Photo Courtesy: jarnah.com
Eleven weeks, one day, eight hours and three minutes ago my life changed forever. With the birth of our first child, I went from being an independent individual – responsible for nobody but myself – to a mother.This new task of motherhood is both difficult and precious as, all at once, I have been given the opportunity – and the challenge – to shape and raise a human being.
Abdu’l-Baha says that ‘…mothers are the first educators of mankind; if they be imperfect, alas for the condition and future of the race.’ Uh oh! And as the first educators of the young, our task as mothers is to free them ‘from human imperfections and to acquire the divine perfections latent in the heart of man.’ Ah, that’s a fairly lofty goal. How and when do I rise to meet this challenge?
A female doctor with the International Medical Corps examines a woman patient at a mobile health clinic in Pakistan (Image by UK Department for International Development via Flickr)
In his beautiful tribute to his father last week, Naysan reflected on his father’s legacy of love and compassion and the way in which his father’s life has shaped his own ideas about service and spirituality. We’ve heard back from many readers who were deeply moved and inspired by that post and it has sparked many conversations about the concept of service.
In line with the theme of service, this post aims to address a question that is commonly asked of Baha’is: what do the Writings say about service and the role it has in our lives?
In today’s fast-paced world, it is often a struggle to aspire to lofty ideals such as service to humanity. As a society, we routinely have a myriad of balls in the air at once – bills to pay, traffic jams to navigate, meetings and appointments to juggle, personal relationships to manage and professional opportunities to pursue. We are all so caught up in our own busy, hectic worlds – it truly is a huge effort to think beyond that!
Service to humanity is an act that springs from a love for all humanity and a recognition of its oneness. It stems directly from the one spiritual principle that is emphasised over all others in every religion: the Golden Rule. Continue reading
Sirus Naraqi: 30 Sept, 1942- Aug 18, 2004
Last night marked the 7th anniversary of the passing of my father, Sirus Naraqi.
Since his passing, I have been blessed to constantly meet so many people who knew him and loved him, and share with me how he touched their lives.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to look back on my parents’ lives and reflect on the experiences they had. It’s interesting how you start to see the human side of a parent as you get older, and realize that they too are ordinary people – much like you and your friends – with their own hopes and dreams, fears and regrets, trials and accomplishments.
My parents were born in Iran and they moved to the United States where they were married in 1969 in front of the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois. After my father finished specializing in medicine, my parents moved from the suburbs of Chicago to Papua New Guinea (PNG). I remember spending a lot of time with my dad going to the villages and doing both medical work and visiting the Baha’i’s there.
My parents ended up spending 20 years in PNG, and I remember an old colleague of my father from Chicago had written to him asking why he was still in PNG after so long, and what did PNG offer that the US didn’t offer. My dad’s reply was “It’s what PNG does not have that keeps us here.” Continue reading
Image by theogeo (Flickr)
My friends laugh at me when I admit to this but there was once a time when I maintained an uncompromising policy which governed my social interactions: Do Not Become Friends With Neighbours. Looking back now, it seems crazy – even to me – but if I rack my brain hard enough I can begin to imagine why I once felt this way.
Perhaps it had something to with being raised in one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Perhaps it had to do with a strong tendency towards intraversion and guardedness that I had as a teenager. Or perhaps, it stemmed from living in the dorms during my first year of university, where it was virtually impossible to enjoy a quiet night in without my friendly (and often inebriated) neighbour pounding at my door at 11 pm, with a loud “Preethi, I know you’re in there. COME TO THE PARTY!” – who knows, really.
But whatever it was, when I first moved out of the dorms to live by myself, I found myself living by the wisdom of the old adage: Good fences makes good neighbours. Years later, however, when I became Baha’i, my partiality for the good old picket fence was challenged by the Baha’i approach to social transformation – one based on community building and the empowerment of closely-knit neighbourhoods.
Creative design has an important part to play in the Faith. There’s a small army of creative Baha’is who labour hard to communicate the message of the Faith on screen and paper. The Designing the Faith series showcases some of their ingenious work in film, fashion, the internet, architecture and more.
In the second part of the series, we look at architecture.
Armed with pencils, paper and AutoCAD, Baha’i architects set out to design buildings that are not merely spaces for interaction with friends, institutions and God, but also seek to embody spiritual principles.
The designs of the Baha’i Houses of Worship reflect local cultural influences. The House of Worship in Germany blends the Bauhaus and European post-war styles. The Samoan House of Worship captures the simplicity of life in the tropics. The Wilmette Temple displays symbols of Native American traditions alongside the star of David and the cross.
Beyond the Houses of Worship, however, are numerous lesser-known gems of Baha’i architecture.
Image by Lorenia (Flickr)
A few days ago we published a post here on Baha’i Blog featuring 6 Baha’i iPhone Wallpapers, however I noticed a few Facebook and email comments pointing out that perhaps it’s not appropriate to have The Greatest Name or a photo of the door to the shrine of the Bab used in this manner. This seems sensible, so I first wanted to let our readers know that we’ve now updated the post with two fresh wallpapers featuring Baha’i quotes replacing the other two wallpapers. And second of all I thought I’d share some quotes that my fellow Baha’i Blogger Naysan found on the subject of The Greatest Name and its usage. Continue reading
Image by jamzi (Flickr)
“Immerse yourselves”, Baha’u’llah tells us, “in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths”.
I’m not sure if you feel the same way but when I think about the numerous volumes that Baha’u’llah has revealed, I often find myself vacillating wildly between two states: firstly, awe and curiosity, having been moved by the beauty and wisdom of the Writings; and secondly, complete paralysis from feeling overwhelmed by the sheer immensity and profundity of the Writings. There’s so much to gain from studying the Writings but it’s not always easy!
The Kitáb-i-Íqán is just one of the works by Baha’u’llah that I have attempted – on numerous occasions – to read from start to finish but simply haven’t been able to. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover, just a few months ago, that there is now an online course on the Kitáb-i-Íqán!
Fazel Naghdy, the creator of this online course, has kindly prepared a selection of writings by Shoghi Effendi about the Kitáb-i-Íqán and has also provided some additional information on the course.
I’ve already signed up to do the course and am really excited! If you, like me, have been meaning to get around to really studying the Kitáb-i-Íqán, then this post, which compiles what Shoghi Effendi has to say about the importance of the Kitáb-i-Íqán – is for you. (A big thanks to Fazel for preparing this for us!)
With some five to six million Baha’is in the world it’s no surprise that some of the most accomplished people in any discipline are bound to be Baha’i. Being a bit of a television and movie junkie I decided to find out if there were any famous Baha’is in Hollywood. Sure enough shows like Heroes and the Office have featured Baha’i actors, as have movies like the Interpreter and the Godfather! Continue reading
Image by pedestrianrex (Flickr)
Healing the body with food
There is nothing in the Baha’i Writings to specify whether Baha’is should eat their food cooked or raw; exercise or not exercise; use specific therapies or not; nor is it forbidden to eat meat.But that’s not to say there is nothing about health or nutrition in the Writings. On the contrary, there’s actually a lot said – so much so that when I decided to write this post I was overwhelmed by its vastness. Having always been interested in nutrition, I decided that would be a good place to start.
(Photo courtesy: planolight via Flickr)
1. The art or science of government or governing, especially the governing of a political entity, such as a nation, and the administration and control of its internal and external affairs.
2. Intrigue or manoeuvring within a political unit or group in order to gain control or power
The fact that the word “politics” – once used simply to refer to the act of governing – has come to acquire the additional meaning listed above says a lot about the world we live in. This definition reflects the assumption that the act of governance in a country or organisation is inseparable from divisiveness, conflict and the struggle for power and status.
But is that necessarily the case?