Two Shall Appear
TO BAHIYYIH KHANUM
(Action takes place in Persia, early in the nineteenth century)
Library in the home of an eminent scientist, located near a park in New York City. Through the open window may be heard the shouts of an excited populace, mingling with the roar of traffic, the drone of aeroplanes, and general confusion. The Woman in conversation with the Traveler who is studying the scene below through an open window. Time, the present.
Woman: (Agitated) What are they doing now?
Traveler: Listening to a speech by one of their leaders.
Woman: Really, this world is no longer a happy place to live in. On all sides hardships! Frustrations! Strikes! Wad Revolution! And we prate of peace and unity!
Traveler: But that's the promise! If we survive this era of chaos we shall see this world as a new world-a veritable Paradise!
Woman: How refreshing! At this moment it seems as if old satan had run amuck! (As if struck with an idea). Doesn't religion teach that in the last days satan will rule the world?
Traveler: And who is this satan?
Woman: Why-er-satan is an evil spirit-the wicked one-whom God allows dominion for a time!
Traveler: Satan is an imaginary being! His existence is quite unnecessary to explain away human depravity. We know that in human nature there is selfishness, greed, violence and hatred, but these imperfections are natural to man; it didn't take a satan to generate them! The concept of satan is childish. It was originated and fostered by immature religious leaders.
Woman: (Listening in amazed silence-bursts into laughter) That sounds reasonable at least.
Scientist: (Entering) Aha, the world traveler has returned!
Traveler: (Shaking hands) Mighty glad to be back. Have you found a remedy for the troubles in the human family?
Scientist: Not yet! Perhaps you have a new angle?
Traveler: What the world needs is a Spiritual Leader-a Messiah.
Scientist: People are too amazed at their own intelligence for that. They would either ridicule or crucify Him.
Traveler: Ii it hadn't been for the influence of the Prophets, man never would have progressed beyond the stone age. Such leaders are endowed with power to create a new World Spirit-a new consciousness.
Scientist: But religion has ceased to impress. Its record is so discouraging. Aren't all religious peoples polytheistic today? Some races worship idols and we think they re abominable; we worship creations of our own imagination-which is worse?
Traveler: That is because the teachings of pure religion have been perverted by ambitious leaders. Moses and Jesus created new civilizations. What were the Arabs before Muhammad educated and united them? Barbarians. In the short time that Muhammad's teachings remained unperverted His followers built a marvelous civilization.
Scientist: Aha, but we've been taught that Muhammad was a false prophet!
Traveler: Could a false prophet have founded Islam? Islam-with the spirit that revived the arts of Greece, established a great scientific era and founded institutions of learning in great cities of the world? And what was Muhammad's secret? A new concept of God.
Scientist: But Islam is as impotent today as all the rest of them.
Traveler: Because its teachings-like all the rest of them-have been ritualized, dogmatize and theologized. If the former prophets were to speak they would simply say that the true meaning of their words has been lost. (Clamor outside interrupts the conversation).
Woman: (Going to window). But coming back to the problem of today. The people are confused and deluded by their leaders.
Traveler: Man is conceited. It's taken all sorts of chastisement to eradicate his ego. Is he grateful for his God-given powers? Certainly not. Now the minds of great ones are bewildered; but if a true leader-a Messiah should arise and command them to follow him-imagine what would happen!
Scientist: I can imagine; they would probably ask for a miracle! (Laughter).
Traveler: As a proof of His authority! As if the mission of a Messiah were an exhibition of magic!
Woman: How would a Messiah appear-suddenly?
Traveler: Well, it would be startling, wouldn't it? When such a Personage has taken command of the affairs of the world man's ordered life has been revolutionized.
Woman: Perhaps the Messiah has already come. Doesn't it say that "He will come like a thief in the night," and that we must "watch?"
Traveler: (Smiling) Well-did you?
Woman: (Shaking her head) I thought of it-in a vague way. But it seemed too mighty a thing to anticipate in my lifetime.
Traveler: The prophecies of every Holy Book agree that this is the time of the end-the great Resurrection-the Era of Righteousness-"the hour of unity of the sons of men and of the drawing together of all races and all classes!"
Woman: (Perturbed) How will you recognize Him? There are many claiming Revelation!
Traveler: Examine His life and teachings. If He is able to influence the consciousness of mankind-to revive the moral spirit in the world-follow Him. He will create a new world. Who else is able to do this?
Scientist: I don't see how the mass of humanity can benefit from a new spiritual doctrine without a catastrophe that will uproot all outworn beliefs and superstitions and sweep them away like rubbish.
Traveler: A catastrophe might have been avoided. The people of the world have been warned. I believe that the Messiah has come. What else could have been the source of that power which has hurled into activity every region of the earth? Whence came the spirit that has made the achievements of the past century greater than that of all previous ages? Nothing less than the return of that Celestial Phenomenon-the Holy Spirit!
Scientist: Civilization is indeed in the process of reformation. There is no denying that there is a new Spirit abroad in the world and that a new civilization is emerging. How it will ultimately develop we cannot foresee-but I'm all for it!
Traveler: A new civilization cannot be achieved without an "organic change in the structure of present day society-a change such as the world has not yet experienced. It will require the reconstruction and demilitarization of the whole civilized world. A world which will then become organically unified in its political machinery, its spiritual aspirations, its trade and finance, its script and language and yet infinite in the diversity of the national characteristics of its federated units."
Scientist: (Whistling softly) And what of our "long-cherished ideals and time-honored institutions?"
Traveler: (Pausing till clamor subsides). "If they have ceased to promote the welfare of mankind, if they no longer administer to the needs of a continually evolving humanity, let them be swept away. Why should these be exempt from the change and decay that must overtake every human institution? Legal standards, political and economic theories are solely designed to safeguard the interests of humanity as a whole and not humanity to be crucified for the preservation of the integrity of any particular law or doctrine."
Scientist: All I can say is that if barbarians could become the leaders of the world because of a new concept of God, surely we might parallel their achievements, if moved by such an impulse.
Traveler: Not yet! Not until "a fiery ordeal has implanted that sense of responsibility which the leaders of a new-born age must arise to shoulder," will the people of the world regain the spark that is vital, the thing that is absolutely indispensable to a unified world-reverance for God and love for each other.
'The Goal of a New World Order by Shoghi Effendi, pp. 22, 23, 26).
ACT I SCENE I Karbila, a city in the Orient, early in the 19th century. Home of a great religious Teacher; an aged man, Apostle of the New Day and his disciple.
Ahmad: (The Apostle, aglow with zeal and conscious of the sublimity of his calling) O my friend! Observe how those who profess the Faith have shattered its unity, perverted its purpose, degraded its holy name. A period in human history so steeped in falsity that it has no longer the consciousness of being false. Nothing but the birth of a new consciousness can achieve the regeneration of this perverse people.
Kazim: Beloved Teacher; for forty years you have been reminding the people that when the spiritual life becomes degenerated, a prophet appears-an Abraham! a Jesus! a Muhammad! With few to understand Him and none to share His responsibility He arises to proclaim His Message. A thousand years Islam has prayed for this Blessed One-all the peoples of the world have expected Him! And yet, when He comes-will they hear Him?
Ahmad: How can these godless people bear the truth which only the chosen may endure? How pitiful is their plight! (With prophetic intonation) "Verily, we proposed to the heavens and to the earth and to the mountains, to receive the trust of God, but they refused the burden-and they feared to receive it. Man undertook to bear it, and he, verily, hath proved unjust, ignorant! " Merciful God! In this-the time of maturity of mankind, you alone, of the multitude around me have understood the truth of my teachings. I have singled you out to carry on my work.
Kazim: (Overwhelmed) God is great! Beloved Teacher, when I was a boy of twelve, one night in a dream a saintly figure appeared and directed me to seek one who had arisen to proclaim the coming of a new Revelation! From Gilan I have come, forsaking all, to attain this meeting!
Ahmad: I welcome you, O my friend! How long and how eagerly I have waited for you to come! (Prophetically). The Hour is near. Fierce will be the onslaught of the people of the earth against it. Neither of us is capable of withstanding its sweeping force. Others of greater endurance and power have been destined to bear its stupendous weight. Men whose hearts are severed from all earthly things-whose trust lies wholly in God.
Kazim: Master! How long must I submit to this stubborn and ignorant people? -11-
Ahmad: Be not grieved at their doings. Verily, I say--after the martyrdom of that saintly Youth who is to herald the dawn of Promised Age, death shall smite the earth! Then will the Promised One arise with Divine Justice. All things will be revived through Him. The earth will bloom as a Paradise! How mighty will be His Dispensation! For I say unto you, one goodly deed performed in His Day will equal the pious worship of countless centuries!
Kazim: I beseech God that this Treasure-now veiled from mortal eyes-may be preserved and cherished by my countrymen)
(They remain silent in contemplation. Suddenly at the sound of the adhan both men prostrate themselves.)
Ahmad: (Rising) My journey is towards Khurasan Thence towards the Holy City!
Kazim: Master, permit me to serve you on this journey!
Ahmad: Nay! You have no time to lose. Every fleeting hour should be wisely used!
Kazim: What dangers have beset your path) What a crushing responsibility is mine!
Ahmad: Be assured of the grace of your God! Verily, I say, you will live to gaze upon His Face! Many of the faithful among your disciples shall shed their blood in His path! How great-how very great is His Cause! How exalted the station to which you are summoned! Trust in God! I can say no more-I can appoint no time.
(Raising his hands in supplication and gazing heavenward) O, that the people of this city would recognize His beauty and declare it to the nations! (Embracing Kazim) I commit you to the care of God! (exit).
Library in the house of Kazim, Apostle of the New Day, Karbila, 1843. Present Kazim and a number of his disciples.
Kazim: (Holding in his hand a letter) The mission of our illustrious Husayn has been successful. Through his able arguments the most distinguished divine of Isfahan has become our friend.
A disciple: Master, you have so often praised Husayn that we wonder if he may be that Promised One?
Kazim: (Suddenly aglow) No! He whose coming we await will not be versed in the learning of men! His knowledge will not be derived from earthly teachers but from God.
A disciple: Master, you have declared Him to be a descendant of the Prophet-of noble lineage. Then might not He be yourself?
Kazim: (In amazement) God forbid! He is young in age. He is one of unsurpassed holiness-His Revelation of tremendous power! My knowledge is but a drop compared with the ocean of His knowledge, my attainments as nothing compared with His majesty and power. Nay, immeasurable is the difference. (Suddenly) You shall behold Him with your own eyes, yet know Him not.
A disciple: Beloved Master, tell us again of the signs by which we may know Him.
Kazim: Among the signs are these:-The upholders of His Faith shall be of the people of this land. Most of His enemies shall be the clergy. But the most great sign will be His Revelation and His arguments. As to the prophecies. All of the Holy Books have spoken of this Day. The Zoroastrians are awaiting the coming of two Manifestations; in the Old Testament there is the promise of Elijah and Messiah; in the New Testament they are expecting the Father and the second coming of Christ; in the Qur'an it is the Mihdi and Christ. When the disciple of Christ questioned Him as to when the "Spirit of Truth" would come again, He reminded them of the prophecy of Daniel, which gives the coming year-1844 A disciple: Why do you not announce His name and identify His Person?
Kazim: O my beloved friends! Consider how Jesus was reviled and crucified; how Muhammad was afflicted, so that He cried in His agony "No prophet has been persecuted as I have." So great is the perversity of this generation that if I were to point with my finger to the Promised One and say, "He is indeed the Beloved of the worlds"-they would slay Him. "Not one single Manifestation of Holiness hath appeared but He was afflicted by the denials, the repudiation, the vehement opposition of the people around him. The Prophets of God, throughout all ages have been subject to such heinous cruelties that no pen dares describe them. To verify this truth, refer to what has been recorded in every sacred Book."
A disciple: What could have been the motive for such cruelties?
Kazim: Such deeds are caused by the faithlessness of the clergy and scholars of the age "who worship no God but their own desire; who bear allegiance to naught but gold. who are wrapt in the densest veils of learning. Will ye not be warned? They refuse to acknowledge the commands of God and in the wrath of their rebellion they seek to exterminate even that which reminds them of their iniquity. By their sanction and authority every one of these True Monarchs of the world has been persecuted."
A disciple: God deliver us from such perversity)
Kazim: O my beloved companions) Beware, , lest after my death the world's fleeting vanities beguile you!
Disciples: (Severally, perceiving that the Master is preparing them for His departure from this world) God forbid! O beloved Master!
Kazim: (With profound emotion) Would you not wish me to die that the True One may be revealed? O my friends-I exhort you to renounce all comforts, all possessions, kindred-to scatter far and wide-to never relax till you have found Him who is concealed behind the veils of glory! He will graciously aid you to recognize Him. I pray God to assist you and to lead you to your high destiny!
The Iqan by Bahá'u'lláh.
ACT I SCENE III A stream of light and color emanates from the center above.-In front The Youth, His Countenance expressive. of indescribable humility and kindliness He is attired in black cloak and green sash and turban; in His hand a silver cup He appears to be floating in the clouds of heaven. Characters appear one by one.
Kazim: (He is standing in the center below, in an attitude of profound humility). '
The Youth: (Lovingly offers him the cup).
Kazim: (Takes the cup in both hands and quaffs it. The Youth gazes upon him radiantly).
Tahirih: (To the right of Kazim, seated at a table writing. She is veiled. Suddenly the Youth turns His gaze upon her. She rises and with a dramatic movement throws aside the veil.)
Quddus: (Disheveled and travel-stained. The Youth approaches and presents him with a black flag. Quddus is to the left of Kazim).
Husayn: (Center-behind Kazim. Bare-foot, travel-stained. The Youth approaches and presents him with a casket.)
Vahid: (Right-The Youth approaches and presents him with a Tablet.)
Hujjat: (Left-The Youth approaches and presents him with a Tablet.)
The stage is filling with a host of silent figures as the curtain slowly descends (Curtain)
ACT I SCENE IV
Sunset outside the gate of Shiraz, May 22, 1844. Husayn with two companions, bare-foot and travel-stained.
First Companion: I am not certain that I shall recognize Him even should I meet Him face to face.
Husayn: I have resolved two standards by which to test Him Whom we seek.
Second Companion: May we know them?
Husayn: The first, a treatise I have written; to that one who can discern its hidden meaning, I shall submit my second test:-That he reveal, without hesitation, a commentary on the Surih of Joseph. Our departed Master pleaded his inability to write this commentary, saying, "It is beyond me; but the True One will, unasked, reveal it for you." "
Second Companion: "Allah'u'Akbar: Let us part awhile and each one choose a separate course.
First Companion: And let us agree that the one to find Him shall hasten to tell the others.
Husayn: God willing. I shall meet you at the mosque in evening prayer.
Second Companion: We commit you to the care of God (exit companions).
Husayn: (Looking about him as if beseeching guidance, suddenly cries out) I have striven with all my soul, O God, and until now have failed to find Him. I testify that Thy Word faileth not. Thy Promise is sure. (A nightingale sings softly. Suddenly a Youth with radiant face appears. He is wearing a black cloak with green sash and turban. With a smile of loving welcome He salutes Husayn as if he were a long lost friend.)
The Youth: Enter herein in peace.
Husayn: Can it be that you are a disciple of Siyyid Kazim?
The Youth: He is indeed known to Me. Why have you come to Shiraz?
Husayn: I have come upon a sacred mission.
The Youth: Accept the hospitality of my home after your long journey.
Husayn: I have promised my friends to join them in evening prayer.
The Youth: (With extreme calm and courtesy). You must surely have made your meeting conditional upon the Will of God!
The Youth: Then you need have no fear of breaking your pledge. Come. (Exit the Youth followed by Husayn).
Two hours later. An upper chamber in the house of The Youth. Seated at a desk, The Youth, Husayn, refreshed, is seated near Him.
The Youth: (Evidently He has finished the first test and now hands the treatise to Husayn) Whom, after Siyyid Kazim, do you regard as his successor and your leader?
Husayn: I have journeyed to Persia in quest of that Beloved One.
The Youth: Did your Teacher describe Him?
Husayn: Yes. He is of pure lineage, of illustrious descent and of the seed of the Prophet. He is more than twenty and less than thirty. He is endowed with innate knowledge. He is of medium height and without bodily defect.
The Youth: (In vibrant voice) Behold, all these signs are manifest in Me!
Husayn: (Politely) He Whose advent we await is a Man of unsurpassed holiness. Many and diverse are the requirements which He who claims to be its visible embodiment must fulfill. (Having uttered these words Husayn appears overcome with emotion).
The Youth: Now is the time to reveal the Surih of Joseph! (He presents Husayn with a Tablet).
Husayn: (He is stunned. He receives the Tablet, studies it a moment and rising instantly retires to the door where he bows in utter humility. "'The Revelation so suddenly and impetuously thrust upon him has come as a thunderbolt, which seems to have benumbed his faculties. He is blinded by its dazzling splendor and overwhelmed by its crushing force. Excitement, joy, awe, and wonder are stirring the depth of his soul. Predominant among these emotions a sense of gladness and strength which seem to have transfigured him. How feeble and impotent, how dejected and timid he had appeared previously. Now he feels possessed of such courage and power that were all the world, all its peoples and its potentates to rise against him, he would, alone, and undaunted with stand their onslaught. The universe seemed but a handful of dust in his grasp.")
The Dawn-Breakers, p. 65.
This is one of the weightiest testimonies of the loftiness of Your station.
The Youth: Had you not been My guest your position would indeed have been a grievous one. It is for God to test His servants and not for His servants to judge Him in accordance with their deficient standards. Were I to fail to resolve your perplexities, could the Reality that shines within Me be regarded as powerless, or My knowledge be accused as faulty? Nay, by the righteousness of God!
Husayn: I seem to hear a voice calling unto all mankind 'Awake, for lo, God's Promise is fulfilled.'
The Youth: It behooves the people of the earth to arise as earnestly as you have arisen and seek their Promised Beloved. Is not the purpose of their creation the knowledge and adoration of God?
Husayn: "Well it is with them that attain thereunto."
The Youth: O thou who art the first to believe in Me, verily, I say, I am the Herald of the Promised One. My disciples shall number eighteen. Unwarned and uninvited each of these must accept Me and recognize the truth of My Revelation. We shall appoint unto each a special mission and shall send, them forth to accomplish their task, to teach the Word of God and quicken the souls of men.
Husayn: I render thanks unto God for having assisted me to attain to My heart's desire.
The Youth: This night, this very hour, in days to come will be celebrated as one of the greatest and most significant of all festivals. (He accompanies Husayn to the door) Divulge not to your companions nor to anyone that which you have heard. I commit you to the care of God.
ACT I SCENE VI Upper chamber in the house of The Youth in Shiraz, a few weeks later. Present The Youth and His Disciples.
The Youth: O My beloved companions, such must be the degree of your devotion that into whatever city you enter to proclaim and teach the Cause of God, you should expect neither meat nor reward from its people. Nay, when you depart out of that city you should shake the dust from your feet. The days when belief alone was deemed sufficient are ended. I am preparing you for the advent of a mighty Day. Scatter throughout the length and breadth of this land and prepare the way for His coming. Whoso believes in Him has believed in all the prophets of God and whoso denies Him has denied all the saints and chosen Ones. Fix your gaze upon the invincible power of the Lord, your God, the Almighty. Arise in His Name, put your trust wholly in Him and be assured of ultimate victory.
The Youth: (Addressing Husayn-Quddus is standing behind Him) My covenant with you is now accomplished. In this pilgrimage I have chosen Quddus as My companion. We leave you behind to face the onslaught of a fierce and relentless enemy. Be assured that the high mission for which you have been created will, in its entirety, be accomplished by you. Until you have finished your work if all the darts of an unbelieving world be directed against you, they will be powerless to hurt a single hair of your head. Follow the course of your journey towards the north and visit on your way Tihran. From there proceed to Mázindaran where Quddus will join you. You will be called upon to perform deeds so great as will dwarf the mightiest achievements of the past. He that loves you loves God and whoever opposes you, opposes God. Whoso befriends you, him will God befriend and whoso rejects you, Him will God reject. (Scene fades)
(En route to Mecca, November, 1844, Sea of Arabia. A ship tossed about by heavy seas. The cry of terrified passengers above the roar of the waves, the crash of thunder; the darkness is momentarily dispelled by sharp flashes of lightning, revealing The Youth calmly dictating to Quddus. Nearby the Ethiopian servant. "When panic seemed to have seized the passengers . . . they would be seen pursuing their labors with unperturbed confidence and calm. Neither the violence of the elements nor the tumult of the people around them could ruffle the serenity of their countenance or turn them from their purpose.)' (Scene fades)
'The Dawn-Breakers, pp. 130.
(Mecca, before the Temple. In background faint outline of Temple; further to either side, in shadowy outline tents, sleeping camels, and belongings of pilgrims. Just before dawn. Quddus at entrance to Temple, in usual attire, watching. Worshippers begin to approach; they are draped in light, loose fitting tunics; they pour through entrance to Temple. Suddenly the silence is broken by a Voice:)
The Youth: (Within) "Verily, I declare, none beside Me in this Day, whether in the East or in the West, can claim to be the Gate that leads men to the knowledge of God." (The light expands. Worshippers continue to pour into Temple. Apparently they did not hear the voice. The light increases gradually.)
(From above) "Is Our power exhausted by the first creation? Yea, they are in perplexity because of a new creation."
(Worshippers continue monotonous procession, walking as if in sleep. Light increases).
A Voice: "An evil and an adulterous generation seeketh after a sign But none shall be given you. Woe unto you......_ -.hypocrites! Because ye build the tombs of the prophets and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous: And say: 'If we had been in the days of our fathers we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets, wherefore, ye be witnesses unto yourselves that ye are the children of them that killed the prophets. Fill ye up, then, the measure of your fathers.'
(The throng presses forward in greater number. The light grows brighter).
A Voice: "Messengers have already come unto you with plain proofs and with miracles and ye slew them!" *
(The procession continues to move forward, walking as if in sleep. Fade.)
(Some months later. En route from Mecca. Moonlight on the desert. The Youth kneeling in prayer close to a well. Quddus and the Ethiopian servant also kneeling)
The Youth: (Rising) O My beloved companion, the days of your companionship with me will soon be over. Ere long you will be plunged into an ocean of tribulation, for His sake. I, too, will be immersed in its depth. In the streets of Shiraz indignities will be heaped upon you and the severest injuries will afflict your body. The hosts of God will assist you and will proclaim to all the world your heroism and glory.
`Matt. Ch. 23-29-31. **Qur'an 40-5.
ACT II SCENE I A room in the palace of the King at Tihran, one year later. Present His Majesty, Prime Minister and attendants.
Prime Minister: I fear these obscure sectarians are the enemies both of the state and of Islam. Your Majesty, we are continually besieged with lamentations of the clergy against the tumult created by this Youth and His followers.
The King: I believe that such reports are circulated by enemies of the Youth, through envy and malice. He is of pure lineage-a descendant of the Prophet.
Master of Ceremonies: (Entering). Your Imperial Highness, Siyyid Vahid awaits your pleasure to report the result of his investigation of the Youth of Shiraz.
The King: Admit him. (Exit Master of Ceremonies). Now we shall know from his report what measures to take in this affair.
Prime Minister: The Governor of Fars has written that Siyyid Vahid has fallen a hopeless victim to the magic influence of this professed Prophet. While there he declined to confer with the clergy.
The King: We repose implicit confidence in Siyyid Vahid's spiritual integrity. He is a man of mature wisdom. Among the most learned of my subjects he stands pre-eminent.
(Re-enter Master of Ceremonies, ushering in Siyyid Vahid)
Vahid: (Bowing) Your Majesty, I bring you glad tidings!
The King: (Motioning Vahid to a seat near him). You have fully acquainted yourself with the Mission of this Youth? -
Vahid: I was most happy to fulfill Your Majesty's command and immediately left for Shiraz. Amazement and wonder have seized those who have heard and seen the signs and proofs of this new Revelation.
The King: (Impressed). We shall require a detailed account of your observations.
Vahid: Assuredly. On my way, I decided to submit various questions to the Youth. Upon replies which He gave to these questions would, in my estimation, depend the truth and validity of His Mission. In my first interview I directed questions to the most bewildering themes in the metaphysical teachings of the Faith, and to the mysterious traditions and prophecies. He listened attentively. Then with a conciseness that excited both my admiration and wonder-he made answer. (The King appears pleased). In my second interview, I discovered that all the questions which I had intended to submit had vanished from my memory. But in the course of the interview I suddenly realized that He was answering these with the same conciseness that had characterized His previous replies. I was greatly agitated, but believing it to be a coincident, I again begged leave to retire. In my third interview I resolved in my inmost heart that should He, unasked, reveal a certain commentary in a manner that would immediately distinguish it from the prevailing standard, I would then be convinced. I was by this time so awed and shaken that I could not remain standing on my feet. Seeing my plight He arose and taking my hand seated me beside Him. "Were I to reveal to you the commentary you desire," He asked, "would you recognize that my utterance can in no wise be associated with sorcery and magic?" Tears flowed from my eyes. How can I describe the scene which followed? Verses streamed from His pen with a rapidity that was truly astounding. He did not pause until the entire commentary was completed. The soft and gentle murmur of His voice and the stupendous force of His style amazed and bewildered me.
The King: And you found these verses to be accurate in every detail?
Vahid: Perfect. I later verified all the traditions in the text and found them to be entirely accurate. I was so entranced by its beauty, when He began reading it aloud in my presence, that three times over I was on the verge of fainting. Such was the state of certitude to which I had attained that if all the powers of the earth were to be leagued against me they would be powerless to shake my confidence in the greatness of His Cause.
Prime Minister: It grieves me to hear that a man whom I consider infinitely superior in knowledge and ability to that immature Youth has chosen to identify himself with His creed.
Vahid: Not so. It is my firm conviction that this saintly Youth is indeed a mighty Prophet; and more He is the Herald of that glorious Revelation which all the people of the world are eagerly awaiting. The essence and intention of His compositions are the praises and descriptions of that Promised One. In His writings He declares 'I am a letter out of that most mighty Book, and a dewdrop from that limitless ocean, and when He shall appear, my true nature, mysteries and intimations will become evident'
The King: (Impressed). We have observed that this new doctrine has attracted a large number of scholars and philosophers of high rank.
Vahid: What greater miracle than that He should have enabled His disciples to triumph alone and unaided by the simple power of argument, over the combined forces of the ecclesiastical scholars of Islam? If anyone should reflect on the appearance of this New Revelation he will admit its loftiness, for a Youth but twenty four years of age, devoid of those sciences wherein all of His opponents excel, who without thought or hesitation is able to produce commentaries and learned treatises of so high a degree of wisdom and understanding of the Divine Unity, that doctors and philosophers confess their inability to comprehend those passages, there is no doubt that all this is from God.
Prime Minister: The Governor of Fars has written that while in Shiraz you declined to associate with the clergy and he expressed the opinion that you had fallen under the spell of this Youth.
Vahid: No one but God can change the hearts of men and whoso can captivate the heart of Vahid is of God and His Word unquestionably the voice of Truth.
The King: How strange! Whoever is distinguished by noble conduct my people denounce him as a follower of this Youth, worthy of my condemnation. We should cease belittling this cause. (To Master of Ceremonies) Address to the Governor of Fars this imperial
Command: "It is strictly forbidden to any of our subjects to utter such words as would detract from the exalted rank of Siyyid Vahid. He is of noble lineage, a man of great learning, of perfect and consummate virtue. He will, under no circumstances, incline his ear to any cause unless he believes it to be conducive to the advancement of the best interests of our realm and the well-being of the Faith.'
Vahid: (Bowing). Your Majesty is indeed most generous.'
Prime Minister: (His face betraying enmity and envy). in view of these marked favors we shall do our utmost to see that no discredit befalls Siyyid Vahid.
The King: As for the Youth, so long as no offensive actions toward the public peace and well-being proceed from Him, the Government will not interfere.
'According to Nabil Vahid sent his report to the King and immediately set out to proclaim the cause of The Youth. See The Dawn-Breakers, p. 177.
ACT II SCENE II In front of the house of the maternal uncle of The Youth in Shiraz, Autumn, 1846. A tumultuous crowd is gathered in the street in front of the house and overflowing inside the court and grounds, the gate being open.
A friend: (Coming from within) He is gone!
Populace: Gone? Gone? (Instantly there is loud clamor and lamentation) He has been slain! Our Beloved has been slain! What have they done with Him?
A friend: (Coming from within) Siyyid 'All will speak with you.
Siyyid 'Alf: (Appearing in courtyard) Last night the Governor, inflamed by the clergy of this city, who have plotted to kill Him, sent the high constable to attack my house and arrest Him with all His followers. At midnight they suddenly fell upon us and finding us alone, ransacked our house, confiscating books and writings, and dragged him away. When they had brought Him handcuffed to the home of the high constable, they found his household afflicted with the plague, so suddenly visited upon the inhabitants. (Exclamations of grief). The constable was stricken with grief and entreated our Beloved to save his son's life, which He did. So then the officer besought the Governor to release Him.
Friends: (Joyfully) Praise be to God! He is alive! God is great-He is alive!
Siyyid 'Alf: The Governor has released Him on condition that He immediately leave the city. (Outbursts of grief and lamentations from the crowd). So He sent for me and entrusted His dear ones to my care. This morning early He set out for Isfahan.
Populace: (Lamenting) What shall we do now? What shall we do?
Siyyid 'Alf: Return quietly to your homes. The plague has driven our tormentors away. Praise be to God. Remember the words of our Beloved: Put your trust wholly in God!
ACT II SCENE III Home of the leading divine of Isfahan. Present Governor of Isfahan and an assembly of brilliant scholars and ecclesiastical dignitaries. 1846.
Governor: Peerless, unique are the words which have streamed from the pen of this Youth! (Holding aloft a Tablet). Hear me! Members of this revered assembly. I solemnly testify to my conviction of the superhuman power with which this Personage is endowed. A power which no amount of acquired learning can ever impart. (Consternation and delight are discernible among the members of the assemblage).
A Scholar: It could not have been achieved except by the intervention of God.
Governor: It is my wish that all of the scholars and divines of this city shall assemble in the presence of this Youth and either approve or refute His arguments. The discussion must be faithfully recorded, so that it may be sent to His Majesty and that whatever the Royal edict may be it shall be carried out. If you are true seekers in matters of Faith then choose one of three places, my house, the mosque, or, let it be here in the home of the leading ecclesiastic of this city. (No one seems capable of answering).
A Divine: (After some wrangling). Agreed, agreed Excellency. Let it be so.
Governor: One more condition: That I, myself, be present and that only one person at a time speak, for if once wrangling begins and clerical tricks are resorted to, the matter will not be understood.
A Scholar: (After conferring among the assembly) Well, it is agreed!
Governor: At what place will it be? ' A Divine: (After further consultation) Let it be at your house, Excellency. Governor: Most happily, as my guests. And, my friends, if this Youth has established and proved the truth of His claim, then admit it, so that mischief may cease and mankind may be at peace. (The assemblage retires).
The Host: (Confidentially) Excellency, I have received a strongly worded communication from the Prime Minister upbraiding me for having befriended the author of this new doctrine.
Governor: The Prime Minister is apprehensive lest I, who enjoy the confidence of His majesty, arrange an interview between him and this illustrious Youth. He fears to admit into the Royal Presence so distinguished a Personage.
The Host: I must devise means to lessen the increasing number of visitors who throng my house each day, eager to be admitted to His Presence.
Governor: I deem it advisable for Him to stay in my house until such time as He can leave this city. I fear the plotting of the enemies of this Youth.
ACT 11 SCENE IV Home of a leading ecclesiastical authority Isfahan, 1846. Present an assembly of ecclesiastical leaders and scholars.
The Host: (Speaking with vehemence) My friends, we would act most wisely in refusing to take any part in this projected discussion; for if you prevail over Him, you will add but little to your reputation, seeing that he is unlearned and untrained in science, while if He prevail over you, you will be forever ashamed and disgraced.
A Dignitary: The situation is becoming ominous. This Youth claims to be the Messenger of the New Revelation that is to come. There is no conversation but on this topic, for His disciples travel about teaching that He is the Revealer of a Book which is divinely inspired and they have challenged the ecclesiastical authorities to produce one like it.
A Scholar: And now this woman, Tahirih, a distinguished poetess, has been converted on reading some of His verses. Rich and noble she has abandoned name, position and family and has enlisted as one of His disciples. She has thrown aside the veil (exclamations of alarm and horror) and with fiery enthusiasm is openly teaching this new doctrine. The appearance of.a woman of such beauty and intelligence is a sensation--a miracle. It is reported that her arguments have put to shame the most learned scholars and philosophers.
Second Scholar: The question as to whether she should be allowed to continue her teaching was submitted first to the Governor of Baghdad. So brilliant was her defense before that tribunal that the Governor is reported to have embraced her teachings! Princes, clergy, government officials and women of highest culture are acclaiming her. The matter was finally brought to the attention of the Central Government, with the result that she has been ordered to leave Turkish territory.
Second Dignitary: (Furiously). We must denounce this Youth at once as a disgrace to the Holy Faith and an enemy to the august person of our sovereign.
On the contrary, I have been unable to discover any act during His stay in my house that would betray His repudiation of the doctrine of the true Faith, but His claims of prophet hood and His contempt for the things of the world would in-28-
A Dignitary: (Angrily) His teachings preach a new doctrine, contrary to the principles of the orthodox Faith. He is a heretic and deserving of death.
Second Dignitary: Unless we stem the tide of His influence the very foundation of our existence will be underminded! An infidel, an abrogator of the law of Islam, a repudiator of its rituals and accepted standards is rapidly acquiring leadership. My dear friends, consider His increasing influence over His Excellency, the Governor.
The Host: Under these circumstances, it is best that we issue a written declaration, to be signed and sealed by the ecclesiastics of this city, stating that we are convinced of the heretical character of His doctrine and condemning Him to death. (Enter attendant with message for The Host. He reads it. Turning excitedly to the assembly he exclaims): The King has summoned Him to Tihran! (Consternation seizes the assembly).
First Scholar: No doubt the Governor will seek to secure for Him the friendship of the King!
The Host: And He will continue to assert His claim and will reveal verses to substantiate it. We can in no way successfully resist Him. I shall immediately write to a supreme ecclesiastical authority in Tihran to bring this matter to the attention of the Prime Minister, who will prevent His meeting with the King!
A Dignitary: And let us proceed at once with the death warrant and procure the seal and signature of every ecclesiastic of this city.
Head of Religious Court: I have already ordered the arrest of two of His disciples who were reading aloud to an excited congregation, some of these verses.
The Host: Let them be stripped and scourged with a thousand lashes. It will be a lesson to the people to know the penalty of heresy.
ACT III SCENE I Palace of the King, Tihran, four months later. Present the King, Prime Minister, Master of Ceremonies, attendants, etc.
Master of Ceremonies: (Reading a dispatch to the King) From the Governor of Isfahan, Your Majesty:-"Four months ago it was believed that in pursuance of your Majesty's Imperial summons, the late Governor had sent The Youth of Shiraz to Tihran. It has now been disclosed that this same Youth has been occupying the private residence of the former Governor who, himself, extended this hospitality to the Youth and guarded the secret from both the people and the officials of the city. Whatever it pleases Your Majesty to decree I pledge myself to perform."
The King: The late Governor was an esteemed and honored servant of our realm. Undoubtedly his intention was to await a favorable occasion when he could arrange an audience. Direct the Governor to have the Youth escorted to Tihran secretly and to exercise towards Him the utmost respect and consideration.
Prime Minister: Your Majesty, the Imperial tour is arranged. The presence of this Youth will be of the gravest trouble. There is no doubt that the notable clergy of this capital will behave after the fashion of the divines of Shiraz and Isfahan, which will be the cause of a general outbreak. They will regard the blood of the Youth of no account. The wisest plan is this: Place this Person in the Castle of Mah-Ku and defer an audience until Your Majesty's return.
The King: (After deliberation) Then let it be as you recommend. But we shall personally address a letter to Him, signifying our wish that He shall inform us of any grievance and soliciting His prayers for our well-being and the prosperity of our country.
Prime Minister: (Bowing) Your Majesty, this is well.
ACT III SCENE II
Zanjan, 1847. A view of the interior of a mosque, showing pulpit and steps leading to pulpit. Congregation assembled.
Hujjat: (He ascends steps). Friends, I am unwilling that because of me you should suffer injury. The one aim of the Governor and the clergy is to seize and kill me. They thirst for my blood. Whoever among you is unwilling to stand against the perils with which I am beset, let him leave this place. We are commanded not to wage holy war under any circumstances against unbelievers. I am bidden by my Master to instill into men's hearts the ennobling principles of charity and love and to refrain from unnecessary violence. My aim and that of my companions has ever been to serve our sovereign loyally and to be well wishers of His people. We utterly disclaim any attempt to overthrow the monarchy. Our Cause is concerned with the Promised One. Never shall I be willing to barter for all the treasures and honors this world can give me, the undying loyalty I bear His Cause.
A Priest: (Angrily, approaching the ladder leading to the pulpit) Must we flee from the town with our families and belongings and leave him in sole charge of the destinies of the people?
Hujjat: When I was summoned before the king to defend myself against the malicious attacks of my enemies here, his Majesty was entirely satisfied with my arguments and commanded me to return to Zanjan and continue my services to the cause of his people. Such services, he assured me, will at all times have his support. His Majesty conferred upon me generous gifts to make amends for the indignities to which I was subjected at that hearing. (He descends the ladder).
A Priest: (Hastily ascending the ladder and speaking with great anger and resentment). While still professing himself a follower of our Faith, he, by the aid of his pupils, has been able to repudiate our authority. Now that he has identified himself with the cause of this imposter from Shiraz, what humiliation will he not inflict upon us! He has already won over two-thirds of the inhabitants to this false doctrine.
Hujjat: O people, deprive not yourselves of the morning Light which is shedding its radiance upon all mankind! Why strive after knowledge when He, who is the Object of all knowledge, is made manifest! It behooves you to disregard the unsupported charges of these busybodies, to investigate the truth of this matter and to render justice.
Members of Congregation: Kill him! Kill him! ! He is a blasphemer-a blasphemer!
A Priest: O enemy of God! (A number of the congregation rush forward to attack Hujjat -supporters of Hujjat spring to his assistance).
Hujjat: I warn you, if attacked, I will defend myself and protect the lives of my companions. (Cowed by his words and power the clamor and confusion ceases. Slowly they disperse).
Courtyard in the home of the father of Tahirih in Qazvin. Tahirih, followed by several ladies enters courtyard.
Attendant: Madame, your father bids you welcome and hopes your visit in his house will be a happy one.
Tahirih: I pray that he may lay aside his worldly cares and be engaged in matters of eternal value. (From garden entrance a group of women and attendants enter. Tahirih advances to receive them).
Attendant: Madame, your husband commands you to transfer your residence to his house. He is greatly disturbed and wishes you to be more restrained.
Tahirih: Say to him: If you had truly wished to be a faithful mate and companion to me you would have listened to fair arguments concerning my teachings and I would have shown you the truth. But this was not to be. Three years have elapsed since our separation. I have cast you out of my life. Neither in this world nor in the next can I ever be associated with you.
A Lady: Oh Tahirih! Such a reply will arouse fresh fury against you.
Tahirih: I welcome it as an opportunity to expose the depravity of his character.
A Lady: O Tahirih! We are grateful to you for the cheer you have brought to us. Who can resist your glorious vision? We have faith that the Cause you champion will triumph. (Ladies of her father's house and others eagerly crowd around her).
Tahirih: Dearly beloved friends, through long ages women have been wronged and oppressed, but God does not inquire 'Art thou woman or art thou man?' He judges human actions. The education of woman is more important than that of man, for woman is the trainer of the child; if she be defective the child will suffer. In the age to come woman's superiority will become known: for when women engage equally in all the affairs of the world, peace shall be firmly secured.
Attendant: Madame, your father in the company of a number of distinguished clergy of the city is coming to speak with you.
Tahirih: To convince me of the folly of my actions. (To attendant). Say, I am ready to hear them. (Exit attendant). Retire awhile, dear friends. (Exit ladies severally. Enter father of Tahirih with a number of distinguished scholars and ecclesiastics).
Father of Tahirih: (Agitated). We were pleased to have you come to this house, but already you have become the cause of grave offenses.
A Divine: Madame, is it befitting a daughter to bring grief and shame upon an aged father? Disgrace by throwing aside the veil and openly teaching this new doctrine.
Tahirih: Veiling of woman is unspeakable) It has been put upon her as a badge of inferiority. That concept of woman is false and is opposed to the divine purpose. No distinction is indicated in the law of creation. Among the plants and animals there is no sex distinction. Their rights are equal. Shall not mankind and womankind enjoy the same privilege? We are living in a new creation and its customs and laws are different. Distinction between races, classes, men and women has been abolished.
A Divine: (Furiously) Your teachings are heretical and are opposed to the true Faith!
Tahirih: They are the fulfillment of God's promises! Every Messenger of God has cheered the hearts of oppressed humanity with promises of this glorious Day. You have seen signs and proofs. In the time of Moses, of Jesus, of Muhammad many there were who did not believe. They were wrong. Now there are those who have rejected this doctrine. Already they are finding that they were mistaken.
A Divine: This self-appointed prophet of yours and His followers will never be able to withstand the clergy of this country. In the end they will all be destroyed.
Tahirih: There is no mortal agency that can extinguish this Light. For every one slain a hundred arise; for every family put to the sword a hundred families acclaim Him.
A Divine: Your friends in this city have already been executed. Take heed. Renounce this folly and restore the peace of the land.
Tahirih: My friends were unjustly accused of a crime in which they had no part and were delivered into the hands of your torture-mongers who put them to a
cruel death. I am amazed at your explanation for your blood-thirsty and treacherous acts. I here declare the ignorance and wickedness of the clergy responsible for the decadence of this empire and the corruption of its people! 'O evil and perverse generation, to what depth of infamy and shame you have sunk. Neither the beasts of the field nor any moving thing on earth has ever equalled the ferociousness of your acts!"
A Divine: You are the instigator of these crimes. No one else but you is guilty.
Tahirih: Failure of the government to punish the perpetrators of these crimes has encouraged you to vent your hatred on me. (Exclamations of anger from the clergy, outbursts and lamentations from the women). A bat abhors the light! If my Cause be the Cause of Truth, if the God whom I worship be the One True God, He will, ere nine days have passed, deliver me from the yoke of your tyranny.
Women: (Lamenting loudly) O Tahirih, do not leave us. We are in darkness without you.
A Divine: Her influence is dangerous to the safety of the state. (To her father). Have her placed in strict confinement. (Exit clergy with father of Tahirih).
Tahirih: (Women continue to weep and lament). Do not grieve, dear friends. Rather rejoice. The power which moves me is not disturbed by malice and threats. I have read and heard teachings of scriptures all my life, but when I read His words I looked within another world. My husband, my family, arose against me in greatest hostility; the government opposed me, the clergy endeavored to silence me by coercion and imprisonment. (As if addressing a menacing spirit), "Known ye, I am afraid of none except God." I shall continue to speak. (Curtain) -35-
ACT III SCENE IV Castle of Mah-Ku. "The castle, a solid, four-towered stone edifice, occupies the summit of a mountain at the foot of which lies the town of Mah-Ku. The only road that leads from it passes into that town, ending at a gate which adjoins the seat of government and is invariably kept closed. This gate is distinct from the castle itself. Situated on the confines of both the Ottoman and Russian empires, this castle has been used, in view of its commanding position and strategic advantages, as a center for reconnoitering purposes. . . . The castle is bounded on the west by the river Araxes, which marks the frontier between the territory of the Shah and the Russian empire. To the south extends the territory of the Sultan of Turkey. The residents of the town are all Kurds . . . the frontier officer in charge of the castle, being a Kurd was held in great esteem and was implicitly obeyed by the people of Mah-Ku. . . . The Prime Minister had deliberately contrived to relegate The Youth to so remote, so inhospitable and dangerously situated a corner of the territory, with the sole purpose of stemming the tide of his rising influence, confident that few, if any, would venture to penetrate that wild and turbulent region." (The Dawn-Breakers, p. 243). In front of gates to castle; road leading to town at foot of Mountain. A part of the castle discernable, showing window of room occupied by The Youth. A multitude of people have gathered and are eagerly watching the window. The gate is guarded by two powerful Kurds.
The Warden: (Entering abruptly, breathless and agitated). You have betrayed me. I'll have your lives for this!
First Guard: (Not comprehending his meaning). But, your Honor, for what?
The Warden: You have allowed The Youth to escape. I have just seen Him-there by the river.
First Guard: God forbid! We haven't seen Him, your Honor!
Second Guard: Your Honor, I heard Him chanting just now.
The Warden: So, He has cast His spell on you, too, like all the rest.
First Guard: But, your Honor, the gates are still locked; see?
(Suddenly mountain and valley re-echo the melody of the voice of The Youth, chanting a prayer).
The Youth: "O, my God! Grant to him, to his descendants, to his family, to his friends, to his subjects, to his relatives and to all the inhabitants of the earth the light which will clarify their vision and facilitate their task, grant that they may partake of the noblest works here and hereafter!
In truth nothing is impossible to Thee.
O my God! give him the power to bring about a revival of Thy religion and give life by him to what Thou hast changed in Thy Book. Manifest through hire Thy new commandments so that through him Thy religion may blossom again! Put unto his hands a new Book, pure and holy, that this book may be free from all doubt and uncertainty and that no one may be able to alter or destroy it.
O my God! Dispel through Thy splendor all darkness and through his evident power do away with the antiquated laws. By his pre-eminence ruin those who have not followed the ways of God. Through him destroy all tyrants, put an end, through his sword, to all discord, annihilate, through his justice, all forms of oppression; render the rulers obedient to his commandments; subordinate all the empires of the world to his empire!
O my god; Humble everyone who desires to humble him. destroy all his enemies; deny anyone who denies him and confuse anyone who spurns the truth, resists his orders, endeavors to darken his light and blot his name!" (The Warden listens until the voice ceases intoning the prayer, then profoundly moved he signifies to the guards to unlock the gates).
A Young Man: (Bare-foot and thinly clad, approaching the warden). Your Honor, today you will conduct me to the Master's Presence?
(The Warden studies the young man, then motions to him to wait, and turning, hastens up the road to the castle).
ACT III SCENE V A room inside the castle of Mah-Ku. The Youth and Hasan are standing by a window. Voice of populace acclaiming
The Youth: "Master, Master, Master, your blessings." A loud knock at the door interrupts the scene. Grating of key in lock and door is opened by the warden.
The Warden: (Seeing the Youth and Hasan safe within the castle, increases his wonder. Fixing his eyes upon The Youth he speaks with extreme reverence). Your Highness, deliver me from my perplexity, my doubts. Their weight is crushing my heart. (The Youth beckons him to enter. Flinging himself at His feet, the Warden unburdens his soul). Your Highness, this morning as I was approaching the town I saw you standing by the river invoking the name of God. You were unaware of my presence. I wished to rebuke you but recoiled in sudden fear. Then I hastened to the guards to punish them for allowing you this liberty. To my amazement I found both the inner and outer gates securely locked. I came here and now find you seated before me. I am utterly confounded. I do not know what to think, whether my reason has deserted me.
The Youth: You belittled this Revelation and treated its Author with contempt. By this vision, God, the All-Merciful. has willed to reveal to your eyes the Truth.
The Warden: (Calmed and subdued, rising to his feet). I wish to atone for my past behavior to make amends, by every means in my power for my cruel treatment of your friends. There is at the gate a friend who seeks your presence. May I be permitted to bring him here?
The Youth: (With infinite courtesy and kindness). Your request is granted.
The Warden: (Overcome with joy). Master! Master! (exit).
(Voices of the multitude outside, "Master, Master." The Youth turns back to the window and is greeted by multitude with joy and exultation:)
Populace: Praise be to God, O Beloved, Master, Master.
ACT IV SCENE I
A room in the palace of the King. Some months later. Present the King, Prime Minister, an officer, attendants, etc.
The King: The Youth has petitioned us for an audience that he might set forth arguments and grievances.
Prime Minister: (Hastily). I beseech Your Royal Highness, delay this interview. Other matters of grave importance weigh on our mind. Revolt has broken out in the north. The followers of this Youth have built themselves a fort in Mazindaram. The religious leaders allege political motive.
The King: But the disciples of this Youth are but a handful of young religious students, untrained in warfare and entirely devoid of aggression.
Prime Minister: The standard of revolt has been raised, Your Majesty. The inhabitants of the villages thereabouts have sworn allegiance to their cause. They are ready to campaign against you and proclaim an independent sovereignty.
The King: Who is the leader of this revolt?
Prime Minister: We have advice that the prime mover of these disturbances is Jinab-i-Bahá. His eloquence and the power of His arguments have won the hearts of the people. The manner in which He has directed this movement has enabled them to advance their cause despite the combined opposition of the civil and ecclesiastical authorities. Your Majesty, I feel it my duty to warn you that the day is fast approaching when not only the province of Mázindaran but the whole of Persia from end to end will have surrendered to this cause.
The King: (To an officer). You are in charge of the army of Mázindaran. Take whatever measures you deem fit to suppress these disturbers.
Officer: Your Majesty, the handful of untrained and frail-bodied students that I have seen are quite powerless to withstand the forces which Your Majesty can command. A small detachment will be sufficient to wipe them out. Rest assured the rebellion can be quelled within two days.'
Prime Minister: Your Imperial Majesty, I am apprehensive of the effect of a movement capable of evoking so mighty a spirit of revolt. Twice Bahá has been imprisoned and
once bastinadoed, but He has pursued His course as one of the most powerful and fearless supporters of this movement. Nothing but the harshest measures can suppress this growing spirit of revolt.
The King: Heretofore I have refused to countenance these reports against Bahá because of the services rendered my country by His illustrious father.
Prime Minister: Of all the sons of an illustrious father, He alone has failed to fulfill the hopes reposed in Him.
The King: Send orders to Mázindaran to have Him arrested immediately and conducted to the capital. This time I am determined to put Him to death.
Prime Minister: (Craftily) And for the present, beseech Your Highness, have this Youth, now in the castle of Mah-Ku, escorted to the remote castle of Chiriq. He has already won over the inhabitants of that region. The warden has permitted the Prisoner to confer with His followers and he, himself, is associating with the Captive in unrestrained freedom and friendliness.
The King: We shall be guided by your discretion in this affair. But it is the Royal Decree that the warden of Chiriq shall treat the Prisoner with proper respect and consideration.
Prime Minister: Your Majesty's command shall be executed (Exit King with attendants).
Officer: Do you really believe that Bahá is an unworthy son?
Prime Minister: Must our power and position be threatened by this disturber of the peace of the realm? He surely is seeking to usurp our authority!
Officer: He has befriended the poor and defended the rights of the downtrodden. Is the man, who out of the abundance of his heart shares his bread with his fellowman to be accused of harboring criminal intentions? (Prime Minister seems confounded). All that either of us can hope to achieve is but a fleeting and precarious allegiance which will vanish as soon as our days are ended. Our mortal life can never be free from the vicissitudes that beset the path of earthly ambition. Should we succeed in insuring in our lifetime the honor of our name, who can tell whether, after our death, calumny may not stain our memory and undo the work we have achieved? Even those who, while we are still living, honor us with their lips would, in their hearts condemn and villify us should we for but one moment, fail to promote their interests. Not so with Bahá. Unlike the great ones of the earth, whatever be their race or rank, he is the object of a love and devotion such as time cannot dim nor enemy destroy: That love will never grow less.
ACT IV SCENE II Home of Mirza Ahmad Karim, a scholar and trusted friend of The Youth, Qum, June, 1850." Present a gathering of friends.
Karim: (Entering with a newly arrived friend). Friends, Mulla Bagir has just come from the Masters Presence. (A profound change sweeps over the company; they press forward and embrace Bagir reverently).
Bagir: I bring each one of you His love. (An expectant pause). The Master has been taken to Tabriz again for trial. (Suppressed grief and terror from the company). For you (addressing Karim) I have a letter from The Master, also this coffer which contains all of His writings, His Pen-case, His seals and His rings. (He delivers the coffer to Karim who receives it with profound marks of reverence). Here is the key to the coffer. He commits it to your care.
Karim: (With deep emotion). This is indeed a sacred trust. (They gather around the coffer, eager to behold its precious contents).
Nabil: (A boy). Tell us of The Master; speak to us of Him. It will cheer our hearts.
Bagir: I was with The Master when news came of the death of Husayn and the massacre of Quddus and His companions. The Master was crushed with grief, a grief that silenced His voice and stilled His pen for months. When He again took up His pen it was to commemorate their heroism. For seven days He
continued to immortalize their deeds. (Silence). What tidings of Vahid and his companions at Nayriz?
Karim: There is little hope that they will escape a like fate. They face a general massacre at any moment.
Bagir: On my way here I learned of the battle raging around Hujjat and his companions at Zanjan. It threatens to be the most violent and devastating of them all. (The company is stunned by the force of the tragedy so suddenly enveloping them).
A Man: Can such things be?
Bagir: Tahirih is now imprisoned at Karbila. (The stricken company gives vent to grief). Bahá alone remains-of all our peerless leaders.
Nabil: But why has The Master been taken to Tabriz? 'Actual year was 1848.
Bagir: His enemies see the awakening of the people. Even the most hardened of His goalers are changed men. But most of the clergy have not comprehended the glory of this Day. This consciousness is not in them. They dread the loss of their temporal power. Through them the government has become an instrument of their murders. (Anguish grips the assembled company).
Karim: (Opening the letter, instantly his face is diffused with joy). God is great!
A Man: (Indicating coffer). May we see these precious remembrances?
Karim: I am commanded by The Master to deliver this offer to His Excellency, Bahá, in Tihran. (He reverently opens the Box and removes a parchment in exquisite blue on which is writing in the form of a pentacle).
Friends: (In chorus). A scroll!
A Man: Verses!
Friends (severally): His heavenly Pen! Like a breath from the Holy Spirit! Like perfume from Paradise!
Karim: (Examining the scroll closely with several of the company, while they gather around him). Derivities from the name of Bahá. (They are overcome with admiration and joy at its delicacy and beauty).
Bagir: It was my privilege to be with the Master at the time a message from Bahá was delivered to Him. I saw the joy that illumined His face at the mention of Bahá's name. (While the others are studying the contents of the coffer, Karim and Bagir confer apart). In The Master's exhortation, "O Thou Remnant of God" I have wondered to Whom He referred, but when I attained the Presence of Bahá I knew that He alone could carry on this Cause.
Karim: Bahá's speech is like a rushing torrent. None of His opponents is able to withstand the force of His arguments. At every turn He has shared the cup that touched the Masters lips. Heaven and earth could not contain the immensity of that love.
A Friend: Has the Master intimated to Whom we shall turn for leadership after Him?
Karim: I am commanded by The Master to deliver this coffer to Bahá in Tihran without a moment's delay. More than this do not ask for I cannot tell you. (He embraces Bagir and Nabil). Our support is in God alone. (Exit).
ACT IV SCENE III
Residence of Governor of Tabriz early in year 1848.
Setting arranged to show room in which trial is conducted and corridor leading to outer entrance. Present a number of the most distinguished divines and scholars. Every seat is filled except the one reserved for the Crown Prince, which for some mysterious reason he has not occupied. The agitation of the clergy and the excitement of the populace which has crowded into the outer corridors presents a tumultuous spectacle.
The Chairman: (A leading divine of the city, lifting his voice so as to be heard above the tumult). We are ready to hear arguments. (To an officer) Bring the Youth before us. (Exit officer. The Prince, a young man of sixteen years, has paced restlessly about the room, pausing at times before the seat reserved for him, as though to take his place, then changes his mind).
A Priest: The city is in the wildest excitement. The situation is becoming menacing. (The multitude of people who have besieged the entrance of the hall are impatiently awaiting the approach of The Youth, that they may catch a glimpse of His face. They press forward in such large numbers that a passage has to be forced for Him through the crowd. A deep, a mysterious silence falls as The Youth, escorted by the officer and attendants, approaches through the crowd, enters the hall and greets the assembly. The majesty of His gait, the overpowering confidence, the spirit of power which radiates from His whole being appears to have crushed the soul out of the body of those assembled, while the crowd stands in wrapt attention. Not one soul in that distinguished assembly dares breathe a single word as The Youth, without hesitation occupies the vacant seat. The Dawn-Breakers, p. 315).
The Chairman: The command of His Imperial Majesty, the King, is that you shall set forth your claims in the presence of the doctors of Islam, so that the truth or falsehood thereof may be established. Now I have three questions to ask of you. Are these Epistles and Prayers disseminated throughout the realm yours or do men wrongly attribute them to you?
The Youth: They are from God.
The Chairman: Whom do you claim to be and what is the message you have brought?
The Youth: I am the One Whom Islam has for a thousand years invoked; at whose mention you have risen. Whose advent you have longed to witness and the hour
of Whose Revelation you have prayed God to hasten. Verily, I say, it is incumbent upon the people of both the East and West to obey My Word and to pledge allegiance to My Person. (They have dropped their heads in silent confusion. The pallor of their faces betrays the agitation of their hearts.)
A Dignitary: (Insolently). You wretched and immature lad of Shiraz! You have already incited a revolt in 'Iraq. Do you wish to arouse a like turmoil here?
The Youth: Were all creation to repudiate this Truth it could never tarnish its unsullied purity.
A Dignitary: Hold your peace, you contemptible follower of Satan!
The Youth: (To Chairman). Your Honor, I hold fast to that which I have uttered.
The Chairman: The claim you have advanced is a stupendous one. It must needs be supported by the most incontrovertible evidences.
The Youth: The mightiest, the most convincing evidence of the truth of the Mission of the Prophet of God is admittedly His Own Word.
The Chairman: You claim to be the Mihdi, the High Prophet of Islam. They call you also The Herald. Why do you use this name?
The Youth: I am The Herald of The Promised One.
The Chairman: Then you are The Herald of The Lord of Religion?
The Youth: I am The Herald of The Promised One of all the Holy Books.
A Dignitary: (Insolently). If I can but assure myself that you are The Herald, give me, I pray, the office of shoe-keeper.
The Chairman: (Indicates displeasure at the interruption). If you speak the truth, describe orally the proceedings of this gathering in language that will resemble the phraseology of One divinely appointed.
The Youth: In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, Praise be to Him Who has created the heavens and the earth!
A Dignitary: (Derisively). This self-appointed Prophet of ours has at the very start of His address betrayed His ignorance of the most rudimentary rules of grammar.
The Youth: The Holy Books in no wise accord with the rules and convention current among men. The Word of God can never be subject to the limitations of His creatures. Nay, the rules and canons which men have adopted have been deduced from the text of the Word of God and are based upon it. In the texts of the Holy Books may be discovered hundreds of instances such as the one you now criticize.
A Dignitary: (Mockingly). I am not tied down to words; show me a miracle suitable to your claim so that I may become your follower. ...For I am well known as learned and the learned man will never follow the ignorant.
The Youth: What miracle do you desire?
A Dignitary: His Majesty, the King, is sick. Restore him to health.
The Prince: (Hastily). Why go so far? Are not you present? Let Him exert an influence on your being and restore you to youthfulness. (Laughter).
The Youth: (As If apart). Of My own Will have I chosen to be afflicted by My enemies that God might accomplish the thing destined to be done. (Suddenly). Ask Me whatsoever question you please, now, at this very moment, I pledge Myself to reveal such utterance as can demonstrate the truth of My Mission.
A Priest: (Derisively). To which tense does the word 'Ishtartanna' belong?
The Youth: (As if apart). Out of utter nothingness, O great and Omnipotent Master, Thou hast through the celestial potency of Thy might brought Me forth and raised Me up to proclaim this Revelation. I have made none other but Thee My Trust. I have clung to no Will but Thy Will. O Thou Remnant of God! I have sacrificed Myself wholly for Thee. I have accepted curses for Thy sake and have yearned for naught but martyrdom in the path of Thy Love. Sufficient
witness unto Me is God, the Exalted, the Protector, the Ancient of Days! (Exit The Youth followed by the multitude. The entire assembly is disrupted and thrown into a scene of confusion and consternation by the exalted words of The Youth and His sudden departure from the room).
The Chairman: How shameful is the discourtesy of the people of this city. What could possibly be the connection between your idle remarks and the consideration of such weighty, such momentous issues?
A Dignitary: (Loudly). I warn you that if you allow this Youth to live the day will come when the entire population will have embraced His doctrine. By God, it is enough to break the back.
Second Dignitary: You betrayed the dignity of the hearing. The whole examination was a farce from first to last-a systematic course of brow-beating and mockery.
A Dignitary: Because of His presumption in occupying the seat reserved for His Highness and because He left the assembly without consent, He should be summoned again and chastised.
The Prince: I cannot entertain your proposal. (Exit with attendants).
A Dignitary: Let Him receive at the hands of the Prince's bodyguard the torture of the bastinado.
Bodyguard: (In terror). We are not hired for this; the matter rests with the clergy.
The High Priest: (In anger). In the absence of anyone with sufficient determination of purpose, I myself will inflict the punishment. (To attendants) Escort Him to my house. (Curtain)
ACT V SCENE I A room in the residence of the Grand Vizir, Tihran. An assembly of State officials, Ministers, Grand Vizir, attendants, etc., early July, 1850.
Grand Vizir: The spirit responsible for the turmoil throughout the realm still prevails. In spite of beating, banishment, torture, massacre this new Faith is daily claiming multitudes. Consider the storm which this Youth has provoked in the hearts of my countrymen! The people seething with excitement, the religious leaders clamoring for His death! If you can advise a remedy acquaint me with it, for my soul purpose is to insure peace.
First Minister: So long as The Youth lives will He exercise the full measure of His influence.
Minister of War: To put to death a descendant of the Prophet for this agitation would be an act of cruelty and injustice. His followers have never ventured an attack upon the army of the King, but when attacked they have defended their lives with rare courage. It is their conduct under grueling torture that has agitated and attracted these multitudes.
Grand Vizir: (Sorely displeased). Such considerations are wholly irrelevant to the issue. The interests of the State are in jeopardy and we cannot tolerate these periodic upheavals. Nothing but His public execution can, to my mind, enable this distracted country to recover its tranquillity.
Second Minister: Your Excellency, the Emperor of Russia has directed His consul here to report the circumstances of our treatment of The Youth. The Ambassador from England indicates that his Government is also becoming interested in this matter. Immediate action is imperative. If allowed to run its course, this movement will engulf the Institutions upon which our very existence depends. Has not this Youth declared that all of Europe will accept His doctrine?
Grand Vizir: We must choke the stream at its source.
Minister of War: Excellency, such action would be wanting in consideration of consequences. It was the practice of our late King to ignore the calumnies of the enemies of this Youth.
Grand Vizir: (Ignoring protest). Nothing but the remedy I advocate can uproot this evil and bring us peace. I shall direct the Governor of Adhirbayjan to summon Him to Tabriz. Only the edge of the sword can silence these deluded people. (To officer) Whomever you can get to recant his faith, release him. As for the rest, strike off their heads.
Officer: (Saluting) Excellency. (Fade into next scene). (Curtain) '
ACT V SCENE II
(Scene II, III and IV arranged to appear as though taking place simultaneously. Home of Mulla Sadiq, a distinguished ecclesiast of Shiraz, July 1, 1850).
Sadiq: (Entering with Zaynab, disguised as a youth) Friends, news of Vahid. (The friends eagerly press forward to greet the messenger. They assist her to a divan.)
Zaynab: Vahid has been slain. (The news comes as a thunderbolt). When the officers found they could not capture the fort they sought a truce with promises and oaths sworn on the Holy Book. How vilely they betrayed those vows for as we left the fort they fell upon us plundering and butchering. Vahid, that glorious leader, was strangled. They wound his turban around his throat and binding him to a horse dragged him through the streets. The most fanatical atrocities were heaped upon him, even by the women of the city. (She appears unable to continue; the friends administer to her). When they had slain all of the men they stripped the women and children, sat them on horses and paraded before them the heads of their husbands, fathers and brothers stuffed with straw. Amid rejoicing they were led through the streets and brought before the Prince. From him the officers received praise and marks of favor. The women were finally imprisoned in an old caravanserai outside the gates of the city. God alone knows their fate.
Sadiq: These bloody deeds are a sure testimony of the greatness of this Day, foretold by The Prophet: "His chosen ones shall be abased in His Day. Their heads shall be offered as presents, even as the heads of the Turk and Delymite. They shall be slain, burned. Fear shall strike terror into their hearts. Their women folk shall bewail and lament. These indeed are my friends." So; do not grieve, dear friends, rather let us rejoice.
A Man: (After a long silence). What a mighty argument is conduct. Had it not been for these sacrifices, thousands of years might have passed before souls like me became informed. (Fade into scene III).
ACT V SCENE III (Home of the Mayor of Karbila, July, 1850, chamber of Tahirih, showing a part of outer corridor.)*
Tahirih: (Robed in a gown of snow-white silk is singing, rapturously) "The effulgence of Thy Face flashed forth. And the rays of Thy Visage arose on high: Why lags the word 'Am I not your Lord?' 'Yea, that thou art, let us make reply.'"
Wife of Mayor: (Entering) Beloved one, you sent for me. (Surprised). Are you going away?
Tahirih: Yes, dear friend, I am going on a long, long journey. Soon you will be free from the cares of my imprisonment.
Wife of Mayor: O Tahirih, we ask no greater joy than to be near you. You have brought us the breath of heaven.
Tahirih: I wish to make a parting request, for the hour when I shall be put to death is approaching. (Wife of Mayor weeps). Do not weep, tweet friend, I shall be with my Beloved Master.
Wife of Mayor: (Controlling her emotion). What is your request? It shall be a sacred trust.
Tahirih: I wish your son to be with me at the scene of my death and to plead with my assassins that they not compel me to remove this attire. Three days after I am gone a woman will come and visit you. Give her this package. (Wife of Mayor receives package reverently, kisses it and conceals it in her clothing). This is the key to my chest. I have left a few things for you as a remembrance. (Wife of Mayor receives the key and kisses it reverently. Tahirih embraces her). Keep secret the tidings of my death until my enemies shall themselves disclose it. (Sudden knock at street door). Run and open, they will be looking for me. (Wife of Mayor starts towards door as Tahirih wraps herself in street attire).
Mayor: Come, Madam, they are here.
(Tahirih exits with Mayor. His wife watches them out of sight. Then with a cry of anguish she falls upon her knees and weeps).
(Scene fades, giving impression these events are taking place almost simultaneously in Tihran, Shiraz, Karbila, and Tabriz).
The martyrdom of Tahirah actually occurred in August, 1852)
ACT V SCENE IV (A series of scenes, following each other swiftly. Room in the palace of the Governor, Tabriz, early July, 1850.)
The Governor: (To Prince Hasan Khan in consternation). As directed by the Grand Vizir I summoned The Youth to Tabriz. I am now commanded by His Excellency to execute Him. This is a vile business and an easy one. Your brother would do better to entrust me with services of greater merit than to slay an innocent descendant of the Prophet-a task that only ignoble people would accept.
Grand Vizir: (To Prince Hasan Khan, his brother). Since the Prince Governor declines, follow yourself the instructions without delay. Relieve us of this anxiety and let this affair be brought to an end, so that we may enter the Fast with undisturbed tranquillity.
Prince Hasan Khan: (To Officer). The Prisoner and His companions are to be transferred at once to the barracks. The Colonel of the Christian regiment is to dispatch ten men to guard Him.
First Officer: (Saluting). Your Highness. (Exit).
Prince Hasan Khan: (To Second Officer). Obtain a formal sentence from the learned doctors of Tabriz, who are the firm support of the church, summon the Christian regiment, suspend Him before all the people and give orders for the regiment to fire.
Second Officer: (Saluting). Your Highness. (Exit). (Fade).
A Divine: (Seizing the warrant from his table). No need to bring Him into my presence. This death warrant I penned the very day of the trial. He, is surely the same man whom I saw on that occasion and has not surrendered any of His claims. (Fade).
A Jurist: I have already issued my written testimony. I refuse to meet Him face to face. (Fade).
A Divine: I can do no better than to follow the example of my colleagues. (Curtain)
ACT V SCENE V
Public Square, Tabriz, July 9, 1850. Heavy report of guns, three separate volleys. As curtain rises hysterical babble of voices and general confusion. The smoke which has darkened the square is gradually dispelled revealing a door leading to interior of barracks and courtyard. On the roofs of the barracks and tops of adjoining houses a multitude of people. Suddenly The Youth, divested of outer cloak, sash and turban, the straps with which He had been suspended still about him, enters calmly and approaching a youth standing at the entrance to a room of the barracks, engages in earnest conversation with him, oblivious to the excitement about Him.
"As soon as the cloud of smoke had cleared away an astounded multitude was looking upon a scene which their eyes could scarcely believe. There standing before them alive and unhurt was the companion of The Youth, whilst He, Himself, had vanished from their sight. Though the cords with which they were suspended had been rent in pieces by the bullets, yet their bodies had miraculously escaped the volleys. . . . They set out in a frenzied search for Him, and found Him eventually . . . engaged in completing His interrupted conversation with Siyyid Husayn. An expression of unruffled calm is upon His Face. His body had emerged unscathed from the shower of bullets which the regiment had directed against Him. . . ." (The Dawn-Breakers, p. 513).
The Youth: (Calmly to an officer and attendants who have suddenly burst upon the scene and seeing The Youth alive, and engaged in conversation with His companion, have stopped as if thunderstruck). I have finished My conversation with Siyyid Husayn. Now you may proceed to fulfill your intention. (Exit The Youth followed by officer).
Spectators: There is the Mihdi. He has come back. He is alive. He is not hurt. He is alive again. (Agitation of spectators increases).
An Officer: (Terribly shaken, to one who has entered). I cannot proceed in this business. Sir, I shall resign my post. (Salutes-exit).
Captain of Artillery: (To Colonel of Christian Regiment, Sam Khan). Officer, re-assemble your men).
Colonel of Christian Regiment: My men refuse to fire again.
A Soldier: We are soldiers, not assassins.
Captain of Artillery: What does this mean?
Colonel of Christian Regiment: (To his men). Leave the barracks. (Soldiers salute, exit, To officer.) Never again will I associate myself or my regiment with this business, even should it mean my life.
Captain of Artillery: (Sternly). You refuse?
Captain of Artillery: Even should it mean my life. (Exit).
Colonel of Bodyguard: (Advancing). Sir, I will execute the order.
Captain of Artillery: Assemble your men. (Exit Colonel of Bodyguard with Captain of Artillery). Spectators: (Wildly). The sign was given-the sign. The Christian Regiment will not slay the Prophet!
Spectator: A miracle, a miracle! Was it not prophesied that the Mihdi would be slain by His own people?
Voice of The Youth: (Off stage). Had you believed in Me, O wayward generation, everyone of you willingly would have sacrificed yourselves in My path. . . . I am come into this world to bear witness to the glory of sacrifice. The drops of this consecrated blood will be the seed from which will arise the mighty Tree of God the Tree that will gather beneath its all-embracing shadow the peoples and kindred of the earth. I am hastening to fulfill my destiny.
Colonel of Bodyguard: Attention! Position! Aim! Fire! (Three volleys are discharged. The loud report of the guns is followed by an ominous lull. "At the moment the shots were fired a gale of exceptional severity arose and swept over the whole city. A whirlwind of dust of incredible density obscured the light of the sun
The entire city remained enveloped in that darkness from noon till night.... " (The Dawn-Breakers, p. 515).
With the whine of the wind and gale there arose the wails and cries of the multitude; voices of men and women mingle in moaning and lamentation as the horror settles upon them. The tempest rises higher and higher.
EPILOGUE: Siyah-Chal, a dungeon, Tihran, 1852. Stage dark. Sound of chanting as curtain rises.
First Group: (Intoning). God is sufficient unto me. He is verily the All-sufficing.
Second Group: In Him let the trusting trust.
Abdu'l-Vahhab: O Holy Master, I have this night been soaring in a realm of infinite beauty. My whole being was filled with delight.
The Comforter: Today shalt thou be martyred for this Cause. The hosts of Exalted Paradise await you.
(Sound of key grating in lock; unfastening of a heavy door. A guard appears carrying a light which reveals a gloomy dungeon filled with prisoners in stocks, chained together in rows, facing each other; in rags, or almost destitute of clothing, hair and beards unkempt, huddled together on a floor without mats or bedding. The dungeon has no window through which air or light may penetrate and no opening save the door at the top of a long flight of stairs).
Guard: (Calling out) 'Abdu'l-Vahhab! (At the mention of his name the man leaps to his feet. A second guard advances and unfastens an iron collar and chains which have bound him to The Comforter. He joyously embraces his fellow prisoners, then turns back to The Comforter).
The Comforter: Were it not for these afflictions how could the people of God be known? Verily, they are men who passing by cities of gold. consider them not; who passing before kingdoms of beauty turn not aside. The friends of God never have regarded not will regard the earth or its transitory riches. If you are slain for His good pleasure it is better for you than that you should slay. (He removes His
slippers, proffering them to the prisoner who wears them). O Son of the Supreme! I made death for thee as glad tidings!
'Abdu'l-Vahhab: The Glory of God.
Guard: (To prisoners). Your turn will come next! (Exit with martyr).
The Comforter: Give heed to my warning, ye people! If I be slain at your hands God will assuredly raise up one who will fill the seat made vacant through my death; for
such is God's method carried into effect of old and no change can ye find in God's mode of dealing. Should they attempt to conceal His light on the continent He will assuredly rear His head in the midmost heart of the ocean, and if they cast Him into a darksome pit they will find Him seated on earth's loftiest heights calling aloud to all mankind; and if He be buried beneath the depths of the earth His spirit soaring to the apex of heaven shall peal the summons: "I am the Lifegiver of the world."
Third Guard: (Advancing toward The Comforter, who is concealed in the darkness, and speaking with emotion). Your house has been destroyed by order of the Grand Vizir. They have broken open all the treasures and taken them away; anything they were unable to carry away was destroyed with the house. The entire village has been despoiled. The order has been given to capture and kill all of the followers and confiscate their property.
The Comforter: If these companions be not the true strivers after God, who else could be called by that name? If these companions with all their marvelous testimonials and wondrous words are false, who then is worthy to claim for himself the Truth?
First Guard: (At door with light, speaking with officers who are escorting a man). The Grand Vizir has been stricken with plague. (They appear agitated).
An Officer: (Aside to man he is escorting). Identify Him as the guilty person. This is your last chance. Remember the reward Her Imperial Highness has promised.
The Man: (Advancing he stands for a while looking intently toward the One concealed in the shadows. Suddenly a dazzling light envelopes Him. Startled the man exclaims). I have never seen Him! This is not the One. The leader of this new doctrine was The Youth who was shot in the public square at Tabriz, because He claimed that He was the Mihdi. I have never seen this Personage. (Officers with two of the guards seize the man and push him roughly towards the stairs. With considerable commotion officers and guards conduct the man from the dungeon. The dungeon is again enveloped in darkness).
The Comforter: ("What shall I recount regarding the countenance which I beheld! The beauty of that face, those exquisite features which no pen or brush dare describe, His penetrating glance, His kindly Face, the majesty of His bearing, the sweetness of His smile, the luxuriance of His jet-black flowing locks, left an indelible impression upon my soul." The Dawn-Breakers, p. 32.) O God! Verily this Wronged One will arise with the utmost endeavor for the regeneration of souls. We beseech God to give assistance. Indeed He is the Lord of the Throne above and of the dust beneath, the King of the beginning and of the end. O people of
the earth! Verily, I declare that I have not sought leadership, nor do I seek it. . . . Verily, God will bring everything to light, though it were but the weight of a grain of mustard seed, and hidden in a rock, or in the heavens or in the earth; for God is subtle, informed of all.
A Voice: Verily, We will aid Thee to triumph by Thyself and by Thy Pen. Truly Thou art of Them that are secure. (A dazzling light suddenly illumines the dungeon. It is changed to a crystal like palace. The Figure in chains is lifted erect, the shackles clanging to the floor; He is immersed in a White Light and surrounding Him a multitude of glorious Beings. To the accompaniment of the deep, throbbing tones of an organ the angelic hosts recite:)
First Group: Behold the Gates of Heaven are flung open! Lo, the sacred Pledge hath been fulfilled, for He, the Promised One, is come.
Second Group: That which ye were promised in the Kingdom of God is fulfilled.
First Group: The Comforter, Whose advent all the Scriptures have promised is now come that He may reveal unto you all knowledge and wisdom.
Second Group: Bestir yourselves, ye proud ones of the earth, and hasten ye towards Him.
First Group: Pity that He hath come in the city of the blind.
Second Group: Know verily, that as the radiant dawn breaks above the horizon of eternal holiness, the satanic secrets and deeds wrought in the gloom of night shall be revealed and made manifest unto the peoples of the world.
First Group: O my Lord, the Most High, I was dead through my separation from Thee: the breeze laden with the fragrance of Thy presence hath brought me back to life. Happy is he that turneth unto Thee and woe betide the erring.
Second Group: Have the stars fallen?
First Group: Yes. When He Who subsists by Himself was in the land of mystery. Be warned, O possessors of insight.
Second Group: When were the heavens rent?
First Group: While you were in the tombs of negligence and error.
Second Group: Have the blind been given sight?
First Group: Yes, by Him who mounts the clouds. Say, The Light has risen from the dawn of the manifestation and all the horizons glisten at the coming of the King of the Day of Judgment.
Second Group: Hath the Hour come?
First Group: Nay, more; it hath passed.
Second Group: Has the trumpet of the Judgment Day been heard?
First Group: Yes, the Day of God has come.
Second Group: Has the Resurrection come?
First Group: Much more. He Who subsists by Himself has come with the Kingdom of signs.
Second Group: Where is Paradise and where is hell?
First Group: "The one is reunion with Me; the other thine own self."
Second Group: We see not the balance.
First Group: Answer: Surely, by my Lord, the God of Mercy, none can see it except such - as are endued with insight.
Second Group: O thou who are waiting, tarry no longer, for He is come. Behold His tabernacle and His Glory dwelling therein. It is the Ancient Glory with a New Manifestation.
(The scene fades leaving only the White Spot, in which appears a great open Book. There is a final peal of the organ).
A Voice: Blessed is He who waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.'
Hejirah of Muhammad 622 plus 1335 solar years (Daniel 12; 11-12) equals 1957 A. D. Year In which Universal Peace will be established. See p. 306 Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era.