocean”
    • All have been created “from one same substance”
    • “pearls from one shell”
    • Power of the “light of unity”
  • The most glorious fruit of the tree of knowledge
  • The world of humanity maybe likened to the Earth and God’s bounty to the Sun – all receive the same light but reflect it differently
  • “God has created all and has nurtured all and provideth for all and preserveth all”
  • We are all “in need of education and civilization” - to become more “polished”
  • Imitations to overcome
  • Some of the factors that need to be addressed and implemented
    • Independent investigation of reality
    • Religion should be the cause of unity “among all the creeds”
    • Elimination of prejudice
    • Harmony of science and religion
    • Equality between man & woman
    • Economic adjustments
    • Need for the breadth of Holy Spirit
  • Spiritual Unity – a “unity” that is “greater than the unity of mankind”

October 25, 2017

Session 8: Progressive Revelation & Unity of Religions

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  • What is Religion?
  • Purpose of religion
  • Religions of God have one foundation
  • Apparent differences among religions – is due to our misconceptions about Absolute Truth
  • Imitations and superstitions have obscured the Reality of Divine Religion
  • Each Manifestation of God was “commissioned to unravel the mysteries of a mighty Tablet”
  • Founders of all religions are “the Manifestations of Truth”
  • Teachings of the religion of God can be grouped into two parts - spiritual and material
    • Examples of changes in social laws associated with various past religions
  • Various religions “are in reality one” – “the one reality appearing in its successive manifestations”

October 24, 2017

Session 7: Human Soul, its Growth and Development, Life after Death

This life and the Next
  • The spiritual world is the “exact counterpart” of the physical world
  • Preparation in this world for the life beyond
  • What is needed in the next world
  • How can one acquire in this life what is needed in the life beyond?

 Human Soul
  • The “nature of the soul”
  • The “human soul is, in its essence, one of the signs of God, a mystery among His mysteries”
  • The rational soul, also known as the human spirit “is the substance upon which the body depends”
  • Human spirit needs to “receives the breath of the Holy Spirit”
  • The soul has “its own individuality”

Life after Death
  • “…after its separation from the body, the human soul begins to lead a new life…”
  • “The nature of the soul after death can never be described…”
  • The hour of death: “…the utmost purity and sanctity and…absolute detachment”
  • Soul continues to progress after death
  • Upon entering “the world of God, then veils will fall away…”
  • A “Blessed” soul “at the hour of its separation from the body”
  • The “state of the soul after its separation from the body”

October 18, 2017

Session 6: Baha’u’llah’s Supporting Role after the Historic Conference of Badasht

Shrine of Shaykh Tabarsi circa 1935
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  • Receiving severe injuries at the village of Niyálá - consequences of misconduct behavior of a few
  • Babís who had attended the conference of Badasht
  •  Baha’u’llah recalls the incident at the village of Niyala
  • Baha’u’llah arranged for the safe transfer of Tahirih to Núr in Mazindaran
  • Baha’u’llah travelled from Badash to Núr “village by village, town by town”
  • 1848: Muhammad Shah orders Baha’u’llah’s arrest and execution
  • 1848: Baha’u’llah and Quddus faced “bitter denunciations” in the town of Sari
  • Whereabouts of Baha’u’llah, Quddus, Tahirih, and Mulla Husayn following the conference of Badasht
  • Fall 1848: Baha’u’llah visits Mulla Husayn and his companions at Fort Tabarsi
  • December 1848: Faithful to His promise to Mulla Husayn, Baha’u’llah sets out for Fort Tabarsi
  • Baha’u’llah recalls His intention to join the believers at Fort Tabarsi
  • 1848: Baha’u’llah is interrogated by a group of hostile divines in Amul
  • 1848: Baha’u’llah suffered the humiliating bastinado punishment

August 17, 2017

Session 5: Baha’u’llah’s Supporting Role in the Service of the Cause of the Báb

  • Reflecting on the station of the Manifestation of God
  • Fall 1845: Bahá’u’lláh received Quddus into His presence in Tihran
  • 1847: While the Báb was in the hamlet of Kulayn, 10 miles south of Tihran, He received “a sealed letter together with certain gifts” from Bahá’u’lláh
  • circa 1848: Mulla Husayn was ushered into the presence of Bahá’u’lláh in Tihran
  • circa 1847: The Báb “summoned those twin great lights” [Quddús and Táhirih] to “seek His [Bahá’u’lláh’s] advice, to reinforce His efforts, and to prepare the way for His coming Revelation.”
  • circa 1848: Bahá’u’lláh’s first imprisonment
  • circa 1848: Bahá’u’lláh receives Táhirih in Tihran and arranges for her departure to Khurásán (north-east of Tihran)
  • Baha’u’llah recalls receiving news of Tahirih’s captivity, His involvement in her rescue operation, and arrival at Badasht
  • 1848: Bahá’u’lláh, Quddus and Tahirih reach the hamlet of Badasht
  • The Conference of Badasht – an epoch-making event, unique and unparalleled in the religious annals of humanity
    • Baha’u’llah bestowed a new name to every believer attending the conference of Badasht
    • Breaking from the man-made fetters of the past
    • Baha’u’llah describes the consternation that seized the Babís when Tahirih suddenly appeared unveiled at the conference of Badasht
    • The Guardian describes Bahá'u'lláh’s role in the historic conference of Badasht – “steadily, unerringly, yet unsuspectedly, steered the course of that memorable episode, and… brought the meeting to its final and dramatic climax.”