Tag Archives: jewelry

I can’t change the world! How can I serve?

I’ve been thinking about this for some time and while it is lovely to think that our actions can change the world, if don’t see immediate results to our efforts, we can feel  demotivated. It is true that the goal of doing service and changing the world should not be for personal loathing but we are not perfect and sometimes results can help keep motivated.

We do selfless acts of service and work towards the common good and when we see the results of our collective action then we are motivated and we are filled with joy. Do you see though the key point made there was COLLECTIVE ACTION. And yes, once again we think: “I can’t change the world, can I?”. If we look at history, a lot of great things started of with the efforts on ONE single person. What we can look for is like-minded people with whom we CAN change the world…isn’t that what our beloved Universal House of Justice tells us?

When we think about community service or plans for development what most commonly comes to mind is leaving everything and relocating to a place where socioeconomic issues are quite apparent but the thing is that although those places are indeed full of opportunities for service, we can always start in our own backyard.

It doesn’t matter where you are! Service opportunities and people willing to help change the world are everywhere. Through our interactions with the community we can establish fruitful friendships and determine what the needs of the community are and how our individual and collective capacities can fulfil these needs.

Now, we’ve made a list of just some of the things a person can do in the event that the thought of making a long-term commitments or undertaking a mighty project makes them feel overwhelmed. These are things that WILL and DO have an impact on the lives of others and are things that most of us can easily do in a group or by ourselves:

  1. Support your local core activities – children’s classes, the junior youth empowerment program, study circles, devotional meetings
  2. Host or help hosting a fireside or deepening on elevated topics such as spiritual and material development, the importance of education and the purpose of life
  3. Give your time to a charity of choice – can be weekly or monthly or perhaps even a one-off thing. Charities are often looking for volunteers for events or to help them with admin tasks.
  4. Donate blood at your local health centre
  5. Support a local nursing home by having regular visits to their residents – nothing fancy! Sometimes you will find that people are just happy to talk 🙂
  6. Be a source of happiness to the children’s ward at your local hospital. You can share songs and prayers with them and talk to their and  their families…you’d be surprised at the results.
  7. Find out some collection charities and give what you can to them. With the current world situation, there are many of these organizations you can get involved with.
  8. Offer your services to a neighbour who requires special assistance for grocery shopping.
  9. Be a friend. In our communities there are individuals who either live by themselves or their families tend to be more isolated from the community for one reason or another -sometimes this reason being age-; being a true friend to them can mean more than you can imagine.
  10. Help plant new trees near you
  11. Support your local core activities – children’s classes, the junior youth empowerment program, study circles, devotional meetings
  12. Host or help hosting a fireside or deepening on elevated topics such as spiritual and material development, the importance of education and the purpose of life
  13. Become a “big brother” to a child in need. Several charities set this up and you can get involved if you like working with children and youth. Remember, they are the future and lean the most from example.

…the list can go on but I’ll stop here…happy serving! 🙂

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Ayyám-i-Há! What does it mean to Bahá’ís?

The Bahá’í calendar has 19 months of 19 days each. Let’s do the math… that equals to 361 days. So, what happens to the other 4-5 days (if leap year) remaining? Bahá’u’lláh has given those days the name of The Days of Ayyám-i-Há (intercalary days) which precede the Baha’i month of ‘Ala which is the very last month of the year in which Baha’is also observe the fast for 19 days.

Ayyam-i-Ha is a celebration in which Baha’is all over the world to charitable acts, rejoicing, visiting friends and the giving of gifts. It is an even happier time for children to whom gifts are mostly given to.

We want to share this beautiful prayer specially dedicated to the Intercalary days:

My God, my Fire and my Light! The days which Thou hast named the Ayyam-i-Ha [1] in Thy Book have begun, O Thou Who art the King of names, and the fast which Thy most exalted Pen hath enjoined unto all who are in the kingdom of Thy creation to observe is approaching. I entreat Thee, O my Lord, by these days and by all such as have during that period clung to the cord of Thy commandments, and laid hold on the handle of Thy precepts, to grant that unto every soul may be assigned a place within the precincts of Thy court, and a seat at the revelation of the splendors of the light of Thy countenance.

These, O my Lord, are Thy servants whom no corrupt inclination hath kept back from what Thou didst send down in Thy Book. They have bowed themselves before Thy Cause, and received Thy Book with such resolve as is born of Thee, and observed what Thou hadst prescribed unto them, and chosen to follow that which had been sent down by Thee.

Thou seest, O my Lord, how they have recognized and confessed whatsoever Thou hast revealed in Thy Scriptures. Give them to drink, O my Lord, from the hands of Thy graciousness the waters of Thine eternity. Write down, then, for them the recompense ordained for him that hath immersed himself in the ocean of Thy presence, and attained unto the choice wine of Thy meeting.

I implore Thee, O Thou the King of kings and the Pitier of the downtrodden, to ordain for them the good of this world and of the world to come. Write down for them, moreover, what none of Thy creatures hath discovered, and number them with those who have circled round Thee, and who move about Thy throne in every world of Thy worlds.

Thou, truly, art the Almighty, the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.

– Bahá’u’lláh

[1 The Days of Ha, Intercalary Days.]. (Compilations, Baha’i Prayers, p. 236)

The Gem ring

The Gem ring


Bahá’í Symbols “the Greatest Name”, the “ring symbol” and the 9 Pointed star – what do they mean?

In the Bahá’í Faith there are some symbols that are used in what we call “Bahá’í jewelry”. These symbols are:

1. In the words of Shoghi Effendi (Directives from the Guardian, p.87) “the symbol of the Greatest Name represents an invocation which can be translated either as ‘O Glory of Glories’ or ‘O Glory of the All-Glorious’. The word Glory used in this connection is a translation of the Arabic term ‘Bahá, the name of Bahá’u’lláh.”

2. The ring symbol is a version of the Greatest Name and its design is divided like this: The three horizontal lines symbolize (from top to bottom) the world of God, the world of His Manifestation and the world of humanity. The line that crosses them all vertically symbolizes the Holy Spirit which binds all three worlds. The two stars on either side represents the Twin Manifestations of the Baha’i Faith: The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh.

3. The Nine Pointed Star is a Baha’is symbol that represents the number ‘9’. Why the number nine is relevant to Baha’is can be read below*.

 

*”Concerning the number nine; the Bahá’ís reverence this for two reasons, first because it is considered by those who are interested in numbers as a sign of perfection. The second consideration which is the more important one is that it is the numerical value for the word “Baha”. (B = 2, h = 5, a = 1, and there is an accent at the end of the word which is also = 1; the ‘a’ after the ‘B’ is not written in Persian so it does not count.) In the Semitic languages — both Arabic and Hebrew — every letter of the alphabet had a numerical value, so instead of using figures to denote numbers they used letters and compounds of letters. Thus every word had both a literal meaning and also a numerical value. This practice is no more in use but during the time of Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb it was quite in vogue among the educated classes, and we find it very much used in the Bayan. As the word Baha also stood for the number nine it could be used interchangeably with it. (Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 413) You can see how these symbols are being integrated into our jewellery designs:

Let us finally consider these words:

“Someone wished to know if it were a good custom to wear a symbol, as, for instance, a cross. He said: “You wear the cross for remembrance, it concentrates your thoughts; it has no magical power. Bahá’ís often wear a stone with the greatest name engraved on it: there is no magical influence in the stone; it is a reminder, and companion. If you are about to do some selfish or hasty action, and your glance falls on the ring on your hand, you will remember and change your intention.”

– Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, p. 93