Covenant breakers

All research or scholarship questions
dragonaxe
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:58 am

Covenant breakers

Postby dragonaxe » Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:04 am

Whilst perusing (I love that word, lol) one of the other topics here about Baha'u'llahs photographs (viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5010) I came across this quote..

And now, one of the greatest and most fundamental principles of the Cause of God is to shun and avoid entirely the Covenant-breakers, for they will utterly destroy the Cause of God, exterminate His Law and render of no account all efforts exerted in the past.
(Bahá'í World Faith, p. 448)


As the Cause is God's chosen method of communication for today (and the next thousand years) how can mere mortals (whether they be covenant breakers or not) possibly destroy it?

any ideas?

brettz9
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Re: Covenant breakers

Postby brettz9 » Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:59 am

I think this is kind of like the puzzle about whether God could create a rock so heavy that even He could not carry it. :)

'Abdu'l-Baha is referring to the damage that can indeed be caused by Covenant-breakers and failing to severe social ties with them, but I believe He is using the technique of "exaggerated emphasis" here (as Shoghi Effendi stated He used), since other passages refer to this being the day not to be followed by a night, where no permanent schism would take place.

best wishes,
Brett

dragonaxe
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:58 am

Re: Covenant breakers

Postby dragonaxe » Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:19 am

forgive me, but "exaggerated emphasis" feels like a bit of a slippery slope in the direction of lying.

i'm not suggesting that abdul baha EVER lied!! but the idea of suggesting that he spoke anything but plain simple truth makes me feel very uncomfortable.

brettz9
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Re: Covenant breakers

Postby brettz9 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:46 pm

The phrase I mentioned comes from a letter on behalf of Shoghi Effendi:

The Master uses the term 'the Divine Reality is sanctified from singleness' in order to forcibly impress us with the fact that the Godhead is unknowable and that to define It is impossible; we cannot contain It in such concepts as singleness and plurality which we apply to things we know and can experience. He uses the method of exaggerated emphasis in order to drive home His thought that we know the sun indirectly thru the Manifestations of God. (20 February 1950, emphasis added)

(cited at http://bahai-library.com/bsr/bsr02/21_f ... tation.htm )


I don't think there is anything lacking in truth here. Consider this:

We must take the teachings as a great, balanced whole, not seek out and oppose to each other two strong statements that have different meanings; somewhere in between, there are links uniting the two. That is what makes our Faith so flexible and well balanced. For instance there are calamities for testing and for punishment--there are also accidents, plain cause and effect!

(On behalf of Shoghi Effendi, at http://bahai-library.com/file.php?file= ... radictions )


I think the emphasis causes us to see how damaging Covenant-breaking can be, and how it can affect those involved in it, even if it cannot lead to a permanent schism.

As to the most great characteristic of the revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, a specific teaching not given by any of the Prophets of the past: It is the ordination and appointment of the Center of the Covenant. By this appointment and provision He has safeguarded and protected the religion of God against differences and schisms, making it impossible for anyone to create a new sect or faction of belief. To ensure unity and agreement He has entered into a Covenant with all the people of the world, including the interpreter and explainer of His teachings, so that no one may interpret or explain the religion of God according to his own view or opinion and thus create a sect founded upon his individual understanding of the divine Words.

(Attributed to 'Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 455-456)


"The fundamental difference, however, between this Dispensation and all previous ones is this, that in this Revelation the possibility of permanent schism between the followers of the Prophet has been prevented through the direct and explicit instructions providing for the necessary instruments designed to maintain the organic unity of the body of the Faithful."

(on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, at http://bahai-library.com/writings/shogh ... c-113.html )


I think it also helps to keep in mind that there are certain limitations of language--especially if the Writings were not to turn into uninspiring legalese---under which the Founders of the Faith, as with any one, must work.

Besides this, sometimes God is actually deliberately testing us. We might not want Him to make it difficult for us--just as we may not want to face the physical or mental suffering He sometimes gives us or those in the world around us--but He wants us to arise to the challenge.

And now ponder in thy heart the commotion which God stirreth up. Reflect upon the strange and manifold trials with which He doth test His servants. Consider how He hath suddenly chosen from among His servants, and entrusted with the exalted mission of divine guidance Him Who was known as guilty of homicide, Who, Himself, had acknowledged His cruelty, and Who for well-nigh thirty years had, in the eyes of the world, been reared in the home of Pharaoh and been nourished at his table. Was not God, the omnipotent King, able to withhold the hand of Moses from murder, so that manslaughter should not be attributed unto Him, causing bewilderment and aversion among the people?...

Behold how contrary are the ways of the Manifestations of God, as ordained by the King of creation, to the ways and desires of men! As thou comest to comprehend the essence of these divine mysteries, thou wilt grasp the purpose of God, the divine Charmer, the Best-Beloved.

(Kitab-i-Iqan, par. 58, 61, emphasis added)


I especially like the last phrase which I believe implies it is through this mystery of life that God charms, or, to use a synonym with implications of even some deception, beguiles us.

This is not to say that God's way and truth are veiled constantly in obscurity and that we are left in the dark about religious truth and the basic guidance we need to life our lives in His path, but as the Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and others are still discovering in regard to the promises in their scriptures, sometimes scriptures have a veiled meaning which is not immediately obvious on its face. Makes life interesting... :) At least, to the degree we can resign ourselves to His being in control...

He doeth as He doeth, and what recourse have we? He carrieth out His Will, He ordaineth what He pleaseth. Then better for thee to bow down thy head in submission, and put thy trust in the All-Merciful Lord.

(Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, sec. 22)


best wishes,
Brett

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

Re: Covenant breakers

Postby onepence~2 » Sun Dec 27, 2009 2:12 pm

dragonaxe wrote:forgive me, but "exaggerated emphasis" feels like a bit of a slippery slope in the direction of lying.

i'm not suggesting that abdul baha EVER lied!! but the idea of suggesting that he spoke anything but plain simple truth makes me feel very uncomfortable.


i am with you on that.

however it certainly was nice of brettz9 to clarify his thoughts.

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'This is the balance . This is the balance . This is the balance '

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

Re: Covenant breakers

Postby onepence~2 » Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:48 pm

dragonaxe wrote:Whilst perusing (I love that word, lol) one of the other topics here about Baha'u'llahs photographs (http://bahai-library.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5010) I came across this quote..

And now, one of the greatest and most fundamental principles of the Cause of God is to shun and avoid entirely the Covenant-breakers, for they will utterly destroy the Cause of God, exterminate His Law and render of no account all efforts exerted in the past.
(Bahá'í World Faith, p. 448)


As the Cause is God's chosen method of communication for today (and the next thousand years) how can mere mortals (whether they be covenant breakers or not) possibly destroy it?

any ideas?


Faithfulness and Rebellion:
Ibrahim Khayru'llah and the Early American Baha'is

The story of Ibrahim Khayru'llah is an example of the truth that the higher a person is raised in rank, the greater must become his humility—not only so that he is protected, but so that the spiritual reality of his rank may speak through him and elevate the world. Otherwise, the person may succumb to the promptings of self, and fall greatly; and few falls in religious history are as great, as that of Ibrahim Khayru'llah.

The man who brought the Baha'i Faith to America

Khayru'llah brought the Baha'i Faith to the West. He established the American Baha'i Community, bringing thousands of people into the fold, including the first generation of the greatest American believers. Khayru'llah and some of these early believers accompanied Phoebe Hearst on the first pilgrimage of believers from the West, in 1898, during the days of Abdu'l-Baha. On one of the days of his pilgrimage, he was given the astonishing honor of being invited by Abdu'l-Baha to accompany Him in the laying of the cornerstone of the Shrine of the Bab on Mount Carmel. Rather than being humbled by such honors and by the divine confirmations bringing this success; rather than turning with increasing humility and devotion to the Center of the Covenant, and directing all praise to Him; he chose to follow his own ego. Like every other Covenant-breaker, he threw so very much away, and ended up as nothing, and with nothing.

http://bahai-covenant.blogspot.com/2009 ... ahais.html

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But upon his return to America after his Pilgrimage, Khayru'llah rebelled against Abdu'l-Baha. I have seen several motives suggested. One, that Khayru'llah had at first been the one to whom the believers had turned for spiritual advice. However, once they began to go on Pilgrimage, they met Abdu'l-Baha and began receiving Tablets from Him, and, following the Covenant of Baha'u'llah, turned to Him. Khayru'llah's jealousy was aroused; he had enjoyed leadership. It seems possible to me that another cause of this rebellion may be during his Pilgrimage he met Mirza Muhammad-Ali, the half-brother of Abdu'l-Baha, whose seething jealousy of Abdu'l-Baha knew no bounds. Mirza Muhammad-Ali would invite pilgrims to his residence, the Mansion of Bahji, which was the last residence of Baha'u'llah, and throw feasts in their honor. He would flatter them, indirectly criticize Abdu'l-Baha, and plant the seeds of rebellion. During these days, Abdu'l-Baha had not yet exposed the wiles of the Covenant-breakers to the Baha'i community; that came at a later date.

This is a very great admonition to anyone who would consider ever meeting with, or even reading the literature of, a Covenant-breaker. Imagine—although Khayru'llah had received so much from the hand of Abdu'l-Baha, and had tasted the sweetness of His love and spirit; he was turned away, by the poisonous atmosphere of the Arch-breaker of the Covenant. If such a person, who received so much from Abdu'l-Baha face-to-face, who knew His love, could be turned against Him; how much more should we heed the warnings Abdu'l-Baha gives in His Will and Testament about complete avoidance of Covenant-breakers.

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BruceDLimber
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Re: Covenant breakers

Postby BruceDLimber » Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:54 am

Greetings! :-)

dragonaxe wrote:As the Cause is God's chosen method of communication for today (and the next thousand years) how can mere mortals (whether they be covenant breakers or not) possibly destroy it?


They can't. NOTHING can prevent the Cause of God from prevailing!

But what covenant-breakers can do is interfere with the Faith's immediate progress and DELAY its victories.

Ultimately, yes; they'll fail.

But they can cause temporary harm and setbacks in the meantime (just as indeed can Baha'is who aren't true to the Covenant and Baha'i laws).

Peace,

Bruce


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