Friday, March 22, 2019

A Bit of Homework

There are many stories we hear within the Baha'i community that are classic tales, but with the Central figures of our faith put into the place of the hero. And while they are good stories, both inspirational and educational, they are just not accurate. It doesn't mean they are not good stories, but only that we need to exercise caution with them.

There are a few stories told of the Master, for example, that are hundreds, if not thousands of years old, and when the people who know the original from their own culture hear the Master being stuck in the middle of their story, well, their reaction can be less than ideal.

But there are other stories that just keep coming around again and again, true in the past, and true of the heroes of today. Whether it is the story of the woman warrior who inspires all the men around her in battle, or a simple line of spiritual truth repeated over and over by all the great Teachers in history, these tales keep repeating because they contain lessons we still need to learn.

One such example is that of the great Teacher helping a child with their homework, thus revealing themselves as the great hero They are.

I have heard many incarnations of this particular story regarding Baha'u'llah during His time in Sulaymaniyyih, but with a little bit of research, it seems that this version may be the closest to what actually happened.

Baha'u'llah, as you know, would often stay at the local seminary when He was visiting Sulaymaniyiih. While there, He would maintain silence, and was often very reserved. But one day, it seems, a young student who was waiting on Him needed some help with his homework. It was through this kind assistance that a sample of Baha'u'llah's exquisite handwriting was seen. Now, it should be remembered that calligraphy is considered the high art form in the Islamic world, just as painting or sculpture were considered the high art forms in the Christian world. When the teachers saw a sample of His masterful writing, they, of course, wanted to know more about this silent hermit.

But what does this have to do with us today?

Well, to me it has to do with the importance of doing things well, striving for excellence. Baha'u'llah could have, for example, just quickly written a few lines to help him out, but instead He took time and care to write to the best of His ability. And it was through this care, in addition to his magnetic personality, that led the people there to request Him to stay with them. And this, in turn, led the friends back in Baghdad to hear about Him. Which, in turn, led to His return.

When we set out to do something, we, too, should strive to do our very best. We should take the time and care to put our best effort into any project we do. And who knows where that can lead us?

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