First Day of Spring, The Baha’i New Year

In the calendar of the Baha’i Faith, the new year begins on the equinox, the first day of Spring.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Naw-Rúz in the Holy Land in 1909, 100 years ago

The most joyful tidings is this,” He wrote later in a Tablet announcing to His followers the news of this glorious victory, “that the holy, the luminous body of the Báb … after having for sixty years been transferred from place to place, by reason of the ascendancy of the enemy, and from fear of the malevolent, and having known neither rest nor tranquility has, through the mercy of the Abha Beauty, been ceremoniously deposited, on the day of Naw-Ruz, within the sacred casket, in the exalted Shrine on Mt. Carmel… By a strange coincidence, on that same day of Naw-Ruz, a cablegram was received from Chicago, announcing that the believers in each of the American centers had elected a delegate and sent to that city … and definitely decided on the site and construction of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar
Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By

Mashriqu’l-Adkar: Literally “the Dawning-place of the praise of God”,
the designation of the Bahá’í House of Worship and its dependencies.
Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas


Yesterday, about an hour after the equinox passed here, I walked to my front door for no particular reason and looked outside. A Robin alighted on my lawn and soon there were several of them. This has happened all my life. I even remember it as a child in the dull, treeless and blighted Bronx. I’ve always seen a Robin on the first day of Spring. Sometimes that’s the only day that I see one. You might scarcely notice a little Robin amongst a flock of other birds but to me this pretty little bird has always been a harbinger. I feel they are something wonderful.

Turdus-migratorius-wiki-commons “The Robin is considered a symbol of Spring. A well-known example is a poem by Emily Dickinson, “I Dreaded That First Robin So”. Among other 19th-century poems about the first robin of spring is “The First Robin” by Dr. William H. Drummond, which according to the author’s wife is based on a Quebec superstition that whoever sees the first robin of spring will have good luck.” (wikipedia)



The Name Enoch

In the sacred writings of the Baha’i faith we read, “How great the multitude of truths which the garment of words can never contain! How vast the number of such verities as no expression can adequately describe, whose significance can never be unfolded, and to which not even the remotest allusions can be made!”
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah)

Enoch is my true name and my given name, Cary, fits me well also. Cary derives from Germanic pre-English and means “dweller in a castle” or a fortified town. Its various forms are similar to Carl with assorted spellings and derivatives. Some of its feminine forms are Karen (with multiple spellings) and Carla. Cary rhymes with Harry, Larry, etc. It does not rhyme with “hairy.” People frequently mispronounce or misspell my name though it should be quite simple to say. The ‘a’ is short like in cat or have, the second syllable rhymes with ‘eee’ and the first one is accented.

Cary Grant This is my namesake. My parents told me they named me after Cary Grant.

Shortly after I became a Bahá’í in 1963 I took the middle name of Enoch. My parents had failed to give me a middle name and I wanted one. I eventually made it legal so it appears on my passport and other documents. Enoch who received only the briefest mentions as a prophet in the Old Testament occurs frequently in Apocrypha and related works of unknown origin. One of the translations of his name is Wise teacher which was what I aspired to be.

The Prophet Enoch sees a vision of a future Bahá’í House of Worship. (My personal interpretation! I am not a Biblical scholar. Nevertheless I’m aware of and sensitive to some of the inner symbolic meanings.) I feel it is important to stress that some of the Fundamentalist Christian views of Enoch are purely superstitious and mythological. Enoch did not physically enter into heaven because it is impossible and has never happened in the literal sense. Such stories contain symbolic rather than literal meanings.

“If any man be told that which hath been ordained for such a soul in the worlds of God, the Lord of the throne on high and of earth below, his whole being will instantly blaze out in his great longing to attain that most exalted, that sanctified and resplendent station…. The nature of the soul after death can never be described, nor is it meet and permissible to reveal its whole character to the eyes of men.”
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah)

…the habitation wherein the Divine Being dwelleth is far above the reach and ken of any one besides Him. Whatsoever in the contingent world can either be expressed or apprehended, can never transgress the limits which, by its inherent nature, have been imposed upon it. God, alone, transcendeth such limitations. He, verily, is from everlasting. No peer or partner has been, or can ever be, joined with Him. No name can be compared with His Name. No pen can portray His nature, neither can any tongue depict His glory. He will, for ever, remain immeasurably exalted above any one except Himself.
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah)
Bahá’� House of Worship in Wilmette Illinois

O Son of the Wondrous Vision. I have breathed within thee a breath of My own Spirit, that thou mayest be My lover. – Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words

This was what I read that directly inspired me to take the name Enoch:

And the vision was shown to me thus: Behold, in the vision clouds invited me and a mist summoned me, and the course of the stars and the lightnings sped and hastened me, and the winds in the vision caused me to fly and lifted me upward, and bore me into heaven. And I went in till I drew nigh to a wall which is built of crystals and surrounded by tongues of fire: and it began to affright me.

And I went into the tongues of fire and drew nigh to a large house which was built of crystals: and the walls of the house were like a tesselated floor (made) of crystals, and its groundwork was of crystal. Its ceiling was like the path of the stars and the lightnings, and between them were fiery cherubim, and their heaven was (clear as) water. [ … ] I fell upon my face. And I beheld a vision, And lo! there was a second house, greater than the former, and the entire portal stood open before me, and it was built of flames of fire. And in every respect it so excelled in splendour and magnificence and extent that I cannot describe to you its splendour and its extent.

And its floor was of fire, and above it were lightnings and the path of the stars, and its ceiling also was flaming fire. And I looked and saw therein a lofty throne: its appearance was as crystal, and the wheels thereof as the shining sun, and there was the vision of cherubim. And from underneath the throne came streams of flaming fire so that I could not look thereon.

And the Great Glory sat thereon, and His raiment shone more brightly than the sun and was whiter than any snow. None of the angels could enter and could behold His face by reason of the magnificence and glory and no flesh could behold Him. The flaming fire was round about Him, and a great fire stood before Him, and none around could draw nigh Him: ten thousand times ten thousand (stood) before Him, yet He needed no counselor. And the most holy ones who were nigh to Him did not leave by night nor depart from Him. And until then I had been prostrate on my face, trembling: and the Lord called me with His own mouth, and said to me: ‘ Come hither, Enoch, and hear my word.’ And one of the holy ones came to me and waked me, and He made me rise up and approach the door: and I bowed my face downwards.

Bahá’� House of Worship in Wilmette Illinois

BOOK OF ENOCH, Chapter 14
From: The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament
by R.H. Charles, Oxford: The Clarendon Press

Note that the inner and outer walls of the 19-story tall Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois are constructed of concrete embedded with crystalline quartz.
Exterior Detail
Two of the images here are from the Bahá’í Media Bank which allows them to be reposted on the Web. I lived in the Wilmette vicinity for two years. That was what directly inspired me to get into photography. I made the exterior detail photograph above.

Fragments of biblical references to Enoch are scattered among the Dead Sea Scrolls. This is one of them.
Fragment of an Enoch scroll
One book is part of the Eastern Orthodox version of the Bible and not considered apocryphal by them. There are many possible and equally meaningful interpretations of these passages. If you question mine then read on.

There’s a unique circumstance that enables me to put forward such a free interpretation of scripture. The historical Enoch –assuming that one ever existed– wrote nothing that has survived and that’s verifiably from the historic Enoch. What comes down to us is called Pseudepigrapha because later writers took the pseudonym of a prophet to give weight to their writings. As an example, many Biblical scholars attribute the entire book of Isaiah to three authors from different time periods. That shouldn’t detract from their symbolic spiritual validity. They sound and feel inspired. There is historical evidence that the prophecies contained in that book were fulfilled.

I feel free to do the same thing with poetry and to some extent with nearly any insightful writing I come across. Another example is the e-mail signature line I’ve used for many years.

“Behind all these manifestations is the one radiance, which shines through all things. The function of art is to reveal this radiance through the created object.” — Joseph Campbell

The author doesn’t mean the same thing that Bahá’ís mean when they say “Manifestation.” To be brief, he doesn’t accept the individuals Bahá’ís know about as necessarily revealers of sacred text (Founders of the world’s great religions) but only as wise or enlightened teachers. But when Bahá’ís read the quotation they immediately leap to an association that’s meaningful to them. Such words and associations transcend the life of the writer. Thus those words may endure for a very long time.

“Countless works of art have been truly inspired and that inspiration stays in association with the work and is mirrored in the heart and the mind of the receptive viewer.” — Otto Rogers

Save to, , , ,

Glimmers: Let There Be Light

In the writings of the Baha’i Faith, we read these wondrous and profound statements:

Magnify My cause that I may reveal unto thee the mysteries of My greatness and shine upon thee with the light of eternity.
— Bahá’u’lláh, The Arabic Hidden Words

In the ocean he findeth a drop, in a drop he beholdeth the secrets of the sea.
Split the atom’s heart, and lo!
Within it thou wilt find a sun.
Bahá’u’lláh, The Seven Valleys

The Quantum Zero-Point Field, Photograph from www.enochsvision.comSLB42QuantumZeroPointField-ROC-M5

“‘Let there be light’ is indeed a very profound statement, as one might expect of its purported author. The solid, stable world of matter appears to be sustained at every instant by an underlying sea of quantum light.

“… If you could ride a beam of light as an observer, all of space would shrink to a point, and all of time would collapse to an instant. In the reference frame of light, there is no space and time. If we look up at the Andromeda galaxy in the night sky, we see light that from our point of view took 2 million years to traverse that vast distance of space. But to a beam of light radiating from some star in the Andromeda galaxy, the transmission from its point of origin to our eye was instantaneous.

“There must be a deeper meaning in these physical facts, a deeper truth about the simultaneous interconnection of all things. It beckons us forward in our search for a better, truer understanding of the nature of the universe, of the origins of space and time — those illusions’ that yet feel so real to us.”
Bernard Haisch (Astrophysicist),
Brilliant Disguise: Light, Matter and the Zero-Point Field (Essay)
Zero-Point Field (Wikipedia)
The Field by Lynne McTaggart (Book summary and author interview)

We have many times demonstrated and established that man is the noblest of beings, the sum of all perfections, and that all beings and all existences are the centers from which the glory of God is reflected — that is to say, the signs of the Divinity of God are apparent in the realities of things and of creatures. Just as the terrestrial globe is the place where the rays of the sun are reflected — as its light, its heat and its influence are apparent and visible in all the atoms of the earth — so, in the same way, the atoms of beings, in this infinite space, proclaim and prove one of the divine perfections. Without doubt each being is the center of the shining forth of the glory of God — that is to say, the perfections of God appear from it and are resplendent in it.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions

Then wilt thou observe that the universe is a scroll that discloseth His hidden secrets, which are preserved in the well-guarded Tablet. And not an atom of all the atoms in existence, not a creature from amongst the creatures but speaketh His praise and telleth of His attributes and names, revealeth the glory of His might and guideth to His oneness and His mercy: and none will gainsay this who hath ears to hear, eyes to see, and a mind that is sound.

And whensoever thou dost gaze upon creation all entire, and dost observe the very atoms thereof, thou wilt note that the rays of the Sun of Truth are shed upon all things and shining within them, and telling of that Day-Star’s splendours, Its mysteries, and the spreading of Its lights.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

More on this topic: Does the Real World Contain Colors?

Glimmers are subsections of larger ideas. I don’t intend them to be complete. They are images or thoughts that cross my mind from time to time. This one is basically just a image but you might want to click on the links it contains.

Ahava Tries Her Paw at Blogging

The writings of the Baha’i Faith also speak of our animal companions. So, I will try something very different for today’s short essay.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of the founder of the Baha’i faith, writes:

“Train your children from their earliest days to be infinitely tender and loving to animals. If an animal be sick, let the children try to heal it, if it be hungry, let them feed it, if thirsty, let them quench its thirst, if weary, let them see that it rests. Most human beings are sinners, but the beasts are innocent.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

AHAVAFEB03 I wonder what my dog Ahava would say if I ask her to dictate her blog to me. I am patiently working on this. Here’s what Ahava has told me so far today.

Two-legs-not-Alpha-not-Pack comes to den entrance with bag of uninteresting smells again. Our territory has peril now. We sound strong alarm. Two-legs-not-Pack run away. Alarm sound make two-legs-not-Pack go away. No danger now. Alpha open den. Alpha take uninteresting flat no-smell things. Not food. No care. We guard. Our toys are safe. We bury squeaky toy. Be safe.”

“We need place to rest now. Round and round in circles we must go. We rest now.”

“Alpha go away in four-round-leg moving den. We wait. Alpha back soon with food. The hunt is good.”

“Chicken smell. Food rattles. Yummie-yummie chicken-smell now. Alpha not eat our food. Alpha is good.”

“We need place to rest now. Find toy. Oh, Toy lost! Round and round in circles we must go. We rest now.”

Things that Ahava leaves forever not-thought:

“Did two-leg, no-tail Alpha make us? What is a dog? What is good dog? Is good dog a biscuit? What is Ahava? What is not Now? What is tomorrow?”

“Why Alpha-two-legs have no-tail, not furry like us?”

Alpha sit-look at flat no-smell window beep-noise long time. Alpha make click sounds. Why Alpha sit-look so long time? Alpha not eat. Should we worry?”

“When four legs smelled-like-me start to smell bad and not move ever again, where does four legs go?”

I offered Ahava the opportunity to write another blog but it was just frustrating. She only wants to write exactly the same thing every day of her life. Ahava lives only in the moment. Ahava is happy. PS, She doesn’t know it, but I edited out the part where she said she would like to eat a Chihuahua.

Ahava is an Israeli name which means Love. In the Old Testament, the derivation of Ahava is the name for Eve. Her AKC registered name is Ahava Shamira, which means loved protector. She is eight years old, exceptionally large for her breed, and weighs a trim 102 pounds (46 kilos). When she was a little puppy fur ball, she slept on my lap.

Sleep without a care tonight, little innocent Ahava.

“Briefly, it is not only their fellow human beings that the beloved of God must treat with mercy and compassion, rather must they show forth the utmost loving-kindness to every living creature. For in all physical respects, and where the animal spirit is concerned, the selfsame feelings are shared by animal and man. Man hath not grasped this truth, however, and he believeth that physical sensations are confined to human beings, wherefore is he unjust to the animals, and cruel.

“And yet in truth, what difference is there when it cometh to physical sensations? The feelings are one and the same, whether ye inflict pain on man or on beast. There is no difference here whatever. And indeed ye do worse to harm an animal, for man hath a language, he can lodge a complaint, he can cry out and moan; if injured he can have recourse to the authorities and these will protect him from his aggressor. But the hapless beast is mute, able neither to express its hurt nor take its case to the authorities. If a man inflict a thousand ills upon a beast, it can neither ward him off with speech nor hale him into court. Therefore is it essential that ye show forth the utmost consideration to the animal, and that ye be even kinder to him than to your fellow man.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Why does Ahava not think of questions?

“And the animal kingdom, no matter how far it may evolve, can never become aware of the reality of the intellect, which discovereth the inner essence of all things, and comprehendeth those realities which cannot be seen; for the human plane as compared with that of the animal is very high. And although these beings all co-exist in the contingent world, in each case the difference in their stations precludeth their grasp of the whole; for no lower degree can understand a higher, such comprehension being impossible.

“… And notwithstanding the fact that all these entities co-exist in the phenomenal world, even so, no lower degree can ever comprehend a higher.

Then how could it be possible for a contingent reality, that is, man, to understand the nature of that pre-existent Essence, the Divine Being? The difference in station between man and the Divine Reality is thousands upon thousands of times greater than the difference between vegetable and animal. And that which a human being would conjure up in his mind is but the fanciful image of his human condition, it doth not encompass God’s reality but rather is encompassed by it. That is, man graspeth his own illusory conceptions, but the Reality of Divinity can never be grasped: It, Itself, encompasseth all created things, and all created things are in Its grasp. That Divinity which man doth imagine for himself existeth only in his mind, not in truth. Man, however, existeth both in his mind and in truth; thus man is greater than that fanciful reality which he is able to imagine.
— ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Glimmers: When Life’s Tests Are Severe

In the writings of the Baha’i Faith, we read:

“Naturally there will be periods of distress and difficulty, and even severe test; but if that person turns firmly towards the Divine Manifestation, studies carefully His Spiritual teachings and receives the blessings of the Holy Spirit, he will find that in reality these tests and difficulties have been the gifts of God to enable him to grow and develop.”
From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, October 6, 1954: Living the Life, pp. 18-19, Compilations, Lights of Guidance

(Wikipedia image: Hurricane)

Bahá’u’lláh tells us that fire strengthens steel. Animals become stronger when they have to protect themselves against predators or harsh environments. People question their purpose when they suffer adversity. The best outcome is that they become stronger and more directed.

Evolution was designed as a scheme to improve life because living things had to adapt to severe tests. Otherwise, the earth would still be populated by nothing but algae. After the first simple amino acids began to organize themselves, they also had to protect themselves. Thus, they evolved protective coatings constructed of more complex amino acids. Formerly inert chemicals and elements acquired the property of will. They became a purposeful collection. They developed ways to pass on their successes and continue the phenomena of life. Thus, stresses and adversity are essential to all life at the most fundamental level — the level of the meaning of life, which is transcendence. Only humans are endowed with the ability to transcend physical adversity and become the something else that is their destiny and and their purpose.

The Elk grew strong because it had to struggle with the Wolf. The mouse grew stealthy and fast because of the Owl. The religions of the world grew stronger after they were persecuted.

“Know, moreover, that it is through such words that God proveth His servants and sifteth them, separating the believer from the infidel, the detached from the worldly, the pious from the profligate, the doer of good from the worker of iniquity, and so forth. Thus hath the Dove of holiness proclaimed: ‘Do men think when they say ‘We believe’ they shall be let alone and not be put to proof?'”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries

“If people are fundamentally spiritual beings, why do we begin our lives in the physical world?”
The Purpose of Physical Reality by John Hatcher

“And yet, how often we seem to forget the clear and repeated warnings of our beloved Master, who, in particular during the concluding years of His mission on earth, laid stress on the ‘severe mental tests’ that would inevitably sweep over His loved ones of the West — tests that would purge, purify and prepare them for their noble mission in life.”

The Cause of Human Suffering

“And as to the world’s evil plight, we need but recall the writings and sayings of Bahá’u’lláh, who, more than fifty years ago, declared in terms prophetic the prime cause of the ills and sufferings of mankind, and set forth their true and divine remedy. ‘Should the Lamp of Religion be hidden,’ He declares, ‘Chaos and confusion will ensue.’ How admirably fitting and applicable are these words to the present state of mankind!

“Ours is then the duty and privilege to labor, by day and by night, amidst the storm and stress of these troublous days, that we may quicken the zeal of our fellow-men, rekindle their hopes, stimulate their interest, open their eyes to the true Faith of God and enlist their active support in the carrying out of our common task for the peace and regeneration of the world.
–Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i Administration

Glimmers are subsections of larger ideas. I don’t intend them to be complete. They are thoughts that cross my mind from time to time.

Does the Real World Contain Colors?

In the Writings of the Baha’i Faith, we read: O MAN OF TWO VISIONS! Close one eye and open the other. Close one to the world and all that is therein, and open the other to the hallowed beauty of the Beloved.
— Bahá’u’lláh, The Persian Hidden Words

I have written many times that I am endlessly fascinated by colors, their emotional effects, their psychological, and most importantly, their spiritual effects. Yet colors do not really exist. There are no colors! Color is one of the ultimate abstractions.

How the Mind Works: Revelations
“In fact, ‘external reality’ is a construction of the brain. Our senses are confronted by a chaotic, constantly changing world that has no labels, and the brain must make sense of that chaos. It is the brain’s correlations of sensory information that create the knowledge we have about our surroundings, such as the sounds of words and music, the images we see in paintings and photographs, the colors we perceive: ‘perception is not merely a reflection of immediate input,’ [the authors] write, ‘but involves a construction or a comparison by the brain.’ “For example, contrary to our visual experience, there are no colors in the world, only electromagnetic waves of many frequencies.” (Wikipedia) Definition of a Photon (Wikipedia).

The New York Review of Books continues:
“We can recognize and understand the actions of others because of the mirror neurons; …”


My view as a Baha’i is that one important purpose of physical reality is that it is a matrix. The way we learn about it, adapt, and react to to the physical world and its creatures trains our souls and provides a necessary yet evanescent and ultimately unreal classroom. In this matrix, we must have a definable form. In the next levels of reality we are recognizable but possibly formless or else of a nature or form that we cannot imagine from a physical perspective.

“The nature of the soul after death can never be described, nor is it meet and permissible to reveal its whole character to the eyes of men.”

“When the soul attaineth the Presence of God, it will assume the form that best befitteth its immortality and is worthy of its celestial habitation.”
— Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 156

Ordinary language cannot describe our metaphysical future states.

“Exalted, immeasurably exalted art Thou, O my Beloved, above the strivings of any of Thy creatures, however learned, to know Thee; exalted, immensely exalted art Thou above every human attempt, no matter how searching, to describe Thee! For the highest thought of men, however deep their contemplation, can never hope to outsoar the limitations imposed upon Thy creation, nor ascend beyond the state of the contingent world, nor break the bounds irrevocably set for it by Thee. How can, then, a thing that hath been created by Thy will that overruleth the whole of creation, a thing that is itself a part of the contingent world, have the power to soar into the holy atmosphere of Thy knowledge, or reach unto the seat of Thy transcendent power?

High, immeasurably high art Thou above the endeavors of the evanescent creature to soar unto the throne of Thine eternity, or of the poor and wretched to attain the summit of Thine all-sufficing glory!”
Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 327

“The dwellers of the kingdom of names have busied themselves with the gay livery of the world, forgetful that every man that hath eyes to perceive and ears to hear cannot but readily recognize how evanescent are its colors.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 195

The world is continually proclaiming these words: Beware, I am evanescent, and so are all my outward appearances and colours.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 257

Evanescent: “tending to vanish like vapor,” “vanishing, disappearing quickly,” “lasting only a short time,”  “deficient in fullness.”

A related article is here: The Abstract Third Reality (Note, that is not a picture of a Manifestation on the page. He is merely a saintly figure and identified as such on the statue’s placard.)

Water, Chaos, Big and Little “Bangs”?

In the writings of the Baha’i Faith, we read:

“When, however, thou dost contemplate the innermost essence of all things, and the individuality of each, thou wilt behold the signs of thy Lord’s mercy in every created thing, and see the spreading rays of His Names and Attributes throughout all the realm of being, with evidences which none will deny …”

Have you ever wondered why collections of atoms have “properties”? Why do atoms organize themselves into molecules? Why do individual elements have properties (characteristics) that are different from other collections of atoms that we call elements? Are they not just basically a collection of similar fundamental atomic particles? Where does gravity come from and how is it transmitted? How can anything be transmitted without a medium for its transmission?

According to Relativity Theory –which has been proven experimentally– matter is really elemental energy which, obviously, because of its incredibly small size cannot and will not ever be seen by any creature or man-made device. If fundamental atomic particles are themselves comprised of infinitesimally tiny “strings” of vibrating energy, then why are certain collections of atoms different from one another? A neutron is a neutron, a proton is a proton, a quark is a quark, and an electron is an electron. So you have a collection of similar particles; so what?

Why, for example, is water smaller as a solid than it is as a liquid which is unlike every other molecule? If water were more dense (heavier) as a solid than as a liquid then ice would sink to the bottom of the ocean. That would have made the development of life on earth much less likely or else very different.

After the so-called Big Bang, why weren’t there just chaotic random clouds of elemental particles, in other words, forever formless clouds of pure energy? What existed before the Big Bang and why did it happen? How far back in cosmic history can we really observe?

Read ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s explanation of the age of the universe and how elements came into being.
Read an essay written by a Baha’i about quantum theory.

Why and how do seemingly random particles of energy organize themselves into amino acids even in the depths of outer space?

string-theory (Image source.) Could there be more to water than just a fortuitous combination of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen? Definitely. Is there anything else that that is forever hidden from our physical forms? Definitely.

“Know thou that the Divine Essence, which is called the Invisible of the Invisibles, never to be described, beyond the reach of mind — is sanctified above any mention, any definition or hint or allusion, any acclamation or praise. In the sense that It is that It is, the intellect can never grasp It, and the soul seeking knowledge of It is but a wanderer in the desert, and far astray. ‘No vision taketh in Him, but He taketh in all vision: He is the Subtile, the All-Informed.’

“When, however, thou dost contemplate the innermost essence of all things, and the individuality of each, thou wilt behold the signs of thy Lord’s mercy in every created thing, and see the spreading rays of His Names and Attributes throughout all the realm of being, with evidences which none will deny save the froward and the unaware. Then wilt thou observe that the universe is a scroll that discloseth His hidden secrets, which are preserved in the well-guarded Tablet. And not an atom of all the atoms in existence, not a creature from amongst the creatures but speaketh His praise and telleth of His attributes and names, revealeth the glory of His might and guideth to His oneness and His mercy: and none will gainsay this who hath ears to hear, eyes to see, and a mind that is sound.

“And whensoever thou dost gaze upon creation all entire, and dost observe the very atoms thereof, thou wilt note that the rays of the Sun of Truth are shed upon all things and shining within them, and telling of that Day-Star’s splendours, Its mysteries, and the spreading of Its lights. Look thou upon the trees, upon the blossoms and fruits, even upon the stones. Here too wilt thou behold the Sun’s rays shed upon them, clearly visible within them, and manifested by them.” ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha


See Haifa Souvenir for a brief explanation of the worlds of existence and my Ring Stone video for a visual explanation of the symbol.

Oh, and what preceded the Big Bang? How did something come from nothing or from an alleged singularity? It didn’t, of course …

“If we try to conceive of a time when creation was nonexistent, when there were no subjects or creatures under divine dominion and control, Divinity itself would disappear; there would be a cessation of the bounty of God, just as the kingship and favor of an earthly monarch would disappear if his kingdom did not exist. The sovereignty of God is eternal. There has been no beginning; there will be no end. This is as evident as the sun at midday, even to one endowed with limited reason.

“When we consider the phenomenal sun, we see that its heat and light are continuous. There is no cessation to the solar bounty. If the sun at any time were without light or heat, it would not be the sun. How do we recognize the sun? Through its heat and effulgence. If it be deprived of its rays and heat, it is no longer a sun; it is merely a dark globe or sphere in the heavens. The bounties of the sun must be perpetual in order that it may be qualified as a solar center of energy, illumination and attraction.

“Likewise, the divine bounties of the Sun of Reality are perpetual. Its light is forever shining. Its love is forever radiating. Its bounty never ceases. It could not be said that the power and effulgence of God was ever subject to cessation. It could not be claimed that the divinity of the Almighty One had come to an end. For the divinity of God is eternal. Therefore, the divine bounties — whether phenomenal and accidental or spiritual and ideal — are perpetual.”
‘Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 272

“The process of His creation hath had no beginning and can have no end, otherwise it would necessitate the cessation of His celestial grace. God hath raised up Prophets and revealed Books as numerous as the creatures of the world, and will continue to do so to everlasting.” — The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 125

“A drop of the billowing ocean of His endless mercy hath adorned all creation with the ornament of existence, and a breath wafted from His peerless Paradise hath invested all beings with the robe of His sanctity and glory. A sprinkling from the unfathomed deep of His sovereign and all-pervasive Will hath, out of utter nothingness, called into being a creation which is infinite in its range and deathless in its duration. The wonders of His bounty can never cease, and the stream of His merciful grace can never be arrested. The process of His creation hath had no beginning, and can have no end.”
— Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 61

The Family of Man

The writings of the Baha’i Faith extol the oneness of humanity. What does it take for a child to understand this fundamental truth? For me, it was an exhibition of photographs.

Click to listen. To be a Baha’i

“Bahá’u’lláh taught the Oneness of humanity; that is to say, all the children of men are under the mercy of the Great God. They are the sons of one God; they are trained by God. He has placed the crown of humanity on the head of every one of the servants of God. Therefore all nations and peoples must consider themselves brethren. They are all descendants from Adam. They are the branches, leaves, flowers and fruits of One Tree. They are pearls from one shell. But the children of men are in need of education and civilization, and they require to be polished, till they become bright and shining. Man and woman both should be educated equally and equally regarded.”
‘Abdu’l-Baha, ‘Abdu’l-Baha in London

I went to the Museum of Modern Art at least once a week and sometimes more often for a period of about three years. I began visiting the museum when I was 14 and had just finished reading a life changing book that the Museum published. It was called The Family of Man.

“Hailed as the most successful exhibition of photography ever assembled, The Family of Man opened at The Museum of Modern Art, New York in January 1955. This book, the permanent embodiment of Edward Steichen’s monumental exhibition, reproduces all of the 503 images that Steichen described as ‘a mirror of the essential oneness of mankind throughout the world. Photographs made in all parts of the world, of the gamut of life from birth to death.’ A classic and inspiring work, The Family of Man has been in print for more than forty years. The New York Times once wrote that it ‘symbolizes the universality of human emotions.'”

You can see even from the brief synopsis above that discovering that book put me on an inevitable path toward the Baha’i faith. My days at the Museum represented not just inspiration and beauty; they were an escape from the emotional abuse inflicted by my parents. My ambition changed. From that point on all I wanted to be was an artist. From minutes after I opened the book onwards, I believed in the transcendent human soul.


That was what I loved about New York. Besides the Museum of Modern Art, the only other things I loved about the city were classical concerts at Carnegie Hall, Shakespeare in Central Park, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When I was 15 years old, I watched Shakespeare in Central Park. Just as the Macbeth witches came on stage and began their act, someone shouted out that there was a shooting star overhead. Thousands of people all looked towards the clear night sky and cheered wildly. You cannot duplicate or emulate an experience like that and you never forget it.

A Wedding Gift

The writings of the Baha’i Faith contain a vast number or revealed prayers. Of course, we can say prayers in our own words but the revealed prayers are so beautiful that they help us to focus our energies and refine our purposes. Some prayers were revealed for special occasions such as marriage.

I have been creating a lot of new art recently and rediscovering some of my oldest work. I created the typography for this prayer by hand using a long obsolete method of press-on lettering. You can download a high resolution copy of it for personal use or printing (see below). Please remember that this work is copyrighted and do not post it on a website without asking for permission first. You may post a link to it instead.


Image detail:


Download a printable copy of this prayer. If you upload it to an Internet photo printing site like Shutterfly and order a standard 11 by 14-inch print, this image will fill the entire page. The print itself will contain instructions on how and where to trim it for framing.

Fragrant Breezes of Thy Joy


In a radiantly beautiful prayer from the writings of the Baha’i Faith we read:

From the sweet-scented streams of Thine eternity give me to drink, O my God, and of the fruits of the tree of Thy being enable me to taste, O my Hope! From the crystal springs of Thy love suffer me to quaff, O my Glory, and beneath the shadow of Thine everlasting providence let me abide, O my Light! Within the meadows of Thy nearness, before Thy presence, make me able to roam, O my Beloved, and at the right hand of the throne of Thy mercy, seat me, O my Desire! From the fragrant breezes of Thy joy let a breath pass over me, O my Goal, and into the heights of the paradise of Thy reality let me gain admission, O my Adored One! To the melodies of the dove of Thy oneness suffer me to hearken, O Resplendent One, and through the spirit of Thy power and Thy might quicken me, O my Provider! In the spirit of Thy love keep me steadfast, O my Succorer, and in the path of Thy good-pleasure set firm my steps, O my Maker! Within the garden of Thine immortality, before Thy countenance, let me abide for ever, O Thou Who art merciful unto me, and upon the seat of Thy glory stablish me, O Thou Who art my Possessor! To the heaven of Thy loving-kindness lift me up, O my Quickener, and unto the Day-Star of Thy guidance lead me, O Thou my Attractor! Before the revelations of Thine invisible spirit summon me to be present, O Thou Who art my Origin and my Highest Wish, and unto the essence of the fragrance of Thy beauty, which Thou wilt manifest, cause me to return, O Thou Who art my God!

Potent art Thou to do what pleasest Thee. Thou art, verily, the Most Exalted, the All-Glorious, the All-Highest.
— Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh

Wert thou to reflect upon that which We have revealed unto thee, thou wouldst undoubtedly grasp Our purpose in this utterance and discover that which We have desired to impart unto thee within this paradise. Perchance thine eyes may rejoice in beholding it, thine ears take delight in hearing that which is recited therein, thy soul be enthralled by recognizing it, thy heart illumined by comprehending it, and thy spirit gladdened by the fragrant breezes that waft therefrom. Haply thou mayest attain unto the pinnacle of divine grace and abide within the Ridvan of transcendent holiness.
— Bahá’u’lláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries