Saturday, November 4, 2017

Another Random Quote, or Tulips

Well, now it's actually November, and I have 30 minutes before my son needs to use the computer. Let's see if I can get another article out in that time. (I mean, I know I can, but let's see if I can write something worth reading.)

Ah, what to write about? Hmmm. I know, let's do my usual when stuck. Grab Gleanings and see what leaps out to me:
How unspeakably glorious are the signs, the tokens, the revelations, and splendors which He, Who is the King of Names and Attributes, hath destined for that City! The attainment unto this City quencheth thirst without water, and kindleth the love of God without fire. Within every blade of grass are enshrined the mysteries of an inscrutable Wisdom, and upon every rose-bush a myriad nightingales pour out, in blissful rapture, their melody. Its wondrous tulips unfold the mystery of the undying Fire in the Burning Bush, and its sweet savors of holiness breathe the perfume of the Messianic Spirit. It bestoweth wealth without gold, and conferreth immortality without death. In each one of its leaves ineffable delights are treasured, and within every chamber unnumbered mysteries lie hidden.

Hmmm. Well... Uhm....

First, what city? Oh, the City of Certitude. Got it.

Oh, right! This is from the Kitab-i-Iqan. I remember now.

This is part of the passage often referred to as the "Tablet of the True Seeker". And here, Baha'u'llah is extolling the station of absolute certainty.

Here I could easily talk about the very thought of how certainty quenches your spiritual thirst, ignites a passionate fire of the love for God in your breast without the use of flame (thank God), but I don't think I will.

I could also point out that in a normal garden with rosebushes, you might see a nightingale or two and experience the joy of their song, but here, in this City, there are gazillions of them. Tons of nightingales all singing their joy for each and every rose. It must be a very noisy place. Nice, but noisy. Oh, and lets not forget the grass. I mean, grass is a really amazing thing. The way its roots grow so deep into the earth, allowing it to proliferate so incredibly well. You just need to see David Attenborough's Earth series, the episode on Grasslands, to begin to get an idea of the incredible awesomeness of this plant.

No. What catches my attention right now is the next phrase: "Its wondrous tulips unfold the mystery of the undying Fire in the Burning Bush..."

Tulips are interesting. Like the Baha'i Faith, they are first found in Persia and Turkey, before they spread to Europe, where they ignited a passion unlike anything that had been seen before. Just recall the trading frenzies that went on in the Netherlands in the 17th century. But that's not what interests me here. No, what interests me is the historic meaning ascribed to this flower.

Legend has it that Prince Farhad, like Majnun, was love-struck, but instead of falling for Layli, he fell for Shirin. When he learned that she had been killed, he rode his horse over a cliff, thus fulfilling his fall. And legend goes that each drop of his blood that was spilt grew into a tulip. Thus the red tulip came to signify "perfect love".

But as you know, tulips aren't just red. Purple tulips are representative of royalty, while white ones signify either worthiness or forgiveness. Orange, on the other hand, represents energy and enthusiasm. Yellow tulips, interestingly enough, were once thought to symbolize hopelessness, but have come to mean cheeriness and sunshine instead. And all the other varieties out there are not actually natural, but come from viruses that are injected into the bulbs, thus creating the variegated and fringed varieties, so I won't go into those.

Looking at the various meanings, though, you can see how Baha'u'llah encapsulates them all. Perfect love. Royalty. Worthiness. And even the yellow of hopelessness has been transformed into the radiant cheeriness of the rising sun. It reminds me of that recent letter from the Universal House of Justice, in which they responded to so many who are crying to God for salvation from the many ills facing us today: "When so many people of goodwill throughout the world have for so long beseeched God for an answer to the problems that beset them in their common homeland, is it so surprising that He should have answered their prayer?"

Yeah. Tulips. They really are a great symbol of Baha'u'llah for today. And I really love how this hopelessness that is spreading like a disease throughout the world has been transformed, through awareness of His station, into a hope that is just as contagious.


Wow. And I still have 5 minutes before my son needs the computer.

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