The principal Bahāʾī tenets are the essential unity of all religions and the unity of humanity. Bahāʾī's believe that all the founders of the world’s great religions have been manifestations of God and agents of a progressive divine plan for the education of the human race. Despite their apparent differences, the world’s great religions, according to the Bahāʾīs, teach an identical truth. Bahāʾī's believe in the oneness of humanity, and devote themselves to the abolition of racial, class, and religious prejudices. The great bulk of Bahāʾī teachings is concerned with social ethics. The faith has followers all over the world. There are seven million Baha’i in the world, about 150,000 in the United States. Adherents are still subject to severe persecution in Iran and some other countries.
We can utilize this principle in our own gardens, by planting a large variety of plants alongside each other. I would have it no other way! A garden with diversity will be better able to withstand the disease in one plant. Another benefit is that plants flower at different times of the year. A garden with diversity will always have some plants flowering.
"The excellency, the adornment and the perfection of the earth is to be verdant and fertile through the bounty of the clouds of springtime. Plants grow; flowers and fragrant herbs spring up; fruit-bearing trees become full of blossoms and bring forth fresh and new fruit. Gardens become beautiful, and meadows adorned; mountains and plains are clad in a green robe, and gardens, fields, villages and cities are decorated."
Another common theme in the Bahá'í writings is the importance of the gardener, symbolizing the Divine Educator. "If the earth is not cultivated, it becomes a jungle where useless weeds grow; but if a cultivator comes and tills the ground, it produces crops which nourish living creatures. It is evident, therefore, that the soil needs the cultivation of the farmer. Consider the trees: if they remain without a cultivator, they will be fruitless, and without fruit they are useless; but if they receive the care of a gardener, these same barren trees become fruitful, and through cultivation, fertilization and engrafting the trees which had bitter fruits yield sweet fruits...."
Trees exemplify the diversity of humanity. "This diversity of type is apparent throughout the whole of nature.... Let us look... at the beauty in diversity, the beauty of harmony, and learn a lesson from the vegetable creation. If you behold a garden in which all the plants were the same as to form, color and perfume, it would not seem beautiful to you at all, but, rather, monotonous and dull. The garden which is pleasing to the eye and which makes the heart glad, is the garden in which are growing side by side flowers of every hue, form and perfume, and the joyous contrast of colour is what makes for charm and beauty."A dimension of the Bahá'í is the important direct link between nature and spirituality, with Divine qualities reflected through the creation.
The Bahá'í approach links the preservation and reclamation of the earth's resources with both the protection of the physical world and the heritage of future generations. It has encouraged the essentially humanitarian work of such groups as the Men of the Trees and the World Forestry Charter, and their noble objective of reclaiming the desert areas of Africa.
History of Baháʼí gardens in Israel
Baháʼí gardens can be found at Baháʼí Holy Places in Israel and elsewhere, and at Baháʼí Houses of Worship. Many Baháʼí holy places in Haifa and around Acre, Israel, were inscribed on the World Heritage List.
There are more than 450 different varieties of plants and flowers on the grounds maintained by 160 garden department irrigation technicians, tree care specialists, horticulturists and pest management team members in Haifa, alone. Garden maintenance teams spend 10 hours a day, five days a week gardening and weeding.
Flowers also play an important role. Roses have deep symbolic meaning. The founder of the Bahá’í faith, mentions roses in his writing more than any other flower. They are often used as a metaphor to explain important Bahá’í teachings, like unity in diversity, the love of God, and the spiritual health of an individual in their community. Other flowers were chosen for their appearance in scripture, their beauty, fragrance, or vibrant colors.
Some ideas for designing a Baháʼí Garden, besides roses of all types:
Ornamental Oregano, Thyme, Hydrangeas, zinnias, calla lilies, snapdragons, starflowers, Trailing Rosemary, native North American plants (coneflowers, anise hyssop, swamp milkweed, bee balm, and little bluestem), tulips, flowering cherry, crabapple, hardy palms, cypress, Jacaranda tree.
Persian Influence is commonly seen, and many of the historic gardens have this element. You can find ornamental garden objects that would fit in well with the opulent Taj Mahal feel.
Many of these common garden elements can be traced to the Persian Garden influences.
Baha'i is a monotheistic faith. It is similar to other religions in its messianic teachings and the faith adheres to the belief that all messiahs of the major religions i.e. Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, etc., are messengers bearing guidelines for individual holy destinies. The faith was founded in nineteenth century Persia.
The faith has no priesthood and does not observe ritual forms in its worship. A primary theme is education. Achieving world peace through the establishment of unity, justice and equality. Therefore, teachings specifically advocate for racial unity, gender equality, universal education, and harmony of science and religion. There are no initiation ceremonies, no sacraments, and no clergy.
Every Bahāʾī, however, is under the spiritual obligation to pray daily; to abstain totally from narcotics, alcohol, or any other substances that affect the mind; to practice monogamy; to obtain the consent of parents to marriage; and to attend the Nineteen Day Feast on the first day of each month of the Bahāʾī calendar. If capable, those between the ages of 15 and 70 are required to fast 19 days a year, going without food or drink from sunrise to sunset. The feasts are designed to ensure universal participation in the affairs of the community and the cultivation of the spirit of brotherhood and fellowship.
considering the number of temples and gardens of the faith, there are
750 Baha'i volunteers from 70 countries in Haifa and Acre.
Well-Known Bahá iʼGardens
Gardens of Bahahji
Bahá’í Gardens in ‘Akko
"Place of Delight"
The gardens at Bahjí in ‘Akko form a wide circle surrounding the historic mansion where Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, resided during the final years of His life and the shrine where his remains were laid to rest.
The approach to the circular garden is a long, straight path framed with cypress trees and informal plantings. It is a wall-less sanctuary that is protected without being enclosed.
The Mansion of Bahjí (meaning “Place of Delight”) was built in 1821 by ‘Abdu’lláh Páshá, then the Turkish governor of Acre. Bahá’u’lláh occupied the mansion from 1879 until His passing in 1892. He is buried in a small building adjacent to the Mansion known as the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh. Over the years, this Holy Place has been beautified with formal gardens extending in a large circle around the Shrine. Here the formal, precise gardening flows around historic buildings and natural elements that include a centuries-old sycamore fig tree and the remains of an ancient olive grove.
Beautified with paradise gardens, which are called Haram-i-Aqdas (the Most Holy Precincts or Sanctuary) and are intersected by a circular path. The Mansion, shrine, and surrounding gardens are among the most sacred spots on earth for Baháí's, and are Baháʼí pilgrimage sites.
The Shrine of Baháʼu'lláh is composed of a central area that contains a small, tree-filled garden surrounded by paths covered with Persian rugs. A glass roof was constructed by Qulám-ʻAlíy-i-Najjár after the death of Baháʼu'lláh. At the northwest corner of the central area there is a small room where Baháʼu'lláh's remains are laid to rest.
The Terraces of the Baháʼí Faith, also known as the Hanging Gardens of Haifa, are garden terraces around the Shrine of the Báb on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel. The gardens rest in the neighborhoods of Wadi Nisnas and Hadar HaCarmel. They are one of the most visited tourist attractions in Israel. Along with the Baháʼí Holy Places in Western Galilee, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The terraces represent the first eighteen disciples of the Báb, who were designated "Letters of the Living".
Nine concentric circles provide the main geometry of the eighteen terraces. Just as the identification of a circle presupposes a center, the terraces have been conceived as generated from the Shrine of the Báb. The eighteen terraces plus the one terrace of the Shrine of the Báb make nineteen terraces total. Nineteen is a significant number within both the Baháʼí and Bábí religions. 19 is the symbol of unity and had significant meaning.
The gardens are linked by a set of stairs flanked by twin streams of running water cascading down the mountainside through the steps and terrace bridges. The gardens have elements of the Persian paradise gardens, isolating the site from the noise of the surroundings and connecting the different Baháʼí buildings on Mount Carmel together.
Ecology - The irrigation system includes a computer which, based on meteorologic data it receives, controls hundreds of valves to distribute water throughout the gardens by sprinkling and dripping. This is done at night and in the early morning, to avoid wasting water by evaporation. The water that flows alongside the stairs is circulating in a closed system within each terrace, so that little water is wasted.
Arc and Monument Gardens
The Monument Gardens, set within the Arc gardens at the Baháʼí World Center on Mount Carmel, are a set of gardens which hold the graves of some of the members of the Baháʼí holy family.
Garden of Ridván, Akka
The Garden of Ridván
is a Baháʼí holy place situated just outside Acre.
Originally known as the 'garden of Naʻmayn', it was rented by
ʻAbdu'l-Bahá (Baháʼu'lláh's son) for Baháʼu'lláh where
he enjoyed spending the later part of his life, after years in a desolate
At Baháʼí Houses of Worship - All Baháʼí temples are surrounded by gardens.
The Baha'i House of Worship, Wilmette, IL.
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