Inclusion (LOP XIII, XIV, & XV, Notes 111-119)

I implore Thee by the signs of Thy Kingdom and the mysteries of Thy Dominion [XIII]
111) "There is a power in this Cause, a mysterious power, far, far, far away from the ken of men and angels. That invisible power is the source of all these outward activities. It moves the hearts. It rends the mountains. It administers the complicated affairs of the Cause. It inspires the friends. It dashes into a thousand pieces all the forces of opposition. It creates new spiritual worlds. This is a mystery of the Kingdom of Abha."

(Attributed to Abdu’l-Baha by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, 'Diary Notes,' July 7, 1914.)

do with Thy loved ones as becometh Thy bounty, O Lord of all being, and is worthy of Thy grace, O King of the seen and the unseen! [XIII]

112) The entreaty here is for mercy, not justice. Baha’u’llah has expatiated on this distinction, in a passage which instills gratitude:
"The tenderness of Thy mercy, O my Lord, surpasseth the fury of Thy wrath, and Thy loving-kindness exceedeth Thy hot displeasure, and Thy grace excelleth Thy justice. Hold Thou, through Thy wondrous favors and mercies, the hands of Thy creatures, and suffer them not to be separated from the grace which Thou hast ordained as the means whereby they can recognize Thee. The glory of Thy might beareth me witness! Were such a thing to happen, every soul would be sore shaken, every man endued with understanding would be bewildered, and every possessor of knowledge would be dumbfounded, except those who have been succored through the hands of Thy Cause, and have been made the recipients of the revelations of Thy grace and of the tokens of Thy favors.

I swear by Thy might, O my God! Wert Thou to regard Thy servants according to their deserts in Thy days, they would assuredly merit naught except Thy chastisement and torment. Thou art, however, the One Who is of great bounteousness, Whose grace is immense. Look not down upon them, O my God, with the glance of Thy justice, but rather with the eyes of Thy tender compassions and mercies. Do, then, with them according to what beseemeth Thy generosity and bountiful favor. Potent art Thou to do whatsoever may please Thee. Incomparable art Thou. No God is there beside Thee, the Lord of the throne on high and of earth below, the Ruler of this world and of the world to come. Thou art the God of Bounty, the Ever-Forgiving, the Great Giver, the Most Generous."

(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, LXXXI, p. 136-37)
"The greatness of His mercy surpasseth the fury of His wrath, and His grace encompasseth all who who have been called into being and been clothed with the robe of life, be they of the past or of the future."

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, LXVI, p. 130)

Let him then repeat the Greatest Name thrice, and kneel with his forehead to the ground, and say:Praise be unto Thee, O our God, that Thou hast sent down unto us that which draweth us nigh unto Thee, and supplieth us with every good thing sent down by Thee in Thy Books and Thy Scriptures. Protect us, we beseech Thee, O my Lord, from the hosts of idle fancies and vain imaginations. Thou, in truth, art the Mighty, the All-Knowing. [XIV]

Protect us [XIV]

113) Protection is sought in the course of the other two obligatory prayers as well. One prays for steadfastness in the Medium obligatory prayer, and the Short obligatory prayer holds forth this assurance:
“There is none other God but Thee, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.” [Emphasis added.]

Protect us, we beseech Thee [XIV]

114) Note that there is a sudden shift from “my God” and “me” to “our God” and “us”. With a sense of completion, one includes others in the appeals of one’s personal daily prayer:
“…do with Thy loved ones as becometh Thy bounty…and is worthy of Thy grace…

“...O our God...Thou hast sent down unto us that which draweth us nigh unto Thee, and supplieth us...” “Protect us, we beseech Thee...” [Emphasis added.]

the hosts of idle fancies and vain imaginations [XIV]

115) “Idle fancies” and “vain imaginations,” are expressions that appear frequently in the Writings of Baha'u'llah. They denote more than merely a waste of time; the consequences can be dire and lead to tragedy. Here are a few of many examples:
"By the righteousness of God! Idle fancies have debarred men from the Horizon of Certitude, and vain imaginings withheld them from the Choice Sealed Wine."

(Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 44)

"O My servants! Let not your vain hopes and idle fancies sap the foundations of your belief in the All-Glorious God, inasmuch as such imaginings have been wholly unprofitable unto men, and failed to direct their steps unto the straight Path."

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, CLIII, p. 324) [Emphasis added.]

"We have forbidden men to walk after the imaginations of their hearts, that they may be enabled to recognize Him Who is the sovereign Source and Object of all knowledge, and may acknowledge whatsoever He may be pleased to reveal. Witness how they have entangled themselves with their idle fancies and vain imaginations. By My life! They are themselves the victims of what their own hearts have devised, and yet they perceive it not. Vain and profitless is the talk of their lips, and yet they understand not."

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, C, pp. 204-05)

“Arise, O people, and, by the power of God's might, resolve to gain the victory over your own selves, that haply the whole earth may be freed and sanctified from its servitude to the gods of its idle fancies -- gods that have inflicted such loss upon, and are responsible for the misery of their wretched worshippers. These idols form the obstacle that impedeth man in his efforts to advance in the path of perfection. We cherish the hope that the Hand of divine power may lend its assistance to mankind and deliver it from its state of grievous abasement.”

(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 86) [Emphasis added.]

Baha’u’llah reveals that vain imaginings led to the execution of the Bab by a firing squad of seven hundred and fifty guns:
“Reflect, O Shaykh, upon the Shi'ih sect. How many the edifices which they reared with the hands of idle fancies and vain imaginings, and how numerous the cities which they built! At length those vain imaginings were converted into bullets and aimed at Him Who is the Prince of the world.”

(Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp. 119-120)

Thou, in truth, art the Mighty, the All-Knowing. [XIV]

116) This is a wonderful assurance, since one may have no idea of the true extent of the deep-seated idle fancies and vain imaginings from which one is beseeching God to be protected.

Let him then raise his head, and seat himself, and say:

I testify, O my God, to that whereunto Thy chosen Ones have testified, and acknowledge that which the inmates of the all-highest Paradise and those who have circled round Thy mighty Throne have acknowledged. [XV]

I testify...and acknowledge... [XV]

See Note 82.

the inmates of the all-highest Paradise [XV]
117) "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) [Emphasis added.]

those who have circled round Thy mighty Throne [XV]
118) “Circumambulation of the holy places is an act of devotion and love. It is an expression of the individual's humility, submissiveness and adoration toward the Holy Ones. It is also a sign of one's utter dependence on them. We note that the same act takes place in nature. A satellite circles around a planet and is held in orbit by the force of attraction. It originates from, and its very existence depends upon, the planet. There is a special relationship between the two: one acts as the master, the other as a servant.”

(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah Volume 4, p. 108)

"Just as the conception of faith hath existed from the beginning that hath no beginning, and will endure till the end that hath no end, in like manner will the true believer eternally live and endure. His spirit will everlastingly circle round the Will of God. He will last as long as God, Himself, will last. He is revealed through the Revelation of God, and is hidden at His bidding. It is evident that the loftiest mansions in the Realm of Immortality have been ordained as the habitation of them that have truly believed in God and in His signs. Death can never invade that holy seat."

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

Thy mighty Throne [XV]

See Note 49, second quote.

The kingdoms of earth and heaven are Thine, O Lord of the worlds! [XV]

119) Is this last exclamation in some sense a summary of "that which the inmates of the all-highest Paradise and those who have circled round Thy mighty Throne have acknowledged"?

It may be indicative of the significance of the last statement of the Long Obligatory Prayer that in The Kitab-i-Aqdas, where Baha'u'llah has made provision under certain circumstances for a devotional sequence to be used for missed obligatory prayers, it requires the recitation eighteen times of "Glorified be God, the Lord of the kingdoms of earth and heaven." (See The Kitab-i-Aqdas, pages 24 and 174 for details.) This verse is similar to the last statement exclaimed in the Long Obligatory Prayer, "The kingdoms of earth and heaven are Thine, O Lord of the worlds!"

Next: "from The Call To God"

1 comment:

  1. "My God, my Master, my Highest Hope, and the Goal of my desire! Thou seest and hearest the sighing of this wronged One, from this darksome well which the vain imaginations of Thine adversaries have built, and from this blind pit which the idle fancies of the wicked among Thy creatures have digged."

    (Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, p. 278)