Welcome to the Month of Sovereignty 172
In this issue – Detachment
There are so many great stories about detachment, I had to include several!
- Jinab-i-Haji Amin was a shining star who served the Cause as the Trustee of Huququ’lláh for forty-seven years with eagerness and zeal, showing magnanimity, courage and incredible steadfastness. During the Ministry of Bahá’u’lláh he was imprisoned twice, by order of Násiri’d-Dín Sháh and his son Kamran Mirza. In the course of his second imprisonment, in the prison of Qazvin, referred to as Sijn-i-Matin (the Mighty Prison) by Bahá’u’lláh in the opening verses of the Tablet of the World, he was with the Hand of the Cause Jinab-i-Haji Akhund. Here, Jinab-i-Haji Amin suffered gravely, his legs in fetters and a chain around his neck. His jailers, in order to torment him, would add castor oil to his food. With manifest resignation and submission, he would neither complain nor refuse the food, eating as though nothing were amiss. He was a symbol of magnanimity and detachment.
He had no worldly possessions, no home or shelter of his own. His habitation was in the hearts and souls of the Bahá’í friends who would receive and entertain him with warmth and love. Each one would impatiently await his arrival, to enjoy the sweet melody of his prayers and chanting of the Tablets, and the glad-tidings and encouragement he would bring. Every day he would bid goodbye to one family to spend the night in another household, illumining another gathering with his presence. He was continually on the move, travelling to most Iranian cities and being the trusted adviser of many Bahá’í friends in their personal affairs. (Universal House of Justice, 2002 Jul 30, Revised – Development of Institution of Huququ’llah, p. 2)
- Whereas riches may become a mighty barrier between man and God, and rich people are often in great danger of attachment, yet people with small worldly possessions can also become attached to material things. The following Persian story of a king and a dervish illustrates this.
Once there was a king who had many spiritual qualities and whose deeds were based on justice and loving-kindness. He often envied the dervish who had renounced the world and appeared to be free from the cares of this material life, for he roamed the country, slept in any place when night fell and chanted the praises of his Lord during the day. He lived in poverty, yet thought he owned the whole world. His only possessions were his clothes and a basket in which he carried the food donated by his well-wishers. The king was attracted to this way of life. Once he invited a well-known dervish to his palace, sat at his feet and begged him for some lessons about detachment. The dervish was delighted with the invitation. He stayed a few days in the palace and whenever the king was free preached the virtues of a mendicant’s life to him. At last the king was converted. One day, dressed in the garb of a poor man, he left his palace in the company of the dervish. They had walked together some distance when the dervish realized that he had left his basket behind in the palace. This disturbed him greatly and, informing the king that he could not go without his basket, he begged permission to return for it. But the king admonished him, saying that he himself had left behind his palaces, his wealth and power, whereas the dervish, who had preached for a lifetime the virtues of detachment, had at last been tested and was found to be attached to this world — his small basket. (Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha’u’llah v 1, p. 76-77)
- The Persian friends travel mostly on foot. They sleep whenever they get tired. They rest whenever they see a shady tree. Once a person came to the Amir. The Amir wished to present him with a gift and with insistence he gave him a robe. Later, when he became tired, he laid down under a tree in the forest with the robe folded under his head. But he could not sleep as he repeatedly imagined that a thief was crouching nearby to take away the robe. At last he rose, threw the robe away and said: “As long as this robe is with me, I shall not find rest. To find rest, I must give it up.” How long will you desire a robe for your body? Release your body that you may have no need for a robe. (Earl Redman, Abdul-Bahá in Their Midst, p. 206)
- As an example of the methods of Abdu’l-Bahá’s teaching: My father was having difficulty understanding this matter of Detachment. Just what were we supposed to become detached from? We were taught not to become isolated and detached as were the monks in a monastery. It was also an obligation to work and support those dependent upon us. So where did detachment fit into this picture? One day Father asked Abdu’l-Bahá about all this. They were walking up Broadway after a meeting and Abdu’l-Bahá made no answer. After walking a few blocks, Father repeated his question. Still no answer. They reached 76th Street, where the Kinneys lived and turned left to West End Avenue. As they mounted the outside steps, Father asked for the third time. Abdu’l-Bahá reached the front door, opened it, and started up the inner stair to His room, Father pattering along after. They reached the second floor, and turned on up to the third, Father following doggedly. Abdu’l-Bahá entered His room with Father close on His heels. And there the Master turned. “Mistair Ives,” He asked gently, “Are you interested in detachment?” Father, his face scarlet, was silent. He couldn’t say he was and he wouldn’t say he wasn’t. (Reginald Grant Barrow, Mother’s Stories: Stories of Abdu’l-Bahá and Early Believers told by Muriel Ives Barrow Newhall to her son, p. 40)
O God, my God! Fill up for me the cup of detachment from all things, and in the assembly of Thy splendors and bestowals, rejoice me with the wine of loving Thee. Free me from the assaults of passion and desire, break off from me the shackles of this nether world, draw me with rapture unto Thy supernal realm, and refresh me amongst the handmaids with the breathings of Thy holiness. O Lord, brighten Thou my face with the lights of Thy bestowals, light Thou mine eyes with beholding the signs of Thine all-subduing might; delight my heart with the glory of Thy knowledge that encompasseth all things, gladden Thou my soul with Thy soul-reviving tidings of great joy, O Thou King of this world and the Kingdom above, O Thou Lord of dominion and might, that I may spread abroad Thy signs and tokens, and proclaim Thy Cause, and promote Thy Teachings, and serve Thy Law and exalt Thy Word. Thou art, verily, the Powerful, the Ever-Giving, the Able, the Omnipotent. (Baha’u’llah, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 58-59)
O Lord! Unto Thee I repair for refuge, and toward all Thy signs I set my heart. O Lord! Whether traveling or at home, and in my occupation or in my work, I place my whole trust in Thee. Grant me then Thy sufficing help so as to make me independent of all things, O Thou Who art unsurpassed in Thy mercy! Bestow upon me my portion, O Lord, as Thou pleasest, and cause me to be satisfied with whatsoever thou hast ordained for me. Thine is the absolute authority to command. (The Bab, Baha’i Prayers, p. 55)
Elika Mahoney is a vocalist, composer, pianist, and artist, who considers herself to be a world citizen. Her parents are from Iran, she was born in the US, raised in Kenya, and now lives in China. In between she has lived in Israel and Hong Kong. Her music beautifully expresses the diverse cultures that have been a part of her upbringing, blending and reflecting the influences of this varied background, drawing upon classical Western structures but incorporating instrumentation and styles from Iran to Ireland and China to Spain.
Her style is inspired by Latin, World, New Age, Pop, Middle Eastern and a little Rock and her music includes collaboration with six outstanding musicians from around the world.
Elika’s music features a number of languages including English, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese.
Elika’s music is inspired by the lyrics of the poetic and profound treasures of the Baha’i writings that cover deep subjects such as life, love, family, difficulties, the soul, afterlife, spirituality, and the progress of humanity. Accomplishing the near impossible, Elika takes these deep and complex subjects and creates music that is sophisticated and yet breathes with simple, heart-warming melodies and soaring harmonies that swell over the lyrics in elegant, diverse waves lifting the listener to ever higher realms as she depicts the soul’s desire to transcend the limits of the material world and to soar in the spiritual realm.
To hear her sing this month’s selection “Detached from All Save Thee”
Detachment – A Story from Ruhi Book 3A, Lesson 10
Sifting the Dust: God and the Mad Psychologist
Sifting the Dust: God and the Mad Psychologist by Marjorie Rose, is a true story of a psychologist who specialized in working with those impacted by a sudden trauma. Her quest for answers intensified after a knife attack by someone who broke into her home one night, while she was sleeping next to her five-month-old baby.
But it’s not just her story. The mystery of suffering sooner or later challenges us all, especially for those who believe there is loving intelligence behind creation. Her story is universal for anyone interested in detaching from pre-conceived ideas, and willing to search for something mysterious, glorious and transcendent, which gives our lives meaning.
As both a psychologist and spiritual wayfarer, sifting the dust of human experience, searching for the gold which might lead us to the Beloved, Marjorie’s findings were unexpected, and turned her earlier framework of belief in God upside down.
This book is a true story of love, sacrifice, courage and faith that is told with humility and simplicity, and best of all, it gives us hope.
Shirley Jones of Spirit Matters Coaching
Shirley Jones is enthusiastic about personal growth and development and is always ready to learn and improve her coaching practise. Recently she discovered the Conscious Uncoupling program, created by Katharine Woodward-Thomas. This five-step process helps individuals heal their broken hearts following a break-up.
Shirley knows first-hand that break-ups can be an incredibly difficult time, making you feel like you are alone and going crazy. She used this process through her own personal journey of separation and divorce and transformed so much that her daughter-in-law praised her for her positive behaviour. She is excited to share a special opportunity to anyone who wants to grow after experiencing a break-up.
As a Conscious Uncoupling coach-in- training, Shirley is looking for dedicated people who want to transform the pain of a break-up into a catalyst for growth. Her ideal client
- has gone or is going through a break-up
- is committed to their personal development
- wants to grow and heal their broken heart
- is eager to listen to the program recordings and read the book Conscious Uncoupling
- is willing to do the practises and commit a minimum of a half hour a day
- can do a one hour coaching call per week for six weeks
- is willing to provide feedback and/ or a testimonial with respect to the coaching
If this is you, and you want to get started, please contact her at spiritmatterscoaching at gmail.com
Emad Toukan’s business TekWorthy, is a mobile app development company where he works with inspiring entreprenueurs who are passionate about what they do and want to build successful products. His strong purpose is to make things different and better.
He starts with a simple question: “What problem can we help your business solve…with an app?”, and finishes with an app that works on iOS, Android, Blackberry and Web platforms.
He also runs a business called Labcode where he works with entrepreneurs and future app developers, teaching them how to build iOS apps. He understand how complicated things can get when starting your first app project, so he has put together a curriculum that is fun, hands-on and engaging, and designed to help jump start the app development experience so business owners can get their ideas into the app store.
Our Readers Write:
- Thank you so much for sending monthly newsletters regularly. I sincerely appreciate your commitment. I like the articles. Thank you again for all your sincere efforts. (Mahsa Seysan)
- I really enjoyed reading all these articles about the Heroes of our Faith. (Roxana from France )
- Dearest Susan, thank you once again for your inspiring Monthly Information. I look forward to it every month. (Barbara)
- Your newsletter is fantastic and creative. I am so happy that Mike Wallace recommended it to me! Good luck with the future issues and I hope you health is back to normal now! (Bertha Petrowski)
- Allah’u’abha dearest Susan, We have been immersing ourselves with the children in the stories of the Heroes and heroines of the Cause. ❤️🌹👏💐 May you and your loved ones be surrounded with Blessings and bountiful favors of the Blesssed (Omid Rahmanian)
- Thanks, Susan, The article about Bruce Matthew brought back some great memories of him, and Ray Smith, drumming on the stoves and cook pots in the kitchen at the Minden camp one year. (David Bowie)
- When my husband and I moved to Beeton in 2003, we became members of The Baha’i Community of New Tecumseth, Bruce Matthew was in his senior years then and lived in Alliston. We always enjoyed his company at Feasts and he enjoyed coming to our home. Thank you for such a wonderful story about Bruce’s life, because we didn’t know very much about it, apart from being appointed a Knight of Baha’u’llah for his service in Labrador. As you say, he was quiet and very modest and didn’t talk a lot about himself, but was always a sweet, cordial man with a dry sense of humour. He often reminded me of a mischievous elf!
Unfortunately Bruce started to develop Alzheimer’s and eventually resided in a retirement residence that was more secure as he loved to walk the downtown streets of Alliston and sometimes got lost. Yes, I remember those dramatic photos he had on the wall of his room. Bruce died in Alliston in 2008 and is buried there in Alliston Union Cemetery–the south end of it.
Enclosed are the last photos I have of Bruce that were taken in 2005 near his 90th birthday. My husband Jim is in one of them and I’m in two, and a couple of photos of Bruce that captured his sunny disposition. I thought you may be interested in seeing these. Always enjoy your newsletter. Allah’u’Abha! (Martha Oldham)
Looks like many of you enjoyed this issue on heroes, and the article on Bruce Matthew really struck a chord! I know I had fun putting this one together!
Thanks everyone for your encouragement; and thanks also to Nancy and Bertha, two wonderful souls who contributed generously to help defray some of the costs of maintaining this website! Your encouragement and donations are greatly appreciated!
Thanks to all who write in! Your encouragement really keeps me going!
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See you next month! Hope it’s a month filled with recognition of God’s Sovereignty!