11 September ― 4 ‘Izzat   Leave a comment

There can be no doubt whatever that with every turn of the wheel, as a result of the operation of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Plan, and with every extension in the range of its evolution, a responsibility of still greater gravity and of wider import will have to be shouldered by its divinely chosen executors wherever its ramifications may extend and however oppressive the state of the countries and continents in which they may have to labor. They must strive, ceaselessly strive, ready for any emergency, steeled to meet any degree of opposition, unsatisfied with any measure of progress as yet achieved, prepared to make sacrifices far exceeding any they have already willingly made, and confident that such striving, such readiness, such resolution, such high-mindedness, such sacrifice will earn them the palm of a victory still more soul-satisfying and resounding in its magnificence than any as yet won since the inception of their mission.

 

The Beloved Guardian of the Cause of God Shoghi Effendi

Citadel of Faith, pp: 62-63

 

 

 

MORNING:

The Third Valley

If the loving seekers wish to live within the precincts of the Attracting One (Majdhúb),1 no soul may dwell on this Kingly Throne save the beauty of love. This realm is not to be pictured in words.

 

Love shunneth this world and that world too,
In him are lunacies seventy-and-two.
The minstrel of love harpeth this lay:
Servitude enslaveth, kingship doth betray.2

 

This plane requireth pure affection and the bright stream of fellowship. In telling of these companions of the Cave He saith: “They speak not till He hath spoken; and they do His bidding.”3

 

On this plane, neither the reign of reason is sufficient nor the authority of self. Hence, one of the Prophets of God hath asked: “O my Lord, how shall we reach unto Thee?” And the answer came, “Leave thyself behind, and then approach Me.”

 

 

These are a people who deem the lowest place to be one with the throne of glory, and to them beauty’s bower differeth not from the field of a battle fought in the cause of the Beloved.

 

 

The denizens of this plane speak no words—but they gallop their chargers. They see but the inner reality of the Beloved. To them all words of sense are meaningless, and senseless words are full of meaning. They cannot tell one limb from another, one part from another. To them the mirage is the real river; to them going away is returning. Wherefore hath it been said:

 

The story of Thy beauty reached the hermit’s dell;
Crazed, he sought the Tavern where the wine they buy and sell.
The love of Thee hath leveled down the fort of patience,
The pain of Thee hath firmly barred the gate of hope as well.4

 

In this realm, instruction is assuredly of no avail.

The lover’s teacher is the Loved One’s beauty,
His face their lesson and their only book.
Learning of wonderment, of longing love their duty,
Not on learned chapters and dull themes they look.
The chain that binds them is His musky hair,
The Cyclic Scheme,5 to them, is but to Him a stair.6

 

Here followeth a supplication to God, the Exalted, the Glorified:

 

 

O Lord! O Thou Whose bounty granteth wishes!
I stand before Thee, all save Thee forgetting.
Grant that the mote of knowledge in my spirit
Escape desire and the lowly clay;
Grant that Thine ancient gift, this drop of wisdom,
Merge with Thy mighty sea.7

 

Thus do I say: There is no power or might save in God, the Protector, the Self-Subsistent.8

 

 

1.

That attribute of God which draws all creatures to Him

2.

The Mathnaví

3.

Qur’án 21:27

4.

Sa’dí

5.

The Cyclic Theory of Abú-‘Alí Síná (Avicenna—980–1037) as expressed by him in the quatrain:

Every semblance, every shape that perisheth today
In the treasure-house of Time is safely stored away.
When the world revolveth to its former place,
Out of the Invisible He draweth forth its face.

See also Some Answered Questions, p. 284

6.

The Mathnaví

7.

Ibid

8.

From Qur’án 18:37

 

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Four Valleys, pp: 55-59

 

EVENING:

   
The Fourth Valley   
If the mystic knowers be of those who have reached to the beauty of the Beloved One (Mahbúb), this station is the apex of consciousness and the secret of divine guidance. This is the center of the mystery: “He doth what He willeth, ordaineth what He pleaseth.” 1   
Were all the denizens of earth and heaven to unravel this shining allusion, this darksome riddle, until the Day when the Trumpet soundeth, yet would they fail to comprehend even a letter thereof, for this is the station of God’s immutable decree, His foreordained mystery. Hence, when searchers inquired of this, He made reply, “This is a bottomless sea which none shall ever fathom.” 2 And they asked again, and He answered, “It is the blackest of nights through which none can find his way.”    
Whoso knoweth this secret will assuredly hide it, and were he to reveal but its faintest trace they would nail him to the cross. Yet, by the Living God, were there any true seeker, I would divulge it to him; for they have said: “Love is a light that never dwelleth in a heart possessed by fear.”    
Verily, the wayfarer who journeyeth unto God, unto the Crimson Pillar in the snow-white path, will never reach unto his heavenly goal unless he abandoneth all that men possess: “And if he feareth not God, God will make him to fear all things; whereas all things fear him who feareth God.” 3   
Speak in the Persian tongue, though the Arab please thee more;
A lover hath many a tongue at his command. 4 
 
How sweet is this couplet which revealeth such a truth:    
See, our hearts come open like shells, when He raineth grace like pearls,
And our lives are ready targets, when agony’s arrows He hurls.  
 
And were it not contrary to the Law of the Book, I would verily bequeath a part of My possessions to the one who would put Me to death, and I would name him My heir; yea, I would bestow upon him a portion, would render him thanks, would seek to refresh Mine eyes with the touch of his hand. But what can I do? I have no possessions, no power, and this is what God hath ordained. 5   
Methinks at this moment, I catch the fragrance of His garment 6 blowing from the Egypt of Bahá; 7 verily He seemeth near at hand, though men may think Him far away. 8 My soul doth smell the perfume shed by the Beloved One; My sense is filled with the fragrance of My dear Companion.  

The duty of long years of love obey
And tell the tale of happy days gone by,
That land and sky may laugh aloud today,
And it may gladden mind and heart and eye. 9

 

 
This is the realm of full awareness, of utter self-effacement. Even love is no pathway to this region, and longing hath no dwelling here; wherefore is it said, “Love is a veil betwixt the lover and the beloved.” Here love becometh an obstruction and a barrier, and all else save Him is but a curtain. The wise Saná’í hath written:   
Never the covetous heart shall come to the stealer of hearts,
Never the shrouded soul unite with beauty’s rose.  
 
For this is the realm of Absolute Command and is free of all the attributes of earth.    
The exalted dwellers in this mansion do wield divine authority in the court of rapture, with utter gladness, and they do bear a kingly sceptre. On the high seats of justice, they issue their commands, and they send down gifts according to each man’s deserving. Those who drink of this cup abide in the high bowers of splendor above the Throne of the Ancient of Days, and they sit in the Empyrean of Might within the Lofty Pavilion: “Naught shall they know of sun or piercing cold.” 10    
Herein the high heavens are in no conflict with the lowly earth, nor do they seek to excel it, for this is the land of mercy, not the realm of distinction. Albeit at every moment these souls appear in a new office, yet their condition is ever the same. Wherefore of this realm it is written, “No work withholdeth Him from another.” 11 And of another state it is said: “Every day doth some new work employ Him.” 12 This is the food whose savor changeth not, whose color altereth not. If thou eatest thereof, thou shalt verily chant this verse: “I turn my face to Him Who hath created the Heavens and the earth … I am not one of those who add gods to God.” 13 “And thus did we show Abraham the Kingdom of the Heavens and of the Earth, that He might be established in knowledge.” 14 Wherefore, put thy hand into thy bosom, then stretch it forth with power, and behold, thou shalt find it a light unto all the world.” 15   
How crystal this cool water that the Cup-Bearer bringeth! How bright this pure wine in the hands of the Beloved! How delicate this draught from the Heavenly Cup! May it do them good, whoso drink thereof, and taste of its sweetness and attain to its knowledge.    

It is not fitting that I tell thee more,
For the stream’s bed cannot hold the sea. 16

 

 

 
For the mystery of this utterance is hid within the storehouse of the Great Infallibility 17 and laid up in the treasuries of power. It is sanctified above the jewels of explanation; it is beyond what the most subtle of tongues can tell.   
Astonishment here is highly prized, and utter poverty essential. Wherefore hath it been said, “Poverty is My pride.” 18 And again: “God hath a people beneath the dome of glory, whom He hideth in the clothing of radiant poverty.” 19 These are they who see with His eyes, hear with His ears, as it is written in the well-known tradition.  
Concerning this realm, there is many a tradition and many a verse, of broad or special relevancy, but two of these will suffice to serve as a light for men of mind and heart. 
The first is His statement: “O My Servant! Obey Me and I shall make thee like unto Myself. I say ‘Be,’ and it is, and thou shalt say ‘Be,’ and it shall be.”  
And the second: “O Son of Adam! Seek fellowship with none until thou hast found Me, and whenever thou shalt long for Me, thou shalt find Me close to thee.”   
Whatever high proofs and wondrous allusions are recounted herein, concern but a single Letter, a single Point. “Such hath been the way of God … and no change canst thou find in the way of God.” 20

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Four Valleys, pp: 60-69

 
 

1.

Qur’án 2:254; 5:1, etc

 
 

2.

Statement attributed to ‘Alí

 
 

3.

This quotation is in Arabic

 
 

4.

The Mathnaví

 
 

5.

This was revealed before the Declaration of Bahá’u’lláh. The lines following refer to the imminence of His Manifestation

 
 

6.

Literally, the garment of Ha’, which is the letter “H” and here represents Bahá.

 
 

7.

This reference is to the story of Joseph in the Qur’án and the Bible.

 
 

8.

This refers to those who did not expect the imminent advent of Him Whom God Shall Manifest.

 
 

9.

The Mathnaví

 
 

10.

Qur’án 76:13

 
 

11.

This quotation is from one of the commentators on Qur’án 55:29. Cf. the dictionary Lisánu’l-‘Arab

 
 

12.

Qur’án 55:29

 
 

13.

Qur’án 6:79

 
 

14.

Qur’án 6:75

 
 

15.

Cf. Qur’án 7:105 etc., and Hadíth

 
 

16.

The Mathnaví

 
 

17.

Ismat-i-Kubrá, the invariable attribute of the Divine Manifestation

 
 

18.

Muḥammad

 
 

19.

Hadíth

 
 

20.

Qur’án 33:62; 48:23.  

 
           

 

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Four Valleys, pp: 57-64

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