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Abstract:
Lengthy notes from five sessions of talks, including question-and-answer periods.

Teaching Seminar conducted by Hand of the Cause A. Q. Faizí in Hawaii

by Abu'l-Qasim Faizi

edited by Shirley Macias.
published in Conqueror of Hearts
1967
Conqueror of Hearts table of contents


First Session

Opening remarks by Marc Towers: I would like to start the meeting with a prayer and I would like ask Leann Woodward to open with a prayer, please. [prayer] Well, tonight is a very happy, happy occasion. I don't know how many of you realize the bounties that we have in Hawaii. Just this month alone we had good fortune a member of the Universal House of Justice coming here to us, Dr. Giachery, a Hand of the Cause of God, and in the same month another Hand of the Cause of God. Nowhere else has a Bahá'í community been so blessed as we have in Hawaii. And I am so thrilled in seeing so many of you here tonight to be a part of this seminar that Mr. Faizí has asked to share with us and to be with us. Before I introduce Mr. Faizí, I would like to share some news with you which I feel you will find very happy. The schedule for the seminar, after this evening, will be as was told to the friends tomorrow night, 7 p.m. again here. Now there has been a change for Saturday. There will be classes Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. There will be no classes during the afternoon and there will be classes Saturday evening from 8 to however long it takes. Mr. Faizí is not leaving on Saturday night, so Sunday morning we will have another class here from 9 a.m. to 12 noon or 1 p.m., or however long it goes. Then we are hoping that all of us in some way can get together and have lunch with the Hand, maybe all go down to one restaurant, all those who would like to go, and have a leisurely lunch and then go to the airport to see him off. He will be leaving at 3:45 p.m. Sunday afternoon by Pan Am. So this added day for us is really exciting. I'm really very excited about having a Hand of the Cause not just for an extra minute, but having an extra day with us. It's very important.

So many of you know Mr. Faizí. He was here a few years ago. So many of you haven't had the great bounty. I am not going to say anything more. Really, the only way you are going to get to know Mr. Faizí is for Mr. Faizí to be up here so I would like to introduce to all of you the Hand of the Cause of God, Mr. Faizí.
Mr. Faizí: I remember when the pilgrims from Hawaii were in Haifa, I was just finishing an outline and I expressed the hope that one day I would come to Honolulu and read some of these outlines. I never knew that it would be ever possible for me to come. It became possible, really, through the efforts of a non-Bahá'í friend of ours. I must tell you this. And before telling you that story, I want to tell you this. One of the priests went to a church to give a sermon. He said, "I have two. One is $10 and the other is $50. Which one would you like?" And the reason is this, I made my plans to go to the conference in India and then to all the countries of the Far East, to reach Japan, and then return to Haifa. When I gave this to the man to make my ticket, he telephoned me in the afternoon and said, "Pay $15 more and go around the world. Go to Honolulu, go to Los Angeles, New York, etc." I told him that I must consult. He said, "I will pay. Don't consult." I said that it was not the problem of money, but of time and if my friends would agree. And of course, with great reluctance, they agreed.

Now what I want to share with the friends is really extracts from Tablets on different subjects, and also a way to study some of our books. One is about education, which is the most important part of our Faith, because Bahá'u'lláh title is the Educator of Mankind, and Bahá'u'lláh says, "I have chosen to educate mankind." Therefore, we must start to educate our own children and ourselves. And please remember when 'Abdu'l-Bahá instructed the friends to establish LSAs in the very early days, He said, "Gather together, first to educate yourselves, and then others." I won't go into a deep discussion tonight, but I would like to start with some of the stories of `Abdu'l-Bahá and how He educated children. Afterwards we have the text and other things.

There is a man in Haifa. He's very old now and almost an invalid. He says that when he was a child he used to gamble in the streets. Instead of playing with marbles, he played with coins in the olden days. And whoever hit the coin out of the circle, it would be his. He was playing this one day in the street, and as a matter of fact, he played it everyday. One day when he was gathering the coin, he felt something hurting his ear. He looked and saw `Abdu'l-Bahá who had put a pebble in his ear and was pressing it with His two fingers. He said that he wasn't afraid when he saw `Abdu'l-Bahá, but more ashamed of what he had been doing `Abdu'l-Bahá lifted him up and walked with me while He was holding his ear, throughout the streets, to His own house. Number 7, where the pilgrims go and visit His house. At the door of the house He let his ear go. Then they went inside and He said to His servant, "Ahmad is a very good boy. I have come to have tea with him. He's an excellent boy. Prepare some cups of tea." This man said that he was so ashamed because `Abdu'l-Bahá had said that he was a very good boy and wanted to have tea with him. He sat down and had tea. After a half an hour or so, `Abdu'l-Bahá looked at him and said, "Now it's time for you go to home." While leaving, He told the servant to give him one majid. Majid is a round silver coin, worth about two or three dollars in those days. He said, "Give him one majid, he needs it." The man then said that ever since then, he never played marbles again. The reason was very clear because wisdom was shown by `Abdu'l-Bahá. He just walked with him, and changed his whole nature with love, and by bringing that which was good in him, and by saying, "Ahmad is a good boy" and brought that goodness out and covered the darkness immediately.

One of the old believers from the time of Bahá'u'lláh, told me that when he was a boy, every Friday the Master used to examine their writings. He looked at the writings and would give as a prize a pen, a pencil, a sweet, words of praise, or something. The believer said that one week he had done no writing, and therefore brought the same he had done the week before. When `Abdu'l-Bahá came down the stairs where there was a group of boys standing, He looked into his face while coming down. "I was shivering. He looked at my page and said that it was good, but you have not advanced." That's all He said to him. No rebuking, no frowning, a prize was, words of praise were given to him. There was no humiliation, and no revealing of secrets in front of other children. Just the sin-covering eye. And the same man said, that when he was younger than that, a mere child, in the summertime it is so hot around `Akká that the people have "siestas" in the afternoon. He said that when everyone was asleep in the Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh, including Bahá'u'lláh Himself in His room, this boy went to the kitchen, sat down on the floor, plunged his hands into a sack of sugar to eat, pouring it out on the floor and on his own clothes. He said, "Then I saw Bahá'u'lláh coming in. He brought me a saucer and a spoon and told me to pour the sugar with the spoon into the saucer, and then take some for my brother also. That all He did. He didn't say, "Why aren't you asleep? Don't you know that the others are asleep now? Who told you to come here in the kitchen?" He just trained him what to do; not to plunge his hand into the sugar, to use the spoon, pour it on the saucer, and take some for his brother also.

This is a vast difference from what has been done by all the great educators, and what we do with our precious children. And also Bahá'u'lláh is reported to have given sweets to his own grandchildren, the daughters of `Abdu'l-Bahá, and out of politeness, they didn't want to eat in the room of Bahá'u'lláh and wanted to go out. Bahá'u'lláh told them, "No, eat them here. If you go out, the Master will take them from you and give them to other children." And also, a cousin of the beloved Guardian told me that one day he had been playing with mud in the street with the younger brother of the beloved Guardian. He said that this younger brother, when he played, he really played. He concentrated on playing and never paid attention to anything else. And then he said, "But I was playing too, but at the same time I paid attention to what time the Master was coming. I looked and saw that the Master was coming down from Mount Carmel, my hands were full of mud, and I stood straight with my hands out." The Master looked into his face and looked at the young boy and said, "Look at your cousin, how well he stands, he holds his hands out." (It's very impolite in Persia to hold the hands out like this.) He said that he was more ashamed than the one who had his hands in the mud.

Many of these things can be recited from the life of `Abdu'l-Bahá about children, and how to educate their souls rather than just their physical entity. The most important part is to have to the two together, not to leave one side untouched, and the other side emphasized. I told this story especially because the children are here and in case they want to go, they should hear about `Abdu'l-Bahá first. But the whole discussion of these two or three days really starts with these points.

When you study the Tablets and the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, `Abdu'l-Bahá and the Guardian, we will come to these points, that the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, the essence of the Faith, is raised on three pillars, and we must know these three pillars. Very clear. Suppose this is an edifice to be erected and grow higher and higher. Who knows how to build it? I don't know. But it has only three pillars, and it's very important for us to know each one, its nature, its ramifications, and the depth that they go into.

The first is laws, the second, spiritual principles, and the third, administrative principles. There is nothing beyond these three. All that is written will be classified into these three pillars. Either in the laws, or spiritual principles, or administrative principles. And Bahá'u'lláh has laid the foundation in such a way that it will become strong when these three amalgamate together, without any separation. You cannot say, "I accept the laws and the spiritual principles, but I don't like the administration." Then one is not a Bahá'í, and the reason will be quite clear when we understand more about it. Or say, "I like the administration, but the spiritual principles no. It doesn't belong to me." All three together make the foundation of our Faith very strong, and then we can build on it. Whatever discrepancies come into our lives as Bahá'ís, individually and collectively, is because of something that is happening to one of these three principles.

Laws are like prayers, fasting, the 19 Day Feast, the consent of parents before marriage, abstain from alcohol or any intoxicating materials or drugs. These are laws. Now these laws are for the individuals. Individual Bahá'ís are responsible to carry these laws. Individual Bahá'ís are responsible to themselves and between themselves and God. It's no one else's concern. No one in the whole of the Bahá'í world is ever allowed to go to someone and ask, "Did you pray this morning?" It's impossible. It's blasphemy in the Bahá'í Faith, because it is one's own concern. It is the discipline which Bahá'u'lláh has ordained for individuals to become perfect within themselves. Each one of us is a part of a machine. Through this polishing, we will become ready to be used in whole engine. Therefore we must have these prayers, we must have fasting, we must have the consent of our parent before marriage, we must attend the 19 Day Feast. All of these things for the individual's perfection. Now each one of these can be discussed for many months, such as prayers, fasting, any one of these things. But we rarely speak about these things, and give the outline, and by reading the Tablets and books, please when you classify them, then you will read what Bahá'u'lláh says about prayers, and then gradually you will come to understand so many mysteries about this powerful force given to us. These are new powers given by Bahá'u'lláh to the whole world to be used by man. We have never used these powers. There are many talents in man which are not yet touched, neither by himself nor by others. But through this personal spiritual discipline, new talents, new powers will be manifested in man. New insights will be given, and please when we read the prayers and Tablets (of course, they are very beautiful, extremely literate, the most beautiful composition of words), don't ever think that they are written just because they are beautiful. Each one of them is a manifestation of a truth we must find in depth the meanings which are enshrined in each one of them.

Now I am sure that whatever I have spoken about prayer, many people say, "Well, we can never concentrate. When we offer our prayers to Bahá'u'lláh, our thoughts are in the market, we are dealing, buying or selling, or in our office." It's very true. That's why Bahá'u'lláh has given us this discipline. He knows that at the beginning we cannot concentrate. Through this discipline we will come gradually to a point where we can stand and pray for one hour and concentrate on God and nothing else. At that time all your talents will be at their most intense power and then you can do wonderful things. You can conquer hearts. You can conquer countries, continents. And many a time the answers of many of these questions are enshrined within the same prayers. For instance, in the Long Obligatory Prayer, in the part before the last prostration, we say, "Oh God, see the face of sinner is turned away from Thee it is ashamed."[1] You see, our soul within, because of some deed we have done, does not want to turn to Bahá'u'lláh. Like a child whose brother wants to bring him in, but he has done something in the kitchen, and doesn't want to go. The same thing is true with us. At that moment the soul doesn't want to turn, but Bahá'u'lláh says, "Turn, practice, do, and eventually it will be purified." This process of purification takes place within this framework of laws. Now, you have a screw, or a part of the engine in perfect form. What is the use of it? It must be used somewhere. It must be used in the great engine, a great factory. The factory is the Bahá'í community.

Now we will have other things to discuss about the laws on Thursday, especially when you have questions, but I want to discuss about the second one. The second are spiritual principles. Usually these twelve principles we give to the people are spiritual principles, such as the equality of the rights of men and women (and unfortunately I see that they often say, "the equality of men and women." It's not true. It's the equality of the rights of men and women.), international language, the solution of economic problems, and there's another extra word which is often omitted. Universal compulsory education. There are two aspects. It is universal and it is compulsory. And so on and so forth. Among all these principles, when you study them, you will never find them to be your own personal obligation. One individual Bahá'í cannot establish the equality of the rights of men and women, cannot establish the international language, and cannot solve the economic problems of the world. All of these are collective responsibilities. The whole of the Bahá'í world must bring this into existence. This is the difference between the spiritual principles and laws. How Bahá'u'lláh gives them one after the other to bring them into proper channels. First we prepare ourselves, we perfect ourselves into perfect entities, and then He gives social responsibilities. Now we work together. All of those parts and screws are coming together in the spiritual principles. You will find the most beautiful construction ever built by God on this earth. That's why it's called the most new world order of God on this planet.

Now amongst all these is one which is absolutely individual, an individual responsibility. One is the independent investigation of the truth. This one is absolutely an individual responsibility and the reason is very clear. There are two aspects. Investigation starts with an individual. You must suppose that a contact wants to find Bahá'u'lláh, to see if Bahá'u'lláh is the Manifestation of God in this age, if He is really appointed by God, and starts investigating. Investigation starts. Now an individual is accompanied by what during this spiritual promenade or march. He is constantly accompanied by doubt. You tell him something that is written in the Old Testament, in the New Testament, in the Qur'án, that these are the signs of the times, these are the proofs of Bahá'u'lláh, but he is always accompanied by a certain factor which is doubt. Doubt accompanies him, and through reading, through prayer, through listening, he conquers that doubt. The moment there is no shade of doubt, then he says that Bahá'u'lláh is the true Manifestation of God. He reaches this state when doubt no longer exists. If there is any doubt, there is no faith. The first thing for any contact is to conquer doubt in himself, even if it is as small as the point of a needle, he must conquer it, because that point, if it exists, it will be like the center of cancer and it will grow and will spoil the faith again. He must be one hundred percent sure and witness to the truth of Bahá'u'lláh's Manifestation by his entire existence. That's why in the prayers it says that "every hair of my head is a witness to the truth of Thy Manifestation."[2] You can read this in the prayers.

Now I don't know whether you have ever had the experience with those people who embrace the Faith and see what happens to them when all of a sudden they say, "Now we accept." I remember once in Tasmania a certain Mr. Thompson said to me, "For many months the people were talking to me about the Faith, and one special night, at midnight, I was conquered by the Faith. I wanted to telephone to the friends but I thought I would bother them at midnight, that they would be frightened. I didn't know what to do. I started to walk in my room, to dance in my room. My old doubt accompanied me in my joy and happiness." This spiritual journey is taken everywhere.

A lady in a locality had been a contact for many, many years, and in my last trip I found her sitting among the friends and talking. I talked to her and said, "Well, you had so many questions. What happened?" She said, "I had questions, because they asked me to ask questions, but really, I didn't have any. Whatever I read I couldn't understand. But one night, all of a sudden, every word became like a light coming to me, so clear, therefore I filled with the spirit and love and faith of Bahá'u'lláh." This is the experience one feels when there is no more doubt.

Now he reaches the stage of faith and most unfortunately, in these days, we think that because he signs the card and it's finished, and very often we'll abandon him. But is this sufficient? There's another stage that one should reach; not only the contact, but ourselves as well, and that is also through practice, through prayer. He must go on in his investigation until he reaches the stage of certitude. This is the last stage. Certitude. I will explain the difference between these two.

Suppose a group of farmers are praying and praying for rain to come and open the rivers to their own gardens to be irrigated. The rain doesn't come. They are sitting and still praying. Suddenly, somebody comes and opens the curtains and says, "Here, the rain is coming." They go because they believe in the man who says to look through the window and see that the rain is really coming. They again sit in their own places. Will it help the garden, so that the water would go to the garden, would go to their ponds to reserve water for them. Another example, suppose all of us here are absolutely thirsty. We are dying of thirst. Somebody again shows us a fountain of water outside and says, "There is a fountain, go and drink." We look through the window and we see clear water flowing out, and then we again come and sit in our places. This is faith. We have faith in his words, but what shall we do? If there is any obstacle, we must remove it and go and drink the water. When we drink the water, then we will reach the stage of certitude. No power on earth can take this from us that this was water. At that time, then we reach the stage where every word of the Manifestation of God will be truth and nothing else to add. Every action will be the will of God. Every happening will be a joy to us. Nothing will bother us, because we have reached that stage of certitude. Tremendous joy comes out of that. Many of us will take a very long time to reach that stage, but we must try and go on and on, with prayer, to reach that stage where we see in everything the Manifestation of God, His will and His power. This is what we need.

Please listen to this story, because it is very important. It shows the power of certitude. Once in the days of the prison of `Akká, a man went to `Abdu'l-Bahá and pretended to be a believer. You all know `Abdu'l-Bahá. He would never tell him, "No, you are not a believer." He said, "You are most welcome." And then He called one of the old believers, Hájí Íbráhím. He came in. `Abdu'l-Bahá said, "Hájí, he is your guest. Take him to your house." Hájí was so proud, so happy, that `Abdu'l-Bahá gave him a guest. And he went home with this man and did everything to make this man comfortable and happy in his home. After a week or so, the guest came to `Abdu'l-Bahá and said, "I had twenty gold pounds. They are lost, and I am sure my host has stolen them from me." `Abdu'l-Bahá called Hájí and said, "Hájí, go and give him his coins." He immediately went home, sold whatever he had, and changed them into twenty gold pounds, brought them to `Abdu'l-Bahá at noon and said, "Give them to him." `Abdu'l-Bahá gave this sum to the man, the man went away, and Hájí Íbráhím went to his house and he no longer attended the meetings in the house of `Abdu'l-Bahá. Months passed and somebody from the police department came to `Abdu'l-Bahá's house and said that they had found a thief who had broken into many homes, including one of the Persians, where he stole twenty gold pounds. When the guest heard this, that this had been stolen by somebody else, he said, "I wanted to test `Abdu'l-Bahá and I wanted the Bahá'ís to know that `Abdu'l-Bahá did not know everything." When `Abdu'l-Bahá heard this, He said, "It's true, `Abdu'l-Bahá doesn't know everything," but `Abdu'l-Bahá wanted to show him what kind of believers Bahá'u'lláh has educated. And then the friends went to Hájí Íbráhím and asked him, "Hájí, why don't you come to the meetings?" He answered, "I'm ashamed to come in front of `Abdu'l-Bahá any more." "But why didn't you said you had not stolen the money?" He replied, "Well, `Abdu'l-Bahá when told me to give him his money, I was sure that I had taken it." You see, there was no shade of doubt in him. He was sure that he had taken it. He didn't even search himself. He said, "All this time I was praying for forgiveness." Now, this man can never be tested and can never fail in his tests. If we reach that stage of certitude, this is the result of individual practice of the laws and the upholding of the spiritual principles.

Now, investigation, when you reach that stage of certitude, you think that your independent investigation is finished. Do you think it has come to an end? No. It continues. Now you are accompanied with certitude. You investigate the Writings, you are sure that whatever is written by Bahá'u'lláh is true, therefore you find pearls in the ocean of the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh. You have investigated and find many things which you have known before. Investigation starts like this. First we are accompanied by doubt, and after reaching the stage of faith and certitude, we are accompanied by certitude and we go on in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, and like a jeweler we find gems, we put them together and make beautiful designs, beautiful lessons, and many, many other things. There are thousands and thousands of truths enshrined in the words of Bahá'u'lláh, some of which are unbelievable. I'll just give you one. Although I don't want to mix this subject, but I just wanted you to understand the glory of His Writings.

He said the brain of man discovers Him, but the brain can't work unless and until the eyes see. First the eyes must see, then the brain starts to work and finds the mysteries. Otherwise the brain will not understand. First the eyes must see, then the brain discovers. Then He says, "Now, how can I make the people understand that there is a power in the world that will be able to change the whole world into a mass of ashes in less than a second. How can they believe, because they have not yet seen." You see, how many things you can find out. In the Kitáb-i-Íqán and in The Seven Valleys, you come across this.[3] He says, "When you believe then in every atom you will see the system of the sun." In every atom, the same system which rules the solar system, you will see in an atom. All such great subjects are discussed by Bahá'u'lláh, so simply, so freely, in all His Writings, but scattered here and there, and we must gather them.

Now we come back again to this problem of investigation. He says that independent investigation after truth is incumbent upon every Bahá'í. He must try and try and try. But there is one exception. And we must know this, because otherwise we will have many difficulties in our lives. We hear that someone in India says that he is the new Manifestation of God, after Bahá'u'lláh. According to this, we must all hurry and investigate. Lest such a thing would happen in the Bahá'í world because of this principle of investigation, Bahá'u'lláh has said, "No Manifestation will come within one thousand years."[4] Therefore whatever anyone in the whole world says, this part is closed. We must not leave our countries to go to another place to investigate. Is it clear? Independent investigation is incumbent upon every individual. It starts with doubt, and then when doubt is conquered, one reaches the stage of faith and certitude, and then after that with this power of faith, we can discover many truths, realities and mysteries in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh. In one place about the Manifestation of God, Bahá'u'lláh has said that within one thousand years no one with come; no one is allowed to come. In that way we are comfortable and we don't have to go and investigate. Otherwise, all of the Bahá'ís will be in the air, to get tickets to go here and there.

Now, again, in Arabic they say, "Repetition pulls the mouth." Therefore, if I repeat, it is because of this proverb. Laws are for individual perfections. They polish them and gets them ready to work within a great factory. The spiritual principles bring us together because Bahá'u'lláh has given us universal participation in upholding all these spiritual principles, and now they must find a certain form, a certain channel, a certain direction. These directions and channels are given in administrative principles. That means that a group of Bahá'ís cannot come together and say, "Now we want to establish the universal language." Even if they want to do it, even if they are scholars, what should they do? They should go to their own LSA and say they want to form, and the LSA appoints them as a committee of their own. They must work within the framework of the administrative body, not independently by themselves. If they are independent entities, then they will be lost. It's out of the Bahá'í province. This is one purpose of it. The laws make perfect individuals, and the spiritual and administrative principles bring us together to give us shape and form. You see how the combination of these three together brings humanity into a perfect condition. Besides that, the administration has another function, a very great function, much more than what I just said. Throughout the writings we read that the surface of the globe will be changed into a mirror in which the Kingdom of God will be reflected. It is the fulfillment of Christ's prayer, to establish the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. A reflection of the Kingdom of God on the earth. Now this mirror cannot be left at random anywhere. A mirror has two very outstanding qualities. It will become dim even if you breathe on it, and it's very brittle, it breaks easily. Therefore this mirror of the Kingdom of God needs a framework to protect it. The framework is the administration. Administration is the framework of the mirror of the Kingdom of God. It holds it, protects it. That's why the national assemblies, the local assemblies and committees are formed, just like the screws of the different parts of a great engine just to protect that mirror. That's the second function. And the third, the Guardian says that all these frameworks must be as open channels for the spirit of Bahá'u'lláh to flow into the communities. They must never be clogged by ego, selfishness and self-desire, etc

If we see that the combination of these three, together, form the fortified foundation of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, then our lesson has firm results. You must feel it now that the laws make of the individual parts perfect organisms, the upholding of the spiritual principles bring these individual parts together, and when they are together, the administrative principles will give shape and form, opportunities for these parts to work together, beyond which no effort will ever be fruitful. They must always be in these channels. This is the foundation of our Faith. Now, are there any questions about this?
Question and answer session:

Mr. Faizí, when you said that for the brain to be able to function, that it had to see, you meant this more spiritually? I was thinking about blind people.

The laws of Bahá'u'lláh are for everything. First, general, and then particular application, of course. Those who are blind are not totally deprived from visualizing. I don't know whether you have ever been acquainted with them, but having been in some of these institutions for the blind, they are so trained. You just give them a leaf, and then they ask what tree and what is the color of the flower will be, when will it grow, etc. They invited me in Beirut to one of their schools and they gave a play. All the players were blind. In the course of the play, you would forget absolutely that they were blind. I am sure that you have read the story by H.G. Wells, "In the Country of the Blind." Their powers and senses became so strong that the man who had eyes bent to pick up a stone, and they told him, "Don't bend." Just this movement made a noise to them, they felt it, that this man was trying to pick up a stone. Other powers become strong. But of course through training, not being left like many deprived children, who are also deprived from many gifts of God.

There was a question regarding the sequence of the three aspects, laws, spiritual principles and administrative principles.

Well, it's different in different people to realize the importance of these things. But the most important is the amalgamation of these three together; to make us understand that our Faith cannot be accepted without these three. You know, a man at the age of 50 even cannot say no when the NSA asks him to become a member of a committee, and say, "No, I just pray and uphold the spiritual principles, but I don't want to participate in administration. I don't believe in that." There are many who say this. That's why we emphasize that this a part of our Faith. The one who believes in Bahá'u'lláh must believe that whatever he does, it must be done through the administration. Without this, it's useless. Sometimes the realization comes very late, but in any case, during our lives, we must be molded together to form the basis of our Faith.

Would you say, then, that living a Bahá'í life for a Bahá'í is also taking part in the administration, and that you're not living a Bahá'í life if you don't take part?

What do you mean by Bahá'í life? To live a Bahá'í life means to be a part of this machinery. A screw can't say, "Well I don't want to be in this engine, I work over there by myself and turn myself." This engine is a powerful thing. The beauty of it is that no one can say, "I have taught this person." It's impossible to say that. Someone has given the house, someone brings tea, someone speaks, someone brings him to the place. Who knows who affected him and changed his heart? The changing of someone is in the hands of God, therefore let none of us ever say that "I taught so and so." No. He was taught. You have heard about Mírzá Abu'l Fadl, the greatest scholar we had in the Faith. `Abdu'l-Bahá said that the greatest quality he had, the greatest tribute paid to him by `Abdu'l-Bahá, He said that during his whole life, he never said, "I." Never. He never said, "I wrote, I said, I taught." He said, "The book was written, that was said, he was taught." He never said, "I." And `Abdu'l-Bahá praised him for it, because of this quality. He said that the day will come when this word "I" would be eliminated from languages. All of us will be drops of one oceans, and the rays of one sun, the flowers of one garden. This is the hope and aspiration of `Abdu'l-Bahá. Whoever says "I" will never be successful in life, never.

Regarding attaining the joyful stage of faith and certitude. Can anyone of us reach this?

Yes. You know, in the Qur'án it is written that God never asks anything from man beyond the powers given to him.[5] But the time differs. Suppose you ask a group of children to run from here to their school and you say, just to reach the school, that's all. Some may reach it in five minutes, others in two hours. But the purpose is to reach the school. God has given them power to reach the school. But the question is, we don't use the power. This is the time we must use many of powers we don't we have in us to use for the propagation of this Faith, for self-discipline and this comes through the practices of these things together. And when we come together, a certain love, a certain atmosphere is generated in which other talents will come into power. That's why, throughout the world (this is the second time I am going around the world), I have never seen any Bahá'í child less than the top students of their class. In Japan, for instance, the examiner of certain paper, wrote on the paper of one of the Bahá'í boys, "I am honored to have taught such a student. For thirty years I have taught in this university, and it's my honor to teach you now." And all of them, both boys and girls, are the top students in all of their classes. The same thing is true everywhere else. Because these talents are appearing through this spiritual power. `Abdu'l-Bahá says that Bahá'í children who are well educated under the Bahá'í spirit will learn in one month what the others learn in twelve months. Their power will be twelve times more. We will discuss this when we come to education.

Regarding administration, there are no shortcuts, in other words, you have to follow right down the line?

Yes. I mean, to be a part of Bahá'í administration. For instance, if I want to teach the Bahá'í Faith, which is a most exalted deed and service, and I have a fireside in my home, I bring contacts. This information should be with the Teaching Committee or the Local Assembly. You shouldn't say, "Well, I am teaching, why should I tell them?" For they must know about it and it must be with their blessings, with their help and assistance. Whatever we do, it must be a part of the group action. Then it will have blessings; otherwise no.

(End of question and answer session)

Well, tomorrow, after the spiritual side of self-education, I have chosen The Hidden Words and we will discuss that tomorrow. How to study The Hidden Words, how to approach it. This will be one part, and the spiritual practice that we must go through, and I believe that The Hidden Words is one of the most beautiful gems ever given by God to humanity. And then in subsequent lessons, we don't have time go through the whole outline of the book of The Kitáb-i-Íqán, but I will just give you some help in how to outline it and some references to The Kitáb-i-Íqán which are from the Islamic background. I will give them to you so that when you study, you will know, for example, the great importance Bahá'u'lláh has given to [the Imám] Husayn, his martyrdom. I will give you the story of it. For instance, He says, that the people should study the chapter of Húd in the Qur'án." I will give you the summary of that chapter or some other Islamic references, with the hope that this will enable to study the whole book together. Many thanks for the beautiful reception, and really, for forty-eight hours I did not sleep with the hope of coming to you, and the bounty of coming to you, that now all my fatigue is gone. And I thank you all very much. Alláh-u-Abhá.

Marc Towers: Mr. Faizí, if the friends still have some questions. Does anyone have any questions? Well, I have a question. In reference to the conference next summer, I would like to know and if it's true that the conference will be in the Mediterranean on an island and that those who attend can go to Haifa for six days. Is it true?

Yes, the conference will be the centenary of the time when Bahá'u'lláh had been taken to the prison of `Akká, because the ship passed by the Mediterranean, therefore we determined to have the conference on the island of Sicily. After that, all those who attend can go to visit the Most Great Prison and be in the Holy Land.

How do we write for permission?

No, no permission is necessary. Just attending the conference will enable you to go. But the regulations must be understood so that other friends who do not attend the conference will not be able to go to the Holy Land. The opportunity will be given only to those ...

When having been asked to serve on a committee by the institution, or having been elected to an institution, are there bases for resignation or refusing to serve?

Friends, you don't know how very important it is to work for the Cause today when others are not working. In the future, the wealthiest men, the minsters, all will come, and none will pay attention to the people who are working now. But the greatest honor is always given to those who work first. I will give you an example. You all know about Peter, the fisherman, who was so ignorant that he made seven bundles of food and knew by the seventh bundle that it was the Sabbath. Why did he become the Rock? Why? Just by one word. Jesus asked, "What do the people think of me?" Some said, "You are a good man, you are a Prophet." Then He asked, "What do you think of me?" None of them replied, except Peter, who said, "You are the Son of the living God." Just one word. And he denied Him three times. But because he said that at that time when Jesus needed him, then He said, "You are the rock upon which I will build My church." Thousands and thousands of books are written about the Covenant of Christ, but never is the bounty of this one word given there.

You remember the Islamic Dispensation. I went to visit the Muslim shrines in Mesopotamia. First they told me that before visiting the shrine of Husayn, I must visit the shrine of Habib. Who was he? On the day of the martyrdom of Husayn, when water had been forbidden to him and his family, he brought a glass of water for the family. That's all. Therefore, they say, it is more important to visit his grave than the grave of Husayn. Now, you go throughout Persia, Iraq and Muslim countries, you will find huge reservoirs of water built by many people in the deserts and places where there is no water for passers by to get a drink in the name of Husayn. But that one glass of water is forever remembered. This is the glass of water we offer now to the Cause of God.

When they built mosques and the gateways, they usually write on them the name of the person who built it. A huge mosque had been built and a large bridge was put there in the name of the one who paid for it. Suppose his name was Hájí Ahmad, they would put his name on the bridge and that would be the last thing and the mosque would be complete. A certain man passed by, a spiritual leader. He asked the man why he made the mosque. He said, "For the sake of God." He said, "Are you sure?" He answered, "Yes." "Could you kindly change the name of bridge to my name?" He answered, "But I paid for it." "Then you made it for your name, " he said. "Not for God." You see how delicate this is. "You put your name there. If it's for God, why do you put your name there?"

This is the belief of the real spiritual people, how we must get trained in the Bahá'í Faith, to forget self and become part of each other. Then we will have the straight way, the majestic ocean, the majesty of the sea, the power, the magnet, everything. Otherwise, if we exalt ourselves, we have nothing. The whole basis of the Faith is this, that individuals should come together for the foundation of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.

I can see how Bahá'ís can try to obey the laws and become better, and how the administrative order is set up and is working. How can the spiritual principles be said to be as active as the other two right now? Are they active in our awareness of the amalgamation of the three, or can we see these put into practice in the Bahá'í world already?

We should propagate the idea that today is the day that these principles are required. Otherwise, mankind will perish. For instance, the easiest of them all is the international language. When I was in South America, at the airport they announced arrivals and departures in several languages, and still people were lost. Then in Brazil, in one of the airports, those who were going, for example, to Argentina or Bolivia, they were given color coded papers, yellow, blue, etc., like during the age of the Egyptians, because languages were not sufficient. They announced in many different languages and still many people didn't understand. Therefore, those with yellow for Bolivia all came in one line. Those with blue papers were for Argentina. And even if you know twenty languages, there are places where you will never understand. The most tiresome thing in some of these countries is when you speak and it is translated. The one who is speaking loses his train of thought, the listeners get tired, and they will not understand. They will forget the first part, and then the second part is translated. And everyone says that the international language will be one of the first things to be established. This is one of the things we must propagate among the people.

(End of first evening session)



Second Session

Marc Towers: We would like to welcome you to the second session of this seminar with Hand of the Cause Mr. Faizí and we would like to ask Judy if she would open with a prayer. I see so many of the friends here tonight, many new young Bahá'ís and many of you may not know that the institution of the Auxiliary Board is not just here in Hawaii, but in Australasia there are Board members in nine different areas in Australasia, and one of these areas is Micronesia and Micronesia is part of our goals of Hawaii. And the Auxiliary Board member from Micronesia is here with us, and I would like to introduce her to all of you this evening, Miss Virginia Breeks, please would you stand and let the friends meet you. And I would like to ask you Virginia, would you please chair this evening, please.

I expect that most of you were here last night and know that we have the great privilege of listening again to our beloved Hand of the Cause Mr. Faizí, and I will turn the meeting over to Mr. Faizí.

Beside the fact that Virginia is an Auxiliary Board member, she has been pioneering in those islands for more than fourteen years and has withstood all of the difficulties and we hope that she will be able to establish the Faith of God in those regions. Now, once one of the American ladies went to Abú'l-Fadl, the greatest scholar of the Cause, and said, "Abú'l-Fadl, what do you think of us Americans? You repeat and repeat and repeat the subject matter."

He said, "How many times did I repeat last night?"

She said, "Six times you repeated one thing. What do you think of us really?"

He said, "Well, what is it that I repeated?" She said, "I don't remember."

I again stress about these fundamental verities of our Faith. The rock foundation of our Faith upon which the edifice of Bahá'u'lláh's structure, of Bahá'u'lláh's Faith will be established gradually. In our own temple, our own souls, and then throughout the world, laws, spiritual principles and administrative principles. The amalgamation of these three together in our souls and hearts will make us members of bodies known as the Bahá'í communities throughout the world. That means that throughout the world, individual activities outside, beyond the realm of administration, have no worth, have no price, have no influence. Everything must be done within the framework of administration. Even if the people build temples with their own money, without the approval of the Assembly, it will not be considered as anything; just an empty house built by someone, an empty house built on sand by someone. But if there is a little cottage made of wood according to the approval of the Assembly, then it is the rock foundation of the Faith of God. This must be understood by everybody.

Now the second subject matter that we chose tonight is a part of our spiritual principles to show how vast our literature is and in a part of that literature is a very small book called The Hidden Words. What I want to tell you tonight, please don't think that this is the final introduction of this book. Don't ever think that it is an exhaustive study of the subject. It is only a suggestion to yourselves so that you will work according to this outline and perhaps you will be able to build up the edifice according to which you will know this little book, gradually, in your life. This is a humble suggestion of mine, not an exhaustive study of the whole question.

To me, The Hidden Words is the seed of the Bahá'í Faith. It started in Iraq, grew in Adrianople, and gave fruit in 'Akká. It is also the essence of all the Writings, as Bahá'u'lláh Himself says at the introduction of the book, that He has taken the essence of all things, all the beautiful words of God and utterances are taken and poured them into new molds, or clothed them into new garments and given them to mankind.[6] This is the mystery of man shown in this little book. What I meant by saying that this is the seed of the Bahá'í Faith is this. In this book you will find the elementary forms of laws and principles. All these three we mentioned last night, but in a very vague form in the embryonic stage, and gradually as Bahá'u'lláh goes higher and higher in the realm of His Manifestation, He reveals more and finally He gives us a crystal clear explanation of all these points mentioned in The Hidden Words. For instance, I will give you three examples and then the rest must be found by yourselves. He says that a wise man, a man of intelligence, of spiritual power, will never turn his face from the pure crystal waters to that thing which is called wine.[7] You know, He doesn't forbid it here. He says a wise man, a spiritual man, will not turn his face from this to that. It is the first intimation of the law. But in `Akká, when the Book was revealed, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas was revealed, He definitely forbade it. He clearly told us, frankly and explicitly told us, that this is absolutely forbidden for man. You see the vague reference in the book of The Hidden Words, but the clear definition of it in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. That is why I mean the seed of the Bahá'í Faith is in The Hidden Words. Whatever exists in the Bahá'í Faith, exists in The Hidden Words, but in an embryonic stage.

And in another place, "Do you remember that morn when I made a covenant with you?"[8] What covenant? No one knows. No one knew. I say that no one knew. Many people, even in those days, knew that `Abdu'l-Bahá would be the Center of the Covenant. But generally speaking, the whole world did not know. He said a Covenant. The Covenant was not clear, but in `Akká He made it clear by writing in the book of Aqdas that when He passes away everything must be referred to the Most Great Branch. These two examples illustrate how everything in the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh exists in The Hidden Words in an embryonic form and after passing through the stages in Adrianople and `Akká, gradually all these points became clear, explicitly told to the people and very clearly explained to every individual.

This is one way to study The Hidden Words and to see the growth of the Cause of God. This is the method applied by all the Prophets of God, not only Bahá'u'lláh. All the Prophets of God followed this system of gradual movement. Study the education of mankind. They never came with an abrupt order. They made the people ready so that when the time comes, they will understood the clear commandment of God. I will give you an example from the Islamic religion and you will understand, and this is a great lesson for us when we teach. When you teach, please don't give everything at the beginning. Make it clear point by point. Make the listener understand, absorb. Let the point sink into his heart gradually. If you give the whole thing at the beginning, the contact will get indigestion, spiritually sick, and it will take him a very long time to pass through this crisis.

When the Prophet Muhammad appeared in Arabia, the Arabs were accustomed to drink a certain wine which they made from dates. It is most intoxicating. I know this, because I was sixteen years in Arabia. What is the difference about this wine when all His followers were accustomed to it? He didn't tell them at first that it was forbidden. He said it is not good for those who are drunk to stand for prayer. You see, the first commandment was this. And please remember this. If Christians criticize the Qur'án and say there are controversies in the Qur'án, this is one, and the wisdom is what I am explaining to you. He first said "Don't ever approach prayer. It's not good if you're drunk to stand for prayer."[9] And they all agreed on this. When He educated all of them on this principle, then he made prayer five times a day. You see, in the morning, at noon, in the afternoon, at sunset, and at night. Now if he starts to drink in the morning, he will not be ready for the prayer at noon. If he drinks at noon, he will not be ready for the afternoon. That's how gradually they absolutely stopped drinking, and when He found that all the believers, those who were true believers, had stopped drinking, then He revealed this verse in the book of the Qur'án, "It is something by Satan, by the devil, and it should not be done by the believers in God. It's absolutely forbidden."[10] You see the gradual education of mankind. The same principle has been applied by the Báb, by Bahá'u'lláh, by all the Prophets of God.

Now when we study The Hidden Words in the way I am going to suggest, we will take The Hidden Words as if there is a very glorious sunrise or sunset in a beautiful forest. Whoever looks at it will describe it in the way that he or she likes, or will paint it in any way that he likes or she likes. Therefore, it is upon your own taste to adopt this method or not, but again, I repeat, this is a humble suggestion of mine.

Let's draw on our paper five lines. Of course the page which you will have afterwards will be a big page because it must contain all the Writings of The Hidden Words. We write on the first column, "Why, out of the whole creation, is man chosen by God to worship Him?" Second, the book, this book The Hidden Words, to me when finally I studied it, seemed to be a contract between God and man, a very loving contract. God says to man, "Would you like to come along with Me on this spiritual journey which will take you towards perfection? If you would like to come along with Me, these are the conditions." And then he sets His conditions, clearly in front of us. The second point is the provisions we need for this spiritual journey. I repeat, the first column will be, "Out of the whole creation, why should man be chosen for this spiritual journey?" Now that he is chosen by God, what are the provisions that he must carry for this journey? When people go for a picnic on Sundays, they take along with them many provisions for even one day. Therefore, for such a great pleasant journey, which takes us toward spiritual perfections, we must have something before hand, otherwise we can't start. When we start to go on this road, we will find it the most perfect way ever built. It has red lights, it has green lights, it has all sorts of guidelines to guide you through. Red lights will tell you, never enter this lane, or stop in these places, and green, go on. Speed on and go, it's all right. Therefore we have the third column as red lights and the fourth as green lights. But it really depends upon your own taste if you write the green lights first. (Usually the ladies are interested in the red lights. The things we must not do.) [laughter] Now we pass through all these lanes. What are the results of this spiritual journey? The results. The fifth column will be the results.

Now the first column. First of all, the second chapter of the Kitáb-i-Íqán, please refer to the second chapter of the Kitáb-i-Íqán. In the first few pages of the second chapter of the Kitáb-i-Íqán, Bahá'u'lláh discusses about the Manifestations of God and there you will find the importance, the significance of man, the creation of man.

Please, all of you, relax in your chairs, because we will find things absolutely opposite to what's prevailing today in the whole world. Absolutely against the doctrines taught in the universities and colleges. Absolutely against the methods of education in the universities and colleges. And against the lives pursued by people today. Wherever we go, our children are dealt with by their professors, by their educators, by their teachers, by their doctors, as nothing but a bundle of nerves and a collection of passions and lusts and desires. That every one of these things must find an outlet immediately without any restriction. And Bahá'u'lláh says that no, it is wrong. The law is true, but in the animal world, not in the human world. What is wrong with the world today is this is that they are applying the laws of the animal world to the human world and that is why we have such a mess in the whole world today. We don't have man, we have animals. Animals fight with each other. Animals make wars against each other. Animals are greedy, twenty-four hours a day pursuing to gather money, to drink, to gamble, to advise our little children to take drugs, to do anything which they like. Bahá'u'lláh says no, this is your spiritual journey. You must go on with this. Please, when you read that part, first about the Revelation of God on earth in which He said, "You are my mystery and I am thy mystery."[11] This is the rank and position of man. And Bahá'u'lláh in The Hidden Words He recounts the reasons why He has created man. He says, "Because I knew of My love for thee, therefore I created Thee."[12]

Now what is love? Please remember, note down, `Abdu'l-Bahá has given one definition for three different things. For religion, for love and for science, one definition is given. Please find the definition in Some Answered Questions. In one of the chapters `Abdu'l-Bahá gives these definitions `Abdu'l-Bahá says that love is the mystery of divine revelation. Love is the light of the Kingdom of God. They are beautiful words, but we must think and ponder upon them, to go deep into them, to think of a kingdom, even if it belongs to God, its light is love. Love is the breath, He says, the breath of the Holy Spirit inspired into the human spirit. Love is the cause of the manifestation of truth in the phenomenal world. Now if we forget any one of these definitions, let's not forget this one. Love is the means of the most great happiness in both the material and spiritual worlds. This is what God discovered in man, therefore He created him. Then He says.

"You are My fortress." Man is God's fortress. Under the column where we say "Why should man be chosen."

"You are my lamp and My light is within thee."

"I made you by the hands of power."

"I entrusted in you the essence of My light."

"I created you rich."

"From the essence of knowledge I made you."

"You are My dominion, My light, My glory, My garment."

"I entrusted in you a part of My soul."

You will find all these things in The Hidden Words, besides many other things, addressed to man. You will complete your own list. This is just a suggestion.

Now we come to the second column where we need some provisions to go on with this spiritual journey.

I believe all of you know the first one. He says, "My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart." Three conditions. It must be pure, it must be kind, and radiant. Kind means to love others. But radiant. It must be universal love, like the sun which radiates all over the world, without discrimination, without prejudice. Please remember love doesn't mean make compromises. Love means to tell the truth. There is a proverb in Arabic which says, "Your true friend is the one who loves you and tells you the truth." Not the one who approves of what you said. Even at the risk of losing friends. When just on the verge of accepting the Faith, he says, I wish there was not this condition in the Faith. Don't make compromises. Don't say all right, there is no condition like this. Tell him yes, there is this condition. If you don't want it, don't accept it. Because once we make a small compromise for the beginning to come in, then he will want a hundred other compromises as he goes on. He will not be ready for his spiritual journey. Love is tremendous subject. One aspect of it is truthfulness, to say the truth. All right, now I want to speak a little bit about a pure heart. Purity. It's very important for us because He says, the first condition is this. I can't do better than what the Master said. He says suppose there is a huge container of milk. Milk itself is a nourishment for the children and for the grownups. You drink it and it's good for you. Out of milk you make many things. You make butter, you make cheese, you make cream, and at least from ten to twelve other things are made out of milk. He says itself is good and is productive also. Now it is pure milk. He says, now, drop into this huge container one drop of vinegar. It will immediately change its nature. You cannot drink it. It has no more good nourishment and nothing will be produced from it. Now He gave this example. Afterwards, He said, "Whatever you do for the sake of God and your Faith, don't, purely for the sake of it. Put yourself aside. Never put your ego into your services. The moment you put it, it becomes that drop of vinegar which spoils the service and nothing will be produced from it. Nothing will ever be produced from it. That why He says, the first condition is this.

Now, in a Tablet Bahá'u'lláh says to one of the believers, "I want to give you advice," and He said, "What I am going to give you is the most great advice. If I could find anything better than this, I would give you that. But throughout the sayings of God, nothing is more important and more beautiful than what I'm going to tell you and He repeats this verse. "Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart." Nothing is greater than this in all the Writings. Our greatest enemy on this spiritual journey is our own ego. Please remember, whatever we explain, we come back to this. The ego which exists in us is always coming up, spoiling ourselves and our world. Whatever we do, it is through the perpetual, continued attraction towards the word of God and pray that we can control this ego and we push it away so that our services will be as pure as milk. If it is good it will produce many other things.

Now that the traveler is ready to go on, Bahá'u'lláh tells him very frankly and very honestly, would you like to bring Me any gift as we go on. The most beloved of all things to Me is justice. If you want to bring Me any gift, bring me justice. Then He says, you are searching for paradise. Paradise is nothing, except you're being always near Me. And hell is nothing, except when you are going away from Me gradually. Don't ever be happy except when you are close to Me, He says. And then when you're far away from Me, even if you indulge in the most luxurious life, know that that is the saddest moment of your life. Please put all these things on your paper. the provisions which He gives for the journey, what he must know and prepare beforehand. You will find two people who want to go on. They are agreeing with each other on certain terms.

Now the red light. First of all, He says, "Deny your ego, your own self." Don't go into that. Don't prompt ego." You are searching for comfort, but He says, comfort is not destined for you. Don't ask me that which I do not like for you." In one of His Tablets, Bahá'u'lláh says there is father holding a glass of a certain poisonous medicine, but seems to the child as clear, crystal water. He says the child comes and begs and begs the father to give him some. He refuses, but eventually he just does this and let's him taste, and the child can't bear the bitterness of the poison. He says when you pray constantly for something you want and you want it earnestly, Bahá'u'lláh said that eventually God will give it to you, but it will be followed by tests which you cannot bear. Don't insist to God to give you something. Pray and whatever the answer is, be grateful to God. Many of us think that whenever we pray, the answer should be "yes." We don't know that whatever answer is given by God is a bounty. Even when He says "no," it's the best thing for us not to have it.

In The Hidden Words, you know, as these two are walking together, we are walking with Bahá'u'lláh and sometimes we think ourselves as His equal. He says, "Don't transgress your own limits."[13] Now, how very often we transgress our own limits in the work of the Cause. "Why should this be in this way, the other one in that way?" "Why, why, why?" We ask so many questions, even about the Writings, about the Prophets of God, and so on. These are the times when we are transgressing our own limits. And when the traveler goes on and sees a poor man and shows pride against the poor man, He says, "Don't wax proud against the poor."[14]

Now the traveler comes to the worst of all things. He opens his mouth and backbites about somebody. He says, "How is it that you have forgotten the imperfections of your own self?"[15] Immediately Bahá'u'lláh gets him. We're always walking with Him. Don't even breathe about the sins of others as long as you are a sinner yourself. This is what He tells us. Every moment of our lives He tells us this. This is the worst thing ever as explained in all the Writings of all the religions of God, backbiting. In the Qur'án it is considered so hideous that when you backbite it is exactly like you are eating the flesh of the dead body of your own brother. Again, in the second chapter of the Kitáb-i-Íqán, there Bahá'u'lláh explains about a true seeker. Read that passage. It's a very long, penetrating passage. In the Iqán where He says, one of the things that the true seeker must always avoid, abstain, shun, absolutely, is backbiting, because it extinguishes the lamp of one's soul and heart.[16]

Once `Abdu'l-Bahá had been very, very sad, and you know, in His days, there were many of the old believers who were watching Him. The moment He became sad, they tried to make Him happy, to tell stories, or to do something to make Him happy. But He was so sad, almost shrunk in Himself, sitting down at a meeting, suddenly He burst out and said, "I don't know where the people have learned the art of backbiting." It seemed that He had been very sad about it. Somebody had said something. One of the old believers got up and bowed to the Master, and said, "Beloved Master, from God Himself." The Master said, "How?" He said, "Adam ate one apple only in his life. God mentioned it in the Old Testament, in the New Testament, in the Qur'án, in all the Tablets." How beautiful the entire sadness was taken from `Abdu'l-Bahá!

Now, in connection with this, I must tell you another one from the Qur'án, which is very important, from the point of view of the psychology of man, and to remedy our own souls and our own hearts against certain spiritual diseases. After Muhammad, the Prophet, explained this in the Qur'án that when you backbite, it is as if you are eating the flesh of the dead body of your own brother, He says, "Backbiting has two sides, the one who backbites and the one who listens. Both of them are sinners." And worst than that, He says, is the one who suspicious about people. You know, now when you backbite, the thing is divided between you and the one who listens to you. But when you suspect something in people, you are suspicious about people, what do we do? We are backbiting against somebody to ourselves. Therefore, both things are committed by one person. You see, and many of the families are ruined because of suspicion. Many commercial houses have been absolutely demolished because of suspicion of one against the other, without any reason. Especially when it is not revealed, the slightest movement of the other side strengthens the suspicion in man's heart. Please let's pray and pray and pray that God will give us enough courage that if we suspect or have suspicion against anyone, to have enough courage to go him or her and say, "This is what I think. Please relieve me from it." And then perhaps the problem will be solved immediately. Let's never fall into this spiritual disease of backbiting and suspicion against others. These are spiritual diseases, the consequences of which will be insanity, madness and incurable diseases.

And then He also says, "Never accuse any person of the things which you do not like to be accused of."[17] "Don't indulge in the world, in this contingent world."[18] Then He says, "You desire gold from Me and I want you to be sanctified from that"[19] and many other examples of these "don'ts" exist in The Hidden Words.

Then we return to the green light. He says, "Turn your face always to My face." [20] Once this was discussed in India. When Hushmand Fatheazam was in India, and during the time when he was secretary of the Assembly and mass conversion started, he went to many of these different parts and discussed this, that we must always have the Cause of God in mind, turn our faces to God. A group of Indians sitting together discussed it amongst themselves so they could explain it. Hushmand said that a woman got up and explained it in the most beautiful way so that everyone understood and everyone was amazed. She said, Everyday in the morning I go to the river and bring water for my house in two big, huge jars of water, one on top of the other, on my head. And as I walk in the street, I see someone and stop to talk to him about his children, his wife, and so on. Then I buy some groceries at the shop. And then I see a woman and I ask about her child who had been sick, and so on. And all the time that I am doing these different things, I'm holding the equilibrium of these jars on my head. The same thing is true with the religion of God in our hearts. We must always keep the equilibrium here. It's very easy." This is a beautiful explanation of this that in every case we turn our faces to God, then we will be on the safe side.
Then He says, "Every night see to your own accounts."[21] Before you sleep, look at your own accounts. In the life story about our beloved Guardian, we read that even when he was a child, and playing with children, if he had hurt a child during the day he would never go to sleep unless he went to the house of that child and make him happy. Then he could go to sleep. Even as a child he did this.[22] That's why it says, "See to your own accounts before you go to sleep." Every day you must do this.

"Obey My laws," He says, "because or for the sake of My love."[23] Not that you're afraid or hope for something. Obey because you love Him. Let love be the greatest motive. "Aggrandize My Cause."[24] Don't belittle the Cause. Always do something which will introduce the Cause as a great thing, as a majestic gift from God on this earth. "Be a helper to My Cause." "Mention Me on My earth."[25] Then He says something extremely important. He says, "Rejoice with the joy of your own heart."[26] What does it mean? It means that the joy of our souls, our lives, of our hearts, can never be found anywhere in the world except within ourselves. It is buried within that we must dig through until it starts to flow out, then we'll always feel happy. It is the miserable condition of the people of the world that they seek their happiness in material things. They think if they have more material luxuries, material comfort, of the material pleasures of life, they will feel happier, and they go deeper and deeper and deeper into it, and they never feel any happier. Bahá'u'lláh says that it's within yourself and you must bring it out. `Abdu'l-Bahá describes the life of one of the prisoners of the time of Bahá'u'lláh. He was imprisoned in the city of `Akká with Bahá'u'lláh. He said that every day he used to make with a tin samovar a cup of tea for himself. He said that when he used to sit to have tea, he said, "The air is so beautiful today. Never has it been so beautiful as today. It is fresh, it is full of fragrance, the green of the trees in the desert have never been as green and beautiful as today. And the tea never had this color." Every day, whatever he had, he described it as the best of all his life. And that cup of tea was drunk by him as the most precious gift of God to him. Nothing existed in the world. Everybody was happy to see him enjoy this little cup of tea that he had.

You know, when I was in antique shop, I saw something very ridiculous there, cups from the time of Louis XIV, and I asked the man, "Really, is there any fool in the world to come and buy these things from you." Because the price was written, $30,000. He said, "You can't imagine, up till now, I have made $30,000 for these cups by hiring them to the people. Somebody comes and hires them for one afternoon tea to show to his friends that he served the tea in the cups of time of Louis XIV and he paid for them $1,000 for one afternoon tea. Just think of it, the poverty of man's intelligence. The misery of man's heart. His mother might have been dying of hunger and the child might have been dying of starvation, but $30,000 has already been obtained for these, because many people explained it to others and another person comes to get them." This is how the world is going on this way. And Bahá'u'lláh wants to bring it back. And we are the first ones to come back on this path.

You know, at the time when the Committee of Investigation came to `Akká and made life so miserable for `Abdu'l-Bahá, and everybody was ordered by `Abdu'l-Bahá to go away. He remained all alone with the Greatest Holy Leaf and a cousin who was very old. One of the veteran believers who was the first pioneer to Africa remained with `Abdu'l-Bahá. One day he told Him, "Beloved Master. Please be careful about yourself. They say that this Committee of Investigation is very cruel. They want to do harm to `Abdu'l-Bahá and they want to confiscate property." `Abdu'l-Bahá looked at him and said, "Why do you worry? You have one cup and one little rug, nothing else. Why do you worry?" And he smiled, and said, "Well, I'm very glad to have such a wonderful Master." And the whole problem was solved, and the Committee of Investigation didn't do anything, and `Abdu'l-Bahá's heart was as calm as ever. We can reach that station, with a great many difficulties, though. It's very difficult to get rid of the world. I don't think that it's an easy job. It's difficult, but it's most pleasant.

Now these are some of the green lights again and the rest will be provided by ourselves. Now what is the result of all these things? The result will be, He says that when you reach that station, you will see with my eyes. You will hear with my ears.[27] You will pray and you will answer your own prayers. It's very important. You will pray and you will answer your own prayers. And in other places, He says that is why we know many people whose mouths are shut with prayer. They pray, but they never want anything. They know that if they want something, it's given to them. And they never pray. They only make love with God. They never ask anything from Him. Then He says that you all walk on the same earth, with the same feet, and from every deed, act and word of yours the signs of the unity of God will be manifested[28] and that you will reveal to the world that God entrusted within you treasures of His mysteries and the essence of His knowledge.[29] And please read the last, the very last Hidden Word. He says, "Ponder, what do you want to do now? Would you like to die comfortably on your bed in your room in your house, or would you like to be martyred on His path. Choose the way for yourself.[30]

You know that whenever this Tablet of Bahá'u'lláh is read, it makes me very uncomfortable, because this reminds me of the four Hands appointed by Bahá'u'lláh Himself. And these four Hands had never homes by themselves, had never any comfort in their lives. They were always in the homes of the friends, going from one town to the other, and always, even at night, they wore all their clothes. When they were asked why, they said, "When the government officials come for the Bahá'ís, we want to be ready always, not to keep them waiting for us." And whenever there were any difficulties in Persia, that they wanted to persecute the Bahá'ís, these Hands would immediately go to the government and say, "We heard that you wanted the Bahá'ís. We are here." So that the other Bahá'ís would never be molested. They would protect the Cause, they would protect the individuals.

And this Tablet was revealed at the time when two of them had, without any reason, been put in prison and under the chains in a cellar down below for two years consecutively and their food consisted of dry pieces of bread soaked in castor oil and water. For two consecutive years. When two very young people from noble families were included with them for political reasons, and they had food and everything brought to them from their homes. And they were always sad that they always heard these two telling stories to each other, chanting, or singing. And one day, one went to them and said, "What's the matter with you? You are in chains. You are in a cellar. Your food is this, and you're always happy." Then Hájí Amín told him, "My dear, Bahá'u'lláh has trained us for this. You are not trained." And these two people, to the end of their lives, were helping the Bahá'ís wherever they went. They were released from the prison, they became government officials, and because of these words, they helped. Now we are also Hands, flying by plane, going to the best hotels, having such a beautiful congregation of friends, the most comfort, and believe me, there are Tablets and prayers that the traveling teachers should read every morning, and one of them says, "O God, I am forsaking all my comfort." And I never read this. (laughter) Really, it's a lie to God. And it's a rest for me because I am out of Haifa. At least I'm out. Now, if I talk to you about the Hands of the Cause, it will take us to tomorrow morning and the day after tomorrow.

Now what I wanted to say is this. In the discussion about The Hidden Words, all the Tablets, all the books of Bahá'u'lláh, when you study them, you will sometimes find contradictions in them. That's why I want to stress this and to explain. `Abdu'l-Bahá, Himself, says that sometimes when you study them, you think that Bahá'u'lláh tells you to go to the water, inside the water, but don't get wet. He tells you to go to the fire, but don't ever become hot. Now in the Writings, Bahá'u'lláh says, "Whoever believes in My Faith has the right to sit on a chair made of gold." Pure gold. You can have food in plates and saucers made of silver and gold.[31] You must be tempted, you must help the funds,. You must have Bahá'í centers, Bahá'í libraries. All Bahá'í institutions at the World Centre. All these. What do we need? We need money. And then Bahá'u'lláh says in The Hidden Words, "You indulge in the world, you want money, I don't want you to have it."[32] These two seem contradictory to us. `Abdu'l-Bahá Himself says that what He means is this. The same words that He addressed the kings of world. To the kings of the world, Bahá'u'lláh said, "I have not come to possess your countries. I want hearts of the people."[33] `Abdu'l-Bahá said that Bahá'u'lláh wants your hearts, not your money. Give Him your heart and have your money in any way you like. Then, if you give your heart to Bahá'u'lláh, you will eventually help His Faith very generously and liberally. He said that this is the meaning. There is no contradiction, and that the real meaning should be understood.
I will give you an example with a very beautiful story. You know, there are still some mendicants in the East, the people who believe they are darvísh. Darvísh means detached from the world, and they must be poorly clothed and have no house, things like that. A very young mendicant, a young darvísh, heard about a very famous one who was called the King of all Darvíshes. He said, "I must see this man. I must make a pilgrimage to his place." Then he started on foot. He had only one suit of clothes and had something like this, bigger, hanging on his side for his food and other things. They call it "kashkud." A bowl for begging. Four months it took him to reach the city where that man was living. When he asked about him, they said that he was outside of the town, near the mountain. He went outside of town and near the mountain he found a kingly pavilion there Tents of silk and the timbers supporting the tent were crowned with gold signs and all the nails in the ground to hold the tents were made of gold. Inside there was a very huge space, cushions, the most beautiful cushions and a very stately man sitting at the top. Servants with beautiful clothing coming and going, bringing drinks and food and gifts for the people.

He said, "Who is this man?"

"He is the King of all Darvíshes."

After this young darvísh, having crossed the desert, mountains and towns, for the sake of visiting this one, regretted it very much. He said, "Why did I come all this way to this. I came to see a real darvísh, a real mendicant, and a real detached person. Now he's living like a king here."

As he was pondering and meditating upon this, suddenly the man rose from his seat and came and greeted him, and said, "Shall we go for a walk?"

"Yes." They walked on. They reached a certain small river. The king said, "Shall we take ablution and stand for prayer?"

"Yes." They started to take ablutions and this man hung his bowl on a branch of a tree, took ablutions, stood for prayer with the king, and he was very happy.

After that the king said, "Shall we start go on pilgrimage to a holy shrine? It's a beautiful night, moonlight and the weather is pleasant. Let us go."

"All right." They started to go. After half an hour, the second darvísh said, "I must go back."

"What for?"

"I have forgotten my bowl on the branch of the tree."

"It's all right, let's go on this way. You don't need it."

"No, no, I need it. It's the only thing I have and I must have it."

"I tell you, you don't need it. Let's go on." But when he insisted, he looked at him, and asked, "Now who is the real darvísh? I left all those things, those cushions, those tents. You saw those nails. It's true, but I put those nails in the soil, not in my soul." He continued on his way to the pilgrimage. The other man went to get the only thing he had.

You see, `Abdu'l-Bahá says that Bahá'u'lláh means this. The time comes when the Cause needs your wealth. Have the courage to detach yourself from it and give it, generously. So that the Cause will not stand in need of any funds. He means that your heart should not be attached to the worldly things. The joy of your heart should not be with worldly things. It must be within itself and your soul and heart must be detached from all things. But unfortunately, man is like the son whose father had given him everything, his farm, his villages, his car, his bank account, everything, but he says, "Child, only leave me this. I need this." He says, "No, give me that. I want to put my cigarette ashes in it."

Bahá'u'lláh says in The Hidden Words, "I have given you the whole world, give me your heart only. This much only."[34] We say, "No, we don't give it to you." And of course when we don't give it to Him, it will be given to other things and it will become waste. Then it will be the ashtray of the world. Then it will have no light, it will have no joy. Then they will come and say, "Why is our family broken, our houses are broken, our community is shattered into piece. The whole world is full of misery." Out of the whole world a few are Bahá'ís who have accepted the Faith, and of these few, fewer really accept Bahá'u'lláh and do things according to His desire. How can we expect the world to ever be happy? This is one point I wanted to explain before we go.

And the second point is an experience which I have heard about when I was in Arabia. It always sticks in my mind. I always remember it and always meditate upon it. It's especially good for the young people to remember this story. A petroleum company has a very huge lake near it into which they pour the tar produced from petrol. During the summertime, this tar is loose, like water. But during the wintertime, it gets bit stiff and some people can walk a little bit on the edges of this tar pit, not very much into it. Now around this huge lake there are some villages, Arab villages. One day in the afternoon two Arab boys, when they wanted to go to their own village they had to go around the circumference of this lake. One of them wanted to be smart and said, "I will walk along this tar pit and I will reach there earlier." The other one said, "Don't trust it. It's sticky and you'll never get rid of it." The first started to go and said, "See, it's very hard, come on." He encouraged him, but after going a little distance, suddenly he felt that his left foot was going into it a little bit, imperceptibly. He tried to pull it out and then the left foot went a little more down, and gradually, gradually, he was sinking and sinking and sinking and could not get out of this. The other boy ran to the village and it was about midnight when he reached there. He called his people. It was about morning when they reached, the boy was up to here in the tar. They threw chains and brought, eventually from the company, a helicopter and they wanted to pull the chain. The child shouted and shouted as if all the members were separated from each other. They could not bring him out. And they had to leave him sink alive in the tar. Ever since then I always think of sin, of man's disobedience to God, exactly like this. The first step is very, very small. We cannot discern. It's so small, so insignificant, that we cannot see. If at that moment we are careful, we are aware of God, we will respond to the call of God within ourselves and we may be out of it. But when we are stubborn and say, "No, nothing will happen," then we go deeper and deeper and nothing will bring us up. Then there is no use if you chant thousands of times the Tablet of Ahmad. No use. Because the stickiness of the sin is so strong that it will break the whole body of man into piece before he's detached from it. Therefore, always keep away from the places where there are smells of temptation. And `Abdu'l-Bahá says, "The fear of God is the greatest help at that moment. That will protect us." If you ever discern a little bad habit in the children, start breaking them then. Habits start like spider's webs. You can immediately clean with the movement of your own hand, but if we let it go and say, "Oh, I'll let my son have a good time. Let my daughter be free and let her have her own way," then the time will come when this spider's web has changed into chains and it's impossible to break them.

The second and the third is that all these things, the bad habits of man's life. At the beginning, it's very much in childhood, absorbing, attracting. None of you have ever smelled opium. I have, during the days when I was in a community where they smoked opium. It has a most pleasant smell. You want to smell it always. But what you smell today at 3:00 in the afternoon, tomorrow you will yearn for it, you will want it, and gradually one gets accustomed to it and starts smoking and smoking, more and more and more, until he become desperate with the opiate. Why, at the beginning, it's so pleasant and gives so much intoxication that the young man says, "Well, it's about a month that I am drinking. Nothing happens to me. It's about a month that I am taking all these drugs given to me in the university. I have the most beautiful visions." It's true, the first month and the second month, nothing happens to him. But it's only afterwards when we go to the doctor and say that the heart doesn't work well, the lungs are out of order, food is not digested, and so on and so forth. The results come very late in life. `Abdu'l-Bahá says that tests never come in ugly faces. If it comes like that you will be afraid and go away. It always comes in the most beautiful, the most attractive ways. He says that tests come in the most beautiful manners and in the most attractive ways. That's why the Covenant-breakers come so, what shall I say?, so hideously towards people and suggest only one word or two words, and spoil the foundation of the Faith. That's why `Abdu'l-Bahá says that the breath of the Covenant-breakers is dangerous.

One of the pilgrims asked the beloved Guardian, "Beloved Guardian, can I meet my uncle? He's a Covenant-breaker." The Guardian said, "No, he's not a Covenant-breaker, but the breath of a Covenant-breaker has affected him." And he never met him. It's very important for us to know this, very important.

Now I will tell you one more story, about backbiting. You know, when I was in Germany, somebody invited me to his house and many others also, but he told me to come early at 11 o'clock. I went there. He started to backbite against one or two friends. I didn't want to listen and immediately said, "You know, it's about two months I'm traveling in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Germany. It's very cold forme coming from Arabia. I've not been able to take any bath here. Do you have a good bath in your house?"

He said, "Yes, an electric bath, and everything."

I said, "Could I use it?"

He said, "Yes."

I went into the bath and stood there, and still I was afraid to take a bath with the cold weather outside. I stood there until I heard people coming and I came out. In that way I got rid of backbiting. Now once I said this in a summer school to the youth, and one of the boys stood up and asked, "Well, what if there is a group who is backbiting and there is only one bath?" (Laughter) I especially mention this to the youth and suggest that they find other excuses. Well, I hope that this explanation about The Hidden Words and the humble suggestions about the study will help the friends to find other materials within this very wonderful book of Bahá'u'lláh, a most precious gem, revealed by Him, and start the spiritual journey to reach that perfection where we will all really see with one eye and hear with one ear, and tread the path on the same earth, and hear the Word of God and be immersed in the ocean of the love of God. Then we will never miss each other's presence. We will be always together, no matter where we live, always together.

Now, if there are some questions you have, you are most welcome to ask them, about this or any other question which may help us.

There is a question about the Guardian's appointments and some of this was covered in letters from the Universal House of Justice to the Netherlands, and all, but perhaps this would help.

When you study the Will and Testament of the beloved Master, you will find out that there are two appointments to be made by the beloved Guardian. One is a successor and the other is the Hands. There is no other appointment in the Will and Testament, only these two. It is incumbent upon the Guardian to appoint his successor and Hands of the Cause. But about the Hands of the Cause, there are no conditions set by `Abdu'l-Bahá. He doesn't say what kind of people he should choose to be Hands of the Cause. He has left the Guardian absolutely free; from any country, any race, any age, any quality, anything he likes, and that's why he chose, and no one can ever ask why this man is made a Hand of the Cause, and the other one is not made a Hand of the Cause. You see, from his own free will he makes them. It's very clear. You go through all the Hands of the Cause and you will find it. But about his own successor, `Abdu'l-Bahá drew four walls around the Guardian. Four walls. First, He said his first born must be the Guardian, his first born. Then He said that if this one is not qualified, then another branch is to be appointed by the Guardian. This other branch should be in the lineage of the Guardian, of Shoghi Effendi. And the fourth is that nine Hands must approve this appointment. There, no condition about the appointment of the Hands, but here, there are four conditions that `Abdu'l-Bahá gave to the beloved Guardian: (1) His first born should become Guardian. (2) If he is not qualified, `Abdu'l-Bahá says another branch should be chosen by the Guardian. (3) But this other branch must be within the lineage of Shoghi Effendi, a descendent of Shoghi Effendi. It's in the Will and Testament. Look it up. This other branch must be within the lineage of Shoghi Effendi, and when he appointed him, (4) nine Hands must say yes; or the majority of the nine Hands. Now the Guardian did not have the first one, nor second one, nothing happened. What did he do? What did the Guardian do? What could he do? Could he break the laws of `Abdu'l-Bahá? He would never do that. He would be the last person in the world to anything like that, even to think of it. Then he would keep silent about it, absolutely silent, and we believe in the Guardian who was infallible. Infallible means that his deeds, his words, his utterances and his silence is always infallible. His silence is also infallible.

Now, why do we call the people who go beyond these limitations Covenant breakers? Because they want to break this rule, to break the walls put up by the beloved Master. That's why they are called breakers of the Covenant, and very often the beloved Guardian said that all the laws and enactments of the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá will be thoroughly followed and whatever is not provided will be done by the House of Justice. Now the House of Justice studied the entire Will and Testament and found that there is no provision if the Guardian has no son. There is no provision set by `Abdu'l-Bahá, and they did not want to put anything extra in the Will and Testament. There are mysteries in these things that we don't understand. Thousands of mysteries. There was a Persian Bahá'í during the days of the beloved Guardian who would go around and tell the friends to go and visit Shoghi Effendi as this is the last one we will have. We will never have any more Guardians. Even the NSA of Persia called him and said, "Why do you spread such things? You should never say things like that." And then this happened and they understood that he was right. You can find traces of this in Islamic traditions also. Very clear. Absolutely clear.

Can you tell us about these traces in Islamic traditions?

There are many. It's very confusing. I'll just tell you one of them. There was a man 600 years ago who lived in the area of `Akká. He was born in Spain. He was the greatest Arabian philosopher and the greatest mystic of his time and as a consequence, centuries later, his books are still studied as the greatest source of Islamic philosophy. So important he was that when Bahá'u'lláh started to reveal Tablets, many of the people accused Him and said that His words are taken from `Ibn Arabí.[35] In one of his many, many clear references to Bahá'u'lláh, he said, "all the followers of the Qa'ím (the Promised One) will be killed, except One, whose face will shine with the Abhá Beauty in the plains of `Akká. The word "Abhá" is used by him. His face will shine with the Abhá Beauty in the plains of `Akká. His branch will build the Temple of God. After Him, a young boy will sit on the throne whose name will start with "sh" and he will be thirty and some years old. After him the whole world will turn their faces to God. Can there be anything more clear than that? I don't see in the face of anyone who knows Arabic, otherwise I would repeat the original.

`Abdu'l-Bahá said that as long as God has existed there has existed the perfect man. And then He says, this man is not any man, and does He imply by that that the perfect man is of course the Manifestation, and that God's creatures, like man, have existed as long as God has existence?

Yes. Oh excuse me, one more word about this and then I will answer. Two other indications of the Plan of God that I forgot to tell you. Horace Holley writes to the Guardian that there are some people in America who claim to receive special guidance from God. "What shall we tell them?" The Guardian says, "Publish this letter of mine in the Bahá'í News of America and make them understand that guidance from God is given to mankind through the Guardian today and in the future through the House of Justice." You see how clear this is. Today, and in the future, through the House of Justice. This is another indication. The third one is that when he introduced the World Crusade, he said that this is an introduction to the future teaching plans to be initiated by the House of Justice. He doesn't say by the Guardian, he says the House of Justice.

Now, I want to have the exact words of the Master. This is true that the Master said that as long as God has existed, there has been man also created by Him. Because He said that one cannot conceive of a king without his realm and soldiers and so on. Therefore God must have His creation. The perfect man, I don't know. I haven't read this. Where has His said this? Is it a pilgrim note, or in one of the Tablets?

I thought it was in one of the Tablets. I'll see if I can find it."

Sometimes in firesides it is said that one of the proofs of a Prophet is that He is descended from Abraham and it is hard to reconcile that with Buddha, Krishna and Zoroaster.

You know that in firesides when we speak about our Faith, let's be careful about the first step we take with our contact. How do the great teachers of the Cause explain this? They always gave ample chances to the contact to talk first. Let's do the same thing. Let them pour out whatever they have. Let them empty themselves. When they empty themselves, then you will be able to reach them. Second, please always start, always, without any change, with standards. By standards what I mean is this. Ask your contact by what standard he accepted Moses as a Prophet of God, Jesus as a Prophet of God, Muhammad as a Prophet of God. What standards? This is the most important thing for us to do. To start with standards. Now, when you come to standards, you will find this is not a standard that the Prophet should be from the lineage of Abraham. It's not true. Because Abraham had originated one line of the Prophets and according to history and the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá, there are many lines of Prophets which are lost to humanity and history. Some very faint traces are remaining in the history of mankind. For instance, how can we say that Zoroaster was from Abraham? And Zoroaster, also, was not one. The Báb said there were thirty Prophets in one district of Persia all called Zoroaster, for many centuries, coming one after the other; one line of Prophets. This not a standard. It's a wrong basis to start with. Besides that, this is not also the proof of Bahá'u'lláh being the Manifestation God. We don't say that Bahá'u'lláh is the Manifestation of God because He is from Abraham. No, He is the Manifestation of God, that's all. Bahá'u'lláh says that you must know the Prophets by Themselves, as you know the sun by the sun. The sun is here. Therefore, it's the sun, that's all.

Mr. Faizi, very often at firesides the concept of soul mates is taught. Would you tell us whether this is true or not?"

You know, I think this which originated somewhere is because of a wrong understanding of the Persian of the Master and the wrong translation by the interpreter. You know in Persian there is an expression when a man and woman, husband and wife, live together so harmoniously we say as if they had been created together and for each other. This is just an expression. Perhaps the Master had said somewhere this and they have taken this that they are made and created for each other, therefore soul mates together, and they call them soul mates. It's not true. Souls have their own identity and entity and there is no text about it absolutely. And if we want to bring this into the Cause of God, many of our families will be destroyed. You know, a woman will fall in love with another man and say she found her soul mate (laughter) and say that because of what exists in the Cause of God, "It's not my fault." (laughter) It's not true and it should not come into the meetings where we speak to the contacts. We should speak to the contacts only about the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, to prove that Bahá'u'lláh is the Manifestation of God. And this reminds of this. Even when the contact asks you these things, say that this meeting is made for one purpose, to see whether Bahá'u'lláh is the Manifestation of God or not, and then when this is proved or we come to a certain conclusion about it, then we'll discuss other topics. Are there other questions?

Well, if you ask Christians what is their standard, they invariably say that it is resurrection of the body, and how do you deal with that?

Well, it's true. What I meant by standard is this that if Christ said the proof of His Prophethood is that He would rise with my body and go to heaven. You know, by standard, I mean this. I shall give an example. Suppose we want to buy this carpet. Suppose there is a carpet here and we want to buy it. There is one who want to sell and the one who wants to buy. The one who wants to sell measures with his own hand and says that it is 10 feet by 5, and the one who wants to buy, measures it again with his own hand and says that no, it is 8 x 3. Both of them are right. Why? Because both are measuring with their own standard. What will solve this problem? They bring a piece of wood. This piece of wood, which has degrees on it, will solve the problem. What is the authority of this piece of wood, the price of which is 3 or 4 cents. The authority of the government behind it, because the government says it is one meter. Both of them accept this and say that it is 10 by 5 and the carpet is sold. Now first bring something between yourself and your contact that mutually accept as a standard. This was the method of our old teachers. I have seen, watched them, for three months this teacher sat down quietly and the man spoke and spoke and spoke about many different things. He said at the end, "My dear, you didn't give me the standard by which you accept Muhammad as the Prophet of God." The other said, "Well, it's too late. Next week." Next week he came again and the same thing. Eventually he would cut him in one place. He said, "For instance, Muhammad was the most handsome man in the world." The other said, "All right, show me in the Qur'án that the Prophet must be the most handsome man in the world." He could not. Therefore, this is not a standard. So one by one and the words of the Prophets will be accepted.

I'll tell you a very interesting story. There was a fireside in the house of one of the friends. Suppose this was the fireside. A man would come and always sit outside in yard, not in the room. And whatever the teacher said, he would start to curse Bahá'u'lláh. This went one for one week, two weeks, one month, two months, three months, and one night the teacher became so angry. He sat on his two knees and started to curse the Prophet Muhammad. He said, "For three months you cursed Bahá'u'lláh, now let me curse the Prophet Muhammad." When he did this, the man came in, sat down and said, "Give me a cup of tea." He gave him a cup of tea. The man said, "Now start over again, from the very beginning." The teacher spoke. At the end of the night, he asked the man why he had changed. He said that before coming here, he went to his priest and said he wanted to go to this Bahá'í meeting and asked for something with which he could fight them.' He answered, "I will give you a standard. You curse Bahá'u'lláh because it's written in the Qur'án that if you curse any Prophet, the ceiling will come down immediately." Now, this is not a standard. When you go through the writings of the Prophets, you will find They are all saying the same thing and through this example you will find the progressive revelation of all the Prophets. What did Moses say when they asked Him, "How do we know the real Prophets from the false prophets?" He said, `You can never have grapes from peaches." Remember, this is the answer of Moses. They asked Jesus, "How do we know the false prophets?" "Know them by their trees." You see how it is progressing? It's changed into a tree now. "Know them by their fruits." They asked Muhammad. He said, "The true word of God is like a tree which is planted in the earth. It grows. It gives branches. It will be covered with foliage and fruit. But the words which are not uttered by God will be like a dry piece of wood thrown on the soil. It will never grow." You see, three of them gave from the same vegetable kingdom, but gradually improving on the same definition. And when they asked Bahá'u'lláh, He said that the true word of God is like a living thing. It grows and influences the world. The word of God grows and influences the world. He said that by influencing the world He means that the things which the people are against now in the future they will all utter the same words. He said we need these things in the future. This is the influence of the word of God.

I remember once I read in the Bahá'í News of America that Bahá'í representatives had been delegates to an educational conference in America. They reported and said that all the delegates spoke about education, almost, in the same terms, as a Bahá'í would say. And then these two looked at each other and said, "There's no place for us to talk because they all said whatever were Bahá'í principles of education." And one of them said, "How is it that they say the same thing?" The other answered, "It's in the air." I always remember this expression. The hearts receive and give out. The time will come when you will hear the same from everyone, all these principles. This is the principle laid down by Christ, that you must know them by their fruit. No other standard is given by Christ and you can't have anything else, if they stick to their books.

Would you please mention the reference in The Hidden Words concerning the next Manifestation?'

Yes, it's that part of The Hidden Words where He says that the Ancient Beauty appeared and explained about His sufferings. He mentioned the first letter; then the second letter was explained. Before uttering the third letter, the commandment came to stop and no more was said.[36] `Abdu'l-Bahá said that these letters uttered by Bahá'u'lláh are the explanations of His sufferings, that He could say no more. And the Guardian said that this refers to the future Manifestation who will finish the story. The third letter will be explained by Him. This is an ample reason for the Bahá'ís to believe that there will be other Manifestations. Not like other religions who say that theirs is the last one and there will be no more.

About the trees, it's interesting because that's the tree of life, isn't it, the Prophet of God? And didn't Muhammad mention the tree of Zaqqúm[37] as the opposite of that?

Yes, Zaqqúm is the most bitter thing, a poisonous bitter fruit, of a certain thorny plant in the desert. He says that this is the tree for the unbelievers. We say that the tree of life, or the word of God, gives forth beautiful fruits, and that this one gives forth bitter fruit. Like the religion of God, it brings men under the shadow of God, the tent of security, and the other religions which follow the passions and lust of man and who say "let man be free like animals." Their fruit at the beginning sweet, but eventually becomes the most bitter ever tasted by man."

Like the other term wormwood?"

Yes.

In our firesides and in our discussions among ourselves, there seems to be a lot of confusion and vagueness about what we mean by the term `catastrophe'. Could you speak on this a bit?"

This question has been asked in other communities and there is a great deal of misunderstanding about it. We shouldn't waste our lives, our precious lives to think what the catastrophe means and what the calamity means and what will happen, so on and so forth, because it is detrimental our spiritual growth. There are so many beautiful things in the Bahá'í literature which are the food of life, and we must consume those things rather than these which are detrimental. Bahá'u'lláh has said a sudden calamity will come to the world because of the disobedience. He didn't mean that God is revengeful, that God is retaliating. He explains the law of God on this earth; in this universe rather. He only explains to mankind the law of God. He never says that God will take revenge. God is the most bountiful. But what He means is this, that here is a plant of electricity. You have a group of children playing here and the kindest teacher is the one who gathers them and says, "Children, if you have your hands inside this, you will be shocked." He must tell them first. Is it revenge? No, you will tell them the result of this disobedience. What will happen if you disobey. The same thing is true with the warnings of Bahá'u'lláh. If humanity disobeys, then this will happen. What was the purpose of the proclamation we had this year and we are still having? The purpose was that Bahá'u'lláh wrote letters to all these leaders and kings and sovereigns of the world and told them, "I am giving you the divine advice. If you seek My advice and tread the path of God, you will be on the safe side. Otherwise the results will be so great that it will be beyond your control. Calamity from six sides will encircle you." This is what He told them, the law of God and said something very interesting. He said, "When I entered the great city of Constantinople, I found the rulers of the world like children playing in mud."[38] Just think from what exalted horizon Bahá'u'lláh was speaking and to what kind of people He was speaking to. Playing with mud. He belittled all the things about which they were proud. And what greater calamity than this is that what we have today. What else do we expect? `Abdu'l-Bahá says that the whole body of humanity is deaf, the eyes cannot see, the ears cannot hear, the blood is poison and the people are utterly broken and exhausted. The only thing which will bring this thing back to life is the spirit of this divine religion which is the quickest and earliest and most urgent need of this dead body of humanity.

This calamity is what has happened to humanity today. What else do we expect? What else do we expect when we send our children to these schools and universities? A boy of twenty goes to his own teacher and says, "I cannot concentrate." "All right, you must have two or three girlfriends and be free with them." We have our children captive in the hands of these people who don't believe that these children are mysteries of God, are treasure houses of God. And we sit down and discuss calamities. That's why `Abdu'l-Bahá said to a great teacher of the Cause. He said, "If you knew how much the world is in need of these teachings, you will never sleep, never drink water, never take food, and instead teach and teach and teach." The more we teach, the more army of light we will have in this world and the less of these calamities. This is what He meant. And please don't depend so much on the pilgrim notes, because the Guardian told each pilgrim and said according to circumstances, according to their questions. We don't know what the questions were, but some of the answers, therefore, fall into these pitfalls which will ruin our happiness, our joy, our life.

Please remember that Bahá'u'lláh said that the time will come where from every corner of the world you will hear, "Yes, my Lord, I am coming." The time will come when no voice will be raised to heaven except the prayers of this Cause. `Abdu'l-Bahá says that the time will soon come when the people will hasten to you like the people were sick and they are searching for doctors and physicians. They will hasten to you like wounded ones who will ask for some remedy. They will hasten to you even and will seek apology for their leaders. Why don't we think about these things? Why don't we think about these beautiful words of the Master and Bahá'u'lláh which give so much hope, so much consolation, so much strength to our efforts, our administrative work, our spiritual gatherings, everything will be better, the atmosphere will be clear from all sorts of dark thoughts. This is what I believe about this word and never discuss it, especially among your contacts. It's not something to be discussed because we don't have any text about it. It's only pilgrim notes and pilgrim notes, usually because of the different occasions with the Guardian had discussion with the pilgrims. This is my understanding.

How can one correctly separate self from talent?

Talent is something good. It is a gift from God. Self is that which misguides people. For instance, suppose you start to speak about Bahá'u'lláh. Before doing so, you pray to Bahá'u'lláh always, and say, "Please, Bahá'u'lláh, let me speak that which is useful for Your own Cause. Don't fail me tonight." And besides that, be sure than anyone (this is what the beloved Guardian has said and this is the result of education of the Master and the Guardian) who has the power of speech, suppose he is a great orator, and he wants to make it the source of self, the friends will understand immediately. The Guardian said self in one word and action smells and from afar the people understand. He even said that a teacher who is selfish and brings people into the Cause, eventually they all go out of the Cause. When we discuss Bahá'í education, we will come to speak about self and the powers and gifts of God.

This is about the conference in Sicily. May children attend this, I mean children of less than ten?

It will be very hard at that time. As you know, the hottest moment of the year, when Bahá'u'lláh was taken to the Most Great Prison. The details will be explained by the House of Justice.

There was a story that you once said about the wisdom of `Abdu'l-Bahá and the bottles of wine. Would you share it with us again please?"

I tell you my friends, you must be extremely wise and loving it our dealing with others. With ourselves, of course, and with others too. The beloved Guardian has said that there is no problem which cannot be solved with wisdom and love. No problem. There is no problem which cannot be solved with wisdom and love. It will gradually be solved. Suppose an Assembly reaches a point where it cannot decide. `Abdu'l-Bahá says, "Leave that problem for a few weeks or a few days, and come back to it. It will be solved." The time will solve it somehow in the minds of the friends who are the members of that Assembly.

But the other day I said about a Jewish rabbi who was a great friend of `Abdu'l-Bahá. He was about 90 years old. One day he came to `Abdu'l-Bahá and said, "My dear friend, I was ill for a long time and was in bed and couldn't move, but I used this very old wine for about seven months and I have rejuvenated and came to see you and brought you these two bottles so that you will use it too." If we had been there, we would have said, "No, no, no, it's forbidden in the Bahá'í Faith, you shouldn't have done it." And immediately we would have broken the heart of that man who with such a loving gesture gave the greatest kindness to `Abdu'l-Bahá. `Abdu'l-Bahá invited this man to have lunch and toward the end of the day when He was ready to send him home, He said, "My beloved friend, I'm so grateful that you called on me and you brought me these things. Well, I have thought it over and I think if you have this, it will have the same effect on me. Please take it away and you consume it as you have experienced it and it is better for you and I will be extremely happy and I will be healthy."

This is the way He said it so that his heart would not be broken. In all occasions He was like this. A group of pilgrims said `Abdu'l-Bahá was once sitting amongst the friends and said suddenly, `Open the back for me and then called to someone.' He said He felt this person was passing by. An Arab came in, almost naked, with nothing on, just some ragged clothes around him. Then He took the man into an inner room and started talking to him. Later He said, "I thought you would be bothered, therefore I took him and conversed with him for two hours." He made him happy, gave him clothing, and money, and everything.

Well, we'll have the rest of the questions tomorrow morning. I thank you for your patience and your love.



Third Session (in the morning)

Chairman (Marc Towers): We welcome you on this rainy morning. The reason we held off going until 9:30 is because the rain is still coming down and we are sure that some of the friends are caught in this rain. But we do want to get started now. We are so thrilled and happy this morning to have with us our beloved Hand of the Cause, Agnes Alexander, and Ms. Alexander is going to open up this session with a prayer for us.

Agnes Alexander:

"O my God! O my God! Unite the hearts of Thy servants and reveal to them Thy great purpose. May they follow Thy commandments and abide in Thy law. Help them, O God, in their endeavors and leave them not to themselves, but guide their steps by the light of knowledge and cheer their hearts by Thy love. Verily, Thou art their Lord and their Helper.

Marc: I want you to know that this is so much like any one of the intercontinental conferences. Do you realize the bounty we have here this morning, having two Hands of the Cause of God with us? Hawaii is very fortunate. To start off this morning's session I would like to call once again our beloved Hand of the Cause Mr. Faizi.

Before starting the subject of today, I would like to translate a sentence from a very small prayer of `Abdu'l-Bahá. When I was here last time in 1962 I repeated that prayer here, because I believe that prayer belongs to the Pacific Ocean, and belongs to Hawaii. Because in it He says, "O God, give us that power which you have given to the Pacific Ocean, (to each individual He means) that power which you have granted to the Pacific Ocean so that our waves will strike East and West." And let's hope that all our gatherings will be so spiritual, will bring us so close to each other, that at the end we will feel really like drops of one wave and the waves of one ocean and will eventually strike East and West, and quicken the dead to the life which has been brought to us by Bahá'u'lláh's Faith. And the second thing in the prayer which was said by dear Agnes in which He says, "Reveal to them Thy purpose. Reveal to them Thy purpose." When it is revealed to us, then we have no purpose of our own. Because it is the greatest calamity of many Bahá'í communities throughout the world that individuals try to bring in their own purposes in the proper administration of the Bahá'í Faith. They forget the purpose of God and they want to insert their own plans. The confusion between the two will shake the foundation of the Bahá'í Faith. Eventually, the Cause is triumphant and the individuals are crushed down into pieces, but it's not good. Let's pray that we will never have this happening in any Bahá'í community. And in it He also says, "Never leave them to themselves." The moment we are left to ourselves, we are lost. And then He says, "Guide their steps by the light of Thy own Faith." Someone asked the meaning of meditation yesterday. The meanings of meditation is this, that when a prayer is said, when we say our prayers in the morning, then we sit down and ponder upon the words that we have uttered, so that our prayers won't be empty words uttered in the presence of God. We will ponder and ponder and then try to have them as the light, as the guiding lines of our daily life. This is the meaning of meditation. To put these things into practice in our daily life. The moment we are tempted by something, we remember the words of God and we are safe.

Now today we want to speak about the outline of Bahá'í education. I emphasize that it is an outline, because we don't have time to into detail of Bahá'í education. I will just give you hints of different topics of this general subject so that you can fill in the gaps by your own perusal, you own reading, your own explorations through the writings of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá.

First of all, there is a great difference between instruction and education. Instruction is to transfer knowledge from one person to another. You give the knowledge of mathematics, of history, of physics, chemistry and other subjects to the student. It's transferred from person or from books to individuals. You will fill them with knowledge. Gradually, and individual tries to become filled mathematical formulas, chemical formulas, historical data and many sources of information. But is this the ideal of life? No. This is not. This is not the source of pride. This is not what humanity is made for, to just gather knowledge. It's exactly like gathering money, or gathering anything else. Knowledge is one of the things which we gather. And if we stop with that, we have not fulfilled our mission in life as human beings. And if you review the stories of the educational institutions of the world, and you go deeply into them, you will find that it is only this and nothing else. There is no education, it's only instruction. The teachers and professors often transmit their knowledge to the students. There is no education in the proper sense of the word. Education is something else. It is a higher aspect of human life.

Education will be well understood when a man's position in nature and the universe will be understood by people. Then how can people in universities give proper education to their own students when they do not understand what is the mystery of man? Why should man ever be created? As we said last night, God has addressed man in many different terms. One of them is that man is the mystery of God. Now please pay attention to this definition by Bahá'u'lláh which is the basis of Bahá'í education. Bahá'u'lláh says we should consider every individual as a treasure house in which God has deposited jewels which should be manifested through the process of education and mankind benefits by this.[39] As I said last night, see the vast difference of definition of understanding of a Bahá'í of human nature and what the people today understand of human nature. I gave you an example last night. I am in contact with all sorts of people throughout the world.

All sorts of young students who come to me and complain about their own problems. When I tell you something, it's from the writings of Bahá'u'lláh and from my own personal experience. A boy comes to me and said, "You tell us chastity before marriage. This is the word of Bahá'u'lláh?" I said, "Yes." He said, "But we go to our university doctor and we say we can't concentrate. We can't learn well, memorize better, and understand our subject matters well. What shall we do? He says we should find some girlfriends and let our desires be satisfied." This is their understanding of the definition and mystery of man, that man is a bundle of nerves and desires and lust and passion. And all these things must find free channels so that man will be comforted, will have no difficulties. Bahá'u'lláh says, "No, you are a treasure house. I have deposited within you some jewels." In each one jewels, and it is incumbent upon the teachers and doctors and professors of the educational institutions to try to find these things in the children. And, alas, we even see professors, educators, those who claim to be specialists in education and other things, they go around with the desires of the young boys and young girls and they lead them to animal life rather than to human life. Now if the world understands this, only this, that each individual person is a precious treasure house of God, wouldn't that eliminate all sorts of prejudices? Why should be consider that the people of India were created to be subdued throughout centuries? Why should we consider the people of Africa, because they are born black, to be slaves throughout their lives and throughout centuries? "No," Bahá'u'lláh says. Not even those people who are born in Africa, who are born in the Pacific islands, who are born in the remotest corners of the world, each one of them is a treasure house of God. Don't spoil them. But what are we doing with them? Mass destruction of all these treasure houses of God through wrong education, wrong misconceptions, wrong understanding.

Then He says to the Bahá'ís that education can be in two ways: either by words or by deeds. The most great method is to educate children by deeds, He says. This is what will have eternal influence on them. `Alí, the successor of the Prophet Muhammad, said in his writings, "Do you think (addressing man) that you are only a very insignificant atom? In thee is concealed the whole universe." This is the divine definition of man. That is why in the Qur'án when Muhammad, the Prophet, encouraged the Arabs to recognize God. "How?", they asked. He said, "Look into yourselves and you will find God. Because God has created man in His own image."[40] Bahá'u'lláh says that all these precious talents, capacities, abilities, whatever you may call them, concealed in man will be manifested by the proper forces of education. I repeat these words because He never said "instruction." He says "education." He says that through the proper means of education a seed will be changed into a harvest, a small stem into a huge tree. The educators must have in mind that man is created in this way, that he is in the utmost perfection of the physical creation, which allows him to enter into the first grade of spiritual evolution.

I'm sorry that we don't have time to go into details, but we must think upon these things. Man is created in the course of creation. Whatever man had been, in whatever form, that he is the perfect creation as far as physical creation is concerned. But he's perfect up to here, materially. But when he reaches here, he is allowed to enter the first grade of spiritual evolution. This is what He means. He's liable to do it. He's ready to do it, if they give him a chance. Again, `Abdu'l-Bahá says that if you want to know the dignity of man's creation, the exaltedness of his position in the whole universe, only ponder this that when God desires to manifest Himself, He chooses one of the human beings to be His only representative on earth. This shows the exaltedness of the rank and position of man. `Abdu'l-Bahá, in all His Tablets, emphasizes education other than instruction. He says that all the institutions that you have must be solely made for the purpose of educating mankind. It's like culturing pearls. When the pearl has got out of the shell, it's dirty, it's unclean, then with great, great art, talent and patience, the man starts culturing it until such time as the shiny pearl comes out. We must do the same thing with our children, with a great deal of love and patience and a great deal of pondering upon the behavior of children. Polish them, until such time as those talents given to him or her will be manifested. They will show what they are. He said that the education of a child is preferred to his learning. It does not go hand in hand with proper divine education. Not just knowledge, but an education of character, of behavior, of the proper divine education given to the heart and soul of the children. Knowledge alone, He says, will often become deadly poison.

He even said that a physician who has a bad character, who is not divinely educated, will become the cause of death rather that the cause of the amelioration of the situation of the patient. It's a mystery that you must think about. Here is a proficient doctor, but he's not divinely educated. He does not have man's soul, man's exalted rank, man's mission in life. `Abdu'l-Bahá says that this doctor will become the cause of death, rather that the cause of amelioration. And He said, that very often doctors become the cause of diseases, rather than the cause of the remover of diseases.

A child, He says, who is trained by the parents in the proper divine way, who does not know how to read and write, is better than a child who knows many things, but has no manners, no love and no politeness. Because the first child is useful for humanity, but the second one is harmful. Therefore, He says, try to combine the two. Learning and proper divine education should go hand in hand. He says that then there will be light upon light.

Now, at what time should we start to educate children, and how? `Abdu'l-Bahá says that proper education starts from the time that mothers conceive. They must, at different times of the day and night, say prayers, sing songs and poetry. He said that these words will be like sunshine on the soul of the child. You know, `Abdu'l-Bahá says that the moment the child is conceived, the form exists there. It is like rain and flowers. Then when the child is born, a mother is giving milk, at this time the words of God should be uttered and as the child drinks the milk he drinks the words of God.

One of the Persian believers wrote to Bahá'u'lláh and said, "How can I ever leave loving you, forsake you, because this love is given with the milk of my mother to me, and will go out from me with my own soul."? He meant that when his mother gave him this love ever since she gave him milk, she gave him the love of Bahá'u'lláh too. With the milk of his mother, this love went into his soul and when his soul will leave his body, how can he ever be without His love. The milk of the mother has the greatest influence on the child together with the proper spiritual atmosphere. `Abdu'l-Bahá said that when a mother is a believer, the children are believers. That when the father is a believer alone, and the mother is not, He says that rarely will the children become believers. And to know the importance of the spiritual influence of the milk of the mother, or the education of the mother, I repeat this. When Bahá'u'lláh was in the utmost difficulties in life, in one of His prayers He says, "I wish I had not drunk from that pure milk."

Now also when a child is put to bed, `Abdu'l-Bahá says let him go to sleep with these words, these sounds, these poems, divine utterances. He again said that these words are like sunshine on the child.

I can feel that there are questions in the hearts of many. "Will it not be too much for a child?" That's exactly like asking whether it would be too much for a flower to be in the sunshine. The more sunshine, the more rain, the growth of the flowers and trees will be better. The same is true here. It will not be too much. And He said that at the age of five gather children together. But you see He says here, gather them together. He never said to teach them how to read and write. Teach them manners, kindness and politeness. Start to teach them these things at the age of five when they are together. Manners, kindness and politeness. Kindness to each other, politeness to each other, and manners especially. And He says that ever since their childhood, teach them to love animals. To feed them when they are hungry, to give them water when they are thirsty, and never burden them with anything. He said because these poor creatures have no tongue to complain. Therefore, let the children grow with this love, to understand together the pain, the suffering of animals. But please do not exaggerate this in such a manner as to only take care of animals and forget human beings. I will just give you one example.

I don't know if you have seen the film of about thirty-five minutes done by some German explorers of Africa. They lamented the situation of the animals in Africa. Some of the animals are extinct in Africa. We must try our best to keep them, to have them in better pastures, in better gardens, and gather money from all parts of the world for some kinds of animals to be protected. But throughout the film, there is no mention about the poor children of Africa who are starving to death. There is no mention of the poor African who is dealt with like animals. I will just give you my own example so that you will know what I mean, because we don't want to be attacking or criticizing any people in the whole world.

I was for sixteen years in Arabia and because I taught many of the officials of the company and other places, I have been rather respected there as a teacher and they knew that I am a Bahá'í. When my daughter was born, a doctor who was responsible in the hospital and never gave certification that a daughter was born to my family, because I was not European. You see what I mean?........

They must first think of humankind, how much they suffer. Let the children go to India and they will be so grateful for whatever you give them. Let them go to Pakistan. Let them go to these far Eastern countries, to many of the poor, destitute countries. Let them go to Bolivia. I have never seen any country as poor as Bolivia. I went to the Bahá'ís. Groups of them came out of the forest and shouted, "Alláh-u-Abhá hermano!" But what they were wearing. Sacks of rice or wheat with a hole on the top. That was all that they had. No shoes. They had walked so much in the mountains that their feet had become solid leather. And when our pioneers there met them, brought them loaves of bread, coffee and sugar so that the coffee would be made for our meeting, some of them devoured the pieces of bread and some of them hid it under their sacks. I was sure they were hiding it for their own children in their own tents. It's beyond words to describe, and at the same time you will see people taking care of their cats and dogs, and so on and so forth. This is an exaggeration of one point. And in this relation I would like to tell you to please, dear friends, there are many, many movements made in the whole world today. And they come to you and say that this movement agrees with your teachings and the friends who are enthusiastic to teach the Bahá'í Faith become so happy that there is a movement which carries for it an international language. Let's work with them, let's help them, and so on and so forth. It's true that it is a part of our Faith, but our Faith grows as a body. All parts grow together. In that movement, only the hand wants to grow and the rest of the body to be weak and failing. Don't ever be deceived by such things. Let the whole body of humanity grow together, in proportion, in equilibrium. Otherwise, humanity will be very ugly if you exaggerate one part and leave the rest untouched.

Now again I say that `Abdu'l-Bahá says all these things and after that He says to gradually start to teach them reading and writing and this should be done with the utmost of care and love on behalf of the teachers of children. And patience also. Very often we lose our temper at the child who cannot write "A" after two weeks. We say that he is ignorant, he is stupid, and we reduce him like that to the whole class. We don't know what harm we are doing and what a great culprit we are when we do this to the children. And I remember when a child was punished many times because he didn't say "A." For many days he didn't say "A" and his friends asked him, "Why don't you say it? It's very easy." He said, when the teacher was not there, "I know how to say "A", but when I say "A" he will tell me to say "B", "C"..."

Now along with this He always says combine it with some effort, even to learn "A", "B", "C", "D". Combine it with some effort so that the goal of life for children will become vast, greater and more remote. They should try to reach those great goals in their lives. He said that every child has been given the capacity to learn these things but the timing is different. This is where and the cause of losing tempers with children. They will eventually learn it, but some in one day's time and some in one month. It is within this period that the teacher should be very wise and very loving. A group of children will start here and will learn from here to a certain point, and the purpose is to reach that point, that's all. One may learn in five minutes and he's there. The others in one day. But there is one who will reach there after two days.

'Abdu'l-Bahá says that the aim is to reach there and within this period the teachers must be very, very wise and patient. He said that the child will reach there. Not to scorn them on the way and say, "Don't you see that the other one is there is five minutes?" This is what kills the spirit of the children. To make other children as mothers to them. This should never be done.

And Bahá'u'lláh says that along with this you must teach them the divine laws of religion. That from this commandment of Bahá'u'lláh follows the beautiful expression which says "as man learns it will not be resolved into prejudice."[41] Don't make children prejudiced in the Bahá'í Faith, or God forbid, against any other faith. Any word, any small action which may create a prejudice in the hearts of children would be most detrimental to done in the schools. We must never do that. Always turn their attention to the unity of all religions, the unity of God and the unity of mankind. These three primal points in the Bahá'í Faith. Suppose a child come to you and says, "Those children have Christmas trees in the houses at Christmas." "Oh, they're Christians." This sentence will create a prejudice against Christians in the heart of the Bahá'í child. We must never do that. We must explain it to them in a loving way so they will respect what the others have, and at the same time, show them that we must be different. It's a great point to be well understood.

'Abdu'l-Bahá says to teach them from their childhood in such a way that whatever they start to do they'll bring it to an end. Whatever they start to do, be persistent that they will bring it to an end. Teach them this. Give them a piece of wax and make a mouse out of it. Now the child is in the middle of it and stops. You must say, "No, you must finish it, in any form." Help him so that he will bring it to an end. There is a great, great spiritual benefit by this, because when you achieve something, you have the greatest amount of happiness. Even the smallest thing. When you write a letter or invitation to friend, only when the letter is signed do you feel happy that you have finished it. What about the child who finishes something? 'Abdu'l-Bahá said that Bahá'u'lláh always loved the people who were smiling, their faces happy and when they start something and finish it. Bahá'u'lláh Himself has said that God would rather see something not to be started than to be left unfinished.[42]

'Abdu'l-Bahá says that if you follow this system of wisdom, loving care and protection of the children, and to carry on with them in this way, when they reach the age of maturity they will be like candles burning in every dark corner of the world. And they will not be victims to their desires, passions and lust, which belong to the animal kingdom.

I will tell you this and then we will have a recess. I don't want the friends to be very tired. You know, Rúhíyyih Khánum said in a meeting in Africa where we were with some contacts (some American pioneers, some Persian pioneers, and so on, and some British pioneers were present in that meeting and that fireside) the daughter of one of the British pioneers, a very small daughter, came in and looked at the audience and directly went and sat on the lap of one of the blacks, and started to play with the bottle, and caressing and kissing. When one of the pioneers went to take the child, Rúhíyyih Khánum told him in Persian to leave the child as she is teaching. At the end of the fireside, that man declared himself as a Bahá'í. He said to Khanum, "Khanum, I want to follow you wherever you go to teach the Bahá'í Faith. I want to learn from you and then become a teacher myself." Khanum asked, "Are you a Bahá'í?" He said, "Yes." She asked, "But why?" He said, "Because of this child. The child came directly to me, sat on my lap, played with me, kissed me. It proved to me that her family had not created in her prejudice against Negroes. The family had been purged from these prejudices. This is sufficient proof for me." You see, if we educate them properly, when they grow up, what do they do in the world? You can see the family from the children, from their love, from their attachment, from their manners, everything. You can see the family through them. That's why very often 'Abdu'l-Bahá would look at a child and say that he belongs to a very beautiful family. You know, 'Abdu'l-Bahá's way of education was one which is very difficult to follow, but we must try. He would look into the face of man or woman like a torch of light, went deep into the soul of man and brought out that which was good in him. We must do the same thing. Search in the soul of the child and try to find that jewel which is deposited there and bring it out and tell him always that he has this in him. And He used this very often, very often.

There was a man in `Akká who always caused trouble for the friends and he was always coming to 'Abdu'l-Bahá's meeting, to 'Abdu'l-Bahá's house. When one day 'Abdu'l-Bahá received the news that there was an American pilgrim who would like to come to `Akká, but due to restrictions he cannot come. What did 'Abdu'l-Bahá do? He called the same man, who was making all these difficulties, and said, "I want you to do something for me. I know that you can do it." He replied, "Yes, Master, what shall I do?" He said, "There is a pilgrim and his name is so and so. Go to Haifa, bring him here. For two or three days he will be with me and you will take him back to Haifa to his boat. No one should know except you and me." And 'Abdu'l-Bahá said that he did it for Him. Nobody knew about it. The man was causing difficulties for 'Abdu'l-Bahá, but when He told him, "I know you will do it for me," that good nature of the man came out. He was ambitious to have the full satisfaction of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and he did it for Him. The same thing is true with everyone. Of course happy were those when in the presence of the Master and the Guardian and who were fortunate enough to have an inclination of what they are made for. I remember a boy who had come to study agriculture in Beruit. The Guardian looked at him and said, "No, no, you must study medicine." Just before he started, he didn't want to study it because his father was a farmer in a village in Persia and he wanted to become an agriculturist. But when he started to be a doctor, believe me, it was a joke amongst us. We would open a book of anatomy just at random and say the first word, and he would recite the whole page for us. During five years of his medical courses, he was never examined by his professors. He always passed. They were sure that he knew everything and he became a great surgeon and a great doctor. Just one word of the Guardian. He knew that that was in him. He said, "No, no, you must study medicine." I say happy were those were there. Now it is the duty of the teachers and mothers and fathers to understand the great qualities in their children and bring them out.

We will have about ten minutes recess to breathe and then we can continue. If there was any reward to be paid, I received the greatest compliment this morning from this little young boy here who said, "I wish I could take notes faster." I'm very delighted.

I will tell you one story to illustrate the difference between instruction and learning and after that I would like to receive questions on this topic, or on any other topic that you would like to ask, and then continue. This story will illustrate to us the exact difference between learning, any learning, and education. This is a true story of one of the kings of India who brought a teacher for his four sons. The sons were in the secondary school of those days and he wanted them to have private tutoring on philosophy, mythology and other subjects of those days. The teacher gave them a sentence. "Don't ever grow impatient, no matter the circumstances, and keep smiling." This was the first sentence he gave them. And he said to memorize this and write the sentence one hundred time for the next day. The four boys came to the class and three of them had written and memorized. One said, "I have not yet learned this." But the teacher did not wait and went on teaching the students. After some months, the king wanted to see what had happened to the boys and to examine his own sons. He attended the class with his ministers and philosophers and the learned people of his court. The teacher first explained and said, "These three boys have advanced very much. They have memorized so many books and homework, but alas, your majesty, this one has not yet learned the first sentence I have given him." One of the ministers came forward and started to rebuke the boy and said, "Why did you bring this to the court of the king? You are the son of the king, you must have done better." And the boy was smiling. The king himself came forward and spoke to him very rudely but his son continued smiling. Then one understood the fact. The teacher came forward and said, "Your majesty, he is the one who has learned. The others only have memorized." You see, they all rebuked him, but he is continuing to smile. He is not growing impatient. He has learned it. He has disciplined himself not to grow impatient and he smiles under all circumstances. There is a vast difference between what they have done and what he has done. They have memorized and filled their brains with all these facts and books, but he has disciplined his heart and soul and his whole existence to be always smiling under all circumstances. This is the real meaning of education, to bring these things into action in our lives. And how much and how very often, everyone one of us, due to our own weaknesses, we lose the trend of the plan of God and we choose our own plan for our own lives and we seek that the others should follow the plan that we have. Although every day in our prayers we say, "I have no will of my own but Thy will." And we repeat it, but if we do this, they are only empty words that we repeat. Let's have this real force by our actions, by our deeds, our attitude and the whole thing will be a real divine education.

Now please, if there are any questions you want to ask, and then we will carry on with the rest of our subject. If we do not finish it this morning, we still have tonight to carry on the same subject.

You spoke before about the difference between instruction and learning and this is very good for me because I happen to teach at the university. There I find that many of the students are themselves concerned about exactly the same questions you brought up before. That is, they are rebelling again and very angry at the educational system at this university and all universities because they are receiving what they consider to be rote learning and that the teachers and system do not give them a chance for what I call the true higher education in the sense you've specified. I was wondering if you give us some idea of some of the ways that the Bahá'í community get in connection with these students who are themselves looking for a higher education in the best sense of the word in this virtual sense and building around, without using the word "God" perhaps and even while they're rejecting their native God, so to speak, Christianity, Judaism or Buddhism, who are nevertheless the very same students, young people, who are really looking for a higher spiritual force. Many of them are Bahá'ís in the sense, but they don't know it, but I'm wondering specifically if you could give us some ideas how the Bahá'í community could approach them and their interests are somewhat different from those of the Bahá'í community; some are involved with the peace movements, some with writing poetry, or whatever. But they have this higher spiritual interest and this is what they are seeking after and I'm wonderful how we can get closer to them. Many of them are totally unaware of Bahá'í, or their impression of Bahá'í is that it is closed in within itself and a very tight community.

We will analyze this question in its different parts. First let's give every reason to the people of the world to deny God in these days, because God defined by them should be denied. Let's give them every reason to deny God, I mean the God that is defined by them should be denied. He's not God. The moment you define God, this is a creation of your own thoughts and how can your Creator become your creation? It's very clear to the Bahá'ís. We must give them what we know of God. To us Bahá'u'lláh says God is the Creator of the whole universe. Very incomprehensible, absolutely incomprehensible. Man is given faculties to understand many things, but the faculty to understand his Creator is not given to him. This is the first point we must tell them. He is incomprehensible because the faculty to understand Him is not given to us. But to make Himself known to us He chooses One from among us and He makes Him the Manifestation of Himself to mankind. The highest we can reach, the most exalted we can ever arrive to is the recognition of the Manifestation of God on this planet. That's all we can do. The highest that we can reach is to know the Prophet who comes at different periods of time. Now 'Abdu'l-Bahá has given the simplest illustration. Even the children understand it without any doubt. There is the light of the sun, the warmth of the sun, is this the sun here? It's not the sun. The sun is up there in its own position, in its own sphere, in its own center. But what does it do? What does it do to become known to us? It says what? He says the rays of the sun, not the sun itself. God in His own firmament, in His own center, unknown to us, sends to us its own rays, the rays of the Prophets of God who bring to us the light and the warmth of God, the light of guidance and the warmth of love for creation. Who ever recognizes that this Prophet has recognized God Himself? Who ever denies Him has denied God.

Now I will give you another example to illustrate this. Suppose this is brought to us for the first time. They are seeing it for the first time in our live. Now what is the first question we will ask? Usually every person will ask, "What is it for? What is it and what is the purpose of it?" Now there are two ways of dealing with it. One, an ignorant way, and the other the right way. The ignorant way is to manipulate it in any way we like without asking anyone and then we will destroy it in a minute. But in the wise way, what? He says wait. Of course the factory that made this will send somebody to explain what it is made for. When the factory sends this it will send instructions, a small booklet or a person along with it. The person comes with a small booklet. He says, "This is the way you deal with this little instrument here. I am sent by the factory which has made this. The factory is in the United States." Now let me add one thing. This child is born in a family. It's the first time you see your own child. There are two ways to deal with him. The easiest way is to handle the child in any way we like, or to wait and say God has given him to me and of course He has a purpose in giving me the child. God comes, not Himself, but His Prophet with His Book and says that this is the purpose of the creation of this child and this is the way he would handle it. Apply this to all the problems of life. And when you explain this all students, both boys and girls, they will understand it very clearly. Otherwise the whole creation will be ended with the foolish if there is no purpose here. If there is no goal, there will be chaos, and it is not a chaos, because after all these discoveries what they have found in the universe is perfect order and there is an aim, a goal, a purpose, and that man will learn to understand them by himself.

You buy a box of mechanics for your child. In that box when you open it up on the top there is a book which says put this piece together and then two screws and that piece together with three screws and it tells the child to follow the example of the book. And you will insist that the child follow the example given by that book. But the creation of a child, even more precious, we don't insist on what is given by God to us. This is the difference of man. Man is described in the Qur'án as the most ignorant and the most cruel to himself. Most ignorant because he is proud. He says, "I know what to do. I don't need the guidance of anyone." And therefore he is most cruel to himself, he destroys himself. Not is it true today that there is an atmosphere in the whole world. They want a change. They're absolutely fed up with whatever they have. They want to change. But they don't know what this change is. Should they change their clothes, their hairstyle, the way of living, the many kind of drinks and drugs. It's a nature outcome of the corruption which has taken the world over. This is what Bahá'u'lláh told us and warned eighty years ago from the city of `Akká. He said, "The world is turning toward ungodliness and it will become worse and worse, day by day, until such time of such a condition which is indescribable now."[43] It could never be described by Bahá'u'lláh. Then He said, "This corruption will go on an on, then the conditions will become so unbearable to human communities that the health of the community will not bear it any more. At last that will take place and after that an awakening will result. It is at this time as the doctor says we must go to rescue these people, but please be careful, by going I don't mean going along with them. Proclaim to them. You want a change, here is a suggestion. If you like, come to the Bahá'í Center and listen. If they are sincere, they will come and listen and they will follow. But if they're not sincere, and they want to be free like animals to do whatever they, all right, let them have their own way. But to proclaim to them is our function today. Especially those who are teachers, because teachers lead their students. If the teachers are excellent Bahá'ís, the students will become Bahá'í. 'Abdu'l-Bahá says that even if a teacher teaches mathematics and no mention of God is made in his class, but is a good Bahá'í at heart himself, his soul will give the words of the Faith of God to the children and they will become Bahá'ís. I will give you an example.

When Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl, the greatest scholar of our Faith, became a Bahá'í, he had no job. He was one of the greatest divines, therefore they gave him nothing. The Zoroastrian schools asking him to go and teach Persian and Persian literature For some years he taught, year after year. He never mentioned the Cause of God and all the early believers from the Zoroastrian background came from those students who studied with Abu'l-Fadl because of the dignity, the pride and spiritual potency this man had. But if Abu'l-Fadl was going to the coffee houses with them and sit with them and smoke a nargilla along with them and say all right and make some compromises there, no one of them would ever come. And then he would go with them and sit while they were drinking wine, because it's free for them to drink wine. But he kept himself aloof and just poured on them the rays of his love, the ray of his faith, without saying a word. All the early believers from the Zoroastrian background are the students of Abu'l-Fadl. What greater bounty, what great spiritual potency when this that the teacher has, therefore we must use it and prepare our Bahá'í Center for the reception of all these youngsters and give them the true picture of the Bahá'í Faith, without any compromise. Say that this is the aim of the Bahá'í Faith, the unity of mankind. If you like it, you must purge yourself from all sorts of prejudices, all detrimental habits are forbidden, no drinking, no drugs, no interpretation. If you are sincere and you want to change, you want a spiritual approach to your life, you want eventually to be within, this is the way that we propose. And let them ask questions and explain to them that that's the way that we must be. This is my humble suggestion, but then it should all be coordinated with the proper administrative channels of your own community.

May I just add one thing. The question mainly I was concerned with was how to get in communication with them so that you can then proclaim the Faith? In other words, these students will not come up to this Bahá'í Center just because it is here or because I or others say "Why don't you come up there?" They are doing different things. They are working for peace, just as Bahá'í is. They're working for peace in their own particular political way, or in their own small way, and what I am trying to wonder about is how Bahá'ís can go to them in the first place to show that Bahá'ís are involved with things like peace and is concerned with this so that they will say, `Ah, here is a Bahá'í, but he's also a person who is interested in peace.' and that will encourage them, I think to come to firesides, to come to the center, and so on. It's this area of non-communication with what we sometimes call the "hippies" and sometimes call "radical" students that I'm really concerned about, and how should we get involved with them, or at least introduce ourselves to what they are doing in order that they will see that we are involved in these great questions.

You know, they don't do it secretly, either they do it in halls in the university or someplace else. At that time, one or two of the Bahá'ís can go to them and say to them that you are anxious for the peace of the world or for universal love, or so many other terms that they use, there is another proposal for world unity. Could you come to the Bahá'í Center to listen to our argument? If you are really seekers of truth. How do we invite contacts? We contact them and then say, please come to my house or come to the Bahá'í Center.

That means people would have to be considered not lower than other people or corrupted. Not necessarily corrupted."

Who can ever say that? Because we can never judge people. We never judge anybody. The Guardian especially said never judge anyone. Convey the word of God. You don't know the influence of the word of God in different people. You all have heard about Father Dunn, the Father of Australia. He was not directly spoken to by somebody. Somebody was talking to the owner of a shop that there is a Prophet who has said that there is no glory in the one who loves his country, but the one who loves the whole world. The owner of the shop refused to listen to it. Father Dunn was purchasing something, overheard it and went to him and said, "Give me the rest of it." He was talking to someone else, but he received the message. That's why the beloved Guardian in his last letters said that every strata of human society should come. Every strata, all the people of the world. We must convey the word of God to them. And say, "Here is a chance for you to come and abide by the law of God." Afterwards, it's their own duty and own conscience which will govern their lives.

Mr. Faizi. We in this part of the world are so caught up in the world and I know that most of us are caught between two standards; the standard of the world in the part that we live in, and Bahá'u'lláh's standards. And I mean this, say, just in education. Whenever you talk about when we understand God's purpose, than we have no purpose of our own, and when we reach the point of meditation and understanding where perhaps we understand more the mystery of God and His relationship with this day, the great happiness and tranquility that will be in our families. But at this point, in between, from where I am speaking, where our children are judged on one standard."

You know this question has been asked in many other communities. What we say here is the Bahá'í education about which we yet have no institution. But we as Bahá'ís must know what are the ideals of Bahá'í education so that we in our own capacity can combat the evil forces of the outside world as much as we can. We can't reach this ideal position now because we don't have the institutions now. We don't have Bahá'í institutions. We don't have Bahá'í teachers. We don't yet have Bahá'í textbooks prepared for all these things. But we must know that there are these ideals in Bahá'í and what you said, this is the next topic we will discuss, and that is what must we do in the homes. I will explain it when there are no more questions.

Yesterday you were talking and saying something about the fact that you don't give the contact everything at the same time. Someplace in the writings it speaks about seeking a point of unity. I go to the university and I meet a lot of these people and I think that a lot of them are sincerely trying, without having the knowledge, to bring about changes which are close to the Bahá'í Faith. Is it proper not to do that, but rather to try work from that point of unity and then have them understand and say that we're Bahá'ís.

I don't know personally. At all occasions we must proclaim the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. We must never attack anyone, no matter what the circumstances, and never attack their religion, their feelings of society, their habits even. There are still people in Persia who are addicted to opium, the most disastrous thing. But when they talk to them they don't first start telling him it's forbidden. If they tell this first, they will never listen anymore. What do they do? They create the Faith in this man and after having faith, he will quit all things for the sake of the Faith. First proclaim the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. This is a new Faith. This is its main purpose and these are the warnings He has given. And secondly, no man can make any plan for the redemption of mankind, except God Himself, Who has made these. Manmade plans will never take us anywhere. If they understand gradually these things, they will come to their senses. Even if they don't leave these things, they will understand that there is a movement for the same effect.

In order to bring people, the young particularly to Bahá'í, isn't is necessary for us individually to know more about what their views are. Man-made plans for redemption, as you just called them, which may not be valid, it is true, which may not be ultimately valid, but there may be a great deal in them such as in the current American peace movement there may be something of great value in this movement which they would be able to retain because it is part of the divine plan. They don't see it, of course, in the context of the divine plan. But they are working with other people and great ideas which we know because we read the Bahá'í writings. Therefore, don't we need to know more about what they are thinking and doing so that we can then find the points of contact with them which will ultimately develop into the Bahá'í position. If I may, just for a moment, then I'll shut up. This is the nature of the American underground newspaper called the Oracle and is published in San Francisco. I wanted to read just one little paragraph from one article, because it's very representative of kinds of quests for spiritual goals that are so similar to Bahá'í, but which I don't think most Bahá'ís are aware of existing in these younger people. Here is just one paragraph.

He says: "The Great Architect of the Universe designed a single design, specifically the Great Architect designed this design for that personality continuum called man and this manifest world. This design of one precedes all time and yet includes time's line as it unwinds. All events are now. The mind acts and performs acts or perceives events. Nothing subscribed by design is out of order or sequence. That which seems unorderly or unsequential to man's senses and understanding is always actually perfect order and sequence within one. There are no mistakes, nothing is foreseen, everything is as it seems. When design permitted man in many cultures has sensed design; that would be the divine order. This sensing of design is called a happening."

Now, this is the leading hippie expression in the whole country and here I want to differentiate between the real hippie who is the person making a spiritual quest, going out of the middle class of society and looking for spiritual values. He is the real hippie. People who put out this newspaper or the poet Alan Ginsberg are mistaken for the unreal hippie who is just a guy who may grow a beard and go to marijuana or to some other drug. He's not what I am talking about. I'm talking about people who sense this way and there are many of them, there are many of them in Hawaii, there are many of them at the universities, some of are as utterly clean shaven as I am, and these people are looking exactly what Bahá'í youth are looking for, but they are looking for it in terms which are not now Bahá'í. What I am suggesting is, isn't it necessary for the Bahá'í community and the Bahá'ís at the university clubs, and the community in general to want to find out what in these various student movements is beautiful?

I agree with whatever he said, except the last part. If we are participating in what they are doing, then there is no unity in the Bahá'í youth group. I believe that a general understanding of conveying the message of Bahá'u'lláh, not only to these people, but to all the people of the world. Try to contact the people in any possible way, but in a way that the Bahá'ís will not be destroyed by that. Teaching is advised, encouraged by Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Guardian. But at the same time it is forbidden in many places and countries. Even at the Bahá'í World Centre it is forbidden to teach the Bahá'í Faith. They don't teach anyone in the Shrines. Everyday 1,000 tourists, amongst them many Israelites, come to the Shrines of Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb. We only explain to them about the Shrines. Some did say they wanted to become Bahá'ís. We say no, just study the Bahá'í Faith and you will be ready. In Damascus and Beruit, even in some parts of Turkey, it's forbidden to teach the Cause of God. In Arabia for sixteen years I was there. The Guardian said just be there. Don't teach. Therefore, when we say teaching, we must understand the circumstances also. When we encourage the youth to teach, we don't send youth to all parts of the world and teach them. They go to all societies. These people with their present circumstances that they have. Some are real, as you said, and some are false such as the people who pretend to be seeking after truth and these are the people who turn away the youth from their own straight path of life. And it's dangerous to encourage the Bahá'í youth to go and participate with them in whatever they do. In order to make them understand the plan of God, should we go on with them in the valley? Let's find another chance to talk to them.

Let's think and find ways and means by which these people will be attracted to the Bahá'í Faith. As a teacher at the university encourage the Bahá'í students when they are in contact with these people to invite them to the Bahá'í Center. If two or three of them come here, they will go and inform the others and will bring the others, but not to encourage the whole of the Bahá'í youth group to go and involve themselves with whatever they do. I think it's the most dangerous suggestion. As an experienced teacher of the university, I believe you agree with me when you suggest something to the youth, then they have no control over it. If they participate in whatever they do, who can control this participation? You see, this is the danger. When you bring them as contacts in your houses or in this place, they are seeking after something and you say this is our proposal. We just expose it to you, if you like. Please follow and study. If you don't like it, follow your own lines of thought from tomorrow on. Very amicable relations. I think that's what we should do, but not to encourage en masse the Bahá'í youth to participate with them in whatever they do. This is very dangerous, because sometimes they take them on political activities, which is the most detrimental thing to the Bahá'í Faith. Because 'Abdu'l-Bahá says that once you want to do this, people will resign from the Bahá'í Faith and will interfere in political affairs. And most of these people, if they don't do it here, they will do it in other countries. They know themselves in politics and it's very dangerous, and besides that, let us train ourselves to universal thinking.

By universal thinking I mean this. When you have a rule of teaching here, it must be applied to the Bahá'ís throughout the world. When we say that in Honolulu they have adopted this way of teaching, to go with the hippies, to participate in all their activities, and bring them to the Bahá'í Center, and then you do it in America and all parts of the world, then see what will happen to the Bahá'í world and the Bahá'í youth. It's not a local problem; it's universal. It will be written in the news, it will be written in letters, and then there is no control over it anywhere. You see what I mean? Universal thinking. Think that whatever you do that the others will do in other countries, and do it in such a way that it will not be detrimental to the prestige of the Cause, to the dignity of the Cause, and to the steady, advancing march of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.

Isn't Bahá'í secure in itself? It is the Teachings that are correct. And we're all secure in that. Then how can our bringing some unwashed young men or women into the Bahá'í Center to learn something about their views, how can this go out of control if we are secure?"

No, no, you see, what I said was about participating in whatever they do. I emphasize, bring them and talk to them. Bring them to your own houses, bring them here. You know I said I agree with you with whatever you said, except that part, participating in whatever they do. This is the most dangerous thing to do. Why should be take them as exceptional people? Teaching must cover all parts of society. This is one part. We try. If they come, it's all right. If they don't come, we don't place our energy on that one part. They're included in the community of the whole world. All right, you say, come, it's very good, but not to concentrate all our efforts on these people.

I'm not saying we're concentrating absolutely no effort on these people, but what I'm saying what if we devote some effort.?"

Yes, of course.

Let us bring them here not just to tell them what Bahá'í is, but to hear what they have to say also.

But it means that we are preparing a stage for them, not for ourselves. Why should we prepare a stage for them.

I want to give an example or explanation to what Dr. Curian asked. I believe that if we pay attention to this, this will be a final answer to all such questions. I said that we must train ourselves to think universally which means to take the whole of humanity as one body. Please pay attention to this analogy. It's not presumptive on my part, because whatever I say here are not my words or my own thinking. They are all taken from the Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. And when I say please pay attention, I mean please pay attention to what `Abdu'l-Bahá said, not to what I am going to say.

Please consider the whole world as one body, the body of humanity. `Abdu'l-Bahá has said that the body of humanity is fallen sick in bed. The eyes cannot see. Ears cannot hear. The heart does not function. The nerves are exhausted, shattered into pieces. The blood is poisoned. The first and foremost remedy to quicken this body to life is the spirit of God, the spirit of this Faith, and nothing else. Now, this body is lying here like a sick man. Today there are some sores here on his arm. There are two kinds of doctors who can treat this. One is a doctor who will treat it temporarily; either he doesn't know or he is greedy and he wants to take money day after day. He gives him some medicine. He gives him some medicine, applies it in here, the sores are removed, but after one week they appear there. Again you give the same money to the same doctor and he applies the same medicine there. But a true doctor is who? The true doctor is the one who says that his blood is poisoned. We must change the blood. How very often you apply the medicine, the sores will appear here and there. We must change the blood altogether.

Now, let us all get up from here and make a parade in the street of Honolulu and say we are against the war between Turkey and Greece about Cyprus. And after two days it will appear, suppose, let's say, it's exactly the work of the first doctor. You apply the certain medicine here, the sores are removed, but again the same war will take place in Vietnam. You appease it there, it will be appear in Korea. You remove it there, it will appear in South Africa. It will appear in America in the form of racial prejudice. The true physician, the divine physician with the prescription of God has come to you and says the blood is poisoned, no matter what you do, it will appear and appear and appear again and again. We are commissioned to change this blood, to give the people the message of God, to inspire them in the state of God. Then the blood will be changed gradually and all these things will be no more. No matter what the people do. If the whole community of every country stands against the war as long as long as there is this spiirt, as long as the blood is poisoned, the war will continue no matter how much the people stand against it. The people standing against it shows the spirit of the time, but this is not the way to do it. The way to do it is to give the spirit of God, to let them live according to the prescriptions given by God. There is no other way. What is the use of the students walking in the streets? Or standing in the sunshine? Or starving themsleves to death? All these manifestations are protests. Did it stop war anywhere? So many Indians starved themselves to death. Did it stop the war between China and India? Never. The blood should be changed. The spirit should be changed. The soul should be changed and this is what Bahá'u'lláh wants us to do. Let's not get lost in what the people do. Let's always look from the wide horizon given to us by Bahá'u'lláh; not go into a small lane adopted by people. Once `Abdu'l-Bahá said that a very religious man told Him (one of these hippies for instance of his time, because they existed in all ages) and said to come with him for forty nights and pray with him for forty and see what a change he will have at the end of forty nights. And then `Abdu'l-Bahá said you come along with me for only one night, and see what the change you will have in one night. It's true Because it's so alluring, so deceiving, all the proposals of such people. Come and have this drug and a beautiful vision. This is how they propose to the people in England to the youth in England. I have gone and seen them in Sweden in the ruined towns of Sweden, but all these people, early in the morning fallen dead almost because of the drugs used at night. And they call themselves seekers after truth. Don't you remember the articles in the papers in England where the Police Department telephoned to at least 3,000 homes and told them to please come an collect your girls from the seashore. They had gone for three days and three nights to seek out the truth. They used drugs and three days and three nights they spent their days and nights over there to seek truth and they were fallen, almost fainted at the seashore. Most of them dead. I have seen them in France. I have seen them in Germany. Worst of all in Sweden.

I agree with you about the drugs. Certainly. But using drugs, and standing in the sun, is that really the same? After all you could apply the same standards and say what use was Christ coming and what use was Zoroaster coming. After all, look at the corruption around us today. You could have had that same standards that you have applied to what is the use of them parading, or standing a vigil, because there's still corruption in the world today.

I don't insist on that. If you think that standing in the sunshine will improve the problem, let them stand. I don't insist. Our way of teaching is not to argue about it. It's something that must be conveyed and the people must think about it. I mean you are seeing the people here, and I have seen these people throughout the world. I have asked the friends to take me to all these places because I need these experiences. What can we do against this community? This is what I was going to tell you in the second period of today. You prepare your children in the Bahá'í way, educate them in the best possible way, but society has a gravity, a powerful gravity which pulls down everything. Why does it have this pulling down? Why is it so powerful? Because the dark forces, because the army of darkness exists there. And you are the army of light. The army of light fights against the army of darkness. Here comes the problem of teaching. If you love your children, therefore add more to the power of light in society and you must teach them to the Bahá'í Faith. Therefore there will be less gravity for these children. That will be a help to the education for the children. `Abdu'l-Bahá says that the army of light is fighting against the army of darkness and the claws of the army of darkness are so sharp, so penetrating and the forces are so alluring. Let's not be deceived by all these movements. Alluring, He says, they'll attract you. Now in the houses please remember, in the houses the friends, `Abdu'l-Bahá says, very often speak to themselves about the old believers, their deeds, their services, their sacrifices, their heroic actions. Even if the children are playing in the outside yard or outer hall, you think they don't listen. It's all right, let them not listen, but `Abdu'l-Bahá says such sorts of conversations will create a certain spiritual atmosphere in the house. That will let the spirit of the child grow. There is a certain atmosphere in the womb of the mother which helps the physical growth of the child until such time as the physical birth of the child will physically possible. He said the same thing is true of the spiritual birth. The atmosphere in the house should be in such a way as the spiritual birth of the child would be possible. And the most detrimental factors of this atmosphere is backbiting. The moment we say in the house that this man was not worthy to be elected to the National Assembly. Suppose we say this. All we say is what is the decision of the National Assembly. We think that the child is not listening, but the child's spirit is like crystal clear water. This word is like a drop of ink. It's no more clear. It's dirty. Now the child reaches 15. You say, "Now Johnny, will you register here as a Bahá'í child?" He doesn't accept it. Whose fault is it? You have killed the spirit of the child and he doesn't want to. If you had not done that backbiting in the house, he would have readily accepted at the age of 15 and at the age of 21.

Please, when we come to the Faith and understand that we must follow the plan of Bahá'u'lláh. Some of us accept the Faith as a logical conclusion, as an intellectual philosophy, but we don't accept it as something which is changing our hearts and souls. Therefore we want to have our own way in the Bahá'í Faith. And if we don't have it, we don't like it. This is very bad. We must propose whatever we think in the frankest possible way, courageously, and with pure intention. If the Assembly accepts, all right. If not, just forget it. And never think about it in the house in front of the children.

Now before we end this session, one more problem. He says two other things are very bad for children. One is beating the child. We must never beat the child. Beating means with a sense of revenge, of humiliation. Suppose they bring a child in front of the class and beat him. This will suffocate the spirit within the child. It will kill the spirit of the child. It will make the child recoil within himself and God knows just when he will come back to himself. He says learn this from the Arabs who train horses. While training the horses, they never beat the horse. They say if they beat him once he'll never be trained. And the second one, worse than that, is tongue lashing the child. Never do that. To humiliate the child, to abuse him in front of others or even alone in one's own house. He said that is very very bad for the spirit of the child. Love, wisdom and patience. They are the trust of God given to us. They are the precious treasure houses of God given to us and we must have love and wisdom and patience and love for them and with them.

How do you discipline a child?

Through love and wisdom and our own deeds. Punish him in anyway you like except beating and tongue lashing.

You know once in Haifa we had two weeks of special sessions and many other problems. To get rid of all the work that we has, we sat down together with the Bahá'í community and one night one of us spoke about this subject. One of the mothers came to me and said that in the morning she asked her child of about eight years old, a very sweet child. I said, "What did you understand last night?" And she said, "Well I understood that the father and mother should love their children, should prepare whatever they like." During the five day war, they announced in Hebrew that what things are to be prepared for the houses. Three or four different things. And the same mother asked the same boy to come and translate (he knew Hebrew). He said that the government said for the fathers and mothers to prepare ice cream. This is what I call selective listening.

There's a point and I'm asking you the answers for because it's asked of us at many firesides or meetings, etc. , Dr. ________ seems to be getting about, but not fully coming out with and I think that it's important that it be brought out here, and that is something asked of the Bahá'ís all the time and because we so easily compromise our Faith, I would like to get the answer from you for the friends here, and that is the Bahá'í stand on Vietnam.
And the Bahá'í stand on Cyprus, the Bahá'í stand on racial prejudice in America, in South America, everywhere. The Bahá'ís stand for the unity of mankind because of these things. We don't express any views on these things.

Do we take sides?

Never!

You mentioned this morning not to ever hold up another child as a model. Yet, many parents, and I know I am guilty of it myself, is saying, `Well, when I was your age...", doesn't this have the same bearing on the child?

No, it's good, because it has become a joke with children. Sometimes it can create a certain inferiority complex in the child, because his father was something that he can't reach. In everything, we must be very careful. Following the Bahá'í life, I will tell you frankly of two children in Germany where I had to be for about one week. I spent one week of my time in Germany for two children of pioneers in Arabia. Because they had been left by their parents in Germany ever since their childhood. Because they wanted to pioneer in Arabia. The girl is absolutely against the Faith. She says, Ever since I was ten years, they brought me here. Now I am a German girl. I have no faith." And she was very sincere. She told me that she had come to see me because she loved me, not because I was a Hand of the Cause or a Bahá'í. And her brother was utterly lost. He goes and participates in parades and other things because of the negligence of the parents. They said they wanted to go pioneering and that they must go to Germany and they just pay money for them to be educated. We must be very careful about these things. The relationship between children and parents must always be protected. That's why Bahá'u'lláh says about Bahá'í education in such a way that it will not be changed into prejudice.



Evening Session

We will continue the subject of Bahá'í education and it will not be ended tonight or tomorrow morning, and to remind you again what I say is the form of an outline and then you will finish this outline and fill in the gaps by yourself, through your own studies, through the writings of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá.

Now the next topc we will discuss is about the obligation of parents in the education of their children. Bahá'u'lláh says that it is the most great commandment of God on the parents to educate their children. Please always remember this is education of the children. If they ignore this commandment, they will be responsible to God and their sin will never be forgiven by God. They must answer to God.[44]

`Abdu'l-Bahá says that if you do not educate your children, then they will not obey you. They will not respect you. They will ignore God and you, both. They will remain heedless to God and parents. And such a child will have the perfect freedom of doing whatever his self prompts him to do. Now in another sentence of `Abdu'l-Bahá He counts the consequences of this negligence. I will just give you the rough translation of each one of them and then you will think them over. Of course it starts with, "Should the parents ignore the education of their children, then these poor children will be left alone in the wilderness of ignorance." For all their lives they will be victims to ignorance and pride. They will lose their intelligence. They will be humiliated in any community. They will remain ashamed throughout their lives and they will suffer at times of tests in life. You see how many results of ignorance. In one place he says they will lose their intelligence if we cannot properly educate them from the beginning. I want to stress on this. The others are easy to find their definition and results and other things.

You know at this time that we are sitting in this room, because there are lights here, and I ask where is the loudspeaker, everybody can locate it. All eyes see the exact place. Where are the flowers. Everyone can see properly where the flowers are, the glass is, the chairs. If there is darkness here, without light, confusion will take place. Some will say the loudspeaker is over there, some that the chairs are in another room, and so on and so forth. Now consider this as the body of a child. Within the body of a child if the light of faith is ignited, then every part of the human body will grow properly. Amongst them is intelligence. The intelligence is ignited by the light of faith. It becomes sharper, much better. But when there is no light of faith here, the intelligence cannot work properly. That is why `Abdu'l-Bahá says that they will lose their intelligence. There's no light, no guiding light for the intelligence. Now on the other side, Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá have emphatically and repeatedly written things advising children to revere their parents. In another of His writings He says to someone -- take this down, it's very important, not for ourselves, but for our children -- He says, "If each day gives you the choice of serving the Faith of God and your parents, choose to serve your parents. Through this serving you will find a way to Me."[45] Through the service to our parents we will find a way to God. He says, "Beware, beware, that you will never commit anything that will cause sadness in the hearts of parents. I want to give you one very great example. Greater than this I have never found in all the writings.

And especially this year, it's important to mention the name of the boy who took the letter of Bahá'u'lláh to the King of Persia, Badí'.[46] He had another name first. I will tell you why his name was changed. He was not a believer at the beginning. His father tried his best to make him a believer. But he couldn't. Then all of a sudden he was changed. And the moment he accepted the Faith, he started on foot to go and visit Bahá'u'lláh. And he was only 17 years old.

Now the letter to the King of Persia was revealed in Adrianople. It was not sent. Many of the believers told Bahá'u'lláh, volunteered to take the letter. He said no. When they were in `Akká and in the prison in `Akká, again many of the older believers said they were ready to take the letter. Then Bahá'u'lláh said the messenger is on the way. He's coming. And the boy was on his way to `Akká. He reached the walls of `Akká, beyond which he could not go. Bahá'u'lláh sent someone and brought him in. He only met Bahá'u'lláh once, no more than once, and he only had one word from Him. He said, "We gave him a word by which his whole creation was changed." And at that time he could conquer the whole earth. And He named him Badí', His new creation. Badí' means new creation. And with this power He sent him to the King of Persia.

Badí' went out of the gate of `Akká and the treasurer of Bahá'u'lláh went to him. He said, "This is sent to you by Bahá'u'lláh," and he gave him a parcel. This is the Tablet to Násiri'd-Dín Sháh. He said, "This is sent to you," and he didn't know what it was. The treasurer did not know. He said, "This is sent to you by Bahá'u'lláh." He took it and put it on the ground and prostrated himself upon it and then put it inside his robe and tightened his belt. Then the treasurer said, "Wait here and I will bring you some money." When the treasurer returned, he couldn't find him. He had gone. Without money. He couldn't wait anymore. Only for a little distance somebody was accompanying him, otherwise the whole way through he had been all alone. The man who had accompanied him saw him bringing something out of his pocket, put it on the ground, facing `Akká, and saying, "Oh Bahá'u'lláh, that which you have given me through Your bounty, don't take it from me by your justice." Because Bahá'u'lláh had told him whenever he would regret taking this letter, just put it on the ground, and go. Somebody else will take it. Therefore, he brought it out again and again, and said, "Oh Bahá'u'lláh, don't take it from me. I want to take it there."

And he continued. For four months he had been walking. Walking and walking until he reached Teheran. Now on Thursday evenings, the King of Persia used to go to a certain shrine and when he reached the gate of town, many poor people gathered and the king would place his hand into a sack of money, pull coins out and giving it out for the sake of his own protection. And when he pulled money out, he found somebody standing and looking at him. He never bent down to pick up the money. Two or three times he poured money, and this body did not bend. And he was suspicious and wondered who this boy was, who does not take the coins of the King of Persia. And after some days in his own summer resort, he was looking through his spy glass and found the same boy sitting on a piece of soil in the village. When he sent for him, he said that there must be something about him. He sent for him. Now I will stop the story here and resume it again.

The book Some Answered Questions had been given to one of the old prime ministers of Persia, the prime minister of the time of Násiri'd-Dín Sháh. While reading, he reached the name of Badí' and on the margin of this book he wrote the following, and this book now is in Haifa. I will quote what he had written. He said, "I was there standing along with other ministers when suddenly he came in a row and the king was standing several meters by. And he came in like a lion and said, `O king, I have brought you a message from the King.' And he gave him the letter. Outside they wanted to take the letter from him and he said no. I want to give it by myself. And he did. They forced him to say it was a supplication. He said, `No, it's a Tablet. No supplication. It's a Tablet from Bahá'u'lláh.' The boy followed him and gave it to the king. The king said to his servants, `Investigate if he knows any Bábís in the town.' They started an investigation to find out. He said, `I met nobody. This is the first time I am meeting anyone here. And no one has been met by me.' And they branded him and tortured him for hours and at last he was killed. Now, remember this story.

Bahá'u'lláh heard the news and wrote a letter to the father of Badí', of this boy, and in it He said, "Your son has reached an ocean that the prayers of the most near ones to God will never reach the threshold of your son. But with all these things, if he had committed something which had saddened your heart, please forgive him."

Please, all of us, let's think by which we can understand the station of such a boy that this magnificent record of his life Bahá'u'lláh tells his father that if he had committed anything by which his heard had been saddened, please forgive him. This is the station of pain. Now please compare such a station given to him from what our children learn in the schools, in colleges, in universities, where they all ignore them, they don't want to obey. They feel ashamed if they obey their parents. It's below their dignity, below their prestige. Whatever we have in the Cause of God is the reconstruction of humanity. The most sacred side of human life is absolutely demolished because of the corruption which exists in the world today. How many don't have any significance anymore. Bahá'u'lláh wants to reestablish the family, re-institute the sacred institution, to make it the central figure of human life and the coming of the children together in the family life under the shadow of parents and this beautiful relationship between father, mother and children. I really can't say anything more about it. The relationship between parents and children should be established again in life.

Now we come to the station of teachers. First of all you know teachers have such a station in Bahá'í life that they are considered as members of families. Teachers are considered as members of families. Why? The reason is that one of the heirs of every person is a teacher. Father, mother, brother, sister, teacher. Teachers have a share of our wealth, our inheritance. Now, of course, it may happen that the teacher will not survive his students, but the part of the inheritance will go to the institution where he has studied. What will happen? The educational institutions will become financially stronger and stronger. And if they are financially strong, what will happen? The result will be that we will not have a class of fifty children given to a poor, tired forsaken teacher. Because every child needs individual care and protection. Three, four or five children will be given one teacher. Not a group of seventy or a hundred. Children are not flocks of sheep and goats to be driven with one stick. Each one of them needs one thing, especially for himself or herself. Only today, suppose this is the budget of the country, this high. Up to here is spent for war. This much is spent for other things, including education. Therefore they have to give 200 children to two or three teachers. The children don't like their school, the teachers don't like their work, and that's the mess that our children live in. Therefore we cannot have ideal education of our children. It will be established when the Bahá'í Faith will be established. When the Bahá'í Faith will be followed exactly. Then we will have real Bahá'í education, when every child will be treated by himself and herself.

Now `Abdu'l-Bahá says to one of the teachers. He says to serve the children of Bahá'ís is my privilege, my job and my honor. Now you are having it, and I'm deprived, He says. Therefore, whoever teaches the children is doing it on behalf of the Master. He's doing a part of the responsibility of the Master. And then He said, "There is no worship greater to God than the education of children. If we spend twenty-four hours fasting and praying, it is not worth one minute being spent with children in their education. Therefore, those who spend their time in forming classes in educating children, in giving the Bahá'í spirit to our children, you can be sure that we are performing the most great worship in the sight of God. It is the least paid now, but it's the most great. And most rewarding also.

I remember when I was in that village in Persia I had so many experiences with my beautiful 600 children, homeless, without school, we didn't know what to do, then we formed classes in 20 different houses. Sometimes the children brought me a piece of bread and said, "This is yours." It was so delicious. One day I remember I asked one of them, a very small boy. I said, "Now you chant a prayer." He got up and said, "My tooth is loose. I can't chant." I said, "All right, sit down." Someone else said, "If you kill me, I will not chant a prayer today." I said, "All right, I'll not ask you." Then somebody chanted. I said, "You didn't chant well." But to the first one, I said, "But he will chant, and you will all learn." Now he was proud. He started to chant. In the middle of it, he said, "But I said I would not chant." Now after many years, after some 30 or 35 years, I went to Germany. We had a huge conference in the city of Stuttgart. When the conference was over at about 11:00 p.m., a group of young men were sitting and standing. I thought they were contacts. I went to them and said in English, "Can I do anything for you? Do you have any questions?" One of them smiled and spoke in Persian and said, "Don't you know me?" I couldn't know any of them. Suppose you see this child after 30 years. They were from the same village. Thirty of them had come to Germany to study and the NSA of Germany was so pleased with them because they said that every summer they come to them and offer their services and their three months' holiday to the NSA, whatever service they can do. These boys, from that village of Persia. Now in Vienna I met the one who said he wouldn't chant. He is now a scientist, a biologist and has been invited by the United Nations to go to Canada to continue his research. When he embraced me, I whispered, "How is your tooth?" Now can you find anything better than this, to have this great relationship between yourself and your students? When they grow, and especially when they become productive and fruitful in the service of humanity. There's nothing higher than that.

All right, now, then of course you know that the education of women is always preferred to that of men. `Abdu'l-Bahá has said if a family of two children, one son and one daughter, the girl should be educated, because she becomes the mother, and if the mother is faithful, the children will be faithful. If only the father is faithful, He said, it's very scarce.

No, I have not forgotten your question. You know, I must explain. Before the questions are asked, I want to answer this question about committing suicide that you asked this morning. Of course it's forbidden, absolutely forbidden by Bahá'u'lláh. He says, "How can you take a life, which is given by God. It's given by God, it will be taken by God."[47] Because the soul is not yet mature in the temple of the body and it will be an abortive base of the soul in the world to come, the growth of which will be left in abeyance. The reason is very clear. You know, the soul in our body will leave the body when it is mature, like fruit which is quite ripe on the tree falls down. Therefore, if we commit suicide, it means our soul is immature and born in the other world. It shouldn't be. Now the two cases mentioned this morning, one about Siyyid Ismá'íl[48] who committed suicide in Baghdad, and the other about Nabíl. You know, Bahá'u'lláh told him that the soul of this man is this. He went to Bahá'u'lláh, insisted, and said "Please tell me one word about life after death." He said, "You can't bear it." He invited Bahá'u'lláh to his house. He prepared a banquet for Bahá'u'lláh. And he said, "What about that world?" And when he insisted, Bahá'u'lláh told him only one word, only one word, and he went and committed suicide. This is what He has written in the Tablets. If you will know only a needle's eye of the world to come, you will kill yourself to reach that state. He didn't want to tell him. He insisted and this was done.

Now as to Nabíl. Please remember after the Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh, life was so hard and bitter for `Abdu'l-Bahá that no pen can ever describe. Because `Abdu'l-Bahá and the friends who were close to Him understood that His half-brother would break the Covenant of God and He didn't want this news to be broken to the friends around the world. For five years He kept the news to Himself in the city of `Akká. He did not let it spread. For five years `Abdu'l-Bahá did not have enough sleep, enough food. For hours and hours He would sit down at the window of His room, looking toward the sea. Even the members of His own family would come in, He wouldn't pay attention, He wouldn't notice that someone was there. They brought food, the food remained untouched because of this great pain and sorrow within Himself. It's very clear. Bahá'u'lláh had come for the unity of mankind. Now a brother will stand against another brother. What could `Abdu'l-Bahá say to the world? For five years, He says, "It affected my liver in such a way that a sign of it appeared on my face." But eventually His half-brother wrote to Persia and the people of Persia knew about it. Now Nabíl was amongst them who recognized this, who knew this. He could not bear it. You know, Nabíl was so much in love with Bahá'u'lláh and was so deep in the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh that he could not even teach the Faith. Nobody could tell him it's not right. He would get angry. Therefore Bahá'u'lláh said, "You sit here, write poetry and write history."

And when he felt this, he wrote a letter to `Abdu'l-Bahá in which he said, "If you answer this within twenty-four hours, then I will know what to do. If not, it means that you have given your consent that I should commit suicide." And he gave it to a friend. He said, "Tonight will you go to the meeting of `Abdu'l-Bahá and give it to him." He took the letter and went in, `Abdu'l-Bahá was talking, he did not want to interrupt, and toward the end of the meeting he forgot. The next day in the evening he gave the letter to `Abdu'l-Bahá. `Abdu'l-Bahá opened it and suddenly He looked at the friends and said, "Go and find Nabíl. He is drowning himself near Bahjí." And all the friends scattered toward Bahjí. From the Mansion of Bahjí, he took the straight way towards the sea. Here he took off his clothes and went into the sea. Then a shepherd said, "Yes, a Persian came here and these are his clothes." They couldn't find him at night, it was dark. The next morning he had been brought to the shore by the waves. And this is the story of Nabíl. He thought `Abdu'l-Bahá had given consent. A great historian was lost to the Cause.
(Question regarding forgiveness after committing suicide)

It implies all souls, all religions, all denominations, every human being. If somebody commits suicide at the end of Africa, or in the end of India, the rule applies to him or her too. We don't know if this will be forgiven by God or not. If we pray for them, then forgiveness will be given to them. Nobody is hopeless. Nobody remains hopeless. Nobody is eternally doomed. Nobody. The time of punishment is limited. By good deeds also done in their names. Suppose, I say, you give $5.00 the fund for the Temple in Panama in the name of your sister. This will cause her progress. Now, let me mention this fact also. The souls in the world to come, in the next world, the souls can know everything about us, but they don't. They don't pay attention, because once they are relieved from here, they don't want to know what's happening here, because it's so limited, so unclean, this world, the life on this planet. And they are comfortable under the shadow of God, under the mercy of God. `Abdu'l-Bahá says there is only one complaint that they make, and that is their relatives do not do anything good in their names. For instance, my mother has this sorrow in her heart that, "He's not doing anything in my name." Therefore, whoever you have of your dear ones in the next world, do something in their names. It's very important.

Mr. Faizi, not long ago we had a close friend whose son committed suicide. Of course, being from a Mormon background, it affected her very much because he would be condemned. And I remember my wife found somewhere in the Teachings where it talked about suicide about how if a person is not able to comprehend the situation that is going on in the world and he does take his life, immediately he is immersed in the ocean of God's mercy. My wife called this friend long distance and read it to her.

Mr. Faizi, in the Writings it talks about God as a forgiving God. I don't quite understand if He's ever-forgiving, is there anything He does not forgive. I think earlier we were talking about the education of children, that He would never forgive the parent who failed in this.

Yes, this will not be forgiven. First of all, I said last night, regarding the divine laws, He gives the result of our actions. The results will never be taken from him. If I ignore the education, that which is resulted in me, nobody can take it away. Suppose you have not seen people who are addicted to opium; the first thing which is spoiled are the teeth. They become very black and then they are decayed. Now suppose somebody smoked opium for twenty years, and then he believes in the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. He stops smoking opium and all his past will be forgiven, but his teeth will not become pearly white. This is what He meant; it will remain forever.

Question re point mentioned by Abu'l-Fadl?

Yes, it's very important for us to know this point mentioned by Abu'l-Fadl, he being the greatest scholar we've ever had in the Cause of God. He has written a very wonderful book which is not yet translated into English. The first chapter of it is most necessary for every Bahá'í to know. In this chapter he says that wherever you go in the world and you find certain customs, rituals and habits amongst the people, never laugh at them. Never be prejudiced against them. Never tell yourself or your friends that they are savages. He said that many do this. Because all these are remnants of a good religion. All these have been a good religion which existed centuries ago and in the course of time those religions lost their spirit and this is what remains. And he educates us.

When we go to Africa or India, many go to make fun of the people. I have seen it myself. I don't condemn anyone. I have seen this myself in Arabia. They encourage these people to remain among them so that the people will come and see them, and so on and so forth, and go home and have interesting stories about these people. He gives an example, according to the Islamic religion, that is not well understood by this community here because of the Christian background, and I will change this to a Christian background.

He says suppose you are in the city of Rome and there is a man standing next to you who is coming to this part of the world for the first time and he doesn't know anything about Christianity. He sees crowds of people passing in certain streets with flags, standards, special robes, special bells ringing, and there is a fish hook hanging down from a certain window, and all these people try to jump up in the air to touch this fish hook. You see, they are Christians. Abu'l-Fadl then asks is this Christianity that you are introducing? Is this what Christ taught? It is a religion which is corrupted; a religion which has changed into rituals, customs, habits and all these games and parades and so on. He said the same thing is true with those people in Africa and with those people in South America, Central America and islands, because there is no nation to whom God has not sent a Prophet. Again, what we said this morning, the lines of Prophets are many. We only know of one or two. The others are unknown to us. This gives us a clear cut education for the Bahá'ís so that they will really look at these things with great reverence, great respect, and with great sympathy to these people, and try to bring them out of these useless habits and customs to the spirit of the new age, living as human beings in a human community. This is a summary of the first chapter of Abu'l-Fadl's book. Based on this, many of the judgments of scholars are wrong.

How does the relationship of parents to one another affect the children? Suppose one is a Bahá'í and the other is not, and there may be some conflict there. Does this affect the children?

Of course. If one is a Bahá'í and the other is not, if there is any conflict, the blame should be on the Bahá'í because the Bahá'í is the one who should create unity. We should try our best to bring unity to the family. We have seen many examples and complaints have been given to the beloved Guardian. The Guardian said to Amelia Collins (the famous Millie) that she should love her husband. And she started to love him. After that, a mutual understanding started between them. Dr. Hakim's nephew's wife was a Catholic and for many years she was not a Bahá'í. He went to see the beloved Guardian and while on pilgrimage, he said that his wife was not a Bahá'í. He (the Guardian) said that the only way you can attract and change her heart is to really love her. Don't force. Don't argue. Don't speak about the Faith. Just love her. And he changed his life altogether, never spoke to his wife about the Faith, and now she is one of the outstanding teachers that we have. After two years she was changed altogether, because of the change in his life. And, of course, the slightest word, the slightest action between the mother and father will have influence on the children. It will either make them or break them. Be sure of this. Because children are the most sensitive. Even if they are playing and they never pay attention to what we are saying, they understand. Let's quarrel in private rooms, not in front of the children.

I heard that `Abdu'l-Bahá has written that whatever Abu'l-Fadl says has the same validity as His own writings.

That's not true. Never. He praised him. `Abdu'l-Bahá praised him as a great scholar. Never to the degree of the exalted pen. `Abdu'l-Bahá even says not to print His writings in the same book with Bahá'u'lláh's writings. Now this will be applied in the future to the prayer books. He says there is a vast difference between the two. And of course there are so many mistakes made in his writings. He is so forceful in his argument that no one will understand a little mistake. He is very forceful. His Persian is like snow and water; his Arabic also. Very powerful.

(Question regarding the effect on children of mothers who are believers.)

There are several sentences of `Abdu'l-Bahá that almost give the same effect. He says that if the mothers are believers, the children will also be believers, even though the father does not believe. If mothers do not believe, children will remain deprived of the faith of God, even though the father is a firm believer. Exceptions exist, but very few, He says, and we cannot have a general rule that has a few exceptions. If you look with careful and deep-seeing eyes (that's what He says) the education of girls is more necessary than boys because these girls will become mothers who should educate their children and mothers are the first educators of the children. Before school, before fathers, or anything else, mothers are the educators. A girl who remains uneducated, when she becomes a mother, she will bring children up who will be ignorant and who will remain in deprivation. Beware, beware, you should never have any shortcomings about the education of children, especially the girls. No excuse will ever be accepted by God. And He said that the children should be educated by the mothers from the very very beginning of their existence. The mothers should mention God, should mention the stories of the heroes of the Cause, and also should teach them the love of God, and should educate their children in the utmost of kindness, wisdom and love. This is the beginning of the education of the children. This is all that I have about it.

Again sir, concerning forgiveness. You mentioned the startling and impressive story about the tar pit and I wondered, you said that even a thousand Tablets of Ahmad would not be sufficient. I wonder if there is any hope at all connected with this story. [See p. 31 above]blockquote>
I mean when the child is sunk into the circumstances of immorality and other things, it will be extremely difficult to bring him out. From the very beginning we must try.
I was identifying personally with the story. (laughter)

And once when they asked `Abdu'l-Bahá if it was absolutely hopeless for some people, He said no. Everyone in the world will have at least one to pray for him or her and that prayer will be sufficient.

Wouldn't you say then that's why it's so important for us to have our Bahá'í family, because if we don't have any other family, at least we have the prayers of the Bahá'í family when we go on to the next world?

Of course.

What if most of our parents are not Bahá'í?
I forgot to tell you that Bahá'u'lláh says that this is a special bounty of this Cause. Whoever accepts the Faith, his father and mother will also become counted as believers. Yes, your parents, even if they are not believers, will become as believers, because they are responsible for your existence. They are responsible for this quality given to you to accept the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. They have done something good. That's was Genesis says, "Know the tree by its fruits." The tree must be faithful if you are its fruit.

You spoke about the reverence we must have for parents. When our parents are not Bahá'ís and they disbelieve many of the things we as Bahá'ís do, should we have the same reverence?

Reverence, of course, but when they force you, for instance, not to fast, we will not obey. It's useful that we explain this, even with relation to the government. On a spiritual basis, no force can prevent us from fasting, praying, marriage, and so on and so forth. These are spiritual principles given to us by Bahá'u'lláh and the government cannot force anyone that you should get married, if you don't, they'll put you in prison, and one says, "I am a Bahá'í and must obey the concept of my Faith, and I am ready to go to prison." This is the Bahá'í answer to the king of Persia. He said, on a spiritual basis, the king of Persia will not be obeyed. The Guardian said, "Prefer to be martyred than to obey." But, if the king says to a Bahá'í, "Go underground and bury yourself," he will immediately obey. This doesn't have anything to do with the Bahá'í Faith. But tell him not to fast, not to pray, not to have Bahá'í holy days, it's impossible. It's a personal and spiritual obligation of each individual. The same thing is true in our relationship with our parents.

(Question about serving in the military during the Vietnam War.)

You know that there is a conscientious objection, and if they are exempted and other tasks are given to them, they follow, because we must obey the government. But in cases where there is no such thing, as in Persia, we must obey the government. I myself said goodbye to the beloved Guardian and went to military service directly. And before going, the Guardian said that he knew what situation I was in. It's against our principles, but we must obey the government. This we must do, because these are the influences of a decaying civilization at the present time. We must carry on until such time as the whole atmosphere will be cleared of this decaying influence.

When you say that the parents will become Bahá'ís, does that mean that their parents will also become Bahá'í?

No, no, it's not continued. Only because of your Faith your parents are affected.

Wasn't that conditional on parents not having opposed the Faith?

Not if they only oppose it, but if they have done something detrimental to the Faith, like someone from Persia who caused the martyrdom of his own son, who became a Covenant breaker. Not that, but generally speaking.

What about foster parents?

Of course foster parents have more blessings, because Bahá'u'lláh says that anyone who educates any child, "Upon his deeds be My glory, My mercy and My bounty, as if he has educated My own son."

Where can I find that?

In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. It will be given in due time.[49] But remember it now.

Can you speak a bit on the Short Obligatory Prayer? I think most of us say it and just some comments about when more accurately it should be said and something about the meanings of it so we can understand it more deeply, since it's a daily event for us. Some people have told us it can be said between 12 noon and 1 p.m. This I have heard as well. I heard from a person, and I ask you to either confirm or deny that Bahá'u'lláh said that if it were not for the fact that God Himself is to worshiped alone, that Bahá'u'lláh would have commanded worship of the parents.

Are you sure of the text? I have never come across that. I have never seen that. I will tell you that a Persian mullá (mullá means a divine person who must spend all his time prayer) said to the people of his congregation to teach prayers to the children during their childhood, because they will always remember. For an example, I myself learned a prayer in my childhood, and it's 50 years and I never say it, but I still remember it.

(Question regarding Persian manner of prayer.)

Why should we say it's Persian? Bahá'u'lláh did not belong to Persia. He was the Manifestation of God for the whole world. Second, He says whenever you feel that you want to talk to God, get up and say these words, the Long Obligatory Prayer. It's not obligatory, but if you want to say it, do it this way. You see what I mean? You go to a doctor. He says that this medicine should be taken at noon and at midnight. If you want to follow my prescription, do it this way. And we don't ask why. He is the doctor. He says whenever that you are attracted to God, like a lover to his beloved, and you want to talk to Him, get up and say these words, the Long Obligatory Prayer. If you want to do it, therefore you must do it according to the prescription; and it's not a Persian way or an Arabic way. It's all through the ages. It's a form of prayer. When you go to Japan, and you come to the door, and you want to say "How are you?", three or four times they bend to the ground. You see, if we do this once to God, is it bad? No.

Now as to this question about the noon prayer. First of all, they asked `Alí, the successor to the Prophet Muhammad, "What is the meaning of creation, that God created man?" He said, "It means to worship God." With these two, coming one after the other, in the noon prayer: "I bear witness that you have created me to know Thee and to worship Thee." This is the purpose of creation. The purpose of the creation of man is to worship God. And second, He says, "I bear witness at this hour to my weakness, my poverty, my ignorance." I will explain this through the Writings of the Báb. And it is one of the most beautiful things that I have ever found in all the Writings, which explains this very well. He says that suppose you want to go and visit a king, and you want to take him a gift. You will go to all the ministers, all his servants, all the household and members of the court and ask what is there in the treasure-house of the king, or his court, that he does not have, so you will take that. If you take gold, the king has all the gold; silver, he has it; diamonds, he has them. He want to find what it is that the king does not have, and if he wants to bring a gift to king, let him bring that which is not in the treasure-house of the king. Then the Báb says that the same is true of God. Bring something to Him that He does not have. Now do you want to bring to Him your power? He is the powerful King; He has made you. Do you want to take Him your diamonds? He has created them. Your knowledge? Whatever you bring Him, there is nothing to be compared with what He has. But the Báb says there is one thing which does not exist in the treasure-house of God, and that is nothingness. Take your nothingness to Him.[50] That why it says, "I bear witness to my nothingness, to my weakness, to my ignorance." And whoever gives to God his ego, his self, his knowledge, whatever he has, he fails immediately. The moment he says, "Well, I serve the Cause because I am so and so," he fails immediately, his self will be failing, because we serve the Cause. We do things together with the power of God. You know that one of the notorious Covenant-breakers in Persia, who wrote many things against the Guardian, against Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá, which can never be translated into any language, because it is so defaming, so disgraceful, that it is beyond any words to translate it. The Guardian called him, "the poisonous drop." Why did he call him that? Because this drop was in the ocean. When he was in the ocean, he had the power, the immensity and majesty of the ocean. Now he wanted to be singled out all by himself. The Guardian said no. He must be in the sea, with the sea, and work with others. But he said no, he wanted to be alone, by himself. He wrote a book and wanted to publish it. The Guardian said no; that the reviewing committee should approve it. The reviewing committee of a certain Assembly must approve it. But he did not obey. He wanted to be singled out. And when he printed this book, the Guardian called him this. The drop came out of the ocean. The moment it came out, it became poisonous, dirty and worth nothing. And he is utterly forgotten today, though he was the most famous in all of Persia amongst Bahá'ís and non-Bahá'ís. You see. Therefore, let's be very careful. The body of the Cause and the stomach of the Cause has energy for one thing; in the eye of the world. The moment we say "I," it pushes us out immediately. We're not doing anything. No one does anything. We're only the drops of the same waves of the same ocean, and whatever we do is an exchange of what Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá have written and given us through Their generosity.

Now in continuation of our argument this morning with the gentleman here, I want to add two more points for a clarification of the subject for the members of the NSA, for the members of the LSA, committees and all the friends, because many of such arguments are misleading to us, and we must be very careful. When they tell you, "Let's bring these people, whoever they are, to the Bahá'í Center and let them explain their own points of view," apparently it's a good idea, but look at the detrimental results of this. We believe in the unity of all the religions. Once you bring, once the NSA allows, suppose, a certain denomination to come to the Hazíra and explain their own views. Suppose they are Seven Day Adventists. Once they do this, then the following week another branch will come; the third week, a third one will come. Everybody wants to have the Bahá'ís make a stage for them to come and explain their views. Then what will happen to the Bahá'í activities? What will happen to the Fund, which is from all these sacrifices? Please never do that. Always here is the stage for the Bahá'í Faith. Whoever wants to can come here and listen to our argument. If they want to have their own argument, their own points explained, let them spend money and prepare their own stage, their own theaters, in their own ways. We should not pay for others. Through the minutes of the Assemblies, we come across these things. The Esperantists want to open a club in our Hazíra, and the friends are enthusiastic to bring these people closer to the Cause and sometimes say yes. And from the World Centre it will be written, "No, never." Because once you start that, others will want to open clubs, and then your Hazíra will be divided into many different parts. This one point. Please let's keep this in mind. Always have a universal way of thinking and understanding the different aspects of the Bahá'í life.

Again, is this. Of course, the Bahá'ís are free to express their opinions, to read one of the Tablets and come and explain it to the friends. Let's all explain our own views. It is encouraged, admired and appreciated. But please, please be careful of one thing. If one were to stand and say, "This is my understanding, and you must all accept it, this is my way of teaching and you must all follow this way of teaching," this is the wrong interpretation which does not belong to any individual. Never let anyone say this. Quiet this at the very beginning. The Bahá'ís must become courageous to stick to the principles of the Faith, they must be audacious, otherwise we will be trampled by some selfish people. Let's never have this in our Faith. I repeat this. We are free to express our opinions, our understanding of the Tablets, of the verses of God. Exchange ideas, but the moment I force you to accept what I am saying and transgressing my own limitations, everyone should tell me to stop that. It's not your words. The House of Justice should tell us.

These two points I forgot to say this morning, but it was lurking behind my mind all day and I wanted to finish this argument.

(Question)

Yes, this is one of the examples. I'm glad you mentioned it. Because in many programs we found people speaking about the Jewish religion for half an hour, the Christian religion for half an hour, the Muslim religion for half an hour and ten minutes for Bahá'í. You spend all your money to bring these people and then they propagate their Faiths and you keep quiet about it. This is not the purpose. The other side, they should have ten or fifteen minutes, and the Bahá'í Faith should explain more because it is the unifying factor of all these religions, and you do this so that you proclaim your own Faith to others. Otherwise, what's the use of spending money, if these people are free to speak about their own religion? This is one of the things which we have fought against from the World Centre, throughout the world, and I am glad you mentioned it, and I am sure that your NSA takes care of this.

A question comes up quite often and there seems to be some doubts about it and that is concerning gambling in the Bahá'í Faith. Could you elucidate a little bit on this please?

Gambling? It's forbidden in the Book of Aqdas. Any kind of gambling.

What about playing a game of cards like bridge?

Not for money. No, just to waste our time. You know, I envy the people who ask these questions.

(Question regarding understanding The Hidden Words.)

You mean that man cannot discover the hidden meanings of The Hidden Words. Yes of course, if this were not so, He would not have called it The Hidden Words. The word itself signifies that we cannot understand the whole meaning of these things. Gradually, the meanings will be discovered through perusal and prayer.

If we have forgotten the Noon Prayer, as if during the rest of the day, we cannot go to a place to perform the ablutions and prostrations required in the Long Obligatory Prayer, is there anything we do to fulfill our obligations for that day?

I don't know. Just say some prayers; anyone you like. If it's due to circumstances that one could not do it. Any prayer, whatever you like. It depends on the way you want to talk to your God.

(Question concerning the interpretation of the Writings in difference ways at firesides.)

As I said, it's beautiful if you make these subjects of conversation and different people express different opinions, but we should never stress that what one says is the right interpretation. But gradually, as you discuss them, the meanings will become clearer and clearer. That's all I know about it. Nothing else.

What is the difference between suspicion and intuition about something? Sometimes you have a real strong feeling. I know Bahá'ís must be very kind, even if you suspect something is wrong, but not malicious suspicion.

You defined it yourself. Intuition is not malicious. Intuition is informing you of something, alerting you.

Is there anything in the Writings how to wear one's hair?

Yes, Bahá'u'lláh says your hair and your beard are under your own control. You arrange it in whatever way you like, but don't make yourself the object of fun to the people. This is what He says.[51]

(Question regarding problems with individuals.)

We can have committees for teaching, committees for deepening, committees for follow-up; that's all we can do. What can an individual answer you about this? It's beyond my powers, my position, to say anything about this. I have come for certain lessons only. On administrative things, I never interfere. It's in the hands of the LSAs. Individual's problems should be solved by the LSA. We don't interfere in these things. We only, as Bahá'u'lláh says, go about and give them the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh; general aspects of the Cause, and through these general outlines, the friends should frame their own lives in the Cause of God. If somebody comes to the Faith and after two weeks goes away in Honolulu, I am a stranger here, I'm only here two days, how can I solve this problem? How can I judge this situation? You see what I mean? This is beyond the scope of my duties.

(Question about hugging and kissing.)

I personally don't like it in the Bahá'í Faith, because gradually the Bahá'í Faith will be identified as a "kissing group" as it was said on the London radio. But we can't issue statements about, because when you go to South America, it's the custom of all these people, not kiss you, but they'll embrace you sideways like this, and pat you on the shoulder, and say "Alláh-u-Abhá, cómo estás hermano?", and so on like that. But of course, overdoing anything in the Bahá'í Faith is dangerous. Our Faith is a Faith of moderation.

(Question regarding accepting the customs of a country in which you teach.)

Yes, but you should not follow them amongst yourselves. For instance, even when I went to South America, I avoided doing this. Because if we do it, they think it's a custom of the Bahá'ís.

(Question regarding the importance of Sunday school for Bahá'í children.)

I am speaking for two days about the education of the Bahá'í children and how we can help them. Of course, classes for the children are most essential, and then it depends upon your requirements here and your necessities. There are many books written in America; the Child Way magazine, and you will find in those books interesting material.

(Question regarding joining partners with God.)

This is quite clear, because we believe in one God. Therefore, beware of the people who believe in gods who are friends. Therefore He is not the one God, but will be partners in his work; one who administers the eastern part of the universe and his partner the western part. God is all alone by Himself, no friend, no partner, no one with Him, always alone, and ever alone.

I lived in the Dominican Republic for about six years, and there was a sign in one spot in that country, and the dictator was there, and the sign said, "Trujillo and God,", and after a while the priest objected so it was changed to "God and Trujillo."

Could you say something about marriage and unity in marriage, and the eternal bond of marriage?

Yes, this makes men quite unhappy. Once they are married, they are married eternally. In the world to come, they are always together. Always. `Abdu'l-Bahá says that this union will start here and they will forever be together in the worlds to come, and all that we said about the education of children and so on and so forth is really about the bond which exists between husband and wife, to make the home as a natural circumstance for the spiritual birth of their children. This is the main purpose of marriage, and they must sacrifice everything else to obtain this state; their own personal ambitions, their own personal desires, their own personal egos. They must sacrifice to reach this state of giving spiritual birth to their children.

Are you speaking of Bahá'í marriage, or marriage in general?

Marriage must always be like that.

What if on this plane of existence, one has married two times, which one goes with the other? (laughter)
I really don't know.
It is true, isn't it, that Bahá'u'lláh has forbid the kissing of hands? (laughter) If the kissing of hands is forbidden, it's only too obvious that the kissing of faces, foreheads and lips being more intimate and personal is also forbidden. Is that correct, or not?

It's not correct, because kissing of hands was done for the divines of that religion. This would create a certain pride in them. He never wanted that to be repeated in the Bahá'í Faith. Once a villager went to `Abdu'l-Bahá and immediately jumped on Him and kissed His hand. `Abdu'l-Bahá said, "You are an older believer, don't you know it's forbidden?" He said, "Yes I know, but not this hand." (laughter)
Isn't it true that we're not to be the cause of offense to anyone, and if it is offensive to some people, then we should respect their feelings in this matter?

Yes. We must not do anything which will be associated with the Bahá'í Faith. If we overdo this kissing, other people will say that this is a Bahá'í custom, and no one will be offended when they understand that is for the prestige of the Cause and the protection of the Cause.

There was a letter about this a few months ago in the Bahá'í News from Shoghi Effendi about this, which the Universal House of Justice recently published again, and in that letter it says we should not be over-affectionate in public, but that in our own private lives, this is all right. But when we are in public, we should not be indiscrete.

With relation to education of girls and boys, does this refer to higher education or any education?

Any kind of education. He says that when the parents do not have enough money for both children, it must be spent on the girl, and then at the same time, He advises the House of Justice to pay for the education of the children.

This comes up very, very often in firesides here about life on other planets. Now, in the Gleanings that uses, in our translation, the word "creatures" and my question is how we should regard that word?

Yes, it is written in the Qur'án that there is life in all the planets. But why should such a thing be discussed in firesides? Many things are discussed in firesides which is foreign to our main object. Firesides are held to convey the Message of Bahá'u'lláh, and we must start from the unity of mankind, abolition of prejudice, that's all. That's all we must do, and we must deal upon it for months and months until they understand, and then when they go to deepen themselves in the Writings, they will understand all these things. Much of our time is wasted. I have seen this not only here, but in many other places, that many irrelevant subjects are given by teachers to the contact and they spoil the whole subject.

Once I had a beautiful press conference in Denmark, and the press conference was held by themselves for me, because a few of them had been in Haifa, had seen the Shrines, and they heard that I was from Haifa and they came and invited me. Unfortunately, along with me a member of the Assembly went also, a young member, and everything went well until about 4 o'clock when they asked me about political affairs, and I said that it is forbidden for us to interfere with any political affairs. Suddenly, this boy jumped and said, "Of course, we have our own political institutions, national assemblies which will become the houses of justice in the future, we will rule the country in the future..." You see, things which were especially not for the newspapers, who want to find something for headlines for their papers. I immediately got up, and really it was true, and said that I had another meeting and that I must go. I broke up the meeting, but it was no use, the same thing was written on the top. The whole argument of one hour was spoiled by one unwise remark. Many times we poison the contacts because we mention things which are not necessary. Gradually, the Faith which we have understood through many years of being Bahá'ís, we think in one night we can give it to them. And this is the result of mechanical technology, because we press a button and we go to the 80th story of the building. We press a button, we come to the street. We take a taxi to go to the airport. We take a plane and go from New York to Paris. Everything is done with pressing buttons so quickly, and really the contact here, we think that his heart is a button. We press it, it opens, you push in everything, then close and say, "Here is your card, sign it." The soul is different from matter. The soul and heart change very gradually.




Fifth Session

This is the fifth session of the seminar brought to us by Hand of the Cause of God. Mr. Faizi, and I would like to turn the podium over to Mr. Faizi.

We had in mind to discuss a little bit about history of the Faith, but I see that our time is very, very limited. I don't think we have time to go into the subject of history which I desired to give this morning, because it is a very long subject. Therefore, I believe I will give you a little bit about The Kitáb-i-Íqán, the Book of Certitude, and how to study it.

Before we do that, I would like to say a little bit about the prayer which was chanted at the beginning for the erection of the Temple. The prayer which was read this morning, I wanted to see the bounty of God in this age and to realize in what a day we are living. It was the receipt of a little sum of money for the Temple given to `Abdu'l-Bahá. It was so great in those days, the bounty was so bountiful, so much pouring out, that for a receipt of a little money, perhaps one dollar, such a prayer had been revealed, and that this prayer would have been given to Ahmad (?), the one who was responsible for the erection of the House of Justice in 'Ishqábád, and wrote under it, "received one dollar from so and so." Every receipt in those days had a prayer revealed by `Abdu'l-Bahá. That's why `Abdu'l-Bahá, in America, often said, "Do you know in what day you are living?" And the people did not know. We may repeat this. Do we know in what day we are living? We must realize in what a great day we are living. This is the beginning of the institution of the House of Justice; it's growing. You see, when you mention the House of Justice, there is a certain air of awe and reverence in our hearts. Even with the name of the House of Justice, for the influence which it has upon the world, and with this glorious first period of its existence, what this institution has done for the world is to be written in the histories of the future.

One night `Abdu'l-Bahá in `Akká said to some pilgrims that the friends in Ishqábád are going to erect a Temple and contributions are sent from everywhere. Now whoever wants to contribute, he is welcome to do it now, in the presence of the Master Himself. There was one amongst these pilgrims who was so much in love with the Master, and though a pilgrim, he never wanted to depart from Haifa. He said to the servant of the Pilgrim House, "If you come and tell me that I must go within one week, or one day or two days, I will catch you and throw you in to the Mediterranean Sea. Even if `Abdu'l-Bahá tells, you mustn't tell me. I want to stay with `Abdu'l-Bahá." He was so much in love with Him.

And I will tell you another thing about him. There was a banquet. `Abdu'l-Bahá was standing at the door, pouring water on the hands of every pilgrim coming in, to wash their hands for food, and there was a heap of small towels and He would give them towels to wipe their hands, and then the servant would go around to collect them. The same man received the towel, folded it, kissed it, put it in his pocket, and wiped his hands on his clothes and then sat down. The servant came and got the towels from each one, but when he got to him, he said, "What do you want?" He said, "The towel." "Did you give it to me? Whoever gave it to me, let him come and get it." Therefore he had the towel. And when he was telling me this, he was at the age of 80. He brought out the towel from his pocket, and said, "This is the one." He still had it. At that time he could not walk any more. As he was sitting, he was addressing his legs, his feet. He said, "I thank you, I thank you very much, because you took me on pilgrimage." He walked all the way. He said, "Do you remember the days when you had been beaten by sticks a thousand times, and you did not cry. I am grateful to you. Now take this." He was addressing his own legs like that.

Now, that night, the Master asked someone to write the names of those who had contributed something for the fund of the Temple in Ishqábád. One of the friends, who was serving the Pilgrim House in `Akká, did not have any money. He said to the Master, "Beloved Master, could I borrow ten cents from you? I want to contribute, but I don't have any money." He said, "Of course," and gave him ten cents, and please write, "He borrowed these ten cents from `Abdu'l-Bahá." When it was finished, `Abdu'l-Bahá said, "How I wish I could go to the Temple and work myself. I would go there and work with the laborers until the erection of this Temple, but I am in prison. I cannot get out of this country." He was walking and repeating these words, "How I wish that somebody could go in my stead, in my behalf to do this." And the same man got up, and said, "I will go." And he said, "When I stood up and said that I would go, I said to myself, `You didn't want to go.'" And he said, "When I volunteered, I thought that `Abdu'l-Bahá would say, `All right, after one month or so," but He said, "All right, early in the morning."

And then he brought out from a file his own Tablets written by `Abdu'l-Bahá which said, "This man is coming to work on the Temple on my behalf. He will carry stones, he will carry mud, he will carry cement, all these things will be done in my name." And he did this. In the two pictures of the Temple of `Ishqábád you see someone very tall in the middle, standing, holding something on his shoulder. This is the man. He worked until the end of his life, to the last breath of his life, he was madly in love with the Master. Sometimes in the streets he would start to dance and sing songs in praise of `Abbás Effendi, his beloved. And everyone knew it.

When the (Persian) government stopped all meetings in all the houses and the Haziratu'l-Quds was confiscated, the head of the police department of Teheran, who was next to the king of Persia, asked for this man. He went there. He had a very gigantic body, this man, and said, "Yes, what do you want me for?" He said, "You must not have meetings in your house." He said, "Is that all?" He said, "Yes." He said, "I thought you wanted to kill me in the name of Bahá'u'lláh." And then he put his hand in his pocket and brought out two silk handkerchiefs and some sweets and said that he wanted to distribute sweets and with these two handkerchiefs dance to the place where they wanted to execute him. He said, "All you tell me is that I shouldn't have meetings in my house. No suffering? Nothing else?" And the man became so changed, that he ordered tea for him and sat down and talked to him. He said, "Tell me, what has changed you?" He said, "Nothing but the love of `Abdu'l-Bahá." He said, "You have the love of `Abdu'l-Bahá, and you will be changed too, but as to having no meeting in my house, I am a man. I can never close the door to my house. Tell the friends not to come to my house. I can't go to the friends, there are thousands of Bahá'ís. Every day they come to me. I can't go to them and tell them not to come to me. Would you do it yourself? Will you go to the friends and tell them not to come to my house, because the government doesn't want. I will never do that." He said, "All right." He followed him to the door respectfully, and sent him home with great reverence. Because he followed the instruction of the Guardian. He said, "If you are afraid, they will overwhelm you. But if you are brave, they will become obedient to you." This was that man. When this prayer was read, I remembered him.

Now please, when you study The Kitáb-i-Íqán, as we did in The Hidden Words, you may divide the book into many different subjects. Suppose you take a sheet of paper like this, and write on the top, "The Tests of God." And wherever there is a mention of tests, a definition of tests, the result of tests, write it down on this page. Then when you study the whole page, you will come to understand what are tests. What is the significance of tests? What are the results of tests? Why should we be tested? And all these things will be revealed to you.

I will give you from each Tablet one example. He said that tests exist always amongst mankind, not because God wants to know His people. He knows them already. He knows them before they are created. But because He wants the individuals to know themselves.[52] And He says also that tests do not come beautifully, but in very ugly faces. He says, for instance, that God chooses a place and the people are tested. He said the whole earth is the same to Him, the whole universe is same to God, but He chooses one place, a cubic little house and He says that this house is the center of your worship. The Kaaba in Islám. Millions of people go and circumambulate a little house. People are tested. They say, "What's the use of going around that house. Why should we do that?" These are all tests.

Now the Báb has explained this very beautifully. Please remember this explanation of the Báb. He says, "God chooses a little stone; a little piece of stone." Now suppose this is the Kaaba, the place of pilgrimage of Islám. It's only a little house. Kaaba, by the way, the origin of the word "cube" in English. The shape of it. A cubic shape, very small. Now on this edge here, there is a black stone, coming down from the heavens in one of the comets in very ancient days in Arabia. The Prophet Muhammad has put it here. This brought all the tribes of Arabia together, because He did not let one man put it here. He brought a long piece of cloth. He put the stone in the middle of it, and from every tribe he brought one man and said, "Hold the cloth." And all of them had to put the stone here. This brought them together.

Then He made it a temple of pilgrimage for Islám. The Báb says that this is an indication. If a piece of stone is touched, approved, chosen by God, or become the subject of the consideration of God, God wants to tell you, and around which millions of people circumambulate, He wants to tell you then think of your own hearts. If your heart become purified and becomes the place of God Himself, then think how many millions of angels will always circumambulate you, yourself, each individual person. This is related to what Bahá'u'lláh says, "Those who rise to serve Me, they will be aided by hosts of angels."[53] Because of this, they will come, they will circumambulate you, they will guide your steps, they will even guide your words. We must only try.

I will give you an example from Africa. Last night, there was a question about the African believers. When you tell them a little bit about the Cause, they will understand it deeply, and when you start to tell them about the principles and other things, they come to explain their significance to you. Now can there be any better story about this problem we were talking about than this one?

There was a king who called his subjects outside of his own town to a mountain. There was a large piece of stone near the mountain. A huge stone. The king, "I want to choose one of you as my own minister, and anyone who raises this stone, he will be my minister." All the men stood and looked at this huge stone and they didn't move at all. They thought to themselves, and very correctly, that they could never move this stone. Then one of them came forward and went on the top of the stone, and started to leap on it. And then went underneath and put his shoulder underneath started to leap. After a half an hour or so, he said, "I can't do it." The king said, "You will be my minister, because you tried."

The same thing is true with Bahá'u'lláh. He will choose you as His own servant, as His own instrument. Even if you don't teach someone, even if you don't raise that burden which exists, but the mere fact that you tried, you will be chosen by Him. We must try with our whole hearts and souls in the path of God.

Now another example of a little piece of land, which is very significant. This is the city of Jerusalem. When David became the king of Israel and God commanded him to establish a Temple in the name of God, showed him a piece of land and said, "Buy this piece of land." Do you know what that piece of land was? It was a threshing floor. There was a huge piece of stone. In the olden days they didn't have much means of threshing wheat and other things, so they had to do on the stone, and the people came there to do so. There is a hole in the middle through which the wheat used to flow down to a store down below, then they would put it in sacks and take them home. This is the place chosen by David.

Of course, he could not build his Temple at that time. He did not live long enough. His son Solomon finished it and this is the center of the Temple of Solomon. The Jews came there and sacrificed. At this threshing floor, near this hole, the blood used to flow down (the blood of animals) and then the flesh had been burnt over this stone in the name of God as a sacrifice. And when this piece of land became the Temple of Solomon, the glorious Temple of Solomon, it was destroyed by the Emperor of Rome. Only one wall stood; the other parts had been utterly destroyed. And when the Christians came to possess Jerusalem, and they were against the Jews, they made it the rubbish center of the whole town. They brought all the rubbish there, so much that the whole wall was covered and you could not see any sign of it anymore. When the Christian period came to an end, and when the Muslims conquered Jerusalem, the Caliph of Islám went there and made peace with the Christians, and he only wanted to say prayers. As the Christians loved him very much, because of the truce made between them, they asked him to pray in the church if he liked. He said that he could do it, but that if he did, all the Muslims will start to prayers in the church. He came out and with his own hand, cleaned a little piece of land, enough for his prayer rug, and when he did so, thousands of Muslim soldiers came and cleaned, and the wall appeared; the wall which buried under this rubbish. And the wall of the Temple of Solomon appeared for the Jews, and it remained like this until some months ago, when after thousands of years, the Jews were allowed to go and visit this wall, the wailing wall.

You see how a little piece of land, because God chooses it, it becomes so historical, so important, and goes through hands and hands and empires, vanishes, but this remains. And when you go there to visit, it's very significant. On the top there is a house which was occupied by the Mufti of Palestine. The Mufti of Palestine was the personal enemy of the Guardian, and he wanted to conquer Palestine with the help of General Rommel of Germany and first crucify the beloved Guardian at the gate of Haifa, and then possess all the Shrines. He had so many plans. He went there. If a Jew would approach this wall, he would first stone him, scold him, and cause the people to push that man away. But now he is running from one village to another, lest he would be caught by the people and be judged in the courts. He is homeless, and to the end of his life, he will be the most miserable man, because of what he did, not only to the Bahá'ís, but also to the Jews.

A little piece of land, a threshing floor, becomes the subject of attraction and adoration of many people throughout the centuries. This is what is written in The Kitáb-i-Íqán. When we read one sentence, let's take that once sentence of The Kitáb-i-Íqán as a peephole through which you see many things. He says that the whole earth is the same to Him, but He chooses one place and makes it the center of adoration of the people. And this becomes a test to the people.

And the most important of all tests to me is the one which Bahá'u'lláh says, explains, in this way. If you see some contradictory statements in the Writings of God, there is no contradiction. You will see contradiction, it seems to you a contradiction, it is because God wants the grudges which are hidden in the hearts of people to be manifested through these tests, grudges hidden, concealed in the hearts of men to be manifested through these tests.[54] It's toward the end of the book of The Kitáb-i-Íqán.

Another topic which is very, very important for us to get information from The Kitáb-i-Íqán is knowledge, the second subject. Please find out in how many different ways Bahá'u'lláh defines knowledge. All of the definitions throughout the book will become transpired into two parts; divine knowledge and the devil's knowledge; positive knowledge and negative knowledge. He says that whatever brings you nearer to God is divine, and whatever takes you away from God, don't pay attention to it. The moment you feel that you are driven away from God, don't pay attention to it. It is the prompting of the devil, of the self, of the ego. It's one of the greatest tests. I will just tell you frankly, because we don't want this to happen anywhere.

Some of our Persian boys or girls from Persia, they are wonderful Bahá'ís, they serve on committees, they are members of Assemblies, they go to little villages to help the people, but when they go to the United States or Europe or somewhere, and come back with a Ph.D. in their hands, then they don't pay attention. They don't serve on committees, they find it below their dignity. This is not knowledge. Knowledge is that which brings them closer to God, and makes them better servants for God. Real knowledge is like fruit on the human tree. The tree which has more fruit, the branches are lower to the ground. This means that men should be more humble. The arrogant ones are those who don't know anything. Because of their arrogance, they want to show that they know many things, and to show that they know many things, they don't want to become members of committees or assemblies, and they don't teach, they don't go to the villages anymore, and the line of their lives is utterly changed.

And then He says about this category, that the dust of such knowledge has darkened the horizons of human hearts.[55] When you speak to a contact, especially those who are from universities and colleges, you will see how this dust has darkened the horizons of their hearts. From their questions, you can understand this. There is no light of guidance, there is no straight line in their lives. They just utter words without any meaning, without any purpose.

And then He says, "How many people who were standing at the top of the ladders of degrees, but when the Manifestation of God appeared, they paid no attention." He says that that is not knowledge. Now please remember also this little sentence, a very little sentence. He says that when the Báb manifested Himself, a door of knowledge was opened in every atom.[56] Now you have only to review the history of science, discoveries. Study them to the year 1844 and after the year 1844, see how human knowledge is divided into many, many branches. Day by day branches are increasing. The door of knowledge is opened in every little atom.

In olden days, when someone was a doctor, he was a doctor of everything. Now we have doctors for the nose, for eyes, for ears, for the throat, for everything. You know, specialists in everything. Every part of the human body. And when you go to the library, you will five twelve volumes, an encyclopedia of photography. You can hear the clicks of photographers every morning, and you would never think that there was an encyclopedia for photography.

This is the door of knowledge opened for everything that everyone does. Even the children take pictures. Count these things. Study them through the history of mankind, especially from the year 1844 onward.

Then the third one: In no Manifestation of God have we had so much information about the Prophets Themselves. What kind of people they are. Therefore, write on one page, "The Prophets." And whenever there is a mention of the Prophets, where Bahá'u'lláh says that such Holy Souls are such and such,[57] put them together. And then you will know more about the Prophets. You will know that the Prophets are human beings. They are victims to all the needs of human life. They get hungry. They get thirsty. They suffer. They have the need of all the requirements of life and of the body, but at the same time, They are chosen by God to convey the Message of God to humanity. He says that these people, the Prophets, are so great, is that the sun is but one sign of Them. The sun is a token of the Prophets.[58]

Please pay very much attention to what you read about the Prophets in the book. He says, "From the sun, things are manifested, and to the treasuries of the sun, they all return." Energy is generated by the sun, and it returns to the sun. And then Their differences. Essentially, They are the same, but because of the change of times, through Their own education, They give more at different times. Essentially They are the same. We should never talk to the contacts and say, "Your religion does not have this." It's not right, because we believe in the unity of all religions. We must make them understand that Christ is the same as Bahá'u'lláh, but the times did not allow Him to say all these things, as He said, "I have many things to tell you." He could have taught the unity of mankind, but at that time it was impossible, because the world was not yet known. Never let us attack any religion. Never let us find any fault with any religion. Always speak in unity. And as a matter of fact, when you study The Kitáb-i-Íqán, you will find that all the Prophets are for the whole world. He attributes them like that. Abraham came to guide the whole of mankind, He says. Moses came for the whole of mankind.

Suppose if people from Persia were becoming Jews, would you say no. It would be impossible. It was the sunshine coming for the world at that time, but the long distances and separations and other things prevented the people from hearing about Moses. The case is different from today. We have so many means of communication and transport. There are many pages about the Prophets and many sentences.

In the second chapter [Part Two] of The Kitáb-i-Íqán, the three degrees of revelation are described by Bahá'u'lláh. Read it carefully. Three degrees of revelation. The gist of it is this: God is revealed throughout the whole universe, and more specifically, through a human being. And amongst the human beings, especially through One who is chosen. These are the three degrees of revelation.[59]

Another title is proofs of the Prophets. And proofs of those who believe in the Prophets. Another is the Book of God, a definition of the Book of God. Then, the Divine Sovereignty.

Now for some definitions: In The Kitáb-i-Íqán, He gives definitions of some of the things. For instance, when He mentions angels, and says that angels are such and such and describes them, defines them.[60]

Towards the end of the book there are only three references to Bahá'u'lláh Himself. One is when He is surrounded by malicious jealousy, and says that although God has chosen Him, never did He prefer Himself to anyone.[61] Read this carefully. It's toward the end of the book. And there is a reference to His going into seclusion for two years, and the reason is mentioned in the The Kitáb-i-Íqán.62

Now there is a very interesting sentence, also towards the end, where He says that this Servant is holding His life as a sacrifice on the path of the Báb. Please find it.[63] The interesting part of it is this is that the original The Kitáb-i-Íqán, which was written for the uncle of the Báb, and revealed within two days, was written in the handwriting of `Abdu'l-Bahá. This book remained in Shíráz in the family of the Afnán[64] until towards the life of the beloved Guardian, when it was sent to him. There is only this sentence I refer to which was written on the margin of the book by Bahá'u'lláh's handwriting ("...this revealed and manifest Letter may lay down His life as a sacrifice in the path of the Primal Point (the Báb)...") Only this sentence. And when they brought this book to the beloved Guardian, he said, "That is why I put this sentence at the beginning of Nabíl's Narrative."[65] It was the first time he saw it, and as it was written in Bahá'u'lláh's handwriting, that is why he put that at the beginning of Nabíl's Narrative.

And then there is a definition of the "divines," who in all ages stood against the Manifestations of God. Now when we study the The Kitáb-i-Íqán, and when we study the The Kitáb-i-Aqdas (especially these two books), we will find the Exalted Pen like a bird which is soaring in the high firmament; always, very high. Sometimes it comes down and mentions something about the earth, and then it goes up. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is always like this.

I hope all of you will be able to see the house where this book was revealed. It's in front of an ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and He could see the waves of the sea, and the book almost starts with waves of utterances, the breezes of the Merciful, the waves of utterances started to move. He just started the book like that. And then He goes on to describe things belonging to the Abhá Kingdom and the soul of man and then says as to fasting such and such, and then goes up again, "If you have My love you will share the world beyond this planet,"[66] and then He comes down and speaks about prayers, and so on. This is the movement.

In the same manner, in The Kitáb-i-Íqán, He gives the proofs of the teachings of the Báb, and then says, "Try to walk with the steps of your soul." And then in these places, the Exalted Pen soars very high. Please try to find these sentences; extract from The Kitáb-i-Íqán, and if possible, memorize them. They are wonderful. He says, for instance ( I don't remember the English), "Now the whole world is pregnant with the bounty of God." (He said that in the days of Baghdád.) "When the results will be produced, We don't know." "When the child will be born," He said, "it's not known now, but in whose heart the seeds of such wisdom will be planted, from whose garden these flowers will be manifested. Let us see."[67] When He says, "whose," He is addressing each one of us. We must prepare ourselves so that the seeds of the wisdom of God and the flowers of the love of God, the knowledge of God, will be manifested through us.

Then He says that there are thousands of verses which are not yet polished and manifested. Thousands of verses and beautiful thoughts which are not yet revealed, because He did not find people worthy to tell them. "When will there by someone to whom I can confide all these things?" Even in Baghdád, you will see the standards of this Cause unfurled everywhere. You will see the sovereignty of this Cause recognized everywhere." [68] Even in Baghdád. And He had not yet declared Himself.

In another case: "This morning, the light of God, which covers the heavens and earth, has surrounded the tent here."[69] And then He goes on. (Please select these.) And then where He says, "O My brother, do your utmost so that you will drink from the cup of eternity, because the breezes of the Merciful will not always be wafting. The rivers of utterance will not be always pouring forth."[70] And He goes on to say this.

Another sentence is where He describes the power of the Báb. He says to just think that a young man, twenty-five years old, stood against a religion which had established for centuries in the hearts and souls of the people, and tore it asunder. And He says if you had put the hearts of the whole world in his heart, he would never say it unless He was bidden by God.[71] Find this sentence. And then the true seeker. It's about two or three pages.[72]

These are the outlines. If you divide The Kitáb-i-Íqán into these outlines and study them together, you will benefit very much. But it will not be finished within one year. In the Holy Land we have discussion groups about The Kitáb-i-Íqán, this same book, and it's now about two or three years and we have only finished the first chapter.

Now regarding the mention of the Súriy-i-Húd in the Qur'án [Chapter XI]. Please, if you have Rodwell's translation of the Qur'án (this is what the Guardian recommended).. It's a small chapter. Bahá'u'lláh says that this chapter sufficeth all people.[73] The Prophet Muhammad describes the stories of the Prophets in different parts of the Qur'án, but in this chapter all the Prophets are mentioned together, Their plights, Their sufferings, Their disappointments, and the eventual victory of each One in His own time. He says to study that and you know that this will happen here too.

There is a reference to Husayn, the martyrdom of Husayn and the soil where he had been martyred, and that there was so much power and potency.[74] What was the significance of Husayn's martyrdom? This story is very significant because it shows to us what differences can mean in the religions of God, and what great suffering every religion will have because of differences. That's why `Abdu'l-Bahá has repeatedly warned the friends, and especially the Hands of the time of Bahá'u'lláh. He said that the moment you see any trace of differences, obliterate it by all means, by all the power that you have. Because, He said, a hair of difference today, if it is not removed, will become the distance between East and West. A little sign of difference will become a huge mountain in the future.[75]

That is why I insisted that in these few days that we were together, please never make compromises with your contacts because you want them to become Bahá'ís. Be straightforward and say, "This is our Faith. We accept no prejudice. We accept nothing which hurts the unity of mankind. It's forbidden. It's absolutely forbidden." Be definite about it. Let's have fewer Bahá'ís who are strong, rather than many with compromises. If you make one compromise, every day he will want a new one. That's why I told you during my trips I never sought to make friends, because to make friends these days means to approve whatever they say. At the risk of losing friends, we must tell the truth. It doesn't matter, because we have one friend and that is God. He will support us.

Now the story of Husayn is important because before the advent of Muhammad, the Kaaba existed in Arabia. This is the House that Abraham built.[76] It belongs to Him. It's from the time of Abraham and is a center of worship. Now there were two great functions in this House. One was the custodianship of the Kaaba and the keeping of its key, and the other, the administration of Mecca and the provision of water for to the pilgrims. Two families were responsible for these functions before the advent of Muhammad, in the Days of Ignorance; they were called the "Days of Ignorance." Now these two families had always been fighting each other because each wanted to have all the functions in his own hands. One was Háshím and one was Umayyah[77] These two families. If you don't remember the names, it doesn't matter, but remember that there were two families.

The Prophet Muhammad was from one of these families. Now what happened, the first enemies of the Prophet Muhammad were from the other family. These people stood against Him, always. And eventually Islám became victorious and powerful. When it became powerful, these opponents also embraced Islám. They came and said they were Muslims. Muhammad looked at them and said, "Don't say `we believe.' Say, `we surrender.'" Now, the Prophet Muhammad died. His covenant was immediately broken. They did not follow the covenant of Muhammad to follow `Alí, the true successor of the Prophet Muhammad. The chose for themselves a Caliph. Now the first Caliph and the second Caliph were of that family; the opponents of the family of the Prophet. When the first Caliph came into power, he made the members of his family governors of many provinces and countries of the Islamic empire.

`Alí then became the leader of the Islamic world. When `Alí died, he left his sons, Hasan and Husayn. Husayn was from this family and the Caliph in Damascus was from that family.[78] The same feud which existed centuries ago came back into Islám, because they did not prevent it. And this man stood against Husayn. He said, "I am the Caliph of all Islám, and Husayn should not be the Imám. He must surrender." Husayn said, "I will not surrender. I am the true Imám, the successor of my father, and I must be recognized as such." He only had seventy followers, and the other caliph had thousands of soldiers against him. He said, "I will stand by my rights. I know I will be defeated. I know that all my people will be killed. I know this, but I will stand for the rights for justice." And his followers and his family and he all were killed. And because of the blood of this martyr, Islám became powerful and Bahá'u'lláh accepted him as the martyr of the Islamic age and revealed a special visitation prayer for Husayn. This is the story of Husayn mentioned in The Kitáb-i-Íqán.

Now, are they any questions?

Mr. Faizi, speaking about how we should be gentle with our contacts, very often we are told that we should teach very hard and very fast and that there is not enough time for us to be gentle with people we meet. What should we do? We are told that we must teach, teach, teach, and we should be able to have them fall in love with the Faith.

Yes, but to teach quickly doesn't mean that we must be rude to them. By being gentle, we must never lose our temper, we must never get angry, we must never belittle their religion or their belief. Always express our own opinions and principles and the fundamental verities of the Cause. This is what we must tell them, and what I meant the other day was the mere fact that the moment we say that there is something wrong with Christianity, then our whole argument will be lost. By this, that we have no time, doesn't mean that one person should always be busy teaching. It means that everybody should be busy teaching, and then the responsibility will be divided and the results will be greater.

Another fact is that some contacts will be attracted because of the teacher, where if they see one face only, perhaps they won't be attracted, but when they changed, suddenly he will be attracted. I have seen many different cases like that. For three years someone was talking to two persons and on the last night of the third year, a blind teacher, who was touring Persia, went there and spoke to them and both of them became Bahá'ís, on the very same night they saw this blind teacher. What this man had that attracted them no one knows, but these are the mysteries of teaching, and we must know about them. And this blind man was really a miracle of God. The people knew him as a Bahá'í teacher. In the streets they would take his turban, or his cloak, and throw them it in the street. And as he was groping to find it, the children used to clap and make fun of him, throw stones at him, and ridicule him as he was going from village to village, town to town, to teach the Bahá'í Faith. He never paid attention to whatever the people did. He said, "I know you must do these things because you are not trained. But my function is to teach the Cause of God."

From which family was Muhammad from?

The Hashím.

Now that there are no more questions, I want to fulfill my promise to my friend about India. You know it's a fascinating story, the story of India. The Cause started in India in 1870. Bahá'u'lláh Himself sent a teacher to India by the name of Jamál Effendi. And please consider the efforts and zeal.

The governor of Bombay said to the people, `I want you to know these things, therefore I will repeat the same thing in our own vernacular.' And he repeated the same speech in an Indian dialect. He said, "When the meeting was finished, they brought me garlands like those you have here and then they went away and not a single pamphlet was taken. And I was standing there with my garland." That was all. In many different places this happened to him, and none of them asked, "What about this Bahá'u'lláh? Can we take one of these books?" Because the time had not come. `Abdu'l-Bahá says. At the same time `Abdu'l-Bahá wrote to the friends in India. There were about fifty in those days and they were all people with small coffee shops. These are not direct quotations. (Please, all through these things that you have noted down, make every quotation an indirect quotation, because these are translations at random. I just look at the Persian and translate. Therefore, it's not correct. Make them indirect quotations, or paraphrases of the verses.)

"That country will become the seat of learning and India will become the center of divine knowledge where the Master of love will teach His lessons and divine anthems will be sung from Bombay and Bengal." He said this in those days.

He also said, "In that great country and remote region, the Word of God will be so exalted as to become an example to other countries. Its people will form the first link in the chain of the servants of His Threshold. The country will be praised as the first crier in the Kingdom of Holiness and its fame will be extolled in the realm of Divine Unity. You will then raise the cry, `How great is this blessing, and how wondrous is this rejoicing!'" Those people reading these things in those days were only fifty scattered in different parts of India should have had great staunch faith in the words of `Abdu'l-Bahá to believe that India would rise one day because they were so dormant. Now when the time came, when the time was ripe, just one woman, Mrs. Boman, went to a small village and spoke to some of the people, and they became so enthusiastic that they begged her to stay, because they wanted to go and bring villagers around them. There were about twenty villages represented in the meeting and suddenly, it became really aflame. Within some years they became 200,000. And these are the people that when you talk to them, they explain the principles of the Cause, they understand them in the depths of their hearts what they mean, and I wish you were there, at the Indian Conference, when we called for the Indian teachers themselves to come on the stage. There was no room for them, there were so many. A man who is crippled and walks with the help of two sticks day and night he teaches and thousands are brought to the Cause because of him. He sings "Ya Bahá'u'l'Abhá" and then he teaches in his own way. The time is ripe.

For instance, in the public meeting we had when the governor of New Delhi was the chairman, a man protested very severely against whatever we said. I did not answer. A non-Bahá'í Indian was there. He said, "Let me please answer." He that the Bahá'ís never use force, never use money, never give any comfort; they use love. If you want love, go to them. And such answers were given.

Now, when we reviewed the portrait of Bahá'u'lláh in the Conference, when afterwards, many of the Indians who had come on foot arrived late and had not seen the portrait. We arranged for them to see it at the Conference one night, and at the end of the people reviewing the portrait, this same man who had protested the day before came in with his wife, his brother-in-law and wife's sister, four of them. He said, "I registered en route. I want to sing songs for this Man. I dedicate my life to Him." This same man.

It is so ripe that by one little remark given by a non-Bahá'í, the people come. Therefore, our efforts today are only to shower love on these people like the rain in springtime, and to give them the heat and warmth of our love so that the seeds within their hearts will be ripened and come out. And you will be sure that you will have flowers. The Guardian said that in New York there are thousands who are thirsting for the Cause of God and you must go and find them.

Now I think we will have a little recess. I really don't know how to thank everyone of you for having given all of your time to these three days, and I will go back with great, great happiness in my heart that I saw your illumined faces and I will carry your love to the House of Justice. I want to assure you of one thing. Please remember this, and know it for sure, that whenever I go to the Shrines, I will never leave the Shrines except when I start thinking about all the pioneers from Punta Arena, the most southern city of the world, just going around South America, North America, all the islands, all the friends, and then I go out. And especially the children. Please be sure of that. I don't do it very often, but when I feel something in myself, I go and remember everyone. Your beautiful faces are always there with me, and I hope you will feel it when I am praying for all of you. I thank you very much again. Alláh-u-Abhá!

Marc Towers: Now if we will bring the children in so Mr. Faizí can speak with them, and that the adults will leave so all the children can have seats. The children are waiting for you, Mr. Faizí..

I don't know what to say when I see so many beautiful faces. I only remember the days when I spent in one of the villages of Persia, and I'm talking to those of you who really understand this. I was five years in a village. When I say a village, I really mean a place where there is no means of living. For instance, if the children wanted to take showers, it would be the greatest problem of the family to find enough water and a place for the children to clean themselves. You can't imagine how these children were poorly clothed and also whenever they came to the class, every morning I had to apply petrol on their hair for the many lice which were moving in their hair, because of the poverty existing there. I want to emphasize this, so that the people here, to the young boys and girls who are studying here, they did not have books to study. Therefore we had to devise some way by which books would be obtained. From amongst these 600 [students], I chose twenty who were older than twenty years old, and who had finished elementary school. They could read and write.

Now suppose this was one of the books that we had to use, and we did not have enough copies for all. I tore up my book into many different parts, into twenty different parts. I gave enough paper to each one of these twenty boys and girls who could write and gave them a portion of this book. The first part was given to the first one, and I told him or her that when he or she finished copying this, they should give it to the next one, and then I would give the second part to the first one. Within one month, we would have twenty copies of this book written by the students. Now these students were not free. They were working; they were farmers. For instance, they would dig the ground with a spade. They were drinking water in pails for the flowers. Even the little children had to work, because their fathers and mothers were so poor and they could not hire laborers, therefore they had to use their own children.
I remember one day I went to a garden with beautiful cherry trees, full of fruit, and one of my students was sitting down copying one of the books in the garden. But every now and then, she was beating a drum. I asked her why she was beating the drum. She said, I am writing and at the same time I am pushing away the crows who are eating my cherries. She was put there by her father to protect the trees and the fruit, and at the same time she was writing the portion of the book given to her.

After being there for five years, in most of the houses there were at least ten books written by the children of those houses, copies by the children of those houses. Now the children who are living here should think a little bit of the great bounty of God that they have; first of all, you are free to come here, all of you, and to study. Whatever kind of books you like, you may have them immediately, and whatever toys you want to play with, you have them. But in that village where I lived for five years, these children had no games. They couldn't play. There was no time, no space, nothing for them to play, because they had to work in their farms and gardens and then the rest of the time was spent in copying books and studying. In five years twenty different classes were formed in that village.

From there I went to Arabia. You will not believe it, but you read in history that the time was when the people did not have paper. They wrote on shoulder bones of animals. In the shoulder bones of animals, there is a hole in one side, and the children used to write their dictation on it. When it was corrected, they would go to the river, wash it, and then prepare it for their arithmetic, and then wash it and prepare it for something else. Just think of the many bounties that you have and how much you must be grateful to God for having so much at your disposal to make progress in the Cause of God and to serve mankind, and to come to the rescue of these people who are deprived of all these things. I hope the time will come when you will decide to go and serve in some of these villages of Africa, of India, of Arabia, and give them what you have, and help them to be educated, to endure life.

You know, one of the Americans came to me one day. She was my student. She was studying with me. She asked, "Is there anything in Islám in favor of flies?" I said, "What do you mean by that question?" She asked, "Is there anything that they should not touch the fly?" I said, "I don't understand your question." She said because I teach children in the streets sitting down, their faces covered with flies and they don't push them away." I said, "My dear friend, they are not fed, they don't have energy to raise their hands and push the flies away. They are put there by their mothers who are going to work in certain houses, and at noon they come back with pieces of bread and cheese to feed their children. They don't have enough energy."

In another village, I went to see some of our pioneers. They asked me whether I would like to see the market. For about 100 yards away I saw a covered market. I thought there was a curtain at the entrance of the market, but when I approached, it was flies. There were so many flies, flying in the air, that they formed a curtain through which you must go. And you ask the shopkeeper, do you have any dates. He says yes, and pushes layers of flies away and the dates are buried underneath. Now this is the condition in which many people of the world are living. Many of the people of the world don't have enough to eat, they don't have a glass of milk for their children, enough bread for their children, they don't have paper, they don't have books, they don't have a place to study. When you have all these things, you must realize what you have. You must realize how many sacrifices were made so that this is available to you, so you can benefit by them and make yourselves ready to serve humanity in the future. Make this your aim in life, that you will become men and women who will serve humanity in the future.

Now I would like to know if any of the children have any questions that they would like to ask. Any kind of question you would like. It's all right, don't be shy.

"Maybe they would like to know how often they should pray."

Yes. You know, prayer is like sunshine. As we need sunshine every morning in our rooms, in our lives, therefore prayer is the same thing for us. We will start our day with the mention of God who has created us, who has given us so much. We express our thanks and gratitude to Him. Before anything else we pray to God and thank Him and then start our day with this glorious commencement. Also, when you go to sleep, you pray and you will sleep better, you will be more comfortable, because at the time when our bodies are asleep, our soul moves about. Therefore, when we pray, our soul will a pleasant journey throughout the worlds which we don't know about.

Question regarding the Manifestations of God

Yes, They are essentially equal, all of them, and this is the basic belief of a Bahá'í, but according to the commission which They have, They have higher and lower ranks. For instance, you cannot never compare Jesus with Moses, but They are essentially the same, but Jesus brought more, and Muhammad brought more. Bahá'u'lláh is the fulfillment of the promises of one cycle. Bahá'u'lláh is a Prophet Who will come only every 500,000 years. The Supreme Manifestation means the One Who is promised for 500,000 years, and then after Him, other Prophets will come, and before Him, other Prophets. This is what it means, and there shouldn't be any confusion. They must understand. Refer to The Kitáb-i-Íqán where it says, that They are essentially the same, Their aim is the same, Their purpose is the same, but as far as Their teachings are concerned, They are of a higher level.

Now can any of the little ones say a prayer for us. I want to hear their little voices. Who will say a prayer?

[Prayers recited by children]

Is there a village some place where maybe our children could send some Bahá'í books and help some of these children?

Well, they can send books if they would like to go the New Era Bahá'í school in Panjani in India. Those in the villages do not read English, but at the New Era school, they read English, and there are Bahá'ís and non-Bahá'ís studying there and both would benefit from such books.

I remember once in Wilmette, a little girl in such a class as this asked me this question. She said, "My friend does not believe in God, and I want to prove it to her. She doesn't accept." I told her this story and she liked it. Perhaps if I repeat it, some of our friends here would like it too.

There was once a king and this king had a teacher, a philosopher, as his teacher, who always helped the king to understand things better. One day the king told the philosopher that he could no longer believe in God. His teacher kept quiet. He said, "Why don't you say anything?" He answered, "I have nothing to say. You don't believe. And if you don't believe, there is no basis on which I can say anything." Evening came and the philosopher went home. Every day he had come to the court at nine o'clock in the morning when the king would receive his daily lessons from him. The house of the philosopher was on the other side of the river. The king's palace was here, and the philosopher's house was on the other bank of the river. The next day his teacher did not come at nine o'clock. At noon he did not appear. At about one o'clock he came and he was very sad that he was late. The king was angry. He asked, "Why were you late?" He replied, "There was no boat to take me. All the sailing boats went fishing, and I stood there bewildered and didn't know what to do. How could I come here? I couldn't swim, the river was very wide. Suddenly some pieces of boards came together and made a boat, and I immediately sat on them and came here." The king became so angry. He said, "Look at me, the king of the country having such a man as my teacher. He says that some pieces of wood came together and made a boat. How could this happen?" The philosopher said, "Your majesty, don't you think this would ever be possible?" He said, "Absolutely impossible! There must be somebody to make a boat like a carpenter." He said, "How could a boat be made with only a carpenter, and the whole universe without anyone to make it? It just came together by itself?" And the king repented what he had said the day before and he said he was sorry and understood what he meant.

What do you think about the golden age?

Yes, the golden age, by which we mean that the Bahá'í civilization will come into existence, will come toward the end of the period of Bahá'u'lláh, which means after some 500 or 600 years. It's a very long time. But this is a better time because we are beginning that age. But you want to see that golden age?

Would you have a story about `Abdu'l-Bahá related to children that they might like?

`Abdu'l-Bahá loved the children very much and whenever there were children, `Abdu'l-Bahá was there. Many of the Arabs who were not Bahá'í, living in Israel and who are now very old, say that when they were children, whenever they were ill, the first person coming to see them was `Abdu'l-Bahá. He used to bring remedies for them, medicine for them. One of them is a champion of sailing today in Israel. He says that `Abdu'l-Bahá gave a ring to his family when he was a child. `Abdu'l-Bahá gave them a ring and a silk handkerchief. He says that now whenever he goes racing, he asks his father to give him the ring to protect him. Yes, they have so much love for `Abdu'l-Bahá. Once I saw an old policeman. I knew that he was Protestant from his fur hat, a large fur hat, and I went to him and said, "You belong to the olden days. Did you know `Abdu'l-Bahá?" He brought out a book from his pocket and opened it, and showed me a picture of `Abdu'l-Bahá. He said, "This was our father, our brother. When I was a child, I was fed by Him. I was taught by Him." He would prepare everything for them. Once a child had played a trick. He took a thin piece of paper and copied a beautiful penmanship to show this to his father to say that now he could write like this. It was a trick, really. Before doing so, he wanted to put it in an envelope and give it to `Abdu'l-Bahá to send it. `Abdu'l-Bahá received the envelope and said, "I will send it, but I hope you write the same also." The next day, he asked him to go to the house of `Abdu'l-Bahá and he gave him a pen. He said, "This pen belongs to the father of Bahá'u'lláh and I give it to especially so that you will practice writing." You know, he did not rebuke him for what he had done, but he very kindly and gently made him understand that what he had done was wrong.

You said they were going to sing the Alláh-u-Abhá together?

The seminar ended with all singing Alláh-u-Abhá.

Endnotes:
    [1] "Oh God, my God! My back is bowed by the burden of my sins, and my heedlessness has destroyed me...." Bahá'u'lláh, The Long Obligatory Prayer.

    [2] "The limbs of my body testify to Thy unity, and the hair of my head declareth the power of Thy sovereignty and might." Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations, No. XL See also, "Glorified art Thou, O Lord my God! My tongue, both the tongue of my body and the tongue of my heart, my limbs and members, every pulsating vein within me, every hair of my head, all proclaim that Thou art God, and that there is none other God beside Thee." ibid, No. LXIX.

    [3] "How resplendent the luminaries of knowledge that shine in an atom, and how vast the oceans of wisdom that surge within a drop!' The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 101. "Spit the atom's heart, and lo! Within it thou wilt find a sun," from the Qur'án 67:3, quoted by Bahá'u'lláh in The Seven Valleys, p. 12.

    [4] "Whoso layeth claim to a Revelation direct from God, ere the expiration of a full thousand years, such a man is assuredly a lying imposter...." Gleanings CLXV.

    [5] "He hath endowed every soul with the capacity to recognize the signs of God. How could He, otherwise, have fulfilled His testimony unto men, if ye be of them that ponder His Cause in their hearts. He will never deal unjustly with any one, neither will He task a soul beyond its power." Gleanings, LII, p. 106.

    [6] "He is the Glory of Glories. This is that which hath descended from the realm of glory, uttered by the tongue of power and might, and revealed unto the Prophets of old. We have taken the inner essence thereof and clothed it in the garment of brevity, as a token of grace unto the righteous, that they may stand faithful unto the Covenant of God, may fulfil in their lives His trust, and in the realm of spirit obtain the gem of Divine virtue." The Hidden Words, Introduction.

    [7] "O Son of Dust! Turn not away thine eyes from this matchless wine of the immortal Beloved, and open them not to foul and mortal dregs. Take from the hands of the divine Cupbearer the chalice of immortal life, that all wisdom may be thine, that thou mayest hearken unto the mystic voice calling from the realm of the invisible. Cry aloud, ye that are of low aim! Wherefore have ye turned away from My holy and immortal wine unto evanescent water?" (PHW.62)

    [8] "O My Friends! Call ye to mind that covenant ye have entered into with Me upon Mount Paran, situate within the hallowed precincts of Zaman. I have taken to witness the concourse on high and the dwellers in the city of eternity, yet now none do I find faithful unto the covenant. Of a certainty pride and rebellion have effaced it from the hearts, in such wise that no trace thereof remaineth. Yet, knowing this, I waited and disclosed it not." (PHW.71).

    [9] "O believers, draw not near to prayer when you are drunken. . ." Qur'án 4:46 (translation by A. J. Arberry.)

    [10] "They will question thee concerning wine, and arrow-shuffling*. Say: `In both is heinous sin, and uses for men, but the sin in them is more heinous than the usefulness." Qur'án 2:215 (translation by A. J Arberry) (*a form of gambling.)

    [11] `"Even as He hath said: "Man is My mystery, and I am his mystery." The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 101

    [12] " O Son of Man! I loved thy creation, hence I created thee. Wherefore, do thou love Me, that I may name thy name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life." AHW 4.

    [13] "O Son of Man! Transgress not thy limits, nor claim that which beseemeth thee not...." (AHW.24)

    [14] "O Son of Spirit! Vaunt not thyself over the poor, for I lead him on his way and behold thee in thy evil plight and confound thee for evermore. " (AHW.25)

    [15] O Son of Being! How couldst thou forget thine own faults and busy thyself with the faults of others? Whoso doeth this is accursed of Me." (AHW.26)

    [16] "That seeker should also regard backbiting as grievous error, and keep himself aloof from its dominion, inasmuch as backbiting quencheth the light of the heart, and extinguisheth the life of the soul." The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 193.

    [17] "O Son of Being! Ascribe not to any soul what which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not. This is My command unto thee, do thou observe it." (AHW.29)

    [18] "O Son of Being! Busy not thyself with this world, for with fire We test the gold, and with gold We test Our servants." (AHW.55).

    [19] "O Son of Man! Thou dost wish for gold and I desire thy freedom from it...." (AHW.56)

    [20] "O Son of Utterance! Turn thy face unto Mine and renounce all save Me..." (AHW.15)

    [21] "O Son of Being! Bring thyself to account each day ere thou art summoned to a reckoning..." (AHW.31)

    [22] The Priceless Pearl, Rúhíyyih Rabbaní, p. 10.

    [23] "O Son of Man! Neglect not My commandments if thou lovest My beauty, and forget not My counsels if thou wouldst attain My good pleasure." (AHW.39)

    [24] "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." (AHW.41)

    [25] "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." (AHW.43)

    [26] "O Son of Man! Rejoice in the gladness of thine heart, that thou mayest be worthy to meet Me and to mirror forth My beauty." (AHW.36)

    [27] "O Son of Dust! Blind thine eyes, that thou mayest behold My beauty; stop thine ears, that thou mayest hearken unto the sweet melody of My voice; empty thyself of all learning, that thou mayest partake of My knowledge; and sanctify thyself from riches, that thou mayest obtain a last share from the ocean of My eternal wealth. . . ." (PHW.11)

    [28] "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." (AHW.68)

    [29] "O Ye Sons of Spirit! Ye are My treasury, for in you I have treasured the pearls of My mysteries and the gems of My knowledge. . . ." (AHW.69)

    [30] "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 forever." (AHW.71)

    [31] "Whoso wisheth to make use of vessels of silver and gold is at liberty to do so." (K.A.46, p. 36) "In the Bayán, the Báb allowed the use of gold and silver utensils, thus abrogating the Islamic condemnation of their use which stems not from an explicit injunction of the Qur'án but from Muslim traditions. Bahá'u'lláh here confirms the Báb's ruling." (K.A.Note 72, p. 198)

    [32] "O Son of Man! Thou dost wish for gold and I desire thy freedom from it. Thou thinkest thyself rich in its possession, and I recognize thy wealth in thy sanctity therefrom. . . ." (A.56)

    [33] "By the righteousness of God! It is not Our wish to lay hands on your kingdoms. Our mission is to seize and possess the hearts of men." (K.A.83, p. 49)

    [34] "O Son of Dust! All that is in heaven and earth I have ordained for thee, except the human heart, which I have made the habitation of My beauty and glory. . . ." (PHW.27)

    [35] Muhiyu'd-Dín Ibn-al-`Arabí (1165-1240 A.D.) "Moreover, in a remarkable tradition, which is contained in Shaykh Ibnu'l-`Arabí's work entitled "Futúhát-i-Makkíyyih," and which is recognized as an authentic utterance of Muhammad, and is quoted by Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl in his "Fará'id," this significant prediction has been made: "All of them (the companions of the Qá'im) shall be slain except One Who shall reach the plain of `Akká, the Banquet-Hall of God." Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 180. See also Momen, An Introduction to Shi'i Islám, p. 217; Balyuzi, Muhammad and the Course of Islám, p. 280.

    [36] O Son of Justice! In the night-season the beauty of the immortal Being hath repaired from the emerald height of fidelity unto the Sadratu'l-Muntaha, and wept with such a weeping that the concourse on high and the dwellers of the realms above wailed at His lamenting. Whereupon there was asked, Why the wailing and weeping? He made reply: As bidden I waited expectant upon the hill of faithfulness, yet inhaled not from the that dwell on earth the fragrance of fidelity. Then summoned to return I beheld, and lo! certain doves of holiness were sore tried with the claws of the dogs of earth. Thereupon the Maid of heaven hastened forth unveiled and resplendent from Her mystic mansion, and asked of their names, and all were told but one. And when urged, the first letter thereof was uttered, whereupon the dwellers of the celestial chambers rushed forth out of their habitation of glory. And whilst the second letter was pronounced they fell down, one and all, upon the dust. At that moment a voice was heard from the inmost shrine: "Thus far and no farther." Verily we bear witness to that which they have done and now are doing. PHW.77

    [37] Zaqqúm. Infernal tree referred to in the Qur'án 37:60, 44:43, etc. Thorny Arabian tree with bitter fruit.

    [38] "Narrate, O Servant, the things Thou didst behold at the time of Thine arrival in the City, that Thy testimony may endure amongst men, and serve as a warning unto them that believe. We found, upon our arrival in the City, its governors and elders as children gathered about ahd disporting themselves with clay." Gleanings LXVI, p. 126.

    [39] Cf. "Man is the supreme Talisman. Lack of a proper education hath, however, deprived him of that which he doth inherently possess. Through a word proceeding out of the mouth of God he was called into being; by one word more he was guided to recognize the Source of his education; by yet another word his station and destiny were safeguarded. The Great Being saith: Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom." (Lawh-i-Maqsúd, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 161-162)

    [40] Cf. "Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting." (AHW.13)

    [41] Cf. "Schools must first train the children in the principles of religion, so that the Promise and the Threat recorded in the Books of God may prevent them from the things forbidden and adorn them with the mantle of the commandments; but this in such a measure that it may not injure the children by resulting in ignorant fanaticism and bigotry." (Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh (Kalimát-i-Firdawsíyyih - Words of Paradise), p. 68.)

    [42] Cf. "He should not wish for others that we he doth not wish for himself, nor promise that which he doth not fulfil." Gleanings, p. 266.

    [43] Cf. The vitality of men's belief in God is dying out in every land; nothing short of His wholesome medicine can ever restore it. The corrosion of ungodliness is eating into the vitals of human society; what else but the Elixir of His potent Revelation can cleanse and revive it?" (Gleanings XCIX, p. 200.) and "The weakening of the pillars of religion hath strengthened the foolish and emboldened them and made them more arrogant. Verily I say: The greater the decline of religion, the more grievous the waywardness of the ungodly. This cannot but lead in the end to chaos and confusion."" (Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh (Words of Paradise), p. 64.)

    [44] cf. "Unto every father hath been enjoined the instruction of his son and daughter in the art of reading and writing and in all that hath been laid down in the Holy Tablet. He that putteth away that which is commanded unto him, the Trustees are then to take from him that which is required for their instruction if he be walthy and, if not, the matter devolveth upon the House of Justice. Verily have We made it a shelter for the poor and needy. He that bringeth up his son or the son other another, it is as through he hath brought up a son of Mine; upon him rest My glory, My loving-kindness, My mercy, that have compassed the world." (Bahá'u'lláh (The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, #48, p. 37). "...in this new cycle, education and training are recorded in the Book of God as obligatory and not voluntary. That tis, it is enjoined upon the father and mother, as a duty, to strive with all effort to train the daughter and the son, to nurse them from the breast of knowledge and to rear them in the bosom of sciences and arts. Should they neglect this matter, they shall be held responsible and worthy of reproach in the presence of the stern Lord." (`Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of `Abdu'l-Bahá, No. 98, pp. 126-127)

    [45] "Say, O My people! Show honour to your parents and pay homage to them. This will cause blessings to descend upon you from the clouds of the bounty of your Lord, the Exalted, the Great....Should anyone give you a choice between the opportunity to render a service to Me and a service to them, choose ye to serve them, and let such service be a path leading you to Me. This is My exhortation and command unto thee. Observe therefore that which thy Lord, the Mighty, the Gracious, hath prescribed unto thee." Bahá'u'lláh, The Compilation of Compilations (Family Life, #824, pp. 386-387)

    [46] Áqá Buzurg-i-Níshápúrí.

    [47] "Suicide is forbidden in the Cause. God Who is the Author of all life can alone take it away, and dispose of it in the way He deems best. Whoever commits suicide endangers his soul, and will suffer spiritually as a result in the other Worlds Beyond." (Shoghi Effendi quoted in a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, June 7, 1979 - cited in Lights of Guidance, No. 677, p. 203)

    [48] Siyyid Ismá'íl of Zavárih surnamed Dhabíh (Sacrifice) by Bahá'u'lláh. See Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, Volume 1, pp. 101-104.

    [49] "He that bringeth up his son or the son of another, it is as though he hath brought up a son of Mine; upon him rest My glory, My loving-kindness, My mercy, than have compassed the world." Kitáb-i-Aqdas, 48, p. 37.

    [50] Cf."If the Day of His manifestation a king were to make mention of his own sovereignty, this would be like unto a mirror challenging the sun, saying, `The light is in me.' It would be likewise, if a man of learning in His Day were to claim to be an exponent of knowledge, or if he who is possessed of riches were to display his affluence, or if a man wielding power were to assert his own authority, or if one invested with grandeur were to show forth his glory. Nay, such men would become the object of the derision of their peers, and how would they be judged by Him who is the Son of Truth!" Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 100.

    [51] "The choice of clothing and the cut of the beard and its dressing are left to the discretion of men. But beware, O people, lest ye make yourselves the playthings of the ignorant." Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 23.

    [52] "Such things take place only that the souls of men may develop and be delivered from the prison-cage of self and desire. Otherwise, that ideal King hath, throughout eternity, been in His essence independent of the comprehension of all beings, and will continue, forever in His own Being to be exalted above the adoration of every soul... But inasmuch as the divine Purpose hath decreed that the true should be known from the false, and the sun from the shadow, He hath, therefore, in every season sent down upon mankind the showers of tests from His realm of glory." Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp. 52-53.

    [53] "Verily, We behold you from Our realm of glory, and shall aid whosoever will arises for the triumph of Our Cause with the hosts of the Concourse on high and a company of Our favoured angels." The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, No. 53, p. 39.

    [54] "It is evident unto thee that the Birds of Heaven and Doves of Eternity speak a twofold language. One language, the outward language, is devoid of allusions, is unconcealed and unveiled; that it may be a guiding lamp and a beckoning light whereby wayfarers may attain the heights of holiness, and seekers may advance into the realm of eternal reunion... The other language is veiled and concealed, so that whatever lieth hidden in the heart of the malevolent may be made manifest and their innermost being be disclosed. Thus hath Sádiq, son of Muhammad, spoken: `God verily will test them and sift them.' This is the divine standard, this is the Touchstone of God, wherewith He proveth His servants. None apprehendeth the meaning of these utterances except them whose hearts are assured, whose souls have found favour with God, and whose minds are detached from all else but Him In such utterances, the literal meaning, as generally understood by the people, is not what hath been intended. Thus it is recorded: `Every knowledge hath seventy meanings, of which one only is known amongst the people. And when the Qá'im shall arise, He shall reveal unto mean all that which remaineth.' He also saith: `We speak one word, and by it we intend one and seventy meanings; each one of the meaings we can explain.'" The Kitáb-i-Iqán, p. 255.

    [55] "Whoso desireth to fathom the mystery of this `Mi'ráj,' [a reference to Muhammad's night journey] and craveth a drop from this ocean, if the mirror of his heart be already obscured by the dust of these learnings, he must needs cleanse and purify it ere the light of this mystery can be reflected therein... We have consumed this densest of all veils, with the fire of the love of the Beloved--the veil referred to in the saying: `The most grevious of all veils is the veil of knowledge.' The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp. 187-188.

    [56] "...the fingers of divine power have unlocked the portals of the knowledge of God, and the light of divine knowledge and heavenly grace hath illumined and inspired the essence of all created things, in such wise that in each and every thing a door of knowledge hath been opened, and within every atom traces of the sun hath been manifest." The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp. 29-30.

    [57] i.e., "Therefore, these illuminated Souls, these beauteous Countenances have, each and everyone one of them, been endowed with all the attributes of God, such as sovereignty, dominion, and the like, even thou to outward seeming they be shorn of all earthly majesty." The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 104.

    [58] "The signs and tokens of the Truth shine even as the midday sun, and yet the people are wandering, aimslessly and pereplexedly, in the wilderness of ignorance and folly." The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 239.

    [59] See The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp. 97-100.

    [60] "And now concerning His words: `And He shall send His angels...' By `angels' is meant those who, reinformed by the power of the spirit, have consumed, with the fire of the love of God, all human traits and limitations, and have clothed themselves with the attributes of the most exalted Beings and of the Cherubim.... And now, inasmuch as these holy beings have sanctified themsleves from every human limitation, have become endowed with the attributes of the spiritual, and have been adorned with the noble traits of the blessed, they therefore have been designated as `angels." The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp. 79-80.

    [61] "For a number of people who have never inhaled the fragrance of justice, have raised the standard of sedition, and have leagued themselves against Us. On every side We witness the menace of their spears, and in all directions We recognize the shafts of their arrows. This, although We have never gloried in any thing, nor did We seek preference over any soul." The Kitáb-i-Iqán, p. 249.

    62 "The one object of our retirement was to avoid becoming a subject of discord among the faithful, a source of disturbance unto Our companions, the means of injury to any soul, or the cause of sorrow to any heart." The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 251.

    [63] "Amidst them all, We stand, life in hand, wholly resigned to His will; that perchance, through God's loving kindness and His grace, this revealed and manifest Letter may lay down His life as a sacrifice in the path of the Primal Point, the most exalted Word." The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 252.

    [64] Literally, "the twigs," a reference to the relatives of the Báb.

    [65] The Dawn-Breakers.

    [66] "Happy is the lover that hath inhaled the divine fragrance of his Best-Beloved from these words, laden with the perfume of a grace which no tongue can describe. By my life! He who hath drunk the choice wine of fairness from the hands of My bountiful favour will circle around My commandments that shine above the Dayspring of My creation." The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, No. 4, pp. 20-21.

    [67] "The universe is pregnant with these manifold bounties, awaiting the hour when the effects of Its unseen gifts will be made manifest in this world, when the languishing and sore athirst will attain the living Kawthar of the Well-Beloved, and the erring wanderer, lost in the wilds of remoteness and nothingness, will enter the tabernacle of life, and attain reunion with his heart's desire. In the soul of whose heart will these holy seeds germinate? From the garden of whose soul will the blossoms of the invisible realities spring forth?" The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp. 60-61.

    [68] "Ere long, thine eyes will behold the standards of divine power unfurled throughout all regions, and the signs of His triumphant might and sovereignty manifest in every land." The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 78.

    [69] "Now when the light of God's everlasting Morn is breaking; when the radiance of His holy words: `God is the light of the heavens and of the earth' [Qur'án 24:35] is shedding illumination upon all mankind...." The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 90.

    [70] "Make haste, O my brother, that while there is yet time our lips may taste of the immortal draught, for the breeze of life, now blowing from the city of the Well-Beloved, cannot last, and the streaming river of holy utterance must needs be stilled, and the portals of the Ridván cannot for ever remain open. The day will surely come when the Nightingale of Paradise will have winged its flight away from its earthly abode unto its heavenly nest. Then will its melody be heard no more, and the beauty of the rose cease to shine. Seize the time, therefore, ere the glory of the divine springtime hath spent itself, and the Bird of Eternity ceased to warble its melody, that thy inner hearing may not be deprived of hearkening unto its call." The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp. 23-24.

    [71] "And now consider how this Sadrih [Branch] of the Ridván of God hath, in the prime of youth, risen to proclaim the Cause of God. Behold what steadfastness that Beauty of God hath revealed. The whole world rose to hinder Him, yet it utterly failed. The more severe the persecution they inflicted on that Sadrih of Blessedness, the more His fervour increased, and the brighter burned the flame of His love. All this is evident, and none disputeth its truth. Finally, He surrendered His soul, and winged His flight unto the realms above." The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp. 233-234.

    [72] The Tablet of the True Seeker, The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp. 192-199.

    [73] "To them that are possessed of true understanding and insight the Súrah of Húd surely sufficeth. Ponder a while those holy words in your heart, and, with utter detachment, strive to grasp their meaning." The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 5.

    [74] "For instance, consider the pervading power of those drops of the blood of Husayn which besprinked the earth. What ascendancy and influence hath the dust itself, through the sacredness and potency of that blood, exercised over the bodies and soul of men!" The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp. 127-128.

    [75] cf. "O ye friends of God! Beware! Beware of differences! By differences the Temple of God is razed to its very foundation, and by the blowing of the winds of disagreement the Blessed Tree is prevented from producing any fruit. By the intense cold of the diversity of opinions the rose-garden of Unity is withered, and the fire of the love of God is extinguished!" Tablets of `Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 432.

    [76] According to tradition, Adam built the Kaaba, which was rebuilt in a later age by Abraham and Ishmael. fn., Faizi, The Prince of Martyrs, p. 6.

    [77] See A.Q. Faizi, The Prince of Martyrs, pp. 3-7. (George Ronald, Oxford, 1977)

    [78] The most formidable of `Alí's opponents was Mu'áwíyah (of the family of Umayyah), who had been appointed as governor of Syria. ibid, p. 17.
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