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Chapter 40

Maid(s) of Heaven, Maidens, Brides, Handmaidens, Beauties, Black-eyed Damsels -- feminine symbolic terms used to refer to Independent Prophets and Dependent/Lesser Prophets in the Day of God.

The Maid of Heaven, Bahá'u'lláh, the Independent Prophet:

O ye beloved of God! O ye children of His Kingdom! Verily, verily the new heaven and the new earth are come. The holy City, new Jerusalem, hath come down from on high in the form of a maid of heaven, veiled, beauteous, and unique, and prepared for reunion with her lovers on earth. The angelic company of the celestial Concourse have joined in a call that hath rung throughout the universe, all loudly and mightily acclaiming: "Hail, O City of God! Abide Thou, and make Thy habitation with the pure, virtuous and holy servants of Thine; for they are Thy people, and Thou art their Lord."
-- Compilation, Bahá'í World Faith, p. 350

We have revealed Ourself unto men, have unveiled the Cause, guided all mankind towards God's Straight Path, promulgated the laws and have enjoined upon everyone that which shall truly profit them both in this world and in the next; yet they have pronounced judgement to shed My blood, whereat the Maid of Heaven hath wept sore, Sinai hath lamented and the Faithful Spirit was made to sigh with grief.

In these days the people have debarred themselves from the effusions of divine grace by following in the footsteps of every ignorant one that hath gone astray. They have cast the Ocean of divine knowledge behind their backs and fixed their eyes upon such foolish men as claim to be well versed in learning without being supported by any evidence from God, the Lord of mankind.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 251

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Whereupon the maid of heaven [Bahá'u'lláh, the Independent Prophet] looked out from her exalted chamber,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! And with her brow signed to the Celestial Concourse,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Flooding with the light of her countenance the heaven and the earth,...
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Holy Mariner.

While engulfed in tribulations I heard a most wondrous, a most sweet voice, calling above My head. Turning My face, I beheld a Maiden -- the embodiment of the remembrance of the name of My Lord -- suspended in the air before Me. So rejoiced was she in her very soul that her countenance shone with the ornament of the good pleasure of God, and her cheeks glowed with the brightness of the All-Merciful. Betwixt earth and heaven she was raising a call which captivated the hearts and minds of men. She was imparting to both My inward and outer being tidings which rejoiced My soul, and the souls of God's honoured servants.

Pointing with her finger unto My head, she addressed all who are in heaven and all who are on earth, saying: By God! This is the Best-Beloved of the worlds, and yet ye comprehend not. This is the Beauty of God amongst you, and the power of His sovereignty within you, could ye but understand. This is the Mystery of God and His Treasure, the Cause of God and His glory unto all who are in the kingdoms of Revelation and of creation, if ye be of them that perceive. This is He Whose Presence is the ardent desire of the denizens of the Realm of eternity, and of them that dwell within the Tabernacle of glory, and yet from His Beauty do ye turn aside.

O people of the Bayan! If ye aid Him not, God will assuredly assist Him with the powers of earth and heaven, and sustain Him with the hosts of the unseen through His command "Be", and it is! The day is approaching when God will have, by an act of His Will, raised up a race of men the nature of which is inscrutable to all save God, the All-Powerful, the Self-Subsisting. He shall purify them from the defilement of idle fancies and corrupt desires, shall lift them up to the heights of holiness, and shall cause them to manifest the signs of His sovereignty and might upon earth. Thus hath it been ordained by God, the All-Glorious, the All-Loving.
-- Baha'u'llah, Surih of the Temple, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 5

The mystic and wondrous Bride, Bahá'u'lláh, the Independent Prophet:

The mystic and wondrous Bride, hidden ere this beneath the veiling of utterance, hath now, by the grace of God and His divine favor, been made manifest even as the resplendent light shed by the beauty of the Beloved. I bear witness, O friends! that the favor is complete, the argument fulfilled, the proof manifest and the evidence established. Let it now be seen what your endeavors in the path of detachment will reveal. In this wise hath the divine favor been fully vouchsafed unto you and unto them that are in heaven and on earth. All praise to God, the Lord of all Worlds.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 51

"I have summoned the Maids of Heaven to emerge from behind the veil of concealment" -- Bahá'u'lláh has called on His pre-existent Dependent Prophets to appear on earth. "and have clothed them with these words of Mine -- words of consummate power and wisdom" -- and they receive their revelation from Him, the Independent Prophet (explained further by Abdu'l-Baha when describing the two classes of Prophets). Those who "violate not the Covenant of God" are the ones who recognise the Dependent Prophets, who are the Face of God (like the Holy Imams in the era of Muhammad). The Dependent Prophets have the same title, "Maid of Heaven", as Baha'u'llah, the Independent Prophet, consistent with them all being the Face of God (Manifestations of God).

Wherefore, O My servants, defile not your wings with the clay of waywardness and vain desires, and suffer them not to be stained with the dust of envy and hate, that ye may not be hindered from soaring in the heavens of My divine knowledge.

O My servants! 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. I have, moreover, with the hand of divine power, unsealed the choice wine of My Revelation, and have wafted its holy, its hidden, and musk-laden fragrance upon all created things. Who else but yourselves is to be blamed if ye choose to remain unendowed with so great an outpouring of God's transcendent and all-encompassing grace, with so bright a revelation of His resplendent mercy?...

O My servants! There shineth nothing else in Mine heart except the unfading light of the Morn of Divine guidance, and out of My mouth proceedeth naught but the essence of truth, which the Lord your God hath revealed. Follow not, therefore, your earthly desires, and violate not the Covenant of God, nor break your pledge to Him. With firm determination, with the whole affection of your heart, and with the full force of your words, turn ye unto Him, and walk not in the ways of the foolish. The world is but a show, vain and empty, a mere nothing, bearing the semblance of reality. Set not your affections upon it. Break not the bond that uniteth you with your Creator, and be not of those that have erred and strayed from His ways.
-- Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 328

In the following passage, "Handmaidens" is a symbolic term used to refer to the Dependent Prophets, who assist the "Bride", Baha'u'llah, mentioned in passage #2 above from the Hidden Words. Later in the passage, the handmaidens are also referred to as "Thy chosen ones", affirming they are Prophets. In the passage further below from the Tablet of the Holy Mariner, Baha'u'llah (the Maid of Heaven), summons a pre-existent handmaiden (i.e. a Dependent Prophet) to appear on earth from the mansions of eternity.

Since Thou hast purposed, O my God, to cause all created things to enter into the tabernacle of Thy transcendent grace and favor, and to waft over the entire creation the fragrances of the raiment of Thy glorious unity, and to look upon all things with the eyes of Thy bounty and Thy oneness, I beseech Thee, therefore, by Thy love, which Thou hast made to be the mainspring of the revelations of Thine eternal holiness, and the flame that gloweth within the hearts of such of Thy creatures as yearn towards Thee, to create, this very moment, for those of Thy people who are wholly devoted to Thee, and for such of Thy loved ones as love Thee, out of the essence of Thy bounty and Thy generosity, and from the inmost spirit of Thy grace and Thy glory, Thy Paradise of transcendent holiness, and to exalt it above everything except Thee, and to sanctify it from aught else save Thyself. Create, moreover, within it, O my God, out of the lights shed by Thy throne, handmaidens who will intone the melodies of Thy wondrous and most sweet invention, that they may magnify Thy name with such words as have not been heard by any of Thy creatures, be they the inmates of Thy heaven or the dwellers of Thine earth, nor been comprehended by any of Thy people. Unlock, then, the gates of this Paradise to the faces of Thy loved ones, that haply they may enter them in Thy name, and by the power of Thy sovereignty, that thereby the sovereign bounties vouchsafed by Thee unto Thy chosen ones and the transcendent gifts granted unto Thy trusted ones be perfected, that they may extol Thy virtues with such melodies as none can either intone or describe, and that none of Thy people may conceive the design of appearing in the guise of any of Thy chosen ones, or of emulating the example of Thy loved ones, and that none may fail to discern between Thy friends and Thine enemies, or to distinguish them that are devoted to Thee from such as stubbornly oppose Thee. Potent art Thou to do what Thou willest, and powerful and supreme art Thou over all things.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations, p. 326-327

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Thereupon she [the Maid of Heaven, Baha'u'llah] summoned unto herself one maiden from her handmaidens,

Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! And commanded her: "Descend into space from the mansions of eternity,
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Holy Mariner

The Maid of Heaven, a Dependent Prophet of Baha'u'llah, summoned to appear on earth:

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 covenanted 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 Baha. My habitation is the Mansion of His Name, the All-Glorious.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 282

The "raven locks" of the Maid of Heaven (the Prophet).

How long wilt thou soar in the realms of desire? Wings have I bestowed upon thee, that thou mayest fly to the realms of mystic holiness and not the regions of satanic fancy. The comb, too, have I given thee that thou mayest dress My raven locks, and not lacerate My throat.
-- Baha'u'llah, The Persian Hidden Words

The Maid of Heaven, the Bab, an Independent Prophet:

O PEOPLE of the earth! By the righteousness of the One true God, I am the Maid of Heaven begotten by the Spirit of Baha, abiding within the Mansion hewn out of a mass of ruby, tender and vibrant; and in this mighty Paradise naught have I ever witnessed save that which proclaimeth the Remembrance of God by extolling the virtues of this Arabian Youth. Verily there is none other God but your Lord, the All-Merciful. Magnify ye, then, His station, for behold, He is poised in the midmost heart of the All-Highest Paradise as the embodiment of the praise of God in the Tabernacle wherein His glorification is intoned.
-- The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 54

Brides of inner meaning, Dependent Prophets of Baha'u'llah, who will continue His revelation; the same way the Holy Imams continued the revelation of Muhammad.

By God! This Bird of Heaven, now dwelling upon the dust, can, besides these melodies, utter a myriad songs, and is able, apart from these utterances, to unfold innumerable mysteries. Every single note of its unpronounced utterances is immeasurably exalted above all that hath already been revealed, and immensely glorified beyond that which hath streamed from this Pen. Let the future disclose the hour when the Brides of inner meaning will, as decreed by the Will of God, hasten forth, unveiled, out of their mystic mansions, and manifest themselves in the ancient realm of being. Nothing whatsoever is possible without His permission; no power can endure save through His power, and there is none other God but He. His is the world of creation, and His the Cause of God. All proclaim His Revelation, and all unfold the mysteries of His Spirit.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 175

húrís [Brides/Maidens] of inner meaning, Dependent Prophets of Baha'u'llah; also referred to as "countenances which are hid within the chambers of chastity" and "manifestations of Thy Divine holiness" in next passage:

We have digressed from the purpose of Our argument, although whatsoever is mentioned serveth only to confirm Our purpose. By God! however great Our desire to be brief, yet We feel We cannot restrain Our pen. Notwithstanding all that We have mentioned, how innumerable are the pearls which have remained unpierced in the shell of Our heart! How many the húrís [Brides/Maidens] of inner meaning that are as yet concealed within the chambers of divine wisdom! None hath yet approached them;--húrís, "whom no man nor spirit hath touched before." Notwithstanding all that hath been said, it seemeth as if not one letter of Our purpose hath been uttered, nor a single sign divulged concerning Our object. When will a faithful seeker be found who will don the garb of pilgrimage, attain the Ka'bih of the heart's desire, and, without ear or tongue, discover the mysteries of divine utterance?
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 70

Lauded be Thy name, O Thou Who art the Goal of my desire! I swear by Thy glory! How great is my wish to attain unto a detachment so complete that were there to appear before me those countenances which are hid within the chambers of chastity, and the beauty of which Thou didst veil from the eyes of the entire creation, and whose faces Thou didst sanctify from the sight of all beings, and were they to unveil themselves in all the glory of the splendors of Thine incomparable beauty, I would refuse to look upon them, and would behold them solely for the purpose of discerning the mysteries of Thy handiwork, which have perplexed the minds of such as have drawn nigh unto Thee, and awed the souls of all them that have recognized Thee. I would, by Thy power and Thy might, soar to such heights that nothing whatsoever would have the power to keep me back from the manifold evidences of Thy transcendent dominion, nor would any earthly scheme shut me out from the manifestations of Thy Divine holiness.
-- Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 338

The Surih of the Temple, an important tablet revealed by Baha'u'llah, is another place where Baha'u'llah refers to His many Dependent/Lesser Prophets ("temples of the Oneness of God") in separate paragraphs, in addition to other important themes covered. In it are also references to the "Maid of inner meanings" and "Maid of Heaven".. "His servants" are the Dependent/Lesser Prophets of Baha'u'llah, the same way the Holy Imams were servants of Muhammad; and else besides them are as naught, described in more detail in the subsequent passage from the Kitab-i-Iqan about the Manifestations of God.

O Maid of inner meanings! Step out of the chamber of utterance by the leave of God, the Lord of the heavens and the earth. Reveal, then, thyself adorned with the raiment of the celestial Realm, and proffer with thy ruby fingers the wine of the heavenly Dominion, that haply the denizens of this world may perceive the light that shone forth from the Kingdom of God when the Daystar of eternity appeared above the horizon of glory. Perchance they may arise before the dwellers of earth and heaven to extol and magnify this Youth Who hath established Himself in the midmost heart of Paradise upon the throne of His name, the All-Sufficing Helper -- He from Whose countenance shineth the brightness of the All-Merciful, from Whose gaze appear the glances of the All-Glorious, and in Whose ways are revealed the tokens and evidences of God, the omnipotent Protector, the Almighty, the All-Loving....

O Temple of Divine Revelation! Sound the trumpet in My Name! O Temple of Divine mysteries! Raise the clarion call of Thy Lord, the Unconditioned, the Unconstrained! O Maid of Heaven! Step forth from the chambers of paradise and announce unto the people of the world: By the righteousness of God! He Who is the Best-Beloved of the worlds -- He Who hath ever been the Desire of every perceiving heart, the Object of the adoration of all that are in heaven and on earth, and the Cynosure of the former and the latter generations -- is now come!

Take heed lest ye hesitate in recognizing this resplendent Beauty when once He hath appeared in the plenitude of His sovereign might and majesty. He, verily, is the True One, and all else besides Him is as naught before a single one of His servants, and paleth into nothingness when brought face to face with the revelation of His splendours. Hasten, then, to attain the living waters of His grace, and be not of the negligent. As to him who hesitateth, though it be for less than a moment, God shall verily bring his works to naught and return him to the seat of wrath; wretched indeed is the abode of them that tarry!
-- Baha'u'llah, Suri of the Temple, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 53

And of all men, the most accomplished, the most distinguished and the most excellent are the Manifestations of the Sun of Truth. Nay, all else besides these Manifestations, live by the operation of their Will, and move and have their being through the outpourings of their grace. "But for Thee, I would have not created the heavens." Nay, all in their holy presence fade into utter nothingness, and are a thing forgotten. Human tongue can never befittingly sing their praise, and human speech can never unfold their mystery. These Tabernacles of holiness, these primal Mirrors which reflect the light of unfading glory, are but expressions of Him Who is the Invisible of the Invisibles. By the revelation of these gems of divine virtue all the names and attributes of God, such as knowledge and power, sovereignty and dominion, mercy and wisdom, glory, bounty and grace, are made manifest.

These attributes of God are not and have never been vouchsafed specially unto certain Prophets, and withheld from others. Nay, all the Prophets of God, His well-favoured, His holy, and chosen Messengers, are, without exception, the bearers of His names, and the embodiments of His attributes. They only differ in the intensity of their revelation, and the comparative potency of their light. Even as He hath revealed: "Some of the Apostles We have caused to excel the others."[1] It hath therefore become manifest and evident that within the tabernacles of these Prophets and chosen Ones of God the light of His infinite names and exalted attributes hath been reflected, even though the light of some of these attributes may or may not be outwardly revealed from these luminous Temples to the eyes of men. That a certain attribute of God hath not been outwardly manifested by these Essences of Detachment doth in no wise imply that they Who are the Daysprings of God's attributes and the Treasuries of His holy names did not actually possess it. Therefore, these illuminated Souls, these beauteous Countenances have, each and every one of them, been endowed with all the attributes of God, such as sovereignty, dominion, and the like, even though to outward seeming they be shorn of all earthly majesty. To every discerning eye this is evident and manifest; it requireth neither proof nor evidence.
[1 Qur'án 2:253.]
-- Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 102

"one of the Beauties of the Most Sublime Paradise", one of the Dependent Prophets of Baha'u'llah. "I will recompense whosoever will cleave unto Me, and recognize My rank and station" -- reference to true believers who recognise the station of the Dependent Prophet.

"We will now mention unto thee Trustworthiness and the station thereof in the estimation of God, thy Lord, the Lord of the Mighty Throne. One day of days We repaired unto Our Green Island. Upon Our arrival, We beheld its streams flowing, and its trees luxuriant, and the sunlight playing in their midst. Turning Our face to the right, We beheld what the pen is powerless to describe; nor can it set forth that which the eye of the Lord of Mankind witnessed in that most sanctified, that most sublime, that blest, and most exalted Spot. Turning, then, to the left We gazed on one of the Beauties of the Most Sublime Paradise, standing on a pillar of light, and calling aloud saying: `O inmates of earth and heaven! Behold ye My beauty, and My radiance, and My revelation, and My effulgence. By God, the True One! I am Trustworthiness and the revelation thereof, and the beauty thereof. I will recompense whosoever will cleave unto Me, and recognize My rank and station, and hold fast unto My hem. I am the most great ornament of the people of Bahá, and the vesture of glory unto all who are in the kingdom of creation. I am the supreme instrument for the prosperity of the world, and the horizon of assurance unto all beings.' Thus have We sent down for thee that which will draw men nigh unto the Lord of creation."

This Wronged One hath, at all times, summoned the peoples of the world unto that which will exalt them, and draw them nigh unto God. From the Most Sublime Horizon there hath shone forth that which leaveth no room unto any one for vacillation, repudiation or denial. The wayward, however, have failed to profit therefrom; nay, it shall only increase their loss.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 136-137

"Beauties of divine mystery", "birds abiding within the domains of My Kingdom", "doves dwelling in the rose-garden of My wisdom" are references to Dependent Prophets of Bahá'u'lláh.

O thou honoured enquirer! We bear witness that thou didst firmly adhere unto seemly patience during the days when the Pen was held back from movement and the Tongue hesitated to set forth an explanation regarding the wondrous sign, the Most Great Infallibility. Thou hast asked this Wronged One to remove for thee its veils and coverings, to elucidate its mystery and character, its state and position, its excellence, sublimity and exaltation. By the life of God! Were We to unveil the pearls of testimony which lie hid within the shells of the ocean of knowledge and assurance or to let the beauties of divine mystery which are hidden within the chambers of utterance in the Paradise of true understanding, step out of their habitation, then from every direction violent commotion would arise among the leaders of religion and thou wouldst witness the people of God held fast in the teeth of such wolves as have denied God both in the beginning and in the end. Therefore We restrained the Pen for a considerable lapse of time in accordance with divine wisdom and for the sake of protecting the faithful from those who have bartered away heavenly blessings for disbelief and have chosen for their people the abode of perdition.

O thou seeker who art gifted with keen insight. I swear by Him Who attracted the Concourse on High through the potency of His most sublime Word! Verily, the birds abiding within the domains of My Kingdom and the doves dwelling in the rose-garden of My wisdom utter such melodies and warblings as are inscrutable to all but God, the Lord of the kingdoms of earth and heaven; and were these melodies to be revealed even to an extent smaller than a needle's eye, the people of tyranny would utter such calumnies as none among former generations hath ever uttered, and would commit such deeds as no one in past ages and centuries hath ever committed. They have rejected the bounty of God and His proofs and have repudiated the testimony of God and His signs. They have gone astray and have caused the people to go astray, yet perceive it not. They worship vain imaginings but know it not. They have taken idle fancies for their lords and have neglected God, yet understand not. They have abandoned the most great Ocean and are hastening towards the pool, but comprehend not. They follow their own idle fancies while turning aside from God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 106-107

In the night-season the beauty of the immortal Being hath repaired from the emerald height of fidelity unto the Sadratu'l-Muntaha, 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.
-- Baha'u'llah, The Persian Hidden Words)

32. Persian No. 77
This great name is the Greatest Name. The Blessed Beauty is intended. What we have today are the meanings of two of the letters of the Greatest Name. They are: B and H.
('Abdu'l-Bahá, from a Tablet – translated from the Persian)

The "black-eyed damsels", Dependent Prophets of Bahá'u'lláh, are the "Resurrection", the same way Imam Ali, the first Dependent Prophet in the era of Muhammad, was the "Resurrection". In the next passage from Gleanings CXXIX, the Maid of Heaven (mentioned in passage #5 above) is the black-eyed Damsel.

The Apostle of God--may the blessings of God and His salutations be upon Him--is reported to have said: "Blessed the man that hath visited Akká, and blessed he that hath visited the visitor of Akká. Blessed the one that hath drunk from the Spring of the Cow and washed in its waters, for the black-eyed damsels quaff the camphor in Paradise, which hath come from the Spring of the Cow, and from the Spring of Salván (Siloam), and the Well of Zamzam. Well is it with him that hath drunk from these springs, and washed in their waters, for God hath forbidden the fire of hell to touch him and his body on the Day of Resurrection."
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 179-180

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.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 282-283


From provisional translations.

The "temples of pre-existence" and "chaste maidens of beauty bearing flagons brimming with the water of life" are the pre-existent Dependent Prophets of Baha'u'llah (the sun).

The sun has risen over the sacred horizon, and the concourse on high has been illumined by its radiance. The scent of musk has diffused from the knolls of sanctity, perfuming the temples of pre-existence. Happy is he who adorns himself with these fragrances! The luminary of the Cause has risen in the midst of the sky, and has taken the form of a full moon, brilliant in its whiteness. Concourse of the near ones, seek to be illumined by its splendor! Say: The throne has been established behind the pavilion of majesty, and about it circle chaste maidens of beauty bearing flagons brimming with the water of life. Blessed is the person who attains to sprinkled droplets thereof. Say: The Maiden of Eternity has uncovered Beauty itself with a gut-wrenching gaze. Blessed is the one who is struck by her glance! Say: The voice of God has been heard from the sanctuary of eternity, and the hearts of the mystic knowers have been enthralled by its melodies.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Surah of the Companions (a provisional translation by Juan Cole).

He came down from the pavillions of beauty and stood like the Sun at the zenith of heaven, peerless and unique in His beauty.
Rejoice! This is the Deathless Youth, come bearing great joy.

Thus He stood in the midst of heaven, shining like the noonday Sun at the axis of beauty, His Name mighty! Thereupon a herald proclaimed:
"Rejoice! This is the Beauty of the Unseen, come with a mighty spirit."

A clamor then arose from the hearts of the maids of heaven in their chambers, "Blessed be God, the best of Creators!" Thereupon the dove sang out,
Rejoice! for the eyes of the privy angels have seen none like unto this Deathless Youth."

The gates of Paradise were flung wide yet again, opened with the key of a mighty Name.
Rejoice! This is the Deathless Youth, come with a mighty Name.

The Maid of Beauty came forth, dawning like the sun, plain upon the horizon of the morn.
Rejoice! This is the Maid of Glory, come with a mighty beauty.

A brocade she wore, dazzling the minds of the privy angels.
Rejoice! this is the Deathless Maid, come with a mighty grace.

She descended from the chambers of eternity, then She sang such a song as to enchant the hearts of the sincere.
Rejoice! This is the Deathless Beauty, come with a mighty secret.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Deathless Youth (a provisional translation by J. Cole).

He is the Beloved One

[1] The Maid of Eternity came from the Exalted Paradise;
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad Tidings! ...

[8] This sweet Davidic voice, from the Divine Lote-Tree--with the Messianic Spirit she came; Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad Tidings! ...

[12] With the joyful tidings of reunion this Divine Maiden came from a branch of the Tree of Blessedness;
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad Tidings! ...

[16] This Eternal Countenance, she came with snow-white hand from the Divine command;
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, O Glad Tidings!
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Lawh-i Halih, Halih, Halih, Ya Bisharat (a provisional translation by Juan Cole).

Say: the time of union has been fulfilled, and by virtue of the decree that of absence has begun through this parting, you who are filled with yearning;

Tears have flowed from the eyes of the immortals in the concourse on high because of this farewell, you who are filled with yearning;

The breezes of joy that blew from the paradise of splendor have been stilled by this departure, you who are filled with yearning.

By God, the faces of the celestial maidens in their chambers have paled at the prospect of this absence, you who are filled with yearning;

The houris rouge their cheeks blood red, for they have heard about this leave-taking, you who are filled with yearning;
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Nightingale of Separation (a provisional translation by J. Cole).

In the name of God, the most holy, the most exalted.

Praise be to Thee, O God, My God. I make mention of Thee at this time, when the sun of Thy Godhead hath risen from the horizon of the splendid divinity of Thy oneness, the lights of Thy lordship have flashed forth from the dawning of the ineffable encounter with the eternal kingdom of Thy self-sufficiency, and the darkness of this world hath been illumined by the radiance of the faithful realm of Thy cause -- in such wise that the garden of paradise came into being above the essence of Thy glorious selfhood. Therein were planted the trees of Thy quintessence, which put forth the fruits of Thine essence, and therein wafted the breezes of Thy spirit and the breaths of Thy sanctity. Therein were foreordained the gems of Thy bounties and the substance of Thy munificence; and therein were uncovered the treasures of Thy knowledge and mystery. Over its terraces flow the streams of Thy glorious life, the canals of Thy radiant eternality, and the springs of the wine of Thine inaccessibility. When Thou didst desire, O my God, to manifest it, Thou didst raise it up to the throne of grandeur and greatness, embellish it with the rays of might and power, render it effulgent by Thine essence, and didst make to shine upon it the sun of oneness from the pre-eternal lights of Thy features. Thou didst light for it the wick of eternity in the lamp of pre-existence. Now, Thy most exalted decree hath come to the kingdom of command by Thy signature, so that a visage might appear therefrom, that the brilliance of Thy beauty might be manifest to all who dwell on earth, and that the glory of Thy countenance might be seen by all who are in the realm of Thy cause.

There arose the houri [maiden], Who had dwelt in pre-eternity in the pavilions of holiness, protection, and glorification and in the canopies of sinlessness, greatness and splendor. Upon Her creamy brow the most high pen hath written in crimson ink, "Praise be to God! This is a houri [maiden] upon Whom none have gazed save God, the exalted, the most high. God hath purified the hem of Her purity from the knowledge of the concourse of names in the realm of eternity, and Her face from the view of all who are in the kingdom of creation. When She arose with the ornament of God from Her palace, She looked with one glance toward the sky. The people of the heavens swooned at the rays of Her visage and at the wafting of Her perfume. Then She looked with another glance toward the earth, and it was illumined by the lights of Her beauty and the loveliness of Her splendor. ... Then the firmament was illumined by the radiance of its light, contingent beings were made resplendent by its appearance and effulgence, and by its rays infinite numbers of suns dawned forth, as though they trekked through heavens that were without beginning or end. I became bewildered at the pen of God's handiwork, and at what it had inscribed upon Her temple. It was as though She had appeared with a body of light in the forms of the spirit, as though She moved upon the earth of essence in the substance of manifestation. I noticed that the houris [maidens] had poked their heads out of their rooms [chambers] and were suspended in the air above Her. They grew perplexed at Her appearance and Her beauty, and were entranced by the raptures of Her song. Praise be to Her creator, fashioner, and maker--to the one Who made Her manifest.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Maiden (a provisional translation by Juan Cole)

He is the Mighty.

This is the Garden of Paradise, wherein hath been raised the melody of God, the Protector, the Self-Subsisting. Wherein have been established the maidens of eternity whom none hath touched save God, the Mighty, the Holy. Wherein the Nightingale of Eternity hath warbled upon the branches of the Lote-tree beyond which there is no passing, with a melody that hath filled with astonishment the minds of all men. Wherein is that which bringeth the poor ones nigh unto the shores of the ocean of wealth and guideth mankind unto the word of God. This, verily, is a manifest truth.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Tablet of the Bell (a provisional translation by Denis MacEoin.)

Lo, this is the garden of Paradise wherein is raised the Voice of God, the Dominant, the Strong; Here do the immaculate Maids of Heaven dwell, they whom no eye hath seen save only God's, the Sanctified, the Well-Beloved; Herein the eternal nightingale singeth on the bough of the sacred Lote-Tree a song that bedazzaleth the minds, and herein are the needy led to the haven of wealth, and all men guided to the Word of God; verily this is a manifest truth.

(Here is the song that the nightingale singeth;)


Thou art verily God!
O sacred Monk, ring out the bells, for the day of God hath come, and the Beauty of the All-Glorious is established on the holy, shining throne.
Glory to Thee, O God, O Thou who art God,
O Thou who alone art God!                              

O prophet of wisdom, Hud, beat thou upon thy drum, in the name of the Lord, the Precious, the Bountiful, for the Temple of Holiness is seated upon His high, unapproachable throne.
Glory to Thee, O God, O Thou who art God,
O Thou who alone art God!                              

O Thou beauty of eternity, pluck with the fingers of the spirit at the strings of Thy lute that is wondrous and Holy, for the Heavenly Beauty hath come in His garment of glimmering silk.
Glory to Thee, O God, O Thou who art God,
O Thou who alone art God!                              

O angel of light, sound thou thy trumpet to herald this appearance, for the letter HA hath mounted above the letter of pre-existent might.
Glory to Thee, O God, O Thou who art God,
O Thou who alone art God!                              

O Nightingale of Praise, sing out upon thy boughs within this garden and land, the well-beloved Name, for the beauty of the red rose hath shone from the impenetrable veils.
Glory to Thee, O God, O Thou who art God,
O Thou who alone art God!                              

O Thou Dove of Paradise, sing upon the boughs in this wondrous day, when the Lord hath cast His rays upon all creatures.
Glory to Thee, O God, O Thou who art God,
O Thou who alone art God!                              

O Thou Bird of Eternity, soar into this firmament, for the bird of faithfulness hath winged his flight to the presence of the merciful Lord.
Glory to Thee, O God, O Thou who art God,
O Thou who alone art God!....
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Feast of Ridvan (a provisional translation by Ali-Kuli Khan and Marzieh Gail.)

The Beauty of holiness hath risen from behind the veil.      
And this is a wondrous thing!

And the spirits have fainted away from the flames of attraction.      
And this is a wondrous matter!

They have recovered consciousness and flown unto the pavilion of holiness on the Throne of Domes. And this is a wondrous mystery.

Say: the Maid of Eternity hath removed the veil from her face.      
Exalted be the new and wondrous Beauty!...
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablet of the Wondrous (a provisional translation by Denis MacEoin)

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