Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Paragraph 83

Gracious God! Notwithstanding the warning which, in marvelously symbolic language and subtle allusions, hath been uttered in days past, and which was intended to awaken the peoples of the world and to prevent them from being deprived of their share of the billowing ocean of God’s grace, yet such things as have already been witnessed have come to pass! Reference to these things hath also been made in the Qur’├ín, as witnessed by this verse: “What can such expect but that God should come down to them overshadowed with clouds?” A number of the divines, who hold firmly to the letter of the Word of God, have come to regard this verse as one of the signs of that expected resurrection which is born of their idle fancy. This, notwithstanding the fact that similar references have been made in most of the heavenly Books, and have been recorded in all the passages connected with the signs of the coming Manifestation.

This is the tenth of those twelve paragraphs that look 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."

After the heavy weight of the previous few paragraphs, in which He talks about those dark clouds, paragraphs laden with so much symbolism and direct warnings, we actually thought that this paragraph might be something of a decrescendo. We came to it thinking that we might actually get a bit of a breather and have to really struggle to find something in it worth talking about.

Initially, we thought to mention a little bit about those things that "have come to pass", such as the martyrdom of the Bab and the slaughter of over 20,000 Babis, which the uncle to whom this was written was no doubt aware. But then we decided against it, thinking that this is not really meant to be a history lesson. Besides, we're sure that you are already aware of it.

Then, out of nowhere, we noticed the phrase "the billowing ocean", and immediately were reminded of the very first sentence: "No man shall attain the shores of the ocean of true understanding except he be detached from all that is in heaven and on earth."

As if in response to this, we noticed the phrase "idle fancy" and were reminded of the second paragraph, in which Baha'u'llah says that those who want to tread the path of faith must cleanse "their ears from idle talk, their minds from vain imaginings, their hearts from worldly affections, their eyes from that which perisheth."

This reminded us of something that happened just last week.

A friend of ours was looking at the beginning of this book, reading those opening paragraphs, and thinking about our methodology of looking for patterns. She noticed that there was a pattern there that we had missed. Now that's really not that difficult, for there is undoubtedly a lot that we have missed, but it was still very confirming. She pointed out that Baha'u'llah moves us from our ears to our mind, to our heart and then on to our eyes. She observed that we listen to those around us. We take in what they say, and think about their point of view. This effects our mind, and can even change it. From there, our mind effects our heart. And the state of our heart directly impacts how we perceive the world around us.

All of a sudden, we saw how directly this related to the paragraph here.

In the Qur'an, Muhammad says that God will come down overshadowed with clouds. What else would we expect? But then there are those divines who have their own notion of what the Promised One will look like, how He will come, and Baha'u'llah says that this is merely their own idle fancy. Idle means that it has no basis in reality and is useless. Fancy means that they are really attracted to it. When you are attracted to something, attached to it, you feel threatened when someone tries to take it away. And here, what they are attracted to is actually useless.

The Messenger of God comes along and, in a sense, takes away their frivolous idea, supplanting it with something that is both useful and effective, and they get angry.

Now, in relation to paragraph 2, these divines talk about their own belief. Their followers listen and they believe the divines. They, too, become attached to these ideas, and their hearts are effected. When they see someone come along who believes otherwise, they attack them.

Remember, you can only see someone as an enemy if you believe that they are trying to take something you have. By being "detached from all that is in heaven and on earth", you can no longer see anyone as an enemy.

This is a crucial concept for searching for the truth. It is an essential element for consultation. And it is an important ingredient for world peace.

And all of this is but one of the elements of the teachings of Baha'u'llah.

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