Teaching Advice - Various Sources - 52 Para

...no system, for teachers to practice, exists. But obviously the more people know about the teachings and the Cause, the better they will be able to present the subject. If some people find that prayer and placing all their trust in God, releases in them a flood of inspiration, they should be left free to pursue this method if it is productive of results. (letter 25 January 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to 2 believers) (5:1)

In teaching the Cause, much depends on the personality of the teacher and on the method he chooses for presenting the message. Different personalities and different classes and types of individuals need different methods of approach. And it is the sign of an able teacher to know how to best adapt his methods to various types of people whom he happens to meet. There is no one method one can follow all through. But there should be as many ways of approach as there are types of individual seekers. Flexibility and variety of method is, therefore, an essential prerequisite for the success of every teaching activity. (letter 31 May 1934 on behalf S. Effendi) (5:2)

There are innumerable ways of teaching the Cause. You can choose the one that suits best your nature and capacity. (coc 308) (5:3)

Through example, loving fellowship, prayer, and kindness the friends can attract the hearts of such people and enable them to realize that this is the Cause of God in deed, not merely words!... (letter 24 February 1943 on behalf S. Effendi) (5:4)

He feels you should, in teaching, certainly not start with such a difficult point as abstinence from wine; but when the person wishes to join the Faith he must be told... (coc 312) (5:5)

There is no objection to leaving Baha'i Literature in a public place as long as it is not overdone and does not savour of proselytizing. (rdc 26) (5:6)

We should never insist on teaching those who are not really ready for the Cause. If a man is not hungry you cannot make him eat. Among the Theosophists there are, no doubt, many receptive souls, but those who are satisfied should be just associated with in a friendly way, but let alone. Once a seeker comes to accept the concept of progressive religion, and accepts Baha'u'llah as the Manifestation for this day, the reincarnation concept will fade away in the light of truth; we should try and avoid controversial issues in the beginning, if possible. (letter 23 June 1948 on behalf S. Effendi) (5:7)

Teaching individually is of great importance, and often enables you to confirm people, whereas public speaking, while it carries the Message to more people, does not confirm very many. You can do both. (letter 5 August 1949 on behalf S. Effendi) (5:8)

...when we put our trust in Him, Baha'u'llah solves our problems and opens the way. (coc 314) (5:9)

Without the spirit of real love for Baha'u'llah, for His Faith and its Institutions, and the believers for each other, the Cause can never really bring in large numbers of people. For it is not preaching and rules the world wants, but love and action. (letter 25 October 1949 on behalf S. Effendi) (5:10)

The people of the world are submerged in an atmosphere which is the very antithesis, morally, of the Baha'i atmosphere; we must teach them. If we are too strict in the beginning most -- not all -- types will be rebuffed and veer away from what they might otherwise be led to accept. On the other hand, we don't want Baha'is who do not seriously try to live up to the teachings -- we must therefore use great tact and challenge strong souls and lead weak souls. (letter 7 August 1950 on behalf S. Effendi) (5:11)

What is needed to achieve success in the teaching field is a complete dedication on the part of the individual, consecration to the glorious task of spreading the Faith, and the living of the Baha'i life, because that creates the magnet for the Holy Spirit, and it is the Holy Spirit which quickens the new soul. Thus the individual should be as a reed, through which the Holy Spirit may flow, to give new life to the seeking soul. (5:12)

One should search out those who are receptive to the Faith, and then concentrate on these persons in their teaching. (coc 317) (5:13)

The Guardian feels that the most effective way for the Baha'is to teach the Faith is to make strong friends with their neighbours and associates. When the friends have confidence in the Baha'is and the Baha'is in their friends, they should give the Message and teach the Cause. Individual teaching of this type is more effective than any other type. (coc 318) (5:14)

Moderation is indeed highly desirable. Every person who in some degree turneth towards the truth can himself later comprehend most of what he seeketh. However, if at the outset a word is uttered beyond his capacity, he will refuse to hear it and will arise in opposition. (coc 291) (5:15)

Consort with all men, O people of Baha, in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. If ye be aware of a certain truth, if ye possess a jewel, of which others are deprived, share it with them in a language of utmost kindliness and good-will. If it be accepted, if it fulfil its purpose, your object is attained. If any one should refuse it, leave him unto himself, and beseech God to guide him. Beware lest ye deal unkindly with him. A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning, it is the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding... (gwb 289) (5:16)

If he be kindled with the fire of His love, if he forgoeth all created things, the words he uttereth shall set on fire them that hear him. (adj 51) (5:17)

Say: O people of God! That which can insure the victory of Him Who is the Eternal Truth, His hosts and helpers on earth, have been set down in the sacred Books and Scriptures, and are as clear and manifest as the sun. These hosts are such righteous deeds, such conduct and character, as are acceptable in His sight. Whoso ariseth, in this Day, to aid Our Cause, and summoneth to his assistance the hosts of a praiseworthy character and upright conduct, the influence from such an action will, most certainly, be diffused throughout the whole world. (adj 24) (5:18)

With hearts overflowing with the love of God, with tongues commemorating the mention of God, with eyes turned to the Kingdom of God, they must deliver the Glad Tidings of the manifestation of the Lord of Hosts to all the people. Know ye of a certainty that whatever gathering ye enter, the waves of the Holy Spirit are surging over it, and the heavenly grace of the Blessed Beauty encompasseth that gathering. (coc 293) (5:19)

The aim is this: The intention of the teacher must be pure, his heart independent, his spirit attracted, his thought at peace, his resolution firm, his magnanimity exalted and in the love of God a shining torch. Should he become as such, his sanctified breath will even affect the rock; otherwise there will be no result whatsoever. As long as a soul is not perfected, how can he efface the defects of others. Unless he is detached from aught else save God, how can he teach severance to others! (tdp 51) (5:20)

The teacher, when teaching, must be himself fully enkindled, so that his utterance, like unto a flame of fire, may exert influence and consume the veil of self and passion. He must also be utterly humble and lowly so that others may be edified, and be totally self-effaced and evanescent so that he may teach with the melody of the Concourse on high -- otherwise his teaching will have no effect. (swa sec217 p270) (5:21)

In accordance with the divine teachings in this glorious dispensation we should not belittle anyone and call him ignorant, saying: "You know not, but I know". Rather, we should look upon others with respect, and when attempting to explain and demonstrate, we should speak as if we are investigating the truth, saying: "Here these things are before us. Let us investigate to determine where and in what form the truth can be found." The teacher should not consider himself as learned and others ignorant. Such a thought breedeth pride, and pride is not conducive to influence. The teacher should not see in himself any superiority; he should speak with the utmost kindliness, lowliness and humility, for such speech exerteth influence and educateth the souls. (swa sec17 p30) (5:22)

"Not everything that a man knoweth can be disclosed, nor can everything that he can disclose be regarded as timely, nor can every timely utterance be considered as suited to the capacity of those who hear it." Such is the consummate wisdom to be observed in thy pursuits. Be not oblivious thereof, if thou wishest to be a man of action under all conditions. First diagnose the disease and identify the malady, then prescribe the remedy, for such is the perfect method of the skilful physician. (swa se214 p268) (5:23)

"Should any one among you be incapable of grasping a certain truth, or be striving to comprehend it, show forth, when conversing with him, a spirit of extreme kindliness and good-will. Help him to see and recognize the truth, without esteeming yourself to be, in the least, superior to him, or to be possessed of greater endowments. (5:24)

"The whole duty of man in this Day is to attain that share of the flood of grace which God poureth forth for him. Let none, therefore, consider the largeness or smallness of the receptacle. The portion of some might lie in the palm of a man's hand, the portion of others might fill a cup, and of others even a gallon- measure." (gwb 8) (5:25)

"Consort with all men, O people of Baha, in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. If ye be aware of a certain truth, if ye possess a jewel, of which others are deprived, share it with them in a language of utmost kindliness and good-will. If it be accepted, if it fulfil its purpose, your object is attained. If any one should refuse it, leave him unto himself, and beseech God to guide him. Beware lest ye deal unkindly with him. A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning, it is the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding..." (gwb 29) (5:26)

"...If he be kindled with the fire of His love, if he forgoeth all created things, the words he uttereth shall set on fire them that hear him." (adj 42) (5:27)

"...With hearts overflowing with the love of God, with tongues commemorating the mention of God, with eyes turned to the Kingdom of God, they must deliver the Glad Tidings of the manifestation of the Lord of Hosts to all the people. Know ye of a certainty that in whatever meeting ye may enter, in the apex of that meeting the Holy Spirit shall be waving and the heavenly confirmations of the Blessed Perfection shall encompass all." (tdp 13) (5:28)

"The aim is this: The intention of the teacher must be pure, his heart independent, his spirit attracted, his thought at peace, his resolution firm, his magnanimity exalted and in the love of God a shining torch. Should he become as such, his sanctified breath will even affect the rock; otherwise there will be no result whatsoever. As long as a soul is not perfected, how can he efface the defects of others. Unless he is detached from aught else save God, how can he teach severance to others!" (tdp 20) (5:29)

"...rest ye assured in the confirmations of the merciful and the assistance of the Most High; become ye sanctified above and purified from this world and the inhabitants thereof; suffer your intention to become for the good of all; cut your attachment to the earth and like unto the essence of the spirit become ye light and delicate. Then with a firm resolution, a pure heart, a rejoiced spirit, and an eloquent tongue, engage your time in the promulgation of the divine principles..." (tdp 37) (5:30)

"...'Under all conditions the Message must be delivered, but with wisdom. If it be not possible openly, it must be done quietly. The friends should be engaged in educating the souls and should become instruments in aiding the world of humanity to acquire spiritual joy and fragrance. For example: If every one of the friends (believers) were to establish relations of friendship and right dealings with one of the negligent souls, associate and live with him with perfect kindliness, and meanwhile through good conduct and moral behavior lead him to divine instruction, to heavenly advice and teachings, surely he would gradually arouse that negligent person and would change his ignorance into knowledge. (5:31)

"Souls are liable to estrangement. Such methods should be adopted that the estrangement should be first removed, then the Word will have effect. (5:32)

"If one of the believers be kind to one of the negligent ones and with perfect love should gradually make him understand the reality of the Cause of God in such a way that the latter should know in what manner the Religion of God hath been founded and what its object is, doubtless he will become changed; excepting abnormal souls who are reduced to the state of ashes and whose hearts are like stones, yea, even harder." (tb2 391) (5:33)

"If thou wishest to guide the souls, it is incumbent on thee to be firm, to be good and to be imbued with praiseworthy attributes and divine qualities under all circumstances. Be a sign of love, a manifestation of mercy, a fountain of tenderness, kindhearted, good to all and gentle to the servants of God, and especially to those who bear relation to thee, both men and women. Bear every ordeal that befalleth thee from the people and confront them not save with kindness, with great love and good wishes." (tb3 619) (5:34)

"...In teaching the Cause, much depends on the personality of the teacher and on the method he chooses for presenting the message. Different personalities and different classes and types of individuals need different methods of approach. And it is the sign of an able teacher to know how to best adapt his methods to various types of people whom he happens to meet. There is no one method one can follow all through. But there should be as many ways of approach as there are types of individual seekers. Flexibility and variety of method is, therefore, an essential prerequisite for the success of every teaching activity." (letter 31 May 1934 on behalf S. Effendi) (5:35)

"There are innumerable ways of teaching the Cause. You can choose the one that suits best your nature and capacity." (letter 18 November 1935 on behalf S. Effendi) (5:36)

"What the Guardian feels it of vital importance for the friends to do is to teach the Cause directly and by means of imparting the Holy Words." (letter 6 May 1936 on behalf S. Effendi) (5:37)

"... The Baha'i teacher must be all confidence. Therein lies his strength and the secret of his success. Though single- handed, and no matter how great the apathy of the people around you may be, you should have faith that the hosts of the Kingdom are on your side, and that through their help you are bound to overcome the forces of darkness that are facing the Cause of God. Persevere, be happy and confident, therefore." (letter 30 June 1937 on behalf S. Effendi) (5:38)

"... refrain, under any circumstances, from involving yourselves, much less the Cause, in lengthy discussions of a controversial character, as these besides being fruitless actually cause incalculable harm to the Faith. Baha'u'llah has repeatedly urged us not to engage in religious controversies, as the adepts of former religions have done. The Baha'i teacher should be concerned above all else with presenting the Message, in explaining and clarifying all its aspects rather than in attacking other religions. He should avoid all situations that, he feels, would lead to strife, to hairsplitting and interminable discussions." (letter 29 November 1937 on behalf S. Effendi) (5:39)

"The believers ought to give the Message even to those who do not seem to be ready for it, because they can never judge the real extent to which the Word of God can influence the hearts and minds of the people, even those who appear to lack any power of receptivity to the Teachings." (letter 14 January 1938 on behalf S. Effendi) (5:40)

"Teaching individually is of great importance, and often enables you to confirm people, whereas public speaking, while it carries the message to more people, does not confirm very many. You can do both." (letter 5 August 1949 on behalf S. Effendi) (5:41)

...In teaching people, when they begin to seriously study the Faith, there is no objection to impressing upon them that this message involves great spiritual responsibility, and should not be either accepted or cast aside lightly. But we must be very gentle, tactful and patient, and not administer shocks to people. (5:42)

"...We must always teach constructively, and be very sure that none of us, through disagreement among ourselves or indiscretion, cool off the souls and seekers." (letter 14 October 1947 on behalf S. Effendi) (5:43)

"Just one mature soul, with spiritual understanding and a profound knowledge of the Faith, can set a whole country ablaze - -so great is the power of the Cause to work through a pure and selfless channel." (letter 6 November 1949 on behalf S. Effendi) (5:44)

"...Teaching is of course the head cornerstone of all Baha'i service, but successful teaching is dependent upon many factors, one of which is the development of a true Baha'i way of living and the fulfillment of responsibilities which we have incurred." (rdc 31) (5:45)

"What is needed to achieve success in the teaching field is a complete dedication on the part of the individual, consecrating to the glorious task of spreading the Faith, and the living of the Baha'i life, because that creates the magnet for the Holy Spirit, and it is the Holy Spirit which quickens the new soul. Thus the individual should be as a reed, through which the Holy Spirit may flow, to give new life to the seeking soul. (5:46)

"One should search out those who are receptive to the Faith, and then concentrate on these persons in their teaching." (letter 19 December 1953 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi) (5:47)

"Consecration, dedication and enthusiastic service is the Keynote to successful teaching. One must become like a reed through which the Holy Spirit descends to reach the student of the Faith. We give the Message, and explain the Teachings, but it is the Holy Spirit that quickens and confirms." (rdc 33) (5:48)

"The all-important thing of course is that every activity ... is for the purpose of teaching the Faith and confirming people. Therefore you and the other Baha'is should watch the situation very closely. You should study those who attend the meetings, and when you find one who you feel would become a strong and active Baha'is, then you should concentrate on teaching him. Thus, if you are able to confirm some souls, you will have rendered distinguished and outstanding service. Actually this is the goal of all such activities in all of the universities." (rdc 34) (5:49)

"He feels that to distribute Baha'i pamphlets from door to door ... is undignified and might create a bad impression of the Faith." (rdc 37) (5:50)

"We must be careful not to teach in a fanatical way. We should teach as the Master taught. He was the perfect Exemplar of the Teachings. He proclaimed the universal truths, and, through love and wise demonstration of the universal verities of the Faith, attracted the hearts and the minds." (letter 20 October 1956 on behalf S. Effendi) (5:51)

"The Master assured us that when we forget ourselves, and strive with all our powers to serve and teach the Faith, we receive divine assistance. It is not we who do the work, but we are the instruments used at that time for the purpose of teaching His Cause." (rdc 37) (5:52)

End of Quote

Teaching Advice - Various Sources