The Lamp, volume 4 Number 2

The Lamp

A Newsletter Produced by the Wilmette Institute

Volume 4, Number 2, July 1999


Back to index for The Lamps

Spiritual Foundations Summer Program Underway

      The 1999 Spiritual Foundations for a Global Civilization summer session, which this year focuses on "Carrying Forward an Ever-Advancing Civilization," is underway. Fifteen students have come to Wilmette from all regions of the United States of America (and one came from Canada) for the purpose of increasing their knowledge of and commitment to the Bahá'í Faith.

      The students are enjoying a presentations by a stellar group of instructors. The last two issues of The Lamp provided background information on most of the talented faculty who will be teaching this summer (for a complete list of the 1999 Spiritual Foundations summer session faculty, please contact the registrar). Since the last issue, several more instructors have been confirmed.

      The eight-hour module on the establishment of world order was team-taught by Dr. Jaleh Dashti-Gibson and Prof. Brian Lepard. Jaleh received her doctorate in international relations from the University of Notre Dame in 1998, where she has taught courses on international law, international organization, tools of influence in international affairs, and conflict resolution/mediation. She has also published a paper in World Order on the role and efficacy of international sanctions.

      Brian, who holds a J.D. in law from Yale Law School, teaches at the University of Nebraska Law College. For three years, he worked for the Bahá'í International Community offices in New York City as a human rights specialist, gaining extensive practical experience.

      Jaleh and Brian's presentations were based on passages from The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, The Promise of World Peace, Turning Point for All Nations, and texts on international relations, providing a multifaceted perspective on the subject of world order. Unfortunately, Habib Riazati—who was scheduled to offer half of the lessons on Bahá'í scripture—had to cancel at the last minute. Fortunately, the other
(Continued on page 2)

Distance Learning Program Grows and Adjusts

      For the Studies in the Bahá'í Faith program, 1999 is a year of great expansion and development. While only two distance-learning courses were offered in 1998, this year a new course is developed and offered almost every month.

      In April the course "The Kitáb-i-Íqán and Related Texts" began with sixteen students. The six-month course involves reading the Kitáb-i-Íqán, Hooper Dunbar's new Companion to the Study of the Kitáb-i-Íqán, parts of John Hatcher's The Ocean of His Words, and several short outlines of the book's text.

      Brent Poirier, an Auxiliary Board member in New Mexico, has made frequent postings to the course's e-mail listserver about the work. Dr. Iraj Ayman, a former Continental Counselor, answers many questions drawing on his knowledge of the original Persian text. Jonah Winters and Robert Stockman run the course, answering questions, and setting up the conference calls.
(Continued on page 3)
INSIDE THIS ISSUE . . .

SFGC UNDERWAY...............................1

DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAM GROWS
	AND ADJUSTS...........................1

DISTANCE-LEARNING COURSES TO HAVE 
	THREE LEVELS..........................3

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE ON HOLY
	SCRIPTURES OF PREVIOUS DISPENSATIONS..4

STUDENT COMMENTS ON DISTANCE-
	EDUCATION COURSES.....................2

LETTER FROM THE NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY
	TO THE WILMETTE INSTITUTE BOARD.......5

REGISTERING FOR THE WILMETTE 
	INSTITUTE COURSES.....................6

Wilmette Institute * 536 Sheridan Road * Wilmette, IL 60091
Phone: (847) 733-3415 * Fax: (847) 733-3563 * 24-hour automated information line: (847) 733-3595
Email: info@wilmetteinstitute.org * Website, http://wilmetteinstitute.org

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July 1999

Spiritual Foundations Summer Program

(Continued from page 1)
instructor on Bahá'í scripture, Dann May, has been at the summer session for the whole duration, acting as the summer coordinator. He rose to the occasion and filled in for Habib Riazati as well as offering the presentations for which he was originally scheduled.

      Dann has a Master's degree in philosophy from the University of North Texas and teaches religious studies and philosophy at Oklahoma City University. In all, he discussed The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, The Advent of Divine Justice, several selections from Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed After the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, and 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Secret of Divine Civilization

      In contrast to previous years of the Spiritual Foundations program when classes were held a mile away from the dorm and students ate at various places in the area, the Wilmette Institute was able to procure class space, housing, and meal service at Kendall College. The close proximity has made logistics significantly easier. The Wilmette Institute rented one classroom to be used exclusively by the Spiritual Foundations program for the three weeks. The classroom was big enough to set up two computers and the Wilmette Institute library in the back of the room. Furthermore, the students were all able to room on the fifth floor of Terra Hall, which was reserved solely for the Wilmette Institute and has air conditioning and elevator access.

      Kendall College is located a little less than a mile from the House of Worship and has free parking for students' cars. It is also close to the Noyes and Central Street train stops (called the "El"), which makes stops throughout Chicago as well as in Evanston and Wilmette. The campus is less than a mile from downtown Evanston, where there are many restaurants and shops, and a 5 to 10 minute walk from the Bahá'í National Center office building.

      The summer session has not been without difficulties, such as plane delay and equipment snafus. Gratefully, the students have been patient, understanding, and very helpful. Thank you to them all, and to the captivating and informative instructors.

      The summer session is followed by home study that runs until April 2000. During that time, students will complete follow-up assignments and will be able to stay in contact with their classmates and instructors through an e-mail listserver and conference calls.

      The Spiritual Foundations for a Global Civilization program is composed of four course years that can be completed in any order, and students commit to one year at a time. Several students have been in the program from the first year it was offered through this current year, which is the fourth year the program has been offered. When this year ends, these students will be the Wilmette Institute's first graduates of the Spiritual Foundations for a Global Civilization program.

      Further reports of the 1999 residential session will appear in the next issue of The Lamp. To find out more about the program or to learn about applying for next year's program, please contact the Wilmette Institute at wilmette_institute@usbnc.org or (847) 733-3415.


        The Lamp is the newsletter of the Wilmette Institute. The Institute was established in January 1995 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States to offer academic, professional, and service-oriented courses related to the Bahá'í Faith. The Wilmette Institute offers courses about the Bahá'í Faith that are at a university level of rigor and are often available for university credit. It is also interested in fostering Bahá'í scholarship; developing new, innovative curricular materials; creating courses on teaching the Faith that are of high quality; and refining Bahá'í concepts of pedagogy. It aims to produce teachers of the Bahá'í Faith of great capacity, capable of demonstrating Bahá'í truths in their lives as well as by their speech, and able to teach these truths to others.

        For more information about the Bahá'í Faith, the Wilmette Institute, courses offered by the Wilmette Institute, or registration for courses at the Wilmette Institute, please contact:
Wilmette Institute
536 Sheridan Road
Wilmette, IL 60091 * U.S.A.
Phone: (847) 733-3415 * Fax: (847) 733-3563

24-hour information line: (847) 733-3595
E-mail: info@wilmetteinstitute.org
Website: http://wilmetteinstitute.org


        The Lamp is produced bimonthly by the Wilmette Institute. Executive Editor: Robert H. Stockman.
        Subscription inquiries should be directed to the above address. All material is copyrighted by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States and subject to all applicable international copyright laws. Articles from this newsletter may be copied or republished by any organization, provided that the following credit is given: "Reprinted from The Lamp, the newsletter of the Wilmette Institute."

        Copyright ©1999 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States.

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July 1999

Distance-Learning Courses to have Three Levels

      The Wilmette Institute Board is inaugurating a three-level learning plan that will make future distance-learning courses accessible to an increasingly wide range of people. Students in all levels of the same course will focus on the same material and work together, yet complete different requirements according to their chosen study level, which they can change at any time.

      The introductory level is designed for learners who want to focus on becoming better teachers of the Bahá'í Faith without having to complete the requirements of a university-level course.

      The intermediate level is designed for learners who want to be challenged to go more deeply into the study of the subject matter. It is designed to be completed at the level of a third- or fourth-year undergraduate course at a university.

      The advanced level is designed for learners who want to study the subject matter deeply and rigorously. It is designed to be completed at the level of a graduate course and will involve completing a substantive written project.

      Those who wish to pursue college credit for a course may find that the new levels facilitate the process. Those who have no interest in credit will be able to select a level tailored to suit their needs.

Distance-Learning Program Grows and Adjusts

(Continued from page 1)

      Students have greatly enjoyed the telephone calls. Nina Bailey reported that during a conference call, "we discussed projects, questions on previous units, Arabic and Persian pronunciations, personal Bahá'í experiences ... just everything! The group was warm, fun and revitalizing. Participating on the call made me feel more like a part of the whole learning experience and I am no longer feeling worried about being behind (even though I am)."

      The Hinduism and Judaism courses, parts of the series on "World Religions: An Integrative Approach," have now ended, with many students expressing great satisfaction. Nehru Arunasalam noted "The religion [Judaism] was totally new for me. It's very interesting to read about the religion and Robert's notes were very useful for me. I come from Hindu background and grew up in Malaysia and now am living in Chicago."

      Naomi Komoda related personal reasons for taking the Judaism course: "I've been a Bahá'í since I was 7. My father was Jewish, my mother Japanese Buddhist, but they both became Bahá'ís (when I was 7). My father's brother is a rabbi, and I have many Jewish relatives. Obviously, I have Jewish heritage and Jewish culture is part of me. Looking back on my childhood and youth, I realize that most of my best friends have always been Jewish, and even now I seem to 'click' with Jews. Still, I've always wanted to learn more about Judaism and this course is the perfect opportunity. I live in Japan and am married to a Japanese man who recently became a Bahá'í."

Nina Bailey reported that during a conference call, "we discussed projects, questions on previous units, Arabic and Persian pronunciations, personal Bahá'í experiences ... just everything!
      One challenge facing the Institute has been adjusting the course work so that the load is manageable. If too many students post to the course's e-mail listserver, reading all of the messages becomes a burden; but if too few post, students miss an opportunity for enlightening discussion.

      Some students have found homework questions challenging and have asked for extensions. Ways to make the course easier have been devised (see the above article about introducing three levels)

      Because of the need for more time to complete the Hinduism and Judaism courses, the course on Buddhism for Deepening and Dialogue was postponed one month. It started June 1 and will end July 31. The adjustment allowed more time to complete old course work and take a break before starting another course. The delay benefited most students. The postponement will not delay other courses in the world religion series.

      Interest in "The Bahá'í Faith: A Comprehensive Introduction" was limited. Since courses require a minimum of 10 to 15 students to create a successful learning environment, the 1999 course has been postponed to the summer of 2000. It is hoped that by then further marketing efforts will result in enough registrations.

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July 1999

STUDYING THE REVELATION

The Universal House of Justice on Holy Scriptures of Previous Dispensations

The Wilmette Institute is pleased to share the following letter and compilation regarding of Holy Scriptures revealed centuries ago. Students who have taken a distance-learning Wilmette Institute course on in the series "World Religions: An Integrated Approach" may recognize the letter and compilation, as it has been assigned in order to share comments by the Universal House of Justice about the subject they are studying. For information regarding upcoming World Religions distance-learning course, see page 8 of this issue of The Lamp.
THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
BAHÁÍ WORLD CENTER


Department of the Secretariat
                                January 1, 1981
Dear Bahá'í Friends,

      The Universal House of Justice has asked us to acknowledge your letter of 21 October 1980, and in reply to your inquiry about what Writings constitute the Holy Scriptures of previous Dispensations, to send you a brief compilation of passages on this subject.

      The House of Justice deeply appreciates the desire of the friends to abide by the Teachings of our beloved Faith, and values their determined efforts to spread the healing Word of God. We are requested to assure you that prayers will be offered at the Holy Shrines on your behalf.

      With loving Bahá'í greetings,
      [signed]
      For Department of the Secretariat

Enclosure
cc: The National Spiritual Assembly of the United States

Excerpts from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá

"Every discerning observer will recognize that in the Dispensation of the Qur'án both the Book and the Cause of Jesus were confirmed."
("The Kitáb-i-Íqán", page 20)

". . . the Torah that God hath confirmed consists of the exact words that streamed forth at the bidding of God from the tongue of Him Who conversed with Him (Moses)."
(From a recently translated Tablet of Bahá'u'lláh)

"Know ye that the Torah is that which was revealed in the Tablets to Moses, may peace be upon Him, or that to which He was bidden. But the stories are historical narratives and were written after Moses, may peace be upon Him."
(From a recently translated Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Bahá)


The seat of the Universal House of Justice
"This Book is the Holy Book of God, of celestial Inspiration. It is the Bible of Salvation, the noble Gospel. It is the mystery of the Kingdom and its light. It is the Divine Bounty, the sign of the guidance of God."
(Written by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the Bible of the pulpit of the City Temple in London, quoted in "Star of the West", vol. 2, No. 11, p. 8)

From the Writings of Shoghi Effendi and Letters Written on His Behalf

      "In regard to your question concerning the authenticity of the Qur'án. I have referred it to the Guardian for his opinion. He thinks that the Qur'án is, notwithstanding the opinion of certain historians, quite authentic, and that consequently it should be considered in its entirety by every faithful and loyal believer as the sacred scripture of the Muhammadan Revelation."
(From a letter dated July 6, 1934 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)


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July 1999


      "As to the question raised by. . . in connection with Bahá'u'lláh's statement in the 'Gleanings' concerning the sacrifice of Ishmael; although this statement does not agree with that made in the Bible, Genesis 22:9, the friends should unhesitatingly, and for reasons that are only too obvious, give precedence to the saying of Bahá'u'lláh, which, it should be pointed out, is fully corroborated by the Qurán which book is far more authentic than the Bible, including both the New and Old Testaments. The Bible is not wholly authentic, and in this respect is not to be compared with the Qur'án, and should be wholly subordinated to the authentic writings of Bahá'u'lláh."
(From a letter dated July 28, 1936 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Assembly of the United States and Canada)

      ". . . we cannot be sure how much or how little of the four Gospels are accurate and include the words of Christ and His undiluted teachings, all we can be sure of, as Bahá'ís, is that what has been quoted by Bahá'u'lláh and the Master must be absolutely authentic. As many times passages in the Gospel of St. John are quoted we may assume that it is his Gospel and much of it accurate."
(From a letter dated January 23, 1944 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

      "Regarding your questions: We cannot possibly add names of people we (or anyone else) think might be Lesser Prophets to those found in the Qur'án, the Bible and our own Scriptures. For only these can we consider authentic Books."
(From a letter dated March 13, 1950 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

From Letters Written by or on Behalf of the Universal House of Justice

      "Concerning your comment that '. . . a contradiction appears to exist between the words of the beloved Guardian and the statements of scholars concerning his reference to the Tenth Avatar in the Bhagavad-Gita . . .', it is essential to recognize that there is also wide disagreement among scholars about the authorship of the scriptures of the Hindu religion; and considerable difference of opinion exists between them as to the time the Bhagavad-Gita was written. Nevertheless, they do seem to agree that this poem contained in the Indian epic, the Mahabharata, is a great religious classic, and acknowledge its influence on the religious thought and life of Hinduism in its many branches.

            "However, Shoghi Effendi has pointed out more than once that not all the scriptures of the divinely-revealed religions of the past can be relied upon as being the words of their respective Founders. For example, in a letter dated November 25, 1950 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, there is this statement: 'We cannot be sure of the authenticity of the scriptures of Buddha and Krishna. . .'. Yet, exercising his special wisdom as Guardian, in God Passes By he applies to Bahá'u'lláh the several titles to which you refer in your letter. As Bahá'ís, we obviously accept as authoritative whatever he has enunciated in such matters."
(From a letter dated August 17, 1971 written by the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)
      "We have your letter of 21 January, 1974 asking about 'authentic editions of the Buddhist and Hindu Scriptures' to be used as readings in the House of Worship.

      "In a letter to an individual believer written on behalf of the beloved Guardian on 25 November, 1950 it states, 'We cannot be sure of the authenticity of the scriptures of Buddha and Krishna . . .' In another letter to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New Zealand dated 26 December, 1941 it is said, 'The Buddha was a Manifestation of God, like Christ, but his followers do not possess his authentic writings.'

      "When the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States asked a similar question about readings for use in the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár we said: 'Your Assembly is free to use its discretion in choosing excerpts from the generally recognized scriptures of the older religions.' (13th March, 1964.)"
(From a letter dated January 30, 1974 written by the Universal House of Justice to the National Assembly of Australia)

      ". . . we are requested to inform you that the House of Justice does not know the exact context of the references quoted by Shoghi Effendi (in 'God Passes By') from the Bhagavad-Gita, but it you have been unable to locate them in the book of that name it may be because the beloved Guardian was using the name of the book to stand for the entire Hindu Scripture, as it is common to refer to the entire Old Testament as the Torah, to the New Testament as the Gospel, or the Báb's Revelation as the Bayán."
(From a letter dated July 12, 1976 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)

(Continued on page 8)


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July 1999

Students Comment on Experiences in Studies in the
Bahá'í Faith Distance-Education Courses

Comments on the course "Judaism for Deepening and Dialogue" by Sandra Brown-Carr

      Although for various reasons I have not been able to participate as I would have liked over the last two months, I still have gained a better understanding of Judaism in a number of ways.

      Most importantly, I have a greater awareness and sense of Judaism as a "living" religion—which may seem strange in light of the fact that my husband is a "Jewish" Bahá'í. However, David's parents became Bahá'í s before he was born and, although they took him to synagogue as a child, his religious activities and focus as an adult have been the Bahá'í Faith. We are in our fourteenth year of marriage, but this year for the first time (because of this course) we attended a Seder dinner one night during Pesach. I also attended a service one morning at the Orthodox Synagogue and had a good talk with one of the women who made me feel very welcome. This direct contact and experience was very positive, moving, enjoyable, and extremely valuable.

      I agree with Ted Brownstein that reading some Jewish fiction, such as Isaac Bashevis Singer's delightful stories, would add another dimension to the course. Also listening to the different forms of music and language which evolved out of the Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities broadens one's understanding of Jewish history and experience.

      With gratitude to all the staff and those participating in this course.

Comments by Moira Padfield on "Judaism for Deepening and Dialogue"

      I have very much enjoyed your [fellow students' and faculty's] comments and E-mails and have learned a great deal from all of you. Up to now I have been one of the students from which you have not heard a "peep" but feel a need to share something with you. I am finding that the more people I tell that I am taking a course on Judaism, the more people I can teach the Faith to. All my very close friends know that I am a Bahá'í, and I have made it a goal to tell all of them about the course I am taking. Their reactions have been mostly "Why are you taking a course on Judaism? I thought you were a Bahá'í?" This gives me a great opportunity to explain the unity of our Faith and that all religions are true and from God—this really intrigues people and they want to know more.

      By taking this course, we can reach people outside our normal circles. I have been carrying my book around with me, and it is surprising how many people ask about the title "Living Religions" and ask what my beliefs are—another opening to teach.

      My daughter in Virginia told her Jewish neighbors (who know she is a Bahá'í) that her Mom was taking the course and, as a result, was invited to their Seder this evening (I am jealous!). When I spoke to her this afternoon, she was baking her first kosher cake! It is also wonderful to pick up the daily paper and read about Passover and understand what is happening and why. I feel for the first time that I am really a part of it all.

      This Sunday, we will be hosting Easter Sunday for our family at our completely (all five of us) Bahá'í home, and I feel a unity and love for these born-again Christian souls that I have not felt before. This is the beauty of this course! It is not the memorizing of the "Who begot who," although that is very interesting. What it is about is opening our eyes to other Faiths, so that through love, understanding, and knowledge we can draw closer as one human family worshiping the one true God.

Comments by Dana McMurry

      I cannot express the immense gratitude I have for all those involved with this Institute. You have given me the gift of the writings. Yes, they were there before, but I really didn't understand their true power until you showed me the unity and progression of these Gems so that I now have a deeper, more rounded understanding of this Faith.

      Teaching has now become a joy rather than an obligation, and I have spoken to more people about the Faith with more confidence and loving understanding than ever before. Although I would love to take the credit, I know that it has nothing to do with me. I am just the vessel, the Writings are the flowing waters, the Institute is the pump, and Bahá'u'lláh is the Rain!!!

      So, thank you, from my heart, for all you have done, each and everyone of you who make this Institute a reality.

Comments by Babak Nazari, a pioneer in Budapest, Hungary

      Personally, I have gained a lot from the course [Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, 1868-92]: it gave my readings a systematic nature and organized them. Since I have

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July 1999

started I was able to conduct the information gained from the course to our local community (once even the national community, in a teacher training institute).

      I think you people are doing a fine job and we are appreciating your efforts for this course. Thanks for every thing.

Comments by Kathryn Brown

      I am a new believer, and have found this class [Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, 1853-63] immensely helpful in forming a solid foundation for both conceptual understanding and loving commitment [head and heart]. Although I have been reading the Writings for some time, I had no context for each work, and found the language to be high density and often confusing. And when I would come across the idea that deep understanding comes from the heart, I would conclude that my heart must be stuck in impurity and that's why I don't get it. The result was spiritual discouragement.

      However, with the assistance of this class, I am finding that I do comprehend the Writings at both the deeper level of intended meaning, and at the level of metaphorical or culturally specific language. Specifically, the Islamic references are no longer mysterious. I now have a basis for interpretation of phrases, images of nature, and references to events and people that previously appeared foreign, unfamiliar, and disconnected from anything meaningful to me. I have a clear historical perspective for the unfoldment of the Revelation, with an understanding of the significance of our celebrated events such as Ridván. The individuality of early believers and their response to Bahá'u'lláh has become a human drama with real people, rather than just a collection of names I cannot pronounce. Most importantly, I now have a clearer understanding of the nature of the Covenant, and a solid integration of the ethical and moral expectations for believers.

      I also want to give an appreciation for our instructors who are personable, encouraging, supportive, noncritical, and just filled with knowledge of the culture, language, and history that makes this study like going to a good movie.

Letter from National Spiritual Assembly

The Wilmette Institute is pleased to share the following letter from the National Spiritual Assembly to the Wilmette Institute Board.


NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY
OF THE
BAHÁÍS OF THE UNITED STATES
536 SHERIDAN ROAD, WILMETTE, ILLINOIS 60091-2849
(847) 869-9039 EMAIL: USNSA@USBNC.ORG

July 2, 1999

Wilmette Institute Board of Directors
c/o Bahá'í National Center

Dear Friends,

The National Spiritual Assembly received with appreciation your 1998-99 end of year report.

The Success of the "Spiritual Foundations for a Global [Civilization]" at the close of the third year of the program is evidenced by the activities of its students. We applaud them for the numerous firesides they have undertaken and the study classes they have initiated or in which they have participated. Their graduation next year will be a joyous triumph to be shared with the entire community.

We commend you for a program well defined and effective in transmitting knowledge about the Bahá'í Faith. An article in the American Bahá'í highlighting the enthusiastic response of the students to the program can be an effective means of securing registrations for the Wilmette Institute. The extraordinary accomplishments of the students, resulting from increased confidence in their knowledge of the Faith, can spark interest in other Bahá'ís to pursue the program. The outcome will be to provide increasing numbers of believers with the "spiritual insights, the knowledge, and the skills needed to carry out the many tasks of accelerated expansion and consolidation."

NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF
THE BAHÁÍS OF THE UNITED STATES
[signed]
Robert C. Henderson
Secretary-General

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July 1999
(continued from page 5)
      "Concerning Hindu prophecies of the coming of Bahá'u'lláh and the relationship of the Hindu and Bahá'í Faiths, nothing authentic and specific is available at the World Centre, apart from the Guardian's statement in God Passes By that
'To Him the Bhagavad-Gita of the Hindus had referred as the "Most Great Spirit," the "Tenth Avatar", the "Immaculate Manifestation of the Krishna"', (p. 95);
and a brief reference to Bahá'u'lláh as 'to the Hindus the reincarnation of Krishna ...' (p. 94). Bahá'í teachings on progressive revelation do, of course, bear on the relationship of these Faiths. In a letter written on behalf of the beloved Guardian it is also written that 'We cannot be sure of the authenticity of the scriptures of Buddha and Krishna . . .' (November 25, 1950); and in reply to a question as to whether Brahma is 'to be considered as referring to absolute diety' and Krishna 'as the Prophet of the Hindu Religion', his secretary wrote '. . . such matters, as no reference occurs to them in the Teachings, are left for students of history and religion to resolve and clarify.' (April 14, 1941)"
(From a letter dated September 1, 1977 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)

Compiled for inclusion with a letter ... dated 1 January 1981 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice.

REGISTERING FOR WILMETTE INSTITUTE COURSES

      To obtain information about the Wilmette Institute's courses, contact the registrar, Heather Gorman, by e-mail at hgorman@usbnc.org, telephone at (847)733-3415, fax at (847) 733-3563, or mail at Wilmette Institute, 536 Sheridan Road, Wilmette IL 60091, USA. Information is also available through our website, www.usbnc.org/wilmette, and by calling the 24-hour automated information line, (847) 733-3595.

SPIRITUAL FOUNDATIONS FOR A GLOBAL CIVILIZATION
      To participate in the 1999-2000 year of the Spiritual Foundations program--which focuses on "Carrying Forward An Ever-Advancing Civilization"--new students should apply by April 9, 1999. The academic year runs from May 1, 1999, to March 31, 2000, and is composed of 10 months of home study and a required residential session held in Wilmette, Illinois, from July 17 to August 6, 1999.

      Each applicant must submit a completed application form, a 500-word personal statement, a recommendation letter, a photocopy of her latest transcript, and a $25 application fee. Tuition for the year is $825; room and board during the three week summer session funs approximately $35 per day. For more information please contact the registrar.

STUDIES IN THE BAHá'í FAITH
      Studies in the Bahá'í Faith courses can be completed from any place in the world, as they contain no residential requirement and are completed primarily by e-mail, although individuals without e-mail are able to participate. The article on page 1 of this issue of The Lamp contains information about the courses offered in this program.

      Tuition for courses depends on the length of the course: two-month courses cost $100, three-month courses cost $150, and six-month courses cost $225. Students who form a local study group of three or more individuals each receive a 20% discount on tuition. Students needing financial assistance are encouraged to ask their local spiritual assemblies for help. The Wilmette Institute is happy to write local spiritual assemblies a letter on the students' behalf. Because the Wilmette Institute is independent of the Bahá'í Funds and thus depends on tuition and donations to cover operating costs, the Institute has few scholarships available. Students may apply for one by sending a letter stating the dollar amount needed and a brief explanation of the need.

      The registrar is happy to answer questions about courses or provide further information. To register for a Studies in the Bahá'í Faith course, individuals must pay the full course tuition and complete a registration form available from the registrar or from our website. Students can pay by check, money order, Visa, or MasterCard and can register by mail, fax, e-mail, or phone. To receive the materials by the scheduled beginning of the course, individuals should register at least two weeks before the course begins. Registration opens several month before each course starts and closes when the course is full or two weeks after the start date.

PERSIAN LANGUAGE COURSES

      In cooperation with the Wilmette Institute, the Persian Affairs Office offers intensive, summer residential courses on the Persian language. For more information, contact the Persian American Affairs Office at (847) 733-3467, persian@usbnc.org, or 1233 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201.
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