Lord of All Names (LOP I, Notes 10-18)

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O Thou Who art the Lord of all names and the Maker of the heavens! [I]

10) This is the first, in its English translation, of the Long Obligatory Prayer’s nineteen exclamations. These opening words denote recognition of God, the Sovereign Creator.

“Religious principles have various degrees and stations. The root of all principles and the cornerstone of all foundations hath ever been, and shall remain, the recognition of God.”

(Baha'u'llah, The Tabernacle of Unity, pp. 24-25)

"Wert thou to explore the sacred domain of truth, thou wilt find that all things are known only by the light of His recognition, that He hath ever been, and will continue for ever to be, known through Himself."

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 91)

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Lord of all names

11) God is addressed in the opening of the Long Obligatory Prayer, and again later in the prayer, as “the Lord of all names.” Why “names?”

"Tear ye asunder the veils of names and cleave ye their kingdom. By My Beauty! He Who is the Monarch of all names is come, He at Whose bidding every single name hath, from the beginning that hath no beginning, been created, He Who shall continue to create them as He pleaseth. He, verily, is the All-Powerful, the All-Wise."

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, CXXI, p. 258)

Concerning “all the Prophets and Messengers of God,” Baha'u'llah wrote:
“...they are all the Manifestations of the name of God, the Dawning-Places of His attributes, the Repositories of His might, and the Focal Points of His sovereignty, whilst God - magnified be His might and glory - is in His Essence sanctified above all names and exalted beyond even the loftiest attributes. Consider likewise the evidences of divine omnipotence both in their Souls and in their human Temples, that thine heart may be assured and that thou mayest be of them that speed through the realms of His nearness.

"...Know thou that God - exalted and glorified be He - doth in no wise manifest His inmost Essence and Reality. From time immemorial He hath been veiled in the eternity of His Essence and concealed in the infinitude of His own Being. And when He purposed to manifest His beauty in the kingdom of names and to reveal His glory in the realm of attributes, He brought forth His Prophets from the invisible plane to the visible, that His name "the Manifest" might be distinguished from "the Hidden" and His name "the Last" might be discerned from "the First", and that there may be fulfilled the words: "He is the First and the Last; the Seen and the Hidden; and He knoweth all things!"* Thus hath He revealed these most excellent names and most exalted words in the Manifestations of His Self and the Mirrors of His Being.

"It is therefore established that all names and attributes return unto these sublime and sanctified Luminaries. Indeed, all names are to be found in their names, and all attributes can be seen in their attributes. Viewed in this light, if thou wert to call them by all the names of God, this would be true, as all these names are one and the same as their own Being.”

*[Footnote] Qur'án 57:3

(Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, pp. 34-35) [Emphasis added.]

“In one of His Tablets Bahá'u'lláh states that there are three barriers between man and God. He exhorts the believers to pass beyond these so that they may attain His Presence. The first barrier is attachment to the things of this world, the second is attachment to the rewards of the next world, and the third is attachment to the Kingdom of Names.”

(Adib Taherzadeh, The Covenant of Baha'u'llah, p. 20) [Emphasis added.]

“There are many references in the Writings of Baha'u'llah to the 'Kingdom of Names'. God, in His own essence, is exalted above attributes. However, in all His dominions and within each of His worlds, both spiritual and physical, He reveals the kingdom of His attributes. Every created thing manifests the names and attributes of God. In the spiritual world, these attributes are manifest with such intensity that man will never be able to comprehend them in this life. In the human world, however, these attributes appear within the 'Kingdom of Names' and man often becomes attached to these names.

(Adib Taherzadeh, The Covenant of Baha'u'llah, pp. 24-25)

Maker of the heavens! [I]

12) The Baha’i Writings—and the Long Obligatory Prayer is an outstanding example—contain many words that could be construed to indicate a physical direction or location for heaven, the spiritual kingdom.

Loftiness and Ascent in the Long Obligatory Prayer
  • “heaven” (or “the heavens”) is used seven times
  • “above the description of anyone save Thyself”
  • “Too high art Thou for the praise…to ascend”
  • “sanctified above,” “holy above,” “Throne on high”
  • “Concourse on high,” “all-highest Paradise”
  • “beyond them…from the all-glorious Horizon”
  • “sent down unto us,” “sent down by Thee”

However, Baha'u'llah uses the word ‘heaven’ in many different figurative and symbolic ways. He has explained:

‘The term "heaven" denoteth loftiness and exaltation, inasmuch as it is the seat of the revelation of those Manifestations of Holiness, the Day-springs of ancient glory.’

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 67)

‘In the utterances of the divine Luminaries the term "heaven" hath been applied to many and divers things; such as the "heaven of Command," the "heaven of Will," the "heaven of the divine Purpose," the "heaven of divine Knowledge," the "heaven of Certitude," the "heaven of Utterance," the "heaven of Revelation," the "heaven of Concealment," and the like. In every instance, He hath given the term "heaven" a special meaning, the significance of which is revealed to none save those that have been initiated into the divine mysteries, and have drunk from the chalice of immortal life.’

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 68)

“To every discerning and illumined heart it is evident that God, the unknowable Essence, the divine Being, is immensely exalted beyond every human attribute, such as corporeal existence, ascent and descent, egress and regress.”

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 98) [Emphasis added.]

"We will have experience of God's spirit through His Prophets in the next world, but God is too great for us to know without this Intermediary. The Prophets know God, but how is more than our human minds can grasp. We believe we may attain in the next world to seeing the Prophets. There is certainly a future life. Heaven and hell are conditions within our own beings."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, 14 November 1947) [Emphasis added.]

them Who are the Daysprings of Thine invisible Essence

13) 'Daysprings' is used to refer to the Manifestations of God.

"dayspring- n [ME, fr. day + spring] 1 archaic: the beginning of day: DAWN
2: the beginning of a new era or order of things."

Webster's Third New International Dictionary

The Sun as Symbol in the Long Obligatory Prayer
  • “them Who are the Daysprings”
  • “the Daystar of Thy grace”
  • “the all-glorious Horizon”
  • "the Dawn of Thy Manifestation"
  • “Him Who is the Dayspring”

"When interrogated, He [Baha'u'llah] was asked to state His name and that of the country from which He came. "It is more manifest than the sun," He answered. The same question was put to Him again, to which He gave the following reply: "I deem it not proper to mention it. Refer to the farman [edict] of the government which is in your possession." Once again they, with marked deference, reiterated their request, whereupon Baha'u'llah spoke with majesty and power these words: "My name is Baha'u'llah (Light of God), and My country is Nur (Light). Be ye apprized of it."

(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 190) [Baha'u'llah was born and raised in the Persian province of Nur.]

The Baha'i Writings contain hundreds and hundreds of references to the sun and to light; in one medium-sized book alone, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, the word "sun" appears 100 times. Here is one stirring example:

"At a time when the sombre night of ignorance, of neglect of the divine world, of being veiled from God, had overspread the earth, a bright morning dawned and a rising light lit up the eastern sky. Then rose the Sun of Truth and the splendours of the Kingdom were shed over east and west. Those who had eyes to see rejoiced at the glad tidings and cried out: 'O blessed, blessed are we!', and they witnessed the inner reality of all things, and uncovered the mysteries of the Kingdom. Delivered then from their fancies and their doubts, they beheld the light of truth, and so exhilarated did they become from draining the chalice of God's love, that they utterly forgot the world and their own selves. Dancing for joy they hastened to the place of their own martyrdom and there, where men die for love, they flung away their heads and hearts."

(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections, p. 33) [Emphasis added.]

I beseech Thee by them Who are the Daysprings of Thine invisible Essence [I]

14) Considered in the context of Baha'u'llah’s teaching of progressive revelation, this entreaty may be the first of these four references in the prayer that, among others, seem likely to include other religions and their Founders:
  • “them Who are the Daysprings of Thine invisible Essence”
  • “the words “Here am I. Here am I” which Thy chosen Ones have uttered”
  • “every good thing sent down by Thee in Thy Books and Thy Scriptures”
  • “I testify, O my God, to that whereunto Thy chosen Ones have testified”

the Most Exalted, the All-Glorious [I]

15) These two titles, appearing in conjunction as above, occur twice in the Long Obligatory Prayer. “The Most Exalted” is used in the Baha’i Writings, not only as a name of God and a reference to Baha'u'llah, but often as an allusion or a specific designation for the Bab. “The All-Glorious,” or "Most Glorious," is often used in the Baha’i Writings as an allusion or a specific designation for Baha'u'llah. Shoghi Effendi, writing in English, has hailed the blessed Bab in no less than four places with the designation “Co-Founder” of the Baha’i Faith. It is fitting that the station of the Bab and the station of Baha'u'llah may be revered and celebrated in tandem by mystic allusion in the Long Obligatory Prayer through this phrase, "the Most Exalted, the All-Glorious."

The following passage illustrates the use of these designations to indicate the Bab and Baha'u'llah, respectively:

'Beware, beware lest thou behave like unto the people of the Bayan. For indeed they erred grievously... Verily they failed to recognize the Point of the Bayan, for had they recognized Him they would not have rejected His manifestation in this luminous and resplendent Being. And since they fixed their eyes on names, therefore when He replaced His Name "the Most Exalted" by "the Most Glorious" their eyes were dimmed.'

(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 185)

to make of my prayer a fire that will burn away the veils which have shut me out from Thy beauty [I]

16) “We have consumed this densest of all veils, with the fire of the love of the Beloved--the veil referred to in the saying: "The most grievous of all veils is the veil of knowledge." Upon its ashes, We have reared the tabernacle of divine knowledge. We have, praise be to God, burned the "veils of glory" with the fire of the beauty of the Best-Beloved. We have driven from the human heart all else but Him Who is the Desire of the world, and glory therein. We cleave to no knowledge but His Knowledge, and set our hearts on naught save the effulgent glories of His light.”

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, pp. 187-88)

"I beseech Thee, O my Lord, by this Fire which blazeth and rageth in the world of creation, to rend asunder the veils that have hindered me from appearing before the throne of Thy majesty, and from standing at the door of Thy gate."

(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, p. 76)

a light that will lead me unto the ocean of Thy Presence [I]

17) This phrase conjures up for some an image, a glimpse, a foretaste, of the next life, the one that comes after physical death. Some people who have had a near-death episode have used such an image in describing their experience.

the ocean of Thy Presence [I]

18) “The purpose of God in creating man hath been, and will ever be, to enable him to know his Creator and to attain His Presence. To this most excellent aim, this supreme objective, all the heavenly Books and the divinely-revealed and weighty Scriptures unequivocally bear witness. Whoso hath recognized the Day Spring of Divine guidance and entered His holy court hath drawn nigh unto God and attained His Presence, a Presence which is the real Paradise, and of which the loftiest mansions of heaven are but a symbol.”

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, XXIX, p. 70)

See Michael Sours book: The Station and Claims of Baha'u'llah, Chapter 11, "Attaining the Presence of God."

Next: "Mystery of Supplication"

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