As the Baha’i world prepares to commemorate the centenary of Abdu’l-Baha’s ascension and anticipates the construction of His shrine and final resting place, the time is ripe to review His talks and writings (which you can find online here at the Baha’i Reference Library). One of His most important writings is the Will and Testament, in which He appoints a successor and provides instructions on the administration of the global Baha’i community. To aid in the study of this crucial document, this article discusses its significance, its historical context, and its main themes. Continue reading
Playful, joyful, energetic, soulful: these are words that come to mind when describing Jacqueline Claire’s illustrations. (If you’d like see some examples of her artwork you can find it here, or you can learn about her podcast here on Baha’i Blog.)
Jacqueline has most recently created a book that illustrates passages and quotations from the Baha’i Writings and it’s called Noble Beings. Although aimed at a younger audience, I think readers of all ages will delight in her book and find it thoughtful and enriching. Noble Beings is only available for purchase between November 9th and December 8th (you can find copies here) and in the following interview, Jacqueline tells us all about her latest project:
Baha’i Blog: What inspired this project?
Love! On so many levels. Love for the Baha’i Writings. Love for teaching and sharing the Baha’i Faith in a way that connects with people’s hearts. Love for children. Love for the vision of a just, ethical and peaceful world.
I first had the idea in 2017 while shopping for an Ayyam-i-Ha gift for a spiritual and precocious six-year-old. I wanted to give something joyful and relatable that would help nurture a Baha’i identity. I really struggled to find anything that hit the perfect note as far as the aesthetics and spirit of buoyancy and joy I was looking for, so I vowed to eventually make it myself! (In the short run, I illustrated “Blessed is the Spot” for the Ayyam-i-Ha gift). Fast forward to 2020, after working on the book piecemeal over the years, I finally realized that not only was quarantine the ideal time to hunker down and complete my book! But I think we all became aware this year that our lives can change in an instant, and anything really important to us we have to commit to and DO. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
Years ago I was involved with an exciting musical initiative called ‘The Dawnbreaker Collective‘, and I’m excited to share a new album born out of that same spirit of collaboration, called The 7 Cities.
The 7 Cities is an upbeat musical collaboration inspired by the mystical works of Baha’u’llah known as The Seven Valleys, where Baha’u’llah writes:
“The stages that mark the wayfarer’s journey from the abode of dust to the heavenly homeland are said to be seven. Some have called these Seven Valleys, and others, Seven Cities. And they say that until the wayfarer taketh leave of self, and traverseth these stages, he shall never reach to the ocean of nearness and union, nor drink of the peerless wine.”
A long time in the making, The 7 Cities album is awesome, and it’s the result of the coming together of colossal talents including Benn Good (AKA Benny Cassette), Ciele Beau, Gregory Stutzer, Emiliano “Diversoul” Morondos, Daniel Mansions, Naima Te Maile, Tara Ellis, Rey Loo and Meredith LeMarche.
I caught up with my dear friend Benny Cassette and a few of the others involved, to hear more about the album, and here’s what they shared: Continue reading
The Baha’i World Centre has recently released a new compilation on social action which can be read online at the Baha’i Reference Library here. Prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, this compilation features extracts from the writings of Baha’u’llah, the Bab, and Abdu’l-Baha and the letters of Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice. It covers underlying concepts and principles, the nature of Baha’i social and economic development, methods and approaches, and other themes. Continue reading
A few years ago, I was having a conversation with a renowned professor of communication arts. He posed this question to me: “Why do the English translations of Baha’i Writings use such elevated language? Does it pose an obstacle to understanding for some people?” 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
I have a 450-square foot studio apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. My bed folds into a discrete cabinet against the wall, and my sink is always full of dishes. I have a tuxedo cat named Emma who doesn’t like anyone except me and has scratched up the ends of my armchair and leaves fuzz and hair wherever she sits. She tracks small pieces of litter across the apartment. My coffee table is covered with plastic bottles, coasters, leftover takeout containers, and graded papers. Working sixty to seventy hours a week, I roll in and out, often too tired to even put my clothes or shoes away in the right place, leaving them instead to hang out in piles on the floor or over my barstools.
On Fridays, I hurry home from work, turn on bad reality television (Hell’s Kitchen mostly) whilst drinking a frappuccino, and start vacuuming. I sweep up all the white and black cat hairs, and vacuum them out of the sofa and throw pillows. I mop until the floors smell like lemon, sweep and wipe down the bathroom, throw my trash out, put away my recyclables, and finally fold my clothes or put them in the laundry. I take off all the extra things from my coffee table, light a candle, put a record on the turntable, turn on my string lights, change out of my work clothes, and wait for the first guest to arrive. Continue reading
This December marks the 100th anniversary of Abdu’l-Baha’s Tablet to the Central Organisation for a Durable Peace, better known as the Tablet to The Hague (you can read it online in its entirety on the Baha’i Reference Library here). In His letter Abdu’l-Baha places the attainment of international peace within the context of the need for wider political, economic and cultural change.
But what do we know about this Tablet? What was this Central Organisation? Why is this tablet also know as ‘Tablet to The Hague’? Why ‘The Hague’? When and why was this letter written? Who delivered it? Who received this letter and what was their response? In fact, there are two Tablets to The Hague. While the first letter is generally referred to as the Tablet of The Hague, what about the second one?
To answers some of these questions, a father-son duo have created a special webpage which you can see here. It is an English page on a Dutch website, called bahaigeschiedenis.nl, about the history of the Baha’i community in the Netherlands.
Its makers, Jelle and Adib, graciously agreed to tell us about their work, and here’s what they shared: Continue reading
On December 17th, 1919, in the aftermath of World War I, Abdu’l-Baha wrote to the Central Organization for a Durable Peace in The Hague. Abdu’l-Baha wrote a second Tablet to them in July 1920. Because of its substantial length, you might hear the first Tablet referred to as “The Tablet to The Hague” but you’ll also find both Tablets called “The Tablets to the Hague”. These two Tablets were recently published online for the first time on the Baha’i Reference Library (you can read them here), and in this article, we offer some introductory thoughts on the Tablet that was written 100 years ago, about its context and its significance. Continue reading
Immortal Youth: A Tribute to the Life and Station of the Bab is a new volume released in honor of this year’s bicentennial anniversary of His Birth. Initiated and compiled by the editorial department of the US Baha’i Publishing Trust, this softcover book offers some sacred and authoritative texts of the Baha’i Faith that pertain to the life and station of the Bab. The 118 page book is organized in an accessible manner and is divided into sections covering the birth, declaration, martyrdom, and station of the Bab, followed by a selection of His own prayers and meditations. It includes Writings of Baha’u’llah and the Bab as well as Writings and recorded utterances of Abdu’l-Baha and writings of Shoghi Effendi.
Immortal Youth gathers together passages and Writings found elsewhere into one commemorative book: it is beautifully designed and a befitting tribute to the Bab. While neither an exhaustive or comprehensive collection, the book’s introduction explains that “it is hoped that this book will offer an opportunity for readers to reflect on the life and station of the inaugurator of the Baha’i Dispensation, the towering Figure described by Baha’u’llah as ‘the Primal Point, the Divine Mystery, the Unseen Essence, the Dayspring of Divinity, and the Manifestation of Thy Lordship, through Whom all the knowledge of the past and all the knowledge of the future were made plain.'” Continue reading