Ridvan celebrates Baha’u’llah’s time in the garden of Ridvan where He publicly declared His station as a Manifestation of God. The Ridvan Festival is 12 days long and is also the time of year where Baha’is elect their governing bodies.
Yet another Baha’i month has passed, and we are nearing the end of the Gregorian year. How that’s possible is beyond me, but it seems to happen every year and I always find myself in a state of disbelief. Peculiar thing, time is.
Speaking of time, this past month I’ve been reflecting on the topic of generosity—particularly when it comes to giving up our time to serve humanity. As Baha’is, we lovingly labour day in and day out alongside our friends in order to contribute towards this ever-advancing civilisation that Baha’u’llah has envisioned, and it’s no easy feat. So yes, time gets away from us. It is sacrificed as we work on various community building endeavours, as we plan special social action projects, as we enter spaces where we can contribute to the elevation of the discourses of society, and as we simply strive to be the best Baha’is we can be.
Of course, we are not only giving of our time. In order for the Baha’i community’s endeavours to progress, they require material support—be it in the form of driving friends to a study circle, providing craft materials for a children’s class, or opening one’s home to a junior youth group. Baha’is also contribute to the Fund. Here’s a nice introduction to the Baha’i Fund.
When I think about generosity, I’m always reminded of Shoghi Effendi’s quotation where he says:
“We must be like the fountain or spring that is continually emptying itself of all that it has and is continually being refilled from an invisible source. To be continually giving out for the good of our fellows undeterred by fear of poverty and reliant on the unfailing bounty of the Source of all wealth and all good–this is the secret of right living.”
Of course, being “undeterred by fear of poverty” is easier said than done, but through prayer, consultation with my family, and unfailing faith, I’ve been trying my utmost to rely upon the assurance that the invisible source will provide the necessary outpouring of love and protection when I give sacrificially! Stories of some of the early believers can also act as an incredible source of inspiration, including that of Amelia Collins, whose immense contributions to the funds of the Faith and detachment from wealth were greatly admirable. Or the story of Haji Amin which highlights the importance of universal participation when it comes to the progress of the Faith.
This month we will also be marking the Day of the Covenant as well as the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha, two days where we pay tribute to the person of the Master and can further reflect on the topic of generosity, especially since Abdu’l-Baha was the living example of what selflessness looks like, giving up every waking hour to serve others.
One final thought: for many of our friends, this time of year is traditionally dedicated to generosity—especially because of all its religious holidays. I think it’s a great opportunity for us all to reflect on the essence of generosity and end the year on a high note (no pun intended).
Dellaram is a Baha'i, wife, and mother of three, who works as a freelance journalist and copywriter in her hometown of Ballarat, Australia. She is passionate about building community and loves the thrill that comes with op-shopping!