picture, and accuse me of exaggeration. Would to God that I had not lived to see it! But by the duties of my profession I was unhappily often, only too often, a witness of these abominations. At present I never leave my house, in order not to meet with fresh scenes of horror... Since my whole soul revolts against such infamy ... I will no longer maintain my connection with the scene of such crimes." Little wonder that a man as far-famed as Renan should, in his "Les Apôtres" have characterized the hideous butchery perpetrated in a single day, during the great massacre of Tihrán, as "a day perhaps unparalleled in the history of the world!"
The hand that was stretched to deal so grievous a blow to the adherents of a sorely-tried Faith did not confine itself to the rank and file of the Báb's persecuted followers. It was raised with equal fury and determination against, and struck down with equal force, the few remaining leaders who had survived the winnowing winds of adversity that had already laid low so vast a number of the supporters of the Faith. Táhirih, that immortal heroine who had already shed imperishable luster alike on her sex and on the Cause she had espoused, was swept into, and ultimately engulfed by, the raging storm. Siyyid Husayn, the amanuensis of the Báb, the companion of His exile, the trusted repository of His last wishes, and the witness of the prodigies attendant upon His martyrdom, fell likewise a victim of its fury. That hand had even the temerity to lift itself against the towering figure of Bahá'u'lláh. But though it laid hold of Him it failed to strike Him down. It imperilled His life, it imprinted on His body indelible marks of a pitiless cruelty, but was impotent to cut short a career that was destined not only to keep alive the fire which the Spirit of the Báb had kindled, but to produce a conflagration that would at once consummate and outshine the glories of His Revelation.
During those somber and agonizing days when the Báb was no more, when the luminaries that had shone in the firmament of His Faith had been successively extinguished, when His nominee, a "bewildered fugitive, in the guise of a dervish, with kashkúl (alms-basket) in hand" roamed the mountains and plains in the neighborhood of Rasht, Bahá'u'lláh, by reason of the acts He had performed, appeared in the eyes of a vigilant enemy as its most redoubtable adversary and as the sole hope of an as yet unextirpated heresy. His seizure and death had now become imperative. He it was Who, scarce three months after the Faith was born, received, through the envoy of the Báb, Mullá Husayn, the scroll which bore to Him the first tidings
of a newly announced Revelation, Who instantly acclaimed its truth, and arose to champion its cause. It was to His native city and dwelling place that the steps of that envoy were first directed, as the place which enshrined "a Mystery of such transcendent holiness as neither Hijáz nor Shíráz can hope to rival." It was Mullá Husayn's report of the contact thus established which had been received with such exultant joy by the Báb, and had brought such reassurance to His heart as to finally decide Him to undertake His contemplated pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. Bahá'u'lláh alone was the object and the center of the cryptic allusions, the glowing eulogies, the fervid prayers, the joyful announcements and the dire warnings recorded in both the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá and the Bayán, designed to be respectively the first and last written testimonials to the glory with which God was soon to invest Him. It was He Who, through His correspondence with the Author of the newly founded Faith, and His intimate association with the most distinguished amongst its disciples, such as Vahíd, Hujjat, Quddús, Mullá Husayn and Táhirih, was able to foster its growth, elucidate its principles, reinforce its ethical foundations, fulfill its urgent requirements, avert some of the immediate dangers threatening it and participate effectually in its rise and consolidation. It was to Him, "the one Object of our adoration and love" that the Prophet-pilgrim, on His return to Búshihr, alluded when, dismissing Quddús from His presence, He announced to him the double joy of attaining the presence of their Beloved and of quaffing the cup of martyrdom. He it was Who, in the hey-day of His life, flinging aside every consideration of earthly fame, wealth and position, careless of danger, and risking the obloquy of His caste, arose to identify Himself, first in Tihrán and later in His native province of Mazindarán, with the cause of an obscure and proscribed sect; won to its support a large number of the officials and notables of Núr, not excluding His own associates and relatives; fearlessly and persuasively expounded its truths to the disciples of the illustrious mujtahid, Mullá Muhammad; enlisted under its banner the mujtahid's appointed representatives; secured, in consequence of this act, the unreserved loyalty of a considerable number of ecclesiastical dignitaries, government officers, peasants and traders; and succeeded in challenging, in the course of a memorable interview, the mujtahid himself. It was solely due to the potency of the written message entrusted by Him to Mullá Muhammad Mihdíy-i-Kandí and delivered to the Báb while in the neighborhood of the village of Kulayn, that the soul of the disappointed Captive was able to rid itself, at an
hour of uncertainty and suspense, of the anguish that had settled upon it ever since His arrest in Shíráz. He it was Who, for the sake of Táhirih and her imprisoned companions, willingly submitted Himself to a humiliating confinement, lasting several days--the first He was made to suffer--in the house of one of the kad-khudás of Tihrán. It was to His caution, foresight and ability that must be ascribed her successful escape from Qazvín, her deliverance from her opponents, her safe arrival in His home, and her subsequent removal to a place of safety in the vicinity of the capital from whence she proceeded to Khurásán. It was into His presence that Mullá Husayn was secretly ushered upon his arrival in Tihrán, after which interview he traveled to Ádhirbayján on his visit to the Báb then confined in the fortress of Máh-Ku. He it was Who unobtrusively and unerringly directed the proceedings of the Conference of Badasht; Who entertained as His guests Quddús, Táhirih and the eighty-one disciples who had gathered on that occasion; Who revealed every day a Tablet and bestowed on each of the participants a new name; Who faced unaided the assault of a mob of more than five hundred villagers in Níyálá; Who shielded Quddús from the fury of his assailants; Who succeeded in restoring a part of the property which the enemy had plundered and Who insured the protection and safety of the continually harassed and much abused Táhirih. Against Him was kindled the anger of Muhammad Sháh who, as a result of the persistent representations of mischief-makers, was at last induced to order His arrest and summon Him to the capital--a summons that was destined to remain unfulfilled as a result of the sudden death of the sovereign. It was to His counsels and exhortations, addressed to the occupants of Shaykh Tabarsí, who had welcomed Him with such reverence and love during His visit to that Fort, that must be attributed, in no small measure, the spirit evinced by its heroic defenders, while it was to His explicit instructions that they owed the miraculous release of Quddús and his consequent association with them in the stirring exploits that have immortalized the Mazindarán upheaval. It was for the sake of those same defenders, whom He had intended to join, that He suffered His second imprisonment, this time in the masjid of Ámul to which He was led, amidst the tumult raised by no less than four thousand spectators,--for their sake that He was bastinadoed in the namáz-khánih of the mujtahid of that town until His feet bled, and later confined in the private residence of its governor; for their sake that He was bitterly denounced by the leading mullá, and insulted by the mob who, besieging the governor's residence, pelted Him with
stones, and hurled in His face the foulest invectives. He alone was the One alluded to by Quddús who, upon his arrival at the Fort of Shaykh Tabarsí, uttered, as soon as he had dismounted and leaned against the shrine, the prophetic verse "The Baqíyyatu'lláh (the Remnant of God) will be best for you if ye are of those who believe." He alone was the Object of that prodigious eulogy, that masterly interpretation of the Sád of Samad, penned in part, in that same Fort by that same youthful hero, under the most distressing circumstances, and equivalent in dimensions to six times the volume of the Qur'án. It was to the date of His impending Revelation that the Lawh-i-Hurúfat, revealed in Chihríq by the Báb, in honor of Dayyán, abstrusely alluded, and in which the mystery of the "Mustagháth" was unraveled. It was to the attainment of His presence that the attention of another disciple, Mullá Báqir, one of the Letters of the Living, was expressly directed by none other than the Báb Himself. It was exclusively to His care that the documents of the Báb, His pen-case, His seals, and agate rings, together with a scroll on which He had penned, in the form of a pentacle, no less than three hundred and sixty derivatives of the word Bahá, were delivered, in conformity with instructions He Himself had issued prior to His departure from Chihríq. It was solely due to His initiative, and in strict accordance with His instructions, that the precious remains of the Báb were safely transferred from Tabríz to the capital, and were concealed and safeguarded with the utmost secrecy and care throughout the turbulent years following His martyrdom. And finally, it was He Who, in the days preceding the attempt on the life of the Sháh, had been instrumental, while sojourning in Kárbilá, in spreading, with that same enthusiasm and ability that had distinguished His earlier exertions in Mazindarán, the teachings of His departed Leader, in safeguarding the interests of His Faith, in reviving the zeal of its grief-stricken followers, and in organizing the forces of its scattered and bewildered adherents.
Such a man, with such a record of achievements to His credit, could not, indeed did not, escape either the detection or the fury of a vigilant and fully aroused enemy. Afire from the very beginning with an uncontrollable enthusiasm for the Cause He had espoused; conspicuously fearless in His advocacy of the rights of the downtrodden; in the full bloom of youth; immensely resourceful; matchless in His eloquence; endowed with inexhaustible energy and penetrating judgment; possessed of the riches, and enjoying, in full measure, the esteem, power and prestige associated with an enviably high and
noble position, and yet contemptuous of all earthly pomp, rewards, vanities and possessions; closely associated, on the one hand, through His regular correspondence with the Author of the Faith He had risen to champion, and intimately acquainted, on the other, with the hopes and fears, the plans and activities of its leading exponents; at one time advancing openly and assuming a position of acknowledged leadership in the forefront of the forces struggling for that Faith's emancipation, at another deliberately drawing back with consummate discretion in order to remedy, with greater efficacy, an awkward or dangerous situation; at all times vigilant, ready and indefatigable in His exertions to preserve the integrity of that Faith, to resolve its problems, to plead its cause, to galvanize its followers, and to confound its antagonists, Bahá'u'lláh, at this supremely critical hour in its fortunes, was at last stepping into the very center of the stage so tragically vacated by the Báb--a stage on which He was destined, for no less a period than forty years, to play a part unapproached in its majesty, pathos and splendor by any of the great Founders of the world's historic religions.
Already so conspicuous and towering a figure had, through the accusations levelled against Him, kindled the wrath of Muhammad Sháh, who, after having heard what had transpired in Badasht, had ordered His arrest, in a number of farmáns addressed to the kháns of Mazindarán, and expressed his determination to put Him to death. Hájí Mírzá Aqásí, previously alienated from the Vazír (Bahá'u'lláh's father), and infuriated by his own failure to appropriate by fraud an estate that belonged to Bahá'u'lláh, had sworn eternal enmity to the One Who had so brilliantly succeeded in frustrating his evil designs. The Amír-Nizám, moreover, fully aware of the pervasive influence of so energetic an opponent, had, in the presence of a distinguished gathering, accused Him of having inflicted, as a result of His activities, a loss of no less than five kurúrs upon the government, and had expressly requested Him, at a critical moment in the fortunes of the Faith, to temporarily transfer His residence to Kárbilá. Mírzá Áqá Khán-i-Núrí, who succeeded the Amír-Nizám, had endeavored, at the very outset of his ministry, to effect a reconciliation between his government and the One Whom he regarded as the most resourceful of the Báb's disciples. Little wonder that when, later, an act of such gravity and temerity was committed, a suspicion as dire as it was unfounded, should at once have crept into the minds of the Sháh, his government, his court, and his people against Bahá'u'lláh. Foremost among them was the mother of the youthful
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