Shrine of the Báb, Day by Day

By: Borna Safai

I had the bounty of serving in the Holy Land during the time of the restoration and unveiling of the Shrine of the Báb. As the scaffolding and tarp was taken down over the course of a couple of days, I was able to go take a picture from the same place at the same time, capturing the progress. I would like to offer this little gift for the Declaration of the Báb. Watch and enjoy:

The Bahá’í Calendar

By: Borna Safai

In a Message dated 10 July 2014 the Universal House of Justice “call[ed] upon the Bahá’ís of the East and West to adopt, on that auspicious occasion [21 March 2015], the provisions that will unite them in the common implementation of the Badí‘ calendar.”

Many questions have been raised about the upcoming changes; the answers to some have been put together in a presentation which you can download here.

The adoption of a new calendar in each dispensation is a symbol of the power of Divine Revelation to reshape human perception of material, social, and spiritual reality. Through it, sacred moments are distinguished, humanity’s place in time and space reimagined, and the rhythm of life recast. Next Naw-Rúz will mark yet another historic step in the manifestation of the unity of the people of Bahá and the unfoldment of Bahá’u’lláh’s World Order.

This presentation is neither complete nor exhaustive; it is only a beginning which I hope will be as useful for others to read as it was for me to put together.

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Have Hope

By: Borna Safai and Shadi Shams Formoso

Have hope

This year’s Ridván message from the Universal House of Justice had a beautiful paragraph, inspiring courage and giving hope to the Bahá’ís around the world:

We wish to address some additional words to those of you in whose surroundings marked progress is yet to occur and who long for change. Have hope. It will not always be so. Is not the history of our Faith filled with accounts of inauspicious beginnings but marvellous results? How many times have the deeds of a few believers—young or old—or of a single family, or even of a lone soul, when confirmed by the power of divine assistance, succeeded in cultivating vibrant communities in seemingly inhospitable climes? Do not imagine that your own case is inherently any different.

I thought a simple picture taken by Shadi with the words “have hope” would serve as inspiration.

What is Prayer?

By: Borna Safai and Chad Mauger

What is prayer

The message of the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís in Iran, dated 18 December 2014, contained a beautiful paragraph on what prayer is. Based on the paragraph, I split each sentence into a separate slide, used some beautiful photographs taken by Chad and made a small slideshow. This can be used as an inspiration for devotional meetings, Ruhi book 1, or just as a personal reflection.

Here is the extract:

The Twin Luminaries of this resplendent age have taught us this: Prayer is the essential spiritual conversation of the soul with its Maker, direct and without intermediation. It is the spiritual food that sustains the life of the spirit. Like the morning’s dew, it brings freshness to the heart and cleanses it, purifying it from attachments of the insistent self. It is a fire that burns away the veils and a light that leads to the ocean of reunion with the Almighty. On its wings does the soul soar in the heavens of God and draw closer to the divine reality. Upon its quality depends the development of the limitless capacities of the soul and the attraction of the bounties of God, but the prolongation of prayer is not desirable. The powers latent in prayer are manifested when it is motivated by the love of God, beyond any fear or favour, and free from ostentation and superstition. It is to be expressed with a sincere and pure heart conducive to contemplation and meditation so that the rational faculty can be illumined by its effects. Such prayer will transcend the limitation of words and go well beyond mere sounds. The sweetness of its melodies must gladden and uplift the heart and reinforce the penetrating power of the Word, transmuting earthly inclinations into heavenly attributes and inspiring selfless service to humankind.

You can download the What is prayer PDF.

Bahá’í Prayer Book Illustration Project, #2

By: Chloë Filson

In my last post, I shared images from the Baha’i prayer book that I’ve been illustrating over the past ten years or so. In this one, I’ll share some more.

Here’s a nice way to begin the day:

And here’s the complimentary Evening section:

Sometimes, simple suffices. The dots below loosely symbolize people (who are having a meeting or gathering):

The next one isn’t a great image (it’s out of focus), but you get the idea: browns and curly queues for this prayer for forgiveness:

Up next is a mish-mash of jewel tones and pink lines. The lines pattern was inspired by my sister; it’s a pattern she often uses when decorating birthday cards and other things with her own illustrations. The mish-mash, on the “Aid and Assistance” page, is meant to remind the reader that assistance and support (the brightly coloured swoops) can come to us even from out of the murky blackness of turmoil. This is one of the more dramatic sections of the book (the other pages of this section are similarly coloured), and it makes me think about the concurrence of disintegration and integration—both within one’s own life and in the world at large.

Below is the Unity section. I like what I’ve got going, but I think it needs a little more embellishment.

Did you know that there are specific prayers for Canada? ‘Abdu’l-Bahá revealed prayers for North-American countries in Tablets of the Divine Plan.

The Tablets of Visitation (which are prayers to be read when visiting the Shrines of Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb) have been simply decorated with bougainvillea and rose petals from the vicinities of those Shrines. I pressed the petals dry and then used Mod Podge, in case you’re wondering.

Let’s end with a bang—or, rather, a spark. One of my favorite pages opens the Fire Tablet:

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking through some of the pages of my prayer book!

Bahá’í Prayers for Windows 8

By: Borna Safai and Rachael Polglaze

After working on this project for more than two years, I have finally been able to release a Bahá’í Prayer book app for Windows 8. This app contains all the prayers in the prayer book, with pictures from the Holy Places in Israel and elsewhere chosen specifically for each category. A screenshot of the start page:

Bahá'í Prayers main page

In addition there is a search functionality which makes it easier to find the prayer you are looking for. It is sufficient to remember a word from it and you can find it. You can download the app here!

Talented Photographer makes Video for ‘Awakening’

By: Elika Mahony and Glenn Franco Simmons

One of my friends, Glenn Franco Simmons, recently created this beautiful video for the song “Awakening” from my latest album, Glimmerings. Glenn is a talented photographer who has an eye for beauty and has a passion for taking shots of flowers. Nature inspires me so when Glenn sent me the link to his video I was moved by his exquisite shots and grateful that he used my music to accompany it. Glenn has included uplifting passages from the Bahá’í Writings. One of my favorite quotations is the following:

Just now the soil of human hearts seems like black earth, but in the innermost substance of this dark soil there are thousands of fragrant flowers latent. We must endeavor to cultivate and awaken these potentialities…
– ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Thank you Glenn for making such an inspiring and beautiful video!

Above and Below

By: Borna Safai

A picture taken from the airplane, with a bit of Photoshop to darken the bottom caused this heavy contrast between the two. It made me think of a quote by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on how joy gives us wings, so I tried to juxtapose the two in a bit of an artistic manner. Read from left to right:

Above and below

Joy gives us wings! In times of joy our strength is more vital, our intellect keener, and our understanding less clouded…
– ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Dr. Peter Khan Memorial Video

By: Saba Rouhani

A short video created in memory of the passing of Dr. Peter Khan on 15th July 2011 for the Warringah Baha’i Community of Sydney, Australia.

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Declaration of the Báb, #5

By: Borna Safai

A photo I took yesterday, which just worked so well with the declaration the Báb made when being questioned who He was. A flower in front, with the Shrine in the back.

I am, I am, I am the Promised One! I am the One Whose name you have for a thousand years invoked, at Whose mention you have risen, Whose advent you have longed to witness, and the hour of Whose Revelation you have prayed God to hasten.
– The Báb