Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Paragraph 52

In like manner, reflect how the elevated heavens of the Dispensations of the past have, in the right hand of power, been folded together, how the heavens of divine Revelation have been raised by the command of God, and been adorned by the sun, the moon, and stars of His wondrous commandments. Such are the mysteries of the Word of God, which have been unveiled and made manifest, that haply thou mayest apprehend the morning light of divine guidance, mayest quench, by the power of reliance and renunciation, the lamp of idle fancy, of vain imaginings, of hesitation, and doubt, and mayest kindle, in the inmost chamber of thine heart, the new-born light of divine knowledge and certitude.

"In like manner..." Just in case we didn't catch it, that's a clue that we're moving on to something new. "...(R)eflect..." Ok. That's doesn't seem like anything new. (Not that this is bad. After all, how many times are we told to reflect and ponder in this book? It's pivotal.)

But here we are, continuing the examination of "the heavens". In the previous paragraphs, Baha'u'llah has talked about many meanings of the words earth and heaven. Here the focus is more on heaven, and how it refers to the Dispensations of the past. He reminds us of the previous meanings He used for the sun, the moon and the stars, again turning our thoughts back to what we already know and, presumably, agree with.

It's interesting, isn't it, how often He does this. When the Guardian told us that we needed to be thoroughly conversant with the methods and arguments in this book, if we wanted to be effective teachers of the Cause, perhaps this is one of the methods he was referring to.

What stands out for us in this paragraph, though, is the reference to the lamp. Here, Baha'u'llah seems to be alluding to the fact that we use a lamp in the evening, when all is dark in the world. But, if we have seen the sun shine during the day, we would never mistake the lamp for the sun. In fact, in the morning, when the sun has risen, we turn off the lamp and use the far more powerful light of the sun.

Now, He says, we need to stop using the feeble light of our ideas that were useful in the night season and begin to use the light of the true sun, risen through His Revelation. He also reminds us that this true light can ignite a fire in our heart, the seat of God within us.

This paragraph, with its very simple beauty, really touched us. It reminded us of the intimacy implied with the phrase "the inmost chamber of thy heart", almost like the bedroom of our inner being, reserved for only that deepest love of our lives. And that even there, so deep within, we still have the lamp of idle fancy burning and need to quench it and replace it with the bright light of the sun.

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