You are not alone in perceiving what I say as an assertion that my beliefs are the truth or reality. The nonbelievers I post to on another forum also perceive what I say that way. The reason they perceive it that way is because I so strongly BELIEVE that my beliefs are the truth and thus reality, and that is why my verbiage comes across that way. It drives some people bonkers, but I always try to explain to them why I say what I say.Thanks for the clarification. You seem to assert your beliefs as the truth or reality. At least that's the impression I always got from your posts. Now that you have said you believe something to be reality and you could be right or wrong about it, I understand why we had a disagreement. Coming from a Hindu background, I never thought anyone could "believe something to be reality" because to the Hindu, reality is through realization only and never through belief. Anything I believe is just that - it is a belief not supported by realization of the truth.
I could be right or wrong because I cannot prove what I believe is the truth from God because I cannot prove that Baha’u’llah was a Manifestation of God.
Can you explain what you mean by: “reality is through realization only and never through belief. Anything I believe is just that - it is a belief not supported by realization of the truth.” Does that mean that whatever you realize you consider to be the truth? What do you mean by truth? Do you think you can know the truth about God by realization (however you attain that)?
I also came to a realization that what I believe is true by a process of investigating the Revelation of Baha’u’llah, but I am guessing that what you mean by realization is different from what I mean. I realized that the Baha’i Faith was true before I did much investigation, I just intuitively knew it was the truth, which is why I became a Baha’i two weeks after I heard about it. Only much later did I do a lot of investigation, which simply confirmed what I had already known.
Speaking of realization, I do not know what your destination is, but if we end up at the same or a similar destination, I do not know why it matters how we get there.
Beliefs can guide us in the right direction but beliefs do not make anyone a good person, which was the topic of one of the very first threads I started in a primarily atheist form I used to post on. However, if atheists do not believe in God (that God exists), how can they know and worship God, as it says in the Baha’i Short Obligatory Prayer? They can still love their neighbor, but they cannot love a God they do not believe exists
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
I think beliefs are important in the sense that we know what the truth (reality) is. For example, as a Baha’i I have a certain belief about the afterlife and that guides my every step in this life because I consider the afterlife the real life whereas this life is just an illusion by comparison. I live in constant awareness of that. If people believed what Baha’is do about the afterlife, I think they would live very differently.
“O My servants! There shineth nothing else in Mine heart except the unfading light of the Morn of Divine guidance, and out of My mouth proceedeth naught but the essence of truth, which the Lord your God hath revealed. Follow not, therefore, your earthly desires, and violate not the Covenant of God, nor break your pledge to Him. With firm determination, with the whole affection of your heart, and with the full force of your words, turn ye unto Him, and walk not in the ways of the foolish. The world is but a show, vain and empty, a mere nothing, bearing the semblance of reality. Set not your affections upon it. Break not the bond that uniteth you with your Creator, and be not of those that have erred and strayed from His ways. Verily I say, the world is like the vapor in a desert, which the thirstydreameth to be water and striveth after it with all his might, until when he cometh unto it, he findeth it to be mere illusion. It may, moreover, be likened unto the lifeless image of the beloved whom the lover hath sought and found, in the end, after long search and to his utmost regret, to be such as cannot “fatten nor appease his hunger.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 328-329
Thanks for sharing that link. I find science very interesting although I do not have an aptitude for science. I also find Quantum mechanics very fascinating; years ago I had a friend on a forum who was a Hindu and she was into physics and afterlife research. We had a lot of beliefs in common (I use that word loosely) but unfortunately she left that forum because she could no longer tolerate all the insults from atheists about her supernatural beliefs.Since we had quite a bit of discussion on subjective reality, objective reality and reality, I wanted to share some scientific information on how an observer can change reality by doing nothing more than simply observing.
In a study reported in the February 26 issue of Nature (Vol. 391, pp. 871-874), researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have now conducted a highly controlled experiment demonstrating how a beam of electrons is affected by the act of being observed. The experiment revealed that the greater the amount of "watching," the greater the observer's influence on what actually takes place.
When a quantum "observer" is watching Quantum mechanics states that particles can also behave as waves. This can be true for electrons at the submicron level, i.e., at distances measuring less than one micron, or one thousandth of a millimeter. When behaving as waves, they can simultaneously pass through several openings in a barrier and then meet again at the other side of the barrier. This "meeting" is known as interference.
Strange as it may sound, interference can only occur when no one is watching. Once an observer begins to watch the particles going through the openings, the picture changes dramatically: if a particle can be seen going through one opening, then it's clear it didn't go through another. In other words, when under observation, electrons are being "forced" to behave like particles and not like waves. Thus the mere act of observation affects the experimental findings.
Source: Quantum Theory Demonstrated: Observation Affects Reality
I always read posts one line at a time, I never read a whole post before I respond, because I want to focus on every thought and I do not want to bias my responseby something someone might say later in their post.So if the observer can change reality by an act of observation, what is reality then? Is reality something that is not observed or observable? The answer is a resounding YES according to Hindu scriptures which state that the world is an illusion and reality cannot be known through the senses. Hence the need for meditation to realize the Truth (reality) by rising above the senses.
It is interesting that your scriptures state that the world is an illusion and reality cannot be known through the senses, as that is closely aligned with that passage above, which is one of my favorites.
The importance of meditation is stressed in the Baha’i Writings and most Baha’is meditate. Shoghi Effendi said there is not one right way to meditate. And now I recall my Hindu friend from that forum who taught transcendental meditation and she used to tell me how important it is to meditate. I have always been resistant to it and I know it is because I do not consider myself important. These feelings of course come from my childhood upbringing.
I know this world is an illusion and I know what reality is from what Baha’u’llah wrote, which I meditate upon.
I have been thinking about this a lot, since I ride my bike to work and I have a lot of time to think since it is a long ride. I think what you mean by manifestation of God is different from what I mean. Abdu’l-Baha said that there are three kinds of divine Prophets. He said “One kind are the universal Manifestations, which are even as the sun. Through Their advent the world of existence is renewed, a new cycle is inaugurated, a new religion is revealed, souls are quickened to a new life, and East and West are flooded with light. These Souls are the universal Manifestations of God and have been sent forth to the entire world and the generality of mankind.”Thanks for sharing that. I spoke the same truth in another way when I said to realize the stature of any manifestation of God like Vyasa or Ramakrishna Paramahansa one will have to meditate on their teachings. I am not suggesting you do that but to comment on their stature without even studying their teachings is not appropriate in my opinion.
The Three Kinds of Prophets
There are only a numbered few men who meet those criteria. And they are not just men. Here is how Baha’u’llah describes a Manifestation of God:
“And since there can be no tie of direct intercourse to bind the one true God with His creation, and no resemblance whatever can exist between the transient and the Eternal, the contingent and the Absolute, He hath ordained that in every age and dispensation a pure and stainless Soul be made manifest in the kingdoms of earth and heaven. Unto this subtle, this mysterious and ethereal Being He hath assigned a twofold nature; the physical, pertaining to the world of matter, and the spiritual, which is born of the substance of God Himself. He hath, moreover, conferred upon Him a double station. The first station, which is related to His innermost reality, representeth Him as One Whose voice is the voice of God Himself.......The second station is the human station, exemplified by the following verses: “I am but a man like you.” “Say, praise be to my Lord! Am I more than a man, an apostle?” These Essences of Detachment, these resplendent Realities are the channels of God’s all-pervasive grace. Led by the light of unfailing guidance, and invested with supreme sovereignty, They are commissioned to use the inspiration of Their words, the effusions of Their infallible grace and the sanctifying breeze of Their Revelation for the cleansing of every longing heart and receptive spirit from the dross and dust of earthly cares and limitations. Then, and only then, will the Trust of God, latent in the reality of man, emerge, as resplendent as the rising Orb of Divine Revelation, from behind the veil of concealment, and implant the ensign of its revealed glory upon the summits of men’s hearts.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 66-67
Do you think that Vyasa or Ramakrishna Paramahansa were invested with supreme sovereignty, that they were channels of God’s all-pervasive grace, or that they have a spiritual nature which is born of the substance of God Himself? Did they lay claim to any of these? Did they claim to be Manifestations of God? Did they claim to have received a direct Revelation from God?
If they were simply great spiritual teachers I have no problem with that, there have been many great spiritual teachers who were under the shadow of the Manifestations of God.
I FULLY agree with that statement above.Truth (God) is absolute but truth of this world is relative.
God does not work that way. God allows humans to act according to their own free will, so God is not going to do anything to interfere. These older religions will not perish until which time humans freely choose to relinquish them and become Baha’is.If they are not necessary for the present age, God would have allowed them to perish.
I do not believe that God has sent any universal Manifestations who brought a new Revelation since Baha’u’llah. I do not know what you mean by avatars, but logically speaking (and that is how I think), why would we need more than what Baha’u’llah revealed? Why would God want to nourish an ancient religion, if God has revealed a new religion? It just does not make any sense. If God kept nourishing the older religions, how could His new religion ever get off the ground? Why would God reveal a new religion if He did not want it to get off the ground?Instead, I perceive that God is constantly sending new avatars and prophets to nourish the ancient religions like Hinduism.
That is not what “oneness of mankind” means. It means that all races are equal and in that sense we are all one people regardless of race.That's not what Baha’u’llah taught. I guess, by your logic oneness of mankind means there has to be one race on this planet. So you are going to pick one race as the winner and wish for the destruction of all the other races.
Yes it does, if we are talking about numbers.You are wanting a zero sum game. The gain of the Bahai has to come at the expense of other religions.
No, it is NOT the same thing. Relinquish means people voluntarilychoose to change their religious affiliation and destroy means someone else forces them to change their religious affiliation. The latter is radical Islam. If a woman has a miscarriage and the fetus is thereby aborted that is not the same thing as a woman choosing to terminate a pregnancy and going for an abortion.If the other religions are not destroyed, the Bahai faith will not grow. I know you used the word "relinquish" instead of "destroy" but it is just a matter of semantics. Whether you say "the fetus was aborted "or "the pregnancy was terminated" they mean the same thing.
I understand that you want to hang onto your religion, just like everyone else, but you have to realize that if everyone does that the Baha’i Faithcan never grow. This is matter of math.
How do you interpret this passage? “The day is approaching when God will have exalted His Cause and magnified His testimony in the eyes of all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth.”I am not reading his words that way. You have bought in to Shoghi Effendi's agenda which has deviated from Baha’u’llah's message. Admit it.
“His Cause” is the Cause of Baha’u’llah. All you have to do is do a search for the word Cause in Gleanings to know that for a fact. Why would God exalt the Cause of Baha’u’llah and magnify His testimony if God did not want everyone to be a Baha’i?
And here you go... Here is Baha’u’llah telling everyone to embrace His Cause:
“The world’s equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this most great, this new World Order. Mankind’s ordered life hath been revolutionized through the agency of this unique, this wondrous System—the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed.
Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths. Take heed that ye do not vacillate in your determination to embrace the truth of this Cause—a Cause through which the potentialities of the might of God have been revealed, and His sovereignty established. With faces beaming with joy, hasten ye unto Him. This is the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future. Let him that seeketh, attain it; and as to him that hath refused to seek it—verily, God is Self-Sufficient, above any need of His creatures.”
Baha’u’llah also wrote about His Faith:
“It behoveth him to fix his gaze upon the fundamentals of His Faith, and to labor diligently for its propagation. Wholly for the sake of God he should proclaim His Message, and with that same spirit accept whatever response his words may evoke in his hearer. He who shall accept and believe, shall receive his reward; and he who shall turn away, shall receive none other than his own punishment.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 339
If Shoghi Effendi deviated from what Baha’u’llah wrote he broke the Covenant. That is a serious accusation. If you think that Shoghi Effendi did that, I think you had better take this up with some other Baha’is who know more than I do. I have only been back in the Baha’i Faith for a few years and I have not read all the Baha’i Writings.
You should not call people ignorant, especially before you even know what they know.That shows how poor your knowledge of religions is. Apparently you never understood that religions contain eternal truths which is why Jesus said "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away". The Sanskrit name for Hinduism is Sanatana Dharma which translates to "A way of life based on Eternal truths". A car deteriorates with time and becomes useless eventually but something that is eternal never deteriorates with time. So your analogy of the car is quite absurd and reflects your profound ignorance.
I was not TALKING about the eternal spiritual truths, I was talking about the practical part of religion, the new teachings and laws and the new message Baha’u’llah brought, the unity of mankind. As I have said more than once, the spiritual truths will never cease to be applicable.
It is not true that I have a poor knowledge of religions and how they are all related. It is the adherents to the older religions that are basically clueless because they do not understand that spiritual truth is the SAME in all the great religions. In the following passage “the Law of God” is referring to religions.
“the Law of God is divided into two parts. One is the fundamental basis which comprises all spiritual things—that is to say, it refers to the spiritual virtues and divine qualities; this does not change nor alter: it is the Holy of Holies, which is the essence of the Law of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Christ, Muḥammad, the Báb, and Bahá’u’lláh, and which lasts and is established in all the prophetic cycles. It will never be abrogated, for it is spiritual and not material truth; it is faith, knowledge, certitude, justice, piety, righteousness, trustworthiness, love of God, benevolence, purity, detachment, humility, meekness, patience and constancy. It shows mercy to the poor, defends the oppressed, gives to the wretched and uplifts the fallen......
These divine qualities, these eternal commandments, will never be abolished; nay, they will last and remain established for ever and ever. These virtues of humanity will be renewed in each of the different cycles; for at the end of every cycle the spiritual Law of God—that is to say, the human virtues—disappears, and only the form subsists.
The second part of the Religion of God, which refers to the material world, and which comprises fasting, prayer, forms of worship, marriage and divorce, the abolition of slavery, legal processes, transactions, indemnities for murder, violence, theft and injuries—this part of the Law of God, which refers to material things, is modified and altered in each prophetic cycle in accordance with the necessities of the times.” Some Answered Questions, pp. 47-48I add to that that the primary message that the new religion brings is also modified in accordance with the necessities of the times. The Unity of Mankind is the message for this age.
The old car is a good analogy, because the older religions are not going to get humanity where it needs to go, because their messages are not suited for this age in history. Baha’u’llah said that, not Shoghi Effendi. Baha’u’llah was the Divine and infallible Physician, and He is not too happy in this passage.
“The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.
We can well perceive how the whole human race is encompassed with great, with incalculable afflictions. We see it languishing on its bed of sickness, sore-tried and disillusioned. They that are intoxicated by self-conceit have interposed themselves between it and the Divine and infallible Physician. Witness how they have entangled all men, themselves included, in the mesh of their devices. They can neither discover the cause of the disease, nor have they any knowledge of the remedy. They have conceived the straight to be crooked, and have imagined their friend an enemy.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 213
I do not need to study the older religions in order to know that are not sufficient for the problems humanity faces in this new age. All I have to do is read a few passages like the one I just cited above, straight from the mouth of Baha’u’llah.And the funny part is that on one hand you admit you have not studied other religions but on the other had you declare they are not good enough for this age.
If you really want to know the truth about the history of the Baha’i Faith, I suggested you read the book on the covenant: The Covenant of Baha'u'llahIf the Bahai faith is so good, why do you have Abdul Baha disagreeing with his brother Muhammend Ali and expelling him from the faith and why do you have Shoghi Effendi expelling his own parents from the faith. By the time of Shoghi Effendi, all male members of Baha’u’llah's family have been expelled. So Shoghi Effendi could not find even one male member of Baha’u’llah's family loyal to the faith. Really? I do not know the truth but as an outsider, the impression I get which could be wrong is that Shoghi Effendi was making sure no one would threaten his position or the Bahai faith wasn't good enough to keep even the family members of Baha’u’llah in its fold. Too bad either way. How did someone like Shoghi Effendi who described the anticipated world government as the "world's future super-state" with the Bahá'í Faith as the "State Religion of an independent and Sovereign Power, fail to name the next Guardian before he died or at least leave proper instructions in case of his untimely death?
Why do you keep accusing me of this? For me to say “I do not believe” Vyasa was a Manifestation of God is not demeaning him.Then you should not be commenting on Vyasa, especially in a demeaning way.
That is not entirely true. You also have trouble accepting that what He said about the older religions being corrupted and that eventually there will be only one religion.That's a gross mischaracterization of position. The only thing in Baha’u’llah writings that I have a trouble accepting is his prediction that there will be no prophet for the next 1000 years. But I am thinking, perhaps the prediction was for his lineage which right now consists of the Bab and Baha’u’llah but I have to read his words in the proper context. Could you share a link to the tablet.
I do not know what Tablet this comes from, but here is the link to Gleanings:
Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 346
Oh, for crying out loud. I do not want to save anyone, including myself. I just want to do what Baha’u’llah has enjoined me to do, proclaim His message.I said: Maybe someday I will focus more on myself but for now I am doing what Baha’u’llah has enjoined:
You said: Yeah, you want to save others before you save yourself. That's like the blind leading the blind. Good luck with that.
And now you are calling me blind. I am not blind just because I have chosen to follow a different path than you have chosen. I am a Baha’i and you are a Hindu. The message of Baha’u’llah is not the same as the Hindu message.
In case you do not know it, the Baha’u’llah said to prefer your brother to yourself, so He upped the ante from the days of Jesus when the message was to love your brother as yourself.
What are they doing about the problems?I said: Do you see any of the older religions that are addressing the problems we have in this new age?
You said: Yes, I do.
Good luck getting everyone to love God with the older religions. If that was going to work, it has had plenty of time to work. But it hasn’t worked. People love themselves and their food and drink and their sex and their material world diversions. God is at the bottom of their list if they even believe in God.I said: Nearness to God is not going to address the social and environmental problems we have in the world today
You said: Yes it will because when you love God, you will love His creation and care for it out of that love.
However, loving God is not enough. There needs to be an organized program for change, and that is what Baha’u’llah brought, the blueprint plan for building a New World Order, known by the Christians as the Kingdom of God on earth.
“This is the Day in which God’s most excellent favors have been poured out upon men, the Day in which His most mighty grace hath been infused into all created things. It is incumbent upon all the peoples of the world to reconcile their differences, and, with perfect unity and peace, abide beneath the shadow of the Tree of His care and loving-kindness. It behoveth them to cleave to whatsoever will, in this Day, be conducive to the exaltation of their stations, and to the promotion of their best interests. Happy are those whom the all-glorious Pen was moved to remember, and blessed are those men whose names, by virtue of Our inscrutable decree, We have preferred to conceal.
Beseech ye the one true God to grant that all men may be graciously assisted to fulfil that which is acceptable in Our sight. Soon will the present-day order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead. Verily, thy Lord speaketh the truth, and is the Knower of things unseen.”