This BC Day, the Baha’i community of New West held their first ever storytelling event on the lawn in front of the Maquabeak totem pole at Queen’s Park. The get-together started at about 10 AM on what turned out to be a brilliant summer day, and those present shared stories from Baha’i history and from their own personal spiritual experiences.
The event was inspired by the upcoming 200th anniversary of the birth of the Bab, one of the Twin Manifestations of God in the Baha’i Faith. With this historic event on the horizon, the community has been calling to mind the many moving episodes which took place during the life of the Bab. These stories highlight the heroism, courage, self-sacrifice and commitment of the early believers, who faced immense trials and persecution while spreading a message of peace and unity.
Here is an example of one such story, that was shared:
“Remember at all times and in all places that God is faithful and do not doubt this. Be patient even though great calamities may come upon thee. Yet fear not! Be firm in the path of thy Lord; as a mountain unmoved, unchanging in thy steadfastness.”
These words were written by Baha’u’llah to Mirza Haydar Ali to strengthen him during great persecutions. In his early days Mirza Haider Ali traveled from city to city in Persia proclaiming with great wisdom and love the glad tidings of the new and divine day which was dawning upon the earth. But the fanatical religious leaders to whom the vision of universal brotherhood and peace was too bright to be endured soon persecuted him with terrible bitterness. At one time he was beaten and driven through the streets of a city by a wild and howling mob. During this experience he cried out, “This is my triumphal procession.” Again he was transported from one prison to another in a very cruel fashion. His hands and feet were tied and he was put in a bag, head downward, and flung across the back of a donkey. Another Baha’i was put in a bag on the donkey’s other side. The head of each of the prisoners dragged on the sand as the donkey was driven the long journey over the desert. Mirza Haider Ali sang gaily as they went along. The guard whipped him unmercifully, saying, “Now, will you sing?” Mirza Haider Ali replied, “I will sing more gladly than ever because you have given me the pleasure of enduring something for the sake of God.”
Some of the children and junior youth of the community also shared stories about the heroic life of Tahirih, the first female believer of the Bab, highlighting her remarkable intelligence and learning, her courageous candor, and her purity of spirit.
As we approach the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab this October, there will be many more events and activities to build momentum for this historic anniversary.