Wednesday, October 8, 2014

This Is The Day

90:4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.  (King James Bible, Psalms)

"Soleil couchant sur le Vercors" by Eusebius (Guillaume Piolle).
          Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons

3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  (King James Bible, 2 Peter)

[Emphasis added in the quotes below]

This is the Day in which God's most excellent favors have been poured out upon men, the Day in which His most mighty grace hath been infused into all created things. It is incumbent upon all the peoples of the world to reconcile their differences, and, with perfect unity and peace, abide beneath the shadow of the Tree of His care and loving-kindness. It behoveth them to cleave to whatsoever will, in this Day, be conducive to the exaltation of their stations, and to the promotion of their best interests. (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 6)

This is the Day
whereon the Ocean of God's mercy hath been manifested unto men, the Day in which the Day Star of His loving-kindness hath shed its radiance upon them, the Day in which the clouds of His bountiful favor have overshadowed the whole of mankind. Now is the time to cheer and refresh the down-cast through the invigorating breeze of love and fellowship, and the living waters of friendliness and charity. (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 7)
Verily I say, this is the Day in which mankind can behold the Face, and hear the Voice, of the Promised One. The Call of God hath been raised, and the light of His countenance hath been lifted up upon men. It behoveth every man to blot out the trace of every idle word from the tablet of his heart, and to gaze, with an open and unbiased mind, on the signs of His Revelation, the proofs of His Mission, and the tokens of His glory. Great indeed is this Day! The allusions made to it in all the sacred Scriptures as the Day of God attest its greatness. The soul of every Prophet of God, of every Divine Messenger, hath thirsted for this wondrous Day. All the divers kindreds of the earth have, likewise, yearned to attain it. No sooner, however, had the Day Star of His Revelation manifested itself in the heaven of God's Will, than all, except those whom the Almighty was pleased to guide, were found dumbfounded and heedless.  (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pp. 10-11)

This is the Day which the Pen of the Most High hath glorified in all the holy Scriptures. There is no verse in them that doth not declare the glory of His holy Name, and no Book that doth not testify unto the loftiness of this most exalted theme. Were We to make mention of all that hath been revealed in these heavenly Books and holy Scriptures concerning this Revelation, this Tablet would assume impossible dimensions.  (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 13) 

Oh, how I long to announce unto every spot on the surface of the earth, and to carry to each one of its cities, the glad-tidings of this Revelation -- a Revelation to which the heart of Sinai hath been attracted, and in whose name the Burning Bush is calling: 'Unto God, the Lord of Lords, belong the kingdoms of earth and heaven.' Verily this is the Day in which both land and sea rejoice at this announcement, the Day for which have been laid up those things which God, through a bounty beyond the ken of mortal mind or heart, hath destined for revelation. Ere long will God sail His Ark upon thee, and will manifest the people of Baha who have been mentioned in the Book of Names.' (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 16)

This is the Day
whereon naught can be seen except the splendors of the Light that shineth from the face of Thy Lord, the Gracious, the Most Bountiful. Verily, We have caused every soul to expire by virtue of Our irresistible and all-subduing sovereignty. We have, then, called into being a new creation, as a token of Our grace unto men. I am, verily, the All-Bountiful, the Ancient of Days. (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pp. 29-30)

This is the Day whereon the unseen world crieth out: "Great is thy blessedness, O earth, for thou hast been made the foot-stool of thy God, and been chosen as the seat of His mighty throne." The realm of glory exclaimeth: "Would that my life could be sacrificed for thee, for He Who is the Beloved of the All-Merciful hath established His sovereignty upon thee, through the power of His Name that hath been promised unto all things, whether of the past or of the future."  (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 30)

This is the Day
whereon every sweet smelling thing hath derived its fragrance from the smell of My garment -- a garment that hath shed its perfume upon the whole of creation. This is the Day whereon the rushing waters of everlasting life have gushed out of the Will of the All-Merciful. Haste ye, with your hearts and souls, and quaff your fill, O Concourse of the realms above!  (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 30)

This is the Day
whereon He Who is the Revealer of the names of God hath stepped out of the Tabernacle of glory, and proclaimed unto all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth: "Put away the cups of Paradise and all the life-giving waters they contain, for lo, the people of Baha have entered the blissful abode of the Divine Presence, and quaffed the wine of reunion, from the chalice of the beauty of their Lord, the All-Possessing, the Most High." (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 32)

Look not upon the creatures of God except with the eye of kindliness and of mercy, for Our loving providence hath pervaded all created things, and Our grace encompassed the earth and the heavens. This is the Day whereon the true servants of God partake of the life-giving waters of reunion, the Day whereon those that are nigh unto Him are able to drink of the soft-flowing river of immortality, and they who believe in His unity, the wine of His Presence, through their recognition of Him Who is the Highest and Last End of all, in Whom the Tongue of Majesty and Glory voiceth the call: "The Kingdom is Mine. I, Myself, am, of Mine own right, its Ruler." (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 33)

This is the Day
whereon the earth shall tell out her tidings. The workers of iniquity are her burdens, could ye but perceive it. The moon of idle fancy hath been cleft, and the heaven hath given out a palpable smoke.  (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 40)

This is the Day
whereon the All-Merciful hath come down in the clouds of knowledge, clothed with manifest sovereignty. He well knoweth the actions of men. He it is Whose glory none can mistake, could ye but comprehend it. The heaven of every religion hath been rent, and the earth of human understanding been cleft asunder, and the angels of God are seen descending. (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 45)

Say: This is the Day when every ear must needs be attentive to His voice. Hearken ye to the Call of this wronged One, and magnify ye the name of the one true God, and adorn yourselves with the ornament of His remembrance, and illumine your hearts with the light of His love. This is the key that unlocketh the hearts of men, the burnish that shall cleanse the souls of all beings. (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 205)

This is the Day
in which He Who held converse with God hath attained the light of the Ancient of Days, and quaffed the pure waters of reunion from this Cup that hath caused the seas to swell. Say: By the one true God! Sinai is circling round the Day Spring of Revelation, while from the heights of the Kingdom the Voice of the Spirit of God is heard proclaiming: "Bestir yourselves, ye proud ones of the earth, and hasten ye unto Him." Carmel hath, in this Day, hastened in longing adoration to attain His court, whilst from the heart of Zion there cometh the cry: "The promise is fulfilled. That which had been announced in the holy Writ of God, the most Exalted, the Almighty, the Best-Beloved, is made manifest." (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pp. 210-211)

I testify, O my God, that this is the Day whereon Thy testimony hath been fulfilled, and Thy clear tokens have been manifested, and Thine utterances have been revealed, and Thy signs have been demonstrated, and the radiance of Thy countenance hath been diffused, and Thy proof hath been perfected, and Thine ascendancy hath been established, and Thy mercy hath overflowed, and the Day-Star of Thy grace hath shone forth with such brilliance that Thou didst manifest Him Who is the Revealer of Thyself and the Treasury of Thy wisdom and the Dawning-Place of Thy majesty and power. (Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 35)

This is the Day, O my Lord, whose brightness Thou hast exalted above the brightness of the sun and the splendors thereof. I testify that the light it sheddeth proceedeth out of the glory of the light of Thy countenance, and is begotten by the radiance of the morn of Thy Revelation. This is the Day whereon the hopeless have been clothed with the raiment of confidence, and the sick attired with the robe of healing, and the poor drawn nigh unto the ocean of Thy riches. This is the Day whereon the hopeless have been clothed with the raiment of confidence, and the sick attired with the robe of healing, and the poor drawn nigh unto the ocean of Thy riches. (Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 273)
This is the Day, O my Lord, which Thou didst announce unto all mankind as the Day whereon Thou wouldst reveal Thy Self, and shed Thy radiance, and shine brightly over all Thy creatures. (Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 275)

These sublime words have streamed forth from the Pen of the Most High. He saith, exalted be His glory: "This is the day of vision, for the countenance of God is shining resplendent above the horizon of Manifestation. This is the day of hearing, for the call of God hath been raised. It behoveth everyone in this day to uphold and proclaim that which hath been revealed by Him Who is the Author of all scripture, the Dayspring of revelation, the Fount of knowledge and the Source of divine wisdom." (Baha'u'llah, Tabernacle of Unity, p. 21)

This is the day
for eyes to see and for ears to hear, for hearts to perceive and for tongues to speak forth. Blessed are they that have attained thereunto; blessed are they that have sought after and recognized it! This is the day whereon every man may accede unto everlasting honour, for whatsoever hath streamed forth from the Pen of Glory in regard to any soul is adorned with the ornament of immortality. Again, blessed are they that have attained thereunto! (Baha'u'llah, Tabernacle of Unity, p. 52)

This is the Day
wherein the divine Lote-Tree calleth aloud, saying: O people! Behold ye My fruits and My leaves, incline then your ears unto My rustling. Beware lest the doubts of men debar you from the light of certitude. (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 78)

This is the day
when the gems of constancy that lie hid in the mine of men's inner selves should be made manifest. O people of Justice! Be as brilliant as the light and as splendid as the fire that blazed in the Burning Bush. The brightness of the fire of your love will no doubt fuse and unify the contending peoples and kindreds of the earth, whilst the fierceness of the flame of enmity and hatred cannot but result in strife and ruin. We beseech God that He may shield His creatures from the evil designs of His enemies. He verily hath power over all things. (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 88)

This is the Day
that God hath ordained to be a blessing unto the righteous, a retribution for the wicked, a bounty for the faithful and a fury of His wrath for the faithless and the froward. Verily He hath been made manifest, invested by God with invincible sovereignty. He hath revealed that wherewith naught on the earth or in the heavens can compare. (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 103)

Say, this is the Day when the Speaker on Sinai hath mounted the throne of Revelation and the people have stood before the Lord of the worlds. This is the Day wherein the earth hath told out her tidings and hath laid bare her treasures; when the oceans have brought forth their pearls and the divine Lote-Tree its fruit; when the Sun hath shed its radiance and the Moons have diffused their lights, and the Heavens have revealed their stars, and the Hour its signs, and the Resurrection its dreadful majesty; when the pens have unloosed their outpourings and the spirits have laid bare their mysteries. (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 107)

This is the day
whereon nothing amongst all things, nor any name amongst all names, can profit you save through this Name which God hath made the Manifestation of His Cause and the Dayspring of His Most Excellent Titles unto all who are in the kingdom of creation. (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 211)

This is the day
which God hath announced through the tongue of His Apostle. Reflect, that thou mayest apprehend what the All-Merciful hath sent down in the Qur'án and in this inscribed Tablet. This is the day whereon He Who is the Dayspring of Revelation hath come with clear tokens which none can number. This is the day whereon every man endued with perception hath discovered the fragrance of the breeze of the All-Merciful in the world of creation, and every man of insight hath hastened unto the living waters of the mercy of His Lord, the King of Kings. (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 214)

Say: This is the Day of meritorious deeds, did ye but know it. This is the Day of the glorification of God and of the exposition of His Word, could ye but perceive it. Abandon the things current amongst men and hold fast unto that which God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting, hath enjoined upon you. The day is fast approaching when all the treasures of the earth shall be of no profit to you. Unto this beareth witness the Lord of Names, He Who proclaimeth: Verily, no God is there besides Him, the Sovereign Truth, the Knower of things unseen. (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 231)

How strange that despite this ringing Call, despite the appearance of this most wondrous Revelation, We notice that men, for the most part, have fixed their hearts on the vanities of the world and are sorely dismayed and troubled by reason of prevailing doubts and evil suggestions. Say: This is the Day of God Himself; fear ye God and be not of them that have disbelieved in Him. Cast the idle tales behind your backs and behold My Revelation through Mine eyes. Unto this have ye been exhorted in heavenly Books and Scriptures, in the Scrolls and Tablets. (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 241)

This is the Day
in which the earth shineth with the effulgent light of thy Lord, but the people are lost in error and have been shut out as by a veil. We desire to regenerate the world, yet they have resolved to put an end to My life. Thus have their hearts prompted them in this Day -- a Day which hath been made bright by the radiant light of the countenance of its Lord, the Omnipotent, the Almighty, the Unconstrained. (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 244)

This is the Day
in which the Ocean of knowledge hath lifted up its Voice and hath brought forth its pearls. Would that ye knew it! The heaven of the Bayan hath been raised up in truth at the behest of God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. I swear by God! The Essence of knowledge exclaimeth and saith: Lo! He Who is the Object of all knowledge is come and through His advent the sacred Books of God, the Gracious, the Loving, have been embellished. Every revelation of grace, every evidence of goodly gifts emanateth from Him and unto Him doth it return. (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 245)

This is the Day
that hath been illumined by the effulgent light of the Countenance of God -- the Day when the Tongue of Grandeur is calling aloud: The Kingdom is God's, the Lord of the Day of Resurrection. (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 253)

This is the Day
that hath been illumined by the splendours of the light of Our countenance -- the Day around which all days and nights circle in adoration. (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 261)

This is the Day
in which He Who held converse with God hath attained the light of the Ancient of Days, and quaffed the pure waters of reunion from this Cup that hath caused the seas to swell. Say: By the one true God! Sinai is circling round the Dayspring of Revelation, while from the heights of the Kingdom the Voice of the Spirit of God is heard proclaiming: "Bestir yourselves, ye proud ones of the earth, and hasten ye unto Him." (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 48)

Every name hath been created by His Word, and every cause is dependent on His irresistible, His mighty and wondrous Cause. Say: This is the Day of God, the Day on which naught shall be mentioned save His own Self, the omnipotent Protector of all worlds. This is the Cause that hath made all your superstitions and idols to tremble. (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 80)

For the Day of God is none other but His own Self, Who hath appeared with the power of truth. This is the Day that shall not be followed by night, nor shall it be bounded by any praise, would that ye might understand! (Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 33)

Say: This is the Day whereon God's most great favour hath been made manifest. The voice of all who are in the heavens above and on the earth below proclaimeth My Name, and singeth forth My praises, could ye but hear it! (Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 52)

This is the day
whereon the Rock [Peter] crieth out and shouteth, and celebrateth the praise of its Lord, the All-Possessing, the Most High, saying: "Lo! The Father is come, and that which ye were promised in the Kingdom is fulfilled!" (Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 58)

Say: This is the Day of Bounty! Bestir yourselves that I may make you monarchs in the realms of My Kingdom. (Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 64)

By God! This is the Day wherein the undying Fire crieth out from within all created things: "The Best-Beloved of the worlds is come!" And before all things there standeth a Moses, hearkening to the Word of thy Lord, the Almighty, the All-Knowing. Were We to divest Ourself of the mortal raiment which We have worn in consideration of your weakness, all that are in heaven and on earth would offer up their souls for My sake. To this thy Lord Himself doth testify. None, however, can perceive it save those who have detached themselves from all things for love of their Lord, the Almighty, the Most Powerful. (Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 142)

For this day is the Lord of all days, and whatsoever hath been revealed therein by the Source of divine Revelation is the truth and the essence of all principles. This day may be likened to a sea and all other days to gulfs and channels that have branched therefrom. That which is uttered and revealed in this day is the foundation, and is accounted as the Mother Book and the Source of all utterance. Although every day is associated with God, magnified be His glory, yet these days have been singled out and adorned with the ornament of intimate association with Him, for they have been extolled in the books of the Chosen Ones of God, as well as of some of His Prophets, as the "Day of God". In a sense this day and that which appeareth therein are to be regarded as the primary principles, while all other days and whatsoever appeareth in them are to be viewed as the secondary ordinances deduced therefrom, and which as such are subordinate and relative. (Baha'u'llah, Tabernacle of Unity, pp. 25-6)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

This Mortal World of Dust, Part 3

[Emphasis added in the quotations below.]

Abandon not the everlasting beauty for a beauty that must die, and set not your affections on this mortal world of dust.

(Baha'u'llah, The Persian Hidden Words, No. 14)

Photo © Baha’i International Community

Likewise, these souls, through the potency of the Divine Elixir, traverse, in the twinkling of an eye, the world of dust and advance into the realm of holiness; and with one step cover the earth of limitations and reach the domain of the Placeless.

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 157)

That seeker must at all times put his trust in God, must renounce the peoples of the earth, detach himself from the world of dust, and cleave unto Him Who is the Lord of Lords.

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 193)

Say: the essence of all power is God's, the highest and the last End of all creation. The source of all majesty is God's, the Object of the adoration of all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. Such forces as have their origin in this world of dust are, by their very nature, unworthy of consideration.

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 341)

And should the servant ascend to even loftier heights, quit this mortal world of dust, and seek to ascend unto the celestial abode, he will then pass from this city into the City of Absolute Nothingness, that is, of dying to self and living in God.

(Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 70)

O servants! The springs of divine bestowal are streaming forth. Quaff ye therefrom, that by the aid of the incomparable Friend ye may be sanctified from this darksome world of dust and enter His abode. Renounce the world and direct your steps toward the city of the Beloved.

 (Baha'u'llah, Tabernacle of Unity, p. 67)

The friends of God have not, nor will they ever, set their hopes upon the world and its ephemeral possessions. The one true God hath ever regarded the hearts of men as His own, His exclusive possession -- and this too but as an expression of His all-surpassing mercy, that haply mortal souls may be purged and sanctified from all that pertaineth to the world of dust and gain admittance into the realms of eternity.

 (Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 110)

Knowledge is the cause of exaltation and advancement. It enableth man to pass beyond the world of dust to the realms above and leadeth him out of darkness into light. It is the redeemer and the bestower of life. It conferreth the living waters of immortality and imparteth heavenly food.

(Baha’u’llah, The Universal House of Justice: “Day of the Covenant, 26 November 2003, To the Followers of Baha'u'llah in the Cradle of the Faith,” p. 4)

"The days of your companionship with Me," He [The Bab] told him [Quddus], "are drawing to a close. The hour of separation has struck, a separation which no reunion will follow except in the Kingdom of God, in the presence of the King of Glory. In this world of dust, no more than nine fleeting months of association with Me have been allotted to you. On the shores of the Great Beyond, however, in the realm of immortality, joy of eternal reunion awaits us. The hand of destiny will ere long plunge you into an ocean of tribulation for His sake. I, too, will follow you; I, too, will be immersed beneath its depths…”

(The Dawn-Breakers, Nabil’s Narrative, p. 142)

This is purely a spiritual meeting! Praise be to God, your hearts are turned to Him, your souls are attracted to the Kingdom, you have spiritual aspirations, and your thoughts soar above the world of dust.

(Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 112)

Give my greeting and salutation to Mrs….and say to her: "Be not disappointed by the calamity which hath befallen thee and be not grieved that the consolation of thine eye (thy child) hath left the world of dust and hath ascended to the expanse of the Kingdom, that he hath abandoned the abode of the lowest world and hath sought refuge in the presence of the greatest mercy, where the Lord hath placed him in a comfortable abode."

(Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha Volume 2, p. 331)

O handmaid of God! The stars in the sky do not exert any spiritual influence on this world of dust; but all the members and parts of the universe are very strongly linked together in that limitless space, and this connection produceth a reciprocity of material effects. Outside the bounty of the Holy Spirit, whatsoever thou hearest as to the effect of trances, or the mediums' trumpets, conveying the singing voices of the dead, is imagination pure and simple. As to the bounty of the Holy Spirit, however, relate whatsoever thou wilt—it cannot be overstated; believe, therefore, whatsoever thou hearest of this.

(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 160)

    Consequently, do ye not sigh in grief because of her decease, and be not dejected on account of her ascension.
    To the people of adoration, death is an ark of deliverance, and to pure souls, flight from this world of dust is the means of attaining the Kingdom of Spheres. By "Spheres" is not meant this infinite space, nay, is meant the divine world, and the invisible realm.

(Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha Volume 2, p. 444)

Photo © Baha’i International Community

When the phenomenal sun appears from the vernal point of dawning in the zodiac, a wondrous and vibrant commotion is set up in the body of the earthly world. The withered trees are quickened with animation, the black soil becomes verdant with new growth, fresh and fragrant flowers bloom, the world of dust is refreshed, renewed life forces surge through the veins of every animate being, and a new springtime carpets the meadows, plains, mountains and valleys with wondrous forms of life.

(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 271)

When, through the Divine bestowals, three things appear on earth, this world of dust will come alive, and stand forth wondrously adorned and full of grace.

(Abdu'l-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 108)

The breath of life ceased within him [Ali Najaf-Abadi], the gates of flight to the supreme Kingdom were flung wide, he turned his eyes away from this world of dust and went onward to the Holy Place.

(Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 62)

Then death came at the appointed hour, and in the shadowing care of Baha'u'llah he [Haji Abdu'llah Najaf-Abadi] ascended, hurried away from this world of dust to the high Firmament, soared upward to the secret land.

(Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 67)

He [His Eminence Kalim (Mirza Musa)] devoted all his time in the Most Great Prison to serving Baha'u'llah, and had the honor of being continually in his Brother's presence, also keeping company with the believers; until at last he left this world of dust and hastened to the holy world above, dying with lowliness and contrition, as he supplicated his Lord.

(Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 89)

Thus the Amir [Aqa Muhammad-Ibrahim Amir] was steadfast in service throughout his life; but after the ascension of Baha'u'llah his health steadily declined, and at last he left this world of dust behind him and hastened away to the unsullied world above.

(Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 94)

He [Jamshid-i-Gurji] rose out of the Most Great Prison to the highest Heaven; he soared away to a pure and gleaming Kingdom, out of this world of dust.

(Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 121)

O Lord! These stainless souls grew contemptuous of the world of dust and have ascended unto Thy kingdom. From this dreary world they have winged their flight unto the realm of resplendent glory. Weary and dejected they languished in this puny nest, eagerly waiting to set out for their celestial habitation. They moved swiftly and sped forth on their flight until they attained unto Thee. O Forgiving One! Grant them Thy forgiveness. O All-Loving One! Bestow upon them Thy tender care. O All-Sufficing One! Give them Thy bounty and be their comforter and companion. Thou art the Pardoner, the Resplendent, the Bestower, the Lord of Strength.

(Abdu'l-Baha, “Fire and Light—Excerpts from the Baha’i Sacred Writings” Compiled by Research Department of the Universal House of Justice,” p. 20)

They freed themselves from the pitfalls of this world of dust, so that they might partake of immortal life in the realms above, might seek shelter beneath the shadow of the tree of hope and abide in a nest upon the twigs of eternity in the Abha Paradise, the Kingdom on High, singing hymns of glory and praise in wondrous accents and sweet melodies.

(Abdu'l-Baha, “Fire and Light—Excerpts from the Baha’i Sacred Writings” Compiled by Research Department of the Universal House of Justice,” p. 20)

That distinguished martyr, like unto a lucky star, shineth from the dawning-place of divine unity, luminous, resplendent and unmistakable, though mortal eyes are debarred from beholding him.

With his face beaming with light, with a luminous brow and enthralling beauty, he is calling aloud from the summit of the heaven of glory, saying:

'O my friends! O honoured ones! I quaffed the cup that brimmeth over with the consummate bounty of God and tasted the sweetness of the Abha Kingdom even from the edge of the sword. I have divested myself of my wornout garments and raised up my banner in the realm of glory. From the world of dust till the heights of the heavens I spurred on the charger of martyrdom and from this luminous horizon I call out…'

(Abdu'l-Baha, “Fire and Light—Excerpts from the Baha’i Sacred Writings” Compiled by Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, p. 22)

O LORD! Help this daughter of the Kingdom to be exalted in both worlds; cause her to turn away from this mortal world of dust and from those who have set their hearts thereon and enable her to have communion and close association with the world of immortality. Give her heavenly power and strengthen her through the breaths of the Holy Spirit that she may arise to serve Thee. Thou art the Mighty One.

(Abdu'l-Baha, Handmaidens of God—Baha'i Prayers for Women, pp. 5-6)

But if men act according to these holy teachings, the world of dust shall reflect the lights of the Kingdom and the earth shall become the Abha paradise, a garden of blissful joy. I hope that each one of you will be assisted to act according to these teachings so that, like a brilliant star, you may give light to humanity and like a spirit move the body of the contingent world. This is eternal glory! This is everlasting happiness! This is the image and likeness of God and unto this I call you! I pray God that you may attain it.

(Abdu'l-Baha, Mahmud’s Diary, pp. 431-32)

As to Margaret Nelson, she has been emancipated from this gloomy dungeon of the world of dust and has hastened to the sanctified realm. I pray on her behalf and beg for her the forgiveness and the pardon of the Lord of Creation, that she may secure rest and comfort in the realm of the Kingdom…

Upon thee be Baha'u'l-Abha!
(Signed) Abdu'l-Baha
Translated by Shoghi Rabbani, 17 March 1919. Home of Abdu'l-Baha, Haifa, Palestine.
(“Star of the West, Volume 10, Jamal 1, (April 28, 1919), No. 3”)

To the doves of faithfulness, ever since that most grievous of disasters, the passing of Abdu'l-Baha, this world of dust has become a cage, and a place of torment; and to the unrestrained nightingales it is only a prison, narrow and dark.

Certainly, a pure soul will not bind his heart to this passing show, and the gems of spiritual love will yearn only to be let go, out of this world. Nevertheless, the all-compelling will of God and His all-encompassing and irresistible purpose has desired that this dark earth should become as the Abha Kingdom, and this heap of dust be changed until it becomes the envy of the rose gardens of Heaven.

(Bahiyyih Khanum, Bahiyyih Khanum, p. 139)

The Ancient Beauty, the Most Great Name, has, through the splendours of His grace in this most glorious of all ages, made this world of dust to radiate light. The loving counsels of Abdu'l-Baha have turned the beloved of the Lord into signs and tokens of humility and lowliness. He has taught them selflessness, and freedom from material things, and detachment from the world, and has enabled them to understand the verities of Heaven.

In that supernal realm we are all but motes; in the court of the Lord God's majesty we are but helpless shadows. He is the Shelter for all; He is the Protector of all; He is the Helper of all; He is the Preserver of all. Whensoever we look upon ourselves, we, one and all, despair; but He, with all His grace, His bestowals, His bounties, is the close Companion of each one.

(Bahiyyih Khanum, Bahiyyih Khanum, p. 180)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Last Breathers, Part 1

Photo © Baha’i International Community

These two musings on the significance of one's last breath include accounts of Hands of the Cause. The stories here got my attention.

This first one is extracted from an outstanding article, (of over 16 pages in length), entitled "Afterlife and the Twin Pillars of Education," written by John S. Hatcher and published in the magazine 'World Order,' Fall 1978 issue:

'To a certain extent...whether a knowledge of the afterlife alleviates fear depends on how an individual assesses his earthly performance...[I]f the reality of one's continuation were an intimate, vital part of one's system of belief, one would be more inclined to shape one's life according to that eventuality, to be comforted by the assurance of ultimate rewards and justice, and to be deterred from those acts that might bring about a negative experience.

'The reason such knowledge could never wholly alleviate fear is, I think, that no one can be certain about his spiritual condition. ...[T]here is no point in life when one can be sure that his destiny is secure, especially since he is not competing with anyone but himself, and one can never be sure of what his capacity is or whether that capacity will increase. ...[O]ne can never feel he has developed as far as he can or done as much as need be done.

'But perhaps the most significant deterrent to the complete elimination of fear is the ever-present possibility of reversal or failure, peripeteia, as the Greek tragedians called it. ...[A]nyone is capable of boundless growth or abysmal failure...

'A good illustration of the respect that one knowledgeable Baha'i had for this verity is exemplified by a story, albeit an apocryphal one, about Tarazu'llah Samandari. As he lay dying, Mr. Samandari requested that a prayer for steadfastness be read. A Baha'i attending him, fully aware of the exemplary life of devoted service Mr. Samandari had lived, asked why he of all people should feel the need for that particular prayer. The reply was, "There is still time."'

Hand of the Cause of God 
Tarazu'llah Samandari
Photo © Baha’i International Community

The following is a transcription from a recording of Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, (Hand of the Cause of God Ruhiyyih Rabbani, the widow of the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, Shoghi Effendi), speaking on day three of the Second Baha'i World Congress in 1992: 
'…And another thing that Shoghi Effendi said to me—which I was horrified, because I was so, I never, you know—believed that I was worthy to be the wife of Shoghi Effendi. But at least—I said to myself: Well now I don’t have to worry anymore. You know this terrible thing at the end of the Iqan—if you know your Baha’i scriptures—well, it says—I put it in my own language—Baha’u’llah says that many a sinner in his last breath has ascended to the—up, you know—and many a saint has done a nosedive. [audience laughter] He doesn’t put it in that vocabulary. But if you look at the last [audience laughter]; look at the last few pages of the Iqan, this is what He says you see. And my mother was a last-breather. And she was forever, you know, terrified of her last breath. Was she going to be acceptable with her last breath. So I was raised, you see, on this last breath business. [audience laughter] Then when I was married I said, “Well isn’t that wonderful: I don’t have to worry anymore! All those other people have to worry but I don’t have to worry because I’m tucked under the arm of Shoghi Effendi.” Now I’m safe you see. Don’t have to be of any anxieties about my last breath. And one day Shoghi Effendi—I don’t know what it was about; it wasn’t a very serious thing but evidently he wanted to say it to me and he did—he said, “And your destiny lies in the palm of your own hand.” Of course I didn’t say anything, but I just sort of looked and thought: My God, it’s back again you see. [audience applause] I’m making you laugh, but I assure you it wasn’t a laughing matter for me; it was a terribly serious matter.'

Hand of the Cause of God
Ruhiyyih Rabbani

Photo © Baha’i International Community

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Hour of Death and the Last Breath, Part 2

Photo © Baha’i International Community
[Emphasis added in all the passages below.]

“The Prophets and Messengers of God have been sent down for the sole purpose of guiding mankind to the straight Path of Truth. The purpose underlying Their revelation hath been to educate all men, that they may, at the hour of death, ascend, in the utmost purity and sanctity and with absolute detachment, to the throne of the Most High.”
    (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, LXXI, pp. 156-157)

Say: Rejoice not in the things ye possess; tonight they are yours, tomorrow others will possess them. Thus warneth you He Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Informed. Say: Can ye claim that what ye own is lasting or secure? Nay! By Myself, the All-Merciful, ye cannot, if ye be of them who judge fairly. The days of your life flee away as a breath of wind, and all your pomp and glory shall be folded up as were the pomp and glory of those gone before you. Reflect, O people! What hath become of your bygone days, your lost centuries? Happy the days that have been consecrated to the remembrance of God, and blessed the hours which have been spent in praise of Him Who is the All-Wise.

By My life! Neither the pomp of the mighty, nor the wealth of the rich, nor even the ascendancy of the ungodly will endure. All will perish, at a word from Him. He, verily, is the All-Powerful, the All-Compelling, the Almighty. What advantage is there in the earthly things which men possess? That which shall profit them, they have utterly neglected. Erelong, they will awake from their slumber, and find themselves unable to obtain that which hath escaped them in the days of their Lord, the Almighty, the All-Praised. Did they but know it, they would renounce their all, that their names may be mentioned before His throne. They, verily, are accounted among the dead.     
    (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, pp. 33-34)

“Enable us, then, O my God, to live in remembrance of Thee and to die in love of Thee, and supply us with the gift of Thy presence in Thy worlds hereafter – worlds which are inscrutable to all except Thee.”
    (Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, LXXXV, p. 145)

Photo © Baha’i International Community

“Blessed is the soul which, at the hour of its separation from the body, is sanctified from the vain imaginings of the peoples of the world. Such a soul liveth and moveth in accordance with the Will of its Creator, and entereth the all-highest Paradise. The Maids of Heaven, inmates of the loftiest mansions, will circle around it, and the Prophets of God and His chosen ones will seek its companionship. With them that soul will freely converse, and will recount unto them that which it hath been made to endure in the path of God, the Lord of all worlds.”
    (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, LXXXI, p. 156)

"How often hath a sinner, at the hour of death, attained to the essence of faith, and, quaffing the immortal draught, hath taken his flight unto the celestial Concourse. And how often hath a devout believer, at the hour of his soul's ascension, been so changed as to fall into the nethermost fire. Our purpose in revealing these convincing and weighty utterances is to impress upon the seeker that he should regard all else beside God as transient, and count all things save Him, Who is the Object of all adoration, as utter nothingness.”
    (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, pp. 194-195)

"With splendid fortitude he grappled, until the last hour of his life, with the adversities that weighed so heavily upon him."    (Baha'u'llah, speaking about His father, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 111)

"We were awakened one night, [in the prison known as the Black Pit] ere break of day, by Mirza Abdu'l-Vahhab-i-Shirazi, who was bound with Us to the same chains. He had left Kazimayn and followed Us to Tihran, where he was arrested and thrown into prison. He asked Us whether We were awake, and proceeded to relate to Us his dream. 'I have this night,' he said, 'been soaring into a space of infinite vastness and beauty. I seemed to be uplifted on wings that carried me wherever I desired to go. A feeling of rapturous delight filled my soul. I flew in the midst of that immensity with a swiftness and ease that I cannot describe.' 'To-day,' We replied, 'it will be your turn to sacrifice yourself for this Cause. May you remain firm and steadfast to the end. You will then find yourself soaring in that same limitless space of which you dreamed, traversing with the same ease and swiftness the realm of immortal sovereignty, and gazing with that same rapture upon the Infinite Horizon.'

"That morning saw the gaoler again enter Our cell and call out the name of Abdu'l-Vahhab. Throwing off his chains, he sprang to his feet, embraced each of his fellow-prisoners, and, taking Us into his arms, pressed Us lovingly to his heart. That moment We discovered that he had no shoes to wear. We gave him Our own, and, speaking a last word of encouragement and cheer, sent him forth to the scene of his martyrdom. Later on, his executioner came to Us, praising in glowing language the spirit which that youth had shown. How thankful We were to God for this testimony which the executioner himself had given!"
     (Baha'u'llah, quoted in The Dawn-Breakers, p. 633)

It is better for a man to guide a soul than to possess all that lies between East and West. Likewise better is guidance for him who is guided than all the things that exist on earth, for by reason of this guidance he will, after his death, gain admittance into Paradise, whereas by reason of the things of the world below, he will, after his death, receive his deserts. Hence God desireth that all men should be guided aright through the potency of the Words of Him Whom God shall make manifest. However, such as are conceited will not suffer themselves to be guided. They will be debarred from the Truth, some by reason of their learning, others on account of their glory and power, and still others due to reasons of their own, none of which shall be of any avail at the hour of death.
    (The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, pp. 95-96)

O God, my God! Thou seest this wronged servant of Thine, held fast in the talons of ferocious lions, of ravening wolves, of bloodthirsty beasts. Graciously assist me, through my love for Thee, that I may drink deep of the chalice that brimmeth over with faithfulness to Thee and is filled with Thy bountiful Grace; so that, fallen upon the dust, I may sink prostrate and senseless whilst my vesture is dyed crimson with my blood. This is my wish, my heart's desire, my hope, my pride, my glory. Grant, O Lord my God, and my Refuge, that in my last hour, my end may even as musk shed its fragrance of glory! Is there a bounty greater than this? Nay, by Thy Glory!     
    (Abdu'l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 9)

The disciples of Christ forgot themselves and all earthly things, forsook all their cares and belongings, purged themselves of self and passion, and with absolute detachment scattered far and wide and engaged in calling the peoples of the world to the divine guidance; till at last they made the world another world, illumined the surface of the earth, and even to their last hour proved self-sacrificing in the pathway of that beloved One of God. Finally in various lands they suffered glorious martyrdom. Let them that are men of action follow in their footsteps!     
    (Abdu'l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 10)

The Blessed Perfection gave up a hundred lives at every breath.     (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 73)

Among the Hands of the Cause of God who have departed this life and ascended to the Supreme Horizon was Jinab-i-Ismu'llahu'l-Asdaq...[He] was truly a servant of the Lord from the beginning of life till his last breath...He spent every waking breath in calling the people to the Kingdom of God...Fortunate is the one who circumambulates that tomb, who blesses himself with the dust of that grave.
    (Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, pp. 5-8)

Then came that hour when, not far from his Lord, he [Darvish Sidq-'Ali] stripped off the cloak of life, and to physical eyes passed into the shadows, but to the mind's eye betook himself to what is plain as day; and he was seated there on a throne of lasting glory. He escaped from the prison of this world, and pitched his tent in a wide and spacious land.
    (Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 38)

  When news of his martyrdom reached the Prison, all the captives grieved, and they shed tears for him, resigned to God and undefended as he [Shah-Muhammad, who had the title of Amin, the Trusted One] was in his last hour. Even on the countenance of Bahá'u'lláh, there were visible tokens of grief. A Tablet, infinitely tender, was revealed by the Supreme Pen, commemorating the man who died on that calamitous plain, and many other Tablets were sent down concerning him.
    (Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 47)

He [Haji Abdu'llah Najaf-Abadi] was completely detached from all but God, happy in God's grace. He would keep a vigil most of the night, remaining in a state of prayer. Then death came at the appointed hour, and in the shadowing care of Bahá'u'lláh he ascended, hurried away from this world of dust to the high Firmament, soared upward to the secret land.
    (Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 67)

Among those souls that are righteous, that are luminous entities and Divine reflections, was Jinab-i-Muhammad-Taqi, the Afnan...He was truly a blessed soul, a man worthy to be revered. He never failed in his duty, from the beginning of life till his last breath...He gave up his comfort, his business, his properties, estates, lands, hastened away to Ishqabad and set about building the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar; this was a service of very great magnitude, for he thus became the first individual to erect a Bahá'í House of Worship...
    (Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, pp. 126 & 128)

He [Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Ardikani] served with a loyal heart...He moved to Haifa and lived, a firm believer, near the Haziratu'l-Quds by the Holy Shrine on Mount Carmel till his final breath, when death came and the carpet of his earthly life was rolled up and put away.
    (Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 141)

This man, [Qulam-'Aliy-i-Najjar,] a carpenter and a master craftsman, came from Kashan...[He] took on the carpentry work of the Holy Tomb, exerting all his sure powers. To this day, the glass roof which is over the inner courtyard of the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh remains as the product of his skill. He was a man crystal clear of heart. His face shone; his inner condition was constant; at no time was he changeable or unstable. He was staunch, loving, and true till his last breath.

    (Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, pp. 143-44)

 This distinguished man [Zaynu'l-Muqarrabin] was one of the greatest of all the Báb's companions and all the loved ones of Bahá'u'lláh...He never rested for a moment, and received new grace and bounty every day, meanwhile taking down the Bahá'í Scriptures with faultless care...From his early years till his last breath, this eminent man never failed in service to the Manifestation.
    (Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 153)

Pahlavan Rida...was a man to outward seeming untutored, devoid of learning. He was a tradesman, and like the others who came in at the start, he cast everything away out of love for God, attaining in one leap the highest reaches of knowledge...Whenever that lionhearted champion of knowledge began to speak, his listeners marveled; and he remained, till his last breath, the protector and helper of all seekers after truth.
    (Abdu'l-Baha, Memorials of the Faithful, pp. 167-69)

As to the soul of man after death, it remains in the degree of purity to which it has evolved during life in the physical body, and after it is freed from the body it remains plunged in the ocean of God's Mercy.

From the moment the soul leaves the body and arrives in the Heavenly World, its evolution is spiritual, and that evolution is: The approaching unto God.
        (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 66)

Absolute repose does not exist in nature. All things either make progress or lose ground. Everything moves forward or backward, nothing is without motion. From his birth, a man progresses physically until he reaches maturity, then, having arrived at the prime of his life, he begins to decline, the strength and powers of his body decrease, and he gradually arrives at the hour of death. Likewise a plant progresses from the seed to maturity, then its life begins to lessen until it fades and dies. A bird soars to a certain height and having reached the highest possible point in its flight, begins its descent to earth.
Thus it is evident that movement is essential to all existence. All material things progress to a certain point, then begin to decline. This is the law which governs the whole physical creation.
Now let us consider the soul. We have seen that movement is essential to existence; nothing that has life is without motion. All creation, whether of the mineral, vegetable or animal kingdom, is compelled to obey the law of motion; it must either ascend or descend. But with the human soul, there is no decline. Its only movement is towards perfection; growth and progress alone constitute the motion of the soul.
Divine perfection is infinite, therefore the progress of the soul is also infinite. From the very birth of a human being the soul progresses, the intellect grows and knowledge increases. When the body dies the soul lives on. All the differing degrees of created physical beings are limited, but the soul is limitless!
        (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, pp. 88-89)

You will find many of the wealthy exposed to dangers and troubled by difficulties, and in their last moments upon the bed of death there remains the regret that they must be separated from that to which their hearts are so attached. They come into this world naked, and they must go from it naked. All they possess they must leave behind and pass away solitary, alone. Often at the time of death their souls are filled with remorse; and worst of all, their hope in the mercy of God is less than ours. Praise be to God! Our hope is in the mercy of God…”
(Abdu'l-Baha, addressing the poor at the Bowery Mission in New York, April 19, 1912, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.33)

A person who is endowed with perception has spirituality and heavenly attributes; he can recognize that the human soul has never been subject to annihilation and will never become so. He sees that all created beings are in harmony with the spirit and are under its influence. He knows himself to be eternal, everlasting, constant, imperishable and encompassed by the lights of God, the Lord of glory. For he has spiritual susceptibilities and is affected by conscience and spiritual impulses. He is not limited by rational constraints or human emotions and sentiments. However, the man who has no perception or inner sight finds himself always dejected and lifeless; every time he thinks of death, he is afraid, because he considers himself to be mortal.

Blessed souls are not of this category. They sense that they are eternal, luminous and imperishable like the disciples of Christ. It is for this reason that at the time of death or martyrdom Baha'is rejoice, because they know there is no death or annihilation for them. At most, the body disintegrates but the soul exists in the divine world and has everlasting life.
     (Attributed to Abdu'l-Baha, Mahmud's Diary, pp. 197-198)

In the morning the Master explained and illustrated some of the verses from Bahá'u'lláh for the friends who had come from the surrounding area to see Him. The explanations ended with the statement that contentment in poverty is better than happiness in wealth but happiness in poverty is more praiseworthy than mere contentment. Above all is the rich man who, having sacrificed, emerges pure from tests and trials and becomes the cause of tranquillity to mankind. Gratitude is the cause of multiple blessings but the apex of gratitude is sacrifice. The station of sacrifice is the highest of all. For this reason it is said, 'You will never attain unto righteousness until ye sacrifice that which ye love.' The Master then narrated a story:

At the time of his death a king longed for the station of a poor man, saying, 'Would that I were a poor man so that I would neither have practiced oppression nor have had any regrets at the time of death.' A poor man heard this, and said, 'Praise be to God that at the hour of death kings desire to be poor. We poor people at the hour of death have no desire to be kings.'
    (Mahmud, Mahmud's Diary, p. 201)

Photo © Baha’i International Community
During her whole life span, that heavenly being [Bahiyyih Khanum] was subjected to ordeals and tribulations. She confronted the attacks of the hostile, and she suffered afflictions any one of which could well have shattered a mountain of iron. And yet the sweet and comely face of that spirit-like dove of holiness, was wreathed till her very last hour in life-giving smiles, nor did that patience and endurance, that greatness, that majesty and dignity, ever desert her delicate and fragile person.
    (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, 9 September 1932, translated from the Persian, Bahiyyih Khanum, p. 77)
There is no age limit whatsoever for serving the Cause in administrative capacities after one has reached twenty-one years. Indeed we are supposed to serve the Cause to our last breath.
     (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, June 21, 1953, Messages to the Indian Subcontinent, p. 346)

"When he [Mirza Qurban-'Ali] was brought to the foot of the execution-pole, the headman raised his sword and smote him on the neck from behind. The blow only bowed his head, and caused the dervish's turban which he wore to roll some paces from him on the ground. Immediately as it were with his last breath, he sent a fresh pang through the heart of everyone capable of emotion by reciting these verses: 

    'Happy he whom love's intoxication 
So hath overcome that scarce he knows 
Whether at the feet of the Beloved
It be head or turban which he throws!'"

    (The "Tarikh-i-Jadid", pp. 254-5: footnote in Nabil's Narrative, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 453)
He [Mirza Muhammad Baqir-i-Qa'ini] continued to labour indefatigably for his beloved Cause until the last hour of his life, when he fell a martyr at the fort of Shaykh Tabarsi. In his last days he was bidden by Quddus, after the tragic death of Mulla Husayn, to assume the leadership of the heroic defenders of that fort. He acquitted himself gloriously of his task...
    (Nabil's Narrative, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 126)

'May the Lord your God requite you for your magnanimity and noble intention. No one knows the mystery of My Cause; no one can fathom its secrets. Never will I turn My face away from the decree of God. He alone is My sure Stronghold, My Stay and My Refuge. Until My last hour is at hand, none dare assail Me, none can frustrate the plan of the Almighty. And when My hour is come, how great will be My joy to quaff the cup of martyrdom in His name! Here am I; deliver Me into the hands of your master. Be not afraid, for no one will blame you.'
    (Words of the Bab, quoted in The Dawn-Breakers, pp. 149-50)

Haji Siyyid Javad spent the last days of his life in Kirman and remained until his last hour a staunch supporter of the Faith. He never wavered in his convictions nor relaxed in his unsparing endeavours for the diffusion of the Cause.
    (Nabil's Narrative, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 189)

We found on our arrival that Mulla Husayn had expired. A faint smile still lingered upon his face. Such was the peacefulness of his countenance that he seemed to have fallen asleep. Quddus attended to his burial, clothed him in his own shirt, and gave instructions to lay him to rest to the south of, and adjoining, the shrine of Shaykh Tabarsi. 'Well is it with you to have remained to your last hour faithful to the Covenant of God,' he said, as he laid a parting kiss upon his eyes and forehead.
    (Nabil's Narrative, The Dawn-Breakers, pp. 381-82)

Soon after their arrival, Quddus emerged from his tent and, gathering together his companions, addressed them in these words: "You should show forth exemplary renunciation, for such behaviour on your part will exalt our Cause and redound to its glory. Anything short of complete detachment will but serve to tarnish the purity of its name and to obscure its splendour. Pray the Almighty to grant that even to your last hour He may graciously assist you to contribute your share to the exaltation of His Faith."
    (Nabil's Narrative, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 401)

Though his friends appealed to him [Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, surnamed Khal-i-A'zam, [1] the Báb's maternal uncle] to escape the turmoil that was fast approaching, he refused to heed their counsel and faced, until his last hour, with complete resignation, the persecution to which he was subjected.
[1 Literally, "The Greatest Uncle."]
    (Nabil's Narrative, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 447)

O apostles of Bahá'u'lláh! How pitiful if we, who are recognized as the bearers of His glorious Name, and related to such an omnipotent Lord, should, in moments of adversity, fail to scrupulously follow the noble example set by Him Who stands peerless in His long-suffering. Happy the one who until his last breath has tasted the venom of woe at the hand of the faithless, and blessed the heart that for the sake of promoting and proclaiming His Cause does not allow himself a moment's rest. Such is the disposition of the pure in heart, such is the method of them that enjoy near access to God, such is the way of the true strivers after God. Such befits the hosts that are under the guidance of God, such is the means whereby undoubted triumph and victory will be achieved for the Cause of God.

O people of Baha! Lift up your voices, and hail men of wisdom with glad-tidings. Call aloud between earth and heaven, exclaiming: O people of the world and workers of injustice and iniquity! Rest assured that we, the followers of the Abha Beauty, have paid for our Faith with our life-blood, and have tasted the sweetness of sacrifice in the path of His love. Our trust in Him sustains our lives, enabling us to be detached from aught else but Him. We shall promote His Cause to the last breath and offer praise and gratitude at all times for the tribulations He ordains.

    (Shoghi Effendi, Fire and Light, 4., IV. Reprinted from Baha'i World Volume XVIII (1979-83))

Haste thou to life before death cometh; haste thou to the spring season before autumn draweth in; and before illness striketh, haste thou to healing -- that thou mayest become a physician of the spirit who, with the breaths of the Holy Spirit, healeth all manner of sickness in this famed and glorious age.
    (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, pp. 56-57)

Blessing and peace, salutation and glory, rest upon Thy loved ones, whom the changes and chances of the world have not deterred from turning unto Thee, and who have given their all, in the hope of obtaining that which is with Thee. Thou art, in truth, the Ever-Forgiving, the All-Bountiful.
    (Baha'u'llah, from the 'Medium Obligatory Prayer,' Prayers and Meditations, p. 316)


Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Dewdrop Inn

(photo by Szater@Wikimedia Commons)

[Emphasis added in the quotes below.]

…haply mortal men may not remain deprived of their share of the immortal fruit, and attain to a dewdrop of the waters of everlasting life which, from Baghdad, the "Abode of Peace," are being vouchsafed unto all mankind.
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, pp. 22-23)

This servant will now share with thee a dewdrop out of the fathomless ocean of the truths treasured in these holy words, that haply discerning hearts may comprehend all the allusions and the implications of the utterances of the Manifestations of Holiness, so that the overpowering majesty of the Word of God may not prevent them from attaining unto the ocean of His names and attributes, nor deprive them of recognizing the Lamp of God which is the seat of the revelation of His glorified Essence.
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 28)

But oh! how strange and pitiful! Behold, all the people are imprisoned within the tomb of self, and lie buried beneath the nethermost depths of worldly desire! Wert thou to attain to but a dewdrop of the crystal waters of divine knowledge, thou wouldst readily realize that true life is not the life of the flesh but the life of the spirit.
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 120)

They deny themselves every moment of leisure, and utterly ignore Him, Who is the Essence of all learning, and the one Object of their quest! Methinks, their lips have never touched the cup of divine Knowledge, nor do they seem to have attained even a dewdrop of the showers of heavenly grace.
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 145)

...A dewdrop out of the fathomless ocean of My mercy I have shed upon the peoples of the world, yet found none turn thereunto, inasmuch as every one hath turned away from the celestial wine of unity unto the foul dregs of impurity, and, content with mortal cup, hath put away the chalice of immortal beauty. Vile is that wherewith he is contented.
(Baha'u'llah, The Persian Hidden Words, #61)

O thou whom We have outwardly never met, yet whom We inwardly cherish in Our heart! Be fair in thy judgement and present thyself before Him Who seeth and knoweth thee, even if thou seest and knowest Him not: Can any soul be found to elucidate these words with such convincing arguments, clear testimonies, and unmistakable allusions as to appease the heart of the seeker and relieve the soul of the listener? Nay, by the One in Whose hand is My soul! Unto none is given to quaff even a dewdrop thereof unless he entereth within this city, a city whose foundations rest upon mountains of crimson-coloured ruby, whose walls are hewn of the chrysolite of divine unity, whose gates are made of the diamonds of immortality, and whose earth sheddeth the fragrance of divine bounty.
(Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, pp. 16-17)

From this station the wayfarer ascendeth unto a City that hath no name or description, and whereof one heareth neither sound nor mention. Therein flow the oceans of eternity, whilst this city itself revolveth round the seat of eternity. Therein the sun of the Unseen shineth resplendent above the horizon of the Unseen, a sun that hath its own heavens and its own moons, which partake of its light and which rise from and set upon the ocean of the Unseen. Nor can I ever hope to impart even a dewdrop of that which hath been decreed therein, as none is acquainted with its mysteries save God, its Creator and Fashioner, and His Manifestations.
(Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 76)

O Thou Who art the All-Knowing! Wayward though we be, we still cling to Thy bounty; and though ignorant, we still set our faces toward the ocean of Thy wisdom. Thou art that All-Bountiful Who art not deterred by a multitude of sins from vouchsafing Thy bounty, and the flow of Whose gifts is not arrested by the withdrawal of the peoples of the world. From eternity the door of Thy grace hath remained wide open. A dewdrop out of the ocean of Thy mercy is able to adorn all things with the ornament of sanctity, and a sprinkling of the waters of Thy bounty can cause the entire creation to attain unto true wealth.
(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, pp. 245-246)

CXXIX. O wayfarer in the path of God! Take thou thy portion of the ocean of His grace, and deprive not thyself of the things that lie hidden in its depths. Be thou of them that have partaken of its treasures. A dewdrop out of this ocean would, if shed upon all that are in the heavens and on the earth, suffice to enrich them with the bounty of God, the Almighty, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. With the hands of renunciation draw forth from its life-giving waters, and sprinkle therewith all created things, that they may be cleansed from all man-made limitations and may approach the mighty seat of God, this hallowed and resplendent Spot.
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 279)

Praise be to the all-perceiving, the ever-abiding Lord Who, from a dewdrop out of the ocean of His grace, hath reared the firmament of existence, adorned it with the stars of knowledge, and admitted man into the lofty court of insight and understanding. This dewdrop, which is the Primal Word of God, is at times called the Water of Life, inasmuch as it quickeneth with the waters of knowledge them that have perished in the wilderness of ignorance.
(Baha'u'llah, Tabernacle of Unity, p. 3)

"O servant of God! We have bestowed a dewdrop from the ocean of divine grace; would that men might drink therefrom!
(Baha'u'llah, Tabernacle of Unity, p. 74)

…He, [the Bab] magnifying the Name of Him Who shall be made manifest, saith: 'I would be the first to adore Him.' Now it behoveth one to reflect upon the significance of the 'Adorer' and the 'Adored One', that perchance the people of the earth may partake of a dewdrop from the ocean of divine knowledge and may be enabled to perceive the greatness of this Revelation. Verily, He hath appeared and hath unloosed His tongue to proclaim the Truth.
(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 53)

It is in Our power, should We wish it, to enable a speck of floating dust to generate, in less than the twinkling of an eye, suns of infinite, of unimaginable splendour, to cause a dewdrop to develop into vast and numberless oceans, to infuse into every letter such a force as to empower it to unfold all the knowledge of past and future ages. This, in truth, is a matter simple of accomplishment.
(Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 39)

The blessings of Bahá'u'lláh are a shoreless sea, and even life everlasting is only a dewdrop therefrom.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 192)