200th anniversary articles

Bahá’u’lláh’s Message to Christians

Shrine of the Bab - Reflections off water - message to christians

The Lawh-i-Aqdas – the Most Holy Tablet –  is addressed to Christians. Bahá’u’lláh announces his mission to the followers of Christ. Almost at its outset, the call is made: O followers of the Son! Have ye shut out yourselves from Me by reason of My Name?[1] These words allude to passages such as the following from…

Metaphors for Bahá’u’lláh: the Sun of Knowledge, the Ocean of Wisdom, the Royal Falcon

kashkul of Bahaullah - metaphors for bahaullah

Innumerable metaphors for Bahá’u’lláh appear in his writings. They enrich our understanding of who Bahá’u’lláh is. One of the most striking such metaphors appears in the Lawh-i-Maqsud. He that hath Me not is bereft of all things. Turn ye away from all that is on earth and seek none else but Me. I am the Sun of Wisdom and the Ocean of…

Lawh-i-Maqsud – Principles of the Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings

lawh-i-maqsud bahji

We have already been exploring the Lawh-i-Maqsud – written in the closing years of Bahá’u’lláh’s life. In addition to the themes already discussed we find some of Baha’u’llah’s most characteristic teachings, a number of which Abdu’l Baha identifies as principles of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings. Bahá’u’lláh gives us a panoramic vista of unity among human beings illuminating…

If the Learned Illuminated the Path to Human Unity …

path to human unity

“The cult of [national sovereignty] has become mankind’s major religion. The intensity of worship of the idol of the national state, is of course, no evidence that national sovereignty provides a satisfactory basis for the political organization of mankind … The truth is the very opposite … It seems fairly safe to forecast that, if…

Bahiyyih Khanum

Bahiyyih Khanum

Bahiyyih Khanum was Bahá’u’lláh’s daughter, the younger sister of Abdu’l Baha. She was only 6 when her family’s home in Tehran was ransacked and the family were sent across the snowbound mountains to Baghdad. It was the beginning of a life of in exile and imprisonment with Baha’u’llah and her fellow family members. We have…

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…