Friday, January 04, 2008

On the Majnun, the Baha'i-Related Search Engine: All Wheat and Nooooo Chaff

"It is related that one day they came upon Majnún sifting the dust, and his tears flowing down. They said, 'What doest thou?' He said, 'I seek for Laylí.' They cried, 'Alas for thee! Laylí is of pure spirit, and thou seekest her in the dust!' He said, 'I seek her everywhere; haply somewhere I shall find her.' Yea, although to the wise it be shameful to seek the Lord of Lords in the dust, yet this betokeneth intense ardor in searching. 'Whoso seeketh out a thing with zeal shall find it.'" (Bahá"u'lláh, The Seven Valleys)

Everyday I am learning more about the Internet. Today I learned about Majnun, the Baha'i-related search engine. I was poking around Google results for "Baha'i," several hundred in, and came upon a listing. I was amazed. The best part about Majnun? All sites have been reviewed by their editors; all sites are Baha'i. Majnun "enables users to search Baha'i-related content within a directory of approved websites." I would have known about Majnun long ago, if I had been reading blogs more carefully. Here are monarey's blogged comments from last June. -gw

After years of the google search engine being one of the greatest tools for research considering all aspects of life we are now being introduced to a new era of Baha'i related research. While Google always mixed in unnecessary and irrelevant results we can now be sure to have relevant information given by

the great Majnun Baha'i search engine.

A new era of Baha'i internet research
monarey: mona - (from arabic) wish/desire - I guess you could also call it obsession

Majnún Search searches over 400 Baha'i-related websites. It runs on Google's Custom Search, displaying sites from its own directory. All included sites have been approved by Majnún editors.
"Persian rug - passages from the Story of Layla and Majnun in Pars," uploaded on September 6, 2007 by charlton_b on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic


Anonymous said...

Would this be the carpet that Abdul Baha gave Phoebe Hearst? I have heard that somewhere in Hearst Castle there may be hanging the carpet that was presented to Mrs. Hearst at her estate in the Bay Area. This was during Abdul Baha's visit to her home as her guest.

George Wesley said...

It did not connect with me that this photo is from the Hearst Castle. How wonderful if it was the same carpet. Here is a closeup of the same carpet:

And the photographer took a picture of another carpet at the Castle here:

Anonymous said...

I have tried to find this carpet while taking the tours at Hearst Castle. They mention when you visit that William Randolph Heart's mother was a Baha'i, and thought that perhaps the carpet from Abdul Baha was in the castle. One person has told me it may be on tour #3. The estate is so large there are four different tours as to try to see the whole place would take two days. Phoebe Hearst is one of my interests as she saved Green Acre Baha'i School, and was such an important early Baha'i. It is also now known that she asked to give Abdul Baha a large share of her huge fortune to the Baha'i funds, but he did not accept it, and only asked for her "heart" instead.

Anonymous said...

In addition as a historical note. The architect of Hearst Castle (San Simeon) was Julia Morgan. Miss Morgan was in the same architecture class in Paris with William Sutherland Maxwell who of course designed the superstructure of the Shrine of the Bab. Thank you for the link to the additional picture.

George Wesley said...

This is fascinating information. What sources do you recommend that discuss this history?

Anonymous said...

There will be a book on the Maxwell family coming out, hopefully soon, that goes into some of this information. What I have learned is sort of a combination from various sources that started with my curiousity being sparked by a book I picked up in the Hearst Castle gift shop on the Hearst family. The information about the carpet being given by Abdul Baha to Mrs. Hearst is in various accounts of his visit to North America.

Regarding the offer of a portion of the Hearst fortune to the Baha'i funds, this is mentioned in two different sources I cannot think of at the moment. There was one unfortunate character who claimed to be a Baha'i who asked numerous early members of the community for funds for Baha'i projects and then used them for his own lifestyle. Because of the problems created by this person, Abdul Baha told Mrs. Hearst that she would not have to deal with a situation like this again because she should decline any requests for funds since they did not come from Abdul Baha. He asked for her heart instead and told her to use these funds for charitable projects, which she did including the building of various YWCA's and the University of California (Berkeley), as well as other schools, health clinics, and institutions.

It is because of Mrs. Hearst that we have the first group of pilgrims from the West, and her generosity to various Baha'i projects really helped to ignite the early American, as well as European (London and Paris) Baha'i community growth. She was very quiet in her Faith and became rather "inactive", but was a great friend to many Baha'is till the end of her life and felt that her pilgrimage to Abdul Baha was the spiritual highlight of her life. The idea that such a wealthy woman would go to visit a prisoner in Akka back is rather extraordinary. Imagine what courage and devotion they had as they left their worlds of comfort and priviledge! Her husband, George Hearst, was a U.S. senator and passed away.

I guess you can tell this is a big interest of mine, and maybe some day I will write a book on the information I have collected.

George Wesley said...

Writing a book about this would be a wonderful service, dear friend.