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Hidden Words:
Training Course on

by Dianne Bradford

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Chapter 2

GOD'S LOVE FOR US AND OUR RELATIONSHIP TO HIM

One thing most of us know--in our hearts, even if sometimes not in our heads--is that the one thing which we can count on in this world, and indeed in every world, is God's love for us. Bahá'u'lláh makes this very clear to us in the following two Hidden Words, from the Arabic, #s 3 and 4 respectively. Listen to the love expressed in these two Hidden Words.

"O SON OF MAN! Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty."

"O SON OF MAN! I loved thy creation, hence I created thee. Wherefore, do thou love Me, that I may name thy name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life."

This love, however, must be reciprocated by us. Indeed, He tells us "If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee." The next three Hidden Words, from the Arabic, #s 5, 6, and 7 respectively, are all related to each other and bring out this need for us to love Him. In # 5, He says what we need to do, saying "Love Me, that I may love thee." In # 6, He tells us why this is so important, saying "Thy Paradise is My love;" and, finally, in # 7, He tells us how to do this, saying "If thou lovest Me, turn away from thyself".

"O SON OF BEING! Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant."

"O SON OF BEING! Thy Paradise is My love; thy heavenly home, reunion with Me. Enter therein and tarry not. This is that which hath been destined for thee in Our kingdom above and Our exalted dominion."

"O SON OF MAN! If thou lovest Me, turn away from thyself; and if thou seekest My pleasure, regard not thine own; that thou mayest die in Me and I may eternally live in thee."

Do we need any further urging or instruction? If so, let's turn to the next two Hidden Words in which Bahá'u'lláh tells us where to find His stronghold and the importance of abiding therein.

"O SON OF BEING! My love is My stronghold; he that entereth therein is safe and secure, and he that turneth away shall surely stray and perish." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A9.]

"O SON OF UTTERANCE! Thou art My stronghold; enter therein that thou mayest abide in safety. My love is in thee, know it, that thou mayest find Me near unto thee." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A10.]

Don't make the mistake of thinking that these two Hidden Words contradict each other simply because one says "My love is My stronghold" and the other says "Thou art My stronghold". Quite the contrary; notice how # A10 goes on to say "My love is in thee," which puts it in perfect agreement with # A9. Notice, too, how Bahá'u'lláh connects our "safety" with His "stronghold". In this uncertain world, aren't we all looking for some place where we CAN be "safe and secure," and here Bahá'u'lláh tells us all we need to know about that place of safety.

In Hidden Word # 19 from the Arabic, presented next, we can not only feel the love He holds for us, but He also gives an explanation of the direct relationship He has established with us.

"O SON OF THE WONDROUS VISION! I have breathed within thee a breath of My own Spirit, that thou mayest be My lover. Why hast thou forsaken Me and sought a beloved other than Me?"

In the next two Hidden Words, presented below, Bahá'u'lláh also tells of the relationship He has established with us, telling us that "My light is in thee" and "within thee have I placed the essence of My light." When we reflect this light which He has placed within us, we get a glimpse of and can reflect the beauty of God Himself.

"O SON OF BEING! Thou art My lamp and My light is in thee. Get thou from it thy radiance and seek none other than Me. For I have created thee rich and have bountifully shed My favor upon thee." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A11.]

"O SON OF BEING! With the hands of power I made thee and with the fingers of strength I created thee; and within thee have I placed the essence of My light. Be thou content with it and seek naught else, for My work is perfect and My command is binding. Question it not, nor have a doubt thereof." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A12.]

Can we really have any doubt that His "work is perfect"? In the next three Hidden Words, Bahá'u'lláh goes on to tell us even more of this relationship we have with Him built upon love.

"O SON OF SPIRIT! My claim on thee is great, it cannot be forgotten. My grace to thee is plenteous, it cannot be veiled. My love has made in thee its home, it cannot be concealed. My light is manifest to thee, it cannot be obscured." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A20.]

"O YE SONS OF SPIRIT! Ye are My treasury, for in you I have treasured the pearls of My mysteries and the gems of My knowledge. Guard them from the strangers amidst My servants and from the ungodly amongst My people." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A69.]

"O DWELLERS OF MY PARADISE! With the hands of loving-kindness I have planted in the holy garden of paradise the young tree of your love and friendship, and have watered it with the goodly showers of My tender grace; now that the hour of its fruiting is come, strive that it may be protected, and be not consumed with the flame of desire and passion." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P34.]

And how can we express this love we feel in return? The next few Hidden Words give us some guidance on this question.

"O SON OF BEING! Walk in My statutes for love of Me and deny thyself that which thou desirest if thou seekest My pleasure." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A38.]

"O SON OF MAN! Neglect not My commandments if thou lovest My beauty, and forget not My counsels if thou wouldst attain My good pleasure." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A39.]

"O SON OF MAN! For everything there is a sign. The sign of love is fortitude under My decree and patience under My trials." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A48.]

That last one particularly says how we can show our love, as He tells us outright what is "The sign of love". And how do we learn about love? The next Hidden Word gives us a clue about unraveling "the mysteries of love".

"O YE DWELLERS IN THE HIGHEST PARADISE! Proclaim unto the children of assurance that within the realms of holiness, nigh unto the celestial paradise, a new garden hath appeared, round which circle the denizens of the realm on high and the immortal dwellers of the exalted paradise. Strive, then, that ye may attain that station, that ye may unravel the mysteries of love from its wind-flowers and learn the secret of divine and consummate wisdom from its eternal fruits. Solaced are the eyes of them that enter and abide therein!" [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P18.]

In the next two Hidden Words, Bahá'u'lláh tells us not only of our relationship to Him, saying "Thy hearing is My hearing," and "Thy sight is My sight," but also of what our relationship should be with all of His servants saying, "Deny not My servant should he ask anything from thee". After all, if we do indeed strive to hear with His hearing and see with His sight, we should see all of His servants with the love that He sees them and can really understand it when Bahá'u'lláh says "for his face is My face;" it would be truly wonderful to develop the spiritual capacity to see Him in every face and respond accordingly.

"O SON OF THE THRONE! Thy hearing is My hearing, hear thou therewith. Thy sight is My sight, do thou see therewith, that in thine inmost soul thou mayest testify unto My exalted sanctity, and I within Myself may bear witness unto an exalted station for thee." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A44.]

"O SON OF MAN! Deny not My servant should he ask anything from thee, for his face is My face; be then abashed before Me." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A30.]

If all this seems extremely difficult, don't be discouraged. Bahá'u'lláh Himself tells us how difficult loving Him will be in Hidden Word # 66 from the Arabic, presented next. The following Hidden Word, # 67 from the Arabic, also gives a clue as to why we may have difficulty understanding.

"O CHILDREN OF THE DIVINE AND INVISIBLE ESSENCE! Ye shall be hindered from loving Me and souls shall be perturbed as they make mention of Me. For minds cannot grasp Me nor hearts contain Me." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A66.]

"O SON OF BEAUTY! By My spirit and by My favor! By My mercy and by My beauty! All that I have revealed unto thee with the tongue of power, and have written for thee with the pen of might, hath been in accordance with thy capacity and understanding, not with My state and the melody of My voice." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A67.]

However difficult this may be, though, He also gives us plenty of encouragement to reach out to Him and tells us of His gifts to us, as is shown in the following three Hidden Words.

"O SON OF MAN! Put thy hand into My bosom, that I may rise above thee, radiant and resplendent." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A60.]

"O SON OF MAN! My eternity is My creation, I have created it for thee. Make it the garment of thy temple. My unity is My handiwork; I have wrought it for thee; clothe thyself therewith, that thou mayest be to all eternity the revelation of My everlasting being." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A64.]

"O SON OF MAN! My majesty is My gift to thee, and My grandeur the token of My mercy unto thee. That which beseemeth Me none shall understand, nor can anyone recount. Verily, I have preserved it in My hidden storehouses and in the treasuries of My command, as a sign of My loving-kindness unto My servants and My mercy unto My people." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A65.]

In Hidden Word # 15 from the Arabic, presented next, Bahá'u'lláh tells us "Turn thy face unto Mine and renounce all save Me;" He then goes on to tell us why we should do this and of the futility of turning to anyone else. If you think about it, since Bahá'u'lláh is the perfect Mirror, a Manifestation of God, turning to Him is like turning to God Himself. To whom else but God should we turn, and what benefit could we possibly get from turning to anyone but God? In addition are presented two more Hidden Words in which we are told of our great need for Him.

"O SON OF UTTERANCE! Turn thy face unto Mine and renounce all save Me; for My sovereignty endureth and My dominion perisheth not. If thou seekest another than Me, yea, if thou searchest the universe for evermore, thy quest will be in vain." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A15.]

"O SON OF MAN! Wert thou to speed through the immensity of space and traverse the expanse of heaven, yet thou wouldst find no rest save in submission to Our command and humbleness before Our Face." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A40.]

"O SON OF MAN! Be thou content with Me and seek no other helper. For none but Me can ever suffice thee." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A17.]

Indeed, He lives in our hearts, if we would but prepare a place for Him. The next two Hidden Words show how our hearts are indeed His "home" and what we should "plant" in our hearts. To have Him so close as to be in our very hearts is surely worth a little effort to "cleanse" "sanctify" and "plant." Again, we are the ones who really benefit from this.

"O SON OF BEING! Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent. Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A59.]

"O FRIEND! In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love, and from the nightingale of affection and desire loosen not thy hold. Treasure the companionship of the righteous and eschew all fellowship with the ungodly." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P3.]

In the next two Hidden Words Bahá'u'lláh tells of His fears for us, and He reminds us that He will not be with us in this world forever.

"O MY CHILDREN! I fear lest, bereft of the melody of the dove of heaven, ye will sink back to the shades of utter loss, and, never having gazed upon the beauty of the rose, return to water and clay." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P13.]

"O SON OF SPIRIT! The time cometh, when the nightingale of holiness will no longer unfold the inner mysteries and ye will all be bereft of the celestial melody and of the voice from on high." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P15.]

In the following Hidden Words, Bahá'u'lláh reassures us about how close we actually are to "the celestial tree of love" and what we need to do.

"O SON OF LOVE! Thou art but one step away from the glorious heights above and from the celestial tree of love. Take thou one pace and with the next advance into the immortal realm and enter the pavilion of eternity. Give ear then to that which hath been revealed by the pen of glory." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P7.]

"O SON OF SPIRIT! Burst thy cage asunder, and even as the phoenix of love soar into the firmament of holiness. Renounce thyself and, filled with the spirit of mercy, abide in the realm of celestial sanctity." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P38.]

Finally, Hidden Word # 4 from the Persian is presented for your perusal. Here we learn even more about love as Bahá'u'lláh poses some very interesting and poignant questions and then proceeds to answer them.

"O SON OF JUSTICE! Whither can a lover go but to the land of his beloved? and what seeker findeth rest away from his heart's desire? To the true lover reunion is life, and separation is death. His breast is void of patience and his heart hath no peace. A myriad lives he would forsake to hasten to the abode of his beloved."

Suggested Topics for Discussion:

-- Discuss the significance of the two phrases "My love is My stronghold" in #A9 and "My love is in thee" in #A10
-- Discuss what it would be like to truly see with His sight and hear with His hearing as is mentioned in Hidden Word # A44
-- What can we do to sanctify our hearts for His descent

Suggested Prayer:
    My God, my Adored One, my King, my Desire! What tongue can voice my thanks to Thee? I was heedless, Thou didst awaken me. I had turned back from Thee, Thou didst graciously aid me to turn towards Thee. I was as one dead, Thou didst quicken me with the water of life. I was withered, Thou didst revive me with the heavenly stream of Thine utterance which hath flowed forth from the Pen of the All-Merciful.
    O Divine Providence! All existence is begotten by Thy bounty; deprive it not of the waters of Thy generosity, neither do Thou withhold it from the ocean of Thy mercy. I beseech Thee to aid and assist me at all times and under all conditions, and seek from the heaven of Thy grace Thine ancient favor. Thou art, in truth, the Lord of bounty, and the Sovereign of the kingdom of eternity. --Bahá'u'lláh [ Bahá'u'lláh, Bahá'í Prayers, 1991 ed., pp. 19-20.]

OUR RELATIONSHIP TO EACH OTHER

We all share this world with every other human being on this planet. Unfortunately, there is a tendency for some people to want to make themselves feel better about themselves by finding others which they think they can see as inferior to themselves, as unjust as this seems. In Hidden Word # 68 from the Arabic, Bahá'u'lláh makes it clear that this is not so, that we are all "created ... from the same dust" so "That no one should exalt himself over the other." Thus He makes the equality of our relationship with each other very clear, and instructs us to "Ponder" this "at all times".

"O CHILDREN OF MEN! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A68.]

In fact, as is shown in Hidden Word # 30 from the Arabic, presented next, Bahá'u'lláh tells us how we should view and react to His servants, saying: "his face is My face" and since we don't have the wisdom to justly determine who is and who is not His servant, it may be best to consider everyone as His servant, and act accordingly. Bahá'u'lláh says:

"O SON OF MAN! Deny not My servant should he ask anything from thee, for his face is My face; be then abashed before Me."

Bahá'u'lláh gives us further instruction on how we should act with each other and on what we should not do as is demonstrated in the next few Hidden Words. He says:

"O SON OF DUST! Verily I say unto thee: Of all men the most negligent is he that disputeth idly and seeketh to advance himself over his brother. Say, O brethren! Let deeds, not words, be your adorning." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P5.]

"O MY FRIENDS! Walk ye in the ways of the good pleasure of the Friend, and know that His pleasure is in the pleasure of His creatures. That is: no man should enter the house of his friend save at his friend's pleasure, nor lay hands upon his treasures nor prefer his own will to his friend's, and in no wise seek an advantage over him. Ponder this, ye that have insight!" [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P43.]

"O COMPANION OF MY THRONE! Hear no evil, and see no evil, abase not thyself, neither sigh and weep. Speak no evil, that thou mayest not hear it spoken unto thee, and magnify not the faults of others that thine own faults may not appear great; and wish not the abasement of anyone, that thine own abasement be not exposed. Live then the days of thy life, that are less than a fleeting moment, with thy mind stainless, thy heart unsullied, thy thoughts pure, and thy nature sanctified, so that, free and content, thou mayest put away this mortal frame, and repair unto the mystic paradise and abide in the eternal kingdom for evermore." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P44.]

"In the third of the most holy lines writ and recorded in the Ruby Tablet by the pen of the unseen this is revealed: O BRETHREN! Be forbearing one with another and set not your affections on things below. Pride not yourselves in your glory, and be not ashamed of abasement. By My beauty! I have created all things from dust, and to dust will I return them again." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P48.]

Bahá'u'lláh also makes it clear that we are to take care of each other, as is demonstrated in the next two Hidden Words presented, in which He speaks of the responsibility of the "rich" to care for the "poor".

"O CHILDREN OF DUST! Tell the rich of the midnight sighing of the poor, lest heedlessness lead them into the path of destruction, and deprive them of the Tree of Wealth. To give and to be generous are attributes of Mine; well is it with him that adorneth himself with My virtues." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P49.]

"O YE RICH ONES ON EARTH! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P54.]

In the next two Hidden Words presented, Bahá'u'lláh also tells us who we should seek out and who we should avoid in order to benefit ourselves--whose companionship we should "treasure" and whose we should "eschew"; who "increaseth sorrow," and who "cleanseth the rust from off the heart." He says:

"O MY SON! The company of the ungodly increaseth sorrow, whilst fellowship with the righteous cleanseth the rust from off the heart. He that seeketh to commune with God, let him betake himself to the companionship of His loved ones; and he that desireth to hearken unto the word of God, let him give ear to the words of His chosen ones." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P56.]

"O FRIEND! In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love, and from the nightingale of affection and desire loosen not thy hold. Treasure the companionship of the righteous and eschew all fellowship with the ungodly." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P3.]

In the next Hidden Word presented, # 69 from the Arabic, we are told "Ye are My treasury," which gives us all something to think about. If we keep this in mind, as well as truly "ponder" on how we are all created "from the same dust" as was stated previously in Hidden Word # 68 from the Arabic, maybe then we can look for and see God in every person we meet.

"O YE SONS OF SPIRIT! Ye are My treasury, for in you I have treasured the pearls of My mysteries and the gems of My knowledge. Guard them from the strangers amidst My servants and from the ungodly amongst My people."

Suggested Topics For Discussion:

--Discuss what it would mean "to be even as one soul," as is stated in Hidden Word # A68.
--Discuss the connection of "detachment" to how we are to view and treat each other.
--Discuss the importance Bahá'u'lláh places upon "deeds" when He mentions our relationship to each other, as in Hidden Words #s A68 & P5, for example.

Suggested Prayer:
    O my God! O my God! Unite the hearts of Thy servants, and reveal to them Thy great purpose. May they follow Thy commandments and abide in Thy law. Help them, O God, in their endeavor, and grant them strength to serve Thee. O God! Leave them not to themselves, but guide their steps by the light of Thy knowledge, and cheer their hearts by Thy love. Verily, Thou art their Helper and their Lord. --Bahá'u'lláh [Bahá'u'lláh, Bahá'í Prayers, 1991 ed., p. 204.]

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