Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth

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RuhiWarrior19
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Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 7:47 am

Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth

Postby RuhiWarrior19 » Mon Apr 21, 2008 1:09 pm

Allah-u-abha Friends!

I have been thinking about the issue of Kingship in the Baha'i writings. This is for me one of the hardest teachings of Baha'u'llah to accept, as I am an American through and through. I think this teaching gets largely ignored by Baha'is, since we are probably all rather uncomfortable with the praise Baha'u'llah gives to the institution of kingship.

I am sure I am not the only Baha'i who has trouble accepting the statement that Kings are the Shadow of God on Earth. But I try. :)

I just want some thoughts from older Baha'is who might have had more time to study and consider this issue.
Often Baha'is will say that they think a Constitutional Monarchy is the best form of Government, presumably drawing that conclusion from Baha'u'llah's words in the Bisharat.

The Fifteenth Bisharat says:

"Although a republican form of government profiteth all the peoples of the world, yet the majesty of kingship is one of the signs of God. We do not wish that the countries of the world should remain deprived thereof. If the sagacious combine the two forms into one, great will be their reward in the presence of God."


What I am wondering is if that conclusion is right. Does the word Kingship in the original Arabic mean simple hereditary rule, or does it mean a ruler with actual power? (I am assuming this Tablet was orginally Arabic, legal stuff usually is I think)

In the Tablet of the World Baha'u'llah says:
According to the fundamental laws which We have formerly revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and other Tablets, all affairs are committed to the care of just kings and presidents and of the Trustees of the House of Justice. Having pondered on that which We have enunciated, every man of equity and discernment will readily perceive, with his inner and outer eyes, the splendours of the day-star of justice which radiate therefrom.

The system of government which the British people have adopted in London appeareth to be good, for it is adorned with the light of both kingship and of the consultation of the people.


I am seeing a contradiction here. Baha'u'llah seems to say in the first paragraph that kings ought to have actual legal power, but then He praises the British system. In the British system the Sovereign has very little legal power, right?

I know that Baha'u'llah praises the British Sovereign's actions regarding slavery, but my understanding is that the British Parliament had a lot more to do with that. So, was the British Sovereign considerably more powerful in the 1800's than she is now?

---

My understanding is that the Kingship Baha'u'llah is recommending is a good bit more powerful than what we associate with Constitutional Monarchy today, somewhat like what the King of Jordan has begun moving too (If you know me well, I have a small obsession with the King of Jordan, He is my idol :D ). In light of this, I take issue with a statement in a magazine introducing the Baha'i Faith I once read. It talked about how Monarchy, Communism, and many other political systems had been proven pointless by the 20th century,a nd only democracy remained. My understanding is that Baha'u'llah actually teaches a good mix of Monarchy, Democracy, and even socialism. So Pragmatism as a legal system.

In The Promised Day is Come Shoghi Effendi says:
No wonder that Bahá’u’lláh, in view of the treatment meted out to 71 Him by the sovereigns of the earth, should, as already quoted, have written these words: “From two ranks amongst men power hath been seized: kings and ecclesiastics.” Indeed, He even goes further, and states in His Tablet addressed to Shaykh Salmán: “One of the signs of the maturity of the world is that no one will accept to bear the weight of kingship. Kingship will remain with none willing to bear alone its weight. That day will be the day whereon wisdom will be manifested among mankind. Only in order to proclaim the Cause of God and spread abroad His Faith will anyone be willing to bear this grievous weight. Well is it with him who, for love of God and His Cause, and for the sake of God and for the purpose of proclaiming His Faith, will expose himself unto this great danger, and will accept this toil and trouble.”


Can we draw the conclusion that all the Kings of the future will be Baha'is from this statement? "Only in order to proclaim the Cause of God and spread abroad His Faith will anyone be willing to bear this grievous weight."

God Bless,
Gerald
Truly, the Morn of Guidance commands the breeze to begin
All the world has been illuminated; every horizon, every people
No more sits the shaykh in the seat of hypocrisy
No more becomes the mosque a shop dispensing holiness
- Tahirih

Highmountain
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 9:50 am

Re: Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth

Postby Highmountain » Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:44 am

Hi RW,

I hope you don't mind a mid-thirties response ;). When I read quotes like these, I try to keep them in their context and reflect on the time period they were written. I am of the opinion that the institution of kingship had a profound importance in maintaining the unity of nations. "The Shadow of God on Earth" means (to me) that rulers had the obligation to rule with love, justice, mercy, compassion, exemplifying all the signs of God.

RuhiWarrior19 wrote:Often Baha'is will say that they think a Constitutional Monarchy is the best form of Government..


I've honestly never heard that before from any other Bahai's, but it is an interesting view. Here's a list of monarchies in Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_monarchies

You may be surprised at the numbers but it brings about an interesting point: Transition and progression are what we, as a race, are all about. I think Baha'u'llah was stating that kings and monarchies are a necessary mechanism for social and spiritual development as humanity enters it's state of maturity.

RuhiWarrior19 wrote:"If the sagacious combine the two forms into one, great will be their reward in the presence of God."


Now take that quote and look at your own country, how is it ruled? By a figurehead (president) who has power but shares a great deal of it with the senate (who represent the people). For myself, that seems to be the ideal mix. Nations that have similar forms of government have transitioned past the need solely for kings. It's this idea that makes me consider the context and timing of the writings.

You quoted this:
RuhiWarrior19 wrote:Quote:
According to the fundamental laws which We have formerly revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and other Tablets, all affairs are committed to the care of just kings and presidents and of the Trustees of the House of Justice. Having pondered on that which We have enunciated, every man of equity and discernment will readily perceive, with his inner and outer eyes, the splendours of the day-star of justice which radiate therefrom.

The system of government which the British people have adopted in London appeareth to be good, for it is adorned with the light of both kingship and of the consultation of the people.


I am seeing a contradiction here. Baha'u'llah seems to say in the first paragraph that kings ought to have actual legal power, but then He praises the British system. In the British system the Sovereign has very little legal power, right?


I don't see a contradiction, kings aren't the only rulers mentioned in the above quote. Also, there are still some nations that rely solely upon a king for leadership. It wasn't that long ago when the British sovereign did indeed wield the majority of the power (globally at that!). As that nation progresses, the monarchy will share less and less as the populace has a greater say in their own destiny.

You'll have to fill me in on your obsession with the King of Jordan and what he's moving towards...;)

RuhiWarrior19 wrote:In The Promised Day is Come Shoghi Effendi says:
Quote:
No wonder that Bahá’u’lláh, in view of the treatment meted out to 71 Him by the sovereigns of the earth, should, as already quoted, have written these words: “From two ranks amongst men power hath been seized: kings and ecclesiastics.” Indeed, He even goes further, and states in His Tablet addressed to Shaykh Salmán: “One of the signs of the maturity of the world is that no one will accept to bear the weight of kingship. Kingship will remain with none willing to bear alone its weight. That day will be the day whereon wisdom will be manifested among mankind. Only in order to proclaim the Cause of God and spread abroad His Faith will anyone be willing to bear this grievous weight. Well is it with him who, for love of God and His Cause, and for the sake of God and for the purpose of proclaiming His Faith, will expose himself unto this great danger, and will accept this toil and trouble.”


A beautiful quote, I read it a buzzillion times. I take it to mean that as mankind matures, the burden or responsibility of kingship will be shared by the people ( in the form of democracy ). As for the last part of the quote:
RuhiWarrior19 wrote:"Well is it with him who, for love of God and His Cause, and for the sake of God and for the purpose of proclaiming His Faith, will expose himself unto this great danger, and will accept this toil and trouble."


This means to me that Bahai's who go out into the world spreading and teaching the faith take on great responsibility, expose themselves to harm and endure exhaustive efforts. I feel the Guardian is drawing a parallel between the burden of teaching (and all that entails) and the burden of leading a nation. Requiring a kingly effort so to speak.

Great thread you've started! Hope that helped a little bit and my apologies in advance if I misunderstood any of your meanings.

Allah 'u' Abha,

HighMountain

richard
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:38 pm
Location: Michigan, by Canada

Re: Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth

Postby richard » Tue Apr 22, 2008 12:36 pm

Hello HighMountain,

Thank you for a truly great response to RuhiWarrior's questions and concerns about some quotes that were not clear to me either.

Indeed, you did an admirable job of putting a good and godly spiritual spin on some teachings that on the surface were not that spiritually clear for me.

It is always heart warming when someone on this site takes the time to actually reply to a person's concerns; and, actually clarifies and answers those concerns. You surely helped me find the good spirit of God in some of the teaching that were not that spiritually transparent to me... God bless you and yours, HighMountain... richard

RuhiWarrior19
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 7:47 am

Re: Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth

Postby RuhiWarrior19 » Tue Apr 22, 2008 10:41 pm

High Mountain,

I did mean "older-Baha'is" in terms of how long they had been Baha'is, not physical age. I have been a Baha'i for just barely a year on Ridvan 9. You beat me in both ages I think, most people do beat a 17 year old 1 year convert :p

I like and agree with your interpretation of "Shadow of God on Earth", and I am sure I agree.

However, and I wish I could give a longer response, I think you get far too figurative in your interpretation of some of the teaching. Let me give you an interpretive passage from the Guardian. I will post more when I am not pressed for time.
The Promised Day is Come
Recognition of Kingship
Let none, however, mistake or unwittingly misrepresent the purpose of Bahá’u’lláh. Severe as has been His condemnation pronounced against those sovereigns who persecuted Him, and however strict the censure expressed collectively against those who failed signally in their clear duty to investigate the truth of His Faith and to restrain the hand of the wrongdoer, His teachings embody no principle that can, in any way, be construed as a repudiation, or even a disparagement, however veiled, of the institution of kingship. The catastrophic fall, and the extinction of the dynasties and empires of those monarchs whose disastrous end He particularly prophesied, and the declining fortunes of the sovereigns of His Own generation, whom He generally reproved—both constituting a passing phase of the evolution of the Faith—should, in no wise, be confounded with the future position of that institution. Indeed if we delve into the writings of the Author of the Bahá’í Faith, we cannot fail to discover unnumbered passages in which, in terms that none can misrepresent, the principle of kingship is eulogized, the rank and conduct of just and fair-minded kings is extolled, the rise of monarchs, ruling with justice and even professing His Faith, is envisaged, and the solemn duty to arise and ensure the triumph of Bahá’í sovereigns is inculcated. To conclude from the above quoted words, addressed by Bahá’u’lláh to the monarchs of the earth, to infer from the recital of the woeful disasters that have overtaken so many of them, that His followers 72 either advocate or anticipate the definite extinction of the institution of kingship, would indeed be tantamount to a distortion of His teaching.
I can do no better than quote some of Bahá’u’lláh’s Own testimonies, leaving the reader to shape his own judgment as to the falsity of such a deduction. In His “Epistle to the Son of the Wolf” He indicates the true source of kingship: “Regard for the rank of sovereigns is divinely ordained, as is clearly attested by the words of the Prophets of God and His chosen ones. He Who is the Spirit [Jesus]—may peace be upon Him—was asked: ‘O Spirit of God! Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?’ And He made reply: ‘Yea, render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ He forbade it not. These two sayings are, in the estimation of men of insight, one and the same, for if that which belonged to Caesar had not come from God He would have forbidden it. And likewise in the sacred verse: ‘Obey God and obey the Apostle, and those among you invested with authority.’ By ‘those invested with authority’ is meant primarily and more specially the Imáms—the blessings of God rest upon them. They verily are the manifestations of the power of God and the sources of His authority, and the repositories of His knowledge, and the daysprings of His commandments. Secondarily these words refer unto the kings and rulers—those through the brightness of whose justice the horizons of the world are resplendent and luminous.”
And again: “In the Epistle to the Romans Saint Paul hath written: ‘Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.’ And further: ‘For he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.’ He saith that the appearance of the kings, and their majesty and power, are of God.”
And again: “A just king enjoyeth nearer access unto God than anyone. Unto this testifieth He Who speaketh in His Most Great Prison.”
Likewise in the Bishárát (Glad-Tidings) Bahá’u’lláh asserts that “the majesty of kingship is one of the signs of God.” “We do not wish,” He adds, “that the countries of the world should be deprived thereof.”
In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas He sets forth His purpose, and eulogizes the king who will profess His Faith: “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. Upon them the eyes of Bahá are fastened. To this 73 testifieth the Kingdom of Names, could ye but comprehend it. Whoso followeth his Lord, will renounce the world and all that is therein; how much greater, then, must be the detachment of Him Who holdeth so august a station!” “How great the blessedness that awaiteth the king who will arise to aid My Cause in My Kingdom, who will detach himself from all else but Me! Such a king is numbered with the Companions of the Crimson Ark—the Ark which God hath prepared for the people of Bahá. All must glorify his name, must reverence his station, and aid him to unlock the cities with the keys of My Name, the Omnipotent Protector of all that inhabit the visible and invisible kingdoms. Such a king is the very eye of mankind, the luminous ornament on the brow of creation, the fountainhead of blessings unto the whole world. Offer up, O people of Bahá, your substance, nay your very lives, for his assistance.”
In the Lawh-i-Sultán Bahá’u’lláh further reveals the significance of kingship: “A just king is the shadow of God on earth. All should seek shelter under the shadow of his justice, and rest in the shade of his favor. This is not a matter which is either specific or limited in its scope, that it might be restricted to one or another person, inasmuch as the shadow telleth of the One Who casteth it. God, glorified be His remembrance, hath called Himself the Lord of the worlds, for He hath nurtured and still nurtureth everyone. Glorified be, then, His grace that hath preceded all created things, and His mercy that hath surpassed the worlds.”
In one of His Tablets Bahá’u’lláh has also written: “The one true God, exalted be His glory, hath bestowed the government of the earth upon the kings. To none is given the right to act in any manner that would run counter to the considered views of them who are in authority. That which He hath reserved for Himself are the cities of men’s hearts; and of these the loved ones of Him Who is the Sovereign Truth are, in this Day, as the keys.”
In the following passage He expresses this wish: “We cherish the hope that one of the kings of the earth will, for the sake of God, arise for the triumph of this wronged, this oppressed people. Such a king will be eternally extolled and glorified. God hath prescribed unto this people the duty of aiding whosoever will aid them, of serving his best interests, and of demonstrating to him their abiding loyalty.”
In the Lawh-i-Ra’ís He actually and categorically prophesies the rise of such a king: “Erelong will God raise up from among the kings one who will aid His loved ones. He, verily, encompasseth all things. He will 74 instill in the hearts the love of His loved ones. This, indeed, is irrevocably decreed by One Who is the Almighty, the Beneficent.” In the Ridvánu’l-‘Adl, wherein the virtue of justice is exalted, He makes a parallel prediction: “Erelong will God make manifest on earth kings who will recline on the couches of justice, and will rule amongst men even as they rule their own selves. They, indeed, are among the choicest of My creatures in the entire creation.”
In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas He visualizes in these words the elevation to the throne of His native city, “the Mother of the World” and “the Dayspring of Light,” of a king who will be adorned with the twin ornaments of justice and of devotion to His Faith: “Let nothing grieve thee, O Land of Tá, for God hath chosen thee to be the source of the joy of all mankind. He shall, if it be His will, bless thy throne with one who will rule with justice, who will gather together the flock of God which the wolves have scattered. Such a ruler will, with joy and gladness, turn his face towards and extend his favors unto, the people of Bahá. He indeed is accounted in the sight of God as a jewel among men. Upon him rest forever the glory of God, and the glory of all that dwell in the kingdom of His Revelation.”
Truly, the Morn of Guidance commands the breeze to begin
All the world has been illuminated; every horizon, every people
No more sits the shaykh in the seat of hypocrisy
No more becomes the mosque a shop dispensing holiness
- Tahirih

Highmountain
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 9:50 am

Re: Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth

Postby Highmountain » Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:03 am

Hi RW,

It's always nice to see youth questioning and researching the writings, what better way to become acquainted with them!! I always hassled my dad with a barrage of questions about the Faith when I was a teenager, kept him sharp on it too and we both learned. What previous faith did you convert from if you don't mind my asking?

Anyways, onward and outward...

I'm curious...
RuhiWarrior19 wrote:I think you get far too figurative in your interpretation of some of the teaching


I do tend to go the figurative route, if for no other reason than the constant warnings against literal interpretations of Holy Texts I find peppered throughout the Writings. Point out to me where you feel I have been too figurative. I can understand where you're coming from though when one reads this excerpt:

RuhiWarrior19 wrote:To conclude from the above quoted words, addressed by Bahá’u’lláh to the monarchs of the earth, to infer from the recital of the woeful disasters that have overtaken so many of them, that His followers 72 either advocate or anticipate the definite extinction of the institution of kingship, would indeed be tantamount to a distortion of His teaching.


I neither advocate nor anticipate a definite extinction of the institution of kingship. However, I do speculate that the importance of the role of kingship (if only for now) is diminished in certain parts of the world. I'll quote myself in regards to England:
Highmountain wrote:As that nation progresses, the monarchy will share less and less as the populace has a greater say in their own destiny.


This is what I speculate only because it seems to be following this path for the moment.

Another excerpt:

RuhiWarrior19 wrote:The catastrophic fall, and the extinction of the dynasties and empires of those monarchs whose disastrous end He particularly prophesied and the declining fortunes of the sovereigns of His Own generation, whom He generally reproved—both constituting a passing phase of the evolution of the Faith—should, in no wise, be confounded with the future position of that institution


I wish I was farsighted enough to wholly understand what the future position of kingship entails but alas...It obviously has a role to play somewhere.

I'll leave off for now (it's horribly late/early) and wait for your thoughts...

Peace,

HighMountain

Highmountain
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 9:50 am

Re: Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth

Postby Highmountain » Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:06 am

You're welcome Richard, just one person's opinion, hope it helped...

Peace,

HM

onepence~2
Posts: 221
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:17 am

Re: Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth

Postby onepence~2 » Wed Apr 23, 2008 5:44 am

hmmm ... there has been much personal thought upon this subject

been ponderin the same subject
off and on
for over 5 years

some personal thoughts
which have no authority
or bearing
into any future , past or present realities
other than how these thoughts have taken shape and form
into this authors own heart

hmmm

The King of Kings

*smile*

if we truly believed
in our King of Kings

what would our lives
our society be like

???

*smile*

o such joyous times lay ahead for us

yet ... in practical terms ... there is a lot to be done ...

basically ... as we all know ... there is

"the lesser peace" & "the Most Great Peace"

the lesser peace is the political welding together of the planet
{economically,governmentlly,socially,etc}
btw ... Islam ... peace

the Most Great Peace is the spiritual unification of the planet
in which the Baha'i commonwealth will flourish
*smile*

as the lesser peace becomes more and more of a reality
the Light of Baha'u'llah shall appear to some to become more & more dim
because of the persecutions without mercy from all nations will be mercifulless
{or perhaps most mericiful for those of us whom know true bliss}

eventually the rulers , the "kings" if you will , tiring of the gifts of the mundane material world
will "seek" out the gifts from the spiritual world ...

it is then that the "kings" shall hearken to the word of Baha'u'llah
it is then that they shall marvel at how well the Baha'i Faith works
adopting to change yet constant with the Book

*smile*

and all will realize how beautiful The Universal House of Justice works
even though the beloved Guardian passed away ... still ...
The Universal House of Justice came into being and the Baha'i commonwealth flourished
to such an extent that even after hundreds and hunderds of years of severe persecution
stunning traces of her civilization still remained

wow

the path of kings
et all

*smile*

so what of the future of kings ? ...

defining the "political" aspect of a king is perhaps worthy of some note
yet ... one thinks it is more important to define the "spiritual" aspect

*smile*

hmmm ... ten thousand tasks seemed less than a twinkle in His eyes
at least by some accounts of the stories of Abdu'l Baha ...

if there ever was a model for a king upon this earth
that model would have to be Abdu'l Baha

hmmm ... ok ... for the nuts and bolts

it has been said [ {??}by Abdu'l Baha{??} ]that
America has been the most just nation on earth

why is that ??

{surely there is fault}
{if unable to accept most just nation on earth then perhaps ought to rethink}

because whatever Abdu'l Baha said is "truth"
*smile*
and there can be no room for doubt in truth
*said sternly*

hmmm ... most just nation on earth

America

{!!!!!!} {????} {!!!!}

herein lays the fun part ... for the kings
{smile} ...

it can be determined as Baha'u'llah hath said
paraphrased perhaps
"the tongue seeketh to exhort influence"

thus individuals , not being properly schooled into the realities of the spiritual world ,
will tend to use "the tongue" to "exhort influence" into such an extant as to become
a tyrant

yes ... a tyrant ...

not a king ... a low down lying cheating self gratyfing tyrant

and this is what Americans were concerned about

about how to ensure the tyrant {king}{george?}would not rule
as they devoloped the constitution of the United States of America

thus the branches of government were clearly defined
legislative, executive, judicial

now granted these "branches of government" were formed and controlled by selfish men

yet this does not negate what Abdu'l Baha says about America
{read what He says ... amazing ... let this American democracy}
{much much to be heard and to be learned}
*smile*

it is very very possible
at least in theory

that local spiritual assemblies
in america {perhaps not elsewhere} but in America
will evolve into modeling the distinctions made in the American constitution concerning
these "branches of government"

thus we may find
one a local level
the lsas evolving into a House of Justice
and appointing {not electing} a "mayor"
and the people "electing" their legislatures

House of Jusice being as the judicial
the mayor as executive
the "elected" as legislative
{legislative apponts judicial}
{{??}}

the three branches of government

*smile*

mayor equates to a small degree a king

of course bein a king is not what bein a Baha'i is all about

bein an apostle of Baha'u'llah is what bein a Baha'i is all about

*smile*

thus we have come full circle

from kings to apsotles

just some personal thoughts
which have no authority or bearing
into any future , past or present realities
other than how these thoughts have taken shape and formed
into this authors own heart

*smile*

oneness,
dh

richard
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 11:38 pm
Location: Michigan, by Canada

Re: Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth

Postby richard » Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:43 am

RuhiWarrior19 wrote:Allah-u-abha Friends!

I have been thinking about the issue of Kingship in the Baha'i writings. This is for me one of the hardest teachings of Baha'u'llah to accept, as I am an American through and through. I think this teaching gets largely ignored by Baha'is, since we are probably all rather uncomfortable with the praise Baha'u'llah gives to the institution of kingship.

I am sure I am not the only Baha'i who has trouble accepting the statement that Kings are the Shadow of God on Earth. But I try. :)

God Bless,
Gerald


Hello Gerald,

I want to thank you, in retrospect, for your most interesting question(s) and concern(s). Your spirit of independent investigation has surely brought out some very good insights and answers from HighMountain and Onepence, which i hope were as helpful for you as they were for me.

Indeed, there are good kings and not so good "kings" and we need to discern from their words, beings, behaviors, and relationships how much their "shadows" reflect the spiritual substance of the One and Only King of kings, our One and Only God of us All. And, this is only in my humble opinion, and i am always open to sincere comments, questions, and constructive corrections & criticisms.

Great to see you and your good questioning heart, mind, and soul on this website, and i truly think you are in good hands, and good company, with HighMountain and Onepence, who well reflect spiritual love & goodness, as well as intelligent wisdom and understanding...

God bless you and all your loved ones, Gerald, today and forever... richard :smile:

brettz9
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Contact:

Re: Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth

Postby brettz9 » Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:15 am

This is just a pilgrim's note (unauthenticated), but still interesting:

Luncheon 17 November 1919

Dr. Esslemont quoted from Bahá'u'lláh's Glad Tidings: "‘Although a republican government profits all the people of the world, yet the majesty of Kingship is one of the signs of God. We do not wish that the countries of the world should be deprived thereof.' Does this mean that a hereditary monarchy, such as England is preferable to a form of government whose head is elected for a period of years as in the United States?"

‘Abdu'l-Bahá: "Actual despotic government is undesirable. A republican form of government is good, but a constitutional monarchy is better, because it combines both kingship and republic. It is a form of government with a distinctive head."

Dr. Esslemont: "Is there any advantage in having a permanent ruler?"

‘Abdu'l-Bahá: "In case we have no permanent ruler we shall have a republican form of government and having a republican government that form of government will lead to dissension and oppression during the election times. Then Justice will not prevail.

"I was in America when Wilson was elected. There was so much dispute between Taft and Roosevelt. One would say Wilson is good, and one would say Taft. This was the general conversation and there was constant dispute and conflict. The papers were in discord. In public gatherings, even in churches, there was distraction. Secretary Bryan and his wife came to me in ‘Akká. He came a second time. When I went to America I wanted to meet him. He had no time. He was making speeches every day. In short, he had no time. Once every four years there is an election."

Dr. Esslemont: "If the king is unworthy does the parliament have power to remove him?"

‘Abdu'l-Bahá: "The parliament can remove him, certainly. In a constitutional monarchy the king has nothing to do. All the affairs are settled by the cabinet and the parliament of the nation."

Dr. Esslemont: "Will parliament appoint the Prime Minister?"

‘Abdu'l-Bahá: "No, the King will appoint the Prime Minister, but he will be responsible to the parliament of the nation. He will be responsible before the members of the parliament and if he is at fault he will be dismissed. The difference lies in this that when there is a distinctive head, a kingdom has a dignity of its own. For example, take France and England. In France there is no dignity attached to the Government, but in England there is more of it."

Mr. Latimer: "We always speak of the Kingdom of God and not the republic of God. Earthly things should be the counterpart of the spiritual world."

‘Abdu'l-Bahá: "Well said. In London the Persian Ambassador came to me. He said there is some discussion between England and Persia about a certain matter. Sir Edward Grey has said the matter must be so. I came to Paris and the Turkish Ambassador came to me. He said that with regard to a certain matter the President of the Republic says so and so, but we left the matter pending. Very soon there will be a new election and perhaps there will be a President who will agree with our ideas. But of that matter in London the Ambassador said ‘Impossible'. As long as Grey says, ‘Do so,' it must be done. The President of the Republic will certainly be dismissed but Grey will remain. That is why He (Bahá'u'lláh) says a constitutional monarchy is better, because it combines a republican form of government and a monarchy."

Mr. Randall: "In such a case will there be any princes and nobles?"

‘Abdu'l-Bahá: "He who serves (the government). No one can say that I must be respected because my father has been a general. A person who does not serve the nation will not have any distinction, although he may be respected. He will be respected because of the services of his father. So far as offices are concerned, he will be given no preference; but he who serves must have the mark of distinction. It could not be otherwise. Were it not so, no one would care to serve. For instance, Bismarck. What a great service he performed. He raised Germany. But after he had gone, they enjoyed no special distinction. Consider this, that Germany had seventy million population. One person made this Empire and raised it. This person was wise. But seventy million caused its downfall. One person was better than seventy million. One perfect man is better than one hundred million imperfect men."

http://bahai-library.com/pilgrims/light.of.world.html


As far as being an American, I think to be a true American is to wish to seek out whatever could improve the country. Being too proud of one's accomplishments and complacent in them is one of the greatest barriers to progress, in a nation's development as well as that of an individual.

You can best serve your country, was `Abdu'l-Bahá's rejoinder to a high official in the service of the federal government of the United States of America, who had questioned Him as to the best manner in which he could promote the interests of his government and people, if you strive, in your capacity as a citizen of the world, to assist in the eventual application of the principle of federalism underlying the government of your own country to the relationships now existing between the peoples and nations of the world.

World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 37


best wishes,
Brett

brettz9
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Re: Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth

Postby brettz9 » Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:53 am

There is also this one:

Regarding the publication of a pamphlet on the Bahá'í Teachings on Monarchy, funds and circumstances permitting, the Guardian sees no objection to this whatsoever. It might appeal to a certain type of British mind very much, though he fears there are other minds to which it may not appeal! However, considering Bahá'u'lláh has taught these things, there is no reason why we should not share them with those interested in the subject.

(Unfolding Destiny, p. 335)

onepence~2
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Re: Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth

Postby onepence~2 » Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:39 am

‘Abdu'l-Bahá: "In case we have no permanent ruler we shall have a republican form of government and having a republican government that form of government will lead to dissension and oppression during the election times. Then Justice will not prevail."

*smile*

yes could not agree more.

thank you brettz9 for providing the quote.

hmmm ...

yes ... it will be awesome when we learn to follow our Master ...
yet ... it takes great patience ... saintly patience ...
to guide the wayward into the straight and narrow

brettz9
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Re: Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth

Postby brettz9 » Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:39 pm

You are right, Dean, and I wish I could reflect that "infinite patience" more. Though I think infinite impatience is often missing from the mix too (an impatience that could be sublimated into positive channels). As 'Abdu'l-Baha states, everything is created for good, including greed and anger.

onepence~2
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Re: Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth

Postby onepence~2 » Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:49 pm

brettz9 wrote:You are right, Dean, and I wish I could reflect that "infinite patience" more. Though I think infinite impatience is often missing from the mix too (an impatience that could be sublimated into positive channels). As 'Abdu'l-Baha states, everything is created for good, including greed and anger.


*smile*

you too are also quite right about the infinite impatience
yes ... this thought brought a soft chuckle to our being

thank you

and thank you to all who are participating in this thread
fascinating topic

hmmm ... you know ... the old saying

"confession is good for the soul"

we should change it to

"consultation is good for the soul"

{we suppose the saying has been said before} ... but still ... it bears repeating

consultation is good for the soul

*smile*

in this regard ... we shall continue writing ... in a frank and open manner
with little if any regard to grammatical error

hmmm ...

the executive branch ... yes ... Re: Kingship and the practice of patience

some personal reflections

learning to work for the state ... ie the King ...
has been very difficult for me ...
actually in some cases very easy ...
{like memorizing prays easy}
but the day to Day grind
like learning when to speak , when to be silent ,
when to halt , advance , retreat
etc , etc etc
is , has been , and always will be a challenge
for all who wish to serve the King

ok ... maybe a few of you reading this note
know that I created , manufactured, and distributed a Baha'i rotating calendar
wow ... it was/is an awesome experience ...
challenging beyond belief
{based upon wages at the time start up capitial was phenominial}
and although the design ,like how a 5 yr old is taught to tell time , was quite simple
executing the design into working reality proved to be difficult

we mention this because at the time we also were studying
These Perspicuous Verses
{http://bahai-library.com/books/verses.html}
which ends in the refrain

"Be patient, for thy Lord is Patient."

well ... while meditating upon These Perspicuous Verses

we noticed that there is a dramtic theme to these Verses
which would lend itself quite readily for musical interpertation

we tried various tones at different passages
and found ourselves amazed
especially at realizing how there eventually could be a
traditional musical interpertation of these verses
becoming as popular or even more so as
"amazzing grace" is to our churches

*smile*

hmmm ... dh note ... rough draft ...
more later ... will tie into thoughts about Kingships and apostles

*smile*

brettz9
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Re: Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth

Postby brettz9 » Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:01 am

Do share... I recall reading 'Abdu'l-Baha advising an artist who told Him about her work that she should prepare it and publish it. Or as the Counselor thankfully told Helen Hornby before Lights of Guidance made its way out of the dark, we Baha'is cannot be selfish with our creations... ;)

onepence~2
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Re: Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth

Postby onepence~2 » Fri Apr 25, 2008 9:53 am

brettz9 wrote:Do share... I recall reading 'Abdu'l-Baha advising an artist who told Him about her work that she should prepare it and publish it. Or as the Counselor thankfully told Helen Hornby before Lights of Guidance made its way out of the dark, we Baha'is cannot be selfish with our creations... ;)


yes yes yes

*smile*

this thread may take a few days or months or years ... but ... as we know

one of the themes of this thread is patience ...

so ... as time permits ... we shall carry on

*smile*

in many respects ... our musical interpretation of These Perspicuous Verses
was a private affair ... and thus these reflections on these memories ...
even as they were occuring ... was symbolic of the intense spirirtual life of this believer ...

hmmm ... so as we mediated upon the inherent tones ...
we naturally wondered about the "character" of the individual who
would bring these into the physical world ...

we knew we never would ... it would be some other individuals ...
but still ... what would it be like to be mozart , chopin , beethoven ...
in the Baha'i world ... ??? ...

like the one to bring Amazing Grace to the Church .... ???

many a joyous hour was passed
"at even tide and at dawn"
in reflecting upon what sort of "character" could accomplish this task

hmmm ... as mentioned ... this mediation in retrospect
was more about my own character ... more so than
any thoughts that this might actually happpen in physical reality

almost ... like imagination interpurted through junigan theory
is how the reader should read the following thought process

*smile*

yes ... so there we were imagininag the choirs singing
and ... the indivdual whom composed what would eventually be considered as
the "traditional" musical associated with the Verses

as a side note ... personally i was more concerned about my own memorization
of These Perspicuous Verses ... wanted to be Word perfect ... from memory
no mistakes ... lol ... the best i was able to do was about 15 mistakes ...
perhaps if judging leniantly had only three "word" mistakes ... hmmm ...
mind you ... i was just doin this all alone ... in my own little room ...
walk around the little mobile home park at "eventide" ... enjoying the sunset ...
imagning walking into a House of Worship and reciting ...

hmmm ... Word Perfect ... yes ... high standards we set for ourselve ...
also realized at the time that various tradions held that to get into certain schools
... or to pass certain religious training ... people have been required to memorize
portions of The Word ... most notably within Islam this has been the case

so ... sometimes we would use our imagination ... to seek out ...
the "traditional" musical ...

hmmm ...

ok ... this is how we imagined it be played out for the person involved in fullfilling this noble task ... basically a good guy that was head strong ... wanted to bring this musical gift into the world ... developed some good relationships within the community ... and .. formed a choir ... although knowing the basic melody much time was spent in develping the details ...
eventually ... as the choir , the music was reaching fruition ... entering into the climax of unfolding the gift ... The House of Justice ... for unkown reasons ... asked the compossor not to perform at The House of Worship anymore ...

now mind you ... this is just imagination ... nothing like this as far as i know has ever happened in real life ... more or less some people can interpret this imaginative story as
symbolic of what was happening in the individual who imagined it own life ... hmm ... sad smile

so being asked not to perform ... was crushing ... for the most part unacceptable ...
surely the music must go on ... surely there must be away to have his great music take center stage ...

How much and what type of fight ... you know there are a lot of people in a choir ... should and/or would the composer do to have his music performed ...

well ... in imagination the composer ended up trying different tatics ... first he wanted to perform in the House of Worship anyway ... was convinced by a member of the House of Justice that the doors would be locked {to him} and that it would be best not to even try it ... so the composer withdrew and held "choir practice" at a different location ... as small amounts of time passed large amounts of people dropped out of the choir

sad to say ... that is pretty much were my imagination left this individual ...
... away from the House of Worship singing his heart out ... in the House of Worship
quite and respectful

*smile*

hmmm ... as promised ...

these writings will eventual tie into thoughts about Kingship

but for now the author must leave his readers

and perhaps the readers will be able to delve into their own thoughtss about Kingship

and how this story might relate ... things like

Who controls what and why ?

??????

?????
?

oneness,
dh

onepence~2
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Re: Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth

Postby onepence~2 » Tue May 13, 2008 11:29 am

"Let nothing grieve thee, O Land of Tá, for God hath chosen thee to be the source of the joy of all mankind. He shall, if it be His Will, bless thy throne with one who will rule with justice, who will gather together the flock of God which the wolves have scattered. Such a ruler will, with joy and gladness, turn his face towards, and extend his favours unto, the people of Bahá. He indeed is accounted in the sight of God as a jewel among men. Upon him rest forever the glory of God and the glory of all that dwell in the kingdom of His revelation."

*smile*

yes ... Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth ... as proposed by Baha'u'llah ... will

gather together the flock of God

"Let nothing grieve thee, O Land of Tá, for God hath chosen thee to be the source of the joy of all mankind."

Sen McGlinn
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Re: Kingship - The Shadow of God on Earth

Postby Sen McGlinn » Wed May 14, 2008 9:10 am

> I have been thinking about the issue of Kingship in the
> Baha'i writings. This is for me one of the hardest
> teachings of Baha'u'llah to accept,


For me it is not at all hard to accept; rather, American insistence
that theirs is the best form of government is evidence of how little
they know of the world. I have lived in two constitutional monarchies,
and I have the opportunity in Europe to compare a number of
constitutional monarchies (the UK, Netherlands, Spain, Denmark ...)
with presidential systems (France, Germany, Italy), and the comparison
is clear. Constitutional monarchy is the state-of-the-art social
technology, and the presidential democracies that are closest to constitutional monarchy –
those with a figure-head president and a cabinet and prime minister
ruling – are better than presidential democracies that resemble actual
monarchies, with the president holding executive power (USA), but these
in turn are probably better than the French system, which has *both* an
executive president and a prime minister with executive power.

This is a matter of simple political observation. It accords with
Baha'u'llah's views, but one does not have to have faith and Bahai
scriptures to see that constitutional monarchy is better than
presidential rule. There are republican movements in the Netherlands,
and in the UK, but they are minuscule. The one in the Netherlands only
claims a few hundred members, and probably has a few dozen.

There are many reasons why constitutional monarchy is better. Most
important, it goes together with parliamentary rule, and a cabinet
chosen (mainly) out of the parliament, and in any case requiring a
vote of confidence from the parliament, and with a prime minister who
is first among equals in the cabinet, as well as being, usually, the
head of the largest party. That means that there are many ways of
getting rid of a bad government. The Prime Minister can lose his or
her position as head of the party, as Margaret Thatcher did. The
governing coalition that makes up the Cabinet can fall apart, for
instance if a party decides that the course being taken is unpopular
and its interests are served by speaking out and getting out. Cabinet
can lose a vote of confidence in parliament, for instance if it loses
support through by-elections or party switching. All this means that
the executive power is more controllable, and that its policies have
to be debated and argued, they have to persuade people with evidence
and arguments to win political support week by week and month by
month. In the monarchial-presidential system such as that of the USA,
the president is virtually untouchable, can veto legislation, act in
defiance of the `parliament' and can be removed not by a political
process but by a legal one, in which (theoretically) political
reasoning is not supposed to be relevant.

The drawback of the cabinet system is that it is based on a
parliament, and parliament has to be dissolved to hold elections.
After the elections, a coalition has to be formed, a cabinet proposed,
and then a vote of confidence must be won. A caretaker cabinet
continues to operate the executive function, but it has no legitimacy
to call parliament or direct the formation of a coalition. Cabinet is
responsible to parliament, not vice versa. So the cabinet system of
government (of the executive power, to be precise) requires a
non-parliamentary and preferably non-political actor outside the
system to initiate the process that begins once the election results
are known. This outside party can be a figurehead monarch, or a president without
executive power. The problems with using a president for the job is (1) that, being elected,
he or she has a political colour, but is now required to be an impartial
interpreter and implementer of the election results in guiding the
cabinet formation, and (2) that being elected, he or she has some
sort of mandate. The constitutional monarch, in contrast, has no popular mandate, is simply there
by accident, and therefore does not compete in legitimacy with the
parliament, which really does have a mandate, and delegates it to the
cabinet and prime minister. The French system is what happens when a
President translates that mandate into actual power, thus splitting
the executive and being able to thwart the will of the parliament by
vetoing laws and influence the cabinet formation in favour of his own party.
The Israeli system is a presidential one that has
succeeded in limiting its president strictly to his role in the parliamentary
electoral cycle, but it cannot escape the drawback of his political
entanglement.

Another disadvantage of the presidential system as compared to
constitutional monarchy is that the election of the president in
itself disrupts the continuity which the president is intended to
provide. Abdu'l-Baha says:

"When the head of the government is elected every few years, the whole
country at the time of the presidential election becomes immersed in
political contests and agitation. When the country is in such a state
justice will not prevail."

I've quoted this report in full, in Appendix 2 of _Church and State_.

I'll try to look at what the Bahai scriptures say about monarchy in a
separate post, and to look at your specific questions.
For now, I'll just mention my reading of "kings are the
shadow of God on Earth." The lesson that Baha'u'llah seems to draw
from this is not that the King is halfway to being God (divine right
of kings etc...) but rather that since God is the sun and shines
equally on all, if the king is the shadow of God, the king must extend
protection and justice equally to all the subjects, without
discrimination.

You might like to look at Shoghi Effendi's long compilation on
monarchy and the Bahai teachings, in The Promised Day is
Come pages 70-73

Sen


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