Tablet of the Holy Mariner

On the occasion of Naw-Rúz* 1863, Bahá'u'lláh had pitched His tent in a field on the outskirts of Baghdád, known as the Mazra'iy-i-Vashshásh--a place rented by His faithful brother Mírzá Músá. Bahá'u'lláh was celebrating this festival with a number of His companions, who were likewise living in tents in the open countryside. Outings at this time of year when the spring season had just begun and the weather was mild were extremely pleasant, and Bahá'u'lláh always enjoyed nature and beautiful scenery and loved to be in the country.

On the fifth day of Naw-Rúz, the Lawh-i-Malláhu'l-Quds (Tablet of the Holy Mariner) was revealed. Mírzá Áqá Ján, Bahá'u'lláh's amanuensis, emerged from the tent of Bahá'u'lláh, gathered the believers around him and chanted that mournful Tablet to them. Although during the last year of His sojourn in 'Iráq He had, on several occasions, alluded to trials and tribulations which were to come, His companions had not felt previously such sadness as they did on that day.

Nabíl, who was present, has recorded the following:

Oceans of sorrow surged in the hearts of the listeners when the Tablet of the Holy Mariner was read aloud to them...It was evident to every one that the chapter of Baghdád was about to be closed, and a new one opened, in its stead. No sooner had that Tablet been chanted than Bahá'u'lláh ordered

* An ancient festival when the Persians celebrate their New Year on the day of the vernal equinox, usually on the 21st March. The Bahá'í calendar also begins with Naw-Rúz which is one of the Bahá'í Holy Days. In 1863, Naw-Rúz was celebrated on the 22nd March as the vernal equinox took place after sunset on the 21st.

Tablet of the Holy Mariner


that the tents which had been pitched should be folded up, and that all His companions should return to the city. While the tents were being removed He observed: 'These tents may be likened to the trappings of this world, which no sooner are they spread out than the time cometh for them to be rolled up.' From these words of His they who heard them perceived that these tents would never again be pitched on that spot.1

He further mentions that the tents had not yet been taken away when an emissary of Námiq Páshá, the Governor of Baghdád, arrived and handed to Bahá'u'lláh a communication inviting Him to come for interview with the Governor at his headquarters. Bahá'u'lláh accepted the invitation, but not wishing to visit the authorities in government headquarters, He suggested that the meeting take place instead in a certain mosque in the city on the following day.

Námiq Páshá, like his predecessors, admired Bahá'u'lláh and was deeply conscious of His innate knowledge and exalted position. He held Bahá'u'lláh in such high esteem that for three months he could not bring himself to tell Him of the decision of the Ottoman government that He should proceed to Constantinople. After being ordered for the fifth time by the Prime Minister to arrange the transfer of Bahá'u'lláh to the capital, Námiq Páshá reluctantly took the necessary step of informing Bahá'u'lláh of this. Feeling ashamed to meet Him face to face on that fateful occasion, the Governor sent his deputy, Amín Effendi, to the mosque to deliver the message. A few weeks later, when Bahá'u'lláh was in the Garden of Ridván, Námiq Páshá went there, attained His presence and paid his respects to the One Whom he regarded as one of the lights of the age.

The Tablet of the Holy Mariner is in two parts, one in Arabic and the other in Persian. So far only the Arabic Tablet has been rendered into English and is published.

The theme of this Tablet is the story of the Covenant and man's unfaithfulness to it. Its message is applicable not only to the days of Bahá'u'lláh, but also to the ministries of 'Abdu'l Bahá and Shoghi Effendi, and indeed to the present time. Con-


1. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 147.

[Ridván] The Kitáb-i-Aqdas; The Kitáb-i-Íqán; Prayers and Meditations, p. 6; Gleanings From The Writings Of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 31; The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, vol. 1, 2, 3, 4
cerning this Tablet 'Abdu'l-Bahá said: 'Study the Tablet of the Holy Mariner that ye may know the truth, and consider that the Blessed Beauty* hath fully foretold future events. Let them who perceive, take warning!' 2

Not only did 'Abdu'l-Bahá ask the believers to study this Tablet during His own ministry, when the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh was being violated by the Covenant-breakers, but He urged them shortly before His passing to study it again. For He knew too well that there were a few among His followers who would violate the Covenant and rise up against Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Cause of God.

The Tablet of the Holy Mariner is revealed in symbolic language. To appreciate it one must acquire for himself a knowledge of the spiritual verities enshrined within Bahá'u'lláh's Writings and meditate upon His words. Although the allegorical terms Bahá'u'lláh has used in this Tablet assume various meanings, He has nonetheless manifestly foreshadowed coming events and conveyed some aspects of the Covenant.

The following is a translation of the Tablet of the Holy Mariner from the original Arabic.†

He is the Gracious, the Well-Beloved!

O Holy Mariner!

Bid thine ark of eternity appear before the Celestial Concourse,

Launch it upon the ancient sea, in His Name, the Most Wondrous,

And let the angelic spirits enter, in the Name of God, the Most High.


* Bahá'u'lláh.

† After each verse, except the last three, is the refrain: 'Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!'

2. British Bahá'í Prayers. These words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's are a preface to the Tablet.
Unmoor it, then, that it may sail upon the ocean of glory,

Haply the dwellers therein may attain the retreats of nearness in the everlasting realm.

Having reached the sacred strand, the shore of the crimson seas,

Bid them issue forth and attain this ethereal invisible station,

A station wherein the Lord hath in the Flame of His Beauty appeared within the deathless tree;

Wherein the embodiments of His Cause cleansed themselves of self and passion;

Around which the Glory of Moses doth circle with the everlasting hosts;

Wherein the Hand of God was drawn forth from His bosom of Grandeur;

Wherein the ark of the Cause remaineth motionless even though to its dwellers be declared all divine attributes.

O Mariner! Teach them that are within the ark that which we have taught thee behind the mystic veil,

Perchance they may not tarry in the sacred snow-white spot,

But may soar upon the wings of the spirit unto that station which the Lord hath exalted above all mention in the worlds below,


May wing through space even as the favoured birds in the realm of eternal reunion;

May know the mysteries hidden in the Seas of light.

They passed the grades of worldly limitations and reached that of the divine unity, the centre of heavenly guidance.

They have desired to ascend unto that state which the Lord hath ordained to be above their stations.

Whereupon the burning meteor cast them out from them that abide in the Kingdom of His Presence,

And they heard the Voice of Grandeur raised from behind the unseen pavilion upon the Height of Glory:

'O guardian angels! Return them to their abode in the world below,

'Inasmuch as they have purposed to rise to that sphere which the wings of the celestial dove have never attained;

'Whereupon the ship of fancy standeth still which the minds of them that comprehend cannot grasp.'

Whereupon the maid of heaven looked out from her exalted chamber,

And with her brow signed to the Celestial Concourse,


Flooding with the light of her countenance the heaven and the earth,

And as the radiance of her beauty shone upon the people of dust,

All beings were shaken in their mortal graves.

She then raised the call which no ear through all eternity hath ever heard,

And thus proclaimed: 'By the Lord! He whose heart hath not the fragrance of the love of the exalted and glorious Arabian Youth,

'Can in no wise ascend unto the glory of the highest heaven.'

Thereupon she summoned unto herself one maiden from her handmaidens,

And commanded her: 'Descend into space from the mansions of eternity,

'And turn thou unto that which they have concealed in the inmost of their hearts.

'Shouldst thou inhale the perfume of the robe from the Youth that hath been hidden within the tabernacle of light by reason of that which the hands of the wicked have wrought,

'Raise a cry within thyself, that all the inmates of the chambers of Paradise, that are the embodiments of the eternal wealth, may understand and hearken;

'That they may all come down from their everlasting chambers and tremble,


'And kiss their hands and feet for having soared to the heights of faithfulness;

'Perchance they may find from their robes the fragrance of the Beloved One.'

Thereupon the countenance of the favoured damsel beamed above the celestial chambers even as the light that shineth from the face of the Youth above His mortal temple;

She then descended with such an adorning as to illumine the heavens and all that is therein. She bestirred herself and perfumed all things in the lands of holiness and grandeur.

When she reached that place she rose to her full height in the midmost heart of creation,

And sought to inhale their fragrance at a time that knoweth neither beginning nor end.

She found not in them that which she did desire, and this, verily, is but one of His wondrous tales.

She then cried aloud, wailed and repaired to her own station within her most lofty mansion,

And then gave utterance to one mystic word, whispered privily by her honeyed tongue,

And raised the call amidst the Celestial Concourse and the immortal maids of heaven:

'By the Lord! I found not from these idle claimants the breeze of Faithfulness!


'By the Lord! The Youth hath remained lone and forlorn in the land of exile in the hands of the ungodly.'

She then uttered within herself such a cry that the Celestial Concourse did shriek and tremble,

And she fell upon the dust and gave up the spirit. It seemeth she was called and hearkened unto Him that summoned her unto the Realm on High.

Glorified be He that created her out of the essence of love in the midmost heart of His exalted paradise!

Thereupon the maids of heaven hastened forth from their chambers, upon whose countenances the eye of no dweller in the highest paradise had ever gazed.

Glorified be our Lord, the Most High!

They all gathered around her, and lo! they found her body fallen upon the dust;

Glorified be our Lord, the Most High!

And as they beheld her state and comprehended a word of the tale told by the Youth, they bared their heads, rent their garments asunder, beat upon their faces, forgot their joy, shed tears and smote with their hands upon their cheeks, and this is verily one of the mysterious grievous afflictions--

Glorified be our Lord, the Most High! 3


3. British Bahá'í Prayers, pp. 51-7.
Bahá'u'lláh refers to Himself in this Tablet as the 'Holy Mariner' and to the believers as the 'dwellers' in the 'ark'. In His Writings the term 'ark' often symbolizes the Cause of God and the Covenant. Those who enter it are safe and secure; they sail towards the shores of salvation and acquire divine light. In the opening passages of the Tablet, Bahá'u'lláh alludes to the inconceivable greatness of His Revelation, in which 'the flame of His Beauty [hath] appeared within the deathless tree', around which 'the Glory of Moses doth circle with the everlasting hosts'. He testifies that He Who conversed with Moses on Sinai is now, in this Day, manifested to men, that the believers--'them that are within the ark' and the 'angelic spirits'--can, if they but purify their hearts, 'attain the retreats of nearness in the everlasting realm'.

To grasp the significance of this Tablet we must remember that with the coming of Bahá'u'lláh, the Day of God Himself has been ushered in, and that mankind has been given the most precious gift of His Faith.

Throughout His Writings there are many references to the greatness of His Revelation. The following are only a few passages gleaned from His Tablets:*

'The purpose underlying all creation is the revelation of this most sublime, this most holy Day, the Day known as the Day of God, in His Books and Scriptures--the Day which all the Prophets, and the Chosen Ones, and the holy ones, have wished to witness.' 'The highest essence and most perfect expression of whatsoever the peoples of old have either said or written hath, through this most potent Revelation, been sent down from the heaven of the Will of the All-Possessing, the Ever-Abiding God.' (p. 65.)

'By the righteousness of God! These are the days in which God hath proved the hearts of the entire company of His Messengers and Prophets, and beyond them those that


* These passages are quoted in The Advent of Divine Justice by Shoghi Effendi; page nos. refer to this text.

stand guard over His sacred and inviolable Sanctuary, the inmates of the celestial Pavilion and dwellers of the Tabernacle of Glory.' 'Should the greatness of this Day be revealed in its fullness, every man would forsake a myriad lives in his longing to partake, though it be for one moment, of its great glory--how much more this world and its corruptible treasures!' (p. 67.)

'By the righteousness of Mine own Self! Great, immeasurably great is this Cause! Mighty, inconceivably mighty is this Day!' 'Every Prophet hath announced the coming of this Day, and every Messenger hath groaned in His yearning for this Revelation--a revelation which, no sooner had it been revealed than all created things cried out saying, "The earth is God's, the Most Exalted, the Most Great!"' (p. 65.)

'Verily I say! No one hath apprehended the root of this Cause. It is incumbent upon every one, in this day, to perceive with the eye of God, and to hearken with His ear. Whoso beholdeth Me with an eye besides Mine own will never be able to know Me. None among the Manifestations of old, except to a prescribed degree, hath ever completely apprehended the nature of this Revelation.' (p. 64.)

'Great indeed is this Day! The allusions made to it in all the sacred Scriptures as the Day of God attest its greatness. The soul of every Prophet of God, of every Divine Messenger, hath thirsted for this wondrous Day. All the divers kindreds of the earth have, likewise, yearned to attain it.' (p. 65.)

'This is the Day whereon human ears have been privileged to hear what He Who conversed with God [Moses] heard upon Sinai, what He Who is the Friend of God [Muhammad] heard when lifted up towards Him, what He Who is the Spirit of God [Jesus] heard as He ascended unto Him, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.' (p. 66.)

To be born in this Day and to be the recipient of such favours is the greatest of God's bounties to man. But this

privilege carries with it great responsibilities, too. For once the believer has recognized the Manifestation of God, his function is to obey His commandments faithfully. If such loyalty and devotion are not whole-hearted and unqualified, he cannot be called steadfast in the Covenant of God. The destiny of the true believer and the heights to which he can attain are dependent upon his sincerity and faithfulness in the Cause of God.

When the individual recognizes Bahá'u'lláh and is assured of His divine station, he then enters the 'ark'. The spiritual energies released by Bahá'u'lláh, as well as His Teachings, will assist him to advance and deepen in the Cause, but at the same time his tests will correspondingly multiply. For the faith of a believer is tested in various ways. Some are afflicted with suffering and persecution, others have spiritual battles which may last a lifetime. But if one has faith and is ready at all times to surrender his will fully to that of Bahá'u'lláh, he can win through. Otherwise, any trace of self or passion, of desire for and attachment to earthly things, will bar his spiritual advancement, and may in the end kill the spark of his faith altogether.

The station to which a true believer can attain in this day is extremely high. This is because Bahá'u'lláh has ushered in the Day of God and has shed His glory upon mankind. The world of being has become filled with the ocean of His Revelation and mankind has been given a new capacity. The following are the words of Bahá'u'lláh concerning the station of the true believer:

'O people of Bahá! The river that is Life indeed hath flowed for your sakes. quaff ye in My name, despite them that have disbelieved in God, the Lord of Revelation. We have made you to be the hands of Our Cause. Render ye victorious this Wronged One, Who hath been sore-tried in the hands of the workers of iniquity. He, verily, will aid every one that aideth Him, and will remember every one that remembereth Him. To this beareth witness this Tablet that hath shed the splendour of the loving-kindness of your Lord, the All-Glorious, the All-Compelling.' 'Blessed are the



Historian, Apostle of Bahá'u'lláh and His poet-laureate
Surnamed by Him Nabíl-i-A'zam



One of the 'Mirrors' of the Bábí Dispensation
And an outstanding follower of Bahá'u'lláh

people of Bahá! God beareth Me witness! They are the solace of the eye of creation. Through them the universes have been adorned, and the Preserved Tablet embellished. They are the ones who have sailed on the ark of complete independence, with their faces set towards the Day-Spring of Beauty. How great is their blessedness that they have attained unto what their Lord, the Omniscient, the All-Wise, hath willed. Through their light the heavens have been adorned, and the faces of those that have drawn nigh unto Him made to shine.' 'By the sorrows which afflict the beauty of the All-Glorious! Such is the station ordained for the true believer that if to an extent smaller than a needle's eye the glory of that station were to be unveiled to mankind, every beholder would be consumed away in his longing to attain it. For this reason it hath been decreed that in this earthly life the full measure of the glory of his own station should remain concealed from the eyes of such a believer.' 'If the veil be lifted, and the full glory of the station of those who have turned wholly towards God, and in their love for Him renounced the world, be made manifest, the entire creation would be dumbfounded.' 4

And 'Abdu'l-Bahá has written these words:

The station which he who hath truly recognized this Revelation will attain is the same as the one ordained for such prophets of the house of Israel as are not regarded as Manifestations 'endowed with constancy'.5

Whoever achieves this station will become the embodiment of selflessness, humility and servitude, will die to himself and live in God. Such a believer is indeed worthy, as Bahá'u'lláh mentions in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner, to 'soar upon the wings of the spirit unto that station which the Lord hath exalted above all mention in the worlds below', to 'wing through space even as the favoured birds in the realm of eternal reunion', and to 'know the mysteries hidden in the Seas of light'.

Among His companions there were some who had reached this lofty station. These souls manifested such a degree of faith


4. Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 64, for the words quoted.

5. Shoghi Effendi, 'The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh', included in The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 111, for the words quoted.

and devotion, such humility and detachment as had rarely been experienced by mankind in former Dispensations.

Others would enter the presence of Bahá'u'lláh and partake of His divine knowledge, yet, because of their ego and ambition, be unable to attain the necessary qualities of lowliness, humility and submissiveness before the Manifestation of God. They were blind to Bahá'u'lláh's divine station, were filled with jealousy at His rising prestige and power, and aspired to occupy the same position as He.

Man is created to love and worship God, to recognize His Manifestation and to obey Him. His greatest attainment is to abide in the realm of servitude and to develop spiritual qualities. But there have ever been those who, having recognized the Manifestation of God, rise up to oppose Him and consciously try to elevate themselves to His station. Such an act invokes the wrath of God and brings destruction upon man. For instance, those who broke the Covenant of the Báb and opposed Bahá'u'lláh were of this kind, as were those who broke the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and opposed the Centre of His Covenant, 'Abdu'l-Bahá.

It is concerning such individuals that Bahá'u'lláh in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner writes:

They have desired to ascend unto that state which the Lord hath ordained to be above their stations.

Whereupon the burning meteor cast them out from them that abide in the Kingdom of His Presence,

And they heard the Voice of Grandeur raised from behind the unseen pavilion upon the Height of Glory,

'O guardian angels! Return them to their abode in the world below,


'Inasmuch as they have purposed to rise to that sphere which the wings of the celestial dove have never attained...'

In these words Bahá'u'lláh has, for the first time, clearly indicated that those who oppose the Centre of the Cause and break His Covenant will be cast out from the people of Bahá.

The 'burning meteor' may be regarded as symbolic of a mighty instrument that Bahá'u'lláh has instituted for the protection of His Cause, namely, His Covenant. In the days of Bahá'u'lláh the authority to expel Covenant-breakers was vested in Himself alone; later it devolved upon 'Abdu'l-Bahá, as the Centre of the Covenant, and then upon Shoghi Effendi, as the Guardian of the Cause, to exercise this authority. In this day, should anyone break the Covenant his expulsion would be by decision of the Hands of the Cause of God residing in the Holy Land,* subject to the approval of the Universal House of Justice.

Never before in religious history has a Manifestation of God created the means whereby the breakers of His Covenant, and those from within the community who oppose the Centre of the Cause, are cast out. This is one of the unique features of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. By this process the Cause of God is purged from the impurities which enter it from time to time. Just as the physical body of man has a special organ for removing poisonous substances from the blood-stream and discharging them at intervals, so the Cause of God has been endowed with institutions designed to purge the community of unwholesome elements within its ranks.

At the time that the Tablet of the Holy Mariner was revealed, Bahá'u'lláh's unfaithful half-brother Mírzá Yahyá, Siyyid Muhammad-i-Isfahání and a few others were still mingling with the believers. In spite of all their misdeeds they were still


* The functions of the Hands of the Cause, as defined in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, are mainly protection and propagation of the Faith. Those now living were appointed by the Guardian, Shoghi Effendi.

considered part of the Bábí community. Bahá'u'lláh foreshadowed their fate in this Tablet. A few years later, as we shall see in more detail in the next volume, these men were cast out of the community of the Most Great Name and God's infant Faith, cleansed of this pollution, continued to grow with greater vitality and vigour.

In every Dispensation some men have violated the Covenant of God and been unfaithful to His Manifestation. In former religions they have succeeded in dividing the Faith of God and creating schism. But in this Dispensation, which is the consummation of all past religions and cycles, although many from within the community have risen against the Centre of the Cause, they have never succeeded in dividing it. Bahá'u'lláh, in one of His Tablets, states that as the Cause in this day is very great so also are the forces of negation which oppose it; the onslaught of the unfaithful against it is formidable. The violators of the Covenant of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh did everything in their power to undermine the edifice of the Cause of God; yet in spite of their concerted efforts they were unable to break its unity. This is one of the unique features of the Cause and is due to the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh through which the unity of His Faith is permanently safeguarded.

Every violator of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant has been expelled from His community. A diseased branch cut from the tree at first appears full of life, but eventually it will die in isolation. This is true of the breakers of the Covenant in this day who, by reason of their attacks on the Faith, might, at first, have seemed to be creating havoc within its ranks. But cut off from the Tree of the Cause of God, they eventually perished. Today only their names are recorded; their influence has long ceased to exist.

The appearance of the 'Maid of Heaven' mentioned in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner is allegorical. In the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, He has used the 'Maid of Heaven' to refer to Himself or to one of the attributes of God, and sometimes as the personification of the 'Most Great Spirit'. He has also referred


to Himself in this Tablet as the 'exalted and glorious' Youth 'that hath been hidden within the tabernacle of light', and Who 'hath remained lone and forlorn in the land of exile in the hands of the ungodly'.

The Tablet contains many precious gems of knowledge, and many verities of His Cause are hidden therein. These can be discovered only through deepening in the Faith and meditation upon His words.

The Tablet of the Holy Mariner in Persian is, for the most part, similar in content to the Arabic Tablet. In addition, it contains some of Bahá'u'lláh's choicest exhortations and counsels to His followers. For example, He urges the believers not to barter the bounty of His presence for all that is in earth and heaven and not to seek nearness to anyone but Him. He reminds them that the heart is the seat of the Best-Beloved and warns them not to allow a stranger to enter it. He calls on them to arise and emerge from the sepulchre of self and passion, and exhorts them to be faithful; even if they are unable to reach the lofty summits of detachment and sanctity they should at least try to become sincere, should strive earnestly that their conduct may faithfully reflect the secrets of their hearts.

Sincerity and faithfulness are the attributes of a true believer. The most painful affliction of the Manifestation of God is unfaithfulness shown by those who profess to be His followers. No other suffering, even physical torture and martyrdom, can ever hurt Him as much as this.

It was the realization that Bahá'u'lláh would be afflicted by such suffering, foreshadowed in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner, that brought deepest anxiety to His companions when first they heard it. Indeed, on the day following its revelation, the grievous news of the Sultán's decision to call Bahá'u'lláh to Constantinople reached Him; it was news which dealt a crippling blow to every man, woman and child among His lovers in 'Iráq. That night, His stricken companions, without exception, could neither eat nor sleep. Some vowed that they


would take their own lives should they be prevented from accompanying Him in His exile. In the end, however, through the power of His words and the warmth of His love, Bahá'u'lláh succeeded in calming their emotions so that they were content to resign their wills to His.

Other Tablets of This Period

The authorities in Baghdád were surprised that Bahá'u'lláh had not objected to the government's decision to invite Him to Constantinople. In fact, 'Álí Páshá's letter which was handed to Bahá'u'lláh in the mosque was couched in courteous language, and the Governor of Baghdád expressed his readiness to communicate any message He might wish to send to the Prime Minister, including that of declining the invitation. But Bahá'u'lláh accepted, requiring only that His family and a number of His companions accompany Him and that they be allowed a month to prepare for the journey.

During this period, Bahá'u'lláh showered His love especially upon those of His followers who were to stay behind and prepared them for the day when they would be left alone. He desired them to testify in their lives to their integrity and loftiness of purpose, their faith and radiance of spirit. Also, at this time He revealed in His own hand a Tablet for each one of them, including the children. In these Tablets He often alludes to Mírzá Yahyá's future rebellion, anticipates the most severe crisis to appear within the Cause, and urges the believers to be steadfast in the days of test and trial.

Of the numerous Tablets He revealed during this short period in Baghdád we mention only two, the Lawh-i-Bulbulu'l-Firáq (Tablet of the Nightingale of Bereavement) and Súratu'lláh (Súrih of God).

The Lawh-i-Bulbulu'l-Firáq is one of His Tablets addressed to the believers collectively. In it, Bahá'u'lláh reminds His loved ones that the period of union has come to an end, that the Nightingale of Paradise has taken its flight from one branch


and is now about to establish its nest on another. He rebukes the people of sedition for turning to the 'birds of night'* when the Sun of Truth is shining in its meridian splendour. The words of Bahá'u'lláh in this Tablet are written with such tenderness that, when the believers chanted it, their hearts were stirred and they were filled with grief at the thought of separation from Him.

The Súratu'lláh was revealed for a believer named Muhammad-'Alí. In it Bahá'u'lláh addresses the people of the Bayán† and rebukes those who have been blind or shown malice towards Him. Referring to their attitude, He reminds them that if they regard it as a crime for Him to reveal the Word of God, He is not the first to have done so. For it was the Báb Who revealed the Word of God before Him and, earlier, Muhammad, Jesus and Moses. Each One of these Holy Souls was animated and sustained by the Holy Spirit.

This Tablet discloses the greatness of Bahá'u'lláh's station to the people of the Bayán, for He affirms that He is incomparable in the entire creation and is its omnipotent Ruler. He who turns away from Him, He asserts, has in fact turned away from God, and he who denies His Cause has denied all the Prophets of the past.

Bahá'u'lláh counsels the recipient of this Tablet to turn away from the people of doubt, to renounce the world and to fix his gaze upon the splendours of His Revelation. Such an act, He assures him, will enable him to soar into the atmosphere of nearness to God and will endow him with such knowledge, such understanding and wisdom as no learned man, however great, will ever rival. And in this Tablet, once again, Bahá'u'lláh dwells upon the enmity of the unfaithful among the Bábís and speaks of their opposition to Him.


* This alludes to Mírzá Yahyá and his associates.

† The Bábís.