Friday, March 20, 2009

Vernal Equinox

Today is the Vernal Equinox. It is also the celebration of the Bahai New Year:
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...

There is an official web site for Bahai's in the United States. That site lists these as Core Beliefs:
Core Beliefs

The principle of the oneness of humankind is the pivot around which all the teachings of Baha'u'llah revolve.

Baha'u'llah taught that humanity, after a long and turbulent adolescence, is at last reaching a stage of maturity in which unity in a global and just society finally can be established.

To this end, the Baha'i Faith prescribes laws of personal morality and behavior, as well as social laws and principles, to establish the oneness of humanity.

Baha'is believe:

* the purpose of life is to know and worship God, to acquire virtues, to promote the oneness of humankind and to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization
* all humanity was created by one God and is part of one human race
* work performed in the spirit of service is a form of worship
* the soul, created at the moment of conception, is destined by God to reach the afterlife, where it will continue to progress until it attains the presence of God

Baha'is practice:

* daily prayer and communion with God
* high moral principles, including trustworthiness, chastity and honesty
* independent investigation of truth
* a life dedicated to the service of humanity
* fellowship with the followers of all religions
* avoidance of excessive materialism, partisan politics, backbiting, alcohol, drugs and gambling

They have an page on "What We Believe", which includes this:
The Baha'i Faith is the youngest of the world’s independent monotheistic religions. Founded in Iran in 1844, it now has more than five million adherents in 236 countries and territories. Baha'is come from nearly every national, ethnic and religious background, making the Baha'i Faith the second-most-widespread religion in the world.

Baha'is view the world's major religions as a part of a single, progressive process through which God reveals His will to humanity. Baha'u'llah (1817-1892), the Founder of the Baha'i Faith, is recognized as the most recent in a line of Divine Messengers that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad.

The central theme of Baha'u'llah's message is that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for humanity’s unification into one global society. While reaffirming the core ethical principles common to all religions, Baha'u'llah also revealed new laws and teachings to lay the foundations of a global civilization. “A new life,” Baha'u'llah declared, “is, in this age, stirring within all the peoples of the earth.”

There is a web site for the international community and a website for Bahá'ís of Memphis and the Midsouth. There are some introductory videos here. Bahai 101 is a comprehensive flash video introduction to the Bahai faith.

President Obama's greetings on the occasion:

The 9-pointed star at the top of the post is the symbol of the Bahai faith.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:14 AM

    The B'Hai New Year? Really?

    -- A Pal