Worlds of God (LOP III & IV, Notes 39-46)

Let him then kneel, and bowing his forehead to the ground

39) Prostration evokes humility, providing catharsis and awareness through graphic physical expression.
“Say: O people! Fear ye God, and turn not away disdainfully from His Revelation. Fall prostrate on your faces before God, and celebrate His praise in the daytime and in the night season.”

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, XV, p. 38)

Transgress not thy limits, nor claim that which beseemeth thee not. Prostrate thyself before the countenance of thy God, the Lord of might and power.”

(Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words, No. 24)

“Baha'u'llah has reduced all ritual and form to an absolute minimum in His Faith. The few forms that there are--like those associated with the two longer obligatory daily prayers--are
only symbols of the inner attitude. There is a wisdom in them, and a great blessing, but we cannot force ourselves to understand or feel these things, that is why He gave us also the very short and simple prayer, for those who did not feel the desire to perform the acts associated with the other two.”

(Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, 24 June 1949.)

Concerning the directions given by Bahá'u'lláh for the recital of
certain prayers, Shoghi Effendi wishes me to inform you that these regulations--which by the way are very few and simple--are of a great spiritual help to the individual believer, in that they help him to fully concentrate when praying and meditating. Their significance is thus purely spiritual.
Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, 5 November 1934.

These genuflections are intended to convey symbolically man's attitude towards his Lord. The combination of the words uttered with the actions that accompany them will bring about a greater consciousness of the sovereignty of God and of man's impotence and poverty in this life.
...Every culture has its own language and customs. The person of the Manifestation of God from the human point of view abides within His own environment. He expresses himself like the rest of His countrymen. In the Persian culture it was customary to raise one's hands towards heaven when supplicating the Lord, or to bend one's body when showing humility or to prostrate oneself before one's God when expressing one's utter nothingness before Him. These actions Bahá'u'lláh has incorporated in the obligatory prayers in order to increase the ardour and devotion of the servant when praying to his Lord and to demonstrate both by words and by action, the loftiness, the grandeur and the glory of God, while recognizing his own station of servitude at His threshold.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 3, pp. 349-50)

forehead to the ground [III]
40) “God hath granted you leave to prostrate yourselves on any surface that is clean...”

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 23)

‘The requirements of prayer in previous Dispensations have often included prostration. In the Arabic Bayan the Bab called upon the believers to lay their foreheads on surfaces of crystal when prostrating. Similarly, in Islam, certain restrictions are imposed with regard to the surface on which Muslims are permitted to prostrate. Baha'u'llah abrogates such restrictions and simply specifies "any surface that is clean".’

(The Kitab-i-Aqdas, Notes, p. 171)

Exalted art Thou above the description of anyone save Thyself, and the comprehension of aught else except Thee. [III]

41) "Great God! How can the lowly dust ever reach unto Him Who is the Lord of lords? Immeasurably exalted is God above that which they conceive in their hearts, and immensely glorified is He beyond that which they attribute to Him."

(Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 75)

"He is indeed a true believer in the unity of God who, in this Day, will regard Him as One immeasurably exalted above all the comparisons and likenesses with which men have compared Him. He hath erred grievously who hath mistaken these comparisons and likenesses for God Himself. Consider the relation between the craftsman and his handiwork, between the painter and his painting. Can it ever be maintained that the work their hands have produced is the same as themselves? By Him Who is the Lord of the Throne above and of earth below! They can be regarded in no other light except as evidences that proclaim the excellence and perfection of their author."

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, pp. 336-37)

"I have known Thee by Thy making known unto me that Thou art unknowable to anyone save Thyself. I have become apprised by the creation Thou hast fashioned out of sheer non-existence that the way to attain the comprehension of Thine Essence is barred to everyone. Thou art God, besides Whom there is none other God. No one except Thine Own Self can comprehend Thy nature."

(The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 196)

“This people, all of them, have pictured a god in the realm of the mind, and worship that image which they have made for themselves. And yet that image is comprehended, the human mind being the comprehender thereof, and certainly the comprehender is greater than that which lieth within its grasp; for imagination is but the branch, while mind is the root; and certainly the root is greater than the branch. Consider then, how all the peoples of the world are bowing the knee to a fancy of their own contriving, how they have created a creator within their own minds, and they call it the Fashioner of all that is -- whereas in truth it is but an illusion. Thus are the people worshipping only an error of perception.

"But that Essence of Essences, that Invisible of Invisibles, is sanctified above all human speculation, and never to be overtaken by the mind of man. Never shall that immemorial Reality lodge within the compass of a contingent being. His is another realm, and of that realm no understanding can be won. No access can be gained thereto; all entry is forbidden there. The utmost one can say is that Its existence can be proved, but the conditions of Its existence are unknown.

"That such an Essence doth exist, the philosophers and learned doctors one and all have understood; but whenever they tried to learn something of Its being, they were left bewildered and dismayed, and at the end, despairing, their hopes in ruins, they went their way, out of this life. For to comprehend the state and the inner mystery of that Essence of Essences, that Most Secret of Secrets, one needs must have another power and other faculties; and such a power, such faculties would be more than humankind can bear, wherefore no word of Him can come to them.

"If, for example, one be endowed with the senses of hearing, of taste, of smell, of touch -- but be deprived of the sense of sight, it will not be possible for one to gaze about; for sight cannot be realized through hearing or tasting, or the sense of smell or touch. In the same way, with the faculties at man's disposal it is beyond the realm of possibility for him to grasp that unseeable Reality, holy and sanctified above all the sceptics' doubts. For this, other faculties are required, other senses; should such powers become available to him, then could a human being receive some knowledge of that world; otherwise, never.”

(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 53-54)
See Note 81.

Make my prayer, O my Lord, a fountain of living waters whereby I may live as long as Thy sovereignty endureth [IV]

42) “This life cometh to an end with physical death, which is a God-ordained and inescapable reality. That life, however, which is mentioned in the Books of the Prophets and the Chosen Ones of God is the life of knowledge; that is to say, the servant's recognition of the sign of the splendours wherewith He Who is the Source of all splendour hath Himself invested him, and his certitude of attaining unto the presence of God through the Manifestations of His Cause. This is that blessed and everlasting life that perisheth not: whosoever is quickened thereby shall never die, but will endure as long as His Lord and Creator will endure.”

(Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, pp. 47-48) [Emphasis added.]

a fountain of living waters [IV]

43) This 'fountain of living waters' is designated by the word 'Kawthar' in the original Arabic:

'Kawthar: Literally, "abundance"; traditionally, a river in Paradise whence all other rivers derive their source. Often in the writings of Baha'u'llah this term has been translated as a "heavenly river" or a "living fountain" and similar phrases. For example, in the Long Obligatory Prayer, "Make my prayer, O my Lord, a fountain [Kawthar] of living waters whereby I may live as long as Thy sovereignty endureth."'

(Hooper C. Dunbar, A Companion to the Study of the Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 96)
‘And this is that spring whereof the near ones drink, as it is said: "A fount whereof the near unto God shall drink...."’ *

[Footnote] *Qur'an 83:28.

The Seven Valleys, p. 22)

may make mention of Thee in every world of Thy worlds [IV]

44) One can choose to have this world, this life on earth, included among the worlds in which to “make mention” of one's Lord–-this life can be among the locales for this recurring action. It starts here.
"By the righteousness of God! Whoso openeth his lips in this Day and maketh mention of the name of his Lord, the hosts of Divine inspiration shall descend upon him from the heaven of My name, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. On him shall also descend the Concourse on high, each bearing aloft a chalice of pure light. Thus hath it been foreordained in the realm of God's Revelation, by the behest of Him Who is the All-Glorious, the Most Powerful."

Gleanings, CXXIX, p. 280) [Emphasis added.]

may make mention of Thee in every world of Thy worlds [IV]

45) “Know thou of a truth that the worlds of God are countless in their number, and infinite in their range. None can reckon or comprehend them except God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.”

Gleanings, LXXIX, pp. 151-52)

“Verily I say, the creation of God embraceth worlds besides this world, and creatures apart from these creatures. In each of these worlds He hath ordained things which none can search except Himself, the All-Searching, the All-Wise. Do thou meditate on that which We have revealed unto thee, that thou mayest discover the purpose of God, thy Lord, and the Lord of all worlds. In these words the mysteries of Divine Wisdom have been treasured.”

Gleanings, LXXIX, p. 152-53)

“They who recite the verses of the All-Merciful in the most melodious of tones will perceive in them that with which the sovereignty of earth and heaven can never be compared. From them they will inhale the divine fragrance of My worlds – worlds which today none can discern save those who have been endowed with vision through this sublime, this beauteous Revelation. Say: These verses draw hearts that are pure unto those spiritual worlds that can neither be expressed in words nor intimated by allusion. Blessed be those who hearken.”

The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 61) [Emphasis added.]

Make my prayer, O my Lord, a fountain of living waters whereby I may live as long as Thy sovereignty endureth and may make mention of Thee in every world of Thy worlds. [IV]

46) This entreaty is extraordinary. Think of the many folktales, fables and fairytales where the protagonist is granted three wishes. More fantastic than a flying carpet that can zoom anywhere, or unlimited worldly wealth, the wish for an eternal life wherein one speaks of God in every world—even those worlds of which we can’t currently conceive, all through a life-endowing prayer—this wish may trump every other wish one could make on one’s own behalf.

Next: "Throne On High"

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