Baha’i Writings

 

2.     Human / Mental

 

2.2            Learning Environment (Home, School & Community)

2.2.1                   Learning Environment – Parents and religion
         
The parents must exert every effort to rear their offspring to be religious, for should the children not attain this greatest of adornments, they will not obey their parents, which in a certain sense means that they will not obey God.  Indeed, such children will show no consideration to anyone, and will do exactly as they please.

            (
Baha'u'llah:  Baha'i Education           Pages 248-251)
 

2.2.2                   Learning Environment – The duty of parents

          It is the bounden duty of parents to rear their children to be staunch in faith, the reason being that a child who removeth himself from the religion of God will not act in such a way as to win the good pleasure of his parents and his Lord.  For every praiseworthy deed is born out of the light of religion, and lacking this supreme bestowal the child will not turn away from any evil, nor will he draw nigh unto any good.

            (
Baha'u'llah:  Baha'i Education           Pages 248-249)
 

2.2.3                   Learning Environment - Music

          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.

 

            (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 38)

 

 

2.2.4                   Learning Environment – Music and divine words

          In this dispensation, music is one of the arts that is highly approved and is considered to be the cause of the exaltation of sad and desponding hearts.

 

          Therefore ... set to music the verses and the divine words so that they may be sung with soul-stirring melody in the Assemblies and gatherings, and that the hearts of the listeners may become tumultuous and rise towards the Kingdom of Abha in supplication and prayer.

 

            (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 378)

 

 

2.2.5                   Learning Environment – Arts of civilization

          Observe carefully how education and the arts of civilization bring honor, prosperity, independence and freedom to a government and its people.

 

            (Abdu'l-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 111)

 

 

2.2.6                   Learning Environment – Thoughts and deeds

          Some men and women glory in their exalted thoughts, but if these thoughts never reach the plane of action they remain useless:  the power of thought is dependent on its manifestation in deeds.  A philosopher's thought may, however, in the world of progress and evolution, translate itself into the actions of other people, even when they themselves are unable or unwilling to show forth their grand ideals in their own lives.  To this class the majority of philosophers belong, their teachings being high above their actions.  This is the difference between philosophers who are Spiritual Teachers, and those who are mere philosophers:  the Spiritual Teacher is the first to follow His own teaching; He brings down into the world of action His spiritual conceptions and ideals.  His Divine thoughts are made manifest to the world.  His thought is Himself, from which He is inseparable.
 

                                   
`Abdu'l-Baha:  Paris Talks*                Page 18
 

 

2.2.7                   Learning Environment - MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL EDUCATION

 

The republic of wise men believes that the difference in minds and opinions is due to the difference of education and the acquisition of ethics. That is, that minds are equal in origin, but education and the acquisition of ethics cause minds to differ and comprehensions to be at variance; that this difference is not in entity but in education and teaching; that there is no individual distinction for any soul. Hence, the members of the human race all possess the capacity of attaining to the highest station, and the proof they adduce therefore is this: "The inhabitants of a country like Africa are all as wandering savages and wild animals; they lack intelligence and knowledge; all are uncivilized; not one civilized and wise man is to be found among them. On the contrary, consider the civilized countries, the inhabitants of which are living in the highest state of culture and ethics, solidarity and inter-dependence; possessing, with few exceptions, acute power of comprehension and sound mind. Therefore, it is made clear and evident that the superiority and inferiority of minds and comprehensions arises from education and cultivation, or from their lack and absence. A bent branch is straightened by training and the wild fruit of the jungle is made the product of the orchard. An ignorant man by learning becomes knowing, and the world of savagery, through the bounty of a wise educator, is changed into a civilized kingdom. The sick is healed by medication, and the poor man, by learning the arts of commerce, is made rich. The follower, by attaining the virtues of the leader, becomes great, and the lowly man, by the education of the teacher, rises from the nadir of oblivion to the zenith of celebrity." These are the proofs of the wise men.

 

The prophets also acknowledge this opinion, towit: That education hath a great effect upon the human race, but they declare that minds and comprehensions are originally different. And this matter is self-evident; it cannot be refuted. We see that certain children of the same age, nativity and race, nay, from the same household, under the tutorship of one teacher, differ in their minds and comprehensions. One advanceth rapidly, another is slow in catching the rays of culture, still another remaineth in the lowest degree of stupidity.

 

No matter how much the shell is educated, it can never become the radiant pearl. The black stone will not become the world illuming gem. The calocynth and the thorny cactus can never by training and development become the blessed tree. That is to say, training doth not change the human gem, but it produceth a marvelous effect. By this effective power all that is registered latent of virtues and capacities in the human reality will be revealed.

 

Cultivation by the farmer maketh of the grain the harvest, and the effort of the gardener maketh of the seed a noble tree. The gentle teacher promoteth the children of the school to the lofty altitude and the bestowal of the trainer placeth the little child upon the throne of ether. Therefore, it is demonstrated and proven that minds are different in the original entity or nature, and that education commandeth a decided and great influence. Were there no educator, all souls would remain savage, and were it not for the teacher, the children would be ignorant creatures.

 

It is for this reason that, in this New Cycle, education and training are recorded in the Book of God as obligatory and not voluntary. That is, it is enjoined upon the father and mother, as a duty, to strive with all effort to train the daughter and the son, to nurse them from the breast of knowledge and to rear them in the bosom of sciences and arts. Should they neglect this matter, they shall be held responsible and worthy of reproach in the presence of the stern Lord.

 

            (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 398)



2.2.8                   Learning Environment – The Teachers of the human race

            The purpose of this is to show that the holy Manifestations of
God, the divine Prophets, are the first Teachers of the human race. They are universal Educators, and the fundamental principles they have laid down are the causes and factors of the advancement of nations.
 

                       
`Abdu'l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*  Page 86
 

2.2.9                   Learning Environment – Spiritual education

            My hope is that your parents may educate you spiritually and give you thorough moral training.  May you develop so that each one of you shall become imbued with all the virtues of the human world.  May you advance in all material and spiritual degrees.  May you become learned in sciences, acquire the arts and crafts, prove to be useful members of human society and assist the progress of human civilization.  May you be a cause of the manifestation of divine bestowals - each one of you a shining star radiating the light of the oneness of humanity toward the horizons of the East and West.  May you be devoted to the love and unity of mankind, and through your efforts may the reality deposited in the human heart find its divine expression.  I pray for you, asking the assistance and confirmation of God in your behalf.

            (
`Abdu'l-Baha:  Promulgation of Universal Peace*  Page 92)

 

 

2.2.10                   Learning Environment – The advancement of women

Work ye for the guidance of the women in that land, teach the young girls and the children, so that the mothers may educate their little ones from their earliest days, thoroughly train them, rear them to have a goodly character and good morals, guide them to all the virtues of humankind, prevent the development of any behaviour that would be worthy of blame, and foster them in the embrace of Bahá'í education. Thus shall these tender infants be nurtured at the breast of the knowledge of God and His love. Thus shall they grow and flourish, and be taught righteousness and the dignity of humankind, resolution and the will to strive and to endure. Thus shall they learn perseverance in all things, the will to advance, high mindedness and high resolve, chastity and purity of life. Thus shall they be enabled to carry to a successful conclusion whatsoever they undertake.

 

            (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 124)

 

 

2.2.11                   Learning Environment – Motherhood and children

    Let the mothers consider that whatever concerneth the education of children is of the first importance. Let them put forth every effort in this regard, for when the bough is green and tender it will grow in whatever way ye train it. Therefore is it incumbent upon the mothers to rear their little ones even as a gardener tendeth his young plants. Let them strive by day and by night to establish within their children faith and certitude, the fear of God, the love of the Beloved of the worlds, and all good qualities and traits. Whensoever a mother seeth that her child hath done well, let her praise and applaud him and cheer his heart; and if the slightest undesirable trait should manifest itself, let her counsel the child and punish him, and use means based on reason, even a slight verbal chastisement should this be necessary. It is not, however, permissible to strike a child, or vilify him, for the child's character will be totally perverted if he be subjected to blows or verbal abuse.

 

            (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 125)

 

 

2.2.12                   Learning Environment – Divine education

          …from the very beginning, the children must receive divine education and must continually be reminded to remember their God. Let the love of God pervade their inmost being, commingled with their mother's milk.

 

            (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 127)

 

 

2.2.13                   Learning Environment – Bahá'í education

My wish is that these children should receive a Bahá'í education, so that they may progress both here and in the Kingdom, and rejoice thy heart.

 

In a time to come, morals will degenerate to an extreme degree. It is essential that children be reared in the Bahá'í way, that they may find happiness both in this world and the next. If not, they shall be beset by sorrows and troubles, for human happiness is founded upon spiritual behaviour.

 

            (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 127)