July 28, 2010

The story of how Nabil-i-Akbar acknowledged Baha’u’llah as the Supreme Manifestation of God

Nabil-i-Akbar [who was later named by the Guardian as one of the 19 Apostles of Baha’u’llah] was acknowledged as one of the most outstanding men of learning in Persia. His fame had spread throughout the country to such an extent that once, when he spoke incognito to a number of divines in far-off [city of] Kirman, his listeners were lost in admiration of his superb discourse and some were heard to say that the only person in the whole country who could rival such a man in the field of learning and knowledge would be the famous Mulla Muhammad-i-Qa'ini (that is, Nabil-i-Akbar himself).

He embraced the Bábí Faith about the year 1853. Some six years later [about 1859], while in Baghdad, he went to visit Bahá'u'lláh. [this is before Baha’u’llah’s Declaration in the Garden of Ridvan in 1863] There he was warmly received by Him, and was accorded the honour of staying in the outer apartments of His house, normally reserved for the reception of visitors. Mirza Aqa Jan [Baha’u’llah’s amanuensis] was instructed by Bahá'u'lláh to act as host to him. The following is an extract from the spoken chronicle of Nabil-i-Akbar relating the events of those few days that he spent in the house of Bahá'u'lláh:

July 26, 2010

Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Baha’u’llah – Recollection by Hand of the Cause of God, Dr. Ugo Giachery

Dr. Ugo Giachery was appointed by Shoghi Effendi in 1948 as the Guardian’s personal representative for all the work in Italy associated with the erection of the superstructure of the Shrine of the Bab on Mr. Carmel. It was this service which brought him the immortal honour of having the south-western door of the original Shrine named after him as 'Bab-i-Giachery'. In 1951 Shoghi Effendi appointed Dr. Giachery Hand of the Cause of God, and in 1952 'Member at Large' of the international Baha'i Council, the forerunner of the Universal House of Justice. Below is the recollection of Dr. Giachery concerning the first time he entered the Shrine of Baha’u’llah:

“The first time I beheld the Shrine of Baha'u'llah, I was overcome by deep emotion and, as I walked close to it, trepidation and excitement made it almost impossible for me to advance further. Years of expectation surged in my mind, and the desire to prostrate myself upon the Holy Tomb for a long time the goal of my life which was now becoming reality, was at the same time urging and restraining me. Perplexity held me fastened to the ground, and if it had not been for the gentle calling of my escort, I should have remained in that state for quite a long time.

July 17, 2010

God Answers the prayer of Lua Getsinger’s mother …

Lua Getsinger was an outstanding early American Baha’i who accepted the Faith in Chicago in 1897 – she was then 26 years old. She was among the first Western pilgrims to visit ‘Abdu’l-Baha in 1898. She was given the title ‘Herald of the Covenant’ by ‘Abdu’l-Baha and was named a Disciple of ‘Abdu’l-Baha and ‘Mother Teacher of the West’ by Shoghi Effendi.

Both Lua and her mother were born in rural upstate New York in the village of Hume. Both shared an outer life of delight in the farm with its green fields and growing things, but an inner life of unrest and dissatisfaction. There was no one to answer their questions. They hungered for knowledge of every kind, especially knowledge of God And His creation, but each cup seemed to be empty.

It all began with Lua's mother. Ellen McBride Moore imbibed these ideas with her mother's milk. She was but five when the call for the first woman's rights convention in all history was made in that same upper New York at Seneca Falls. Change was in the air.

Ellen McBride Moore was born in 1843. It was the year of the great comet. All eyes stared up at the night skies searching the heavens in fear of the great fiery tail millions of miles long. Some said it heralded the end of the world.

July 14, 2010

The Story of Baha’u’llah – told by ‘Abdu’l-Baha

Tonight I wish to tell you something of the history of the Bahá'í Revelation.

The Blessed Perfection, Bahá'u'lláh, belonged to the nobility of Persia. From earliest childhood He was distinguished among His relatives and friends. They said, "This child has extraordinary power." In wisdom, intelligence and as a source of new knowledge, He was advanced beyond His age and superior to His surroundings. All who knew Him were astonished at His precocity. It was usual for them to say, "Such a child will not live," for it is commonly believed that precocious children do not reach maturity. During the period of youth the Blessed Perfection did not enter school. He was not willing to be taught. This fact is well established among the Persians of Tihran. Nevertheless, He was capable of solving the difficult problems of all who came to Him. In whatever meeting, scientific assembly or theological discussion He was found, He became the authority of explanation upon intricate and abstruse questions presented.

Until His father passed away, Bahá'u'lláh did not seek position or political station notwithstanding His connection with the government. This occasioned surprise and comment. It was frequently said, "How is it that a young man of such keen intelligence and subtle perception does not seek lucrative appointments? As a matter of fact, every position is open to him." This is an historical statement fully attested by the people of Persia.

July 12, 2010

Hearing Baha’u’llah Chanting Verses of God -- an experience recalled by Haji Mirza Haydar 'Ali

Haji Mirza Haydar-'Ali [designated by 'Abdu'l-Baha as the 'Angel of Mount Carmel'] describes the effect of being in the presence of Bahá'u'lláh when He chanted a Tablet He had revealed for him:

This Tablet... was chanted by the Beauty of the All-Bountiful [Baha’u’llah]. What an effect it had on me! To what a world did I ascend! To what a paradise did I enter! What did I see! In what way did I hear that voice and that melody!... These I cannot tell. I entered that Paradise which no eye had seen, and no ear had heard, nor any heart had felt. I saw the Kingdom of grandeur and majesty, and felt the might, the transcendent power, the glory, and the sovereignty of the ever-living, the ever-abiding, the incomparable God. But to speak of it, write about it, give an image or likeness of it, exalt and sanctify it, allude to it, extol and praise it, or describe and narrate it, all these are impossible for this humble servant or anyone else in the world. We have only access to words and terms, whereas that experience and condition are exalted above all things. They cannot be put into words or described by talks. No one can interpret the inner feelings of one's conscience... But this condition remains only for a single moment. It is a fleeting experience. Its manifestation within the human being is due to a special bounty of God. Its duration, varying from the twinkling of an eye to a longer period, depends upon one's capacity to become the recipient of this bounty. The deeds and actions of the person demonstrate its existence. But it has never been heard that this condition lasted for three or four months in a person except in Badi' (the youth that carried Baha’u’llah’s Message to the King of Persia) … (Haji Mirza Haydar-'Ali, quoted by Adib Taherzadeh in ‘The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 3’, p. 182)

July 6, 2010

Bahá'u'lláh recalled the endeavour and the achievement of His Son, ‘Abdu’l-Baha

In Baghdad We Ourselves would go and take a seat in the coffee-house to meet the people -- friends and acquaintances, strangers and inquirers alike. We brought those who were remote near to the Faith, and led many a soul into the fold of the Cause. Thus We served the Cause of God, gave victory to His Word and exalted His Name. The Most Great Branch undertook the same task and served in the same way, to a much greater degree, in Adrianople, and then to a far greater extent and with greater efficacy, in 'Akká. The same hardships and afflictions which were Ours in the early days befell Him. In Baghdad We were not prisoners, and the Cause of God had not obtained even a fraction of the fame which it has gained today. At that time the number of its opponents and adversaries and ill-wishers was far less than today. In the Land of Mystery [Adrianople] We used to meet with some and let them come into Our presence. But in the Most Great Prison We do not meet the people who are not within the fold of the Cause. We have closed the doors of social intercourse. It is the Master Who has taken every trouble upon Himself. For Our sake, in order that We may have ease and comfort, He faces the world and its peoples. For Us He has become a mighty stronghold, a mighty armour. At first He rented the Mansion of Mazra'ih. We were there for a while. Then he secured for Us this Mansion of Bahji. He has arisen with all His power to serve the Faith, and confirmation crowns His effort. This work so occupies His days and nights that He is perforce kept away from Bahji for weeks. We consort with the Friends and reveal His [God's] Word. He, the Master, is the target and bears all hardships. (Baha’u’llah, quoted by Haji Mirza Haydar-'Ali in his autobiography “The Delight of Hearts”; Balyuzi, “Abdu'l-Baha - The Centre of the Covenant”, p. 25)