Friday, December 23, 2022

Moses and the Green Knight, Julio Savi's explanation of Baha'u'llah's Interpretation

John Taylor, 23 December, 2022

Moses and the Green Knight, Julio Savi's explanation of Baha'u'llah's Interpretation

John Taylor, 23 December, 2022

We discussed the Green Knight, or Khidr, mentioned in the Qur'an in our study class on Baha'u'llah's Tablet of Haykal. Here are some passages from Julio Savi's book on the Seven Valleys of Baha'u'llah, "Towards the Summit of Reality; An Introduction to the Study of the Seven Valleys and Four Valleys of Baha'u'llah," pp. 184-190


The story of Moses is related in Sura 28, the Sura of the Story, as well as in many others. Lambden observes ('Sinaitic Mysteries' 74) that 'Moses is more frequently mentioned in the Qur'an (196 times) than any one of the other messengers or prophets of God'. The Qur'an refers to the same episodes which are mentioned in the Bible (see Exod. 2-14). Commentators and mystics perused these verses and worked out several allegorical explanations, well-known to Sufi readers. While reading them and their interpretations, we should remember that in the Muslim world Moses is much more than the patriarch who rescued the Jews from their Egyptian captivity. He is a Perfect Man, a Manifestation of God's Names and Attributes, a Revealer of the Divine Word, a Messenger of God upon earth.

Sufis refer to a number of fundamental recurrent themes from the story of Moses. Some of these may also be found in the two epistles by Bahá'u'lláh: the white hand, the rod, the announcement 'Thou shalt not see Me' (7:139). Bahá'u'lláh also refers to Moses' Sinaitic experience as spiritual transformation and submission to God.

Moses' white hand (yad-i-bayḍá)

"He stretcheth out the hand of truth (dast-i-haqq) from the sleeve of the Absolute (jayb-i-mutlaq). (SV18; HV109)
“the wayfarer who journeyeth unto God, unto the Crimson Pillar in the snow-white path (manhaju'l-bayda).” (FV58, CV150)
“Wherefore, put thy hand (yad) into thy bosom (jayb), then stretch it forth with power, and behold, thou shalt find it a light unto all the world.” (Qur'an 20:23 and Tradition, quoted in FV62, CV153)

These sentences and metaphors can be more easily understood in the light of the Qur'anic episode to which they refer. As in the Bible (Exod. 4:2-9), the Qur'an relates that, when God assigned to Moses the mission of rescuing the Jews from their Egyptian captivity, He vouchsafed upon Him a thaumaturgic power as a proof of His divine mission.

"... Now, what is that in thy right hand, O Moses?'
Said he, 'It is my staff on which I lean, and with which I beat down leaves for my sheep, and I have other uses for it.'
He said, 'Cast it down, O Moses!'
So he cast it down, and lo! it became a serpent that ran along.

Savi, p. 185

He said, 'Lay hold on it, and fear not: to its former state will we restore it.' Now place thy right hand (yad) to thy arm-pit: it shall come forth white (bayḍá), but unhurt:- another sign! -
That We may shew thee the greatest of our signs
Go to Pharaoh, for he hath burst all bounds.' (20:17-24)

Rúmí writes of this episode:

“The hand of Moses was spreading from his bosom a radiance that surpassed the moon in the sky, Saying (implicitly),
'That which thou wert seeking from the terrible celestial sphere hath uprisen, O Moses, from thy own bosom,
In order that thou mayst know that the lofty heavens are the reflection of the perceptive (rational) faculties of Man.'” (M6:1933-35)

In other words, the hand of Moses became white and shining because His heart (or bosom) had been cleansed and thus could reflect, as a perfect mirror, the light of God.

(note 6: This episode is commented upon by Bausani (Religion in Iran 278): 'The "white hand" is always mentioned in Arabic - the sacred Qur'anic language - and is one of the typical stock images in this lyric poetry that partly substitute our mythological images, just as the great posters in the mosques (on which sacred Arabic names and words are written) replace our figurative icons.)

In the Kitáb-i-ĺqán Bahá'u'lláh describes Moses thus:

“Armed with the rod of celestial dominion, adorned with the white hand of divine knowledge, and proceeding from the Párán of the love of God, and wielding the serpent of power and everlasting majesty, He shone forth from the Sinai of light upon the world.” (KI 11, para. 12)

Bahá'u'lláh refers to Himself the symbols of Moses' white hand and rod. He writes: ... This is Mine hand which God hath turned white for all the worlds to behold. This is My staff; were We to cast it down, it would, of a truth, swallow up all created things" (quoted in GPB 169).

The meaning ascribed to this theme in the Bahá'í Writings seems quite similar to the meaning ascribed to it by the Sufis. The white hand of Moses is His divine knowledge, often defined by Sufis as white magic, which is bound to prevail over the black magic of Sámirí, the sorcerer who instigated the Jews to forge the golden calf. ("Straightness is the quality of Moses' staff; the kinks are the staves of the sorcerers" -Rumi, Signs, p. 9) The former is, in a sense, the capacity of preserving the integrity of intellect so that the spiritual truth of Revelation may be understood through its instrumentality; the latter is the enslavement of the intellect to the concupiscible soul, through which the Revelation is rejected. Nevertheless, as Moses prevailed over Sámirí, so a wholesome intellect will also prevail over an enslaved one.

p. 186

According to Lambden, Moses' 'snow-white "hand" symbolizes the Divine Power which he manifested from the interior "fold" or "bosom" [jayb] of the "cloak" of his nobility' ('Sinaitic Mysteries' 112). He observes that the same symbol is used in the Hidden Words (Arabic 60):

"O Son of Man! Put thy hand into My bosom, that I may rise above thee, radiant and resplendent."

And he remarks (120):

"Bahá'u'lláh exhorts the 'Son of Man' (human beings collectively) to mystically repeat the miracle of Moses' snow-white hand. By putting his 'hand' into the divine 'bosom' (jayb), man may experience the radiant epiphany of God from his own bosom.

'Thou shalt not see Me'
"Veiled from this was Moses
Though all strength and light;
Then thou who hast no wings at all
Attempt not flight." (M1:237, quoted in SV17)

(note 8: Nicholson gives the following translation: 'The imagination of Moses, notwithstanding his (spiritual) illumination and excellence, was screened from (the comprehension of) that (act of Khadir). Do not thou fly without wings.' The preceding verse is quoted in SV26: 'If Khidr did wreck the vessel on the sea, Yet in this wrong there are a thousand rights.")

These verses are inspired by an episode described in the Qur'an (7:139-40):

"And when Moses came at our set time and his Lord spake with him, he said, 'O Lord, shew thyself to me, that I may look upon thee.' He said, 'Thou shalt not see Me; but look towards the mount, and if it abide firm in its place, then shalt thou see Me.' And when God manifested Himself to the mountain he turned it to dust! and Moses fell in a swoon.

And when he came to himself, he said, 'Glory be to thee! To thee do I turn in penitence, and I am the first of them that believe.'"

Bausani remarks: 'This beautiful passage has been often cited by mystics as an example of the Saint who yearns to behold God and by theologians as a proof that the efforts of mystics are vain' ('Introduzione e commento' 552n143). Elsewhere he observes that 'the whole of Persian mystic lyrical poetry is a rebellion against the Qur'anic lan tarānī ("Thou shalt not see me . . ."), an aesthetic realization of the enjoyment of the vision of God in the Idol-Friend' ('Letteratura' 214). Austin says (250) that Ibn al-'Arabí describes Moses as representing 'human commitment and conformity to divine Law, but without the personal power to enforce it'.

Savi, p. 187

In the Seven Valleys, Bahá'u'lláh is seemingly inviting His correspondent to seek the guidance of the Manifestation of God so that he may achieve his long- cherished spiritual goal. If Moses, from His highest station, could not behold God, how can a mere man such as he behold Him! Once again the concept is here emphasized that God in His Essence is absolutely transcendent and unknowable and that human beings must follow the guidance of His Manifestation, the only way open to them in attaining unto such a knowledge of their Creator as is suited to their capacities.

The Sinaitic experience: Spiritual transformation

"When the qualities of the Ancient of Days stood revealed,
The qualities of earthly things did Moses burn away. (M3:1391, quoted in SV36)
(note 9: Nicholson gives the following translation: "When the Attributes of the Eternal have shone forth, then the mantle of temporality is burned.")

This couplet refers to Qur'án 7:139, which Lambden explains in the light of the ideas of Suhravardí. Moses is considered in the Muslim world as 'being archetypal of the advanced mystic'. His Sinaitic experience is thus seen as the prototype of God's revelation (tajalli) to the mystic. Moses' swoon on the occasion of that revelation

“is related to the complete nullification or annihilation (fana') of the qualities of existence, and the attaining of that abiding permanency (baqa') at which th e spiritual being beholds the essence (dhat) of the Eternal God through His Light.”

Mount Sinai is in its turn the symbol of 'the human aspect (nafs) of his existence" (Lambden, "Sinaitic Mysteries' 84).

Bahá'u'lláh may be alluding in this verse to that spiritual condition which all mystics call 'second birth (valádat)' ('Abdu'l-Bahá, SAQ 224, ch.60; Mufávadát 158; see above, pp.70-71, and below, pp. 368, 418).

(note 10: Interestingly, the Persian-Arabic word valádat used by 'Abdu'l-Bahá to denote the 'second birth' comes from walada, "she... brought forth a child, or young one... He begot a child, a young one' (Lane: wid), from which also comes walad, 'a child, son, daughter, youngling, or young one' (Lane: wld, walad). And walad is almost synonymous of tifl, "young one of tender age' (Lane: tfi, fourth stem), the word used by al-Jilání to define his 'babe [tiflu l-ma'ání, lit. child of the spiritual concepts]' (al-Jilání, Secret 11).

A man is born for the first time in the world of nature at the time of his physical birth. He is born for the second time, from the physical to the spiritual world, when he learns how to express the virtues of his soul, which are qualities of the divine world, through his body born in the world of nature. At that time the 'qualities of earthly things' are so to say burnt away and the qualities of the Ancient of Days', i.e. virtues, stand revealed in their stead.

In these words He may also be alluding to the dual station – divine and human — of the Manifestation of God, which He also explains in later Writings as follows:


"The first station, which is related to His innermost reality, representeth Him as One Whose voice is the voice of God Himself. To this testifieth the tradition: 'Manifold station, exemplified by the following verses: 'I am but a man like you' (Qur'an 41:5). except that I am that I am, and He is that He is'.... The second station is the human 'Say, praise be to my Lord! Am I more than a man, an apostle?' (Qur'an 17:95). (Gleanings 66-7, XXVII, para.4)

The Sinaitic experience: Submission to God

"Glory be to Thee! To Thee do I turn in penitence, and I am the first of them that believe." (Qur'an 7:140, quoted in FV64)

These are the words reported by the Qur'an as having been said by Moses after He fainted on Mount Sinai when God showed Himself to him at His request. In the Four Valleys there is an implicit parallel between the words 'When I entrusted this message of love to My pen, it refused the burden, and it swooned away (munşa'igan)' (FV64, CV156) and the Qur'anic words to which the quoted verse refers: 'And when God manifested Himself to the mountain he turned it to dust! And Moses fell in a swoon (şa'igan)' (7:139). This parallel makes the quotation, used to convey the idea of Bahá'u'lláh's deep love for the Shaykh, more pertinent and elegant.


The story of Khidr, also called Khadir, is part of the story of Moses in the Qur'an. The Qur'an says that while Moses was trying to reach 'the confluence of the two seas' (18:59) He met a youth described as 'one of our servants to whom we had vouchsafed our mercy, and whom We had instructed with our knowledge' (18:64).

Moses wanted to learn from him, and asked permission to follow him. The youth agreed, on condition that Moses would be patient and ask no questions, whatever he might do. But during their long journey the youth performed a number of actions which seemed so absurd that Moses could not restrain himself from questioning the reasons. The youth made a hole in the ship they were sailing in, so that it sank; then he killed a lad, with no obvious motive, and finally he repaired 'a wall that was about to fall' without requiring any reward (18:65, 70, 73, 76). Each time Moses asked him the reason for his action but received no answer until the third time. Now the youth demonstrated the hidden knowledge that explained his actions, resulting in beneficial outcomes in the long run (see Qur'an 18:79-81). He then abandoned Moses to himself.

Many legends flourished upon this primal Qur'anic nucleus. The mysterious youth was called Khidr or Khadir (lit. green or glaucous), because he always wore something green, or because he became green when he immersed himself in the

Savi, pp. 189

Water of Life. According to the legends, he succeeded in reaching the inaccessible Water of Life, a green fountain in the Land of Darkness near the meeting place of the two oceans (see Qur'an 18:60-1), and drank it, thus becoming immortal and conquering the role of guardian of that priceless liquid. The legend of Khidr as a green man may have an antecedent in the giant Humbaba, guardian of the cedar forests of Lebanon in the Mesopotamian myth of Gilgamesh (early second millennium BC). It may have epigones in the legend of the Green Knight defeated by the brothers Orson and Valentine at the court of King Peppin in France. Initially the Green Knight of this legend is an evil figure and worships a god named Muhammad, but after his defeat he converts to Christianity and becomes a benevolent figure. After the 11th century the Green Man became a familiar figure in the sculpture of churches. Last but not least, a Green Knight is the most important feature of the Arthurian 14th-century legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Those legends were afterward given esoteric meanings by mystics. Khidr was considered to be a fifth-generation descendant of Noah. He was interpreted either as 'Moses' prophet-initiator' (Corbin, History 101), or as 'the prophet possessing an unusually long life who can initiate men into the Divine Mysteries and corresponds in many ways to Enoch in the Judaeo-Christian tradition (Gen. 5:8-24)' (Nasr, Sufi Essays 58). Khidr has been 'often referred to as "the Jew" and he has been equated in legend with such figures as St George and Elijah' (Shah, The Way 161). Since in this legend, although Moses is a great prophet Himself, He plays the part of the 'disciple' of an even greater Master' (Bausani, Islam 81), some orthodox interpreters maintained this Moses to be 'a Manaxes, a descendant of Jacob, and thus a different person from Moses, the Prophet' (Bausani, 'Introduzione e commento' 588n60). A number of mystics thought that Khidr 'is not someone distinct from "the seeker of the Truth; but that seeker's second self'"' ... Man's "inner voice", a pure voice unsullied by mundane and carnal passions' (Stepaniants, Sufi Wisdom 52, 5). Austin says (250) that in Ibn al-'Arabi's Bezels of Wisdom the relation between Moses and al-Khidr is

"an illustration of the perennial tension between the Sacred Law, represented by Moses and expressing the divine Wish, and the mystic or esoteric knowledge of the gnosis that perceives not only the necessity for and validity of the Law, but also the inescapable validity and necessity of those aspects of cosmic becoming that elude the Law, as also the synthesis of both in the Oneness of Being.”

According to the mystics, the whole story aims at teaching patience and trust in the inscrutable designs of God, whose meaning is often wholly unknown to us and beyond the reach of our limited minds.

In the Bahá'í Writings, Khidr is not intended as a real person but as a metaphor for the spiritual reality of Moses (see 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Tablet to Núshabádí 42). Bahá'u'lláh explains in one of His Tablets that Moses was taught by the divine effulgences of the world of Revelation (tajalliyyát amriyyah) and that these Effulgences are called in the Book of God (Kitáb-i-Ilahi) by the name of Khidr

Savi, p. 190

(see Amr va Khalq 2:201). Bahá'u'lláh also mentions Khidr in His Mathnaviy-i-Mubarak, the longest poem He composed. In this poem He writes:

You are, and your corrupted soul... darkness
God's revelation is your Water of Life
Just pass beyond the darkness of your self;
you'll quaff, always refreshed, the wine of life
Then step into the shade of Soul's own Khezr
that from the realms of darkness you'll be freed
The Khezr of old drank deep, was freed from death
while this new Khezr grants countless founts of life
To all He has bestowed the water of life
To the Sole King, he's sacrificed his soul!
That Khezr through striving finally arrived;
This Khezr at once made fountains flow with life
That Khezr ran after traces of the fount
This Khezr is chased each step by flowing founts.
(quoted in Lewis, 'Bahá'u'lláh's Mathnaviy-i Mubarak' 131-2)

Franklin D. Lewis, the author of this provisional translation of Bahá'u'lláh's Mathnavi, remarks that 'Bahá'u'lláh here calls himself the new Khedr (ibid. 148n50). Many poets have written mystical verses alluding to the Qur'anic episode of Moses and Khidr. Among them, Rúmí expatiates upon it in his Mathnavi, whence the following verse is taken:

"If Khidr did wreck the vessel on the sea,
Yet in this wrong there are a thousand rights.”
(M1:236, quoted in SV26; see above, p.186n8 and below, p.226)

Saturday, November 19, 2022

thap Gems on the Scintillating Crown of Human Happiness

`Abdu'l-Baha's Encomium on Happiness

Saturday, November 19, 2022

thap Gems on the Scintillating Crown of Human Happiness

`Abdu'l-Baha's Encomium on Happiness

Star of the West, Vol. 13, p. 150-153

"Happiness is the scintillating crown of humanity the shining gems of which are the teachings of the past prophets and the principles of his holiness Baha'u'llah."

Although it is not scripture, this quote is significant to me because it points to the fact that the Baha'i principles, my life's work, are meant for our happiness. This prompted me to reproduce the entire thing here, including the following stories about Esmail the Persian Jew was published in the early Baha'i publication, Star of the West, here: 

Since for some reason this diary is not available online now, I will reproduce it all here. It mentions asphodels, so here is the definition of the word:

asphodel ăs′fə-dĕl″ noun. Any of several chiefly Mediterranean plants of the genera Asphodeline and Asphodelus, having linear leaves and elongate clusters of white, pink, or yellow flowers.

Any of several other plants, such as the bog asphodel.

In Greek poetry and mythology, the flowers of Hades and the dead, sacred to Persephone. 


During his sojourn in Palestine with the Center of the Covenant, Abdul Baha, while the Great War was raging all over the world.


The carriage was waiting for us at the foot of the mountain. We entered it and started on our way. The road was so muddy and slushy that the wheels sank up to their spokes. In the carriage there was a Persian Jew by the name of Esmael who had been a friend of the Master's for forty years. He is an orthodox Jew with a strong faith in prophecy, believing firmly that the Messiah will appear in two years. He knows a great deal about the Baha'i Revelation and has met Baha Ollah. Several times he promised the Master that if the Messiah did not appear at such and such a date he would leave Jewish traditions. But on the grounds that his reckonings were wrong each time he changed the date. Now he swears that this will be the last date and in two years his promised Messiah will appear and will make all the people Jews.

Since our arrival in the Holy Land the Master has seen him many times and helps him always. He is an old man with a thin, white beard and he has been in Acca and Haifa for forty two years. Yesterday he came to Abou Senan and this morning the Beloved took him back.

"Now tell me, Esmael," the Master said, "while patting him gently on back and cheeks, art thou sure that the Messiah will appear in two years? If he does not appear at that time wilt thou continue to believe in the Talmud and the Rabbinical lore? Several times thou hast covenanted with me, and every time thou hast broken the compact. This must be the very last time; otherwise I will punish thee." Esmael pledged his word that this would be the last time and that he was sure, very sure, that the Promised One would appear in 1916. Then the Master spoke about the Mohammedan and Christian calendars, the prophetic dates mentioned in the Book of Daniel, the scattering of the Jews at the time of Titus, and the destruction of Jerusalem. Then he asked me to read aloud, for the benefit of Esmael, the articles published in "Servati Founun," especially the translation of his address in the Jewish Synagogue in San Francisco.

As we neared Acca he related some funny stories of his experiences in Tiberias in former years.

"Esmael" he said at last, "through the power of God I have been able to prove the divine station of Christ to thousands of Jews in America. What can I do with thee? They are the real Israel. They are free from prejudice. But thou art different."

When we reached Acca we were glad to find ourselves once more under the sheltering roof of the home of Baha' Ollah. When `Abdul Baha entered his room he sat quietly on his divan and said: 

"Ah! We escaped from Abou Senan, did we not? Although the weather there was dry and delightful, I did not feel at home. In His room, the room of the Blessed Perfection, I feel happy and composed. Nowhere else do I feel so joyous and happy as in this room. Here, here I realize the peace of the spirit!"

Luncheon was served and Esmael and I found ourselves at the table. The Master said: "Hast thou read Vahye Kouchek' (the little revelation)? It contains many prophesies concerning events in Acca. It is a wonderful book. Mirza Yagoub, who was a good Jewish Baha'i brought it to me. If you can get this hook you will enjoy its contents."

Esmael did not eat the food cooked by the Baha'is so the Master with his supreme attention to all details had ordered a dish suitable to his taste. "We let everyone enjoy freedom of conscience." He said. "We have no prejudice."



The Master often tells us stories abort the misers of different countries. Here is one of them:

Once upon a time there was a merchant in the city of Balsora. His name was Reza Although he was very wealthy he was the most closefisted, narrow-hearted man that ever lived in his town. For avarice and penuriousness he had become a proverb among his countrymen. Through his stinginess he made his family suffer hunger and starvation.

In his office he had a clerk to whom he paid a very small salary. This clerk had a large family and though he practised the greatest economy he could not make both ends meet. Often he dreamed of a raise in salary, but in vain. At last an idea flashed into his mind and gave him hope that surely there would be a raise soon. There was but one more week before New Year's day and the poor clerk thought that if he gave a present to his master he would undoubtedly reciprocate and increase his salary.

Hence, on that very day he went to the market, bought the head of a sheep, cooked it in his oven and carried it on a tray to the house of his master. The week passed without any sign and finally, on New Year's day he called at the house of the merchant to wish him happiness. He was most hopeful, and anticipated a bright future.

When he entered the room the merchant greeted him effusively. This made him more hopeful still,

"I thank you very heartily," the master said to his clerk. "for the gift you sent to our house. It saved us a great deal of expense, I assure you. We have been feasting on it for the past week. The first day we ate the ears; the second day, the eyes; the third day, the skin of the head; the fourth day, the tongue; the fifth day, the meat; the sixth day we cleaned the bones and on the seventh day we ate the brains.

The clerk was so disgusted with this exhibition of stinginess that he left him, and left the town, and sought his fortune elsewhere. After traveling for several years and acquiring experience as well as riches he returned to his native city and opened a business of his own. One day as he was walking through the main street his attention was attracted by a most palatial residence. He peeped through the gate and beheld a most beautiful garden. He finally inquired from one of the many servants lounging about whose house this was.

Art thou a stranger?" they asked.

Not exactly."

Well, how is it that thou dost not know that this is the house of Kareem, the son of Reza?"

"Oh," gasped the former clerk, "what the father hoarded the son is spending!" and disappeared through the crowd.



This morning Abdul Baha called us into his room. Esmael, the Jew, was also present. The Master was in a jovial mood and asked Esmael whether bread, tea and olives were "Kosher." He replied, "They are Kosher."

"Art then thyself Kosher or Taref?" `Abdul Baha asked him pleasantly.

"I hope I am Kosher. I wish good to everyone. I am not seeking to harm any soul. If a man curse me or beat me I still like him. I am living according to the religion of my father. If these things constitute the condition of being Kosher, then I am Kosher."

Well said. replied the Master, "I know thou art sincere in the profession of thy religion and that is the reason why I love thee so much."

Esmael replied: "I know one thing. Any moment I am ready to sacrifice my life for the Master. For the last forty two years you have ever been kind to me and on several occasions have saved my life. This has nothing to do with faith. This is love. I declare by Jehovah, if you ask me at this very moment I will die for you gladly, knowing well that I have won the good pleasure of Abraham, Jacob and Moses."

Then the Master asked Esmael: "How old was Moses?''

"One hundred and twenty years," he replied. "But the patriarchs, such as Noah and others lived many hundreds of years."

The Master said: "The age of those ancient prophets as recorded in the Old Testament is symbolic. It has a spiritual interpretation. Wert thou informed of the science of anatomy thou wouldst realize that this human mechanism and these material organs cannot last more than one hundred and twenty years."

Esmael inquired: "Where is the seat of thought?

The Master replied: "It is generally understood that the seat of thought, consciousness and volition is in the brain. The brain is the organ of the intellect and understanding. The heart also plays a part through the central nervous system. Thus the activities of the brain and the heart by means of afferent and efferent nerve fibers are linked together. Figuratively speaking, the brain is like a mirror. When it is turned toward any object, whether in the east or in the west, that object will immediately be reflected on its surface and consciousness is realized. In the world of dreams consciousness is awake and works uninterruptedly."

Come, come, friends, the Master said, as we waited at the threshold. "Let us talk tonight of the old times." He asked me what news I had. I told him I had heard that Badi Effendi's school in Abou Senan had increased in numbers and that it was no more my room but a Baha'i school. He laughed and said: "What dost thou want with a room of stone and clay? I have prepared for thee glorious rooms the walls, the roofs, the floors, and the furniture of which are of pure deeds and immortal virtues." Therein thou shalt abide forever. Badi Effendi is a capable, efficient teacher and loves the children. He is striving in service and wishes to perfect the work which he undertakes. Perfection of work is man's greatest reward. When a man sees his work perfected and this perfection is the result of incessant labor and application he is the happiest man in the world. Work is the source of human happiness.

About two hours before sunrise I was called from my bed by one of the two Baha'is who spent the night here in the house. The Master was up; the samovar was boiling and tea was prepared for our delectation. It was thirst for the spiritual tea which awakened me and I dressed hurriedly and made my way through the darkness to the other house.

I opened the door of the blessed room and entered unannounced. The Master was sitting in his accustomed place on the divan in the corner next to the window.

Only a candle was burning on the opposite table which was strewn over with books. There was a pause and a stillness and the dim light added to the mystery and the magic of those sacred moments.

`Abdul Baha's eyes were closed, his white beard shone; over his countenance was spread the calm of the deep. His spotless white turban towered above his head and as I looked I beheld his silvery locks flowing beautifully over his broad shoulders.

Out of the unutterable stillness the voice of the Beloved of the hearts was heard.

Happiness is the ambrosia of the spirit and the nectar of the souls. It confers on man the boon of immortality and the gift of spiritual vision. Happiness is the morning star guiding the wandering to the perennial abode of the blessed. Happiness is the crystalline river flowing from the heavenly mountains through the paradise of the mind and causing to grow upon its banks the imperishable ideals of humanity. Happiness is the cherubim of the Almighty which inspires mankind to perform feats of self -sacrifice and deeds of disinterested philanthropy. Happiness is the melodiously singing nightingale which transforms the darkened world of sorrow into the gleaming realm of celestial beatitude. Happiness is the surging ocean in the depths of which the diver finds the pearls of resignation and the corals of renunciation. Happiness is the Elysium wherein grow the asphodels of goodwill and the amaranths of forgiveness. Happiness is the heaven of God, the blue fields of which are studded with the bright rolling orbs of satisfaction and the fixed stars of contentment. Happiness is the scintillating crown of humanity the shining gems of which are the teachings of the past prophets and the principles of his holiness Baha'u'llah.

“The happiness of man is not dependent upon outward things such as riches, ornaments and clothes. It is, however dependent upon the susceptibilities of the heart and the attitude of the mind.''