What is the purpose of laws in religion? Aku began to understand the answer the moment she read a quote from a Baha’i book that inspired her in her personal search for meaning.
In this episode of Moments of Meaning, Sean Hinton speaks to Aku Ntumy, a science teacher in a high school in Swindon, England. Having received the Baha’i Faith’s “Most Holy Book” as a gift from a new friend at the age of 21, Aku first read the words of Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith, one afternoon in the bunk bed she shared with her sister in their family home in Botswana, Southern Africa. Now, ten years later, she shares what she learned in that moment — and in all the moments that passage inspired.
In his “Most Holy Book,” called the “Kitab-i-Aqdas” in Arabic, Baha’u’llah sets out the laws and practices his followers should adhere to. The passage Aku read was the following:
From My laws the sweet-smelling savor of My garment can be smelled, and by their aid the standards of Victory will be planted upon the highest peaks.
It was the start of a beautiful spiritual journey — but one that Aku, at first, was skeptical about.
“The first time I laid my eyes on it, I thought ‘that’s convenient, that the person who lays down the laws says they should be such a gift.’” But after some thought, she began to see the beautiful meaning behind those words: the unique opportunity we have received to understand God through his laws and become what Aku calls “a spiritual success.”
Aku suggests seeing these laws as a kind of “personal trainer” who can help you get to your fitness goals: “You can go about that goal… on your own, and just practice and you might get there. But the personal trainer knows all the little tips and tricks and will be able to get you to that level of victory a lot better… And if you follow those steps, it would be much easier for you to get there than if you try and forge your own path on your own.”
She says that when it comes to these teachings and laws, even if you don’t understand exactly why or what they are for, if one trusts and loves the source of the advice, then one can reap benefits simply by trying. For Aku, those laws led her on a path of learning many things that she would never have learned otherwise: from a new mindset about marriage and its purpose, to a beautiful relationship with prayer — something she had initially struggled to understand and practice. In this episode, she shares the stories behind these changes and many others.
The idea of law as far more than rules and regulations is echoed elsewhere in the same book where Baha’u’llah wrote: “Think not that We have revealed unto you a mere code of laws. Nay, rather, We have unsealed the choice Wine with the fingers of might and power.”
Moments of Meaning is a podcast where Sean Hinton speaks to people from all walks of life whose lives have been profoundly affected by the writings of the Baha’i Faith. They share the quotes that inspired them and delve into the story of that moment of meaning and the powerful changes it caused.
Moments of Meaning is presented by Sean Hinton, mixed and edited by Jamey Heath, and produced by Alex Greenall, Liz Dwyer and the team at BahaiTeachings.org.
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