Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 38: Tom Lysaght

Hello and welcome to the Baha’i Blogcast with me your host, Rainn Wilson.

In this series of podcasts I interview members of the Baha’i Faith and friends from all over the world about their hearts, and minds, and souls, their spiritual journeys, what they’re interested in, and what makes them tick.

In this episode I’m in LA with playwright and author, Tom Lysaght. Tom and I talk about being a hippie and what it really meant. He tells me about the three books he took with him on his mystical journey around the world and how he became a Baha’i. We talk about the history of the Baha’i Faith, music, career-ism, the importance of storytelling, the book he’s been working on for over 30 years, and the crucial role love plays in religion. Thanks for listening and I hope you enjoy our conversation!

To find out more about Tom Lysaght and some of the things we covered in this episode, check out the following links:

  • Learn more about Tom Lysaght and what he’s been up to here on his website:
  • Tom’s latest book is called ‘Persian Passion: Of Gods and Gargoyles‘, and you can also read his Baha’i Blog interview about the book here: Persian Passion: Of Gods and Gargoyles – A New Book by Tom Lysaght
  • Read Tom’s interview on Baha’i Blog about his book ‘Twin Manifestations’ here: Twin Witnesses – A New Book about the Bab and Baha’u’llah by Tom Lysaght
  • Use these links to find out more about the Bab and the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab.
  • Tom refers to the following books:

    i. The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys by Baha’u’llah. (Baha’i Blog article: An Introduction to The Seven Valleys).
    ii. Thief in the Night by William Sears.
    iii. The Book of Certitude (Kitab-i-Iqan) by Baha’u’llah.
    iv. Baha’u’llah, the King of Glory by HM Balyuzi.
    v. Abdu’l-Baha by HM Balyuzi.
    vi. The Dawn-Breakers by Nabil-i-Azam. (Baha’i Blog article: An Introduction to ‘The Dawn-Breakers: Nabil’s Narrative’)
    vii. Baha’i Administration by Shoghi Effendi.
    viii. Dawn over Mount Hira and Other Essays by Marzieh Gail.
    ix. Resurrection and Renewal by Abbas Amanat.
    x. The Bassoon King by Rainn Wilson.
    xi. The Portable Walt Whitman by Walt Whitman.
    xii. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead.
    xiii. “Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness” by Satprem.

  • Tom and Rainn talk about the following musicians and bands: The Grateful Dead; Jefferson Airplane; The Allman Brothers Band; George Harrison; Mahavishnu John McLaughlin; Ravi Shankar; Bob Dylan; Radiohead.
  • Tom talks about the Hands of the Cause and Baha’i pilgrimage.
  • Tom mentions William Sears, Collis Featherstone, Hooper Dunbar and Ali Nakhjavani.
  • Tom mentions Dr. Nader Saiedi who is also a guest on this podcast: Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 20: Nader Saiedi
  • We mention Dr. Steven Phelps, who’s been on the following Baha’i Blogcast episodes:
    i. Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 7: Steven Phelps
    ii. Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 37: Physics and Mysticism with Steven Phelps [VIDEO]
  • Tom talks about Tahirih and the Letters of the Living.
  • We talk about devotional meetings which you can read more about here, and also watch this video: What are Devotional Gatherings?
  • Tom mentions a quote from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha: “…make ye a mighty effort, and choose for yourselves a noble goal…”.
  • Tom shares a quote from the Seven Valleys by Baha’u’llah:

    “If the wayfarer’s goal be the dwelling of the Praiseworthy One (Maḥmud), this is the station of primal reason which is known as the Prophet and the Most Great Pillar. Here reason signifieth the divine, universal mind, whose sovereignty enlighteneth all created things—nor doth it refer to every feeble brain; for it is as the wise Sana’i hath written:
    How can feeble reason encompass the Qur’an,
    Or the spider snare a phoenix in his web?
    Wouldst thou that the mind should not entrap thee?
    Teach it the science of the love of God!”

  • Rainn shares quote from the Writings of Baha’u’llah: “Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.”
  • You can find all of our episodes here on the Baha’i Blogcast page, and be sure to ‘subscribe’ to the Baha’i Blogcast for more upcoming episodes on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and Soundcloud.

    Thanks for listening!

    -Rainn Wilson

    About the Author

    Naysan is the editor of Baha'i Blog and he has worked in various avenues of media for two decades. He’s passionate about using the arts and media to support and explore the teachings of the Baha’i Faith and he has produced and collaborated on popular music projects like the "DawnBreaker Collective" and the successful Ruhi-inspired sequence of "MANA" albums. His experience as a producer for CNN was invaluable while working on a number of special projects for the Baha’i World Centre, including the "Building Momentum" and "Pilgrimage: A Sacred Experience" videos. If there’s a media-related Baha’i project out there, chances are that Naysan was involved with it somehow!

    Visit Author's Website

    Discussion 4 Comments

    1. Very good, but seems like it was a private conversation between to young male’s who wanted to say the best comeback line. Good, funny but get on with it. And then when you two talked about history, changes, then it is very good. “lust for recognition” – wonderful topic, thank you!

    2. I did go to Tom’s web page and found some wonderful information on Sacred spaces for Feast! wonderful. I am going to try to use his sample for Feast.

    3. Like Ruth, I found good program material for Feast on Tom’s page. The alternating narrator format could serve as a useful template.

    4. I celebrate Tom’s progress toward his noble goal as a writer and look forward to reading his entire trilogy in good time. You know, the other day, a deepening on Hidden Word (from the Arabic) #13 turned up this dual meaning of the word “noble”: 1) related to precious metals; 2) of high birth. Well, Bahá’u’lláh tells us our true self, our soul, is the apex of God’s creation – you can’t be any higher born than that! May we all, each in her or his own way, take heart from that, set our own noble goals, and attain that which makes our hearts sing!

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