Friday, August 26, 2011

Another Hidden Word (Number 18, Persian)

Here is another Hidden Word that I just don't quite understand. I mean, I understand some of the basic meanings of it, but I always feel like I'm missing something fairly obvious.
Proclaim unto the children of assurance that within the realms of holiness, nigh unto the celestial paradise, a new garden hath appeared, round which circle the denizens of the realm on high and the immortal dwellers of the exalted paradise. Strive, then, that ye may attain that station, that ye may unravel the mysteries of love from its wind-flowers and learn the secret of divine and consummate wisdom from its eternal fruits. Solaced are the eyes of them that enter and abide therein!
You may recall that in the last post, about Hidden Word number 66, I said Baha'u'llah only address us human-types. Well, here I seem to be mistaken. Are we really the "dwellers in the highest paradise"? Personally, I don't feel it, but what do I know. Maybe we are. Maybe I am, if only I would learn to see myself that way.

Personally, I've always thought that Baha'u'llah was addressing the Concourse on High, but that doesn't really make a lot of sense to me, upon reflection.

No. I think He is addressing us, again. Remember, heaven is described as nearness to God, so if we recognize the Messenger of God for today, and are near Him, could there be any higher paradise?

I guess I may have to reassess my vision of myself once more. (Hey, my Mother-in-Law already calls me an Apostle, for some reason that I'll never understand, so maybe I better begin to think a bit... well, better of myself. If not, I may hear from her.)

So, working on the presumption that He is addressing me (and you, too, dear Reader, of which I have no doubt), then I have to ask, who am I to proclaim all this to? Who are the "children of assurance"? As I can't find that phrase anywhere else in the Writings, I'm sort of left on my own for that one.

I guess it refers to those who are absolutely certain about the "Day of Resurrection" and the "End Times". Muhammad refers quite a bit to them and there is a lot of importance placed on them in the Writings. After all, why would we bother proclaiming to someone about this new garden appearing if they don't believe that it can happen in the first place.

It sort of reminds me of the Tablet of Ahmad, where He is "proclaiming to the sincere ones the glad tidings of the nearness of God". It seems as if He is alluding to the idea that you can't be a sincere Muslim if you don't believe in the Return. Of course, I also don't understand how you can be a "sincere" Christian if you don't believe in His return, either, but who am I to judge?

And just what is it that we are proclaiming? A new garden. We are announcing that there is a new Faith, with new guidance from God. Once again, God has touched humanity with a new Message and all the angels on high are singing its praises.

The "denizens of the realm on high and the immortal dwellers of the exalted paradise" are all jumping for joy. Baha'u'llah tells us that if we strive, then we can join that exalted company, too. Presumably when we die, and enter into that next realm, we will be called to account for our deeds. And if those deeds are worthy, if we have made sincere efforts at trying to help usher in that long promised "Kingdom of God on earth", then we, too, will dwell in that "exalted paradise".

But there is one more thing that catches my attention. Not only are to strive to become a member of that marvelous group, we are also to strive to "unravel the mysteries of love" from the "wind-flowers" that grow in that new garden, and "learn the secret of divine and consummate wisdom from its eternal fruits".

We are not only to do our best to spread this message, which is mostly of benefit to others, but also to do our best to understand it, which is of tremendous benefit to ourselves. (Yeah, yeah, I know. Both are of benefit to both, but come on. You know what I mean.)

Oh, and I was wondering, as I read this: what is a wind-flower? It is an anemone.

Aside: A friend of mine once gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers, consisting of ferns and anemones. It was really great, but I had to ask, "With fronds like these, who needs anemones?"

Anemones are really quite amazing flowers. They come in all sorts of types and colours. Their variety is staggering. And in folk-lore, they symbolize both anticipation and a sense of having been forsaken. Both meanings sure seem to speak of the Messengers of God, to me at least.

In the Kitab-i-Iqan, Baha'u'llah also refers to "the anemones of the garden of love", so there is a consistency about referring to them in the context of love.

But regardless of the meaning of flowers, this is still a beautiful quote, and not only tells us what our job is, and who we should be serving, it also tells us what we can get out of doing it.

"Solaced", He says, "are the eyes of them that enter and abide" in this garden.

And as Abdu'l-Baha is reported to have said, "At the gate of the garden, some stand and look within, but do not care to enter. Others step inside, behold its beauty, but do not penetrate far. Still others encircle this garden, inhaling the fragrance of the flowers; and having enjoyed its full beauty, pass out again by the same gate. But there are always some who enter, and becoming intoxicated with the splendor of what they behold, remain for life to tend the garden."

Reading this again, I feel that I have definitely gotten more out of this Hidden Word by writing about it, but I'm still absolutely certain that there is even more in there.

1 comment:

  1. I very much appreciated this deepening on this Hidden Word. Thank you for posting!