Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Paragraph 103

The significance and essential purpose underlying these words is to reveal and demonstrate unto the pure in heart and the sanctified in spirit that they Who are the Luminaries of truth and the Mirrors reflecting the light of divine Unity, in whatever age and cycle they are sent down from their invisible habitations of ancient glory unto this world, to educate the souls of men and endue with grace all created things, are invariably endowed with an all-compelling power, and invested with invincible sovereignty. For these hidden Gems, these concealed and invisible Treasures, in themselves manifest and vindicate the reality of these holy words: “Verily God doeth whatsoever He willeth, and ordaineth whatsoever He pleaseth.”

Once again, we can be very grateful to Baha'u'llah for explaining to us what it is that He has just said. This paragraph, like paragraph 2, offers us His own explanation of the paragraph just before it. Like paragraph 2, since it is already a summary, it is difficult for us to further sum it up. And so, as before, we will just do a bit of analysis of it.

To start, "significance" means "important quality" and the "essential purpose" is "the necessary intention and objective". So, the most important thing we can get out of the previous paragraph is that these Messengers have "an all-compelling power" and "invincible sovereignty". However, we should also remember that "no man be found on earth to obey Him".

Why would this be? And why is it so important that He state it here, at the very beginning of Part 2? Well, of course, we're not really sure, but we think that it may be because by this point in the book the uncle of the Bab has already recognized his Nephew. And yet, he still has some very important questions. For example, if the Bab is a divine Messenger, of which there is no doubt, then why aren't people obeying His commands? Well, "God doeth whatsoever He willeth". People will obey, but not just yet.

Most of the time, they do not obey because they can't. Take, for example, the idea that women and men are equal. The early Babis, and the early Baha'is for that matter, likely accepted this as true, but given their cultural milieu, they were not able to act upon it. And many of the laws in the Kitab-i-Aqdas are also reliant upon a whole social structure being put into place for them to work. That social network just isn't there yet. Most of the time, we want to obey, but are unable to. Pilgrimage, as another example, is supposed to include the House of the Bab in Shiraz, as well as the House of Baha'u'llah in Baghdad, but given the current circumstances, we cannot do this.

In short, He is correct: nobody can be found to obey Him.

Everything Baha'u'llah says here is basically just fact: "they are sent down... to educate the souls of men". They are endowed with this power, and invested with this sovereignty, even though we, at this time, may not see it.

At this point, though, we are left wondering about all of this, and what we can do to further look at this paragraph. Is it just a simple statement of fact? That hardly seems worthy.

If we look back at part 1, after Baha'u'llah talks about the importance of detachment, He goes right into the idea of "consider the past". What if we apply that here?

Well, the first thing we notice is that we can readily see the manifest sovereignty of Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, the Buddha, and all the other great Teachers that have been sent down throughout history. Perhaps Baha'u'llah is reminding us not to look at the current state of His religion, or that of the Bab, but remember that all Religions started off without any seeming power or authority.

From here, as we can see from our outline, Baha'u'llah will begin this part of the book by looking at how the Manifestations reveal what we understand about God, and then move into explaining more about this concept of sovereignty.

Here, He uses the phrase "in whatever age and cycle they are sent down", reminding us of what He told us way back in Part 1, when He went through the story of a number of different Manifestations. This has always been the way of God, He seems to be saying remember the other stories, and see how similar it is to what we are witnessing today.

In fact, if we keep our eyes open and really look at what was happening at that time, then we can readily see how much more potency there was in the Bab's Revelation by the very stories that this uncle would undoubtedly know. Those stories that we read in the Dawn-Breakers were stories of people he actually knew. When he would look at it through the lens of what Baha'u'llah is saying here, then he would get a better idea of the incredible station of his Nephew.

And this touches upon us today.

When we look at how far the Faith has come in such a short time, and compare it to where the other Faiths were less than two centuries after their founding, then we get a far better appreciation of the potency of this Faith of ours.

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