GUIDE FOR A FAST ASCENT



Fasting is the cause of the elevation of one’s spiritual station.

- Abdu'l-Baha -


Dear Angels,

Since the Baha'i Fast is « ...essentially a period of MEDITATION and PRAYER, of SPIRITUAL RECUPERATION, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul, »  here you will find all the information necessary for a rapid spiritual ascent during this period, including the promises reserved for the fasting soul.





Truths to hear again and again:
The fasting period... involves complete abstention from food and drink from sunrise till sunset. It is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purposes are, therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires.
- Shoghi Effendi

For this material fast is an outer token of the spiritual fast; it is a symbol of self-restraint, the withholding of oneself from all appetites of the self, taking on the characteristics of the spirit, being carried away by the breathings of heaven and catching fire from the love of God.
- Abdu'l-Baha

As one Friend reminded, « the law of fasting requires exceptions be minded - so obeying the law of fasting sometimes requires not fasting materially » to which I would add that Baha'u'llah warns us also not to fashion 'laws' of our own, neglecting His with their tremendous benefices. According to the Master, Abdu'l-Baha:

The second wisdom is that fasting is conducive to spiritual awareness.  One's heart grows more tender, one's spirituality is increased, and as a result, one's thoughts become purely focused on the remembrance of God. Such awareness and awakening leads inexorably to spiritual progress.

Having trouble to find the right diet during the Fast? Remember the Spartans... Half a can of black olives with celery or other fresh vegetables and fruits at dawn will feed anyone until sunset. Almost unbelievable, but true.

Also remember that fasting takes place 24 hours a day, as it is a period of "spiritual" rejuvenation.



THE PROMISES OF FASTING, A TIME OF FAST ASCENT

1 ) In the Naw-Rúz Prayer :

« Praised be Thou, O my God, that Thou hast ordained Naw-Rúz as a festival unto those who have
observed the Fast for love of Thee and abstained from all that is abhorrent unto thee. »

« Grant, O my Lord, that the fire of Thy love and the heat produced by the Fast enjoined by Thee may inflame them in Thy Cause, and make them to be occupied with Thy praise and with remembrance of Thee. »

« Shouldst Thou regard him who hath broken the Fast as one who hath observed it, such a man would be reckoned among them who from eternity had been keeping the Fast. And shouldst Thou decree that he who hath observed the Fast hath broken it, that person would be numbered with such as have caused the Robe of Thy Revelation to be stained with dust, and been far removed from the crystal waters of this living Fountain. »

« Do Thou ordain for Him, and for them, and for all such as have entered Thy presence in those days all the good Thou didst destine in Thy Book. Supply them, then, with that which will profit them, in both this life and in the life beyond. »

« “Glory be to Thee, O Thou the Best-Beloved, for that Thou hast uncovered Thy Beauty, and written down for Thy chosen ones what will cause them to attain unto the seat of the revelation of Thy Most Great Name, through which all the peoples have lamented except such as have detached themselves from all else except Thee, and set themselves towards Him Who is the Revealer of Thyself and the Manifestation of Thine attributes.” »

2 ) In the Fasting Prayers :

« Praised be Thou, O God, my God! These are the days whereon Thou hast enjoined Thy chosen ones, Thy loved ones and Thy servants to observe the Fast, which Thou hast made a light unto the people of Thy kingdom, even as Thou didst make obligatory prayer a ladder of ascent unto those who acknowledge Thy unity. I beg of Thee, O my God, by these two mighty pillars, which Thou hast ordained as a glory and honor for all mankind, to keep Thy religion safe from the mischief of the ungodly and the plotting of every wicked doer. O Lord, conceal not the light which Thou hast revealed through Thy strength and Thine omnipotence. Assist, then, those who truly believe in Thee with the hosts of the seen and the unseen by Thy command and Thy sovereignty. No God is there but Thee, the Almighty, the Most Powerful. »

« ... I ask of Thee by Thy Self and by him who hath fasted out of love for Thee and for Thy good-pleasure—and not out of self and desire, nor out of fear of Thy wrath— »

« ... The days of fasting have arrived wherein those servants who circle round Thy throne and have attained Thy presence have fasted. »

« ... I beseech Thee by them to assist me in the promotion of Thy Cause and to make me steadfast in Thy love, that my footsteps may not slip on account of the clamor of Thy creatures. »

« ... I beseech Thee, O my God... to cast me not away from the gate of the city of Thy presence, and to disappoint not the hopes I have set on the manifestations of Thy grace amidst Thy creatures. ... to draw me ever nearer to the threshold of Thy door, and to suffer me not to be far removed from the shadow of Thy mercy and the canopy of Thy bounty. ... to attract me by the fragrance of Thy raiment, and make me drink of the choice wine of Thine utterance. ... so to raise me up to serve Thy Cause that I shall not fall back, nor be hindered by the suggestions of them who have caviled at Thy signs and turned away from Thy face. ... to enable me to gaze on the Daystar of Thy Beauty, and to supply me with the wine of Thine utterance. ... to graciously aid me to do what Thy will hath desired and Thy purpose hath manifested. ... to grant that I may die to all that I possess and live to whatsoever belongeth unto Thee. ... to aid me to remember Thee amongst Thy creatures, and to extol Thee amidst Thy people. ... to remove me far from whatsoever Thy will abhorreth, and draw me nigh unto the station wherein He Who is the Dayspring of Thy signs hath shone forth. ... e to hasten unto the light of the countenance of their Lord, the Unconstrained, to make known unto me what lay hid in the treasuries of Thy knowledge and concealed within the repositories of Thy wisdom. ... to number me with such as have attained unto that which Thou hast sent down in Thy Book and manifested through Thy will. ... to write down for me with Thy most exalted Pen what Thou hast written down for Thy trusted ones and Thy chosen ones. ... to write down for everyone who hath turned unto Thee, and observed the Fast prescribed by Thee, the recompense decreed for such as speak not except by Thy leave, and who forsook all that they possessed in Thy path and for love of Thee. ... to cancel the trespasses of those who have held fast to Thy laws, and have observed what Thou hast prescribed unto them in Thy Book. Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come. »

« ... I beseech Thee ... to send down upon me and upon them who are in my company that which will enable us to soar into the heavens of Thy transcendent glory, and will wash us from the stain of such doubts as have hindered the suspicious from entering into the tabernacle of Thy unity. ... Do Thou ordain for me and for my loved ones the good of this world and of the world to come. Supply them, then, with the Hidden Gift Thou didst ordain for the choicest among Thy creatures. ... Assist me and assist them, O my Lord, to obey Thee and to keep Thy precepts. ... »

« ... Thou hast endowed every hour of these days with a special virtue, inscrutable to all except Thee, Whose knowledge embraceth all created things. Thou hast, also, assigned unto every soul a portion of this virtue in accordance with the Tablet of Thy decree and the Scriptures of Thine irrevocable judgment. ... For Thine ardent lovers Thou hast, according to Thy decree, reserved, at each daybreak, the cup of Thy remembrance, O Thou Who art the Ruler of rulers! These are they who have been so inebriated with the wine of Thy manifold wisdom that they forsake their couches in their longing to celebrate Thy praise and extol Thy virtues, and flee from sleep in their eagerness to approach Thy presence and partake of Thy bounty. Their eyes have, at all times, been bent upon the Dayspring of Thy loving-kindness, and their faces set towards the Fountainhead of Thine inspiration. Rain down, then, upon us and upon them from the clouds of Thy mercy what beseemeth the heaven of Thy bounteousness and grace. ... This is the hour when Thou hast unlocked the doors of Thy bounty before the faces of Thy creatures, and opened wide the portals of Thy tender mercy unto all the dwellers of Thine earth. ... Send down, therefore, upon them what will thoroughly purge them of all that Thou abhorrest, that they may be wholly devoted to Thee, and may detach themselves entirely from all except Thyself. ... Enable us, then, O my God, to live in remembrance of Thee and to die in love of Thee, and supply us with the gift of Thy presence in Thy worlds hereafter—worlds which are inscrutable to all except Thee. ... This is the hour, O my Lord, which Thou hast caused to excel every other hour, and hast related to the choicest among Thy creatures. I beseech Thee, O my God, by Thy Self and by them, to ordain in the course of this year what shall exalt Thy loved ones. Do Thou, moreover, decree within this year what will enable the Daystar of Thy power to shine brightly above the horizon of Thy glory, and to illuminate by Thy sovereign might, the whole world.

Render Thy Cause victorious, O my Lord, and abase Thou Thine enemies. Write down, then, for us the good of this life and of the life to come. ...»

« ... These are the days whereon Thou hast bidden all men to observe the Fast, that through it they may purify their souls and rid themselves of all attachment to anyone but Thee, and that out of their hearts may ascend that which will be worthy of the court of Thy majesty and may well beseem the seat of the revelation of Thy oneness. Grant, O my Lord, that this fast may become a river of life-giving waters and may yield the virtue wherewith Thou hast endowed it. Cleanse Thou by its means the hearts of Thy servants whom the evils of the world have failed to hinder from turning towards Thine all-glorious Name, and who have remained unmoved by the noise and tumult of such as have repudiated Thy most resplendent signs which have accompanied the advent of Thy Manifestation Whom Thou hast invested with Thy sovereignty, Thy power, Thy majesty and glory. ... »

« Praise be unto Thee, O Lord my God! We have observed the Fast in conformity with Thy bidding and break it now through Thy love and Thy good-pleasure. Deign to accept, O my God, the deeds that we have performed in Thy path wholly for the sake of Thy beauty with our faces set towards Thy Cause, free from aught else but Thee. Bestow, then, Thy forgiveness upon us, upon our forefathers, and upon all such as have believed in Thee and in Thy mighty signs in this most great, this most glorious Revelation. ... »

« ... all who dwell in the realms of Revelation and creation trembled except such as have fasted from all that is repugnant to Thy good-pleasure and restrained themselves from turning toward aught besides Thee... O God, through the wonders of Thy might and the tokens of Thy sovereignty and grandeur, Thou didst send forth their names from out of the sea of Thy names, and didst create their inner essences out of the substance of Thy love, and their inmost beings from the spirit of Thy Cause. Theirs is a reunion not succeeded by separation, a nearness that knoweth no remoteness, and a perpetuity that hath no end. Verily, these are servants who ever recount Thee, who eternally circle round Thee, and who circumambulate the sanctuary of Thy presence and the Kaaba of reunion with Thee. Thou hast ordained, O my God, no distinction between them and Thee, except that when they beheld the lights of Thy countenance, they set their faces towards Thee, and prostrated themselves before Thy beauty, submissive to Thy greatness and severed from all things besides Thee. ... unto them the ears which Thou hast sanctified to hear Thy words and verses are at all times hearkening. And these are my hands, O my Lord, uplifted toward the heaven of Thy favor and tender mercy. ... Rich is the one who hath held fast to the cord of Thy wealth, is submissive before Thy face, and for whom Thou art sufficient above all things. Poor is the one who hath dispensed with Thee, waxed proud before Thee, turned away from Thy presence, and disbelieved in Thy signs. Suffer me, then, O my God and my Beloved, to be numbered with those whom the breezes of Thy will move as they list, not with those whom the wind of self and passion stirreth and directeth as it pleaseth. ... Thou hast ordained that this month be a remembrance and honor from Thee, and a sign of Thy presence amongst them, that they may not forget Thy grandeur and Thy majesty, Thy sovereignty and Thy glory, and may be well assured that from time immemorial Thou hast ever been and wilt ever be Ruler over the entire creation. ... Deprive me not, O my Lord, of Thy grace which hath encompassed all the realms of existence, whether visible or invisible. ...Alas, alas, O my God, for the things that have escaped me during Thy days, and again alas, alas, O Desire of my heart, for what I have left undone in service and obedience to Thee during these days the likes of which the eyes of Thy chosen ones and trusted ones have never witnessed! I entreat Thee, O my Lord, by Thy Self and by the Manifestation of Thy Cause Who is seated upon the throne of Thy mercy, to confirm me in Thy service and good-pleasure. Guard me, then, from those who have turned away from Thee and disbelieved in Thy verses, who have denied Thy truth, resisted Thine evidences, and violated Thy Covenant and testament. ... »
« I beseech Thee, O my Lord, by Thyself, and by Thy signs, and Thy clear tokens, and the shining light of the Day-Star of Thy Beauty, and Thy Branches, to cancel the trespasses of those who have held fast to Thy laws, and have observed what Thou hast prescribed unto them in Thy Book.

 


Be wonderfully blessed !

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