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7: 3: Promoting the Arts: Section 7: pp. 120-128

Unit 3:  Promoting the Arts at the Grassroots


Section 1 – no quotations


Section 2

“All Art is a gift of the Holy Spirit.  When this light shines through the mind of a musician, it manifests itself in beautiful harmonies.  Again, shining through the mind of a poet, it is seen in fine poetry and poetic prose.  When the Light of the Sun of Truth inspires the mind of a painter, he produces marvelous pictures.  These gifts are fulfilling their highest purpose, when showing forth the praise of God.”(Abdu’l-Baha, cited in The Importance of the Arts in Promoting the Faith, comp. The Research Department of the Universal House of Justice [Thornhill:  Baha’i Canada Publications, 1999] no. 23, pp. 10-11)


Section 3

“It is natural for the heart and spirit to take pleasure and enjoyment in all things that show forth symmetry, harmony and perfection.  For instance:  a beautiful house, a well designed garden, a symmetrical line, a graceful action, a well written book, pleasing garments – in fact, all things that have in themselves grace or beauty are pleasing to the heart and spirit…”(Abdu’l-Baha, cited in The Importance of the Arts in Promoting the Faith, comp. The Research Department of the Universal House of Justice [Thornhill:  Baha’i Canada Publications, 1999] no. 24, p. 11)


Section 4

“Mortal charm shall fade away, roses shall give way to thorns, and beauty and youth shall live their day and be no more.  But that which eternally endureth is the Beauty of the True One, for its splendour perisheth not and its glory lasteth for ever; its charm is all-powerful and its attraction infinite.  Well is it then with that countenance that reflecteth the splendour of the Light of the Beloved One!  The Lord be praised, thou hast been illumined with this Light, hast acquired the pearl of true knowledge, and hast spoken the Word of Truth.”(Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, No. 175 pp. 213-214)

“The body without spirit is not capable of real accomplishment.  Although it may be in the utmost condition of beauty and excellence, it is, nevertheless, in need of the spirit.  The chimney of the lamp, no matter how polished and perfect it be, is in need of the light.  Without the light, the lamp or candle is not illuminating.” (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 205)


Section 5

Theme: Music

“…in this new age the Manifest Light hath, in His holy Tablets, specifically proclaimed that music, sung or played, is spiritual food for soul and heart.” (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, No. 74 p. 118-119)

“…melodies, though they are material, are connected with the spiritual, therefore, they produce a great effect.  A certain kind of melody makes the spirit happy, another kind makes it sad, another excites it to action.”(Abdu’l-Baha, cited in Extracts from the Baha’i Writings on Music, published in The Compilation of Compilations [Ingleside:  Baha’i Publications Australia 1991], vol. 2, p.79)

“Singing melodies will bring animation and happiness to the world of humanity, the hearers will be delighted and joyful and their deeper emotions stirred.  But this gladness, this sense of emotion is transitory and will be forgotten within a short time.  However, praise be to God, thou hast blended thy tunes with the melodies of the Kingdom, wilt impart solace to the world of the spirit and wilt everlastingly stimulate spiritual feelings.”(Abdu’l-Baha, cited in The Importance of the Arts in Promoting the Faith, comp. The Research Department of the Universal House of Justice [Thornhill:  Baha’i Canada Publications, 1999] no. 10, p. 6)

“We have made it lawful for you to listen to music and singing. Take heed, however, lest listening thereto should cause you to overstep the bounds of propriety and dignity. Let your joy be the joy born of My Most Great Name, a Name that bringeth rapture to the heart, and filleth with ecstasy the minds of all who have drawn nigh unto God. We, verily, have made music as a ladder for your souls, a means whereby they may be lifted up unto the realm on high; make it not, therefore, as wings to self and passion. Truly, We are loath to see you numbered with the foolish.”(Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 39)


Section 6

Theme: Music

“…although music is a material affair, yet its tremendous effect is spiritual, and its greatest attachment is to the realm of the spirit. If a person desires to deliver a discourse, it will prove more effectual after musical melodies. The ancient Greeks, as well as Persian philosophers, were in the habit of delivering their discourses in the following manner: — First, playing a few musical melodies, and when their audience attained a certain receptivity thereby they would leave their instruments at once and begin their discourse.  Among the most renowned musicians of Persia was one named Barbod, who, whenever a great question had been pleaded for at the court of the King, and the Ministry had failed to persuade the King, they would at once refer the matter to Barbod, whereupon he would go with his instrument to the court and play the most appropriate and touching music, the end being at once attained, because the King was immediately affected by the touching musical melodies, certain feelings of generosity would swell up in his heart, and he would give way.”(Abdu’l-Baha, cited in Extracts from the Baha’i Writings on Music, published in The Compilation of Compilations [Ingleside:  Baha’i Publications Australia 1991], vol. 2, p.77)

“Music is an important means to the education and development of humanity, but the only true way is through the Teachings of God. Music is like this glass, which is perfectly pure and polished. It is precisely like this pure chalice before us, and the Teachings of God, the utterances of God, are like the water. When the glass or chalice is absolutely pure and clear, and the water is perfectly fresh and limpid, then it will confer Life; wherefore, the Teachings of God, whether they be in the form of anthems or communes or prayers, when they are melodiously sung, are most impressive.”(Abdu’l-Baha, cited inExtracts from the Baha’i Writings on Music, published in The Compilation of Compilations [Ingleside:  Baha’i Publications Australia 1991], vol. 2, p.77)


Section 7

Theme: storytelling

“Utilize, as extensively as you possibly can, the wealth of material which Nabil’s sitrring and precious narrative contains, and let it be your chief instrument wherewith you can feed the flame of enthusiasm that glows in every Baha’i heart and upon which the success of your magnificent, your incessant efforts must ultimately depend.”

(Postscript in the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi appended to an unpublished letter dated 17 November 1932 written on his behalf to an individual believer.)

“Nabil’s narrative is not merely a narrative; it is a book of meditation.  It does not only teach.  It actually inspires and incites to action.  It quickens and stimulates our dormant energies and makes us soar on a higher plane.  It is thus of an invaluable help to the historian as well as to every teacher and expounder of the Cause.”(From an unpublished letter dated 8 June 1933 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer.)

CHAPTER XXI: THE SEVEN MARTYRS OF ṬIHRÁN

pp. 445-458

Nabil. [tran. Shoghi Effendi. 1932]. The Dawn-Breakers: Nabíl’s Narrative of the Early Days of the Bahá’í Revelation.US Bahá’í Publishing Trust. pp. 676.


Section 8

“In all their efforts to achieve the aim of the Four Year Plan, the friends are also asked to give greater attention to the use of the arts, not only for proclamation, but also for the work in expansion and consolidation.  The graphic and performing arts and literature have played, and can play a major role in extending the influence of the Cause.  At the level of folk art, this possibility can be pursued in every part of the world, whether it be in villages, towns or cities.” (From the 1996 Ridvan message written by the Universal House of Justice to the Baha’is of the world, published in The Four Year Plan:  Messages of the Universal House of Justice [Riviera Beach:  Palabra Publications, 1996], p. 37)


Section 9

“One of the names of God is the Fashioner.  He loveth craftsmanship.  Therefore any of His servants who manifesteth this attribute is acceptable in the sight of this Wronged One.  Craftsmanship is a book among the books of divine sciences, and a treasure among the treasures of His heavenly wisdom.  This is a knowledge with meaning, for some of the sciences are brought forth by words and come to an end with words.” (Baha’u’llah cited in Extracts from the Writings concerning Arts and Crafts, published in The Compilation of Compilations [Ingleside:  Baha’i Publications Australia, 1991), vol. 1, p. 1)

“The one true God, exalted be He, loveth to witness handiworks of high craftsmanship produced by His loved ones.  Blessed art thou, for what thy skill hath produced hath reached the presence of thy Lord, the Exiled, the Wronged.  Please God every one of His friends may be enabled to acquire one of the crafts, and be confirmed in adhering to what hath been ordained in the Book of God, the All-Glorious, the All-Wise.” (Baha’u’llah cited in Extracts from the Writings concerning Arts and Crafts, published in The Compilation of Compilations [Ingleside:  Baha’i Publications Australia, 1991), vol. 1, p. 1)

 

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