Ridvan II Reflections

– 8 –

He is the Most Holy, the Most Glorious.


Praise be to Thee, O my God, that the dawn of Thy Riḍván Festival hath broken, and that therein one who had sought Thy presence hath attained his goal, O Thou our Lord, the Most Merciful! How numerous are Thy loved ones, O my God, who traversed the sands of Syria in their longing to gaze on Thy beauty but who were prevented from attaining the court of Thy transcendent oneness by reason of the misdeeds of Thy foes, who have disbelieved in Thee and gainsaid Thy sovereignty.


O Lord! Look upon the oppressors of Thy people with the eye of Thine avenging wrath. By Thy might! Their iniquity hath reached such heights as none can reckon save Thyself, Who knowest all things. Thy loved ones acquiesced to captivity and confinement in this prison, and yet their enemies were still not satisfied, so intense was their hatred for the Manifestation of Thy Cause. Blessed be the man of insight who seeth in all that hath befallen him in Thy path naught save that which shall exalt his station and magnify Thy Cause, O Thou the Lord of the worlds!


By Thy glory! Were all the peoples of the earth to join together to harm a single one of the people of Bahá, they would find themselves powerless, for all that they see as harming Thy chosen ones is as light unto them and as fire unto Thine enemies. Were it not for the confinement, in the Most Great Prison, of Him Who is the Exponent of Thy transcendent sovereignty, how would Thy Cause have been promulgated, Thy sovereignty manifested, Thy might proclaimed, and the truth of Thy signs established? Would that I Myself had borne all the tribulations of the world, out of love for Thee and for Thy creatures!


O Lord! Open Thou the eyes of Thy servants, that they may behold Thee at all times seated upon the throne of Thy grandeur and supreme over all who are in heaven and on earth. Potent art Thou to do what Thou willest. No God is there but Thee, the Almighty, the Most Powerful.

– 9 –


On the first day that the Ancient Beauty ascended His Most Great Throne in the garden named Riḍván, the Tongue of Glory gave utterance to three blessed words. First, that in this Revelation the law of the sword hath been annulled.[3] Second, that ere the expiration of one thousand years whosoever advanceth a prophetic claim is false. By “year” a full year is intended, and no exegesis or interpretation is permitted in this matter. And third, that at that very hour God, exalted be His Glory, shed the full splendour of all His names upon all creation.


The following verse was revealed subsequently, but He indicated that it should occupy the same station as the other three: that when the name of anyone, whether living or dead, is mentioned in His presence, that soul hath verily attained to the mention of the pre-existent King. Blessed are they that attain thereto!

– 12 –


(Tablet of the Wondrous Maiden)


The hallowed Beauty shone resplendent from behind the veil. How wondrous a thing, how wondrous indeed!


And, lo, the flame of rapture caused all souls to swoon away. How wondrous is this, how wondrous indeed!


Rising up, they soared unto the blest pavilion ’neath the throne of heaven’s canopy. How wondrous a mystery, how wondrous indeed!


Say: The Maiden of Eternity unveiled Her face—may her wondrous beauty be exalted indeed!—


Shedding forth from earth to heaven its resplendent rays. How wondrous a light, how wondrous indeed!


A lightning glance She cast, as piercing as a shooting star—how wondrous Her glance, how wondrous indeed!—


A glance consuming every name and every title in its flames. How wondrous a feat, how wondrous indeed!


To the dwellers of the realm of dust She turned Her gaze. How wondrous Her gaze, how wondrous indeed!


And then did all creation shake and pass away. How astounding a death, how astounding indeed!


She then let fall a raven lock, an ornament of spirit in the darkest night—how wondrous a hue, how wondrous indeed!—


From which the fragrant breezes of the spirit were perceived. How wondrous a scent, how wondrous indeed!


In Her right hand She bore the ruby wine and in Her left a portion of the finest fare. How wondrous a grace, how wondrous indeed!


With hands encrimsoned with Her ardent lovers’ blood—how wondrous is this, how wondrous indeed!—


In cups and chalices She passed round the wine of life. How wondrous a draught, how wondrous indeed!


With harp and lute She sang in praise of Her Beloved. How wondrous a song, how wondrous indeed!


Whereat the hearts were melted in consuming flames. How wondrous a love, how wondrous indeed!


Of Her sustaining beauty She bestowed a boundless share—how wondrous a share, how wondrous indeed!—


Then brought Her sword of charm upon Her lovers’ necks. How wondrous a blow, how wondrous indeed!


Her pearl-like teeth did flash, no sooner had She smiled. How wondrous a pearl, how wondrous indeed!


Whereat the hearts of them that know cried out and wept. How wondrous a piety, how wondrous indeed!


But they that doubt and boast of self denied Her truth. How astounding a denial, how astounding indeed!


And, hearing this, in sorrow, She repaired to Her abode. How astounding Her grief, how astounding indeed!


She returned from whence She came: How lofty were the steps She traced! How astounding a decree, how astounding indeed!


She cried a cry of anguish, as to reduce all things to naught. How astounding Her woe, how astounding indeed!


And from Her lips there streamed these words of warning and rebuke—how astounding a stream, how astounding indeed!—


“Why do ye gainsay Me, O people of the Book?” How astounding is this, how astounding indeed!


“Claim ye to be the guided and the loved ones of the Lord?” By God! How astounding a lie, how astounding indeed!


“O my friends,” She said, “We shall not come again,”—how wondrous a return, how wondrous indeed!—


“But will conceal God’s secrets in His Scriptures and His Books,” as bidden by One mighty and bounteous indeed!


“Nor shall ye find Me till the Promised One appear on Judgement Day.” By My life! How astounding an abasement, how astounding indeed!

– 13 –

He is the Most Holy, the Most Glorious.


Praise be to Thee, O Thou our Lord the Most Merciful! This is one of the days of the festival Thou hast named Riḍván, a festival wherein Thou hast manifested Thy sovereignty over all who are in Thy heavens and on Thine earth, notwithstanding that the people have arisen to harm Thee and to extinguish Thy light, and wherein the Luminary of Thy oneness hath shone forth from the dayspring of Thy House upon all things visible and invisible.


I beseech Thee, O my God, by this Day and by Him Whom Thou hast made to be the Dawning-Place of Thy revelation and the Dayspring of Thine inspiration, to ordain for Thy loved ones the good of this world and of the world to come, and to number them with those whom naught can distract from Thy remembrance and praise. Strengthen, then, their hearts in such wise that the ascendancy of those who have disbelieved in Thee and in Thy signs may never dismay them.


O Lord! Illumine their eyes with the light of Thy knowledge, and their hearts with the splendour of Thy countenance. Bind, then, their souls and spirits together, that through their unity all the inhabitants of Thy dominion may become united.


Potent art Thou over all who are in the kingdoms of Thy revelation and Thy creation. Thou, verily, art the Almighty, the All-Bountiful. Praised be Thou, O Lord of the worlds!

– 14 –

In the name of God, the Almighty, the All-Bountiful!


Glorified art Thou, O my God! I beseech Thee by this Day, and by Him Whom Thy sovereignty and Thy majesty and Thy might have manifested therein, and by the tears which Thine ardent lovers have shed in their remoteness and separation from Thee, and by the fire that hath consumed the hearts of them that yearn to behold Thy beauty, to send down upon us on this Day that which beseemeth Thy beauty and becometh Thy grace and Thy generosity.


O Lord! We are but poor creatures who have detached ourselves from all save Thee, set our faces towards the treasury of Thy wealth, and fled from remoteness in the hope of approaching Thee. Send down, then, upon us from the heaven of Thy Will that which will sanctify us from the world and from all that pertaineth thereunto, and attire us with the raiment Thou hast purposed for us through Thy grace and favours.


I beseech Thee moreover, O my God, by Thy Name which Thou hast made to be the treasury of Thy knowledge, the repository of Thy revelation, and the fountainhead of Thine inspiration, the Name through which Thou hast separated and united the faithful and the infidels, to clothe us in this Day with the vesture of Thy guidance and the mantle of Thy favour. Enable us, then, to champion Thy Cause, to assist Thy Faith, and to speak forth Thy Name before all who are in Thy heaven and on Thine earth, that every land may be filled with the wonders of Thy remembrance and every face illumined with the light of Thy countenance.


O Lord! We bear witness that Thou art God and that there is none other God but Thee. We testify that Thou hast from everlasting occupied so transcendent a station as to elude the grasp of even them that have recognized Thee, and that Thou wilt abide unto everlasting in heights of glory so inaccessible that the birds of the hearts of Thy devoted servants will forever fail to soar into the atmosphere of Thy knowledge.


O Lord! All things bear witness to Thy unity, and whatsoever can be said to exist, whether visible or invisible, testifieth to Thy oneness. Thou, verily, hast sanctified Thy Self beyond the knowledge of aught save Thee, and hast exalted Thine Essence above the mention of all else. All the words and meanings that have been created in the realm of existence return, in the end, to that Word which hath flowed from the pen of Thy Command and the fingers of Thy Decree. Every great one is as naught before the evidences of Thy greatness, and every mighty one is as a thing forgotten before the revelations of Thy transcendent might.


O Lord! Thou seest Thy loved ones encircled by the workers of iniquity. I beseech Thee by that name of Thine whereby the fire of Thy wrath was kindled and the flames of Thine anger were made to blaze, to lay hold upon them that have oppressed Thy loved ones. Send down then upon us all that we have besought of the wonders of Thy grace and favour, and suffer us not to be debarred from turning towards Thee and drawing nigh unto the sanctuary of Thy transcendent oneness. Thou, verily, art that omnipotent One to Whose might all the atoms of the earth have from all eternity borne witness, and to Whose majesty all created things will ever testify. Thou, in truth, art the Lord of might and grandeur, and the Ruler of earth and heaven. No God is there but Thee, the Almighty, the All-Glorious, Whose help is implored by all.

– 18 –

In the name of God, the Most Glorious!


Glorified art Thou, O Lord my God! This is one of the days of Thy Riḍván Festival whereon Thou didst shed the splendour of Thy name, the All-Merciful, upon all the peoples of the earth, and didst manifest Thy power and Thy sovereignty unto all created things. Thou seest, O Lord, how on this day one of Thy loved ones hath invited the Manifestation of Thine Essence from His room to another room in this prison, wherein a gathering hath been held in Thy name and adorned with the ornament of Thine own Self, in such wise that the Sun of Thy beauty hath shone forth above its horizon. Blessed be the one who hath attained thereunto, blessed the day that hath been honoured with Thy revelation, and blessed the land that hath been illumined by the light of Thy Countenance.


O Lord! Ordain for him, and for Thy servants who have been hindered from meeting Thee, the recompense decreed for such as have attained Thy presence and convened a gathering to exalt Thy name and Thy remembrance. Write down, then, for them what Thou hast written down for such as enjoy near access to Thee. Thy might, in truth, is equal to all things.

– 19 –

He is God.


Glorified art Thou, O Lord my God! This is one of the days of Thy Riḍván Festival whereon a corner of this prison hath been decked forth for the appearance of Him Who is the Exponent of Thy beauty, granting the request of one whose ardent devotion hath prompted him to invite Thee. All praise be to Thee, inasmuch as Thou hast, as a token of Thy bounty unto them that abide beneath Thy shadow and circle round Thy being, shone forth on this day above the horizon of the prison with such splendour as to illumine the entire creation.


This is the Day whereon Thou didst unloose Thy tongue and bestow in abundance the gems of inner meaning and utterance upon the peoples of the world. Quicken, then, O Lord, through this heavenly cup, all who dwell on earth, and ordain that which will be profitable unto those among the people of Bahá who long to behold Thy face, but whom the misdeeds of Thine enemies have debarred therefrom, O King of Names and Ruler of earth and heaven. Bestow upon them, moreover, a portion of Thy manifold bounties in these days whereon every abased one hath been exalted, every faithful soul invested with Thy grace, every chilled heart enkindled, every poor one enriched, and every seeker sent forth upon the path.


Lauded art Thou, O Lord, for having singled out Thy loved ones and chosen them from amongst Thy people, and for having turned Thy gaze towards them from this spot wherein He Who is the Embodiment of Thy Cause lieth imprisoned. O Lord, withhold not from them the things Thou dost possess, but so enrapture their hearts through the breezes of Thy Revelation that they may detach themselves from all else but Thee and set their faces towards the court of Thy grace and generosity. Potent art Thou to do what Thou pleasest, and powerful art Thou over all things. All praise be to Thee, O Desire of the worlds!

– 20 –

He is the Most Holy, the Most Glorious.


All praise be to Thee, O Lord my God! This is one of the days of Thy Riḍván Festival whereon a servant of Thine hath extended an invitation to the Manifestation of Thine Essence and the Revealer of Thy Sovereignty, and hath decked forth a place in the prison to receive Thine all-glorious Beauty, O Thou Who art the Lord of earth and heaven! All glory be to this hour wherein He Who is the Dayspring of Thy transcendent might hath directed His steps from one room of the prison to another. I beseech Thee, O Thou Who art the King of Names and Creator of earth and heaven, to write down for such of Thy loved ones as have been debarred from entering the precincts of Thy mercy and standing before the throne of Thy might the recompense decreed for such as have attained Thy presence and beheld Him Who is Thy Beauty.


Thou hearest, O Lord, their sighs and lamentations in their separation and remoteness from Thee. I beseech Thee to ordain for them all the good Thou dost possess. Potent art Thou to do as Thou willest. No God is there but Thee, the Almighty, the All-Praised.



Selection 9 3.

That is, jihad.

on Riḍván II

with Sagacious Afternoons, Page 11 of 13

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