Friday, November 3, 2017

A Random Underlining

Day 3 of the 30 day blogging challenge (meaning it's really 28 October for me). So, what to write?

I think I'll go through my well-marked copy of Gleanings and see what pops up. One moment. I'll be right back.

Ok. Found the book. Time to look through.


(looking while whistling)

(still looking)

(still whistling.)

(There's got to be some underlining in here somewhere.)

Ah, here we go. Page 95. (That figures, in a numerologically Baha'i sort of way.)
The highest essence and most perfect expression of whatsoever the peoples of old have either said or written hath, through this most potent Revelation, been sent down from the heaven of the Will of the All-Possessing, the Ever-Abiding God. Of old it hath been revealed: "Love of one's country is an element of the Faith of God." The Tongue of Grandeur hath, however, in the day of His manifestation proclaimed: "It is not his to boast who loveth his country, but it is his who loveth the world." Through the power released by these exalted words He hath lent a fresh impulse, and set a new direction, to the birds of men's hearts, and hath obliterated every trace of restriction and limitation from God's holy Book.

Interesting. Now, why is it that I underlined this passage?

Well, simple really. What strikes me about it is the validation of this statement from the past, and how He takes it to a higher level. Yes, we should love our country. That is only right and natural. We should love the place in which we were born, and presumably grew up. I mean, if we don't, then there are likely other issues to deal with. But let's presume that we do. Great. Baha'u'llah, however, is pointing out that the love of our own country does not mean that we can't love other countries, too. In fact, it is not enough to only love our country. We clearly see this in the world today. We need to open up and love all the world.

It is similar to saying that we should love our family. Of course we should. That is not in doubt. But do we stop there? Of course not. We need to expand our field of love to include as much of the world as possible.

But that's not what fascinates me here. No, what truly captivates me is how Baha'u'llah brings such a simple concept to a larger and more inclusive level. And He does this all across the board. In all of His teachings.

That's one of the reasons why His message is so important for today.

Look at the classic "Golden Rule": Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Or some variation thereof.

In its essence, this is basically saying that we are all at the same level, and should treat each other on par with ourselves.

Does this beautiful sentiment of equality satisfy Baha'u'llah? Nope. He says, "Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself."

Now, to be fair, He also says "Wish not for others what ye wish not for yourselves", and other variations of the Golden Rule all over the place. And in the Qur'an, it says "They prefer them before themselves", which gives a similar impression to what Baha'u'llah later says.

But overall, the statement still stands: Baha'u'llah seems to elevate all the teachings to a higher degree. There are many examples of this, and I'm sure you can add some more in the comments section below. I'd love to see them. I mean, I've found a number of them, but I'm curious what you, dear Reader, see. (Besides, it's tough to write an article a day and make the articles any significant length on my own.)

And just to finish off for now, remember that part of the first quote about love of one's country? When we combine that with Baha'u'llah's famous statement, "The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens", then we can see that the statement is still true. It is only our definition of "country" that has expanded. And that, perhaps, is what truly captivates me, on an intellectual level, about the Writings. Baha'u'llah has given us a new set of definitions with which we can work, and these new definitions truly change the way in which we see the world around us. He has, in truth, "instilled into every word a fresh potency."

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