honour the sacrifice, not the war

A friend shared the following as a status update on Facebook recently. I was going to repost it there myself, but it’s long enough to warrant its own blog post. Out of all the comments people had posted about Remembrance Day, this is the one that stood out for me the most.

As we remember those who have lost their lives in conflict, we should honour the bravery and the sacrifice of these individuals, and always think of them with great respect and gratitude. But we must be cautious that we never honour or romanticize war itself. War will never be the solution.

“Peace is light, whereas war is darkness. Peace is life; war is death. Peace is guidance; war is error. Peace is the foundation of God; war is a satanic institution. Peace is the illumination of the world of humanity; war is the destroyer of human foundations. When we consider outcomes in the world of existence, we find that peace and fellowship are factors of upbuilding and betterment, whereas war and strife are the causes of destruction and disintegration. All created things are expressions of the affinity and cohesion of elementary substances, and nonexistence is the absence of their attraction and agreement. Various elements unite harmoniously in composition, but when these elements become discordant, repelling each other, decomposition and nonexistence result. Everything partakes of this nature and is subject to this principle, for the creative foundation in all its degrees and kingdoms is an expression or outcome of love. Consider the restlessness and agitation of the human world today because of war. Peace is health and construction; war is disease and dissolution. When the banner of truth is raised, peace becomes the cause of the welfare and advancement of the human world. In all cycles and ages war has been a factor of derangement and discomfort, whereas peace and brotherhood have brought security and consideration of human interests. This distinction is especially pronounced in the present world conditions, for warfare in former centuries had not attained the degree of savagery and destructiveness which now characterizes it. If two nations were at war in olden times, ten or twenty thousand would be sacrificed, but in this century the destruction of one hundred thousand lives in a day is quite possible. So perfected has the science of killing become and so efficient the means and instruments of its accomplishment that a whole nation can be obliterated in a short time. Therefore, comparison with the methods and results of ancient warfare is out of the question.

According to an intrinsic law all phenomena of being attain to a summit and degree of consummation, after which a new order and condition is established. As the instruments and science of war have reached the degree of thoroughness and proficiency, it is hoped that the transformation of the human world is at hand and that in the coming centuries all the energies and inventions of man will be utilized in promoting the interests of peace and brotherhood. Therefore, may this esteemed and worthy society for the establishment of international peace be confirmed in its sincere intentions and empowered by God. Then will it hasten the time when the banner of universal agreement will be raised and international welfare will be proclaimed and consummated so that the darkness which now encompasses the world shall pass away.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá

loyalty to government: iran’s baha’is

According to Baha’u’llah, Baha’is “must behave towards the government of [their] country with loyalty, honesty and truthfulness”… why does Iran persist in accusing the Baha’is of crimes they cannot commit?

The Baha’is of Iran are currently facing a very dark situation; the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran cites a “fear of imminent executions” as Iranian media and government continue to scapegoat Baha’is for the recent unrest during the period of Ashura, a holy period for Shi’ite Muslims. Combine this with the awareness of an upcoming trial of seven prominent Baha’is, who bear charges such as “espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities, and propaganda against the Islamic republic”, charges deemed “utterly baseless” by Diane Ala’i, the Baha’i International Community representative to the United Nations in Geneva. Maja Daruwala, director of the India-based Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, asserted that the trial was “designed to harass and intimidate” and amounts to “persecution” of the Baha’i community.

Learn more about Iran’s persecution of Baha’is.

In every country where any of this people reside, they must behave towards the government of that country with loyalty, honesty and truthfulness. This is that which hath been revealed at the behest of Him Who is the Ordainer, the Ancient of Days.

It is binding and incumbent upon the peoples of the world, one and all, to extend aid unto this momentous Cause which is come from the heaven of the Will of the ever-abiding God, that perchance the fire of animosity which blazeth in the hearts of some of the peoples of the earth may, through the living waters of divine wisdom and by virtue of heavenly counsels and exhortations, be quenched, and the light of unity and concord may shine forth and shed its radiance upon the world.

“…capable and enlightened souls who would arise…”

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"...capable and enlightened souls who would arise..."

“You mention the need of the Cause for capable and enlightened souls who would arise and help the promotion of our beloved Faith and the carrying through of its divine plans. This has been for long the earnest prayer of Shoghi Effendi but for some reason or other it does not seem to be realized. It may be because we have failed to do our best, in living the life, and promoting the spread of the Message to the best of our ability. We have first to create the material with which we have to work and then hope to succeed. In the Bayan the Bab says that every religion of the past was fit to become universal. The only reason why they fail to attain that mark was the incompetence of their followers. He then proceeds to give a definite promise that this would not be the fate of the revelation of “Him whom God would make manifest,” that it will become universal and include all the people of the world. This shows that we will ultimately succeed. But could we not through our shortcoming, failures to sacrifice and reluctance to concentrate our efforts in spreading the Cause, retard the realization of that ideal. And what would that mean? It shall mean that we will be held responsible before God, that the race will remain longer in its state of waywardness, that wars would not be so soon averted, that human suffering will last longer.”

From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, February 20, 1932

the seed of the spirit

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When a person becomes a Baha’i, actually what takes place is that the seed of the spirit starts to grow in the human soul. This seed must be watered by the outpourings of the Holy Spirit. These gifts of the spirit are received through prayer, meditation, study of the Holy Utterances and service to the Cause of God…. Naturally there will be periods of distress and difficulty, and even severe tests, but if that person turns firmly toward the divine Manifestation, studies carefully His spiritual teachings and receives the blessings of the Holy Spirit, he will find that in reality these tests and difficulties have been the gifts of God to enable him to grow and develop.

From a letter dated 6 October 1954 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer

fasting prayer (prayercast, trk. 5)

Today’s prayercast is an improvised melody accompanying the short prayer for the Bahá’í Fast. This prayer is sometimes known as “the Frequented Fane”.

[audio:http://pizza.sandwich.net/mp3snd/short-fasting-prayer.mp3]
Click above to hear this track, or download the file.

Praise be to Thee, O Lord my God! I beseech Thee by this Revelation whereby darkness hath been turned into light, through which the Frequented Fane hath been built, and the Written Tablet revealed, and the Outspread Roll uncovered, to send down upon me and upon them who are in my company that which will enable us to soar into the heavens of Thy transcendent glory, and will wash us from the stain of such doubts as have hindered the suspicious from entering into the tabernacle of Thy unity.

I am the one, O my Lord, who hath held fast the cord of Thy loving-kindness, and clung to the hem of Thy mercy and favors. Do Thou ordain for me and for my loved ones the good of this world and of the world to come. Supply them, then, with the Hidden Gift Thou didst ordain for the choicest among Thy creatures.

These are, O my Lord, the days in which Thou hast bidden Thy servants to observe the fast. Blessed is he that observeth the fast wholly for Thy sake and with absolute detachment from all things except Thee. Assist me and assist them, O my Lord, to obey Thee and to keep Thy precepts. Thou, verily, hast power to do what Thou choosest.

There is no God but Thee, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. All praise be to God, the Lord of all worlds.

Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’í Prayers, pp. 245-246

want to hear more of these? leave me a comment on this post or via email, and subscribe to the prayercast in iTunes or your favourite podcast player.

aime-moi (prayercast, trk.4)

Another track from the prayercast; like the last one, this melody is a well-known one accompanying a Hidden Word revealed by Bahá’u’lláh, sung in French this time.

[audio:http://pizza.sandwich.net/mp3snd/aime-moi.mp3]
Click above to hear this track, or download the file.

O fils de l’existence! Aime-moi afin que je puisse t’aimer. Si tu ne m’aimes pas, mon amour ne pourra point t’atteindre. Sache le, ô serviteur.

Bahá’u’lláh, Paroles Cachées, No. 5, Arabe

want to hear more of these? leave me a comment on this post or via email, and subscribe to the prayercast in iTunes or your favourite podcast player.