Bahá'í Library Online
. . . .
.
>>   Personal pages Study Guides
> add tags

Hidden Words:
Training Course on

by Dianne Bradford

previous chapter chapter 5 start page single page chapter 7 next chapter

Chapter 6

CHOICES

Free will is one of God's most precious gifts to us. With it, we can choose to help others as well as our own spiritual growth through the choices which we make in this world. We can also choose to ignore the gifts we are given and, since God is the Self-Subsistent, we are the only ones who suffer from making the wrong choices. The following few Hidden Words well illustrates how we are given priceless gifts, yet it is we who choose other things for ourselves. Bahá'u'lláh says:

"O SON OF MAN! Upon the tree of effulgent glory I have hung for thee the choicest fruits, wherefore hast thou turned away and contented thyself with that which is less good? Return then unto that which is better for thee in the realm on high." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A21.]

"O SON OF SPIRIT! Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A22.]

"O SON OF THE SUPREME! To the eternal I call thee, yet thou dost seek that which perisheth. What hath made thee turn away from Our desire and seek thine own?" [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A23.]

"O MOVING FORM OF DUST! I desire communion with thee, but thou wouldst put no trust in Me. The sword of thy rebellion hath felled the tree of thy hope. At all times I am near unto thee, but thou art ever far from Me. Imperishable glory I have chosen for thee, yet boundless shame thou hast chosen for thyself. While there is yet time, return, and lose not thy chance." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P21.]

"O SON OF DESIRE! The learned and the wise have for long years striven and failed to attain the presence of the All-Glorious; they have spent their lives in search of Him, yet did not behold the beauty of His countenance. Thou without the least effort didst attain thy goal, and without search hast obtained the object of thy quest. Yet, notwithstanding, thou didst remain so wrapt in the veil of self, that thine eyes beheld not the beauty of the Beloved, nor did thy hand touch the hem of His robe. Ye that have eyes, behold and wonder." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P22.]

"O SON OF SPIRIT! I created thee rich, why dost thou bring thyself down to poverty? Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself? Out of the essence of knowledge I gave thee being, why seekest thou enlightenment from anyone beside Me? Out of the clay of love I molded thee, how dost thou busy thyself with another? Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A13.]

To provide some additional enlightenment on the meaning of that last Hidden Word, # 13 from the Arabic, next is presented a statement on this Hidden Word by the officially appointed Interpreter of all of Bahá'u'lláh's Writings, the Center of His Covenant, 'Abdu'l-Bahá. The following statement is attributed to Abdu'l-Bahá through a translation fo a letter to an individual made early in the twentieth century that was published in Star of the West.

'Thou hast asked about the statement in the Hidden Words, which reads: "O Son of Spirit! Turn thy face so that thou mayest find Me within thee, Powerful, Mighty and Supreme." This is the statement to which His Holiness the Christ, referred His apostles in the Gospel, saying, "The Father is in the Son, and the Son is in you."

This is evident that, when the hearts are purified and through divine education and heavenly teachings become the manifestors of infinite perfections, they are like clear mirrors, and the Sun of Truth will reflect with might, power and omnipotence in such a mirror, and to such an extent that whatever is brought before it is illumined and ignited. This is a brief interpretation because of the lack of time. Therefore, do thou reflect and ponder over it so that the doors of significance may be opened before thine eyes.' ['Abdu'l-Bahá, quoted in Star of the West, Vol. II, No. 7-8, pp. 11-12.]

Bahá'u'lláh also gives us some warnings about what can happen when we choose poorly, as is demonstrated in the next two Hidden Words presented. He warns us that we might "thirst for evermore" and "have turned away from the billowing seas of the Most High, and remained far from the most effulgent horizon." What a loss!

"O SON OF MAN! Divest not thyself of My beauteous robe, and forfeit not thy portion from My wondrous fountain, lest thou shouldst thirst for evermore." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A37.]

"O SON OF SPIRIT! The bird seeketh its nest; the nightingale the charm of the rose; whilst those birds, the hearts of men, content with transient dust, have strayed far from their eternal nest, and with eyes turned towards the slough of heedlessness are bereft of the glory of the divine presence. Alas! How strange and pitiful; for a mere cupful, they have turned away from the billowing seas of the Most High, and remained far from the most effulgent horizon." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P2.]

In the following Hidden Words Bahá'u'lláh also gives us some clues as to what we are doing wrong that we deprive ourselves of such wonderful gifts, especially in the form of "fancies and idle imaginings."

"O SON OF MAN! Many a day hath passed over thee whilst thou hast busied thyself with thy fancies and idle imaginings. How long art thou to slumber on thy bed? Lift up thy head from slumber, for the Sun hath risen to the zenith, haply it may shine upon thee with the light of beauty." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A62.]

"O SON OF BOUNTY! Out of the wastes of nothingness, with the clay of My command I made thee to appear, and have ordained for thy training every atom in existence and the essence of all created things. Thus, ere thou didst issue from thy mother's womb, I destined for thee two founts of gleaming milk, eyes to watch over thee, and hearts to love thee. Out of My loving-kindness, 'neath the shade of My mercy I nurtured thee, and guarded thee by the essence of My grace and favor. And My purpose in all this was that thou mightest attain My everlasting dominion and become worthy of My invisible bestowals. And yet heedless thou didst remain, and when fully grown, thou didst neglect all My bounties and occupied thyself with thine idle imaginings, in such wise that thou didst become wholly forgetful, and, turning away from the portals of the Friend didst abide within the courts of My enemy." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P29.]

If we want to escape the courts of His enemy, we had better look hard for those "portals" instead of becoming "forgetful" and turning away from them. Finally, in Hidden Word #79 from the Persian, Bahá'u'lláh makes it very clear that we can use the gifts He has given us for either good or ill, by giving us two examples: "wings" and the "comb". In these examples, He tells us the good use to which He had intended us to put them, uses that will indeed be to our benefit. He then mentions another possible use to which we can put them, uses which are to the detriment. The choice is ours.

"O SON OF DESIRE! How long wilt thou soar in the realms of desire? Wings have I bestowed upon thee, that thou mayest fly to the realms of mystic holiness and not the regions of satanic fancy. The comb, too, have I given thee that thou mayest dress My raven locks, and not lacerate My throat." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P79.]

Suggested Topics For Discussion:

-- Discuss how idle fancies and vain imaginings get in our way
-- Reflect and ponder on Hidden Word # A13 as 'Abdu'l-Bahá recommends at the end of His interpretation of it, which was already presented
-- Discuss the Divine bestowals which Bahá'u'lláh has mentioned in the Hidden Words presented in this section that are conferred upon us and how we can safeguard these bounties so that we make the most of them and not lose them

Suggested Prayer:
    O God, guide me, protect me, make of me a shining lamp and a brilliant star. Thou art the Mighty and the Powerful. --'Abdu'l-Bahá [ 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Bahá'í Prayers, 1991 ed., p. 37.]

VIRTUES:

WHAT WE NEED TO ACQUIRE AND WHAT WE NEED TO AVOID

One of the things we need to do in this world in order to prepare for the next world is to acquire virtues and perfections. The Hidden Words gives us many clues as to what are some of these virtues which we need to acquire. In fact, in Bahá'u'lláh's own Introduction to the Hidden Words, presented next, He tells us right out that one reason He has given us the Hidden Words and "clothed it in the garment of brevity," is so that "the righteous" may "in the realm of spirit obtain the gem of Divine virtue." He calls it a "gem"; can any of us really afford to refuse this precious gem?

"This is that which hath descended from the realm of glory, uttered by the tongue of power and might, and revealed unto the Prophets of old. We have taken the inner essence thereof and clothed it in the garment of brevity, as a token of grace unto the righteous, that they may stand faithful unto the Covenant of God, may fulfill in their lives His trust, and in the realm of spirit obtain the gem of Divine virtue."

And just what are some of these virtues we need to acquire? The following Hidden Words mention some of these virtues, such as "a pure, kindly and radiant heart," nobility, and "Justice".

"O SON OF SPIRIT! My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A1.]

"O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A2.]

"O SON OF SPIRIT! Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A22.]

Two very important virtues to acquire are to be giving and generous as Bahá'u'lláh makes very clear in Hidden Word # 49 from the Persian, emphasizing His point by telling us "well is it with him that adorneth himself with My virtues."

This can also act as a reminder to us that Bahá'u'lláh indeed possessed all virtues; therefore, we know where to look for guidance.

"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."

Some of the vices which we need to avoid are mentioned next in the following Hidden Words, vices such as "envy", "vainglory," and "haughtiness." Indeed, envy is mentioned in two separate Hidden Words, with the warnings that it prevents us from attaining His "everlasting dominion," and by telling us that it is "innocent of envy," that we may "enter the divine court of holiness."

"O SON OF EARTH! Know, verily, the heart wherein the least remnant of envy yet lingers, shall never attain My everlasting dominion, nor inhale the sweet savors of holiness breathing from My kingdom of sanctity." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P6.]

"O MY SERVANT! Purge thy heart from malice and, innocent of envy, enter the divine court of holiness." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P42.]

"O CHILDREN OF DESIRE! Put away the garment of vainglory, and divest yourselves of the attire of haughtiness." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P47.]

As the following Hidden Word, # 27 from the Arabic shows, we must be careful about finding fault with others as we are told in no uncertain terms: "Breathe not the sins of others".

"O SON OF MAN! Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner. Shouldst thou transgress this command, accursed wouldst thou be, and to this I bear witness."

The following Hidden Word, # 77 from the Persian, among other things, indicates how important are "faithfulness" and "fidelity."

'O SON OF JUSTICE! In the night-season the beauty of the immortal Being hath repaired from the emerald height of fidelity unto the Sadratu'l-Muntahá, and wept with such a weeping that the concourse on high and the dwellers of the realms above wailed at His lamenting. Whereupon there was asked, Why the wailing and weeping? He made reply: As bidden I waited expectant upon the hill of faithfulness, yet inhaled not from them that dwell on earth the fragrance of fidelity. Then summoned to return I beheld, and lo! certain doves of holiness were sore tried within the claws of the dogs of earth. Thereupon the Maid of heaven hastened forth unveiled and resplendent from Her mystic mansion, and asked of their names, and all were told but one. And when urged, the first letter thereof was uttered, whereupon the dwellers of the celestial chambers rushed forth out of their habitation of glory. And whilst the second letter was pronounced they fell down, one and all, upon the dust. At that moment a voice was heard from the inmost shrine: "Thus far and no farther." Verily We bear witness to that which they have done and now are doing.''

The next two Hidden Words gives us more information on what we need to do and how we need to be. We are told to "Humble" ourselves and to be "filled with the spirit of mercy," and He tells us what benefits we can expect by doing so.

"O SON OF MAN! Humble thyself before Me, that I may graciously visit thee. Arise for the triumph of My cause, that while yet on earth thou mayest obtain the victory." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. A42.]

"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.]

In the next Hidden Word, # 50 from the Persian, we are told what to "put away" and what to "seek" and why.

"O QUINTESSENCE OF PASSION! Put away all covetousness and seek contentment; for the covetous hath ever been deprived, and the contented hath ever been loved and praised."

In the following two Hidden Words, Bahá'u'lláh mentions the importance of "detachment" and again mentions the heart telling us to "plant naught but the rose of love" therein.

"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.]

"O SON OF PASSION! Cleanse thyself from the defilement of riches and in perfect peace advance into the realm of poverty; that from the well-spring of detachment thou mayest quaff the wine of immortal life." [Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words, No. P55.]

Suggested Topics for Discussion:

-- Discuss the benefits that are obtained for us and others in this world when we work hard at acquiring these virtues.
-- Discuss the importance of acquiring these virtues out of love for God rather than fear of Him.
-- Discuss what this "cage" may be that we are to "burst asunder" mentioned in Hidden Word # 38 from the Persian.

Suggested Prayer:
    O my God! O my God! Verily, these servants are turning to Thee, supplicating Thy kingdom of mercy. Verily, they are attracted by Thy holiness and set aglow with the fire of Thy love, seeking confirmation from Thy wondrous kingdom, and hoping for attainment in Thy heavenly realm. Verily, they long for the descent of Thy bestowal, desiring illumination from the Sun of Reality. O Lord! Make them radiant lamps, merciful signs, fruitful trees and shining stars. May they come forth in Thy service and be connected with Thee by the bonds and ties of Thy love, longing for the lights of Thy favor. O Lord! Make them signs of guidance, standards of Thine immortal kingdom, waves of the sea of Thy mercy, mirrors of the light of Thy majesty.
    Verily, Thou art the Generous. Verily, Thou art the Merciful. Verily, Thou art the Precious, the Beloved. --'Abdu'l-Bahá ['Abdu'l-Bahá, Bahá'í Prayers, 1991 ed., pp. 112-113.]

previous chapter chapter 5 start page single page chapter 7 next chapter
Back to:   Personal pages Study Guides
Home Site Map Forum Links Copyright About Contact
.
. .