O my God!
I am not the only one who adores You.
How do You do this?
When I remember to inhale You with every breath
You are closer to me than my lover,
Although I blush to admit it.
When my thoughts wander from from You
You are farther than across that ravine there.
Soul remember this:
When you inhale Him with every breath,
He is closer than the most intimate embrace
You have ever experienced on this planet.
When your thoughts wander from Him
Don’t let Him retreat.
Keep him near.
Breathe every breath
From His honeyed lips!
I approach God through His Manifestation, of Which there are Several, held in the highest esteem, prayed to as Priests.
I think of the form of Baha’u’llah, earthy life from 1817-1892, Persian nationality, short in stature, scars around the neck from the heavy chain he wore around his neck while in the Tehran dungeon in 1852, his face heavily lined from the poisoning attempt by his half-brother around 1864 while they were exiled in Adrianople (present day Edirne). Born Mirza Husayn-‘Ali, Baha’u’llah’s title means, “the Glory of God” in Arabic.
The Babi Faith was founded by Ali Muhammad (1819-1850), now known as the Bab, Whose title means ” the Gate” in Arabic. The Bab arose in a sect of Shia Moslems in Iran. He proclaimed His ministry as preparing the way for the coming of another Manifestation soon. He was and His followers were persecuted, often violently. The Bab, Whose ministry began in 1844, was jailed for several years and then executed by a firing squad in 1850.
In various of His writings, Baha’u’llah described how He received the revelation that He Himself was the Figure prophesied by the Bab. Baha’u’llah described an experience that took place while He was incarcerated in an Iranian dungeon for four months in 1852. A small group of Babis tried to assassinate the Shaw (the King of Iran) in 1852. Thereafter, Baha’u’llah, although innocent, got caught up in a wave of persecutions against members of the Babi Faith. The dungeon was a dismal place with one opening followed by several flights of descending stairs. Baha’u’llah was seated on a bench, shackled to prisoners on either side. An additional chain weighing about 100 pounds was placed around His neck. His wife had to arrange for food to be brought to Him. His son, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, 8 years old at the time, caught a glimpse of Him one day when He had been taken up to the yard for exercises. In many of His writings, Baha’u’llah described a mystical experience He had while shackled in the miserable dungeon. He felt energy descend to his head and breast and had a vision of a heavenly maiden. She chanted praises to him in a musical voice. The Baha’i Faith would make it’s inception about a decade later, when Baha’u’llah made his revelation publc.
I received a vision of Baha’u’llah 26 years ago while perusing a pamphlet on the Baha’i Faith I had picked up at a local street fair a few days earlier. At the time, I considered myself a Christian Essene, but their meetings were 60 miles away. I wanted to find something local. I wanted to find something that accepted both science and spirituality, something that accepted the universal truths taught in all religion, something that affirmed the oneness of mankind. Eagerly I read the pamphlet. Maybe this would be for me. I read the part in the historical summary in the pamphlet I had of how Baha’u’llah received the call of God while imprisoned for four months in the Tehran dungeon. I looked straight ahead for a moment, thinking, “Christ commands that we visit those in prison.”
My visionary sight opened and there before me, surrounded by darkness, was a bright figure. When our eyes met, I felt the love and acceptance I had been wishing for all my life. I had no doubt that this was Baha’u’llah, and that Baha’u’llah was the absolute Lord of the current age. From that moment on I was a Baha’i. Filling out a declaration card would be a mere formality to be completed at a later date.
A couple days later, Baha’u’llah started speaking to me. The first time was while parked in a car by a row of pomegranate trees waiting for the kids to visit their grandmother. He said, “I am closer to you than your own teeth.” It was shocking to hear clear words inside my mind that did not originate with my own thoughts! After that, for quite awhile, he would break into my thoughts and tell me to stop depreciating myself every time I started to think negative things about myself, which apparently, I had a deeply ingrained habit of doing, because this happened pretty often. Eventually I got the message and stopped, but it took some doing on his part. While I was composing this post in the early days of March, I was stressing how to keep the Baha’i fast of not eating or drinking between the hours of sunrise to sunset during the period of time between the 2nd and the 20th of March, and at the same time keep an all water fast, not eating or drinking anything at all except for water twenty-four hours per day. He said, “Water fasting is a good excuse,” meaning I was not obligated to keep the dry fast during the day while water fasting. I was very grateful to hear those words after keeping both fasts the first day and becoming somewhat dehydrated.
The Universal House of Justice (UHJ) is the supreme governing body of the Baha’i Faith, elected every 5 years by the world’s National Spiritual Assemblies, which are elected by the Baha’is residing in each country in which the Baha’i Faith has sufficient Baha’i residences, and in which the Baha’i Faith is not an illegal religion. Iran is an example of the latter, for although there are a substantial number of Baha’is residing in Iran, the Faith is systematically persecuted by the Iranian government with property confiscations, jailings and executions being done against.the Baha’is there for no reason other than religious belief.
In the United States, the NSA (National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is) are elected by delegates, who are first elected in regional districts all over the country. There are about 4 such districts in San Diego County. This process is repeated yearly. Baha’i elections take place with no campaigning and no nominations. All Baha’is in good standing, over 21 years of age, in the geographical area, are eligible to vote and to be elected. There were about 7 pages of the names of eligible people in the district that I voted in last year.
Here is a link to a few pages of history of Baha’u’llah and the early Baha’i Faith.
In this passage from Baha’u’llah’s, Tablet of the Temple, linked here, Baha’u’llah tells about the Heavenly Maiden who visited Him while in the dungeon.
While engulfed in tribulations I heard a most wondrous, a most sweet voice, calling above My head. Turning My face, I beheld a Maiden—the embodiment of the remembrance of the name of My Lord—suspended in the air before Me. So rejoiced was she in her very soul that her countenance shone with the ornament of the good pleasure of God, and her cheeks glowed with the brightness of the All-Merciful. Betwixt earth and heaven she was raising a call which captivated the hearts and minds of men. She was imparting to both My inward and outer being tidings which rejoiced My soul, and the souls of God’s honoured servants.
Pointing with her finger unto My head, she addressed all who are in heaven and all who are on earth, saying: By God! This is the Best-Beloved of the worlds, and yet ye comprehend not. This is the Beauty of God amongst you, and the power of His sovereignty within you, could ye but understand. This is the Mystery of God and His Treasure, the Cause of God and His glory unto all who are in the kingdoms of Revelation and of creation, if ye be of them that perceive. This is He Whose Presence is the ardent desire of the denizens of the Realm of eternity, and of them that dwell within the Tabernacle of glory, and yet from His Beauty do ye turn aside.
In the following passage from Baha’u’llah’s Epistle to the Son of Wolf, linked here, Baha’u’llah tells about His imprisonment in the Tehran dungeon:
We deem it advisable, in this connection, to recount briefly some past events, that perchance they may be the means of vindicating the cause of equity and justice. At the time when His Majesty the Sháh, may God, his Lord, the Most Merciful, aid him through His strengthening grace, was planning a journey to Iṣfahán, this Wronged One, having obtained his permission, visited the holy and luminous resting-places of the Imáms, may the blessings of God be upon them! Upon Our return, We proceeded to Lavásán on account of the excessive heat prevailing in the capital. Following Our departure, there occurred the attempt upon the life of His Majesty, may God, exalted and glorified be He, assist him.
Those days were troublous days, and the fires of hatred burned high. Many were arrested, among them this Wronged One. By the righteousness of God! We were in no wise connected with that evil deed, and Our innocence was indisputably established by the tribunals. Nevertheless, they apprehended Us, and from Níyávarán, which was then the residence of His Majesty, conducted Us, on foot and in chains, with bared head and bare feet, to the dungeon of Ṭihrán. A brutal man, accompanying Us on horseback, snatched off Our hat, whilst We were being hurried along by a troop of executioners and officials. We were consigned for four months to a place foul beyond comparison. As to the dungeon in which this Wronged One and others similarly wronged were confined, a dark and narrow pit were preferable. Upon Our arrival We were first conducted along a pitch-black corridor, from whence We descended three steep flights of stairs to the place of confinement assigned to Us.
The dungeon was wrapped in thick darkness, and Our fellow prisoners numbered nearly a hundred and fifty souls: thieves, assassins and highwaymen. Though crowded, it had no other outlet than the passage by which We entered. No pen can depict that place, nor any tongue describe its loathsome smell. Most of these men had neither clothes nor bedding to lie on. God alone knoweth what befell Us in that most foul-smelling and gloomy place!
Day and night, while confined in that dungeon, We meditated upon the deeds, the condition, and the conduct of the Bábís, wondering what could have led a people so high-minded, so noble, and of such intelligence, to perpetrate such an audacious and outrageous act against the person of His Majesty. This Wronged One, thereupon, decided to arise, after His release from prison, and undertake, with the utmost vigor, the task of regenerating this people.
One night, in a dream, these exalted words were heard on every side: “Verily, We shall render Thee victorious by Thyself and by Thy Pen. Grieve Thou not for that which hath befallen Thee, neither be Thou afraid, for Thou art in safety. Erelong will God raise up the treasures of the earth—men who will aid Thee through Thyself and through Thy Name, wherewith God hath revived the hearts of such as have recognized Him.”
And when this Wronged One went forth out of His prison, We journeyed, in pursuance of the order of His Majesty the Sháh—may God, exalted be He, protect him—to ‘Iráq, escorted by officers in the service of the esteemed and honored governments of Persia and Russia. After Our arrival, We revealed, as a copious rain, by the aid of God and His Divine Grace and mercy, Our verses, and sent them to various parts of the world. We exhorted all men, and particularly this people, through Our wise counsels and loving admonitions, and forbade them to engage in sedition, quarrels, disputes and conflict. As a result of this, and by the grace of God, waywardness and folly were changed into piety and understanding, and weapons converted into instruments of peace.
During the days I lay in the prison of Ṭihrán, though the galling weight of the chains and the stench-filled air allowed Me but little sleep, still in those infrequent moments of slumber I felt as if something flowed from the crown of My head over My breast, even as a mighty torrent that precipitateth itself upon the earth from the summit of a lofty mountain. Every limb of My body would, as a result, be set afire. At such moments My tongue recited what no man could bear to hear.