Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Paragraph 136

Were the verse “And verily Our host shall conquer” to be literally interpreted, it is evident that it would in no wise be applicable to the chosen Ones of God and His hosts, inasmuch as Husayn, whose heroism was manifest as the sun, crushed and subjugated, quaffed at last the cup of martyrdom in Karbilá, the land of Táff. Similarly, the sacred verse “Fain would they put out God’s light with their mouths: But God hath willed to perfect His light, albeit the infidels abhor it.” Were it to be literally interpreted it would never correspond with the truth. For in every age the light of God hath, to outward seeming, been quenched by the peoples of the earth, and the Lamps of God extinguished by them. How then could the ascendancy of the sovereignty of these Lamps be explained? What could the potency of God’s will to “perfect His light” signify? As hath already been witnessed, so great was the enmity of the infidels, that none of these divine Luminaries ever found a place for shelter, or tasted of the cup of tranquillity. So heavily were they oppressed, that the least of men inflicted upon these Essences of being whatsoever he listed. These sufferings have been observed and measured by the people. How, therefore, can such people be capable of understanding and expounding these words of God, these verses of everlasting glory?

This paragraph is the second of six that talks about the Imam Husayn. It's interesting because it continue the discussion about sovereignty, and how it isn't the literal sovereignty that many people thought.

One question we could ask is why Baha'u'llah is spending so much time talking about the Imam Husayn. A possible answer we could give would be that Baha'u'llah is seen as his return, but we think there is a far more plausible answer: He is writing this for the uncle of the Bab. This uncle, as you well know by now, was a devout Shi'ite Muslim. He revered the Imam Husayn and saw him as a paragon of virtue. He was, and still is, held in the highest regard by the Shi'ites. If He were talking to a Catholic, you can well imagine that He would have used Saint Peter as His example. If He were speaking to a Jew, He might have used Aaron as His example. We don't know, but we can presume that He would have used someone that they would highly regard.

On the surface we can see this as a rebuttal of how we traditionally interpret Scripture, namely the awaiting of a literal fulfillment of these prophecies, but really, Baha'u'llah already does this so well that we don't feel we need to go into it any further.

Instead, what we want to consider is how Bah'u'llah does this. Remember, this incredible text can be seen as a model for how we are to teach the Faith.

The main problem here is that the question the uncle asked had to do with a presumptive understanding that the sovereignty spoken of in the Qur'an had to be an earthly, literal sovereignty. Baha'u'llah has to correct him of this misunderstanding before He can go on.

To do this, He is looking at a few quotes that the uncle would have been familiar with, and is showing how they cannot possibly be seen as literal.

Back in paragraph 134, He chose three quotes, and is now repeating two of them. He is not taking new quotes, but using the ones He just quoted. He is even quoting them again in the same order He previously used. This undoubtedly makes it easier for the uncle to follow.

He is also alluding to the Bab, when He says "in every age the light of God hath, to outward seeming, been quenched..." After all, this was another one of the points that confused the uncle. If the Bab really was a Manifestation, how is it that, at the time of this writing, His Faith seemed to be on the verge of extinction?

So really, this applies to us, too. After all, when Husayn was martyred, it looked as if the Shi'ite line was going to go extinct. When Baha'u'llah wrote this book, it seemed as if the Babi Faith was also on the verge of extinction. Both of them, though, were kept alive and vibrant by those followers who kept their eye on the teachings, and continued to spread their beliefs. They survived because the staunch followers were not down-heartened by their seeming lack of success. They were not dismayed by the loss of a few leaves on the tree of their faith, but recognized that this is just a natural part of the growth cycle.

Similarly, we, too, can continue to look forward, seeing the signs of growth where they appear, and continue to work towards the spread of this religion of ours. We may notice various setbacks at times, but can trust that, like the religions of the past, we will grow past them.

After all, remember what Baha'u'llah has continually told us throughout this book? "Consider the past." Isn't that what He is doing? When we consider the past, and reflect on what we already know, we will clearly see that their interpretation does not conform with what we know has happened in history.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Paragraph 135

Were the idle contention of these foolish and despicable souls to be true, they would have none other alternative than to reject all these holy utterances and heavenly allusions. For no warrior could be found on earth more excellent and nearer to God than Husayn, son of ‘Alí, so peerless and incomparable was he. “There was none to equal or to match him in the world.” Yet, thou must have heard what befell him. “God’s malison on the head of the people of tyranny!”
Ah yes, another short paragraph. These are usually the most difficult to write about, but not because there is so little there, but rather because they are so jam-packed.

To start, we have to ask the question, "Which idle contention?"

To get an idea, we have to go back a paragraph, to the end of 134. Baha'u'llah has just quoted 3 verses. “And verily Our host shall conquer.” “Fain would they put out God’s light with their mouths: But God hath willed to perfect His light, albeit the infidels abhor it.” “He is the Dominant, above all things.”

Looking at these quotes, and the idea mentioned in paragraph 133, that these quotes must refer to a physical reality instead of a spiritual one, Baha'ullah is pointing out the absurd contradiction to history. If these quotes were supposed to be earthly, instead of spiritual, then how could the religious leaders explain Imam Husayn? He sure didn't conquer. He was defeated at Karbila. Dominant? Nope. He was defeated in battle.

But these leaders recognize the authority of so noble a figure as Husayn, son of Ali, and therefore recognize the spiritual nature of his victory.

Now, the question is how does this apply to us? Well, to us it demonstrates how we can respond to any objection raised against the Faith.

When the religious leaders said that the Bab could not be a Manifestation, they said that He would have to demonstrate earthly sovereignty. Ok, we could reply, how did Husayn show earthly sovereignty?

In fact, the same objection could be, and has been, raised by some Christians. "When Jesus returns, He will be sovereign over the whole earth."

This was the same objection raised against Jesus in His own lifetime. How do they answer this? "He had a spiritual sovereignty."

So did Husayn. So did the Bab. So does Baha'u'llah.

Any objection raised can be turned back upon the objector. Whatever defense they offer can also be offered in this instance.

Whatever objection they present was likely also presented against their own Founder.

Baha'u'llah points out that there must be a consistency of argument. Whatever works for one must work for all.

At no point have any of the Messengers been interested in the authority and power of this world. They have always worked towards the spiritual, striving in every Dispensation to draw our attention upwards, from this earthly plane towards the spiritual worlds of God.

At the very end of this paragraph, He curses the "people of tyranny". Why? Because, like all curses, it is a natural result of their own behaviour. These leaders, these "people of tyranny", are doing all they can to move our vision back down to the earthly plane, which is the very antithesis of these teachings. We know that when our vision is turned towards the heavens, we reflect the light of God, but when we turn our vision to those things of the dust, we reflect that lifeless dust, instead. By being so focused on the physical, so distant from the spiritual, they are forcing themselves to do nothing more than reflect the lifeless dust of this world. Can we imagine a greater curse than this?

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Paragraph 134

Know, therefore, O questioning seeker, that earthly sovereignty is of no worth, nor will it ever be, in the eyes of God and His chosen Ones. Moreover, if ascendency and dominion be interpreted to mean earthly supremacy and temporal power, how impossible will it be for thee to explain these verses: “And verily Our host shall conquer.” “Fain would they put out God’s light with their mouths: But God hath willed to perfect His light, albeit the infidels abhor it.” “He is the Dominant, above all things.” Similarly, most of the Qur’án testifieth to this truth.
Here, it would be so easy to continue to talk about how the earthly sovereignty is worthless, but this is what Baha'u'llah is already doing. We could continue to talk about how these quotes are obviously not referring to "earthly supremacy and temporal power", but again, this is so obvious from the context here.

Instead, we would like to look at the three quotes He has chosen to use here: "Our host shall conquer"; "God hath willed to perfect His light"; and "He is the Dominant".

The first is in the future perfect tense, giving us a promise of something that will happen, without question. The second quote seems to explain how, showing that it is through this perfecting of His light. The last one is a reminder that this is what we have always seen in the other religions, their dominance.

So while we can rest assured in the promise, and the example from the past, our primary concern is the how. How will God perfect His light? What does it mean for God to "perfect His light"? And how would the people be able to put it out "with their mouths"?

To get a better idea of this, we decided to look at a few other quotes.

The first one that came to mind was "A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning, it is the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding..."

You see, for God to perfect His light, He uses the tools at hand, namely the followers of the new religion. This is how it was done in the past, and we can presume, given what we have been reading in this book, that this will be His method in the present day.

In fact, there is a marvelous passage from 'Abdu'l-Baha in which He says, "The purpose of the appearance of the Manifestations of God is the training of the people. That is the only result of Their mission, the real outcome. The outcome of the whole life of Jesus was the training of eleven disciples and two women. Why did He suffer troubles, ordeals and calamities? For the training of these few followers. That was the result of His life. The product of the life of Christ was not the churches but the illumined souls of those who believed in Him. Afterward, they spread His teachings."

Given that we seem to be the ones who have the responsibility for passing on these teachings, it seems that we are also instrumental in passing on this light. How do we do it?

Looking at the quote, the one about the lodestone, it seems we are given a bit of a clue. A lodestone, as you know, is a magnet, and so speaking with kindness, quite simply, is attractive. Well, given our experience, that just makes sense. We react far more positively to those that speak kindly than to those that speak harshly. It's the old "attracting flies with honey, as opposed to vinegar" motif, but with more spiritual importance.

In fact, looking at the quote, we realize that when someone speaks harshly, we are less likely to even bother listening to them. And so a kindly tongue really does clothe the words with meaning. After all, if we do not listen to the other person, then their actual words are truly meaningless.

But "the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding"? Again if we talk about the teaching of Baha'u'llah with a kindly tongue, ensuring that we do all we can to be as gracious and gentle as possible, then the person is far more willing to listen, and to listen closely. We can easily imagine our words as a fountain, to which others can approach and from which they can drink. If we fill our words with Baha'u'llah's teachings, then they end up drinking that divine draught.

It is through this teaching that the light of God's message penetrates more and more hearts.

In the Hidden Words, revealed around the same time as this book, Baha'u'llah writes, "Thou art My lamp and My light is in thee. Get thou from it thy radiance and seek none other than Me. For I have created thee rich and have bountifully shed My favor upon thee." And so we get a better understanding of the nature of this light, and its relation to us.

Honestly, though we can find hundreds more quotes on this theme, if not more, but we don't want to bury you, dear Reader, in too many. Instead, let us look at the best example of this process in action that we can think of: Baha'u'llah's revelation of this very book.

When we consider how this book came to be revealed, can we imagine a better example of a kindly tongue perfecting the light of God in another's heart?

And honestly, it is only through the changing of the heart that God's light becomes dominant.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Paragraph 133

And now, ponder this in thine heart: Were sovereignty to mean earthly sovereignty and worldly dominion, were it to imply the subjection and external allegiance of all the peoples and kindreds of the earth—whereby His loved ones should be exalted and be made to live in peace, and His enemies be abased and tormented—such form of sovereignty would not be true of God Himself, the Source of all dominion, Whose majesty and power all things testify. For, dost thou not witness how the generality of mankind is under the sway of His enemies? Have they not all turned away from the path of His good-pleasure? Have they not done that which He hath forbidden, and left undone, nay repudiated and opposed, those things which He hath commanded? Have not His friends ever been the victims of the tyranny of His foes? All these things are more obvious than even the splendour of the noon-tide sun.

"And now..." Here He is implying that He is moving onto a new section, a new thought. And at the very beginning He is asking us to "ponder". Whenever we see this word, or any of its synonyms, such as "meditate" or "consider", we take it very seriously. We have seen, as you will no doubt recall, in Part 1 of this book that every time He tells us to do this, it is so that we can begin to get a deeper understanding of some difficult truth that will become the foundation of what is to come.

So what is happening here? What is it that we are to ponder? And why?

Before we go onto those questions, we want to take a look back at paragraph 102, that first paragraph of Part 2.

You will recall that He talks about "He Who is the Day-star of Truth and Revealer of the Supreme Being" and His "undisputed sovereignty over all that is in heaven and on earth, though no man be found on earth to obey Him." Over the past 30 paragraphs, He has helped us redefine our understanding of this "sovereignty". He has carefully moved us away from an earthly understanding, which naturally would lead to God's loved ones being exalted and living in peace, and towards this more accurate understanding of this spiritual sovereignty that He does wield.

When we look at the past, we can see that no Manifestation has had this life of ease that the people imagine, nor have the early followers found lives of peace. The early Christians did not expect to get a warm reception when they delivered the Message. They expected to be crucified.

In the latter part of paragraph 102, Baha'u'llah talks about how we may be able to"soar on the wings of renunciation to those heights that are veiled from the eyes of men." This, we feel, is the key to understanding the rest of Part 2, this renunciation. From here on out, He is going to direct our attention to the tests and trials that the early believers have faced in other religious traditions, namely Islam, since He is addressing the uncle of the Bab. And then, from there, He will direct our gaze towards the early Babi heroes, whom we will be encouraged to emulate.

But, if we have a poor understanding of this sovereignty, it all stops here. For if we expect a life of ease and comfort, we will never make the necessary sacrifices needed to transform the planet and all the peoples on it. It is like the Buddha said to His disciples when He sent them out to teach. "What if they ignore you?" "Then we will be glad that they have not harmed us." "Well, what if they harm you?" "Then we will be glad that they do not imprison us." "What if they throw you in prison?" "We will be glad they do not kill us." "And what if they kill you?" "Then we will be glad to die as martyrs, for what is greater than to die for the glory of God?"

And so, Baha'u'llah gives us these questions to ponder.

He points out, very logically, that if we actually believe that God is the earthly sovereign of this planet, then that would mean that we would all be following and obeying His laws. Clearly, this is not the case. When we look at God's laws, no matter which religion we examine, we will find that the majority of the people on earth are clearly not following this guidance. Wherever we turn, we can easily see that the people are not obeying His laws. In fact, in most areas, the majority are acting contrary to the guidance in the sacred Books of the world.

Doesn't this get us to sit up and think? Pay attention? Do we not, when pondering this, ask ourselves if we are acting according to God's teachings? Or are we acting like most people, being greedy and self-centred?

He ties all this to the stories of the heroes of both Islam and the Babi religion, encouraging the friends to arise, in His day, to the same degree of self-sacrifice. Similarly, today, we are encouraged to use these very same stories of those heroes of the Faith, those Dawn-Breakers, to encourage those around us to their own great feats of service. The stories are wonderful, but if they do not motivate us to serve today, then they are nothing more than mere history. And if they do not encourage us to arise in our own turn, then they are, also, no more than mere stories. It is our reaction to them, our own willingness to strive to emulate their greatness, that give the stories of the heroes the meaning that will last through the ages.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Paragraph 132

This is but one of the meanings of the spiritual sovereignty which We have set forth in accordance with the capacity and receptiveness of the people. For He, the Mover of all beings, that glorified Countenance, is the source of such potencies as neither this wronged One can reveal, nor this unworthy people comprehend. Immensely exalted is He above men’s praise of His sovereignty; glorified is He beyond that which they attribute unto Him!

The first question we have is "What is one of the meanings?" Well, if we look back at the previous paragraph, He has said that the sovereignty alluded to here is the power of the Word of God. This is so much more powerful than any earthly sovereignty, which is was the uncle of the Bab was wondering about.

The next point that catches our attention is the fact that this is only "one of the meanings". We are reminded of Part 1, in which Baha'u'llah spent so much time discussing the myriad meanings in Matthew 24. Obviously, He could do the same here. He can give us meaning upon meaning, writing many volumes all on the meaning and interpretation of this single word, sovereignty.

But that leads us to the next point: He is only going as far as is "in accordance with the capacity and receptiveness of the people". This reminds us very much of what He just said in paragraph 114, that the sacred Word "revealeth itself to the world in direct proportion to its capacity and spiritual receptiveness". That is, it is only revealed as much as we are able to bear it. This also brings us back to Jesus, in John 16:12, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now."

Perhaps that is part of the joys of trying to study the infinite: you can never get it all. No matter how much we praise Him, no matter how exalted we think He is, we are guaranteed to fall short.

By the way, it is also interesting to note that this concept of sovereignty is alluded to in the very beginning of the book, in the introductory invocation: "In the Name of our Lord, the Exalted, the Most High". The very title, "Lord", is an allusion to that absolute sovereignty, while even the attributes of exalted and most high are doomed to fall short of His true exaltation and... high-ness? Sure. We'll go with that.

Given that any attempt at a description is destined to fall short, that He is so far beyond anything that we can attribute to Him, how can we even begin to approach any study of Him? Well, if we look back at the very beginning of the book, we will see that a posture of humility is key. We must be detached from anything we know, not forget it, but not be so attached that we are not willing to hear a new perspective. With this stance, we allow ourselves to be open to this new perspective given to us by the Manifestation.

And you know what? It also works in our daily life. As soon as we close ourselves off to a new perspective, we are no longer able to learn. When we no longer are learning, we are moving backwards, for nothing in the world remains in stasis. So this concept of detachment, so pivotal in Part 1, really does come into play here, too.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Paragraph 131

To resume: Our purpose in setting forth these truths hath been to demonstrate the sovereignty of Him Who is the King of kings. Be fair: Is this sovereignty which, through the utterance of one Word, hath manifested such pervading influence, ascendancy, and awful majesty, is this sovereignty superior, or is the worldly dominion of these kings of the earth who, despite their solicitude for their subjects and their help of the poor, are assured only of an outward and fleeting allegiance, while in the hearts of men they inspire neither affection nor respect? Hath not that sovereignty, through the potency of one word, subdued, quickened, and revitalized the whole world? What! Can the lowly dust compare with Him Who is the Lord of Lords? What tongue dare utter the immensity of difference that lieth between them? Nay, all comparison falleth short in attaining the hallowed sanctuary of His sovereignty. Were man to reflect, he would surely perceive that even the servant of His threshold ruleth over all created things! This hath already been witnessed, and will in future be made manifest.
"To resume". Our hearts leap when we read this phrase. Baha'u'llah, through His grace and bounty, is helping us grasp His outline here. He is reminding us of where this is all leading. And this is really wonderful, for by this point we had actually forgotten. It is so good that He reminds us.

So, why was He writing all that He has written in these past couple dozen paragraphs? It has been to to demonstrate Bab's sovereignty.

As we mentioned earlier, the overarching theme of this entire half of the book is summed up in the word "sovereignty", as far as we can tell. He first mentions it here in paragraph 102, that first paragraph of Part 2 - He holds, for all time, "undisputed sovereignty over all that is in heaven and on earth, though no man be found on earth to obey Him." He brings it up again in 109 and 110 as one of many attributes the Manifestation of God has. In 113, He looks at the question asked by the uncle about why this sovereignty has not been made manifest in the Bab. Baha'u'llah then proceeds to explain that it is manifest similarly as it was in Muhammad. If we examine the Qur'an we can clearly see that this sovereignty was not manifest outwardly in His life, but is very evident today. If we understand how it was manifested during Muhammad's time, we can see that the same sovereignty is expressed today in the Bab. And this, in short, brings us up to where we are right now.

Here, though, He refocuses the question. The uncle was clearly asking about the earthly sovereignty of kings and rulers, and wondering why the Bab did not demonstrate this. Baha'u'llah reminds him of the true nature of Muhammad's sovereignty, which he clearly recognizes, and asks which is superior. Is the earthly sovereignty superior to the spiritual? Of course not. The spiritual is always more important than the material.

Interestingly enough in this particular paragraph He uses phrases like "King of kings" and "Lord of lords". Why? Why does He use them here? The uncle, like most of us, naturally thinks of the king when he thinks of a sovereign, and has naturally placed the Bab at that level. Why, he is wondering, is the Bab not ruling like a king? Baha'u'llah is reminding us of these phrases, which we are all familiar with, even outside of Handel's Messiah, and that the king of a country, no matter how lofty that throne may be, is only at one level. The Manifestation of God is at a much higher level of sovereignty.

This awareness of the many levels of sovereignty make us think of others, too, such as the throne of our heart, and being sovereign in our own life. It reminds us that even at the level of our own actions, we have to continually remember that the spiritual is always more important than the physical. In other words, we have to act with integrity or truthfulness, trustworthiness and compassion, and not sacrifice these qualities to, say, get a promotion at work.

Another aspect of this paragraph is His graciousness towards the rulers mentioned here. He presumes that they are showing "solicitude for their subjects" and providing "help of the poor". Here He is reminding them of what it is they should be doing. It is as if He is saying "Well, of course they're doing this", and hoping that they arise to do it. But, He also reminds them that this does not inspire "affection or respect". In the political realm, any allegiance is likely only fleeting and outward, not deep and sincere. This should not stop them from doing what is right and just. It should not affect the bounties that they pour out upon their subjects. It's a beautiful reminder, and we can learn from this. Not only should we always do what is right and just, but we should presume the best of others, too, in the hope that they will arise to that station.

Finally, one last point that caught our attention. "Reflect", He says. Over and over this word, or a synonym, comes up, and it usually arises when there is an important point to consider. Here, He is telling us to specifically reflect on "the servant of His threshold", and his station. Well, as soon as we see this phrase, we are immediately put in mind of 'Abdu'l-Baha. Now, if we reflect on the Master, and consider what signs He had already shown in His life when Baha'u'llah was writing this, we can clearly see that He was already showing great signs. It has "already been witnessed". The stories of His childhood abound and show the greatness to which He would rise. Baha'u'llah also mentions that this station "will in future be made manifest". And that, dear Reader, sure feels prophetic.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Paragraph 130

Thou dost witness today how, notwithstanding the radiant splendour of the Sun of divine knowledge, all the people, whether high or low, have clung to the ways of those abject manifestations of the Prince of Darkness. They continually appeal to them for aid in unraveling the intricacies of their Faith, and, owing to lack of knowledge, they make such replies as can in no wise damage their fame and fortune. It is evident that these souls, vile and miserable as the beetle itself, have had no portion of the musk-laden breeze of eternity, and have never entered the Ridván of heavenly delight. How, therefore, can they impart unto others the imperishable fragrance of holiness? Such is their way, and such will it remain for ever. Only those will attain to the knowledge of the Word of God that have turned unto Him, and repudiated the manifestations of Satan. Thus God hath reaffirmed the law of the day of His Revelation, and inscribed it with the pen of power upon the mystic Tablet hidden beneath the veil of celestial glory. Wert thou to heed these words, wert thou to ponder their outward and inner meaning in thy heart, thou wouldst seize the significance of all the abstruse problems which, in this day, have become insuperable barriers between men and the knowledge of the Day of Judgment. Then wilt thou have no more questions to perplex thee. We fain would hope that, God willing, thou wilt not return, deprived and still athirst, from the shores of the ocean of divine mercy, nor come back destitute from the imperishable Sanctuary of thy heart’s desire. Let it now be seen what thy search and endeavours will achieve.

This paragraph still falls under the section in which Baha'u'llah is describing true sovereignty, and how it applies to the Bab. It is the last paragraph in the sub-section in which He describes the meaning of the terms "life", "death", "resurrection", and the like. Therefore this paragraph can be seen, in a sense, as a summary of the preceding paragraphs.

Like we have seen in Part 1, there are clues that lead us to this conclusion. You may recall how often Baha'u'llah used the words "ponder", "reflect", and "meditate" in Part 1, usually after He had given us a particularly difficult or new concept to consider. Here He encourages us, again, to "ponder" these words, paying careful attention to "their outward and inner meaning in (our) heart".

He also brings us back to the very beginning of this book, with the mention of "the shores of the ocean".

So, to us, He seems to be indicating that this new understanding of the Day of Judgment is deep and can be troubling for some, and therefore He gives us ample time to reflect on it. Once we understand what He is saying, though, then we will "have no more questions" to perplex us. We will have attained the "shores of the ocean of true understanding", and even the "Sanctuary of our heart's desire", that tabernacle which has "been raised in the firmament of the Bayan". But that's not the end of it. Now, He says, let's see what we're going to do about it. He is projecting us forward. Up until this point, it has all been about the search, but now He is helping us see past this and asking what we will achieve once we recognize.

But going back to the beginning of this paragraph, let's look at His warning. He is reminding us that so many are clinging to the clergy, "those abject manifestations of the Prince of Darkness". They ask these "learned" people to explain things to them, but they cannot. They don't have the knowledge, and are too concerned about their reputation or wealth. How, He wonders, can such people teach others about God? In fact, He goes further and points out that only those people who repudiate such teachers will be able to understand the Word of God. It is as if we have to recognize this false station of knowledge and deny it if we hope to understand the truth. We have to, in a sense, be able to tell the difference between the stench of egotism and the beauty of humility.

In fact, when we look back at paragraph 6, "the more closely we observe the denials... the firmer will be (our) faith in the Cause of God." Here, in paragraph 130, we are told to closely examine the denials of today.

Now, what does all this have to do with sovereignty? Well, if we consider what He has said in the past few paragraphs, we will see that the uncle of the Bab was trying to see how sovereignty, as defined by the Mullas of his day, applied to his Nephew. Quite simply, it didn't, because the definition was a false one. To demonstrate this, Baha'u'llah has shown, using the Qu'ran, how we have misunderstood other terms relating to the Day of Judgment, such as "life", "death", "resurrection" and the like. He has shown how even the people of Muhammad's time misunderstood these terms. We can therefore conclude that we have likely misunderstood the term "sovereignty", as He will demonstrate over the next few paragraphs.

Finally, one last little thing caught our attention: Baha'u'llah does not use the word "haply" in describing the results of our search. Previously, He had often stressed the "luck factor", if you will. So much was dependent on the Will of God. If we go back to paragraph 1 again, we will see that if we sanctify our soul, then, with luck, we might attain this shore. Why? Perhaps because there are good people in all faiths. It is only with luck that we will find the Messenger of God for today by sanctifying our soul. Here, though, Baha'u'llah is pointing out the extreme egotism of the Mullas of His day, and if we merely look for it, we cannot help but see it. There is no luck involved, just unbiased observation. And if we carefully consider His words, we will clearly see that they are acting exactly as the religious leaders of the past did when they denied the other Messengers.