The Lawh-i-Manikji Sahib is a prominent tablet revealed by Bahá'u'lláh in the early 'Akká period. It enjoys a singular distinction in the corpus of Bahá'u'lláh's writings, as it is the first occasion where He gives expression to the now-famous anthem: "Ye are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch." It is also noteworthy for its style and composition--one of only a few tablets Bahá'u'lláh revealed in pure Persian. This paper concerns itself with an epigrammatic survey of the salient themes found in the tablet and with their import and correlation to Bahá'u'lláh's writings of the same and later periods. The recipient, Manikji Sahib, was a Parsi agent dispatched to Persia by the Zoroastrian community of Bombay to aid and assist their coreligionists. He met Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdad in 1854 while en route to Iran and later corresponded with Him on more than one occasion. Manikji was impressed by Bahá'u'lláh's dignity and comportment and in due time became well disposed to the nascent Bahá'í community through an enduring rapport with Him. This tablet was revealed in response to one of Manikii's letters in which he posed specific questions to Bahá'u'lláh on Divine Names, language preference (i.e., Persian over Arabic), education and the like. Despite the growing tensions between Zoroastrian dasturs (high priests) and prominent Zoroastrian converts to the Bahá'í Faith around the time this tablet was revealed, Manikji retained a favorable outlook toward the Bahá'ís and continued to maintain a warm friendship with Bahá'u'lláh,
The following is an abridged outline of the important themes found in this tablet:
Response to question about Divine Names
Response to question about preferred language
Abandonment of alienation and enmity
Advice against avarice
Admonition to combine speech with action
Glad tidings of the unity of mankind
Admonitions to adopt a virtuous life
Many of Bahá'u'lláh's social and ethical teachings can be traced to this tablet. While the foremost theme of the tablet accentuates the call for the unity of mankind, Bahá'u'lláh also stresses the need to act in accordance with the exigencies of time and to be alert to the problems of the day. He, moreover, advises all nations and races to dispel alienation, enmity and estrangement. Other social and ethical teachings present in this tablet are: the necessity to use language with wisdom, to adopt virtuous traits, to eschew greed and so on. In numerous later writings, Bahá'u'lláh continues to expand and elaborate on many of the same topics. Ostensibly a reply to a letter of a friend, this tablet enjoys a marked distinction in Bahá'u'lláh's voluminous revelation for its weighty content and its lofty and lucid diction. Manikji deserves our abiding gratitude for eliciting this majestic tablet from the Supreme Pen and for his unrelenting services towards furthering the principles of education and human rights in Qajar Iran--principles that he, it should not escape our attention, avidly shared with Bahá'u'lláh.
3. Early draft of article in HTML, not edited (2001)
are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch."
Lawh-i Manikji Sahib is a prominent tablet revealed by Bahá'u'lláh
in the early Akka period. 
Of the context and circumstances surrounding its revelation not much is known,
but oblique internal allusions to significant historical events makes it possible
to trace the date of its recording to circa 1869-1872. This tablet enjoys a singular
distinction in the corpus of Bahá'u'lláh's writings, as it is the
first occasion where He gives expression to the now-famous anthem: "Ye are the
fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch." It is also noteworthy for its
style and composition…one of only a few tablets Bahá'u'lláh revealed
in pure Persian. 
A rudimentary English translation first appeared in Star of the West, an
edited version of which is reproduced below.  This paper concerns itself with an
epigrammatic survey of the salient themes found in this renowned tablet and with
their import and correlation to Bahá'u'lláh's writings of the same
and later periods. Apart from succinct comments, no attempt has been made to analyze,
scrutinize or annotate the tablet. An effort, however feeble, has been made to
enhance the pedestrian quality of the Star of the West translation in the
distant hope of inching closer to the poetic eminence of the original.
recipient of the tablet, Manikji Sahib  , was a Parsi agent dispatched to Persia
by the Zoroastrian community of Bombay (now Mumbai) to aid and assist their co-religionists
in the land of their origin.  The Zoroastrian community of India
took form in the wake of several waves of migrations by disadvantaged and persecuted
Persian Zoroastrians in the Safavid and Qajar periods, principally from the towns
of Yazd, Kirman and their surrounding villages. These ÒmigrÒs settled by and large
in the Indian provinces of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
well documented that ethnic and religious minorities in Qajar Iran faced a bleak
and precarious existence. During the long and oppressive reign of Nasirud-din
Shah (1848-96), political chaos, economic deprivation and moral bankruptcy progressively
permeated the fabric of Persian society and wreaked havoc with its normative order.
The Shia clergy (ulama) routinely and often under the pretext of the "enjoining
the good and forbidding the evil" ethic (al-amr bi'l-ma'ruf va al-nahy ‘an al-munkar)
dealt with non-Muslims in a disdainful and callous manner.
 By branding religious minorities as "ritually impure," depriving
them of blood money equivalent to a Muslim, making conversion to Islam obligatory
for any man or a woman that wished to marry a Muslim and other insufferable practices,
the clergy establishment managed to maintain an iron grip on enforced social mores
and bolstered its hold on political power. Inciting mob action to harass assumed
heretics (i.e., Sufis, Babis, and the like) were common tactics employed by the
mullahs, the more unscrupulous of whom sometimes stood to gain financially…through
pillage, plunder and other insalubrious schemes…by institutionalizing what many
in the West would denounce as naked discrimination and extortion. While the Babis,
and later Bahá'ís, were singled out for particularly brutal and
bloody persecution, the Zoroastrians were never immune from lesser forms of maltreatment.  Upon settlement in India, these emigrants…known
as Parsis (i.e., Persians)…felt liberated to restore their sense of community,
to unstintingly practice their religion and, most importantly, to prosper in trade
and commerce under the British Raj. Having established and organized themselves,
they set out to alleviate the miserable conditions of their brethren in Iran.
Through a series of agents, Manikji being the first, they managed to absolve Zoroastrians
from the payment of special taxes (jizya) levied on religious minorities and,
ultimately, to secure a royal decree for the establishment of a self-governing
association called the Anjuman-i Nasiri. The primary mission of this association
was to lobby the state to intervene in cases of gross mistreatment of Zoroastrians
and to promote and preserve the Persian language in its pure form. 
met Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdad in 1854 while enroute to Iran and later
corresponded with Him on more than one occasion. He was impressed by Bahá'u'lláh's
dignity and comportment and in due time became well disposed to the Babi community
through an enduring rapport with Him. This tablet was revealed in response to
one of Manikji's letters in which he posed specific questions to Bahá'u'lláh
on Divine Names, language preference (i.e., Persian over Arabic), education and
the like. Although Manikji did not read or write Persian, he had, nonetheless,
a keen interest in safeguarding it in its pure, non-Arabicised form. He hired
Mirza Abul-Fadl Gulpayagani, the celebrated Bahá'í scholar and recognized
expert in pure Persian, to teach in a school he helped found for educating Zoroastrian
children.  In subsequent letters, Manikji continued
to seek out Bahá'u'lláh's views on the validity of various religions,
nationalism, the origin of humanity, and other such topics. 
the early 1860s the Babi, and later Bahá'í, communities in the Middle
East drew their ranks chiefly from the local Muslim populations…lower-ranking
mullahs being some of its most ardent converts. Subsequently, the Bahá'í
community succeeded in attracting adherents from two distinct religious minorities
in Iran: the Jews and the Zoroastrians. The only other religious minority of consequence,
the Christians (Armenians, Assyrians and other sects), remained relatively intact
and immune to the phenomenon of Babi and Bahá'í conversions.  The
brutality of the Muslim clergy in putting the Iranian Bahá'ís through
horrific tortures and bloody massacres on the one hand, and the meekness with
which these assumed heretics accepted their lot on the other, increasingly led
members of these religious minorities, who, as was noted, were not immune to lesser
forms of abuse, to empathize with the plight of the Bahá'ís and
to look more closely into their beliefs and practices, thereby leading many of
them to enlist within the ranks of the nascent Bahá'í community.
Even after having converted, however, they continued to maintain strong bonds
with their former religious communities, customs and contacts.  For Zoroastrians the tracing of Bahá'u'lláh's
ancestry to the last monarch of the pre-Islamic Sasanian dynasty…Yazdigird III…and
His claim to be Shah Bahram Varjavand, the latter-day Savior promised in their
Scriptures, provided further impetus for their rapid conversion.  Ironically, the Zoroastrian
priests (dasturs) and the Muslim clergy found themselves united in pressuring
these converts to abandon their newfound religion.
it appears, was not merely a promoter of the Persian language or a protector of
Zoroastrian rights. His activism and influence spanned the socio-cultural, religious
and political spheres. Being reform-minded, he routinely communicated with Persian
intellectuals, political activists and dissenters such as Mirza Fath ‘Ali Akhundzada,
Aqa Buzurg Kirmani, Mirza Malkum Khan and the like.  Also, doubts have persisted about
the nature of his Anglo-Indian connections and his possible role as a British
mole.  He frequently commissioned others
to write on topics that held his interests, but would either tamper with the finished
product or would claim authorship for material he did not write.  As mentioned, he employed prominent
Bahá'ís and specifically commissioned Mirza Husayn Hamadani to write
a history on the Babi religion that came to be known as New History (Tarikh-i
Jadid), a work not devoid of controversy. Despite the growing tensions between
the Zoroastrian dasturs and prominent Zoroastrian converts, however, Manikji retained
a favorable outlook toward the Babis and Bahá'ís and continued to
maintain a warm friendship with Bahá'u'lláh.
A brief outline of the salient themes found in the tablet
iPraise of God
The tablet begins with references to Water of Life and First
Rays (i.e., Divine Revelation) as the source of creation. Bahá'u'lláh
confirms speech as God's primary bequest to mankind and his use of wisdom and
intellect as ever-pleasing to the Almighty.
iiGreetings and salutations
As common literary devices in
personal correspondences such as this tablet, Bahá'u'lláh's expressions of
fondness for Manikji and His buoyant optimism for their continued friendship
follow the recollection of their meeting in the land of Arabia (i.e., Baghdad).
iiiResponse to question about Divine Names
While affirming God as the Divine Physician, Bahá'u'lláh,
in a possible reference to the rulers and the clergy, laments the recklessness
of the "selfish" in misleading the masses, and underscores the importance of being
attentive to the changing exigencies of time and place (i.e., dynamic pragmatism).
In the tablet to Queen Victoria, He uses a similar metaphor to associate the state
of humanity to a sick body that is misdiagnosed and untreated owing to the selfish
desires of ignorant physicians. He further declares: "That which the Lord hath
ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all
the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith.
This can in no wise be achieved except through the power of a skilled, an all-powerful
and inspired Physician." 
ivExhortations to turn to God
In moving imagery Bahá'u'lláh
reckons those that recognize His station as having attained immortality and
those that reject Him as never capable of attaining life.
vResponse to question about preferred language
Manikji's question pertained to his preference for Persian
over Arabic. Bahá'u'lláh's response clarifies that both are meritorious
and that the purpose of language is the conveyance of a message, for which either
language is adequate. In later tablets…for instance Splendours (Ishraqat) and
Effulgences (Tajalliyat)…Bahá'u'lláh designates Arabic as the "eloquent"
tongue and calls Persian "luminous."  Acknowledging Manikji's bias, however,
Bahá'u'lláh bestows supplementary praise on Persian as the mother
tongue of the Manifestation of God for this age.
viDetachment from earthly possessions
In reference to the misdeeds of some (presumably His followers),
Bahá'u'lláh gives vent to His disappointment that such acts have
kept others from realizing His Message. He further deems detachment as a prerequisite
for the elevation of humanity to the heights of nobility and makes human tranquility
contingent upon personal benevolence.
viiAbandonment of alienation and enmity
Echoed in numerous other
tablets, the uninhibited association and fellowship among all nations is a
central theme here and anchors Bahá'u'lláh's call to unity.
viiiAdvice against avarice
In a lucid analogy that brings
into focus the literary excellence of this tablet, Bahá'u'lláh cautions that
covetousness and greed can veil the light of the soul just as the thin eyelid
ixAdmonition to combine speech with action
Impact of speech is conditioned upon the speaker being in
step with the needs and expectations of the hearer. Bahá'u'lláh
encourages the exercise of moderation in speech and links soft speech to the nurturing
efficacy of milk, whereas coarse speech is equated to a sharp dagger. In the Lawh-i-Maqsud
and elsewhere Bahá'u'lláh expounds on this topic. 
xContinued exhortations to turn to God
Drawing upon evocative imagery
such as "Sun of Wisdom," "Ocean of Knowledge," and "Falcon on the arm of the
Almighty" Bahá'u'lláh further explicates His station.
xiGlad tidings of the unity of mankind
Perhaps the pivotal message in this tablet…and in Bahá'u'lláh's
entire revelation…is the call to the unity of mankind. In countless tablets He
elevates it above all human aspirations. His persistent appeals to adopt a common
tongue and script buttress this plea to unity. In TheMost Holy Book
Bahá'u'lláh states: "The well-being of mankind, its peace and security,
are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established." In the same
book, Bahá'u'lláh instructs world leaders to adopt a single language
and script and affirms that doing so will bring about "the greatest instrument
for promoting harmony and civilization." The unity of mankind, in Bahá'u'lláh's
revelation, is one of two signs that herald the coming of age of the human race. 
xiiAdmonitions to adopt a virtuous life
Affirming the past as the mirror of the future, Bahá'u'lláh
calls for the recognition of His station. He further promotes the pursuit of useful
sciences and encourages truthfulness, detachment, faith, moderation (especially
in speech), wisdom and tactfulness. Bahá'u'lláh concludes the tablet
by inspiring confidence in the ultimate destiny of mankind to attain to the fruits
of His mission.
paper has offered a peek, however pithy, into one of Bahá'u'lláh's
most outstanding tablets of the early Akka period. A more exhaustive study of
it awaits the ambition of the future seeker and student. It is not unreasonable
to posit, however, that many of Bahá'u'lláh's tablets of the later
Akka period, such as those cited in the Synopsis section above, draw heavily upon
the themes first introduced in this tablet. While the non-trivial enterprise of
arriving at a definitive and cohesive taxonomy of the vast corpus revealed by
the Supreme Pen still eludes many a student in Baha, it is yet possible to attempt
to frame and contextualize this tablet for a better understanding of its core
message. Challenges abound, however. Many of Bahá'u'lláh's writings
are not yet available in English or are otherwise inaccessible to a wide audience
in the West, and much of what is published must be approached with caution and
meticulous scholarship. Bahá'u'lláh's writings are often steeped
in cryptic allusions and technical terms that cannot be easily deciphered. Against
this backdrop, the scholarship of Mirza Abul-Fadl Gulpayagani is edifying. His
provision of a framework for the classification and enumeration of the "styles"
encompassing Bahá'u'lláh's revelation is de rigueur and foundational
for such a survey. Bahá'u'lláh wrote in one of nine styles such
as: proclamations, prayers and meditations, commentaries and interpretations of
past religious scriptures, laws and ordinances, mystical writings, addresses to
rulers and kings, philosophical writings, ethical teachings and, finally, social
As evidenced by the main themes found in this tablet, it can be placed
into the last of these categories even as it comprehends elements of some of the
other styles, such as ethical teachings.
the foremost theme of the tablet accentuates the call for the unity of mankind,
Bahá'u'lláh also stresses the need to act in accordance with the
exigencies of time and to be alert to the problems of the day. He, moreover, advises
all nations and races to dispel alienation, enmity and estrangement. Other social
and ethical teachings present in this tablet include the necessity to use language
with wisdom, to adopt virtuous traits, to eschew greed, to take up useful sciences
and so on. In numerous later writings, Bahá'u'lláh continues to
expand and elaborate on many of the same topics. For example, in Glad Tidings
(Bisharat), Words of Paradise (Kalimat-i Firdawsiyyih) Splendours (Ishraqat) and
other tablets of the post-Aqdas era, Bahá'u'lláh explains how a
universal language and script are necessary ingredients for achieving the unity
of the human race. In the Lawh-i-Maqsud, Bahá'u'lláh goes further
to mandate the establishment of a universal auxiliary language and script as "‡
incumbent upon every man of insight and understanding."  In a tablet revealed in the latter
part of the Akka period…associated with His departure from that city, circa 1877…called
the Tablet of Unity (Lawh-i-Ittihad), Bahá'u'lláh expounds on some
of the very same themes found in this tablet. While defining the various meanings
of unity, He consistently recalls the principles of moderation in speech, the
necessity of placing deeds before words, the hazards of vainglory and dominance
and finally, the exhortation to associate with all peoples in a spirit of unity
a reply to a letter of a friend, this tablet enjoys a marked distinction in Bahá'u'lláh's
voluminous revelation for its weighty content and for its lofty and lucid diction.
Manikji deserves our abiding gratitude for eliciting this majestic tablet from
the Supreme Pen and for his unrelenting services towards furthering the principles
of education and human rights in Qajar Iran…principles that he, it should not
escape our attention, avidly shared with Bahá'u'lláh.
a rudimentary translation by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab was first published in Star
of the West. What appears below is an extensively edited and modified variant
of that translation. Where necessary I have filled the gaps in non-translated
sections (such as the exordium and other phrases), corrected mistranslations,
and supplied variant renderings, which, it is my belief, more closely convey the
sense of the original. The texts in italics are either from the Gleanings
or from the Tablets and have been reproduced in lieu of the equivalent
Star of the West text. An Arabic prayer is appended at the end of the tablet,
which is not translated here or in Star of the West. To the extent possible,
I have endeavored to approximate the literal denotation of the original. However,
evidence of the unattainable goal of a "befitting rendering of Bahá'u'lláh's
matchless utterance" can be found throughout this translation. I pray that the
reader will excuse all such shortcomings and deficiencies.
Name of the Incomparable Lord!
Praise be unto Him, the Eternal Seer, who through a
dewdrop of the ocean of His Generosity raised up the firmament of existence,
begemmed it with the stars of knowledge and summoned mankind to the court of
perception and understanding! This dewdrop, which is the Primal Word of the
Almighty, is at times called the Water of Life for it quickens the lifeless
souls in the desert of ignorance and at other times it is known as the First
Rays. When this radiance shone forth from the Sun of Wisdom, the Primary
Movement was made manifest through the bounty of the Incomparable, the Wise
One. He is the Knower, the Merciful! He is sanctified above every statement and
attribute! The seen and the unseen fail to attain a measure of His understanding.
The world of being and everything therein bears witness to this Utterance. Thus
it is established that the First Bestowal of the Almighty is speech and its
acceptance by Him is conditioned upon wisdom. It is the First Instructor in the
School of Existence and the Primal Emanation of God. All that is visible is but
through the radiance of its Light and all that is revealed is through the
appearance of its Knowledge. All names originate from His Name and the start
and end of all affairs are in His Hand.
Your letter reached this Captive of the world in this
prison. It brought happiness, increased friendship and renewed the remembrance
of former times. Praise be unto the Possessor of the Universe for permitting
our meeting in the land of Arabia. We met, we conversed and we listened. It is
hoped that forgetfulness shall not follow that encounter, that the passage of
time shall not erase its remembrance from the heart and that from what was sown
shall sprout the flora of friendship, verdant, luxuriant and imperishable.
You have asked about Divine Names. The All-Knowing
Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease,
and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own
problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth
in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent
age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in,
and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.
can well perceive how the whole human race is encompassed with great, with incalculable
afflictions. We see it languishing on its bed of sickness, sore-tried and disillusioned.
They that are intoxicated by self-conceit have interposed themselves between it
and the Divine and infallible Physician. Witness how they have entangled all men,
themselves included, in the mesh of their devices. They can neither discover the
cause of the disease, nor have they any knowledge of the remedy. They have conceived
the straight to be crooked, and have imagined their friend an enemy.
your ears to the sweet melody of this Prisoner. Arise, and lift up your voices,
that haply they that are fast asleep may be awakened. Say: O ye who are as dead!
The Hand of Divine bounty profereth unto you the Water of Life. Hasten and drink
your fill. Whoso hath been re-born in this Day, shall never die; whoso remainteth
dead, shall never live.
You have written regarding languages: Arabic and Persian
are both good, for that which one desires of a language is to attain insight
into the discourse of the narrator and this can be obtained from either tongue.
However, as in this day the Sun of Wisdom shines forth from the horizon of
Persia this language is all the more praiseworthy.
O friend! When the Primal Word appeared in these latter
days, a number of the heavenly souls heard the Melody of the Beloved and
hastened toward it, while others, finding the deeds of some at odds with their
words, stayed far and were deprived from the radiance of the Sun of Knowledge.
O ye sons of earth! Thy Lord, the Pure One, proclaims: In this glorious Day
whatever will purge you from corruption and will lead you towards peace and composure,
is indeed the Straight Path.  Purity from the stains of desire means
detachment from all things that occasion loss and abate human nobility, which
in turn comes about when one favors his own words and deeds, notwithstanding their
merit. Serenity is attained when one becomes the well-wisher of all who are on
earth. He who is informed will readily testify that if all the peoples of the
earth were to attain to these Heavenly Utterances they would by no means be prevented
from the Ocean of Divine Generosity. The heaven of righteousness has no Star,
and shall not have any, brighter than this. The first Utterance of the Wise One
is this: O ye sons of earth! Turn away from the darkness of alienation and seek
the radiance of the Sun of Unity. This is that which shall benefit the people
of the world more than aught else.
O friend! The Tree of Utterance has no better a Blossom
and the Ocean of Wisdom has no brighter a Pearl than this. O ye sons of wisdom!
Flimsy as it may be, the eyelid yet prevents the eye from seeing the world and
all that is therein. Consider then what would result when the curtain of greed
veils the vision of the heart. Say, O people! The darkness of avarice and envy
obscures the light of the soul even as clouds eclipse the radiance of the sun.
He who listens with the ear of intelligence to this Utterance shall unfurl the
wings of freedom and soar with great ease toward the heaven of understanding.
the world was environed with darkness, the Sea of Generosity was set in motion
and Divine Illumination made visible the deeds. This is that same illumination
foretold in the heavenly books. Should the Almighty desire it, He will sanctify
the hearts with pure speech and shine the Light of the Sun of Unity upon the souls
and thereby regenerate the world. O people! Words must be demonstrated through
deeds, for the latter is the true witness of the former. Words alone shall not
quench the thirsty nor unlock the doors of sight to the blind. The Heavenly Wise
One proclaims: A harsh word is like unto a sword, while gentle speech like unto
milk. In this manner will the children of the world attain to knowledge and improve
their lot. The Tongue of Wisdom proclaimeth: He that hath Me not is bereft
of all things. Turn ye away from all that is on earth and seek none else but Me.
I am the Sun of Wisdom and the Ocean of Knowledge. I cheer the faint and revive
the dead. I am the guiding Light that illumineth the way. I am the royal Falcon
on the arm of the Almighty. I unfold the drooping wings of every broken bird and
start it on its flight. 
Peerless Friend says: The path of freedom has been opened! Hasten ye! The Fount
of Knowledge is gushing! Drink ye! Say O friends! The tabernacle of unity hath
been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one
tree, and the leaves of one branch.  Truly I say: Whatsoever abates ignorance
and augments knowledge has been and shall be pleasing to the Creator. Say, O people!
Walk under the shadow of Justice and Righteousness and take shelter under the
pavilion of Unity. Say, O thou possessor of sight! The past is the mirror of the
future; see and be apprised thereof that perchance you may recognize the Friend
and not be the cause of His displeasure. In this day, the best fruit from the
Tree of Knowledge is that which benefits mankind and improves his condition.
Say! The tongue bears witness to My Truth; do not defile
it with falsehood. The soul is the treasury of My Mystery; do not surrender it
to avarice. It is hoped that in this Dawn, through which the universe has been
illumined with the rays of the Sun of Understanding and Knowledge, we may
attain to the good pleasure of the Beloved and drink from the Ocean of Divine
O friend! As ears are few to hear, for some time now the
Pen has been silent in its own chamber, to such an extent that silence has
overtaken utterance and has been deemed more favorable. Say, O people! Words
are revealed according to capacity, so that newcomers may stay and beginners
may make progress. Milk must be given according to prescribed measure, such
that the babes of the world may enter into the Realm of Grandeur and be
established upon the Court of Unity.
O friend! We have seen the pure ground and have sown the
seed of knowledge thereupon. Now it is left to the rays of the sun…will they
singe the seedling or cause it to grow? Say: In this day, through the greatness
of the Peerless, the Wise One, the Sun of Knowledge has appeared from behind
the veil of the soul. All the birds of the meadow are inebriated through the
wine of Understanding and are content with the remembrance of the Beloved. Well
is it with him who comprehends.
words have not been transliterated for ease of document formatting and transportability
over the Internet. I wish to acknowledge the assistance of Amin Neshati whose
perceptive suggestions and valuable editing greatly improved the quality of this
 The original tablet can be found
in Majmuiy-i-Alvah-i Mubarak (Cairo, 1920) p. 259-67. It is also published
in Daryay-i-Danish (New Delhi: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1985)
pp. 2-10. A short description appears in A. Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh,
vol. 3, (Oxford: George Ronald, 1996) p. 270.
 Bahá'u'lláh used
pure Persian (Parsiy-i-sari) rather sparingly, except when corresponding with
Zoroastrians or for other special occasions. The Persian spoken in His time, and
to today, borrows heavily from Arabic, the language of Islam. He used Arabic as
the primary language of revelation and many of His prayers and tablets in Persian
are heavily Arabicised. An Arabic prayer appears at the end of this pure Persian
tablet, perhaps to reinforce Bahá'u'lláh's affirmation that both
Persian and Arabic are worthy of praise.
 See Star of the West, vol.
1:1 1910 pp. 5-7. For a partial translation, see section CVI in Gleanings from
the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, trans., Shoghi Effendi (Wilmette:
Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1976) p. 213.
 His full name is Manikji Limji
Hataria. In Hindi, the suffix ‘ji' is appended to names and titles of venerated
persons as a sign of respect and endearment, the closest English rendering being
‘dear.' Also, it is customary in India to use ‘Sahib' as a formal designation
or title of a respected personage, somewhat equivalent to ‘Excellency' in English
or to ‘Jinab' in Persian.
 S. Stiles, "Early Zoroastrian Conversions
to the Bahá'í Faith in Yazd, Iran," J. Cole and M. Momen, eds.,
Studies in Babi and Bahá'í History: From Iran East and West,
vol. 2 (Los Angeles: Kalimat, 1984) p. 70.
 For a fuller treatment of clergy-instigated
persecutions see S. Arjomand, The Shadow of God and the Hidden Iman, (Chicago:
The University of Chicago Press, 1987) pp. 251-57.
 For a brief account, see Taherzadeh,
Revelation, vol. 3, (Oxford: George Ronald, 1996) pp. 260-5.
 M. Fischer, "Social Change and
the Mirrors of Tradition: The Bahá'ís of Yazd" H. Moayyad, ed.,
The Bahá'í Faith and Islam, (Ottawa: The Association for
Bahá'í Studies, 1990), pp. 25-55. On the proliferation of political
associations (anjumans) during the reign of Nasirud-din Shah and their influence
on the court, see A. Amanat, Pivot of the Universe (Washington, DC: Mage,
 See Stiles, op. cit. On
Manikji's illiteracy in Persian, see A. Gulpayagani, Letters and Essays,
trans., J. Cole (Los Angeles: Kalimat, 1985) pp. 78-79.
 J. Cole, Modernity and the Millennium
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1998) pp. 147-150.
 M. Momen, The Babi and Bahá'í
Religions (Oxford: George Ronald, 1981) pp. 244-250.