Sunday, March 31, 2013

The New Beatitudes of Baha'u'llah


House where Baha'u'llah was incarcerated at the time of the revelation
of the Lawh-i-Aqdas.
Photo © Baha’i International Community

                      

From LAWH-I-AQDAS, (The Most Holy Tablet)
[Sometimes referred to as Tablet to the Christians.]


Say:
Blessed the slumberer
who is awakened by My Breeze.

Blessed the lifeless one
who is quickened through My reviving breaths.

Blessed the eye
that is solaced by gazing at My beauty.

Blessed the wayfarer
who directeth his steps towards the Tabernacle
of My glory and majesty.

Blessed the distressed one
who seeketh refuge beneath the shadow of My
canopy.

Blessed the sore athirst
who hasteneth to the soft-flowing waters of My
loving-kindness.

Blessed the insatiate soul
who casteth away his selfish desires for love of Me
and taketh his place at the banquet table
which I have sent down from the heaven
of divine bounty for My chosen ones.

Blessed the abased one
who layeth fast hold on the cord of My glory;
and the needy one who entereth beneath
the shadow of the Tabernacle of My wealth.

Blessed the ignorant one
who seeketh the fountain of My knowledge;
and the heedless one who cleaveth
to the cord of My remembrance.

Blessed the soul
that hath been raised to life through My
quickening breath and hath gained
admittance into My heavenly Kingdom.

Blessed the man
Whom the sweet savours of reunion with Me
have stirred and caused to draw nigh
unto the Dayspring of My Revelation.

Blessed the ear
that hath heard and the tongue that hath
borne witness and the eye that hath seen
and recognized the Lord Himself, in His
great glory and majesty, invested with
grandeur and dominion.

Blessed are they
that have attained His presence.

Blessed the man
who hath sought enlightenment from
the Day-Star of My Word.

Blessed he
who hath attired his head with
the diadem of My love.

Blessed is he
who hath heard of My grief
and hath arisen to aid Me among My people.

Blessed is he
who hath laid down his life in My path
and hath borne manifold hardships
for the sake of My Name.

Blessed the man
who assured of My Word, hath arisen from
among the dead to celebrate My praise.

Blessed is he
that hath been enraptured by My wondrous
melodies and hath rent the veils asunder
through the potency of My might.

Blessed is he
who hath remained faithful to My Covenant,
and whom the things of the world have not
kept back from attaining My Court of holiness.

Blessed is the man
who hath detached himself from all else but
Me, hath soared in the atmosphere of My love,
hath gained admittance into My Kingdom,
gazed upon My realms of glory, quaffed
the living waters of My bounty, hath drunk his fill
from the heavenly river of My loving providence,
acquainted himself with My Cause,
apprehended that which I concealed within
the treasury of My Words, and hath
shone forth from the horizon of divine knowledge
engaged in My praise and glorification.

Verily, he is of Me. Upon him rest My mercy,
My loving-kindness, My bounty and My glory.

(Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, revealed after
the Kitab-i-Aqdas
, pp. 16-17)
[Formatting/ emphasis in the text above has been added for this blog.]

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Collaborative Reading of a Prayer for the Baha'i Fast


If your Baha'i community has a prayer gathering during the time of the annual Baha'i Fast, you may wish to try this idea that has been well received over the years:

First, photocopy or print out three sets of the text of the much-loved prayer, revealed by Baha'u'llah for the Fast, (or pull the prayer up simultaneously on three smart electronic devices), that begins "I beseech Thee, O my God...". It is number CLXXVII in Prayers and Meditations, and begins on page 288. A nicely formatted reproduction of this prayer, (see my amateurish photo of my highlighted photocopies below), appears beginning on page 59 in a compilation put together by Duane L. Herrman some years ago, Fasting - A Baha'i Handbook.

Go through the first copy of the prayer and highlight or underline the opening invocation of each of its thirteen paragraphs. For example, in the first three paragraphs of the first copy, here's what the first three highlighted sections would be:
  • "I beseech Thee, O my God, by Thy mighty Sign, and by the revelation of Thy grace amongst men"
  • "I beseech Thee, O my God, by Thy most sweet Voice and by Thy most exalted Word"
  • "I beseech Thee, O my God, by the splendour of Thy luminous brow and the brightness of the light of Thy countenance which shineth from the all-highest horizon"
Next, go through the second copy and highlight or underline what is being asked for -- prayed for -- in each paragraph. Continuing our example, here's what the first three highlighted sections in this second copy of the prayer would be: 
  • "to cast me not away from the from the gate of the city of Thy presence, and to disappoint not the hopes I have set on the manifestations of Thy grace amidst Thy creatures"
  • "to draw me ever nearer to the threshold of Thy door, and to suffer me not to be far removed from the shadow of Thy mercy and the canopy of Thy bounty"
  • "to attract me by the fragrance of Thy raiment, and make me drink of the choice wine of Thine utterance"
On the third copy -- you guessed it -- go through and highlight or underline the refrain that appears at the end of twelve of the prayer's thirteen paragraphs:  
  • "Thou seest me, O my God, holding to Thy Name, the Most Holy, the Most Luminous, the Most Mighty, the Most Great, the Most Exalted, the Most Glorious, and clinging to the hem of the robe to which have clung all in this world and in the world to come."
When three readers coordinate, each reading aloud in turn their highlighted portion of each paragraph, it may help those present to better penetrate the prayer's structure and absorb and appreciate the depth and meaning of its mystic allusions.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Versions of a Quintessential Pilgrim’s Note




 
[Emphasis added in the quotations below.]
 

 A January 2013 Facebook posting, accompanying a song with similar but different wording, attributes to Abdu’l-Baha the words: “Where there is love there is always time.”

 

This appealing statement appears to be a permutation of a passage from Howard Colby Ives, referring to Abdu’l-Baha, that can be found excerpted in Volume 25 of “Star of the West” and that was published in a wonderful book in 1937:
Howard Colby Ives
         
"Nothing is too much trouble when one loves," He had been heard to say, "and there is always time."

(Howard Colby Ives, Portals to Freedom, p. 52)


Ives, in turn, appears to be paraphrasing these words from a diary of historic pilgrim’s notes (we don’t know who the translator of Abdu’l-Baha’s words was):

‘When we deprecated the trouble it must be to answer so many questions and to give us so much time, He replied, "Whatever is done in love is never any trouble, and -- there is always time."’

(Helen S. Goodall and Ella Goodall Cooper, Daily Lessons Received at 'Akk√° January 1908, p. 42)
Ella Goodall Cooper