Lesson 14

Contemplation:

Do not be content with showing friendship in words alone, let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path.              – ‘Abdu’l-Baha

You must live to do good and to bring happiness to others.       – ‘Abdu’l-Baha

Stories of Baha’u’llah:

 Aqa Muhammad-i-Tabrizi has recounted how, as a child of four or five, he would go with his family to the Mansion of Bahji each Friday, as was customary among the believers at that time, to attain the presence of the Blessed Beauty. They would stay all day, using the rooms on the lower floor of the Mansion.

During one of these visits the grown-ups were resting in their rooms at noontime; as it was a warm day, he left his room and wandered to the upper floor of the Mansion where he entered the large hall. Looking about he eventually came to the room where food was stored, and here he noticed a bag filled with sugar. Instinctively he took a handful, put it in his mouth, then filled both hands before leaving the storeroom. Back in the hall, he froze in his tracks upon seeing the Blessed Beauty pacing to and fro there. Slowly and in a gentle manner, Baha’u’llah came towards him, cast a loving glance at his hands and then led the little boy towards a large table in the middle of the hall. Picking up a plate of candies, He offered one to the child who, with closed fist, accepted it. ‘It seems you like sweets,’ Baha’u’llah said. ‘Eat well! Goodbye. And may God protect you.’

Years later, Aqa Muhammad would explain to his fellow believers how no one at that time could appreciate his childish sentiments and the love he felt in his heart for the Blessed Beauty – a love which, from that moment, had never left him. (From Jalal Nakhjavani)

Spiritual Teachings of Baha’u’llah

 The Oneness of Religion

“Religions are like the branches of one Tree. One branch is high, one is low and one in the center, yet all draw their life from the one stem.”`Abdu’l-Bahá, in London, p.62

Bahá’ís believe that when a religion is founded by a Prophet at first it grows, reaches a peak. Then it begins to decay, and continues gradually to lose its power. The unity and fellowship it inspired are dispersed, there is a tendency for sects to appear, materialism replaces spirituality, and hatred and intolerance replace love. Then God sends a new prophet to bring a new Message.

Exclusivist passages:

“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Bible

“The best of paths is the path of eight…This is the path. There is no other that leads to vision.” Buddha

Muslim Hadith; Angels in the grave ask three questions:

  1. Who is your God?
  2. Who is your prophet?
  3.  3. What is your religion?

Bahá’ís believe there is NO final religion. Each religion is one part of a great, progressive, and everlasting religion of God which has neither a beginning nor an end. Bahá’ís look at different religions as chapters of the same book or as gems which are linked together by a golden chain

The Unforgettable Teacher

 We don’t always know the answers to our questions. When unusual and exciting things happen, are they coincidences, or part of God’s plan? Not knowing the answer to that question can make our lives full of mystery. This is a true story about a little girl named Gwen and one of the mysterious and wonderful things that happened to her.

Gwen was ready for fourth grade. She always loved the first day of school, but this year was extra exciting. Gwen was going to have a kind and encouraging teacher, Mrs. Chance, who had beautiful handwriting. At least that’s what her sister had told her.

Every morning in school, since first grade, her class stood to say, “I pledge allegiance to the flag …” This morning, and every morning all year, her teacher added one more thing for the class to say:

“I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee. I testify, at this moment, to my powerlessness and to Thy might, to my poverty and to Thy wealth.

“There is none other God but Thee, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.”

Gwen didn’t know where these words came from, but she did know she liked to say them. Somehow, the prayer made her love for Mrs. Chance grow.

Gwen grew up. Twelve years after the fourth grade, she got a call from her sister. The call worried her, because Lynne had become a Baha’i. Gwen didn’t know what her sister had gotten into, but she wanted to save her from it, whatever it was. So Gwen flew to see her to talk her out of the Baha’i Faith.

In those days, not many people had heard the word “Baha’i.” Most of the people Gwen knew were Christians, and she had been taught that being a Christian was safe and important. She talked with Lynne, but still didn’t understand very much.

Then one day, Gwen was invited to celebrate the Declaration of the Bab with Lynne and the Baha’i community.  Gwen’s  heart was moved by the love and the spirit of God she felt. That night, she stopped worrying about Lynne. Gwen became a Baha’i. Two years later, Gwen and Lynne were visiting their mother. They decided to call the Baha’i phone number and meet the Baha’is in their hometown. They were told about a woman and her husband who had lived there for years. But the couple didn’t live in Davenport, Iowa, anymore. They had moved to Haifa, Israel. It seems that the husband, Mr. Hugh Chance, had been elected to the Universal House of Justice. His wife was helping at the Baha’i World Center.

Mrs. Chance? It couldn’t be. But it was. Mrs. Margaret Chance was Gwen’s fourth grade teacher from 14 years before’. Gwen wrote to Mrs. Chance immediately, telling her that she and Lynne had become Baha’is. When Mrs. Chance wrote back, Gwen knew instantly who had sent that letter. She recognized the beautiful penmanship.

Whenever Gwen says the Short Obligatory Prayer, she remembers her teacher with the beautiful handwriting and the loving heart. For Gwen, Mrs. Margaret Chance will always be an unforgettable teacher.

Review Questions

  • When and where was the Bab born?
  • Did the Bab have any brothers and sisters?
  • What did the Bab especially like to do as a child?
  • Who were Muhammad and Ali in the religion of Islam?
  • What is the original language of the Qur’an?
  • What is the meaning of the word “the Bab” in our religion?
  • Who helped the Bab’s mother in raising the Bab after the passing of His father?
  • What are some of teachings of Baha’u’llah?

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  • Why does God send us His Messengers?
  • How is God different from His Messengers?
  • What are some of the spiritual teachings that the Messengers of God bring to humanity?
  • Who is the Messenger of God for our time?
  • Who is God?
  • How is God “unknowable”?
  • How can we know and love God?
  • Is there only one God?

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  • How can we show we have faith?
  • Can reading and contemplating the Words of God strengthen us in our faith?
  • What is co-operation?
  • Why is co-operation important?
  • In how many situations can we co-operate?
  • In team games, what is one feature of the winning side?
  • What is courtesy?
  • How can we practice courtesy in our daily lives?
  • How can we show love for others?
  • How can we overcome feelings of animosity that we may have for someone?
  • What is cleanliness?
  • How important is cleanliness in the sight of God?
  • Is cleanliness only a physical thing or is it also a spiritual and mental attitude?
  • What can you do to keep yourself, your home, your school, and your city clean?
  • To whom do we owe obedience? Why?
  • What would happen in school if rules were not obeyed?
  • What would happen if no one obeyed the traffic laws?
  • What would happen to our social system if no one obeyed the laws of the country?
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