Recently an article and a video was released showing “A Conversation Between a Baha’i Survivor of Human Rights Abuses and a Former Member of the Hojjatieh Association” whose very mission was to destroy the Baha’i community of Iran and poison the minds and hearts of the Muslims towards the Baha’i Cause and the Baha’i community of Iran. The video is published by Iran Human Rights Documentation Center.
The conversation reminded me of this beautiful native American prayer asking for two most challenging and crucial gains of human life; fighting to conquer our greatest enemy – ourselves and be ready to come to our creator with clean hands and straight eyes so when life fades, our spirit appears before our beloved without the burden of shame!
O Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds and whose breath gives life to all the world, Hear me!
I am small and weak.
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the things you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy – myself.
Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame. — Native American Prayer. Author Unknown.
Abdu’l-Baha, the center of the covenant of Baha’u’llah refers to the dual nature in man putting into perspective the Dart Wader and Luke Sky-walker in all of us in constant battle to be in charge.
“In man there are two natures; his spiritual or higher nature and his material or lower nature. In one he approaches God, in the other he lives for the world alone.
Signs of both these natures are to be found in men.
In his material aspect he expresses untruth, cruelty and injustice; all these are the outcome of his lower nature.
The attributes of his Divine nature are shown forth in love, mercy, kindness, truth and justice, one and all being expressions of his higher nature.
Every good habit, every noble quality belongs to man’s spiritual nature, whereas all his imperfections and sinful actions are born of his material nature.
If a man’s Divine nature dominates his human nature, we have a saint.”(Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 60)
Baha’u’llah talks about the rare and precious sense of shame available to us for our own protection from our own self.
“Indeed, there existeth in man a faculty which deterreth him from, and guardeth him against, whatever is unworthy and unseemly, and which is known as his sense of shame. This, however, is confined to but a few; all have not possessed, and do not possess, it.” (Baha’u’llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 27)
No one is safe from falling victim to the whisperings of their own lower self, their own in house Dart Wader specially when they see themselves as a victim. Constant vigilance, humility, asking for His cup of forgiveness, love and knowledge is required while doing all we possibly can to forget aught else save that Essence of Love who loves ALL humanity. Abdu’l-Baha’s prayer for Himself, considering the radiant and sacrificial example of His life, is a powerful instruction and reminder for what we need to do for our own protection and salvation.
“O my God, O my God, have pity on my impotence, my abasement, my indigence, my shame, and my humility.
Give me the cup of Thy forgiveness and Thy gift, move me by the breath of Thy love,
dilate my breast by the light of Thy knowledge, purify my person by the mysteries of Thy Singleness,
and quicken me through the breezes of the garden of Thy mercy so that I may sever myself from all beside Thee,
lay hold of the hem of the mantle of Thy majesty, forget aught else save Thee,
be associated with the fragrance of Thy days,
be enabled to continue faithful in the threshold of Thy sanctity and stand up in the service of Thy Cause, be submissive and lowly before Thy beloved ones
and to account myself as nothing in the presence of Thy chosen ones.
Verily, Thou art the Helper, the Assister, the Exalted, the Generous! (Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v2, p. 366)
Baha’u’llah Himself was the champion of welcoming the darts of His enemies with gladness in order to free the world of humanity from the viscous cycle of revenge and injustice. Baha’u’llah made sure that His beloved son Abdu’l-Baha had a cup full of trials and tribulation to prove his divine powers and essence to humanity setting an example of what we all are capable to endure with gladden hearts. Referring to His own life long suffering as an exile and prisoner Baha’u’llah states:
“This Servant standeth ready before them, awaiting whatsoever the Almighty hath ordained and decreed for Us. Nor do I fear any soul, encompassed as We may be by such trials and tribulations as are inflicted by the wicked and the malicious and surrounded at this hour by a myriad woes and sorrows.
“Noah’s flood is but the measure of the tears I have shed, and Abraham’s fire an ebullition of My soul.
Jacob’s grief is but a reflection of My sorrows,
and Job’s afflictions a fraction of My calamity.”60 (Baha’u’llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 67)
Baha’u’llah, in a most powerful way, both by His own example and through His words, councils and prepares His followers to be free from the malice of the ignorant and malicious and calls upon humanity to follow their His lead to put an end to the age old tradition of injustice and revenge so the world of humanity become liberated from the viscous cycle of hell we bring upon ourselves. In the following prayer, He instructs and trains the minds and hearts of His believers to find the path of liberation from the prison of their own self in response to the shortcomings of others. He transforms the very definition and meaning of the station of a true lover making it conditional upon being willing to sustain tribulation in the path of The Beloved and see their own groaning as the very means of comfort, and assurance of ones closeness and love for the Beloved. Parents are quite familiar with this process in the way they accept all they suffer for the sake of their children.
The manner Baha’u’llah prepares His believers to shift their perception from the norm to a new and liberating perception is the very door to the peace and liberation of humanity. No more the God of humanity, accepts the acts of revenge as a means of justice. The burden of justice is, in this new Revelation, put upon the shoulders of the institutions. This is out of His grace and mercy so individuals can be liberated from the prison of revenge and shame.
“Glory to Thee, O my God! But for the tribulations which are sustained in Thy path, how could Thy true lovers be recognized; and were it not for the trials which are borne for love of Thee, how could the station of such as yearn for Thee be revealed? Thy might beareth Me witness!
The companions of all who adore Thee are the tears they shed, and the comforters of such as seek Thee are the groans they utter, and the food of them who haste to meet Thee is the fragments of their broken hearts.
How sweet to my taste is the bitterness of death suffered in Thy path, and how precious in my estimation are the shafts of Thine enemies when encountered for the sake of the exaltation of Thy Word!
Let me quaff in Thy Cause, O my God and my Master, whatsoever Thou didst desire, and send down upon me in Thy love all Thou didst ordain.
By Thy glory! I wish only what Thou wishest, and cherish what Thou cherishest. In Thee have I, at all times, placed My whole trust and confidence. Thou art verily the All-Possessing, the Most High.
Raise up, I implore Thee, O my God, as helpers to this Revelation such as shall be counted worthy of Thy Name and of Thy sovereignty, that they may remember Thee among Thy creatures, and hoist the ensigns of Thy victory in Thy land, and adorn them with Thy virtues and Thy commandments. No God is there but Thee, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.” 96
(Baha’u’llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 94)
The Baha’is are taught to be focusing their efforts on the divine attribute of mercy and forgiveness. They are taught to let go and let God take care of injustice the way He sees fit. Transforming the darkness into light and under all conditions hanging on to their light of love and knowledge is a divine privilege and is one of the most powerful ways of fighting evil and bringing about justice.
Every soul of the friends of God must concentrate his mind on this, that he may manifest the mercy of God and the bounty of the Forgiving One.
He must do good to every soul whom he encounters, and render benefit to him, becoming the cause of improving the morals and correcting the thoughts so that the light of guidance may shine forth and the bounty of His Holiness the Merciful One may encompass.
Love is light in whatsoever house it may shine and enmity is darkness in whatsoever abode it dwell.
O friends of God! Strive ye so that this darkness may be utterly dispelled and the Hidden Mystery may be revealed and the realities of things made evident and manifest. (Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith – Abdu’l-Baha Section, p. 216)
One who is wise in the ways of God sees that his words and deeds reflect the glory of God. I hope that the light of this glory may shine forth from each one of you, for this is the decisive proof – for this Baha’u’llah suffered – that he might educate men to become the educators of the world and spread truth abroad.
May ye attain to this station – upon ye be greetings and praise! (Abdu’l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 41)
It is this transformation, this shift of perception, this covenant with their Point of Adoration that has changed the meaning of being religious and aided the Baha’i community to be immune to the viscous and malicious attacks of the enemies of true religion throughout its 160 year old history. This is how the Baha’is believe ultimately the well being and tranquility of all humanity will eventually be realized. This is how we bring to a permanent halt the ongoing abuses of human rights throughout the world in the name of religion.