Monday, October 19, 2009

October 19th in Baha'i History

1863 - Bahá’u’lláh reveals the Tablet of the Bell.


A beautiful tablet in Arabic and in Bahá'u'lláh's own hand was revealed in Constantinople on the eve of the 5th of Jamadiyu'l-Avval 1280 A.H. (19 October 1863), the anniversary of the Declaration of the Báb.[1] This Tablet, because of its opening verse, is known as Lawh-i-Naqus (Tablet of the Bell) and is also referred to as the Subhanika-Ya-Hu. It was revealed following a request made through 'Abdu'l-Bahá by one of Bahá'u'lláh's companions, Aqa Muhammad-'Ally-i-Tambaku-Furush-i-Isfahani.[2] The revelation of this Tablet on such 19 an auspicious occasion brought immense joy to the hearts of those who were celebrating that historic festival. Bahá'u'lláh opens this Tablet with these words:
[1 The Declaration of the Báb was on the evening of 5 Jamadiyu'l-Avval, 1260 A.H. (22 May 1844), but at present in the East, the anniversary of this festival is celebrated according to the lunar calendar.] [2 This is the same Muhammad-'Aliy-i-Isfahani referred to in vol. I, p. 287. See also p. 370 below.]


O Monk of the Incomparable One! Ring out the Bell,
inasmuch as the Day of the Lord hath shone forth and the
Beauty of the All-Glorious is established upon His holy and
resplendent Throne.


These few lines give us a glimpse of the majesty and sublimity of the Tablet. Like those revealed near the time of Bahá'u'lláh's declaration, this Tablet pulsates with an indescribable power that can emanate only from the Pen of the Supreme Manifestation of God. Here, the matchless utterances of Bahá'u'lláh, original and profound, are possessed of such beauty and rhythm as no pen can describe. Composed in a style that lends itself to collective chanting, this Tablet creates an atmosphere of ecstasy and joy when chanted by the believers.[1] Revealed soon after His departure from Baghdad, it announces in clear and majestic terms the rising of the Orb of His Revelation, asserts that He[2] who was hidden behind the veils of concealment is now made manifest, extols the potency and glory of His Cause, declares that the Day of God has come, summons the inhabitants of the highest Paradise to prepare themselves and acquire the capacity for attaining the presence of God,[3] bids his lovers rejoice and celebrate the coming of the Well-Beloved, and calls upon all created things to proclaim the glad-tidings of this Revelation to mankind. And finally, He prays for His companions: that they may become detached from everything besides Him, that their hearts may burn with the fire of His love and become pure and without desire. He also prays that His companions, devoted to the promotion of His Cause, may become victorious over all who dwell on earth.
[1 Not to be confused with congregational prayer, which (with the exception of the Prayer for the Dead) is forbidden by Bahá'u'lláh. Tablets in the original language are chanted by an individual. Occasionally, when there is a refrain in a Tablet, it has been customary for others to join in the refrain if it is suitable to do so.] [2 Bahá'u'lláh.] [3 See vol. I, p. 299, footnote.]
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 2, p. 18)

1912 Abdul-Baha was in Los Angeles


One of His statements to a newspaper reporter was this:


In the world of existence, civilization is found to be of two kinds: material civilization and spiritual civilization. Philosophers founded the former while the divine Prophets established the latter. For instance, the philosophers of Greece established a material civilization whereas Christ established a spiritual civilization. Material civilization is the cause of worldly prosperity but divine civilization is the means of eternal prosperity. If divine civilization, which is all-encompassing, is established, then material civilization will also attain perfection. When spiritual perfection is attained, then physical perfection is a certainty. Material civilization alone does not suffice and does not become the means of acquiring spiritual virtues. Rather, it leads to an increase in wars and disputes and becomes the cause of bloodshed and ruin. Despite all this, it is surprising that divine civilization has been completely forgotten and the people are constantly submerged in a sea of materialism. This is why night and day they have no peace and are engaged in war and killing. Every day there is bloodshed and ruin, suffering and distress, preparation for a universal war and the destruction of mankind.


In the afternoon He spoke to a larger crowd about the teachings of the Supreme Pen and the greatness of the Bahá'í Cause. In the course of His talk, He said:


If you desire the nearness of God, you must sever yourself from everything and become purified and sanctified from the dross of this transitory world. You must become submerged in the sea of the love of God. You must occupy your time with His mention and praise. Bahá'u'lláh alone must be the Beloved of the world. Observe: until the disciples of Christ renounced themselves they did not resuscitate the world. Thus, you must always be occupied with the mention of God and in spreading the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. (Mahmud's Diary)


1912 - ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visits the grave of Thornton Chase in Inglewood, California.


After prayer and meditation, the beloved Master, accompanied by several of the friends, went to Mr Chase's grave. The tram stopped near the cemetery, which is located a few miles from the city. The Master alighted and walked towards the grave with dignified solemnity and serenity. He went directly to the grave site without asking directions from anyone. He praised the site and the lushness of the trees and grass. He stood there for a few minutes leaning against a nearby tree. He then stood near the grave of that distinguished man and spread over it bouquets of flowers, adorning that sanctified soil with such love and affection that bystanders were astonished. Facing in the direction of the Holy Land, the Master chanted Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet of Visitation. All stood in solemn reverence behind Him. After chanting the Tablet of Visitation, He recited a prayer in Arabic for the forgiveness of the departed soul. He then gave a short account of this faithful believer's services, steadfastness and forbearance. Before He left, He placed His forehead on the grave and kissed it. Tears flowed from the eyes of the believers as they bowed before that sacred spot, each one longing to attain to that sublime and exalted station. The spot became an abode of lovers. (Mahmud's Diary)

1926 - Birth of author and theologist Udo Schaefer


1947 - The Bahá'í standard is very high, more particularly when compared with the thoroughly rotten morals of the present world. But this standard of ours will produce healthier, happier, nobler people, and induce stabler marriages....
(From a letter dated 19 October 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer) (The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 49)

1966 - Death of Malcolm King, Knight of Bahá’u’lláh named for pioneering to British Guiana.


1974 - Pilgrim's Notes Reporting the Master's Words on Embracing and Kissing
"The pilgrim's note reports the Master as saying: 'Women and men must not embrace each other when not married, or not about to be married. They must not kiss each other... If they wish to greet each other, or comfort each other, they may take each other by the hand.' In a letter to an individual written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi it is said: 'The Master's words to... which you quoted, can certainly be taken as the true spirit of the teachings on the subject of sex. We must strive to achieve this exalted standard.' (October 19, 1974)
(From a letter of the Universal of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, February 10, 1974 Lights of Guidance, p. 439)

1 comment:

Angela Shortt said...

Ooops: "The pilgrim's note reports the Master as saying: 'Women and men must not embrace each other when not married, or not about to be married. They must not kiss each other... If they wish to greet each other, or comfort each other, they may take each other by the hand.' In a letter to an individual written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi it is said: 'The Master's words to... which you quoted, can certainly be taken as the true spirit of the teachings on the subject of sex. We must strive to achieve this exalted standard.' (October 19, 1974)"