Principles of Baha段 Consultation


Farzin Aghdasi


The Perspective:


The oneness of mankind is the pivot of all Baha段 teachings. To realise such an all-encompassing oneness, a cohesive world community must be established. The currently fragmented peoples and races of the world will be fused together in a permanent world peace. The guarantor of the continuation of world peace is justice. The Baha段 Faith has a detailed plan for the establishment of justice at all levels of the society. This plan has at least three components:


i)                    the creation of a new race of men: proclamation of the healing name and the message of Baha置値lah, and the execution of the teaching and consolidation plans lead to declaration of the Faith of individuals, singly at first, then in 奏roops, and finally en masse; the transformation process creates an ever increasing number of fair-minded people of highest ethical standards;


ii)                  promotion and implementation of a wide range of social policies and practices --the Baha段 social teachings-- that free humanity from the shackles of prejudice, and provide encouragement and opportunities for accelerated growth of individuals in all aspects of our physical, mental, and spiritual faculties;


iii)                establishment of a just form of government, based on the pattern of Baha段 Administrative Order. The modus operandi of this form of government is the consultative process.


The Practice:


Baha段 Consultation is practised at all levels. Its use is encouraged in all matters in the family, among friends, and even for arriving at decisions that are the prerogative of individuals. It is a tool for seeking the truth, and for better decision making. The hallmark of Baha段 consultation is the unfettered operation of our conscience, aided by the power of our rational mind, and illuminated by the divine teachings.


The Principles:


i)                    Universal participation: everyone within a body (such as a family, an Assembly, or a Convention) should participate. It is the collective responsibility of each body to ensure that everyone has the opportunity and the necessary encouragement to participate. A broadly based consultation is a healthy barrier against the opinions of the forceful.


ii)                   Objectivity: prayers to set the tone and perspective; clear statement of the problem; spirit of objective (scientific) enquiry; establishment of the facts; investigation of the relevant spiritual principles; full and frank discussion; consideration of alternative solutions, including the unconventional; converging to the 礎est solution; preference for unanimity; the apparent truth; offering of resolutions and voting if necessary;


iii)                 Detachment: the group acts as one composite mind; the ideas do not belong to the speakers; therefore no one has a 叢osition, no one offends, and no one takes offence; one may speak against ones own previously stated opinion.


iv)                 Unity: as a prerequisite of effective consultation and in subsequent support for implementation of the outcome; the final decision belongs to the body, not to any individuals; even though the decision may have been made by a majority vote, there are no minority opinions; unity in support of decisions is more important than correction of a possible short term mistake; appeal procedures seek to correct by further consultation;



The Growth Path:


i)                    To study and grasp the spirit, and the detailed workings, of Baha段 teachings on consultation;


ii)                   To evaluate the quality and effectiveness of current practice;


iii)                 To chart a course for getting to there from here.



Some Quotations:


典he Great Being saith: The heaven of divine wisdom is illumined with the two luminaries of consultation and compassion. Take ye counsel together in all matters, inasmuch as consultation is the lamp of guidance which leadeth the way, and is the bestower of understanding. Baha置値lah


鉄ay: no man can attain his true station except through his justice. No power can exist except through unity. No welfare and no well-being can be attained except through consultation. Baha置値lah


鼎onsultation bestoweth greater awareness and transmuteth conjecture into certitude. It is a shining light which, in a dark world, leadeth the way and guideth. For everything there is and will continue to be a station of perfection and maturity. The maturity of the gift of understanding is made manifest through consultation. Baha置値lah


鉄uch matters should be determined through consultation, and whatever emergeth from the consultation of those chosen, that indeed is the command of God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Baha置値lah


的n all things it is necessary to consult. This matter should be forcibly stressed by thee, so that consultation may be observed by all. The intent of hath been revealed from the Pen of the Most High is that consultation may be fully carried out among the friends, inasmuch as it is and will always be a cause of awareness and of awakening and a source of good and well-being. Baha置値lah


的t is incumbent upon everyone not to take any step without consulting the Spiritual Assembly,... Abdu値-Baha


典he prime requisites of them that take counsel together are purity of motive, radiance of spirit, detachment from all else save God, attraction to His Divine Fragrances, humility and lowliness amongst His loved ones, patience and long-suffering in difficulties and servitude to His exalted Threshold. Abdu値-Baha


典he first condition is absolute love and harmony amongst the members of the assembly. They must be wholly free from estrangement and must manifest in themselves the Unity of God,...Should harmony of thought and absolute unity be non-existent, that gathering shall be dispersed and that assembly be brought to naught. The second condition:-They must when coming together turn their faces to the Kingdom on High and ask aid from the Realm of Glory. They must then proceed with the utmost devotion, courtesy, dignity, care and moderation to express their views...The honoured members must with all freedom express their own thoughts, and it is in no wise permissible for one to belittle the thought of another,... Abdu値-Baha


鏑et us also bear in mind that the keynote of the Cause of God is not dictatorial authority but humble fellowship, not arbitrary power, but the spirit of frank and loving consultation. ...They should never be led to suppose that they are the central ornaments of the Cause, intrinsically superior to others... The Guardian



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