a brief rest, at a distance of a few feet from Him. No sooner had I risen, and ... started to offer my prayers, in a corner of the roof which adjoined a wall, than I beheld His blessed Person rise and walk towards me. When He reached me He said: `You, too, are awake.' Whereupon He began to chant and pace back and forth. How shall I ever describe that voice and the verses it intoned, and His gait, as He strode before me! Methinks, with every step He took and every word He uttered thousands of oceans of light surged before my face, and thousands of worlds of incomparable splendor were unveiled to my eyes, and thousands of suns blazed their light upon me! In the moonlight that streamed upon Him, He thus continued to walk and to chant. Every time He approached me He would pause, and, in a tone so wondrous that no tongue can describe it, would say: `Hear Me, My son. By God, the True One! This Cause will assuredly be made manifest. Heed thou not the idle talk of the people of the Bayán, who pervert the meaning of every word.' In this manner He continued to walk and chant, and to address me these words until the first streaks of dawn appeared.... Afterwards I removed His bedding to His room, and, having prepared His tea for Him, was dismissed from His presence."
The confidence instilled in Mírzá Áqá Ján by this unexpected and sudden contact with the spirit and directing genius of a new-born Revelation stirred his soul to its depths--a soul already afire with a consuming love born of his recognition of the ascendancy which his newly-found Master had already achieved over His fellow-disciples in both Iraq and Persia. This intense adoration that informed his whole being, and which could neither be suppressed nor concealed, was instantly detected by both Mírzá Yahyá and his fellow-conspirator Siyyid Muhammad. The circumstances leading to the revelation of the Tablet of Kullu't-Tá'am, written during that period, at the request of Hájí Mírzá Kamálu'd-Dín-i-Naráqí, a Bábí of honorable rank and high culture, could not but aggravate a situation that had already become serious and menacing. Impelled by a desire to receive illumination from Mírzá Yahyá concerning the meaning of the Qur'ánic verse "All food was allowed to the children of Israel," Hájí Mírzá Kamálu'd-Dín had requested him to write a commentary upon it--a request which was granted, but with reluctance and in a manner which showed such incompetence and superficiality as to disillusion Hájí Mírzá Kamálu'd-Dín, and to destroy his confidence in its author. Turning to Bahá'u'lláh and repeating his request, he was honored by a Tablet, in which Israel
and his children were identified with the Báb and His followers respectively--a Tablet which by reason of the allusions it contained, the beauty of its language and the cogency of its argument, so enraptured the soul of its recipient that he would have, but for the restraining hand of Bahá'u'lláh, proclaimed forthwith his discovery of God's hidden Secret in the person of the One Who had revealed it.
To these evidences of an ever deepening veneration for Bahá'u'lláh and of a passionate attachment to His person were now being added further grounds for the outbreak of the pent-up jealousies which His mounting prestige evoked in the breasts of His ill-wishers and enemies. The steady extension of the circle of His acquaintances and admirers; His friendly intercourse with officials including the governor of the city; the unfeigned homage offered Him, on so many occasions and so spontaneously, by men who had once been distinguished companions of Siyyid Kázim; the disillusionment which the persistent concealment of Mírzá Yahyá, and the unflattering reports circulated regarding his character and abilities, had engendered; the signs of increasing independence, of innate sagacity and inherent superiority and capacity for leadership unmistakably exhibited by Bahá'u'lláh Himself--all combined to widen the breach which the infamous and crafty Siyyid Muhammad had sedulously contrived to create.
A clandestine opposition, whose aim was to nullify every effort exerted, and frustrate every design conceived, by Bahá'u'lláh for the rehabilitation of a distracted community, could now be clearly discerned. Insinuations, whose purpose was to sow the seeds of doubt and suspicion and to represent Him as a usurper, as the subverter of the laws instituted by the Báb, and the wrecker of His Cause, were being incessantly circulated. His Epistles, interpretations, invocations and commentaries were being covertly and indirectly criticized, challenged and misrepresented. An attempt to injure His person was even set afoot but failed to materialize.
The cup of Bahá'u'lláh's sorrows was now running over. All His exhortations, all His efforts to remedy a rapidly deteriorating situation, had remained fruitless. The velocity of His manifold woes was hourly and visibly increasing. Upon the sadness that filled His soul and the gravity of the situation confronting Him, His writings, revealed during that somber period, throw abundant light. In some of His prayers He poignantly confesses that "tribulation upon tribulation" had gathered about Him, that "adversaries with one consent" had fallen upon Him, that "wretchedness" had grievously touched
Him, and that "woes at their blackest" had befallen Him. God Himself He calls upon as a Witness to His "sighs and lamentations," His "powerlessness, poverty and destitution," to the "injuries" He sustained, and the "abasement" He suffered. "So grievous hath been My weeping," He, in one of these prayers, avows, "that I have been prevented from making mention of Thee and singing Thy praises." "So loud hath been the voice of My lamentation," He, in another passage, avers, "that every mother mourning for her child would be amazed, and would still her weeping and her grief." "The wrongs which I suffer," He, in His Lawh-i-Maryam, laments, "have blotted out the wrongs suffered by My First Name (the Báb) from the Tablet of creation." "O Maryam!" He continues, "From the Land of Tá (Tihrán), after countless afflictions, We reached Iraq, at the bidding of the Tyrant of Persia, where, after the fetters of Our foes, We were afflicted with the perfidy of Our friends. God knoweth what befell Me thereafter!" And again: "I have borne what no man, be he of the past or of the future, hath borne or will bear." "Oceans of sadness," He testifies in the Tablet of Qullu't-Tá'am, "have surged over Me, a drop of which no soul could bear to drink. Such is My grief that My soul hath well nigh departed from My body." "Give ear, O Kamál!" He, in that same Tablet, depicting His plight, exclaims, "to the voice of this lowly, this forsaken ant, that hath hid itself in its hole, and whose desire is to depart from your midst, and vanish from your sight, by reason of that which the hands of men have wrought. God, verily, hath been witness between Me and His servants." And again: "Woe is Me, woe is Me!... All that I have seen from the day on which I first drank the pure milk from the breast of My mother until this moment hath been effaced from My memory, in consequence of that which the hands of the people have committed." Furthermore, in His Qásidiy-i-Varqá'íyyih, an ode revealed during the days of His retirement to the mountains of Kurdistán, in praise of the Maiden personifying the Spirit of God recently descended upon Him, He thus gives vent to the agonies of His sorrow-laden heart: "Noah's flood is but the measure of the tears I have shed, and Abraham's fire an ebullition of My soul. Jacob's grief is but a reflection of My sorrows, and Job's afflictions a fraction of my calamity." "Pour out patience upon Me, O My Lord!"-- such is His supplication in one of His prayers, "and render Me victorious over the transgressors." "In these days," He, describing in the Kitáb-i-Iqán the virulence of the jealousy which, at that time, was beginning to bare its venomous fangs, has written, "such odors
of jealousy are diffused, that ... from the beginning of the foundation of the world ... until the present day, such malice, envy and hate have in no wise appeared, nor will they ever be witnessed in the future." "For two years or rather less," He, likewise, in another Tablet, declares, "I shunned all else but God, and closed Mine eyes to all except Him, that haply the fire of hatred may die down and the heat of jealousy abate."
Mírzá Áqá Ján himself has testified: "That Blessed Beauty evinced such sadness that the limbs of my body trembled." He has, likewise, related, as reported by Nabíl in his narrative, that, shortly before Bahá'u'lláh's retirement, he had on one occasion seen Him, between dawn and sunrise, suddenly come out from His house, His night-cap still on His head, showing such signs of perturbation that he was powerless to gaze into His face, and while walking, angrily remark: "These creatures are the same creatures who for three thousand years have worshipped idols, and bowed down before the Golden Calf. Now, too, they are fit for nothing better. What relation can there be between this people and Him Who is the Countenance of Glory? What ties can bind them to the One Who is the supreme embodiment of all that is lovable?" "I stood," declared Mírzá Áqá Ján, "rooted to the spot, lifeless, dried up as a dead tree, ready to fall under the impact of the stunning power of His words. Finally, He said: `Bid them recite: "Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants, and all abide by His bidding!" Tell them to repeat it five hundred times, nay, a thousand times, by day and by night, sleeping and waking, that haply the Countenance of Glory may be unveiled to their eyes, and tiers of light descend upon them.' He Himself, I was subsequently informed, recited this same verse, His face betraying the utmost sadness. ...Several times during those days, He was heard to remark: `We have, for a while, tarried amongst this people, and failed to discern the slightest response on their part.' Oftentimes He alluded to His disappearance from our midst, yet none of us understood His meaning."
Finally, discerning, as He Himself testifies in the Kitáb-i-Iqán, "the signs of impending events," He decided that before they happened He would retire. "The one object of Our retirement," He, in that same Book affirms, "was to avoid becoming a subject of discord among the faithful, a source of disturbance unto Our companions, the means of injury to any soul, or the cause of sorrow to any heart." "Our withdrawal," He, moreover, in that same passage emphatically
asserts, "contemplated no return, and Our separation hoped for no reunion."
Suddenly, and without informing any one even among the members of His own family, on the 12th of Rajab 1270 A.H. (April 10, 1854), He departed, accompanied by an attendant, a Muhammadan named Abu'l-Qásim-i-Hamadání, to whom He gave a sum of money, instructing him to act as a merchant and use it for his own purposes. Shortly after, that servant was attacked by thieves and killed, and Bahá'u'lláh was left entirely alone in His wanderings through the wastes of Kurdistán, a region whose sturdy and warlike people were known for their age-long hostility to the Persians, whom they regarded as seceders from the Faith of Islám, and from whom they differed in their outlook, race and language.
Attired in the garb of a traveler, coarsely clad, taking with Him nothing but his kashk˙l (alms-bowl) and a change of clothes, and assuming the name of Darvísh Muhammad, Bahá'u'lláh retired to the wilderness, and lived for a time on a mountain named Sar-Gal˙, so far removed from human habitations that only twice a year, at seed sowing and harvest time, it was visited by the peasants of that region. Alone and undisturbed, He passed a considerable part of His retirement on the top of that mountain in a rude structure, made of stone, which served those peasants as a shelter against the extremities of the weather. At times His dwelling-place was a cave to which He refers in His Tablets addressed to the famous Shaykh `Abdu'r-Rahmán and to Maryam, a kinswoman of His. "I roamed the wilderness of resignation" He thus depicts, in the Lawh-i-Maryam, the rigors of His austere solitude, "traveling in such wise that in My exile every eye wept sore over Me, and all created things shed tears of blood because of My anguish. The birds of the air were My companions and the beasts of the field My associates." "From My eyes," He, referring in the Kitáb-i-Iqán to those days, testifies, "there rained tears of anguish, and in My bleeding heart surged an ocean of agonizing pain. Many a night I had no food for sustenance, and many a day My body found no rest.... Alone I communed with My spirit, oblivious of the world and all that is therein."
In the odes He revealed, whilst wrapped in His devotions during those days of utter seclusion, and in the prayers and soliloquies which, in verse and prose, both in Arabic and Persian, poured from His sorrow-laden soul, many of which He was wont to chant aloud to Himself, at dawn and during the watches of the night, He lauded the names and attributes of His Creator, extolled the glories and
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