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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 1

Bayán-i-Farsí
Vahíd III, Báb VI[1]


of

Siyyid ‘Alí-Muhammad-i-Shirází

Translated from the French Rendering of

A.L.M. Nicolas

by

Ismael Velasco

With Reference to the Persian Text



   Aught besides God to which the word ‘thing’ applieth, is a creature constrained in the bounds of creation.

   The sum of this chapter is this:

   God hath caused to descend in the Bayán the words that are the gathering point of all knowledge, and those words are these: “Verily, I am God! There is none other God but Me. Aught else beside Me is, in truth, my handiwork. Wherefore, fear Me, O my creatures!”[2]

   All besides God, to which the word ‘thing’ applieth, is His creature, bound within the limitations of its fashioning, origination, new creation and youthfulness.[3],[4] Nevertheless, the manifestation of Truth occurs in these degrees, since all things manifest God. From the beginning that hath no beginning to the end that hath no end, the sea of names and attributes hath not manifested nor will it manifest anything other than God. This, however, as regards His names and attributes, and not as relates to His essence and divinity, His very Being,[5] for all save God is His creature, and God is adored of all.

   Whatsoever is designated by the word ‘thing’, God hath created through the instrumentality of His Will, and the Will He hath fashioned through the Will itself.[6] Thus, in this day, all things are dependent on the Bayán, inasmuch as they are endowed with the spirit of existence, created by the Lord of the Seven Letters, who is the Manifestation of the Primal Will. In each Revelation God’s Hidden Secret is thus made manifest, and within each act of latent being, the command of God is concealed. We have all been created through God’s Intermediary, and we all return to God. God hath created each thing, then caused it to return, and we are sincere servants before Him.



Notes

    [1] “It is important to strongly emphasize the fragility of this translation.” (IV’s note)

    [2] Commenting on this theme of this Báb, Velasco writes: “The chapter asserts the inescapable limitations of contingent being, the gulf between creation and Creator. This is an important chapter of the noble Bayán, identifying and prefiguring more clearly than elsewhere the tripartite division of existence which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ captured in the ringstone symbol. God creates the Will through the Will (a divine paradox), and the Will then generates all creation. Creation is the embodiment of God’s names and attributes (in potentia or rather, as discussed below, in process), whilst God in His essence remains exalted above all things. This is reminiscent of Bahá’u’lláh’s Tablet of Wisdom, where nature is the embodiment of the Will. It also recalls ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s response to pantheism in Some Answered Questions, where He says that it would be correct to say that creation is one with God’s attributes, but God in His essence remains exalted above its limitations.”(IV’s note).

    [3] Regarding the translation of this term, Velasco writes: “After much consideration, I have tentatively left Nicolas’s ‘youthfulness’, having toyed with the idea of translating ‘immaturity.’” (IV’s note).

    [4] Velasco writes: “It is notable that in adumbrating the limitations on God’s creatures, the Báb speaks both of the [material] creation and origination, and the [spiritual] new creation and youthfulness. Clearly, the new creation is alluding to a well established mystical concept recalled by Bahá’u’lláh in the Íqán as well, analogous to the Christian new birth which God brings about in the converted soul. Youthfulness as a limitation of creation, as I understand it, refers to the Báb’s sublime vision of a universe in motion, beginning in its original creation, with all its perfections densely latent, through a journey of return towards God, or rather towards His Primal Will, a process of increasingly translucent expression of the names and attributes of God. Creation is youthful or immature because it can only attain its full potential in infinity, in timelessness, the journey of return stretching out as far as God’s unfathomable perfections. Only in the Manifestation of God is creation complete, mature, and naught remains but His Face, which is the Primal Will whence all creation springs and to which it all returns.” (IV’s note).

    [5] Commenting on the translation of this term, Velasco writes: “I have translated ‘His very Being’ for what Islamicists would probably translate as Ipseity, so as to remain within the scriptural style of authorised translations, in which the word does not occur. ” (IV’s note).

    [6] Commenting on this paragraph, Velasco writes: “..this sacred chapter clarifies the link between Manifestation of God and the Primal Will, which is the Hidden Secret that manifests itself in each dispensation, in this case through the ‘Lord of the Seven Letters’, the Báb Himself, Who, as the spiritual Manifestation of the Primal Will, is the originator of all beings in the creation of the Bayán, on whom all created all things consequently depend. This is of course an allusion to the sacred tradition (hadith qudsi): ‘I was a Hidden Secret and desired to be known.’ My reading of the rather abstruse passage at the end is that the latent potential of all beings contains, likewise in potentia, the divine Decree that can alone actualize it. With the manifestation of the divine Command in each dispensation, the Hidden Secret, God’s Primal Will, is made manifest, as is the hitherto latent act of being which His Will induces in the realm of the soul.” (IV’s note).
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