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Bahaism & appearances

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apparences (here’s the english translation of my yesterday post – I’m a french speaking person, so please excuse my mistakes)

2 days ago, I wrote about the « indignation duty » (, that we are not to tolerate everything, not to let anything go without reacting.

Here are my thoughts now.

Look at the « meme » above ; this human tendency has often made others reject me, & has often hurt & infuriated me !

I’ve been thinking how much truth is elusive and how common it is that things are not what they seem … How real nice people always seem a bit rough (of course, they’re just being themselves) and real bad people always seem friendly (of course, they’re playing a role).

Appearances are always deceiving …

Jean de la Fontaine showed this in his fable « the Rooster, the Cat and the little Mouse »coq, chat, souriceau

and Louis Pauwels was right when he stated that « The « simple » we see, hides a « complicated » we can’t see ».

And this is what makes the success of lies ; the liar embellishes or simplifies things, so that they appear softer & pleasant or more logical & credible, to the lambda individuals who hate to have to (really) think.

Here is an anecdote that Maud (Six) – a Baha’i friend – told me :

One day, she attended a conference on the faith and, next to her was a gentleman (non-Bahá’í), who listened attentively and seemed very pleased with what he was hearing.

Alas, when the speaker quoted the words of Baha’u-llah «  Treasure the companionship of the righteous and eschew all fellowship with the ungodly ». These words shocked the man, who got up and left the room, disappointed.

He must have thought that the Baha’i Faith was just another intolerant religion, excluding anybody who’s seen as « ungodly ».

Frankly, it made me sorry for this man … It always saddens me when someone misses something good for him, just because he stumbled on appearances, just because he stopped at the form (the words) without using his heart (which is, as everyone knows, the only way to understand anything – & especially the deeper truths) to understand.

Louis Pauwels (again) rightly said that « the Letter kills, the Spirit gives life » !

I remember that, as a young Baha’i, these words also shocked me because they seemed contrary to the nature of the Faith, which is all love and tolerance (for it is Baha’u-llah who also enjoins us « not to listen to or to see evil ») – but me, I tried to understand it with my heart, without letting the form stop me.

I love this quote by Boris Vian.. « Courtesy, in reality, is not a virtue because it only attaches to this peel, language The real solution is not to be courteous, it is to be kind. When one is nice, whether you use a polite language or not, everyone is ok. it is a matter of convention thus l. we can say, affectionately, « my good big bottle » to his stepmother, without violating the rules of family courtesy (…) « 

A clue of the real meaning of the « shocking » quote is provided in another verse of Baha’u-llah, saying, « Beware ! Walk not with the ungodly and seek not fellowship with him, for such companionship turneth the radiance of the heart into infernal fire. »

Here’s the explanation ; it’s meant to protect us ! It’s because we don’t have the power to change evil people, so we have to preserve ourselves, or we’ll get seriously damaged …

The Bible already warned us : « Above everything else, guard your heart, because from it flows the springs of life. »

Our heart is our most precious treasure, because he alone gives us true joy, deep joy, independent of our life circumstances (regardless of the destitution we live in or the trials we have to face). The heart is what makes us want to go ahead with our lives & surpass ourselves, what gives us the courage to go through hardship and overcome everything, what derives pleasure from all the little joys of life (which together form happiness), …

Without him (= if we let him die), life’s flavorless, the days are all alike, and whatever we do or have, it doesn’t satisfy us, and death is all we wish for, as we live in silent desperation – I know ; I’ve been there !

I’ve been thinking of what an ungodly person might be, because, as many insult me or try to take advantage of me on Facebook, it was essential for my « survival » to know exactly who to talk to & whom to avoid.

And I concluded that the wicked are « those who took the law of God (love and justice) in their own hands (so to speak). Those who feel entitled to everything without shame or guilt. Every Messenger of God enjoins us to be friendly to all, indulgent to their faults, but also to protect ourselves from the evil ones. God is Love – so his Law involves loving & respecting others. Therefore, if one notices that someone we know, hurts us or exploits us shamelessly, we must understand that this is an ungodly person and stop seeing him – otherwise, we’ll grow weaker and weaker and our faith will wither, robbing us of true Life. » (

I also wrote: « Your heart is your greatest treasure … you must protect it at all costs, otherwise the spark of joy in you will die… ’cause joy is divine, it springs from the soul – and is proof that one is following God (Satan – & his followers – are always sad !). Pious people (whether they recognize this or not) are sweet, non-offensive, respectful of themselves and others. They would never take something forcefully, to get an undeserved favor. Moreover, God’s law also involves to love and respect oneself … So please do so, for your own good & that of the world !  » – Because (see how well God has done everything !) to serve God, is to serve others and oneself as well (& vice versa), and to reject God is to reject (& harm) others and oneself ! Yes, life is a canvas, each of us being a stitch of it, so that what’s done to one single stitch affects the entire canvas.

So, to better show the true nature & the beauty of our faith, here’s another anecdote :

Joe Paczkowski 2

(Artwork by Joe Paczkowski)

When I became a Baha’i (in 1991), the Monthly Bulletin was still in a material form (paper) and of course, I eagerly read each line. In the first copy I received, there was a request for information from a Baha’i (from the US ?) to the Universal House of Justice in Haifa.

He explained that he was a Baha’i & had Buddhist neighbors, and that he would always pray at their home, in front of a statue of Buddha, but, by chance, he heard that this is prohibited ; that baha’is may not pray in front of statues. He therefore asked the U.H.J. what he should do from that moment, because he wished not to contravene the rules of our faith.

Well, I will never forget the answer that the members of the Universal House of Justice sent him ; they told him (in substance) ; « Don’t worry, you aren’t doing anything wrong, go on just as before, » explaining that it is indeed forbidden to Baha’is to pray before a statue, but only to avoid worshipping objects and that they saw that this was obviously not the case of the man in question.

If they had followed « the Letter » (the form), they would have enjoined this man to immediately stop praying to Buddha, but they followed the Spirit …

I found it so beautiful that I cut off this exchange & kept in for years in my wallet – until it fell apart and I had to throw it away (not the best way to keep a document, but anyway). I used to show it to anyone asking me about the Faith, in the hope that they too would be excited about it & convert … which – by the way – would be good for them 😉

As a conclusion ; do not judge on form but on substance, not on the outside but on the inside, not on appearances but on the reality of things – in short, not with the head but with the heart …