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Hidden Words:
Training Course on

by Dianne Bradford

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Chapter 4

TEACHING

One of the most important actions which any Bahá'í can take is that of teaching the Bahá'í Faith. In the Hidden Words Bahá'u'lláh urges His followers to "magnify" and "arise for the triumph of" His "Cause." as is demonstrated in the following two Hidden Words, from the Arabic,# 41 and 42 respectively.

"O SON OF MAN! Magnify My cause that I may reveal unto thee the mysteries of My greatness and shine upon thee with the light of eternity."

"O SON OF MAN! Humble thyself before Me, that I may graciously visit thee. Arise for the triumph of My cause, that while yet on earth thou mayest obtain the victory."

As can be seen in the two previous Hidden Words, Bahá'u'lláh also gives us plenty of incentive to teach His Cause by mentioning some of the benefits which we can obtain by doing so. He says: "that while yet on earth thou mayest obtain the victory" and "that I may reveal unto thee the mysteries of My greatness and shine upon thee with the light of eternity." He continues this encouragement, mentioning yet another benefit which we derive from teaching, saying: "that in My heaven I may remember thee," in the next Hidden Word, # 43 from the Arabic.

"O SON OF BEING! Make mention of Me on My earth, that in My heaven I may remember thee, thus shall Mine eyes and thine be solaced."

Bahá'u'lláh also gives us some advice and instructions on who and how to teach, as can be seen in the next two Hidden Words.

"O SON OF DUST! The wise are they that speak not unless they obtain a hearing, even as the cup-bearer, who proffereth not his cup till he findeth a seeker, and the lover who crieth not out from the depths of his heart until he gazeth upon the beauty of his beloved. Wherefore sow the seeds of wisdom and knowledge in the pure soil of the heart, and keep them hidden, till the hyacinths of divine wisdom spring from the heart and not from mire and clay." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P36.]

"O SON OF MY HANDMAID! Guidance hath ever been given by words, and now it is given by deeds. Every one must show forth deeds that are pure and holy, for words are the property of all alike, whereas such deeds as these belong only to Our loved ones. Strive then with heart and soul to distinguish yourselves by your deeds. In this wise We counsel you in this holy and resplendent tablet." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P76.]

One might ask where we can find these "seeds of wisdom and knowledge" to help us become better teachers. What better place than in the holy Word itself. In Hidden Word # 71 from the Arabic, Bahá'u'lláh encourages us to "Write all that We have revealed unto thee with the ink of light upon the tablet of thy spirit." He even gives a choice of inks which we can use. He says:

"O SON OF MAN! Write all that We have revealed unto thee with the ink of light upon the tablet of thy spirit. Should this not be in thy power, then make thine ink of the essence of thy heart. If this thou canst not do, then write with that crimson ink that hath been shed in My path. Sweeter indeed is this to Me than all else, that its light may endure for ever."

And what better way to prepare ourselves for teaching than praying, than to "commune with" His "spirit." Listen carefully to the message of the next Hidden Word presented.

"O SON OF LIGHT! Forget all save Me and commune with My spirit. This is of the essence of My command, therefore turn unto it." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A16.]

Bahá'u'lláh makes another appeal to us not to neglect "the mention of the Loved One," in Hidden Word # 46 from the Persian, presented next. Let us indeed make "mention of the Loved One," and not "busy" ourselves "with idle contentions." The Bahá'í Faith is such a precious gift which we have to offer to others, and the opportunity to do so is such a precious gift which Bahá'u'lláh has given to us. Let us make the most of both gifts.

"O BRETHREN IN THE PATH! Wherefore have ye neglected the mention of the Loved One, and kept remote from His holy presence? The essence of beauty is within the peerless pavilion, set upon the throne of glory, whilst ye busy yourselves with idle contentions. The sweet savors of holiness are breathing and the breath of bounty is wafted, yet ye are all sorely afflicted and deprived thereof. Alas for you and for them that walk in your ways and follow in your footsteps!"

Suggested Topics for Discussion:

-- Discuss the benefits we can obtain by teaching the Faith
-- Share your favorite teaching stories
-- Discuss different ways and methods that can be used to present the Faith to someone for the first time

Suggested Prayer:
    Magnified be Thy name, O my God, for that Thou hast manifested the Day which is the King of Days, the Day which Thou didst announce unto Thy chosen Ones and Thy Prophets in Thy most excellent Tablets, the Day whereon Thou didst shed the splendor of the glory of all Thy names upon all created things. Great is his blessedness whosoever hath set himself towards Thee, and entered Thy presence, and caught the accents of Thy voice.
    I beseech Thee, O my Lord, by the name of Him round Whom circleth in adoration the kingdom of Thy names, that Thou wilt graciously assist them that are dear to Thee to glorify Thy word among Thy servants, and to shed abroad Thy praise amidst Thy creatures, so that the ecstasies of Thy revelation may fill the souls of all the dwellers of Thine earth.
    Since Thou hast guided them, O my Lord, unto the living waters of Thy grace, grant, by Thy bounty, that they may not be kept back from Thee; and since Thou hast summoned them to the habitation of Thy throne, drive them not out from Thy presence, through Thy loving-kindness. Send down upon them what shall wholly detach them from aught else except Thee, and make them able to soar in the atmosphere of Thy nearness, in such wise that neither the ascendancy of the oppressor nor the suggestions of them that have disbelieved in Thy most august and most mighty Self shall be capable of keeping them back from Thee. --Bahá'u'lláh [Bahá'u'lláh, Bahá'í Prayers, 1991 ed., pp. 169-170.]

DEEDS NOT WORDS

"O SON OF DUST! Verily I say unto thee: Of all men the most negligent is he that disputeth idly and seeketh to advance himself over his brother. Say, O brethren! Let deeds, not words, be your adorning." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P5.]

"Let deeds, not words, be your adorning." These are powerful words, indeed. Bahá'u'lláh stresses the importance of the deeds and actions of the individual in several of the Hidden Words. In the following Hidden Word, # 76 from the Persian, He again points out the importance of deeds over words, and urges us regarding our deeds, saying: "Strive then with heart and soul to distinguish yourselves by your deeds."

"O SON OF MY HANDMAID! Guidance hath ever been given by words, and now it is given by deeds. Every one must show forth deeds that are pure and holy, for words are the property of all alike, whereas such deeds as these belong only to Our loved ones. Strive then with heart and soul to distinguish yourselves by your deeds. In this wise We counsel you in this holy and resplendent tablet."

We should also keep in mind that it is by our deeds that we shall be judged, as Bahá'u'lláh reminds us in the next Hidden Word, # 31 from the Arabic. In addition, as is shown in Hidden Word # 68 from the Arabic, also presented next, Bahá'u'lláh tells us that it is by our "deeds and actions" that "the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest." This is surely a worthy goal for which to strive.

"O SON OF BEING! Bring thyself to account each day ere thou art summoned to a reckoning; for death, unheralded, shall come upon thee and thou shalt be called to give account for thy deeds." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A31.]

"O CHILDREN OF MEN! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A68.]

The next two Hidden Words, which are nearly identical in wording, also point out the extreme importance of deeds. In addition, they tell us what are the only kinds of deeds that will be accepted "in the holy presence of the Adored One". Since the quality of our deeds is so important, we must really "strive with heart and soul" that they may be acceptable.

"O MY FRIENDS! Quench ye the lamp of error, and kindle within your hearts the everlasting torch of divine guidance. For ere long the assayers of mankind shall, in the holy presence of the Adored, accept naught but purest virtue and deeds of stainless holiness." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P35.]

"O CHILDREN OF ADAM! Holy words and pure and goodly deeds ascend unto the heaven of celestial glory. Strive that your deeds may be cleansed from the dust of self and hypocrisy and find favor at the court of glory; for ere long the assayers of mankind shall, in the holy presence of the Adored One, accept naught but absolute virtue and deeds of stainless purity. This is the daystar of wisdom and of divine mystery that hath shone above the horizon of the divine will. Blessed are they that turn thereunto." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P69.]

Bahá'u'lláh also points out that deeds that are not acceptable, that are, indeed, "satanic", will not be overlooked, but instead, "shall be laid bare and manifest before the peoples of the world." He also makes it clear that we cannot hide anything from Him. The next four Hidden Words demonstrate this. It would indeed be folly to think Him "heedless" or "unaware".

"O CHILDREN OF FANCY! Know, verily, that while the radiant dawn breaketh above the horizon of eternal holiness, the satanic secrets and deeds done in the gloom of night shall be laid bare and manifest before the peoples of the world." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P67.]

"O REBELLIOUS ONES! My forbearance hath emboldened you and My long-suffering hath made you negligent, in such wise that ye have spurred on the fiery charger of passion into perilous ways that lead unto destruction. Have ye thought Me heedless or that I was unaware?" [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P65.]

"O HEEDLESS ONES! Think not the secrets of hearts are hidden, nay, know ye of a certainty that in clear characters they are engraved and are openly manifest in the holy Presence." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P59.]

"O FRIENDS! Verily I say, whatsoever ye have concealed within your hearts is to Us open and manifest as the day; but that it is hidden is of Our grace and favor, and not of your deserving." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P60.]

Suggested Topics for Discussion:

-- Discuss what it would mean to the individual and the world if everyone truly tried to "be even as one soul"
-- Discuss how the deeds of our Exemplar, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, were always in conformity with His words
-- Discuss the importance of ourselves not only talking the talk but also walking the walk, so to speak

Suggested Prayer:
    Vouchsafe unto me, O my God, the full measure of Thy love and Thy good-pleasure, and through the attractions of Thy resplendent light enrapture our hearts, O Thou Who art the Supreme Evidence and the All-Glorified. Send down upon me, as a token of Thy grace, Thy vitalizing breezes, throughout the daytime and in the night season, O Lord of bounty.
    No deed have I done, O my God, to merit beholding Thy face, and I know of a certainty that were I to live as long as the world lasts I would fail to accomplish any deed such as to deserve this favor, inasmuch as the station of a servant shall ever fall short of access to Thy holy precincts, unless Thy bounty should reach me and Thy tender mercy pervade me and Thy loving-kindness encompass me.
    All praise be unto Thee, O Thou besides Whom there is none other God. Graciously enable me to ascend unto Thee, to be granted the honor of dwelling in Thy nearness and to have communion with Thee alone. No God is there but Thee.
    Indeed shouldst Thou desire to confer blessing upon a servant Thou wouldst blot out from the realm of his heart every mention or disposition except Thine Own mention; and shouldst Thou ordain evil for a servant by reason of that which his hands have unjustly wrought before Thy face, Thou wouldst test him with the benefits of this world and of the next that he might become preoccupied therewith and forget Thy remembrance. --The Báb [The Báb, Bahá'í Prayers, 1991 ed., pp. 150-151.]

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