Tricia Hague-Barrett: Mushrooming in the Paddocks

Recently, I was giving some thought to the vegetable world.  I had come across a statement of `Abdu’l-Bahá’s in the book “Some Answered Questions” in which He tells us:


“All the elements that are combined in man exist also in vegetables; therefore, if one of the constituents which compose the body of man diminishes, and he partakes of foods in which there is much of that diminished constituent, then the equilibrium will be established, and a cure will be obtained.  So long as the aim is the readjustment of the constituents of the body, it can be effected either by medicine or by food.


“The majority of the diseases which overtake man also overtake the animal, but the animal is not cured by drugs.  In the mountains, as in the wilderness, the animal’s physician is the power of taste and smell.  The sick animal smells the plants that grow in the wilderness; he eats those that are sweet and fragrant to his smell and taste, and is cured.  The cause of his healing is this.  When the sugar ingredient has become diminished in his constitution, he begins to long for sweet things therefore, he eats an herb with a sweet taste, for nature urges and guides him; its smell and taste please him, and he eats it.  The sugar ingredient in his nature will be increased, and health will be restored.


“It is, therefore, evident that it is possible to cure by foods, aliments and fruits; but as today the science of medicine is imperfect, this fact is not fully grasped.  When the science of medicine reaches perfection, treatment will be given by foods, aliments, fragrant fruits and vegetables, and by various waters, hot and cold in temperature.”  – `Abdu’l-Bahá


When I was just a little girl of 11 years old going on 12, my brother, Geoffrey, was only 9 years old and always getting into mischief.  The stories I could tell you about his escapades would fill a book, and of course, that will have to wait till another time.  I only had two kinds of foods that I absolutely craved: Lollies and Mushrooms.  I loved lollies so much I could eat a 3 lb bag of mixed lollies in a couple of days. 


My first job after leaving school was behind the sweet counter at a shop, and I was told I could eat whatever I wanted.  Boy, they didn’t know what that consent would mean to me.  The other joy of my life, mushrooms, were instilled into me as a young child.  Fried in butter and this black gravy with heaps of mushrooms was perhaps my favorite food of all time and still is to this very day.  Yummy!  I will never forget the adventures we had in getting them for a meal.


My mother and stepfather liked to go on long trips on Saturdays into the countryside to look for mushrooms. Whenever we were looking out for big mushrooms growing in a paddock, we had to call out “mushrooms!” and our parents would stop the car so we could race each other to climb out of the car, run to and jump over the fence with our buckets to go collect them. I was the oldest, the strongest and the fastest, so I could get more mushrooms than my brother. We had different colored buckets and we wore old clothes. It didn’t matter much if we got dirty because Saturday was our bath day and it would be fun to clean up later. I had my bright red dress on today, and Geoffrey wore old trousers and a green jumper.


Sometimes we would fill both of our buckets to the brim and bring them back to the car to take home for tea. However, sometimes we would not find many. Now that was sad, because we loved mushrooms cooked in butter and in black sauce. On this day, my parents found a paddock with a lot of mushrooms in it. My brother and I were so busy picking mushrooms and had nearly filled our buckets completely when suddenly, I heard a very strange noise. A sort of Thud! Thud! Thud! 


Turning around, I saw the biggest red bull that I have ever seen, and it was pawing the ground and getting ready to run towards us. I yelled out loud to Geoffrey, and we both picked up our buckets and started running towards the car.


Flinging the buckets over the gate, and with the big red bull right behind us, my brother jumped up and over the fence before me. As he jumped over the fence, his trousers got caught in the barbed wire, and it pulled some cloth right out of the back of his pants.


I jumped over the fence too, and just in time – part of my skirt was ripped as well. The big red bull stopped chasing us, but only after banging into the fence, giving us a huge big fright.


We were both still shaking when we got into the car, and our eyes were open really wide in wonder at what had just happened to us. 


Guess what? We never went mushrooming without looking all around the paddock first from that day forward.


Something just seemed a little bit special about these mushrooms today, we thought, as we tucked right in. Yum, yum….  and each one of these large mushrooms would sit on a dinner plate. 


I also wonder why I get the craving for them from time to time.  Does my body require them?  Is this what my body requires to balance out the sweet intake?  


Abu’l Qásim Faizí: Our Offering in Prayer

Abu’l Qásim Faizí

The following has been extracted, (and title added), from a photocopy of an unsigned transcript of a talk given by Hand of the Cause of God, Abu’l-Qasim Faizi in Melbourne, Australia on November 26, 1969. It was discovered in the archives of the Bahá’ís of Nevada County, California, among the papers of the late double Knight of Bahá’u’lláh, Elise Schreiber Lynelle.


Our Offering in Prayer 


“To me, many of the hard problems of all the religions of God have been explained by the Báb, very easily. He brought these things from heaven to earth, and said this is what it means… Why do we pray? The Báb says, when we pray, what do we take to God? What do we talk to Him of, what do we offer Him? Do you offer your knowledge? He is the Source of knowledge. Do you offer Him your wealth? Do you offer Him your strength, the strength of body or mental strength? All these things are not even worthy of being mentioned in the sight of God. 


Therefore, why do we pray? The Báb says, I will give you an example. Suppose you want to go and visit a king. You will go here and there and ask many people: what is it that the king does not have in his treasury? I would like to take it as a gift to him. And, for instance, suppose somebody will say if you take a moonstone, he does not have it, then you will take it. 


‘Now, if you take the whole treasure of the world, God has it. The whole knowledge of the world He is the source of it. Strength? He is the source of Power. But the Báb says, as I advise you and tell you, there is one thing that God does not have in His treasure house, and that is NOTHINGNESS. 
Take your nothingness to Him. When you sit down in front of Him and pray, have an attitude that you are nothing as compared with God. You take that attitude, and He says this will immediately be accepted.'”

Tricia Hague-Barrett: Looking Back 31 Years Ago

Timaru, New Zealand

Timaru, New Zealand 1986

Looking back to 31 years ago when I lived in Timaru, and while searching through my boxes of papers and old articles and other worldly things that I have hoarded over the years, I found a Timaru Bahá’í newsletter (I was the editor at that time) dated October 1986. and our small Bahá’í community organized and co-sponsored a major conference on Peace. It might not seem very major by today’s standards but it was a mighty effort on the part of our community. It is wonderful to read back about our community life in those days, and this event surely pulled us all together.


Let me give an idea of the grand event that we co-sponsored. Prior to the event beginning, there were forty ads on radio and these were paid for by sponsors – mainly firms and other community organisations. In addition, they financed a three-quarter page slot in the Timaru Herald with supportive advertisements.  There was a  cake stall held at Northtown Mall, with peace related posters, and a Peace Seminar Stall at Stafford Mall.  Extensive advertising in the Timaru Herald incorporated local Bahá’í artist, Dave Stewart’s, exciting and inventive “Peace It Together” logo. Furthermore, there were many exhaustive meetings by the steering committee, enthusiastic support from the Tangata Whenua, organised by a Kaumatua, Mr. Bruce Toa, and catering by Maatua Whangai along with tireless assistance from another local supporter, Mr Bryan Hannam, who looked after the technical and stage management side of things.  There were heaps of encouragement and support from speakers and other Baha’i communities; these are just some of the factors and people that made the building up to the seminar itself an exciting one. Finally, there was a 15-minute Radio Caroline (named after Caroline Bay) interview with local Bahá’í’s, Danny Gresham and Tony Howie, on the Friday before the main event.  




On the day of the event, the hall was decorated by 80 “peace” posters produced by the children of two local primary schools.  Other local peace groups created and exhibited displays related to peace issues. The Bahá’í display looked particularly attractive and owed much to the loan of materials donated by the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Christchurch on behalf of it’s community.




The seminar was officially opened by Mr. Bruce Toa and members of the Tangata Whenua. The highlight of this was the presentation of three white feathers as a symbol of peace, to Mrs. Gae Cherry who had kindly agreed to speak in place of Sonia Davies – whose hectic round of conferences and meetings had finally caught up with her.


Plea for Peace


Bahá’ís Huda Melson and Afsaneh Howie, from Iraq and Iran, respectively, made a moving plea for peace between their countries by each chanting a prayer in their respective languages and then joining together for the song of the Martyrs.  It was sensational and brought tears to people’s eyes because these two countries were against each other back then.  




Maatua Whangai provided lunch and afternoon “Devonshire” tea with proceeds going towards their Marae fund.  A potluck dinner was held in the evening; the efforts of Maatua Whangai were very much appreciated, especially by our stomachs.



140 attended the regional peace seminar. The sessions were inspiring.


Dr. Neil Cherry (Left)

Dr. Neil Cherry spoke of the world situation at that time, but stressed that this was only a negative picture if we gave up. He maintained that there is enough food in the world to feed everyone with 300 calories a day in grain alone. 

Additional Information: 
Neil James Cherry (29 September 1946 – 24 May 2003) was a New Zealand environmental scientist.)Peace Award
On 3 December 2002 Neil was one of the recipients of the first eight Christchurch City Peace Awards given to local groups and individuals.


Peace Award Citation:
Dr. Neil James Cherry, ONZM (Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit)
“Neil Cherry has been a tireless worker for peace and disarmament research and education for many years. In 1985 he founded the Canterbury Branch of Scientists Against Nuclear Arms and convened the group until 1996. He was an active member of the US-based Union of Concerned Scientists and ‘Beyond War’, the Aotearoa/New Zealand Peace Foundation, Students and Teachers Educating for Peace and the Riccarton Peace Group. He was a member of the local committees of the 1986 United Nations International Year of Peace and served as the scientific member of the Public Advisory Committee on Disarmament and Arms Control from 1989-1991. He was awarded the 1990 Commemorative Medal by the government for services to peace and disarmament research and education. He has also published articles about the dangers of nuclear power and nuclear winter, and the need for nuclear disarmament. (


Dr. Ali Danesh, Psychiatrist

Dr Ali Danesh, member of the New Zealand Bahá’í community, then destroyed racism as a valid concept. It was now regarded as an anti-social problem and a product of man’s lower nature. He said there were 4 steps by which the higher or spiritual nature could dominate, tolerance, equality, unity, and altruism (the last being an unattainable idea to which we were always striving). His son, John Danesh, reminded the session that youth could achieve great things by helping to break down meaningless traditions that cause division. The disease of the world was disunity.  For more information about this speaker: –


Gae Cherry

Gae Cherry’s address concerned the conflict between sexes which she said was rooted in the system. Women wished to work with men, not for them, but their talents and needs had been ignored. The assumption that any relationship involved one member being up and the other down had to be dissolved and parity achieved. Through peer relationships between the sexes, she felt that peace could come.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Look at the heart

Juliet Thompson has given us a sweet picture of the Master in ‘Akka: ‘He had sent for us that afternoon to meet Mr. Sprague and the Persian believers and, not being ready, I put on a dress I could slip into easily. As I passed the Master standing in His door: ‘I am afraid I am not dressed well enough,’ I said. He touched my arm, smiling with the utmost sweetness. ‘The Persian believers do not look at the dress, My child. They look at the heart.’
(Thompson, Diary, p. 85)

Tricia Hague-Barrett: INQUISITIVE INQUIRY of the adult kind

Have you ever been asked a serious question by a 5-year-old before? I have….


I had the most inquisitive daughter. When she had been at school for only two days, she said to me on the way home from school, “Mum, I have something serious to ask you,” and I tried to think what kind of ‘very serious question’ it could be for a five year old.  


After I managed to get through the lights, I asked her what it was she wanted to know and if it could wait until we got home.

“Oh no,” she said, “I want to know right now!”

I allowed her to ask her question.

“Mum, you won’t laugh at me will you?”

“No dear.” I replied.

“Well mum, what’s abortion?”

I nearly choked on my false teeth. ‘And she wants an answer right now?’ I thought.

As we pulled into our driveway, I asked her for a couple of days to think about the subject, for it was such a serious one that if I told her wrongly, it would affect her for the rest of her life. I told her that I would give it a great deal of thought, and I would explain things in the best way I know how.

This was a doozy, and I wanted to be sure that she really wanted to know about it, and if in a couple of days she didn’t remember that she had asked, I could put aside any answer I might have by then and wait until she asked again.

That night I wrote a fictional story and printed off a copy for me to read to her.  It was probably just as well, for on the way home from school two days later, she asked again.

I told her I had an answer for her, but we would have to wait till we got home for me to tell her. It was a story of life within the womb told by the baby. It was a story of the journey from the world of the fallopian, to the world of the womb and into this world.

When we arrived home, we settled down in the lounge and I read the story to her. She thought it was a lovely story, but because it didn’t seem to answer her question, she asked why I had not answered her question in the story. The word abortion was not in there.

“I have answered your question dear,” was my reply, “let me show you.”

Of the sixteen pages it took to write the story, I tore up the last 13 pages.

She understood immediately, and cried with deep emotion.


“No Revelation from God has ever taught reincarnation; this is a man-made conception.  The soul of man comes into being at conception.” (From a letter on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, April 1, 1946: Lights of Guidance, p. 413.)

“Evolution in the life of the individual starts with the formation of the human embryo and passes through various stages, and even continues after death in another form.  The human spirit is capable of infinite development. . . He does not pre-exist in any form before coming into this world.” From a letter on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, Nov 26 1939: Lights of Guidance, p. 413.)  

“Out of the wastes of nothingness, with the clay of My command I made thee to appear, and have ordained for thy training every atom in existence and the essence of all created things.  Thus, ere thou didst issue from thy mother’s womb, I destined for thee two founts of gleaming milk, eyes to watch over thee, and hearts to love thee.” (Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words, Persian)


“O God! Guide me, protect me, make of me a shining lamp and a brilliant star.  Thou art the Mighty and the Powerful.” – `Abdu’l-Bahá


I learned a big lesson that day too.


© copyright 1985

‘Abdu’l-Baha: Make Others Happy – 19 Day Feast

“The Bridge Across Market Street From Broad Street Station” Philadelphia by Elizabeth Robins Pennell

In Philadelphia, Abdu’l-Baha spoke to the friends about the Nineteen-Day Feast, which lies at the foundation of Baha’i spiritual and community life and which is held at the start of each Baha’i month. He stressed the importance of this occasion: ‘Each one of you must think how to make happy and pleased the other members of your Assembly, and each one must consider all those who are present as better and greater than himself, and each one must consider himself less than the rest. Know their station as high, and think of your own station as low. Should you act and live according to these behests, know verily, of a certainty, that that Feast is the Heavenly Food. That Supper is the “Lord’s Supper”! I am the Servant of that gathering.’
(Star of the West, vol. IV, p. 120)

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