Quotes on Agriculture from the Baha'i Writings in Chronological Order
By John Taylor; 2010 Nov 10, Qudrat 07, 167 BE
The LSA of the Baha'is of Haldimand asked me to prepare a couple of pages on the Baha'i position on agriculture for a talk by a non-Baha'i on a local agricultural initiative that is being given tonight. Unfortunately for the last month I have suffered from the worst cold or flu or whatever it is that I remember having for decades. I was going to have my daughter read the following quotes at the meeting, but she is coughing now too, and it would probably be unwise for either of us to attend. This is all I found on this subject. It seems pretty sparse, so please let me know if there any other quotes that I am missing about farmers coming first.
"O CHILDREN OF MEN! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory." (Baha'u'llah, Arabic Hidden Words, 68)
"Whoso cleaveth to justice, can, under no circumstances, transgress the limits of moderation. He discerneth the truth in all things, through the guidance of Him Who is the All-Seeing. The civilization, so often vaunted by the learned exponents of arts and sciences, will, if allowed to overleap the bounds of moderation, bring great evil upon men. Thus warneth you He Who is the All-Knowing. If carried to excess, civilization will prove as prolific a source of evil as it had been of goodness when kept within the restraints of moderation." (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, p. 342-343)
"Every man of discernment, while walking upon the earth, feeleth indeed abashed, inasmuch as he is fully aware that the thing which is the source of his prosperity, his wealth, his might, his exaltation, his advancement, and power is, as ordained by God, the very earth which is trodden beneath the feet of all men. (Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 44)
Abdu'l-Baha on the tillage of soil being fundamental, in a talk given in New York City on the first of July, 1912.
"Difference of capacity in human individuals is fundamental. It is impossible for all to be alike, all to be equal, all to be wise. Baha'u'llah has revealed principles and laws which will accomplish the adjustment of varying human capacities. He has said that whatsoever is possible of accomplishment in human government will be effected through these principles.
When the laws He has instituted are carried out, there will be no millionaires possible in the community and likewise no extremely poor. This will be effected and regulated by adjusting the different degrees of human capacity. The fundamental basis of the community is agriculture, tillage of the soil. All must be producers. Each person in the community whose need is equal to his individual producing capacity shall be exempt from taxation. But if his income is greater than his needs, he must pay a tax until an adjustment is effected.
That is to say, a man's capacity for production and his needs will be equalized and reconciled through taxation. If his production exceeds, he will pay a tax; if his necessities exceed his production, he shall receive an amount sufficient to equalize or adjust. Therefore, taxation will be proportionate to capacity and production, and there will be no poor in the community."
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 217)
"The question of economics must commence with the farmer and then be extended to the other classes inasmuch as the number of farmers is greater than all other classes, many many times greater. Therefore, it is fitting that the economic problem be first solved with the farmer, for the farmer is the first active agent in the body politic. In brief, from among the wise men in every village a board should be organized and the affairs of that village should be under the control of that board." ('Abdu'l-Baha: Extract from a Tablet to an individual believer, October 4, 1912, translation corrected in the World Centre, December 1985 Compilations, Lights of Guidance, #1858, p. 547)
Fifth: Special regard must be paid to agriculture. Although it hath been mentioned in the fifth place, unquestionably it precedeth the others. Agriculture is highly developed in foreign lands, however in Persia it hath so far been grievously neglected. It is hoped that His Majesty the Sháh—may God assist him by His grace—will turn his attention to this vital and important matter. http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/TB/tb-8.html#gr23
Bahá’u’lláh has revealed principles and laws which will accomplish the adjustment of varying human capacities. He has said that whatsoever is possible of accomplishment in human government will be effected through these principles. When the laws he has instituted are carried out there will be no millionaires possible in the community and likewise no extremely poor. This will be effected and regulated by adjusting the different degrees of human capacity. The fundamental basis of the community is agriculture, tillage of the soil. All must be producers. Each person in the community whose income is equal to his individual producing capacity shall be exempt from taxation. But if his income is greater than his needs he must pay a tax until an adjustment is effected. That is to say, a man’s capacity for production and his needs will be equalized and reconciled through taxation. If his production exceeds he will pay no tax; if his necessities exceed his production he shall receive an amount sufficient to equalize or adjust. Therefore taxation will be proportionate to capacity and production and there will be no poor in the community.
Everyone, whether man or woman, should hand over to a trusted person a portion of what he or she earneth through trade, agriculture or other occupation, for the training and education of children, to be spent for this purpose with the knowledge of the Trustees of the House of Justice.
Special regard must be paid to agriculture.
(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 90)
Hello John, the above from The Tablet to the World is relevant.
Sometimes I feel that Baha'u'llah's statements such as this one are highly compacted and full of meaning; but they simultaneously engage human agency and stimulate a human response. Agriculture has a powerful metaphorical position in human life as well, and we might start there and move "backward" into its mundane meaning (the production of food). I.e., we all must cultivate the garden in our hearts so that the flowers (our positive attributes and qualities) blossom and so that our negative attributes (weeds) wither away.
Thanks again for your stimulating postings and thought-streams, as always.
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