Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Paragraph 35

It is evident and manifest unto every discerning observer that even as the light of the star fadeth before the effulgent splendour of the sun, so doth the luminary of earthly knowledge, of wisdom, and understanding vanish into nothingness when brought face to face with the resplendent glories of the Sun of Truth, the Day-star of divine enlightenment.

What's the difference between evident and manifest? Evident means plain or clear to the sight or understanding, and comes from the Latin ēvidēns, from vidēre to see. Manifest means readily perceived by the eye or the understanding; and comes from Latin manifestus  plain, literally: struck with the hand, from manū  with the hand + -festus  struck. It is interesting to mediate on why Baha'u'llah used both words here.

We won't go into it, for it is good to meditate on the Writings for ourselves, and we too often go into word definitions here.

Instead, we want to look a little bit further into this short paragraph.

It is good to be reminded of that truth in nature, that the stars in the night fade before the rising splendor and brilliance of the sun in the morning. How many of us are actually up at that hour of the day? How many of us get to witness that incredible phenomenon? We ll know it to be true, but how often do we really think about it?

And it is not that the stars are useless, or without merit. They are what guide the ships in the dark of the night. They tell us where we are in the vast cosmos. They are the reminder and the promise of the grand universe that is out there. And yet they fade to nothingness when compared to the sun.

They are tiny points of light, truly minuscule from our perspective, but they are so well positioned that they guide us. Through them we know where to turn.
It is like those great teachers of earthly knowledge, wisdom and understanding. They truly do guide us. But their guidance is as nothing when compared to the guidance that is given to us by the Messengers of God.

If we try to continue to follow the stars during the day, we will become hopelessly lost. That knowledge is useless, for we cannot see the stars any longer. Besides, we no longer need it. We can now follow the sun. Through the light of the sun, we will know where we are going. We will be able to see the full world around us. The stars guide our steps in the darkness, but the sun illumines our way.