How can an individual go about refining the power of speech?
80) "...when a true seeker determineth to take the step of search in the path leading to the knowledge of the Ancient of Days, he must, before all else, cleanse and purify his heart... He must never seek to exalt himself above any one, must wash away from the tablet of his heart every trace of pride and vainglory, must cling unto patience and resignation, observe silence, and refrain from idle talk. For the tongue is a smoldering fire, and excess of speech a deadly poison. Material fire consumeth the body, whereas the fire of the tongue devoureth both heart and soul. The force of the former lasteth but for a time, whilst the effects of the latter endureth a century. That seeker should also regard backbiting as grievous error, and keep aloof from its dominion, inasmuch as backbiting quencheth the light of the heart and extinguisheth the life of the soul."
(Baha’u’llah, Kitab-i-Iqan, pp. 192-193)
81) "Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not. This is my command unto thee, do thou observe it."
(Baha’u’llah, Arabic Hidden Words, No. 29)
82) "Be fair in thy judgment and guarded in thy speech."
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 285)
83) "...consume every wayward thought with the flame of His loving mention..."
(Baha’u’llah, Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 194)
84) "Bring thyself to account each day ere thou art summoned to a reckoning; for death, unheralded, shall come upon thee and thou shalt be called to give account for thy deeds."
(Baha’u’llah, Arabic Hidden Words, No. 37)
85) "The fruits of the human tree are exquisite, highly desired and dearly cherished. Among them are upright character, virtuous deeds, and a goodly utterance."
(Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 257)
86) "A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning, it is the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding."
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 269)
87) "Beautify your tongues, 0 people, with truthfulness and adorn your souls with the ornament of honesty. Beware, 0 people, that ye deal not treacherously with any one."
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 297)
88) "Dispute not with any one concerning the things of this world and its affairs, for God hath abandoned them to such as have set their affection upon them. Out of the whole world He hath chosen for Himself the hearts of men—hearts which the hosts of revelation and of utterance can subdue."
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 279)
89) "O people of Baha! Subdue the citadels of men's hearts with the swords of wisdom and of utterance. They that dispute, as prompted by their desires, are indeed wrapped in a palpable veil. Say: The sword of wisdom is hotter than summer heat, and sharper than blades of steel, if ye do but understand."
(Baha’u’llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 55)
90) "Say: Sow not, 0 people, the seeds of dissension amongst men, and contend not with your neighbor. Be patient under all conditions, and place your whole trust and confidence in God. Aid ye your Lord with the sword of wisdom and of utterance."
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 296)
91) "...It was through the grace of God and with the aid of seemly words and praiseworthy deeds that the unsheathed swords of the Babi community were returned to their scabbards. Indeed through the power of good words, the righteous have always succeeded in winning command over the meads of the hearts of men. Say, 0 ye loved ones! Do not forsake prudence. Incline your hearts to the counsels given by the Most Exalted Pen and beware lest your hands and tongues cause harm unto anyone among mankind."
(Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 85)
92) "No man of wisdom can demonstrate his knowledge save by means of words. This showeth the significance of the Word as is affirmed in all the Scriptures, whether of former times or more recently. For it is through its potency and animating spirit that the people of the world have attained so eminent a position. Moreover words and utterances should be both impressive and penetrating. However, no word will be infused with these two qualities unless it be uttered wholly for the sake of God and with due regard unto the exigencies of the occasion and the people.
"The Great Being saith: Human utterance is an essence which aspireth to exert its influence and needeth moderation. As to its influence, this is conditional upon refinement which in turn is dependent upon hearts which are detached and pure. As to its moderation, this hath to be combined with tact and wisdom as prescribed in the Holy Scriptures and Tablets.
"Every word is endowed with a spirit, therefore the speaker or expounder should carefully deliver his words at the appropriate time and place, for the impression which every each word maketh is clearly evident and perceptible. The Great Being saith: One word may be likened unto fire, another unto light, and the influence which both exert is manifest in the world. Therefore an enlightened man of wisdom should primarily speak with words as mild as milk, that the children of men may be nurtured and edified thereby and may attain the ultimate goal of human existence which is the station of true understanding and nobility. And likewise he saith: One word is like unto springtime causing the tender saplings of the rose-garden of knowledge to become verdant and flourishing, while another word is even as a deadly poison. It behoveth a prudent man of wisdom to speak with the utmost leniency and forbearance so that the sweetness of his words may induce everyone to attain that which befitteth man's station."
(Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, pp. 172-173)
93) "Rest assured that the breathings of the Holy Spirit will loosen thy tongue. Speak, therefore; speak out with great courage at every meeting. When thou art about to begin thine address, turn first to Bahá'u'lláh, and ask for the confirmations of the Holy Spirit, then open thy lips and say whatever is suggested to thy heart; this, however, with the utmost courage, dignity and conviction. It is my hope that from day to day your gatherings will grow and flourish, and that those who are seeking after truth will hearken therein to reasoned arguments and conclusive proofs. I am with you heart and soul at every meeting; be sure of this."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, pp. 269-270)
94) "The individual must be educated to such a high degree that he would rather have his throat cut than tell a lie, and would think it easier to be slashed with a sword or pierced with a spear than to utter calumny or be carried away by wrath."
(Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 136)
95) "When a speaker's brow shineth with the radiance of the love of God, at the time of his exposition of a subject, and he is exhilarated with the wine of true understanding, he becometh the center of a potent force which like unto a magnet will attract the hearts. This is why the expounder must be in the utmost enkindlement."
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Individual and Teaching - Raising the Divine Call, p. 11)
96) 'In accordance with the divine teachings in this glorious Dispensation we should not belittle anyone and call him ignorant, saying: "You know not but I know." Rather, we should look upon others with respect, and when attempting to explain and demonstrate, we should speak as if we are investigating the truth, saying: "Here these things are before us. Let us investigate to determine where and in what form the truth can be found."
'The teacher should not consider himself as learned and others ignorant. Such a thought breeds pride, and pride is unconducive to influence. The teacher should not see in himself any superiority; he should speak with the utmost kindliness, lowliness and humility, for such speech exerts influence and educates the souls.'
(Abdu’l-Baha, The Individual and Teaching - Raising the Divine Call, p. 11)
97) "Follow thou the way of thy Lord, and say not that which the ears cannot bear to hear, for such speech is like luscious food given to small children. However palatable, rare and rich the food may be, it cannot be assimilated by the digestive organs of a suckling child. Therefore unto every one who hath a right, let his settled measure be given."
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Individual and Teaching - Raising the Divine Call, p. 13)
98) "Do not argue with anyone, and be wary of disputation. Speak out the truth. If your hearer accepteth, the aim is achieved. If he is obdurate, you should leave him to himself, and place your trust in God. Such is the quality of those who are firm in the Covenant."
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Individual and Teaching - Raising the Divine Call, p. 13)
99) "We should strive in all our utterances to combine the discretion and noble reticence of the wise with the frankness and passionate loyalty of the ardent advocate of an inspiring Faith. While refusing to utter the word that would needlessly alienate or estrange any individual, government or people, we should fearlessly and unhesitatingly uphold and assert in their entirety such truths the knowledge of which we believe is vital and urgently needed for the good and betterment of mankind."
(Shoghi Effendi, Baha'i Administration, p. 102)
100) "Content, volume, style, tact, wisdom, timeliness are among the critical factors in determining the effects of speech for good or evil. Consequently, the friends need ever to be conscious of the significance of this activity which so distinguishes human beings from other forms of life, and they must exercise it judiciously. Their efforts at such discipline will give birth to an etiquette of expression worthy of the approaching maturity of the human race."
(The Universal House of Justice, Individual Rights and Freedoms in the World Order of Baha'u'llah, pp. 16-17)
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Refining Utterance (80-100)
Posted by Paul Mantle at 11:43 PM