From mfoster@tyrell.netMon Sep 11 11:34:44 1995
Date: Sun, 10 Sep 1995 22:35:35 -0500 (EDT)
From: "Mark A. Foster" 
Subject: POV - before or after? 


Bruce Burrill wrote to the multiple recipients of
B >Would you say that your POV is what came to light as a result of a careful
B >study of the supposed "dialectical synthesis" of the supposed dispensations,
B >or could it be that the supposed "dialectical synthesis" is just a
B >back-reading of your POV?
    Hi, Bruce -
    As you know, I am not an expert on Buddhism. However, I do not feel 
as though it is necessary to be a Buddhologist, or, for that matter, a 
Christian, Jewish, or Islamic theologian, in order to appreciate, on a 
basic level, the way in which religious concepts are developed from one 
age to the next. I always try to qualify my ideas with "IMHO," "my POV," 
"IMV," etc, to emphasize that what I say is merely the result of 
individual reflection. Certainly, in order to produce a more mature 
analysis of the relations between the various schools of Hinduism and 
Buddhism, advanced training in these traditions, and a knowledge of 
Sanskrit and Pali, would be required.  
    My own approach to religious truth, as you know from our discussions 
on CompuServe, was originally structured around the ideas of Marian 
Lippitt, Henry Weil, and Elizabeth Thomas, and I continue as one of four 
regional directors of the Foundation for the Science of Reality (devoted 
to preserving Marian's work). All things, IMV, can be seen within the 
framework of the worlds of God - including the rational one (historical 
    My feeling is that one can begin to understand the language of the 
Kingdom (a discourse on reality) through meditation, or reflection, and 
by examining the eisegetical keys which are provided by the the Central 
Figures of subsequent revealed religions. Although adapted to time and 
place, the language of the divine Teachers, IMO, also has a profoundly 
universal quality and can, on that level, be approached through 
meditation or reflection and irrespective of formal training in one or 
more religious traditions. All methodologies, including a strict textual 
one, produce their own dilemnas, and I do not feel as though the one I 
used is inappropriate.     
    Thank you for the information on the historical development of the 
various Indic traditions. What I have been impressed with in Buddhism is 
the exaltation of humanity in a way which, as far as I know, was not so 
much emphasized in pre-Buddhic India. For example, Shakymuni's rejection 
of the caste system affirmed the possibility of a non-stratified 
enlightenment - over and against the exclusiveness of priestly elitism. 
It has reminded me the Christian extention of the "chosen people" to all 
believers through the biblical grafting of the gentiles (nations) onto 
the tree of Israel. While the comparison is certainly not exact, I see 
it as a multilinear illustration of the social influences of progressive 

From tan1@cornell.eduMon Sep 11 11:35:54 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 00:13:44 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Timothy A. Nolan" 
Subject: RE: hidden motivations

> Finally, you have not responded to my point about principle, i.e.,
> that `Abdu'l-Baha says that equal human rights for all under the law is a
> key teaching of Baha'u'llah; it seems fairly obvious that for women to be
> excluded from some forms of administrative rights solely on the basis of
> their sex is for them to be denied a human right and is discriminatory.
> In what way is this compatible with Baha'i teachings over all?

I have found it helpful to understand that membership on the Universal House
of Justice is not a right; therefore women are not being denied anything
which is rightfully theirs.
    Access to education is a right, adequate health care is a right,
freedom to work is a right. However no one has the *right* to be a member
of the Universal House of Justice.  If women were denied access to
education, or to health care, or to employment...that would be unfair
discrimination, because all those are the right of each individual,
whether man or woman. But it is not unfair discrimination to exclude
women from membership on the Universal House of Justice because
membership on that body is not a *right* for any man or woman.
I am a man; if I am not elected to the Universal House of Justice,
(for which I thank God),
I have not been denied anything which is rightfully mine. Membership on that
body is not anyone's *right*.  It is perhaps the *duty* of those who are
elected, but not their *right*.
Tim Nolan

From derekmc@ix.netcom.comMon Sep 11 11:37:31 1995
Date: Sun, 10 Sep 1995 21:33:59 -0700
Subject: Re Abortion and the Baha'i Faith

As several people have posted to me regarding the posting I put out on 
Abortion and the Baha'i Faith. I would like to clarify further; the letter from 
the House of Justice in Jan 1993 was in response to a series of questions placed by an individual believer. In the case of Rape they ruled that such an act placed the woman in a position requiring the loving aid and support of her community. there are no preconditions placed on that support. If a woman decides to carry the child to full term she is not obliged to take support from the person who committed the criminal act, the House state that his parental rights under Baha'i Law could be revoked. In such cases the community would then have to assume financial and de facto joint parental responsibility .In the case of incest the  child is entitled to protection by the other parent,if this does not happen, not only could the parent committing the act of incest lose their parental rights under Baha'i Law, but also the parent who failed to protect the child could be subject to such sanctions. People who sexually abuse young children and are not their parents and this is a proved act the House of Justice has taken upon Itself to hold the record of those who abuse the innocents in the Baha'i Community.One assumes to ensure an abuser can not go to another country and prey on children there. John Harkness certainly reads more into the short posting on Abortion that started this thread off than I did , it did come over as been rather harsh to me. The subject is highly complex , a woman facing such a situation is placed in an invidious position, if the Institutions of the Faith she should consult with  are unaware of the 
proper Baha'i position and can only say no, regardless of the circumstances. All that will happen is that the woman will not go for advice to a Body 
that is not prepared to look at the uniqueness of her case.There is no case under Baha'i Law to justify Abortion as a convenient form of Birth Control, we are committed as a Community to sex only within  Marriage , many of the augments for Abortion related to,although not exclusively, single women getting pregnant and wishing to terminate solely as a form of Birth Control. However I believe we need to develop loving tolerance in our communities so that if a young woman finds herself pregnant she can come and share her fears and anguish with her LSA knowing she will receive love,support and understanding.
As far as the soul is concerned it comes into existence at the very 
moment of conception it is a gift of God. We should always remember that the soul is protected at all times from harm so murder belongs to our World not the 
World of the Soul. If anyone does not have a copy of the House of Justices letter of Jan 1993 I will  be happy to send one please just E'mail me.Kindest Regards Derek 

From TLCULHANE@aol.comMon Sep 11 11:43:31 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 01:48:07 -0400
Subject: Rights,wives,&profs.

   Juan Ricardo jan : (Ahang explained to me what it meant )
       I am so pleased and gratified you liked the post on America. I plan to
do more of it . 
      On to the more important issue at hand . You and my wife have finally
convinced me . This whole issue has been a personal as opposed to purely
intellectual struggle for me over the years . My wife Sue is a salt of the
earth sort of person . I have been sharing a number of these comments with
her . We have gone through all the arguments and she has patiently listen to
meexpound upon the complexity of the issue etc.  Finally she said doesn't it
all come down to what Baha'u'llah said and if Baha'u'llah said women are to
be considered as "rijal " in this day that should settle it .  Sometimes her
simple ,srraightforward way is a blessing for me . Now she is not the type to
jump on a bandwagon and could not care less about serving on the House . Yet
this new found perspective discovered by Juan made it all very clear for her
.  I guess it took a combination of your scholarship and my wifes simple ways
to get my attention at the level of the heart not only the mind.  the rightd
post was the clincher . I have pondered it for two days now . Sue also read
it and could figure out what my problem was but then as she would say  well
your a man what should I expect .  She is a dear soul and so are you
Professor Cole . 

    Earier in the week I had one of those certitude shaking spiritual
experiences . One in which everything sort of ceased to make sense. All that
I knew or thought I knew was called into question. This was one of the issues
because it gets at the heart of so much  about what it means to be a Baha'i.
 In the midst of my spiritual distress or I should probably say despair
everything faded away except Baha'u'llah . I was up most of two nights at
times curled up in a ball .As everything would fade into a kind of
nothingness  almost like quicksand this sense of the presence of Baha'u'lah
would constantly be there . It did not make the pain go away but I was not
afraid. I felt bathed in a kind of grace or some such thing.

 Here it is Sunday evening and there doesnt seem to be much cetainty for me
to stand on . So many of the platitudes i have taken for certitudes are gone
. I dont mean my faith is gone just that I am not sure what a number of
thingd mean anymore. For instance Covenant . Perhaps this is the beginning of
what real certitude is all about , alowing for multiple meanings depending on
the station in which one is standing . I am not sure. While there are lots of
questions in my mind they are not grasping ones as though I have to have a
neat tidy answer or else. There is a certain calm and I guess joy in what I
am feeling at the moment . Though it was anyhing but joyful getting here :)
 Last night we had a fireside with me in my new found state and I according
to Sue I was on . The collection of people present were of fairly diverse
backgrounds from an admirer of Fidel Castro to a champion of democracy which
he confused with capitalism , to a couple of blue collar machinists. All in
all a neat experience . As the evening unfolded I could watch where people
were at and see where they were headed. Im not sure how to describe this but
I could feel what had to be said or how to confirm where each person was and
try and bring them into a larger framework . Maybe this is what the despair
experience was trying to teach me . It really is about building bridges for
peole to walk into the promised land of Baha'u'llah's Commonwealth. It was
like seeing the revelation in a very different way for me .  
    Thank god this does not happen  to me very often. I dont normally speak
about this kind of thing but for some reason want to mention it to you .
Maybe it is the soul mate thing . Then again for better or worse, as they say
in the marriage vows, you have been an intricate part of my changing
perception of the Faith of Baha'u'llah  I hope you dont mind  that I went on
about this . 
  warmest regards and deep appreciation ,


From TLCULHANE@aol.comMon Sep 11 11:44:50 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 01:48:23 -0400
Subject: America again 

   Dear Jim ,

       If you read the post again  I think you will find i did not suggest
that we single out corporate capitalism as the bad guy .  It wont do do try
and paint me into that corner . Part of ant meaningful critique of
materialism will have to engage the institutional forms in which it manifests
itself . In this country that dominmant form is corporate capitalism . It has
a history. 
       As for populists being spartan, romantic and having a dull life
styleand therefore that is why they failed I can only asume from that comment
that you are not familiar with the populists. The writings on the Cooperative
Commonwaelth were anything but spartan, romantic , impractical . They were in
fact the last time in the U.S. antbody proposed a structural transformation
of the ecomimic-political system of the country. It was their success in
gettting the attention of masses of people that caught the attention of the
then powers that be .  By populists I am nor referring to William J . Bryan
and silver bugs .  I am referring to the the National farmers Alliance, the
Knights of labor and the Peoples party.  They did not fail because of some
spartan or romantic notion of life .  They did not so much fail as they were
defeated by some very powerful economic and political forces -- the emerging
corporate state of Mark Hanna and others who engaged in a concerted effort to
divide the populists along class,  regional, and racial lines . They also cut
off access to capital i.e. credit , controlled the press and mobilized
opinion against them , corrupterd the electoral process  by ballot stuffing
to defeat thier political candidates. You dont go to these lengths to defeat
a small poorly organized "romantic" bunch of people .   The literature is
extensive as well as are the writings of populists themselves. I would be
glad to send you a list if it would help. 
 . Am I too asume that the Kansas farmer who deplored social darwinism as
applied to the social relations of man was a hopeless romantic ?  

   As for fruitful approaches  in my part of the country I am finding a good
deal of response to the populist critique wedded to the Faith of Baha'u'llah.
I dare say I am not the only person I know who became a Baha'i because of a
resonance between the two. 

    As the weeks progress I will post some comments of Abdu'l Baha side by
side with some comments of populist speakers and intellectuals . From them I
think it will be possible to see some profound connections between what these
farmers and their labor and intellectual supporters were up to .  It is my
contention they were responding to the "energy " of the age or what we would
call revelation . remember the Tablet of the World and Baha'u'llah's comment
on agriculture ?  And I do think they have a great deal to say about the
world we are still living in . If opposinf the reduction of human
relationships to the norms of the market, opposing the factory system and its
derivatives as soul destroying and not befitting the spiritual dignity of
human beings and advocating  a systematic program of education and sharing of
individual talents for the benefit of a community to, create self-reliant
individuals all of whose skills and talents will contribute to and
participate in a "Cooperative Commonwaelth " is spartan or romantic  . . well
then I along with the populists and I dare say Baha'u'lah and Abdul Baha  we
are all hopeless romantics out of touch with the tenor of modern America .

    warm regards,

From nima@unm.eduMon Sep 11 11:46:10 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 00:23:45 -0600 (MDT)
From: Sadra 
Subject: Re: Rumi

Ahang jan-i aziz--

You flatter me! I'm by no stretch of the imagination any kind of expert 
on Mowlana and his works, merely an ashiq/lover of his illimitable 
poetic and mystical insight (as I am also of the other `urafa).

You said:
> Even if the Mathnavi's introduction was written by Rumi, to say 
> that Mathnavi contains the essence of Qur'an ("usul din"), is not 
> a confirmation of the complementary aspect of Mathnavi.  ("Asl"= 
> the essence, seems to be a favorite word of Rumi in Divan-i 
> Shams, no?)

What do you make of the following utterance of Molavi himself regarding 
the Mathnavi:

mAz-e Quran maqzrA bardAshteem,
poostash be-nazd-e kharAn be-gozashteem!

We took the inner kernel of the Quran,
and left the skin (or outer form) to the imbeciles ("imbeciles" meaning 
the fuqaha (jurists), mutakalamin (theologians) & and their gullible 
followers - my interpretation)!

I take the statement above very seriously and indicative of a
claim to some kind of status for this magnum opus, if not overriding
or supplementing the Quran, but in some way as the supreme exegesis 
(ta'wil) and complement of the Book. Btw, I've also heard (while I 
haven't found it in any of the Writings myself either) `Abdu'l-Baha 
saying that Rumi recieved divine inspiration (wahy).

> Let me offer an example of the sort of thing I'm looking for:  
> the Qur'an anticipated appearance of the Bab and Baha'u'llah, but 
> remained silent on many aspect of their Lives.  But Rumi's 
> Divan-i Shams does offer some *additional* (hence complementary!) 
> information, such as the fact that the Bab will appear in Shiraz, 
> will go on Pilgrimage, will be martyred in Tabriz, and that 
> Baha'u'llah will be born in the realm of Nur (in Mazandaran), His 
> Ministry will last 40 years, His son, Abbas, will success Him, 
> many martyrs of this Dispensation, etc.  I think if we're able to 
> point to these sort of details that Rumi provides which are 
> clearly absent in Qur'an then a credible case is made for his 
> divine inspiration and the supplementary nature of his poetry. 

I am usually not a big fan of prophecies but I suppose one can read all 
the references in both the Divan-i Kabir & the Mathnavi to the Shah-i Mardan 
(King of men), which usually refers to `Ali, as enigmatic mention of some 
future eschatalogical person (s), although one can pretty much read 
infinitely into Mowlana - the beauty of it! Interestingly, I've seen some 
Baha'is interpret even Ferdowsi & Hafiz in this light, Ferdowsi in his 
discussion of Farah-i Izad in the Shahnameh and Hafiz in the famous 
ghazal that goes:

agar An Turk-i Shirazi be-dast Arad del-i mArA,
be-khAl-i Hindu-yash bakhsham Samarqand o BukhArA rA...etc.

If the Shirazi Turk can grasp (or understand) our hearts,
I will give away Samarqand and Bukhara for a Hindu mole...etc.
(probably a terrible translation on my part)

A side note: Hafiz got himself into a lot of trouble with Timur-i 
Lang (Tamerlane) over the above opening of this ghazal and apparently 
retracted it at some point. Frank, you can tell us more about this incident.

  Many Baha'is interpret any reference to Shiraz in the ghazals of Hafiz 
as refering to the Manifestation of the Bab. While I can agree with them 
to a point, I also think it's really stretching it. But, then again, who 
am I to delimit Khawja Hafiz-i Shirazi!

  Anyway, to get back to the topic of Rumi, I'd really like to learn more 
about potential allusions to the Manifestations of the Bab & Baha'u'llah 
from the Divan & Mathnavi, `cause I'm just as much a novice here as 
anyone else.

  Btw, Ahang-i aziz, don't think for a moment you're in any way boring us 
with your posts on Hazrate Quddus. I for one am totally mesmerized by the 
discussion. Give us more these goodies :-)

Warmest regards,
O God, cause us to see things as they really are - Hadith

Strive to lead back the divine within you to the Divine in
the All - Plotinus (d. 270 AD)

From Sep 11 11:47:11 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 18:58:56 +1200
From: Robert Johnston 
Subject: Re: Women, Saints, and Power

Juan wrote:

  I cannot
>understand, however, why anyone would deny that we *have* a
>patriarchy-in-the-last-analysis.  That just seems to me an instance of
>wishing away uncomfortable realities.

This sounds remarkably like an instance of pejorative  labelling to
me...but the view that the Faith is patriarchal does -- it would seem --
require analysis.

1) Is it possible to view the House as a something other than a solely
masculine institution?  I say yes, [for instance] the particular form of
consultative decision-making employed by the House is unlike anything
anything found in patriarchy and is, indeed, more reflective of the  ideals
of women than of those of men.

2) The Faith, in this Dispensation, will bring into being the Most Great
Peace, which entails a correlation of the earthy and the heavenly.  In the
Kingdom gender distinctions are irrelevant when compared with distinctions
of character, so the fact that the membership of the House is entirely male
would not be a reason for alarm if we knew that those with the best
character were elected. [One could conceive of the instance where men and
women were eligible for membership, yet -- for whatever reason -- only men
OR only women were on the House].  From this I assume that reason[s] for
the exclusion of women is/are entirely temporal.  Mark has suggested that
the exclusion could have been implemented to save women from some future
peril.  I think the exclusion has been implemented because of the unique
role of women in parenting.  I strongly feel that the fact that this has
been obscured arises from the marginalisation of the importance bringing of
children into the world and of their early education.  Which, from the
viewpoint of physical bodies, are purely temporal phenomena primarily to do
with women.

But of the utmost importance, from the vantagepoint of the Kingdom.  I
concede that the Faith could be considered be patriarchal if Baha'is
perpetuated the same appalling standards child care as have characterised
the Old World Order.

Engels pointed out that patriarchy arose because of the strategically
advantageous location of men once grazing land and livestock became the
basis of wealth.  I would say that the basis of wealth  -- hence the basis
of power -- in the human world in the time of the Most Great Peace will be
found to be in the nurturing of children.  And here women, who carry the
child for nine months, and who suckle the new-born infant [potentially] for
a number of years are strategically placed...   I must stress that this
viewpoint is  derived from my reading of the Writings AND from my
experience of parenting, so I would not care to be told that it is
sentimental and patriarchal and out of touch with the experience of "real"
parents...  But is IS "my" view.

3) I think that the letters of Burl and Tim (et al) have adequately
undermined the notion of House membership as a legitimate human aspiration.


From GreyOlorin@aol.comMon Sep 11 11:48:16 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 03:03:07 -0400
Subject: Re: Women on UHJ

Despite the subject heading, this posting will probably circle around the
issue of women on the Universal House of Justice, rather than address it
directly.  Nevertheless, I do think I have several important points to make,
and shall strive to make them as clearly and as briefly as possible.

First, regarding the tone of the discussion on this issue, almost everyone
agrees it is unaccaptable to accuse of Covenant-breaking those who believe
women might serve on the Universal House of Justice during this Dispensation.
 This has surely improved the discussion, but I humbly suggest that further
improvement will follow if we restrain ourselves from implying that whose who
believe the existing ruling cannot be changed are in some way the victims
and/or perpetrators of sexism, secretly desiring to continue the oppression
of women.

Many Baha'i men undoubtedly retain vestiges of sexism, inherited from their
respective cultures.  However, I suspect many Baha'i men, particularly in the
Western nations, share my feelings on this issue.  Far from wanting to
exclude women from service on any Baha'i institution, I would greatly prefer
a state of affairs in which women could be elected to the Universal House of
Justice.  Defending the Faith against its attackers, teaching the Faith to
those who need its healing Message, and every other aspect of being a Baha'i
would become far more simple if this ruling could be changed.

(While we're at it, we could change quite a few other Teachings too:  let
Baha'is drink alcohol all they want, marry and divorce repeatedly with
nobody's permission but their own, etc.  Being a Baha'i might then become so
simple that there would be no real difference between being a Baha'i and not
being a Baha'i.)

However, as everyone here will readily acknowledge on most matters, we cannot
alter the rulings of the Supreme Body just to make our lives easier.
 Acknowledging this fact on the subject of women's service on the Universal
House of Justice does not provide sufficient evidence that one wishes to
oppress women, so let us dispense with any insinuations to that effect.

Perhaps I'll do better at being brief with my next points.  :)

On the supposed difference between "an exchange or dialogue with" and
"providing guidance to" the Universal House of Justice:  it seems dangerous,
just in terms of my own recognition of my lowly and humble station, to begin
to believe that I might engage in dialogue with a divinely-guided Institution
as if I were its equal.  It seems even more dangerous to believe that one
day, perhaps when its membership becomes more like me, this Institution will
come to agree with what I've believed all along.  Such a thought pattern
would boil down to the belief that my ideas contain a more perfect expression
of the Purpose of Baha'u'llah's Revelation than the decisions of the
Universal House of Justice.  This is in manifest conflict with everything I
have ever seen in the Writings about the relationship between the body of the
believers and that Supreme Body.

On the Universal House of Justice as a center of power:  of course the
*institution* has considerable power, but in Baha'i belief, it wields that
power *only* as an institution, and *only* in accordance with the Will and
Purpose of God.  The individual members thus have no power themselves, and
thus the power generally held by men in society should not be enhanced by
their eligibility to serve as members of that Body, nor should the power held
by women in society be reduced by their ineligibility to serve on that Body.
 This, succinctly, is my understanding of Baha'i belief regarding the House.
 We may not have achieved this standard yet, but it *is* the standard, unless
I am quite mistaken.

I had another point, but now it seems important enough to merit an
independent post, so I guess this one will turn out to be relatively brief
after all.

Warm regards to anyone still reading,
Kevin Haines

From GreyOlorin@aol.comMon Sep 11 11:49:31 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 03:03:23 -0400
Subject: from one topic to others...

And now I shall attempt to make the daring leap from the subject of women and
the Universal House of Justice into others where the fruit of Talismanians'
labors might be more urgently needed....

I find quite unconvincing every argument made so far in attempts to prove
that the decisions of the Universal House of Justice are influenced by the
cultural backgrounds and other individual traits of its members.  In essence,
they amount to the unsupported and unsupportable claim that the House would
have decided differently if X had been member(s); and X generally turns out
to be someone sharing the biases of the writer.  I don't even know what kind
of decisions the House would turn out if *I* were a member... (God forbid!

But beyond being unconvincing, I think this line of reasoning turns us
directly away from those that will be the most helpful in overcoming the
hurdles presented by the current rulings of the House of Justice on this
issue of women on the House.

As many have pointed out, it is indeed difficult to reconcile the unequivocal
statements of the equality of women and men presented in the Writings with
the fact that women are not eligible to serve on the Universal House of
Justice.  For the average Baha'i it is, at best, simply a matter of faith,
and unskilled efforts to explain it often do more harm than good.

For observers outside the Faith (and even some within the Cause, as the past
few days' postings here indicate) it may seem to be a sign that the Baha'is
fail to live up to their own principles, and that the Central Figures of this
religion were obviously not in touch with any higher knowledge, since they
seemed to share the biases and prejudices of their culture and historical

It seems to me that the best immediate solution to this dilemma lies in
demonstrating, through concrete examples of its decisions, that the Universal
House of Justice is no ordinary institution, and that its decisions have
promoted equality and justice for women even though no women serve on it.

I have seen only one alleged counterexample to such a line of reasoning,
which, from what I know of it, does not really serve as a counterexample.
 The argument was made that a Universal House of Justice with female members
would never have called the husband the head of the family.  I am sure that
this statement has been misinterpreted by many as giving men a superior
station in their marital relationships, but in context it is crystal clear
that it does no such thing.  In the same message, the House writes that
 "There are . . . times when a wife should defer to her husband, and times
when a husband should defer to his wife, but neither should ever unjustly
dominate the other."

In this and in numerous other decisions and messages, I think any unbiased
researcher will find ample evidence that the Universal House of Justice has
been far more consistent and revolutionary in promoting the rights of women
than any human-created institution -- more so than even those institutions
that do have female members.

The usefulness of such a line of reasoning is not limited to this one issue.
 In almost every case, when the teachings of this Faith are attacked on the
grounds that they conflict with values prevalent in modern progressive
thought, I think a deeper examination can show that the Baha'i principles, if
properly applied, provide a better means for achieving the good results
sought by those same progressive ideals.

A thorough development of this approach could enable great successes in
teaching the Faith to people in nations and cultures which view themselves as
progressive, such as the United States and other Western liberal democracies.

For example, Baha'i views on the individual's role in society indicate that
the Lockean thought underlying modern liberal democratic ideals contains
serious, crippling flaws, which prevent the realization of the very ideals
the West seeks to promote.  Many outside the Baha'i Faith recognize at least
some of these crippling flaws, but none have devised and implemented
effective ways to overcome them.

A truly innovative Baha'i effort in this area could revitalize the hopes of
millions by showing them a way to finally bring into practice the ideals that
have remained latent and unexpressed in their own cultural heritage.

This will be the direction of my next explorations here on Talisman -- but
please, if anyone else thinks this might be a fruitful field of inquiry,
don't wait for me.  Go ahead and get started on it.  I rest assured in the
knowledge that if this is a truly good idea, it belongs to no one, but
originates in the Concourse on High.

Warm regards to you all,
Kevin Haines

From Sep 11 11:50:11 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 19:24:02 +1200
From: Robert Johnston 
Subject: Re: hidden motivations

Juan Cole wrote:

>As for your premises, that `Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi were
>omniscient and propositions drawn from their statements always inerrant,
>I agree that this is a widespread belief in the Baha'i community.  Had
>you been on Talisman earlier, you would have been presented with a good
>deal of textual evidence from the Writings that this point of view is
>simply unfounded.

IMV, the general view was that what 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi said
could be believed. Omniscient is a big word...  Please refresh my
memory...just one instance of unselfconscious errancy...

>sssFinally, you have not responded to my point about principle, i.e.,
>that `Abdu'l-Baha says that equal human rights for all under the law is a
>key teaching of Baha'u'llah; it seems fairly obvious that for women to be
>excluded from some forms of administrative rights solely on the basis of
>their sex is for them to be denied a human right and is discriminatory.

Tim Nolan answered this well.  But it would seem that to hold the view that
the Faith denies human rights and is discriminatory is pretty serious


From margreet@margreet.seanet.comMon Sep 11 11:50:38 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 00:45:05 -0700
From: "Marguerite K. Gipson" 
Subject: Re: abortion defense...

Thank you Mark and John,  I will defend my position on the topic to say that
I do understand the House's stand in special instances on Abortion.  For me,
abortion is killing, I would not do it.  I am over 35, and if I got
pregnant,(God I wish) ( I have the chasity laws to abide by)   I would carry
the child to term, and raise it regardless of its health.... And even in the
case of rape for me, I would ask God to grant me the strength to love this

Where I live,  the average 16 year old has had at least 2 by this age.
Makes me crazy! It is a case of not acknowledging that pregnancy can occur,
and if it does, then abortion is the answer.   If some form of contraception
is used,  then there is some active acknowledgement of sexual activity, but
if no contraception is used then the acknowledgement of that activity is not
there and that ONE time won't be  considered as being sexual active.  (????)
But again, it is based on the theory that it won't happen to me....
(pregnancy)....  Where I live, most 14 year olds are sexually active, and in
my town of 3500, right now, 8 girls in High School are  pregnant.....  And
it ain't no biggee deal.    Hey, I just called my 17 year old friend... and
this is what she said.   And I have counseled teens to have the child and
give it up for adoption instead... I know of lots of couples who want to

On a personal note.... Where do I find that kind of guy that does floors,
assist with dishes, and a little house cleaning,  besides all the rest of
those nice duties you described???    

Warmly, Margreet  

From rvh3@columbia.eduMon Sep 11 11:51:47 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 09:20:30 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard Vernon Hollinger 
To: "Stockman, Robert" 
Subject: Re: interpreter/expounder

A friend of mine, who viewed the original ms. (typescript?) of God Passes 
By and compared it with published versions, told me that it had clearly 
been edited--he specifically mentioned changes in capitalization and 
punctuation, but also minor word changes.  He thought Horace Holley had 
edited the book for publication.  I don't see why volumes of letters of 
Shoghi Effendi would have been treated differently, unless the Guardian 
had specifically requested that GPB be commented on and/or edited prior 
to publication (which seems likely).

Richard Hollinger

From Alethinos@aol.comMon Sep 11 11:51:56 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 09:27:45 -0400
Subject: Re: America again 

Dear terry:

Corrections noted - now I have a clearer historical image here - and it makes
more sense. Thank you. And I agree with this approach more fully - so I will
be wuite interested in seeing your posts.

jim harrison

From mfoster@tyrell.netMon Sep 11 11:52:22 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 08:24:48 -0500 (EDT)
From: "Mark A. Foster" 
Subject: Patriarchy 


Talismanians -
    One of the beloved wrote that the Baha'i adminstrative order, due to 
the all-male membership on the Universal House of Justice, is 
patriarchal. IMHO, this view is reductionistic. Whatever may be the 
wisdom surrounding its gender-specific membership, the House is, from my 
POV, not the nine (or however many members it will have in the future) 
souls who serve on it. It is a reality sui generis (of its own kind or 
on its own level).
    The Universal House of Justice is the Supreme Institution. It is 
guided by the Twin Universal Manifestations of this age. While their 
infallibility is both contextual (often dependent on information) and 
contextualized (adapted to time, place, and specific circumstances), I 
do find it difficult to believe that gender would condition guidance. 
    As I wrote previously, what is, IMO, necessary for any well-functioning 
Baha'i institution, including the Universal House of Justice, is a sense 
of justice, i.e., a willingness to impartially ascertain the facts in a 
situation. The decisions of the Supreme Body are, as understand see it, 
infallibly guided within the context of the information available to the 

From Sep 11 11:52:34 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 95 07:50:01 -0400
From: Ahang Rabbani 
Subject: Hafiz

[This message is converted from WPS-PLUS to ASCII]

Nima-i aziz:

Over 900 years ago, Hafiz (otherwise known as "Lisanu'l-ghib" 
(The Tongue from the Invisible Beyond)), wrote, 

Ay Saba bi sakinan-i ahl-i Yazd az ma bigo

    Kin sar-i haqq nashinasan, kuy-i maydan-i shumast

(Oh Sheba, inform the dwellers of Yazd on our behalf,

    Infidels, this is a righteous head used as a ball in your game)

During the Ministry of Baha'u'llah, when they martyred the Seven 
Martyrs of Yazd, they cut off the head of one of the martyrs and used 
it as a ball to play a Persian game of polo.

love, ahang.

From Don_R._Calkins@commonlink.comMon Sep 11 11:52:50 1995
Date: 11 Sep 1995 08:27:13 GMT
From: "Don R. Calkins" 
Subject: UHJ and Power

> On the Universal House of Justice as a center of power:  of course the
> *institution* has considerable power, but in Baha'i belief, it
> wields that power *only* as an institution, and *only* in accordance
> with the Will and Purpose of God.

Another question is - what is the source of that power?

In popular belief in America, institutional power, like individual rights,
comes with existance.  An institution exists; therefore it has power.  As I
understand the Writings, in the Baha'i administrative system, institutional
power, as well as individual rights, are a function of the exercise of
responsibility.  If this is in fact a principle of Baha'i administration, it
alone will cause major changes in administrative methods.

Don C

He who believes himself spiritual proves he is not - The Cloud of Unknowing

From jrcole@umich.eduMon Sep 11 18:00:12 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 12:15:37 -0400 (EDT)
From: Juan R Cole 
Subject: Baha'i rights 

Allah'u'Abha, Timothy.

I agree with you that there is no a priori right of any Baha'i to serve 
on a Baha'i institution.

However, that is not my point, and I'm sorry I was not more clear, 

Adult Baha'is in good standing do have administrative rights.  These 
include the rights of voting for LSAs directly and for higher levels of 
the elected institutions indirectly; the right to be *eligible* for 
election to LSAs, NSAs, and the House; the right to give to the Baha'i 
Fund, etc.  This is why we speak of someone's administrative "rights" 
being removed for certain infractions of Baha'i law.

So what I am trying to say is that *eligibility* to be elected to Baha'i 
institutions is a human right of adult Baha'is in good standing.  By 
Baha'u'llah's and `Abdu'l-Baha's own insistence on musavat-i huquq or the 
equality of rights, it is contrary to Baha'i scriptural principle for any 
adult Baha'i in good standing to be denied eligibility for election on 
the basis of ascribed statuses such as sex, race, religious background, etc.

Yet current Baha'i practice is to deny women the right of eligibility to 
be elected to the House, solely on the basis of their sex.

Timothy, it is true that you are not on the House, and have no a priori 
right to be.  But you are, as an adult Baha'i male in good standing, 
eligible for election.  Whereas your Baha'i female relatives and friends 
are not eligible, solely because of their sex.  Can you really say this 
is fair or that it accords with Baha'i principles?  Please note that I am 
not making this argument with reference to Locke, but rather with 
reference to the essential *Baha'i* principle of musavat-i huquq, or 
equality of rights under the law for all human beings, which `Abdu'l-Baha 
strictly enjoins in many works--Traveller's Narrative, PUP, etc., and 
which he identifies as the "Seventh Principle of Baha'u'llah."

Incidentally, could someone please post the full text of the message from 
the House that makes men the head of Baha'i households?  What exactly 
does it mean for a man to be the head of the household, if it does not 
imply certain patriarchal decision-making or property privileges inhering 
in maleness?

I do not think that anyone is arguing that those Baha'is who cannot see 
any legal way for women to serve on the House have necessarily arrived at 
this position because of sexism or devotion to patriarchy.  However, the 
end result of current Baha'i electoral practices is a sexist and 
patriarchal result, all attempts at terminological legerdemain to the 
contrary.  And the invidiousness of this result is very clear if one only 
makes an analogical statement such as "only Whites may serve on the 
Universal House of Justice."

My faith in Baha'u'llah and His principles leads me to entertain the hope 
that the Baha'i community and its inspired leadership will eventually 
find a way out of this bind.

cheers,    Juan Cole

From tan1@cornell.eduMon Sep 11 18:02:40 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 13:02:31 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Timothy A. Nolan" 
Subject: Women, Universal House of Justice

Dear Juan, You wrote:

j>  With regard to the possibility of women on the House, it
j>seems to me that no one has answered Bill Garlington's
j>challenging analogy.  Discrimination on the basis of sex is no
j>different than discrimination on the basis of race.

What I'm going to say may seem a frivolous tangent, but here

I think one significant difference is that there is no rigorous,
scientifically valid definition of race. Who, exactly is a black
person, who, exactly is white?  Of course race is an historical
and social reality, but it is not a biological, genetic reality.
In a scientific sense, there are no clear boundaries delimiting
races.  Suppose a child has a Scots father and a Yoruba
(an ethnic group in West Africa) mother.  Is the child
white or black? In the U.S. the child would be defined
socially, and maybe legally, as black.  In another country
the child might be perceived as neither black nor white.
Sex, on the other hand, is clearly and rigorously defined.
If the rule was that no Caucasian people are allowd to serve
on the Universal House of Justice, it would be hard to determine
exactly who are Caucasian people. My understanding is that
people of northern India are Caucasian, although they may have
brown skin.  By comparison, Ethiopian people do not consider
themselves black, according to what I have read. 

j>  Saying women cannot serve on the House is morally 
j>equivalent to saying that, e.g., blacks cannot serve on the
j>House.  None of us (I hope) would put up with the latter
j>position.  Why is the former 
j>any different?

If one starts from the assumption that membership on the
Universal House of Justice is a right of every individual Baha'i,
then maybe there would be moral equivalence.  However, it is
possible and logical to start from the premise that membership
on the Universal House of Justice is not a *right* of anyone;
therefore there is no injustice in excluding women, because they
are not being deprived of anything that is rightfully theirs.

If Baha'u'llah had ordained, in His Writings, that certain
categories of people may not serve on the Universal House of
Justice, then why should we not "put up with it"? God ordains
what He wishes; we have no right to question or dispute with
God's guidance.   I understand, Juan, that you do not believe
the Writings explicitly exclude women....I think they clearly
do. Maybe we have to agree to disagree on that point.

If the Writings said that black people could not be members of
the House of Justice, this would not exclude anyone, since there
are no people who are literally black.  Some people have dark
brown skin, but I've never seen or heard of anyone whose skin was
literally black. Even if a person's skin was literally black,
that does not mean the person is black; a person is not defined
by skin color.  Of course they are so defined socially, but I
mean in a scientific sense, and in a spiritual sense. The reality
of any person is the soul or spirit, not the physical body. 

j>As for the argument that Baha'u'llah said so, and we must
j>simply accept what He said, I have gone blue in the face trying
j>to demonstrate that He said no such thing;

Juan, You sometimes make the point that neither Abdu'l Baha nor
Shoghi Effendi had access to all 7,000 extant documents authored
by Baha'u'llah. I assume the same is true of you, therefore how
do you actually know that Baha'u'llah never said this?
It seems to me that, with regard to knowledge of all that
Baha'u'llah wrote, a modern scholar is not in a much better
position than Shoghi Effendi....and a modern scholar does not
have the tremendous advantage of receiving unfailing, unerring
guidance from Baha'u'llah and the Bab.

j>The fact is that the Universal House of Justice is the power
j>center of the Baha'i Faith. 

I agree. The *institution* is the center of authority and power.
The nine men who serve on the House are not centers of any power
at all. The decisions of the Universal House of Justice are "the
truth and the purpose of God Himself"; the House's decisions are
not the purpose of those nine men, but the purpose of the Source
of knowledge and wisdom.

j>  To exclude women permanently from this body is to endow them
j>with less power in the Baha'i community than men. 

First of all, I don't think we should be seeking power. The
teachings make it plain that we should seek to serve others,
not to have power over others.

Second, at present, only nine men, out of roughly two million
Baha'i men, can be members of the House of Justice. So, in
practical reality, the odds of any particular man being on the
House of Justice are almost zero. Therefore, men in general
do not have any power denied to women.

Third, as others have pointed out, women, as the first educators
of the next generation, have significant influence and power
to which men do not have the right. It is true that raising
children is not accorded high prestige in modern society. But
that is not because child raising is inherently demeaning, but
rather because the leaders of opinion do not see clearly.
Current social norms and standards are not based on reality.
The reality, in my view, is that any category of people (women),
who have the God-given right to educate the next generation....
that category of people has great influence and power in the long
term.  What if Martin Luther King Jr.'s mother had raised him  to
be a cynical self-centered materialist? What if Martha Root's
mother had raised her to be cruel and indifferent to spiritual
matters? What if Isaac Newton's mother had abused her son so that
he became brain damaged? The principle is clear.

j> As for those who maintain that the Universal House of Justice
j>is unaffected by the gender or culture of its members, this is
j>patently untrue.

I agree that the culture of the members has an affect on the
House of Justice.  This is why I look forward to the time when
there will be more native Africans, native Latin Americans,
native East Asians, native Americans on the House. And I also
hope there will be members whose background is poverty or peasant
life.  But the fact that members culture affects the House does
not mean that the House makes bad or incorrect decisions because
of who the members are. The Writings make it plain that the House
of Justice is guarded from error no matter who the members are.
If the members are nine Kenyan bankers, or nine Laotian farmers,
or nine Swedish musicians, or nine illiterate shepherds, or
nine men who all have Down's matter who the
members are, the House's decisions are the truth and the purpose
of God Himself.

j>A House full of Western university professors in the humanities
j>would never have dreamed of ordering a primary source such as
j>Salmani's memoirs of Baha'u'llah to be bowdlerized in English

According to Abdu'l Baha, the decisions of the Universal House of
Justice are the "real truth" and the "purpose of God Himself".
Now, Juan, this is extraordinary. Do you mean that you know what
the "real truth" and "the purpose of God Himself" would have been
if the membership of the House had been different?  Please let us
in on how you know that.  Do you believe that the "real truth"
and the "purpose of God Himself" change based on who the members
of the House are?

j>   Saying we believe in the equality of women and men and yet 
j>keeping them off the most powerful institution in our religion
j>is bound to be seen by the outside world as both hypocritical
j>and sexist. 

I think you are right, that will be the perception of much of the
world.  And that perception will be incorrect.  The fact that
others call us hypocritical and sexist does not mean we *are*
hypocritical and sexist.  Reality is not correctly determined by
what people say. That which is right and good is properly defined
by what the Messenger of God and His lawful successors have said,
not by what fallible people say. Sexism, meaning unfair prejudice
against one sex or the other, is morally wrong.  The teachings of
Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l Baha, Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House
of Justice are, by definition, purely good. It follows,
therefore, that the Baha'i teachings, by definition, cannot be
sexist, because sexism is wrong. Of course, it would not be wise
to say that to someone who has not accepted Baha'u'llah's
message.  Nevertheless, "the good" is whatever the authoritative
Baha'i writings say, not what social fashions or popular opinions

j> But it (the rule that only men may be members of the Universal
j> House of Justice) is also contradictory to Baha'i values

It seems to me that this rule comes from the clear texts of the
Master, the Guardian, and the House of Justice. I believe,
therefore this rule is right and good
and by definition cannot be contradictory to Baha'i values.
Baha'i values are whatever the writings say they are, not what
we think or believe. The Guardian's writings, the statements of
the Universal House of Justice, *are* Baha'i values.

j>I hear voices saying that no change is possible, things are set
j>in stone. 

I'm not sure whose voice said that. I think the rule may not be
permanent, but will stand at least until the next Manifestation
of God comes. The next Manifestation, of course,
 can change anything or everything.

Tim Nolan

From Member1700@aol.comMon Sep 11 18:07:13 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 14:07:12 -0400
Subject: Re: Women, Saints, and Power

Juan was quite right to point out that the feminist women in my little story
were utterly unimpressed (as they should be) will ascriptions of high
spiritual status to women in any religion.  They knew quite well that such
protestations of the high spiritual status that women have in this or that
religion are universal.  They usually mask the exclusion of women from
positions of authority on some level.  Hence, the question that was their
acid test--Can the highest office in the community be held by a woman?
 (Please note that they were uninterested in theology.)  
    Surely they are right.  After all, the Virgin Mary holds a theological
position (as the Mother of God, etc.) much higher than anything that we have
attributed to any woman in the Baha'i Faith.  That does not seem to have had
any effect whatsoever on providing women with equal right in Christian
     But on another note, on the same subject--no one has brought up Susan
Stiles argument concerning women on the House of Justice.  I believe that she
presented her view in a paper given at one of the scholarly conferences held
in Wilmette recently (or maybe it was at an AAR conference,  Rob Stockman can
help me out here).  Anyway, she noted that whenever the word "wisdom"
(hikmat) was used in the Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha, that this is always coded
language to indicate a temporary practice that is adopted by the Baha'i
community for reasons of expediency or for the safety of the believers.  It
also implies that such a practice is actually contrary to the Baha'i
teachings, and will eventually be discarded.  
    Thus there are Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha to the women in Iran urging them
to continue to wear the veil (chadur) for reasons of wisdom.  Baha'i were
instructed not to teach the Faith, since it would be contrary to wisdom.  And
so forth.  
     In this light, the Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Baha which indicates that the
"wisdom" (he uses the word hikmat) of exclusion of women from the House of
--historically, he meant the local House of Justice, but the reference can be
understood to refer to the institution in general--that the wisdom of that
exclusion would become clear in the future, could be understood to mean that
this is only a temporary provision which will eventually be changed as
circumstances allow it.  
    This struck me as a very interesting argument which would certainly apply
to the other instances of 'Abdu'l-Baha enjoining "wisdom" on the community.
 I wonder if Juan or Ahang might comment.  


From Sep 11 18:08:36 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 95 13:31:01 -0400
From: Ahang Rabbani 
Subject: Re: Women, Saints, and Power

[This message is converted from WPS-PLUS to ASCII]

My ex-neighbor and good friend, Tony, wrote:

>  ... Susan Stiles argument concerning women on ... 

> ... I wonder if Juan or Ahang might comment.  

Yes, I'll be happy to comment, and here's my comment:


Damn, that woman is smart!

End of Ahang's comments.

From richs@microsoft.comMon Sep 11 18:25:05 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 95 12:50:04 PDT
From: Rick Schaut 
Subject: Re: Women, Saints, and Power

Dear Talizens,

I sense an underlying assumption which seems to have been
adopted without being clearly stated nor has its validity been
adequately established.  The assumption is that a patriarchical
structure is anathema to the principle of equality of men and
women.  I'd like to explore this just a bit, and welcome other

At one time, I used to believe that kingship was anathema
to Baha'i notions of equality.  My belief was based, largely,
upon the historical evidence of oppression at the hands of
despotic rulers.  I believed that the only way to prevent such
oppression was to adopt an elected form of leadership.
Much to my surprise, I discovered that a constitutional
monarchy was the favored form of government.

When I examined this issue further, it became clear to me
that Baha'u'llah was taking an existing notion and turning
it on its head, making it to achieve precicely the opposite
of what it had accomplished in the past.  I'm inclined to
believe that the same is true of the exclusion of women
from membership on the Universal House of Justice.

There is little question that this creates a patriarchical
Administrative Order.  There is, also, little question that
this Administrative Order is charged with seeing that the
principle of equality of men and women is realized in all
affairs of the community.

This leads me to ask, what precisely constitutes the
realization of this principle?  I believe that the true realization
of the equality of men and women lies in a change in the
attitudes of every human being on the planet.  A while back,
I mentioned an incident where my neighbor's son expressed
surprise at my daughter's interest in toy motorcycles.  What
role does 'power' play in the attitudes of a four year old

Modern feminist theory holds that the way to achieve
equality is from the top down.  This view, when divorced
from the principles and manifold teachings of the Baha'i
Faith, is probably valid, because there is no common
view of humanity from which to inculcate any sort of change.
Lacking such a common view, one has nothing to do but
deal with the image fostered by the structure of society.

Within the Baha'i Faith, however, there does exist a common
view of humanity from which to bring about change in
a bottom-up fashion.  Attitudes can be addressed from
the standpoint of principle rather than the standpoint of
the image projected by an ultimately patriarchical structure.

Hence, once again, I see a way in which Baha'u'llah
has taken something so closely associated, historically,
with the oppression of women, and turned it on its head.  I
regard this as nothing short of a sign of the power of
Baha'u'llah's Revelation, and yet another indication of
the meaning of the verse, "Verily, He doeth whatsoever
He willeth."

Warmest Regards,
Rick Schaut

From rstockman@usbnc.orgMon Sep 11 18:25:40 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 95 15:12:10 
From: "Stockman, Robert" 
Subject: Re[2]: Women, Saints, and Power

     For those interested in Susan Stiles Maneck's paper about "Wisdom," a 
     version of it will be presented at the Religious Studies Seminar of 
     the Association for Baha'i Studies, Thursday, October 12, 1995, San 
     Francisco.  I should be able to post the entire schedule in a few 
     days.  The program will be day-long )don't worry Junan, we'll schedule 
     for the afternoon).
     Susan's paper does not say that every time `Abdu'l-Baha uses the word 
     "wisdom" He is referring to a temporary measure.  Rather, her argument 
     focuses on the idea that "wisdom" is similar to the Shi'ite idea of 
     dissimulation.  Shiites can deny their Faith; Baha'is cannot; but 
     Baha'is must use wisdom in what they say about their Faith.
     Perhaps Tony--who will also be speaking at our Religious Studies 
     Seminar!--can ask Susan a question about this very point and its 
     relevance to women.
                -- Rob Stockman

From rstockman@usbnc.orgMon Sep 11 18:26:21 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 95 14:51:50 
From: "Stockman, Robert" 
Subject: Re[2]: hidden motivations

     True enough.  But one could argue that men *as a gender* have the 
     "right" to be elected to the House and women do not.  And then we are 
     right back to square one again.
     In this I agree with Juan: not electing women to the House of Justice 
     makes no rational sense.  I disagree with him, however, in that I 
     think this prohibition is clearly based in Baha'i scripture and 
     therefore it cannot be overturned.  In fact, after these weeks of 
     discussion, I still find it hard to understand why people think the 
     clear statements of `Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi can be overturned 
     (especially by the House of Justice, which has already said they can't 
     The House, in its letter to the New Zealand NSA, has also said the 
     exclusion of women "has nothing to do" with the equality of the sexes. 
     By this I take it they mean at the level of principle.  The only way I 
     can reconcile all these various statements is to postulate various 
     future scenarios, such as the next "Man"ifestation will be a 
     Womanifestation and must be spared from the onerous duty of service on 
     the House; or that the next Man/Womanifestation will say only women 
     can serve and men can't for the next thousand years.  Who knows?  
     Someday it will be as clear as the sun in the noon-day sky, but not on 
     September 11, 1995.
           -- Rob Stockman

From Dave10018@aol.comMon Sep 11 18:26:36 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 17:04:06 -0400
Subject: Re: a riff on grace but mostly on postmodernism and world order and love

Dear Robert, 

Sorry to be so slow with this after you were so fast with your response. You
touch on a lot and with vividness and your own blunt grace.

In fact, when so many thoughts rush into the mind it is hard to say anything
at all. 

 I did not see "Last of the Mohecans" but the presence of grace in a work of
art, as in any human product, points to the paradox that grace does not
depend on purity of intention in any simple way. Scoundrels can make great
art as surely nice people can make forgettable art, and what is great for me
may be meaningless to you. You remark that grace is the opposite of
selfishness. I suppose in a way, but such opposites coincide all the time.
One could say that clouds are the opposite of earth, but grace rains down on
"the high and low alike." I am moved to remind you that even if raindrops are
carried down by angels, still, dogs get wet. 

I don't know the story about Nietzsche and the lightening bolt. Where do you
find it?
My knowledge of this as many writers is sketchy and largely secondhand but
allows me to make some connections which i am willing to try for all their

>You make a good point when you indicate that modernism proclaimed itself as
>a liberatory project.  However, how do you square this proclamation with
>the view expressed by the Guardian and the House  (and prefigured in the
>Writings of  Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha)  that the fortunes of humanity
>are approaching their lowest ebb?  What happened to the promises of

What is the road to Hell paved with, Robert? And what is the purpose of

O Son of Man!
My calamity is My providence,outwardly it is fire and vengeance, but inwardly
it is light and mercy. Hasten thereunto that thou mayest become an eternal
light and an immortal spirit.This is My command unto thee, do thou observe

"There shall suddenly appear that which shall cause the limbs of mankind to

"If Khidr did wreck the vessel on the sea,
Yet in this wrong there are a thousand rights."

Since the collapse of the old order we have been in a period of crisis so
unlike earlier times that we have called our age "modern." In "modernity" we
try to adapt to the loss of divine authority and develop some kind of stable
ethic out of the crisis. Of course all such efforts fail, as do efforts to
reproduce the authority of old. Anxiety, disharmony, all manner of fanaticism
and superstition, selfishness and injustice all run rampant, but there is no
alternative! We are modern whether we like it or not! The Divine Right of
Kings is gone and cannot be ressurrected until kings take the stairway to the
Shrine of the Bab. The age is decadent. Modern evils are ancient evils
unleashed as society has lost the mechanisms that kept them in check.( For
instance, native America was for some thousands of years protected from
contact with Europe by an ocean.)  This does not mean that people don't have
good intentions, and we as Baha'is should sympathize with people's good
intentions! Also, out of all this comes a tremendous amount of creativity.
After all, it is Baha'u'llah who ushered in the New Age, and people are
developing not only technical means but all manner of symbolic
representations which declare that a new age is here, that a  rare crisis,
nearly unparalled in human history is here(the parallel with the Collapse of
Rome is pretty close), that the moon is turned blood red and the stars fallen
to earth. New stars fall every day. "I have seen the best minds of my
generation destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical, naked..." This crisis
is necessary. Shoghi Effendi also says that. 

Our culture is empty because at its center is a space demanding anxiously to
be filled. Like Hell in the Quranic verse, the one where Hell cries out for
more. Whoever or whatever tries to fill that space is eaten alive, but
ultimately the Faith will fill it. Shoghi Effendi somewhere describes the
world at the point of the lesser peace as a beautiful but lifeless body. We
must breathe life into it.  We do not do this by cursing every effort made in
the last two hundred years or by sneering at present culture. We do it by
reinterpreting whatever we can get our hands on. Heidegger and Winnie the
Pooh, Elvis Presley and Minnie Mouse and Mother Teresa and W.E.B.Dubois and
Bill De Kooning  and Georgia O'Keefe and Ray Charles and Cher and John and
Yoko and Mick and Keith and Paul and Linda too. As individuals we are just
reflections of each other and bits of grace. Grace is scattered everywhere
and we should be connoisseurs of grace, slick and funky. What I like best
about the postmodern writers is the assertion that texts can be used as
sources of meanings without worrying about the author's intentions.Texts
reveal different meanings to different readers with different frames of
reference. Meanings show up the author had no idea of. The Bab said something
similar about poets to Mulla Husayn at Mahku. He said that poets can be
inspired with prophetic words the import of which they are unaware.In the
Seven Valleys Baha'u'llah describes how "many colored globes" reflect the
light. Now, any style of music, any style of art,is being actively practiced
and reproduced today. Without effort you can listen to Mozart and Mahler and
Ladysmith Black Mombazo in one afternoon, while viewing images by Goya and
Cindy Sherman. Hey, is this the Day of Resurrection, or what?  We are
learning to be more flexible.

The male membership of the Universal House of Justice has, in my view,
nothing to do with women's capacity to serve. The sooner we accept that the
sooner we can talk about the real reasons for it. Any attempt to explain it
in terms of capacity or "function" or role of women has the effect of reading
into it limitations on women that are not there and which women are
disproving every day and which we as believers in women's equality do not
want women to be bound by.  Such attempts rest on the assumption that there
must be a  rational practical reason for the limitation, a reason why the
House must work better without women, or be more acceptable at present
without them. I think  none of these apply. I do think the all-male House of
Justice does represent,along with some other features of the Faith such as
the attitude toward Kings and the male Gaurdianship, a symbolically
significant remnant of patriarchy. There might be reasons why such a remnant
might be desirable psychologically in an age when other marks of patriarchy
will be gone.  If we try to understand it rationally, as if the exclusion of
women from the House membership  were made for some practical non-symbolic
reason, we are confusing symbolic and practical realms. I will go over this
in a seperate post. 

I offer these thoughts as thoughts. 


From Sep 11 18:27:09 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 95 15:09:01 -0400
From: Ahang Rabbani 
Subject: Quddus -- response to a note ...

[This message is converted from WPS-PLUS to ASCII]

On Sept 9, 1995, Jonathan wrote:

>Dear Ahang!
>In the month that I have been on Talisman, I have never seen anyone make a
>topic sound so exciting as this one!  I have always wondered about the
>station of Quddus, along with trying to understand the significance of the
>Bab's Revelation.  Thank you for bringing up this topic, and please keep
>posting!  Once I can get my mind around it all, I will join in.
>Tell me, are those translations yours?  I mean especially the one from
>Baha'u'llah's Writings about Quddus:
>        " O My Lord, thy praise be upon Him Who is the Last One to 
>         be sent down, Whose essence is the same as His (the 
>         Bab's) essence, and His manifestation is the same as His 
>         manifestation, only that He acquired His radiance from 
>         Him and prostrated Himself before Him and testified to 
>         His own servitude..."
>This is great!  Very rarely do I find provisional translations which 
>actually convey the power of Baha'u'llah's words.  Most of them always seem 
>to lack something deep down.  These translations are incredible.
>One of the most intriguing things for me about this Revelation, is how it is
>so great and vast that it required such incredible souls just to prepare the
>way for it.  It seems almost like God decided to allocate the best souls he
>had in His repertoire, so to speak, to be on earth just for that nine year
>period.  You would think that He would have wanted them to be around for the
>longest possible time. Of course, these last statements are made with a 
>whole lot of assumptions about what "best" is.  But it's interesting anyway.
>Keep it up!

Dear Jonathan:

I deeply appreciate your note of encouragement -- I draw much 
strength and energy from it.

The Hand of the Cause Samandari used to say that when you look at 
all the Writings of the Faith, its 90 percent encouragement!  Only 
about 10 percent other things, but God knows that we grow through 
encouragement.  As such, thank you for your encouragement.

I'm glad that you're enjoying these postings.  Actually, I must 
confess that this is my first chance to share some of these 
materials with a group of learned Baha'is.  I'm hoping for feedback 
so I can adjust my thinking and presentations accordingly.  As such, 
I'll be most interested in your comments and eagerly look forward to 
them, as your time permits.

I fully concur with you about the unique character of the Babi 
Dispensation and the august station of the dawn-breakers of our 
Faith.  Their story must be told properly.  The beloved Guardian 
expected that this will be a service which the future historians 
will labor towards.  I think what we can do at this stage is to 
assemble the primary documents in anticipation for this wonderful 
task that future historians will discharge.

As to the provisional translations, the beauty of Baha'u'llah's 
stupendous Revelation is that its so *luminous* that no matter how 
defective the instruments for conveyance (in this case, this 
insignificant translator), its light will shine forth brilliantly.  
How can one obscure the Sun?

with much love, ahang.

From KOLINSSM@hcl.chass.ncsu.eduMon Sep 11 18:27:32 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 17:56:20 EDT
From: Steven Kolins 
Subject: Re: factors affecting the Wisdom

> Dear Talismanians,
> It is true that the wisdom that Abdu'l-Baha has refered to will be
> clear erelong, as He has put it. But I think the fullfilment of this
> wisdom is dependent on the following factors that have some bearing
> on it (of course not in this order):

Sorry if this has been picked up on - i'm getting caught up on 
mail....  Why do think there *should* be pre-requisites for the sun of 
this issue to shine in its noon splendour? By the use of the analogy 
i suppose that it is possible that there are some clouds that need to 
be cleared, but what do you think? And how would understanding the 
role of the history of the totality of creation in the Baha'i 
Writings delineate the role of women? Also i see the majority of the 
planet becomeing Baha'is playing a role only if the effect of the 
planet's peoples is to cloud our understanding - which well it might. 
Is that why you bring it up?

All I need is Freedom of spirit, Chastity of soul, and Purity of 
heart. A pov is not even secondary. 

From mfoster@tyrell.netMon Sep 11 18:28:24 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 16:52:18 -0500 (EDT)
From: "Mark A. Foster" 
Subject: Gender and the House 


Timothy A. Nolan wrote to the multiple recipients of

T >Baha'i values are whatever the writings say they are, not what
T >we think or believe. The Guardian's writings, the statements of
T >the Universal House of Justice, *are* Baha'i values.
    Hi, Tim and other Talismanians -
    Tim, I wanted to first agree with your statement. The Baha'i 
definition of equality is not dependent on outside sources - however 
well reasoned. Even in cases where terms are adopted by the Central 
Figures from other contexts, the meaning may be quite different. 
    `Abdu'l-Baha spoke of science to Western audiences. However, IMHO, a 
deeper reading of His words indicates that He was referring to something 
considerably deeper than the essentially anti-metaphysical approach all 
too frequently advocated by seventeeth- and eighteenth-century 
Enlightenment thinkers and by the nineteenth-century positivists. The 
Master used a term which His listeners were familiar with as a thought 
bridge. He was, IMO, challenging them to cross over their personal 
frameworks and arrive at the realm of inner reality.  
    When great Beings like the Prophets and the Mystery of God use human 
languages, not everything can be perfectly conveyed. Contradictions 
appear because of the inadequacy of an analogical rational discourse 
using symbol vehicles from the kingdom of names and attributes. These 
paradoxes, such as that between, on the one hand, the notion of equality 
and, on the other, men as the ones to engage in combat, women as the 
first parents, fathers as the primary providers and protectors (the 
meaning "head" of the family, according to the House), and the male 
membership in the twin institutions of the Guardianship and the 
Universal House of Justice, are, IMV, like Zen koans calling us to see a 
resolution in a higher level of reality. When we attempt to explain the 
divine utterances, we inevitably introduce additional contradictions.
    In much the same way, words like "equality" and "science" are among 
the "symbolic terms and abstruse allusions" - an appreciation of which, 
as Baha'u'llah wrote, will distinguish the pure in heart from those 
that are earthly. The outer meaning, IMV, is not what is intended. 
Referring to present-day views of equality is interesting as a 
comparative exercise, but it does not necessarily aid one to better 
understand the Sacred Texts. Likewise, arriving at our own 
interpretations of the words of Baha'u'llah and the Master on the 
subject of the membership of the Supreme Body may be useful - except 
when they they are over-ruled by an authorized interpreter.      
    IMHO, in order to understand equality, the Baha'i Sacred Texts and 
its authoritative interpretations and elucidations certainly must be 
consulted. For example, what does the word "wisdom" mean? How will we 
arrive at the point when we will have sufficient wisdom to appreciate 
the reason for what, according to the Universal House of Justice, is the 
Dispensational exclusion of women from membership on that body? Is not 
the Master calling us to develop a spiritual quality (wisdom) which will 
enable us to view this matter from an overall (spiritual or eternal) 
viewpoint? Apparently, we have not as yet developed this degree of 
wisdom and will not achieve it until we arrive at a future stage in the 
progressive Revelation of the Word of God within this Dispensation.     
    One of the beloved wrote that he wished there was a way to allow 
women on the Supreme Body - but that he did not see how that could be 
done. From my perspective, the only appropriate matter to wish for, in 
this respect, is the triumph of the Cause of God - a success which is 
not ulltimately dependent on whether our views conform to popular ones.  
We do not know the wisdom for the exclusion of women. However, we do 
know that the Will of God is expressed, contextually, in the words of 
the Universal House of Justice, and that this same Body has supported 
the interpretation of the beloved Guardian of the words of the Master on 
the membership of the Universal House of Justice. The House itself, of 
course, has no gender.
    Loving greetings,


From Sep 11 18:29:22 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 10:08:54 +1200
From: Robert Johnston 
To: Juan R Cole ,
Subject: Re: Baha'i rights


 However, the
>end result of current Baha'i electoral practices is a sexist and
>patriarchal result, all attempts at terminological legerdemain to the
>contrary.  And the invidiousness of this result is very clear if one only
>makes an analogical statement such as "only Whites may serve on the
>Universal House of Justice."

I really feel that considerable caution is required when dealing with a
comment such as this when it is made by a mature and deepened Baha'i.
Clearly the writer is expressing a viewpoint which is entirely inconsistent
with the tenets of the Faith.  Further, from my observations, I have not
seen the viewpoint  alter, even when confronted by sustained, clear, cogent
and sagacious responses.  Rather than become involved in the horrors of
idle disputation, I do not intend addressing the viewpoint of this
correspondent on this matter again -- as long as this kind of statement is
articulated.  I strongly advise others to do the same.  Some things are not


From KOLINSSM@hcl.chass.ncsu.eduMon Sep 11 18:29:57 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 18:19:54 EDT
From: Steven Kolins 
Subject: Re: Baha'i/Buddism unity?

> In talking with Baha'is on compuserve and elsewhere this became patently
> obvious. There is not yet a strong tradition of Baha'i apologetics for Baha'is
> to draw upon when entering in a discussion like this, which can result some
> floundering and can also lead to the disasters such as Fozdar's two works on
> Buddhism.

While agree with the former i question the leap on the last. There 
are things about Fozdar's books i do not quite like - more in the 
realm of science analogies though my recolection is not clear these 
few years later. However his working of prophecy dates and such seem 
quite useful, if not widely held ( with respect to _Buddha Matreya 
Amitabha Has Appeared_(spelling off, but you get the reference.))

> > "I follow him in most instances in seeing that there are connections
> between fundamental insights in the mystical systems East and West yet also
> underlying differences that remain, even at the level of pure mystical
> experience." <

Perhaps - mystical expereince is i think, wondering lost in the 
valley of God. However i know a freind Baha'i working on an 
article/book which examines the unity of Christ and Buddha - in that 
they both laid claim to pure unity with the Ultimate Reality. "I and 
the Father are one" parallels some statement apparently in Buddhist 
> > "the soul is an unknowable essence" <
> Then how do you know that you have, or are, one?

In very important ways, i don't. Just as i don't know my own station. 
Yet when i say i don't know i have one i could be tetering on not 
knowing anything about how to explain, no reference for, something i 
never the less feel. After death, forced into a realm with the 
context for the expression of the souls qualities, it may be 

> Which seems to be a real challenge for Baha'i, because the run of the mill
> Baha'i is likely to approach other religions in terms that are dismissive of
> what is unique to that religion on the basis of what they hold progressive
> revelation to be.

Run of the mill Baha'is i see coming from directions i would never 
have supposed. I see more patience than i have, i see more comfort in 
troubling circumstances, more flexibility in social strata, more 
direct insights that leave me grasping for breath.

Perhaps you mean Baha'is who do not take their spiritual life in 

All I need is Freedom of spirit, Chastity of soul, and Purity of 
heart. A pov is not even secondary. 

From haukness@tenet.eduMon Sep 11 22:36:45 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 17:40:40 -0500 (CDT)
From: John Haukness 
To: Juan R Cole 
Subject: Re: Baha'i rights 

Allah-u-abha Friends: Would there be any way we could see positives in 
the terms patriarcal and matriarcal, perhaps along the lines that the two 
words are merely an extention of correspondingly, men and women, and that 
the words negative connotations come from societal misuse? That is if a 
man makes a family decision it would be a patriarcal decision and if the 
woman made an identical decision, it would be a matriarcal. And if there 
might be some flexible general differences, such as the man generally 
deferring to the women in areas of raising the children and the woman 
sometimes deferring to the man in some cases of how to earn income to buy 
clothing for the children (assuming such an arrangement would be mutually 
agreed upon) would this not represent a patriarcal matriarcal arrangement 
with the potential towards family respect and not be indicative of gender 

From Sep 11 22:43:33 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 11:56:15 GMT=1200
From: Mary Day 
Subject: Female/male in Sufi thought

Dear Nima,

Like you I hope this will be a productive enquiry and your careful 
responses to my questions are an important step. As I have said before I am 
interested in Bahai conceptions of the masculine and feminine principles, so
I do not intend dwelling here on side issues arising from your reponses. As 
you said you haven't read widely in feminism and I haven't read widely in 
Sufi metaphysics so I am relying on your knowledge. You are right in thinking
that the femininst writers, Faludi, Steinem and Daly don't have a lot to 
offer in these questions [Daly may have more than the others]but 
there are others
whose work would be worth looking at but I don't know who they are .  I 
will be talking to a friend who does know 
about this as soon as she returns from holiday 
and get back to you with any suggestions. I don't have time to do a literature
search myself just now. Perhaps someone else here can help. 
Thank you for your suggestions of things I could read. I will add them to my
list but other commitments mean it will probably be 1997 before I get 
to them. 

I agree with you that maleness and femaleness in the context of this 
kind of discussion should be viewed as metaphysical principles and not 
necessarily persons and that this symbolism can be utilised
to express a Reality, as you said. I just don't think that active/passive 
or women as the centre of the circle and men as the periphery are 
appropriate/useful ways of characterising these. These are points that I 
intend coming back to at greater length once I have gathered some other 
information. Another aspect of this I am considering is whether what we 
are pondering are gender or biological sex differences. Something else I 
will be revisiting.

Now I want to ask you for further clarification of a couple of your 

My questions 3 was about the association of women with perfume and 
prayer.  This was in fact a question on my part and not an objection that
this hadith objectifies women.

I was actually asking you what the 'dynamic context of the hadith itself' 
is. I was hoping to draw you out a little here so that you would explain 
how you would understand this. Can you have another go? 

I didn't understand your answer to number 6, re what is meant by 
active and passive. Can you elaborate?

Nima, I realise that these questions are easy for me to ask and not 
so easy for you especially in these time and space constraints, to 
answer but I appreciate your efforts and have found them very helpful 
so far. All I am hoping for are some pointers to further areas for thought 
and meditation and to get a flavour for the subject rather than a 
three course meal.

Thanks Nima. 

With love


From Sep 11 22:45:57 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 13:08:34 GMT=1200
From: Mary Day 
Subject: REFER

Dear Talismans,

The next step in my pursuit of feminine and masculine principles in 
the Bahai Faith  is to look at the Writings about this. I  have 
seen reference to REFER from time to time but I don't know exactly 
what it is or who has access to it. Is this something I could do 
myself [I have access to WWW, Netscape, all that good stuff] or is 
it something someone else can do for me? I am hopeful of the latter
 of course . Can I just say will someone please find references 
to feminine and masculine principles and someone will do that? 

If this is so and someone is willing could you let me know. Thanks.

Linda, it is great to have you back. Your comments about women Sufis 
have added context to Nima's explanation.

If anyone else wants to direct me to quotes on the feminine and 
masculine principles I would be very grateful.

I realise the list is very busy with some very interesting topics at 
the moment so I am just preparing the ground for the next interesting 

Thanks again

From LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.eduMon Sep 11 22:46:27 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 95 20:21:00 EWT
Subject: oh, those women again!

Dear Robert, please don't be upset!  We women in the U.S. have been comparing
the race and gender equality issues for years.  It sounds good and it makes us
feel better.  But nothing ever comes of it.  Nothing ever changes.  So, don't

	 As for mothers and babies, it has been my understanding, and correct me
if I'm wrong, that women have been having babies for an awfully long time.  But
the world still isn't exactly the way we would like it to be.  Actually, what
some of us had in mind was serving on some sort of committee or being a part of
some institution where we could sort of arrange things the way we'd like them. 
I'm talking world scale here.  I envision sitting on some august body making
decisions that are going to affect the way people organize themselves in
groups, maybe make some decisions on issues of morality.  You get the idea.  I
have a dream.  But, don't worry.  It's just a dream.  It can't be reality.  We
women aren't able to fulfill this dream. We're busy having babies.  The world
needs us to have lots and lots more babies so that we don't have time to worry
about things like construction of buildings, dispersion of funds (or time to
write sarcastic notes on e-mail).   Linda

From LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.eduMon Sep 11 23:06:31 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 95 19:34:54 EWT
Subject: sufi women

Juan, I only meant that she is the only one that is ever mentioned.  I don't
really doubt that there were others, only that men have not seen fit to do them
justice.  When they need to make the point of how liberal they are regarding
women, they mention "many women mystics" and then use Rabi'a's name.  Rather
pathetic, don't you think?  Linda

From Sep 11 23:09:33 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 95 09:45:01 -0400
From: Ahang Rabbani 
Subject: Quddus -- part 6

[This message is converted from WPS-PLUS to ASCII]

 Dear Friends,
 In our discussion of the life and writings of Quddus, we got as 
 far as His return back to Barfurush after His 3 years of study 
 with Siyyid Kazim and the beginning of persecutions which some 
 six years later cost Him his life.
 The early to middle of the 19th century in Iran marks a period 
 of particularly high tension between Akhbari and Usuli factions 
 of Shi'i religion -- respectively, representing the orthodox and 
 progressive factions of Shi'i school of thoughts in Islam.  This 
 competition was specially aggravated given the challenge which 
 Shaykhi matrix of thought presented to the Usuli factions The 
 clash between Shaykhi and Usuli followers (which by the middle 
 of the 19th century were the dominant force) was later 
 translated to the ideological clash between the Babis and 
 It is against this background that we note Quddus' sufferings as 
 a leader of Shaykhi faction in Barfurush during His year-long 
 stay there.  In this period, His sole supporter was His 
 childhood teacher, Shariatmadar.
 Soon after His arrival, Quddus began to separate Himself from 
 the society and seek the seclusion and privacy of His father's 
 home and undertake long hours of meditation.  A number of close 
 companions began to gradually recognize in Him his divine 
 capacities and were deeply attracted to Him.  With them, Quddus, 
 would share the news of the near advent of the Promised One.  As 
 His fame increased so did His troubles.  The center all the 
 seditions was none other than Sa'idu'l-Ulama.
 (The Islamic Hadith hold that a bearded woman, named Sa'id, 
 would use his ax to kill the Qa'im, the Promised One.  It was on 
 May 16, 1849, that Sa'idu'l-Ulama used his ax to tear Quddus 
 apart and mutilate His remains.)
 With the news of Siyyid Kazim's death, Quddus decided to proceed 
 to Shiraz.  Outwardly He told His family that He was going on a 
 Pilgrimage journey to Macca.
 By now, of course, the Bab had declared Himself in Shiraz and 17 
 Letters of the Living were already enrolled.  (As a side, it 
 should be pointed out, that Shiraz served as the Qiblih, the 
 Point of Adoration, during the Babi Dispensation.  Mulla Husayn,  
 Quddus and others, from at least Khurasan period -- before 
 Badasht! -- offered their prayers in the direction of Shiraz.  I 
 shared this fact to begin to set the stage for debunking all 
 these claims that it was Tahirih who recognized and insisted on 
 separation of Babi from Islamic Dispensation.  Long before 
 Badasht, both Mulla Husayn and Quddus were preaching this Truth.  
 More on this later...)
 Call to mind Nabil's report, how one night the Bab said to Mulla 
 Husayn that the last Letter of the Living will arrive tomorrow.  
 Next day, Quddus arrived in the city and upon seeing His old 
 classmate, Mulla Husayn, asked if he had discovered the Promised 
 One.  Mulla Husayn tried to not answer the question, but Quddus 
 replied:  "Why seek you to hide Him from Me.  I can recognize 
 Him by His gait.  I confidently testify that none besides Him, 
 Whether in the East or in the West, can claim to be the Truth.  
 None other can manifest the power and majesty that radiate from 
 His holy person."  Of course, Quddus was pointing to the Bab Who 
 had His back to the two of them and was standing not far from 
 them.  Mulla Husayn uncontrollably utters this poem:
 "Dideh khahm kih bashad Shah shinas,
      Shah ra bishnasad andar har libas"
 (Grant me eyes which would recognize the King, 
      in whatever clothing the King is attired.)
 Mulla Husayn goes to the Bab and reports the conversation.  The 
 Bab says:  "We have in the world of the spirit been communing 
 with that youth.  We know him already.  We indeed awaited His 
 coming.  Go to Him and summon Him forthwith to Our presence."
 So, notice that Quddus immediately recognized the Bab (unlike 
 Mulla Husayn himself who asked for proofs and arguments), by 
 just beholding the back of the Bab and that the Bab says the Two 
 been already communing.
 Now, ponder what Quddus has Written:
       Qul:  Ana'l hamdu'llah lazy qad rabbani bi aydy min qabil.  
       Yata qad arani ala'l-qarsh jamalihu va huvva rabu'l-alamin 
       hamidan fi ummu'i-kitab jabaran...
       Say:  Praise by upon My Lord (the Bab) Who with His divine 
       Hands guided Me from before, even manifest His Countenance 
       to Me in the Paradise.  Verily, He is the Lord of the 
       worlds, and in the Mother Book is Generous and Omnipotent.  
       I testify that before Thou declared thy most august Self 
       to the world of creation, I beheld Thy most luminous 
       Countenance and prostrated Myself before Thy Throne of 
       Majesty and Might.  I testify before all creation that 
       there is no other God in both the heaven and earth but 
       Thee, the ancient, the everlasting. 
 The wonderful thing about this passage, as I understand it, is 
 that Quddus testifies that He had known the Bab and was in 
 communication with him ("guided Me") *before* the Bab's 
 This is absolutely a wonderful piece of Writing to have.  
 Previously, we had Nabil's reported words of the Bab that the 
 Two were in communication in the world of spirit and now we have 
 the actual, written Words of Quddus that indeed this 
 communication was taking place in the heavens (or world of 
 spirit) and that Quddus recognized the Bab long before His open 
 Declaration to Mulla Husayn!
 (personal note:  during the time that I've been focusing on the 
 Babi Dispensation and carefully reading a number of primary 
 documents, the amazing thing that I have come to understand is 
 how incredibly *accurate* Nabil's narrative is.  It's just a 
 miracle of Baha'u'llah, (because nothing else can explain it), 
 that so many of the details that Nabil gives, and in recent 
 years have come under criticism in certain quarters, are in fact 
 absolutely true and accurate!  Any wonder why the beloved 
 Guardian considered it so important?  We just need to publish 
 these primary documents so that all can see for themselves... 
 The above example, regarding the Bab's and Quddus' early 
 interaction, is just one such instance.)
 Perhaps at this juncture it behooves us to pause and ponder the 
 station of the Letters of the Living.
 First, call to mind St. John's vision (Book of Revelation) of 
 the 24 Elders seated before God (i.e. Baha'u'llah).  The beloved 
 Master explains that the first of these Elders is the Bab, the 
 next 18 are the Letters of the Living and the twentieth is Mirza 
 Muhammad-Taqi, the Vakkilu'l-Haqq, (the saintly architect of the 
 Temple in Ishaqabad and the cousin of the Bab -- he was a son of 
 the Bab's Great Uncle (recipient of the Kitab-i Iqan)).
 To understand their station a bit more fully allow me to share a 
 few extract  -- and please forgive my extremely inadequate 
 Baha'u'llah in the Kitab-i Badi`, His longest revealed Work 
        It is certain that after the Point (the Bab), Truth is 
        manifest from the Letters of the Living.  The whole of 
        Dispensation of Bayan, is created under the shadow of the 
        first Vahid.  And the Truth, in its essence, is their 
        dominion as is all the Attributes and exalted Names. 
 Elsewhere in relation to the sublimity of His own Dispensation 
 and the transcendent character of His Revelation, Baha'u'llah 
 has stated:
         If today the entire dwellers of the heavens and earth 
         were to become exalted as the Bayanic Letters (ie. 
         Letters of the Living) which are a hundred thousand 
         times more exalted and superior to the Qur'anic Letters 
         (the Imams), but failed for even a moment to recognize 
         this Cause, they will be counted as opponent of God and 
         recorded as the Letters of Negation.
 While in this passage, Baha'u'llah clearly exalts the Letters of 
 Living over those of the previous Dispensation, but sobering 
 fact of this passage cannot be lost on any one of us.  Please go 
 back and read it again.  He says, even if the station of an 
 individual is as exalted as the Letters of the Living, but in 
 failing to recognize the Truth of His Revelation, the person is 
 counted as an enemy of God and the Letter of Negation.  There is 
 much to ponder in this passage.
 The Bab in the Bayan (5:2) enjoins upon the community to raise 
 18 Temples in the name of the Letters of the Living.  He 
 emphasis that these must be mighty Temples and no expenditure 
 Also, significant pronouncements by the Bab regarding His 
 Letters of the Living is made in Bayan (8:17) and also in His 
 opening sermon of the Bayan.  Elsewhere, He explains the 
 relationship between the first Vahid (He and 18 L of L) and the 
 formula at the beginning of each Sura of Qur'an, Bismillah-i 
 Rahman-i Rahim.
 The burial place of the 18 Letters of the Living is:
    Barfurush (Quddus)
    Fort Tabarsi (8 of them:  Mulla Husayn, ...)
    Tihran (Tahirih and Siyyid Husayn Yazdi)
    Turkey (Mulla Ali-Bastami)
 By natural death (or presumed so):
    India (Shaykh Sa'id Hindi)
    Istanbul (Mulla Baqir-i Tabrizi)
    Karbala (Mulla Khudabakh-i Quchani)
    Qazvin (Mirza Hadi)
    Yazd (Mirza Muhammad-i Yazdi)
    Mulla Hasan Bajistani
 A point of interest that needs to be borne in mind about the 
 burial place of Mulla Husayn and Quddus is that the Bab in a 
 Tablet of Visitation in their honor states that the very dust 
 associated with these Two, for a radius of 1 mile from their 
 respective resting place, will bring solace to desolate and 
 healing to ill and sick -- a fact, confirmed by Baha'u'llah.
 Assuming its OK with everyone, we'll continue our discussion of 
 Quddus's life after His enrollment as a Letter of the Living in 
 another post.
 With loving Baha'i greetings, ahang.

From Sep 12 11:01:40 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 95 22:49:01 -0400
From: Ahang Rabbani 
Subject: Quddus -- reading assignment

[This message is converted from WPS-PLUS to ASCII]


Our dear Juan Cole, to whom I owe *everything* about the Quddus 
project, just shared a great suggestion which I like to pass it 
along.  He suggested that we use this occasion to deepen a bit 
more on the Dawn-breakers.  I think that sounds great.  

So, here's the thought:  I'm going to pause posting on Quddus for 
at least through this weekend and give everybody a chance to find 
their copy of Nabil's Narrative (look in the attic, or old boxes 
in the garage, maybe the back of the closet, anyway, have faith, 
you'll find it!), then read chapter 3 and 7.  Chapter 3 has to do 
with the Bab's Declaration (its a little over 40 pages) and 
Chapter 7 with His Pilgrimage (its only about 10 pages or so).

Now, if you feel like reviewing some other sources like Amanat's, 
or MacEoin's, or Tarikh-i Jadid, or Browne's Material ... by all 
means, knock yourself out ... You'll get extra credits...

I hope we'll have good discussion around these materials.  This 
is a good time to do some serious deepening on early Babi 
Dispensation and through our give and take get exposed to some 
additional information.

What you say?


From Sep 12 11:02:55 1995
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 95 23:27:01 -0400
From: Ahang Rabbani 
Subject: slow-read on Talisman?

[This message is converted from WPS-PLUS to ASCII]

Man, I wasn't even done sending that last message about reading 
assignments out on Nabil, that Bang!, got a note back from 
somebody saying how about reading "God Passes By" together?

I think that's a great idea.  What you say, gang?  Ready to 
fulfill that lifelong ambition to someday tackle the great, 
mighty God Passes By and find out what all the fuss is all about?

I figure this is our chance.  We've got all these big name 
scholars with their Masters, Ph.D., BMW's ... on Talisman that 
can teach us a lot about this book.  And what better book for 
comprehensive deepening.  Gee, it's got everything:  good guys, 
bad guys, violence, betrayal, ...  (OK it's missing sex, but hey 
that's why God created prime time TV, to make up for lack of sex 
in GPB!)  

This is what I'm thinking.  Everyday we read a little, say, about 
4 pages.  The book is about 400 pages, ... so, the whole thing 
should take about 5 years!  (Those that were here for slow read 
of Aqdas will understand the math!)  No, no, just kidding.  We'll 
try to finish it in 3 or 4 months.  It be great learning.  Pretty 
intense learning!!

Anyway this is just one idea.  Other ideas?

regards, ahang.  

Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 01:38:38 -0400
Subject: Re: Women, Saints, and Power/Personal

Yes, there seems no shortage of men eager to rush to the defense of male
privilege here.  But, more depressing is the lack of women willing to fight
back.  With the exception of Linda, all of the women seem non-commital,
content, or indifferent to the whole issue.  Maybe it is a protection for
   But I remember you once saying that women would be admitted to membership
on the House of Justice when they rise up and demand it.  That day may be a
long way off. 

From Member1700@aol.comTue Sep 12 11:05:00 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 01:44:21 -0400
Subject: Re: Women, Saints, and Power 

I hope everyone will forgive me, but I had to laugh while reading Talisman
today.  We had a post from one dear Talismanian who expressed exasperation at
the whole discussion of women on the House of Justice, because the Tablets of
'Abdu'l-Baha are absolutely clear on the issue--and they forbid it. 
    This is, of course, precisely the same argument that Thornton Chase used
in his famous letter on the subject, and the same exasperation.  And he made
reference to precisely the same Tablets.  Only at that time he was referring
to women's service on the Chicago House of Spirituality.  And that pesky Mrs.
True just didn't want to accept the obvious.  
     So those who do not study history are destined to repeat it.  (Smile.)
 Of course, those who do study history are destined to repeat it, too.  But,
at least we know that we are repeating it.  
      My second laugh came from the beloved Talismanian who declared with
assurance that race is just a social construct, while gender is a primordial
category fixed by biology.   :-)  (Which apparently makes it OK that women
are excluded from eligibility for election to the House, while blacks are
not.)  Only a very few decades ago, that argument would have appeared
ridiculous, even insane, in most circles.  Race was considered a primordial
category fixed by biology.   It is only with libraries of counterargument
that the assumptions about race were overturned.  
    No, gender is not a fixed category without reference to culture.  There
are many cultures (our own included) that recognize intermediate genders.  In
Samoa, there are boy/girls who are raised as girls and recognized socially as
women.  In some parts of Africa, infertile women are counted socially as men
and even marry wives and have offspring of their own.  In some American
Indian cultures, men become women and women become men, and so forth.  The
examples could be multiplied.  So, don't think that biology is going to solve
our problems for us.  There is no human behavior or category that does not
depend on culture.  


From JWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.eduTue Sep 12 11:17:24 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 95 09:19:37 EWT
Subject: Clocks

There is a whole room full of fancy watches and clocks in the Topkapi
Museum (the old palace of the Sultans) in Istanbul, so they were clearly
popular as novelties.  I don't know how the hours worked, but I do
know that in the medieval period, the better class of mosques employed
timekeepers, who were generally astronomers.  There is an article on
clocks in the *Encyclopaedia Iranica* which would probably shed some light
on how clocks and watches were used in 19th century Iran.  If Mr. Bromberek
can't find it conveniently at U of Arkansas, I will run off a less legible

John Walbridge

From Member1700@aol.comTue Sep 12 16:44:15 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 12:15:40 -0400
Subject: Re: Clocks and Dates 

In nineteenth-century Iran, time was most certainly a local matter--there
being no national standard, and no way to communicate it had there been one.
 Even the calendar was a local matter, with the local imam determining the
beginning of each (lunar) month with the sighting of the new moon.  (Which is
why, in some cases, there are discrepancies of dates--even in Baha'i
    I should let Juan and John say more, but it seems to me (if I am
remembering correctly) that it is not so much sunset, as it is nightfall that
is the issue is Muslim law.  One does not break one's fast at sunset, for
instance, but at dark--measured by the local imams inability to distinguish a
black thread from a white thread in natural light, and announced from the
minaret.  Likewise, for prayers, I believe that nightfall is the benchmark.  


From johnb@intellinet.comTue Sep 12 16:45:17 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 11:51:19 -0500 (CDT)
From: John Bromberek 
Subject: Re: Clocks

On Tue, 12 Sep 1995 wrote:

>  There is an article on
> clocks in the *Encyclopaedia Iranica* which would probably shed some light
> on how clocks and watches were used in 19th century Iran.

   Thank you, John W., for the pointer toward the "Clocks" 
article.  It hadn't occurred to me to look in an encyclopedia. 
I've only just skimmed it, so far, and saw one tantalizing 
      Clocks and watches became more common in Persia during the 
   13th/19th century.  E. Scott Waring noted in 1217/1802 that at 
   Shiraz watches were a novelty: "They delight in our watches, 
   particularly if they get them for nothing; their curiosity, 
   however, soon spoils them, and if this were not the case, their 
   perverse mode of counting time renders the best watch of little 
   service."   (Vol. 5, p. 716)

        [That was a quote from Waring's book _A Tour to Sheeraz_, 
         London, 1807.]

   Apparently, in the early 19th century, there was something about 
the manner of keeping time there that at least seemed peculiar to a 
   Well, that's a beginning.  I suppose the volume with the article 
on "Timekeeping" will be published around 2015, or so.  Meanwhile, 
I'll check out some of the other encyclopedias to see whether there 
might be anything on the subject.

John B.

From 72110.2126@dcgw02.compuserve.comTue Sep 12 16:55:03 1995
Date: 12 Sep 95 15:52:49 EDT
From: David Langness <>
Subject: Can Our Faith Change?

Dear Talismanians,

Thank you one and all, especially Burl and Robert, for your heartfelt
messages in response to my short "A Woman's Place is on the House"
missive.  While several people sent supportive notes, Burl and Robert
characterized the holding out of such hope (that women might conceivably
one day gain the right of membership to the Universal House of Justice)
as, to use Burl's term, "bogus."

You know, I sincerely believe that such a hope has merit.  I do not hold
it out as some salesman would an incentive to buy, or as a dishonest
Baha'i teacher might to someone wavering about declaration, but instead
believe it wholeheartedly myself, and want others to draw the same
solace and inspiration I have drawn from it.

I know many Baha'i men, who, if ever elected to the Universal House of
Justice, have vowed to tirelessly work for the attainment of such a goal.

I personally know more than a few Baha'i women who serve on National
Spiritual Assemblies who have privately vowed to only vote for male
UHJ members who hold the view that women might someday be enfranchised.

But Burl made a very important point in his argument which I would also
like to address:  that our Faith is transformative in nature, and that
"it doesn't change to fit the mood, expectations, desires, or proclivities
of those who would join it."

I would submit for the consideration of all that our Faith is exactly the
opposite of what Burl describes.  In fact, it does change to meet the
needs and views of the believers.

I will not cite the literally hundreds and perhaps thousands of recorded
instances where such changes happened, but will say generally that many
times Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha responded to the entreaties of the
Faithful and actually changed course as a result.  Certainly the Guardian
and now the House has often embarked on a slightly different or even
entirely new course as a result of dialogue and input from the believers,
as well.

Others have a much broader knowledge of such events than I, so I will 
leave it to them to cite chapter and verse.

But suffice it for me to say that our Faith seems transformative in both
directions, and that such a fluid, progressive and changeable religion
avoids the rigidity and petrification other religions have fallen victim
to.  Or at least we hope that will be the case.



From 72110.2126@dcgw02.compuserve.comTue Sep 12 16:55:54 1995
Date: 12 Sep 95 15:52:49 EDT
From: David Langness <>
Subject: Can Our Faith Change?

Dear Talismanians,

Thank you one and all, especially Burl and Robert, for your heartfelt
messages in response to my short "A Woman's Place is on the House"
missive.  While several people sent supportive notes, Burl and Robert
characterized the holding out of such hope (that women might conceivably
one day gain the right of membership to the Universal House of Justice)
as, to use Burl's term, "bogus."

You know, I sincerely believe that such a hope has merit.  I do not hold
it out as some salesman would an incentive to buy, or as a dishonest
Baha'i teacher might to someone wavering about declaration, but instead
believe it wholeheartedly myself, and want others to draw the same
solace and inspiration I have drawn from it.

I know many Baha'i men, who, if ever elected to the Universal House of
Justice, have vowed to tirelessly work for the attainment of such a goal.

I personally know more than a few Baha'i women who serve on National
Spiritual Assemblies who have privately vowed to only vote for male
UHJ members who hold the view that women might someday be enfranchised.

But Burl made a very important point in his argument which I would also
like to address:  that our Faith is transformative in nature, and that
"it doesn't change to fit the mood, expectations, desires, or proclivities
of those who would join it."

I would submit for the consideration of all that our Faith is exactly the
opposite of what Burl describes.  In fact, it does change to meet the
needs and views of the believers.

I will not cite the literally hundreds and perhaps thousands of recorded
instances where such changes happened, but will say generally that many
times Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha responded to the entreaties of the
Faithful and actually changed course as a result.  Certainly the Guardian
and now the House has often embarked on a slightly different or even
entirely new course as a result of dialogue and input from the believers,
as well.

Others have a much broader knowledge of such events than I, so I will 
leave it to them to cite chapter and verse.

But suffice it for me to say that our Faith seems transformative in both
directions, and that such a fluid, progressive and changeable religion
avoids the rigidity and petrification other religions have fallen victim
to.  Or at least we hope that will be the case.



From Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nlTue Sep 12 16:56:32 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 95 22:13:14 EZT
Subject: Quddus

Dear Ahang,
please do go on about Quddus - and on and on if possible. I do
read it all, just about a week behind.

Just a suggestion regarding his station: is it perhaps not primarily
in what he did (important as that was, I like the moon and sun
analogy), nor perhaps - don't be angry - is it an essential nature
in the way that the Bab and Baha'u'llah ARE manifestations, but
rather in being able to see with the eye of God in the same way
as manifestations are able to? I get this from a passage in the
Seven Valleys:

          After passing through the Valley of knowledge, which
       is the last plane of limitation, the wayfarer cometh to
       THE VALLEY OF UNITY and drinketh from the cup of
       the Absolute, and gazeth on the Manifestations of
       Oneness. In this station he pierceth the veils of plurality,
       fleeth from the worlds of the flesh, and ascendeth into the
       heaven of singleness. With the ear of God he heareth,
       with the eye of God he beholdeth the mysteries of divine
       He steppeth into the sanctuary of the Friend, and shareth
       as an intimate the pavilion of the Loved One. He
       stretcheth out the hand of truth from the sleeve of the
       Absolute; he revealeth the secrets of power. ... He
       beholdeth in his own name the name of God;...

The true seeker here not only sees with the eye of God, He
steppeth into the sanctuary of the Friend (Muhammad, or
Abraham, or the Loved One? for some reason I think of
Abraham) and stretches out the hand of truth (like Moses) and
REVEALETH the secrets, his name is like the name of God. In
short, he has many of the attributes of the Manifestation, and this
is derived in some way from the station of peering with the eye
of God into the mysteries of creation.

Pretty heretical stuff of course, the true seeker as manifestation of
God. Incidentally, Bruce, is the difference between the valley of
knowledge (previous valley) and the valley of unity perhaps
analogous to that between enlightenment and buddhahood? 

Sen McGlinn                         ----_

From Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nlTue Sep 12 17:01:23 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 95 22:15:57 EZT
Subject: Women & UHJ (Sonja)

>From Sonja van Kerkhoff, again 

In response to Burl's posting which was a response to David's.

Yes the point is as you have said:

As the Lobster said to the Crab: "It all boils down to this" Either
Baha'u'llah is or He ain't  .If he ain't, it don't matter.
If He is, in Him let the trusting trust.   

And that's the point of the Service of Women paper as well -to find out
what Baha'u'llah really meant, because he clearly did say that in this
day women were 'rijal' as well (as men).

This bit about "giving her hope"
stikes me as ultimately bogus...

1) Women being unable to serve on The House goes against the
principal of equality. Women are excluded on the basis of their gender.
And every argument that I have heard (so far) where the person
concerned is not bothered by this or believes that this is not an example
of inequality, argues from the viewpoint that men and women are
biologically meant to have different functions. And worse, then go on
on to some how argue that this is not inequality. It doesn't make any
sense to me. 
2) You can't compare someone wanting to sell vacuum cleaners at a
feast to someone valuing the equality of the sexes. Unless you really
see equality of the sexes being as relevent as selling vacuum cleaners,
that is. 
3) The service of Women paper gives me hope, and I see pretty well. 

I didn't get time to post this and now there are some more postings on
this issue so i will continue.

Re: Burl's 9 Sept posting responding to Linda 
(great to read your voice Linda!)

BTW, Linda, I agree with you re: the difficulties that some women
have in recognizing 'sexism'. I think this stems from a more general
situation, where any minority group has difficulty in challenging the
majority values/group.

Re: Burl's posting
L. Walbridge wrote:

 " Until we are in the highest positions of power....."

  This is the telling phrase.

This is certainly telling. It's telling you that women belong (are part of)
at all levels of society.
I think your discussion about 'power' and 'service' is avoiding the issue
that Linda was addressing, and that is that women are excluded from
both service and power (having a voice).
At the moment, only a man could seriously ask questions like the
questions you posed, such as "do I want to be elected on The House?"
etc, so I don't understand why you posed them.

Like, Linda, I am quite amazed at the various arguments that have been
put forth, with some thought, arguing for a justification for the
exclusion of women. Such as claiming super-human status for the
members of The House (that is, The Members are not influenced by
their backgrounds or gender), redefining membership on The House as
not a right but what??? oh yes a duty, so that women are then not
denied a right (Is this person serious?), that parenthood being something
peculiar to women (yes, 60 plus does seem a little old to be breast
feeding but you never know) disqualifies service, and that because sex
can defined more clearly than race, then this exemption is (somehow-
forgive me but I really can't see the argument in this statement)
allowable/fine/ok/true -the poster didn't actually say that, I'm just
guessing that that was his point.

I respect/appreciate that everyone (myself included) is trying to see
what reason(s) there could be for the exclusion of women from Service
on The House, but I find it frightening that most of those who are
making some argument to justify the present situation, do not seem to
see that excluding one sex from a particular function, and in this case a
very important (and powerful) function, does not correlate with the
important principle of equality.  

And In response to Tim's posting:

j>As for the argument that Baha'u'llah said so, and we must
j>simply accept what He said, I have gone blue in the face trying
j>to demonstrate that He said no such thing;

>Juan, You sometimes make the point that neither Abdu'l Baha nor
>Shoghi Effendi had access to all 7,000 extant documents authored
>by Baha'u'llah. I assume the same is true of you, therefore how
>do you actually know that Baha'u'llah never said this?
>It seems to me that, with regard to knowledge of all that
>Baha'u'llah wrote, a modern scholar is not in a much better
>position than Shoghi Effendi....and a modern scholar does not
>have the tremendous advantage of receiving unfailing, unerring
>guidance from Baha'u'llah and the Bab.

The above comment bring us back to the areas where Shoghi Effendi
had infalliability (interpretation) in and where The Universal House has
(legislation), which brings us back to us. This is what makes the
discussions on Talisman so fruitful, because it seems to me, that in the
end, as others have already said, change will come fomr the grassroots.
Here I am not saying there WILL be women serving on The House
(although I'd be very happy if that was so) but rather that all these
discussions and new insights such as Tony's mention of Abdu'l-Bahai's
use of the word wisdom, will help us come to grips with the wisdom of
this present situation, and come closer to what Baha'u'llah's words really

>Second, at present, only nine men, out of roughly two million
>Baha'i men, can be members of the House of Justice. So, in
>practical reality, the odds of any particular man being on the
>House of Justice are almost zero. Therefore, men in general
>do not have any power denied to women.

I'm sorry, but I do see the logic here. If the potential members are
always only men, and this institutiion is an institution invested with
power, then of course men have access to power that women are always
denied. Reversing the situation and saying ok, women may only serve
on the Universal House of Justice, is not the same thing, because we
live in a society dominated by male values and by men. But if you
have only women serving on the highest institution of the Faith for a
couple 100 of years, I am sure that this would have some impact on the
equality between women and men in local communities.
>Third, as others have pointed out, women, as the first educators
>of the next generation, have significant influence and power
>to which men do not have the right.
How do men not have the right (read- responsibility) to rear and have
significant influence and power, just because they do not carry the child
within their body? 

It is my view that children/childcare will not be
>not accorded high prestige in modern society
until men participate in this as equally and freely as women are able to
do so.

>that is not because child raising is inherently demeaning, but
>rather because the leaders of opinion do not see clearly.
Most of them have never changed a diaper.

>The reality, in my view, is that any category of people (women),
>who have the God-given right to educate the next generation....

It is my reading of the Writings that parenthood is not exclusive, while
there are specific references to fathers and mothers, in general there is
nothing to suggest that Sen (the father of my sons) is not fulfilling his
duty when he feeds, changes, carries, and cuddles the little ones (while
I'm off to some exhibition or art-thing).

So, now my reading of this is that mother's are not solely responsible
for the 'affairs' of their children. 
>What if Martin Luther King Jr.'s mother had raised him  to
be a cynical self-centered materialist?....

> The teachings of Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l Baha, Shoghi Effendi and the
>Universal House of Justice are, by definition, purely good. It follows,
>therefore, that the Baha'i teachings, by definition, cannot be
>sexist, because sexism is wrong. Of course, it would not be wise
>to say that to someone who has not accepted Baha'u'llah's
I'd add that it would not be wise to say that to someone who had
accepted Baha'u'llah's message!
I find it interesting that Adbu'lBaha (in light of Tony's insight) used the
word wisdom as a code. 
Please, Tim, you can't just say good equal Bahai therefore sexism does
not equal Bahai. It doesn't make sense. 

>Nevertheless, "the good" is whatever the authoritative
>Baha'i writings say, not what social fashions or popular opinions
Like Equality.

>It seems to me that this rule comes from the clear texts of the
>Master, the Guardian, and the House of Justice. I believe,
>therefore this rule is right and good
>and by definition cannot be contradictory to Baha'i values.

The texts are not clear which is why there is all this discussion.
Baha'u'llah's reference to the members of The House(s) was the term
rijal (honoured ones/could be read to mean honoured men), and
Baha'u'llah also wrote that in this day and age women are also 'rijal' 
-this is one of the main points of the Service of women paper.
Our current policy of excluding women stems from Abdu'l-Baha's letter
to Corinne True where he informs her that women are not to serve on
any House and later when Abdu'l-Baha visited America he changed this
(it seems that he was referring to local Houses of Justice (LSA's) but
Robert Stockman has argued that Abdu'l-Baha could have
misunderstood Corinne True's question (to be referring to the UHJ) and
then corrected this later-but this is speculation- just as my assumptions
to the other are) policy. Shoghi Effendi did not make any policy
(legislation) but referred queries to Adbu'l-Baha's letter. So you see, the
texts may be clear but what this all means isn't. 
And I have to admit I'd rather have all this muddiness and a sense of
getting at full equally (if that is what we really want -to quote my
dearly beloved), rather than to be told, there are no women on the
House and this is how things are, as if this is what Baha'ullah really
meant. I believe that Baha'u'llah really meant equally when he
mentioned it, and it is up to us to try and find out what this means
without compromising the meaning of this. I think we should be open
to examining all the possibilities and interpretations. 
What is gradually becoming more exciting for me is to discover that the
Writings are much richer and open to interpretation than I was first led
to believe.  

From Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nlTue Sep 12 17:02:08 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 95 22:14:09 EZT
Subject: women & UHJ

thanks for the suggestion that milk glands might interfere
with the reception of divine radio-waves. The wisdom is
now clear ... 
Along the same lines, I was listening to one of the
excellent BBC programmes thrown up by the Beijing
conference, and they were discussing women's place in
Saudi Arabia. Apparently women may be lawyers, but not
judges, which a jurist suggested might be because of 
their monthly instability. I'm sure I've heard that before

I think the suggestion of a connection with child-rearing is equally
red-herringish. The chance that any woman young enough
to have young children would be elected to the house is negligible. 
And if such a one was found, she would be a truly extra-ordinary
person, and extra-ordinary measures would have to be taken to
make it possible for the House to have the benefit of her wisdom
without interferring with her duties as a parent. 
On the other hand, some men, I am told, retain both viable 
sperm and physical virility into their 80's, so there is an appreciable
chance that a man with young children will eventually be elected. 
Assuming that childrearing is truly seen as equally important as
other community-shaping activities, the House will just have to adjust.
And I'm sure it can (in both cases).

Linda: a hundred thousand welcomes. 



From jrcole@umich.eduTue Sep 12 23:17:26 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 17:56:35 -0400 (EDT)
From: Juan R Cole 
Subject: women & human rights in the Faith

Thanks to everyone on both sides of this issue who have written.  I think 
Ahang is right that the "equality of rights" line of thinking is both new 
and potentially fruitful, and I am glad to have been provoked to it by 
the Talisman discussion.

I would defend the Persian text of `Abdu'l-Baha's talk published in 
Khitabat vol. 2 as a perfectly good source for knowing the Master's 
thoughts about musavat-i huquq or the equality of rights for all under 
Baha'i law.  Khitabat was published in `Abdu'l-Baha's lifetime and he 
certainly saw the Persian texts there, either before or after publication.
(This is not true for everything in the English PUP).

Let me throw some further textual evidence into the debate:

On equality of rights for all under the law as a Baha'i principle:

Proclamation of Baha'u'llah, p. 11:
   "safeguard the rights of the downtrodden, and punish the wrong-doers."

Tablets of Baha'u'llah revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 70:
	"They that perpetrate tyranny in the world have usurped the rights
of the peoples and kindreds of the earth . . ."

A Traveller's Narrative, `Abdu'l-Baha, p. 91:

"the establishment of the uniform political rights of diverse nationalities"

Paris Talks, `Abdu'l-Baha, p. 133:

"Women have equal rights with men upon earth . . ."

       p. 154:
"prince, peer and peasant alike have equal rights to just treatment . . ."

	p. 161:
"the female sex is treated as though inferior, and is not allowed equal 
rights and privileges.  This condition is due not to nature, but to 
education . . ."
	p. 161:
"Why then should one sex assert the inferiority of the other, withholding 
just rights and privileges as though God had given His authority for such 
a course of action?"
	p. 162:
"Divine justice demands that the rights of both sexes should be equally 
respected since neither is superior to the other in the eyes of Heaven."
	p. 163:
"When men own [accept] the equality of women there will be no need for 
them to struggle for their rights!  One of the principles then of 
Baha'u'llah is the equality of sex."
	pp.  182-183:
"In this Revelation of Baha'u'llah, the women go neck and neck with the 
men.  In no movement will they be left behind.  Their rights with men are 
equal in degree.  They will enter all the administrative branches of 
politics [presumably, "siyasat,"="affairs of state" cf. Ishraqat 8].  
They will attain in all such a degree as will be considered the very 
highest station of the world of humanity and will take part in *all* 
affairs.  Rest ye assured.  Do ye not look upon the present conditions; 
in the not far distant future the world of women will become 
all-refulgent and all-glorious, *For His Holiness Baha'u'llah Hath Willed 
it so!*  At the time of elections the right to vote is the inalienable 
right of women and the entrance of women into all human departments is an 
irrefutable and incontrovertible question.  No soul can retard or prevent 
it . . ."  [Note: in 1913 women did not have the vote in the U.S.]
	As regards the constitution of the House of Justice, Baha'u'llah 
addresses the men.  He says, `O ye men of the House of Justice!"  
	But when its members are to be elected, the right which belongs 
to women, so far as their voting and their voice is concerned, is 
indisputable.  When the women attain to the ultimate degree of progress, 
then, according to the exigency of the time and place, and their great 
capacity, they shall obtain extraordinary privileges."

[I myself think this passage clearly hints that Baha'u'llah addressed 
members of the houses of justice as "men/rijal" because women were at 
that time largely illiterate and lacking in public experience.  Might not 
ultimate membership on the House be among the "extraordinary privileges" 
they shall attain in the future?  -  JC]

Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 14:
	"insuring the integrity of the members of society and their 
equality before the law . . ."

Promulgation, p. 99:
	"then will they proclaim equality of rights"
Promulgation, p. 166:
	"Baha'u'llah . . . made woman respected by commanding that all 
women be educated, that there be no difference in the education of the 
two sexes and that man and woman share the same rights.  In the 
estimation of God there is no distinction of sex."

Promulgation, p, 182:
	"Seventh, Baha'u'llah taught that an equal standard of human 
rights must be recognized and adopted."

Now as for *eligibility* for Baha'i office-holding being a right, there 
is a *very* interesting passage from Shoghi Effendi, *Messages to the 
Baha'i World," pp. 64-65:

"Full rights have been accorded to Baha'i women residing in the cradle of 
the Faith, to participate in the membership of both national and local 
Baha'i Spiritual Assemblies, removing thereby the last remaining obstacle 
to the enjoyment of complete equality of rights in the conduct of the 
administrative affairs of the Persian Baha'i community."

The diction here is very instructive.  Obviously, de jure or from the 
point of view of legal principle, Baha'i women in Iran had the "right" to 
eligibility for election to LSAs and NSAs from 1912 (or 1909 according to 
Rob) onward.  But these rights could not be "accorded" to them until 
around 1950, de facto.  (In Shi`ite Islam values of gender segregation 
are very strong and a mixed meeting of women and men on an LSA would have 
been interpreted as an orgy of some sort; the eyes of non-Baha'i 
neighbors thus made this sort of meeting very chancy in Iran).

Thus, Baha'i women can have de jure rights to eligibility for 
administrative office, but these rights de facto can be withheld for 
reasons of community security and reputation, or for reasons of women's 
unpreparedness (due to high rates of illiteracy, lack of experience in 
public life, etc.).  These rights are then "accorded" the women de facto 
at some point in history where conditions allow it, by the Head of the 
Faith.  (There are parallels here to the legal language employed in the 
UN for the process of decolonization in the two decades after WW II, 
wherein entire peoples become "prepared" through education etc. to exercise 
de facto their de jure rights of self-determination, after a period of 
European mandates).

Based on the texts assembled above, I would argue that Baha'i women clearly 
already have a de jure right to eligibility for service on the Universal 
House of Justice, given the unequivocal command of equality under the law 
(musavat-i huquq) and end of sex discrimination, which is repeated over 
and over again by Baha'u'llah and `Abdu'l-Baha.  (This is only an 
individual opinion, the Cole Fatwa.)  I firmly believe that a 
future Universal House of Justice will at some point "accord" Baha'i women 
their rights de facto.

cheers   Juan Cole,  History, University of Michigan

From haukness@tenet.eduTue Sep 12 23:18:02 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 18:07:27 -0500 (CDT)
From: John Haukness 
Subject: Re: Women & UHJ (Sonja)

Allah-u-abha Friends: With the ultimate triumph accomplished, that if you 
view the House as not an issue of power but an issue of service and the 
worst case that there is a matter of role and function to ones belief 
then one is simply very wrong, probably ignorant, devoid of logic and 
rationality, I will try tonow decist from this topic and crawl into a 
hole to mend my errant ways, and instead turn my thoughts the the errant 
group I once belonged to will have to also leave their sexist ideology 
and hope the House will soon include women. Ah heck, I can't do this, 
cause I just don't believe it, but Ibelieve I can do the one part, being 
both sides are now clear, and I don't see any new issues, I can quit 
posting to the issue. But on another topic I am for sure more than overly 

I would really like to see the authoritive document of Abdul Baha's that 
"women are not to serve on any House and later when Abdul Baha visited 
America he change this." Where do people come up with garbage like this, 
and what is it doing amidst scholars. This is weak! weak! stuff.

From Sep 12 23:19:20 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 95 16:07:01 -0400
From: Ahang Rabbani 
Subject: RE: Quddus

[This message is converted from WPS-PLUS to ASCII]

Dear Sen:

Thanks very much for the extract from the Seven Valley -- and 
your extremely perceptive comments!

I've been struggling with the question of Quddus' Station for a 
while too and I think we have the same problem with His as we do 
with Abdu'l-Baha's -- they are just not going to be defined in 
terms of our past religious experience or even the Writings.

"Seeing with the eyes of God" is an exalted station, and perhaps 
the highest station, for a believer to be sure.  I think that 
Tahirih perhaps best represents this station though.  Hujjat, 
Vahid, Dayyan, possibly Mulla Husayn (though his writings offer 
very little evidence in this regard), may also be prime 
candidates for it too.  

But, somehow Quddus doesn't seem to fit this.  He seems to have 
certain God-given gifts.  The stories of His childhood imply the 
same sort of innate knowledge that the Bab possessed.  His 
schooling is very limited and yet His writings are truly amazing.  
He claims Divine Revelation and indeed what we read by Him are 
nothing short of it.  When it comes to Quddus, it seems, there is 
more than "seeing" with the eye of God.

What of His claims to divinity?  History of Sufism, as Nima would 
tell us, is packed with such claimants.  The more famous 
claimants to being God are:  Mansur-i Hallaj, Abu'l-Hasan 
Khariqani, Abu-Sa'id Abu'l-Khayr (it is said that Kabaa 
circumambulated him!), Mullana Rumi, (Chirs Buck is right and I 
was wrong, alast night I found a poem by Rumi where he claims to 
be God), Shah Nimatu'llah Valli-i Kirmani and Shaykh Shatah (this 
latter one is where the term "shatahiyyit" comes from).  Anyway, 
is Quddus just a modern day version of one of these?

What of all the ranks and titles that Baha'u'llah and the Bab 
have bestowed upon Him?  The rank of "mazhariyyat"!  This can't 
just be bestow on someone who "sees with the eyes of God".  What 
of the Qur'anic title of "Messenger"?  What of Baha'u'llah's 
explanation that He was the very essence of the BAb?
The beloved Guardian makes a very interesting point at the 
beginning of the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah when he says that 
the Bab ranks below that of Baha'u'llah.  So, that suggests there 
is a pecking order among the Manifestations and that not all are 
equal in rank!  Also, Baha'u'llah says that no one ranked in the 
Dispensation as high as Quddus, save the Bab Himself.

These seem to suggests that He clearly was in the class of 
Manifestations (whatever that means!) and yet *not* authorized as 
One.  In other words, exactly as Abdu'l-Baha said, He was the 
moon that drew His light from the Sun of the Bab.

Here is another difficult question:  Who ranked higher, Quddus or 
Abdu'l-Baha?  And if its Quddus, then why is He not listed as one 
the Central Figures of the Faith?  

Clearly, the question of Quddus and His rank and writings is 
going to remain a puzzling one and requires much more thinking.  
I also happen to think that it's one of the more interesting 
aspects of the Babi Dispensation that has not been explored 
previously.  Am I wrong?

Sen, I don't have any answers--wish to God that I did--only 
questions.  Any insights that you or others wish to share will 
greatly help expand our collective understanding.

best wishes, ahang.

From dan_orey@qmbridge.ccs.csus.eduTue Sep 12 23:20:21 1995
Date: 12 Sep 95 13:24:20 U
From: Dan Orey 
Cc:,, mloring@NMSU.Edu,,
Subject: IUS Question

GatorMail-Q                   IUS Question

The following question deals with the ongoing debate re: homosexuality and the
Baha'i Faith, if  you are not interested in this topic delete this message now.

Dear Talisman Friends,

Forgive me for taking time away from the extremely interesting thread and
discussions currently being shared here.  But recently, the IUS (Institute for
Understanding Sexuality in the Baha'i Faith) received the following letter from
a woman in South Florida. I am disturbed by the woman's  concern, so much so
that I feel a need to ask my Talisman brothers and sisters for their advice. I
really do not know how to respond her. I will share her letter, so here goes: 
Thank you for your letter to the friends and members of the Gay Baha'i
Fellowship. Less than 12 hours ago my mind wondered to the GBF as I had not
received any information for a long time. That and the fact that I read what I
consider to be misleading opinions in a recently purchased Baha'i book. 

Recently published  by Agnes
Ghaznavi, classifies homosexuality under a chapter titled Immature and
Degrading Relationships, and under the subtitle of Perversion and the Fear of
It. I was surprised and ashamed that such loving people are being subjected to
what I consider to be erroneous and misguided information. 

I am a friend of the gay and lesbian community and am reading the book in the
hopes of strengthening and understanding my own commitment. As a result of what
I have read, I'm taking a closer look at the whole. 

Your dedication to this issue is so important and what I consider to be the
last acceptable prejudice. It must be eliminated along with the rest that I
know only too well, You have my best wishes and support. 


My thoughts: If this book is really stating this, and I need to find it, I am
worried that such harmful and misleading thoughts are being published by
official publishers of the Faith. It does nothing to promote a positive the
image of the Faith, and certainly does nothing to mend fences or increase
understanding about homosexuality in general. And as you can see it casues many
 of the Freinds to question the Faith in general. Though I would not normally
care to spend my hard-earned dollars on such fundamentalist misinformation, I
think I had better take a look. I was hoping that someone could tell me where
to find this book.

Daniel Orey, Sacramento, California

From Sep 12 23:21:39 1995
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 11:25:32 GMT=1200
From: Mary Day 
Subject: women and human rights

Dear Talismans,

I am going to do a little bit if nitpicking here while still 
maintaining my nonposition on Women on the House.

1: Juan, on several occasions you have referred to women's illiteracy 
or lack of education as reason for their exclusion. There is a hidden 
assumption here that all men participating were educated and literate 
enough to participate which I am sure you don't intend. Were many of 
the men literate and educated?

2: Rick: You said that "Modern feminist theory holds that the way to achieve
equality is from the top down." Feminist theory consists of diverse 
positions,  even more so than the range of opinions held by Talisman 
members. There are very strong strands in feminist theory that hold 
quite the opposite that equality will be achieved from the bottom up. 
There are even stronger strands that deconstruct this whole notion 
of power on which this kind of argument is based. Others of course 
deconstruct the notion of equality itself and what this could 
possibly mean. 

3: Patriarchy: There seems to be a bit of confusion about the use and 
meaning of this word. Patriarchy can mean families with a male head 
in which descent is traced through the eldest male child. When 
feminists use the word patriarchy they are extending its meaning to 
describe all institutions within a society as sites of male power and 
domination not just the family. For example they would be arguing 
that education, government, health care, the justice system, the 
media etc etc are all dominated by 
men and serve the interests of men. Some would 
describe a society as patriarchal because men own and control the 
means of production including women's labour.Please note this 
is a very crude description of these arguments. Therefore you can't 
just swap a patriachal family for a matriarchal one as one writer 
suggested, because all institutions and sites of power in the society 
are patriarchal.

Many feminist theorists do not use the word or concept of patriarchy 
at all. There have been vigorous theoretical debates about this 
concept. In my own theoretical work I would never use this concept. 
Nor would most of the theorists whose work I draw upon. To put it very 
basically the 
concept is too clumsy to explain the multiple subjectivities of women 
and men and the power invested in the discourses within which those 
subject positions are constructed. The concept cannot for example, 
explain the position of women who hold and wield power other than as 
'playthings of the boys' which would obviously be inadequate to 
explain someone like Maggie Thatcher. The concept can of course still 
be useful in some contexts for example in explaining how institutions 
of power operate to protect male privilege to those who have never 
thought about this.

Ooops, I am getting a bit carried away here.

This is another plea to Talismans to be aware that feminist 
thought is much more than media characterisation of it. Describing 
someone as feminist and intending to be derogatory, reflects the 
ignorance of the describer far more than the knowledge and opinions 
of the one described.


From burlb@bmi.netTue Sep 12 23:22:28 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 95 16:40 PDT
From: Burl Barer 
Subject: Re: Can Our Faith Change?

>To: David Langness <>
>From: (Burl Barer)
>Subject: Re: Can Our Faith Change?
>>"it doesn't change to fit the mood, expectations, desires, or proclivities
>>of those who would join it."
>>I would submit for the consideration of all that our Faith is exactly the
>>opposite of what Burl describes.  In fact, it does change to meet the
>>needs and views of the believers.
>>Ah c'mon.  It can't be "exactly the opposit" and be transformative in both
directions at the same time. 
>(how do you like that for a scholarly response? :-))
> Perhaps I should have phrased by comment: "The Faith is not under
obligation to the believers to change the text nor its implications or
methods of implementation to fit the mood, expectations, desires, or
proclivities of those who would join it."  
>When the idividual will becomes one with the will of God, the individual is
>When the Cause of God and His Religion goes with the flow of temporary and
temporal socio-political ideas and interests, and the book is weighed by the
standards current amongst men, it is usually termed corruption.
>Yes, you can petition the Lord with Prayer, and you can petition the House,
or in his time, the Guardian or Abdul-Baha. But none of the above were/are
obligated to  bend the Faith or the Divine Plan  to fit our fancy.  Remember
the important petition sent to Abdul Baha entreating him to NOT build the
House of Worship in America?  His response is that big white National
Historic Site featured on the front of the Wilmette phone book.  No doubt
some believer was really ticked off that Abdul Baha was not more responsive
to the opinions of the friends and looked forward to the day when he or she
could "fix" the errors perpetrated upon an innocent humanity by the
All-Knowing physician, the well intentioned but obviously out of touch
Center of His Covenent,  or the "boy" Guardian, and the "patriarchal" House
of Justice.   
>I am surprised by the attitude of "I'll vote for potential UHJ members who
are committed to my agenda"  HOO-HAA!
>If the decisions of the UHJ are the will of God, the purpose of God, and
have the same authority as the text itself, it wouldn't matter what
"commitment" or "agenda" the individual member brought to the table -- that
member's will is going to be submissive to the Will of God by the time
consultation is over anyway.  And as the Will and Testament assures the
protection of God in the *election* of the UHJ, such "tactics" or "schemes"
are manifest silly-ness.  It sounds to me like the old ideas of political
manipulation, social manipulation, manipulation by infiltration (if we can
get so and so elected, we'll have a pal on the inside) and such other
decadent corrupt practices. 
>Of couse, the above comments are not meant to imply my support for  any
unhealthy administrative rigidity, nor should they be construed as a denial
of the fluid, creative, universal, and all pervasive Spirit of this Holy and
Magnificent Cause.
>"We always did love the very same ONE, we just saw it from a different
point of view" -- Bob Dylan  

From cbuck@ccs.carleton.caTue Sep 12 23:22:58 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 95 19:57:03 EDT
From: Christopher Buck 
Cc: Christopher Buck 
Subject: How Many Baha'i Principles Are There?

(1)	In this post, I wish to draw a distinction between Baha'i
principles and Baha'i teachings. The two are usually classed together,
and thought of as synonymous.

(2)	By *Baha'i principles* I refer to enumerated Baha'i teachings.
(3)	These enumerated (or numbered) Baha'i principles were
privileged by Baha'u'llah and `Abdu'l-Baha for introducing the Baha'i
Faith to new audiences, and for proclaiming its salient teachings.

(4)	The question then arises: How many Baha'i principles are
there? In other words, how many enumerated or numbered Baha'i teachings
(*Baha'i principles*) are there in total?

(5)	In terms of method, a reasonable approach would be to compile
these Baha'i principles from the Tablets of Baha'u'llah and from the
written and spoken discourses of `Abdu'l-Baha. A tally of the
frequency of the reiteration of each principle would be illuminating.

(6)	If any Talismanians would like to carry out this exercise, we
could begin by posting all of the numbered Baha'i principles from
*Promulgation of Universal Peace* and *Tablets of Baha'u'llah*. That
should be a fair indicator.

	Christopher Buck

From mfoster@tyrell.netTue Sep 12 23:24:15 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 19:36:14 -0500 (EDT)
From: "Mark A. Foster" 
Subject: RE: Quddus 


Dear Ahang -
    Your postings on the illustrious Quddus are, IMO, one of the best 
things I have seen on Talisman since I first subscribed. Absolutely 
fascinating stuff! Everything you are writing makes me wish (though 
wishing won't do it ) that I knew the original languages.
    Not to detract from what you have been saying, I just wanted to 
suggest what might be an alternative possibility to Quddus being a 
dependent/lesser Prophet (not regarded as one of the Manifestations 
endowed with constancy).
    The beloved Guardian characterized the short Babi Dispensation as a 
spiritual revolution, and much of what I know about it would coincide 
with that description, i.e., the burning of all non-Babi books and the 
prohibition against non-believers living in Babi lands (neither of which 
were, of course, implemented).
    My thought was that, perhaps, the fantastic claims made by and for 
Quddus and Tahirih were elements of that revolution. The Guardian wrote 
of various parallels between the ministry of the Bab and that of Christ. 
For one thing, as I see it, as Christ spoke in parables, the spirit of 
the Babi Dispensation was, in many ways, a parable in dynamic action. So 
many different, yet interconnected, events were occurring 
simultaneously. Seemingly, all things were being shaken up in 
preparation for the coming of "Him Whom God will make manifest." 
    For one thing, the station of women was about to be transformed. 
Tahirih's act of removing of the veil and claiming to be even greater 
than Quddus may have been the impetus for a spiritual leveling process 
in female-male relations.  
    However, most relevant to the present discussion, the station (not 
nature) of the true believer (with Quddus as archetype) was about to be 
raised by the Blessed Beauty to that of a lesser Prophet. With that in 
mind, I wonder if the references to Quddus could pertain to his station 
(comparable to that of the dependent Manifestations), while, in reality, 
his human nature did not actually incarnate the divine Will, Word, 
Cause, and Spirit? IOW, could it be that Quddus was the first believer 
of the present universal prophetic cycle to be elevated to the station 
of a lesser Prophet (a follower and promoter)?
    With loving greetings,


From derekmc@ix.netcom.comTue Sep 12 23:28:05 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 17:52:40 -0700
Subject: Sexuality,Relationships and Spiritual Growth

Written by Agnes Ghaznavi who also wrote 'The Family Repairs and 
Maintenance Manual' she is a psychiatrist who believes sexuality is 
positive and that the sexual guilt aspects of traditional religions are 
harmful to the development of stable relationships and healthy minded 
people.The chapter headings of her book might give an idea of the 
subjects discussed:1.The daily practice of a psychiatrist 2. Tradition 
attitudes looming over the present 3.Qualities and attitudes necessary 
in a relationship of equality 4.Some difficult relationships 5.Immature 
and degrading relationships 6.pain and development 7.Sexual development 
8.choosing a partner for life aspects of sexuality 10.New methods 
of spiritual health , Epilogue. I would point out that the chapter that 
Dan Orey is concerned about chapter 5. deals with incestuous 
relationships and sexual abuse as well as perversions. She finishes 
that chapter in part with this remark' Perversity certainly should not 
be condoned. But must we judge the homosexual, the 
transsexual...?.......The Baha'i Teachings......can be summarised thus 
'homosexuals are not the only segment of human society labouring at 
this task< to prepare his soul for the other worlds of God>- every 
human being is beset by such inner promptings as pride , greed , 
selfishness , lustful hetrosexual or homosexual desires'
I will post a full review of the Book if required and naturally it is 
available in the Bosch Bookshop.
Kindest Regards Derek Cockshut.

From johnb@intellinet.comTue Sep 12 23:29:06 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 20:01:56 -0500 (CDT)
From: John Bromberek 
Subject: Re: Clocks and Dates 

On Tue, 12 Sep 1995 wrote:

> Even the calendar was a local matter, with the local imam determining the
> beginning of each (lunar) month with the sighting of the new moon.  (Which is
> why, in some cases, there are discrepancies of dates--even in Baha'i
> history.)  

   Thank you, Tony.  That leads me to another question.

   A few weeks ago I was playing with the fine freeware program 
MAWAQIT which is used to compute Muslim prayer times, the visibility 
of the Moon, and related things, and I happened to enter October 
19th, 1819.  According to the program, it would have been virtually 
impossible for anyone in Shiraz to have spotted the crescent moon 
after sunset that night.  If this is true, October 20th could not have 
been the first day of Muharram, that year.  Instead, it would have had 
to be October 21st. 
   I was able to quickly verify this information using several other 
astronomical programs.  The Moon, as viewed from Shiraz, set on the 
19th just five minutes after the Sun.  Likely, it was the first day of 
Muharram somewhere on the planet on October 20th, but it appears it 
could not have been in Shiraz.
   Assuming I haven't made any gross error, or misunderstood the 
manner in which the Islamic Calendar is observed, the Bab must have 
been born on October 21st, 1819.
   I am not saying that the Bab wasn't born on 1 Muharram, since the 
local people would certainly have known what day it was according to 
their calendar, but when the transformation to the Gregorian Calendar 
was made, there seems to have been a mistake. 
   I realize that the standard "computed" Islamic Calendar does yield 
October 20th = 1 Muharram that year, but those calculations are not 
always correct. 

   Has this ever come up before?.

John B.

From haukness@tenet.eduTue Sep 12 23:29:34 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 20:23:40 -0500 (CDT)
From: John Haukness 
To: talisman 
Subject: Abdul Baha

Allah-u-abha Friends: May education not become a veil between thy Beloved 
and thyself. I want to introduce a description of scholarship in this 
Blessed day, (or in this secular day) as none other that the discipline 
that would enable one upon reading the posted quote, "Women are not to 
serve on any House and later when Abdul Baha visited America he changed 
this." would know that this quote represents naught but proof of 
fabrication and that giving substance of credibility to such would 
represent being misled or misleading others.

From LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.eduTue Sep 12 23:40:09 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 95 21:12:02 EWT
Subject: women, power, and work

First, let me thank all of you who have so warmly greeted me back onto
Talisman.  I can't for the life of me see why you have done so.  

I am glad Tony addressed the issue of the construction of gender and how it
differs in various societies.  It is also important to add that the sort of
work assigned to women has very little to do with the society's designation of
her as being very weak.  Women frequently have the heaviest labor to do, such
as building houses and carrying water.  Yet, in this country, women rarely are
found, say, climbing telephone poles to repair lines.  Obviously, if we can
carrying buckets of water, we can also climb telephone poles.  The reasons we
don't is a matter of economics.  One is well paid for climbing telephone poles,
so, consequently, it is the job of men.  If the telephone company paid only
minimum wage to repair telephone lines, the job would automatically be open to

Thank you, thank you, Sonja for not being afraid to use the term "power."  I am
really astonished that it is so difficult for some to associate serving on the
UHJ with having power.  I suppose it is because power is so commonly abused,
that we shun the whole idea of it.  Because women have had so little access to
formal power we haven't a clue as to what the world would be like if we had
more.  I think that it is very instructive to listen to the issues being
debated at the Women's Conference.  Great strides are being made:  it has been
proposed that it is legitimate for a woman to refuse sex with a man.  Imagine,
we have to have a major conference in the late twentieth century to debate -
and still only debate - this issue.  The norm is for women to have to have sex
with a man who has a claim on her, regardless of whether he is infected with
the HIV virus or has some other disease.  If he is utterly reprehensible to
her, this makes no difference.  He has a claim to her body and she must obey.

Now, such an issue is of major concern to women.  Women think about such
issues because we can all put ourselves in the place of a woman forced to have
sex with a man that we fear or loathe or know we will become deathly ill from. 
Such an issue is an abstraction for men.  Men generally cannot understand what
it is like to be forced to have sex (though I will concede that, of course,
boys too often know what it is to be sexually mollested).  However, grown men
do not need to sit around worrying about whether or not someone is going to
force or coerce them to have sex.  

My point here is that the perspective of women is going to be so much different
from that of men.  Men don't have the equivalent of international women's
conferences and, as is so evident from the media coverage of the conference,
they don't really understand what this is all about.  

In so many forums today, there is a grudging acceptance that a woman's
perspective is useful.  Even police I have spoken to are increasingly accepting
the fact that women (not one's who are imitating men) bring something important
to a police force.  How in heaven's name, then, can we say that it is not
important to have women on the UHJ?  Please, no hocus pocus answers.  These men
on the UHJ are ordinary men.  I have never seen them sprouting wings or wearing
halos.  They are, no doubt, good, honest men.  That is not the point.  No
matter how nice or good they are they would not feel the same urgency on the
issues brought out at the Women's Conference.  They have not experienced in any
sense the types of abuses that bring these women to China with such a sense of
a mission.  

Now, Derek, I heard on NPR yesterday a feature about e-mail being more like
writing post cards than letters.  For some reason, I thought you would be
interested in knowing this. 

David, I sent you a message but it bounced back.  Please e-mail me so I can try
again.  Thanks.  Linda

From gpoirier@acca.nmsu.eduTue Sep 12 23:42:04 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 21:02:01 -0600 (MDT)
From: "[G. Brent Poirier]" 
To: Steven Scholl <>
Cc: Talisman 
Subject: Re: Domains of Authority/Women on UHJ

On 7 Sep 1995, Steven Scholl wrote:

> My understanding of Baha'i law is that the > Guardian's arena of
"infallibility" lies in interpretation of the sacred texts > while the
Universal House of Justice is to pronounce authoritatively and >
"infallibly" on all matters of Baha'i legislation and administration that
are > not clear in the sacred texts. 

Just a comment on this frequently stated view of the domain of the 
House.  That is, many of the areas for the House are quite specifically 
set forth in the Text; there are several explicit ones in the Tablet of 
Questions and Answers, for example.  So in addition to those areas where 
the Text is silent, there are quite a number of explicit endowments of 
authority for the House.  In addition to legislation there are, as you 
pointed out Steve, matters of administration, as the Guardian stated in 
the "Dispensation."  The others are summarized in the Constitution.

From gpoirier@acca.nmsu.eduWed Sep 13 00:03:11 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 21:33:23 -0600 (MDT)
From: "[G. Brent Poirier]" 
To: Frank Lewis 
Subject: Interpretation and legislation

On Thu, 7 Sep 1995, Frank Lewis wrote:

> Interpretation is essential to the meaning of any text.   Personally,
> I feel that the distinctions that have been drawn between legislation and
> interpretation are rather weak.  While it is true that there is a
> difference, one cannot be done without the other.  It is not possible for
> me or anyone else to pick up a text and pass a law on the basis of that
> text without having interpreted the meaning of the text. 

I'd like to comment on the application of that principle to the legislative 
acts of the Universal House of Justice.  My understanding of the term 
"interpret" as used in the above paragraph means "to have a correct 
understanding."  My understanding of the term "interpret" as in the 
Guardian is the sole infallible Interpreter, is that only he can 
establish doctrine, only he can explicate to others authoritatively, the 
meaning of a given Text.

My view of the scope of infallibility of the House, (as confirmed by the
letter from the House in which it states that its guarantee of
infallibility carries with it the guarantee that it will not stray out of
its defined sphere) is that it is guided internally as to accuracy of
meaning of the Text, such as what areas of Baha'u'llah's laws are off
limits and what areas are open to its legislation; and in that sense,
"what the Text means."  The fact that there is not an infallible
interpreter in its midst may not mean that the House does not infallibly
understand the Text; it may mean that it cannot impose its understanding
on the friends;  but it can use its understanding to legislate, to
protect, and to administer -- to do those things which it is empowered to 
do.  While the House has stated that its power to clarify "matters that 
are obscure" is very different from the power to infallibly interpret, 
the Master has written that the "deductions" of the House will not 
"cause differences."  My understanding is that this is a term of art that 
does not mean simply that the friends will obey it (like the NSA or LSA) 
without dissension, but conveys a spiritual reality about the effect of 
its pronouncements.



From sw@solsys.ak.planet.gen.nzWed Sep 13 00:03:47 1995
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 15:37 NZST
From: S&W Michael 
Subject: Ye Olde Menstruation Excuse

It seems as though, amongst all the posturing as to reasons why women are
excluded from the House of Justice, there aren't too many talisman
subscribers who think its because of women's apparent 'irrationality'
during menstruation. However, since it's just been mentioned again, albeit
in jest, I think we should consider the very varied experiences women have
during this time.  Many experience several days of quite an extraordinarily
heightened creativity, and a time of deepening spiritual awareness.  Rather
fine qualities for appointment to the House one might think.  So if there
is anyone out there who still likes the 'menstruation excuse' - get real!!

I've heard it said there's got to be an excuse somewhere for men's
month-long irrationality, but it seems to be being kept very quiet if there
is one!!

Suzanne M.

From Sep 13 00:17:22 1995
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 95 20:34:01 -0400
From: Ahang Rabbani 
Subject: Martyrs of Manshad -- part 1

[This message is converted from WPS-PLUS to ASCII]

   Dear Friends:
   Recently, I've been making a study of the pogrom of 1903 in Yazd 
   and its environs and have decided to translate an eyewitness report 
   of the persecution of the Baha'i community of Manshad (pronounced 
   Man-shAd).  The report in question is "Sharh Shahadat-i Shuhaday-i 
   Manshad" (Account of Martyrdom of Manshad's Martyrs), by Siyyid 
   Muhammad Tabib-i Manshadi.  
   My interest is translating this primary historical document is 
   chiefly to introduce, in a language admittedly inadequate, a brief 
   account of the heroic deeds of our brothers and sisters in the 
   Cradle of the Faith to the Baha'i communities of the West so that 
   they may draw fresh inspirations from these deeds of sacrifice.
   It is particularly surprising that the story of the massive 
   1903 holocaust of the Baha'i community of Yazd and its neighboring 
   region has not been narrated in the English literature of the 
   Cause.  After the translation of this document, I intend to share 
   an abridge translation of Haj Muhammad-Tahir Malmiri's "Tarikh-i 
   Shuhaday-i Yazd" (History of Yazd's Martyrs).
   The events surrounding the martyrdom of so many of the friends in 
   the small town of Manshad is told both by Tabib-i Manshadi and 
   Malmiri.  It is particularly noteworthy that both books use almost 
   the same language, and in many places verbatim, to narrate the 
   events.  I suspect that since Tabib-i Manshadi was an eyewitness 
   and participant in the Manshad's events, Malmiri used his account 
   in his own book, starting page 432.  As such, in absence of other 
   evidence, I consider Manshadi's account to be the primary source 
   with Malmiri utilizing it in his own book.  However, it should be 
   pointed out that in a few places, Malmiri does add a few additional 
   pieces of information which helps with placing the events in 
   perspective.  I intend to use these additional pieces of 
   information as footnotes.
   I'll be most grateful for any and all comments which the 
   translators on Tarjuman wish to share.  Such assistance will be 
   properly recognized at the time of publishing.
   Since participants on Talisman discussion group have in the past 
   expressed an interest to receive copies of provisional 
   translations, I intend to "cc" Talisman with these postings with a 
   request *not* to forward to anyone.
   Everyday, I'll post a few pages of this translation and expect to 
   complete the whole thing in about a week.  What follows in this 
   posting is a brief "Forward" and author's biography.  Starting with 
   the next posting, the actual translation will commence.
   With appreciations, ahang.
   The Martyrs of Manshad
   By:  Siyyid Muhammad Tabib-i Manshadi
   Translator's Forward:
   The Tree of Faith is nourished by the blood of the martyrs.
   What follows is the story of a band of selfless, dedicated,
   love-intoxicated followers of Baha'u'llah who sacrificed the
   most precious of all things in His service -- life itself.  
   The momentous events associated with the birth and
   development of the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah find their
   origin in the Cradle of His Faith, Iran.  Such glorious
   events have been contrasted by the bitter persecution of a
   defenseless community which knows no other purpose than to
   unite the world under the banner of brotherhood and peace. 
   In a number of Tablets, Abdu'l-Baha quotes a well-known
   poem: "nuk-i khari nist, kaz khun-i shahidan surkh nist"
   (there is not a spike whose tip is not tinged with the blood
   of the martyrs).  The implications of this line, although
   far-reaching, find no greater significance than in the city
   of Yazd and its environs.  This area has seen what none
   other has since the inception of the Faith, when such heroes
   as the immortal Vahid, Mulla `Aly-i Sabzivari and thousands
   of others, time and again, stood firm in the face of the
   onslaught of a vicious enemy and offered life and limb as
   the greatest testimony of the truth and validity of
   Baha'u'llah's Cause.  In words of the beloved Master, "the
   martyrs of the land of Ya [Yazd] drank their fill with
   relish from the draught of glorious martyrdom."
   The Baha'i community of Manshad, a small town in the
   neighborhood of Yazd, stood as a shining example, a
   community which would ultimately win the immortal crown of
   fidelity by withstanding the onslaught of a fierce enemies. 
   The heinous events that culminated in the martyrdom of so
   many of the friends in that blackest of all days started on
   June 26, 1903.
   The story of that pogrom and the events leading up to it is
   immortalized by the pen of Siyyid Muhammad Tabib-i Manshadi,
   an eyewitness to many of the episodes.  For some of the
   details, he later closely interviewed all the remaining
   survivors and thereby completed his brief narration which
   was made available some 25 years ago, (127 BE), under the
   title of "Sharh Shahadat-i Shuhady-i Manshad" (Account of
   Martyrdom of Manshad's Martyrs).  The same details and based
   on the information of the same narrator is also captured by
   Haj Muhammad-Tahir Malmiri in his immortal "Tarikh Shuhaday-i
   Yazd", starting on page 432.
   The events of Manshad, which will be recounted in this
   narrative are part and parcel of a much larger and truly
   massive Baha'i holocaust of 1903 in Yazd and its surrounding
   towns.  It is hoped that in a near future, the full story of
   Yazd's martyrs and events be also made available in English
   so that the Baha'i communities everywhere are inspired by
   the brilliant example of their brothers and sisters at the
   Cradle of the Faith.
                                      the translator
   Author's autobiography:
   Aqa Siyyid Muhammad Tabib-i Manshadi, (1863-1918), was a son
   of Aqa Siyyid Abdu'l-Ghani and Sakinih Khanum.  Born in
   Yazd, he spent his early childhood in that city, completing
   his early education.  Pursuant to a career in medicine, he
   moved eventually to Tihran where after his concluding his
   studies, he emerged as a well-trained and knowledgeable
   medical Doctor (hence the name, Tabib).  Returning back to
   his native land of Yazd, he commenced his medical practice,
   and it was then that he learned about the Faith of
   Baha'u'llah and embraced it as a believer.
   Around 1886, some five years before the upheaval of Yazd
   which resulted in bloodshed of the Seven Martyrs of Yazd,
   Aqa `Ali-Akbar, the martyr, requested Aqa Siyyid Muhammad to
   settle in Manshad and continue his medical practice in that
   town.  Having accepted this invitation, Aqa Siyyid Muhammad
   pioneered to Manshad and made that town his home.  For a
   while he resided with his host, Aqa `Ali-Akbar, (whose house
   presently serves as the Baha'i Center of Manshad's
   community) and then moved to a house near the Husayniyyih of
   Manshad, next door to a mosque.  
   Shortly thereafter, Aqa Siyyid Muhammad married
   Bibi-Rubabih, a daughter of late Haj Siyyid Husayn-i
   Banadaki; a union which resulted in two children.
   During his life time, Aqa Siyyid Muhammad witnessed several
   episodes of persecution of the community, the most gruesome
   of which was the great upheaval of Manshad and Yazd in the
   year 1321 H, (1903).  Many Baha'is during this period drank
   from the chalice of martyrdom.  Miraculously, Aqa Siyyid
   Muhammad, though well-known as a Baha'i and residing in
   Manshad, escaped the hands of his persecutors, later,
   committing to paper his recollections and remembrances of
   other survivors of that dark period.  In addition to his
   narratives, others by Aqa Siyyid Abu'l-Qasim-i Bayda and Haj
   Muhammad Tahir-i Malmiri ("Tarikh-i Shuhaday-i Yazd" --
   History of Yazd's Martyrs) attest to the selfsame horrors
   characteristic of the period.  
   Aqa Siyyid Muhammad died at the age of 56 in the year 1336 H
   having remained faithful his entire life.  Serving the
   community of Manshad -- where he had pioneered so many years
   earlier -- was his greatest desire.  He is now buried in a
   cemetery of that city.
   The beloved Master has revealed a magnificent Tablet in his
   honor which will stand for all time as the testimony to his
   faith and zeal.  May the Grace of Baha'u'llah continue to
   surround him in all the worlds of God.
   (to be continued) 

From jrcole@umich.eduWed Sep 13 00:19:47 1995
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 00:01:00 -0400 (EDT)
From: Juan R Cole 
To: Mary Day 
Subject: Re: women and literacy


Thank you for your question with regard to my references to women's 
illiteracy as a background for their initial exclusion from houses of 

I am simply reporting my understanding of `Abdu'l-Baha's own concerns.  
He speaks on several occasions of women being "backward" and this being a 
result of their lack of education.

I think he has in mind primarily Middle Eastern women.  And here it is 
important to point out that literacy rates for Muslim women have been 
extremely low on the whole in world terms throughout the nineteenth and 
twentieth centuries.  

I've tried to find numbers, and as far as I can tell, the literacy rate 
in a place like Egypt around 1900 was about 7 percent.  In Iran it was 
probably less, more like 5 percent.  This number consists almost entirely 
of men.  The major form of education in these societies was the Qur'an 
school (Arabic "maktab"), which taught basic literacy and arithmetic and 
lasted for four or five years.  An idea of what such a late-nineteenth 
century primary schooling was like in the Middle East can be gained from 
Taha Husayn's "Stream of Days" autobiography.  In any case, the maktab 
was entirely for boys.  Girls did not go and were overwhelmingly left 
illiterate.  Only a handful of notable families might have their girls 
tutored.  From the 1850s civil government schools began being founded, 
but these trained limited numbers of students and were also 
overwhelmingly male.  Rifa'ah at-Tahtawi (d. 1873) gained fame as a 
reformer concerned with women by simply supporting the idea of girls' 
schools!  In the 1870s there were about 300 women in government schools, 
as I remember.  Of course, some religious minorities schooled their 
girls, but the numbers are still small.

Because of strong codes of gender segregation, women played very little 
role in public life or politics in the late 19th century.  There were no 
women delegates to the national assembly (where there was one!), no women 
cabinet ministers, no women high in the government bureaucracy, no women 
clergy, lawyers, notaries, etc.  Women did own property such as shops, 
but their business affairs were conducted by male wakils or proxies.  
Upper-class women were forbidden to go out of the house, and middle and 
lower-middle class urban women went out only veiled and had no extensive 
contact with non-related men.  Working class and peasant women did not 
veil, and performed hard labor, but were kept subservient to male bosses 
and landowners and the men of their own families.

So the point is that a five to seven percent literate notability of males 
formed a platform for administrative involvement, whereas women in the 
Middle East did not have a fraction of that and moreover lacked all sorts 
of public experience that even illiterate male artisans, etc., would have 
in their guild organizations (I have never found evidence of women guilds).

So I don't think it is at all strange that `Abdu'l-Baha thought women as 
a corporate group unready for administrative service, and it was only his 
encounter with mainly upper-class Western women pilgrims and activists 
that changed his mind in regard to LSAs in 1909-1912.

cheers    Juan Cole, History, University of Michigan

From frlw@midway.uchicago.eduWed Sep 13 09:50:06 1995
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 00:24:48 -0500 (CDT)
From: Frank Lewis 
Subject: RE: interpretation

    You asked, in reply to my message of about a week ago if I was saying
"that `Abdu'l-Baha had the authority to over-rule Baha'u'llah?"  I suppose I
would reply to this that it is a matter of semantics.  It occurs to me that
a well-to-do Baha'i man who was all set to marry a woman with whom he had
fallen very much in love as his second wife (in accordance with what must
have seemed like a fairly straight-forward and self-evident interpretation
of the provisions of Baha'u'llah's *Kitab-i-Aqdas*), would have been rather
surprised and perhaps even disappointed to receive a tablet from Abdu'l-Baha
indicating that treating both wives with justice would be impossible and
therefore the intent of Baha'u'llah's pronouncement was that Baha'is should
marry only one wife.  Do you not think that this hypothetical man may have
hypothetically felt that Abdu'l-Baha had effectively "changed" or
"over-ruled" the Aqdas?  Yet, I think AB did have the authority to do so.
    Likewise, I imagine that if in the future the UHJ were to rule that
women could serve on the UHJ, it might look to many people as if the UHJ
had "overturned" a ruling of `Abdu'l-Baha and/or the Guardian.  From your
point of view, though, based upon the arguments you have put forth, you
would understand the same ruling as a natural development and application
of a fundamental principle of the Faith--equality of the sexes--and not as
a reversal of previous policy.
    Whether one understands these hyptothetical instances to be
"interpretation," "legislation," "supplementing," "expounding," or
"over-turning," is more a question of faith, temperment, life-experience
and one's view of the teleology of the Faith, than it is of logically
distinct and identifiable actions.  In short, it seems to me to depend
upon one's beliefs about and attitudes toward the UHJ or Shoghi Effendi or
`Abdu'l-Baha and their reasons for taking the action or making the decision
in question, as opposed to clearly definable and deliniable spheres of
authority or categories of action.
           yours, Frank Lewis

From frlw@midway.uchicago.eduWed Sep 13 09:52:13 1995
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 00:25:05 -0500 (CDT)
From: Frank Lewis 
Subject: RE: Hafiz

Dear Ahang:
   You wrote in an earlier message that it was painful to disagree with
me.  Perhaps I can pluck that thorn from your side by disagreeing with you,
in turn.  (BTW, I was not arguing that the function or the station of
Abdu'l-Baha and `Ali are the same; doctrinally speaking they are not.
However, the role that "`Ali" [in quotes to designate him as a mytholgical
symbol or a character in a story] plays in the sacred history of Shi`i Islam,
is similar to the role that "`Abdu'l-Baha" fulfills--psychologically and
mythologically--in Baha'i sacred history).
   In any case, this message is not about that at all, but about Hafez.
The most reputable manuscripts of Hafez do not contain the poem you have

> Ay Saba bi sakinan-i ahl-i Yazd az ma bigo
>    Kin sar-i haqq nashinasan, kuy-i maydan-i shumast

Neither do they contain the poem that has sometimes been attributed to
Hafez, supposedly a prophecy of the Bab:

    ShirAz por ghowghA shavad shekkar-lab-i paydA shavad

It is unlikely that either poem was by Hafez.  There were literally
thousands of people who considered themselves poets in Shiraz and Isfahan
and Tehran during the Qajar period and one of these people, presumably a
Babi, may have penned the said verses.  Perhaps they even deliberately
attributed the verses to Hafez, knowing that if a famous poet has
supposedly composed them, they would be more likely to gain currency.
AFter all, who has more authorial authority, Hafez of Shiraz, or Haji Mirza
Gholam-`Ali of Bojnurd, son of Husayn, who claims descent on his mother's
side from Shabistari, a mediocre poet admired by Sufis?
    The verses in question may also have no reference at all to the Bab,
but may refer to political circumstances during the life of the poet who
composed them.
    In any case, I find the notion that a poet's spiritual insight
is justified by the extent to which he or she did or did not cryptically
predict the advent of the Bab or Baha'u'llah, rather amusing.  On those
grounds, we could pretty safely throw out all the verse of John Donne, and
the poems and drawings of Blake, and a whole lot of other folks who might
otherwise deemed to have quite a bit of insight into the human soul.
    That said, it is rather odd that Hafez, a poet who spent his whole life
in Shiraz (except for an abortive journey to India) would have written about
the river Aras, which is in the northwest of Iran and is not particularly
significant in Iranian history or sacred geography, though it is close to
where the Bab was imprisoned in Mahku and Chihriq.  The following poem is
attested by multiple early manuscripts as a composition of Hafez, and there
can be little doubt that it is the real McCoy:

    ay sabA gar bog-zari bar sAhel-e rud-e aras
       buseh zan bar khAk-e An vAdi o moshkin kon nafas

O zephyr,
   should you pass by
    the banks of the River Aras
   kiss the earth of that vale
      and make your breath
         redolunet with its musk

As for Rumi, it seems to me self-evident that he and other poets give us
insights into human character, morality, the numinous and many other things
that the Qur'an either does not provide or provides only in potentia, just
as Einstein provides us with insight into the physical universe that can
nowhere be deduced from the Bible.  Whether we call Rumi a prophet or
not, does not the fact that Baha'u'llah quotes many of Rumi's verses in
his own Tablets to illustrate certain points indicate that Baha'u'llah
felt these poems to be full of beauty, insight, wisdom and Truth?  So, in
effect, did not Rumi "reveal" these verses 600 years prior to Baha'u'llah
revealing them or confirming them as true?
       yours, Frank

From frlw@midway.uchicago.eduWed Sep 13 09:53:45 1995
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 00:24:33 -0500 (CDT)
From: Frank Lewis 
Subject: The gender of hermaphrodites

    For those who may doubt that gender is a construct, I would recommend
the book *Gender: An Ethnomethodological Approach* by Suzanne J. Kessler and
Wendy McKenna (Univ of Chicago Press, 1978).  The book made me quite angry
while I read it, but I left it with the understanding that there is not
necessarily a direct correspondence between one's biological sex and one's
*gender,* the latter being in large part a cultural construct.  There are
cases (transvestites) in which one's gender is not acculturated or
socialized in accordance with one's biology and, indeed, there are cases in
which people are born with both female and male sex organs, or have
abnormal concentrations of the opposite sex hormone.  In such cases, a
determination is often made early on to medically and surgically
differentiate the sex of the child as either male or female and to construct
a gender identity that corresponds with that sex.
    So, let me pose a hypothetical question.  Should a hermaphrodite, a
person who possessed both male and female genitalia, be eligible to serve on
the UHJ?  Are the categories of [men] and [women], for the purpose of
determining eligibility for the UHJ, defined on the basis of biology or on
the basis of gender (meaning something that has a biological basis but is
also a social construct)? If the latter, will human beings evolve to the
point where the social construct [woman] no longer corresponds to the
concept of [woman] as reflected in the writings of AB and Baha?  In other
words, are gender categories essential and permanent or primarily cultural
and in flux?
       yours, Frank Lewis

From Alethinos@aol.comWed Sep 13 09:54:05 1995
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 01:35:48 -0400
Subject: Re: Women & UHJ (Sonja)


In a message dated 95-09-12 16:31:31 EDT, you write:

>What is gradually becoming more exciting for me is to discover that the
>Writings are much richer and open to interpretation than I was first led
>to believe.  

So I have to ask you, and through you everyone who keeps going on and on and
on about this, (while at the same time swearing unending acquiesce to the
already given response):

  What part of the Universal House of Justice' ". . . NO . . ." did you not

jim harrison

From GreyOlorin@aol.comWed Sep 13 09:55:17 1995
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 02:40:32 -0400
Subject: perhaps a bit of the wisdom?

First, thanks to everyone who responded to the thoughts I posted the other
day.  I intend to carry on with the dialogue, but at the moment it's past my
bedtime and I have just one thing to say.  Don't worry, it's not a
pronouncement along the lines of "I'm leaving" or "I'm not going to discuss X
any more"... :)  It's merely a flash of insight I've just had, which I'll now
ruthlessly toss into the den of Talisman to see if it survives.

Through all the dust that's been kicked up over the issue of women on the
Universal House of Justice, one thing seems clear to me:  that the core of
what's been said on both sides of the issue has been true.  There is a
logical tendency to see the inclusion of women on the Supreme Body as a
necessary expression of the principle of equality repeatedly proclaimed in
the Writings; at the same time, the words of the Supreme Body are
unmistakably clear in stating that such inclusion is not possible at this
time or in the near future.  Each side rests on strong, yet different logical
foundations, so that they cannot be easily reconciled with one another.

Perhaps the absence of easy answers is part of the wisdom of this ruling.

Someone recently mentioned an exchange with non-Baha'i feminists who
expressed their complete lack of interest in empty proclamations of
theoretical equality.  They wanted practical proof of equality, which they
saw as measurable only in whether or not a religious community opens its
highest position(s) to women.

In pondering their stance, I could not help but reflect upon the small number
of modern nation-states which have placed women in the "highest position of
power."  Have the exalted offices held by Bhutto in Pakistan, or Chamorro in
Nicaragua, or even Thatcher in Britain, substantially improved the legal
status of women in those societies?  Clearly not.  At least for the time
being, placing a woman in the "highest position of power" is nothing more
than another nod to purely theoretical equality.

For many men, the fact that a tiny number of women hold positions of such
power allows continuing psychological denial of the brutal conditions still
endured by the vast majority of women.

Perhaps, then, one salutary effect of the ineligibility of women to serve on
the Universal House of Justice may be that the Baha'is will never be allowed
to forget the issue of equality until we have achieved its real and practical
expression in the communities in which real women must live and work.  We
cannot elect a tiny minority of women to the Supreme Body and then fool
ourselves into thinking we've finished the job.  Instead, critics both inside
and outside the Baha'i community, both friendly and hostile to the Faith,
will continuously hound us with charges of hypocrisy until true equality of
status is accorded to all Baha'i women in all practical ways, to which they
themselves will unhesitatingly and convincingly attest.

In short, perhaps our task is to exert such efforts at every other level of
Baha'i community life and administration that the ineligibility of women to
serve on the Universal House of Justice will be universally recognized as

This is essentially an extension, albeit more ambitious, of the same idea I
presented the other day.  Please subject it to the most vigorous examination,
that it might become something stronger and more useful than I could ever
produce alone.

With gratitude and regards,
Kevin Haines

From Sep 13 09:58:02 1995
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 21:43:24 +1000
From: Ahmad Aniss 
Subject: search after truth

Dear Friends,

During the past few days we have seen so many postings by 
different individuals regarding the matter of women on UHJ.
As you know this discussion started by my posting of the article 
'Seed of Creation'.  However, I am very disappointed that the 
discussion is going the way it is going.  I was hoping that the 
friends will read that article and discuss the actual matters that it 
raises.  Very few of the friends have actually bothered reading the 
article but many have tried to comment on a single issue that came 
out of it (emancipation of women).  I say this because, I see 
responses that are completely out of touch with the article.  Some 
merely trying to respond to postings of others which in my view 
were trying to discuss the matter after reading the article, but as the 
respondent had not read the article, could not discuss the topic of 
the article.  So much for principle of 'the individual search after 
Perhaps I did not clearly define the issues involved in that article, 
but I think that is not the case.  I believe that members of the 
Talisman (at list those who respond to posts such as mine) have the 
desire of just talking about relationship of men and women.
Although, this is a hot topic and important for discussion,  but it 
was not the topic of my article.  I wish that friends would read the 
article carefully and then discuss the matters that it raises in a form 
that can encompass all the issues concerned.  I will give you some 
examples,  You see the article's main topic was Creation itself.  
Then the Principle of male and female plus the interaction or 
reproduction process.  Now the article produces some new insight 
in Baha'i belief in the Creation of World and entities that are 
involved in that Creation.
It is true that the matter of UHJ comes into it in a major form, but 
the topic of no women on the UHJ was not the main point.  I am 
hoping that perhaps this posting, can divert the discussion from the 
way it is going to the way that I think it should follow, if the 
discussion is about the matters that the article raised.  The 
following is a suggestive list of questions that the reader must ask 
himself/herself about the matters that the article is raising.
of course not in the order that I am listing them.

1.  What are the scientific facts about our universe.
2.  What are the Baha'i believes on creation.
3.  What is ether and what are the relevant Baha'i writings on it.
4.  What is the male and Female principle.
5.  Is this principle universal as a law.
6.  What are the implications of this law in regard to relationship of
     men and women.
6.  What is the nature of our relationship in Physical World with
     that of the Spiritual World.
7.  If these interactions are presently real, then what is the structure
    of them and what form they take.
7.  Why Manifestations of God have up to now been male
8.  What are the writings regarding the membership of the UHJ.
9.  What factors determine the wisdom that Abdu'l-Baha is stating.
10.  What should be the condition of the world for that wisdom to
        be clear as the noon sun.
11.  What are the implications of this wisdom in regard to
        emancipation of women

anyway I can go on for some more but I just want to show you that 
the topic of emancipation of women is not the issue concerned in 
the article.  So I hope that friends that have not read the article 
would either read it or stop commenting on issue as they only 
basking on the issue of emancipation of women.  Of course this 
issue is important but is not the correct response to the issues raised 
in the article.  May be you could say it is one of the issues involved.
Yes, it is but discussion can not fruitfully be based on that issue 
Any way Perhaps the discussion will turn towards the actual topic 
of the mysteries behind the male and female principle and its 
metaphoric relationship with the Spiritual World.  But, I guess that 
I could only hope that the issue of emancipation of women could be 
separated and be discussed as a individual issue by itself.

With Baha'i Love and Fellowship.

From Sep 13 09:58:51 1995
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 13:46:08 -6000
Subject: women on the house

Dear friends,

someone on talisman forwarded me some of the mails on women and the house of 
justice. I have not gotten all, so maybe the point I raise has been discussed 
already. I could not refrain from bringing up some points.

It seems to me that there will be no such thing as the Administrative Order 
or growth of the Bahai community if there is no true consultation. In the 
manner I see it it is that in a good consultation there is ample room for 
people to speak what is in their hearts and that this will be done in a 
manner which shows respect for each other.

Now, very often we do not yet find this attitude, this consultation. No 
wonder we are still so small! How can we ever imagine that the Universal 
House of Justice will have much more power than it has now, if we will not be 
able to grow and apply real consultation? There is nothing to worry about, in 
my opinion. Either we learn how to consult and then the House will never take 
any decision that is detrimental to women, as they will apply consultation as 
well with NSA's and Councellors (who can be women as well and from what I 
understand work closely with the House), and they will be fair, or we will 
fail and in that case there will be no administrative order to speak about.

I have had the opportunity to meet several House members, and I was very 
critical, I must say. But I cannot say anything but that I like them. I spoke 
to several of them personally, and still found that they are genuine, that 
they are not different in private life than in public life. I find them very 
open to the need of women, although they may not have the experience of 
women. Most of them are married and their wives still alive. Most of their 
wives are not really the timid kind, but women who are personalities. I find 
it a bit silly to apply the standards of the world to an institution which 
nowadays on a worldwide scale has so little power. Aren't we getting just a 
very tiny bit paranoid? And why focus on what might happen? Why not focus on 
preventing that from happening, by raising our children in a different way 
and by generally trying to make this world a better place?

There is but one power in this world and that is the power of love. Nothing 
else will attract people to us. All other power is illusion and will 
ultimately vanish. Baha'u'llah (or was it Abdu'l-Baha)? has warned us time 
and again that if *we* do not change, and we = me, every individual, not they 
or you, but me, I, this Cause will not grow. So, if we Bahais do not practice 
what we preach: tolerance, equality for men and women, love for every human 
being, because we see God in even the most horrible of persons, there will be 
no real Bahai faith and then, well, I said it already.
True unity comes only about when people transform themselves, and that is the 
goal of any religion: to transform people.
If we do not love our LSA, it will crumble. If we do not love our NSA, it 
will crumble. If we do not love our UHJ, it will crumble. Something which 
crumbles will have no power at all! It is as simple as that.

loving greetings,

janine van rooij
amsterdam, the netherlands


From Sep 13 09:59:23 1995
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 14:08:43 -6000
Subject: women and equality

As usual, I forgot something also important:

And, further, how can we ever ever ever EVER imagine that if women get 
educated and more educated and more educated, as encouraged in the teachings, 
they will ever ever ever accept a subservient role and any injustice to their 
I was born in '62 and grew up in the 70s, while women were burning their 
bra's. I have six sisters, ranging in age from 50-37. There is a vast 
difference in approach to things, because they grew up in a time, under a 
Roman Catholic regime, which was much more strict. We all had the same very 
emancipated woman as a mother. Yet the fact that I grew up in the 70s, in a 
country which understood what women were saying, and was very democratic, 
made me much more liberated than my sisters (except the one of 37). I have 
noticed the same difference with many of my friends. I have woman friends 
ranging from 50-32. The ones of my age are much more free (but less so than 
many of my nieces who are now 25-21) than the older ones. We are much more 
able to speak up for ourselves. 

I can only see this process continuing, and worldwide it is continuing, as 
more and more women are able to develop their mind. Any decision which the 
House might make which will be based on power and the wish to put women down 
will be immediately noticed by many educated women and they sure will protest.
But personally, I believe that the House is incapable to do that, because i 
believe that the House has more practice with true consultation as the 
average Bahai has.  

janine van rooij
amsterdam, the netherlands


From Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nlWed Sep 13 10:03:39 1995
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 15:24:53 EZT
Subject: masculine & feminine

Dear Mary,
I have not searched REFER for you (address for Refer is Lee
Nelson, PO BOX 1613 San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693. A good
programme, and it has become cheaper. I have not compared it
with the free text programme which was mentioned on Talisman).
If no-one else has done a search by the weekend I may have
time then. However I have something on the principle of pairs
in the Baha'i pattern of Order which is somewhat relevant.
It's from a work-in-progress on church and state in the world
order of Baha'u'llah, earlier versions of which have been
posted on Talisman.
       Note that the implicit male-female pairing here is
horizontal, not vertical. There is another kind of pairing, a
vertical dialectic of procession from God-in-Godself, through
the logos (Most Great Spirit) to the Manifestations and the
Holy Spirit, the creation, etc., and this vertical pairing is
also necessarily evident in the daily details of creation -
for instance between parents and their offspring, the artist
and the art work, etc. But that is not what I am discussing
here: the pairs here are horizontal pairs, partners, not
vertical pairs. Some may be literally male-female (as in
sexual procreation, and some social constructs such as the
bilinear pattern described in my inheritance paper); some
might be metaphorically spoken of as male-female, if we
understand that we are simply using male/female stereotypes
(eg the House of Justice and the House of Worship form a
'male/female' pair, as masculine and feminine characteristics
are presently understood); but many of these pairings cannot
usefully be described as male/female if we are using the
Western connotations of gender. It seems to me important not
to confuse the pairing of procession, in which the first of
the pair is by definition superior to the other, and the
second depends for its existence on the first, with the
horizontal pairing which is described below. (BTW, by
'procession' I mean the way a new creation 'proceeds' from an
original, as in 'the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father &
the Son'. No relation to brass bands and carnivals.) 
       Apropos of other discussions here, in the vertical pairs
the originator, or source, is usually tagged as feminine
(mother, mother earth etc.) while the derivative or offspring
does not get tagged as masculine. But in cultures where the
act of origination is thought of as inherently masculine,
derivation or passivity gets tagged as feminine. There's an
odd asymmetry here that bears further investigation.

Anyway, to get on with the horizontal pairs. When we look at
the "unity" of the Baha'i administrative order we find that it
is, paradoxically, characterised by divisions. There seems to
be a consistent pattern in which institutions are
differentiated from a partner institution which operates on a
radically different basis. I will go further and say they
operate on metaphysically different bases, because they embody
different ideas. The most obvious of these differentiations is
between the twin institutions of the Guardianship and the
Universal House of Justice, the one hereditary, the other
elected, the one focused on one individual who holds the
office for life, the other an institutional form with the
minimum possible emphasis on the individuals who, for their
elected terms, comprise it. The one devoted to the
interpretation of the sacred texts, the other to legislation
for matters not contained in those texts. The one making
interpretations which become part of the sacred text and may
never be altered, the other applying principle to the needs of
the time, and revoking its own legislation as required. Each
requires the other, `Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon
the sacred domain of the other'[World Order of Baha'u'llah,
pp. 147 - 150].
       These differences between the Guardianship and the
Universal House of Justice are reflected systematically in the
differences between the elected and appointed institutions:
each arm developing according to its own idea. If we
understand these ideas, if we form some picture of the inner
nature which drives the operation of each kind of organ, then
the details of their operations and of how they are to work
together should pose no difficulties. In the Universal House
of Justice's recent letter to the NSA of the USA (May 19,
1994), they refer, in fact, to the need for the NSA "to obtain
an integrated understanding of the Counsellors'
responsibilities and sphere of action in relation to your own"
and provide an outline of the different operational principles
of the two kinds of institution. 
       It is important to note here that the two organs are not
separated according to spheres of operations, they "share in
the functions of propagation and protection", but rather
differentiated by different manners of operation, derived from
their distinct charters in the writings of Baha'u'llah. As
regards gender relations, even supposing that one applies this
model of pairs to our social relationships (and as I have
said, not all of the pairings can, even metaphorically, be
summarized as masculine-feminine relationships), it would NOT
imply a division into separate social functions (public-
masculine & private-feminine is how it usually works out).
Rather than 'the woman's place is bringing up children' etc.,
it would be 'a woman in the house/House brings a certain je ne
sais quoi' AND 'a man in the house/House brings something else
distinctive'. However I'm rather doubtful of the usefulness of
trying to characterize all the horizontal pairings in terms of
masculine/feminine. There are many other constructs which are
just as important in determining social relations, and which
provide equally useful metaphors.
       To return to the pairs we find in the Baha'i world
ordering: there is a horizontal differentiation between the
fund and the Huququ'llah which is similar to that between the
Guardian and the Universal House of Justice. The one based on
the voluntary principle, the other an obligation, the one
given to and administered by elected institutions, the other
in the hands of appointed trustees. The money of the funds
flows from the bottom up, with the donors participating in the
institutions which decide on the use of the funds, or even
specifying the use to which their own donation is to be put,
while the Huququ'llah is passed directly to the top and
disbursed downwards. One could say that the idea animating the
institution of the fund is 'participation', while the idea of
the Huququ'llah is 'surrender'. And that is why, when we are
giving to the fund, the right of the individual to specify the
use to which a donation is put, and the duty of the
institutions to respect that wish, is a fundamental Baha'i
principle, but when we give to the custodian of the
Huququ'llah that right and principle do not exist.
       Another differentiation can be found between the Feast
and the Spiritual Assembly: the one comprising all believers
who can be there on the day, the other with a fixed
membership. The one acting as an accumulator for the power
which resides in the individual, a sort of spiritual
capacitor, the other exercising institutional authority over
its expression (timing/distributor?). The first being most
valuable, often, for the minority or purely personal opinions
expressed there, the latter functioning on the principle of
majority vote, its decisions announced without reference to
the divergent or minority views which may have been expressed
in the consultation.
       One could go on: the national convention and the National
Spiritual Assembly, the international convention and the
Universal House of Justice, the local or regional convention
and the delegate to the national convention, the House of
Justice and the House of Worship, and so on. 
       On the basis of these differentiations I think we can
venture a definition of 'organic unity', the structural
principle underlying the Baha'i administrative order, as a
unity based on a differentiation into pairs of distinct
organs, each of which needs the other in order to fully
express its own nature, and each developing freely according
to its own distinctive principle. It is interesting to ask why
we seem always to find pairs of institutions, and never
triplets or foursomes. 'Abdu'l-Baha notes the same pattern
recurring even in subatomic physics:

        ...the union of created things doth ever yield most
       laudable results. From the pairing of even the smallest
       particles in the world of being are the grace and bounty
       of God made manifest; and the higher the degree, the more
       momentous is the union. 'Glory be to Him Who hath created
       all the pairs, of such things as earth produceth, and out
       of men themselves, and of things beyond their ken.'
       (Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 119.)

The quotation is from the Qur'an 36:36. In Islamic doctrine
all things have their pair, or counterpart, or complement: God
alone is One. A Baha'i version of this doctrine might have to
be more complex, to allow for systems in which there is a
dynamic interrelation between several individuals, as in a
family conceived of as a single relationship rather than a
grouping of pairs; or a Baha'i community, worship group, etc.

Dhikrul'llah Khadem, in The Vision of Shoghi Effendi recalls;

       "I remember the time I was in the presence of Shoghi
       Effendi when he spoke about the significance of twin
       things in the Cause. In fact, he sent a cable about this
       to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the
       British Isles. [could be Messages to the Baha'i World
       1950-1957, p. 8: could someone fill this in for me?]. In
       this cable, he told us about the significance of twin
       occurrences in this Cause. He told the Assembly that we
       have twin cities - holy cities - `Akka and Haifa; twin
       houses - the House of Shiraz and the House of Baghdad;
       twin Manifestations - the Manifestation of the Bab and
       that of Baha'u'llah. He continued, telling us everything
       is twin: twin festivals - the birthday of the Bab and
       that of Baha'u'llah; twin monuments - of the brother and
       mother of `Abdu'l-Baha .... After explaining these
       things, he paused and looked at me deeply and said, "In
       the Cause of God everything is twin." 
Another passage which comes to mind is in the 'marriage

       ... that from the union of these two seas of love a wave
       of tenderness may surge and cast the pearls of pure and
       goodly issue on the shore of life.  "He hath let loose
       the two seas, that they meet each other:  Between them is
       a barrier which they overpass not.  Which then of the
       bounties of your Lord will ye deny? From each He bringeth
       up greater and lesser pearls." (Baha'i Prayers (US
       edition), page 106. The citation is from Quran 55: 19-22)

This suggests that the reason for the consistent pattern of
two-ness which we find in the Baha'i pattern of order may have
some relation to love. We do not find threesomes or foursomes
because love is most perfectly expressible between two (why is
this? Or is the more perfect expression the horizontal pair
PLUS the excess which flows out of their love: male + female +
child; Jack and John and the extra which their strong
relationship gives to the community around them; Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit? Push this button and I will turn trinitarian
again :-)). However the two must never become one - crossing
the barrier between them and losing their individual
identities - although, in the nature of love, they forever
long to do so. (Which is why I thought all of this was somehow
relevant to church + state, the 'two forces' (`Abdu'l-Baha,
Will and Testament, p 15) which must always remain distinct
and in love, but that is another story.)

When you have compiled more on feminine and masculine
principles, Mary, I would appreciate a copy.



Sen McGlinn                 

From LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.eduWed Sep 13 15:40:12 1995
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 10:01:46 EWT
Subject: Burl's menstrual cycle, etc.

Burl, while there was no shortage of interesting postings this morning, yours
certainly did provide the caffein.  I would like to suggest that perhaps you
had such an extreme reaction (and PLEASE, tell me it was extreme, especially
the "male" part), simply because your body was not at all acclimated to the
level of estrogen pumped into your body.  A woman grows accustomed to the cycle and normally manages it pretty well.  I think all the attention to PMS and changes in personality are terribly exagerated and don't help women to cope at all.  Anyway, I don't think this study you participated in tells us a great deal except that injecting large doses of estrogen into a man plays havoc with his body and psyche.

While there are those who are annoyed or even angry with those of us who seem
to be belaboring the issue of women on the UHJ and women's issues in general, I would like to point out that perhaps the reason for this "harping" is that, for some of us this is a deeply felt issue.  I am sure if I were a man, I would grow very tired of hearing about discrimination against women. Indeed, at times I do too because I do have other interests.  However, I must say that the discussion on Talisman  has raised my consciousness and, at times, my ire. 
Also, with the women's conference in China, the Packwood case, and even the OJ
Simpson trial, women's rights have been kept on the front burner here.  Many
women were attracted to the Baha'i Faith because they felt it was one religion
where women were not discriminated against.  No matter how much one struggles
to accept the exclusion of women from the UHJ, there is always the nagging
question, why?  And when there are no good answers, and when good arguments are made suggesting that this ruling can be changed, then the movitation to cease the discussion is lacking.  Linda

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