Tablet of the Holy Mariner

FJR
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Tablet of the Holy Mariner

Postby FJR » Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:11 am

Allah' u 'abha friends,

I was recently studying the Tablet of the Holy Mariner and was greatly shaken and somewhat troubled by what I read and interpreted from it. It is a prayer endowed with a special significance, and I have a deep respect and fascination with it. When I referenced the Baha'i library's study on the Tablet, I found that the last section, referring to the handmaiden of the maid of heaven, remains uninterpreted. To me, this is the most powerful and unsettling portion of the tablet, and I was so moved by emotion while reading it that I arrived at conclusions, and interpretations that I hope are drastic overreactions. I feel that is probably the case, as this is not the first time that has happened.

Perhaps other people have studied this tablet and can shed some light on this final portion of it? I would greatly appreciate any input or guidance on this subject.
"Love me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest me not, my love can in no wise reach thee. Know this O servant." -The Baha'i Faith

BritishBahai
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Re: Tablet of the Holy Mariner

Postby BritishBahai » Fri Nov 21, 2008 7:58 pm

FJR wrote:Allah' u 'abha friends,

I was recently studying the Tablet of the Holy Mariner and was greatly shaken and somewhat troubled by what I read and interpreted from it. It is a prayer endowed with a special significance, and I have a deep respect and fascination with it. When I referenced the Baha'i library's study on the Tablet, I found that the last section, referring to the handmaiden of the maid of heaven, remains uninterpreted. To me, this is the most powerful and unsettling portion of the tablet, and I was so moved by emotion while reading it that I arrived at conclusions, and interpretations that I hope are drastic overreactions. I feel that is probably the case, as this is not the first time that has happened.

Perhaps other people have studied this tablet and can shed some light on this final portion of it? I would greatly appreciate any input or guidance on this subject.
??? ... :-s But there's a full translation of this in Persian. Its a "provisional" translation.
Go to http://bahai-library.com/study/mariner/holymariner.html (the same page you linked to) and scroll all the way to the bottom. Click on "Tablet of the Holy Mariner from the Persian (a provisional translation). "
"I have desired only what Thou didst desire, and love only what Thou dost love"

FJR
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Re: Tablet of the Holy Mariner

Postby FJR » Sat Nov 22, 2008 2:53 am

Thank you for that link! I was under the impression that there was a whole other section to the tablet which remained untranslated, but I may have been mistaken, and perhaps it was simply the Persian tablet which remained unknown to me. The Persian writing is indeed largely different in language, but carries the same theme that unsettled me when I was reading the writing the other night.

I was unsettled by the theme in the handmaiden of the maid of heaven, which was not fully explained in the bahai-library site (that's why I said uninterpreted). This comes after the theme earlier where those who once soared to heights of paradise, became overly ambitious and sought the station of closeness to God for which they had not been ordained, and thus they were cast out.

The handmaiden portion comes almost as a prediction, according to the bahai-library, that there will be a prophet, referred to as the Youth. The Youth can be a reference to the Bab, Baha'u'llah, Abdul Baha, or someone yet to be revealed. What really shook me was this portion of the Tablet.

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. -Tablet of the Holy Mariner


This shook me largely because it is referencing eternity. This is something that is unchangeable in a time that has no beginning or end, it is constant. The handmaiden seeks to find faithfulness to the Youth, whose fragrance is needed to gain admittance into the highest realms of heaven, but it is not there. She finds not in men, what she expected to find.

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." -Tablet of the Holy Mariner


She then retreats and falls into great sorrow, saying that in Eternity she finds that men are not faithful to what hath been revealed. The youth remains alone.

This could be a reference to Baha'u'llah, the Bab, or Abdul Baha, but it shakes me that the handmaiden is saying through ALL eternity, the hearts of men are not faithful to what hath been revealed by God. I almost get the sentiment that it's saying ultimately, mankind will fail in it's quest to know and love God, although I do not know if that conflicts with other writings.

I'm not an expert in interpretation, and I see that the handmaiden reaches this conclusion because she finds not what she DESIRES, which can mean that she expected faithfulness to be demonstrated in a different manner. Regardless, I have these questions and did not know where else to turn.

The Persian Tablet of the Holy Mariner hits on this theme in it's provisional translation as well...
"In the end, however, you prefer the cloak of carnal longing and desire to the
robe of divine benediction, and you exchange the song of the nightingale of
immortality for the disagreeable croaking of death that issues from the throats
of the hateful and rebellious. How miserable a trade you make!We are from God
and to him do we return. God willing, we maintain the hope that the immortal
temples of glory shall, through the adornment of holiness and the divine
attributes, appear illumined, gentle, pure and undefiled like the eternal sun.
This is not difficult for God."- The Persian Tablet of the Holy Mariner (provisional translation)
"Love me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest me not, my love can in no wise reach thee. Know this O servant." -The Baha'i Faith

brettz9
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Re: Tablet of the Holy Mariner

Postby brettz9 » Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:50 pm

I find God Passes By a helpful first stop for finding out background on Tablets. For example, there is this:

...the "Tablet of the Holy Mariner," in which Bahá'u'lláh prophesies the severe afflictions that are to befall Him; the "Lawh-i-Huríyyih" (Tablet of the Maiden), in which events of a far remoter future are foreshadowed;...and a host of other writings, in the form of epistles, odes, homilies, specific Tablets, commentaries and prayers, contributed, each in its own way, to swell the "rivers of everlasting life" which poured forth from the "Abode of Peace" and lent a mighty impetus to the expansion of the Báb's Faith in both Persia and `Iráq, quickening the souls and transforming the character of its adherents.

(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, pp. 140-141)


There is also the Hidden Word which bears some similarities:

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.

(Baha'u'llah Hidden Words, Persian, no. 77 )


And this Hidden Word also has several authoritative interpretations related to it.

best wishes,
Brett

Daryavahush
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Re: Tablet of the Holy Mariner

Postby Daryavahush » Sun Oct 18, 2009 10:29 pm

The Tablet of the Holy Mariner is such an interesting work filled with so many mysteries

Does anyone know who the "Arabian Youth" is, referenced in the Tablet? Could it be the Bab who is, according to the Baha'i writings, the reincarnation of the Arabian Qa'im?

Also, I read here: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=7028

, that the literal translation of the opening line is "He is the ajam (non-Arab), the Persian, the Iraqi". If this is true (I cannot read Arabic, so I don't know how true this is) then does anyone know why the youth is referred to as the "Arabian Youth" in the English translation?

This is very interesting.

brettz9
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Re: Tablet of the Holy Mariner

Postby brettz9 » Sun Dec 27, 2009 11:13 am

Hello and welcome Daryavahush!

As I said to Jamal, our apologies for the delayed approval of your post. Just found there was a little bit of a backlog...Future posts by you (and the others whose posts we approved) should go through without problem any more...

The Arabian Youth is a reference to Baha'u'llah. See http://www.bahai9.com/wiki/Tablet_of_the_Holy_Mariner from some quotations on the topic.

I think the issue with the translation is simply that Shoghi Effendi has simplified the phrasing for English-readers, by using "Arabian" as a general term for the region, not to imply He is, of Arab extraction (though perhaps His having Semitic ancestry (from Keturah, the third wife of Abraham) could make this true too, though He apparently was not emphasizing this in the original context). Iraq is often considered a part of the Arab world, the country to which the original text also apparently refers (according to the link you supplied). "Arabian" also sounds more poetic and generic to a Western reader than would have "Arab" or "Persian", I think.

If your next question is about how Baha'u'llah's ancestors may herald from Iraq, I don't know.

best wishes,
Brett


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