Eschew anxiety (al-hamma) and depression (al-ghamm) for through these twain will transpire a darksome affliction
Eschew anxiety (al-hamma) and depression (al-ghamm) for through these twain will transpire a darksome affliction
In the treasuries of the knowledge of God there lieth concealed a knowledge which, when applied, will largely, though not wholly, eliminate fear. This knowledge, however, should be taught from childhood, as it will greatly aid in its elimination . Whatever decreaseth fear increaseth courage.
Thou hast written concerning the Tablet of Baka Ya Ali -- Baka Ya Vafi (Tablet of Protection). This Tablet is for the healing of ailments. Whenever one is anxious about the recovery of an ill one, he may read this prayer with a melodious voice while in a state of the utmost attention and concentration. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 469)
"In His Name, the Exalted, the All-Highest, the Most Sublime! Glorified art Thou, O Lord my God! O Thou Who art my God, and my Master, and my Lord, and my Support, and my Hope, and my Refuge, and my Light. I ask of Thee, by Thine Hidden and Treasured Name, that none knoweth save Thine own Self, to protect the bearer of this Tablet from every calamity and pestilence, and from every wicked man and woman; from the evil of the evil-doers, and from the scheming of the unbelievers. Preserve him, moreover, O my God, from every pain and vexation, O Thou Who holdest in Thy hand the empire of all things. Thou, truly, art powerful over all things. Thou doest as Thou willest, and ordainest as Thou pleasest. O Thou King of Kings! O Thou kind Lord! O Thou Source of ancient bounty, of grace, of generosity and bestowal! O Thou Healer of sicknesses! O Thou Sufficer of needs! O Thou Light of Light! O Thou Light above all Lights! O Thou Revealer of every Manifestation! O Thou the Compassionate! O Thou the Merciful! Do Thou have mercy upon the bearer of this Tablet, through Thy most great mercy and Thine abundant grace, O Thou the Gracious, Thou the Bounteous. Guard him, moreover, through Thy protection, from whatsoever his heart and mind may find repugnant. Of those endued with power, Thou, verily, art the most powerful. The Glory of God rest upon thee, O thou rising sun! Do thou testify unto that which God hath testified of His own Self, that there is none other God besides Him, the Almighty, the Best-Beloved.
Consider how difficult for man is the attainment of pleasures and happiness in this mortal world. How easy it is for the animal. Look upon the fields and flowers, prairies, streams, forests and mountains. The grazing animals, the birds of the air, the fishes neither toil nor undergo hardships; they sow not, nor are they concerned about the reaping; they have no anxiety about business or politics -- no trouble or worry whatsoever. All the fields and grasses, all the meadows of fruits and grains, all the mountain slopes and streams of salubrious water belong to them. They do not labor for their livelihood and happiness because everything is provided and made possible for them. If the life of man be confined to this physical, material outlook, the animal's life is a hundred times better, easier and more productive of comfort and contentment. The animal is nobler, more serene and confident because each hour is free from anxiety and worriment; but man, restless and dissatisfied, runs from morn till eve, sailing the seas, diving beneath them in submarines, flying aloft in airplanes, delving into the lowest strata of the earth to obtain his livelihood -- all with the greatest difficulty, anxiety and unrest. Therefore, in this respect the animal is nobler, more serene, poised and confident. Consider the birds in the forest and jungle: how they build their nests high in the swaying treetops, build them with the utmost skill and beauty -- swinging, rocking in the morning breezes, drinking the pure, sweet water, enjoying the most enchanting views as they fly here and there high overhead, singing joyously -- all without labor, free from worry, care and forebodings. If man's life be confined to the elemental, physical world of enjoyment, one lark is nobler, more admirable than all humanity because its livelihood is prepared, its condition complete, its accomplishment perfect and natural. But the life of man is not so restricted; it is divine, eternal, not mortal and sensual. For him a spiritual existence and livelihood is prepared and ordained in the divine creative plan. His life is intended to be a life of spiritual enjoyment to which the animal can never attain. This enjoyment depends upon the acquisition of heavenly virtues. The sublimity of man is his attainment of the knowledge of God. The bliss of man is the acquiring of heavenly bestowals, which descend upon him in the outflow of the bounty of God. The happiness of man is in the fragrance of the love of God. This is the highest pinnacle of attainment in the human world. How preferable to the animal and its hopeless kingdom!
Distress and anxiety have waxed great and every flourishing region is laid waste. O Lord! Hearts are heavy, and souls are in anguish. Have mercy on these poor souls and do not leave them to the excesses of their own desires.
If material anxiety envelops you in a dark cloud, spiritual radiance lightens your path. If your days on earth are numbered, you know that everlasting life awaits you.
O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.
O my God! O my God! Thou seest me drowned in the sea of ordeals, seized upon by the fire of infidelity, with tears flowing in the dark night rolling in the bed of sleeplessness, mine eyes expectant to see the dawn of the lights of Faith. And when I am anxious, as the fish whose bowels are inflamed upon the dust, I anticipate the manifestation of Thy bounties from all sides!
O my well-beloved, deeply spiritual sister! Day and night thou livest in my memory. Whenever I remember thee my heart swelleth with sadness and my regret groweth more intense. Grieve not, for I am thy true, thy unfailing comforter. Let neither despondency nor despair becloud the serenity of thy life or restrain thy freedom. These days shall pass away. We will, please God, in the Abhá Kingdom and beneath the sheltering shadow of the Blessed Beauty, forget all these our earthly cares and will find each one of these base calumnies amply compensated by His expressions of praise and favour. From the beginning of time sorrow and anxiety, regret and tribulation, have always been the lot of every loyal servant of God. Ponder this in thine heart and consider how very true it is. Wherefore, set thine heart on the tender mercies of the Ancient Beauty and be thou filled with abiding joy and intense gladness.
O ye lovers of God! Do not dwell on what is coming to pass in this holy place, and be ye in no wise alarmed. Whatsoever may happen is for the best, because affliction is but the essence of bounty, and sorrow and toil are mercy unalloyed, and anguish is peace of mind, and to make a sacrifice is to receive a gift, and whatsoever may come to pass hath issued from God's grace.
People who looked anxious yesterday, today have faces shining with gladness.
These friends are perfectly infatuated with Thy nearness; they have given their hearts for the beauty of Thy face; are devoted to Thy Kingdom and are intoxicated by the wine of belief. In the meeting of the covenant they are bearing in their hands the cup of anxiety, needing Thy benevolence and yearning for the heavenly blessings.
They [the spiritually learned] are skilled physicians for the ailing body of the world, they are the sure antidote to the poison that has corrupted human society. It is they who are the strong citadel guarding humanity, and the impregnable sanctuary for the sorely distressed, the anxious and tormented, victims of ignorance. Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth.
To be required to be happy and assured, while busily serving the Cause, can raise in us more than a little anxiety. The Faith brings each one of us crises as well as victories. Our own lives and even the lives of the central Figures of the Faith have been fraught with agony as well as blessing, with failure and frustration and grief, as frequently as with progress. This is the nature of life.
We perceive that men are carried away by passion and selfishness, each man thinking only of what will benefit himself even if it means the ruin of his brother. They are all anxious to make their fortune and care little or nothing for the welfare of others. They are concerned about their own peace and comfort, while the condition of their fellows troubles them not at all. Unhappily this is the road most men tread.
Do not thou worry that thou couldst not study in the material schools, because thou hast received lessons in the Verses of the Oneness (of God) in the Divine University.
He himself, having undertaken at such a disturbed time to raise at least the first story or arcade of the new part of the Báb's Shrine, finds himself beset with worries, problems and complications which have not only doubled his work, but exhaust and harass him all the time. So at least, let the British friends know that when they struggle and feel hard beset, they are not struggling and worrying alone! Far from it!!
He was very sad to hear that you have not been well, for it undoubtedly caused much anxiety to the members of your family and also kept you from your work. The Cause cannot afford seeing its fine servants ill and handicapped. Please take great care of yourself that the attack may not recur.
I appeal to every one of them, and particularly to the members of the assemblies who safeguard their interests, not to allow any disturbance, suffering, or anxiety to dim the splendour of their faith, to deflect them from their high purpose, to cause any division in their ranks, to interfere with the steady consolidation and expansion of their activities and institutions. I will specially pray that the work they have magnificently initiated, and so marvellously and soundly developed may suffer no setback, but rather continue to develop and yield its destined fruit. Persevere and rest assured.
I wish to add a few words of assurance and sympathy in view of the heavy burden of responsibility that rests on your shoulders in these difficult and trying times. My fervent and increasing prayer is that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá may show you the way that will enable you to continue your splendid pioneer work effectually, peacefully, free from every earthly care and anxiety.
I wish to reaffirm my deep sense of gratitude and admiration for the splendid manner in which the English believers are discharging their duties and responsibilities in these days of increasing peril, anxiety and stress. Their tenacity, courage, faith and noble exertions will as a magnet attract the undoubted and promised blessing of Bahá’u’lláh.
In times of disappointment, stress and anxiety, which we must inevitably encounter, we should remember the sufferings of our departed Master. Your work, your energy, your vigilance and care, your loving-kindness are assets that I greatly value and prize. Keep on, persevere, redouble in your efforts, repeat and rewrite the admonitions and instructions of our Beloved in your communications with individuals and Assemblies until they sink in their hearts and minds. This was truly our Beloved's way and method and none better can we ever pursue. Your present pioneer work will surely be remembered and extolled by future generations. My prayers will always be offered for you. In matters of contribution we should not use any compulsion whatsoever and ascertain clearly the desire of the donor. We should appeal to but not coerce the friends.
Looking back upon those sullen days of my retirement, bitter with feelings of anxiety and gloom, I can recall with appreciation and gratitude those unmistakable evidences of your affection and steadfast zeal which I have received from time to time, and which have served to relieve in no small measure the burden that weighed so heavily upon my heart.
Now is the time for steadfastness. Now is the ripe moment for the stalwart warriors and champions to show forth courage and to demonstrate their heroism in the arena of service, until such time as God will exalt His Cause, will remove the distress and anxiety of His friends and trusted servants, and glorify those who were brought low among His creatures, to make them spiritual leaders among men, and to make them God's heirs.
The friends need not have any grave anxiety as to the immediate developments of the present situation.
The gross materialism that engulfs the entire nation at the present hour; the attachment to worldly things that enshrouds the souls of men; the fears and anxieties that distract their minds; the pleasure and dissipations that fill their time, the prejudices and animosities that darken their outlook, the apathy and lethargy that paralyze their spiritual faculties--these are among the formidable obstacles that stand in the path of every would-be warrior in the service of Bahá’u’lláh, obstacles which he must battle against and surmount in his crusade for the redemption of his own countrymen.
The memory of the beloved Khanum will, assuredly, prove to be your great comfort in your moments of sufferings and anxiety and will guide your steps and strengthen your spiritual power and insight.
The problem that in these days is arousing his (Shoghi Effendi's) anxiety is the way this large sum is to be collected in such a very short period of time, to resume the building operations right after the convention. He, as well as some of the other friends who are motivated by a great force of faith, believe firmly that God's miracles will not fail to perform their wonders and at the very eleventh hour the full sum will be collected. Shoghi Effendi wishes you to express his loving greetings to all the friends in Wilmette and ask them to join with him in their moments of private prayer and meditation, and ask God not to fail them, but as heretofore send them His confirmations and blessings.
The two years that have elapsed since the passing of our beloved Master have been for the Cause, as well as for mankind, years of deep anxiety and pain. The momentous changes that are taking place in the history of both have proved so swift and far-reaching as to arouse in certain hearts a strange misgiving as to their stability and future.
You should not worry about attacks on the Faith, as these in the end cannot but result in the further growth of the Faith.
Again, in God Passes By, he tells us of the anxieties of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, called upon to undertake a succession of colossal tasks throughout the entire period of His Ministry. Most recently, The Priceless Pearl has drawn aside the curtain on the life of the Guardian, and revealed to us the anxieties and agonies of the solitary and heroic figure who charted our course in service to the Cause for centuries to come. Yet who can doubt that all the central Figures demonstrated to the whole of mankind an assured and happy way of life? Here is where their example seems particularly precious. To rise above the disappointments, obstacles, and pain which we experience in serving the Cause is difficult enough, but to be called on, in doing so, to be happy and confident is perhaps the keenest spiritual test any of us can meet. The lives of the Founders of our Faith clearly show that to be fundamentally assured does not mean that we live without anxieties, nor does being happy mean that there are not periods of deep grief when, like the Guardian, we wrap ourselves in a blanket, pray and supplicate, and give ourselves time for healing in preparation for the next great effort.
The House of justice urges you not to let it worry you. All through life Bahá’ís are faced with tests of many kinds, and problems and doubts, but it is through facing and overcoming them that we grow spiritually.
The sorrows, fears and perplexities evoked by this latest conflict in the unfoldment of the Lesser Peace have intensified the feelings of grievance and outrage at the recurrent crises agitating the planet. The anxieties of people across the globe are even now being played out publicly in angry demonstrations too overwhelming to be ignored. The issues they protest and the emotions they arouse often add to the chaos and confusion they hope by such public displays to resolve. For the friends of God, there is an unambiguous explanation for what is occurring; they have only to recall the vision and principles offered by the Faith if they are to respond effectively to the challenges posed by the spread of distress and dismay. Let them strive to understand more deeply the Teachings that are relevant by reviewing letters of Shoghi Effendi which have been published in The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, particularly those entitled "The Goal of a New World Order", "America and the Most Great Peace", and "The Unfoldment of World Civilization".
This seminar seems to have provided a very valuable forum for the discussion of a number of aspects of Bahá’í scholarship, and the airing of certain problems which have been worrying some of the friends in relationship to their work and to their fellow believers. We believe that many of the problems arise from an attempt by some Bahá’í scholars to make use of methodologies devised by non-Bahá’ís without thinking through the implications of such a course and without working out a methodology which would be in consonance with the spirit of the Faith.
We feel that an over-anxiousness on your part about a breakthrough and an undue worry over the state of society can be counter-productive. While there are opportunities for greater growth than is occurring, neither your Assembly nor the friends must burden themselves with feelings of failure at every disappointment, for such feelings are self-fulfilling and can easily cause stagnation in the expansion of the Cause. The tendency toward frustration, sometimes induced by a desire for instant gratification, must be resisted by an effort to gain deeper appreciation of the divine process.
We have toiled to build a community at a period when the world has witnessed startling changes which have profoundly altered the character of society and plunged it into an unprecedented state of worry and confusion.
When you have doubts and concerns about your own plans, confide in the Counsellors; when something they do causes you worry, talk to them in the proper spirit of Bahá’í consultation. Remember that they, like yourselves, are burdened with the work of the Cause and are beset with many concerns in its service, and they need your sympathetic understanding of the challenges they face. Open your hearts and your minds to them; regard them as your confidants, your loving friends. And be ever ready to extend to them your hand in support.
Eventually, as an ever-evolving civilization exhausts its spiritual sources, a process of disintegration sets in, as it does throughout the phenomenal world. Turning again to analogies offered by nature, Bahá’u’lláh compares this hiatus in the development of civilization to the onset of winter. Moral vitality diminishes, as does social cohesion. Challenges which would have been overcome at an earlier age, or been turned into opportunities for exploration and achievement, become insuperable barriers. Religion loses its relevance, and experimentation becomes increasingly fragmented, further deepening social divisions. Increasingly, uncertainty about the meaning and value of life generates anxiety and confusion.
Fear, anger, worry, et cetera, are very prejudicial to health, while hope, love, joy, et cetera, are correspondingly beneficial.
For those of us in Haifa who had lived, under the aegis of our beloved Guardian, through the agonizing days in 1955 when another group of Bahá’ís were being unjustly persecuted, that time in Persia where the friends suffered senseless acts of barbarism, murder, rape and pillage of property, it was history repeating itself -- but with no Shoghi Effendi at the helm to guide and comfort us. We had to pray, act, endure the heavy-footed hours that never seemed to pass as the time for the execution of our fellow-Bahá's drew nearer and nearer. The burden of anxiety for the fate of their co-religionists was shared by the entire Bahá’í world; the burden of responsibility and decision, however, fell upon the Hands of the Cause, particularly the body of the Custodians in Haifa, and was, indeed, an agonizing and almost insupportable burden to bear.
Haji Mirza Haydar-'Ali writes in the Bihjatu's-Sudur of the hopes of the Bahá’ís that, as the heir to Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would, with the passage of years, come to resemble Him physically as well; but their hopes did not materialize, because sorrows and tribulations pressed hard upon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, afflictions weakened His frame and made Him a prey to a number of ailments. He goes on to say that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in order to protect His followers from worry and anxiety, would not expose them to the knowledge of His maladies which at times were severe.
Increasingly, uncertainty about the meaning and value of life generates anxiety and confusion.
It was not, however, such dangers as these that caused Shoghi Effendi sleepless nights. His great concern was for the protection of the Twin Holy Shrines. As the Mandate ended and the Arab-Jewish war broke out, a very real danger threatened them and caused him acute anxiety. Bahji was only about fifteen miles from the frontier, over which an invading army might pour at any moment. This was one worry; the other worry, in a way even more intense, was caused by the mooted plan, at one time seriously considered, of placing the frontiers of the new Jewish State in such a way that its northern one would divide Haifa and 'Akká and thus the World Centre would be split in two, its Administrative Centre situated in one country and the Holiest Spot on earth, the Qiblih of the Faith, situated in another, hostile to it and hostile to the Faith itself. Should anyone wonder why the divinely guided Guardian worried so much over such things, I would like to give an explanation, out of my own understanding. It seems to me there are three factors involved in most situations: the Will of God in which His Beneficence, Omnipotence and the destiny He has ordained for man are all involved - and which ultimately rights all wrongs; the element of accident, which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says is inherent in 189 nature; and the element of individual free will and responsibility. Bearing in mind these factors it is not surprising the Guardian should be deeply concerned over any situation that affected the interests and protection of the Faith, and should anxiously ponder the problems facing him, seeking to ensure that the right solution was found, the best opportunity seized, the greatest benefit for the Cause obtained.
Months before His leaving for Isfahan, the Báb had changed the title of His house to the name of His mother and wife, and also gave the prayer of Remover of Difficulties to His wife, so that any time she became griefstricken, she should chant it, and He would appear in her dream and comfort her.
Only a fostering of the consciousness that "the earth is but one country and mankind its citizens" is capable of counteracting the despair and anxiety which afflict us.
Startling changes in recent years have profoundly altered the character of society, plunging humankind into a state of anxiety. Everyone on the planet has been touched in some way by the breakdown of religious and political institutions which traditionally have provided stability. As disturbing as these dislocations are to individuals, Bahá’ís view them as preparing the ground for the process of building a new social order which can support a lasting peace.
What with his speaking, deepening the believers, translating, traveling, worrying, his [Khan] soul 'wore out the sheath', and he was frail and often ill.
When I remonstrated with him about standing for so many hours to do this work when he was still so exhausted and begged him to wait a few days until he was feeling stronger, he said "No, I must finish it, it is worrying me.