Monday, August 29, 2011

Yet Another Hidden Word (Number 70, Persian)

Have you ever had "vuja de" while reading something? The sense that you have never read anything like it ever before?

I swear I must have read the Hidden Words dozens of times, at least, and yet, when I read this passage the other day not a single phrase out of it sounded even remotely familiar. There have been many times when I've read passages in the Writings that took on a whole new meaning that it was as if I never read them before, but this one seemed completely new to me. Well, except for the first three words.

Aside: I was in a meeting one evening, and we were getting ready to say prayers. We were all talking quietly while waiting for the last few people to come in, and a few of us had already chosen the prayers we wanted to say. One guy looked up and asked the man across from him, "What's that Hidden Word you always read?" The other man looked perplexed and asked, "How does it begin?" Without pause, I piped in, "O Son of..." There was just that moment of precious silence before everyone in the room burst out laughing.

So, yes, I did recognize the first three words. But the rest of it? I must have picked up a new edition that just recently included it in there, for I've never read it before.

Oh, sorry. Which one?

Pleasant is the realm of being, wert thou to attain thereto; glorious is the domain of eternity, shouldst thou pass beyond the world of mortality; sweet is the holy ecstasy if thou drinkest of the mystic chalice from the hands of the celestial Youth. Shouldst thou attain this station, thou wouldst be freed from destruction and death, from toil and sin.

Marielle and were talking about it yesterday and she pointed out to me something very interesting about human nature, or at least my own nature. I see myself in her observation, even if nobody else thinks it refers to them. She said that the Hidden Words seem to be easily divided into two groups for most us: those that refer to us, and those that don't.

"O Son of Spirit"? "O Son of Being"? "O Son of Utterance"? "O Son of the Wondrous Vision"? "Sure! Those refer to me. I can see myself in those terms." Every single one of the openings in the Arabic Hidden Words, and most in the Persian? We can, with great joy, see Baha'u'llah referring to us in those lofty and majestic terms.

"O Son of Dust"? "O Fleeting Shadow"? Hey, they're just reminders of our ephemeral state on this earth. Sure, we can say, they refer to us.

"O Essence of Negligence"? Wait a second. "O Ye that are Lying as Dead on the Couch of Heedlessness"? Uhm... "O Ye that are Foolish, Yet Have a Name to be Wise"? Ah. Obviously not me. "O Ye Seeming Fair Yet Inwardly Foul"? Phew. I can breathe a sigh of relief, for these obviously don't refer to me.


Now it may just be me, and remember, this is nothing official, just my own simple opinion, but I think Baha'u'llah is calling out to each and every one of us. When I look at myself, I mean really look deep inside and examine myself in the light of this Revelation, and ask myself, "Am I negligent? Am I heedless? Foolish? Am I as good a person as some of my friends think, or am I inwardly foul?" I have to admit to myself that every one of these epithets can refer to me. (Well, maybe I'm not the absolute essence of negligence, but I am negligent at times.)

Another aside: I was about to say that I don't have a "name to be wise", but then I remembered Baha'u'llah's phrase, "the eternal meads of celestial wisdom". And so, a word of wisdom to you, dear Reader: Save your children the grief of having a name that is in the Writings. There is no way that we can ever live up to it. (Says the father of a child named "Shoghi".)

Maybe I just better get back to that Hidden Word I was supposed to be writing about.

"O Son of Worldliness"? Who is He referring to? Well, once again, I think He is talking to each of us. At the very least, I know He is talking to me. To be worldly, after all, means to be concerned with this world, as opposed to the spiritual world. I am only striving to overcome this, and here, in this Hidden Word, Baha'u'llah reminds us of the importance of doing that.

Pleasant, He says, is the next world. Glorious it is, if only we will take the time to pass beyond this world in our spirit. And if we desire "holy ecstasy", that is what He is offering us within His teachings. This Faith, His teachings, offer us that promised freedom from pain and death. But we have to be careful, for He doesn't offer us freedom from the pains of this world, but from the turmoil of the spirit. Remember, He extols that "crimson ink that hath been shed in (His) path", and those who drank of the cup of martyrdom often seemed to pass beyond the veil of pain despite their countless sufferings. And any work done in His path is truly a joy.

Yeah, it makes me glad that I actually read this passage this time around. It really is such a good reminder of what is important in this world.

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