Baha'i Quotes on The Baha'i Feast
A compilation from the Baha'i Faith writings on the Baha'i Feast.
A selection of quotes, prayers and tablets from the writings of Baha'u'llah, the Bab, 'Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice.
O thou artery pulsating in the body of the world!
Verily I read thy recent letter which indicated conscious joy and abundant happiness from the glad-tidings of the Kingdom of El-Abha. Know, verily that the feast is the day wherein God opened thine insight through the Manifest Light, showed thee unto His Great Kingdom and granted to thee to drink from the chalice overflowing with the wine of divine guidance among the maid-servants. Is there a feast more happy and more noble than this? No, indeed, by the Lord of Heaven, it is a day wherein the thirsty one attaineth to the Spring from which gusheth forth cool and refreshing water, the lover meeteth his Loved One and the sick one is healed by the remedy of the Physician. Blessed art thou for attaining unto this!
Verily, the people who rejoice in the day of the feast and enjoyed the tree (which) was decorated, following the custom of ancient times, are the people of superstitions. By the Majesty of thy Lord! Were they in the time of Christ, they would turn their backs and would not behold His smiling, glorious face; but today they play in the shallow waters of their superstitions without discretion.
Therefore, thank God for His having privileged thee to attain nearness to the Blessed Tree which is grown upon the highest Sinai and is set aglow with the fire of God’s love, calling unto responsive listeners. I supplicate God to heal thee from all troubles and diseases and make thee a sign of guidance and a standard of the Supreme Concourse in those regions and particularly at Green Acre.
-Tablets of `Abdu'l-Bahá:Pages 295-296
O YE true friends! Your letter hath been received and it brought great joy. God be praised, ye had made ready an entertainment and established the feast which is to be held every nineteen days. Whatsoever gathering is arranged with the utmost love, and where those who attend are turning their faces toward the Kingdom of God, and where the discourse is of the Teachings of God, and the effect of which is to cause those present to advance—that gathering is the Lord’s, and that festive table hath come down from heaven.
It is my hope that this feast will be given on one day out of every nineteen, for it bringeth you closer together; it is the very wellspring of unity and loving-kindness.
Ye observe to what a degree the world is in continual turmoil and conflict, and to what a pass its nations have now come. Perchance will the lovers of God succeed in upraising the banner of human unity, so that the one-coloured tabernacle of the Kingdom of Heaven will cast its sheltering shadow over all the earth; that misunderstandings among the world’s peoples will vanish away; that all nations will mingle one with another, dealing with one another even as the lover with his beloved.
It is your duty to be exceedingly kind to every human being, and to wish him well; to work for the upliftment of society; to blow the breath of life into the dead; to act in accordance with the instructions of Bahá’u’lláh and walk His path—until ye change the world of man into the world of God.
-Selections from the Writings of `Abdu'l-Bahá Pages 89-90
As to the Nineteen Day festivity, it is of the utmost importance that the friends should gather at a meeting where, in complete attunement and love, they should engage in the remembrance of God and His praise, and converse as to the glad tidings of God, and proofs of the Advent of Bahá’u’lláh, and should recount the high deeds and sacrifices of the lovers of God in Persia, and tell of the martyrs' detachment from the world, and their ecstasy, and of how the believers there stood by one another and gave up everything they had. - ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 427
O YE loyal servants of the Ancient Beauty! In every cycle and dispensation, the feast hath been favoured and loved, and the spreading of a table for the lovers of God hath been considered a praiseworthy act. This is especially the case today, in this dispensation beyond compare, this most generous of ages, when it is highly acclaimed, for it is truly accounted among such gatherings as are held to worship and glorify God. Here the holy verses, the heavenly odes and laudations are intoned, and the heart is quickened, and carried away from itself.
The primary intent is to kindle these stirrings of the spirit, but at the same time it follows quite naturally that those present should partake of food, so that the world of the body may mirror the spirit’s world, and flesh take on the qualities of soul; and just as the spiritual delights are here in profusion, so too the material delights.
Happy are ye to be observing this rule with all its mystic meanings, thus keeping the friends of God alert and heedful, and bringing them peace of mind, and joy.
-Selections from the Writings of `Abdu'l-Bahá Pages 90-91
O thou who art firm in the Covenant! Thou hast written to his honour ….…. concerning the Feast. This Feast was established by His Highness the Bab, to occur once in nineteen days. Likewise, the Blessed Perfection [Baha’u’llah] hath commanded, encourage and reiterated it. Therefore, it hath the utmost importance. Undoubtedly you must give the greatest attention to its establishment and raise it to the highest point of importance, so that it may become continual and constant. The believers of God must assemble and associate with each other in the utmost love, joy and fragrance. They must conduct themselves (in these Feasts) with the greatest dignity and consideration, chant divine verses, peruse instructive articles, read the Tablets of Abdul-Baha, encourage and inspire each other with love for the whole human race, invoke God with perfect joy and fragrance, sing the verses, glorifications and praises of the Self-subsistent Lord and deliver eloquent speeches. The owner of the house must personally serve the beloved ones. He must seek after the comfort of all and with the utmost humility he must show forth kindness to everyone. If the Feast is arranged in this manner and in the way mentioned, that supper is the “Lord’s supper,” for the result is the same result and the effect is the same effect. -Tablets of `Abdu'l-Bahá Pages 468
Give ye great weight to the Nineteen Day gatherings, so that on these occasions the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful may turn their faces toward the Kingdom, chant the communes, beseech God's help, become joyfully enamored each of the other, and grow in purity and holiness, and in the fear of God, and in the resistance to passion and self. Thus will they separate themselves from this elemental world, and immerse themselves in the ardors of the spirit. - ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities, Section 9.16
O friends of God, and assistants of this humble servant! When the Sun of Truth shone forth with His infinite bounties from the dawning-place of hopes, and the horizon of existence was illuminated through the radiance of sanctity—then He cast forth such splendor whereby the gloomy darkness disappeared! Therefore, the earth became the envy of the celestial world, and the realm of dust was made a scene of the exalted kingdom. Then the fragrances of holiness exhaled, and the sweet odors were diffused. The breeze of the divine spring blew, and the fruitful winds of infinite generosity passed by from the point of favor. The brilliant morning dawned and the glad-tidings of the greatest gift were announced. The divine spring appeared throughout the contingent world. The earth of existence moved and the material world was put in motion. The barren and dried up soil turned into an eternal garden, and the inanimate earth was endowed with eternal life. The flowers and myrtles of knowledge grew, and the fresh herbage of the knowledge of God flourished. The material world showed forth the bounties of the Merciful, and the visible world displayed the scene of the invisible world. The call of God was raised, the divine banquet celebrated, the cup of the Testament was circulated and the universal acclamation was uttered!
Among the people, a multitude became intoxicated with this divine wine—and a multitude were deprived of this great favor. Many a soul enlightened his sight and insight by the radiance of grace, and many were cheered and rejoiced at the melodies of unity. Some birds sang melodies and harmonies, and some nightingales began to warble on the branches of the rose-tree of mercifulness. The Kingdom and the phenomenal world were adorned, and became the envy of the delectable paradise—but, alas—and a thousand times alas!—that the heedless souls are still in the sleep of negligence, and the ignorant are keeping clear of this holy gift. The blind are veiled, the deaf are bereft and the dead despair of attaining to it; just as it is said (in the Koran) “They despair of the life to come, as the infidels despair (of the resurrection of) those who dwell in the graves.”
As to you––O friends of the Merciful!—move your tongues to thank the Loving Lord, and employ yourselves in praising and glorifying the Beauty of the Adored One, for ye were granted the privilege to be exhilarated from this most pure cup, and became full of cheer and attraction from this goblet of wine. Ye have perfumed your nostrils with the fragrances of sanctity, and delighted your senses with the scent of the garment of the Joseph of faithfulness. Ye tasted the honey of devotion from the hand of the Unique Beloved and partook of the eternal table at the feast of the blessing of the Presence of the Unity. This favor is one of the special gifts of the Presence of the Merciful, and this grace and generosity is one of the incomparable gifts of our Loving Lord. This is in accordance with what Christ said: “Many are called, but few chosen.” That is to say, there are many who are invited, but those souls who are signalized with the grace and favor of guidance are but very rare. “This is the bounty of God; He will give the same unto whom He pleaseth; and God is endowed with great bounty.”
-Tablets of `Abdu'l-Bahá Page 371
Ye have written as to the meetings of the friends, and how filled they are with peace and joy. Of course this is so; for wherever the spiritually minded are gathered together, there in His beauty reigneth Bahá’u’lláh. Thus it is certain that such reunions will yield boundless happiness and peace.
Today it behoveth one and all to forgo the mention of all else, and to disregard all things. Let their speaking, let their inner state be summed up thus: ‘Keep all my words of prayer and praise confined to one refrain; make all my life but servitude to Thee.’ That is, let them concentrate all their thoughts, all their words, on teaching the Cause of God and spreading the Faith of God, and inspiring all to characterize themselves with the characteristics of God; on loving mankind; on being pure and holy in all things, and spotless in their public and private life; on being upright and detached, and fervent, and afire. All is to be yielded up, save only the remembrance of God; all is to be dispraised, except His praise. Today, to this melody of the Company on high, the world will leap and dance: ‘Glory be to my Lord, the All-Glorious!’ But know ye this: save for this song of God, no song will stir the world, and save for this nightingale-cry of truth from the Garden of God, no melody will lure away the heart. ‘Whence cometh this Singer Who speaketh the Beloved’s name?
-Selections from the Writings of `Abdu'l-Bahá Page 93
But it is not only in the sense of its gradual unfoldment as an institution that the evolution of the Feast must be regarded; there is a broader context yet. The Feast may well be seen in its unique combination of modes as the culmination of a great historic process in which primary elements of community life acts of worship, of festivity and other forms of togetherness over vast stretches of time have achieved a glorious convergence. The Nineteen Day Feast represents the new stage in this enlightened age to which the basic expression of community life has evolved. Shoghi Effendi has described it as the foundation of the new World Order, and in a letter written on his behalf, it is referred to as constituting "a vital medium for maintaining close and continued contact between the believers themselves, and also between them and the body of their elected representatives in the local community. - Universal House of Justice, 27 August 1989 to the Followers of Bahá’u’lláh in Every Land
Even though the Feast requires strict adherence to the threefold aspects in the sequence in which they have been defined, there is much room for variety in the total experience. For example, music may be introduced at various stages, including the devotional portion; ‘Abdu’l-Bahá recommends that eloquent, uplifting talks be given; originality and variety in expressions of hospitality are possible; the quality and range of the consultation are critical to the spirit of the occasion. The effects of different cultures in all these respects are welcome factors which can lend the Feast a salutary diversity, representative of the unique characteristics of the various societies in which it is held and therefore conducive to the upliftment and enjoyment of its participants.
- Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 419-420
Everywhere the devotional portion of the Feast is enriched by the sense of reverence cultivated through personal prayer and regular devotional gatherings. The administrative portion is animated by reports on the progress of the Cause, as well as insights contributed by eager believers drawn from diverse populations, both newly enrolled and long-standing, engaged in Bahá’í activity. The social portion transcends polite formalities, becoming the joyous reunion of ardent lovers, of tested companions united in a common purpose, whose conversations are elevated by spiritual themes.
- Universal House of Justice, to all National Spiritual Assemblies, 17 May 2009
If this feast be held in the proper fashion," ‘Abdu’l-Bahá states, "the friends will, once in nineteen days, find themselves spiritually restored, and endued with a power that is not of this world." To ensure this glorious outcome the concept of the Feast must be adequately understood by all the friends. - Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 419