1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

'Abdu'l-Baha's prophecy - American Indians

Discussion in 'Baha'i Faith DIR' started by Truthseeker9, Jul 24, 2021.

  1. Truthseeker9

    Truthseeker9 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    1,369
    Ratings:
    +960
    Religion:
    Baha'i
    I had the privelege of takng a course on the Indigeneous Perspective on the Sacred. In that course they provided us a chapter from a book called Faith, Physics and Psychology by John Fitzgerald Medina, who is a indigenous person himself. I was so impressed by the chapter that I bought the book. I encounted rmuch of the same material in his recorded speech from the ABS conferance than I encounted in that chapter. The speech had closed captions so I was able to write down just about every word.

    Attach great importance to the indigenous population of America. Should they be educated and guided, there can be no doubt that they will become so illumined as to enlighten the whole world.
    ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, "Tablets of the Divine Plan", 6.7

    Undoubtedly in those regions [America] the Call of God must have been raised in ancient times, but it hath been forgotten now.
    ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, "Additional Tablets, Extracts and Talks", 24.3

    "In the Tablets of the Divine Plan, the Master pays the utmost attention to this most important matter. He states that if the Power of the Holy Spirit today properly enters into the minds and the hearts of the natives of the great American continents that they will become great standard bearers of the Faith, similar to the Nomads (Arabians) who became the most cultured and enlightened people under the Mohammadan civilization." (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of Brazil, Peru, Columbia, Ecuador and Venezuela, August 22, 1957)
    Various, "Lights of Guidance", 43.1776.2

    In other words the prophecy of 'Abdu'l-Baha applies to natives of both North and South America.

    These Arab tribes were most barbarous and rapacious, and in comparison with them the wild and fierce natives of America were the Platos of the age
    ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, "Some Answered Questions", 7.3

    The Indians shared as fairly common holistic version of reality. Virtually all activities by the native were imbued with spiritual means. Holism entails an integration of mind, body, and spirit, as well an integration of faith and human reason, intuition with logic, the spiritual with the material and the sacred with the secular.

    Many modern people are finding themselves living in predominantly secular cultures that are technologically and materially rich and yet I would assert spiritually impoverished. Indeed I would say that many of the problems that we're currently facing in civilization, including environmental degradation and climate change, extremes of wealth and poverty, social economic dislocation and injustice, racism, escalating, escalating rates of teenage suicide, depression, incarceration, all of these are rooted, I would assert in a spiritualize view of reality based on separation, categorization, dichotomization. Secular culture leads to a form of spiritual schizophrenia. And this is evident like when people, as an example, go to church on Sunday to be quote, spiritual, and yet spend the rest of their week, where they may not even think. They are focused on secular and spiritual pursuits in business, government, education, and science, where they may not even think of God, a spiritual transcendence of divine virtues of prayer.

    To traditional Native Peoples it would be inconceivable to have such a split between the material and the spiritual, the split between the secular and the sacred. The predominant worldview in Western civilization is commonly known as the Cartesian-Newtonian worldview, named after Rene Descartes and Isaac Newton. Rene Descartes was a French philosopher of the 1600s and he was the first to argue that the universe is a machine made of separate parts governed by exact mathematical laws of cause and effect. He also argued that the human body is also machine and there that the human mind and the human body are completely separate entities. He also argued that the universe is made up of matter, and that matter is devoid of and completely separate from life, purpose, and spirituality. He believed that science is the only route to true and absolute knowledge, thus creating a split between science and religion.

    Next came Isaac Newton, Isaac Newton liked the idea. He was an English, I guess you could call an early scientist, mathematician. He liked the idea of a mechanical universe. And he actually invented differential calculus, which he then used to create the laws, Newton's laws, that supposedly ran this mechanical universe.

    Then after came John Locke. John Locke claimed he was developing a social physics. And he said that he believed in the same way that the universe is a machine made up of separate parts, separate parts that are controlled by gravity, that in the same way, society is also a machine made up of separate individuals that are controlled by self interest. He believed solely in the power of human reason. And therefore he rejected any forms of knowledge that came from divine revelation such as divinely revealed scriptures or divine right of kings. He was also the first to come up with a physical rational philosophy for the concept of private and individual property rights. In fact, he stated to the chief purpose of government is to insure, to protect individual private property rights. He had tremendous influence on enlightenment intellectuals such as Adam Smith, and American Revolutionary such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Paine.

    Along these lines, Adam Smith, a Scottish economist and the father and the father of capitalism, he further argued that individuals should be completely free to compete for their own wealth and for their self interest. He promoted the idea that there should be no government interference in the affairs of individuals and in the running of the economy. Within Adam Smith's framework, the main goal of society is to produce material wealth, based on profit motive, not on spiritual, moral, psychological or emotional health. It should be mentioned that capitalism is antithetical to the Baha'i and to the Native American perspective. Indeed, the Baha'i Writings decribe capitalism and communism both creations of the European system. Shoghi Effendi described them as:

    ...two antagonistic schools of thought which, however divergent in their ideologies, are to be commonly condemned by the upholders of the standard of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh for their materialistic philosophies and their neglect of those spiritual values and eternal verities on which alone a stable and flourishing civilization can be ultimately established.
    Shoghi Effendi, "Citadel of Faith", 72.7

    So as you can tell from the description I have given that the Cartesian-Newtonian worldview is an exceedingly materialistic view of reality, in the sense that emphasizes the truth of science, reason, logic, the natural material and the secular while at the same time dismissing and even denigrating the truth of religion, faith, intuition, the supernatural, the spiritual, the sacred. In his book, The Citadel of Faith, I believe, in my view, makes a connection with this Cartesian-Newtonian worldview when he states:

    It is this same cancerous materialism, born originally in Europe, carried to excess in the North American continent, contaminating the Asiatic peoples and nations, spreading its ominous tentacles to the borders of Africa, and now invading its very heart, which Bahá’u’lláh in unequivocal and emphatic language denounced in His Writings, comparing it to a devouring flame and regarding it as the chief factor in precipitating the dire ordeals and world-shaking crises that must necessarily involve the burning of cities and the spread of terror and consternation in the hearts of men.
    Shoghi Effendi, "Citadel of Faith", 72.6

    (To be continued)
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. Truthseeker9

    Truthseeker9 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    1,369
    Ratings:
    +960
    Religion:
    Baha'i
    I will now share a very relevant excerpt from the Century of Light, a book that was commissioned and written under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice. I believe that this excerpt also to the de-spirtualized Cartesian-Newtonian worldview:

    There has not been a society in the history of the world, no matter how pragmatic, experimentalist and multiform it may have been, that did not derive its thrust from some foundational interpretation of reality. Such a system of thought reigns today virtually unchallenged across the planet, under the nominal designation "Western civilization". Philosophically and politically, it presents itself as a kind of liberal relativism; economically and socially, as capitalism — two value systems that have now so adjusted to each other and become so mutually reinforcing as to constitute virtually a single, comprehensive world-view.

    Appreciation of the benefits — in terms of the personal freedom, social prosperity and scientific progress enjoyed by a significant minority of the Earth's people — cannot withhold a thinking person from recognizing that the system is morally and intellectually bankrupt. It has contributed its best to the advancement of civilization, as did all its predecessors, and, like them, is impotent to deal with the needs of a world never imagined by the eighteenth century prophets who conceived most of its component elements.

    ...what Bahá'ís see in present-day society is unbridled exploitation of the masses of humanity by greed that excuses itself as the operation of "impersonal market forces". What meets their eyes everywhere is the destruction of moral foundations vital to humanity's future, through gross self-indulgence masquerading as "freedom of speech". What they find themselves struggling against daily is the pressure of a dogmatic materialism, claiming to be the voice of "science", that seeks systematically to exclude from intellectual life all impulses arising from the spiritual level of human consciousness.

    Please note that it mentions 18th century prophets, which in my view is a reference to the European Cartesian-Newtonian intellectual intellectuals such as John Locke and Adam Smith.

    What we need is a revolutionary change in worldview, that is, from a perspective of separation to one of oneness. This is the centerpiece of the understanding of the Baha'i Revelation. 'Abdu'l-Baha states:

    “earthly and heavenly, material and spiritual, accidental and essential, particular and universal, structure and foundation, appearance and reality and the essence of all things, both inward and outward -- all of these are connected one with another and are interrelated”
    Tablet of the Universe - provisional translation

    Along these lines, the holistic ecological worldview of Native Peoples of the Americas is in accord with the Baha'i overarching principle of oneness. In contrast with John Locke's and Adam Smith's, the de-sacralized, securalized view of land and the ecosystem American Indian holism includes the understanding that the Mother Earth and all of its creatures and peoples are joined together what Native Peoples called a sacred web of life. This is why the selling and buying of land the Mother Earth did not make sense to Native Peoples. Chief Luther Standing Bear, a Lakota Indian was born in the late 1800s expresses this sentiment when he states “from Wakon Tonka, the great spirit, they came a great unifying life force that flows through all things the flowers blooming winds, rocks, trees, birds, animals, and was the same force that had been breathed into the first man. Thus all things were kindred, and were brought together by the same great mystery. Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water was a real and active principle. All were of one blood made by the same hand and filled with the essence of the great mystery.”

    This is in sharp contrast to the de-spiritualize views of Frances Bacon, a famous English scientist in the 1500s who wrote that nature should be: “hounded in her wanderings, bounded into service and made a slave, while the goal of the scientist is to torture man's secrets from her”

    Many Native Peoples had the understanding that God is in all things, while at the same time He's also above and beyond all things. The following quote by Black Elk... A medicine man who witnessed the famous battle of the Little Big Horn against the US seventh calvary in 1876 shows a Native understanding that God is manifest in nature: “we regard all creative beings as sacred. We should understand well, that all things are the works of the Great Spirit should we know we should know that He is within all things even more important, we should understand that he is also above all these things and people's.”

    Similarly, similarly, Baha'u'llah stated:

    Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by varying causes, and in this diversity there are signs for men of discernment.
    Bahá’u’lláh, "Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed After the Kitáb-i-Aqdas", 9.14

    For Native Peoples, the physical world was just one aspect of reality, through prayer, dreams, vision, quest, mystical intuition, some Native shaman and medicine men believe they could be behind the illusions and shadows of the material world and enter into higher, truer, spiritual realities, where they had a direct experience of oneness with the universe. And communion with the all that is alive.

    This Native view is consistent with the writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, where he describes the physical as a mirage, a shadows, images and pictures that are just manifestations or projections of a unseen true reality, the spiritual worlds of God. The Native and Baha'i views are, in contrast to the Cartesian-Newtonian assumption, that the physical is the fundamental reality and the world is primarily shaped by material factors.

    (To be continued)
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. Truthseeker9

    Truthseeker9 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    1,369
    Ratings:
    +960
    Religion:
    Baha'i
    Interestingly, consistent with Native and Baha'i understandings, many of the latest findings in quantum physics are showing that the physical world can no longer be considered the foundational or fundamental reality. In a sense behind the curtain that exists between the everyday normal world and the hidden quantum world, there is only the potential for reality. When we pull back the quantum curtain, we do not find solid physical objective reality, but instead, the potential for reality. Along those lines, Neils Bohr, one of the founders of quantum physics stated:

    “everything we call real is made of things we cannot call real.” Indeed, many physicists now support the view that quantum entities such as atoms and electrons do not even exist in physical reality, and do not even have intrinsic independently existing objective properties until someone observes or measure them. In other words according to some physics, we live in a reality that is somehow created by us as conscious observers.

    That some of the findings of quantum physics seem to validate the American Indian that mind, consciousness, thoughts, and matter are somehow connected. And, the idea that our mind, physical body, and spirit are interrelated and interconnected. This is in contrast with Western science and medicine which treat these three human elements has completely separate entities. Related to this, 'Abdu'l-Baha stated:

    “All that we see around us is the work of mind.”
    ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, "‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London", 15.38

    It is fascinating the Writings also suggested, some form of consciousness is also present and all things at different levels, even in nonliving matter. 'Abdu'l-Baha stated:

    It is mind in the herb and in the mineral that acts on the human body, and changes its condition.”
    ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, "‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London", 15.38

    Related to this discussion, it is fascinating David Bohm, the world renowned late physicist, asserted that the physical universe is like a giant holographic image, a projection from a higher reality or deeper order of existence.

    His holographic theory is consistent with Native understandings and Baha'i Writings, which suggest that mind and matter are two different projections of a deeper non manifest reality. A fascinating characteristic of things are a whole vast pool of holographically organizes the whole contains the parts, and each part contains the whole. You can see this in holographic film if it is broken into fragments, each constituent out fragment can still be used to project the entire hologram, albeit in an image that gets hazy as fragments get smaller. In line with this holographic principle, Bohm asserted that each part of the universe, including the tiniest atom, contains the full universe within it. Similarly, Baha'u'llah states:

    Likewise, reflect upon the perfection of man’s creation, and that all these planes and states are folded up and hidden away within him. Dost thou deem thyself a small and puny form, When thou foldest within thyself the greater world?
    Bahá’u’lláh, "The Call of the Divine Beloved", 2.70

    Along the same lines as Baha'u'llah, the physicist Bohm, the medicine man Black Elk stated:

    “peace come within the souls of men within the souls of men, when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit, and this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us”

    The American Indian and Baha'i belief in oneness of the universe can be supported by a quantum physics by the concept known as quantum entanglement or nonlocality, in which your pair of atoms or electrons can instantaneously interact and communicate with each other over a vast distance, in principle, even if they are on opposite sides of the universe. If one twitches the other one twitches in response, and this happens faster than can be accounted for by signals travelling at the speed of light. Along these lines 'Abdu'l-Baha stated

    ...every part of the universe is connected with every other part by ties that are very powerful and admit of no imbalance, nor any slackening whatever.
    ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, "Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá", 137.2

    It should be emphasized that many of the Native Peoples applied their holistic understanding and spiritual understanding to the creation operation of their social cultural structures, government institution and social economic affairs. They emphasize thinking of yourself but then acting for others, that we are first and foremost belonging to a that is directly connected to the natural world. Indian justice is encouraged in a return to wholeness, balance and healing for the offender and the entire community. Of course, this does not mean they are automatons in that collective. To the contrary, one of the things that impressed the early founders of the United States is the high degree of personal liberty and freedom the Indian peoples had. Indeed the founders interacted with Indian societies that were not broken into socio economic classes, based on the ownership of property, as were common in European societies. Thomas Paine, the American revolutionary by the just and egalitarian nature of Indian societies in 1797. He stated:

    “the fact is that the condition of millions of every country in Europe is far worse than if they had been born among the Indians of North America at the present day.”

    Similarly a French Jesuit missionary in1657 stated:

    “there are neither mendicants nor poppers as long as there are any rich people among them. Their kindness, humanity and courtesy not only makes them liberal with what they have, but causes them to possess hardly anything except in common. A whole village must be without corn before the individual can be obliged to endure privation. Indian women generally were afforded more respect equality and democratic and participation than European women, which were still considered property of men. In general, Indian governments were based on group decisions making councils in which common people could participate.”

    Indeed, one of the first democracies on the planet was created by the Iroquois Indians known as the Iroquois League of Nations, which is created approximately in 1450 and invented the concept now known as democratic federal system or democratic federation of states. Each village had a local council, and then they had regional councils. Then they had national councils. Each of the six tribes, each of the six nations had a national council. When all the delegates from the national councils got together they formed one grand council, the grand council could make laws that apply to everyone, every village, every region, every nation. It's amazed me how this is so similar to Baha'i administrative structures, local Spiritual Assemblies, Regional Council, National Spiritual Assembly, then the Universal House of Justice. The Iroquois made it clear that this system was inspired by a divine being his name, Deganawida – the Great Peacemaker. He helped them to create a constitution, the great law. I will now share a quote from Deganawida:

    “I carry the mind of the master of life and my message will bring an end to the wars between East and West. The word that I bring is that all people show love to one another live together in peace. This message has three parts righteousness, and health, and power, and each part has two branches. Righteousness means justice, practice between men and between nations.

    It means also a desire to see justice prevail. Health means soundness of mind and body. It also means peace, for that is what comes when minds are sane and bodies cared for. Power means authority. The authority of law and custom backed by such forces is necessary to make justice prevail. It also means religion, for justice and force is the will of a Folder of the heavens and has His sanction. It will take the form of the longhouse in which there are many fires, one for each family. Yet all live in one household under one chief mother, who hear about our five nations, each with its own council fire, that they should live in one household in peace. They shall have one mind and live under one law. Thinking shall replace killing, and there shall be one commonwealth.”

    I will now leave you with a statement by Chief Joseph in 1877, the US government broke a land treaty with the Nez Perce Indians and forced them out of their homeland. Chief Joseph took his people in a 1000 mile journey to try to escape from the US Army. But in the end, after the death of many of his people, he surrendered. His statement ends with a hopeful prophecy.:

    “When the white men were few and we were strong, we could have killed them off, but the Nez Perce wishes to live in peace. Let me be a free man, free to live the religion of my father's, free to talk, think and act for myself. And I will obey every law or submit to the penalty. Whenever the white man treats the Indian as they treat each other, then we will have no more wars. We shall all be like brothers have one father and one mother with one sky above us in one country around us and one government for all. Then the Great Spirit chief who ruled above shall smile upon this land and set rain to wash out the bloody spots made by brothers hands upon the face of the earth. For this time the Indian race is waiting and praying. I hope no more groans of wounded men and women will ever go to the Great Spirit Chief above and that all people may be one people.”

    At this point in the presentation, John was visably moved. His voice shook a little.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
Loading...