It’s very uncomfortable to acknowledge that I—and everyone else—have moments where I am far from being perfect. In short, I make mistakes and I sin. My understanding of what it means to sin, according to the principles of the Baha’i Faith, is when I fall short of the virtuous behavior God calls me to strive for as an inherently noble human being (you can read more about the concept of sin here).
I’ve worked to dismantle perfectionism in my life, where I beat myself up for not being perfect. Some days my inner critic seems to be in charge and labels me as a sinner. Some days my noble self is in the lead, and I can see and feel that I’m full of valuable gems and only have small improvements to work on. The word “sin” seems to carry a heavy weight with it for all of us—who wants to be thought of as a “sinner”? The section in my Baha’i prayerbook of forgiveness prayers is one that, truthfully, I often uncomfortably skip over. It’s very difficult to read prayers that say: “I am a sinner, O my Lord….” even though we all are, to some extent. Continue reading
My dear friend Sonbol Taefi has created a new multi-language devotional album called Coral & Pearls. Her voice on its own is rich and her compositions are uplifting, but on this album her music is also adorned by singers from various parts of the globe; the album features Luke Slott, Elika Mahony and Nasime Wattiaux.
With the exception of the title song, the tracks were recorded in New Zealand with acoustic instruments: piano, guitar, santour, percussion and strings ,as well as backing vocals and choral arrangements. The enchanting title song is based on the marriage prayer revealed by Abdu’l-Baha in Persian, and it was developed for a full ensemble piece for recording with the Czech National Symphony.
It’s been many years since we interviewed Sonbol about her album Sea of Mystery (which you can read here), so I was glad for the chance to hear from her again, and to learn more about her latest album. In this interview she tells us how it came together, and offers some words of encouragement to other musicians, or anyone who is beginning to set the Baha’i Writings to music: Continue reading
Turn My Steps is the debut album of Siria Rutstein, and many of you may remember hearing her voice on two Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions called “Make Them to Grow” and “Immerse”.
Siria is a thoughtful and joyful singer-songwriter currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. I have to admit that I have a soft spot for her as when she was a child, her family was in Papua New Guinea with me and my family, and I have so many fond memories of the times I spent with her parents. I was delighted when I heard that she had released her debut album, so I got in touch with her to find out more about her music and why it was important for her to create this album. Here’s what she shared:
We’re excited to share that a selection of 26 prayers prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice and released in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Abdu’l-Baha’s passing has just been made available online on the Baha’i Reference Library.
The Baha’i Reference Library offers downloadable and searchable Writings from Baha’u’llah, the Bab, Abdu’l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi, letters and publications of the Universal House of Justice and compilations, such as the recently released compilation on the Universal House of Justice. You can click on “Recent Additions” to see what’s been added to the Baha’i Reference Library.
If you haven’t already, you may wish to subscribe to the Baha’i World News Service, which often reports when new translations are released, as well as documents the activities of the worldwide Baha’i community.
Relierlescoeurs.org is an initiative of the Regional Baha’i Council for Quebec (Canada) and it features music, readings on a variety of themes such as hope, unity and patience, and art — all with the aim to inspire and uplift our hearts, our thoughts and our actions. Continue reading
A blending of cultures and a meeting point of generations is what makes Radiant Heart a special album, even before you begin listening to it. Mother-daughter duo Shidan and Shadi Toloui-Wallace, have created an album with songs in English, Persian (Farsi) and Arabic. Their respective voices, languages and the cultural heritage they draw upon complements each other magnificently.
It’s been a while since we heard from Shidan or Shadi. You may remember Shidan from our interview with her about her album Phoenix of Love, which you can read here. And we last heard from Shadi when she was a guest on our podcast, which you can check out here: Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 27: Shadi Toloui-Wallace
So with the release of this new and unique album, we thought it was time to hear from both of them again, and here’s what they shared with us: Continue reading
Two dear friends of mine, Edit Kalman, a photographer, and Tom Mann, a graphic designer, have teamed up to create a special compilation of the Baha’i Writings in light of the exceptional circumstances the people of the world find themselves in right now with the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but also to be used, and inspiration derived from it, at any time.
Edit and Tom have created a compilation in both English and Hungarian, and have made it available for free download by anyone who would like to use it. You can download it here.
I was excited to touch base with Edit and Tom to learn more about this touching initiative, and here’s what they shared with me:
Baha’i Blog: Hi Edit and Tom! Can you first tell us a little bit about this initiative?
Well, we wanted to distribute, in a non-printed format, a set of positive Baha’i Writings that address some of the current issues we are facing right now in relation to the global health crisis.
As humanity is facing heavy challenges and the light of unity is shining more brightly, we have created a compilation as a gift to those souls who are searching for answers, solace and love today. Please feel free to share the booklet with your friends and loved ones. Continue reading
Englisi Farsi is a wonderful resource for parents who wish to teach their children Persian (Farsi), the language of Iran, even if they can’t read or write the language themselves. Using the familiar phonetics of the English alphabet, the learning aid includes a series of lively e-books with an interactive audio and pronunciation guide, giving anyone who reads and speaks English a entryway to the rich and lyrical language that is Farsi. Created by Mona Kiani, Englisi Farsi includes colorful books for young children about animals, virtues, fruits and vegetables. They also have a Baha’i prayer book as well! Mona shared with us how she created these books and about the process of putting together the prayer book. Here’s our conversation:
Baha’i Blog: Hi Mona! Could you please tell us a little about yourself and Englisi Farsi?
I am an English-speaking Australian of Iranian descent with a Singaporean spouse of mixed ethnicity. We are currently speaking Persian and Mandarin to our son. While I could converse fluently in Farsi, I was not fully acquainted with the Persian written word. That is, untiI I started this journey!
I knew in my heart that I wanted my son to know Farsi. My language defines who I am and, in turn, who he is or will be. I wanted my son to have a good start. But I couldn’t find any resource that didn’t require me to master the Persian alphabet. After a period of futile searching, I decided to develop my own teaching tools in Pinglish/Finglish (Farsi in English) for my son — and my husband as well as the English-speaking wives of my Persian brothers.
In honor of the Day of the Covenant (the day when Baha’is celebrate the appointment of Abdu’l-Baha as the Centre of Baha’u’llah’s Covenant), we thought it would be a perfect time to bring our readers’ attention the exciting news of the newly translated prayers, tablets, extracts and talks by Abdu’l-Baha, recently made available on the Baha’i Reference Library. Continue reading