Friday, March 8, 2019

"The First Call of the Beloved" - part 1

O Ye People That Have Minds To Know And Ears To Hear!
The first call of the Beloved is this: O mystic nightingale! Abide not but in the rose-garden of the spirit. O messenger of the Solomon of love! Seek thou no shelter except in the Sheba of the well-beloved, and O immortal phoenix! dwell not save on the mount of faithfulness. Therein is thy habitation, if on the wings of thy soul thou soarest to the realm of the infinite and seekest to attain thy goal.

You know, dear Reader, it's been a long time since I've really explored a small piece of the Writings here. I don't know about you, but I miss it. And besides, it's the Fast, so I tend to look at a single book during the Fast and kind of dive into it.

This year I was hoping to explore The Call of the Divine Beloved, but my kitchen is being renovated right now. Oh, we live in military housing and they decided that they needed to redo our kitchen, and chose this week to do it. And while I appreciate it, it means that there is a large cabinet in front of the book shelf that happens to have my copy of The Call. For some reason I put it on that bookshelf instead of the one that has the rest of Baha'u'llah's writings, so I guess I'll look at something else instead. After all, I can take a hint.

Now you may be wondering what this has to do with the quote that I put above, and I'm glad you asked, dear Reader. That is the quote I've decided to look at today. Why? Why not?

Ok. Here's my thinking.

I've been posting a lot of stories of the early Babis, as you may have noticed, as well as reading quite a bit of Baha'u'llah's earlier, mystical works. I've also been reading A Treasure House of Mysteries, by Dariush Maani, which is a study of the Hidden Words. And through that volume, which seems to focus on the Persian Hidden Words, I realized that I've always been more drawn to the Arabic, and know those a lot better. So why not go beyond my comfort zone, as they say, out on a limb, and look at the Persian Hidden Words, instead? Right? Right.

Before I do, though, I just want to share a quote from the Hand of the Cause of God, George Townshend. "...(F)rom the Arabic Hidden Words", he writes, "we get the impression that a loving teacher speaks to us, whereas in the Persian part we feel that a lover teaches us." I just love that perspective.

Anyways, on to the quote itself.

Let's look at that invocation: O ye people that have minds to know and ears to hear.

Interesting. The first thing I notice is the reference to Jesus, Who said "Let those who have ears to hear, hear" numerous times in the Bible. Seven times, if I'm not mistaken. And He also said "He who has eyes to see, let him see", thus adding in a second sense into it. But it's interesting to see the mind and knowledge thrown into that mix, seeming to take it a step further.

But there is something else that crosses my mind. In Bible studies, it is often pointed out that you can close your eyes, but you cannot really close your ears. Well, you can stuff cotton in them, or put your hands over them, but you can't really close your ears as you do your eyes.

The mind, though, is something different, entirely. The mind needs to be trained. You go through a process of taking in sensory perceptions, analyzing them, studying them, and then formulating your thoughts. The senses, such as hearing, are more direct.

Here, in the first of the Persian Hidden Words, Baha'u'llah is helping lead us towards God. So we can presume that these are not the ordinary senses about which He is talking. He is probably referring more to the mystical aspects of these terms, especially since this beautiful little book comes in the midst of His most mystical writings.

Perhaps He is alluding to the idea of our having minds to know God, to contemplate reality and come to a better understanding of Him, and eventually moving on to that state of being in which we can know God a bit more directly, hearing His divine melodies with our own ears, as the case may be. Of course, we can't know God directly, or hear Him physically, but we can know Baha'u'llah. We can hear those divine melodies that He has revealed with our own ears. We don't need an intermediary, such as a priest or a member of the clergy, to hear it for us. We can use our own minds to know, and our own ears to hear.

This invocation, especially as it is the first of them, really speaks to me of moving beyond the mere mind, and into the realm of the spirit. It is, if you will, the goal of the journey upon which we embark as we begin our adventure into the Hidden Words.

And whereas I could continue writing about the main body of this Hidden Word, I think I'll leave it for tomorrow.

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