Hearts and heads

This is an archived post from the old bulletin board. For new posts, see the forum.

Posted by Stuart Gilman ( on December 31, 2002 at 04:30:21:

In Reply to: In search of God posted by Stuart Gilman on December 26, 2002 at 19:40:56:

My last commentary appears a bit harsh.

What we have here and in my community are many good, true, caring, sensitive, devoted Baha'is whose faith resides on their love and goodness. It is I who am intellectually harsh and perhaps often wrong in my comments. But I am not a social Baha'i. I eschew social events except the necessary ones. All my Baha'i friends are the same, social, save one. All have stripped away the "science" of Baha'i and acquired the basic tenets, much like other religions and religious people do.

Yet, I was told by a condescending Baha'i recently that we are in a five year plan to strengthen knowledge and scholarship and achieve a higher level of study and homogeneity across nations regarding the Holy writings.

Note paragraph 51 in The Seven Valleys:

"After journeying through the planes of pure contentment, the traveller cometh to the Valley of Wonderment and is tossed in the oceans of grandeur, and at every moment his wonder groweth. Now he seeth the shape of wealth as poverty itself, and the essence of freedom as sheer impotence. Now is he struck dumb with the beauty of the All-Glorious; again is he wearied out with his own life. How many a mystic tree hath this whirlwind of wonderment snatched by the roots, how many a soul hath it exhausted. For in this Valley the traveller is flung into confusion, albeit, in the eye of him who hath attained, such marvels are esteemed and well beloved. At every moment he beholdeth a wondrous world, a new creation, and goeth from astonishment to astonishment, and is lost in awe at the works of the Lord of Oneness."

Who understands this single paragraph from the single most published mystical work of Bahaullah? I cannot imagine a convention of "ordinary" Baha'is where the subject is the meaning of the SEVEN VALLEYS AND THE FOUR VALLEYS.

Then, I am told officially that most of the really good mystical material of Bahaullah cannot be translated and that is why we are kept from it. Of course, the mystical material is the HEART OF BAHAI. The mystical material in every religion is the HEART of that religion, not the secular stuff about divorce and wives and ablutions and feasts. This is an offense to reason. The very sound of the original Persian or Arabic would enlighten me even if I were not to understand a single word or phrase. Who expounds on the meaning of "OM"? One expounds on OM as an instrument for achieving transcendence. In English, the word "God" is the beginning of a Great Mystery. As in Hebrew, the word Adonai, or Yahweh. Should we withhold the name of God because by its nature it is impossible to comprehend?

I have more respect for the good and decent Baha'is I know than I have for myself. I wish for a portion of their patience, kindness and humility. The heart-side of Baha'i is Perfect; the Mind-side is not even in kindergarten. But I guess that is how it supposed to be.


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