Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Two Stories of the Bab, or One Twice Told

There I was, standing at my booth, selling my chain mail jewelry and artwork, minding my own business, when a man came up to me. Now, I know this man. He sells Persian food at a stand around the corner from my booth, and we have talked in the past. He's a cool guy. And he's from Shiraz.

So anyways, there I am, when he comes over and sees the nine-pointed stars in chain mail that I have done, as well as the Greatest Name in Arabic calligraphy. He looks a bit shocked, and asks, "Oh, are you Baha'i?" This comes as a bit of a surprise to me, as we have talked about my being Baha'i in the past, and how he is not religious, but loves people of all faiths.

"Are you a Baha'i?" "Well, yes, I am."

And he proceeds to tell me about the Bab.

"There was a man", he begins, "who was born in my town, Shiraz: Ali-Muhammad the Bab. He was a fascinating man. Have you ever heard of him?"

It didn't matter what I answered, for he really wanted to tell me this story.

He went on to tell me a little bit about His life, and then began to tell me of His martyrdom. He spoke of His charisma, and how He was shot at by a number of soldiers to be executed.

Then he told me something new. He said, "Ali-Muhammad the Bab was siyyid, a descendant of Muhammad. And for that reason some people respected him. Why? Because of some...I don't know...holy sperm? I'm a siyyid, too, and they show me respect, even though they don't know me."

This seemed to upset him, for he believes that people should be respected for who they are, not who their ancestors were.

But there he was, from Shiraz, standing at a craft market in Victoria, Canada, feeling the strong urge to share the miraculous story of the execution of the Bab with me, a relative stranger.

It was very interesting to hear it from his perspective. I thought about it for some time.

And then, if that wasn't enough, when I was getting ready to pack it all up for the day, another man comes up to my booth. He was wearing a t-shirt with a very interesting geometric design, and he had a pendant on that was laser engraved with another design. He was obviously spiritual, and had focused a lot of his attention onto sacred geometry. And he loved my work. He was so intrigued by the Mobius Ball that he bought one, for which I was grateful and thankful.

Then he saw the stars.

"Tell me", he said, "why you have used the nine-pointed star here."

I began by saying, "Well, I'm a member of the Baha'i Faith..." At which point he interrupted me and said, "Ahh, Baha'i. Have you ever heard of the Bab?"

I kind of stopped what I was doing as he proceeded to say, "He was a very interesting man. Have you ever heard the story of his execution?" And he went on with the story, from another very different perspective.

When he had finished telling it to me he went off, and left me standing there in mute wonder at the incredible power of that sacred Being, the Primal Point: the Bab.

"Behold", says Baha'u'llah, "how great and lofty is His station!"

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