I was touched by this account of a Baha’i Wedding in London in 1911 given by the Bridegroom Mírzá Dáwúd-
After receiving us, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, “You are very welcome and it makes me happy to see you here in London.” Looking at me he said, “Never have I united anyone in marriage before, except my own daughters, but as I love you much, and you have rendered a great service to the Kingdom of Abhá, both in this country and in other lands, I will perform your marriage ceremony today. It is my hope that you may both continue in the blessed path of service.” Then, first, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá took Núr Mahal Khánum into the next room and said to her, “Do you love Mírzá Yuhanna Dáwúd with all your heart and soul?” She answered, “Yes, I do.” Then ‘Abdu’l-Bahá called me to him and put a similar question, that is to say, “Do you love Núr Mahal Khánum with all your heart and soul?” I answered “Yes, I do.” We re-entered the room together and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá took the right hand of the bride and gave it into that of the bridegroom and asked us to say after him, “We do all to please God.” We all sat down and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá continued; “Marriage is a holy institution and much encouraged in this blessed cause. Now you two are no longer two, but one. Bahá’u’lláh’s wish is that all men be of one mind and consider themselves of one great household, that the mind of mankind be not divided against itself.“It is my wish and hope that you may be blessed in your life. May God help you to render great service to the kingdom of Abhá and may you become a means of its advancement.“May joy be increased to you as the years go by, and may you become thriving trees bearing delicious and fragrant fruits which are the blessings in the path of service.”When we came out, all the assembled friends both of Persia and London congratulated us on the great honour that had been bestowed upon us, and we were invited to dine by the kind hostess.
I am saddened to hear more worrying news from Iran.
Iran’s seven imprisoned Baha’i leaders have been transferred to more brutal sections of their prison complex. In the case of the two Baha’i women, the circumstances of the move have raised concerns that it may have been orchestrated as a means of creating an insecure environment that threatens their lives. The Baha’i International Community has learned that one of them – Fariba Kamalabadi – has already been physically threatened by inmates since being sent to the notorious Section 200 of Gohardasht Prison.”Apparently, the atmosphere is highly charged in this section, and there is a great deal of tension and animosity among the inmates,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations. Mrs. Kamalabadi was transferred to Section 200 on Saturday 12 February, along with Mahvash Sabet.”It is difficult to be certain about the reason for the move,” said Ms. Dugal. “However we believe that, since their arrival at Gohardasht, the Baha’i women – despite their own extremely challenging situation – have nonetheless been a constant source of comfort and hope to other inmates. The prison authorities apparently became alarmed that the two women began to receive signs of respect from a growing number of prisoners. As a justification for the increased harsh treatment, the authorities accused the two of teaching the Baha’i Faith.”
In Jungian psychology the lower self or ‘shadow’ is inclined to projection- attempting to hide a personal fault by perceiving that fault in others. Jung wrote in “The Philosophical Tree” (1945) that
A man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way and is in addition fooled by all the illusions that arise when he sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet him from outside as projections upon his neighbour.
One of the notable aspects of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh in this regards is the exhortation to concentrate on one’s own shortcomings and not on the faults of others. There are many examples of this teaching in his writings such as these taken from ‘’The Hidden Words’–
O SON OF BEING! How couldst thou forget thine own faults and busy thyself with the faults of others? Whoso doeth this is accursed of Me.
O SON OF MAN! Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner. Shouldst thou transgress this command, accursed wouldst thou be, and to this I bear witness.
O SON OF BEING! Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not. This is My command unto thee, do thou observe it.
It seems to me that one of the basics of spiritual behaviour is this ability to avoid the projection of one’s own shadow on to others- quite a challenge
I have just read the Human Rights Watch World Report 2011 and it paints a bleak picture of the situation in Iran.
The government denies adherents of the Baha’i faith–Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious minority–freedom of religion. In August the judiciary convicted seven leaders of the national Baha’i organization to 20 years each in prison; their sentences were later reduced to 10 years each. The government accused them of espionage without providing evidence and denied their lawyers’ requests to conduct a prompt and fair trial. Iranian laws continue to discriminate against religious minorities, including Sunni Muslims, in employment and education. Sunni Muslims, about 10 percent of the population, cannot construct mosques in major cities. In 2010, security forces detained several members of Iran’s largest Sufi sect, the Nematollahi Gonabadi order, and attacked their houses of worship. They similarly targeted converts to Christianity for questioning and arrest. The government restricts cultural and political activities among the country’s Azeri, Kurdish, and Arab minorities, including the organizations that focus on social issues. Sexual minorities also face a precarious situation. Law enforcement and judiciary officials discriminate, both in law and in practice, against Iran’s vulnerable lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. Iran’s penal code criminalizes consensual same-sex acts, some of which are punishable by death. During the past few years, a steady stream of LGBT Iranians has sought refugee status in Turkey and are awaiting resettlement in third countries.
Source: Human Rights Watch