Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Paragraph 44

O my brother! Take thou the step of the spirit, so that, swift as the twinkling of an eye, thou mayest flash through the wilds of remoteness and bereavement, attain the Ridvan of everlasting reunion, and in one breath commune with the heavenly Spirits. For with human feet thou canst never hope to traverse these immeasurable distances, nor attain thy goal. Peace be upon him whom the light of truth guideth unto all truth, and who, in the name of God, standeth in the path of His Cause, upon the shore of true understanding.

In the previous paragraph we were asked Who sent down the Book of Moses, and it is obviously the same God that sent down the Qur'an. Now we are being asked to take the next step.

This leads us very cleanly into the next section of the Iqan, a whole pile of paragraphs that begin to refer to the Manifestations Themselves. He has already referred to the sun and the moon as the clergy, but now He moves us into a more positive image.

This paragraph is also laden with imagery of speed, as well as optical references.

Now, let's begin by remembering where we are. All of this section, the whole shebang, is all about that one passage from Matthew 24, in which Jesus says, "the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven". Baha'u'llah, as you can imagine, gives us many interpretations of this one phrase. He has already described how it can represent the various religions, the laws, or many other aspects of faith, but now He is getting ready to introduce us to the idea that this may also (Spoiler Alert) refer to the Manifestations of God.

So once again we're at a transition point in the text, and this paragraph can be seen like a launch pad.

He reminds us that this is a spiritual path we are walking, and that it can be traversed very swiftly. And yet, even though we often think we can achieve reunion, particularly at that time, by going on Pilgrimage, He feels it important enough to re-iterate the fact that it is a spiritual path. We cannot attain our goal with our physical feet. The distances involved, although surpassable in a flash, are immeasurable in distance.

And finally, He brings us back to the beginning of the Book by reminding us, again, like a kind and loving teacher, of that shore of the ocean of true understanding.

So, without further ado, let's cross this point and go on to the next paragraph, keeping firmly in mind that this is a spiritual undertaking, and is fundamentally mystical in its core.

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