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A Statement on Bahá'u'lláh

by Bahá'í International Community

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Chapter 13

"Not of Mine Own Volition"

In His letter to Násiri'd-Dín Sháh, the ruler of Persia, which refrains from any rebuke concerning His imprisonment in the Síyáh-Chál and the other injustices He had experienced at the king's hand, Bahá'u'lláh speaks of His own role in the Divine Plan:

I was but a man like others, asleep upon My couch, when lo, the breezes of the All-Glorious were wafted over Me, and taught Me the knowledge of all that hath been. This thing is not from Me, but from One Who is Almighty and All-Knowing. And He bade Me lift up My voice between earth and heaven, and for this there befell Me what hath caused the tears of every man of understanding to flow. The learning current amongst men I studied not; their schools I entered not. Ask of the city wherein I dwelt, that thou mayest be well assured that I am not of them who speak falsely.98

The mission to which He had devoted His entire life, which had cost Him the life of a cherished younger son,99 as well as all of His material, possessions which had undermined His health, and brought imprisonment, exile, and abuse, was not one that He had initiated. "Not of Mine own volition," He said, had He entered on such a course:

Think ye, O people, that I hold within My grasp the control of God's ultimate Will and Purpose?... Had the ultimate destiny of God's Faith been in Mine hands, I would have never consented, even though for one moment, to manifest Myself unto you, nor would I have allowed one word to fall from My lips. Of this God Himself is, verily, a witness.100

Having surrendered unreservedly to God's summons, He was equally in no doubt about the role which He had been called upon to play in human history. As the Manifestation of God to the age of fulfillment, He is the one promised in all the scriptures of the past, the "Desire of all nations," the "King of Glory." To Judaism He is "Lord of Hosts"; to Christianity, the Return of Christ in the glory of the Father; to Islam, the "Great Announcement"; to Buddhism, the Maitreya Buddha; to Hinduism, the new incarnation of Krishna; to Zoroastrianism, the advent of "Shah-Bahram."101

Like the Manifestations of God gone before Him, He is both the Voice of God and its human channel: "When I contemplate, O my God, the relationship that bindeth me to Thee, I am moved to proclaim to all created things ‘verily I am God!'; and when I consider my own self, lo, I find it coarser than clay!"102

"Certain ones among you," He declared, "have said: ‘He it is Who hath laid claim to be God.' By God! This is a gross calumny. I am but a servant of God Who hath believed in Him and in His signs... My tongue, and My heart, and My inner and My outer being testify that there is no God but Him, that all others have been created by His behest, and been fashioned through the operation of His Will.... I am He that telleth abroad the favors with which God hath, through His bounty, favored Me. If this be My transgression, then I am truly the first of the transgressors...."103

Bahá'u'lláh's writings seize upon a host of metaphors in their attempt to express the paradox that lies at the heart of the phenomenon of God's Revelation of His Will:

I am the royal Falcon on the arm of the Almighty. I unfold the drooping wings of every broken bird and start it on its flight.104

This is but a leaf which the winds of the will of thy Lord, the Almighty, the All-Praised, have stirred. Can it be still when the tempestuous winds are blowing? Nay, by Him Who is the Lord of all Names and Attributes! They move it as they list....105

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