This year’s annual Ridvan message from the Universal House of Justice can be summarized with just a few words: “Keep Calm and Ruhi On”.
More on this and the recently released video, Frontiers of Learning, in the coming days. Until then, you’ll find the complete Ridvan message below:
In his seminal work, “God Passes By” Shoghi Effendi summarized the Baha’i Faith into approximately a dozen principles which are “the essential elements of that Divine polity”. Among these is “the adoption of a universal auxiliary language”.
This idea was proposed by Baha’u’llah as a practical method to increase unity in a linguistically fragmented world. In the Tablet of Ishraqat (Splendours) Baha’u’llah writes:
The sixth Ishr??q is union and concord amongst the children of men. From the beginning of time the light of unity hath shed its divine radiance upon the world, and the greatest means for the promotion of that unity is for the peoples of the world to understand one another’s writing and speech. In former Epistles We have enjoined upon the Trustees of the House of Justice either to choose one language from among those now existing or to adopt a new one, and in like manner to select a common script, both of which should be taught in all the schools of the world. Thus will the earth be regarded as one country and one home. The most glorious fruit of the tree of knowledge is this exalted word: Of one tree are all ye the fruit, and of one bough the leaves. Let not man glory in this that he loveth his country, let him rather glory in this that he loveth his kind. Concerning this We have previously revealed that which is the means of the reconstruction of the world and the unity of nations. Blessed are they that attain thereunto. Blessed are they that act accordingly.
This is another in a series of articles exploring homosexuality within the Baha’i Faith. The first was delving into the historical and semantic context of the infamous excerpt in the Aqdas where Baha’u’llah refers reluctantly to the “subject of boys”.
Unfortunately the exact practice that Baha’u’llah was referring to cryptically is still being practiced today in Afghanistan. You can watch the PBS domentary following the above link as well as find a brief update on the situation from this recent Washington Post article.
Image credit: Barat Ali Batoor
Societal context is important because what we might consider salacious or inappropriate today, may very well have been the norm in another society. This is not an issue of ‘morality’ because that concept is very malleable throughout history. Not too long ago, slavery was not only considered normal, it was sanctioned by the prevalent religion. In Islam we have an institutionalized form of prostitution (nikah al-mut’ah) and it is a little known fact that polygamy is possible within the Baha’i Faith.
Wakashudo and Lycurgus
I provided a brief exposition of the Sambia tribe in Papau New Guinea. But there are many other examples to draw upon to illustrate the same point. In Japan, samurai and their apprentice would enter into a “brotherhood contract” which involved homosexual physical intimacy although not exclusively so (both were able to also have relations with women). The special relationship involved much more than physical intimacy. The samurai as mentor trained his apprentice in bushido, social etiquette and they were both honor bound to each other for life.
This year’s Ridvan message from the Universal House of Justice is notable for the announcement of several building projects for local and national Houses of Worship. The House of Justice notes that as the process of entry by troops is advanced enough to merit the construction of a national Mashriqu’l-Adhkar in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Papua New Guinea.
According to the House of Justice, the construction of the Temple in Chile and these new houses of worship mark the “Fifth Epoch of the Formative Age of the Faith”.
As well, several local Houses of Worship will be built in select localities. These should be familiar to Baha’is if they have been keeping up with the news of international teaching successes. A document from 2008, “Attaining the dynamics growth: Glimpses from ?ve continents” prepared by the International Teaching Center outlined several of these localities.
Among them: Bihar Sharif in India which is a predominantly rural area with 1200 villages each with 1000 average population. Matunda Soy and Tiriki West clusters in Kenya were noted for their achievements in the 2008 Regional conference as part of the international Five Year conferences. A personal Baha’i blog from Tiriki West cluster offers a bit more detail. Another locality with this distinction is Norte del Cauca in Colombia which is the site of the original Ruhi courses.
Battambang in Cambodia was the site of a regional conference in 2009 with Baha’is participating from Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Finally Tanna in the Pacific island of Vanuatu will also be a site for a local house of worship.
The Ridvan message is below:
Source: Spring by morning_rumtea
The Divine Springtime is come, O Most Exalted Pen, for the Festival of the All-Merciful is fast approaching. Bestir thyself, and magnify, before the entire creation, the name of God, and celebrate His praise, in such wise that all created things may be regenerated and made new. Speak, and hold not thy peace. The day star of blissfulness shineth above the horizon of Our name, the Blissful, inasmuch as the kingdom of the name of God hath been adorned with the ornament of the name of thy Lord, the Creator of the heavens. Arise before the nations of the earth, and arm thyself with the power of this Most Great Name, and be not of those who tarry.
Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah