Bab's Sun of Truth Leads Us to God
At noon on this day, 152 years ago, the Bab, prophet-herald of the Baha’i faith, was executed for his revolutionary teachings which challenged traditional interpretations of the world’s faiths.
"The Revelation of God may be likened unto the sun", wrote the Bab. "No matter how innumerable its risings, there is but one sun, and upon it depends the life of all things". Just as the physical sun’s nuclear reactions are totally foreign to our earthly bodies, the true reality of God is forever "exalted and sanctified from being known through His creatures, or being described by His servants". Yet, according to the Bab, the light of God appears in each age through a divine Educator, even as the sun appears to us as a fiery orb in the sky, giving light and energy to the whole world. The Bab called each of these Teachers a "Manifestation of God", and "Sun of Truth", whose "verses are like its rays, and all believers, should they truly believe in Him, are as mirrors wherein the sun is reflected".
Although the teachings of these Manifestations of God illuminate God’s bounties within us such as love, knowledge, and will, the Bab urged us to remember that these come from God and not from ourselves. If, for example, "a king were to make mention of his own sovereignty, this would be like unto a mirror challenging the sun, saying: ‘The light is in me’.
It would be likewise, if a man of learning were to claim to be an exponent of knowledge, or if he who is possessed of riches were to display his affluence. That is, every sign of glory or power is but a reflection of the spiritual majesty of the Manifestations of God.
The great Teachers of every religion have ever been "laughed to scorn", and often martyred by their people, yet the Teachers have always remained transcendent and "free from sorrow in the all-highest Paradise".
Through this, they demonstrate that earthly power, wealth, and learning, although a great challenge for those of us who could use them well, are like child’s play to the Manifestations of God. Mankind depends on these Teachers for truth and joy, but they depend on no one "for He is immeasurably exalted above them".
The Bab further taught that the inner nature of all these Manifestations, the "Primal Will of God," is essentially one and the same. "Were the risings of the sun", he wrote, referring to the appearance of different Teachers over time, "to continue till the end that hath no end, yet there hath not been nor ever will be more than one sun; and were its settings to endure for evermore, still there hath not been nor ever will be more than one sun.
It is this Primal Will which appeareth resplendent in every Prophet and speaketh forth in every revealed Book". If one were to reject some of these Manifestations in favour of others, that would be like rejecting the sun of today in favour of the sun of yesterday. The day is different, but the sun is the same.
In the same way, by discarding the "human imaginings" invented by some misguided leaders of religion, we find that the various religious systems are different parts of one Faith, "inasmuch as every religion proceedeth from God".
In times like these, when the fires of religious prejudice burn away the harvests of justice and peace, these teachings of the Bab need to be remembered.
It is in this spirit of harmony that members of the Baha’i Faith all around the world commemorate the sacrifice of the Bab today. They share with many other sincere seekers of truth the prayer that unity and tolerance may shine more brightly in the life of mankind, growing stronger with the dawn of each new day.
©Copyright 2002, The Times of India