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

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Creative Roundup, November 2011

As we approach the end of the year, here are the top 7 posts of last month:

  1. Melody of My Soul – poetry from the soul
  2. Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, #1 – slideshow about the early life of Bahá’u’lláh
  3. Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, #2 – pictures from the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh in Bahji, Israel
  4. House of Worship: Panama City, Panama – the series of drawings of the Houses of Worship continue
  5. Peace is Light – a music video on war, peace, hate and love
  6. The Tree of Life – seeing spiritual realities in nature
  7. Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, #3 – another video celebrating the birth of Bahá’u’lláh

Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, #2

Next in commemorating the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is a tribute video from the Bahá’í World Congress in 1992:

Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, #1

Remembering the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, here is an extract from God Passes By:

He had suffered as no disciple of the Faith, who had drained the cup of martyrdom, had suffered, He had labored as none of its greatest heroes had labored. He had witnessed triumphs such as neither the Herald of the Faith nor its Author had ever witnessed.

At the close of His strenuous Western tours, which had called forth the last ounce of His ebbing strength, He had written: “Friends, the time is coming when I shall be no longer with you. I have done all that could be done. I have served the Cause of Baha’u’llah to the utmost of My ability. I have labored night and day all the years of My life. O how I long to see the believers shouldering the responsibilities of the Cause!… My days are numbered, and save this there remains none other joy for me.” Several years before He had thus alluded to His passing: “O ye My faithful loved ones! Should at any time afflicting events come to pass in the Holy Land, never feel disturbed or agitated. Fear not, neither grieve. For whatsoever thing happeneth will cause the Word of God to be exalted, and His Divine fragrances to be diffused.” And again: “Remember, whether or not I be on earth, My presence will be with you always.” “Regard not the person of Abdu’l-Baha,” He thus counselled His friends in one of His last Tablets, “for He will eventually take His leave of you all; nay, fix your gaze upon the Word of God… The loved ones of God must arise with such steadfastness that should, in one moment, hundreds of souls even as Abdu’l-Baha Himself be made a target for the darts of woe, nothing whatsoever shall affect or lessen their … service to the Cause of God.”

In a Tablet addressed to the American believers, a few days before He passed away, He thus vented His pent-up longing to depart from this world: “I have renounced the world and the people thereof… In the cage of this world I flutter even as a frightened bird, and yearn every day to take My flight unto Thy Kingdom. Ya Baha’u’l-Abha! Make Me drink of the cup of sacrifice, and set Me free.” He revealed a prayer less than six months before His ascension in honor of a kinsman of the Bab, and in it wrote: “‘O Lord! My bones are weakened, and the hoar hairs glisten on My head … and I have now reached old age, failing in My powers.’… No strength is there left in Me wherewith to arise and serve Thy loved ones… O Lord, My Lord! Hasten My ascension unto Thy sublime Threshold … and My arrival at the Door of Thy grace beneath the shadow of Thy most great mercy…”

Through the dreams He dreamed, through the conversations He held, through the Tablets He revealed, it became increasingly evident that His end was fast approaching. Two months before His passing He told His family of a dream He had had. “I seemed,” He said, “to be standing within a great mosque, in the inmost shrine, facing the Qiblih, in the place of the Imam himself. I became aware that a large number of people were flocking into the mosque. More and yet more crowded in, taking their places in rows behind Me, until there was a vast multitude. As I stood I raised loudly the call to prayer. Suddenly the thought came to Me to go forth from the mosque. When I found Myself outside I said within Myself: ‘For what reason came I forth, not having led the prayer? But it matters not; now that I have uttered the Call to prayer, the vast multitude will of themselves chant the prayer.’” A few weeks later, whilst occupying a solitary room in the garden of His house, He recounted another dream to those around Him. “I dreamed a dream,” He said, “and behold, the Blessed Beauty (Baha’u’llah) came and said to Me: ‘Destroy this room.’” None of those present comprehended the significance of this dream until He Himself had soon after passed away, when it became clear to them all that by the “room” was meant the temple of His body.

A month before His death (which occurred in the 78th year of His age, in the early hours of the 28th of November, 1921) He had referred expressly to it in some words of cheer and comfort that He addressed to a believer who was mourning the loss of his brother. And about two weeks before His passing He had spoken to His faithful gardener in a manner that clearly indicated He knew His end to be nigh. “I am so fatigued,” He observed to him, “the hour is come when I must leave everything and take My flight. I am too weary to walk.” He added: “It was during the closing days of the Blessed Beauty, when I was engaged in gathering together His papers which were strewn over the sofa in His writing chamber in Bahji, that He turned to Me and said: ‘It is of no use to gather them, I must leave them and flee away.’ I also have finished My work. I can do nothing more. Therefore must I leave it, and take My departure.”

Till the very last day of His earthly life Abdu’l-Baha continued to shower that same love upon high and low alike, to extend that same assistance to the poor and the down-trodden, and to carry out those same duties in the service of His Father’s Faith, as had been His wont from the days of His boyhood. On the Friday before His passing, despite great fatigue, He attended the noonday prayer at the mosque, and distributed afterwards alms, as was His custom, among the poor; dictated some Tablets — the last ones He revealed — ; blessed the marriage of a trusted servant, which He had insisted should take place that day; attended the usual meeting of the friends in His home; felt feverish the next day, and being unable to leave the house on the following Sunday, sent all the believers to the Tomb of the Bab to attend a feast which a Parsi pilgrim was offering on the occasion of the anniversary of the Declaration of the Covenant; received with His unfailing courtesy and kindness that same afternoon, and despite growing weariness, the Mufti of Haifa, the Mayor and the Head of the Police; and inquired that night — the last of His life — before He retired after the health of every member of His household, of the pilgrims and of the friends in Haifa.

At 1:15 A.M. He arose, and, walking to a table in His room, drank some water, and returned to bed. Later on, He asked one of His two daughters who had remained awake to care for Him, to lift up the net curtains, complaining that He had difficulty in breathing. Some rose-water was brought to Him, of which He drank, after which He again lay down, and when offered food, distinctly remarked: “You wish Me to take some food, and I am going?” A minute later His spirit had winged its flight to its eternal abode, to be gathered, at long last, to the glory of His beloved Father, and taste the joy of everlasting reunion with Him.

The True Meaning of Baptism

By: Hannah Doherty

I was asked to write a few words about the imagery in this short video and expand on what moved me to explore ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s talk titled The True Meaning of Baptism by Water and Fire. Simply put, the principle subject of His talk is water. It is one of the sole reasons why we, and Earth as we know it exists. As ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explains, water is part of both our physical and spiritual realities.

When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says that water is none other than the Love of God, he is not just being poetic. Take a look at water on a molecular level and you’ll see that its structure and its resulting qualities are a testament to this statement. A water molecule’s atoms have extremely strong attraction, thereby giving water the unique characteristics that significantly facilitate life on this planet. For example, because of water’s inter-molecular attractive forces, it has the ability to move up through a plant’s vascular system, against the force of gravity, and facilitate the plant’s conversion of sunlight into energy to live.

Why is this important? Because plants play a crucial role in the functioning of the surface of the Earth and our lives. Plants filter our air, keep our soil from eroding away, control our climate, feed us, and surround us with the most mysterious beauty.

After reading ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s talk the True Meaning of Baptism by Water and Fire I was exhilarated by His perspective. I hope this short movie conveys some of the many ways in which of our lives are touched by the Love of God.

Full talk available here.

Nightingale of Paradise

In memory of Russell Garcia, a jazz musician who recently passed away, here’s Nightingale of Paradise composed by him and his wife Gina:

Nightingale of Paradise, you sing of love,
Flooding all the world with light,
Heedless men hear not your song of life eternal,
They’re lost in the dark of night.

Nightingale of Paradise, you sing of joy,
Flooding all the world with love,
Singing out your song of peace and brotherhood,
With hope for all from above.

Nightingale of Paradise

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