‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote: “As to the fundamentals of teaching the Faith: know thou that delivering the Message can be accomplished only through goodly deeds and spiritual attributes, an utterance that is crystal clear and the happiness reflected from the face of that one who is expounding the Teachings.”
Tag Archives: spiritual education
He really was the essence of love and mercy. Jesus Christ was a Messenger of God that Bahá’ís believe in and recognize His station. Bahá’u’lláh as well as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have spoke and wrote extensively about Jesus and His station and exalted personage. Here are just a few quotes from the Bahá’í Writings I would like to share.
When the Messianic star of Jesus Christ dawned, he declared he had come to gather together the lost tribes or scattered sheep of Moses. He not only shepherded the flock of Israel, but brought together people of Chaldea, Egypt, Syria, ancient Assyria and Phoenicia. These people were in a state of utmost hostility, thirsting for the blood of each other with the ferocity of animals; but His Holiness Jesus Christ brought them together, cemented and united them in his cause and established such a bond of love among them that enmity and warfare were abandoned. It is evident therefore that the divine teachings are intended to create a bond of unity in the human world and establish the foundations of love and fellowship among mankind. Divine religion is not a cause for discord and disagreement. If religion becomes the source of antagonism and strife, the absence of religion is to be preferred. Religion is meant to be the quickening life of the body politic; if it be the cause of death to humanity, its nonexistence would be a blessing and benefit to man. Therefore in this day the divine teachings must be sought, for they are the remedies for the present conditions of the world of humanity. – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
This quote is from a talk given by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: “You must be thankful to God that you are poor, for Jesus Christ has said, “Blessed are the poor.” He never said, “Blessed are the rich.” He said, too, that the Kingdom is for the poor and that it is easier for a camel to enter a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter God’s Kingdom. Therefore, you must be thankful to God that although in this world you are indigent, yet the treasures of God are within your reach; and although in the material realm you are poor, yet in the Kingdom of God you are precious. Jesus Himself was poor. He did not belong to the rich. He passed His time in the desert, traveling among the poor, and lived upon the herbs of the field. He had no place to lay His head, no home. He was exposed in the open to heat, cold and frost—to inclement weather of all kinds—yet He chose this rather than riches. If riches were considered a glory, the Prophet Moses would have chosen them; Jesus would have been a rich man. When Jesus Christ appeared, it was the poor who first accepted Him, not the rich. Therefore, you are the disciples of Jesus Christ; you are His comrades, for He outwardly was poor, not rich.”
In another talk, He said:
You must follow the example and footprints of Jesus Christ. Read the Gospels. Jesus Christ was mercy itself, was love itself. He even prayed in behalf of His executioners—for those who crucified Him—saying, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” If they knew what they were doing, they would not have done it. Consider how kind Jesus Christ was, that even upon the cross He prayed for His oppressors. We must follow His example. We must emulate the Prophets of God. We must follow Jesus Christ. We must free ourselves from all these imitations which are the source of darkness in the world.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá further explains that “His Holiness Jesus Christ was an educator of humanity. His teachings were altruistic; his bestowal universal. He taught mankind by the power of the Holy Spirit and not through human agency, for the human power is limited whereas the divine power is illimitable and infinite. The influence and accomplishment of Christ will attest this. Galen, the Greek physician and philosopher, who lived in the second century A.D., wrote a treatise upon the civilization of nations. He was not a Christian but he has borne testimony that religious beliefs exercise an extraordinary effect upon the problems of civilization. In substance he says, “There are certain people among us, followers of Jesus the Nazarene who was killed in Jerusalem. These people are truly imbued with moral principles which are the envy of philosophers. They believe in God and fear Him. They have hopes in His favors, therefore they shun all unworthy deeds and actions and incline to praiseworthy ethics and morals. Day and night they strive that their deeds may be commendable and that they may contribute to the welfare of humanity; therefore each one of them is virtually a philosopher, for these people have attained unto that which is the essence and purport of philosophy. These people have praiseworthy morals even though they may be illiterate.””
Let us think of Him and focus on the spiritual essence of Christmas during these holidays. The more you read bout Him and all of God’s Messengers, the more your love for Them will grow. Guaranteed.
All Manifestations of God -like the name suggest, come from God. They are one in essence and the same in spirit. We tried to make that evident in our Manifestations ring and our 9 Messengers of God necklace.
A few days ago the training for teachers of Baha’i children classes took place in a Latin American city where I happened to be. I did not attend the whole program but did see enough to write on this post.
Let’s start with the statistics of this meeting: there were about 36 youth aged 11-15 from different communities around one of the major cities, 6 tutors (which meant each had about 6 participants in their group) and from which 3 also served as aides during the day and 2 as guardians during the night, there was one cook and her assistant and one main person who was in charge of it all; this person did all from the organization of the event, the main talks, the teaching of songs, games and crafts, as well as making sure the food was on time, the youth went to bed when told and even cleaning up at the end of the event. WOW!!
At first I was a bit skeptical about the success of the event but decided to go to help either way. There were so many things going on that I cannot write all of it. I will just highlight what to me were amazing events:
First, some of the youngest amongst the group were the most dedicated students. They read carefully, filled out the sheets and sang songs as loud as they could. I had the opportunity to help in the purchase of groceries one day and took one of the participants with me. She was happy to join me and while we drove we had a nice and long conversation. We talked about many things including life after death. I was in absolute shock when this 12 year old could so eloquently and in simple terms explain the concept of death and the nature of the soul. That is when I realized that the Word of Baha’u’llah had definitely touched her young heart and made her show all her gems and let mankind benefit therefrom.
Second, of course there were some participants that came exclusively for the socialization and they were loud, rude and careless. I was very worried for the person in charge and wanted to do something to help her. One night I told her before I was leaving that it filled me with sadness to leave her with all those youth and she said to me in the sweetest voice: “go, I am good, this is where I want to be. I am happy with my kids”. There was nothing I could say. This person was completely devoted to the education of these youth and did it with the utmost love and sincerity. Despite the mess and chaos that was created very often, she remained loving, patient and happy throughout the event. I was in awe. She is really the personification of an angel!
There were times when we had to do the study of the Ruhi Book 3 about the education of children and when it was time to go out for recess, some of the participants wanted to stay and study longer! It was lovely to see! In the same way, when it was time to go back to it, they were keen to start. Absolutely worth the time dedicated to organizing and carrying out the event.
The last day, when people were going home, different groups left on different buses. Some had to wait on the side of the road, including myself. So we did. I was the last to arrive and when I did all I could hear from the opposite side of the road was the songs they had learned in the course. It totally filled my heart with joy.
Even though not all of them took as much as they could out of it, those who did will go back to their communities and pass it on to the children they teach Baha’i education classes to or even start their own class.
This is why Baha’i classes are so important to our community…because it is the base from which upright and spiritual individuals grow out of. Most if not all of the youth who attended the training a few years ago were the children that the now older youth taught classes to! In the same way, those children currently in classes are the ones that like their older peers will be teachers and so on. The circle grows and it is growing rapidly. It is an exciting movement!
Ok, let’s try to explain this concept I recently learnt.
Let’s first think about a man in the jungle…without anyone to teach him anything. Considering his surroundings and what he can see, this man would indeed adopt the ways of the animals he sees. If a man on the other hand were educated, he could bring about all the qualities and capacities that are inherent in him. Without an Educator there is no civilization.
Education is of three kinds:
1. Physical – that which tells us about our body and health
2. Material – includes the arts and sciences that we learn about in school and academies
3. Spiritual – this is the most important of the three since it is the one that helps us develop our true nature as human beings by acquiring divine perfections.
In order to progress we need an Educator that can bring about these three kinds of education. This task is far too great for any human being thus, we need a perfect Educator, sent by God. These Educators or Manifestations of God are the ones to bring to us those Teachings that help us organize our matters pertaining our body, technology and sciences and arts, as well as the most important: how to enhance our spiritual nature. Now, this last one is in accordance to our capacity of understanding at the time of the Manifestation’s appearance in the world. This means that no Messenger has come and denied the truth of the previous one but instead has given further instructions.
This is why we need an Educator. If a person was to say we do not need the guidance of the Manifestations of God would be as if a child was to say that he does not need to go to school because by himself would attain perfection using his reason and intelligence.
Here is a beautiful Quotation from the Baha’i Writings:
“God’s purpose in sending His Prophets unto men is twofold. The first is to liberate the children of men from the darkness of ignorance, and guide them to the light of true understanding. The second is to ensure the peace and tranquility of mankind, and provide all the means by which they can be established.”