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STAR OF THE WEST
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 Judgement." Soon the whole world, as in spring-time, 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
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spring-time 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 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.
O my spiritual friend! Dost thou know from what airs emanate the notes sung by those birds? They are from the melodies of peace and reconciliation, of love and unity, of justice and security, of concord and harmony. In a short time this heavenly singing will intoxicate all humanity; the foundations of enmity shall be destroyed; unity and affection shall be witnessed in every assembly; and the lovers of the love of God at these great festivals shall behold their splendor.
Therefore, contemplate what a spirit of life God hath given that the body of the whole earth may attain life everlasting! The Paradise of El-Abha will soon spread a pavilion from the Pole-star of the world, under whose shelter the beloved shall rejoice and the pure hearts shall repose in peace.
- —ABDUL-BAHA ABBAS
STAR OF THE WEST
"We desire but the good of the world and the happiness of the nations; that all nations shall become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men shall be strengthened; that diversity of religion shall cease and differences of race be annulled. So it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the 'Most Great Peace' shall come."—BAHA'O'LLAH.
Vol. VII Baha' 1, 72 (March 21, 1916) No. 1
The Light of Truth
Address delivered by Mirza Ali Kuli Khan before the Bahai Assembly of West Hoboken, N. J., September 28, 1902
TRUTH is the foundation upon which the welfare of society, both temporal and spiritual, is dependent. To know the full scope of Truth secures man a passport with which to traverse through the boundaries of the world and advance with sure step toward the realm of eternity. Truth seekers are assiduous students in the school of worldly experience. They see many ups and downs and experience manifold stumbling blocks and afflictions upon the highway of trials which lead man to the destination of perfection. Every day life puts unthought of problems and questions to man, which are beyond his power to solve. But when, through suffering and hardships, Truth is attained, it endows man with a key to every enigma of life, and traces unto him a plain way to every fairy mansion sequestered here and there throughout the vast desert of time.
Now that we know that the Truth is the only thing worth having, we must buy it at any price. The Truth should be found and known through the heart and not through any of the outward senses. It should be perceived through insight and not sight, for the sight sees imaginary things as realities, considers the mirage of the desert as running water and takes a shifting shadow for a substantial form. The outward senses rather mislead us than direct us to the Truth. When we look at things from the outward sense point of view, we are improvident and thus led to misjudge them. In such circumstances we take darkness for light, images reflected in the mirror for realities, and we fail to distinguish the Truth from falsehood. In other words, to seek after Truth through the instrumentality of outward senses, leads us to worship horizons—not the sun—and to judge by the appearance of the lamp and candle.
To illustrate this point, let us look back 1900 years ago when the whole world was in quest of Truth. In search of Truth all were exploring the dark recesses and nooks of the different sides of life through the help of the torch of outward senses, with the exception of a very few who sought after it and had for a guide the shining light of insight and inner perception. Then when the "Messianic Sun" dawned from the horizon of the "Man of Nazareth," those few who sought after the Messiah through the help of insight found that world-illumining light as clear as the sun in midday and were by no means prevented by the lowly lamp of Jesus in whom that Light had appeared. On the other hand, myriads of pseudo-seekers, who were escorted by the gorgeous equipage of Greek philosophy and mounted on the steeds
of phenomenal science and speculation, were entirely veiled from the Truth, and the help of outward senses did no other than to cast them in the bottomless abyss of remorse and ignorance. The few, who sought only for the Light, attained to never-ending life, while the many who judged the Light by the outward appearance of the lamp, were submerged in the sea of everlasting death. The former became the goal of kings and queens, but the latter became the shame of nations, and their names remained in the world's history as a subject of universal derision and disdain. Peter became the custodian of divine mysteries, while Caiaphas became a true symbol of human abomination.
Everything in the world, such as tree, ocean, light, man or beast, has a poor beginning. For instance, the beginning of a tree is a seed, that of the ocean a drop, that of sunlight the dim twilight, that of man the embryo, and that of beast, an insignificant speck of mere potentiality. Just as the twilight, the drop, the seed and the embryo have severally the potentiality of becoming a midday sun, an ocean, a stately tree and a perfect man, likewise, a discerning man sees and realizes a movement of nineteen hundred years duration in the lowly man of Nazareth, the extinction of polytheism and idolatry in the illiterate man of Arabia, and the establishment of the Universal Peace and general emancipation of mankind in BAHA'O'LLAH, the noble man of Persia.
Philosophy and clear thinking teach that everything accidental and visible is an effect and is the outcome of a cause. The appearance and life of things begin with the existence of their causes. Though causes are ideas and pre-existent to the effects which are forms, yet the latter are inseparable from and contemporaneous with the former. For a further illustration of this fact, I quote the following from the words of Emerson, the literary and moral genius of America.
"Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end pre-exists in the means and the fruit in the seed. The change which breaks up at short intervals the prosperity of men are advertisements of a nature whose law is growth."
Also the same authority has said:
"Thought and form are equal in the order of time; but in the order of genesis, the thought is prior to the form."
One day when in Acca, Abdul-Baha, speaking of the mentioned fact and explaining that the possibility of every effect is latent or deposited in its cause, gave the following illustration:
"A wise man when looking at an egg, sees in it the whole form of a bird; he sees the beak, the claws, the plumage, the wings and the eyes, as well as the song and melody of the bird; but a child or an unwise man sees nothing but the egg, even unable to go any further than the outward shell and appearance."
Thus it was through the innate Light of Truth and divine power manifest in the "Lowly Nazarene," that he said: "Verily, I have overcome the world," while the multitude, who were blind to this fact judged Him from His outward humility and poverty and laughed at His words in derision. Woe unto man if he relies upon his outward senses and judges things according to their appearance!
The life of vegetation begins in the seed, and the seed bursts forth in early spring through the training of the vernal shower and gentle breezes. So is the ease with the religious growth. It begins with the rise of a perfect man who represents that invisible Sun of Truth in its fullness and perfection. The rise of such a man puts a period to the old cycles and opens the paragraph of a new, dispensation. His rise is the spiritual spring-time, through the refreshing breezes of which the sterile desert of the chaotic world blossoms into new life and becomes the envy of the Kingdom. The
breezes of the temporal spring-time are but an outcome of ethereal vibrations and fluctuations, while the breeze of this divine vernal season is the pure breath of the Holy Spirit which imparts everlasting life upon the dead souls of mankind. It is the rise of this perfect man which gives rise to ideal resurrection and calls forth the mouldering bones of dead humanity from the graves of inadvertance and superstition.
The rise of this man revolutionizes the old school of pride, self-exaltation and love for temporal leadership, and establishes the flourishing institution of meekness, self-abnegation and servitude upon the well-made foundation of love and truth. The rise of this man brings to light the falsity of so-called knowledge, and removes the covering from the face of misunderstood facts. All depend upon Him for "He is all in all," and all spring forth from Him, for He is the source of Life. He is the "Alpha and the Omega," the beginning and the end, the manifest and the hidden. For He is the manifestation of that Essence who was from the beginning before which there was no beginning, and will continue to be until the end beyond which there is no end. To know Him is to know God; to adore Him is to adore God; and to love Him is to love God. For He is the most perfect and clear mirror upon which the rays of the Invisible Sun are reflected and it is only through that Mirror that man can behold the radiance of that Sun and be benefited by its life-imparting heat. He is HE, whether He claims servitude, divinity, prophethood, sonship, fatherhood or manhood. In whatever clothing He may appear, the prudent will recognize Him, and in whatever tongue He may speak, the spiritually minded will hear Him and will distinguish Him from imposters.
Thirty-four hundred years ago, when the whole world was covered with the wintry frost of ignorance and idolatry, and the children of men were submerged in the sea of darkness and imagination, the Supreme Ordainer saw fit to purify the mirror of the phenomenal existence from the dust of barbarity and deliver mankind from the prison of fabulous beliefs and abominations. He selected an ordinary man of the desert and made him the means for the execution of His work and honored him with the robe of prophethood. The shepherd saw the fire of "Verily, I am God" in the burning bush on the Sinai of knowledge and was favored with the rod of command. He was chosen from among the whole world to be the bearer of the divine Message and to enact the supreme Law for the guidance of a certain number of mankind. He was commanded to release the children of Israel from the tyranny of arrogant Pharoahs and to remove the yoke of slavery from their necks. That man of God, that Law Giver, that interlocutor of God, directed by the divine Light, betook himself to the city of darkness and delivered the Message of His Lord to him who was the most powerful king in the history of that age. He discomfited the hosts of the magi with the white hand of argument and swallowed the snakes of imagination with the serpent of Truth. A shepherd, destitute of any material influence, learning, affluence or hosts, suppressed the power of kings, silenced the men of sciences, and imparted the wealth of Law and Truth to the Pharoah-ridden slaves, termed the Israelites. He directed them to the Land of Promise, and established them in the covenanted country in fulfillment of the Words of God to the Patriarch.
When we follow the history of the Israelites from the rise of Moses down to the day of Jesus, we are continually struck with amazement at the considerable change brought upon these slaves of Pharoah and at the great events and occurrences which mark the Hebraic cycle. For the Word of God, through Moses, illumined that benighted people
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STAR OF THE WEST
PUBLISHED NINETEEN TIMES A YEAR
By the BAHAI NEWS SERVICE, 515 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, Ill., U. S. A.
Entered as second-class matter April 9, 1911, at the post office at Chicago, Illinois, under the Act of March 3, 1879.
Editorial Staff: ALBERT R. WINDUST — GERTRUDE BUIKEMA — DR. ZIA M. BAGDADI
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TABLET FROM ABDUL-BAHA.
HE IS GOD!
O thou Star of the West!
Be thou happy! Be thou happy! Shouldst thou continue to remain firm and eternal, ere long, thou shalt become the Star of the East and shalt spread in every country and clime. Thou art the first paper of the Bahais which is organized in the country of America. Although for the present thy subscribers are limited, thy form is small and thy voice weak, yet shouldst thou stand unshakable, become the object of the attention of the friends and the center of the generosity of the leaders of the faith who are firm in the Covenant, in the future thy subscribers will become hosts after hosts like unto the waves of the sea; thy volume will increase, thy arena will become vast and spacious and thy voice and fame will be raised and become world-wide—and at last thou shalt become the first paper of the world of humanity. Yet all these depend upon firmness, firmness, firmness!
(Signed) ABDUL-BAHA ABBAS.
The Annual Convention of Bahai Temple Unity will be held in Chicago, April 29th to May 2d, inclusive. Detailed plans will be announced in the call to the assemblies and in a forthcoming issue of the STAR OF THE WEST.
Harlan Foster Ober, Secretary.
As the seventy-second year of the Millennium dawns, the lurid flames and black smoke of war—such as the world has never beheld—seems to becloud the Sun of Truth.
How can such an hour be considered part of the Millennium?
Dispensations are like the links of a vast chain—each link overlapping the other. Consider the history of the Christian cycle which began with the birth of Christ. Yet it was not until seventy and more years later that the whirlwind finish of the Hebraic cycle became manifest. The Millennium began in 1844 and it is generally conceded that the end of the old dispensation draws nigh. The overlapping period witnesses the birth of the new and the death of the old; it is "a time of trouble" and "the day of judgment."
At such a time "shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father" (St. Matt. XIII:24-30; 36-43).
At such a time, the Bahais in America and the STAR OF THE WEST have a mission to perform.
Tablet from Abdul-Baha
Thy mission in America for the present is this: Thou must travel as far as possible to every part and pass through cities and towns, summoning everyone to the Beauty of Abha raising the Call of the Kingdom and proclaiming at the top of thy voice:
"A hundred-thousand glad tidings be upon ye that the Sun of the Reality of the Beauty of Abha hath shone forth from the Horizon of the Contingent Being and hath illumined the regions with the lights of the Most Great Guidance. The realities of the Old Testament and the Gospel are already fulfilled and the Mysteries of the Heavenly Books have become manifest. This is the century of the Merciful One and the Period of Joy and Gladness.
- "O ye heedless ones, become mindful!
- "O ye sleeping ones, be awakened!
- "O ye blind ones, become seeing!
- "O ye deaf ones, become hearing!
- "O ye dumb ones, become speakers!
- "O ye dead ones, become living!
- "O ye deprived ones, take a portion!
"This is the effulgence of the Merciful and the moving of the Depthless Sea. This is the outpouring of the wonderful new springtime and the falling of the showers of the Bounty of the Most Great Lord!"
This is thy mission.
The Light of Truth
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with the light of God-knowledge and honored them with the title of "The Holy People." That unfortunate race, who were trampled under the feet of tyranny, became the envy of kings and gave rise to great chiefs and prophets. They locked up the fate of the world under the seal of symbology and set forth the events of the future world of religion and the appearance of the Final Reformer, in the language of prophecy. Every century of this long cycle was lighted with a prophetic lamp who admonished and warned them and awakened the spirit of expectation in their hearts for the coming of the Messiah. When again the divine Law fell a victim to the misinterpretation of man and the priestly influence found prominence over Truth and sanctity, the children of Israel became stripped of the Robe of Holiness and the mirror of their hearts was stained with the filth of pagan philosophy and Phoenician idolatry. Thus their unity changed into division, their harmony into discord, their justice into oppression, their chastity into wickedness, until finally they entitled themselves
to a long degradation, suffering, powerlessness and humility, which the time had laid in store for a near future, as a result of their error and inadvertance.
According to my honorable teacher, Mirza Abul Fazl, when we carefully study the writings of the Israelitish prophets, we will find that all of their prophecies point to two great events in connection with the children of Israel. The first are facts foretelling the degradation of the Israelites, their scattering, their suppression, the desolation of their land and the conquering of the Holy City by the Gentiles. The second speaks of their salvation, emancipation, the restoration of their land, their gathering together from all parts of the world, and their re-establishment in their inherited country. So it was in fulfillment of the first of these prophecies that the Father of all good illumined the land of Palestine with the beauty of the Son. As the Jews did not find His appearance consistent with their own limited minds and dark imaginations, as they did not find Him the literal fulfiller of the signs and tokens given by their prophets concerning the coming of the Messiah, and as the eyes of their hearts were blinded to the Truth and its shining Light, so they ignored His mission, misunderstood His message, persecuted His blessed Being, and finally they crucified that glorious Person who had come to unite the children of men and teach them the Fatherhood of God. That loving Spirit had come to direct the Jews to everlasting glory and quicken them with the spirit of eternal life, but as they refused to present themselves at the heavenly table of His bounty and satisfied themselves with the transient fruit of this world, therefore that divine Beauty chose the Gentiles to partake of that great Gift, and illumined the pagan Europe with the Light of Truth and God-worship. He extended the hand of divine confirmation over the children of Greece and delivered them from the pit-falls of mythology. He abolished their abominable practices and taught them how to work out their salvation and attain to everlasting prosperity. In His sermon on the mount, He instructed them that meekness and lowliness were the foundation of glory, and plainness and simplicity were the basis of Truth. He proved to them that philosophy was not the key to spirituality, and that unification and welfare cannot be secured by the intellectual power of man. While in His day the Greeks considered His teachings as foolishness, yet in their good time these became a framework of their institutions and served as life principles to more than one-half of the population of the globe. On the other hand, the Israelites, depriving themselves of this great favor, fell into division and degradation and many a time their land was trampled under the feet of conquerors. They experienced calamity upon calamity, hardship upon hardship, and privation upon privation until finally the Light of Truth appeared in the Lamp of Hedjas to illumine the pagan Arabs of the desert and direct them to the Light of real Truth.
Mohammed arose and set fire to the harvest of Arabian superstitions. His iconoclastic practice broke the idols of ignorance and barbarity, and his monotheistic principle established the belief in the Oneness of God." In a short period of time his religion prevailed in most of the eastern world and brought Chinese, Hindoos, Fire-worshippers and pagans to the confession of the divine Unity. His appearance fulfilled the prophecies of old concerning the abomination of desolation in the Holy Land and the taking away of the daily sacrifice, for during the early decades of his manifestation, Omar, the Caliph and valiant conqueror, gained victory over Jerusalem and entirely expelled the Israelites from the Land of Promise, which exile led to the eradication of the daily sacrifice from among the Jews.
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Note: Pages 9-16 are included as part of issue 2.