Love & Desire (LOP II, Notes 32-38)

Thy good pleasure [II]
32) "Paradise signifieth first and foremost the good-pleasure of God. Whosoever attaineth His good-pleasure is reckoned and recorded among the inhabitants of the most exalted paradise and will attain, after the ascension of his soul, that which pen and ink are powerless to describe."

(Baha'u'llah, The Tabernacle of Unity, p. 62)

By Thy might which is far above all mention and praise! [II]

33) The Praise Paradox

On the one hand: "By Thy might which is far above all mention and praise!"

On the other hand: "I bear witness that Thou art to be praised in Thy doings…"

To the one hand: "Too high art Thou for the praise of those who are nigh unto Thee to ascend unto the heaven of Thy nearness..."

To the other hand: "Praise be to Thee, O my God, that Thou hast aided me to remember Thee and praise Thee..." (We are praising God for helping us praise Him!)

"paradox: 1. A seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true."

Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary

In reciting the Long Obligatory Prayer one states, “I testify that Thou hast been sanctified above all attributes and holy above all names.” [Emphasis added.] Immediately after that, in the very next sentence, one testifies by two attributive names: “No God is there but Thee, the Most Exalted, the All-Glorious.”

Pondering the ocean of praise for God—in wave after wave after wave—which the Bab, Baha’u’llah, and Abdu’l-Baha have given us in all Their prayers and all Their writings, it becomes clear to us that we should praise God. It is also made evident in these prayers and writings that God does not need our praise. Baha'u'llah has explained that "verily, God is Self-Sufficient, above any need of His creatures." (See Gleanings, LXX, p. 136.)
"Consider the mercy of God and His gifts. He enjoineth upon you that which shall profit you, though He Himself can well dispense with all creatures. Your evil doings can never harm Us, neither can your good works profit Us."

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, LXXII, p. 140.) [Emphasis added.]

mention and praise! [II]

34) Considering that God does not need our praise and that it is for our benefit, one may be led to wonder, 'How does this praise paradigm work?'

Baha’u’llah states the purpose for our praise of God:
“Far, far from Thy glory be what mortal man can affirm of Thee, or attribute unto Thee, or the praise with which he can glorify Thee! Whatever duty Thou hast prescribed unto Thy servants of extolling to the utmost Thy majesty and glory is but a token of Thy grace unto them, that they may be enabled to ascend unto the station conferred upon their own inmost being, the station of the knowledge of their own selves.”

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, I, pp. 4-5) [Emphasis added.]

This passage above is part of the magnificent selection that was chosen by Shoghi Effendi to open the compilation Gleanings. It appears that each one of us has the opportunity to learn through our prayers how praising God leads to knowledge of one’s own self. Here is the paragraph that follows the one above:
"No one else besides Thee hath, at any time, been able to fathom Thy mystery, or befittingly to extol Thy greatness. Unsearchable and high above the praise of men wilt Thou remain for ever. There is none other God but Thee, the Inaccessible, the Omnipotent, the Omniscient, the Holy of Holies."

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, I, p. 5)

Whatsoever is revealed by Thee is the desire of my heart and the beloved of my soul. [II]

35) It seems that the reference point for the above statement from the prayer is knowledge of one’s true self, understanding the reason for which one's heart has been created.
“He hath chosen out of the whole world the hearts of His servants, and made them each a seat for the revelation of His glory. Wherefore, sanctify them from every defilement, that the things for which they were created may be engraven upon them.”

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, CXXXVI, p. 297)

O God, my God! [II]

36) In contrast to, or more correctly, in complement to, the many acclamations of God's transcendent majesty in the Long Obligatory Prayer, He is also addressed three times in the course of the prayer in this exclamation of familiar, personal relationship: "O God, my God!"

Moreover, the phrase "O my God" is said
four times and "O my Lord" seven times.

Look not upon my hopes and my doings, nay rather look upon Thy will that hath encompassed the heavens and the earth. [II]

See Notes 26 and 30.

I have desired only what Thou didst desire, and love only what Thou dost love. [II]

37) One might find this a particularly difficult passage, wondering ‘How can I in truthfulness recite “I have desired only what Thou didst desire”?' For some, the following account may shed light on the above statement we are given to say in the prayer.
“There were a few others among the Letters of the Living who succumbed to the tests of God. One such was Mulla Hasan-i-Bajistani who attained the presence of Baha'u'llah in Baghdad. He expressed his doubts to Baha'u'llah concerning the Revelation of the Bab. One of his objections was that the Bab in His Writings extolled the virtues and praised the station of the Letters of the Living in glowing terms, and yet as a Letter of the Living himself, he knew that he was devoid of these qualities. Baha'u'llah answered that a farmer irrigates his field in order to water his crop. In this process, however, the weeds are also watered. He explained that the tributes paid by the Bab to the Letters of the Living, and the praises that He showered upon them, all referred to Mulla Husayn, the first to believe in Him, and to a few others. The rest received these bounties as a matter of course.”

(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah Volume 2, pp. 145-46)

I have desired only what Thou didst desire, and love only what Thou dost love. [II]

38) Perhaps here one is stating one's potential, one's future. ("The temple is already built.") Perhaps one makes this statement and it has been most recently true only for the last few minutes, since saying one's ablutions.

Considering that these obligatory prayers will be in use during the Baha’i dispensation of a thousand or more years, this may be a glimpse of the spiritual advancement that will be widely attained by worshipers someday in the future. Meanwhile, we may use this positive affirmation and reinforcement to set high the mark for our intentions and behavior.

Love and Desire in the Long Obligatory Prayer
  • “Desire of the world and Beloved of the Nations”
  • “Thy desire,” “desire of my heart”
  • “beloved of my soul”
  • “I have desired only what Thou didst desire” and
  • “love only what Thou dost love”
  • “hearts and souls have melted”
  • “the fire of Whose love”
  • “birds of the hearts of them that are devoted to Thee”
  • “I love, in this state, O my Lord, to beg of Thee”
  • “lamentation of my heart”
  • “Thy love, O my Lord,” “Thy loved ones”
  • “By Thy Beauty, O Thou the Desire of the World!”
As was suggested in a previous entry on this site, 'Long Obligatory Prayer Considered,' perhaps this prayer is about, or a message from, what Baha'u'llah terms "the City of Love and Rapture."

Next: "Worlds of God"

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