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TAGS: Allegories and metaphors; Covenant (general); Kalimat-i-Maknunih (Hidden Words); Maid of Heaven; Mysticism; Progressive Revelation; Sadratul-Muntaha (Lote Tree); Symbolism; Words and phrases
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Student paper, exploring one of the longest and more mystical Hidden Words.
Written for the Wilmette Institute's distance-learning course on The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh

Hidden Words:
Allusion to Progressive Revelation in Persian HW #77

by Daryl Lowery


In the night-season the beauty of the immortal Being hath repaired from the emerald height of fidelity unto the Sadratu'l-Muntahá, and wept with such a weeping that the concourse on high and the dwellers of the realms above wailed at His lamenting. Whereupon there was asked, Why the wailing and weeping? He made reply: As bidden I waited expectant upon the hill of faithfulness, yet inhaled not from them that dwell on earth the fragrance of fidelity. Then summoned to return I beheld, and lo! certain doves of holiness were sore tried within the claws of the dogs of earth. Thereupon the Maid of heaven hastened forth unveiled and resplendent from Her mystic mansion, and asked of their names, and all were told but one. And when urged, the first letter thereof was uttered, whereupon the dwellers of the celestial chambers rushed forth out of their habitation of glory. And whilst the second letter was pronounced they fell down, one and all, upon the dust. At that moment a voice was heard from the inmost shrine: "Thus far and no farther." Verily We bear witness to that which they have done and now are doing.
--- Bahá'u'lláh, (The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh 46)

The statement that introduces this famously abstruse passage quoted in full by Shoghi Effendi in paragraph 45 of "The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh", his awe inspiring exposition of the fundamental verities of the Bahá'í Faith, provides an unmistakable clue to its general yet most significant meaning. "Might not [this]... passage of the Hidden Words ," the Guardian suggests, " be...construed as an allegorical allusion to the progressiveness of Divine Revelation and an admission by its Author that the Message with which He has been entrusted is not the final and ultimate expression of the will and guidance of the Almighty?" (The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh 116)

"Does not Bahá'u'lláh Himself," he asks, referring to his same passage in an earlier letter to the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada, "allude to the progressiveness of Divine Revelation and to the limitations which an inscrutable Wisdom has chosen to impose upon Him? What else can this passage of the Hidden Words imply, if not that He Who revealed it disclaimed finality for the Revelation entrusted to Him by the Almighty?" (60)

Progressive Revelation is among the fundamental verities of the Bahá'í Faith the elucidation of which is the primary purpose underlying "The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh". The Guardian affirms the reality of this "great and essential truth lying at the very core" of Bahá'u'lláh's message to mankind in this opening of the statement prepared by him in 1948 for the United Nations Special Palestine Committee.
"The fundamental principle enunciated by Bahá'u'lláh ... is that religious truth is not absolute but relative, that Divine Revelation is a continuous and progressive process, that all the great religions of the world are divine in origin, that their basic principles are in complete harmony, that their aims and purposes are one and the same, that their teachings are but facets of one truth, that their functions are complementary, that they differ only in the nonessential aspects of their doctrines, and that their missions represent successive stages in the spiritual evolution of human society....

....His mission is to proclaim that the ages of the infancy and of the childhood of the human race are past, that the convulsions associated with the present stage of its adolescence are slowly and painfully preparing it to attain the stage of manhood, and are heralding the approach of that Age of Ages when swords will be beaten into plowshares, when the Kingdom promised by Jesus Christ will have been established, and the peace of the planet definitely and permanently ensured. Nor does Bahá'u'lláh claim finality for His own Revelation, but rather stipulates that a fuller measure of the truth He has been commissioned by the Almighty to vouchsafe to humanity, at so critical a juncture in its fortunes, must needs be disclosed at future stages in the constant and limitless evolution of mankind.
      (see Preface to Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, v)

In discussing the Tablet of the Holy Mariner John Hatcher observes that, "While Shoghi Effendi's statement about the overall significance of the Tablet ... may give us a general sense of what the work is about, we are still left with the problem of figuring out how the tablet conveys this meaning through allegory." (The Ocean of His Words 135) We are indeed fortunate to to have the Beloved Guardian's authoritative interpretation of this passage from the Hidden Words, yet the meaning of each verse and its relationship to the root principle of Progressive Revelation is not obvious.

A thorough examination of each phrase of Persian Hidden Words #77 may enable us to begin to "unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths. (The Kitab-i-Aqdas 85)

I. "O Son of Justice!"

On numerous occasions Bahá'u'lláh counsels us as in the in the Kitáb-i-Iqán to "judge fairly" (80) in contemplating the truth of His words. "Look upon this Wronged One," He writes in the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, "...with the eyes of justice; judge thou, then, with truth concerning what hath befallen Him." (40) "This Wronged One," He subsequently declares in that same Book, "hath produced for thee that which causeth every fair-minded man to marvel. Judge fairly, I adjure thee, and arise to serve thy Lord." (76) "Say: I, verily," He declares in another Tablet, "have not sought to extol Mine Own Self, but rather God Himself were ye to judge fairly. Naught can be seen in Me except God and His Cause, could ye but perceive it". (Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh 29)

II. "In the night-season the beauty of the immortal Being hath repaired from the emerald height of fidelity unto the Sadratu'l-Muntahá,.."

The attributes of a day appear in many powerful metaphors that represent aspects of the cycle of Divine Revelation. "The spiritual cycles of the Sun of Reality," 'Abdu'l-Bahá states, "are like the cycles of the material sun: they are always revolving and being renewed." (Some Answered Questions 86)

The life cycle of each Dispensation can be represented by the passage of the "Sun of Truth" the "Day Star", through various stages of the "Zodiac". The advent of each revelation is often indicated as the "Day-Spring", the appearance of the "light of Divine Revelation" above the "Horizon of God's Will"; midday, its "Zenith" when the revelation is manifested in its utmost splendor and "its setting point" followed by "the night-season" the period preceding the next revelation.

"Ages have passed and centuries rolled away," writes Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-Iqán using similar language to describe the winter of the Muhammadan Dispensation, "and that most pure Spirit hath repaired unto the retreats of its ancient sovereignty." (26)

Noting the necessity of this final stage Bahá'u'lláh subsequently reveals in that same Book: "For the break of the morn of divine guidance must needs follow the darkness of the night of error. For this reason, in all chronicles and traditions reference hath been made unto these things, namely that iniquity shall cover the surface of the earth and darkness shall envelop mankind." (31)

"God leaves not His children comfortless," is 'Abdu'l-Bahá 's assurance, "but, when the darkness of winter overshadows them, then again He sends His Messengers, the Prophets, with a renewal of the blessed spring. The Sun of Truth appears again on the horizon of the world shining into the eyes of those who sleep, awaking them to behold the glory of a new dawn. Then again will the tree of humanity blossom and bring forth the fruit of righteousness for the healing of the nations. Because man has stopped his ears to the Voice of Truth and shut his eyes to the Sacred Light, neglecting the Law of God, for this reason has the darkness of war and tumult, unrest and misery, desolated the earth. (Paris Talks 32)

"After every night there is a morn," we are further reassured by 'Abdu'l-Bahá . "In the supreme wisdom of God it is decreed that when the gross darkness of religious hatred and hostility, the obscurity of religious ignorance, superstition and blind imitations cover the world, the Sun of Truth shall arise and the spirit of reality become manifest and reflected in human hearts." (The Promulgation of Universal Peace 440)

"Sadratu'l-Muntahá, in this passage," Adib Taherzadeh referring to Persian Hidden Words #77 explains, "literally means the tree beyond which there is no passing...This term which has been used by Bahá'u'lláh in many of His Writings is, in one sense, the symbol of the station of the Manifestation of God, a station which is beyond the reach and understanding of men." (The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh - vol 1 182) "The Manifestations of God," he notes in a related discussion, "by virtue of the Holy Spirit which animates Them, dwell in a kingdom of Their own far above the world of humanity and dominate the destiny of mankind. Though basically human, They abide in the realms of the Spirit beyond the reach of man." (3)

In conclusion of this section, the "beauty of the immortal Being" in Persian Hidden Words #77 might refer to this aspect of the Manifestations of God who during their Dispensation are seated on the throne of sovereignty, the "emerald height of fidelity" guiding the destiny of mankind through the power, agency, of the Holy Spirit until such time as their Dispensation is completed when they "repair...unto the Sadratu'l-Muntahá".

III. "... and wept with such a weeping that the concourse on high and the dwellers of the realms above wailed at His lamenting."

Bahá'u'lláh describes elsewhere a similar scene from a dream He had during the last years of His sojourn in Baghdád. "I saw," He wrote in a Tablet, "the Prophets and the Messengers gather and seat themselves around Me, moaning, weeping and loudly lamenting. Amazed, I inquired of them the reason, whereupon their lamentation and weeping waxed greater, and they said unto me: 'We weep for Thee, O Most Great Mystery, O Tabernacle of Immortality!' They wept with such a weeping that I too wept with them. Thereupon the Concourse on high addressed Me saying: '...Erelong shalt Thou behold with Thine own eyes what no Prophet hath beheld.... Be patient, be patient.'... (God Passes By 147)

IV. "Whereupon there was asked, Why the wailing and weeping? He made reply: As bidden I waited expectant upon the hill of faithfulness, yet inhaled not from them that dwell on earth the fragrance of fidelity."

In Some Answered Questions, `Abdu'l-Bahá describes the period of winter in the spiritual cycle of Divine Revelation as follows:

"Attraction and goodwill do not remain, divine qualities are changed, the radiance of hearts is dimmed, the spirituality of souls is altered, virtues are replaced by vices, and holiness and purity disappear. Only the name of the Religion of God remains, and the exoteric forms of the divine teachings. The foundations of the Religion of God are destroyed and annihilated, and nothing but forms and customs exist. Divisions appear, firmness is changed into instability, and spirits become dead; hearts languish, souls become inert, and winter arrives--that is to say, the coldness of ignorance envelops the world, and the darkness of human error prevails. After this come indifference, disobedience, inconsiderateness, indolence, baseness, animal instincts and the coldness and insensibility of stones." (75)

Such is the state of the world at the time each Manifestation appears. "Indeed, were sincere seekers to be found," is Bahá'u'lláh's lamentation, "every emanation of God's pervasive and irresistible Will would, for the sake of His love, be revealed. But where are to be found earnest seekers and inquiring minds? Whither are gone the equitable and the fair-minded? At present no day passeth without the fire of a fresh tyranny blazing fiercely, or the sword of a new aggression being unsheathed. (Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh 90)

Note the unmistakable identity shared by Persian Hidden Words #77 at this point and the following excerpts from the Tablet of the Holy Mariner the theme of which is "the story of the Covenant and man's unfaithfulness to it." (The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh - vol 1 229)
"...Thereupon she [the maid of heaven] summoned unto herself one maiden from her handmaidens,
...And commanded her: `Descend into space from the mansions of eternity,
...And turn thou unto that which they have concealed in the inmost of their hearts.'..."

"... When she reached that place she rose to her full height in the midmost heart of creation,
... And sought to inhale their fragrance at a time that knoweth neither beginning nor end.
...She found not in them that which she did desire, and this, verily, is but one of His wondrous tales.
... She then cried aloud, wailed and repaired to her own station within her most lofty mansion,
... And then gave utterance to one mystic word, whispered privily by her honeyed tongue,
...And raised the call amidst the Celestial Concourse and the immortal maids of heaven:
By the Lord! I found not from these idle claimants the breeze of Faithfulness!

      (Bahá'í Prayers 221)

V. "... Then summoned to return I beheld, and lo! certain doves of holiness were sore tried within the claws of the dogs of earth."

The "doves of holiness", Hamámát-I-Qudsi, often a metaphor that alludes to the Manifestations of God , Mazhar Amr'u'lláh (see the Persian text "Shesh Hezar Loghat" ie. "Six Thousand Words" 156) are violently, deeply subjected to severe trials by Their enemies.

Bahá'u'lláh refers to Himself in like manner as "this Wronged One, Who hath been sore-tried in the hands of the workers of iniquity." (The Advent of Divine Justice 76)

Bahá'u'lláh testifies more explicitly to the historical mistreatment of God's Manifestations in the following passage: "Thou hast known how grievously the Prophets of God, His Messengers and Chosen Ones, have been afflicted. Meditate a while on the motive and reason which have been responsible for such a persecution. At no time, in no Dispensation, have the Prophets of God escaped the blasphemy of their enemies, the cruelty of their oppressors, the denunciation of the learned of their age, who appeared in the guise of uprightness and piety. Day and night they passed through such agonies as none can ever measure, except the knowledge of the one true God, exalted be His glory." "Consider this wronged One" He continues. "Though the clearest proofs attest the truth of His Cause...yet, behold how this generation hath rejected His authority, and rebelled against Him! He hath, during the greater part of His life, been sore-tried in the clutches of His enemies. His sufferings have now reached their culmination in this afflictive Prison, into which His oppressors have so unjustly thrown Him." (Gleanings 57)

VI. "... Thereupon the Maid of Heaven hastened forth, unveiled, and resplendent, from Her mystic mansion, and asked of their names, and all were told but one."

Adib Taherzadeh notes, "In the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, He has used the 'Maid of Heaven' to refer to Himself or to one of the attributes of God, and sometimes as the personification of the 'Most Great Spirit'. (The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh - vol 1 242)

Shoghi Effendi describes Bahá'u'lláh's experience in the Siyah-Chal as follows: "It was on that occasion that the "Most Great Spirit," as designated by Bahá'u'lláh Himself, revealed itself to Him, in the form of a "Maiden," and bade Him "lift up" His "voice between earth and heaven." (Messages to America 100)

The following excerpt from Miracles and Metaphors provides an important clue: "Therefore," Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl, speaking of the function of figurative language, explains, "the prophets have indulged the people in regard to their historical notions, folk stories, and scientific principles, and have spoken to them according to these. They conversed as was appropriate to their audience and hid certain realities behind the curtain of allusion. They secluded the holy maidens of meaning in the palaces of sacred verses, veiling them in eloquent metaphors. (9)

It follows that the "names" mentioned in this section from Persian Hidden Words #77 might represent the Message associated with each of the Prophets. The Maid of Heaven asking "of their names" would then correspond to her bidding Bahá'u'lláh "lift up" His "voice between earth and heaven."

Concerning the "name" that is not disclosed, `Abdul-Bahá explains, "This great name is the Greatest Name. The Blessed Beauty is intended." ('Abdu'l-Bahá , from a Tablet -- translated from the Persian)

VII. "And when urged, the first letter thereof was uttered, whereupon the dwellers of the celestial chambers rushed forth out of their habitation of glory."

"O My servants!" Bahá'u'lláh likewise proclaims in another Tablet. "Through the might of God and His power, and out of the treasury of His knowledge and wisdom, I have brought forth and revealed unto you the pearls that lay concealed in the depths of His everlasting ocean. I have summoned the Maids of Heaven to emerge from behind the veil of concealment, and have clothed them with these words of Mine--words of consummate power and wisdom. (Gleanings 327)

And again in the following passages from the Tablet of the Holy Mariner:" She then uttered within herself such a cry that the Celestial Concourse did shriek and tremble,..." "Thereupon the maids of heaven hastened forth from their chambers, upon whose countenances the eye of no dweller in the highest paradise had ever gazed." (Bahá'í Prayers 224)

VIII. " And whilst the second letter was pronounced they fell down, one and all, upon the dust. "

Bahá'u'lláh, in another related passage, reveals the following: "And when this process of progressive Revelation culminated in the stage at which His peerless, His most sacred, and exalted Countenance was to be unveiled to men's eyes, He chose to hide His own Self behind a thousand veils, lest profane and mortal eyes discover His glory... And when the set time of concealment was fulfilled, We sent forth, whilst still wrapt within a myriad veils, an infinitesimal glimmer of the effulgent Glory enveloping the Face of the Youth, and lo, the entire company of the dwellers of the Realms above were seized with violent commotion and the favored of God fell down in adoration before Him.(Gleanings 75)

Concerning the "two letters mentioned," Adib Taherzadeh writes, "according to `Abdu'l-Bahá 's interpretation, [they] are B and H of the word Bahá. This means that only two letters out of three (B, H and A) have been revealed in this Dispensation, that the full significance and potency of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh which have been symbolically contained within the three letters of His name, have not been disclosed to mankind and that only a limited measure of His light and glory has been shed upon humanity in this age." (The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh - vol 1 83)

This is affirmed in letter written on behalf of the Guardian: "these two letters -- the first and the second -- refer to the blessed Name of the Ancient Beauty, namely B and H. What is intended by Bahá'u'lláh is this: that which is latent and enshrined within the inmost reality of these three letters has not been revealed, inasmuch as the world of being still does not possess the capacity and receptiveness to reflect fully the glorious radiance of this divine Revelation. Thus whatever is hidden in the inmost essence of the third letter of His blessed Name will gradually be unfolded before the eyes of all men." (From a letter dated 27 August 1933 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer -- translated from the Persian)

As Shoghi Effendi notes in The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh: "In a more explicit language Bahá'u'lláh testifies to this truth in one of His Tablets revealed in Adrianople: "Know verily that the veil hiding Our countenance hath not been completely lifted. We have revealed Our Self to a degree corresponding to the capacity of the people of Our age. Should the Ancient Beauty be unveiled in the fullness of His glory mortal eyes would be blinded by the dazzling intensity of His revelation." (The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh 116)

The following excerpt from an explanatory note accompanying Bahá'u'lláh's Most holy Book provides further insight: "Not until twenty years from the birth of His Prophetic Mission in the Síyáh-Chál of Tihrán had elapsed did Bahá'u'lláh reveal the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the Repository of the laws of His Dispensation. Even after its revelation the Aqdas was withheld by Him for some time before it was sent to the friends in Persia. This divinely purposed delay in the revelation of the basic laws of God for this age, and the subsequent gradual implementation of their provisions, illustrate the principle of progressive revelation which applies even within the ministry of each Prophet."(The Kitab-i-Aqdas 219)

IX. "At that moment a voice was heard from the inmost shrine: 'Thus far and no farther.'"

Shoghi Effendi is referring specifically to this phrase when he writes: "Does not Bahá'u'lláh Himself, allude to the progressiveness of Divine Revelation and to the limitations which an inscrutable Wisdom has chosen to impose upon Him?" (The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh 60)

In this connection, Bahá'u'lláh reveals the following: "Contemplate with thine inward eye, the chain of successive Revelations that hath linked the Manifestation of Adam with that of the Báb... The measure of the Revelation with which every one of them hath been identified had been definitely fore-ordained. This, verily, is a token of Our favor unto them, if ye be of those that comprehend this truth...." (Gleanings 74)

"The Revelation of which I am the bearer," Bahá'u'lláh explicitly declares, "is adapted to humanity's spiritual receptiveness and capacity; otherwise, the Light that shines within me can neither wax nor wane. Whatever I manifest is nothing more or less than the measure of the Divine glory which God has bidden me reveal." (The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh 59)

X. "Verily We bear witness to that which they have done and now are doing."

`Abdu'l-Bahá writes: "When considering the identity of the Name which at that time was not fully divulged, thou wilt readily see what unspeakable cruelties the company of the faithless perpetrated and what misdeeds they committed. No injury did they spare and no harm did they fail to inflict. With the sword of unyielding cruelty they cut this Wronged Body to pieces. This is clear and evident to everyone." (`Abdu'l-Bahá , from a Tablet -- translated from the Persian)

The following passages revealed by Bahá'u'lláh and quoted by the Guardian in The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh further testify to this undeniable truth:

"Praise be to Thee, O Lord my God, for the wondrous revelations of Thine inscrutable decree and the manifold woes and trials Thou hast destined for myself. At one time Thou didst deliver me into the hands of Nimrod; at another Thou hast allowed Pharaoh's rod to persecute me. Thou alone canst estimate, through Thine all-encompassing knowledge and the operation of Thy Will, the incalculable afflictions I have suffered at their hands. Again Thou didst cast me into the prison-cell of the ungodly for no reason except that I was moved to whisper into the ears of the well-favored denizens of Thy kingdom an intimation of the vision with which Thou hadst, through Thy knowledge, inspired me and revealed to me its meaning through the potency of Thy might. And again Thou didst decree that I be beheaded by the sword of the infidel. Again I was crucified for having unveiled to men's eyes the hidden gems of Thy glorious unity, for having revealed to them the wondrous signs of Thy sovereign and everlasting power. How bitter the humiliations heaped upon me, in a subsequent age, on the plain of Kárbilá! How lonely did I feel amidst Thy people; to what state of helplessness I was reduced in that land! Unsatisfied with such indignities, my persecutors decapitated me and carrying aloft my head from land to land paraded it before the gaze of the unbelieving multitude and deposited it on the seats of the perverse and faithless. In a later age I was suspended and my breast was made a target to the darts of the malicious cruelty of my foes. My limbs were riddled with bullets and my body was torn asunder. Finally, behold how in this day my treacherous enemies have leagued themselves against me, and are continually plotting to instill the venom of hate and malice into the souls of Thy servants. With all their might they are scheming to accomplish their purpose... Grievous as is my plight, O God, my Well-beloved, I render thanks unto Thee, and my spirit is grateful for whatsoever hath befallen me in the path of Thy good-pleasure. I am well pleased with that which Thou didst ordain for me, and welcome, however calamitous, the pains and sorrows I am made to suffer." (Gleanings 88)

In closing, consider the following passage from Gleanings which veiled in imagery remarkably similar to that of Persian Hidden Words #77 affirms "the reality of the great and essential truth lying at the very core of His Message to mankind" (The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh 118)
Say: The Revelation sent down by God hath most surely been repeated, and the outstretched Hand of Our power hath overshadowed all that are in the heavens and all that are on the earth. We have, through the power of truth, the very truth, manifested an infinitesimal glimmer of Our impenetrable Mystery, and lo, they that have recognized the radiance of the Sinaic splendor expired, as they caught a lightening glimpse of this Crimson Light enveloping the Sinai of Our Revelation. Thus hath He Who is the Beauty of the All-Merciful come down in the clouds of His testimony, and the decree accomplished by virtue of the Will of God, the All-Glorious, the All-Wise.

Say: Step out of Thy holy chamber, O Maid of Heaven, inmate of the Exalted Paradise! Drape thyself in whatever manner pleaseth Thee in the silken Vesture of Immortality, and put on, in the name of the All-Glorious, the broidered Robe of Light. Hear, then, the sweet, the wondrous accent of the Voice that cometh from the Throne of Thy Lord, the Inaccessible, the Most High. Unveil Thy face, and manifest the beauty of the black-eyed Damsel, and suffer not the servants of God to be deprived of the light of Thy shining countenance. Grieve not if Thou hearest the sighs of the dwellers of the earth, or the voice of the lamentation of the denizens of heaven. Leave them to perish on the dust of extinction. Let them be reduced to nothingness, inasmuch as the flame of hatred hath been kindled within their breasts. Intone, then, before the face of the peoples of earth and heaven, and in a most melodious voice, the anthem of praise, for a remembrance of Him Who is the King of the names and attributes of God. Thus have We decreed Thy destiny. Well able are We to achieve Our purpose.

Beware that Thou divest not Thyself, Thou Who art the Essence of Purity, of Thy robe of effulgent glory. Nay, enrich Thyself increasingly, in the kingdom of creation, with the incorruptible vestures of Thy God, that the beauteous image of the Almighty may be reflected through Thee in all created things and the grace of Thy Lord be infused in the plenitude of its power into the entire creation.

If Thou smellest from any one the smell of the love of Thy Lord, offer up Thyself for him, for We have created Thee to this end, and have with Thee, from time immemorial, and in the presence of the congregation of Our well-favored ones, for this very purpose. Be not impatient if the blind in heart hurl down the shafts of their idle fancies upon Thee. Leave them to themselves, for they follow the promptings of the evil ones.

Cry out before the gaze of the dwellers of heaven and of earth: I am the Maid of Heaven, the Offspring begotten by the Spirit of Bahá.. My habitation is the Mansion of His Name, the All-Glorious. Before the Concourse on high I was adorned with the ornament of His names. I was wrapt within the veil of an inviolable security, and lay hidden from the eyes of men. Methinks that I heard a Voice of divine and incomparable sweetness, proceeding from the right hand of the God of Mercy, and lo, the whole Paradise stirred and trembled before Me, in its longing to hear its accents, and gaze on the beauty of Him that uttered them. Thus have We revealed in this luminous Tablet, and in the sweetest of languages, the verses which the Tongue of Eternity was moved to utter in the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá.
            --Bahá'u'lláh (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh 282)
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