Living a chaste an holy life as a Baha'i

Jun 2011
1,543
Somewhere "in this immensity"
#1
Living a chaste and holy life as a Baha'i

Dear friends,

There have been certain statements and behaviors on this forum by persons who may or may not be Baha'is, and I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on what the Baha'i teachings have to say about such matters, since this should be the goal of every Baha'i, despite what people may do or say to the contrary.

I would like to start this thread with one of my favorite quotes on the subject:

Such a chaste and holy life, with its implications of modesty, purity, temperance, decency, and clean-mindedness, involves no less than the exercise of moderation in all that pertains to dress, language, amusements, and all artistic and literary avocations. It demands daily vigilance in the control of one's carnal desires and corrupt inclinations. It calls for the abandonment of a frivolous conduct, with its excessive attachment to trivial and often misdirected pleasures. It requires total abstinence from all alcoholic drinks, from opium, and from similar habit-forming drugs. It condemns the prostitution of art and of literature, the practices of nudism and of companionate marriage, infidelity in marital relationships, and all manner of promiscuity, of easy familiarity, and of sexual vices....

("The Advent of Divine Justice" (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1984), p. 30)
Naturally these are very high standards that are against many of the current social norms, and require practice, determination, and effort. I think that we are all bound to fall short on occasion, but what is important is get right back up and try again. I also feel that there is a certain obligation we have to the faith in trying to live up to these high standards, and responsibility to Baha'u'llah if we love him and want him to be pleased with us:

My imprisonment doeth Me no harm, nor do the things that have befallen Me at the hands of My enemies. That which harmeth Me is the conduct of my loved ones who, though they bear My name, yet commit that which maketh My heart and My pen to lament.’

KALÍMÁT-I-FIRDAWSÍYYIH (Words of Paradise)
Bahá'í Reference Library - Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed After the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Pages 57-80
For the lover of Baha'u'llah, this should really make us think about the effect our personal actions can have on this cause. Please share any other relevant quotes, thoughts, or reflections you have on the topic of chastity, modesty, and purity here.

Cheers
 
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#2
Stay out of people's personal choices and lives. What about the laws of Aqdas? You conveniently ignore them. I am not sure you are a Bahai. More like a Muslim.

Who appointed you mullah and morality police?
 
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Nov 2012
949
Florida
#5
The standards we are asked to aspire to are very high; we will fail numerous times, but we always need to pick ourselves up, implore forgiveness, and move forward. At the same time, carrying excessive guilt around can paralyze our efforts, and is not at all helpful.


"The humility that Bahá’u’lláh requires of us is not a sense of inferiority before others who are deemed more competent. It is not feigned modesty that is akin to hypocrisy. Rather, true humility arises from the recognition that God is the All-Powerful and Self-Subsisting, while all others are weak and in need of perfecting. The glorification of self, the exaltation of one’s limited knowledge, the lust for power, and the compulsion to force matters in the direction of one’s personal choosing, are exposed for what they truly are: expressions of a child’s whims and desire"

“Acquiring humility calls for the rejection of both guilt—the paralyzing, harsh judgment of the failure to live up to the standard—and complacency— the reinterpretation of the standard, lowering it to suit personal comfort and preferences. The Guardian’s words that “our past is not the thing that matters so much in this world as what we intend to do with our future” help us to overcome feelings of guilt. And we can avoid complacency by always acknowledging the truth of the divine standard raised by Bahá’u’lláh, upholding it under all circumstances, and refusing to compromise it with the commonly accepted standards of our time.”
(Paul Lample. 2004. Creating a New Mind: Reflections on the Individual, the Institutions & the Community).
 
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#6
Due to the history of religion, there is already excessive guilt you don't need to beat our heads with it.

Many Iranian Baha'is act like Mullahs, and Americans Priests.
 
Jun 2011
1,543
Somewhere "in this immensity"
#7
The standards we are asked to aspire to are very high; we will fail numerous times, but we always need to pick ourselves up, implore forgiveness, and move forward. At the same time, carrying excessive guilt around can paralyze our efforts, and is not at all helpful.
Josh,

It is a wonderful point about guilt and how it can interfere with progress. I know that guilt or feeling unworthy can cause us to do very irrational things, like not praying, or becoming aloof from the community. Paradoxically, it is precisely in the time of difficulty and wrong doing that we should pray and lean on the community for help. I think you couldn't be more right about the need to pick ourselves up and just move forward. I think Baha'u'llah tells us this very thing:

Sorrow not save that thou art far from Us. Rejoice not save that thou art drawing near and returning unto Us.

Hidden Words, Arabic, #35
For me that takes a lot of pressure off. All I need to do, is stop doing what is wrong, and then I can be free of guilt and rejoice in my progress toward God.

Cheers
 
Oct 2011
4,213
Quilimari,Chile
#8
Due to the history of religion, there is already excessive guilt you don't need to beat our heads with it.

Many Iranian Baha'is act like Mullahs, and Americans Priests.
I find it interesting your continual attack on others in the forum, and yet you yourself display the very thing you accuse others of. Sigh
 
May 2011
507
Australia
#10
Your post Fadl, brought up a couple of thoughts on the topic, but to keep it simple, I might share one of them for now, if that's okay.

It has to do with a person, - a baha'i, around my area, and a couple of people I know confiding to me that they feel his behaviour is destructive to the name of the Faith.

So, I am questioning, when, - if ever, it is fitting to talk to someone on an Institution about it.

Of course in baha'i Writings we are told not to backbite, and in human culture, I think naturally, we don't want to 'dob in' people or say negative things about someone to those who are in some position of authority.

However, two mutual friends have said to me that they perceive this person (male) as leading an immoral lifestyle, and being quite open about how he lives his life amongst non-baha'i friends, of which I think he has a lot.

I would normally stay out of it, but the person concerned I feel has also been quite strange in how he has communicated to me. I feel he has exhibited somewhat of a jeckyl and hyde behaviour. Even though I've never spent time alone with him, and have only spent very limited time in a group setting with him, he, a couple of times has been affectionate and kindly with his words to me, and a couple of times has been extremely fault-finding, implying that he is on a 'higher spiritual level' than me, and saying as much on one occasion. But also saying worse, even calling me an 'egotist' via email. It's all a bit much, for someone I feel hardly knows me, and one friend defended me saying I am not like this at all.

But hard to take also, when I have a couple of friends, saying that they find him immoral, believing that he is having many serial (sexual) 'r'ships', whilst teaching the faith. At least that's how they have perceived it, as they've each spent more time with him in activities not connected to the Faith.

So, while I haven't seen the (alleged) behaviour myself, I have seen him post a few things on social media, which I have found quite 'disgusting'. They were quotes or posts I have trouble even recounting to a close female friend, -that is how offensive, vulgar and distasteful I found them, let alone a member of the opposite sex. And I am not the only one who has reacted that way.

Does anyone have advice to share?
 

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