Michael Curtotti

Bahá’u’lláh in Kurdistan: The Holy Man on the Mountain

Baha'u'llah in wilderness of Kurdistan - calligrapher on the mountain

For two years, Bahá’u’lláh’s whereabouts were unknown to his friends and family. After their arrival in Baghdad, the dispirited remnants of the followers of the Bab began to gravitate towards Bahá’u’lláh as he worked to restore their spirits. His rising prestige and influence began to excite envy and disunity. Bahá’u’lláh’s response to this situation was to…

As Mild As Milk – the Human Power of Speech

people speaking - the power of speech

We live in a time where increasingly shouting down those who think differently than we do, is the “normal” of public discourse. Words are bludgeons to be used to subdue and humiliate an opponent or win an argument. Truth is distorted or disregarded. Listening plays a marginal role in this verbal warfare and polarisation of society…

Human Nature: What does it mean to be human?

What does it mean to be human? We rarely think about it. Yet implicitly and explicitly our actions are based on assumptions or beliefs about human nature. Are human beings essentially selfish? Are we essentially material beings – animals with enhanced intelligence?  Are we defined primarily by our material characteristics, such as our nationality or…

Against Religious Fanaticism and Hatred

Bahá’u’lláh condemned religious fanaticism and hatred. Perhaps most strikingly in the following passage: Religious fanaticism and hatred are a world-devouring fire, whose violence none can quench. The Hand of Divine power can, alone, deliver mankind from this desolating affliction.[1] I admit that when I first read this passage sometime in the late 1980s or early 90s, I found…

No Human Being is Unclean

Bahá’u’lláh abolishes the concept of “uncleanness”. In different cultures, at different times, human beings and things have been held to be “unclean” – in the specific case of religion – “ritually unclean”.  In 1873, Bahá’u’lláh wrote: God hath, … abolished the concept of “uncleanness,” whereby divers things and peoples have been held to be impure. … Verily, all…

Bahá’u’lláh’s Writings – An Introduction

Prison cells in Akka in which Baha'u'llah and his companions were held

At one time We spoke in the language of the lawgiver; at another in that of the truth-seeker and the mystic,… [1] This phrase was written by Bahá’u’lláh almost at the end of his life, in his own summation of his life’s work. If you are new to Bahá’u’lláh’s writings – it might not be obvious where to begin. Indeed,…

An Outline of Bahá’u’lláh’s Life

Teheran where Baha'u'llah was born in 1817

The bare facts of anyone’s life, doesn’t do justice. Yet it helps us put the many complex pieces of the puzzle together and fosters understanding.  In this series we have dived straight in: exploring concepts, events and writings. Here we will step back and think about the outlines of Bahá’u’lláh’s life. There are two tools that I…

Bahá’u’lláh’s Love

Rarely does the historical record show us the fullness of Bahá’u’lláh’s human experience. An exception is a moment of love between Bahá’u’lláh and his son, captured in the recollections of Baha’iyyih Khanum (Baha’u’llah’s daughter). More of that story below. Love is a recurrent theme in Bahá’u’lláh’s writings. Love of the divine, of creation, of humanity.…

Troubled Times

It won’t have escaped your attention that we live in troubled times. The sense of uncertainty and unease is palpable even for those of us lucky enough to live at a distance from the world’s conflict zones.  The world is suffering and we all know it. Every few days a new shock, a new event…