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HABIB HOSSEINY, public information officer for Baha’i of San Clemente
Jake Howard’s column on Amanda Gorman and her surfing was quite interesting to me. I am not a surfer, but several of my family members are. What intrigued me in Jake’s column was the fact that he brought up the concept of “bringing people together” and the meaning of “Aloha.”
Then, he remembered Duke Kahanamoku, the father of surfing, and his belief that the word Aloha, which means love, is a powerful attraction to people’s hearts. When Jake connected surfing with Amanda Gorman’s message, he quoted from her speech at the Presidential inauguration last month: “We seek harm to none and harmony for all.”
As I went through the rest of the column, I felt that Jake was talking on my behalf. Let me write the exact quotation from over 100 years ago, when ‘Abdu’l-Baha visited America: “Strive with heart and soul in order to bring about union and harmony among the white and the black and prove thereby the unity of the world wherein distinction of color finds no place, but where hearts only are considered … the hearts of the friends are united and linked together, whether they are from the east or the west, from north or from south, whether they are German, French, Japanese, American, and whether they pertain to White, the Black, the Red, the Yellow or the Brown race. Variations of color, of land and of race are of no importance … on the contrary, unity overcomes them all and does away with all these fancies and imaginations.”
Further definitions of “love” from ‘Abdu’l-Baha:
“Know thou of a certainty that Love is the secret of God’s holy Dispensation, the manifestation of the All-Merciful, the fountain of spiritual outpourings. Love is heaven’s kindly light, the Holy Spirit’s eternal breath that vivifies the human soul. Love is the cause of God’s revelation unto man, the vital bond inherent, in accordance with the divine creation, in the realities of things. Love is the one means that ensures true felicity both in this world and the next. Love is the light that guides in darkness, the living link that unites God with man, that assures the progress of every illumined soul.”
Gorman’s poem clearly reflects all the characteristics of the above definitions of love; she delicately desires that all of us put down our differences and share a little aloha.