Mani the Persian Prophet

Aug 2014
1,415
Blue Planet
Allaho Abha dear friends

I am recently reading an interesting book about Mani; a Persian prophet (?) at 3rd century. I was wondering if there is any mention of his name in the Baha'i scripture; any kind of mention, even to the beauty of his painting.

I'd be so thankful if I can see an example, if anyone knows one.
 
Jul 2017
312
Kettering, Ohio USA
No, there's no mention of Mani that I know of. His teaching that the material world is evil is at odds with all Abrahamic religions. There's no doubt in my mind that he was not a prophet.
 
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Dec 2012
207
Earth
Greetings Maryamr,

Do appreciate that Bahá'ís versed in social and historical fields will always welcome the contributions that Mani has given to society and will engage in researching it.

Mani is well known about by a number of Bahá'ís in relevant academic circles. Christopher Buck has produced a number of interesting papers about a wide number of laudable individuals that formed legitimate belief systems in their own right. These include Mani. If you would like a better idea of how Bahá'ís need to start thinking about such matters, it is hard to think of a better person to read than Buck. Some of his ideas and thinking can be witnessed by reading pieces that are designed for general readers, like the following publications Christopher Buck, author at BahaiTeachings.org

If you want a source of good information about anything that has had an influence within Iran, always appreciate that Encyclopaedia Iranica is a good place to start MANI – Encyclopaedia Iranica

If you have an interest in learning more than feel free to become involved with The International Association of Manichaean Studies. They will be able to direct you to the works you are seeking, even if you just have a passing interest IAMS – The International Association of Manichaean Studies

Earth
 
Apr 2011
1,102
Hyrule
Allaho Abha dear friends

I am recently reading an interesting book about Mani; a Persian prophet (?) at 3rd century. I was wondering if there is any mention of his name in the Baha'i scripture; any kind of mention, even to the beauty of his painting.
I am unaware of any references to Mani in the Baha'i writings. I find Mani interesting for the following reasons:
  • Belonged to a Jewish Christian group called the Elchasaites, which was founded by a Jewish Christian prophet in the early second century
  • Was raised under the Mosaic Law
  • Was identified as the "Seal of the Prophets," "the Paraclete," and "the Apostle of Jesus Christ"
  • Traveled to India
  • Embraced Paul as an apostle
  • Influenced Augustine
To add to Earth's list of resources, I would recommend checking out academia.edu. Johannes van Oort has uploaded a lot of stuff about Mani there.
 
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Jun 2014
1,111
Wisconsin
Oh if only Saveyist was still active on the forum, he's the most knowledgeable on the subject of Mani that I know of, and would provide an interesting perspective as a Baha'i who recognizes Mani as a prophet.

I don't know of any direct mention of Mani by the Baha'i Scriptures, but there could be one out there somewhere. For example, most people aren't aware that the Greek prophet Hermes Trismegistus is mentioned by Baha'u'llah in a rather obscure tablet (Baha'u'llah even quotes one of Hermes' scriptures in full), so it's possible there's some overlooked writing somewhere on the subject of Mani.

His teaching that the material world is evil is at odds with all Abrahamic religions. There's no doubt in my mind that he was not a prophet.
I wouldn't be so quick to judge, there. Consider that there are teachings attributed to Gautama Buddha or Krishna that are at odds with the Abrahamic religions, yet still we recognize those as prophets. Perhaps the record of Mani's original teachings have similarly drifted over the years.

Take the following Baha'i verse: "Busy not thyself with this world" (Arabic Hidden Words). One could imagine, after hundreds of years, how such a verse could come to be twisted from a verse promoting detachment from the physical world, into something actively rejecting that physical world.
 
Feb 2019
252
Chicago
All prophets have taught that nature of this world is illusory but captivating to the senses and to that extent any attachment to the world works against our best interests because it prevents us from perceiving the kingdom of God within.
Bahaullah said this world is an illusion.

O FRIENDS! Abandon not the everlasting beauty for a beauty that must die, and set not your affections on this mortal world of dust. - Bahaullah

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 thirsty dreameth 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". - Bahaullah
 
Nov 2015
151
Canada
Greetings friends. I couldn't help but notice a thread on Mani, one whom captured my heart many moons ago and even caused me to write some poetry once upon a time. I am caught up at the moment but when I have a chance I will gladly write away for my family here. :) Also hey Walrus!
 
Nov 2015
151
Canada
When it comes to Mani, there is a noteworthy lack of complete texts. All our knowledge of his direct writings is fragmentary. The Manichaeans however did a fair bit of writing themselves and so some may infer further what Mani taught but this is also somewhat skewed by their perception and interpretations of Mani's teachings. We have stories of his life which are fairly detailed (I actually wrote a poem about one of his visits to a king) but in terms of his actual writings, while we have some (more than we can say about Jesus) it's still not all encompassing.

Speaking of Jesus, I don't think there's an issue with Mani's appearance at the time between Jesus and Muhammad, considering that the prophet Jirjis, though a contemporary, would outlive Mani by about 30 years. Don't quote me on this one but I also think that the book of Revelations author mentions the church body would become corrupt sooner than later, perhaps because it's successor would be Mani's congregation. And Manichaeism itself was at one point the main 'competitor' to Christianity. Personally, I think that the Manichaeans are a good candidate for the Sabians. He was one who tried to show people, similarly to Baha'u'llah, that there is unity in religion, be it Buddhist, Christian, Zoroastrian or otherwise. I also don't thought he himself taught that the material world is evil, though it definitely became part of Manichaean thought.
 
Sep 2010
4,622
Normanton, Far North West Queensland
When it comes to Mani, there is a noteworthy lack of complete texts. All our knowledge of his direct writings is fragmentary. The Manichaeans however did a fair bit of writing themselves and so some may infer further what Mani taught but this is also somewhat skewed by their perception and interpretations of Mani's teachings. We have stories of his life which are fairly detailed (I actually wrote a poem about one of his visits to a king) but in terms of his actual writings, while we have some (more than we can say about Jesus) it's still not all encompassing.

Speaking of Jesus, I don't think there's an issue with Mani's appearance at the time between Jesus and Muhammad, considering that the prophet Jirjis, though a contemporary, would outlive Mani by about 30 years. Don't quote me on this one but I also think that the book of Revelations author mentions the church body would become corrupt sooner than later, perhaps because it's successor would be Mani's congregation. And Manichaeism itself was at one point the main 'competitor' to Christianity. Personally, I think that the Manichaeans are a good candidate for the Sabians. He was one who tried to show people, similarly to Baha'u'llah, that there is unity in religion, be it Buddhist, Christian, Zoroastrian or otherwise. I also don't thought he himself taught that the material world is evil, though it definitely became part of Manichaean thought.
I think when the world unites and explores matters of the Spirit, we will find God work's we're given through many paths.

I think the Bible says it all in this passage;

1 Thessalonians 5:21 "Test all things; hold fast what is good."

Regards Tony