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Abstract:
Complete tablet, both the Arabic (officially translated) and the Persian (provisionally translated) sections.
Notes:
Arabic section translated by Shoghi Effendi and published in Bahá’í Prayers; Persian section translated by Mehran Ghasempour and posted to Tarjuman, 2002; web edition of complete Tablet prepared by Mehdi Wolf.

Tablet of the Holy Mariner

by Bahá'u'lláh

translated by Shoghi Effendi and Mehran Ghasempour.
originally revealed as "Lawh-i-Malláhu'l-Quds" in Arabic and Persian.

PART 1

From the Arabic

Translated by Shoghi Effendi

He is the Gracious, the Well-Beloved!

O Holy Mariner!

Bid thine ark of eternity appear before the Celestial Concourse,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

Launch it upon the ancient sea, in His Name, the Most Wondrous,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

And let the angelic spirits enter, in the Name of God, the Most High.

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

Unmoor it, then, that it may sail upon the ocean of glory,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

Haply the dwellers therein may attain the retreats of nearness in the everlasting realm.

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

Having reached the sacred strand, the shore of the crimson seas,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

Bid them issue forth and attain this ethereal invisible station,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

A station wherein the Lord hath in the Flame of His Beauty appeared within the deathless tree;

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

Wherein the embodiments of His Cause cleansed themselves of self and passion;

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

Around which the Glory of Moses doth circle with the everlasting hosts;

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

Wherein the Hand of God was drawn forth from His bosom of Grandeur;

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

Wherein the ark of the Cause remaineth motionless even though to its dwellers be declared all divine attributes.

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

O Mariner! Teach them that are within the ark that which we have taught thee behind the mystic veil,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

Perchance they may not tarry in the sacred snow-white spot,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

But may soar upon the wings of the spirit unto that station which the Lord hath exalted above all mention in the worlds below,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

May wing through space even as the favored birds in the realm of eternal reunion;

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

May know the mysteries hidden in the Seas of light.

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

They passed the grades of worldly limitations and reached that of the divine unity, the center of heavenly guidance.

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

They have desired to ascend unto that state which the Lord hath ordained to be above their stations.

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

Whereupon the burning meteor cast them out from them that abide in the Kingdom of His Presence,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

And they heard the Voice of Grandeur raised from behind the unseen pavilion upon the Height of Glory:

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

“O guardian angels! Return them to their abode in the world below,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

“Inasmuch as they have purposed to rise to that sphere which the wings of the celestial dove have never attained;

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

“Whereupon the ship of fancy standeth still which the minds of them that comprehend cannot grasp.”

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

Whereupon the maid of heaven looked out from her exalted chamber,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

And with her brow signed to the Celestial Concourse,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

Flooding with the light of her countenance the heaven and the earth,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

And as the radiance of her beauty shone upon the people of dust,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

All beings were shaken in their mortal graves.

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

She then raised the call which no ear through all eternity hath ever heard,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

And thus proclaimed: “By the Lord! He whose heart hath not the fragrance of the love of the exalted and glorious Arabian Youth,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

“Can in no wise ascend unto the glory of the highest heaven.”

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

Thereupon she summoned unto herself one maiden from her handmaidens,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

And commanded her: “Descend into space from the mansions of eternity,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

“And turn thou unto that which they have concealed in the inmost of their hearts.

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

“Shouldst thou inhale the perfume of the robe from the Youth that hath been hidden within the tabernacle of light by reason of that which the hands of the wicked have wrought,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

“Raise a cry within thyself, that all the inmates of the chambers of Paradise, that are the embodiments of the eternal wealth, may understand and hearken;

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

“That they may all come down from their everlasting chambers and tremble,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

“And kiss their hands and feet for having soared to the heights of faithfulness;

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

“Perchance they may find from their robes the fragrance of the Beloved One.”

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

Thereupon the countenance of the favored damsel beamed above the celestial chambers even as the light that shineth from the face of the Youth above His mortal temple;

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

She then descended with such an adorning as to illumine the heavens and all that is therein.

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

She bestirred herself and perfumed all things in the lands of holiness and grandeur.

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

When she reached that place she rose to her full height in the midmost heart of creation,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

And sought to inhale their fragrance at a time that knoweth neither beginning nor end.

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

She found not in them that which she did desire, and this, verily, is but one of His wondrous tales.

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

She then cried aloud, wailed and repaired to her own station within her most lofty mansion,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

And then gave utterance to one mystic word, whispered privily by her honeyed tongue,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

And raised the call amidst the Celestial Concourse and the immortal maids of heaven:

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

“By the Lord! I found not from these idle claimants the breeze of Faithfulness!

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

“By the Lord! The Youth hath remained lone and forlorn in the land of exile in the hands of the ungodly.”

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

She then uttered within herself such a cry that the Celestial Concourse did shriek and tremble,

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

And she fell upon the dust and gave up the spirit. It seemeth she was called and hearkened unto Him that summoned her unto the Realm on High.

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

Glorified be He that created her out of the essence of love in the midmost heart of his exalted paradise!

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

Thereupon the maids of heaven hastened forth from their chambers, upon whose countenances the eye of no dweller in the highest paradise had ever gazed.

    Glorified be our Lord, the Most High!

They all gathered around her, and lo! they found her body fallen upon the dust;

    Glorified be our Lord, the Most High!

And as they beheld her state and comprehended a word of the tale told by the Youth, they bared their heads, rent their garments asunder, beat upon their faces, forgot their joy, shed tears and smote with their hands upon their cheeks, and this is verily one of the mysterious grievous afflictions --

    Glorified be our Lord, the Most High!

PART 2

From the Persian

Provisional Translation by Mehran Ghasempour

He is the Ajami,[2] the Persian, the ‘Iráqí![3]

Whilst the dwellers in the divine Ark,[4] by the permission of the Holy Mariner, held fast unto one name amongst all names in the ancient Ark[5] and sailed upon the ocean of names, they passed the grades of worldly limitation[6] that perchance, through the felicity[7] and lofty purpose of the Sovereign of Oneness, they mightest reach the shore of divine unity and quaff from the chalice of detachment.[8]

That Ark of Eternity moved by divine assistance, and sailed upon the water of spiritual wisdom until the dwellers thereof reached a station whereat the Name which dwelt therein[9] overtook their course and triumphed. Thence, that Spiritual Ark was stilled and forbidden to move. Whereupon, the firm decree of God descended from the heaven of imperishable holiness, and the Mariner of Eternity was commanded to impart one letter from the concealed Word unto the dwellers in the Ark, so that by the invisible assistance of God, they might traverse the valley of inner bewilderment, enter the delightful realm of divine unity, reach the Qa’f[10] of everlasting life and attain unto the holy presence of the Well-Beloved.[11]

Inasmuch as the dwellers in the Ark[12] attained unto the Word of the mystic[13] Friend, they forthwith stretched out the wings of their spirits[14] and soared in the air of holiness. Through divine grace and blessing, they didst leave behind the pursuit of self and passion[15] and heedless, blind understandings. Whereupon, the breezes of paradise from the realm[16] of the All-Merciful wafted upon their spirits,[17] and after soaring in the air of the nearness of God and traversing the mystical stations, they descended in a state of safety and security, unto the highest abodes of those who loveth Him. The inhabitants thereof thence arose in service and benevolence; the immortal youths[18] and the holy cup-bearer[19] proffered unto them ruby wine. The intoxicating wine of divine knowledge and the cup of eternal wisdom caused such ecstasy and rapture[20] that they transcended the existence of self and all beings and gave their hearts to the beauty of the Beloved.[21]

For centuries and ages, with perfect joy and delight, they dwelt in that pleasant and spiritual realm and that sacred flower garden of the All-Merciful. Whereupon, the breezes and winds of divine tests and difficulties blew from the Sheba of the imperishable Cause. Thence, they busied themselves with the beauty of the cup-bearer and neglected the Immortal Countenance, inasmuch as they imagined the shadow to be the sun, and specters as light. They desired to rise to the exalted heights of the Greatest Name that they might soar in that realm and attain that seat and place. And as they rose, the divine assayers descended upon them with the sacred touchstone and the irresistible Command of God, and forbade admittance unto all, for they inhaled not the fragrance of the mystic Youth. Thus, that which was inscribed upon the Guarded Tablet[22] didst come to pass.

Therefore, O ye that dwell in the domain of divine love and ye that drink the wine of everlasting mercy! Barter not nearness unto the beauty of the Friend for both worlds. Turn not thy gaze away from His Countenance towards the countenance of the cup-bearer, and cast not thy heart from the wine of His knowledge and wisdom unto the dregs of ignorance and heedlessness. The lips are for the mention of the Beloved; defile them not with foul water. The heart is the abode of the immortal mysteries; busy it not with attention unto ephemeral things. Seek not the water of life from the embodiments of satanic fancy, but from the Kawthar[23] of the Beauty of the All-Glorious.

This lowly Youth, in the highest station of love, admonisheth the divine friends unto the wondrous verses of unity and the gems of wisdom of the Eternal King, that perhaps some soul, with courage and honor,[24] mightest arise and emerge from the robe of heedlessness and worldly desire, and, even as the beauty of the illumined Friend, become cleansed, resplendent and sanctified and wander in the land of love, detachment, affection, and loftiness. They should partake, at least, as much from the light of the resplendent brow and the advent of the manifest day so that they may become enabled to unite their outward and inward selves.

We traversed the loftiness of detachment,[25] the exaltation of divine unity, the great purification, and the most great consecration. Now must they make eloquent effort and exalted endeavor that the inward mysteries not oppose the outward deeds, nor the outward deeds turn away from the inward mysteries.

We traversed, expending Our life in the path of the Well-Beloved. Arise ye with justice and equity for the sake of your inner selves. Do ye purpose, in the end, to prefer the garment of greed and selfish desires to the attire of divine consecration? Wilst ye exchange the melody of the Nightingale of Eternity with the dissenting sound of mortality from the people of iniquity and hatred?! Wretched is that which ye exchange![25]

“Verily, we are God’s, and to Him shall we all return.”[26] God willing, We hope that the temples of immortal glory, adorned with the ornament of holiness and divine attributes, may become manifested as brilliant, ethereal, cleansed and pure as the everlasting sun. And verily, this is not difficult for God.[27]



Notes
    [1] Published in Athar-i-Qalam-i-A`lá Vol. 4, pp. 335-341; Ma`iydih-i-‘Asmaní Vol. 4, pp. 335-41. Of the circumstances of its revelation and its importance, Taherzadeh writes, in part:
    On the occasion of Naw-Rúz 1863, Bahá’u’lláh had pitched His tent in a field on the outskirts of Baghdád, known as the Mazra’iy-i-Vashshash--a place rented by His faithful brother Mírzá Músá. Bahá’u’lláh was celebrating this festival with a number of His companions, who were likewise living in tents in the open countryside. Outings at this time of year when the spring season had just begun and the weather was mild were extremely pleasant, and Bahá’u’lláh always enjoyed nature and beautiful scenery and loved to be in the country....
    On the fifth day of Naw-Rúz, the Lawh-i-Malláhu’l-Quds (Tablet of the Holy Mariner) was revealed. Mírzá Áqá Ján, Bahá’u’lláh’s amanuensis, emerged from the tent of Bahá’u’lláh, gathered the believers around him and chanted that mournful Tablet to them. Although during the last year of His sojourn in ‘Iráq He had, on several occasions, alluded to trials and tribulations which were to come, His companions had not felt previously such sadness as they did on that day.
    The theme of this Tablet is the story of the Covenant and man's unfaithfulness to it. Its message is applicable not only to the days of Bahá’u’lláh, but also to the ministries of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ and Shoghi Effendi, and indeed to the present time. Concerning this Tablet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ said: “Study the Tablet of the Holy Mariner that ye may know the truth, and consider that the Blessed Beauty hath fully foretold future events. Let them who perceive, take warning!” (British Bahá’í Prayers. These words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s are a preface to the Tablet).
    Not only did ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ ask the believers to study this Tablet during His own ministry, when the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh was being violated by the Covenant-breakers, but He urged them shortly before His passing to study it again. For He knew too well that there were a few among His followers who would violate the Covenant and rise up against Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Cause of God.
    The Tablet of the Holy Mariner is revealed in symbolic language. To appreciate it one must acquire for himself a knowledge of the spiritual verities enshrined within Bahá’u’lláh’s Writings and meditate upon His words. Although the allegorical terms Bahá’u’lláh has used in this Tablet assume various meanings, He has nonetheless manifestly foreshadowed coming events and conveyed some aspects of the Covenant. (Taken from, Taherzadeh, ’Adib. The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh. Vol. 1, pp. 228, 229-230.
    (MW’s note, based on the entry for this text in the Leiden List of the Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh)

    [2]Ajami” is an Arabic expression which refers to a “non-Arab” person, specifically a Persian (MG’s note).

    [3] “Iraqí” is also translated as “Arabian” in The Tablet of the Holy Mariner (Arabic) (MG’s note).

    [4]Fulk”; “ark, ship, vessel”; this word has no vowel points and I have translated it as the one with the same spelling and no vowel points in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner (Arabic). However, it is spelled the same as another word (FaLak) only with different vowel points, which means; “heaven, sphere, firmament” as in the Persian Hidden Words, no. 8, The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp. 62 & 186, and Chihár-Vádí (The Four Valleys), p. 1. In fact, both FaLak and Fulk are used in p. 62 of the Kitáb-i-Íqán but they are clearly marked with vowel points in the Persian print of the Kitáb-i-Íqán to distinguish between “heaven” and “Ark”, respectively (MG’s note).

    [5]safinih”; another word for “ark, ship, vessel” (MG’s note).

    [6]maráhil-i-tahdíd”; “manazel attahdíd”, “grades of worldly limitation”; The Tablet of the Holy Mariner (Arabic) (MG’s note).

    [7]bih yomn-i” “by the felicity of”, “by the blessing of” (MG’s note).

    [8]tajríd”; “detachment”; The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 33 (MG’s note).

    [9]sákin”; “dweller, dwelling”; The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 91. The understanding of this passage has been most difficult. Christopher Buck, in a recent article, has suggested that ism-i-sákin, translated here as “name that dwelt therein” should be rendered “Stagnant Name” and taken as a veiled allusion to Mírzá Yahyá. On this interpretation, Mírzá Yahyá seized control (sabaqat girift) of the Ark and diverted its course (majrá), and this action caused the vessel to be stilled. See Buck, Christopher. “A Symbolic Profile of the Bahá’í Faith”. The Journal of Bahá’í Studies, Vol. 8, no. 4 (Sept.-Dec., 1998) (MG’s note, expanded by MW)

    [10] The actual word in the text is “Qáf”: which in Persian mythology, literature, and mysticism “Kúh-i-Qáf” (Mount Qáf) or simply “Qáf” is the abode of the immortal Simorgh (phoenix); Shoghi Effendi translated it as “mount” in the Persian hidden words no. 1 (MG’s note).

    [11]jánán”; “Well-Beloved”; Persian Hidden Words, no. 1 (MG’s note).

    [12]kashti”; “ark”; another word for “ship, ark, vessel” (MG’s note).

    [13]manavy”; “mystic”; Persian Hidden Words , no. 16 (MG’s note).

    [14]par-i-maní goshodand”; is a an expression. See The Persian Hidden Words, no. 79 (MG’s note).

    [15]nafs va hawa'”; “self and passion”; The Tablet of the Holy Mariner (Arabic) (MG’s note).

    [16]makman”: “realm”; The Tablet of the Holy Mariner (Arabic).

    [17]hayákil”; “spirits”; The Tablet of the Holy Mariner (Arabic) (MG’s note).

    [18]gholámán”; “youths”; see “youth” in The Tablet of the Holy Mariner (Arabic) (MG’s note).

    [19]ghi”; “Cupbearer”; Persian Hidden Words, no. 59 (MG’s note).

    [20]Jazb va Valah”; “ecstacy and rapture”; The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 195 (MG’s note).

    [21]jamál-i-Dust”; “beauty of the Beloved”; Persian Hidden Words, no. 82 (MG’s note).

    [22]Lawh-i-Mahfuz”; “Guarded Tablet”; The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, 79, 97. The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 223 (MG’s note).

    [23]Kawthar”; The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 27. Also “the river of everlasting life”; Persian Hidden Words , no. 37 (MG’s note).

    [24]ghad-i-mard-i-va marda’negi alam nama’yad”; Persian colloquialism which literally means to erect one’s posture as if to stand tall and show manliness (i.e. to arise and show courage and honor in the face of a challenge) (MG’s note).

    [25] Compare to the Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 116 (MG’s note).

    [26] Qur’án: Al-Baqarah(2): 156 (2:151 in J.M. Rodwell translation) (MG’s note).

    [27] Compare to Qur’án: Ibrahim(14): 20. (MG’s note)
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