Tag Archives: Unity

Bahá’í view on Essential Relationship “The Individual and Society” Saturday Sept 23, 2017

Continuing with our efforts of raising awareness about the Bahá’í Faith and Bahá’u’lláh the founder of the Bahá’í  Faith , Ajax Bahá’í community would like to welcome our neighbors to another event this time focusing on some insights from the Bahá’í Faith . A presentation is planned as a public events on Saturday Sept 23, 2017,  from 2-4 PM, at the Ajax Main Library (Rotary room). The program includes a short presentation and viewing of very short documentaries and then an open floor discussion and sharing of thoughts about this essential relationship “The Individual and the Society”.

“The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men.”— Bahá’u’lláh

Realization of the principle of the oneness of humanity is at once the goal and operating principle of Bahá’u’lláh’s revelation. Bahá’u’lláh compared the world of humanity to the human body. Within this organism, millions of cells, diverse in form and function, play their part in maintaining a healthy system. Similarly, harmonious relationships among individuals, communities, and institutions serve to sustain society and allow for the advancement of civilization.

 

The Individual and Society 

We are living today in a unique period in history. As humanity emerges from childhood and approaches its collective maturity, the need for a new understanding of the relationships between the individual, the community, and the institutions of society becomes ever more pressing.

The interdependence of these three protagonists in the advancement of civilization has to be recognized and old paradigms of conflict, in which, for example, institutions demand submission while individuals clamour for freedom, need to be replaced with more profound conceptions of the complementary roles to be played by each in building a better world.

To accept that the individual, the community, and the institutions of society are the protagonists of civilization building, and to act accordingly, opens up great possibilities for human happiness and allows for the creation of environments in which the true powers of the human spirit can be released.

One Human Family 

The conviction that we belong to one human family is at the heart of the Bahá’í Faith. The principle of the oneness of humankind is “the pivot round which all the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh revolve”.

Bahá’u’lláh compared the world of humanity to the human body. Within this organism, millions of cells, diverse in form and function, play their part in maintaining a healthy system. The principle that governs the functioning of the body is cooperation. Its various parts do not compete for resources; rather, each cell, from its inception, is linked to a continuous process of giving and receiving.

Acceptance of the oneness of humanity demands that prejudice—whether racial, religious, or gender related—must be totally eliminated.

Public Event Sept 23, 2017, at Ajax Main Library

We are looking forward to seeing you at the event.

(Material referenced from the www. Bahai.org)

“Bahá’í view on The Life of the Spirit and Power of Prayer” Presentation Sunday Aug 20, 2017

 

Continuing with our efforts of raising awareness about the Bahá’í Faith and Bahá’u’lláh, Ajax Bahá’í community would like to welcome our neighbors to another event this time focusing on some insights from the Bahá’í Faith . A presentation is planned as a public events on Sunday Aug 20  from 2-4 PM, at the Ajax Main Library (Rotary room). The program includes a short presentation and viewing of very short documentaries and then an open floor discussion and sharing of thoughts about the Bahá’í view on The Life of the Spirit and Power of Prayer.

“Wert thou to attain to but a dewdrop of the crystal waters of divine knowledge, thou wouldst readily realize that true life is not the life of the flesh but the life of the spirit…”— Bahá’u’lláh

Baha’u’llah’s Revelation affirms that the purpose of our lives is to know God and to attain His presence. Our true identity is our soul, whose free will and powers of understanding enable us to continually better ourselves and our society. Walking a path of service to God and to humanity gives life meaning and prepares us for the moment the soul separates from the body and continues on its eternal journey towards its Maker. 

The soul has its origin in the spiritual worlds of God. It is exalted above matter and the physical world. The individual has his beginning when the soul, coming from these spiritual worlds, associates itself with the embryo at the time of conception. But this association is not material; the soul does not enter or leave the body and does not occupy physical space. The soul does not belong to the material world, and its association with the body is similar to that of a light with a mirror which reflects it. The light which appears in the mirror is not inside it; it comes from an external source. Similarly, the soul is not in the body; there is a special relationship between it and the body, and together they form a human being.

There is a very special relationship between the soul and the body, which together form a human being. This relationship lasts only the span of a mortal life. When this ceases, each one returns to its origin, the body to the world of dust and the soul to the spiritual worlds of God. Having emanated from the spiritual realms, created in the image and likeness of God, and capable of acquiring divine qualities and heavenly attributes, the soul, after its separation from the body, progresses for all of eternity.

Bahá’u’lláh says:

“And now concerning thy question regarding the soul of man and its survival after death. Know thou of a truth that the soul, after its separation from the body, will continue to progress until it attaineth the presence of God, in a state and condition which neither the revolution of ages and centuries, nor the changes and chances of this world, can alter. It will endure as long as the Kingdom of God, His sovereignty, His dominion and power will endure. It will manifest the signs of God and His attributes, and will reveal His loving kindness and bounty.”

 Bahá’u’lláh says:

“The purpose of God in creating man hath been, and will ever be, to enable him to know his Creator and to attain His Presence. To this most excellent aim, this supreme objective, all the heavenly Books and the divinely-revealed and weighty Scriptures unequivocally bear witness. Whoso hath recognized the Day Spring of Divine guidance and entered His holy court hath drawn nigh unto God and attained His Presence, a Presence which is the real Paradise, and of which the loftiest mansions of heaven are but a symbol … Whoso hath failed to recognize Him will have condemned himself to the misery of remoteness, a remoteness which is naught but utter nothingness and the essence of the nethermost fire. Such will be his fate, though to outward seeming he may occupy the earth’s loftiest seats and be established upon its most exalted throne.”

Prayer helps us to advance towards God and not lose sight of our special destiny. This is why we should pray constantly that through the love of God our souls may develop and be strengthened, and that we may firmly walk the path of eternal happiness with steadfastness.

From the Baha’i writing we get a deeper appreciation for prayer here are few quotes:

There is nothing sweeter in the world of existence than prayer. Man must live in a state of prayer. The most blessed condition is the condition of prayer and supplication. Prayer is conversation with God. The greatest attainment or the sweetest state is none other than conversation with God. It creates spirituality, creates mindfulness and celestial feelings, begets new attractions of the Kingdom and engenders the susceptibilities of the higher intelligence.”

“In the highest prayer, men pray only for the love of God, not because they fear Him or hell, or hope for bounty or heaven … When a man falls in love with a human being, it is impossible for him to keep from mentioning the name of his beloved. How much more difficult it is to keep from mentioning the Name of God when one has come to love Him. … The spiritual man finds no delight in anything save in commemoration of God.”

“If one friend loves another, is it not natural that he should wish to say so? Though he knows that that friend is aware of his love, does he still not wish to tell him of it? … It is true that God knows the wishes of all hearts; but the impulse to pray is a natural one, springing from man’s love of God.”      Abdu’l-Bahá

Since our purpose is to know God and develop our capacities through the teachings and guidance provided by His Manifestations and Divine educators who appeared at various times in the history of mankind, it becomes our duty to investigate and recognize the Divine Educator of our time. We also need to pray with absolute sincerity for God to show us the right path. Bahá’u’lláh  declared that He is that Manifestation of God, that Divine Educator which was promised in all the scriptures of the past and all prophecies were fulfilled by His coming and his teachings and guidance are the remedy needed so desperately for the world today.

We are looking forward to seeing you at the event.

“Bahá’u’lláh – And The Baha’i World View ” Presentation Sunday July 30, 2017

Continuing with our efforts of raising awareness about the Bahá’í Faith and Bahá’u’lláh, Ajax Bahá’í community would like to welcome our neighbors to another event this time focusing on Bahá’u’lláh and the Baha’i World View . A presentation is planned as a public events on Sunday July 30,  from 2-4 PM, at the Ajax Main Library (Rotary room). The program includes a short presentation and viewing of very short documentaries and then an open floor discussion and sharing of thoughts about this theme.

Only a comprehensive vision of a global society, supported by universal values and principles, can inspire individuals to take responsibility for the long-term care and protection of the natural environment. Baha’i­s find such a world-embracing vision and system of values in the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh – teachings which herald an era of planetary justice, prosperity and unity

Bahá’u’lláh enjoins His followers to develop a sense of world citizenship and a commitment to stewardship of the earth. His writings are imbued with a deep respect for the natural world and for the interconnectedness of all things. They emphasize that the fruits of God’s love and obedience to His commandments are dignity, nobility and a sense of worth. From these attributes emerge the natural inclination to treat one another with love and compassion, and the willingness to sacrifice for the betterment of society. Bahá’u’lláh also teaches moderation, a commitment to justice, and detachment from the things of this world – spiritual disciplines which enable individuals to contribute to the establishment of a prosperous and united world civilization. The broad pattern for such a civilization and the principles on which it should be based are set forth in Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation, a revelation which offers hope to a dispirited humanity and the promise that it is truly possible both to meet the needs of present and future generations and to build a sound foundation for social and economic development. The inspiration and the vision for this civilization are captured in Bahá’u’lláh’s words: “The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”

Among the principles guiding the Baha’i­ approach to conservation and sustainable development, the following are of particular importance

  • nature reflects the qualities and attributes of God and should, therefore, be greatly respected and cherished;
  • all things are interconnected and flourish according to the law of reciprocity; and
  • the oneness of humanity is the fundamental spiritual and social truth shaping our age.

Baha’i­ Scriptures describe nature as an emanation of God’s will.

“Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by varying causes, and in this diversity there are signs for men of discernment. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world. It is a dispensation of Providence ordained by the Ordainer, the All-Wise.”                                                                Bahá’u’lláh

Understanding nature as a reflection of the majesty and an expression of the purpose of God inspires a deep respect for the natural world

“(W)hatever I behold I readily discover that it maketh Thee known unto me, and it remindeth me of Thy signs, and of Thy tokens, and of Thy testimonies. By Thy glory! Every time I lift up mine eyes unto Thy heaven, I call to mind Thy highness and Thy loftiness, and Thine incomparable glory and greatness; and every time I turn my gaze to Thine earth, I am made to recognize the evidences of Thy power and the tokens of Thy bounty. And when I behold the sea, I find that it speaketh to me of Thy majesty, and of the potency of Thy might, and of Thy sovereignty and Thy grandeur. And at whatever time I contemplate the mountains, I am led to discover the ensigns of Thy victory and the standards of Thine Omnipotence.”    Bahá’u’lláh

This attitude of respect is further reinforced by copious metaphorical references to the natural world woven throughout the Baha’i­ Scriptures. However, while nature is greatly valued and respected, it is not to be worshipped or adored.

Rather it is to serve the purpose given by God to the human race: to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization. In this regard, the Baha’i­ Faith promotes a world view that is neither bio-centric nor, strictly speaking, anthropocentric, but rather theocentric, with the Revelations of God at its center. Humankind, as it strives to carry out the Divine Will in this, the physical realm, is thus the trustee or steward of nature.

We are looking forward to seeing you at the event.
From the Bahá’í International Community website. Read more at: https://www.bic.org

“Bahá’u’lláh – Promised One of All Ages” Presentation Sunday June 4, 2017

Bahá’u’lláh: The Promised One of All Ages

Continuing with our efforts of raising awareness about the Bahá’í Faith and Bahá’u’lláh, Ajax Bahá’í community would like to welcome our neighbors to another event this time focusing on the person of Bahá’u’lláh. A presentation is planned as a public events on Sunday June 4 from 2-4 PM, at the Ajax Main Library (Rotary room). The program includes a short presentation and viewing of very short documentaries and then an open floor discussion and sharing of thoughts about the person of Bahá’u’lláh (The Glory of God), Manifestation of God for our time.

Bahá’u’lláh announced in 1863 that He was God’s Messenger for this age. His teachings and sacred writings are the basis of the Bahá’í Faith. Bahá’u’lláh claimed that His Divine Mission is to bring about the spiritual rebirth and the unity of mankind. He promised that this would lead to the establishment of permanent world peace and to the Kingdom of God on Earth.

Bahá’u’lláh has attracted millions of adherents from every part of the globe; He has provided laws and teachings on how to realize His vision; and His followers are laboring everywhere to bring it about.

Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, Outside Akka, Israel.
Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh, Outside Akka, Israel.

Each Messenger builds upon the Messages of Those gone before, leading us to new spiritual heights and bringing social teachings designed for that particular age,  Bahá’u’lláh said:

“For every age requireth a fresh measure of the light of God. Every Divine Revelation hath been sent down in a manner which befitted the circumstances of the age in which it hath appeared.”

“Every one of them is a mirror of God, reflecting naught else but His Self, His Beauty, His Might and Glory, if ye will understand.”

The Hindu scriptures describe it thus:

“Whenever there is a decay of righteousness, then I Myself come forth… for the sake of firmly establishing righteousness, I am born from age to age.”

All the Messengers in the past have promised that a great World Teacher would appear who would bring an age of peace to mankind. Sometimes they refer to this as the return of their own spirit, sometimes it sounds like another person, as in this from the Christian scriptures:

“I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when He the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you unto all truth…”

Many smaller tribal religions also have prophecies of a great World Teacher.

To Bahá’í s it is the same spirit, the spirit of God, which animates them all. Bahá’ís believe that Bahá’u’lláh fulfilled all the promises and prophecies of the past when He arose in Persia in the last century and announced His Message to mankind. Bahá’í s believe that the same spirit which was in all the Messengers is in Bahá’u’lláh.

“The Revelation, which from time immemorial, hath been acclaimed as the Purpose and Promise of all the Prophets of God, and the most cherished desire of His Messengers, hath now, by virtue of the pervasive Will of the Almighty and at His irresistible bidding, been revealed unto men. The advent of such a Revelation hath been heralded in all the sacred Scriptures.”     Bahá’u’lláh

The Bahá’í writings explain the station of Bahá’u’lláh as follows:

“To Israel He was neither more nor less than the incarnation of the ‘Everlasting Father,’ the ‘Lord of Hosts’… to Christendom Christ returned ‘in the glory of the Father’, to Shi’ah Islam the return of the Imam Husayn; to Sunni Islam the descent of the “Spirit of God”; to the Zoroastrians the promised Shah-Bahram; to the Hindus the reincarnation of Krishna; to the Buddhists the fifth Buddha (Maitreya, the Buddha of universal fellowship).”

Public Event June 4, 2017, at Ajax Main Library
Public Event June 4, 2017, at Ajax Main Library

 

The name Bahá’u’lláh means ‘the Glory of God’ or ‘Glory of the Lord’. This title is mentioned in many prophecies: “To Him Isaiah, the greatest of the Jewish prophets, had alluded as the ‘Glory of the Lord’, the ‘Everlasting Father’, the ‘Prince of Peace’, the ‘Wonderful’, the ‘Counsellor’.”

We are looking forward to seeing you at the event.

Festival of Ridván Declaration of Bahá’u’lláh; Promised One of All Ages

Festival of Ridván is the twelve day period commemorating Bahá’u’lláh’s announcement of his claim to prophethood and his departure from Baghdad in 1863, observed from  20 April  to 1 May.

The first, ninth and twelfth days of Ridván are major Bahá’í Holy days on which work should be suspended. Bahá’í administrative elections are normally held during Ridvan as well. The name derives from the Najibiyyih Garden in Baghdad where Bahá’u’lláh stayed during this period and to which he gave the name Ridván meaning  Paradise.

On the first day  small group of followers and Bahá’u’lláh made it across the Tigris River and settled at the “Najibiyyih” garden where Bahá’u’lláh stayed for twelve days accompanied by His closest followers and friends before He departed to Constantinople (Istanbul) where He was being further exiled by the Ottoman Empire.

The closest friends and followers wept after giving farewell; after all Bahá’u’lláh had spend almost two years in Baghdad where He had won the love and respect of the citizens of Baghdad for His wisdom, guidance and exemplary character.

These twelve days are known by Bahá’ís the “Festival of Ridván” and it is celebrated all over the world with the same joy and happiness as the early believers did during those 12 days.  It is during this period that Bahá’u’lláh revealed to His followers and the world that He was the promised one of God foretold in all the Holy scriptures of the past. Bahá’u’lláh states: “He Who is the Desire of all nations hath shed upon the kingdoms of the unseen and of the seen the splendor of the light of His most excellent names, and enveloped them with the radiance of the luminaries of His most gracious favors – favors which none can reckon except Him.”

This is the Day  Baha’u’llah said where all the attributes of God have been cast over the entire creation; meaning, every human being is capable by the grace of God to mold his character and manifest the most sublimes qualities and attributes such as  justice, love, compassion and generosity.

For Bahá’ís this is an special occasion to show hospitality and love to their neighbors, friends and acquaintances; as they try to follow the beautiful example and the will of their beloved Bahá’u’lláh (The Glory of God).

As we go about our daily lives we remember the words written by Bahá’u’lláh before His departure commanding all of those who have recognized Him to attract the hearts of men through the word of God.    For that reason, Bahá’ís everywhere, invite their friends and acquaintances to small gatherings where they can to explore the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and together built communities that can progress spiritually and materially.

Four portals of community development are offered as we try to build a new civilization: children classes, the junior youth program, devotional gatherings and the study circles. These are community building programs that essentially empower individuals to affect change by actively participating in the social transformation of their communities.

About the individual Bahá’u’lláh states:  “Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.” Hence man is this inestimable gem that only through polishing will reveal its beauty. As a protagonist he is aware of himself; as he molds his spiritual life, he shapes its surrounding environment, as both are affected one by the other, that is the meaning of “worship and service”  in the Bahá’í Faith.

We are here in this plane of existence to carry forward an ever advancing civilization that can progress materially and spiritually.  Increasing capacity at the individual and community level is a way to build an equitable and just society avoiding the pit falls of “us” and “them” or the notion of “advantage” and “disadvantage” groups or individuals.

Revealing about the greatness of this Day Bahá’u’lláh said: “Verily I say, this is the Day in which mankind can behold the Face, and hear the Voice, of the Promised One. The Call of God hath been raised, and the light of His countenance hath been lifted up upon men. It behoveth every man to blot out the trace of every idle word from the tablet of his heart, and to gaze, with an open and unbiased mind, on the signs of His Revelation, the proofs of His Mission, and the tokens of His glory”.

Festival of Ridván May 1, 2017.
Festival of Ridván May 1, 2017.

We will be celebrating this great Festival on May 1, 2017. We  invite you to join us. Please drop us a line and RSVP by April 20, 2017.

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Community Building Concept – A Baha’i Perspective Presentation April 2, 2017

All across Canada, individuals are engaged in a process to advance their spiritual, social and intellectual development and to contribute to the development of their communities.

The activities at the heart of this process are meetings that

Public Event April 2 2017, at Ajax Main Library
Public Event April 2 2017, at Ajax Main Library

strengthen the devotional character of the community, classes that nurture the tender hearts of children, groups that assist junior youth to navigate through a crucial stage of their lives, and study circles that foster the understanding and application of the Baha’i teachings to individual and collective life.

These activities are offered by Bahá’í communities around the world and they involve people of all ages and backgrounds, regardless of religion, who share a common purpose: to promote the welfare and wellbeing of the whole

“The Path Home” is a documentary film commissioned by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada to honour all those who have helped the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in meeting its noble purpose over the past six years.

 

"The Path Home documentary"
“The Path Home documentary”

 

The reflections in the film touch on spiritual insights that we offer with humility as a small contribution to furthering the processes of truth and reconciliation currently underway in Canada.

(Content from Building community website of Baha’i community of Canada)

“Bahá’í Vision of Society – Oneness of Humanity” Presentation March 18, 2017

This is one more in series of public events that our community is offering this year to our neighbors in Ajax.  The event is on Saturday March 18  from 2-4 PM, at the Ajax Main Library (Rotary room). The program includes a short presentation and viewing of very short documentaries and then an open floor discussion and sharing of thoughts on such a profound subject.

A fundamental teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the oneness of the world of humanity. Addressing mankind He says: “Ye are all leaves of one tree and the fruits of one branch.”

“..In the eyes of the Creator all His children are equal; His goodness is poured forth on all. He does not favor this nation nor that nation, all alike are His creatures. This being so, why should we make divisions, separating one race from another? Why should we create barriers of superstition and tradition bringing discord and hatred among the people?

The only difference between members of the human family is that of degree. Some are like children who are ignorant, and must be educated until they arrive at maturity. Some are like the sick and must be treated with tenderness and care. None are bad or evil! We must not be repelled by these poor children. We must treat them with great kindness, teaching the ignorant and tenderly nursing the sick.

Public Event March 18 2017 at Ajax Main Library
Public Event March 18 2017 at Ajax Main Library

Consider: Unity is necessary to existence. Love is the very cause of life; on the other hand, separation brings death. In the world of material creation, for instance, all things owe their actual life to unity. The elements which compose wood, mineral, or stone, are held together by the law of attraction. If this law should cease for one moment to operate these elements would not hold together, they would fall apart, and the object would in that particular form cease to exist. The law of attraction has brought together certain elements in the form of this beautiful flower, but when that attraction is withdrawn from this centre the flower will decompose, and, as a flower, cease to exist.

So it is with the great body of humanity. The wonderful Law of Attraction, Harmony and Unity, holds together this marvelous Creation.

As with the whole, so with the parts; whether a flower or a human body, when the attracting principle is withdrawn from it, the flower or the man dies. It is therefore clear that attraction, harmony, unity and Love, are the cause of life, whereas repulsion, discord, hatred and separation bring death.

We have seen that whatever brings division into the world of existence causes death. Likewise in the world of the spirit does the same law operate.

Therefore should every servant of the One God be obedient to the law of love, avoiding all hatred, discord, and strife. We find when we observe nature, that the gentler animals group themselves together into flocks and herds, whereas the savage, ferocious creatures, such as the lion, the tiger, and the wolf, live in wild forests, apart from civilization. Two wolves, or two lions, may live amicably together; but a thousand lambs may share the same fold and a large number of deer can form one herd. Two eagles can dwell in the same place, but a thousand doves can gather into one habitation.

Man should, at least, be numbered among the gentler animals; but when he becomes ferocious he is more cruel and malicious than the most savage of the animal creation!

Now Bahá’u’lláh has proclaimed the ‘Unity of the World of Mankind’. All peoples and nations are of one family, the children of one Father, and should be to one another as brothers and sisters! I hope that you will endeavour in your lives to show forth and spread this teaching.

Bahá’u’lláh said that we should love even our enemies and be to them as friends. If all men were obedient to this principle, the greatest unity and understanding would be established in the hearts of mankind.”

(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Paris Talks, Pages: 138-140)

 

“Why all religions are one?” A Bahá’í perspective presentation on Feb 25

This is one more in series of public events that our community is offering this year to our neighbors in Ajax.  The event is on Saturday Feb 25 from 2-4 PM, at the Ajax Main Library (Rotary room). The program includes a short presentation and viewing of very short documentaries and then an open floor discussion and sharing of thoughts on such a profound subject.

Public event on Saturday Feb 25, 2017 at Ajax Main Library
Public event on Saturday Feb 25, 2017 at Ajax Main Library

Bahá’ís around the world are engaged in raising awareness about this fundamental principle of their belief that all religions are one in reality and all come from the  one source. What humanity desperately needs to find today is that unifying vision of our future society and the nature and purpose of our lives.  Bahá’ís believe that such a vision unfolds in the writings of Bahá’u’lláh.

“He Who is your Lord, the All-Merciful, cherisheth in His heart the desire of beholding the entire human race as one soul and one body.”— Bahá’u’lláh

In every corner of the world,  Bahá’ís shoulder to shoulder with their friends and neighbors inspired by these writings  work together to improve their lives and contribute to the advancement of their communities.

This event is free and open to all.