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The Persian Bayan:
From A.L.M. Nicolas' French translation

by The Báb

translated by A.L.M. Nicolas and Ismael Velasco.
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Chapter 2

Bayán-i-Farsí
Vahíd III, Báb XIV

of

Siyyid 'Alí-Muhammad-i-Shirází

Translated from the French Rendering of

A.L.M. Nicolas

by

Ismael Velasco




Bab XIV

      In which it is ordained to preserve the Bayán to the degree possible for each person.

      The sum of this chapter [báb] is this: That which remaineth amongst men from the Tree of Truth is His words and the spirits attached to them. Therefore, the more everyone striveth to preserve, honour and exalt His words, the more will these words be manifest in their spirits. It is forbidden to utilize mediocre paper unless it is bound and preserved as the most precious object in the eyes of all, so that it doth not happen as with the Qur'án, copies of which lie strewn, unbound and ragged, on all corners of the mosques.[1]

      None shall expend on the Bayán the value of a grain of mustard seed without God Himself being surety to a reward two thousand times above what hath been rendered, accruing, if not directly unto him, then unto his heirs. Nor shall such recompense be withheld from him in this world or in the world to come.

      Happy is he that preserveth and beautifieth the words of God as lieth within his power, inasmuch as therein lieth the exaltation and beautification of his own spirit. This is not to say that one should offer up one thousand mithqáls[2] of gold in completing a Bayán, and thereby leave destitute, by reason of a single mithqál, a believer in whom rests the spirit of the Bayán. Each must spend in accordance with his means.

      It is not hidden from the eyes of the people of the Bayán that there is not one servant who, upon owning the entire Bayán, hath not seen the value of his good deeds double, and divine angels without number descend blessings upon him each day, invoking for him mercy and good health. The more one exerts effort in the embellishment of the Bayán, in the lightness of its weight, in its good script, in the ornamentation of its pages, the more worthy will it be in the sight of God, and better is this than to proceed otherwise.

      It is not fit to write upon the margins,[3] as is the habit of the students of theology, as this diminishes its value.

      The substance of the word in this chapter is that each one should strive, according to his means, to own a Bayán without likeness, though there be others infinitely superior, and beyond these, others infinitely inferior.

      It is forbidden to write, except in a beautiful script.

      Happy is he that reads it, or looketh upon it, or pondereth its meaning! For the object of all things is the realization of that which God hath revealed therein. Indeed, every word is non-existent, if it proceed from one whose spirit is aided by aught but the reading of the Bayán.

      He hath rendered his due unto the Bayán who pondereth on its exaltation and invoketh blessings upon it in these words: "O my God! Send Thy blessings upon the Bayán and upon them that have believed, under all conditions, in Thine exaltation and grandeur. Punish them that have disbelieved in the Bayán by Thy scourge, Thy Wrath and Justice. It is a bounty from God unto His servants, and in truth God is the Self-Subsistent, the Bestower of bounties."

      The entire splendour [Bahá?] of the Bayán is Him Whom God Shall Make Manifest.[4] All mercy pertaineth unto one that hath believed in Him, and all chastisement is his who disbelieveth in Him.



Notes

[1] An interesting anomaly between Nicolas's and Browne's version occurs here in the second paragraph, where Nicolas reads:
      "It is forbidden to utilize mediocre paper unless it is bound and preserved as the most precious object in the eyes of all, so that it doth not happen as with the Qur'án, copies of which lie strewn, unbound and ragged, on all corners of the mosques."

      And Browne reads:
      "Even small epistles must be bound, for [the Bayán] must not come like the Qur'án, fragments of which are sold in every corner of the mosques in an unseemly manner." [Velasco's note]

[2] A mithqál is a unit of weight. The weight of the traditional mithqál used in the Middle East is equivalent to 24 nakhuds. However, the mithqál used by the Bahá'ís consists of 19 nakhuds, "in accordance with the specification of the Bayán" (Q and A 23). The weight of nine of these mithqáls equals 32.775 grammes or 1.05374 troy ounces. (Universal House of Justice, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, n.78, p. 200-1) [MW's note]

[3] i.e. in the Bayán.

[4] Peter Terry notes, that in the Azalí lithographed edition of the Persian text, this passage reads as "va kullu bahá bayán man yuzhiruhu'llah ast." A literal translation would be "And Him Whom God shall make manifest is all the Glory of the Bayán." (MF's note, based on a posting to Tarjuman by Peter Terry, dated June 7, 2001).
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