Monday, December 6, 2010

Paragraph 6

Should you acquaint yourself with the indignities heaped upon the Prophets of God, and apprehend the true causes of the objections voiced by their oppressors, you will surely appreciate the significance of their position. Moreover, the more closely you observe the denials of those who have opposed the Manifestations of the divine attributes, the firmer will be your faith in the Cause of God. Accordingly, a brief mention will be made in this Tablet of divers accounts relative to the Prophets of God, that they may demonstrate the truth that throughout all ages and centuries the Manifestations of power and glory have been subjected to such heinous cruelties that no pen dare describe them. Perchance this may enable a few to cease to be perturbed by the clamour and protestations of the divines and the foolish of this age, and cause them to strengthen their confidence and certainty.

This is the fourth of those four paragraphs that ask us to consider the past when looking at the present day events.

In the first of these four paragraphs, we were reminded that all the divine Messengers were denied when They came. In the second, we were asked to "ponder... and reflect upon that which hath been the cause of such denial..." In the third paragraph, we were asked to "ponder... those holy words" and "examine the wondrous behaviour of the Prophets". In this final paragraph, we are shown both the significance of the position of the unbelievers, as well as how we can achieve the station of certitude.

To start, we are asked to "acquaint (ourselves) with the indignities heaped upon the Prophets of God". Acquaint means to make ourselves familiar with, to inform ourselves. We are being asked, once again, to learn for ourselves, to, as He says in The Hidden Words, "see with (our) own eyes". In fact, it is quite easy to do this, as we all can read the stories of the Messengers.

We are also asked to "apprehend the true causes of the objections", which is different from the stated objections. To apprehend means to understand on a deep level. So if we understand the real reasons that people object, then we will better "appreciate the significance of their position". It should be noted that the word "their" is not capitalized. It seems to refer to those people who are doing the objecting. Doing this, trying to understand the real reasons for their objection, is not as easy to do as reading the stories, because we are being asked to look at the root causes of peoples' actions.

What are the causes of these objections? Later in the Text, Baha'u'llah lists some of them. In paragraph 14, He says petty-mindedness, which leads to arrogance and pride, causes remoteness from God, promotes idle fancies, and encourages people to be blind followers.

Blind followers? We seem to come back to this one a lot, don't we?

We will see that later, in paragraph 15, He talks about lust for leadership and ignorance being two other causes, as well as being content with insignificant things. In paragraph 16, He reiterates ignorance as a root cause.

As we examine all these causes, we get a better understanding of the lamentable station of the people voicing these objections. How pitiable are they? By asking us to consider these points and contemplate the station of those souls, He not only gets us to prevent these objections within our own selves, but at the same time encourages compassion within us. It is very difficult to get angry with someone who is in the unenviable position they have put themselves in. You must, instead, feel very sorry for them.

Then He makes a second point right after that: "the more closely you observe the denials of those who have opposed the Manifestations of the divine attributes, the firmer will be your faith in the Cause of God". Now there is a promise worth noting. If you want to be firm in the Faith, and who doesn't, know that your firmness is directly related to how closely you observe those denials. Why this is, we have no idea, but, based on our own personal experiences, we have found this to be true. Whenever we hear people say bad things about any of the Messengers, we find that our love for Them increases. The more others deny Them, the more we seem to believe in Them. This is still a mystery to us, but is in line with our experience.

These two points mentioned above seem to be indicating another scale, or at least the beginning of one, starting with
  • strong objections
  • and moving toward what seems to be a comparatively mild denial.
If we follow this arrow, it seems to lead us toward complete certainty at the further end. Perhaps He is helping us move in this direction by showing us the starting point, and the direction.

After this, Baha'u'llah begins to tells us where He is going next: "a brief mention" of past Messengers. This, in fact, occupies most of the next hundred pages, or so, showing that "brief" is a relative term.

By pointing out that all these Messengers have suffered hatefully evil tortures, and yet still overcome them will allow those with insight to not be confused in the mind by the loud protests "of the divines and foolish" ones who will arise against Him. We find it very interesting that these two categories, "the divines and foolish", are referring to two different groups of people.

The last clause is also worth noting, as He particularly mentions "confidence and certainty". If we look at the scale mentioned above, it seems that those who are objecting or denying are lacking in those qualities. This seems to be similar to nearly any scientific scale, such as light or heat, starting at zero and moving toward infinity. As this is the Book of Certitude, it only makes sense that He would outline this scale for us and leads us onwards along it.

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