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Bahá'í Scriptures

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BAHÁ'Í SCRIPTURES
Selections from the Utterances of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá
Edited by Horace Holley

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This etext is based on:
"Bahá'í Scriptures, Selections from the Utterances of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá" Edited by Horace Holley

Approved by Bahá'í Committee on Publications, 1923
Second Edition

New York
Brentano's Publisher's

Copyright, 1923, by Brentano's, Inc.
Copyright, 1928 Bahá'í Publishing Committee

Printed in the United States of America
J.J. Little and Ives Company, New York

Availability of this etext in no way modifies the copyright status of the above publication.
This etext is freely available through anonymous internet file-sharing.
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Transliteration of Words in "Bahá'í Scriptures"

The following terms were changed from an outdated form
to one reflecting typical transliterations found in modern
Bahá'í works:

Akdas = Aqdas
Beha = Baha
Baha-El-Abha! = Baha'u'l-Abha!
Beyan = Bayan

El-Beyan = the Bayan
El-Masjid-El-Aska = the Masjid al-Asqa [the Further Mosque in Jerusalem]

Hosein = Husayn
Irak = Iraq
Ishrakat = Ishraqat

Kitáb'l'Akdas or Kitáb El Akdas or KITAB-EL-Aqdas = Kitáb-i-Aqdas
Kitáb-el-Ah'd = Kitáb-i-'Ahd
Kitáb-el-Ighan = Kitáb-i-Íqán
Koran = Qur'án
Kurrat-el-Ayn = Qurratu'l-Ayn

Mohammed = Muhammad
Ra'is = Suriy-i-Ra'is
Rizwan = Ridvan
Sadrat-El-Muntaha = Sadratu'l-Muntaha
Tajalliat = Tajalliyat
Teheran = Tihran

 i 
BAHÁ'Í SCRIPTURES

 v 

INTRODUCTION

Since the occasion when mention of the Bahá'í Cause was first made in this country - at the Congress of Religions held in the Columbian Exposition in 1893 - interest in the Bahá'í principles and teachings has steadily increased. Sufficient foundation had been laid by 1912, when 'Abdu'l-Bahá came to America, to prepare for his message a cordial, sympathetic and reverent reception in the liberal synagogues, churches, new thought centers, universities and societies organized for scientific, ethical, economic and political progress in numerous cities.

The succeeding years - so fateful for the destiny of civilization, so disturbing to every social institution and so challenging to the noblest and most disinterested faculties of soul, mind and heart - have served to deepen and extend that preliminary interest and build upon that foundation a permanent spiritual structure in many lives. The years since 1912, in fact, have thrown an ever-clearer light upon the need, in the world's consciousness, for precisely those principles and teachings so perfectly embodied in 'Abdu'l-Bahá and so definitely associated with his life and work.

To one who has acquainted himself with the Bahá'í writings, evidences of the penetration of their fundamental influence are revealed in increasing measure from day to day and throughout the world. The leaders of religion, science and practical affairs are beginning to manifest an attitude of universality and a spirit of unity which seems a direct reflection of the light 'Abdu'l-Bahá cast upon the manifold problems of living and the fundamental problem of life. Day by day the realization deepens in all conscious men and women that in this age new forces are seeking expression - forces so mighty that the difference between understanding and misunderstanding is the immediate crisis between the alternatives of a new, worldwide and spiritualized civilization and a further, even more disastrous undoing of the things that are.

It is upon the plane of understanding that the power of the  vi  Bahá'í writings operates, in that are of being which lies beyond the personal desire, the personal thought, the personal will. Their operation is to restore in the individual, whatever his race, class, creed, profession or temperament, that eternal vision of the oneness of God whose evolving expression is directly the development of the soul, and indirectly the harmonious organization of mankind. Compared to other writings of this age, the Bahá'í Scriptures are as light compared to the reflection of light from surfaces more of less luminous or opaque. This essential quality of illumination, as distinct from the subject illuminated, and of vision, as distinct from the subject visioned, reveals anew the very sources of man's spiritual being, and discloses, also, the predominant forces working to mold the character of the new day.

The purpose of the book is to bring together, in convenient form and helpful arrangement, that portion of the Bahá'í writings already available in various books, magazines and also manuscript translation, selecting from them sufficient material to supply the reader and student a larger perspective upon these principles and teachings than any single work has yet accomplished in the English language. While it is inevitable that most, if not all the Bahá'í writings will one day undergo re-translation, and be presented in a worthier and more permanent form than is possible at the present time, nevertheless the need of a suitable compilation now urgently exists, and it is hoped that the present work will at least serve as one link in the chain of effort whereby the Bahá'í writings are carried from their source in the "most great prison" of 'Akká to the mind and heart of the self-imprisoned race.

In this country at least, the Bahá'í message of the unity of religions, the reconciliation of science and religion, and the promulgation of Universal Peace, is established upon a recognition of the fact that in 'Abdu'l-Bahá a new spirit of universality had manifested its vital, penetrative essence. Not so well understood is the fact that the root and source of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's utterances, the foundation of his being, attested on every possible occasion by him, was entire devotion to the utterances and the being of his father, Bahá'u'lláh. This inner and spiritual relationship, likened by Bahá'u'lláh to that of the root and the "greatest branch" or trunk of a tree, is brought out in the present volume through the method adopted to organize its contents not only by chapters  vii  but also by parts or "books"; the first book containing the words of Bahá'u'lláh - the Bahá'í Scriptures in essence - the second book containing the words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá - the authoritative interpretation of the Bahá'í Scriptures and their direct application to the fundamental problems of the age. By this method the utterances of 'Abdu'l-Bahá are established in clearest relationship to their source, and consequently their purpose; moreover the utterances of Bahá'u'lláh are established in relationship to all the Scriptures which have gone before: whose unfoldment, whose reinforcement they are.

While for the purpose of the student acquainting himself with the Bahá'í writings for the first time, an outline at least of the historical conditions under which they were successively revealed would seem highly desirable, even essential, to the fullest understanding of their significance and most intimate sympathy for their application, nevertheless it will be found that this need is met in the process of reading the Bahá'í message itself. Chapter Seven contains an address by 'Abdu'l-Bahá which had for its theme the history of the Bahá'í Cause; and numerous references to that history will also be found in other passages. Moreover, inspiring as the actual record of those events are, the principal matter is not to realize the Bahá'í Scriptures as a detail in history so much as a source of light whereby history itself is illumined.

"How wonderful that the Well Beloved is manifest as the sun, while strangers are in search of vanities and wealth! Yea, He is concealed by the intensity of manifestation, and He is hidden by the ardor of emanation!"

HORACE HOLLEY

New York City

February 12, 1923

 ix 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND SOURCES

The present compilation has not been made with any thought of establishing a text, nor of even securing a polished and adequate English translation. From the literary point of view, the text embodied in this volume must be considered as a king in rags, since the Arabic and Persian originals are declared by all who have had access to them to be of the most exalted beauty and the most moving force.

On that sea the editor has no power to sail. His effort has been entirely confined to the intention of re-creating, as fully as possible through the use of available texts, some sense of that organic unity from which all the Bahá'í writings came, and to place in the student's hands a more fully organized Bahá'í work than has yet been published. In its sequence alone does the present volume contain the results of any particular study and accumulated labor.

For the most part, the contents have been taken from the publications of the Bahá'í Publishing Society, to the efforts of which we are indebted to the spread of these writings in America. As yet, few original Bahá'í writings have reached the public through any other channel, notable exceptions to which are "Abbas Effendi, His Life and Teachings" by Myron Phelps, published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, and "A Traveller's Narrative, Written to Illustrate the Episode of the Báb," translated by Edward G. Browne, and published with the Persian original by the University Press, Cambridge, England. It is in this incomparable translation, in fact, that the English reader draws most closely to the spirit and power of the original utterance. The Tablet to the Shah, contained in Chapter Two of the present compilation, shows on comparison with Professor Browne's translation to have been based in part at least upon his exquisite rendering.

Tablets contained in "Bahá'í Scriptures" hitherto unpublished (so far at least as the editor is aware) are found in Chapters Two, Five and Eight, and for this material acknowledgment is made to the kindness of many friends who contributed manuscripts, especially Mrs. I.D. Brittingham, Mary Hanford Ford, A.W. Randall, Miss Martha Root and Miss Juliet Thompson.

For the omission of many fundamental teachings (or rather interpretations) given by 'Abdu'l-Bahá to American audiences during 1912, explanation might well be called for were it not for the fact that the complete text of those addresses has been published since this compilation came into being.  xi 

CONTENTS
PAGE
INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND SOURCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii

PART ONE -- THE GLORY OF GOD
(Words of Bahá'u'lláh)

CHAPTER ONE -- INTERPRETATION OF HOLY BOOKS . . . . . . . . . 1
From the Tablet of Íqán

CHAPTER TWO -- THE GREAT MESSAGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

Tablet to the Shah of Persia, Tablet to the Sultan of
Turkey, Tablet to Ra'is, Tablet to the Czar of Russia,
Tablet to the Pope, Tablet to Emperor Napoleon the Third,
Tablet to the Emperor of Austria, Tablet to the King of
Prussia, Tablet to Queen Victoria, Tablet to America,
Tablet to the Jews, Tablet to an Oriental Jew, Tablet
to the Christians, Tablet to the Persian Zoroastrian
Bahá'ís, Tablet to M. Ali, Tablet to a Believer.

CHAPTER THREE -- THE NEW AGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
From the Tablet of Tarazat, Tablet of the World, The
Glad Tidings, Tablet of Paradise, Tablet of Tajalliyat.

CHAPTER FOUR -- THE DEGREES OF DEVOTION . . . . . . . . . . . 156
From Words of Wisdom, Seven Valleys, Hidden Words,
Prayers.

CHAPTER FIVE -- THE INNER SIGNIFICANCES . . . . . . . . . . . 189
Tablet of Wisdom, Tablet of Joseph, Tablet of the
Manifestation, From Discourse of the Temple, Tablet
of Ahmad, Soul and Spirit, The Sun of the Soul, To
the People of Baha, The Most Great Infallibility,
The Law of Love, Tablet of the Virgin, Holy Mariner.

CHAPTER SIX -- THE COVENANT AND TESTAMENT OF BAHÁ'U'LLÁH . . 255
Tablet of the Branch, The Book of the Covenant.

 xii 

PART TWO -- THE COVENANT OF GOD
(Words of 'Abdul-Baha)

CHAPTER SEVEN -- THE CAUSE OF GOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265
Prayer of the Covenant, The Day of God, Bahá'u'lláh,
The Light of Truth, The Principles of Bahá'u'lláh,
The Covenant, 'Abdul-Baha, History of the Bahá'í Cause,
Scientific Proof of the Existence of God, The Need
of the Perfect Master, The Great Master, God and the
Universe, Tablet to India, General Tablet, The Station
of Woman, The Most Great Peace, The New Age, The Orb
of the Covenant, The Illuminati, Evolution, The Temple,
The Spirit of Prophecy, Universal Language, Solution
of the Economic Problem, Lamentation, The Oneness of
Humanity, Love, The Essential Unity, Spirit, The
Second Birth, Bahá'í Centers, Summons to Activity,
Christianity, Immortality, Address to the Jews,
Microcosm and Macrocosm, The After Life, Commune
for Persia, Tablet to The Hague, The House of Justice,
Salutation to the Friends of God, Prayers, The Victory
of the Covenant.

CHAPTER EIGHT -- THE LOOM OF REALITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . 434
From Tablets to Persons, Diary Notes.

CHAPTER NINE -- THE DIVINE CIVILIZATION . . . . . . . . . . . 505
From Tablets to North America, From the Testament
of 'Abdul-Baha.

GLOSSARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 557

INDEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 559

 1 

PART ONE
THE GLORY OF GOD
"This Day is the Day of God, and God alone is
speaking in it; and none should be mentioned
save Him."

 3 

BAHÁ'Í SCRIPTURES

CHAPTER ONE

INTERPRETATION OF THE HOLY BOOKS

I

In the Name of Our Lord, the Exalted, the Supreme!

1. Sanctify yourselves, O people of the earth, that perchance ye may attain to the station which God hath ordained for you and enter the tabernacle which God hath elevated in the Heaven of the Bayan.

The quintessence of this chapter is that travellers in the path of faith and seekers for the cup of assurance must sanctify and purify themselves from all material things; that is, the ear from hearing statements, the heart from doubts which pertain to the veils of glory,[1]the soul from dependence upon worldly belongings, the eye from contemplating mere transitory words. They should thus proceed, trusting in God and relying upon Him, so that they may become fitted for the splendors of the effulgences of the Suns (Manifestations) of divine knowledge and wisdom; recipients of the invisible and infinite bounties. For should a servant desire to make the words, deeds and actions of other servants, learned or ignorant, the standard for knowing God and His chosen ones, he shall never enter the Ridvan of the knowledge of the Lord of Might nor attain to the fountains of the knowledge and wisdom of the King of Oneness; neither shall he reach the bourne of immortality nor partake of the cup of nearness and good pleasure.
[1 Veils intervening between man and the Truth of god, which must be rent before the real light of that Truth is seen. One of these veils is literal interpretation of the Divine Texts, preventing true understanding of Revelation, such as the statement of the ascent of Christ into Heaven, His descent, the station of Muhammad as the "Seal of the Prophets," etc.]

2. Consider the former days; how people both high and low were awaiting the Manifestations of Oneness in the holy temples, so that they were at all times and moments in anticipation and expectancy, praying and supplicating that perchance the breeze of the divine mercy might blow and the beauty of the Promised One step from the pavilion of the invisible into the court of appearance. But when the clouds of generosity lifted and the doors of favor opened and the Sun of the Invisible appeared from the horizon of power, they denied Him and avoided his meeting which was identical with the meeting of God. These details are recorded in the Heavenly Books.

3. Now reflect a moment as to the cause of this rejection by the people, after their seeking and anxiety. They even denied and opposed in such manner that tongue and pen fail and are unable to explain. Not one of these Manifestations of Holiness and Dawning-places of Singleness hath appeared without being subjected to the contradictions, denials and antagonism of the people. As it is said, "O misery of men! No Messenger cometh unto them but they laugh him to scorn." (K.S. 36) It is said in another place: "Each nation hatched ill designs against their Messenger that they might get him into their power; and they disputed with vain reasoning, that they might thereby invalidate the truth." (K.S. 40)

Likewise the revealed Words which have descended from the clouds of the eternal power and from the realm of divine might are beyond the limit of the knowledge and comprehension of the servants. This is allotted to abstracted souls from the holy eternal Table sent down (from Heaven). Should ye become aware of the affliction of the Prophets and the motive and reason of the contradiction of those Divine Suns by the servants, ye will be cognizant of many things. The more ye consider the contradictions of the Day-springs of the suns of the attributes of Oneness by the people, the more firm and strong ye will become in your religion and in the Cause of God. Accordingly some of the stories of the Prophets are briefly recorded in these Tablets, to demonstrate and make evident that in all times and ages, they inflicted upon the Appearances of Power and Dawning-places of Might that which the pen is ashamed to relate. Perchance these statements may enable some of the people to avoid the perplexity arising from contradiction and denial by the learned and ignorant of the age, and thus increase their assurance and faith.

4. The beauty of the "Friend" (Abraham) was unveiled and the standard of Guidance was hoisted. He invited the people of the earth unto the light of righteousness. Although He diligently admonished them, no fruit but jealousy and heedlessness resulted. But those who were entirely devoted to God soared with the wings of assurance unto the station which God hath exalted beyond all comprehension. It is well known from the history of His Holiness (Abraham) how He was surrounded by enemies, until the fire of jealousy and contradiction was kindled. After the story of the "fire" they expelled that Divine Lamp from the city, as is recorded in all the books and epistles.

5. Then His time passed and the turn of Moses came. His Holiness appeared with the rod of command and with the white hand of knowledge from the Paran of divine love. He came with the serpent of power and eternal majesty out of the Sinai of light into the court of manifestation, summoning all in the world to the kingdom of life and to the fruits of the tree of faithfulness. The oppositions made by Pharaoh and his people exerted themselves to extinguish that fire of the divine tree with the water of denial and opposition; heedless that the fire of the divine wisdom is never quenched by material water not the lamp of supreme power extinguished by contrary winds. Nay rather, in such a case water produces conflagration and the wind insures preservation, were ye to perceive with discerning sight and walk in the good pleasure of God.

6. Now reflect upon these things, and as to the cause of such differences; that when a true Manifestation appeared in the world from the horizon of the placeless, such corruption, confusion, oppression and revolution would arise in all parts of the world. All the Prophets during their appearance, announced to the people the coming of another Prophet and recorded a sign for the subsequent Manifestation, as stated in the Books. Why, then, notwithstanding the search and expectation of the people for the Holy Manifestation and the mention of signs in the Books, should such things occur in the world as oppressing, antagonizing and persecuting the Prophets and chosen ones during every age and cycle? As it is written, "Whenever a Messenger cometh unto you with that which your souls desire not, ye proudly reject him; accusing some of imposture and slaying others." (K.S. 2)

Now consider what was the reason of these deeds and why they acted in this manner toward the Aspects of the beauty of the Glorious One. The same thing which led to the contradiction and heedlessness of the servants in those days causes the negligence of these servants now. If we say that the divine proofs were not perfect and complete and therefore cause contradictions, this is pure anathema, because it is far from the bounty of the Bounteous and remote from the abundant Mercy to choose one soul from among all the servants, for the guidance of His creatures, without bestowing upon Him sufficient and perfect proofs: at the same time punishing people for not believing in Him. Nay, the generosity of the King of Existence hath embraced all the contingent beings through the appearance of the Manifestations of Himself. His abundance never ceases for a moment and the showers of His mercy from the clouds of Providence are never restrained. Consequently these things proceed only from limited souls who move in the valley of pride and haughtiness and wander in the deserts of remoteness; who follow their own suppositions and whatever they hear from their religious doctors. Therefore they accomplish nothing but opposition and seek no result but rejection.

It is evident to every one endowed with perception, that had those servants during the appearance of each manifestation of the Sun of Truth, sanctified and purified their eyes and hearts from whatever they had seen, heard and conceived, they undoubtedly would not have been deprived of the divine beauty and withheld from the sanctuary of nearness and union with the Dawning-places of Holiness. As in every age they compared the proof with knowledge acquired from their religious doctors and found it to be at variance with their limited understandings, these unseemly actions proceeded from them in the world of appearance.

The religious doctors of every age have been the cause of preventing the people from the shore of the Sea of Oneness, for the reins of the people were in their control. Some among them have hindered the people by love of leadership and some by lack of wisdom and knowledge. Thus every Prophet hath quaffed the cup of martyrdom and soared to the loftiest horizon of might, through the sentence and sanction of the divines of the age. What oppressions have been inflicted by the leaders of the time and divines of the age upon the Kings of Existence and the Essences of Desire! Satisfied with these limited and transient days, they were debarred from the everlasting realm, their eyes deprived from witnessing the lights of the beauty of the Beloved and their ears from hearing the wonderful melodies of the Nightingale of Desire. Therefore the condition of the divines of every age is recorded in all the Heavenly Books; as it is said: "O ye people of the Book, why do ye reject the Signs of God, while ye are the witnesses of them?" (K.S. 3) Also, "O ye people of the Book, why do ye clothe truth with vanity, and knowingly hide the truth?" (K.S. 3) Also, in another place, "Say, O people of the Book, why do ye bar the path of God?" (K.S. 3)

It is evident that the "people of the Book" who barred mankind from the right path were the divines of that age, whose names and records are contained in all the writings and understood from most of the verses and traditions, were ye to see with the eye of God.

7. So gaze with divine insight into the horizons of the supreme knowledge and into the souls of the perfect words of eternity, that all the mysteries of the spiritual wisdom may appear without "veils of glory" and become manifest from behind the covering of favor and bounty. The contradictions of people and their controversies have resulted wholly from their lack of knowledge and understanding. For example, they could not comprehend and attain to the truth of the explanations given by the beautiful Countenances of the True One concerning the signs of the subsequent Manifestation. Notwithstanding this they have sought interpretation of the Book from the people of veils and did not acquire knowledge from its fountainhead. For instance, when the day of Moses had passed and the lights of Jesus pervaded the world from the dawn of spirit, the Jews objected that the one who is promised in the Pentateuch must promote and fulfil the laws of the Pentateuch, whereas this youth of Nazareth who calls himself the Messiah of God hath abolished the laws of divorce and of the Sabbath, which are the greatest laws of Moses; and moreover the signs of the Manifestations have not yet appeared. Thus the Jews are still expecting the appearance recorded in the Pentateuch. How many of the holy Manifestations of Unity and Dawning-places of the Light of Eternity have appeared since Moses in the world of creation, while the Jews have been and are still veiled by their satanic, egotistical veils and their selfish erroneous opinions! They still await the time when this fictitious temple will appear according to their understanding of the given signs. Consequently God hath punished them for their sin, stripped them of the spirit of faith and caused them to suffer the fire in the depths of hell on account of their ignorance of the texts recorded in the Pentateuch concerning the signs of the subsequent Manifestation. Since they did not understand the reality of these signs and as such things did not outwardly appear, they were therefore deprived of the beauty of Jesus, did not attain to the meeting of God and were of those who await. Thus the nations by their adherence to similar inventions arising from improper notions, have deprived themselves of the pure, clear and flowing fountains.

8. It hath been evident and clear to the possessors of knowledge that when the fire of the love of Jesus burned the veils of Jewish limitations, and the authority of His Holiness, even in the outward sense, was partially recognized, that Beauty of the Invisible spoke of separation to some of His spiritual companions and enkindled the fire of yearning, saying: "I go and I come again." And in another place he said: "I go and another will come who will tell you all that I have not told you and will finish all that I have said." These two statements are in reality one, were ye to witness the Manifestations of Oneness with the eye of God.

9. To one who views with ideal perception, the Book of Jesus as well as His Cause were in fact confirmed at the time of the "Seal of the Prophets" (Muhammad). In name, Muhammad said "I am Jesus," even ratifying the signs, records and Book of Jesus as being from the presence of God. In this sense there is neither any difference in them nor in their Books, inasmuch as both have arisen by the command of God, speaking the praise of God. The Books of both declared the ordinances of God. For this reason Jesus said, "I will go and come again." Even as the sun: If the sun to-day says "I am the sun of yesterday," it is true; and yet if according to daily sequence, it says: "I am other than the sun of yesterday," this is also true. Likewise consider the days: If it be said that all the days are the same, it is correct and true; and if it be said that according to name and designation they differ from each other, this also is true as thou seest. For though they are the same, yet in each one there is a name, quality and designation which is different from the other. By the same method and explanation, understand the stations of separation, difference and oneness of the Holy Manifestations, so that thou mayest comprehend the interpretations of the words of the Creator of the names and attributes, concerning separation and union. Thus wilt thou fully discover the answer to thy question why that Eternal Beauty hath, in various instances, called Himself by a different name and title.

10. Afterward the companions and disciples of His Holiness (Jesus) asked Him concerning the sign of the Return and the Manifestation, and at what time this sign shall appear. The same question was asked that peerless Countenance upon several occasions, and His Holiness in each instance mentioned a certain sign, as recorded in the four Gospels.

This oppressed one now speaks of one of these instances, thus conferring the hidden benefits of the tree of reward for the sake of God, upon His servants; so that the mortal temples may not be deprived of the immortal fruits and may perchance attain to a sprinkling of the never-failing rivers of the Lord of Glory. This is a food whereby brilliant souls and minds find eternal life and this is that table of which it is spoken: "O our Lord, cause to descend upon us food from Heaven." (K.S. 5) This food is never withheld from those who deserve it and is never exhausted. It grows continually from the tree of grace and descends from the heavens of justice and mercy.

Alas that man should withhold himself from this excellent gift and deprive himself of this eternal bounty and perpetual life! Therefore let him appreciate the value of this ideal food; perchance the dead bodies may receive new life through the wonderful favors of that Sun of Truth and faded souls may develop into the incomparable Spirit. O my brother, effort is needful while yet the days remain, in order to taste the cups of eternity. The breeze of life from the city of the Beloved will not blow continually; the river of explanation will not forever flow, and the doors of the Ridvan will not always remain open. The time will come when the Nightingales of Paradise will fly from the holy garden to divine nests; then thou wilt neither see the beauty of the rose nor hear the melody of the Nightingale! Therefore while the Dove of Eternity is singing and rejoicing, and the divine springtime is in splendor and adornment, avail thyself of the opportunity and deprive not the ear of the heart, of its melody. This is the advice of this servant to the beloved of God. Whosoever wisheth, let him advance, and whosoever wisheth, let him deny; verily God is independent of him and of that which he may see and witness.

These are the melodies sung by Jesus the son of Mary with glorious notes in the Ridvan of the Gospel, as to the signs of the subsequent Manifestation. When they asked concerning these signs, He answered them, according to the first book ascribed to Matthew (xxiv, 29-31):

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not five her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the earth shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet." The same statements are recorded in the other three Gospels ascribed to Mark, Luke and John. As the doctors of the Gospel did not understand the meanings of these statements and the purport deposited in these words, but adhered to their literal sense, they were therefore withheld from the river of the Muhammadic Bounty and the cloud of Ahmadic Grace. The ignorant ones of that community, relying upon their learned men, were likewise prevented from beholding the beauty of the King of Glory. For these mentioned signs did not become manifest at the appearance of the Ahmadic Sun. Finally that Essence of Life returned to the eternal place of His dominion. Centuries passed and times rolled by. Another blow of spiritual breath was breathed into the Divine Trumpet and dead souls came forth out of the tombs of heedlessness and error into the land of guidance and the place of favor. Still that community is expecting the time when these signs shall appear and the promised Temple (Christ) shall arise, that they may assist Him, expend possessions in His way and sacrifice lives in His path. By similar suppositions, other communities are kept afar from the Kawther of the significances of the infinite mercy of God and are occupied with their own imagination. Besides this passage, there is another statement in the Gospel: Heaven and earth shall pass away but My words shall not pass away." For this reason the people of the Gospel say the decree of the Gospel shall never be abolished and that whenever the promised Face appears with all the signs, He must confirm and establish the law enacted in the Gospel, so that no other religion may remain in the world. To them this is one of the confirmed and indisputable facts. They believe that even should one appear with all the promised signs and declare against the literal law of the Gospel, they must not obey or accept him, nay rather, they must scoff at him and charge him with infidelity. This was witnessed when the Muhammadic Sun appeared. Had they asked with all meekness from the Appearances of Oneness in every Manifestation, the meanings of these words revealed in the Books, - through the non-attainment unto which all people are veiled from the furthermost destination and the Sadratu'l-Muntaha, - they would have been surely directed to the lights of the Sun of Guidance and acquainted with the mysteries of knowledge and wisdom.

Now this servant explains a sprinkling of the meanings of these statements, so that the possessors of perception and intuition may thereby comprehend all the symbols of the divine words and the allegorical explanations of the Holy Manifestations; and thus be not debarred on account of the (impressive) majesty of the words, from the Sea of the Names and Attributes and veiled from the Lamp of Unity which is the place of the manifestation of the Essence.

As to the words - "Immediately after the tribulation of those days" - this signifies the time when the people become afflicted with hardship and distress. This is when the traces of the Sun of Truth and the fruits of the tree of knowledge and wisdom disappear from among mankind and the reins of the people fall into the hands of the ignorant; when the doors of unity and knowledge - the essential purpose of the creation of man - are closed; when knowledge is changed into superstition and guidance into adversity, just as it is witnessed in this day that the reins of every party are in the hands of an ignorant one who leads them in whatever way he desires. Among them nothing remains of the Adored One but a name and of the Desired One but the letter. To such an extent have the winds of desire and self prevailed, that they have extinguished the lights of reason and conscience within the hearts. Although the doors of the divine knowledge are opened by the keys of the Supreme Power, and the essences of the being of things are enlightened and illumined through the knowledge-light and holy bounties, to such an extent that within everything a door of knowledge is opened and within every atom traces of the sun are visible, yet notwithstanding that these manifestations of knowledge have pervaded the world, they have considered the door of knowledge closed, and the rains of mercy withheld. Holding fast to supposition, they are kept afar from the firm strong handle of knowledge. They seem to have intrinsically no desire for knowledge and its door, nor think of its appearance. For in supposition and imagination they have found doors to bread, and in the appearance of the Manifestor of knowledge they see nothing except the sacrifice of life. So they naturally flee from this and hold fast to the other. Although they know the divine command is one, yet from every direction a decree emanates and from every place an order is brought forth. No two are found who agree upon the same command, for they seek no God but desire and follow no path but error. They deem leadership the ultimate accomplishment of the aim and account pride and haughtiness as final attainment to the Beloved. They consider selfish deceptions preferable to the divine decrees. They have turned aside from submission and resignation and are occupied with plots and hypocrisies; preserving these attitudes with all power and strength, lest a blemish find access to their dignity or a flaw appear in their honor. Should an eye be illumined by the collyrium of divine enlightenments, it would behold a number of wild beasts preying upon the dead bodies of the servants. What tribulations and distress could be greater than these mentioned conditions? For if one wishes to seek a truth or knowledge, he knows not to whom to refer nor from whom to enquire, because opinions are different and paths are many.

This tribulation and distress is one of the signs of every Manifestation, and unless it happens, the Sun of Truth does not become manifest, because the morn of the appearance of guidance dawns after the night of error. Therefore the traditions and records contain all these statements, that infidelity will cover the world, darkness prevail and similar things as mentioned. For the sake of brevity this servant does not undertake to mention the texts of these traditions, as they are well-known.

As to the words - "The suns shall be darkened and the moon shall cease to give her light and the stars shall fall from heaven":

- The purport of "sun" and "moon" as mentioned in the words of the Prophets is not confined to the phenomenal sun and moon which are seen; nay rather, they have intended for "sun" and "moon" manifold meanings. In every instance they intend a certain meaning applicable thereto. For example, one meaning of the "sun" is the "Suns of Truth" which dawn from the Day-spring of Pre-existence and transmit bounty to all the contingent beings. These Suns of Truth are the Universal Manifestations of the Divinity in the world of His attributes and names. As by the command of the real Adored One the development of material things such as fruits, trees, colors, minerals and whatever exists in the phenomenal world is through the assistance of the phenomenal sun, so the trees of unity, the fruits of oneness, the leaves of abstraction, the flowers of knowledge and assurance and the myrtles of wisdom and utterance appear through the training of the Ideal Suns. Therefore when these Suns arise, the world is renewed, the rivers of life flow, the seas of beneficence move, the clouds of grace gather and the breezes of bounty blow upon the temples of beings. Through the heat of these Divine Suns and Ideal Fires the heat of the love of God is produced in the pillars of the world; and through the favor of these abstracted Spirits the immortal spirit of life is conferred upon the bodies of the mortal dead.

The phenomenal sun is in reality a single sin of the splendor of that Ideal Sun which hath neither comparison, likeness, equal nor peer. All things are supported through Its existence, are manifest through Its bounty and will return to It. All things have appeared from It and are restored to the treasures of Its command. All contingent beings originated from It and revert to the depositories of Its order. If in explanation and mentioning, these (Suns) are only designated by some of the names and attributes, as you have heard and hear, this is intended for the understanding of weak and imperfect minds. Otherwise they have been eternally sanctified from every name and will be purified from every attribute. The essences of names have no access to the court of their holiness and subtleties of attributes have no approach to the kingdom of their might. God is too glorified for His chosen ones to be known except by their own selves, or that His friends should be described by any other than their own beings. He is exalted far above what the servants mention in description of them and lofty above their comprehension of them!

Therefore it is shown that in the primary sense "sun", "moon" and "stars" signify the Prophets, the saints and their companions, through the light of whose knowledges the worlds of the visible and invisible are enlightened and illumined. In another sense by "sun," "moon" and "stars" is intended the divines of the former Dispensation, at the time of the subsequent Manifestation and in whose hands are the reins of the religion of the people. If they are illumined by the light of the subsequent Sun in His Manifestation, they will be acceptable, radiant and shining; otherwise they will be declared as darkened, even though they are apparently guides. For all these states, including belief and unbelief, guidance and error, happiness and misery, light and darkness are dependent upon the approval of that Ideal Sun of Divinity. If in the Day of Judgment (Day of a new Manifestation). any one of these divines is declared faithful by the Source of Wisdom, he can truly be regarded as possessing knowledge, light and faith, and as having attained the food pleasure of God. Otherwise ignorance, rejection, infidelity and injustice will be applied to him.