GUIDANCE FROM THE WRITINGS            

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  From Bahá’u’lláh:                                                                                 

“Arise in the name of thy Lord, the God of Mercy, amidst the peoples of the earth, and seize thou the Cup of Life with the hands of confidence, and first drink thou therefrom, and proffer it then to such as turn towards it amongst the peoples of all faiths...”

Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 56

"Say: O ye lovers of the One true God! Strive, that ye may truly recognize and know Him, and observe befittingly His precepts. This is a Revelation, under which, if a man shed for its sake one drop of blood, myriads of oceans will be his recompense. Take heed, O friends, that ye forfeit not so inestimable a benefit, or disregard its transcendent station. Consider the multitude of lives that have been, and are still being, sacrificed in a world deluded by a mere phantom which the vain imaginations of its peoples have conceived. Render thanks unto God, inasmuch as ye have attained unto your heart's Desire, and been united to Him Who is the Promise of all nations. Guard ye, with the aid of the one true God -- exalted be His glory -- the integrity of the station which ye have attained, and cleave to that which shall promote His Cause. He, verily, enjoineth on you what is right and conducive to the exaltation of man's station. Glorified be the All-Merciful, the Revealer of this wondrous Tablet."                    

Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 5

Arise, and lift up your voices, that haply they that are fast asleep may be awakened. Say: O ye who are as dead! The Hand of Divine bounty proffereth unto you the Water of Life. Hasten and drink your fill. Whoso hath been re-born in this Day, shall never die; whoso remaineth dead, shall never live.” 

Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 213

 

“Arise in the name of Him Who is the Object of all knowledge, and, with absolute detachment from the learning of men, lift up your voices and proclaim His Cause. I swear by the Day Star of Divine Revelation! The very moment ye arise, ye will witness how a flood of Divine knowledge will gush out of your hearts, and will behold the wonders of His heavenly wisdom manifested in all their glory before you. Were ye to taste of the sweetness of the sayings of the All-Merciful, ye would unhesitatingly forsake your selves, and would lay down your lives for the Well-Beloved.”

Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 84

 

"It behoveth every one in this Day of God to dedicate himself to the teaching of the Cause with utmost prudence and steadfastness. Should he discover a pure soil, let him sow the seed of the Word of God, otherwise it would be preferable to observe silence."  

Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 242

 

“Gird up the loins of thine endeavor, that haply thou mayest guide thy neighbor to the law of God, the Most Merciful. Such an act, verily, excelleth all other acts in the sight of God, the All-Possessing, the Most High. Such must be thy steadfastness in the Cause of God, that no earthly thing whatsoever will have the power to deter thee from thy duty. Though the powers of earth be leagued against thee, though all men dispute with thee, thou must remain  unshaken.”           

Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 338

 

"Through the potency of the Name of the Best Beloved, invite thou the receptive souls unto God's holy court, that perchance they may not remain deprived of the heavenly Fountain of living water. He is in truth the Gracious, the Forgiving."  

Bahá’u’lláh Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed After the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, pp. 236-37

 

"This is the day to make mention of God, to celebrate His praise, and to serve Him; deprive not yourselves thereof. Ye are the letters of the words, and the words of the Book. Ye are the saplings which the hand of Loving-kindness hath planted in the soil of mercy, and which the showers of bounty have made to flourish. He hath protected you from the mighty winds of misbelief, and the tempestuous gales of impiety, and nurtured you with the hands of His loving providence. Now is the time for you to put forth your leaves, and yield your fruit. The fruits of the tree of man have ever been and are goodly deeds and a praiseworthy character. Withhold not these fruits from the heedless. If they be accepted, your end is attained, and the purpose of life achieved. If not, leave them in their pastime of vain disputes. Strive, O people of God, that haply the hearts of the divers kindreds of the earth may, through the waters of your forbearance and loving-kindness, be cleansed and sanctified from animosity and hatred, and be made worthy and befitting recipients of the splendors of the Sun of Truth."

Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 25

 

"The children of men are all brothers, and the prerequisites of brotherhood are manifold.  Among them is that one should wish for one's brother that which one wisheth for oneself.  Therefore, it behoveth him who is the recipient or an inward or outward gift or who partaketh of the bread of heaven to inform and invite his friends with the utmost love and kindness.   If they respond favourably, his object is attained; otherwise he should leave them to themselves without contending with them or uttering a word that would cause the least sadness.  This is the undoubted truth, and aught else is unworthy and unbecoming."

 Baha'u'llah, The Tabernacle of Unity, p. 41

 

 “All men have been called into being for the betterment of the world.  It behoveth every soul to arise and serve his brethren for the sake of God.  Should a brother of his embrace the truth, he should rejoice that the latter hath attained unto everlasting favour.  Otherwise he should implore God to guide him without manifesting the least trace of animosity or ill-feeling towards him.  The reins of command are in the grasp of God.  He doeth what He willeth and ordaineth as he pleaseth.  He, verily, is the Almighty, the All-Praised.”

Baha’u’llah, The Tabernacle of Unity, p. 43

"Glorified be Thy name, O Lord my God! Thou beholdest my dwelling-place, and the prison into which I am cast, and the woes I suffer. By Thy might! No pen can recount them, nor can any tongue describe or number them. I know not, O my God, for what purpose Thou hast abandoned me to Thine adversaries. Thy glory beareth me witness! I sorrow not for the vexations I endure for love of Thee, nor feel perturbed by the calamities that overtake me in Thy path. My grief is rather because Thou delayest to fulfill what Thou hast determined in the Tablets of Thy Revelation, and ordained in the books of Thy decree and judgment. 

My blood, at all times, addresseth me saying: "O Thou Who art the Image of the Most Merciful! How long will it be ere Thou riddest me of the captivity of this world, and deliverest me from the bondage of this life? Didst Thou not promise me that Thou shalt dye the earth with me, and sprinkle me on the faces of the inmates of Thy Paradise?" To this I make reply: "Be thou patient and quiet thyself. The things thou desirest can last but an hour. As to me, however, I quaff continually in the path of God the cup of His decree, and wish not that the ruling of His will should cease to operate, or that the woes I suffer for the sake of my Lord, the Most Exalted, the All-Glorious, should be ended. Seek thou my wish and forsake thine own. Thy bondage is not for my protection, but to enable me to sustain successive tribulations, and to prepare me for the trials that must needs repeatedly assail me. Perish that lover who discerneth between the pleasant and the poisonous in his love for his beloved! Be thou satisfied with what God hath destined for thee. He, verily, ruleth over thee as He willeth and pleaseth. No God is there but Him, the Inaccessible, the Most High.""  Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 10

 

  From 'Abdu'l-Bahá:

“Lift up your voices and sing out the song of the Kingdom. Spread far and wide the precepts and counsels of the loving Lord, so that this world will change into another world, and this darksome earth will be flooded with light, and the dead body of mankind will arise and live; so that every soul will ask for immortality, through the holy breaths of God.

 Soon will your swiftly-passing days be over, and the fame and riches, the comforts, the joys provided by this rubbish-heap, the world, will be gone without a trace. Summon ye, then, the people to God, and invite humanity to follow the example of the Company on high.”

Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 2

 

“Now is the time to serve, now is the time to be on fire. Know ye the value of this chance, this favourable juncture that is limitless grace, ere it slip from your hands… Soon will our handful of days, our vanishing life, be gone, and we shall pass, empty-handed, into the hollow that is dug for those who speak no more; wherefore must we bind our hearts to the manifest Beauty, and cling to the lifeline that faileth never. We must gird ourselves for service, kindle love's flame, and burn away in its heat. We must loose our tongues till we set the wide world's heart afire, and with bright rays of guidance blot out the armies of the night, and then, for His sake, on the field of sacrifice, fling down our lives… Thus let us scatter over every people the treasured gems of the recognition of God, and with the decisive blade of the tongue, and the sure arrows of knowledge, let us defeat the hosts of self and passion, and hasten onward to the site of martyrdom, to the place where we die for the Lord. And then, with flying flags, and to the beat of drums, let us pass into the realm of the All-Glorious, and join the Company on high…Well is it with the doers of great deeds."             

'Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 266

  From Shoghi Effendi:

"The believers ought to give the Message even to those who do not seem to be ready for it, because they can never judge the real extent to which the Word of God can influence the hearts and minds of the people, even those who appear to lack any power of receptivity to the Teachings.

From a letter dated 14 January 1938 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer. 

"The Cause of God has room for all. It would, indeed, not be the Cause of God if it did not take in and welcome everyone--poor and rich, educated and ignorant, the unknown, and the prominent--God surely wants them all, as He created them all."

From a letter dated 10 December 1942 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to two believers 

"...no system, for teachers to practice, exists. But obviously the more people know about the teachings and the Cause, the better they will be able to present the subject."

From a letter dated 25 January 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to two believers.

 "It is a great mistake to believe that because people are illiterate or live primitive lives, they are lacking in either intelligence or sensibility. On the contrary, they may well look on us, with the evils of our civilization, with its moral corruption, its ruinous wars, its hypocrisy and conceit, as people who merit watching with both suspicion and contempt. We should meet them as equals, well-wishers, people who admire and respect their ancient descent, and who feel that they will be interested, as we are, in a living religion and not in the dead forms of present-day churches."

From a letter dated 21 September 1951 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the Comite Nacional de ensenanza Bahá’í para los indigenas.

 "The greatest glory and honor which can come to an individual is to bring the light of guidance to some new soul. The quickening power of the Holy Spirit, which has come into the world through Bahá'u'lláh, is the source of immortal life; and those who are quickened by this spirit in this world will find themselves in great honor and glory in the next world. The most meritorious service which anyone could render is to bring the light of divine guidance and the quickening power of the spirit to an entirely new area. Humanity is crying for salvation; and it is only by the Bahá’í going into the various areas of the world, that it can be brought to them. This is the reason the Guardian has encouraged all of the friends to disperse to new territories, for this is the hour for the quickening of the world."

From a letter dated 11 March 1956 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá’í Community of Tacoma, US.

 "Everyone must remember that it is the "Holy Spirit that quickens" and therefore the teacher must become like a reed through which the Holy Spirit may reach the seeking soul.

The beloved Guardian has stressed over and over again, that to effectively teach the Faith, the individual must study deeply, the Divine Word, imbibe Its life-giving waters, and feast upon Its glorious teachings. He should then meditate on the import of the Word, and finding its spiritual depths, pray for guidance and assistance. But most important, after prayer is action. After one has prayed and meditated, he must arise, relying fully on the guidance and confirmation of Bahá'u'lláh, to teach His Faith. Perseverance in action is essential, just as wisdom and audacity are necessary for effective teaching. The individual must sacrifice all things to this great goal, and then the victories will be won."

From a letter dated 30 May 1956 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the Hands of the Cause in the United States.

 "The friends must certainly explore new channels and have more audacity, if they are to get anywhere in adding to their numbers."

From a letter dated 6 October 1956 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer.

The Regenerating Power

"But let us all remember, in this connection, that prior to every conceivable measure destined to raise the efficiency of our administrative activities, more vital than any scheme which the most resourceful among us can devise, far above the most elaborate structure which the concerted efforts of organized Assemblies can hope to raise, is the realization down in the innermost heart of every true believer of the regenerating power, the supreme necessity, the unfailing efficacy of the Message he bears. I assure you, dear friends, that nothing short of such an immovable conviction could have, in days past, enabled our beloved Cause to weather the blackest storms in its history. Naught else can today vitalize the manifold activities in which unnumbered disciples of the Faith are engaged; naught else can provide that driving force and sustaining power that are both so essential to the success of vast and enduring achievements. It is this spirit that above all else we should sedulously guard, and strive with all our might to fortify and exemplify in all our undertakings. (Shoghi Effendi)"    Compilations, Principles of Bahá’í Administration, p. 11

 

From the Universal House of Justice:

“Nowhere has the rise in individual initiative been more clearly demonstrated than in the field of teaching.  Whether in the form of firesides or study circles, individual efforts to teach the Faith are indisputably on the increase.  Equipped with skills and methods, effective and accessible to all, and encouraged by the response their actions elicit, the believers are entering into closer association with people of many walks of life, engaging them in earnest conversation on themes of spiritual import.  With greater and greater spiritual perception, they are able to sense receptivity and recognize thirst for the vivifying waters of Bahá'u'lláh's message.  From among all those they encounter--parents of neighbourhood children, peers at school, colleagues at work, casual acquaintances--they seek out souls with whom they can share a portion of that which He has so graciously bestowed on humanity.  Increased experience enables them to adapt their presentation to the seeker's needs, employing direct teaching methods that draw on the Writings to offer the message in a manner both forthcoming and inviting.

 Most noteworthy in this regard is the spirit of initiative shown by believers who extend the range of their endeavours to assist others also striving to tread a path of service.  Having acquired the capacity to serve as tutors of institute courses, they take up the challenge of accompanying participants in their initial attempts to perform acts of service until they, too, are ready to start their own study circles and help others do the same, widening in this way the scope of the institute's influence and bringing eager souls into contact with the Word of God.  This particular aspect of the institute process, which serves to multiply the number of active supporters of the Faith in a self-perpetuating manner, holds much promise, and we hope that its potential will be realized in the coming Plan.  "Let him not be content", are the words of the Guardian referring to every teacher of the Cause, "until he has infused into his spiritual child so deep a longing as to impel him to arise independently, in his turn, and devote his energies to the quickening of other souls, and the upholding of the laws and principles laid down by his newly adopted Faith."

 By the same token, desire and willingness to open certain aspects of community life to the wider public should be integrated into a pattern of behaviour that attracts souls and confirms them.  Much has been achieved in this respect as the friends have adopted new ways of thinking and acting at a collective level.  In welcoming large numbers into its embrace, the community is learning to see more readily the latent potentiality in people and to avoid setting artificial barriers for them based on preconceived notions.  A nurturing environment is being cultivated in which each individual is encouraged to progress at his or her own pace without the pressure of unreasonable expectations.  At the heart of such developments is a growing awareness of the implications of the universality and comprehensiveness of the Faith.  Collective action is governed more and more by the principle that Bahá'u'lláh's message should be given liberally and unconditionally to humanity.  Most gratifying are the endeavours being made to reach receptive populations with the teachings of the Faith.  As unrelenting social and political forces continue to uproot people from their homelands and sweep them across continents, an uncompromising appreciation for a diversity of backgrounds and for the strength it confers on the whole will prove crucial to the expansion and consolidation of the community…

 Whatever the nature of the cluster, it is imperative to pay close attention to children and junior youth everywhere…  So impressed are we by the results already achieved, and so compelling is the need, that we will urge all National Assemblies to consider the junior youth groups formed through programmes implemented by their training institutes a fourth core activity in its own right and to promote its wide-scale multiplication…

 Key to the progress of an intensive programme of growth is the phase dedicated to reflection, in which the lessons learned in action are articulated and incorporated into plans for the next cycle of activity.  Its principal feature is the reflection meeting--as much a time of joyous celebration as it is of serious consultation…”

Message of the Universal House of Justice to the Conference of the Continental Boards of  Counsellors  27 Dec 2005.

From the International Teaching Centre:

As clusters develop, those individual initiatives often become systematized in collective endeavors like forming teaching teams or conducting invitation campaigns."                                      

ITC, 2004 Nov 28, Intensive Programs of Growth.

“Employing direct teaching methods would benefit from having a few such enthusiastic souls who can inspire a team to ‘cast aside their fears and misgivings and their sense of inadequacy,’ boldly engage with interested people, and lead them to embrace the Cause.”

International Teaching Centre, November 28, 2004

 “The concept of teaching teams that has evolved over the past few years can more accurately be understood as a support group, a few friends who come together during an intensive program of growth for planning, consultation, inspiration, and systematic action. Their teaching work may go on individually, in pairs, or in larger groups, but they meet regularly to consult on the progress of their personal and collective plans… the members of the teaching teams receive encouragement and gain strength from one another. They pray together, exchange experiences, assess their learning, practice the skills acquired in the institute courses, and thereby attract confirmations…The learning demonstrates that when teams stay together for two or three cycles of a growth program, they become more systematic and gradually reap greater results…Above all, the focus is not just on inviting people to activities but in learning how to elevate a conversation toward spiritual themes and in finding opportunities, daily, to share the Revelation of God for this day.”

Reflections on Growth, Issue No. 13, Publication of the International Teaching Centre

    Message of the Universal House of Justice  27 Dec 2005 Word doc                            

 

   Message of the Universal House of Justice  27 Dec 2005  Pdf.Form                                     

 

    Letter to the people of African descent in America June 2007                                 

 

 The International Teaching Centre 
letter of July 1992
Inviting Seekers to Embrace the Cause

 

NATIONAL  SPIRITUAL  ASSEMBLY
of the BAHÁ'ÍS OF THE UNITED STATES 
Letter of February 20, 2008 
Approaches to Direct Teaching

 

Guidelines for Teaching. Compilation of Compilations Vol. II, pp. 295-327. Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice.

Formatted for the web by Ehsan Bayat and Jonah Winters. 

Guidelines for Teaching 

 

 COMPILATION  ON  RECEPTIVITY  AND   CAPACITY

 

     

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