Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Paragraph 71

Likewise, ere the beauty of Muhammad was unveiled, the signs of the visible heaven were made manifest. As to the signs of the invisible heaven, there appeared four men who successively announced unto the people the joyful tidings of the rise of that divine Luminary. Ruz-bih, later named Salman, was honoured by being in their service. As the end of one of these approached, he would send Ruz-bih unto the other, until the fourth who, feeling his death to be nigh, addressed Ruz-bih saying: "O Ruz-bih! when thou hast taken up my body and buried it, go to Hijaz for there the Day-star of Muhammad will arise. Happy art thou, for thou shalt behold His face!"

This is a different type of story than the previous paragraphs. Baha'u'llah began with a simple note that a herald appeared who announced Abraham. Then He told us of a sage who brought tidings of joy, consolation and assurance before Moses. He told us a fair bit, in comparison, about John the Baptist. Here, He tells us virtually nothing about the harbingers for Muhammad, but instead relates to us the story of their servant. It is sort of a second-hand account. These harbingers rise in importance because it is their servant, Ruz-bih, who takes centre-stage. These harbingers are so important that even their servant is worthy of note.

For us, growing up in North America, we were not aware of Ruz-bih and his life, so this paragraph encouraged us to learn more. After all, Baha'u'llah continually exhorts us to "consider the past". This does not only refer to what we already know, but can also mean that we should learn about those stories from the past in cultures other than our own.

What we learned was that Ruz-Bih was a descendant of King Manuchehr, and was living in Isfahan. One day his father sent him to give a message to some farmers in the area. On the way, he stopped at a Christian church and became so enamored of Jesus that he forgot to deliver the message. His father, of course, kind of freaked out over this and sent for a Christian priest to learn more about its origins. He was told that it came from Sham, in modern day Syria. Ruz-bih eventually left Isfahan and traveled to Sham, going into service with one of the leading Christian priests there. This priest, who had a very good reputation, told him that after his passing, Ruz-bih should go serve another priest in Mosul. From there he was sent to serve two other Christian priests in Nasibin and Ammorieh. This last priest told him to go to Hijaz and await the Promised One, giving him signs to look for. He met Muhammad, became a close follower, and became known as Salman-i-Farsi.

Baha'u'llah is talking about a man who is not a messenger, nor a prophet, in any way. He was ardently seeking and ended up finding the new Messenger. He was also Persian. Perhaps He is alluding to the possibilities of what the Uncle of the Bab can do if he perseveres in his quest, and by extension all of us.

Another little oddity that caught our attention was the very name "Ruz-bih". His name seems to mean either "by day" or "to day". For us, this seems to indicate the fact that he was living in a Day of God, the actual time when a Manifestation was walking the earth. Not only that, but he recognized Him during His lifetime. That's pretty incredible. Ruz-bih wasn't living in the past, looking only to the past for the signs of God. He was living ultimately in the present, in the now, today. And because of this, he was able to discover Muhammad.

We, too, have the incredible bounty of being able to recognize Baha'u'llah at the very early days of His Dispensation. And that's incredible, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment