Some Passing Comments on the Long Obligatory Prayer of Bahá'u'lláhBahá'í Studies in Australasia vol. 3
Roseberry: Association for Baha'i Studies Australia, 1996
To come to an appreciation of the Long Obligatory Prayer revealed by Bahá'u'lláh, we must first come to some understanding of the purpose of prayer itself to understand why we pray and how prayer affects us.
'Abdu'l-Bahá tells us and these words are recorded in 'Bahá'u'lláh and the new Era' that "...in the highest prayer, men pray only for the love of God, not because they fear Him or hell, or hope for bounty or heaven...When a man falls in love with a human being, it is impossible for him to keep from mentioning the name of his beloved. How much more difficult is it to keep from mentioning the Name of God when one has come to love Him...The spiritual man finds no delight in anything save in commemoration of God".
So we see that, in essence, prayer is a natural reaction to our love for God it is an outflowing from the soul's love affair with its Creator. 'Abdu'l-Bahá confirms this when He says: "If one friend loves another, is it not natural that he should wish to say so? Though he knows that the friend is aware of his love, does he still not wish to tell him of it?...It is true that God knows the wishes of all hearts; but the impulse to pray is a natural one, springing from man's love to God". So prayer is as natural for us as breathing without breathing we cannot exist, physically; without prayer we cannot exist spiritually.
But while there is, in human beings, this natural tendency to turn to God, there is another force which attracts us to the material world in which we live. Indeed we have been given the choice, by God, as to the direction in which we turn. As Adib Taherzadeh puts it in his book 'The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh' "It is characteristic of the heart to fall in love with another party, but it is the individual who finds and chooses that party". If we turn our attention and affections to the material world, our hearts very easily become attached to material things, to the things of this world. But if we turn to God and to the world of the spirit, then our hearts become more and more attached to that spiritual world and the love of God grows in our heart. This is our true destiny, but it can happen only if we fulfil another condition which Bahá'u'lláh clearly sets out in the 'Hidden Words':
"O Son of Being! Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent. Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation."
And in another verse of the 'Hidden Words' Bahá'u'lláh explains how we may sanctify our hearts:
"O Son of dust! All that is in heaven and earth I have ordained for thee, except the human heart, which I have made the habitation of My beauty and glory; yet thou didst give My home and dwelling to another than Me; and when the manifestation of holiness sought His own abode, a stranger found he there, and, homeless, hastened unto the sanctuary of the Beloved..."
And in another verse he warns us:
"O My Friend in Word! Ponder a while. Hast thou ever heard that friend and foe should abide in one heart? Cast out then the stranger, that the Friend may enter His home."
This, then, becomes the task of our spiritual quest to "cast out" from within our heart this "stranger" of man's attachment to the things of this material world. And as we come to a deeper awareness of the greatness and awesome majesty of Bahá'u'lláh as the Supreme Manifestation of God, we become humble before Him and, as Adib Taherzadeh explains, this humility of spirit this deeply felt awareness of our own insignificance in relation to His sovereignty is one of the main prerequisites for driving this "stranger", step by step, out of our heart.
In this context Adib Taherzadeh goes on to relate a thought-provoking story from an old Persian poem, which makes this point very clear the story of a drop of rain falling from the clouds, knowing itself to be the "water of life" and feeling so proud of its own importance. Suddenly, as it falls, it sees the ocean beneath and, realising its own insignificance in relation to the vastness of the ocean, it exclaims: "If this exists, then what am I?" and the story goes on that, when the ocean heard this expression of true humility, it attracted the drop to itself and, as a reward, made it the companion of the pearl.
So in order to derive the benefits of spiritual growth that are latent within the use of prayer, we must become like that drop we must see ourselves as "that drop" in relation to the ocean that is Bahá'u'lláh. This must be our heart-felt attitude when we approach the obligatory prayers. And this relationship between us and our Creator is expressed so movingly in many of the verses of the obligatory prayers as we use these prayers, the words of Bahá'u'lláh expressing this essential relationship permeate our spirit and become part of our very being.
Adib Taherzadeh stresses that the daily recital of any of the three obligatory prayers can act as a mighty weapon in the spiritual battle against one's own self, a battle that every believer must fight in order to subdue his greatest enemy and drive the "stranger" away. "The recital of the obligatory prayer, which is enjoined upon every believer by Bahá'u'lláh and constitutes one of the most sacred rites of the Faith, is a major factor in enabling a soul to recognise its own importance in relation to its Creator and to acknowledge its own shortcomings." He concludes by saying that the use of the obligatory prayers together with the daily recital of the Writings, as enjoined by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, and a deeper study of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh will "enable the believer to gain a glimpse of the majesty and grandeur of the Blessed Beauty. Like the drop when it saw the ocean, he will become humble and self-effacing. The 'stranger' will be driven out and the heart filled with the spirit of God's Faith".
We know that the recital of any one of the obligatory prayers given us by Bahá'u'lláh was prescribed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas but, when this great book of laws was revealed during the early part of 1873, the publication of certain of its laws He withheld, and the actual text of the obligatory prayers was not available to the believers until a later time. Adib Taherzadeh recounts that Bahá'u'lláh had instructed His amanuensis, Mirza Aqa Jan, to send a copy of the obligatory prayers to Persia in 1887, as a favour to the Hand of the Cause Mulla 'Ali-Akbar who had asked for them, At that time he confirmed that the prayers had been revealed some years earlier but there does not appear to be any record, at least in English, of precisely when and under what circumstances they were revealed. But that was, apparently, their first release to the believers an hour and a half after sunset on 27 October, 1887.
The obligatory prayers are enjoined upon every believer from the age of fifteen years. The choice, between the three prayers given us by Bahá'u'lláh, is for each person to make and the responsibility to observe this law is upon the individual himself. It is a binding law one of the fundamental laws of personal observance in the Faith but no other person or institution of the Faith has any right to enforce its performance.
Certain prescribed actions are also enjoined for each of the prayers, including turning towards the Qiblih of the Faith, and the observance of these rites are an integral part of these prayers. For some Western believers the actions that are associated with the obligatory prayers feel a little strange, perhaps because those of our present generation in the West have grown remote from God and have lost that feeling of intimacy in prayer. As Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khanum once put it:
"For a man to stand alone in his room and stretch his arms out to nothingness, or kneel down before a blank wall, in the midst of familiar objects, seems to him unnatural and even foolish. This is because he has lost the sense of the 'living God'. God, far from being to him, as the Qur'án says, 'nearer than his life's vein', has become more of an X in some vast equation. And yet men that we honour and men that we long to emulate have not felt shy before their God. Many a burly crusader knelt on the stones of Jerusalem where he felt his Lord's feet might have trod, and the Pilgrim Fathers did not feel self-conscious on their knees when turning to the God who had led them to a new and freer homeland. The prayers of Bahá'u'lláh will help lead us back to that warm sense of the reality and nearness of God, through use. He makes no compulsion. He takes our hand and guides us into the safe road trodden by our forefathers."
The obligatory prayers prescribed by Bahá'u'lláh also reflect the culture and society in which the Manifestation appears. This is clearly explained by Adib Taherzadeh in his 'Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh' where he comments on the effect of the Manifestation's own personality, language and culture upon the form which His Revelation takes. He cites the genuflectory actions that form part of the obligatory prayers as an example of this and explains that these genuflections are "intended to convey symbolically man's attitude towards his Lord. The combination of the words uttered, with the actions that accompany them, will bring about a greater consciousness of the sovereignty of God and of man's impotence and poverty in this life". He points out that in the society in which Bahá'u'lláh was brought up "there were certain expressions which were conveyed by the movements of one's hands or body...Bahá'u'lláh has incorporated these movements, which were known to him, to express symbolically various feelings such as humility, supplication and servitude to God...In the Persian culture it was customary to raise one's hands towards heaven when supplicating the Lord, or to bend one's body when showing humility or to prostrate oneself before one's God when expressing one's utter nothingness before Him. These actions Bahá'u'lláh has incorporated into the obligatory prayers in order to increase the ardour and devotion of the servant when praying to his Lord and to demonstrate, both by words and by actions, the loftiness, the grandeur and the glory of God, while recognising his own station of servitude at His Threshold."
Believers from the same background are quite familiar with these actions in association with the prayers; they are also familiar with the prescribing of prayers which are obligatory, as an essential part of religion. Obligatory prayers have been one of the three main forms of prayer in Islam: sala't or, in Persian, nama'z. In terms of Western thinking, those prayers which constitute sala't in Islam were not prayers at all but rather ritual observances, to be performed according to the instructions given with them. But these were the form of prayer which Bahá'u'lláh has prescribed once again in His obligatory prayers with one very significant difference: whereas in Islam these are usually performed in public, Bahá'u'lláh has ordained that in this dispensation the prayers prescribed as a personal obligation are to be performed in the privacy of one's own chamber. The reason for this and the importance of the change ordained by Bahá'u'lláh from past practices in Islam has been given by the Báb in His 'Persian Bayán':
"The reason why privacy hath been enjoined in moments of devotion is this, that thou mayest give thy best attention to the remembrance of God, that thy heart may at all times be animated with His Spirit, and not be shut out as by a veil from the Best Beloved. Let not thy tongue pay lip service in praise of God while they heart be not attuned to the exalted summit of Glory, and the focal Point of communication."
At the very commencement of the Long Obligatory Prayer our hearts are immediately called to that attitude which is appropriate for one supplicating his Lord but note the gentleness of the language that is used and the characteristic lack of compulsion which marks the prescription of so many of Bahá'u'lláh's fundamental laws:
"Whoso wisheth to recite this prayer, let him stand up and turn unto God, and, as he standeth in his place, let him gaze to the right and to the left, as if awaiting the mercy of his Lord, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate."
First, the instruction is addressed only to the one who "wisheth to recite" the prayer and then the admonition that follows is couched in a language so gentle "let him stand up and turn" and "let him gaze". We note that this phrasing so tender and undemanding flows through each of the instructions that guide us through the actions that accompany the prayer.
In the opening verse of the prayer itself the suppliant addresses his Lord "the Lord of all names" and the name of that Nameless Essence is immediately linked with those who are the "Day-Springs" of that "Invisible Essence". We may note that in some of the references throughout this prayer it is clear to whom the words refer the unknowable God or His Manifestation for this age but in other references these two are so intertwined as to provide matter for meditation, as we ponder whether it is that Eternal Essence or the Manifestation of His attributes.
Perhaps, from our lowly station, this is not so important as Bahá'u'lláh Himself confesses that, despite the exalted nature of His own Manifestation, as the manifestation of the Most Great Spirit, the relationship of the Manifestation of God to that Essence which he manifests is beyond not only our comprehension but that of the Manifestation Himself. In one of His prayers Bahá'u'lláh clearly testifies to His inability to know the Essence of God or to have any access to it:
I swear by Thy Beauty, O King of eternity Who sitteth on Thy most glorious Throne! He Who is the Day-Spring of Thy signs and the Revealer of Thy clear tokens hath, notwithstanding the immensity of His wisdom and the loftiness of His knowledge, confesseth his powerlessness to comprehend the least of Thine utterances, in their relation to Thy most exalted Pen how much more is He incapable of apprehending the nature of Thine all-glorious Self and of Thy most august Essence."
Yet in the 'Persian Bayán' the Báb states that "Him Whom God shall make manifest", as the Mouthpiece of God, will proclaim: "Verily, verily, I am God, no God is there but Me; in truth all others except Me are My creatures" and in the Suriy-i-Haykal Bahá'u'lláh does proclaim: "Naught is seen in My temple but the Temple of God and in My beauty but His Beauty, and in My being but His Being, and in My self but His Self..."
In another prayer Bahá'u'lláh describes His relationship with God in these words:
"When I contemplate, O my God, the relationship that bindeth me to Thee, I am moved to proclaim to all created things 'Verily, I am God!'; and when I consider my own self, lo, I find it coarser than clay!"
When we consider these words of Bahá'u'lláh, we realise our limitation in comprehending this relationship in a spiritual realm so far above our ken; we simply stand in awe at the thought that we are permitted to experience any relationship at all with the world of Revelation, let alone that of those Manifestations which are our sole link with the Essential Reality of God. At this level we can but marvel at the ocean of significances that His words contain, yet confess our utter powerlessness to comprehend even a fraction of its meaning.
In this first verse, with the utmost humility the suppliant 'beseeches' his Lord to make the prayer he is offering as a fire that will burn away the 'veils' which come in between him and God, and a light by which he will be guided to the 'ocean' of His presence. The terms 'veils' and 'ocean' appear repeatedly in the Writings. Bahá'u'lláh refers to the 'veils of names', of 'idle fancies', of 'human learning and false imaginings', of 'selfish desires' and of 'heedlessness'. He also quotes in His 'Four Valleys' one of the poets of old Persia, in that "Love is a veil betwixt the love and the loved one", and in the 'Kitáb-i-Íqán' he refers to that ultimate 'veil' "He is and hath ever been veiled in the ancient eternity of His Essence, and will remain in His Reality everlastingly hidden from the sight of men". The term 'ocean' also appears in many different contexts in the Writings, at times representing the vastness of various aspects of His Revelation or His attributes and in other Tablets the Revelation itself "the Most Great Ocean hath appeared, from whose waves one can hear the thundering cry: 'Verily, no God is there but Me, the Peerless, the All-Knowing."
In the next verse the suppliant raises his hands and confesseth his utter humility and lowliness before God and total submission to His will. The theme is repeated in many different ways strengthening, in each phrase, one's feeling of utter nothingness in the face of God's pleasure and desire for us. In the phrase "I am Thy servant, O my Lord, and the son of Thy servant", the one uttering the prayer draws into his confession his parents, perhaps even his forebears for many generations back, linking them in his own relationship with God. Reference to "Thy cord, through whose movement the whole creation hath been stirred up" is reminiscent of other passages in the Writings where Bahá'u'lláh urges us to take "firm hold on His cord, a cord which none can sever" and refers to the "cord of My remembrance", the "cord of patience" and the "cord of trustworthiness and piety".
The suppliant then kneels and, with his forehead to the ground, testifies to the exalted nature of God. The phrasing of this short verse is succinct and brief, yet contains within it a myriad of meanings a verse upon which, in earlier times and former dispensations, an entire religion could have developed. This beautiful confession of God's exalted and unknowable nature is aptly contrasted with the lowly position of reverence which the suppliant takes at this point in the prayer.
Standing erect, he then beseeches his Lord that, through this prayer, he may share in the eternity of God's creation and testifies that his purpose in seeking this bounty is to "make mention of Thee" through all the worlds of God. In repeating the words of this verse, we think of the shortest of the three obligatory Prayers where we testify that the purpose of our creation has been to know and to worship God.
Raising his hands again in supplication, he then pours out his heart in a verse which once more reinforces the suppliant's relationship with his Creator he is the 'stranger' hastening home; he is the 'transgressor' begging forgiveness; he is the 'lowly one' reaching out to the abode of his Beloved; he is a 'poor creature' seeking those spiritual riches which God, the All-Possessing, possesses. Again, he testifies to God's all-embracing authority and, by inference, to his own station of servitude and obedience.
Calling upon God in His Greatest Name that name which was destined to be known to his creation only with the coming of the Supreme Manifestation an invocation strengthened by its repetition three times and the gesture of supplication which accompanies it, he again bows his head and, with his hands upon his knees in a position of lowliness, he confesses to the yearning of his spirit to fulfil its destined station of servitude to its Creator. He testifies to his innermost desire to remember God in prayer and to praise Him; to conform his own testimony to that which the Manifestation has revealed. He begs for the bounties of God not for his sake or for their sake, but to demonstrate, in all humility, the vastness of the gulf which lies between God and His creation.
The imagery of 'Tongue' in the phrase 'Tongue of Thy grandeur' is a thought-provoking and expressive metaphor frequently used in the Bahá'í Writings for the Manifestation himself, as the Revealer of the Word of God in such phrases as 'Tongue of Utterance', "Tongue of Wisdom' and 'Tongue of Might and Power'. Sometimes it is used to represent the Pre-existent Spirit which animates the Revelation. We read in the opening passages of the 'Epistle to the Son of the Wolf':
"All created things have borne witness unto that which the tongue of Thy grandeur hath testified ere their creation"
and in the opening verse of the 'Tajallíyát' (Effulgences):
"Whoso acknowledges belief in Him and in His signs and testimonies hath in truth acknowledged that which the Tongue of Grandeur uttered ere the creation of earth and heaven and the revelation of the Kingdom of Names."
With hands raised twice, he then testifies to the power and authority of the Creator and to the lowliness of his own station for without God's forgiveness, His mercy and grace, no approach to His exalted court could ever be imagined. Here the suppliant testifies to the truth that no one in all creation is worthy to approach God's presence or partake of the bounties which He continually showers upon us. It is only through His mercy and grace that we exist, let alone dare to approach His exalted court. As a finite being, man is completely unworthy of the bounties of God and even our confession of belief our recognition of the station of Bahá'u'lláh in this age is due to the bounty of God, rather than our own innate worthiness. The verse concludes by returning to its opening theme: a confession of God's total authority in relation to all His creatures.
There then follows, with hands raised in supplication, the repetition of the verse "Greater is God than every great one" it is a deceptively simple statement, which seems to attain increased power as we repeat the words three times. Far remote from our own comprehension is any understanding of the revealed Word of God and the power it can exert on creation yet we may feel, in the repetition of this verse, a strange power. The repetition of certain invocations plays a familiar part in our use of prayer the repetition of the Greatest name in the obligatory prayer, the admonition of Bahá'u'lláh in the 'Kitáb-i-Aqdas' to repeat this same Greatest name 95 times daily and, while the rational Western mind may question the reasons for this, when one's thoughts are totally immersed in prayer there is a spiritual effect which the mind can neither encompass nor measure.
As the suppliant then sinks to his knees and bows his forehead to the ground, the prayer seems to rise to a crescendo, in a paean of praise to the One Creator praise which is beyond the capacity for expression in mortal words. In our mind's eye we imagine "those who are nigh unto Thee" perhaps those of the Celestial Concourse and their praise of God struggling to reach His Presence, and the prayer rises unconsciously in our own minds that perhaps just perhaps we too can share in the bounty of those whose hearts are "devoted to Thee". That seems almost within our reach.
The opening words of this verse again testify to the exalted nature of God who is "sanctified above all attributes" and "holy above all names". Bahá'u'lláh assures us that God in His Essence is beyond all attributes the moment we relate any attribute or quality to Him, that very attribute is seen to be totally unfitting to his essential and infinite nature, because any attribute that we may use no matter how exalted is limited. Even the exalted titles of 'All-Knowing' and 'Incomparable' cannot be attributed to His inmost Reality but rather to His manifest Self.
Therein lies the paradox of our praying to an Essence Whose reality is totally beyond our reach, beyond our description or our comprehension and we are struck by the realisation that the threshold of the Manifestation is, in reality, the furthest point we can ever seek to reach. As Bahá'u'lláh says: "By attaining...to the presence of these holy Luminaries, the 'Presence of God' Himself is attained". We approach here a realm where the mind cannot enter the spirit, perhaps, in the fullness of time, but it is a spiritual realm from which the mind is barred.
The suppliant then seats himself and the verse that follows is the first of two basic declarations contained in this prayer this verse and the final one where he testifies, this time in truly majestic language, to the existence and oneness of God and to the manifestation in this age of the Most Great Spirit Bahá'u'lláh. In doing so, he links his own prayer with the testimony of those at all levels of creation 'all created things', 'the Concourse on High', 'the inmates of the all highest Paradise' and 'the Tongue of Grandeur' itself. Well may we ponder what these terms signify and immerse our minds in the myriad of meanings that exist in each word of the outpouring of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation.
Standing erect, he then beseeches assistance from his Lord in turning towards Him and in obeying His commandments. Couched in the most moving language and replete with image-provoking allegories, this verse permits the suppliant to pour out his innermost feelings of total inadequacy in the presence of his Lord. For here he confesses that his all-consuming remoteness from his Lord is due entirely to his own failings and shortcomings, and begs His aid in drawing closer to Him. Bahá'u'lláh has forbidden the practice of the confession of sins as a religious ritual; in the 'Tablet of Bishárát' He says:
"Confession of sins and transgressions before human beings is not permissible, as it hath never been nor will ever be conducive to divine forgiveness."But in that same tablet He also says:
"When the sinner findeth himself wholly detached and freed from all save God, he should beg forgiveness and pardon from Him...The sinner should, between himself and God...beg forgiveness from the Heaven of generosity..."
In this verse Bahá'u'lláh gives us the words by which we can confess our own transgressions and beg His guidance to bring us back to the true path.
For a second time he repeats the Greatest Name three times and, bending down with his hands on his knees in a gesture of humility, he expresses his gratitude to God for enabling him to attain to a condition of faith a condition without which eternal life is not possible. All we are and all we do, in the final assay, is due to God's love and assistance: our remembrance and praise of Him, our recognition of His Manifestation and our obedience to His admonition. For while we may choose to devote our life to our Lord and His Cause, that very life is His gift to us in the first place. In reality, we are simply giving to Him what already belongs to Him and is held by us in trust yet that choice is very important, for that too is His gift to us.
Rising from a bowed position, he expresses once again this time in a language which stirs the blood and shakes the mind at its roots his unworthiness to seek the bounties of God. The statement in this verse "my heart melteth within me and my blood boileth in my veins" is reminiscent of the postscript to the 'Fire Tablet' where Bahá'u'lláh assures us that "should all the servants read and ponder this, there shall be kindled in their veins a fire that shall set aflame the worlds". The imagery of 'longing hands' hesitating to stretch forth in a feeling of unworthiness is highly evocative and each person using the prayer no doubt relates to this in his own way, as a very personal confession. The admission that our 'tears' can prevent us from remembering God brings to mind 'Abdu'l-Bahá's oft-repeated admonition for us to "be happy". Perhaps there is more wisdom in this than just His ever-present love and kindly concern for us for we all know how giving away to the inevitable sorrows of life can keep us from prayer, at a time when we surely need it most. The verse concludes with an entreaty that whatever befalls us be in accord with God's bounty and grace.
Following a third repetition of the Greatest name, he then kneels with his forehead to the ground, in an expression of the utmost humility, and praises God for drawing us nigh to him and granting us the guidance that flows from his mighty Revelation. The use of a plural pronoun in this verse, in the invocation 'O our God', seems, in this very personal prayer, to link us in some way with all our fellow believers perhaps even our fellow creatures in this praise of our Lord. In the final lines of the verse, protection is sought from One whom we recognise as 'Mighty' and 'All-Knowing' against the stirrings of our own lower nature that 'stranger' within us.
The prayer concludes with the second of two basic statements of belief that all creation belongs to God, the Creator and in this the suppliant, once again seated, links his testimony with that of God's 'Chosen Ones' and those in other realms of spiritual existence beyond our ken. Again we are left to wonder about these phrases 'inmates of the all-highest Paradise' and 'those who have circled round Thy mighty Throne'. Indeed, there is a great deal in the wording of this prayer that stirs the imagination and gives us much to ponder upon and, as we ponder and the images shift from one level of meaning to another, we grow in our understanding of its inner significances.
But even without understanding, as we use these prayers with constancy their effect on our spirit is immediate and the spirit of faith within us grows, with or without our understanding. It is like some great symphony of music celestial and soul-stirring from which, even with our faltering and limited understanding, we can draw inspiration and deep spiritual strength.
1. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, reported in "Bahá'u'lláh and the new Era", p.105 (U.S. 1976) (from notes of Miss Alma Robertson and other pilgrims, Nov./Dec. 1900)
2. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, reported in "Bahá'u'lláh and the new Era", p.105 (U.S. 1976) (from notes by Miss E.S. Stevens, 1911)
3. Adib Taherzadeh, "The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh", p.262 (GR 1992)
4. "Hidden Words" Arabic No. 59
5. "Hidden Words" Persian No. 27
6. "Hidden Words" Persian No. 26
7. Adib Taherzadeh, "The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh" p.264 (GR 1992)
8. ibid. p.264
9. Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khanum, "The Prayers of Bahá'u'lláh" in Bahá'í world Volume VIII, p.801 (U.S. 1945)
10. Adib Taherzadeh, "The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh" vol. 3, p.349 (GR 1983)
11. ibid. p.249-50
12. "Selections from the Writings of the Báb" p.98 (Persian Bayán IX, 4) (1976)
13. "Prayers and Meditations" p. 317 (U.S. 1954)
14. ibid. p. 273
15. "Selections from the Writings of the Báb" p. 98 (Persian Bayán VIII, 1) (1976)
16. Quoted in "World Order of Bahá'u'lláh" p. 109 (U.S. 1938)
17. ibid. p. 113
18. "Seven Valleys and Four Valleys" p. 60 (U.S. 1975)
19. "Kitáb-i-Íqán" p. 98 (U.S. 1950)
20. "Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh" p. 247 (1978)
21. "Epistle to the Son of the Wolf" p. 3
22. "Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh" p. 47 (1978)
23. "Kitáb-i-Íqán" p. 142 (U.S. 1950)
24. "Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh" p. 24 (1978)
25. ibid. p. 24