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Old 12-17-2016, 09:41 PM   #1
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True Liberty

[This turned out to be a long post. I've been pondering the writings of Baha'u'llah and I am at a loss as to where else I can express my thoughts. Nobody else that I have contact with in "real life" would really want to hear any of this. I hope you'll bear with me, and that if you feel like it you will share your own thoughts on the matter.]

I'm nearing the end of my current, gradual read-through of the Gleanings. Gleaning number 159 talks about liberty and its ramifications. In paragraph 1, Baha'u'llah says, "We find some men desiring liberty, and priding themselves therein. Such men are in the depths of ignorance."

This sentence is a difficult pill to swallow, especially in the United States. There is a famous quote by Patrick Henry that all patriotic young children learn: "Give me liberty, or give me death!" In the United States, we are taught that liberty is something that we should aspire to. How could we go against such a basic teaching and belief? Isn't that un-American?

In 159.4, Baha'u'llah states, "True liberty consisteth in man's submission unto My commandments, little as ye know it."

That's another difficult pill to swallow. Here in the U.S., encouraging a slight sense of rebellion is almost a national pastime. Religion? Forget about it. It's boring, it's too many rules. We want a good party, not submission to some old-fashioned belief system!

In 159.2, it says, "Know ye that the embodiment of liberty and its symbol is the animal."

Those who love parties and celebrations are often called "party animals." They're lots of fun to be around, or so the theory goes. But too much partying leaves one feeling empty in the long run. It's just a lot of temporary highs strung together that never last long enough to be truly fulfilling. Being a party animal for too long--let alone making it the core of one's identity--is extremely...limiting. It hardly provides a sense of true freedom.

Again in 159.4, Baha'u'llah writes, "The liberty that profiteth you is to be found nowhere except in complete servitude unto God, the Eternal Truth. Whose hath tasted of its sweetness will refuse to barter it for all the dominion of earth and heaven."

Now we're getting somewhere...as long as you can see beyond the surface of religion, the mere rules and regulations. The core of the teachings of nearly all world religions is the focusing of your heart and mind on something other than worldly things. The outward rules of behavior are just stepping stones to that important truth.

Detaching yourself from worldly goods, and finding ways to be a benefit to others and thus, the world at large, is of supreme importance. All worldly things will pass away. We were never meant to have them forever. Therefore, it is unreasonable to spend our days striving for wealth and power strictly for ourselves alone, and to constantly try to obtain the latest "high"--whatever that may be for each one of us. We truly uplift ourselves by uplifting the world. By doing so, we get closer to God.

True peace can only be found in what is permanent, and there is nothing permanent except God Himself. We can only find true freedom through detachment from our limited selves, and the only way to do this is any lasting sense is to follow the teachings of God. Therefore, this is the only way we will ever find true liberty from the cares of the world. We can discover this the easy way, by listening to the wisdom and teachings of Manifestations such as Baha'u'llah...or we can find it the hard way, by chasing after worldly things for years and only late in life finding their relative emptiness.

It's your choice.

Last edited by Scribe; 12-18-2016 at 02:18 AM.
 
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Old 12-18-2016, 05:34 AM   #2
Jcc
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This is a very timely topic, I think. Just as everyone in the world has been calling for different kinds of freedom, they will be forced to rethink it over the coming years.

Baha'u'llah wrote: "It is incumbent upon them who are in authority to exercise moderation in all things. Whatsoever passeth beyond the limits of moderation will cease to exert a beneficial influence. Consider for instance such things as liberty, civilization and the like. However much men of understanding may favourably regard them, they will, if carried to excess, exercise a pernicious influence upon men." (Tablets revealed after the Kitab-I-Aqdas)
 
Old 12-18-2016, 11:12 AM   #3
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Thank you for the thoughts, it is now a choice that must be made.

Yes it can take many years to find our True Liberty and many of the years one May have been a Baha'i.

Regards Tony
 
Old 12-18-2016, 12:13 PM   #4
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Dear Scribe, JCC and Tonyfish58, I feel that Scribe has covered it well as you have said many of Bahaú'llah's teachings may be hard to swallow for people of this world. Moderation in all things.
*(This sentence is a difficult pill to swallow, especially in the United States. There is a famous quote by Patrick Henry that all patriotic young children learn: "Give me liberty, or give me death!" In the United States, we are taught that liberty is something that we should aspire to. How could we go against such a basic teaching and belief? Isn't that un-American?)
I trust that what you have said here makes you rethink America is not perfect as some believe. Remember Bahai's are of one country the earth. Too much pride in ones country is a great pitfall for many. love to all my brothers and sisters.
bill
 
Old 12-18-2016, 12:25 PM   #5
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Beautiful post

A beautiful and uplifting post my dear and sweet friend scribe.

I feel that this is an important topic to deepen on. The greatest example in my opinion is to be found in the life and example of the beloved Master Abdul'Baha.

He was a living martyr all throughout His life, from the tender age of 9 years old when He fainted upon seeing His Father in the Siyyah-Chal, till literally His last day on this plane of existence He was serving God and humanity.

Despite the unfathomable pain and suffering the Master endured throughout His entire life including His imprisonment, he was completely and truly free. The Master was the embodiment of true liberty and freedom that Baha'u'llah talks about in Gleanings. I think we should turn to Him and examine His life in light of the Writings, in order to help us determine a course of action for ourselves and society.

"Freedom is not a matter of place. It is a condition.... Therefore, I was happy all that time in prison."
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 120)

Last edited by He is The One 19; 12-18-2016 at 12:28 PM.
 
Old 12-18-2016, 04:47 PM   #6
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When writing a fictional setting, I created a culture that completely idolized the concepts of ~freedom~ and ~liberty~, to the extent that the other cultures in that setting found the liberty-oriented culture uncomfortably anarchistic.

For various reasons, I wanted to write a monastic order as an entity within that culture. There I came to a problem in writing. Religions, especially monastic orders, with their various rules and guidelines that they expect practitioners to follow, seemed at first to be very much antithetical to the ideal of "liberty to an extreme degree" like found in this society I was writing.

I came to a question of "how could I write an organization that was, on one hand, monastic masters of self-discipline and self-control, and on the other hand have a near-anarchistic level of love for freedom and liberty??"

I solved this problem and wrote the culture by simply rephrasing things.

The liberty-monks taught that, in essence, human beings were "enslaved" to natural instincts and desires. I made the monks so in love with liberty that they even resented the "tyranny" of their base desires and emotions. They did not want lords or leaders telling them what to do, but at the same time they resented their own inner desires seeking to control their behavior as well.

The goal of their monastic practice was a "self-liberation" (a freedom-focused rephrasing of the concept of "self-discipline"), breaking the controls of desire and want that normally "enslaved" mankind, and achieving a freedom of self unhindered by others and base desires alike.

While the above was just fiction I wrote for fun, I think Baha'u'llah's statement "True liberty consisteth in man's submission unto My commandments, little as ye know it." is much the same as the mindset I wrote for those fictional monks. If one truly wants to have liberty and be ~free~ to be their true selves, then wouldn't one need to be free of their passions and desires as well, since those control and manipulate a person much more than any tyrant does??

I mean, ultimately, what's the difference between a tyrant forcing you against your free will to take a drug and an addiction forcing you to take a drug?? If one breaks it down, if one is controlled by their own desires, they can't truly be said to be free.

Last edited by Walrus; 12-18-2016 at 04:50 PM.
 
Old 12-19-2016, 12:32 AM   #7
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Greetings Scribe,

The following document was produced by the Universal House of Justice for all believers and institutions within the United States of America. You might find it helpful because it endorses some of the points you are seeking to make to the readers here. If anything your comment demonstrate that you are progressing well in assembling the spiritual values of the Bahá'í Writings in a logical and coherent manner Individual Rights and Freedoms

Well done.

Earth
 
Old 12-19-2016, 04:13 PM   #8
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Thank you all for your responses! I'm glad you could see some value in my interpretations


Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
The goal of their monastic practice was a "self-liberation" (a freedom-focused rephrasing of the concept of "self-discipline"), breaking the controls of desire and want that normally "enslaved" mankind, and achieving a freedom of self unhindered by others and base desires alike.
I've been reading the Dhammapada lately as well, and it seems that your "fictional" ideas have a strong historical precedent. They line up well with Buddhist teachings!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Earth View Post
The following document was produced by the Universal House of Justice for all believers and institutions within the United States of America. You might find it helpful because it endorses some of the points you are seeking to make to the readers here. If anything your comment demonstrate that you are progressing well in assembling the spiritual values of the Bahá'í Writings in a logical and coherent manner Individual Rights and Freedoms
Thank you for this! For a while I was worried that I had missed the proper meaning of the passage, but it seems I was at least somewhat close!
 
Old 12-19-2016, 05:47 PM   #9
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A+ Scribe!
 
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