A Servant's Glory (LOP II, Notes 25-31)

O Thou the Desire of the world and the Beloved of the nations! [II]
25) Although He died less than 120 years ago, for decades there have been lovers of Baha'u'llah the world over, in all nations.
As the Baha’i Dispensation unfolds, new levels of its meaning continually manifest, becoming apparent. We can anticipate that in the future World Commonwealth of the Baha'i Era the title “Beloved of the Nations,” for instance, will be known by the generality of humanity, actualized in the hearts of the world’s population.
These quotes are among those in the Long Obligatory Prayer that appear to refer to collective salvation:
  • O Thou the Desire of the world and the Beloved of the nations!
  • By Thy Most Great Name, O Thou Lord of all nations!
  • "Thy will that hath encompassed the heavens and the earth"
  • By Thy Beauty, O Thou the Desire of the world!
Thou seest me [II]
26) The Long Obligatory Prayer is imbued with the awareness that we are in the presence of God, Who is the All-Seeing. Baha'u'llah has explained:

“Nothing is, or can ever be, hidden from God.” And “Verily, We behold you from Our realm of glory...”

(See
Gleanings, V, p. 9 and LXXII, p. 139.)


We verily behold your actions. If We perceive from them the sweet smelling savor of purity and holiness, We will most certainly bless you. Then will the tongues of the inmates of Paradise utter your praise and magnify your names amidst them who have drawn nigh unto God.

(Baha'u'llah,
Gleanings, CXLI, pp. 307-08)

God’s Omniscience in the Long Obligatory Prayer

  • “Thou seest” is stated five times, also:
  • “Behold me”
  • “Look not upon…nay rather look upon…”
  • “Thou dost perceive”
  • “Possessor of all things visible and invisible!”
  • “O King of the seen and the unseen!”
rid of all attachment to anyone save Thee [II]

27) “But, O my brother, when a true seeker determineth to take the step of search in the path leading to the knowledge of the Ancient of Days, he must, before all else, cleanse and purify his heart, which is the seat of the revelation of the inner mysteries of God, from the obscuring dust of all acquired knowledge, and the allusions of the embodiments of satanic fancy. He must purge his breast, which is the sanctuary of the abiding love of the Beloved, of every defilement, and sanctify his soul from all that pertaineth to water and clay, from all shadowy and ephemeral attachments. He must so cleanse his heart that no remnant of either love or hate may linger therein, lest that love blindly incline him to error, or that hate repel him away from the truth. Even as thou dost witness in this day how most of the people, because of such love and hate, are bereft of the immortal Face, have strayed far from the Embodiments of the divine mysteries, and, shepherdless, are roaming through the wilderness of oblivion and error.”

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, pp. 192-93) [Emphasis added.]

clinging to Thy cord, through whose movement the whole creation hath been stirred up
[II]

28) "Members of the human race! Hold ye fast by the Cord which no man can sever. This will, indeed, profit you all the days of your life, for its strength is of God, the Lord of all worlds." (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, CLXIII, p. 342)


“The word ‘cord’, so often mentioned in the teachings, means both the Faith itself and also the power of the Faith which sustains those who cling to it.”

(Written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, 18 April 1941)

through whose movement the whole creation hath been stirred up
[II]

29) It is the
movement of God’s cord that has stirred up the whole creation:

“Beneath the shadow of every letter of this Temple We shall raise up a people... These are servants who abide beneath the shelter of the tender mercy of their Lord... Upon their faces may be seen the brightness of the light of the All-Merciful, and from their hearts may be heard the remembrance of Mine all-glorious and inaccessible Name... These are they who circle round the Cause of God even as the shadow doth revolve around the sun...It is by virtue of their movement that all things are set in motion, and by reason of their stillness all things are brought to rest, would that ye might be assured thereof!... Through them the earth hath been established, the clouds have rained down their bounty, and the bread of knowledge hath descended from the heaven of grace, could ye but perceive it!

"These souls are the protectors of the Cause of God on earth, who shall preserve its beauty from the obscuring dust of idle fancies and vain imaginings. In the path of their Lord they shall not fear for their lives; rather will they sacrifice their all in their eagerness to behold the face of their Well-Beloved...”


(Baha'u'llah,
The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, pp. 8-9) [Emphasis added.]


“Be self-sacrificing in the path of God, and wing thy flight unto the heavens of the love of the Abha Beauty, for
any movement animated by love moveth from the periphery to the centre, from space to the Day-Star of the universe. Perchance thou deemest this to be difficult, but I tell thee that such cannot be the case, for when the motivating and guiding power is the divine force of magnetism it is possible, by its aid, to traverse time and space easily and swiftly. Glory be upon the people of Baha.”

(Abdu'l-Baha,
Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, pp. 197-98) [Emphasis added.]


I am Thy servant, O my Lord, and the son of Thy servant. Behold me standing ready to do Thy will and Thy desire, and wishing naught else except Thy good pleasure. I implore Thee by the Ocean of Thy mercy and the Day-Star of Thy grace to do with Thy servant as Thou willest and pleasest.
[II]

30) Servitude and Obedience in the Long Obligatory Prayer

  • “I am Thy servant, O my Lord, and the son of Thy servant.”

  • “…standing ready to do Thy will and Thy desire and wishing naught else except Thy good pleasure.”
  • “…do with Thy servant as Thou willest and pleasest.”
  • “Look not upon my hopes and my doings, nay rather look upon Thy will that hath encompassed the heavens and the earth.”

  • “Thine is the authority to command whatsoever Thou willest.”

  • “…Thou art…to be obeyed in Thy behests, and to remain unconstrained in Thy bidding.”

  • “Thine is the command at all times…”

  • “…set my face toward the lights that are shining from the heaven of Thy will…”

  • “…mine is resignation and willing submission to Thy will…”

“Cling, O ye people of Baha, to the cord of servitude unto God, the True One, for thereby your stations shall be made manifest, your names written and preserved, your ranks raised and your memory exalted in the Preserved Tablet. Beware lest the dwellers on earth hinder you from this glorious and exalted station.”

(Baha'u'llah,
The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 62)


“Know ye that a
servant's glory resideth in his nearness unto God, and that, unless he draweth nigh unto Him, naught else can ever profit him, even should he hold sway over the entire creation.”

(Baha'u'llah,
The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 187) [Emphasis added.]


"My station is the station of servitude
a servitude which is complete, pure and real, firmly established, enduring, obvious, explicitly revealed and subject to no interpretation whatever..."(Abdu'l-Baha, quoted by Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 133)
Nader Saiedi comments on servitude in the Bab's revelation (italics are his):

'One of the most important aspects of the Bab's epistemology is the concept of servitude; it runs through the Bab's self-conception, His mode of revelation, His ethics, and His approach to the mystic journey as the necessary precondition for attaining truth. To know truth, one must attain the station of servitude, which means to travel the path of humility, self-effacement, and negation of all but God. As long as the obscuring layers of selfish desires, arrogance, and reliance on anything but God still exist, one cannot become worthy of beholding the Divine Beauty. When the station of servitude is realized, then the divine light will shine upon the pure mirror of the heart. In this way servitude becomes, paradoxically, the substance of divinity. That fact is the reason the Bab often refers to the statement of Imam Sadiq that "servitude is a substance the essence of which is divinity."'

(Nader Saiedi,
Gate of the Heart, Understanding the Writings of the Bab, p. 164)


I am Thy servant, O my Lord, and the son of Thy servant
[II]

31) 'As to whether or not it is appropriate for a female to substitute the words "daughter of" for "son of" when reciting the Long Obligatory Prayer, we provide the following extract from a letter dated 31 August 1997, written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice. The letter addresses this specific issue: "With respect to your question as to whether it is permissible for a female in reciting the Long Obligatory Prayer to say, "I am Thy handmaiden, O my Lord, and the daughter of Thy handmaiden", you are correct in your understanding that the Guardian did not wish Bahá'ís to change the gender of pronouns and nouns in the revealed prayers. The following excerpt from a letter dated 14 January 1947 written on his behalf makes this clear: 'In regard to the question you asked him: As Bahá'u'lláh Himself specified, in the long prayer for the dead, that the gender could be changed and "his" said for "her", etc., it is permissible to do it - nay obligatory - but in all other prayers, including those for the dead, we must adhere to the exact text and not change the gender.' The House of Justice does not feel it appropriate to change Shoghi Effendi's usage of certain nouns in his translations. The challenge, therefore, is to accept the use of pronouns and of certain nouns such as "son" and "servant" in their generic sense, which will lead one to view the matter in terms of a spiritual response, rather than one of semantics.'

(From a Memorandum written on behalf of the Universal House, 28 November 2000)



Next: "Love and Desire"


4 comments:

  1. I ran across this passage which seems most pertinent regarding the phrase in the Long Obligatory Prayer "rid of all attachment to anyone save Thee":

    "The Tablet of Ashraf contains a significant statement concerning the power of prayer when freed from desire. He declares that the outpouring of grace in this day is so great, that should an individual raise his hands in supplication to God and ask for the treasures of earth and heaven, his wish will be granted even before he lowers his hands, provided that he is freed from attachment to all created things. Indeed, the key for attaining this glory lies in the word 'detachment'. From the study of the Writings it becomes clear that not until man reaches a state of absolute servitude wherein he dies to his own self, and has no desire except what God desires, can he ever ascend to such a lofty station.

    "The purest form of prayer is one which is freed from desire. Such a prayer will cause the bounties of God to descend upon the soul. Nevertheless, human beings have many needs in this life and when in difficulty, pain or grief, they turn to God for assistance. The Báb and Bahá'u'lláh have both revealed special prayers for various occasions to be said when one is in need. If a man must have a desire -- and it is quite natural for him to do so -- his prayer should be that in the end he may attain the good-pleasure of his Lord. For any other desire, even service to the Cause, meritorious though it is, will not necessarily result in his salvation. There have been some who rendered notable service to the Cause and yet spiritually their lives ended in tragedy."

    (Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah Vol. 2, p. 231)

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  2. "through whose movement the whole creation hath been stirred up"

    Sometimes when you're in the midst of a prayer, a word can suddenly strike you in a new way -- a little personal epiphany. Regarding the phrase above, it suddenly registered in my consciousness this morning that it's not saying 'merely' that the whole world (the planet earth) has been stirred up, but the WHOLE CREATION. Similarly:

    "...Thy Name through which Thou hast subdued the whole creation..."

    and: "I testify to that whereunto have testified all created things..."

    This all seems related to the letters B and E being joined and knit together. See "The Treasured Symbol" on this site.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. More regarding the phrase in the Long Obligatory Prayer "rid of all attachment to anyone save Thee": There is now a provisional translation into English of the passage about detachment in Baha'u'llah's 'Tablet to Ashraf,' (Lawh-i Ashraf), done by Baha'i scholar Keven Brown, found online at bahai-library.com . "I swear by my life! Were the hands of all created things to be lifted in this day, free of any evil suggestions, toward the court of hope of the King of Names, and ask Him for the treasures of the heavens and the earth, He would grant their wish, by His all-pervasive grace, before they lowered their hands. Thus does His mercy encompass all things."

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