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Editor: Dianne Bradford, 5384 Tansas Ln., Hilliard, OH 43026

Vol. 1, No. 6

     Topic: The Manifestation of God                    Page 1
This newsletter is dedicated to all seekers after the Eternal Truth.

      Just Who and what is a Manifestation of God? It would be best to get this answer from the Source, from One Who was Himself a Manifestation of God.

      These sanctified Mirrors, these Day Springs of ancient glory, are, one and all, the Exponents on earth of Him Who is the central Orb of the universe, its Essence and ultimate Purpose. From Him proceed their knowledge and power; from Him is derived their sovereignty. The beauty of their countenance is but a reflection of His image, and their revelation a sign of His deathless glory. They are theTreasuries of Divine knowledge, and the epositories of celestial wisdom. Through them is transmitted a grace that is infinite, and by them is revealed the Light that can never fade. . . .
           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 enbodiments of His attributes. They only differ in the intensity of their revelation, and the comparative potency of their light.
      . . . 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 Day Springs 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. . . 1

                    It is important to understand that They are chosen by God. Noone can simply pray and study and aspire to to this high station. We can only progress within the station which the Omniscent
Almighty God has chosen to confer upon us. For instance, even if Peter had greatly desired and had dedicated his whole life to what he would have thought necessary to become like Christ, he would have not only failed to achieve his purpose, but he would have probably also harmed his own spiritual development by trying to go beyond the station that God had chosen to confer upon him. No Manifestation of God ever became One because He desired it or through any efforts of His own. As Bahá'u'lláh wrote regarding His own Manifestation: "Not of Mine own volition have I revealed Myself, but God, of His own choosing, hath manifested Me."2 They were chosen and were created in this station from the very beginning. The following quote of the Báb's in an Epistle He wrote to Muhammad Sháh while He was incarcerated in the mountain fortress of Máh-Kú eloquently describes this difference between Himself as a Manifestation of God and the rest of humanity, the importance of His station, and how it relates to us:
           The substance wherewith God hath created Me is not the clay out of which others have been formed. He hath conferred upon Me that which the worldly-wise can never comprehend, nor the faithful discover . . . I am one of the sustaining pillars of the Primal Word of God. Whosoever hath recognized Me, hath known all that is true and right, and hath attained all that is good and seemly; and whosoever hath failed to recognize Me, hath turned away from all that is true and right and hath succombed to everything evil and unseemly.3

                This last passage also points out the importance to our own lives of our recognition and acceptance of the Manifestation ..The Manifestations of God are the intermediary between God and man. Not only doThey reveal for us God's laws and guidance, They are the only way we have of knowing God and the Path to God always leads through Them. Therefore, They are not only the means to the advancement of humanity in general, but these spiritual "Suns of Reality" Who bring the Light of God into the world also bring this Light into our individual lives. They are the only path to our own personal salvation. Thus Christ says: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me."4 and "All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him."5 In the words of God's latest Manifestation and Revealer of His Word, Baha'u'llah, "He Who is everlastingly hidden from the eyes of men can never be known except through His Manifestation, and His Manifestation can adduce no greater proof of the truth of His Mission than the proof of His own Person."6 and: "The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation. Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed."7

                Bahá'u'lláh continues on the subject of His station, explaining more fully the purpose of the Manifestations of God, the reason for Their existence, the Source of Their power and authority, our relationship to Them, and why our recognition and acceptance of Them is so important.

     . . .The door of the knowledge of the Ancient Being hath ever been, and will continue for ever to be, closed in the face of men. No man's understanding shall ever gain access unto His holy court. As a token of His mercy, however, and as a proof of His loving-kindness, He hath manifested unto men the Day Stars of His divine guidance, the Symbols of His divine unity, and hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be identical with the knowledge of His own Self. Whoso recognizeth them hath recognized God. Whoso hearkeneth to their call, hath hearkened to the Voice of God, and whoso testifieth to the truth of their Revelation, hath testified to the truth of God Himself. Whoso turneth away from them, hath turned away from God, and whoso disbelieveth in them, hath disbelieved in God. Every one of them is the Way of God that connecteth this world with the realms above, and the Standard of His Truth unto every one in the kingdoms of earth and heaven. They are the Manifestation of God amidst men, the evidences of His Truth, and the signs of His glory.8

     If any question remains that the Manifestations of God have come for our benefit, the next two passages should dispell any doubts. 'Abdu'l-Bahá states:
. . the purpose of the Manifestation of God and the dawning of the limitless lights of the Invisible is to educate the souls of men, and refine the character of every living man--so that blessed individuals, who have freed themselves from the murk of the animal world, shall rise up with those qualities which are the adornings of the reality of man. The purpose is that earthlings should turn into the people of Heaven, and those who walk in darkness should come into the light, and those who are excluded should join the inner circle of the Kingdom, and those who are as nothing should become intimates of the everlasting Glory. It is that the portionless should gain their share of the boundless sea, and the ignorant drink their fill from the living fount of knowledge; that those who thirst for blood should forsake their savagery, and those who are barbed of claw should turn gentle and forbearing, and those who love war should seek instead for true conciliation; it is that the brutal, their talons razor-sharp, should enjoy the benefits of lasting peace; that the foul should learn that there is a realm of purity, and the tainted find their way to the rivers of holiness.9

and in the words of His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh:

                The Divine Messengers have been sent down, and their Books were revealed, for the purpose of promoting the knowledge of God, and of furthering unity and fellowship amongst men.10

      The Manifestation of God is the ultimate example of selflessness and servitude. These "Essences of Detachment" completely give up all traces of Their own selves in order to become the perfect Mirrors of all of God's qualities and attributes. They completely subjugate Their own will in total servitude to God's will Thus Christ said:
"For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me."11 And, in the words of the Báb, "Verily I am none other but the servant of God and His Word, and none but
the first to bow down in supplication before God, the Most Exalted; and indeed God witnesseth all things." 12 Thus God's Religion and Cause is advanced and everyone in heaven and earth benefit

enormously thereby. Not only that but, despite the incredibly large debt of gratitude which each and every one of us owes to all of them, still, when they come to us, so many of us are responsible for inflicting incredible and horrible sufferings on these gentle and wonderful Souls and are capable of causing them unbearable pain and sorrow. As the Báb wrote concerning God's Message to Him regarding His Own Mission and Message: "Proclaim that which hath been sent down unto Thee as a token of the grace of the merciful Lord, for if Thou do it not, Our secret will never be made known to the people [cf. Qur'án5:71.], while the purpose of God in creating man is but for him to know Him."13
      Bahá'u'lláh also comments on the blindness of those among whom the Manifestations appeared and of how poorly these Holy Ones were received by these same people:

                Consider the past. How many, both high and low, have, at all times, yearningly awaited the advent of the Manifestations of God in the sanctified person of His chosen Ones. How often have they expected His coming, how frequently they have prayed that the breeze of divine mercy might blow, and the promised Beauty step forth from behind the veil of concealment, and be made manifest to all the world. And whensoever the portals of grace did open, and the clouds of divine bounty did rain upon
mankind, and the light of the Unseen did shine above the horizon of celestial might, they all denied Him, and turned away from His face --the face of God Himself. Refer ye, to verify this truth, to that which hath been recorded in every sacred Book.14

      Later in the same Book, He adds:

          Should you acquaint yourself with the indignities heaped upon the Prophets of God, and apprehend the true causes of the objections voiced by their oppressors, you will surely appreciate the significance of their position. Moreover, the more closely you observe the denials of those who have opposed the Manifestations of the divine attributes, the firmer will be your faith in the Cause of God . . . throughout all ages and centuries the Manifestations of power and glory have been subjected to such heinous cruelties that no pen dare describe them. . . 15

      And further:
           Ponder for a moment, and reflect upon that which hath been the cause of denial on the part of those who have searched with such earnestness and longing. Their attack hath been more fierce than tongue or pen can describe. Not one single Manifestation of Holiness hath appeared but He was afflicted by the denials, the repudiation, and the vehement opposition of the people around Him. Thus it hath been revealed: "O the misery of men! No Messenger cometh unto them but they laugh Him to scorn." ( Qur'án 36:30.) Again He saith: "Each nation hath plotted darkly against their Messenger to lay violent hold on Him, and disputed with vain words to invalidate the truth." ( Qur'án 40:5.)16

      Why are so many unable to perceive the Truth and instead, in their blindness and ignorance inflict such suffering on Those Who came with the gifts of God's Word and eternal life? The following quotations may shed some light on this perplexing question:

                It is evident that the changes brought about in every Dispensation constitute the dark clouds that intervene between the eye of man's understanding and the divine Luminary which shineth forth from the dayspring of the divine Essence. Consider how men for generations have been blindly imitating their fathers, and have been trained according to such ways and manners as have been laid down by the dictates of their Faith. Were these men, therefore, to discover suddenly that a Man, Who hath been living in their midst, Who,with respect to every human limitation, hath been their equal, had risen to abolish every established principle imposed by their aith--principles by which for centuries they have been disciplined, and every opposer and denier of which they have come to regard as infidel, prolifigate and wicked,--they would of a certainty be veiled and hindered from acknowledging His truth.. Such

things are as "clouds" that veil the eyes of those whose inner being hath not tasted the Salsabíl of detachment, nor drunk from the Kawthar of the knowledge of God. Such men, when acquainted with
these circumstances, become so veiled that without the least question, they pronounce the Manifestation of God an infidel, and sentence Him to death. You must have heard of these things taking place all down the ages. . .17

                      . . .from time immemorial even unto eternity the Almighty hath tried, and will continue to try, His servants, so that light may be distinguished from darkness, truth from falsehood, right from wrong, guidance from error, happiness from misery, and roses from thorns. Even as He [Muhammad] hath revealed: "Do men think when they say 'We believe' they shall be let alone and not be put to proof?" [ Qur'án 29:2.]18

                Why then, is it that despite the expectation of men in their quest of the Manifestations of Holiness, and in spite of the signs recorded in the sacred books, should such acts of violence, of oppression and cruelty, have been perpetrated in every age and cycle against all the Prophets and chosenOnes of God? Even as He [Muhammad] hath revealed: "As oft as an Apostle cometh unto you with that which your souls desire not, ye swell with pride, accusing some of being imposters and slaying others." [ Qur'án 2:87.]19

           In addition, we should never forget that, whether speaking and writing as God Himself or as God's Messenger and the Revealer of His Word, what They tell us does indeed come from God Himself as attested to by the following quotations:

               O concourse of light! By the righteousness of God, We speak not according to selfish desire, nor hath a single letter of this Book been revealed save by the leave of God, the Sovereign Truth. Fear ye God and entertain no doubts regarding His Cause, for verily, the Mystery of this Gate is shrouded in the mystic utterances of His Writ and hath been written beyond the impenetrable veil of concealment by the hand of God, the Lord of the visible and the invisible.20

                . . .I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. 21
1 Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings From the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pp. 47-49.
2 Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp. 11-12.
3 The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 11.
4 John 14:6.
5 Matthew 11:27.
6 Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings From the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 49
7 Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 19
8 Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings From the Writings of Baha'u'llah, , pp. 49-50.
9 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, pp. 10-11.
10 Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 12.
11 John 6:38.
12The Báb, Selections From the Writings of the Báb, p. 61.
13 The Báb, Selections From the Writings of the Báb, p. 62.
14Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitáb-i-Iqán , p.4.
15 Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitáb-i-Iqán , p.6.
16 Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitáb-i-Iqán, pp.4-5.
17 Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitáb-i-Iqán, pp. 73-74.
18 Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitáb-i-Iqán, pp. 8-9.
19 Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitáb-i-Iqán p. 13.
20 The Báb, Selections From the Writings of the Báb, p. 57.
21 John 8:28-29.
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