Festival of Ridvan

  • Ridvan celebrates Baha’u’llah’s time in 1863 in the garden of Ridvan in Baghdad when He publicly declared His station as a Manifestation of God. The Ridvan Festival is 12 days long and is also the time of year when Baha’is elect their governing bodies.
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Stories of the Master – A New Podcast Series

March 27, 2024, in Articles > Audio, by

My family loves podcasts and audio books for driving in the car or for quiet times at home. Over the years my children have consistently been enraptured by storytellers whose art and craft have enchanted them and as a parent, I am very grateful for them.

You can imagine the thrill when I learned about a new podcast series featuring stories about Abdu’l-Baha put together by Sana Vasli. The episodes are accessible for young listeners but are truly enjoyable for all ages and they can be listened to on Spotify or Apple podcasts. I am delighted Sana was able to share with us all about “Stories of the Master”:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Sana and a remarkable girl!

My name is Sana. I am the father of a remarkable girl, a Baha’i from Australia and a passionate storyteller who works and serves in children’s education.

Can you tell us a little bit about “Stories of the Master”?

This podcast takes a close look at one aspect of the station of Abdu’l-Baha–His perfection! Being “perfect” can feel impossible, but the stories remind us that He is not a perfect idol, but a Perfect Exemplar and if we persevere, we can achieve these qualities, even if it is little by little, day by day.

Within each story, I try to draw out the hidden gem that might not be obvious the first time you hear it. Most episodes are between 10-15 minutes long and are centred on a theme. 

What inspired you to produce this podcast?

It was a mixture of motivations. I found a love of storytelling after becoming a dad and teaching Baha’i children’s classes. The way children connect to the Faith and develop an understanding of what it means to be a Baha’i grows through stories. 

I love uncovering the tiny and sometimes overlooked details of Baha’i history. I enjoy the creative process of putting it all together. It feels more like art than entertainment and it’s just a simple expression of my love for the Master. 

Could you tell us about the spiritual principles that inform your podcast?

Most episodes are based on a virtue or a teaching of the Faith. My approach in telling these stories was to be transparent and unapologetic about the station of the Master. I want to reflect the powerful words of the Guardian in The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah when speaking about the Perfect Exemplar of the Faith.

Who is its audience? What do you hope your listeners will take away with them afterwards?

“Stories of the Master” is for all ages and is now played in 40 countries. From what I’ve been told, families play this in the car or use it for their bedtime routine, adults listen when they go for walks and children’s class teachers play this for their students. 

My initial vision was to make these stories accessible to anyone and hope they continue their exploration into the life of the Master through books and other mediums. The big takeaway that I want listeners to have is to apply the stories in their day-to-day lives when challenged to forgive, be generous, love unconditionally and care for others. 

What is something you’ve learned in the process of making this podcast?

The exercise of creating episodes has taught me a lot about Abdu’l-Baha and what it means to be a Baha’i. Reading these stories in books is one thing, but researching, writing and telling them is another task. This process forces me to reflect on myself and how I can live my life more like the Master. 

I’ve never identified as an “artist”, but in creating these podcasts, I am starting to understand how art can be a form of worship. With or without an audience, this process has brought me a lot of joy.

Thank you so very much, Sana, for taking the time to share this with us!

Listen to “Stories of the Master” on Spotify or Apple podcasts. To whet your appetite, here’s the introductory episode:

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Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.
Sonjel Vreeland

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