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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 Kudrat 1, 72 (November 4, 1916) No. 13
The Three Realities
Address by Abdul-Baha at "The White Lodge," Wimbledon, England, Friday evening, January 3, 1913.
HOW beautiful it is to organize such lovely gatherings that are not based upon the pursuit of the material principles of life! Such gatherings belong to the study and the investigation of spiritual facts. . . . . The spiritual power has gathered us together. Our aim is to discover the realities of phenomena. When we ponder over the reality of the microcosm, we discover that in the microcosm, or the little man, there are deposited three realities. Man is endowed with an outward or physical reality. It belongs to the animal kingdom because it has sprung out of the material world. This side of life, or the first reality, is darkness and gloom because the world of matter is the world of darkness. This is the animalistic reality of man which he shares in common with all animals.
Man, however, enjoys a second or higher reality which is the intellectual reality that comprehends all phenomena, or is infinite as regards the phenomena. It is a governor, victorious over the world of matter. It discovers and unfolds the realities of sentient beings; it "explodes" the laws of nature, because from a physical standpoint it is superior, above and beyond the laws of nature.
When we ponder over the morphology of the human body we find that man, like any other animal, is subject to the laws of nature. All creation is the captive of nature; it cannot deviate one hair's breadth from the mandates of nature. For example, the fire is circumscribed and limited within the boundaries of the laws of nature and it cannot transcend any laws laid down by nature. This globe of ours is the captive of the postulates of nature; it cannot deviate one hair's breadth from the laws of nature. All the stellar bodies in this infinite universe, notwithstanding their colossal size, cannot deviate from the laws laid down for their coursings by nature; they are the prisoners of nature; they cannot go out of the circle or the circumference which is allowed for their journeyings. The great shoreless sea is the prisoner of nature. The vegetable kingdom in its entirety is a captive of nature. The animal kingdom is a captive of nature. All this will show you that these phenomena cannot go beyond the limits set by nature. Likewise man, as far as his first reality or his physical life is concerned, is also a prisoner of nature.
But the reasonable or intellectual reality with which man is endowed enables him to transcend the laws of physical nature. For example, according to the laws of nature man is a denizen of the earth; he must walk upon the earth, and, because he is born on this globe, he belongs to this earthly life. This is a regulation of nature. But man, through
his intellectual power transcends this law of nature, discovers the science of aviation and flies in the air like a bird. He becomes like a fish and goes to the very depths of the seas. He builds a great fleet and sails over the seas. It is, therefore, an indubitable fact that man is able to transcend the laws of nature; this intellectual reality of man conquers nature. Through it man is enabled to make a fruitless tree fruitful. He transforms the wild woods into fruitful orchards. He changes the plains of thistles and thorns into lovely meadows and rose gardens. Then there is the electrical energy which breaks the very mountains. Man through the application of intellectual force takes this electrical energy and makes it a captive within the incandescent lamp. According to the postulate of nature his voice is a free activity. Man takes it and makes it a prisoner within a box—a phonograph. Man through this power is enabled again to communicate with the east and the west within a few minutes. Through this intellectual power while he is in Europe he is able to discover America. This is an extraordinary power! He may live all his life in the east and yet through this power may organize great affairs in the west. All these sciences that we enjoy were the hidden and recondite mysteries of nature but man was enabled to discover these mysteries and out of the plane of the unseen he brought them into the world of the seen. All the artistic accomplishments and undertakings which we have today were once the secrets of nature; man discovered them and brought them to the plane of visibility. In short, the exploration of the secrets of nature seem to be very numerous. Therefore the citation of these facts will demonstrate to you that man is superior to nature. He is, in fact, its governor, although his physical reality is a captive of nature. It is then self-evident that in man there exists an intellectual reality which is superior to his physical reality.
There is, however, a third reality in man, that is the spiritual reality. Through that medium come spiritual revelations. This is a celestial power which is infinite as regards the intellectual as well as the physical realms. This power is conferred upon man through the breath of the Holy Spirit. It is an eternal reality, an indestructible reality, a reality which belongs to the divine kingdom. This celestial reality, or the third reality, delivers man from the material world. It is the power which enables man to escape from the world of nature.
This is proven from scientific as well as spiritual evidence. When we ponder and look over phenomena we observe that all have their origin in a single element. This single atomic element travels and has its coursings through all grades of existence. I wish you to ponder over this carefully. This single element has been in the realm of the mineral kingdom. While staying in the mineral kingdom it has had its coursings and transformations through myriads of images and forms. Having completed its travellings through the mineral kingdom it has ascended to the vegetable kingdom and in this kingdom it has had again its travellings and transformations through myriads of images; sometimes it has been a grain, again it was in the form of a leaf, anon it was a flower or an animal, a tree, or a blossom! Then it attains to the stage of fruition and is a fruit. This single primordial element has had its transformations through these infinite forms and images. Again in the human kingdom it has its transferences and coursings through multitudes of forms. In short, this reality or this single primordial atom has had its numerous travelings through every stage of life and in every stage or form it was endowed with a special and peculiar virtue. Therefore the great and divine philosophers have had an epigram as follows: "All things are involved in all things." Every single phenomenon has enjoyed
the favors of God, and in every form of these infinite electrons it has had its perfections or virtue. This, I hope, is evident and clear to you. This flower once upon a time was the soil; the animal eats it; it ascends to the animal kingdom. Man eats the body of the animal and there you have the ascension into the human kingdom, because all phenomena are the eaters and the eaten. This breath we respire is it not true that there are many thousands of infinitesimal microbes in it, each one of these microbes going into the constitution of our body? And this will show you that the lower forms of life can be transmuted into the higher realms of existence. Therefore, every primordial atom of these atoms, single and indivisibly, has had its coursings throughout all sentient creations, going constantly into the make-up and aggregation of elements. Thus you have the conservation of energy and the infinitude of phenomena, the indestructibility of phenomena, changeless and immutable because life cannot become annihilated. The utmost is this; that the form, the outward image, throughout these changes and transformations is dissolved. The realities of all phenomena are immutable and unchangeable. Extinction or mortality is nothing but the transformation of pictures and images but the reality back of these images is eternal.
Every reality of the realities of life is one of the bounties of God. Some people believe that the divinity of God had a beginning. Therefore with this principle they have limited the downpour of the bounties of God. For example, they think that there was a time when man did not live, and that there will be a time in the future when the race of man will be destroyed, that there was a time when this globe did not exist. Such a theory circumscribes the power of God, for how can we understand the divinity of God but through the manifestation of his qualities? How can we understand the fire? Through its physical heat, through its flame. Were not heat and flame in this fire, naturally we could not say that the fire existed. The illumination of the lamp is through electrical energy and if we believe that there was a time in this world when this electrical energy was not in existence, then that is equal to the statement that there was no life at all. Or, take another example, the sun; let us say that there was a time when the sun was not endowed with rays and heat. That is equal to saying that there was no sun, because the very existence of the sun is demonstrated through its heat and rays. If there was a time when God did not manifest his qualities, then there was no God, because the attributes of God presuppose the creation of phenomena. For example, we say God is the creator. A creator must of necessity create. We say God is the provider. The provider must have someone to provide for. We say God is omniscient. Then omniscient knowledge is the consequence of omniscience. Therefore, as long as God has been God there has been creation, there have been the creatures. God has no beginning and his creation has no ending, for the bestowal of God is never failing. The effulgence of God cannot be suspended. The sovereignty of God cannot be interrupted. If we conceive a beginning for the universe of creation then we have conceived for the dominion and sovereignty of God a beginning which is a false theory. In reality his sovereignty is without beginning and without ending. Can we ever dream or conceive of a king without subjects, without an army, without a kingdom? Is it possible? No. A king is in need of a kingdom; he is in need of an army; a king is in need of wealth. Now as long as the kingdom of God, the sovereignty of God, is eternal, the creation of this universe throughout eternity is presupposed.
When we look at the reality of the subject we will see that the bounties of God are infinite, without beginning and
(Continued on page 124)
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.
Terms: $1.50 per year; 10 cents per copy.
Make Money Orders payable to BAHAI NEWS SERVICE, P. O. Box 283, Chicago, Ill., U. S. A.
To personal checks please add sufficient to cover the bank exchange.
Address all communications to BAHAI NEWS SERVICE, P. O. Box 283, Chicago, Ill., U.S.A.
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.
—"THIS IS THE TIME"—
The Teaching Campaign—A Plan
ABDUL-BAHA has inaugurated a new epoch in the Cause and has given a work to the American Bahais which, at this time, is not possible elsewhere.
His new commands in the five stirring Tablets recently received, are creative, and they will establish a general unity which will be "the secret cause of the illumination of the hearts of humanity" (Western States Tablet).
The point of unity gained at the Bahai convention last April was only partial, in that only a few, comparatively, could take part. The same condition obtained at Green Acre, where a foretaste of the unity that is to come was experienced. Great as this was, the masses of Bahais were deprived. But now, the general point of unity established by Abdul-Baha through his Tablets can be recognized by all the friends, and a wonderful opportunity is given for a general response to his Call—spiritually and materially. And, through their sympathy for those who have not vet been illumined, and their desire that the light be carried to the dark places, they will learn what the service of sacrifice means, and the mites and dollars will flow into the teaching treasury.
The sum for the teaching-fund, now set aside by only a very few of the friends, will sometime become exhausted, and a reserve fund will be needed.
When all the believers send contributions for the expenses of the appointed teachers, the effort of responding to Abdul-Baha by sending them out with the glorious Message of glad tidings will be successful.
This fund should be entirely apart from all offerings that have been pledged to the Mashrak-el-Azkar fund. Surely, the latter will be greatly increased when the Cause is more widely spread.
Would it not be well to divide the responsibility of the care of the teachers fund in the following way?—
At each center where the original Tablets were addressed let a treasury-committee of three be chosen to receive and care for the contributions, and one treasurer be chosen in each assembly to receive and forward contributions to the treasury-committee of the center belonging to its section. For instance, the Northeastern assemblies to forward to the New York center; the Central assemblies to the Chicago center; the Southern assemblies to the Washington center; the Western assemblies to the San Francisco center, and the assemblies of Canada to the Montreal center, and Bahais in all outlying districts belonging to the different sections, sending offerings to their nearest assemblies (to be forwarded to the centers); or, if they prefer, they may send direct to the three treasurers at their center. (Having three treasurers at each center divides the responsibility so that, in the absence of one, the others can act. It is assumed that the Bahai to whom the Tablet was addressed, in each of the five centers, respectively will inaugurate the plan.)
A correspondence between all the believers, called forth by this simple plan, will strengthen the Bahai bond.
If these plans are adopted the STAR OF THE WEST will publish the names and addresses of the five treasury-committees; and will the friends in these centers, as soon as they have chosen the treasury-committee, send the names and addresses to us?—or if other plans are found more suitable, we will be pleased to publish them.
—"THIS IS THE TIME"—
Recent Tablet from Abdul-Baha
Translated by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, Haifa, Syria, March 7, 1916.
Received by Helen S. Goodall and Ella G. Cooper,
August 8, 1916.
To the friends of God, men, women and children in the photograph of the First International Bahai Congress, San Francisco, California—Upon them be greeting and praise!
O you real friends and lovers of the Kingdom of God!
In these days the scroll of the photograph of the blessed faces of those pure souls, which was taken during the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, was received.
Praise be to God that the faces are radiant, indicating the sanctification of the hearts. All those who have looked at the photograph have obtained immediate joy—outflowing, and inexhaustible.
I beg infinite grace from the Kingdom of God for each one of those friends who were present in that gathering, wishing for them heavenly powers so that the members of that congress may irradiate the white rays of the Sun of Reality to all parts and illumine the cities, counties, towns and villages of the United States.
The magnet whereby to attract these favors and bounties, is firmness and steadfastness.
Upon you be greeting and praise!
(Signed) ABDUL-BAHA ABBAS.
"Towards the orphans the utmost consideration must be shown"
Portion of a Tablet revealed by Abdul-Baha for Mrs. Cora Ditmars, of Spokane, Washington.
O thou happy and blessed one!
In this holy Cause the question of the education and the maintenance of the orphans has the utmost importance. Towards the orphans the utmost consideration must be shown, they must be taught and instructed; especially the teachings of his holiness BAHA'O'LLAH must be given freely to every orphan according to the means at hand. I beg of God that to the orphaned children thou mayst become a kind father and mother, to quicken them with the fragrances of the Holy Spirit—thus they may attain to the age of maturity, and each one may become the real servant of the world of humanity—nay rather, they may become as bright candles in the assemblages of mankind.
—"THIS IS THE TIME"—
"I never ask anyone to send me money"
A Talk Given by Abdul-Baha to Mr. Remey and Mr. Latimer at Haifa, October 15, 1914.
WHEN you return to America say to all the believers in my behalf that whenever a person comes to that country, no matter to what nationality he may belong, and tries to collect money in my name, know that it has no connection with me. I am free from it. Whosoever asks for money for me, does so of his own volition. There are some people who desire to collect money under all kinds of pretexts. I desire to impress upon your minds that I have nothing to do with such affairs. I never ask anyone to send me money.
Whosoever loves money does not love God and whosoever loves God does not love money.
On the other hand, if some of the believers voluntarily desire to help and assist one another or some philanthropic institutions, whose objects are for the public welfare and progress, it is very good and praiseworthy. I do not desire that anyone shall ask money in my name for any affair. The souls must be detached from the world. Those souls who are attached to this world and its wealth are deprived of spiritual advancement. The believers must live such an independent life that if one comes and begs them to accept money, they should refuse him. As long as the souls are not severed, how do they expect to journey along the ideal path?
On the eve of my departure from New York, I told a number of believers that his holiness Christ has stated that "when you leave a city, shake its dust from off your feet." So far, very few people have lived according to this behest, but it is my will to live accordingly. Before coming to America, the believers of God, through Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, offered for my traveling expenses $16,000 but I did not accept one cent. Man must live in the utmost sanctity and purity and he must ever think to assist others and not beg assistance from them.
In short, may you ever be confirmed and assisted. May you ever be illumined; may you ever be the means of the guidance of the people; may you ever breathe the breath of life in the hearts; may you be the signs of mercy to all mankind; may you be the shining lamps of severance and detachment in this dark world.
—"THIS IS THE TIME"—
"We must arise to accomplish that which is required by the Lord"
Talk Given by Abdul-Baha, Tuesday Morning, December 3, 1912, at 780 West End Avenue, New York City.
I HAVE been in your gatherings many times. I have not attended one-tenth of the number of meetings in other cities which I have attended in this city, but with you I have been in meetings day times, during evenings, with you individually, with you collectively, and I have told you the teachings and exhortations of his holiness, BAHA'O'LLAH. I conveyed unto you the glad tidings of God, I explained unto you the wishes of the Blessed Perfection; that which is conducive to human progress have I explained to you, and that which leads to the most great humility. I have given you a thorough explanation of the teachings of BAHA'O'LLAH.
Now the time is well nigh when I shall leave you, and I cannot appear in your assemblages, for I have a great deal to do, and I have to go away day after tomorrow. I therefore look upon this gathering of ours today as the farewell gathering.
I am pleased with you all. I am very much rejoiced because of you all, because you have all shown the utmost kindness towards me; the utmost affection have you demonstrated towards me. I desire that his holiness, BAHA'O'LLAH, be pleased with you, that you may keep the promises and confirmations of BAHA'O'LLAH. The promises of BAHA'O'LLAH, the requirements that BAHA'O'LLAH has made of you are these: that your hearts must be illumined, your souls must be rejoiced with the glad tidings of God, your morals must be spiritual morals, your conduct must be an evidence of faith and assurance, you must be in the utmost of sanctity and purity and in the high degree of love and attraction toward the Kingdom of Abha. You must become the lamps of BAHA'O'LLAH so that you may give eternal light, that you may become evidences and proofs of the truth of BAHA'O'LLAH, so that as men consider your deeds and conduct they will see the signs of purity and chastity therein and see the heavenly illumination clearly in your deeds, so that all men may say, "Verily, ye are the proofs of BAHA'O'LLAH. Verily, BAHA'O'LLAH is the true One; he is the one of truth, because he has trained such souls, each of which is a proof of himself." Ye must so live that they may say to others, "Come and see the conduct of these souls, come and listen to their words, come and witness the illumination of their hearts, come and see the traces of the love of God within them, come and see praiseworthy morals in them, come and find the foundation of the oneness of humanity within them. What greater proof can there be than these persons as to the truth of BAHA'O'LLAH?"
It is my hope that everyone of you shall be a crier unto God, proclaiming his truth, either through his words or through his deeds or through his thoughts. Let your deeds and utterances be a proof that you are of the kingdom of BAHA'O'LLAH. These are the duties enjoined upon you by BAHA'O'LLAH.
His holiness, BAHA'O'LLAH endured great hardship, no night did he find rest, no day did he gain peace. He was constantly in great calamity. Now he was
in prison, now under the chains, now an object of threat, brought by a sword, and finally leaving imprisonment he ascended from here to the heaven of God. He endured all these hardships for our sakes; he suffered all these deprivations for our sakes. Therefore, we must be faithful towards him, we must not follow the selfish desires of our fancies. We must arise to accomplish that which is required by the Lord.
It is my hope that you will arise to live in accord with all these teachings and exhortations, so that we may all be strengthened in accomplishing them, so that we may reach the paradise of the spiritual kingdom, and diffuse the lights of the Sun of Truth and cause the waves of the Most Great Ocean to reach all the souls, so that this world of earth may be converted into the world of heaven, this devastated ground be converted into a delectable paradise, and this jungle of confusion be converted into a paradise of Abha.
—"THIS IS THE TIME"—
The Three Realities
(Continued from page 119)
without ending. The greatest bounties of God in this phenomenal world are his Manifestations, (i. e. the great prophets). They are the greatest bounty. These Manifestations are the suns of the reality. Therefore, for the appearance of the holy divine Manifestations of God there has been no beginning and for the appearance of the holy divine Manifestations of God in the future there is no ending whatsoever, because God is infinite and his grace cannot be limited. And if we ever dare to circumscribe his grace within certain limited spheres, then we have as a necessity circumscribed the reality of divinity which is all-powerful. Therefore the perfect man ever beholds the rays of the sun, he ever expects the coming of the effulgence of God, he ever gazes at the grace and bounties of God, he ever ponders over the omnipotent God, and he knows of a certainty that the reality of divinity is not finite. His names and his attributes are not finite, his graces and bounties are not limited and the coming of the Manifestations of God are not circumscribed. This fact is self-evident and manifest.
Those people who have harkened to the teachings of BAHA'O'LLAH—Hindus, Mohammedans, Christians, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Jews—such people have discarded their past rancour and are associating with the utmost love and unity. Take my example and see with what degree of love I am associating with you tonight, loving you with all my heart and soul. In the same way all those people are living together, with the utmost accord and unity, to such an extent that they are ready to sacrifice their possessions and lives for each other; and to such an extent has the transformation been wrought that they are ever self-sacrificing for each other. Were you to enter into any (Bahai) gathering in the Orient, it would be very hard for you to discover who is a Christian and who is a Jew, or who is a Zoroastrian, for they are just like so many flames which have become one big flame. (Applause) All these different faiths are merging into one great faith.
(Reprinted from The Path of February, 1913.)
—"THIS IS THE TIME"—