He is concealed by the intensity of manifestation, and he is hidden by the ardor of emanation. —(BAHA'O'LLAH IN SEVEN VALLEYS)
EACH religion teaches that a mediator is necessary between man and the Creator — one who receives the full light of the divine splendor and radiates it over the human world, as the earth's atmosphere receives and diffuses the warmth of the sun's rays. This mediator between God and humanity has different designations though he always brings the same spiritual command.
In one era he is called Abraham, at another time Moses, again he is called Buddha, another time Jesus, and yet another time Mohammed. All turned to the divine reality for their strength. Those who followed Moses accepted him as the mediator; those who followed Zoroaster accepted him as their mediator; but all the Israelites deny Zoroaster, and the Zoroastrians deny Moses. They fail to see in both the one light. Had the Zoroastrians comprehended the reality of Zoroaster, they would have understood Moses and Jesus. Alas! the majority of men attach them-
selves to the name of the mediator and lose sight of the real purport.
Therefore did BAHA'O'LLAH cry, "0 God, deliver us from the sea of names!"
Man must turn to the light and not think that the form of the lamp is essential, for the lamp may be changed; but he who longs for light welcomes it from whatever source it comes. If the Jews had comprehended Moses, they would have accepted the Christ; but they were occupied with the name and when that name was changed they denied the reality.
It is the same with the Christians today. What a pity that they are worshipping a title! They see only the garment. If one recognizes a king by his garments, one would not know him were he to clothe himself differently.
Who is the Christ? When one sees the Christ qualities shining from another source, one must recognize that light. We say this flower is exquisite; we do not say that it is the only beautiful one, for beauty is of the divine effulgence that is universal and unlimited in its manifestations. The marvelous bestowals of God are continuous. Should the outpouring of light be suspended, we would be in darkness. But how could it be withheld? If the divine graces are suspended, then divinity itself would be interrupted. Even men ask for continuity.
We have eyes and we desire eternal sight; blindness is an imperfection. We have ears; deafness is a deficiency. As long as we consider
these as imperfections in the human world, are they not even greater defects in the divine world?
We must be adorers of the sun of reality from whatsoever horizon it may appear, rather than adorers of the horizon; for should we concentrate our attention in one direction, the sun may appear from quite another and leave us deprived of the sun's bestowals which are the wisdom and guidance of God and the favor of God, which constitute spiritual progress.
Praise be to God that the sun of the reality of religion hath dawned. From all parts of the world, host after host are coming under its radiance and ere long it will become world-spread.
I desire for you a universal patriotism. A high-soaring bird attaches not its heart to its earth nest and abode. At every dawn it sings a new melody and at every eve it warbles the strains of divine mysteries in a new meadow. At one time it rises above the summit of the green mountains and spreads its imperial wings over deserts and plains and anon it breaks into ideal harmonies and chants sweetly the secrets of God. It is not attached to home and comfort nor is it limited to nest and abode. Nay, rather, it is intoxicated with the wine of the love of God, singing at all times the anthems and praises of the Almighty. This is the habit and custom of heavenly birds; this is the manner and conduct of the nightingale of the rose garden of the merciful!
Today firmness in the covenant of servitude is the means of effectively flinging forth the divine proclamation into all horizons and this firmness is conducive to the power of the word of the teacher; for in this day when one arises to herald the Kingdom of Abha, a magnetic power is produced which attracts the rays of confirmation; the hosts of the supreme concourse will make whomsoever is sincere victorious and the power of the Holy Spirit will assist him.
The obstacle which prevents the so-called religious men from accepting the teachings of God is literal interpretation. Moses announced the coming of Christ. The Israelites were awaiting him with the greatest impatience and anxiety, but when he came they called him Beelzebub. "The conditions laid down in the Bible for the coming of the expected one were not fulfilled," they said. They did not understand that the conditions were symbolical. For instance, it is written — "He will come from an unknown place." Jesus came from Nazareth. "How can this be the Messiah?" they reasoned. "It is written — he will carry an iron scepter, that is to say, his shepherd's staff will be a sword. This man has no sword. It was prophesied — he will be seated on the throne of David; behold this man has not so much as a mat whereon to sit. He was to spread the law
of Moses; this man, on the contrary, seeks to destroy it. How can he be the promulgator of God's law?" they scornfully laughed.
It was prophesied that the east and west would be united under the Jewish law; that the animals would be at peace one with another; that the wolf would no longer devour the sheep. They did not see these conditions fulfilled. Roman tyranny enveloped the world and they crucified the Christ.
The Jews were blind to reality. The real Christ came from the city of light. In the eternal realms Christ is a king. His shepherd's staff, that is, his tongue, was a sword dividing the true from the false. The throne of David is not a material throne but an eternal kingdom. Christ re-established this kingdom; it had been forgotten. Christ conquered the east and the west. This means a spiritual victory, not a material one.
Animals were to live in peace. This means the Chaldeans, the Syrians, the Romans, the Greeks, who were to make peace among themselves, for Christ spread the cause of peace. As the Jews did not understand these things, they were deprived of the beauty of the Christ. Behold again, the Christians are expecting the stars to fall and Christ to appear in the clouds, yet these are but symbols. They are awaiting a Christ from a heaven which does not exist.
Let us awake! Let us acquire a new intelligence in order to interpret the symbols and
become acquainted with the mysteries. The real Christ spirit has come again from the supreme apex to illumine the world.
In the Gospel, Jesus said, "I am come from heaven." Physically he was born of a woman, but the Christ reality is from the city of eternity, for heaven is not a place but a state of consciousness.
Man has a sacred power which permits him to discover the inner significances, the reality of invisible things. Ponder over these statements, so that the portals of divine wisdom and infinite knowledge may open before thy face.
I wish to awaken you out of your deep slumber. Do you know in what day you are living? Do you realize in what dispensation you exist? Have you not read in the holy scriptures that at the consummation of the ages there would dawn a day — the sum total of all past days? This is the day when the Lord of hosts hath come on the clouds of glory. This is the day in which the inhabitants of the world shall enter under the tent of the word of God. This is the day whose real sovereign is His Highness the Almighty. This is the day when the east and the west shall embrace each other like unto two lovers; war and contention shall be forgotten and nations and governments shall enter into an eternal bond of amity and conciliation. This century is the ful-
fillment of the promised century, the dawn of the appearances of the glorious visions of past prophets and sages.
Now is the early dawn; ere long the effulgent sun shall rise and station itself in the meridian of its majesty. Then ye shall observe the effects — then ye shall behold what heavenly illumination has become manifest — then ye shall comprehend that these are the infinite bestowals of God — then ye shall realize that this world has become another world and ye shall perceive the divine instructions, universally spread.
The teachings of His Holiness BAHA'O'LLAH, like unto the spirit, shall penetrate the dead body of the world and like unto an artery shall beat through the heart of the five continents.
In the Gospels it is written that Christ said: "I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now! But when he, the spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you unto all knowledge." Christ is alluding to a person, because he says, "When he is come, he will not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak." This means by the power of innate knowledge.
Some Christians claim that the Holy Ghost descended after the resurrection of the Christ and that Christ is alluding to this. But as the Holy
Ghost was always with the Christ, is this logical? Again he says, "He will guide you unto truth," he will be better for you than I. He adds, "Until I go, he cannot come." Endeavor to understand the divine words, otherwise difficulties will arise. Had the Jews understood symbology, they would have understood the Christ. The holy books are full of significance and must never be taken literally. Elijah also was expected to come from heaven, and the Christ said, "Elijah is none other than John the Baptist." The reality of John was in the supreme concourse. It is essential to have divine perception in order to see the truth, to hear the call, and obey — liberating the hearts from all earthly attachment.
The mountains being shaken before the coming of the messenger means that great peoples — great as mountains — are shaken and become transplanted.
I hope that you will be the cause of opening the eyes and exalting the spirits to follow divine direction. Thus you will assist others to walk in the path of the good pleasure of the Lord. What is the ultimate goal of a human life? Assuredly it is not to eat, nor to sleep, not to dress, not to repose on the couch of negligence. Nay, it is to find one's way to eternity and understand the divine signs; to receive wisdom from the Lord of Lords, and to move steadily forward like a great sea.
This is my hope for thee.
In former times men either became believers, or else they became enemies of the cause of God. For instance, in the time of Moses, all those who believed in him as a prophet and in the unity of God, became of the faithful. In the time of Christ, those who believed in the divinity of the father and that Jesus was the word, became disciples. Faith consisted in the blind acceptance of these truths and those who accepted were considered saved, the rest were doomed to perdition.
But in this day the question is far more important. Faith does not consist in belief, it consists in deeds. It is not sufficient to believe in BAHA'O'LLAH and to say, "I am of the people of El-Abha"; we must act in accordance with the teachings of BAHA'O'LLAH, who commands us to become centers of divine attraction, so that the attributes of God may emanate from us, that we may become wise and well intentioned to all the peoples of the earth in order to better the condition of all.
We must look upon our enemies with a sin-covering eye and act with justice when confronted with any injustice whatsoever, forgive all, consider the whole of humanity as our own family, the whole earth as our own country, be sympathetic with all suffering, nurse the sick, offer a shelter to the exiled, help the poor and those in need, dress all wounds and share the happiness of each one. Be compassionate, so that your actions will shine like unto the light
streaming forth from the lamp. If the whole world should arise to deny this cause, we must not fight. Our only role is to spread the teachings. If it be accepted, all is well; if not, leave the people to God.
If we see a man acting after this manner we can say of him: "Verily, verily he is a reflector of servitude!" We cannot conceive of a star without light, a tree without seed. If we claim to be followers of light we must diffuse the light through our actions. To label ourselves will not be sufficient.
There are five hundred million people who call themselves Christians. If you compare their deeds with the text of the Gospels, you will find no likeness thereto. The real Christians are rare. The Christ exhorted men to be kind. The Christians are fighting and killing one another, leading their young men into war, shedding blood, destroying dwellings, causing mothers to lose their sons and children their fathers. What has all this to do with the teaching of Christ? Is a man whose highest aim is bloodshed a Christian? Christ suffered in order to teach kindness. "O Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Thus he pardoned his murderers. How merciful he was!
The advanced men of all time have ever been persecuted and continually in adversity. He who discovered the movement of the earth and the relative immobility of the sun terminated
his days in prison, because his teachings did not please the priests.
One who is wise in the ways of God sees that his words and deeds reflect the glory of God. I hope that the light of this glory may shine forth from each one of you, for this is the decisive proof — for this BAHA'O'LLAH suffered — that he might educate men to become the educators of the world and spread truth abroad.
May ye attain to this station — upon ye be greetings and praise!
When the prophets of God appear upon this earth, their validity is established by means of certain proofs. One of the proofs is through the fulfillment of former prophecies, the second proofs are their creative words and phrases which salute the hearts of humanity, the third are their deeds and the fourth are their teachings.
The prophecies deal with dates and symbols which proclaim the end of each dispensation. In former books the conditions are explained concerning subsequent manifestors of the divine plan. But those who do not follow closely these things will not be convinced by proofs such as these. This then is not a final proof.
Miracles are likewise convincing to a limited number only. For instance, a Buddhist would not be convinced by the miracles of Moses which are proofs only so far as the orthodox Jews are concerned, because they love Moses. On the
other hand the miracles attributed to Jesus Christ are refuted by the Jews as a whole, saying "No one lives today who has seen these miracles performed, therefore, who can bear testimony to them?"
A clear proof of validity lies in the achievements and here we are confronted by certain irrefutable facts. The prophets have come from the lowliest and most humiliated of the nations and in each age the prophet has raised his downtrodden nation to the highest zenith of prosperity and success among the nations of the earth. For instance, His Holiness Christ was quite alone. He was a Jew from among the Jews. He came at a time when the Israelites were under the yoke of the Romans. He revivified the people till they were transferred from one state of existence into a higher state of existence.
At a time when the East was enshrouded with superstition and hatred, BAHA'O'LLAH flooded these regions with his glorious light. Under the chains he unfurled the flag of the oneness of the world of humanity; in the prisons he spread the principles of universal peace and brotherhood; from behind the barracks he wrote his famous epistles to the kings and rulers of the world arraigning the oppressors of the earth and calling upon them in the name of God the exalted not to place their sovereignty above that of His Highness the Almighty. He admonished them on the part of the wronged ones to listen to the call of the
new day else their kingdoms would pass out of their hands and would fall into the hands of others. "Know that brotherhood hath been proclaimed — even so hath this matter been recorded upon a mighty tablet with the strong pen of God."*
A supreme proof is the teaching. For instance the precepts of Christ were sufficient proof of his validity. There is no greater proof than these teachings. They were the light of that cycle and the spirit of that age. All that he said accorded with the needs of the humanity of that time. They were peerless and unique.
Consider His Holiness BAHA'O'LLAH and his teaching. They are the spirit of this cycle — the light of this age. They illumine the dark places of humanity, for they address themselves to the heart of the race. For instance, the greatest evil of this century is war. In the new age BAHA'O'LLAH has prohibited war. The need of this century is universal peace — BAHA'O'LLAH has instituted it. The most urgent requisite of mankind is the declaration of the oneness of the world of humanity — this is the great principle of BAHA'O'LLAH. That which will leaven the human world is a love that will insure the abandonment of pride, oppression and hatred. The principles of BAHA'O'LLAH are the remedy and balm for the wounded world; and without
*Many of the events which BAHA'O'LLAH prophesied are taking place today — and many are yet to come.
their inculcation, reconciliation between the nations will not be reached. These very teachings of BAHA'O'LLAH are the greatest proofs of his claim. Such a power hath appeared from him as will suffice to convince the whole world.
The proof of the sun is its light and heat.
Abdul Bahá arose and with hands extended, palms upward, he uttered the following:
O GOD, O GOD, I GLORIFY THEE, O MY LORD, MY HOPE, MY BELOVED AND THE OBJECT OF MY LIFE. VERILY THOU KNOWEST MY HUMILITY, MY EVANESCENCE, MY POVERTY, MY AGITATION AND MY SHORTCOMINGS. I CALL ON THEE WITH A HEART OVERFLOWING WITH THY LOVE, A SPIRIT REJOICED BY THE OUTPOURINGS OF THY ONENESS, AND A SOUL RESTING IN THY COMMEMORATON AND PRAISE.
O LORD, O LORD, VERILY THESE ARE SOULS WHO ARE ATTRACTED TO THE KINGDOM OF THY HOLINESS, HEARTS ENKINDLED WITH THE FIRE OF THY LOVE AND SPIRITS SOARING TOWARD THE ATMOSPHERE OF THY GRACE. O LORD, O LORD, ILLUMINE OUR EYES WITH THE RAYS OF THE SUN OF THY REALITY, SUFFER OUR EARS TO HEAR, UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, THE CALL OF THY KINGDOM, THE EL-ABHA.
O LORD, O LORD, MAKE US FIRM IN THY CAUSE, HUMBLE BEFORE THY MAJESTY, ACKNOWLEDGING THY DOMINION, ARISING IN THY SERVICE AND BEING ENGAGED IN THY ADORATION.
VERILY THOU ART THE CLEMENT; VERILY THOU ART THE OMNIPOTENT; VERILY THOU ART THE MERCIFUL OF THE MOST MERCIFUL.
I pray for your health and happiness. Consider the distance I have traveled and reflect on the great desire I have ever felt to meet you. Praise be to God, through his bounty this meeting has been consummated. Happy are we to be gathered in one assemblage. My greatest happiness is the hope that we may meet one another in the kingdom of Abha, even as we meet here. May the effulgences of the splendor of God shine upon each one of us.
Praise be to God, that through the sufferings of BAHA'O'LLAH souls are educated. Many there are shining from the horizon of eternal glory who sacrificed all, even to their lives and while under the sword cried, "Ya Bahá El-Abha!" with radiant joy reflecting the power of BAHA'O'LLAH. For love of him more than twenty thousand have quaffed the cup of martyrdom. While under the sword they danced with exultant joy. European
historians bear witness to these facts and even the enemies of this cause have recorded stories of the martyrdoms, reputing to BAHA'O'LLAH a supernatural power.
I wish to tell you the story of two martyrs; one was a Persian nobleman, a favorite at court, possessed of much wealth and known throughout all the country. When it was discovered that he was a follower of BAHA'O'LLAH, this glorious man was taken into custody and in company with another thrown into prison without food or water. The third day one of them requested the jailer to give him a cup of tea. Struck with his attitude of humility, the jailer did as requested; thanking him the prisoner said: "I am exceedingly sorry to trouble you, but pray have a little patience with our requests tonight, for tomorrow night we shall be the guests of God."
On the fourth day they were taken out of prison and two bears were made to dance before them; also several monkeys were brought, in order to humiliate them. Solomon Kahn and his friend were taken into a room, their breasts lacerated and in the yawning apertures lighted candles were placed. In Persia this is considered the most degrading form of torture.
Then they started on parade through the town. Solomon Kahn looking about him said: "There is no need for this commotion. Why such ado about our death? Verily, this is our wedding feast and we are very happy." Accompanied by a band and followed by many people,
they were paraded through the bazaars and streets of the city. People pricked them with long needles, saying, "Dance for us!" With unflinching courage and exultant joy they walked along; from morn till eve walked they through the city. When the candles burned down, they were renewed by the jailers.
All the time our heroes were calm and happy and as they marched they smiled at the people on the right and left of them and looking heavenward murmured prayers. Finally they arrived at the outer gates of the city where each was cut into four pieces.
Teheran has four high gates and a section of their bodies adorned either side of the gates. Even while being dismembered, Solomon Kahn was praying and supplicating God. This story will be found in a history compiled by an enemy of this cause, for all has been recorded by the Shah's historians. At the end, the historian says of Solomon Kahn, "This man was possessed by an evil spirit." This account shows how readily the believers of God give their lives, how self-sacrificing they are, eternally firm and steadfast. These illumined souls are the result of the light of BAHA'O'LLAH, who attracted them to the kingdom of God with such reflective power that like fixed stars these martyrs will ever shine from the horizon of El- Abha.
Ponder on this story that you may understand the mystic power of sacrifice, of faithful-
ness, how these martyrs were stirred with the good news of the new dawn.
Let us make a comparison with the days of Christ. He had eleven disciples only, for the twelfth was the cause of his crucifixion. The leader of the apostles was Peter and on the night of the crucifixion his faith was shaken and he thrice denied the Christ, though afterwards he became firm.
All were shaken but Mary Magdalen. She was a veritable lioness. She gathered the others together and said, "Why do ye mourn? Did not the Christ foretell his crucifixion? Arise, and be assured. They have killed but the body; the reality can never die, for it is supreme, eternal, the word of God, the son of God. Why, therefore, are ye agitated?" Thus this heroine became the cause of re- establishing the faith of the apostles.
My hope is that each one of you may become as Mary Magdelen — for this woman was superior to all the men of her time and her reality is ever shining from the horizon of Christ.
Be pure — to be pure is to be selfless.
The day of the declaration of the Bab and of
The day of the declaration of the Bab and of
the birth of Abdul Bahá — this day of double significance — May 23, is widely celebrated.
"Today is the anniversary of the declaration of the Bab — Peace be upon thee! Today the Bab declared this cause in Shiraz, Persia. The appearance of the Bab resembles the dawn, for the dawn holds the promise of the sun. The
dawn of the Bab promised the rising of the sun of truth that is to envelop the whole world."
He said, "O my glorious Lord, I sacrifice myself entirely to thee. My only desire is to be martyred for thy love. Thou doth suffice me!" The Bab's desire was to be realized, for the glorious crown of martyrdom was placed upon his head. The gems light the whole world.
He was imprisoned at Shiraz, then went to Isfahan, was afterward confined in a fortress at Makow and finally executed in a public square of Tabriz. This supreme martyrdom raised his banner yet higher and heightened the power of divine manifestation on earth, for the reality which is reflected is the same from the beginning. The Christ was the word of God from the beginning — in the same way Mohammed says, "I was a prophet before the existence of Adam," and BAHA'O'LLAH says, "In the beginning which has no beginning I loved thee."
The sun is always the sun; if at a certain period it gave no light it would not at that period be called the sun, for the characteristics of the sun are light and heat. The great ones are from all time in their glorious station, their reality is luminous from the beginning, the reality that causes the qualities of God to appear, but the day of their manifestation is the day when they proclaim themselves on this earth.
The Bab in his writings heralded the advent of BAHA'O'LLAH. He declared to his followers "You will attain the perfect well-being at your
meeting with God; the horizon will be illumined; the infinite spirit will send forth its breezes — the divine proclamation will make itself heard."
When, some years later, BAHA'O'LLAH declared himself to be the "glory of God," the Bab's followers with a few exceptions believed in him. His brilliancy shone forth like a sun. His power had already been recognized before his proclamation and on the day of his declaration all became aware and were amazed at his wisdom.
Behold how in a few years, although exiled and imprisoned, he enunciated his purpose. Two kings were planning his death and still his power grew stronger day unto day! In the darkness of the dungeons he shone like a star! The more his followers were killed, the more the number grew; for each man killed, a hundred men arose. No one entered his presence without becoming awestricken by his might. The learned men who approached him were astounded at his knowledge, yet he never attended school nor learned of men. His friends and his family all testify to this, yet his teachings are the soul of this age.
The sun emanates from itself and does not draw its light from other sources. The divine teachers have the innate light; they have knowledge and understanding of all things in the universe; the rest of the world receives its light from them and through them the arts and sciences are revived in each age.
Abraham and Moses went to no school; Jesus
had neither school nor master; Mohammed never had a lesson; the Bab and BAHA'O'LLAH had no professors. Read the books written by BAHA'O'LLAH — the philosophers and savants in the Orient will bear witness to his eloquence and learning. In the Orient this is considered a proof of his divinity. There they say, "If some one can write a letter like BAHA'O'LLAH, BAHA'O'LLAH'S divinity can be denied." No one has yet competed.
How can those who depend on mortals be divine messengers? How can a lamp which has to be lighted be eternal? The divine teacher does not come to acquire knowledge, for this tree of life is a fruit tree by birth and not through grafting. Behold the sacred tree which spreads its shade over the whole world! This is the mission of BAHA'O'LLAH — for under this tree all questions are solved!
I congratulate you on this sacred day, the anniversary of the declaration of the Bab — the day when for the first time on this earth BAHA'O'LLAH'S name was mentioned and in the world the dawn appeared on the horizon. May all of you become the cause of joy and of renewing the fire of the love of God in all hearts.
The following was uttered during carnival week in Paris. Mirza Ali Akbar of Teheran had just arrived from Persia to join the group that gathered about Abdul Bahá each morning. At the request of Abdul Bahá, the newcomer chanted a beautiful prayer in his native tongue after which Abdul Bahá said: —
In this Monajotte that we have just listened to, BAHA'O'LLAH declares that all eyes are asleep; that all men are resting on beds of ease and negligence while he alone is prostrate on the earth watching and praying. It is midnight and he is waiting for the heedless world to awake. It is the same here in Paris during these days of carnival. People go to the theatre, amuse themselves with sight-seeing, each intent on his own occupation; they dance, they sing, they play, they make music, they walk, they talk, they are plunged in earthly thoughts, immersed in materiality, neglectful of God.
Thanks be to God, this meeting has a divine meaning. While others are attracted to material things, praise be to God, you are attracted to the spiritual. All the inhabitant here amuse themselves with dreams of the earth and disguise themselves with fantastic dress during these days; but you are occupied with God. In all the theatres one hears songs of the earth, but our song is the divine mention. Let us thank God for having led us to this point, to be chosen for the mention of his name. He has thrown upon us the light of the kingdom; let us have no thought save this glorification, that our entire happiness may consist in serving him. Let us thank God and implore him continually to make us more illumined each day, that we may have more spiritual attraction and render greater service to his mention.
May our actions so characterize us that it may
be said of each one of us, "There is a friend of God."
Let us implore at the divine threshold that the pure fragrances of El-Abha may perfume the earth and the breeze of the rosebud of divine favor may waft upon the hearts, that we may be united at the court of God, even as we are united here, by the love which cannot die.
Humanity is submerged in materialism; occupied in everything save the mention of God; speaking of everything save the heavenly kingdom; hearing everything save the call of God. As far as knowledge of things divine is concerned, it is as though some of the people were interred in the earth, going more and more into the blind darkness, completely buried from the knowledge of things above.
I hope the few gathered here will make a great effort, working day and night, that some result may be accomplished. Perhaps Europe may become weary of the dull materiality of the world and seek refreshment in a share of the heavenly glory.
Europe has made extraordinary material progress, but if the qualities partake of the dust, what lasting result can accrue? The ideal to strive for is that which is in the supreme horizon — that is eternal! The underground is for worms and moles. That which is a cause for joy is a nest on the highest branch.
Strive day and night and do whatever is
possible that perchance you may awaken the heedless, give sight to the blind, bring life to the dead, refresh the weary, and bring those in despair and darkness to light and splendor. If the hope of man be limited to the material world, what ultimate result is he working for? A man with even a little understanding must realize that he should not emulate the worm that holds to the earth in which it is finally buried. How can man be satisfied with this low degree? How can he find happiness there? My hope is that you may become free from the material world and strive to understand the meaning of the heavenly world, the world of lasting qualities, the world of truth, the world of eternal kingliness, so that your life may not be barren of results, for the life of the material man has no fruit of reality. Lasting results are produced by reflecting the heavenly existence.
If a man become touched with the divine spark, even though he be an outcast and oppressed, he will be happy and his happiness cannot die.
Whatever man undertakes he achieves some result, whether through statesmanship, commerce, agriculture, science, etc., he receives a compensation for his efforts. Consider what will be the result of those who work in the universal cause!
He who has the consciousness of reality has eternal life — that lamp which can never be extinguished. The humble peasant girl, Mary
Magdalene, — to what splendor she attained! A wise man sees no satisfaction in the material world; he is not content to be one of the creatures. In the world of divine effulgence he finds eternal life and becomes aflame with the fire of love of God, the great source of life of the immortal kingdom and his head is adorned with a crown of eternal jewels.
With power and might will the proclamation of the kingdom of El-Abha found a new civilization, transforming humanity; dead bodies will become alive; the dark sky will become luminous; blind eyes will see; deaf ears will hear; the dumb will speak and the indifferent will be decorated with the flowers of a divine civilization.
May the luminous clouds of this divine civilization descend upon us — this is my hope!
As there is no one who has not his designated place in the world, for there is nothing useless on this earth, we must treat each individual with respect and affection, for each is a sign of the divine favor and power — that power which has been able to draw such a being out of matter, make of him a creature with sensorial faculties and endow him with intellectual and spiritual potentiality. This is one of the visible proofs of the divine power. Let us respect these living proofs.
The centers of progress for each age are the manifestations of God as seen in his prophets. In whatever country or at whatever time they appear, they are the focus of the creational day — for as the sun in the material heaven develops the material beings, so do these spiritual suns develop the world of minds and souls.
Let us turn toward the spiritual sun and acquire a light which will render the world luminous, so that we may be freed from matter and acquire celestial qualities, that this limited life may merge into the eternal.
When man thus adorns himself, he will progress every day with new vigor; his soul will become more and more sensitized and the laws and morals of the world will be reconstructed with divine conviction. Then man will make real discoveries, penetrate the mysteries and so reflect then that he will become the image of God.
Christ said, "Many are called, but few are chosen." The chosen have heard and understand the call from the divine assembly.
Man has two planes: the physical and the intellectual. The divine revelators have three: their physical condition, which is shared by all mankind — they eat, they sleep, they are sometimes ill, they become well again, they become
fatigued, they undergo all that man can undergo; their intellectual degree and their holy reality which surrounds all beings and comprehends secrets. Their horizons enfold the universe, for they are the suns of real truth illuminating all the regions of thought, dispersing the darkness, uplifting the world of mankind and making the material world heavenly. Were it not for these divine messengers there would be no consciousness of continuity.
They are the focal points of all the human and divine attainments, for they bring eternal life and the promise of its fulfillment.
Other men, although able to evolve to a high degree, are still in the second condition; this third state is alone partaken of by the divine messengers although great saints have attained extraordinary pre-eminence and reflect the splendor of the sun.
May you be of those who have believed and obeyed; may you be of the few that are chosen rather than of the many that are called!
History is a record of incessant wars. There is not a spot on the globe that has not been crimsoned with the blood of men; the whole
earth is blood-drenched. The basic reason for this slaughter is the division between religions — each sect considering the religion of others as barbarous and each deeming it a most sacred trust to shed the blood of the infidels. The environs of Acca have been stained many times with the blood of thousands.
But now BAHA'O'LLAH has come with incomparable glory like the glow of the sun at midday, the moment of its greatest heat and light. The glory of God has proclaimed a cause that until now none had heard. He addresses himself to the whole of humanity, saying: "O people of the world, ye are all the branches of one tree, the leaves of one branch, the drops of one sea." Thus he announces human unity, strikes the universal chord of harmony between the races, nations and tribes and makes of the earth one native land. The world was in the darkness of indifference and BAHA'O'LLAH is the light of unity.
One sees a reflected light in the thoughts of all, signs of the desire for this unity. Through BAHA'O'LLAH hearts have been attracted. All are agreed that to establish justice between the members of the human family is the most stupendous task of the ages.
The cause spread first in Persia and from there through other countries. Many of those who speak of these ideals of unity are slow to realize that they emanate from BAHA'O'LLAH — they
talk as though the ideals emanate from themselves. The earth will receive the perfect sunrise when the teachings of BAHA'O'LLAH are world-spread. When he says, "Ye are the leaves of one branch," he infers the inherent differences between men, differences like unto leaves. Nature manifests in various forms, but the basic element is the same. There is unity of essence and variety of expression.
Such differences as between the wolf and the sheep, for instance, between light and darkness, water and fire, are the cause of enmity. Water extinguishes fire in the same way that religious differences cause annihilation. Reflect on what is taking place today. Men have forgotten the divine principles.
I hope you will become manifest lights.
Many divine messengers have appeared in Persia, the land of many sects. One of these sects occupies itself with ceremonies and forms and considers relations with other sects quite impossible. Its followers blindly accept the sacred writings. Another sect among the Shuhites attempts religious research and weighs theological questions and metaphysics and the Sufis have their own special dogmas. These groups spend their lives in useless arguments and wrangles and are continually at war one with another.
In such a country as this, BAHA'O'LLAH appeared following the Bab, and so widespread was the interest centering around these great ones that all forgot their animosities and in the mosques and religious gatherings spoke only of this revelation.
Then, when they saw hundreds from their own rank with fire and zeal adopting the banner of BAHA'O'LLAH, all the sects with one accord united to suppress this spirit which grew stronger with opposition. Driven to desperation they exhorted their followers thus: "Let us arise and kill these people, imprison their women and children and destroy them to the root. They seek to change the old, well- established order of things and nothing of us will remain." The mandate went forth and reached even to the smallest village — nevertheless this cause continued to grow; no restriction or opposition could arrest its progress.
When BAHA'O'LLAH left Teheran, he camped, with those of his disciples who followed him, in a square outside the city. Among his followers was the famous Kurrat-ul-Ayn, who, being a woman, was not allowed to camp with the others, but must seclude herself; so she had her tent pitched by a stream in one of the adjacent gardens, the walls of which bordered the square on three sides. You see how they honored customs thinking they reflected truth.
Up to this time the religion of the Koran
was strictly adhered to and nothing had been changed in the laws of Islam. The women were completely hidden from the eyes of men, covering themselves with veils on going out, speaking to no man and living in their houses like prisoners.
During his sojourn in the rizwan, BAHA'O'LLAH fell ill and ordered his bed to be brought and his tent to be placed near a stream. He was sleeping in his tent and three hundred followers were camped about. Kurrat-ul-Ayn sought BAHA'O'LLAH'S permission to come and see him in his garden. They replied that he was ill and could not go out. Kurrat-ul-Ayn answered "Then it is I who will go to him. Behold, I seek his presence!" This was the first instance in the history of this cause that traditions were changed. It was the visible sign of the new creation. Up to that time no one knew BAHA'O'LLAH was the one whom the Bab spoke when he admonished his disciples to look for the advent of — "him whom God would manifest." The people thought of BAHA'O'LLAH as one of the followers of the Bab.
Kurrat-ul-Ayn, throwing back her veil, cried aloud, "Verily, that trumpet that you were expecting in the last day — it is I; that bell that you were listening for — it is I. I am sounding that bugle. The old customs are obsolete — the truth hath appeared!" She arrived at the tent of BAHA'O'LLAH, who had commanded her thus to summon the people. She addressed the
men, "Why do you sleep? Awake from your beds of negligence! The sun hath arisen from the day-spring of pre-existence. Why do you drown yourselves in the sea of materialism? The king of might hath appeared! Behold the resplendent light! Listen to the songs of the new age! A new life is breathed into all existing things. The zephyrs of the divine favors are wafting upon you." Then she told them to read the chapter of the Koran, entitled, "The Resurrection." This chapter speaks of the last judgment for the Mussulman. They prostrated themselves. Some began to cry out; one cut his throat and another cursed this woman. To understand this scene one must know the Oriental mentality.
Then BAHA'O'LLAH stepped forth from his tent and explained the birth of a new cycle — that the horizons were flooded with new ideals — the antiquated laws were no longer valid — that a new revelation, a new light had come. He exhorted them to sacrifice themselves for it. From that moment the cause of BAHA'O'LLAH leaped into a flaming torch.
These are the conditions under which this great universal movement began. Persia was in revolt. The government set itself against the movement, the ulema supporting the government. Terrible massacres ensued. They seized the body of BAHA'O'LLAH and imprisoned him in Teheran where the ulema met and summoned him to appear before them in the mosque that
they might question him and refute his statements. They searched one of his disciples and found on him a paper containing teachings in the Bab's handwriting in which their were inaccuracies from their orthodox Mohammedan viewpoint. BAHA'O'LLAH showed them with incontrovertible proof that the mistakes lay in their limited interpretations — that the reality of truth is one. They became enraged and put him to the torture of the bastinado, inflicting sixty strokes. They condemned him to death and ordered the executioner to come with his instruments of torture to martyr their majestic prisoner. The governor, fearful lest the people should arise to vindicate BAHA'O'LLAH, caused an opening to be made in the wall of the mosque through which BAHA'O'LLAH was taken by night to the governor's house and after a time the order came to liberate him.
Such was the confusion reigning in Persia at this time — a people in revolt! For years murder and martyrdom were everyday occurrences. Up to the time when BAHA'O'LLAH was exiled to Bagdad, every means conceivable was used to annihilate his teachings; but for one man killed, a hundred have come forward; for one family destroyed, a hundred have arisen and in this proportion are the friends of justice increasing in Persia and throughout the world.
Should you spend your time in praising God, you could never be sufficiently grateful for
having brought you to this great day of fruition when the tree of reality is bearing its fruit.
When we read ancient history, the history of the middle ages and the history of contemporaneous times, we realize how little the world of yesterday resembles the world of today. The scientific beliefs of the middle ages are disproved and of that which was credited by the ancients, few traces remain. In the same way laws outside of science have evolved and arts and even morals have changed. We can no longer live according to the laws and customs of former times.
Everything is transformed. The existing government of France cannot adapt itself to the requirements of the middle ages. As everything evolves, so also does religion — as witness the doctrines that are losing their influence today. All religious rites and ceremonies, when adhered to, become the cause of destruction and struggle. Look at the war in the Balkans. Can you imagine anything more terrible? Men have arisen against their brothers and both armies think they act in accordance with principle. If each side would put into practice the true principles of its own religion, there could be no further strife.
This is the day when dogmas must be sacrificed in our search for truth. We must leave behind all save what is necessary for the needs
of today, nor attach ourselves to any form or ritual which is in opposition to moral evolution.
Search untiringly for truth and reiterate the teachings which harmonize with the crying needs of the hour. This will be the cause of the progress of man, the illumination of the Orient and the Occident. The important thing is to spread the teachings of BAHA'O'LLAH in our own century. Whoever listens to these teachings properly expounded will say, "Here is the truth — that which will render life a greater thing!"
In the whole world there is hardly one who is conscious of reality. BAHA'O'LLAH in appearing has brought the force to rend the veils. He has spread the teachings which are the soul of our time, opened the doors to the seekers of the great law, breathed into hearts a great love, united those who were at enmity and given victory to saints and pure spirits. After many tribulations he has shown man the kingdom, freed him from chains of prejudice and attached him to the world of truth. The light of divine favor is shining and will shine from century to century.
With the door of such splendor open, will you continue to be negligent? Let us prepare to sacrifice our lives, so that the divine conflagration may blaze in the east and the west. May it become a holocaust that will attract the entire race!
I have been asked this question: In the
Gospels one finds only spiritual directions, not particular directions for conduct as in the old testament. How is this?
The teachings of Christ covered a period of three years; the dispensation of Moses lasted forty years. After Moses led the people of Israel from the land of bondage, he found it necessary to inaugurate certain physical rules to show them how to live. In the lifetime of Christ only a small group gathered around him. After his declaration, his mission lasted but three years; there was neither time nor occasion for a complete code of laws. The essential thing is the spiritual law — the outer material law is of small moment, because material life has natural laws to protect it, but humanity lacks spiritual education and needs instruction on the divine qualities. Christ gave this great foundation, as did Mohammed, the Bab and BAHA'O'LLAH. They are all one. There is no difference in their teachings. When we come to kind actions and to striving for the highest ideals of humanity, these things remain the same in all ages, in all countries and in all tongues.
The sun is always the sun. According to the position of the earth we receive its radiation differently.
To see the joy of divine gladness on your faces is the cause of my happiness, for when I see you happy, I am happy also. The divine
messengers come to bring joy to this earth, for this is the planet of tribulation and torment and the mission of the great masters is to turn men away from these anxieties and to infuse life with infinite joy.
When the divine message is understood, all troubles will vanish. Shadows disappear when the universal lamp is lighted, for whosoever becomes illumined thereby no longer knows grief; he realizes that his stay on this planet is temporary and that life is eternal. When once he has found reality he will no longer retreat into darkness.
Reflect on the tribulations the divine messengers endure in each age — exile, prison, the cross, decapitation; yet they ever remain tranquil.
Behold the apostles of Christ! They had many trials. The friends of BAHA'O'LLAH in Persia have undergone unspeakable calamities; their possessions were seized and destroyed, their children captured, their lives sacrificed; yet at the hour of martyrdom they danced with joy, for they were completely detached from the life of this world. Trials have never prevented men from knowing the happiness of the beyond. Nay, rather, this is the path.
Consider what fiery ordeals BAHA'O'LLAH was called to endure! After a long incarceration he was exiled; yet day and night he diffused the light and guided men to truth. BAHA'O'LLAH was imprisoned in an underground cell where he
was chained for four months, then exiled to Bagdad, Constantinople, Adrianople and finally to Acca. One knows the prison there. For two years he lived in a dark cell and for seven years in one room. A number of pilgrims from Persia came to Acca expecting to see him liberated. They arrived at the very moment when he was being conducted from his cell to the fortress where he lived seven years. After these nine years he was allowed more liberty, and, on parole, lived in a house in the fortressed town.
Yet in spite of all difficulties, he was ever in an exalted state; his face shone continually. He had the presence of a king. One cannot imagine such majesty. One never thought of him as a prisoner — on the contrary, one would have said that he was enjoying the greatest triumph, for he drew his strength from divine power. Minds were exalted on beholding him, and BAHA'O'LLAH never hid himself. He spoke courageously before all. "He is incomparable," declared the people, "but he is setting himself against Islam. Such a one is an honor to humanity," they said, "but a detriment to our religion; therefore, we must declare ourselves against him."
When BAHA'O'LLAH wrote to the Shah of Persia, he called a volunteer to take the letter. A young Persian by the name of Badi stepped forth. On the envelope BAHA'O'LLAH inscribed certain words.
This inscription* attracted Badi. His face shone. He delivered the letter and was martyred by the order of the Shah's ministers. In this letter BAHA'O'LLAH had written, "O thou Shah, send for this servant to come to Teheran, gather together an assembly of the doctors and philosophers and he will discuss with them whatever subject thou desireth."
Then the disciples of BAHA'O'LLAH addressed themselves to the Shah and said, "O thou just ruler, assemble the judges and priests that they may put a question to BAHA'O'LLAH." But the ministers of the Shah replied, "Nay, rather, we must sound the alarm that all may beware of such a man." A learned philosopher said, "Verily, one
cannot speak in his presence!" They criticized his disciples, denied his teachings, but never his power!
BAHA'O'LLAH proclaimed the cause of human brotherhood. In the midst of calamities he waved aloft the standard of universal peace; from captivity he summoned the kings of the earth to the cause of unity and world-wide love. The more they tried to stifle the proclamation the more it resounded throughout the world. Today it has reached from the east to the west. BAHA'O'LLAH was banished, but his dominion prevailed and spread. Oppression and despotism were unable to check it. How many Christians, how many doctors in Islam have sung his praises! Read the "Extracts of El Farhad," by Abul Fazl. One Christian wrote, "I am not a follower of BAHA'O'LLAH, but his miracles are incontestable." A learned Mussulman said: "I cannot understand this man. His wisdom is infinite, but I am not a disciple." The ignorance of all these men veiled their understanding.
BAHA'O'LLAH states that Mohammed was a prophet of God, that Christ was the word of God and Moses the friend of God. He affirms the principles, the spirit, the reality of each religion, giving lordly and abiding arguments and never indulging in vague sentiments.
The messenger of God is often sad, but his sadness does not come from causes relating to
himself. He longs that a soul become illumined, but the soul prefers darkness; he yearns to change the ignorance of the people into knowledge, their error into guidance, their insincerity into truth, their faithlessness into firmness; but people prefer their own shadows and he who manifests God becomes sad over the negligence of these sleeping ones. Are they not of the heedless?
When I am sad, I always pray.
I am extremely glad to see you on this Nau Rooz occasion. This day is the anniversary of many historical events, among them the victory of the Persians over the Arabs who invade Persia and were successfully repulsed.
This day in Persia inaugurates a feast which continues for thirteen days and in which all take part, rich and poor alike. They adorn themselves with new clothes and their houses are open to all. Money is distributed, music is played and the houses are decorated with flowers, for it is a fête; work is put aside and enjoyment invited. Travelers in Persia feel this transformation, for the country is in a state of complete renewal. A town which seemed dead yesterday comes to life today. People who looked anxious
yesterday, today have faces shining with gladness. The poor man of yesterday, with sordid garments, is well dressed today and the whole national life is infused with joy. From time immemorial this day has been consecrated, for in this there is a symbol.
At this moment the sun appears at the meridian and the day and night are equal. Until today the north pole has been in darkness. This sacred day when the sun illumines equally the whole earth is called the equinox and the equinox is the symbol of the divine messenger. The sun of truth rises on the horizon of divine mercy and sends forth its rays on all. This day is consecrated to this commemoration. It is the beginning of the spring. When the sun appears at the equinox it causes a movement in all living things. The mineral world is set in motion, plants begin to sprout, the desert is changed into a prairie, trees bud and every living thing responds, including the bodies of animals and men.
The rising of the sun at the equinox is the symbol of life and the human reality is revivified; our thoughts are transformed and our intelligence is quickened. The sun of truth bestows eternal life, just as the solar sun is the cause of terrestrial life.
The day of the appearance of God's messenger on earth is ever a sacred day, a day when man commemorates his lord.
Among the ancient Persians this day was
looked upon as the holy day of the year — a day when hospitals and charitable institutions were founded, collections for the poor were made and every effort put forth that it might not be allowed to pass without leaving some divine trace and throughout Persia one sees these historical traces.
I am spending this New Year's day in Paris. I hope for considerable results from this fact. May a powerful influence remain in your hearts, signs of eternal joy and happiness that will illumine the kingdom in this city. May the breezes of the Holy Spirit waft upon you, that your intelligence may progress and your souls rejoice in you lord. Thus will you become eternal beings shining in the divine kingdom.
Last night a Hindu professor of music came to see me. He brought with him a musical instrument called a vina and sang for us certain Oriental verses, accompanying himself on the vina. Overhead, our neighbor was playing the piano, but as soon as the professor began, the piano became silent till the Hindu finished. This teaches us a lesson — whenever we hear
superb music we must listen; then we will forget all inferior music. For instance, when a lover of music hearkens once to the entrancing notes of a great master, his love for music will no longer be satisfied by the playing of a pupil. If he listen with equal pleasure to the pupil, it shows a lack of artistic appreciation.
Let us suppose that the most accomplished artist of Paris is playing for us in this room, inspiring the hearts by immortal songs and charming us with celestial harmonies — is it possible that any one of us could leave this room and going through the streets stop to enjoy the crude notes of a hurdy-gurdy?
Today there are many melodies; from every studio divers strains are floated to our ears, but these tunes have become antiquated and covered with the rust of time. For thousands of years the same notes have been heard. They lack their original charm and purity, for the singers have grown old and decrepit and lost their voices. The song of life has lost its virility. From every direction melodies are sounded and we must needs have discriminating ears.
Let us seek the song with the sweetest strains, so that it may be taken up by the angels and carried to the supreme concourse. Let us hearken to the melody which will stir the world of humanity, so that the people may be transformed with joy.
Let us listen to a symphony which will confer
life on man; then we can obtain universal results; then we shall receive a new spirit; then shall we become illumined. Let us investigate a song which is above all songs; one which will develop the spirit and produce harmony and exhilaration, unfolding the inner potentialities of life.
Whenever the sun of reality dawns, the lower sphere expresses the virtues of the higher world.
Why does not man harken to the soul-stirring music of the supreme concourse and not run wild with joy over the jarring notes of a street organ!
Strive day and night; perchance these sleeping ones may be awakened by the celestial strains of the city of melody and hear the soft, delicate music which is streaming down from the kingdom of El-Abha.