Friday, March 20, 2009

Some Baha'i Readings for a Naw-Ruz Gathering

Some of the following passages may prove useful—mixed with songs or other music and perhaps a story—for a holy day celebration such as would typically include people concluding the Baha'i Fast, children, and friends not familiar with the Faith.

Hearken to the delightsome words of My honeyed tongue, and quaff the stream of mystic holiness from My sugar-shedding lips. Sow the seeds of My divine wisdom in the pure soil of thy heart, and water them with the water of certitude, that the hyacinths of My knowledge and wisdom may spring up fresh and green in the sacred city of thy heart."

(Baha'u'llah, The Persian Hidden Words, No. 33)

Praised be Thou, O my God, that Thou hast ordained Naw-Ruz as a festival unto those who have observed the fast for love of Thee and abstained from all that is abhorrent unto Thee. Grant, O my Lord, that the fire of Thy love and the heat produced by the fast enjoined by Thee may inflame them in Thy Cause, and make them to be occupied with Thy praise and with remembrance of Thee.

Since Thou hast adorned them, O my Lord, with the ornament of the fast prescribed by Thee, do Thou adorn them also with the ornament of Thine acceptance, through Thy grace and bountiful favor. For the doings of men are all dependent upon Thy good-pleasure, and are conditioned by Thy behest. Shouldst Thou regard him who hath broken the fast as one who hath observed it, such a man would be reckoned among them who from eternity had been keeping the fast. And shouldst Thou decree that he who hath observed the fast hath broken it, that person would be numbered with such as have caused the Robe of Thy Revelation to be stained with dust, and been far removed from the crystal waters of this living Fountain.

Thou art He through Whom the ensign "Praiseworthy art Thou in Thy works" hath been lifted up, and the standard "Obeyed art Thou in Thy behest" hath been unfurled. Make known this Thy station, O my God, unto Thy servants, that they may be made aware that the excellence of all things is dependent upon Thy bidding and Thy word, and the virtue of every act is conditioned by Thy leave and the good-pleasure of Thy will, and may recognize that the reins of men's doings are within the grasp of Thine acceptance and Thy commandment. Make this known unto them, that nothing whatsoever may shut them out from Thy Beauty… Supply them, then, with that which will profit them, in both this life and in the life beyond. Thou, in truth, art the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, pp. 67-69)

"…because these days are the days of Naw-Ruz, you have come to my mind and I am sending you this greeting for this glorious feast. All the days are blessed, but this feast is the national fete of Persia. The Persians have been holding it for several thousand years past. In reality every day which man passes in the mention of God, the diffusion of the fragrances of God and calling the people to the Kingdom of God, that day is his feast. Praise be to God that you are occupied in the service of the Kingdom of God and are engaged in the promulgation of the religion of God by day and by night. Therefore all your days are feast days. There is no doubt that the assistance and the bestowal of God shall descend upon you."

(Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of the Divine Plan, p. 11)

'O ye loved ones of God! The wine-cup of Heaven overfloweth, the banquet of God's Covenant is bright with festive lights, the dawn of all bestowals is breaking, the gentle winds of grace are blowing, and out of the invisible world come good tidings of bounties and gifts. In flower-spangled meadows hath the divine springtime pitched its tents, and the spiritual are inhaling sweet scents from the Sheba of the spirit, carried their way by the east wind. Now doth the mystic nightingale carol its odes, and buds of inner meaning are bursting into blossoms delicate and fair. The field larks are become the festival's musicians, and lifting wondrous voices they cry and sing to the melodies of the Company on high, "Blessed are ye! Glad Tidings! Glad Tidings!" And they urge on the revellers of the Abha Paradise to drink their fill, and they eloquently hold forth upon the celestial tree, and utter their sacred cries. All this, that withered souls who tread the desert of the heedless, and faded ones lost in the sands of unconcern, may come to throbbing life again, and present themselves at the feasts and revels of the Lord God.'

(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 255)

'This period of time is the Promised Age, the assembling of the human race to the "Resurrection Day" and now is the great "Day of Judgment." Soon the whole world, as in springtime, will change its garb. The turning and falling of the autumn leaves is past; the bleakness of the winter time is over. The new year hath appeared and the spiritual springtime is at hand. The black earth is becoming a verdant garden; the deserts and mountains are teeming with red flowers; from the borders of the wilderness the tall grasses are standing like advance guards before the cypress and jessamine trees; while the birds are singing among the rose branches like the angels in the highest heavens, announcing the glad-tidings of the approach of that spiritual spring, and the sweet music of their voices is causing the real essence of all things to move and quiver.'

(Abdu’l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith, p. 352)

"This sacred day, when the sun illumines equally the whole earth, is called the equinox, and the equinox is the symbol of the Manifestation of God. The Sun of Truth rises on the horizon of Divine Mercy and sends forth its rays. This day is consecrated to commemorate it. It is the beginning of Spring.

When the sun appears at the equinox, it causes a movement in all living things. The mineral world is set in motion, plants begin to shoot, the desert is changed into a prairie, trees bud and every living thing responds, including the bodies of animals and men.

The rising of the sun at the equinox is the symbol of life, and likewise it is the symbol of the Divine Manifestations of God, for the rising of the Sun of Truth in the Heaven of Divine Bounty established the signal of Life for the world. The human reality begins to live, our thoughts are transformed and our intelligence is quickened. The Sun of Truth bestows Eternal Life, just as the solar sun is the cause of terrestrial life."

(Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, Vol. 5, p. 4)

"The divine religions are like the progression of the seasons of the year. When the earth becomes dead and desolate and because of frost and cold no trace of vanished spring remains, the springtime dawns again and clothes everything with a new garment of life. The meadows become fresh and green, the trees are adorned with verdure and fruits appear upon them. Then the winter comes again, and all the traces of spring disappear. This is the continuous cycle of the seasons—spring, winter, then the return of spring. But though the calendar changes and the years move forward, each springtime that comes is the return of the springtime that has gone; this spring is the renewal of the former spring. Springtime is springtime, no matter when or how often it comes. The divine Prophets are as the coming of spring, each renewing and quickening the teachings of the Prophet Who came before Him. Just as all seasons of spring are essentially one as to newness of life, vernal showers and beauty, so the essence of the mission and accomplishment of all the Prophets is one and the same."

(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 126-27)

"O Lord, my Lord!

This is the day which Thy Sacred Tongue and Thy Pen of Glory both have sanctified, and made it a day of heavenly blessings, of divine benediction and favour. Thou hast honoured it with Thy bestowals, endued it with Thy Grace, and invested it with Thy Glory, and caused it to be a day of joy and gladness unto them that have turned to the Light of Thy Divine Revelation; that the hearts may thereby be gladdened, that the radiance of happiness may illumine the lives of them that remember the manifestation of Thy Glory upon Thy Sacred Mount.

Hallow it, 0 Lord, with Thy grace, and make it a day of joy and blessedness for Thy loved ones that have stood fast and firm in Thy Covenant, Thy friends that have sung Thy praise, and especially for this servant of Thine that hath turned his face to Thy Holy Kingdom, supplicated the glory of Thy might and power, circled Thy throne of grandeur and fell prostrate at Thy threshold of Divine Mercy. Thou art the Gracious, the Bountiful, the All Merciful."

(Abdu’l-Baha, published June, 1923 in Star of the West, Vol. 14, p. 82. “A prayer revealed by Abdu’l-Baha in memory of the Day of Naw-Ruz. Translated by Shoghi Effendi.”)

1 comment:

  1. For another beautiful passage where Abdu'l-Baha talks about the Spring Equinox, see Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, pp. 128-29.