You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2009.

 (September 2009)

Thanks go to the blessed soul who took and shared these cursory yet enlightening notes from a recent talk by member of the Universal House of Justice Dr. Payman Mohajer. 

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The Purpose of Core Activities

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In the course of the consultations, Dr. Mohajer posed a thought-provoking question to the participants, “What is the purpose of our core activities?”
 
Dr Mohajer then went on to share an explanation by giving the example of a glass. He said that while it is not inaccurate to say that the glass is transparent, it is evident that transparency is not the purpose of the glass. Transparency is one of the attributes of the glass, but its purpose is to hold liquid. Similarly, one of the attributes of our core activities is that they become portals for entry by troops or instruments for teaching — but that is not their purpose. Dr. Mohajer stressed that the purpose of our core activities is to enable us to serve society and help “translate that which hath been written into reality and action” (ToB 166).
 
How many of us have looked at core activities as a way of building an ever advancing civilization, of creating a new race of men, as a way for the betterment of society? Perhaps for a lot of us core activities are simply about teaching the Faith and getting new declarations. But the primary purpose of our core activities is to raise our capacity to serve society, such that these activities become instruments for developing communities, and not merely instruments for teaching the Faith.
 
Dr Mohajer encouraged the participants present at the seminar to re-read the Ruhi Institute books 1 to 7 with an eye to society and to reflect on how the concepts embedded in them could be used for social action and not just for the sake of expansion and consolidation. For instance, the very first quotation in Ruhi Book 1 talks about the betterment of the world being accomplished through pure and goodly deeds (ADJ 24-25).
 
Did we ever think about ‘Abdul-Bahá’s quotation, “let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path” (PT 16) as applicable to the removal of prejudice? Do we remind ourselves that the reason for becoming more truthful is to contribute as much to a better society as it is for the sake of our own spiritual progress? It is clear that we need to imbue participants engaged in our core activities with a vision of social transformation as well as of personal transformation.
 
Now if someone were to ask us whether the purpose of our inviting them to join study circles is to make them Bahá’ís, we can confidently say ‘no’ and tell them that the purpose of our core activities is to assist in the transformation and betterment of society.
 
 
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Information about the core activites:
 
 

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Peacebwns_5859-0

 Example of a Baha’i children’s curriculum, known as the Peace Pack, developed in Western Australia for State Schools classes. It is accompanied by a CD of songs for children, prepared by Western Australian Baha’i musician Greg Parker.

 Children100_1920

 A Baha’i Education in State Schools class in Norfolk Island, New South Wales, Australia.
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To whatever place We may be banished, however great the tribulation We may suffer, they who are the people of God must, with fixed resolve and perfect confidence, keep their eyes directed towards the Day Spring of Glory, and be busied in whatever may be conducive to the betterment of the world and the education of its peoples.

  – Bahá’u’lláh, GWB 270

 

Promote ye the development of the cities of God and His countries, and glorify Him therein in the joyous accents of His well-favoured ones. In truth, the hearts of men are edified through the power of the tongue, even as houses and cities are built up by the hand and other means. We have assigned to every end a means for its accomplishment; avail yourselves thereof, and place your trust and confidence in God, the Omniscient, the All-Wise.

 – Bahá’u’lláh, KA 77 §160

 

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Bahá’í House of Worship in Ashkhabad before its destruction by an earthquake

You are welcome this afternoon, most welcome. I am ever happy to see you. … I hope that these gatherings may be productive of great results, and there is no greater result than the love of God. There is no greater result than bonds of service in the divine Kingdom and attainment to the good pleasure of the Lord. Therefore, I desire that your hearts may be directed to the Kingdom of God, that your intentions may be pure and sincere, your purposes turned toward altruistic accomplishment unmindful of your own welfare; nay, rather, may all your intentions center in the welfare of humanity, and may you seek to sacrifice yourselves in the pathway of devotion to mankind. Even as Jesus Christ forfeited His life, may you, likewise, offer yourselves in the threshold of sacrifice for the betterment of the world; and just as Bahá’u’lláh suffered severe ordeals and calamities nearly fifty years for you, may you be willing to undergo difficulties and withstand catastrophes for humanity in general. May you bear these trials and tests most willingly and joyously, for every night is followed by a day, and every day has a night. Every spring has an autumn, and every autumn has its spring. The coming of a Manifestation of God is the season of spiritual spring. …

Praise be to God that the teachings of God are revoiced, the light of reality has dawned again, the effulgence is increasing daily, and the radiance is shining more gloriously in the zenith. From the cloud of mercy a deluge is descending; the Sun of Reality is brilliant in its eternal station. Again we are hopeful that the same springtime may pitch its tent and that these boundless bestowals may appear once more among us. Through your efforts and sincerity this is made possible. If you arise in the Cause of God with divine power, heavenly grace, the sincerity of the Kingdom, a merciful heart and decisive intention, it is certain that the world of humanity will be entirely illumined, the moralities of mankind will become merciful, the foundations of the Most Great Peace will be laid, and the oneness of the kingdom of man will become a reality. This is the great bounty I desire for you, and I pray and supplicate the divine threshold, imploring in your behalf.

  O Thou merciful God! O Thou Who art mighty and powerful! O Thou most kind Father! These servants have gathered together, turning to Thee, supplicating Thy threshold, desiring Thine endless bounties from Thy great assurance. They have no purpose save Thy good pleasure. They have no intention save service to the world of humanity. 
O God! Make this assemblage radiant. Make the hearts merciful. Confer the bounties of the Holy Spirit. Endow them with a power from heaven. Bless them with heavenly minds. Increase their sincerity, so that with all humility and contrition they may turn to Thy kingdom and be occupied with service to the world of humanity. May each one become a radiant candle. May each one become a brilliant star. May each one become beautiful in color and redolent of fragrance in the Kingdom of God. 
O kind Father! Confer Thy blessings. Consider not our shortcomings. Shelter us under Thy protection. Remember not our sins. Heal us with Thy mercy. We are weak; Thou art mighty. We are poor; Thou art rich. We are sick; Thou art the Physician. We are needy; Thou art most generous. 
O God! Endow us with Thy providence. Thou art the Powerful. Thou art the Giver. Thou art the Beneficent. 

– ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, PUP 54-56 

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(Emphasis added) (Image reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community – view here and here; direct links to first two photos here and here

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