Stories of Baha’u’llah: A Hermit’s Hospitality

“Stories of Baha’u’llah” is a series of short videos produced by Clark Donnelly and Mary Darling of Westwind Pictures. You may have already seen their work, such as The Baha’is, or Tablets of the Divine Plan. In each video in this sweet and sincere series, a child tells us a story about Baha’u’llah.

In this particular video, called “A Hermit’s Hospitality,” we hear about a hermit who hosted Baha’u’llah for three days and who delighted in His company.  Continue reading

The Passing of Baha’u’llah and His Covenant

Baha'u'llah's bed in the Mansion of Bahji, located just outside of Akko, Israel. (Photo: Bahai.us via Flickr)

In the early hours of 29 May 1892, Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Baha’i Faith, passed away in the Mansion of Bahji (located just outside of the prison city of Akko in present day Israel), where He had been a prisoner for nine years. Baha’is around the world commemorate the day of Baha’u’llah’s passing as one of the nine holy days where work should be suspended, and it is known to Baha’is as ‘The Ascension of Baha’u’llah’.

Just after sunset on the day He passed away, Baha’u’llah was buried in a simple room in a house next to the Mansion of Bahji, turning it into the holiest place on earth for Baha’is and making it the place where Baha’is the world over turn towards in prayer, and come from all corners of the earth to pay their respects as Pilgrims.

As I join fellow Baha’is around the world in commemorating the Ascension of Baha’u’llah, I am reminded of the fortune we as Baha’is have in knowing that Baha’u’llah’s successorship was made so explicit, and as a result, this has protected us from schisms. Compared to the passing of other Messengers of God, this is what has made the Baha’i Faith truly unique: The fact that for the first time in history, the founder of a world religion had made His successorship explicitly clear to His followers. Continue reading

The Birth of Baha’u’llah and the Spirit of the Age

Shut your eyes to estrangement, then fix your gaze upon unity… This span of earth is but one homeland and one habitation. -Baha’u’llah (1817-1892)

What possible connection could a Persian prisoner in a culturally stunted corner of the 19th century mideast have with the progressive spirit of our age? The spirit of a beaten mankind arising, phoenix-like, from the ashes of pride and prejudice to the glory of unity and brotherhood. Well, everything.

Biased though I may be, as a Baha’i I also embrace wholeheartedly the inspiration of every visionary that has called for a wider appreciation of humanity. Thoreau, Tolstoy, Gandhi and Dr. King come readily to mind. Today Baha’is everywhere gather to commemorate the 196th anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah. It would be only befitting to pause and glance at the quiet revolution of human consciousness brought about by this serene child prodigy born on 12 November, 1817 to one Khadijih Khanum and Mirza Buzurg. Continue reading

Stories of Baha’u’llah Told by Children

“Stories of Baha’u’llah” is a series of short videos produced by Clark Donnelly and Mary Darling of Westwind Pictures. You may have already seen their work, such as The Baha’is, or Tablets of the Divine Plan.

In this sweet and sincere series of videos, each video consists of a child telling us a one particular story relating to Baha’u’llah.

I got in touch with Mary Darling to find out more about the initiative, and here’s what she had to say: Continue reading

Stories of Baha’u’llah – Unimaginable Majesty

“Stories of Baha’u’llah” is a series of short videos produced by Clark Donnelly and Mary Darling of Westwind Pictures. You may have already seen their work, such as The Baha’is, or Tablets of the Divine Plan. In each video in this sweet and sincere series, a child tells us a story about Baha’u’llah.

This particular video is called “Unimaginable Majesty” and we learn about the august and powerful personage of Baha’u’llah.  Continue reading

An Introduction to The Four Valleys by Baha’u’llah

Baha’u’llah’s The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys are often found translated together in English, however, they are two distinct mystical texts, or tablets. I wrote about the significance of The Seven Valleys in this Baha’i Blog article and while both texts “basically convey the same truth”, I’d like to share a brief introduction to The Four Valleys in this piece and explore what makes it distinct. Continue reading

Celebrating the Upcoming Bicentenary of Baha’u’llah’s Birth

The Bab and Baha’u’llah were Twin Manifestations in a spiritual sense, as they both unfurled the Baha’i Dispensation, but also in a temporal sense, due to the closeness of their ages and birthdays. The anniversaries of their birthdays fall on consecutive days; this year, they occur on Saturday, October 21 (the Birth of the Bab), and Sunday, October 22 (the Birth of Baha’u’llah). The Twin Birthdays are always commemorated as Holy Days, anniversaries when Baha’is are asked to suspend work in honor of the occasion’s sanctity.

Early last year, Baha’is around the world were reminded by the Universal House of Justice, the international Baha’i administrative body, that two bicentennial anniversaries were approaching: the 200th birthday of Baha’u’llah, born in 1817 in Tehran, Iran, and the 200th birthday of the Bab, born in 1819 in Shiraz, Iran. Baha’is around the world are taking the opportunity afforded by this year’s Bicentenary to reflect on how our communities can share the teachings of the Bab and Baha’u’llah. Continue reading

A Birthday Like No Other: The Birth of Baha’u’llah

By most measures, November 1817 was a decidedly ho-hum month in world history. On November 5, the Third Anglo-Maratha War broke out between the British and Indians at the Battle of Khadki. On November 20, the first Seminole War began in the American state of Florida. Historical almanacs show the parade of 19th century thinkers and doers marching on and a subtle passing from a world of crushing conventionality (Jane Austen died that year) to a world of intense questioning and social and philosophical mischief (Henry David Thoreau and Frederick Douglass were born that year).

But on November 12, 1817 something happened that in time will make all the wars, rises and falls of empires, and even sweeping social and philosophical movements pale by comparison. On that Wednesday, a baby was born in Tehran, a baby Who would grow up to upset the equilibrium of the whole world, indeed whose life would mark the culmination of an age 6,000 years long — our entire known history — and launch us into a turbulent modernity and then into the long-promised but elusive Kingdom of God on Earth. Continue reading

Stories of Baha’u’llah – A Wish Came True

“Stories of Baha’u’llah” is a series of short videos produced by Clark Donnelly and Mary Darling of Westwind Pictures. You may have already seen their work, such as The Baha’is, or Tablets of the Divine Plan. In each video in this sweet and sincere series, a child tells us a story about Baha’u’llah.

This particular video is called “A Wish Came True” and it describes what it was like to be in the presence of Baha’u’llah when He was revealing the Sacred Word. Continue reading

Stories of Baha’u’llah – Baghdad Coffee Shop

“Stories of Baha’u’llah” is a series of short videos produced by Clark Donnelly and Mary Darling of Westwind Pictures. You may have already seen their work, such as The Baha’is, or Tablets of the Divine Plan. In each video in this sweet and sincere series, a child tells us a story about Baha’u’llah.

This particular video is called “Baghdad Coffee Shop” and we hear about the coffee shops Baha’u’llah frequented when He was exiled in Baghdad.  Continue reading

Stories of Baha’u’llah – A Child’s Encounter with Sweetness

“Stories of Baha’u’llah” is a series of short videos produced by Clark Donnelly and Mary Darling of Westwind Pictures. You may have already seen their work, such as The Baha’is, or Tablets of the Divine Plan. In each video in this sweet and sincere series, a child tells us a story about Baha’u’llah.

This particular video is called “A Child’s Encounter with Sweetness” and it tells the story of a young boy who received a gift of candy from Baha’u’llah. Continue reading

The Twin Holy Birthdays of the Bab and Baha’u’llah

Only a handful of humanity are aware that barely 160 years ago Iran witnessed a re-enactment of scenes that had occurred in Roman Judaea two millennia earlier. The ancient land — known as Persia at the time — was about to boil over and, as a result, a new religious movement peaceably inviting men and women to embrace a new commandment from God, had been all but vanquished. As a fluke of fate or fortune, its call for world unity as the will of God for our Age, had barely managed to reach beyond the borders of Persia and the Ottoman Empire — the two empires whose two monarchs and religious orthodoxies were determined to stamp out these ‘stirrers of sedition’. Today worldwide and unquenchable, this movement is alive and well. It is the Baha’i Faith. Continue reading

4 Qualities Baha’u’llah Loved to See

When we aspire to live up to the teachings of Baha’u’llah and strive to emulate the immense array of virtues, we can become a little overwhelmed. It can be helpful to limit the range of qualities we focus on. Luckily, there are four qualities that Baha’u’llah especially liked.

Baha’u’llah is said to have often remarked:

There are four qualities which I love to see manifested in people: first, enthusiasm and courage; second, a face wreathed in smiles and a radiant countenance; third, that they see with their own eyes and not through the eyes of others; fourth, the ability to carry a task once begun, through to its end.

There are so many virtues that we are called to develop, so why did Baha’u’llah single out these four qualities? Here are my thoughts:  Continue reading

Stories of Baha’u’llah – Justice & the Tax Collector

“Stories of Baha’u’llah” is a series of short videos produced by Clark Donnelly and Mary Darling of Westwind Pictures. You may have already seen their work, such as The Baha’is, or Tablets of the Divine Plan. In each video in this sweet and sincere series, a child tells us a story about Baha’u’llah.

This particular video is called “Justice and the Tax Collector” and you can listen to an example of when Baha’u’llah sought out justice as a small child. Continue reading

Amin Banani – The World Order of Baha’u’llah

Thanks to the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Santa Monica, California we’re happy to share with everyone this set of talks held at the Santa Monica Baha’i Centre given by Professor Amin Banani in 2003 on the “World Order of Baha’u’llah”.

Professor Amin Banani has authored numerous scholarly works and was a longtime professor of Persian history and literature at the University of California, Los Angeles. He served the Baha’i Faith in a wide range of roles including being a member of the Board of Trustees of Ḥuqúqu’lláh for the United States for more than two decades, and also an advocate for the Baha’i Faith at the United Nations. He and his wife, Sheila, were Knights of Baha’u’llah for their role in the founding of the national Baha’i community of Greece. Professor Banani passed away on July 28, 2013 at the age of 86. (Read more about Amin Banani here.)

Happy listening!

“What If?” A Theatrical Presentation for the Birth of Baha’u’llah

“What If?” is a theatrical production that was staged in honour of the bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah. Created by the Baha’is of Hamilton (Canada), “What If?” features drama, film and entertainers like Jack Lenz and Toronto’s Countermeasure to pose the question – “What if Baha’u’llah has brought the answers the world has been seeking?” This bicentennial celebration highlights the transformative impact of Baha’u’llah’s teachings on the lives of families, neighborhoods, and communities.  Continue reading

Newly Translated Prayers Revealed by Baha’u’llah

If you haven’t already heard, the Baha’i Reference Library now lists 109 newly translated prayers, passages and a compilation — you can read all about it here on Baha’i Blog!

In honor of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, I thought it would be a perfect time to share and reflect on 12 of those 109: the newly translated prayers revealed by Baha’u’llah. For ease of access I’ve included them below. You can find them, and others by Abdu’l-Baha, on the Baha’i Reference Library. Continue reading