Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Paragraph 111

Yea, inasmuch as the peoples of the world have failed to seek from the luminous and crystal Springs of divine knowledge the inner meaning of God's holy words, they therefore have languished, stricken and sore athirst, in the vale of idle fancy and waywardness. They have strayed far from the fresh and thirst-subduing waters, and gathered round the salt that burneth bitterly. Concerning them, the Dove of Eternity hath spoken: "And if they see the path of righteousness, they will not take it for their path; but if they see the path of error, for their path will they take it. This, because they treated Our signs as lies, and were heedless of them."

Paragraph 8 of 9 in this section regarding how we can only know God through His Messengers.

As we began to talk about this paragraph, we found ourselves talking a lot about interfaith, and looking at the sacred Writings and teachings of all faiths through the lens of Baha'u'llah's teachings. In other words, when we looked at the ideas that He teaches regarding unity, we found ourselves looking at the various teachings in other faiths through this lens of asking ourselves how such and such a teaching leads us towards unity. Of course, you can do this with any faith and their essential teachings. A Christian might well ask how Baha'u'llah's teachings regarding the harmony of science and religion lead us to a greater understanding of love. In the end, we found ourselves asking more and more why people would stray from such a path. Why would someone in the desert wander away from the fresh water?

But the more we talked about this, the less we saw what we could write here.

Then we noticed an interesting phrase that Baha'u'llah uses. He doesn't say that they have strayed from this path. He says, "They have strayed far from the fresh and thirst-subduing waters..." We, as some of the people of the world, have strayed from this life-giving water around which we were gathered. We were actually there, not merely on a path to it.

After all, if we look around today, how many speak of the love of Jesus, but attack their neighbour if they believe differently? How many preach the beauty and the wisdom of Muhammad, yet treat those who are different with no mercy. No matter where we look, we can see people admiring a religion that is truly worthy of admiration, yet acting quite contrary to its fundamental teachings.

Part 1 was about the inner meaning of God's holy words, but if we ignore these ideas, then those holy words are not satisfying. Here, Baha'u'llah speaks plain. He doesn't say we need hydration; He says that we are thirsty. We have been in the desert, wandering lost, searching for the promised land.

Why would someone in the desert wander away from the fresh water? While it may seem puzzling, it makes sense if they are led astray by a mirage. By going after this illusion, they have lost their way. When you are in the desert, this is easier than it seems. And here is Baha'u'llah trying to guide us back.