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An integral part of the Baha’i life is the spiritual underpinning provided by two individual devotional practices: the annual Baha’i Fast and the daily Baha’i Obligatory Prayers. The focus of this site is the latter, the daily obligatory prayers from which every Baha’i chooses. For a Baha'i, the recital of one of them every day is a requisite ritual element in the rhythm of being.

As it has repeatedly in the past, the Universal House of Justice recently emphasized the devotional life of the individual Baha’i. On December 31,1999, at an early stage in the current series of worldwide teaching plans, the Universal House of Justice pronounced that all Baha’i laws regarding fasting and obligatory prayer were binding on all Baha’is. To reinforce the understanding of all Baha’is, a few months later, in May 2000, the Baha'i World Centre published a compilation of Baha’i holy Writings, The Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting.

This understanding has been emphasized in other ways, including in Ruhi workbooks 1, 2 and 6 where the importance of obligatory prayer is presented in our study circles. In Ruhi Book 1, Reflections on the Life of the Spirit, the first excerpt from a prayer that is studied is from the Long Obligatory Prayer; recital of the Short Obligatory Prayer is one of the exercises in Book 1.


Hearts Become Mirrors
“Become as true brethren in the one and indivisible religion of God, free from distinction, for verily God desireth that your hearts should become mirrors unto your brethren in the Faith, so that ye find yourselves reflected in them, and they in you. This is the true Path of God, the Almighty, and He is indeed watchful over your actions.”
(The Bab, excerpt from The Qayyumu'l-Asma, Chapter XLVI, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 56)

This instruction from the Bab, Co-Founder of the Baha’i Faith, could be regarded as pertaining to the essence of the learning process in which the international Baha’i community is currently engaged. In our study circles, open to all, we each relate as equals to the teachings and sacred Writings of the Faith and our hearts are bound together.

It is in this egalitarian spirit that this site is offered for Baha’is—and also their friends who are a part of what the Universal House of Justice termed the “community of interest” in the Faith—to share their insights and experiences with the daily Baha'i obligatory prayers. Sincere commentary is welcomed from those who wish to engage in "earnest conversation on themes of spiritual import" pertaining to the daily Baha'i obligatory prayers.

There has been some scholarly study of the daily Baha'i obligatory prayers in English presented in Baha'i colloquiums in recent years that, unfortunately, does not seem to be readily available to the general Baha'i population. However, this site will include some links to a few online studies, as well as some books.

Pitfalls To Avoid

Perhaps a reason why there hasn't been more widespread study and commentary on the obligatory prayers is because of the delicate course that must be steered. One danger is that the understanding of an individual Baha'i or group of Baha'is--his or her or their interpretation of some portion of an obligatory prayer--could gain currency at the expense of other perspectives that might be of equal or greater validity. Others could be led to labor under a misconception in their devotional life. While there is often risk when expressing one's opinion on any subject, perhaps there is added responsibility upon both writer and reader when studying so fundamental a motive force as a believer's daily connection with God.

Another pitfall to avoid is making any of the daily Baha'i obligatory prayers seem so complex that someone would be discouraged from using it. Yes, these prayers are deep, deep, deep, but: they are also clear like the purest waters, available for studying or praying. Anyone can partake of their live-giving qualities.

Conversely, one can make the prayers seem overly simple and limited in scope through one's own reductionist interpretations and lack of attention. Ian Semple gave a talk, a brief portion of which referred to this point:

'I think this is one of the things that we have to learn in the Faith, to understand that the same word has many different meanings. Language is a poor thing when compared with what God wants to tell us.

'Try to put yourself in the place of a Manifestation of God, coming to this world with knowledge that's needed--to take mankind forward a whole thousand years in its evolution and then having to explain that--to people in their own language. It wouldn't help to use another language, because they wouldn't understand a thing. So He has to use the tools that we can benefit from to convey these incredible truths to us. And He does it with the greatest divinely-guided skill one could imagine. So we must beware of wishing that He be more simple.

'There is a story from many years ago of the great dancer Pavlova. She had just danced some magnificent dance, and someone asked her to explain in a few words, what she had meant to convey. And she said, "If I could have explained it in a few words, I would not have gone to the trouble of dancing it."

'This I think is what we must bear in mind when we’re reading the Writings. Baha’u’llah is not being purposely obscure or purposely complicated. He is doing the best He possibly can to get incredible truths through our thick skulls. And He has to use the words at His disposal.' 
(Ian Semple, speaking in Foundation Hall at the Baha'i House of Worship, Wilmette, Ilinois, September 6th, 2001)

Yet another hazard is the tendency to indicate that any of the the three prayers is superior to the others. In this regard the insight of the Hands of the Cause of God elected to serve as Custodians of the Faith in the Holy Land during the Interregnum, 1957-1963, is instructive. Here is a letter they wrote to the other Hands around the world:

'To the Hands of the Cause of God

September 13, 1962

Dear Fellow-Hands,

We have noticed in the minutes of several National Assemblies that they are urging the members of their community to use the Long Obligatory Prayer. We consider this is neither part of the function of a National Assembly nor in accordance with the spirit of the teachings of the Faith, for the reasons given in the following letter sent to the New Zealand National Assembly:

We have noticed in your minutes of 26-27 May that you decided to encourage the friends to use the Long Obligatory Prayer.

In taking this action, we feel that your National Assembly has exceeded the powers given to it in the Administrative Order, insofar as Baha'u'llah left the believers entirely free to choose between the three obligatory prayers. Further He said: "To chant but one verse with joy and gladness is better for you than reading all the Revelations of the Omnipotent God with carelessness."

No pressure should be put upon the believers to say one of the three prayers rather than another. If a believer feels inclined to say the long prayer he should say it, and if for some reason he prefers one of the others he is quite free to say this instead.

We feel the Hands should use their influence to prevent such pressures, that are not in accordance with the law of Baha'u'llah, being put upon the believers.

With Baha'i love,

In the service of the beloved Guardian,


HANDS OF THE CAUSE IN THE HOLY LAND'

(The Ministry of the Custodians 1957-1963, pp. 372-73) 


*********

In the course of preparing this blog site I'm certain that I have fallen into all four of the errors mentioned above. Nonetheless, I hope that the positives of this endeavor will outweigh the negatives.

This blog is being launched without much commentary on the Medium Obligatory Prayer as of yet; the reader is invited to offer content. This entire site should be regarded as preliminary, and your assistance is cordially invited for its development.


Next: "Introduction"


from 'The Call To God'


The following excerpt is from "a meditation" entitled 'The Call To God,' written by Hand of the Cause of God George Townshend. It is part of the compilation of Townshend's writings The Mission of Baha'u'llah and other literary pieces, published by George Ronald.

'The Obligatory Prayers...are designed to be used daily by Baha'i of all degrees for generations to come. They are about that which Baha'u'llah wishes to be the essence and constant centre of Baha'i devotion and thought. Comprehensive and complex they may be: but their subject is one and simple. It is the knowledge and the love of God.

'The Short Prayer states the whole matter in a word: "Thou hast created me to know Thee and adore Thee."

'The Medium Prayer is more particular. It specifies in two verses the fact of the Manifestation. The first verse presents this in its transcendent aspect, proclaiming God's Advent and His Sovereignty. The second acknowledges His omnipresence and unity, gives the substance of His Revelation and remembers the champions of the Faith.


'The Long Prayer develops the theme still more fully and deeply. It seeks the vision of God's Beauty, an approach to His presence, an eternity of progress in His knowledge. The main phases of the thought seem to be Self-Surrender, Confirmation, Adoration and Thanksgiving, Penitence, and Trust in forgiveness and redemption through the special graces of this Dispensation. While this Long Prayer has one definite, elevated subject, believers have found that they can apply it, or major parts of it, to a special crisis or a special act in their own lives and can thus the better understand the Prayer and spiritualise their problems.

'How marked and how significant, on the one side the correspondence and on the other the contrast that exist between this prayer of the New Age and the Lord's Prayer which Christians have been repeating for nineteen centuries. Here is reflected the continuity of the work of Christ and Baha'u'llah and the Oneness of their common purpose. Here, too (in an hour when many fear Christ has thrown away His teaching on an unworthy race), is a testimony to the ultimate success of His glorious ministry and sacrifice.


'The first petitions of the Lord's Prayer are for the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth.

'The Obligatory Prayers imply and declare that the Kingdom has come: for instance "the All-Possessing is come. Earth and heaven, glory and dominion are God's..." and "He Who hath been manifested is the Hidden Mystery... through whom the letters 'B' and 'E' have been joined and knit together..." (that is, mankind's true existence begins in the New Era).

'The Lord's Prayer remembers a prophecy and a promise; and centres men's attention on a triumphant future on earth. The Obligatory Prayers contain no prophecy and aim at an inward spiritual attainment.

'Christ's prayer is social in form. It is suited to spiritual children, being very simple and largely practical. In the words "as we forgive those who trespass against us" it adverts to the virtue of personal mercy to which Christ gave special prominence.


'The Prayer of Baha'u'llah is personal and mystical, advanced in character and suited to a maturer race. It carries the idea of communion and unity far, invoking in the Long Prayer all the Prophets of the Ages, interceding for the past heroes of the Faith, and joining the worshipper's testimony to this Era and its Prophet with the testimony of those in the highest heaven and of the Tongue of Grandeur itself as well as with that of all creation.'


(George Townshend, from "The Call To God," in
The Mission of Baha'u'llah and other literary pieces, George Ronald, pp. 71-72)



Another Baha'i website: "Baha'i Mosaic"


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)
Moreover:
"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"


Allah-u-Abha (LOP XII, Notes 104-110)

Let him then repeat the Greatest Name thrice, and bend down with hands resting on the knees [XII]

104) As mentioned previously, (see Note 55), the form of the Greatest Name repeated in the Long Obligatory Prayer is 'Allah-u-Abha.'

The lesson of humility may well be regarded as the overarching theme of the long Obligatory Prayer. Performing the long Obligatory Prayer simultaneously evokes and expresses an attitude of humility through a variety of forms. In addition to raising one's hands in supplication at different junctures, one bows down, hands resting on the knees, two times during the prayer, the second time, while praising God for being enabled to "bow down before Thy Lordship" and "humble myself before Thy Godhead.”


“Every soul that walketh humbly with its God, in this Day, and cleaveth unto Him, shall find itself invested with the honor and glory of all goodly names and stations.”

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, LXXXII, p. 159)


“Be ... a fruit upon the tree of humility.”

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, CXXX, p. 285)


“Humility exalteth man to the heaven of glory and power, whilst pride abaseth him to the depths of wretchedness and degradation.”

(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 64)


"...it behoveth the people of truth that the signs of humility should shine upon their faces..."

(Baha'u'llah, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 59)


“Humble thyself before Me, that I may graciously visit thee.”

(Baha'u'llah, Arabic Hidden Words, No. 42)

Praise be to Thee, O my God, that Thou hast aided me to remember Thee and to praise Thee [XII]

105) We praise God for aiding us in praising Him. One of the most important ways in which God has aided us in remembering Him was by revealing the obligatory prayers and making them obligatory.

"I render Thee thanks, O Thou Who hast lighted Thy fire within my soul, and cast the beams of Thy light into my heart, that Thou hast taught Thy servants how to make mention of Thee, and revealed unto them the ways whereby they can supplicate Thee, through Thy most holy and exalted tongue, and Thy most august and precious speech. But for Thy leave, who is there that could venture to express Thy might and Thy grandeur; and were it not for Thine instruction, who is the man that could discover the ways of Thy pleasure in the kingdom of Thy creation?"

(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, p. 283)
"My remembrance of Thee, O my God, quencheth my thirst, and quieteth my heart...

"I give thanks to Thee, O my God, that Thou hast suffered me to remember Thee. What else but remembrance of Thee can give delight to my soul or gladness to my heart?"

(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, p. 195)

O servants! Lifeless is the body that is bereft of a soul, and withered the heart that is devoid of the remembrance of its Lord. Commune with the remembrance of the Friend and shun the enemy. Your enemy is such things as ye have acquired of your own inclination, to which ye have firmly clung, and whereby ye have sullied your souls. The soul hath been created for the remembrance of the Friend; safeguard its purity.

(Baha'u'llah, The Tabernacle of Unity, p. 68) [Emphasis added.]

See Notes 33, 34, 58.

hast made known unto me Him Who is the Dayspring of Thy signs, and hast caused me to bow down before Thy Lordship, and humble myself before Thy Godhead [XII]

106) "We cannot know God directly, but only through His Prophets. We can pray to Him, realizing that through His Prophets we know Him, or we can address our prayer in thought to Baha'u'llah, not as God, but as the Door to our knowing God.

"We find God only through the Intermediary of His Prophet. We see the Perfection of God in His Prophets. Time and space are physical things: God, the Creator is not in a 'place' as we conceive of place in physical terms. God is Infinite Essence, the Creator. We cannot picture Him or His state; if we did, we would be His equals, not His creatures. God is never flesh, but mirrored in the attributes of His Prophets, we see His divine characteristics and perfections."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, 9 October 1947)

Say: Lordship is My Name, whereof I have created manifestations in the world of being, while We Ourself remain sanctified above them, would ye but ponder this truth. And Godhead is My Name, whereof We have created exponents whose power shall encompass the people of the earth and make them true worshippers of God, could ye but recognize it. Thus should ye regard all Our Names, if ye be endued with insight.

(Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 24) [Emphasis added.]

Dayspring See Note 13.


"Godhead: The essential and divine nature of God."

Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary


Praise be to Thee, O my God that Thou...hast caused me...to acknowledge that which hath been uttered by the Tongue of Thy grandeur [XII]

107) This part of a paean of thankfulness to God appears to refer to the honor of accepting and recognizing that the Revelation of Baha'u'llah is the Word of God.


Let him then rise and say: O God, my God! My back is bowed by the burden of my sins, and my heedlessness hath destroyed me. Whenever I ponder my evil doings and Thy benevolence [XIII]

108) Regarding “evil doings”:

'By "the tree of good and evil" is meant the material world, for the heavenly realm of the spirit is pure goodness and absolute radiance, but in the material world light and darkness, good and evil, and all manner of opposing realities are to be found.'

(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, 30.3, pp. 138-39)


“…as to evil, there is no doubt that it exerts a very strong influence both in this world and in the next.”

(From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, 1 November 1934)


“We must never take one sentence in the Teachings and isolate it from the rest…We know absence of light is darkness, but no one would assert darkness was not a fact. It exists even though it is only the absence of something else. So evil exists too, and we cannot close our eyes to it, even though it is a negative existence. We must seek to supplant it by good…”

(From letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, 4 October 1950)

Recommended: The Metropolis of Satan - Evil and the Devil in Baha'i/ Christian Dialog, by Gary L. Matthews, Stonehaven Press, 1998


my heart melteth within me, and my blood boileth in my veins [XIII]

109) Colorful mental pictures enlist the imagination, one of the five spiritual powers. See Note 7.

Among the many images in the Long Obligatory Prayer:
  • “clinging to Thy cord”
  • “my spirit hath been stirred up within my limbs and members”
  • “knocking at the door of Thy grace”
  • “seeking the river of everlasting life from the hands of Thy bounty”
  • “the birds of the hearts of them who are devoted to Thee”
  • “my heart melteth within me and my blood boileth in my veins”
  • “my longing hands are ashamed to stretch forth”
By Thy Beauty, O Thou the Desire of the World! [XIII]

110) The word "beauty" occurs three times in the Long Obligatory Prayer. Here, capitalized, the attribute or title "Beauty" holds especially powerful meaning for Baha'is.

'Baha'u'llah is the Most Great Beauty. In Arabic the phrase "Most Great Beauty" is Manzar-al-Akbar, which literally means the Most Great Manzar, the object of all gazing and looking at, the object whose beauty is being admired. That Shoghi Effendi translated the phrase Manzar-al-Akbar as the "Most Great Beauty" establishes a connection between this phrase and the Arabic word jamal, which means beauty. The early believers often referred to Baha'u'llah as "Jamal-i-Mubarak", the "Blessed Beauty". This was one of His well-known titles.'

(H. Richard Gurinsky, Learn Well This Tablet, p. 94.)

Another frequent designation for Baha'u'llah in the Baha'i writings is the "Ancient Beauty."


Next: "Inclusion"

Here Am I (LOP XI, Notes 98-103)

Need the source for this photo.
Thy footsteps in this wilderness [XI]

98) As will be seen in the quote at the first bullet point below, Baha’u’llah indicates that the Holy land is the literal wilderness in which the Messengers of God walked. Perhaps another allusion here is to the sacrifice of the Manifestations in appearing among humanity on this earthly plane.


I entreat Thee by Thy footsteps in this wilderness, and by the words “Here am I. Here am I” which Thy chosen Ones have uttered in this immensity
[XI] 

99) “Here am I” appears to be a cry of willingness, readiness, and resolution that rings out in every age.

“Here Am I”
  • “This Holy Land hath been mentioned in all the sacred Scriptures. In it have appeared the Prophets of God and His chosen Ones. This is the wilderness in which all the Messengers of God have wandered, from which Their cry ‘Here am I, here am I, O my God’ was raised."

    (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, CLXIII, p.344) [Emphasis added.]

  • Exodus 3:4 “…God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said ‘Moses, Moses.’ And he said, ‘Here am I.’”

  • Isaiah 6:8 “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then said I, ‘Here am I; send me.’”

    (King James Bible)

  • “The river Jordan is joined to the Most Great Ocean, and the Son, in the holy vale, crieth out: ‘Here am I, here am I O Lord, my God!’”

    (Baha'u'llah, Lawh-i-Aqdas, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 11)

  • Baha'u'llah to Napoleon III: “It behoveth thee when thou hearest His Voice calling from the seat of glory to cast away all that thou possessest, and cry out: "Here am I, O Lord of all that is in heaven and all that is on earth!”

    (Baha'u'llah, Summons of the Lord of Hosts, pp. 72-73)

  • "Soon will the cry, 'Yea, yea, here am I, here am I' be heard from every land. For there hath never been, nor can there ever be, any other refuge to fly to for anyone.”

    (Baha'u'llah, Quoted in Advent of Divine Justice, p. 69)

  • O SHERIF!...All thy life thou hast accorded worship unto Us, but when We manifested Ourself unto thee, thou didst desist from bearing witness unto Our Remembrance, and from affirming that He is indeed the Most Exalted, the Sovereign Truth, the All-Glorious. Thus hath Thy Lord put thee to proof in the Day of Resurrection. Verily He is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

    For hadst thou uttered 'Here am I' at the time We sent thee the Book, We would have admitted thee to the company of such of Our servants as truly believe, and would have graciously praised thee in Our Book, until the Day when all men shall appear before Us for judgement. This is in truth far more advantageous unto thee than all the acts of worship thou hast performed for thy Lord during all thy life, nay, from the beginning that hath no beginning. Assuredly this is what would have served and will ever serve thy best interests. Verily We are cognizant of all things...”

    (The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, (SWB) p. 29) [Emphasis added.] (See also SWB pp. 36 and 206.)
In Memorials of the Faithful, Abdu'l-Baha refers to these five outstanding believers as crying out “Here am I.”
  • Nabil-i-Zarandi
  • Muhammad-Sadiq
  • Aqa Muhammad-Ibrahim
  • Haji Mirza Muhammad-Taqi, the Afnan
  • Zaynu'l-Muqarrabin

this immensity [XI] 

100) One might wonder, ‘What immensity?’

“Strive, O people, to gain admittance into this vast Immensity for which God ordained neither beginning nor end, in which His voice hath been raised, and over which have been wafted the sweet savors of holiness and glory.”

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, LII, p. 107) [Emphasis added.]


"We beseech God that He may graciously vouchsafe His grace unto all men, and enable them to attain the knowledge of Him and of themselves. By My life! Whoso hath known Him shall soar in
the immensity of His love, and shall be detached from the world and all that is therein."

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, C, p. 205) [Emphasis added.]


"Pass beyond the narrow retreats of your evil and corrupt desires, and advance into
the vast immensity of the realm of God, and abide ye in the meads of sanctity and of detachment, that the fragrance of your deeds may lead the whole of mankind to the ocean of God's unfading glory."

(Baha'u'llah,
Gleanings, CXV, p. 241) [Emphasis added.]


"Grant, I beseech Thee, O Thou Who art the Everlasting King and the Sovereign Protector of all men, that I may be enabled to manifest that which shall cause the hearts and souls of men to soar in
the limitless immensity of Thy love, and to commune with Thy Spirit."

(Baha'u'llah,
Gleanings, CXLII, p. 311) [Emphasis added.]


"Above the horizon of tribulation He hath lifted up His voice and He crieth out, summoning all the inmates of heaven and all the inhabitants of the earth to the immensity of Thy mercy and the court of Thy grace."

(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, XCL, p. 153) [Emphasis added.]

by the breaths of Thy Revelation, and the gentle winds of the Dawn of Thy Manifestation
[XI]

101) These beautiful expressions may, for some Baha'is, evoke creation accounts as found in scriptures and cultures the world over; the life-giving qualities of the Word of God; and intimate the first stirrings of morning.

In the allusive flow of this prayer, following after these phrases referring to “breaths” and “gentle winds,” the next sentence of directions has one repeat three times the aspiratory syllables of the Greatest Name, ‘Allah-u-Abha.’



to ordain that I may gaze on Thy beauty and observe whatsoever is in Thy Book [XI]

102) Love of God’s beauty is linked to obedience. One way of understanding this entreaty of the prayer is that here one is asking to gaze with spiritual eyes, become enthralled, and attune to God’s guidance.


"Observe My commandments, for the love of My beauty."

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 20)


Thy Book
[XI]

103) ‘The "Book" is the record of the revealed Word of the Manifestations of God.’

(The Kitab-i-Aqdas, Notes, p. 231)


Next: "Allah-u-Abha"

Lamentation (LOP XI, Notes 94-97)

Thou dost perceive my tears and the sighs I utter, and hearest my groaning, and my wailing, and the lamentation of my heart. [XI]

94) The word ‘tears’ appears twice in the Long Obligatory Prayer. “Thou dost perceive my tears and the sighs I utter.” And: “Thou seest, O my God, how my tears prevent me from remembering Thee and from extolling Thy virtues…”

To whatever degree one has tears, God sees. Some may shed little or no tears in their life. Some have tears they are holding back. God sees those too.


By Thy might! My trespasses have kept me back from drawing nigh unto Thee; and my sins have held me far from the court of Thy holiness. [XI]

95) Regarding ‘trespasses’ and ‘sins’: these may include one’s thoughts going where they shouldn’t go – straying from God, (one may become aware of this during the recital of an obligatory prayer).


“The good deeds of the righteous are the sins of the near ones...”

(a saying quoted by Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, 30.12, p.142)

Little wonder that one of the titles of God fixed in the Short Obligatory Prayer, and offered in the Medium Obligatory Prayer, is the ‘Help in Peril.’

One’s racing thoughts may shift every few or several seconds while praying. This lack of mental focus, this short attention span, is sometimes called ‘the monkey brain.’ But there’s an old saying, used in song and possibly derived from the circus or vaudeville, ‘One monkey don’t stop the show.’ No matter how much one’s mind wanders, to persevere in the daily recital of an Obligatory Prayer, as the Writings repeatedly attest, is a spiritual necessity.

Perseverance

Abdu’l-Baha urged “Be constant in offering obligatory prayer...” Further, He wrote, “I hope that thou wilt persevere in the recitation of the Obligatory Prayer, and thus will come to witness the power of entreaty and supplication.” And, “Persevere in the use of the Obligatory Prayer and early morning supplications, so that day by day thine awareness may increase...” (See The Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting (IOPF) Part 2, VIII, XI, XVI)

“Recite the Obligatory Prayer and supplications as much as thou art able, so that day by day thou mayest attain to increased firmness and steadfastness and find greater joy and gladness. Thus the circle of divine knowledge will grow wider, and the fire of the love of God will burn brighter within thee.”

(Abdu'l-Baha, IOPF, 2, XVII)


“Obligatory prayers and supplications are the very water of life. They are the cause of existence, of the refinement of souls, and of their attainment to the utmost joy. Exercise the greatest care in this regard, and encourage others to recite the Obligatory Prayers and supplications.”

(Abdu'l-Baha, IOPF, Part 2, XVIII)

my sins have held me far from the court of Thy holiness [XI]

96) “The ninth Glad-Tidings

"When the sinner findeth himself wholly detached and freed from all save God, he should beg forgiveness and pardon from Him. Confession of sins and transgressions before human beings is not permissible, as it hath never been nor will ever be conducive to divine forgiveness. Moreover such confession before people results in one‘s humiliation and abasement, and God – exalted be His glory – wisheth not the humiliation of His servants. Verily He is the Compassionate, the Merciful. The sinner should, between himself and God, implore mercy from the Ocean of mercy, beg forgiveness from the Heaven of generosity…”

(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 24)

For a Baha’i, confession is done in private conversation with God. Baha’u’llah has given us ideal words to do so as part of the Long Obligatory Prayer. The two sections of the prayer most focused on lamentation and confession are preceded in the prayer’s text, respectively, by directions to "stand erect" and to “rise.” One is led to make an utterly thorough acknowledgment, but not to grovel.

“O SON OF SPIRIT!
Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created.”

(Baha'u'llah, Arabic Hidden Words, No. 22)


“How often have the Prophets of God and His universal Manifestations confessed in Their prayers to Their sins and shortcomings! This is only to instruct other souls, to inspire and encourage them to be humble and submissive before God, and to acknowledge their own sins and shortcomings. For these holy Souls are sanctified above every sin and freed from every fault. For example, it is said in the Gospel that a man came to Christ and called Him "Good Master." Christ answered, "Why callest thou Me good? there is none good but one, that is, God."* Now, this did not mean—God forbid!—that Christ was a sinner, but rather His intention was to teach humility, lowliness, meekness, and modesty to the man He was addressing. These blessed Souls are light, and light cannot united with darkness. They are life everlasting, and life cannot be gathered in with death. They are guidance, and guidance cannot be brought together with waywardness. They are the very essence of obedience, and obedience cannot join hands with rebellion.”

(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, 44.12, pp. 194-95)

*[Footnote] Matt. 19:16, 17.
Please see also Note 51.

Thy love, O my Lord, hath enriched me, and separation from Thee hath destroyed me, and remoteness from Thee hath consumed me. [XI]

97) ‘Destroyed’ may seem an atypical word choice for a prayer, as in: “separation from Thee hath destroyed me” and (later) “my heedlessness hath destroyed me.” However, far from inducing estrangement or leading one to feel that one is unworthy, observe that Baha'u'llah provides loving words for tearful destroyed people consumed by remoteness to address God.

Confession and Lamentation in the Long Obligatory Prayer
  • “this stranger”
  • “this transgressor”
  • “this lowly one”
  • “this poor creature”
  • “this wretched creature”
  • “…my tears and the sighs I utter…my groaning, and my wailing, and the lamentation of my heart.”
  • “My trespasses have kept me back from drawing nigh unto Thee; and my sins have held me far from the court of Thy holiness.”
  • “…separation from Thee hath destroyed me, and remoteness from Thee hath consumed me.”
  • “My back is burdened by the burden of my sins and my heedlessness hath destroyed me.”
  • “my evil doings”
  • “I blush to lift up my face to Thee and my longing hands are ashamed to stretch forth...”
  • “Thou seest, O my God, how my tears prevent me from remembering Thee and from extolling Thy virtues…
Yes, one may be imperfect and even full of failings, but nonetheless, the mercy, grace and bounty of God as referenced in the Long Obligatory Prayer are overwhelming in their fullness. (See, for example, Notes 19, 46, 51 and 75.)

Moreover, Baha’u’llah has provided an indestructible Covenant; a Divine Examplar; sacred Writings and infallible guidance replete with insight, solutions, assurances, encouragement, meditations, prayers for every condition and circumstance, promises, prophecies, and plans; an organic administrative Order; Baha’i community life and more--so that one may advance in happiness on a meaningful path of service through the course of not only this life, but also the next.

"Everything Thou doest is pure justice, nay, the very essence of grace. One gleam from the splendors of Thy Name, the All-Merciful, sufficeth to banish and blot out every trace of sinfulness from the world..."

(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, p. 252)


Next: "Here Am I"

Possessor of All Things (LOP XI, Notes 92-93)

Let him then stand erect and say: O Lord of all being and Possessor of all things visible and invisible! [XI]

92) The name of God, “Possessor of all things visible and invisible” provides context for evaluating the scourge of materialism, a disease referred to by Shoghi Effendi as "evil" and “rampant.”

“It is this same cancerous materialism, born originally in Europe, carried to excess in the North American continent, contaminating the Asiatic peoples and nations, spreading its ominous tentacles to the borders of Africa, and now invading its very heart, which Bahá'u'lláh in unequivocal and emphatic language denounced in His Writings, comparing it to a devouring flame and regarding it as the chief factor in precipitating the dire ordeals and world-shaking crises that must necessarily involve the burning of cities and the spread of terror and consternation in the hearts of men.”

(Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith, p. 125)


“…materialism emerged full-blown in the second half of the twentieth century as a kind of universal religion claiming absolute authority in both the personal and social life of humankind.”

(Commissioned by the Universal House of Justice, Century of Light, pp. 89-90)

God as the “Possessor of all things” is a frequent designation in Baha’u’llah’s Writings.

‘O SON OF MY HANDMAID!
Be not troubled in poverty nor confident in riches, for poverty is followed by riches, and riches are followed by poverty. Yet to be poor in all save God is a wondrous gift, belittle not the value thereof, for in the end it will make thee rich in God, and thus thou shalt know the meaning of the utterance, "In truth ye are the poor," and the holy words, "God is the all-possessing," shall even as the true morn break forth gloriously resplendent upon the horizon of the lover's heart, and abide secure on the throne of wealth.’

(Baha'u'llah, The Persian Hidden Words, No. 51) [Emphasis added.]


“Thou art He, O God, Who hath proclaimed Himself as the Lord of Wealth, and characterized all that serve Him as poor and needy. Even as Thou hast written: "O ye that believe! Ye are but paupers in need of God; but God is the All-Possessing, the All-Praised." Having acknowledged my poverty, and recognized Thy wealth, suffer me not to be deprived of the glory of Thy riches. Thou art, verily, the Supreme Protector, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.”

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, LXVIII, p. 134) [Emphasis added.]


“Place not thy reliance on thy treasures. Put thy whole confidence in the grace of God, thy Lord. Let Him be thy trust in whatever thou doest, and be of them that have submitted themselves to His Will. Let Him be thy helper and enrich thyself with His treasures, for with Him are the treasuries of the heavens and of the earth. He bestoweth them upon whom He will, and from whom He will He withholdeth them. There is none other God but Him, the All-Possessing, the All-Praised. All are but paupers at the door of His mercy; all are helpless before the revelation of His sovereignty, and beseech His favors.”

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, CXIV, pp. 234-35) [Emphasis added.]


Possessor of all things visible and invisible!
[XI]

93) This understanding, that God is the Possessor of all things, is one of the principles that underlies the law of Huququ'llah. Members of the United States Baha'i community may learn more about this by logging into:  american.bahai.us and then selecting the topic 'Huququ'llah' from the Directory on the lower left of the page.

Next: "Lamentation"

The Treasured Symbol (LOP X, Notes 87-91)


Photo by Leonid Rastorguev

He Who hath been manifested is the Hidden Mystery, the Treasured Symbol, through Whom the letters B and E (Be) have been joined and knit together.
[X]

87) "...He Who now speaketh is, in truth, the Well-guarded Treasure, and the Hidden Secret, and the Preserved Tablet, and the Impenetrable Mystery, and the Sealed Book."

(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, p. 286)

‘Shoghi Effendi, in letters written on his behalf, has explained the significance of the "letters B and E". They constitute the word "Be", which, he states, “means the creative Power of God Who through His command causes all things to come into being” and “the power of the Manifestation of God, His great spiritual creative force.”

'The imperative "Be" in the original Arabic is the word "kun", consisting of the two letters "kaf” and "nun". Shoghi Effendi has translated them in the above manner. This word has been used in the Qur'án as God's bidding calling creation into being.'

(The Kitab-i-Aqdas, Notes, p. 247)
Using but a few words, Hand of the Cause of God George Townshend shared an interpretation, in a parenthetical remark--italicized below--that is startling in its insight.
'The Obligatory Prayers imply and declare that the Kingdom of God has come: for instance..."He who hath been manifested is the Hidden Mystery...through Whom the Letters 'B' and 'E' have have been joined and knit together..." (that is, mankind's true existence begins in the New Era).'

(George Townshend, "The Call to God," The Mission of Baha'u'llah and other literary pieces, p. 72) [Emphasis added.]
[October 28, 2012: Please see "Comments" section below!]


Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, paragraph 15: “Say: God hath made My hidden love the key to the Treasure…”

The following passage from The Kitab-i-Aqdas, Notes, pp. 174-76, pertaining to the above verses from both The Aqdas and the Long Obligatory Prayer, provides invaluable substance for study and meditation:

‘There is a well-known Islamic tradition concerning God and His creation:

"I was a Hidden Treasure. I wished to be made known, and thus I called creation into being in order that I might be known."

'References and allusions to this tradition are found throughout the Bahá'í Writings. For example, in one of His prayers, Bahá'u'lláh reveals:

"Lauded be Thy name, O Lord my God! I testify that Thou wast a hidden Treasure wrapped within Thine immemorial Being and an impenetrable Mystery enshrined in Thine own Essence. Wishing to reveal Thyself, Thou didst call into being the Greater and the Lesser Worlds, and didst choose Man above all Thy creatures, and didst make Him a sign of both of these worlds, O Thou Who art our Lord, the Most Compassionate!

"Thou didst raise Him up to occupy Thy throne before all the people of Thy creation. Thou didst enable Him to unravel Thy mysteries, and to shine with the lights of Thine inspiration and Thy Revelation, and to manifest Thy names and Thine attributes. Through Him Thou didst adorn the preamble of the book of Thy creation, O Thou Who art the Ruler of the universe Thou hast fashioned!"

(Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, XXXVIII)


'Likewise, in the Hidden Words, He states:

"O Son of Man! I loved thy creation, hence I created thee. Wherefore, do thou love Me, that I may name thy name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life."

'Abdu'l-Baha, in His commentary on the above-cited tradition, wrote:

"O wayfarer in the path of the Beloved! Know thou that the main purpose of this holy tradition is to make mention of the stages of God's concealment and manifestation within the Embodiments of Truth, They who are the Dawning-places of His All-Glorious Being. For example, before the flame of the undying Fire is lit and manifest, it existeth by itself within itself in the hidden identity of the universal Manifestations, and this is the stage of the "Hidden Treasure". And when the blessed Tree is kindled by itself within itself, and that Divine Fire burneth by its essence within its essence, this is the stage of "I wished to be made known". And when it shineth forth from the Horizon of the universe with infinite Divine Names and Attributes upon the contingent and placeless worlds, this constituteth the emergence of a new and wondrous creation which correspondeth to the stage of "Thus I called creation into being". And when the sanctified souls rend asunder the veils of all earthly attachments and worldly conditions, and hasten to the stage of gazing on the beauty of the Divine Presence and are honoured by recognizing the Manifestation and are able to witness the splendour of God's Most Great Sign in their hearts, then will the purpose of creation, which is the knowledge of Him Who is the Eternal Truth, become manifest."’

The Kitab-i-Aqdas, Notes pp. 174-76


I testify that it is He whose name hath been set down by the Pen of the Most High [X]
88) ‘"Pen of the Most High"...[refers] to Baha'u'llah, illustrating His function as Revealer of the Word of God.’

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, Notes, p. 176)

Who hath been mentioned in the Books of God [X]
89) “He, the divine King, hath proclaimed the undisputed supremacy of the verses of His Book over all things that testify to His truth.”

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 205)

I testify that it is He whose name hath been set down by the Pen of the Most High and Who hath been mentioned in the Books of God [X]

90) This testimony appears to be an acknowledgment of predestination and the inexorable fulfillment of scriptural prophecy.
"This is the promised Land in which He Who is the Revelation of God was destined to be made manifest. This is the Vale of God's unsearchable decree, the snow-white Spot, the Land of unfading splendor. Whatever hath come to pass in this Day hath been foretold in the Scriptures of old."

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, p. 344) [Emphasis added.]

the Lord of the Throne on High and of earth below [X]
91) “…the one true God, alone and single, is established upon His Throne, a Throne which is beyond the reaches of time and space, is sanctified above all utterance or expression, intimation, description and definition, and is exalted beyond all notion of abasement and glory.”

(Baha'u'llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, pp. 110-11)


Next: "Possessor of All Things"

Declarations (LOP IX & X, Notes 81-86)

I testify that Thou hast been sanctified above all attributes and holy above all names. [IX]

81) “For the almighty Lord is He Whom no human comprehension can ever conceive, Whom no earthly knowledge can circumscribe, and Whose Essence none hath ever been or shall ever be able to fathom.”

(Baha'u'llah, quoting “one of the great Prophets,” The Tabernacle of Unity, p. 33)


"Should my bodily tongue ever attempt to describe Thee as the One Whose strength hath ever excelled the strength of the most mighty amongst men, the tongue of my heart would address me, saying: "These are but words which can only be adequate to such things as are of the same likeness and nature as themselves. But He, of a truth, is infinitely exalted above the mention of all His creatures."

(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, p. 214)
See Note 41.


I testify [IX]

82) In declaring, "I testify," one is grounding one's self, affirming one's resolve in the presence of God. The daily recital of an obligatory prayer is crucial to maintaining one’s Baha'i identity. In His great love for us, Baha'u'llah has mandated as spiritual law the imprinting process of annunciating one's faith daily, using the words of God.

Testifying in the Obligatory Prayers
  • “I bear witness” is found in the English translation of all three obligatory prayers.
  • “I testify” is declared four times in the Long Obligatory Prayer, and also “my spirit testifieth to that whereunto Thy chosen Ones have testified.”
  • “I testify” and “I bear witness” are the same word in the original Arabic, and both terms are used in the Long and Short Obligatory Prayers.
  • Every adult Bahá'í declares daily. In addition to testifying and bearing witness, there is acknowledgment:
  • “…Thou hast aided me…to acknowledge that which hath been uttered by the Tongue of Thy Grandeur.”
  • “…and acknowledge that which the inmates of the all-highest Paradise and those who circle round Thy mighty Throne have acknowledged.”
Let him then seat himself and say: [X]

83) "...one of the believers asked the Guardian a question about the correct position for sitting. From the content it seems clear that this question is related to the medium Prayer, but this is not explicitly stated. The Guardian's reply states that sitting on a chair is permissible, but to sit on the floor is preferable and more fitting."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, April 1, 1982)

I testify unto that whereunto have testified all created things [X]
84) ‘Wert thou to incline thine inner ear unto all created things, thou wouldst hear: “The Ancient of Days is come in His great glory!” Everything celebrateth the praise of its Lord. Some have known God and remember Him; others remember Him, yet know Him not. Thus have We set down Our decree in a perspicuous Tablet.’

(Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 47) [Emphasis added.]


‘We pray God to aid the heedless to turn unto Him, and such as have turned aside to direct themselves towards Him, and them that have denied Him to acknowledge this Cause, which, no sooner did it appear than all created things proclaimed: "He that was hidden in the Treasury of Knowledge, and inscribed by the Pen of the Most High in His Books, and His Scriptures, and His Scrolls, and His Tablets, is come!"’

(Baha'u'llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 177) [Emphasis added.]


“Meditate diligently upon the Cause of thy Lord. Strive to know Him through His own Self and not through others. For no one else besides Him can ever profit thee. To this all created things will testify, couldst thou but perceive it.”

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, LXXVI, p. 148) [Emphasis added.]


"Know, verily, that the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, and whose mystery no mind, however acute, can ever hope to unravel. It is the first among all created things to declare the excellence of its Creator, the first to recognize His glory, to cleave to His truth, and to bow down in adoration before Him. If it be faithful to God, it will reflect His light, and will, eventually, return unto Him. If it fail, however, in its allegiance to its Creator, it will become a victim to self and passion, and will, in the end, sink in their depths.”

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, LXXXII, p. 158-59) [Emphasis added.]


“Praised be Thou, O Lord my God! The tongues of all created things testify to Thy sovereignty and Thine omnipotence, and proclaim mine own poverty and my wretchedness when face to face with the revelations of Thy wealth.”

(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations, CLXXIX, p. 301) [Emphasis added.]


“Nay, were man to gaze with the eye of divine and spiritual discernment, he will readily recognize that nothing whatsoever can exist without the revelation of the splendour of God, the ideal King. Consider how all created things eloquently testify to the revelation of that inner Light within them.”

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 140) [Emphasis added.]

the Concourse on high [X]

85)
"concourse 1) A large crowd: THRONG"


Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary


and the inmates of the all-highest Paradise [X]

86) “In this day whosoever attaineth the good pleasure of the one true God, magnified be His glory, shall be remembered and accounted among the inmates of the all-highest Heaven and the most exalted Paradise, and shall partake of its benefits in all the worlds of God. By Him Who is the Desire of all men! The pen is powerless to portray this station or to expound this theme.”

(Baha'u'llah, The Tabernacle of Unity, p. 46) [Emphasis added.]


Next: "The Treasured Symbol"