Friday, November 14, 2014

Paragraph 75

In the utterances of the divine Luminaries the term "heaven" hath been applied to many and divers things; such as the "heaven of Command," the "heaven of Will," the "heaven of the divine Purpose," the "heaven of divine Knowledge," the "heaven of Certitude," the "heaven of Utterance," the "heaven of Revelation," the "heaven of Concealment," and the like. In every instance, He hath given the term "heaven" a special meaning, the significance of which is revealed to none save those that have been initiated into the divine mysteries, and have drunk from the chalice of immortal life. For example, He saith: "The heaven hath sustenance for you, and it containeth that which you are promised;" (Qur'an 51:22) whereas it is the earth that yieldeth such sustenance. Likewise, it hath been said: "The names come down from heaven;" whereas they proceed out of the mouth of men. Wert thou to cleanse the mirror of thy heart from the dust of malice, thou wouldst apprehend the meaning of the symbolic terms revealed by the all-embracing Word of God made manifest in every Dispensation, and wouldst discover the mysteries of divine knowledge. Not, however, until thou consumest with the flame of utter detachment those veils of idle learning, that are current amongst men, canst thou behold the resplendent morn of true knowledge.

This is the second of 12 paragraphs looking at the phrase "And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." And here, as you can see, Baha'u'llah is specifically looking at the word "heaven". He did this earlier, back in paragraph 46, and is, in a sense, reminding us that there are many layers of meaning in every word of sacred Text. This is a theme He returns to over and over again. Whenever we think we know what sacred Text means, He seems to be saying that we must remain detached from that and be open to even more layers of understanding.

Also, like usual, nothing He does is random. Even the various quotes regarding the word "heaven" seem to have a path. There is the command, with the will to get whatever is commanded done. As we proceed on achieving this, we begin to discover the purpose, which leads us to knowledge. With knowledge, we gain in certitude. From there we can begin to use our utterance to teach the Revelation, which comes from God alone, Who is concealed behind many veils. With every instance of a list in this book, we have seen that there is a path, if we only look for it. (How was that for connecting it to the next line?)

Over and over again He reminds us that if we take the literal meaning of all these phrases, it really doesn't make any sense. He encourages us to use our mind, to be rational, to investigate these things for ourselves. And most importantly, He encourages us to be open-minded, to not let the veils of our education get in the way of seeing the truth.

But then, as usual, He says something that makes us say, "That's odd." He uses the word "malice". He says that if we cleanse our heart from "malice", then we will understand these terms.

Why malice? Malice is an ill-will, or the intention or desire to commit an unlawful act. It seems kind of a strange pre-requisite. But is it? Baha'u'llah says that "malice is a grievous malady which depriveth man from recognizing the Great Being, and debarreth him from the splendors of the sun of certitude." This whole book is all about certitude, so it makes sense that He would be very concerned in this context about it. In the Hidden Words, He says, "Purge thy heart from malice and, innocent of envy, enter the divine court of holiness." This links malice to envy, which is an ill-will. Envy is when you desire an attribute of someone else, or a possession of theirs. If we have even the least trace of envy in our heart, that trace will explode beyond belief in the presence of a Messenger of God. How numerous are the stories of those who were envious of Baha'u'llah and did all they could to tear Him down? Just look at the utter depravity of Mirza Yahya and how he did all he could to try and supplant Baha'u'llah and take over control of the Babi faith. You can even look back at Jesus with the Pharisees. They, too, were obviously jealous of His wisdom and knowledge.

So, once we have cleansed the mirror of our heart from any trace of envy, or other sort of malice, then we have the chance of seeing these things clearly. We won't be blinded by our emotional or egotistical response. With detachment, that very important attribute which is the theme running through all of Part 1 of this book, we can then begin to approach and recognize true knowledge, as opposed to that knowledge which is the product of man's fancy.

Oh, but wait! How can we tell the difference? That, my friend, is in paragraph 76.

No comments:

Post a Comment