Michael Curtotti

The Lord is Near – the German Templers of Mount Carmel

German Templers - the lord is nigh

The nineteenth century was a time of religious expectation. In Persia religious scholars urged their pupils to seek out the Promised One. In the United States confident predictions were made that Christ would return in 1843 or 1844. Similarly, in Germany such expectations arose. Reverend J.A. Bengel of the Pietist movement in Germany predicted that…

Further Reflections on a World Language

world language

In Words of Paradise, Bahá’u’lláh returns to the theme of a world language, and indeed he strengthens his counsel. We have formerly ordained that people should converse in two languages, yet efforts must be made to reduce them to one, likewise the scripts of the world, that men’s lives may not be dissipated and wasted in…

Words of Paradise – the Personal is Universal

personal is universal - school in nepal

The phrase “the personal is universal” captures something of the combination of themes we find in Bahá’u’lláh’s work the Words of Paradise. As we have already seen Bahá’u’lláh connects the personal character of a leader with questions of good governance. Good government requires that those in leadership resist self and passion if they are to rule with…

Words of Paradise – Virtue and Good Government

virtue and good government

Words of Paradise (Kalimat-i-Firdawsiyyih) is another work of Bahá’u’lláh from late in his life. Like Tajalliyat, Bisharat and Tarazat, Kalimat-i-Firdawsiyyih, has at its core a list of counsels for its readers. Quite a few of them are specifically directed to the rulers of society. Those familiar with international relations will know that it is inspired…

“Whoso quickeneth a soul hath verily quickened all mankind.”

whoso saves a soul

“Whoso quickeneth a soul hath verily quickened all mankind.”[1] Here the quoted text appears in a letter written by Bahá’u’lláh to one of his followers, in the later years of his mission.[2] The quoted words, however, come from the Qur’an. In this English translation of the passage, we see yet another example of Bahá’u’lláh reframing an…

Dimensions of Unity: the Lawh-i-Ittihad

Dimensions of Unity - Rural School Columbia

The theme of unity is woven explicitly and implicitly into Bahá’u’lláh’s mission and teachings.  It is the entire purpose of his mission. In the Lawh-i-Ittihad, Bahá’u’lláh discusses some of the dimensions of unity. An authorised English version of this work is not available as yet, although descriptions of this work are available in Adib Taherzadeh’s fourth…

Cycles of Time: The World Is Not About to End

seasons-cycles of time

A further question answered by Bahá’u’lláh in the Tablet to Vafa, is about the concept of “return”. The concept changes utterly religious expectations about the future (at least in the Abrahamic traditions). The world will not be destroyed in a literal “Day of Judgment”. Know thou that the end is like unto the beginning. Even as…

Paradise

garden of ridvan - paradise

The Sura of Vafa replies to a number of questions. One question was about paradise. Like many parts of Bahá’u’lláh’s writings, these ancient religious concepts are recast in a new form by Bahá’u’lláh. Here is part of Bahá’u’lláh’s reply. It is a reality and there can be no doubt about it, and now in this…

Infinite Worlds

infinite worlds

The Sura of Vafa (Suriy-i-Vafa) is another work from the latter period of Bahá’u’lláh’s life. Like other works of this period it is written to one of Bahá’u’lláh’s followers, this time in response to specific questions. Among them is a question about the “worlds of God”. This is Bahá’u’lláh’s reply. As to thy question concerning…