Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Promised Kingdom, II

Second part of the first half of “The Promised Kingdom”

By John Taylor; 2007 June 20

 First, here is a random note on a footnote to a Tablet of Baha’u’llah. When I ran across the following footnote I was reminded of a popular song,

“Muhammad Javad-i-Qazvini, upon whom Bahá'u'lláh bestowed the title Ismu'llahi'l-Jud (The Name of God, Bounty). He transcribed numerous Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh during His Ministry, but subsequently broke the Covenant.” (See God Passes By pages 247 and 319, Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 74)

This Arabic word, Jud, bounty of God, is a divinely given title of a fellow who made it really bad. This offers to my silly mind an alternative interpretation to one of Paul McCartney’s most popular tunes, “Hey Jude.” I read somewhere that McCartney originally wrote the song to comfort the distress of the young Julian Lennon, whose parents were going through a divorce at the time, but it could also describe the process of making darkness out of light as a covenant breaker destroys the Jud, the bounty of God, the essence of his own faith. The song goes: “Don’t make it bad, take a sad song, and make it better... Remember to let her under your skin then you can begin to make it better.  Don’t be afraid, you were made to go out and get her. It’s a fool who plays it cool by making the world a little colder. … You have found her, now go and get her. … You are waiting for someone to perform with…” Truly our unity in the Cause is a bounty, Jud, and we have the choice of accepting God’s bounty, or, with every bad thought, of making it worse.

Anyway, it is extremely tedious work, I must say, transcribing this talk while at the same time making up reproductions of Bill Sears’ felt-board graphics in the new, but extremely annoying and clumsy graphical tool, PowerPoint. But I hung in there and did it for Anon, who offered the encouraging words that you will find at the end of yesterday’s Badi Blog entry. The PowerPoint graphical version of this talk I still have not figured out how to share with you. I am considering opening up a new blog on Vox, which makes multimedia blogging easier to do. But since that is also a social networking site, I might make that blog a more public one, with entries designed for teaching the Faith. In that case, this talk, designed for the internal consumption of Baha’is, would not be appropriate.  

I do not know if I will finish the entire talk, but here is the second half of the first half of his talk anyway.

The Promised Kingdom, Part Ib

Titles of Baha’u’llah. He points at “Abdu’l-Baha,” The Beloved Master had many titles too, Mystery of God, Center of the Covenant… Now I know what you are saying to yourself, Bill is not saying enough about Baha’u’llah, no, nor nearly enough about the Master, Abdu’l-Baha; do you not think I know that? You know, as I was preparing this presentation I sat and I wept, not for what I had to put into it but for what I had to leave out. But there is one thing that I can do, I can summarize who the Master was and who Baha’u’llah was in two short paragraphs from World Order.

"He it is," referring to Himself He further proclaims, "Who in the Old Testament hath been named Jehovah, Who in the Gospel hath been designated as the Spirit of Truth, and in the Qur'án acclaimed as the Great Announcement." "But for Him no Divine Messenger would have been invested with the robe of prophethood, nor would any of the sacred scriptures have been revealed. To this bear witness all created things." (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 103)

'Behold ye that dwell on earth, and ye denizens of heaven, bear witness, He in truth is your Well-Beloved. He it is Whose like the world of creation hath not seen, He Whose ravishing beauty hath delighted the eye of God, the Ordainer, the All-Powerful, the Incomparable!'" (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, 104)

And just one short paragraph about the beloved Master:

He is, and should for all time be regarded, first and foremost, as the Center and Pivot of Bahá'u'lláh's peerless and all-enfolding Covenant, His most exalted handiwork, the stainless Mirror of His light, the perfect Exemplar of His teachings, the unerring Interpreter of His Word, the embodiment of every Bahá'í ideal, the incarnation of every Bahá'í virtue, the Most Mighty Branch sprung from the Ancient Root, the Limb of the Law of God, the Being "round Whom all names revolve," the Mainspring of the Oneness of Humanity, the Ensign of the Most Great Peace, the Moon of the Central Orb of this most holy Dispensation -- styles and titles that are implicit and find their truest, their highest and fairest expression in the magic name 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He is, above and beyond these appellations, the "Mystery of God" -- an expression by which Bahá'u'lláh Himself has chosen to designate Him, and which, while it does not by any means justify us to assign to Him the station of Prophethood, indicates how in the person of 'Abdu'l-Bahá the incompatible characteristics of a human nature and superhuman knowledge and perfection have been blended and are completely harmonized. (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 134)

I think that is enough to say about the Master … I hate it when I cannot say all of the things we should say about the Master. All of this bounty, this is all ours, free and without a price.

I love this part.

Pointing to the words “The Bab” on the chart, Bill Sears places by it the number six:

Of course you know that the Bab wrote for six years with His own pen. Yes, and Jesus wrote in the sand on the shores of Caesarea [Galilee?], we do not know what He wrote, the water came and it was washed away, but with His tongue what he said was so holy, so beautiful, the great outpouring from God that raised up this great Christian civilization to whom you are now teaching. And of course, Muhammad dictated the Qu’ran … none of Them wrote their Revelations from God with their own hand.

But the Bab wrote with His own hand for six years, and Baha’u’llah wrote for forty years …

– Bill Sears places a 40 next to “Baha’u’llah” on the chart, then places “40 + 6 = 46” between them.

That makes no less than forty six successive years of written revelation from two Manifestations of God! It is so staggering that nobody can conceive of its greatness.

- places a 29 next to “Abdu’l-Baha on the chart.

The beloved master then gave us twenty nine years explaining what the Bab and Baha meant during their forty six years of new revelation. If we just had the six years of writing from the Bab we would have the greatest religion that ever existed! We would not need any more…

-  places a 75 next to all three names

Well we have more, forty six years of revelation, twenty nine years of interpretation -- that makes seventy-five years of outpouring, of divine, infallible guidance from God! Can you imagine that? It is no wonder that Baha’u’llah said that we should recite these holy verses both in the morning and in the evening, right? We have to immerse ourselves in this mighty ocean, and as we do that we come to understand who we are. We are supposed to be a better person, a finer human being; that is the purpose of [Their] Coming. The Baha’i Faith did not come to raise up the Baha’i Faith but to raise up the Christ promised Kingdom on earth … so that the elect and the chosen could find the right way, so that then we could become better people.  Dip into His ocean and take out the pearls, that is the secret of the whole thing.

You know, the Guardian was appointed as the interpreter of the Bab and Baha’u’llah’s Revelation, as was Abdu’l-Baha.  Bill Sears then unveils a new chart:

Chart Two; The Administrative Order


(on the left side)





International Teaching Center



Auxiliary Board




(on the right side)

Universal House of Justice


National Assembly


Local Assembly


He then places a “36” below “Guardian” on the above chart. He continues:

For thirty six years the Guardian told us what the Bab, Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha had meant; so to put all this in proper perspective, we got forty six years of revelation, then (he places “29 + 36 = 65” to the right of “Guardian”) after that we get sixty five years of interpretation. No wonder Ezekiel and Daniel fell to the ground, numb, when given a glimpse of God at the River Jaber, almost exactly where Baha’u’llah commenced His Mission, in that valley. And the Guardian said, if we knew Who Baha’u’llah was, and if we knew who *we* really were … just because we are Baha’is struggling to be finer human beings, to be numbered among the elect and the chosen, not to be among those who are called, everybody is called, but to be among those who are chosen, and we have that great blessing.

Now we see, if I may bring it all to its essence, (he takes away the other numbers and places a new one “46 + 65 = 111”) we have forty-six years of written revelation plus sixty five years of interpretation, that totals one hundred and eleven years, over a century of written, infallible guidance for mankind, Baha’u’llah, we know, wrote over a hundred volumes Himself, so you see who you are, and what we can do for the Cause of God!

He then takes all away but the number “111”

I will leave that number up there to remind us how incredible, how impossibly great it all is.

He then points to “Universal House of Justice”

And, Baha’u’llah said, in addition to that, the UHJ would legislate upon all things not revealed in the book, to keep the Cause of God in the forefront of all movements throughout all the ages; and they could change something that did not fit. And everything that they decided by majority vote would be just as binding as the holy Word itself. Is that not just simply incredible?

(JET: I cannot resist mentioning what I just came across in Book IV of Rousseau’s Social Contract: “There may be a thousand eventualities which the lawgiver has not foreseen, and it is a very necessary part of foresight to know that one cannot foresee everything.”)

Sometimes I think we forget how wonderful we are. The beloved Guardian brought it home to me when I was on pilgrimage and said that we would fall down to the ground numb if we had the faintest glimmering of how great we really were. Well that is what the House of Justice has before they start to legislate, one hundred and eleven years of infallible guidance.

I get overwhelmed myself, but I told you it was tremendous, didn’t I?

So, we are going to have a brief intermission now, so that you can pray and meditate and ACT! And do something that is going to startle the English speaking world, I hope, I want to express my love and appreciation for what you have already done for the wonderful Cause of ours. I hope you are enjoying this new view of the fund, for this way is important, see? It is good for both teaching and contributions, they both go together. They touch our innermost beings. And after all Shoghi Effendi and the UHJ have made it abundantly clear that upon this vast increase in new believers will depend our success in everything. I mean the problem of the fund will be eliminated forever when we have that vast increase in new believers; but they will all have to have that same spirit that we are talking about here. Shoghi Effendi said that we should drown our troubles in an ocean of new believers. That is what we are trying to do.

One last thing, the word voluntary. To me that is one of the sweetest and most spiritual words in our Faith. Voluntary does not mean, you know, that you will or you won’t contribute! It means when, how much and for what. It means that you can voluntarily choose which kingdom you are going to live in, are you going to live in the Christ promised kingdom of God on earth, Baha’u’llah’s building. Are you going to live in that building? Or are you still caught up? Are you going to live in the kingdom of God not-on-earth? You know, the world of excessive materialism. Christ said, seek ye the kingdom first, the kingdom of God, and all else will be added unto you.  He did not say seek ye all else and the kingdom of God will be added unto you. But you know, that is how the world behaves, doesn’t it? As though that was the whole thing, we made to be seeking that. Sometimes it even touches us, we have to be careful not to let that attitude creep in, to avoid materialism like the plague – Baha’u’llah said that. Then money becomes something quite different.

The world is focusing not on what God wants but on what man wants. Shoghi Effendi said that the fund is the lifeblood of the Faith, the heart of it all. The activity that would result in the spiritual conquest of the planet, you know transform us all into the Kingdom of God on earth. But a heart that has no blood, that is a corpse, right? You might as well bury it. As Christ said, let the dead bury their dead. A heart is supposed to pump, right? It is true that sometimes ours beats like in Ravel’s Bolero, I don’t know if you have heard it, you know, bum, bumpety bum, bum, you cannot depend on what is going to come next, see? It is regularly irregular. Sometimes it resembles cardiac arrest… what we need is (bangs fist hard into hand) bump, bump, bump, go, go, always, constantly, never interrupted, on a never interrupted basis.

So, dear friends, no matter how successful you are in this world, without the kingdom of God you are going to enter the next world a spiritual pauper. If you are living these days serving the Kingdom of God you are already a spiritual millionaire. I do not think billionaire is too strong a word. Not for sixty or seventy or eighty years on this planet here but for eternity, for ever, that is what voluntary means. And when you hear the Word wherever you are, I hope you will applaud (claps hands) because it can keep you in the cause of God. Well, the best is yet to come, or did I say that already? Well, I will see you after the intermission.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a priceless service you are rendering the Baha'i community and especially those friends, that like yourself had the inestimable bounty of absorbing the superlative love affair that unfolded throughout the life of the beloved Hand of the Cause of God and His cherished Faith.

Thank you for your "volunteering" yeoman service.

Sincerely from Cape Breton,
Will Naylor.