NSA's vote for other member's of NSA for UHJ?

Jun 2014
1,061
Wisconsin
#11
The Báb explained that His Revelation was destined to last for a thousand years.
Can you point to a source for that?? I've only ever seen it on a list of claims posted by a non-Baha'i that, confusingly, also claimed that the Bab directly named Subh-i-Azal as the next prophet, despite those two claims being contradictory.
 
Mar 2015
216
Bend area, Oregon
#12
Earth:


Earth:

Thank you for your three posts, Numbers 4, 8, and 10.

Thank you also for sharing your recollections and for stirring my memories about what we were lead to believe beginning in the mid 1980’s related to the twin processes transitioning the world and leading toward the establishment of the Lesser (Political) Peace by the turn of the century, as well as the urgent need to establish the buildings to complete the remainder of the Arc on Mount Carmel by century’s end. As a younger and less seasoned Bahá'í back then, it was a very exciting time for me anticipating the awesome results of that undertaking and all that was about to unfold. Adding to that anticipation of the Lesser Peace, Iraq then invaded Kuwait in 1990 and launched missiles into Israel. A western coalition was formed to suppress that invasion bringing to my mind Bahá’u’lláh’s words: “Such a peace demandeth that the Great Powers should resolve, for the sake of the tranquillity of the peoples of the earth, to be fully reconciled among themselves. Should any king take up arms against another, all should unitedly arise and prevent him. If this be done, the nations of the world will no longer require any armaments, except for the purpose of preserving the security of their realms and of maintaining internal order within their territories. This will ensure the peace and composure of every people, government and nation." (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, CXVII) It was later in my studies that I learned the Guardian had actually written and explained, “The raising of this Edifice (the International Archives Building) will in turn herald the construction, in the course of successive epochs of the Formative Age of the Faith, of several other structures, which will serve as the administrative seats of such divinely appointed institutions as the Guardianship, the Hands of the Cause, and the Universal House of Justice. These Edifices will, in the shape of a far-flung arc, and following a harmonizing style of architecture, surround the resting-places of the Greatest Holy Leaf, ranking as foremost among the members of her sex in the Bahá'í Dispensation, of her Brother, offered up as a ransom by Bahá'u'lláh for the quickening of the world and its unification, and of their Mother, proclaimed by Him to be His chosen "consort in all the worlds of God." The ultimate completion of this stupendous undertaking will mark the culmination of the development of a world-wide divinely-appointed Administrative Order whose beginnings may be traced as far back as the concluding years of the Heroic Age of the Faith. . . . This vast and irresistible process, unexampled in the spiritual history of mankind, and which will synchronize with two no less significant developments--the establishment of the Lesser Peace and the evolution of Bahá'í national and local institutions--the one outside and the other within the Bahá'í world--will attain its final consummation, in the Golden Age of the Faith, through the raising of the standard of the Most Great Peace, and the emergence, in the plenitude of its power and glory, of the focal Center of the agencies constituting the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. The final establishment of this seat of the future Bahá'í World Commonwealth will signalize at once the proclamation of the sovereignty of the Founder of our Faith and the advent of the Kingdom of the Father repeatedly lauded and promised by Jesus Christ. . . .” (Letter of November 27, 1954; Messages to the Bahá'í World: 1950-1957, pp. 74-75) It was at this point that I realized that some of the buildings were not the ones the Guardian had described and so I began immersing myself in all I could find that Shoghi Effendi had himself actually wrote, what his secretaries wrote on his behalf at his direction, what those closest to the Guardian wrote that he approved for publication, and what he reportedly had told the pilgrims. I attempted to see things through the eyes of the Guardian and to attempt to understand his interpretive vision of the unfoldment of the Cause of God. Perceiving things based on my understanding of his vision, I began to question many things. . . . . and have even more ever since.

-LR
 
Dec 2012
189
Earth
#13
Greetings Walrus,

You will have to excuse my response as I was put on a high penicillin dose for blood poisoning five days ago. So I am feeling lightheaded and might drift more than I would normally do.

Can you point to a source for that?? I've only ever seen it on a list of claims posted by a non-Baha'i that, confusingly, also claimed that the Bab directly named Subh-i-Azal as the next prophet, despite those two claims being contradictory.
Yes, it can be quite amusing running across some websites where a simple soul is striving to misrepresent a religion. Unfortunately Bahá'ís have participated in the same behaviour and this material has even passed publishing review standards. This has led to some confusion, especially about the Báb. One typical example is Bahá'ís from Christian backgrounds used to refer to the Báb as a contemporary John the Baptist. Now to better appreciate this let us reverse roles for a moment and try to imagine that Bahá'u'lláh came before the Báb. How do you think Bahá'ís might feel if the Bábís referred to Bahá'u'lláh in the same manner? It is a very simple analogy, but it one that makes an important point. Namely, for outside observers, Bahá'ís do not know much about the Báb other than what they have learnt from the Bahá'í Faith, and, more importantly, have a history of using inappropriate terminally for Him, even if this was never indented to cause offence. So we should not be too surprised when Bahá’ís might claiming His Writings to be false when used to question their own religious agenda. Now, as the Shrine of the Báb is the centre piece at the Bahá'í World Centre, how does this appear? I think you might agree with me that we still have a way to go. As a former Bábí myself it is not unreasonable to suggest that if the same attitudes were expressed towards the Founder of another mainline religion people might have a lot to say about the matter. Now do not get me wrong, I understand perfectly well that westerners did not make this an issue and the amount of genuine independent Bábís in the world can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand, but at the end of the day the Báb is not only a Manifestation of God, He has become a symbol of the Bahá'í Faith too due to His unique role. So there is a need for Bahá'ís to be more mindful of Him and His Writings.

Accessing material from the Bábí Era is complex to say the least. But we do not need to get too caught up here because the same is true with all religious works, including material from the Bahá'í Faith. Indeed even now some pieces are removed from time to time because the originals cannot be found. The most recent to be removed was a prayer. Apparently there was no original, despite it being in Bahá’í prayer books for over half a century without anyone realising it. This has been true for some other pieces too. In addition to this all religious works are naturally perceived in a different way over time; languages evolve and it becomes very difficult to understand original works in the manner they were intended.

The only translations that tend to be recognised are those that have been academically verified, but even these are not necessarily correct and forgeries emerge from time to time, but this is perfectly fine because all academic understanding evolves over time. In some cases scholars from different religions produce arguments that are worth examining because they view material from very different perspectives, often leaning towards their specific theological beliefs, but not always, because as new evidence comes to light, new understandings transpire. This is especially true with regards to the Writings of the Báb. Thankfully He is no longer a contemporary John the Baptist. But do appreciate that the intellectual game that is being played over the notion of religious authenticity between different religions can be seen to be prejudicial.

I believe the Universal House of Justice is taking the right course of action by not conducting translations of the Báb's material that it holds at this time. It is a sensitive topic because academics have faced significant challenges with this material because it serves to highlight the polarised outlooks that have always been present on this matter. The Persian friends have a much greater comprehension of this matter, but even some issues can confound them too. This is because the Bahá’í Faith is no longer a 19th century religion and understanding about the Báb have actually changed over this time period. At is in now beyond living memory it is a historical issue, not a theological one.

Now there is a simple litmus tests that can be applied with the Báb's Writings to see if they appear correct from a Bahá'í standpoint. Now this is not how Bábís would evaluate material, but it can be helpful to any Bahá'í that cannot read Arabic or Persian. It will allow you to form a first stage opinion.

As you know, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, The Most Holy Book, is dedicated to the Persian Bayán, The Mother Book. However, rather than being in Persian it is in Arabic. The Báb was quite specific that Him Whom God shall make Manifest would complete His laws. So the Kitáb-i-Aqdas is the completion of the laws of the Báb. Everything in it validates the Báb. Therefore if you come across some material that does not contradict the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, then it could be original, no matter how obscure or absurd it might appear. But there is more. Such material actually validates Bahá'u'lláh. So the next time you witness someone seeking to discredit Bahá'u'lláh by claiming He could not be Him Whom God shall make Manifest, because the Báb explained that His Revelation was going to last for a thousand years, you can treat yourself to a personal smile and be assured that this is exactly what Bahá'u'lláh has confirmed too.

All individuals have different levels of understandings. As the Universal House of Justice put it to one question about the Station of Bahá'u'lláh in 1991:

"Some see the reflection of the Essence of God Himself in the temple of His Manifestation; others see the Manifestation as the Revealer of God and regard His commands and prohibitions to be identical with the ordinances of God. Both views, Bahá'u'lláh says, are acceptable."

This response highlights as to why Bahá'ís will view Manifestations of God from different perspectives. I cannot recreate my journeys to find the Báb with you or go into depth how it has shaped me within the scope of a forum post. But may God grant you the same opportunity. When you can feel the Báb like this you will understand why sincere Bábís freely gave their lives for what they believed was going to come.

A Universal Manifestation of God overshadows cycles upon cycles of Revelations. This is why the time given to Bahá'u'lláh's Universal Cycle is actually 500,000 years. To help put this into perspective, modern man is believed to be 200,000 years old, but evidence suggests human advancement only started to be shared collectively around 10,000 years ago. When looked at like this it makes little sense for Bahá’ís to trouble themselves over how they choose to view Manifestations of God. It is a matter of faith, not a matter of fact.

All people that make the journey to accepting Bahá’u’lláh will have their own unique experiences and outlooks, as will those that are brought up and raised within the Faith. These cannot be challenged because they are real, or at least appeared real to the people that underwent them. I raise this point because a few people in mental hospitals have been guided to the Faith too. I once met one such Bahá’í who believed he was a secret agent tasked to serve the Universal House of Justice. He had recently escaped captivity and believed he was on a special assignment to track down a Covenant-breaker to neutralise. So when he arrived at our home, after a quick phone call because we had no idea who he was, we were informed he posed a dangerous threat to the lives of Bahá’ís and were asked to keep him occupied until the police arrived to take him back to into custody. The House of Justice even sent him a loving message encouraging him to keep taking his medication. It was suggested later that his schizophrenic illusions might have been triggered by Bahá’ís making excessive claims about Covenant-breakers to him. All independent Bábís that have gone on to become Bahá’ís have learnt now to navigate over Covenant-breaker material. It is hard to describe the process but it is rather like being guided by a light in the distance. A sincere heart will always find the way home. As for those that find the Faith by believing they are James Bond, I have no answer because it is outside my personal experience. But we all find God in our own unique ways and I am happy to embrace schizophrenics into the Faith just like anyone else. In the end, as one dear friend pointed out, we really are a mixed bag of misfits.

Earth
 
Dec 2012
189
Earth
#14
Greetings Larry,

I am delighted to find you are still reading and posting on the forum. I have missed some of your insights and targeted quotations that are very specific to the issue in hand, rather than being a cherry-picked concept to endorse a personal view, all of which have been intelligently presented and very helpful in my view.

It is perhaps interesting how each generation can become oblivious to the challenges faced by the former generation. This is especially true in localities where access to Bahá’í material was hard to come by. Even in western states Bahá’í publishing bodies keep costs down, but for many the idea of obtaining a complete library of all materials to study was beyond many peoples means.

As you know, since the advent of the Internet, it is now possible to obtain a far greater range of materials to read. We can all learn from retrospect, but I happen to think the experience has made people like ourselves much more robust. As you know the Faith and our relationship to it revolves around the spirit of sacrifice. When I think of this, those, and it was a very significant number, that decided to walk away from the Faith because it did not develop as they had hoped, possessed an attachment. They wished to see the Lesser Peace within their own lifetime. I have now abandoned such things and feel all the better because of it. Because now I can focus on what is really important.

Great to see you posting again.

Earth
 
Mar 2015
216
Bend area, Oregon
#15
Earth:

I realize that the initial post of this thread gave focus to the elections of national spiritual assemblies and the Universal House of Justice, but your comments beyond that have certainly stirred my thoughts and opened the door to such a vast range of topics so worthy of being addressed. Considering that brevity is probably best and appreciated by most here, another consideration is: where to actually start?

My comments to follow are not provided as criticism in reaction to the comments and answers you have offered, but are only given as one person’s very limited understanding in place and time. I also must confess, in light of the depth of all you have offered on this forum over time, I feel somewhat inadequate to be providing comments in response to yours and but for your encouragement I would not.

I must admit that I too was surprised and a bit challenged by your comment in post 4 stating, “Do understand that 'Abdu'l-Bahá was known to offer false insights in order to test Bahá'ís.” Now that you have planted that thought seed in my mind, it will require some prayerful refection and in-depth study on my part before I can embrace the concept that 'Abdu'l-Bahá would have intentionally deceived (“tested”) those immature early believers (those seedlings) in his day. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, as well as Shoghi Effendi after Him, was the appointed protector [“Shield”] of the Cause of God and the appointed “Mubayyín”, the one whose role it was to interpret and expound upon the multivarious meanings of the Word of God, i.e. to make the Divine Intent more clear. Also as I understand it, the roles of the future Guardians to come after 'Abdu'l-Bahá were to continue insuring protection against schism in the Faith and to provide progressive interpretations of the words of God over time.

Related to the Center of the Covenant’s and the Guardian’s roles, some words of Bahá’u’lláh from His Commentary on the Surah of the Sun (Quran, Surah 91) come to mind. “Know assuredly that just as thou firmly believest that the Word of God, exalted be His glory, endureth for ever, thou must, likewise, believe with undoubting faith that its meaning can never be exhausted. They who are its appointed interpreters (Mubayyín), they whose hearts are the repositories of its secrets, are, however, the only ones who can comprehend its manifold wisdom. . . .” (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, LXXXIX) and further, " ‘By the moon when it followeth it!’ ; The moon signifieth the station of guardianship, which followeth the sun of prophethood, that is, it appeareth afterward, to vindicate the cause of the prophet among God's servants. Were We to elaborate on the stations of the moon, thou wouldst be presented with a hefty tome indeed.” (translated by Juan Cole) As testified by Shoghi Effendi, 'Abdu'l-Bahá was the “Center and Pivot of Bahá’u’lláh’s peerless and all-enfolding Covenant” and the “Moon of the Central Orb of this most holy Dispensation”. Shoghi Effendi also referred to “the Guardians who are its (the Covenant’s) chosen ministers” and to “the Center of the Covenant and His ministers who are to carry on His work”. (‘The Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh’; ‘The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh’, pp. 132, 134, 151) 'Abdu'l-Bahá did write: “I am according to the explicit texts of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and the Kitáb-i-‘Ahd the manifest Interpreter [Mubayyín] of the Word of God… Whoso deviates from my interpretation is a victim of his own fancy.” (cited by Shoghi Effendi in ‘The Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh’, ‘The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh’, p. 138) Shoghi Effendi has referred to “(t)he fact that the Guardian has been specifically endowed with such power as he may need to reveal the purport and disclose the implications of the utterances of Bahá’u’lláh and of 'Abdu'l-Bahá . . .” (‘The Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh’; ‘The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh’, p. 151)

I may have gotten “out there” a bit in my comments, but I haven’t found in the writings where 'Abdu'l-Bahá’s role or the role of the Guardian(s) included testing the believers, though I do consider that the believers may very well unconsciously test themselves by self-limiting their own understandings of the multivarious meanings within the words and signs of God, and even within the words of those who are His appointed interpreters. Although Shoghi Effendi has “stated” to those in the west that in his ‘The Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh’ treatise that he was writing in “clear and unambiguous language”, he also stated elsewhere through his secretary, “The Guardian would strongly urge each and every member of the National Spiritual Assembly to carefully peruse, and to quietly ponder upon the outer meaning and upon the inner spirit as well, of all his communications on the subject of the origin, nature and present-day functioning of the administrative order of the Faith. (May 9, 1934, to a National Spiritual Assembly; also cited in “Studying the Writings of Shoghi Effendi” compiled by the Research Department for the Universal House of Justice)

Perhaps another way of looking at what 'Abdu'l-Bahá may have meant by indicating that the political peace /unity of nations would be established by the turn of the “century” (whether that actually meant the end of the Gregorian twentieth century or meant by the end of the first century of the Bahá’í Era, 1963), one might compare that prediction to what he reportedly said in 1912 to those assembled when He set the symbolic cornerstone of the American Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in Wilmatte, Illinois: “Make a beginning and all will come” and “In the unseen world, the Temple is already built.”

Thank you for your encouragement to comment. May our limited understandings continue to evolve overtime and may new insights emerge. Take care.

-LR
 
Jun 2014
1,061
Wisconsin
#16
Greetings Walrus,

You will have to excuse my response as I was put on a high penicillin dose for blood poisoning five days ago. So I am feeling lightheaded and might drift more than I would normally do.



Yes, it can be quite amusing running across some websites where a simple soul is striving to misrepresent a religion. Unfortunately Bahá'ís have participated in the same behaviour and this material has even passed publishing review standards. This has led to some confusion, especially about the Báb. One typical example is Bahá'ís from Christian backgrounds used to refer to the Báb as a contemporary John the Baptist. Now to better appreciate this let us reverse roles for a moment and try to imagine that Bahá'u'lláh came before the Báb. How do you think Bahá'ís might feel if the Bábís referred to Bahá'u'lláh in the same manner? It is a very simple analogy, but it one that makes an important point. Namely, for outside observers, Bahá'ís do not know much about the Báb other than what they have learnt from the Bahá'í Faith, and, more importantly, have a history of using inappropriate terminally for Him, even if this was never indented to cause offence. So we should not be too surprised when Bahá’ís might claiming His Writings to be false when used to question their own religious agenda. Now, as the Shrine of the Báb is the centre piece at the Bahá'í World Centre, how does this appear? I think you might agree with me that we still have a way to go. As a former Bábí myself it is not unreasonable to suggest that if the same attitudes were expressed towards the Founder of another mainline religion people might have a lot to say about the matter. Now do not get me wrong, I understand perfectly well that westerners did not make this an issue and the amount of genuine independent Bábís in the world can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand, but at the end of the day the Báb is not only a Manifestation of God, He has become a symbol of the Bahá'í Faith too due to His unique role. So there is a need for Bahá'ís to be more mindful of Him and His Writings.

Accessing material from the Bábí Era is complex to say the least. But we do not need to get too caught up here because the same is true with all religious works, including material from the Bahá'í Faith. Indeed even now some pieces are removed from time to time because the originals cannot be found. The most recent to be removed was a prayer. Apparently there was no original, despite it being in Bahá’í prayer books for over half a century without anyone realising it. This has been true for some other pieces too. In addition to this all religious works are naturally perceived in a different way over time; languages evolve and it becomes very difficult to understand original works in the manner they were intended.

The only translations that tend to be recognised are those that have been academically verified, but even these are not necessarily correct and forgeries emerge from time to time, but this is perfectly fine because all academic understanding evolves over time. In some cases scholars from different religions produce arguments that are worth examining because they view material from very different perspectives, often leaning towards their specific theological beliefs, but not always, because as new evidence comes to light, new understandings transpire. This is especially true with regards to the Writings of the Báb. Thankfully He is no longer a contemporary John the Baptist. But do appreciate that the intellectual game that is being played over the notion of religious authenticity between different religions can be seen to be prejudicial.

I believe the Universal House of Justice is taking the right course of action by not conducting translations of the Báb's material that it holds at this time. It is a sensitive topic because academics have faced significant challenges with this material because it serves to highlight the polarised outlooks that have always been present on this matter. The Persian friends have a much greater comprehension of this matter, but even some issues can confound them too. This is because the Bahá’í Faith is no longer a 19th century religion and understanding about the Báb have actually changed over this time period. At is in now beyond living memory it is a historical issue, not a theological one.

Now there is a simple litmus tests that can be applied with the Báb's Writings to see if they appear correct from a Bahá'í standpoint. Now this is not how Bábís would evaluate material, but it can be helpful to any Bahá'í that cannot read Arabic or Persian. It will allow you to form a first stage opinion.

As you know, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, The Most Holy Book, is dedicated to the Persian Bayán, The Mother Book. However, rather than being in Persian it is in Arabic. The Báb was quite specific that Him Whom God shall make Manifest would complete His laws. So the Kitáb-i-Aqdas is the completion of the laws of the Báb. Everything in it validates the Báb. Therefore if you come across some material that does not contradict the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, then it could be original, no matter how obscure or absurd it might appear. But there is more. Such material actually validates Bahá'u'lláh. So the next time you witness someone seeking to discredit Bahá'u'lláh by claiming He could not be Him Whom God shall make Manifest, because the Báb explained that His Revelation was going to last for a thousand years, you can treat yourself to a personal smile and be assured that this is exactly what Bahá'u'lláh has confirmed too.

All individuals have different levels of understandings. As the Universal House of Justice put it to one question about the Station of Bahá'u'lláh in 1991:

"Some see the reflection of the Essence of God Himself in the temple of His Manifestation; others see the Manifestation as the Revealer of God and regard His commands and prohibitions to be identical with the ordinances of God. Both views, Bahá'u'lláh says, are acceptable."

This response highlights as to why Bahá'ís will view Manifestations of God from different perspectives. I cannot recreate my journeys to find the Báb with you or go into depth how it has shaped me within the scope of a forum post. But may God grant you the same opportunity. When you can feel the Báb like this you will understand why sincere Bábís freely gave their lives for what they believed was going to come.

A Universal Manifestation of God overshadows cycles upon cycles of Revelations. This is why the time given to Bahá'u'lláh's Universal Cycle is actually 500,000 years. To help put this into perspective, modern man is believed to be 200,000 years old, but evidence suggests human advancement only started to be shared collectively around 10,000 years ago. When looked at like this it makes little sense for Bahá’ís to trouble themselves over how they choose to view Manifestations of God. It is a matter of faith, not a matter of fact.

All people that make the journey to accepting Bahá’u’lláh will have their own unique experiences and outlooks, as will those that are brought up and raised within the Faith. These cannot be challenged because they are real, or at least appeared real to the people that underwent them. I raise this point because a few people in mental hospitals have been guided to the Faith too. I once met one such Bahá’í who believed he was a secret agent tasked to serve the Universal House of Justice. He had recently escaped captivity and believed he was on a special assignment to track down a Covenant-breaker to neutralise. So when he arrived at our home, after a quick phone call because we had no idea who he was, we were informed he posed a dangerous threat to the lives of Bahá’ís and were asked to keep him occupied until the police arrived to take him back to into custody. The House of Justice even sent him a loving message encouraging him to keep taking his medication. It was suggested later that his schizophrenic illusions might have been triggered by Bahá’ís making excessive claims about Covenant-breakers to him. All independent Bábís that have gone on to become Bahá’ís have learnt now to navigate over Covenant-breaker material. It is hard to describe the process but it is rather like being guided by a light in the distance. A sincere heart will always find the way home. As for those that find the Faith by believing they are James Bond, I have no answer because it is outside my personal experience. But we all find God in our own unique ways and I am happy to embrace schizophrenics into the Faith just like anyone else. In the end, as one dear friend pointed out, we really are a mixed bag of misfits.

Earth
Hey Earth.

So is a genuinely good post and filled with a lot of detail, and I think you do a good job of establishing that even if the Bab wrote about the millennial or 1000 years period that it wouldn't necessarily discredit Baha'u'llah.

But I was more of wondering if you could point out where specifically the Bab talked about the 1000 years.

I really don't want to detract from your post in any way because it has a lot of useful and interesting information in there, but it doesn't necessarily answer the one thing I was looking for. :p It answers a whole lot that I wasn't looking for of course, and that's valuable in and of itself. Ultimately, though, I like to be able to read the texts themselves whenever possible, and I'm curious if the specific scripture mentioned can be nailed down.
 
Dec 2012
189
Earth
#17
Greetings Larry,

I am very much indebted to a number individuals that personally knew and worked with the Guardian for helping to shape my understanding of the Faith. As Shoghi Effendi put it in The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh:

"To strive to obtain a more adequate understanding of the significance of Bahá’u’lláh’s stupendous Revelation must, it is my unalterable conviction, remain the first obligation and the object of the constant endeavor of each one of its loyal adherents. An exact and thorough comprehension of so vast a system, so sublime a revelation, so sacred a trust, is for obvious reasons beyond the reach and ken of our finite minds. We can, however, and it is our bounden duty to seek to derive fresh inspiration and added sustenance as we labor for the propagation of His Faith through a clearer apprehension of the truths it enshrines and the principles on which it is based."

With regards as to where to start, personally it is always worth a refreshing read of the Kitáb-i-Íqán once again. However, when reading it, look at the closed prophesies being addressed by Bahá'u'lláh and remember that the next Manifestation of God will have to do the same thing, this time with Bahá'u'lláh's Writings. I do not know how well you know the Writings on this topic, but there are passages from Bahá'u'lláh where He appears to lament about the tests of the coming Manifestation of God. The most optimistic example can be found in the Súratu'l-Haykal.

"Deal not with Him, as ye have dealt with Me."

This is quite a chilling sentence to read after the Kitáb-i-Íqán. Some other passages in the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh are far less reassuring, but you can find these for yourself. While we are likely to be nothing more than dust at that time, it is important because it allows us to better understand the Faith in our time and to play our part in striving to remove the hubris that natural forms within all religions. Ideas within religious communities tend to have a greater impact on theology than religious texts themselves. So once a misconception becomes accepted as a truth, it can have direct repercussions for the next Manifestation of God. We can never prevent a Manifestation of God from being persecuted because it one of the proofs, but we can recognise the wish extended to us by the Blessed Beauty and act in ways and means that might go towards exercising the hope He has placed in us.

When I look back on some lessens of wisdom taught to me decades ago, I did not fully understand them at that time. However, now they make much more sense to me, because experience teaches you view matters in different ways. So you might be surprised that your interest in this matter might be down to seeds of wisdom planted within your mind by loyal believers a number of decades ago too. It is a perfectly natural process. In the wider world it is known as ageing.

May we age well,

Earth
 
Likes: tonyfish58
Dec 2012
189
Earth
#18
Greetings Walrus,

I try to maintain a basic Bahá'í terminology for the Báb on Bahá'í inspired public domain along with keeping ideas simple and easy to follow. This usually makes material easier to associate for English readers; except when my use of English gets the better of me of course, for which I apologise. Likewise I try not contradict terms frequently used by Bahá'ís, even if they are incorrect in Bábí terms. However, when we venture into the realm of the Imam Mahdi from the concept of the Twelvers, a thousand years naturally becomes an important number because it marks the years between the Prophet and Himself. So the Báb commonly used the term of a thousand to reinforce the fact that His Revelation was equal to that of the Prophet. Namely His Revelation will last for a thousand years too. In addition to this He sometimes offered numbers multiplied by thousands; a reflection of the same concept. This is common knowledge. However there is no conflict between this and the notion that Him Whom God shall make Manifest was destined to arrive soon. Both are correct because the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh were in spiritual partnership. As Twelver Islamic ideas revered the notion of a thousand years, this matter only needed to be understood by them at that time, but now it can be understood by Bahá'ís too within The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, which as you know is the Book promised by the Báb.

Kitáb-i-Aqdas - Index term: next, under Manifestation(s) of God

All religions are a matter of faith, not a matter of fact. In Gate of the Heart, Nader Saiedi attempts to show why reductionism will not work when seeking to understand the Báb. This has been a challenge for some Bahá'ís because they are prone towards developing a one track mentality for authenticity. The heart does not need authenticity and this is why the Writings of the Báb can be an enigma for some to understand.

Does that help?

Earth
 
Likes: tonyfish58
Mar 2015
216
Bend area, Oregon
#19
Earth:

Regarding post #17, thank you. Yes, those “chilling” words of Bahá'u'lláh from the Súratu'l-Haykal,"Deal not with Him, as ye have dealt with Me." surely deserve serious attention and is one of many areas where we need to “strive to obtain a more adequate understanding of the significance of Bahá’u’lláh’s stupendous Revelation”. On another forum I participate some in, a key contributor shared the following quote on the same topic recently:

EXTRACT FROM THE "TABLET RIZWAN EL
IGRAR" (THE GARDEN OF CONFESSION).

Revealed by The Blessed Perfection to Aga Mohammed
Aly Yazdi, who is still living
in Sidon. (July, 1900)

"...My Eye weeps, and the eyes of Aly weep
before the Supreme Companion; and My Heart
laments, and the heart of Mohammed laments
under the Canopy of Abha; and my Mind cries
out, and the minds of the Apostles cry out before
the Sadrat-el-Montaha, if ye are of the onlookers.

My sadness is not for Myself, but for the One
Who shall come after Me in the Shadow of the
Command with Manifest and Evident Power.
Verily there are who will not consent to His
Manifestation, and will protest against His
Verses, and will disbelieve His Proof, and will
fight against His Person, and will use deceit in
His Affair, just as they are inflicting upon Him
in these days, and ye are witnessing thereto."

Compilations,Baha'i Prayers 9, p, 29 - Baha'u'llah –

Earth, you brought attention to the Kitab-i-Iqan. In one place it reads: This ‘oppression’ is the essential feature of every Revelation. Unless it cometh to pass, the Sun of Truth will not be made manifest. For the break of the morn of divine guidance must needs follow the darkness of the night of error.” (Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 31)

In Shoghi Effendi’s ‘The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh’ treatise you mentioned, he cites the words of Bahá'u'lláh paralleling those words quoted above, “I am not apprehensive for My own self," Bahá'u'lláh still more explicitly declares, "My fears are for Him Who will be sent down unto you after Me--Him Who will be invested with great sovereignty and mighty dominion." And again He writes in the Súratu'l-Haykal: "By those words which I have revealed, Myself is not intended, but rather He Who will come after Me. To it is witness God, the All-Knowing." "Deal not with Him," He adds, "as ye have dealt with Me." (The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. p. 117)

In a letter written on behalf of the Guardian, he expounds upon those same words of Bahá'u'lláh. "As to the meaning of the quotation, 'My fears are for Him Who will be sent down unto you after Me', this refers to the Manifestation Who is to come after a thousand or more years, Who like all previous Messengers of God will be subjected to persecutions, but will eventually triumph over them. For men of ill-will have been and will always continue to be in this world, unless mankind reaches a state of complete and absolute perfection--a condition which is not only improbable but actually impossible to attain. The fundamental difference, however, between this Dispensation and all previous ones is this, that in this Revelation the possibility of permanent schism between the followers of the Prophet has been prevented through the direct and explicit instructions providing for the necessary instruments designed to maintain the organic unity of the body of the faithful." (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, December 1, 1934, Bahá'í News, No. 89, p. 1, January 1935, in Directives of the Guardian. P. 42 and Lights of Guidance, no. 1562)

As explained by Shoghi Effendi in the quote above, “the possibility of permanent schism between the followers of the Prophet has been prevented through the direct and explicit instructions providing for the necessary instruments designed to maintain the organic unity of the body of the faithful." Related, I find it interesting that in the notes of Valera Allen, who was on pilgrimage with her husband John Allen in December of 1954 , and that were recorded about 3 years before the Guardian’s passing, she describes that “The Guardian was asked if the meaning of the verse in the Bible "the day that would not be followed by night" meant that succeeding Manifestations would not be persecuted but immediately accepted by the people. He answered, ‘No, there will always be evil in the world and doubtless the succeeding Manifestations would be persecuted though in a lesser degree.’ The meaning of the verse was that the Guardians would be sources of guidance and protection for the Faith until the coming of the subsequent Manifestation which might not be for 6000 years although He might come any time after 1000 years — depending on need.”

Isobel Sabri, who was on pilgrimage April 19 – 28, 1957, reported the following words of Shoghi Effendi being uttered in her notes of April 23, 1957: “(The Guardian was asked a question concerning whether or not the next Manifestation of God would be opposed by the people of the world, as had Baha’u’llah and all former Messengers of God.) In the future, when the next Manifestation appears, the Guardian of the Cause at that time will tell the believers who the Manifestation is and will call on them to accept Him. What is the use of the infallibility of the Guardian if he does not do this? This is one of the very important things that he will do. Opposition to the next Manifestation will thus be much less than in former times – that is to say, the area of opposition will be reduced. “This is the day that shall not be followed by night” means that divine guidance will not again be withdrawn from the world. This civilization which we are beginning to build now will not decline. Other Manifestations will change the institutions and the laws, but there will be no decline. The earth will be the footstool of the throne of God. The throne is in heaven and the footstool on earth.”

Regarding “This is the day that shall not be followed by night” and that “divine guidance will not again be withdrawn from the world” is apparently due to the anticipated protective role of the Guardianship. In the Bahá’í News, No. 232, p. 8, June 1950 a letter is cited where the Guardian addresses this theme. It was written: “He feels that if ... ponders more deeply about the fundamentals of Divine Revelation, she will also come to understand the Guardianship. Once the mind and heart have grasped the fact that God guides men through a Mouthpiece, a human being, a Prophet, infallible and unerring, it is only a logical projection of this acceptance to also accept the station of ‘Abdu’l Bahá and the Guardians. The Guardians are the evidence of the maturity of mankind in the sense that at long last men have progressed to the point of having one world, and of needing one world management for human affairs. In the spiritual realm they have also reached the point where God could leave, in human hands (i.e. the Guardians) guided directly by the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh, as the Master states in His Will, the affairs of His Faith for this Dispensation. This is what is meant by ‘this is the day which will not be followed by night.’ In this Dispensation, divine guidance flows on to us in this world after the Prophet’s ascension, through first the Master, and then the Guardians. If a person can accept Bahá’u’lláh’s function, it should not present any difficulty to them to also accept what He has ordained in a Divinely guided individual in matters pertaining to the Faith.” (Also see Directives from the Guardian, p.34)

Perhaps Shoghi Effendi’s written words and his reported utterances should be considered in light of Bahá'u'lláh’s divinely revealed “chilling” words you have brought to our attention stating, "Deal not with Him, as ye have dealt with Me."

Take care -LR
 
Mar 2015
216
Bend area, Oregon
#20
Earth:

In post #13, you commented to Walrus:

“Namely, for outside observers, Bahá'ís do not know much about the Báb other than what they have learnt from the Bahá'í Faith, and, more importantly, have a history of using inappropriate terminally for Him, even if this was never indented to cause offence. So we should not be too surprised when Bahá’ís might claiming His Writings to be false when used to question their own religious agenda. Now, as the Shrine of the Báb is the centre piece at the Bahá'í World Centre, how does this appear? I think you might agree with me that we still have a way to go. As a former Bábí myself it is not unreasonable to suggest that if the same attitudes were expressed towards the Founder of another mainline religion people might have a lot to say about the matter. Now do not get me wrong, I understand perfectly well that westerners did not make this an issue and the amount of genuine independent Bábís in the world can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand, but at the end of the day the Báb is not only a Manifestation of God, He has become a symbol of the Bahá'í Faith too due to His unique role. So there is a need for Bahá'ís to be more mindful of Him and His Writings.”

To your point about “the Shrine of the Báb is the centre piece at the Bahá'í World Centre, how does this appear?”, I will offer in addition the following from Shoghi Effendi’s letter, ‘Citadel of Faith’, pp. 95-96:

“For, just as in the realm of the spirit, the reality of the Báb has been hailed by the Author of the Bahá’í Revelation as “The Point round Whom the realities of the Prophets and Messengers revolve,” so, on this visible plane, His sacred remains constitute the heart and center of what may be regarded as nine concentric circles, paralleling thereby, and adding further emphasis to the central position accorded by the Founder of our Faith to One “from Whom God hath caused to proceed the knowledge of all that was and shall be,” “the Primal Point from which have been generated all created things.”

The outermost circle in this vast system, the visible counterpart of the pivotal position conferred on the Herald of our Faith, is none other than the entire planet. Within the heart of this planet lies the “Most Holy Land,” acclaimed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as “the Nest of the Prophets” and which must be regarded as the center of the world and the Qiblih of the nations. Within this Most Holy Land rises the Mountain of God of immemorial sanctity, the Vineyard of the Lord, the Retreat of Elijah, Whose return the Báb Himself symbolizes. Reposing on the breast of this holy mountain are the extensive properties permanently dedicated to, and constituting the sacred precincts of, the Báb’s holy Sepulcher. In the midst of these properties, recognized as the international endowments of the Faith, is situated the most holy court, an enclosure comprising gardens and terraces which at once embellish, and lend a peculiar charm to, these sacred precincts. Embosomed in these lovely and verdant surroundings stands in all its exquisite beauty the mausoleum of the Báb, the shell designed to preserve and adorn the original structure raised by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as the tomb of the Martyr-Herald of our Faith. Within this shell is enshrined that Pearl of Great Price, the holy of holies, those chambers which constitute the tomb itself, and which were constructed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Within the heart of this holy of holies is the tabernacle, the vault wherein reposes the most holy casket. Within this vault rests the alabaster sarcophagus in which is deposited that inestimable jewel, the Báb’s holy dust. So precious is this dust that the very earth surrounding the edifice enshrining this dust has been extolled by the Center of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant, in one of His Tablets in which He named the five doors belonging to the six chambers which He originally erected after five of the believers associated with the construction of the Shrine, as being endowed with such potency as to have inspired Him in bestowing these names, whilst the tomb itself housing this dust He acclaimed as the spot round which the Concourse on high circle in adoration.

To participate in the erection of the superstructure of an edifice at once so precious, so holy; consecrated to the memory of so heroic a Soul; whose site no one less than the Founder of our Faith has selected; whose inner chambers were erected by the Center of His Covenant with such infinite care and anguish; embosomed in so sacred a mountain, on the soil of so holy a land; occupying such a unique position; facing on the one hand the silver-white city of ‘Akká, the Qiblih of the Bahá’í world; flanked on its right by the hills of Galilee, the home of Jesus Christ, and on its left, by the Cave of Elijah; and backed by the plain of Sharon and, beyond it, Jerusalem and the Aqsá mosque, the third holiest shrine in Islám—to participate in the erection of such an edifice is a privilege offered to this generation at once unique and priceless, a privilege which only posterity will be able to correctly appraise.”


Let us contemplate as well on the exalted station granted to the Afnán, those maternal relatives of the Báb, and let us consider too that the Bahá'ís were directed to treat them with particular respect and courtesy, and that Bahá'u'lláh showered His praise upon them.

Ya 'Aliyyu'l-'Ala "O Exalted of the Most Exalted One"

-LR
 
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