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Editor: Dianne Bradford, 5384 Tansas Ln., Hilliard, OH 43026

Vol. 1, No. 12

     Topic: This Fleeting World                          Page 1
      This newsletter is dedicated to all seekers after the Eternal Truth.

            Know thou that every hearing ear, if kept pure and undefiled, must, at all times and from every direction, hearken to the voice that uttereth these holy words:
"Verily, we are God's, and to Him shall we return."1

           The above passage, I feel, really sets the tone for this whole issue: "We are God's, and to Him shall we return" sounds pretty clear to me. It unequivocally states Who has exclusive ownership over us, and, consequently, also over everything we own. The way I see it, everything that we think we possess, from the universe and our planet, right down to and including our bodies, is merely on temporary loan from the All-Possessing, and we should think of it as such. After all, most people take more care with others' possessions than they do even with their own; so, if we realize that what we we think of as ours, is really only what we have been allowed to use out of God's endless wealth, we can develop a better, more spiritual attitude about this material world and its contents.

     O SON OF MAN!
      Bestow My wealth upon My poor, that in heaven thou mayest draw from stores of unfading splendor and treasures of imperishable glory. But by My life! To offer up thy soul is a more glorious thing couldst thou but see with Mine eye.2

           As Bahá'u'lláh clearly indicates in the previous passage, the "wealth" that is bestowed upon us by the All-Bountiful is not ours to do with as we please, but it is God's and He tells us how He wishes us to spend it. He says "Bestow My wealth upon My poor;" He does not say to bestow our wealth upon His poor, but His. Any wealth that comes into our possession, comes ultimately from God, and we should never forget that. We should not become too attached to the things of this world. After all, all of our possessions in this world are transient and temporary. Even our bodies are not designed to last forever, but are designed to eventually die; we have even our bodies but for a time. The next passage points out how transitory the things of this world are, and how useless or even dangerous it is for us to become too attached to them, or to allow them to take on too much importance in our lives:
      Say: Rejoice not in the things ye possess; tonight they are yours, tomorrow others will possess them. Thus warneth you He Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Informed. Say: Can ye claim that what ye own is lasting or secure? Nay! By Myself, the All-Merciful, ye cannot, if ye be of them who judge fairly. The days of your life flee away as a breath of wind, and all your pomp and glory shall be folded up as were the pomp and glory of those gone before you. Reflect, O people! What hath become of your bygone days, your lost centuries? Happy the days that have been consecrated to the remembrance of God, and blessed the hours which have been spent in praise of Him Who is the All-Wise. By My life! Neither the pomp of the mighty, nor the wealth of the rich, nor even the ascendancy of the ungodly will endure. All will perish, at a word from Him. He, verily, is the All-Powerful, the All-Compelling, the Almighty. What advantage is there in the earthly things which men possess? That which shall profit them, they have utterly neglected. Erelong, they will awake from their slumber, and find themselves unable to obtain that which hath escaped them in the days of their Lord, the Almighty, the All-Praised. Did they but know it, they would renounce their all, that their names may be mentioned before His throne. They, verily, are accounted among the dead.3

           Since the topic of this issue touches heavily on wealth, I think a discussion by the Center of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, on the topic of "True Wealth" would be very appropriate and enlightening at this time:
The Seeker's Passage, Vol. I, Number 12, Page 2

      The honor and exaltation of every existing being depends upon causes and circumstances.
           The excellency, the adornment, and the perfection of the earth is to be verdant and fertile through the bounty of the clouds of springtime. Plants grow; flowers and fragrant herbs spring up; fruit-bearing trees become full of blossoms and bring forth fresh and new fruit. Gardens become beautiful, and meadows adorned; mountains and plains are clad in a green robe, and gardens, fields, villages and cities are decorated. This is the prosperity of the mineral world.
               The height of exaltation and the perfection of the vegetable world is that a tree should grow on the bank of a stream of fresh water, that a gentle breeze should blow on it, that the warmth of the sun should shine on it, that a gardener should attend to its cultivation, and that day by day it should develop and yield fruit. But its real prosperity is to progress into the animal and human world, and replace that which has been exhausted in the bodies of animals and men.
           The exaltation of the animal world is to possess perfect members, organs and powers, and to have all its needs supplied. This is its chief glory, its honor and exaltation. So the supreme happiness of an animal is to have possession of a green and fertile meadow, perfectly pure flowing water, and a lovely, verdant forest. If these things are provided for it, no greater prosperity can be imagined. For example, if a bird builds its nest in a green and fruitful forest, in a beautiful high place, upon a strong tree, and at the top of a lofty branch, and if it finds all its needs of seeds and water, this is its perfect prosperity.
           But real prosperity for the animal consists in passing from the animal world to the human world, like the microscopic beings that, through the water and air, enter into man and are assimilated, and replace that which has been consumed in his body. This is the great honor and prosperity for the animal world; no greater honor can be conceived for it.
           Therefore it is evident and clear that this wealth, this comfort and this material abundance form the complete prosperity of minerals, vegetables and animals. No riches, wealth, comfort or ease of the
material world is equal to the wealth of a bird; all the areas of these plains and mountains are its dwelling, and all the seeds and harvests are its food and wealth, and all the lands, villages, meadows, pastures, forests, and wildernesses are its possessions. Now, which is the richer, this bird, or the most wealthy man? for no matter how many seeds it may take or bestow, its wealth does not decrease.
           Then it is clear that the honor and exaltation of man must be something more than material riches. Material comforts are only a branch, but the root of the exaltation of man is the good attributes and virtues which are the adornments of his reality. These are the divine appearances, the heavenly
bounties, the sublime emotions, the love and knowledge of God; universal wisdom, intellectual
perception, scientific discoveries, justice, equity, truthfulness, benevolence, natural courage and innate fortitude; the respect for rights and the keeping of agreements and covenants; rectitude in all
circumstances; serving the truth under all conditions; the sacrifice of one's life for the good of all people;
kindness and esteem for all nations; obedience to the teachings of God; service in the Divine Kingdom; the guidance of the people, and the education of the nations and races. This is the prosperity of the human world! This is the exaltation of man in the world! This is eternal life and heavenly honor!
      These virtues do not appear from the reality of man except through the power of God and the divine teachings, for they need supernatural power for their manifestation. It may be that in the world of nature a trace of these perfections may appear; but they are unstable and ephemeral; they are like the rays of the sun upon the wall.
           As the compassionate God has placed such a wonderful crown upon the head of man, man should strive that its brilliant jewels may become visible in the world.4

           And, finally, a reminder from the Founder of the Bahá'í Faith Himself that this world is not all that there is:
           O My servants! Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane, things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God, for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you. Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes. You are destined by Him, in this world and hereafter, to partake of their benefits, to share in their joys, and to obtain a portion of their sustaining grace. To each and every one of them you will, no doubt, attain.5
The Seeker's Passage, Vol. I, Number 12, Page 3

1 Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 345.
2 Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 17.
3 Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas pp. 33-34.
4 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, pp. 78-80.
5 Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 329.
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