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Abstract:
First collection of "approved" translations, largely superseded by newer translations.
Notes:
Add or read comments or links pertaining to this work, and see a list of newer translations, at here.

Bahá'í Scriptures:
Selections from the Utterances of Bahá'u'lláh and ‘Abdu'l-Bahá

by Bahá'u'lláh and Abdu'l-Bahá

edited by Horace Holley.
Bahá'í World Center, 1923

NOTE: This is a collection of older translations, many of which have been superseded by newer translations

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Approved by Bahá’í Committee on Publications, 1923.
Second Edition

NEW YORK
BRENTANO’S Publishers

COPYRIGHT, 1923, BY BRENTANO’S, INC.
COPYRIGHT, 1928, BAHÁ’Í PUBLISHING COMMITTEE

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
J.J. LITTLE AND IVES COMPANY, NEW YORK

CONTENTS



Click here to jump to a specific page or to go to a specific selection number.


INTRODUCTION ....................................................... iii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND SOURCES ........................................ vii

PART ONE — THE GLORY OF GOD
(Words of Bahá’u’lláh)



CHAPTER ONE--INTERPRETATION OF HOLY BOOKS ............................ 1
CHAPTER TWO--THE GREAT MESSAGE ...................................... 67
CHAPTER THREE--THE NEW AGE ......................................... 137
CHAPTER FOUR--THE DEGREES OF DEVOTION .............................. 156
CHAPTER FIVE--THE INNER SIGNIFICANCES .............................. 189

CHAPTER SIX--THE COVENANT AND TESTAMENT OF BAHA’U’LLAH ............. 255

PART TWO — THE COVENANT OF GOD
(Words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’)



CHAPTER SEVEN--THE CAUSE OF GOD .................................... 265

CHAPTER EIGHT--THE LOOM OF REALITY ................................. 434
CHAPTER NINE--THE DIVINE CIVILIZATION .............................. 505
GLOSSARY ........................................................... 557 [not included]

INDEX .............................................................. 559 [not included]





Click on any of the numbers below to go directly to a selection number of Bahá'í Scriptures:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400 401 402 403 404 405 406 407 408 409 410 411 412 413 414 415 416 417 418 419 420 421 422 423 424 425 426 427 428 429 430 431 432 433 434 435 436 437 438 439 440 441 442 443 444 445 446 447 448 449 450 451 452 453 454 455 456 457 458 459 461 462 463 464 465 466 467 468 469 470 471 472 473 474 475 476 477 478 479 480 481 482 483 484 485 486 487 488 489 490 491 492 493 494 495 496 497 498 499 500 501 502 503 504 505 506 507 508 509 510 511 512 513 514 515 516 517 518 519 520 521 522 523 524 525 526 527 528 529 530 531 532 533 534 535 536 537 538 539 540 541 542 543 544 545 546 547 548 549 550 551 552 553 554 555 556 557 558 559 560 561 562 563 564 565 566 567 568 569 570 571 572 573 574 575 576 577 578 579 580 581 582 583 584 585 586 587 588 589 590 591 592 593 594 595 596 597 598 599 600 601 602 603 604 605 606 607 608 609 610 611 612 613 614 615 616 617 618 619 620 621 622 623 624 625 626 627 628 629 630 631 632 633 634 635 636 637 638 639 640 641 642 643 644 645 646 647 648 649 650 651 652 653 654 655 656 657 658 659 660 661 662 663 664 665 666 667 668 669 670 671 672 673 674 675 676 677 678 679 680 681 682 683 684 685 686 687 688 689 690 691 692 693 694 695 696 697 698 699 700 701 702 703 704 705 706 707 708 709 710 711 712 713 714 715 716 717 718 719 720 721 722 723 724 725 726 727 728 729 730 731 732 733 734 735 736 737 738 739 740 741 742 743 744 745 746 747 748 749 750 751 752 753 754 755 756 757 758 759 760 761 762 763 764 765 766 767 768 769 770 771 772 773 774 775 776 777 778 779 780 781 782 783 784 785 786 787 788 789 790 791 792 793 794 795 796 797 798 799 800 801 802 803 804 805 806 807 808 809 810 811 812 813 814 815 816 817 818 819 820 821 822 823 824 825 826 827 828 829 830 831 832 833 834 835 836 837 838 839 840 841 842 843 844 845 846 847 848 849 850 851 852 853 854 855 856 857 858 859 861 862 863 864 865 866 867 868 869 870 871 872 873 874 875 876 877 878 879 880 881 882 883 884 885 886 887 888 889 890 891 892 893 894 895 896 897 898 899 900 901 902 903 904 905 906 907 908 909 910 911 912 913 914 915 916 917 918 919 920 921 922 923 924 925 926 927 928 929 930 931 932 933 934 935 936 937 938 939 940 941 942 943 944 945 946 947 948 949 950 951 952 953 954 955 956 957 958 959 960 961 962 963 964 965 966 967 968 969 971 972 973 974 975 976 977 978 979 980 981 982 983 984 985 986 987 988 989 990 991 992 993 994



Click on any of the numbers below to go directly to a page of Bahá'í Scriptures:

iii vi vii viii ix x

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400 401 402 403 404 405 406 407 408 409 410 411 412 413 414 415 416 417 418 419 420 421 422 423 424 425 426 427 428 429 430 431 432 433 434 435 436 437 438 439 440 441 442 443 444 445 446 447 448 449 450 451 452 453 454 455 456 457 458 459 461 462 463 464 465 466 467 468 469 470 471 472 473 474 475 476 477 478 479 480 481 482 483 484 485 486 487 488 489 490 491 492 493 494 495 496 497 498 499 500 501 502 503 504 505 506 507 508 509 510 511 512 513 514 515 516 517 518 519 520 521 522 523 524 525 526 527 528 529 530 531 532 533 534 535 536 537 538 539 540 541 542 543 544 545 546 547 548 549 550 551 552 553 554 555





Editorial note: Transliteration of words in Bahá’í Scriptures

For this digital version, the following terms were changed from an outdated form to one reflecting typical transliterations found in modern Bahá’í works:
  • Akdas = Aqdas
  • Beha = Bahá
  • Bahá-El-Abhá! = Bahá’u’l-Abhá
  • Beyan = Bayán
  • El-Beyan = the Bayán
  • El-Masjid-El-Aska = the Masjíd
  • al-‘Aqsá = the Further Mosque in Jerusalem
  • Hosein = Husayn
  • Irak = ‘Iráq
  • Ishrakat = ‘Ishraqát
  • Kitáb’l’Akdas or Kitáb El Akdas or KITAB-EL-Aqdas = Kitáb-i-Aqdas
  • Kitáb-el-Ah’d = Kitáb-i-´Ahd
  • Kitáb-el-Ighan = Kitáb-i-Íqán
  • Koran = Qur’án
  • Kurrat-el-Ayn = Qurratu’l-Ayn
  • Muhammad = Muhammad
  • Ra’is = Súriy-i-Ra’ís
  • Rizwan = Ridván
  • Sadrat-El-Muntaha = Sadratu’l-Muntahá
  • Tajalliat = Tajallíyát
  • Teheran = Tihrán



INTRODUCTION



Since the occasion when mention of the Bahá’í Cause was first made in this country - at the Congress of Religions held in the Columbian Exposition in 1893 - interest in the Bahá’í principles and teachings has steadily increased. Sufficient foundation had been laid by 1912, when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ came to America, to prepare for His message a cordial, sympathetic and reverent reception in the liberal synagogues, churches, new thought centers, universities and societies organized for scientific, ethical, economic and political progress in numerous cities.

The succeeding years - so fateful for the destiny of civilization, so disturbing to every social institution and so challenging to the noblest and most disinterested faculties of soul, mind and heart - have served to deepen and extend that preliminary interest and build upon that foundation a permanent spiritual structure in many lives. The years since 1912, in fact, have thrown an ever-clearer light upon the need, in the world’s consciousness, for precisely those principles and teachings so perfectly embodied in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ and so definitely associated with His life and work.

To one who has acquainted himself with the Bahá’í writings, evidences of the penetration of their fundamental influence are revealed in increasing measure from day to day and throughout the world. The leaders of religion, science and practical affairs are beginning to manifest an attitude of universality and a spirit of unity which seems a direct reflection of the light ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ cast upon the manifold problems of living and the fundamental problem of life. Day by day, the realization deepens in all conscious men and women that, in this age, new forces are seeking expression - forces so mighty that the difference between understanding and misunderstanding is the immediate crisis between the alternatives of a new, worldwide and spiritualized civilization and a further, even more disastrous undoing of the things that are.

It is upon the plane of understanding that the power of the




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Bahá’í writings operates, in that are of being which lies beyond the personal desire, the personal thought, the personal will. Their operation is to restore in the individual, whatever his race, class, creed, profession or temperament, that eternal vision of the oneness of God whose evolving expression is directly the development of the soul, and indirectly the harmonious organization of mankind. Compared to other writings of this age, the Bahá’í Scriptures are as light compared to the reflection of light from surfaces more or less luminous or opaque. This essential quality of illumination, as distinct from the subject illuminated, and of vision, as distinct from the subject visioned, reveals anew the very sources of man’s spiritual being, and discloses, also, the predominant forces working to mold the character of the new day.

The purpose of the book is to bring together, in convenient form and helpful arrangement, that portion of the Bahá’í writings already available in various books, magazines and also manuscript translation, selecting from them sufficient material to supply the reader and student a larger perspective upon these principles and teachings than any single work has yet accomplished in the English language. While it is inevitable that most, if not all the Bahá’í writings will one day undergo re-translation, and be presented in a worthier and more permanent form than is possible at the present time, nevertheless the need of a suitable compilation now urgently exists, and it is hoped that the present work will at least serve as one link in the chain of effort whereby the Bahá’í writings are carried from their source in the “most great prison” of ‘Akká to the mind and heart of the self-imprisoned race.

In this country at least, the Bahá’í message of the unity of religions, the reconciliation of science and religion, and the promulgation of Universal Peace, is established upon a recognition of the fact that in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’, a new spirit of universality had manifested its vital, penetrative essence. Not so well understood is the fact that the root and source of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s utterances, the foundation of His being, attested on every possible occasion by Him, was entire devotion to the utterances and the being of His father, Bahá’u’lláh. This inner and spiritual relationship, likened by Bahá’u’lláh to that of the root and the “greatest branch” or trunk of a tree, is brought out in the present volume through the method adopted to organize its contents, not only by chapters




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but also by parts or “books”; the first book containing the words of Bahá’u’lláh - the Bahá’í Scriptures in essence - the second book containing the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ - the authoritative interpretation of the Bahá’í Scriptures and their direct application to the fundamental problems of the age. By this method the utterances of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ are established in clearest relationship to their source, and consequently their purpose; moreover the utterances of Bahá’u’lláh are established in relationship to all the Scriptures which have gone before: whose unfoldment, whose reinforcement they are.

While for the purpose of the student acquainting himself with the Bahá’í writings for the first time, an outline at least of the historical conditions under which they were successively revealed would seem highly desirable, even essential, to the fullest understanding of their significance and most intimate sympathy for their application, nevertheless it will be found that this need is met in the process of reading the Bahá’í message itself. Chapter Seven contains an address by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ which had for its theme the history of the Bahá’í Cause; and numerous references to that history will also be found in other passages. Moreover, inspiring as the actual record of those events are, the principal matter is not to realize the Bahá’í Scriptures as a detail in history so much as a source of light whereby history itself is illumined.

“How wonderful that the Well Beloved is manifest as the sun, while strangers are in search of vanities and wealth! Yea, He is concealed by the intensity of manifestation, and He is hidden by the ardor of emanation!”

HORACE HOLLEY
New York City
February 12, 1923






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Page ix


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND SOURCES



The present compilation has not been made with any thought of establishing a text, nor of even securing a polished and adequate English translation. From the literary point of view, the text embodied in this volume must be considered as a king in rags, since the Arabic and Persian originals are declared by all who have had access to them to be of the most exalted beauty and the most moving force.

On that sea, the editor has no power to sail. His effort has been entirely confined to the intention of re-creating, as fully as possible through the use of available texts, some sense of that organic unity from which all the Bahá’í writings came, and to place in the student’s hands a more fully organized Bahá’í work than has yet been published. In its sequence alone does the present volume contain the results of any particular study and accumulated labor.

For the most part, the contents have been taken from the publications of the Bahá’í Publishing Society, to the efforts of which we are indebted to the spread of these writings in America. As yet, few original Bahá’í writings have reached the public through any other channel, notable exceptions to which are Abbas Effendi, His Life and Teachings by Myron Phelps, published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, and A Traveller’s Narrative, Written to Illustrate the Episode of the Báb translated by Edward G. Browne, and published with the Persian original by the University Press, Cambridge, England. It is in this incomparable translation, in fact, that the English reader draws most closely to the spirit and power of the original utterance. The Tablet to the Sháh, contained in Chapter Two of the present compilation, shows on comparison with Professor Browne’s translation to have been based in part at least upon his exquisite rendering.

Tablets contained in Bahá’í Scriptures hitherto unpublished (so far at least as the editor is aware) are found in Chapters Two, Five and Eight, and for this material acknowledgment is made




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to the kindness of many friends who contributed manuscripts, especially Mrs. I.D. Brittingham, Mary Hanford Ford, A.W. Randall, Miss Martha Root and Miss Juliet Thompson.

For the omission of many fundamental teachings (or rather interpretations) given by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ to American audiences during 1912, explanation might well be called for were it not for the fact that the complete text of those addresses has been published since this compilation came into being.
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