A mashriq programme with the theme of war

Held in Dunedin, NZ, September 5, 2007.

Table of Contents

Reading 1: Baha'u'llah: Tablets of Baha'u'llah, Page: 21
Music: Ray LaMontagne, Within you (Till The Sun Turns Black) 5:43
Reading 2: Baha'u'llah: Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Pages: 13-15
Music: Ray LaMontagne, How come (Trouble) 4:32
Reading 3: Baha’u’llah: Hidden Words
Music: John Mayer - Belief (Continuum) 4:02
Reading 4: Baha'u'llah: Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Pages: 24-25
Music: Natalie Merchant This House Is On Fire (Motherland) 4:44
Reading 5: Baha'u'llah: Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Pages: 30-32
Music: Bruce Cockburn - This is Baghdad (Life Short, call now)
Reading 6: Baha'u'llah: Gleanings, CXII.
Music: Bruce Cockburn - Tell the Universe (Life Short, call now) 5:15
Reading 7: 'Abdu'l-Baha's talk on 3 August 1914, tr. Ahang Rabbani
Music: Jonatha Brooke - War (Plumb) 5:07

Reading 1: Baha'u'llah: Tablets of Baha'u'llah, Page: 21

O people of the earth!
The first Glad-Tidings which the Mother Book hath, in this Most Great Revelation, imparted unto all the peoples of the world is that the law of holy war hath been blotted out from the Book. Glorified be the All-Merciful, the Lord of grace abounding, through Whom the door of heavenly bounty hath been flung open in the face of all that are in heaven and on earth.

Music: Ray LaMontagne, Within you (Till The Sun Turns Black) 5:43

 

{youtube}74XJQgSCWJI{/youtube}

{amazon id='B000GPIPVU'}

War is not the answer
The answer is within you

War is not the answer
The answer is within you

Love
Love
Love
Love

War is not the answer
The answer is within you

Love
Love
Love
Love (repeat to end)

Reading 2: Baha'u'llah: Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Pages: 13-15

That the divers communions of the earth, and the manifold systems of religious belief, should never be allowed to foster the feelings of animosity among men, is, in this Day, of the essence of the Faith of God and His Religion. These principles and laws, these firmly-established and mighty systems, have proceeded from one Source, and are rays of one Light. That they differ one from another is to be attributed to the varying requirements of the ages in which they were promulgated.

Gird up the loins of your endeavor, O people of Baha, that haply the tumult of religious dissension and strife that agitateth the peoples of the earth may be stilled, that every trace of it may be completely obliterated. For the love of God, and them that serve Him, arise to aid this sublime and momentous Revelation. Religious fanaticism and hatred are a world-devouring fire, whose violence none can quench. The Hand of Divine power can, alone, deliver mankind from this desolating affliction. Consider the war that hath involved the two Nations, how both sides have renounced their possessions and their lives. How many the villages that were completely wiped out!

The utterance of God is a lamp, whose light are these words: Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship. He Who is the Day-Star of Truth beareth Me witness! So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth. The One true God, He Who knoweth all things, Himself testifieth to the truth of these words.

Exert yourselves that ye may attain this transcendent and most sublime station, the station that can insure the protection and security of all mankind. This goal excelleth every other goal, and this aspiration is the monarch of all aspirations. So long, however, as the thick clouds of oppression, which obscure the day-star of justice, remain undispelled, it would be difficult for the glory of this station to be unveiled to men's eyes. These thick clouds are the exponents of idle fancies and vain imaginings, who are none other but the divines of Persia. At one time We spoke in the language of the lawgiver; at another in that of the truth-seeker and the mystic, and yet Our supreme purpose and highest wish hath always been to disclose the glory and sublimity of this station. God, verily, is a sufficient witness!

Music: Ray LaMontagne, How come (Trouble) 4:32

{youtube}gPBdVjaTcQs{/youtube}

{amazon id='B0002S947K'}

People on the street now
Faces long and grim
Souls are feeling heavy
And faith is growing thin
Fears are getting stronger
You can Feel them on the rise
Hopelessness got some by the throat you can see it in their eyes
I said how come
How come
Everybody on a shoestring
Everybody in a hole
Everybody crossing their fingers and toes
Government man spin his politics till he got you pinned
Everybody trying to reach out to each other
But they don't know where to begin
I said how come
I can't tell
the free world
from living hell
I said how come
How come
all I see
is a child of god
in misery
I said how come the pistol now as profit
The bullet some kind of lord and king
But pain is the only promise that this so called savior is going to bring
Love can be a liar
And justice can be a thief
And freedom can be an empty cup from which everybody want to drink
I said how come
I can't tell
the free world
from living hell
I said how come

Reading 3: Baha’u’llah: Hidden Words

20. O YE THAT ARE LYING AS DEAD ON THE COUCH OF HEEDLESSNESS! Ages have passed and your precious lives are well-nigh ended, yet not a single breath of purity hath reached Our court of holiness from you. Though immersed in the ocean of misbelief, yet with your lips ye profess the one true faith of God. Him whom I abhor ye have loved, and of My foe ye have made a friend. Notwithstanding, ye walk on My earth complacent and self-satisfied, heedless that My earth is weary of you and everything within it shunneth you. Were ye but to open your eyes, ye would, in truth, prefer a myriad griefs unto this joy, and would count death itself better than this life.
(Baha'u'llah: Persian Hidden Words, no 20)

45. ALAS! ALAS! O LOVERS OF WORLDLY DESIRE! Even as the swiftness of lightning ye have passed by the Beloved One, and have set your hearts on satanic fancies. Ye bow the knee before your vain imagining, and call it truth. Ye turn your eyes towards the thorn, and name it a flower. Not a pure breath have ye breathed, nor hath the breeze of detachment been wafted from the meadows of your hearts. Ye have cast to the winds the loving counsels of the Beloved and have effaced them utterly from the tablet of your hearts, and even as the beasts of the field, ye move and have your being within the pastures of desire and passion.
(Baha'u'llah: Persian Hidden Words, no 45)

Music: John Mayer - Belief (Continuum) 4:02

{youtube}q5SYmvddxt4{/youtube}

{amazon id='B000H0MKGK'}

Is there anyone who ever remembers
changing their mind from the paint on a sign?,
is there anyone who really recalls
ever breaking rank at all
for something someone yelled real loud one time?
oh, everyone believes
in how they think it oughta be
oh, everyone believes
and they're not going easily

belief is a beautiful armor
but makes for the heaviest sword
like punching underwater
you never can hit who you're trying for
some lead the exhibition
and some have to know they tried
it's the chemical weapon
for the war that's raging on inside
oh, everyone believes
from emptiness to everything
oh, everyone believes
and no one's going quietly

we're never gonna win the world
we're never gonna stop the war
we're never gonna beat this
if belief is what we're fighting for (repeats)

is there anyone you can remember
ever surrender with their life on the line?

we're never gonna win the world
we're never gonna stop the war
we're never gonna beat this
if belief is what we're fighting for (repeats)

what puts a hundred thousand children in the sand?
belief can, belief can
what puts a folded flag inside his mother's hand?
belief can, belief can

Reading 4: Baha'u'llah: Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Pages: 24-25

And in another connection: "O peoples of the earth! Haste ye to do the pleasure of God, and war ye valiantly, as it behooveth you to war, for the sake of proclaiming His resistless and immovable Cause. We have decreed that war shall be waged in the path of God with the armies of wisdom and utterance, and of a goodly character and praiseworthy deeds. Thus hath it been decided by Him Who is the All-Powerful, the Almighty. There is no glory for him that committeth disorder on the earth after it hath been made so good. Fear God, O people, and be not of them that act unjustly."

And again in another connection: "Revile ye not one another. We, verily, have come to unite and weld together all that dwell on earth. Unto this beareth witness what the ocean of Mine utterance hath revealed amongst men, and yet most of the people have gone astray. If anyone revile you, or trouble touch you, in the path of God, be patient, and put your trust in Him Who heareth, Who seeth. He, in truth, witnesseth, and perceiveth, and doeth what He pleaseth, through the power of His sovereignty. He, verily, is the Lord of strength, and of might. In the Book of God, the Mighty, the Great, ye have been forbidden to engage in contention and conflict. Lay fast hold on whatever will profit you, and profit the peoples of the world. Thus commandeth you the King of Eternity, Who is manifest in His Most Great Name. He, verily, is the Ordainer, the All-Wise."

And yet again in another connection: "Beware lest ye shed the blood of any one. Unsheathe the sword of your tongue from the scabbard of utterance, for therewith ye can conquer the citadels of men's hearts. We have abolished the law to wage holy war against each other. God's mercy hath, verily, encompassed all created things, if ye do but understand."

Music: Natalie Merchant This House Is On Fire (Motherland) 4:44

{youtube}ueYclQIbgRM{/youtube}

{amazon id='B00005R1Q5'}

This house is on fire!
Well kick off your boots, come sit a spell.
Listen to me worry, come and listen well.
All you better best come and lean in boys, I don't dare raise my voice.
I've been sitting here for the longest time reading all the warning and the danger signs.
I don't have the gift of the prophecy, telling everybody how it's going to be.
Soon come, soon come the day this tinderbox is gonna blow in your face.
I don't have the gift of the prophecy, telling everybody how it's going to be.
You go passing wrong for right and right for wrong
People only stand for that for just so long.
It's all gonna catch like a house on fire, spark an evil blaze and burn higher.
Well, I don't have the gift of the prophecy, telling everybody how it's going to be.
You go passing wrong for right and right for wrong
People only stand for that for just so long.
I don't have the gift of the prophecy, telling everybody how it's going to be.
There's a wild fire catching in the whip of the wind
That could start a conflagration like there has never been.
This house is on fire!

Reading 5: Baha'u'llah: Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Pages: 30-32

We pray God - exalted be His glory - and cherish the hope that He may graciously assist the manifestations of affluence and power and the daysprings of sovereignty and glory, the kings of the earth - may God aid them through His strengthening grace - to establish the Lesser Peace. This, indeed, is the greatest means for insuring the tranquillity of the nations. It is incumbent upon the Sovereigns of the world - may God assist them - unitedly to hold fast unto this Peace, which is the chief instrument for the protection of all mankind. It is Our hope that they will arise to achieve what will be conducive to the well-being of man. It is their duty to convene an all-inclusive assembly, which either they themselves or their ministers will attend, and to enforce whatever measures are required to establish unity and concord amongst men. They must put away the weapons of war, and turn to the instruments of universal reconstruction. Should one king rise up against another, all the other kings must arise to deter him. Arms and armaments will, then, be no more needed beyond that which is necessary to insure the internal security of their respective countries. If they attain unto this all-surpassing blessing, the people of each nation will pursue, with tranquillity and contentment, their own occupations, and the groanings and lamentations of most men would be silenced. We beseech God to aid them to do His will and pleasure. He, verily, is the Lord of the throne on high and of earth below, and the Lord of this world and of the world to come. It would be preferable and more fitting that the highly-honored kings themselves should attend such an assembly, and proclaim their edicts. Any king who will arise and carry out this task, he, verily will, in the sight of God, become the cynosure of all kings. Happy is he, and great is his blessedness!

In this land, every time men are conscripted for the army, a great terror seizeth the people. Every nation augmenteth, each year, its forces, for their ministers of war are insatiable in their desire to add fresh recruits to their battalions. We have learned that the government of Persia - may God assist them - have, likewise decided to reinforce their army. In the opinion of this Wronged One a force of one hundred thousand fully-equipped and well-disciplined men would suffice. We hope that thou wilt cause the light of justice to shine more brightly. By the righteousness of God! Justice is a powerful force. It is, above all else, the conqueror of the citadels of the hearts and souls of men, and the revealer of the secrets of the world of being, and the standard-bearer of love and bounty.

Music: Bruce Cockburn - This is Baghdad (Life Short, call now)

{amazon id='B000FS9FIU'}

Everything's broken in the birthplace of law
As Generation Two tries on his tragic flaw
America's might under desert sun
I saw her frightened eyes behind the muzzle of her gun

Uranium dust and the smell of decay
Sewage in the street where the kids run and play
Not enough morphine and not enough gauze
Firefight in darkness like snapping of jaws
This is Baghdad (repeats)

You couldn't see the blast-the morning was bright-
But some radiant energy flared up into the light
Like the sky throwing its hands up in a horrified dismay
Or the souls of the dead as they sped on their way
Carbombed and carjacked and kidnapped and shot
How do you like it, this freedom we brought
We packed all the ordnance but the thing we forgot
Was a plan in case it didn't turn out quite like we thought
This is Baghdad (repeats)

Reading 6: Baha'u'llah: Gleanings, CXII.

Behold the disturbances which, for many a long year, have afflicted the earth, and the perturbation that hath seized its peoples. It hath either been ravaged by war, or tormented by sudden and unforeseen calamities. Though the world is encompassed with misery and distress, yet no man hath paused to reflect what the cause or source of that may be. Whenever the True Counsellor uttered a word in admonishment, lo, they all denounced Him as a mover of mischief and rejected His claim. How bewildering, how confusing is such behavior! No two men can be found who may be said to be outwardly and inwardly united. The evidences of discord and malice are apparent everywhere, though all were made for harmony and union. The Great Being saith: O well-beloved ones! The tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. We cherish the hope that the light of justice may shine upon the world and sanctify it from tyranny. If the rulers and kings of the earth, the symbols of the power of God, exalted be His glory, arise and resolve to dedicate themselves to whatever will promote the highest interests of the whole of humanity, the reign of justice will assuredly be established amongst the children of men, and the effulgence of its light will envelop the whole earth. The Great Being saith: The structure of world stability and order hath been reared upon, and will continue to be sustained by, the twin pillars of reward and punishment.... In another passage He hath written: Take heed, O concourse of the rulers of the world! There is no force on earth that can equal in its conquering power the force of justice and wisdom.... Blessed is the king who marcheth with the ensign of wisdom unfurled before him, and the battalions of justice massed in his rear. He verily is the ornament that adorneth the brow of peace and the countenance of security. There can be no doubt whatever that if the day star of justice, which the clouds of tyranny have obscured, were to shed its light upon men, the face of the earth would be completely transformed.

Music: Bruce Cockburn - Tell the Universe (Life Short, call now) 5:15

Tell the universe what you've done
Out in the desert with your smoking gun
Looks like you've been having too much fun
Tell the universe what you've done

Tell the universe what you took
While the heavens trembled and the mountains shook
All those lives not worth a second look
Tell the universe what you took

You've been projecting your shit at the world
Self-hatred tarted up as payback time
You can self destruct--that's your right
But keep it to yourself if you don't mind
Tell the universe where you've been
With your bloodstained shoes and your dunce's grin
Got to identify next of kin
Tell the universe where you've been

Reading 7: `Abdu'l-Baha's talk on 3 August 1914, tr. Ahang Rabbani

A great tumult is ensuing. The whole world is in confusion. They are determined to cause universal convulsion. I spoke of these matters in various gatherings, churches and assemblies in America and Europe, telling them, "The present situation is most dangerous. Europe is like a powder keg, short of a spark. While there is time, come, aid and extinguish this fire, that perchance war may be prevented." But they heeded not my counsel. Now this is the result; whereas, they should know that war is the destroyer of human foundation. It ruins the world and has no benefit whatsoever. Both the victor and the vanquished suffer. It is like two ships colliding. If one sinks the other, the one remaining will suffer perilously as well.

The most that can be expected is that one government will temporarily prevail over another. But this victory is transient. A few days later, the vanquished will become the victor. How many times has it been that France has overcome Germany, only for Germany to come back and overcome France!

How amazing the effort of vain imaginings when truth has no influence! How truly amazing! For instance, the belief in the difference of races is pure imagination, and yet it exerts great sway. Though all are human, nevertheless, some have named themselves Slavonic, others German, Chinese, French or British. But this difference of races is pure fantasy. How powerful will be when all are one and the same! It is clearly evident that the whole of humanity is one, but this truth has no currency, whereas racial difference, which is fiction and illusory, has great predominance.

So many wars have been fought, so much blood has been shed, so many homes have been ruined, so many cities have been destroyed, and yet, they are not tired of war. Hearts are still hard like stone. People have not grown repentant. They have not awakened. This enmity and rancor is the obliterator of the human foundation, and love and fellowship, the cause of people's ease and happiness.

How people are agitated! How many fathers will spend this very night in lament and sorrow! How many mothers will spend it in sobbing and wailing, to a point that is indescribable! What has promoted the governments to behave thusly? The instigators of war are in their homes enjoying great comfort while these wretched men are fighting one another, forced to tear into each other on the battlefield. How utterly unfair! The authors of this ordeal are unwilling to suffer the least loss, but they are ready to sacrifice thousand of others on the field of battle. Of what use is this?

Presently, there are difficulties between Austria and Serbia. They should submit these issues to an international tribunal, which would investigate the details. Should it find that the fault lies with Austria, then it will rule accordingly; and if with the other side, then likewise. There is no need for war. The international tribunal will solve such difficulties. When differences appear among people, they turn to courts for resolution of these differences. Similarly, an international tribunal must be formed to resolve international differences among the nations. What can be better than this? What harm is in it! The governments and the nations will be at great ease and will know the utmost happiness.

Since the time when history was first recorded until the present, truly no instance is known where love, fellowship, affection and peace have caused injury. Indeed, they have brought widespread joy and comfort. On the other hand, war has brought great harms. Despite this, humanity is steep in the ways of war and battle and constantly pursues in this path. It is a wonder that these people think the foundation of divine Faith is based on waging war.

How neglectful! How foolish! It seems as if there is no trace of good-will left in hearts. It is the human who is the savage yet lays this at the door of animals. The beast of burden may attack another for food, but only one, and not of his own kind. For instance, they call wolves savage. The poor wolf attacks only a single sheep for his food; and if he does not do so, he will die of hunger since he is carnivorous. But a single person can cause the death of a million others. Yet they call animals savage! How can a person cause the death of so many and then claim to be victorious, brave and courageous? Is there pride in these killings? It is amazing that they call the wolf and the bear beasts!

Music: Jonatha Brooke - War (Plumb) 5:07

{amazon id='B000003N5P'}

Every morning I get up and I watch the war, watch the war
And every morning it upstages all my favorite
shows--Donahue, Hogan's Heroes

It's the American way, the new world order
We hold these truths to be self-evident
In the American day, you must give and I shall take,
And I will tell you what is moral and what's just
Because I want, because I will, because I can, so will I kill
Every morning I get up and I raise the flag,
Salute the monument of those who gave their lives
And I guess war's OK, it's just a little inconvenient, but it's better
Than a video game...it's better than the movies

Because I want, because I will, because I can, so will I kill
And every morning I get up and I watch the war, watch the war
And every morning it upstages everything I know...

Because I want, because I will, because I can, so will I
Because I want, because I will, because I can, so will I
Because I want, because I will, because I can, so will I