Happy Naw-Rúz (1 Bahá 175/Splendor) Welcome 175 B.E.!

by Joe Paczkowski Graphic Design

Naw-Ruz means `New Day’ and is both the Bahá’í and Iranian new year, occurring on the date of the vernal equinox, about March 20-21.    The spring equinox (also called the March equinox or vernal equinox) falls on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, at 16:15 UTC (9:15 am Pacific Time). This event marks the astronomical first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. As one of the Baha’i holy days, work should be suspended.  

This year marks year 175 B.E. (Baha’i Era) since the Báb, the  ‘Herald of the Days of Days’, announced His Mission and will be celebrated after sunset March 20.  Happy Naw-Ruz dearest lovers of the Abha Beauty!!  Let this be a great year of self-improvement, community building, teaching and developing deeper bonds of love and unity.  

John Walbridge further explains the meaning of this Baha’i holy day in his article ‘Naw-Rúz: The Bahá’í New Year‘:

“In the Badi` calendar of the Bab, Naw-Ruz is the day of Baha of the month of Baha, a day called by the Bab `the Day of God’ (yawmu’llah). It was also the `Day of the Point’ (yawm-i-nuqtih) — i.e. the day of the Bab. Finally, it was a day associated with Him Whom God shall make manifest, the Promised One of the Bab. The remaining eighteen days of the month were associated with the eighteen Letters of the Living, an indication that the Bab envisioned the Naw-Ruz festivities encompassing the nineteen days of the month of Baha, just as the traditional Iranian Naw-Ruz festivities last thirteen days. During Naw-Ruz the Bab permitted the use of musical instruments and other luxuries prohibited at other times. During the night of Naw-Ruz each believer was to recite 361 times the verse `God beareth witness that there is no God but Him, the Ineffable, the Self-Subsistent’; and during the day, `God beareth witness that there is no God but Him, the Precious, the Beloved’. Fasting was prohibited during the whole month of Baha. During the six years of His mission, the Bab and His followers observed Naw-Ruz, although it is difficult to say how much this represents a distinctively Babi holy day. Bahá’u’lláh adopted the Babi holy day of Naw-Ruz as the feast day following the fast and stressed that it is associated with the Most Great Name, bearing as it does Bahá’u’lláh’s own name. `Abdu’l-Bahá explained the significance of Naw-Ruz in terms of the symbolism of the new life of spring. Bahá’u’lláh defines Naw-Ruz as the Bahá’í day on which the vernal equinox occurs. Thus, even if the equinox should occur just before sunset, that day — which in the Bahá’í calendar began at the moment of sunset on the previous day — is Naw-Ruz. At present, however, Naw-Ruz is fixed as 21 March for Bahá’ís in all countries outside the Middle East, regardless of exactly when the equinox occurs.

“Naw-Ruz is one of the nine Bahá’í holy days on which work is to be suspended. It is generally observed with a meeting for prayer and celebration — often combined with a dinner since the sunset on which Naw-Ruz begins ends the last day of the Bahá’í fast. As with all Bahá’í holy days, there are few fixed rules for observing Naw-Ruz, although Iranian Bahá’ís often follow Iranian traditions. Many Bahá’ís use Naw-Ruz as a day of gift-giving. Bahá’ís do not usually observe Naw-Ruz for longer than one day. Since Naw-Ruz is the first day of a Bahá’í month, it is also the day of a nineteen day feast. It is not permitted to combine this feast with the observance of the holy day.”

Bahá’u’lláh, in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, defines Naw-Rúz as the day on which the vernal equinox occurs. The exact timing of Naw-Rúz for Bahá’ís worldwide depends on the choice of a particular spot on the Earth and was left to the Universal House of Justice, the governing body of the Bahá’ís to decide. In 2014, the Universal House of Justice chose Tehran as the particular spot. Since Bahá’í days start at sundown, if the equinox occurs just before sunset, the day which started on the previous sunset is Naw-Rúz. Thus Naw-Rúz could fall on either March 20, 21st or 22nd of the Gregorian calendar, though these dates are pre-calculated years in advance. All dates in the Bahá’í calendar are set in relation to Naw-Rúz and thus may shift on the Gregorian calendar by a day or two depending on the timing of the vernal equinox.

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In a talk given by Abdu’l-Bahá in 1916, the Master tells us the significance of Naw-Rúz:

”This day is the anniversary of many historical events…From time immemorial this day has been consecrated, for in this there is a symbol. At this moment the sun appears at the meridian and the day and night are equal. Until today the north pole has been in darkness. This sacred day when the sun illumines equally the whole earth is called the equinox and the equinox is the symbol of the divine messenger. The sun of truth rises on the horizon of divine mercy and sends forth its rays on all…This is the beginning of the spring. When the sun appears at the equinox it causes a movement in all living things. The mineral world is set in motion, plants begin to sprout, the desert is changed into a prairie, trees bud and every living thing responds, including the bodies of animals and men. The rising of the sun at the equinox is the symbol of life and the human reality is revivified; our thoughts are transformed and our intelligence is quickened. The sun of truth bestows eternal life, just as the solar sun is the cause of terrestrial life…The day of the appearance of God’s messenger on earth is ever a sacred day, a day when man commemorates his lord…Among the ancient Persians this day was looked upon as the holy day of the year – a day when hospitals and charitable institutions were founded, collections for the poor were made and every effort put forth that it might not be allowed to pass without leaving some divine trace and throughout Persia one sees these historical traces…May a powerful influence remain in your hearts, signs of eternal joy and happiness that will illumine the kingdom in this city. May the breezes of the Holy Spirit waft upon you, that your intelligence may progress and your souls rejoice in your lord. Thus will you become eternal beings shining in the divine kingdom. (‘Abdu’l-Baha on Divine Philosophy’*, p.74-76)

Read our interview with artist Joe Paczkowski and view more of Joe’s artwork here!

*NOTE: Re: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on divive Philosophy- Eunice Braun, in ‘Know Your Baha’i Literature’ (1968), writes: “In 1936 the Guardian wrote to the NSA not to make a new edition of this work because ‘this book has in large part been taken from notes recorded at the time but which do not constitute an authentic text of the Master’s word’s.’” (page 11) At the same time, the book concludes with the colophon “Approved by Baha’i committee on publications.” William Collins, in his ‘Bibliography of English-Language Works on the Babi and Baha’i Faiths’, writes: “[this is] a collection of wisdom attributed to Abdu’l-Baha. Sources are not indicated for most of the items and some of the quotations are questionable, thus lessening the value of this compilation. It does, nevertheless, give a sense of how early Western Baha’is were introduced to the teachings of their faith.” 

An Important Naw-Ruz Moment!

Shrine of the Bab-Photo by Marco Abrar

Remembering an important Naw-Rúz
Moment —

 

“On the [day] of the first Naw-Ruz (1909), which He celebrated after His release from His confinement, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had the marble sarcophagus transported with great labor to the vault prepared for it, and in the evening, by the light of a single lamp, He laid within it, with His own hands—in the presence of believers from the East and from the West and in circumstances at once solemn and moving – the wooden casket containing the sacred remains of the Báb and His companion. When all was finished, and the earthly remains of the Martyr-Prophet of Shiraz were, at long last, safely deposited for their everlasting rest in the bosom of God’s holy mountain, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Who had cast aside His turban, removed His shoes and thrown off His cloak, bent low over the still open sarcophagus, His silver hair waving about His head and His face transfigured and luminous, rested His forehead on the border of the wooden casket, and, sobbing aloud, wept with such a weeping that all those who were present wept with Him. That night He could not sleep, so overwhelmed was He with emotion. The most joyful tidings is this,” He wrote later in a Tablet announcing to His followers the news of this glorious victory, “that the holy, the luminous body of the Báb … after having for sixty years been transferred from place to place, by reason of the ascendancy of the enemy, and from fear of the malevolent, and having known neither rest nor tranquillity has, through the mercy of the Abhá Beauty, been ceremoniously deposited, on the day of Naw-Rúz, within the sacred casket, in the exalted Shrine on Mt. Carmel… By a strange coincidence, on that same day of Naw-Rúz, a cablegram was received from Chicago, announcing that the believers in each of the American centers had elected a delegate and sent to that city … and definitely decided on the site and construction of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar.”
(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 276)

 

Image: The Baha’is of Mandalay, Burma, with the marble casket offered by them for the remains of the Bab, April 22, 1898.

 

“On the morning of March 21st 1909, the day of Naw-Ruz, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had the marble sarcophagus — gift of the Bahá’ís of Rangoon — carried up the mountain and placed in the vault. That evening He laid in the sarcophagus the wooden casket which contained the inseparable remains of the Báb and the disciple who had died with Him. A solitary lamp lit the scene, so poignant and yet so exultant. The Báb had been cruelly maligned, cruelly wronged, cruelly put to death. His torn and smashed body had had no home for many long years. Now the heart of Carmel was receiving it forevermore. Of this event Zechariah had written: ‘Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord’. How mysteriously and indubitably had his prophecy come true. ‘The Branch’ had built ‘the temple of the Lord’, had raised His ‘tabernacle’ on His Mountain — on Carmel — the Mountain of God.”
(Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Baha – The Centre of the Covenant’)

10 Sharaf (Honour)

Morning:
“Rid thou thyself of all attachments to aught except God, enrich thyself in God by dispensing with all else besides Him, and recite this prayer:

Say: God sufficeth all things above all things, and nothing in the heavens or in the earth or in whatever lieth between them but God, thy Lord, sufficeth. Verily, He is in Himself the Knower, the Sustainer, the Omnipotent.

Regard not the all-sufficing power of God as an idle fancy. It is that genuine faith which thou cherishest for the Manifestation of God in every Dispensation. It is such faith which sufficeth above all the things that exist on the earth, whereas no created thing on earth besides faith would suffice thee. If thou art not a believer, the Tree of divine Truth would condemn thee to extinction. If thou art a believer, thy faith shall be sufficient for thee above all things that exist on earth, even though thou possess nothing.”
(EXCERPTS FROM DALÁ’IL-I-SAB`IH, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 123)


Evening:
“The man who thinks only of himself and is thoughtless of others is undoubtedly inferior to the animal because the animal is not possessed of the reasoning faculty. The animal is excused; but in man there is reason, the faculty of justice, the faculty of mercifulness. Possessing all these faculties he must not leave them unused. He who is so hard-hearted as to think only of his own comfort, such an one will not be called man.

Man is he who forgets his own interests for the sake of others. His own comfort he forfeits for the well-being of all. Nay, rather, his own life must he be willing to forfeit for the life of mankind. Such a man is the honor of the world of humanity. Such a man is the glory of the world of mankind. Such a man is the one who wins eternal bliss. Such a man is near to the threshold of God. Such a man is the very manifestation of eternal happiness. Otherwise, men are like animals, exhibiting the same proclivities and propensities as the world of animals. What distinction is there? What prerogatives, what perfections? None whatever! Animals are better even—thinking only of themselves and negligent of the needs of others.

Consider how the greatest men in the world—whether among prophets or philosophers—all have forfeited their own comfort, have sacrificed their own pleasure for the well-being of humanity. They have sacrificed their own lives for the body politic. They have sacrificed their own wealth for that of the general welfare. They have forfeited their own honor for the honor of mankind. Therefore it becomes evident that this is the highest attainment for the world of humanity.
(Foundations of World Unity, Pages 38-43: 43)

The Mission of the Prophets: Their Unique Contribution to the Ever-Unfolding Faith of God – by Tricia Hague-Barrett

1000 Suns -by Tricia Hague Barrett

We are so excited to make available this informative and educational  powerpoint presentation by Tricia Hague-Barrett.  Read more