‘True Values’

It seems to me that in these times of financial crisis true values can become obscured. Economics is after all only means to an end, rather than an end in itself. In the words of Abdu’l-Bahá

“..it is clear that the honor and exaltation of man must be something more than material riches. Material comforts are only a branch, but the root of the exaltation of man is the good attributes and virtues which are the adornments of his reality. These are the divine appearances, the heavenly bounties, the sublime emotions, the love and knowledge of God; universal wisdom, intellectual perception, scientific discoveries, justice, equity, truthfulness, benevolence, natural courage and innate fortitude; the respect for rights and the keeping of agreements and covenants; rectitude in all circumstances; serving the truth under all conditions; the sacrifice of one’s life for the good of all people; kindness and esteem for all nations; obedience to the teachings of God; service in the Divine Kingdom; the guidance of the people, and the education  of the nations and races. This is the prosperity of the human world! This is the exaltation of man in the world! This is eternal life and heavenly honor”!

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Persecution Of Baha’is In Iran Intensifies

I have learned from my friend Barnabas Quotidianus that a petition has just been signed in Friday prayers in Tehran calling for the Bahá’í administration in Iran to be disbanded. Due to current restrictions the Bahá’í administration in Iran is of a purely ad hoc nature, dealing with community affairs; for example arranging devotional meetings, burial, marriage, children’s classes and so forth. In my view Friday’s petition can be seen as de facto demand for the destruction of Bahá’í community life in Iran, or at the very least a further severe restriction of any communal activity. This is part of an ongoing disinformation campaign to present the Bahá’í administration as a sinister spy network- which would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous.

‘Boughs That Will Grow Green’

A few days ago I had the pleasure of attending the wedding celebration of a friend, an Egyptian Bahá’í.  As part of the programme I read the following prayer by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on the subject of marriage.

“O my Lord, O my Lord! These two bright orbs are wedded in Thy love, conjoined in servitude to Thy Holy Threshold, united in ministering to Thy Cause. Make Thou this marriage to be as threading lights of Thine abounding grace, O my Lord, the All-Merciful, the luminous rays of Thy bestowals, O Thou the Beneficent, the Ever-Giving, that there may branch out from this great tree boughs that will grow green and flourishing through the gifts that rain down from Thy clouds of grace. Verily, Thou art the Generous. Verily, Thou art the Almighty. Verily, Thou art the Compassionate, the All-Merciful”. 

According to Abdu’l-Bahá the ideal marriage should be an expression of both spiritual and physical unity.

 It reminded me of when Minoo and I were married twenty years ago and we recited the marriage vow revealed by Bahá’u’lláh, “We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God.”

 Our wedding ceremony was followed by Persian food and dancing of kinds both oriental and occidental (most memorably my brother-in-law’s break dancing..).

 

Minoo’s Recipe For ‘Khoresht-e-Karafs’

Our eight-year old daughter is a big fan of her mum’s ‘Khoresht-e-Karafs’ which is a kind of Persian stew with celery.

Ingredients

2 bunches of celery

1 kilo of boneless stewing lamb or beef (lamb is best)

1 large onion-finely chopped

Cooking oil

1 teaspoon turmeric

1.5 measures water

1/2 measure dried limes (or lime juice)

Salt and Black pepper (to taste)

1 measure chopped mint and parsley

Instructions

Cut fat off the meat and chop into cubes. Cut celery into c. 1 inch lengths and fry until slightly softened. Fry the onions and meat over a medium heat in cooking oil until they turn golden-brown, adding the turmeric and salt and pepper (to taste).  Put in the chopped mint and parsley and fry for a few more minutes stirring all the while. Turn down the heat. Add water, celery and dried limes. Put on the lid and simmer gently until meat is tender (for about an hour to an hour and a half). To be be served with white rice.