Naw Ruz marks the end of the Fast and the beginning of a new year in the Baha’i calendar. Naw-Ruz is a celebration of a “spiritual springtime” that symbolizes both individual renewal and mankind’s revitalization.
Dreams of Destiny in the Babi and Baha’i Faith is a beautiful new book written by Dr. Amir Badiei and published by the US Baha’i Publishing Trust. It charts the history of the Babi and Baha’i Faiths by examining, in chronological order, over 100 dreams and it highlights the influences of each dream on the dreamer and on their respective time period. Abdu’l-Baha often cites dreams as proof of the existence of the soul and this book highlights the deeply personal and spiritual lives of many historical figures of the Faith.
What I love about Dr. Amir Badiei’s work is that he methodically takes the Writings and historical records and examines them from a completely different perspective, such as dreams or stories. You may have already read Dr. Amir Badiei’s work: Stories Told by Abdu’l-Baha is a compilation that was published in 2003. While there are many historical accounts of the Master, particularly during His travels to the West, this book focuses purely on the stories He told.
I was excited to hear about Dr. Badiei’s newest Baha’i publication and was thrilled when he agreed to be interviewed for Baha’i Blog.
Baha’i Blog: Thank you for taking the time to speak to us, Dr. Badiei! To begin, can you tell us a little about yourself and your work as a writer?
Prior to the publication of Stories Told by Abdu’l-Baha in 2003, I had several publications in scientific and administrative fields (my fields of study were Agricultural Chemistry and Plant Physiology). They were all associated with my research and duties which I had performed for the state/ federal governments and at the universities. My publications within the Baha’i Faith are limited to only the above mentioned book and Dreams of Destiny.
Baha’i Blog: What inspired you to write Dreams of Destiny?
The more I read the Baha’i books, the more I realized that there were a great number of dreams that had shaped the course of the history of our Faith and had dramatically impacted the lives of many of our heroes and humble co-believers. Some of these dreams, I realized, were of immense significance. The beginning of the Baha’i revelation, for example, is so closely associated with the dream that Baha’u’llah had in Siyah-Chal.
To access these dreams, one has to read thousands of pages of our sacred writings and other Baha’i literature. With this realization, I decided to extract some of these dreams and present them to those who might be interested in dreams, in their spiritual potency and the effects that they can exert on the life of an ordinary person.
Baha’i Blog: What was the process like to compile the book?
Like any other undertaking, it required perseverance, organization and staying focused. During the preparation of the manuscript, I tried not to include any guess work or write anything about which I was not certain. Written words are taken much more seriously than the spoken words, and they remain a source of information and documentation for many many years after their publication.
The sources of many of the dreams were Persian, and a few were Arabic. Finding the stories and translating those which were not in English required countless hours of reading, writing, rewriting and revision. To me, however, this process was neither tiresome nor troublesome. I stayed focused and continued with much confidence and enthusiasm. The more I read, wrote and translated, the more I learned.
Baha’i Blog: What is the Baha’i perspective of the significance of dreams?
The best way for me to address this question is to quote a few lines from the Introduction to the book:
a. Abdu’l-Baha has made a statement to the effect that God has created dreams to make people believe in the existence of other worlds and in man’s perpetual growth.
b. Baha’u’llah states, “…it must necessarily follow that the world in which thou livest is different and apart from that which thou hast experienced in thy dream. This latter world hath neither beginning nor end.”
c. Referring to a verse in the Qur’an, Baha’u’llah mentions dream as an evidence of the planes of resurrection and death.
d. Abdu’l-Baha says that some dreams need no interpretation or explanation. They are spiritual dreams and are like the morning light. Whatever transpires in the dream the same occurs in the real world.
e. The Bab has commented that one must act according to the substance/message of a dream if it is in conformity with the teachings of the Cause of God. And if it is not, it must be disregarded.
f. The Guardian has stated, “…that truth is often imported trough dreams no one who is familiar with history, especially religious history, can doubt…”
Baha’i Blog: Has the writing of this book changed the way you think about dreams?
Not really – I have always believed in spiritual and informative dreams of which many have been recorded and documented. And I have also believed that there are other dreams which are not of any significance, those that Abdu’l-Baha refers to as “confused dreams”.
Baha’i Blog: Have you had any dreams of deep spiritual importance?
I have had many faith-related dreams. Seldom, however, I remember my dreams properly. After waking up, I just vaguely remember having had a dream. What remains with me is so sketchy that my dreams fall properly into the category of confused dreams.
Baha’i Blog: Which dream recorded in your book touched you the most or means the most to you?
Dream number 93 is about my father. His dream caused his acceptance of the Faith. I benefited immensely from his dream and, naturally, it is a favorite of mine. Three others that greatly touched my heart were numbers 74, 84 and 120.
Baha’i Blog: You also compiled a book of stories told by Abdu’l-Baha. Do you have any plans to write another book?
Yes, I am already working on the next one.
Baha’i Blog: We eagerly look forward to learning more about it and seeing it on bookshelves some day! Thank you so much for your interview, and for your tireless research.
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.
Thank you for this illuminating report, I have immensely enjoyed Dr. Badiei’s first book about stories told by Abdu’l-Baha, and am eagerly looking forward to reading his newest book. I have experienced several significant dreams in my life, but the most intriguing was the dream of a mountain, i had that dream first when I was a little girl. In the dream it was clear that I would be living in a house facing a tall triangular shaped mountain surrounded by smaller, more slightly softly rounded peaks, all of which were snow-covered and had sandy-colored rocky bases. The dream intrigued me as I was sure ( having grown up in northern Italy ) that the mountain was in the Alps, and as I visited different ski areas I always looked for the mountain, but never saw it. Even from the airplane’s windows, every time I flew over the Alps, I searched for that distinctive shaped peak, disappointed all the time. Fast forward 23 or so years, I continually searched in all my travels and television or film viewings for that mountain, but hope was fading, and my certainty was slipping away. In my 30th year, I found Baha’u’llah and a few years later I asked to be allowed to pioneer to Nepal after a notice appeared in the Feast letter. I had already visited Nepal several years earlier and had loved the people and terrain, so it was a gift to be allowed to do so. By then I had forgotten the mountain and was eagerly looking forward to serving to the best of my ability. Imagine my shock and awe when the house rented for me by the Baha’is of Pokhara, Nepal faced the sacred mountain of Nepal, the mountain of my dreams! It was a true home-coming!
Thank you both for your dedicated services and allowing me to reminisce with you, warmest greetings, Elda
Elda DiLorenzo (September 9, 2014 at 1:11 PM)
What a wonderful dream Elda! Thanks so much for sharing your experience!
Naysan (September 9, 2014 at 9:25 PM)