Recently a reader wrote asking for suggestions of how to get closer to his mother and how to have his new found love accept him as a Baha’i. This caused me to reflect on the nature of our primary relationships and how to get clear about them. Hope my response to him helps you too.
As a mother myself, your desire to be close to your mother warms my heart!
There are some clues on what you can do for her in this quote:
Also a father and mother endure the greatest troubles and hardships for their children; and often when the children have reached the age of maturity, the parents pass on to the other world. Rarely does it happen that a father and mother in this world see the reward of the care and trouble they have undergone for their children. Therefore, children, in return for this care and trouble, must show forth charity and beneficence, and must implore pardon and forgiveness for their parents. So you ought, in return for the love and kindness shown you by your father, to give to the poor for his sake, with greatest submission and humility implore pardon and remission of sins, and ask for the supreme mercy. (Adib Taherzadeh, The Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 17)
From this quote we see that there are two concrete things you can do:
- Implore pardon and forgiveness for her sins. You can do it by remembering that:
It is seemly that the servant should, after each prayer, supplicate God to bestow mercy and forgiveness upon his parents. Thereupon God’s call will be raised: ‘Thousand upon thousand of what thou hast asked for thy parents shall be thy recompense!’ Blessed is he who remembereth his parents when communing with God. (The Báb, Lights of Guidance, p. 230)
And you can use this prayer when praying for her:
O Lord! In this Most Great Dispensation Thou dost accept the intercession of children in behalf of their parents. This is one of the special infinite bestowals of this Dispensation. Therefore, O Thou kind Lord, accept the request of this Thy servant at the threshold of Thy singleness and submerge his father in the ocean of Thy grace, because this son hath arisen to render Thee service and is exerting effort at all times in the pathway of Thy love, Verily, Thou art the Giver, the Forgiver and the Kind! (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 64)
- Give to the poor in her name
Click here for some good stories of generosity which might inspire you.
Other things you can do:
- You can also thank God (and your mother) for giving birth to you:
It behooveth man, upon reaching the age of nineteen, to render thanksgiving for the day of his conception as an embryo. For had the embryo not existed, how could he have reached his present state? (The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 89)
I don’t know how old you are, but it doesn’t matter, since there is no age in the spiritual world.
There are many wonderful prayers for forgiveness. God’s forgiveness is boundless! Hopefully you can find one that resonates with you:
Any one of these prayers would be good to study with a trusted friend, or even your Mother if she is open to it.
Having said that, I have 2 concerns about your desire to be closer to your mother than anyone else.
First: Our primary relationship should always be towards God.
Advance always in the Kingdom of Bahá’u’lláh; occupy thy heart always by the mentioning of Bahá’u’lláh; take heed that only in your eyes is Bahá’u’lláh, in your heart is Bahá’u’lláh—in your inmost heart is Bahá’u’lláh! (Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 501)
As it says in the short obligatory prayer:
I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee . . . (Bahá’u’lláh, Short Obligatory Prayer, Baha’i Prayers, p. 3)
God wants us to love Him above all else:
I desire to be loved alone and above all that is. (Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words, #8)
Remember the Bahá’í marriage vow: “We will all, verily, abide by the will of God”. Ultimately, this is our whole purpose in life. To know God and to worship Him is all about abiding by His will.
It’s easy, when life throws us a curveball, to get distracted and forget how to know and worship God. Ask yourself:
- Are you continuing to pray and read the Writings morning and night?
- Are you giving sacrificially to the fund?
- Is your Right of God up to date?
- Are you teaching the Faith and finding ways to be of service to others every day?
If you have weaknesses in any of these areas, there are veils between you and God that can be removed. Focus all your attention on strengthening your relationship to God, and you WILL draw closer to both your mother and the love of your life.
I find this picture helps me remember: If you and the other person are directed towards God, the distance between you will automatically be less.
When our primary focus is directed towards Him, He will take care of everything else in your life, as we see in the following quote!
I swear by God, should the traveller in the path of salvation and the seeker for the summits of righteousness attain to this supreme and lofty state, he will inhale the fragrance of the True One from remote distances and discern the brilliant morn of guidance from the Day-springs of all things. Every atom and object will direct him to the Beloved and the Desired One.
He will become so discerning that he will distinguish truth from falsehood as the sun from shadow. For example; if the breeze of truth should blow forth from the east of creation, he will surely inhale it in the west of emanation.
Likewise, he will distinguish all the signs of the True One—such as wonderful words, incomparable deeds, and brilliant actions—from the deeds, actions and traces of all else, just as the jeweller distinguishes the gem from the stone, and man the spring from autumn and heat from cold.
When the head of the soul is purified from the ailment (lit. cold) of the contingent and existent, it will unfailingly discover the fragrance of the Beloved from distant stations, arrive at the city of the assurance of His Highness the Beneficent, through the effect of this fragrance, and behold the wonders of the wisdom of His Highness the Most Holy, in that spiritual city.
It will detect the hidden knowledges from the forms of the leaves of the tree of that city, hear the glorification and praise of the Lord of Lords from its soil, with the outward and inward ears, and perceive the mysteries of “advent” and “return” with the outward eye.
What shall we mention of the signs, tokens, appearances and splendors ordained in that city, by the command of the King of Names and Attributes! It quencheth thirst without water, and increaseth the heat of the love of God without fire.
The ideal consummate wisdom is hidden in every plant, and a thousand nightingales of speech are in ecstasy and rapture upon every rose branch. The mystery of the fire of Moses is revealed in its wonderful tulips, and the breath of the Holy Spirit of Jesus emanates from its fragrances of holiness.
It bestows wealth without gold and grants immortality without death. A paradise is concealed in every leaf, and a hundred thousand wisdoms are treasured in every one of its chambers.
Those who earnestly endeavor in the way of God, after severance from all else, will become so attached to that city that they will not abandon it for an instant. They will hear conclusive proofs from the hyacinth of that assembly and will receive clear arguments from the beauty of the rose and the melody of the nightingale.
This city is renewed and adorned every one thousand years, more or less. Therefore, O my friends, we must make an efforts to attain to that city and remove the veils of glory, through divine favors and lordly compassion, so that we may sacrifice the withered soul in the path of the New Beloved, and show forth a hundred thousand supplications and humiliations in order to be favored with that attainment. (Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 51-52)
Second: you mention having a “new found love”. If you marry, the two of you will be creating a divinely-created institution; a fortress for well-being and salvation with someone who will be with you through all the worlds of God.
The Lord, peerless is He, hath made woman and man to abide with each other in the closest companionship, and to be even as a single soul. They are two helpmates, two intimate friends, who should be concerned about the welfare of each other. If they live thus, they will pass through this world with perfect contentment, bliss, and peace of heart, and become the object of Divine grace and favour in the Kingdom of heaven . . . Strive, then, to abide, heart and soul, with each other as two doves in the nest, for this is to be blessed in both worlds. (Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 122)
You notice there is no room for your mother in this nest!
Although your Mother will always be the person who gave you birth, and you will have contact with her in the next world, she will not be with you in the fortress you create with your wife, so the relationship with your wife should come second to your relationship to God.
And know thou for a certainty, that in the divine worlds, the spiritual beloved ones (believers) will recognize each other, and will seek union (with each other), but a spiritual union. Likewise, a love that one may have entertained for any one will not be forgotten in the world of the Kingdom. (‘Abdul-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdul-Bahá, V1, p. 205)
When two people, husband and wife for instance, have been completely united in this life their souls being as one soul, then after one of them has passed away, this union of heart and soul would remain unbroken. (Abdu’l-Bahá, Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 75)
Here is a quote which shows that your marriage should take priority over everything else:
In considering the problems that you and your wife are experiencing, the House of Justice points out that the unity of your family should take priority over any other consideration. (Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 453)
And that marriage takes work:
The House of Justice feels it most essential for your husband and you to understand that marriage can be a source of well-being, conveying a sense of security and spiritual happiness. However, it is not something that just happens. For marriage to become a haven of contentment it requires the cooperation of the marriage partners themselves, and the assistance of their families. (Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 453)
If the person you marry is not a Bahá’í, you may have to limit your participation in Bahá’í activities in order to maintain unity in your family:
A Bahá’í who is married to a non-Bahá’í may well have to limit his activities to same degree in order to maintain the unity of his family. (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 86)
Lastly, here’s a prayer which can assist you to be the person God wants you to be:
I beg Thee to forgive me, O my Lord, for every mention but the mention of Thee, and for every praise but the praise of Thee, and for every delight but delight in Thy nearness, and for every pleasure but the pleasure of communion with Thee, and for every joy but the joy of Thy love and of Thy good-pleasure, and for all things pertaining unto me which bear no relationship unto Thee, O Thou Who art the Lord of lords, He Who provideth the means and unlocketh the doors.
(The Báb, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 79)
Say it, and study it for clues about how to orient your life, and it will surely help you!
How has this helped you understand relationships better? Post your comments here: