Ridvan IV Reflections

He it is Who is established upon this luminous Throne.


Proclaim unto the celestial Concourse, O Pen of effulgent glory, that lo, the veil of concealment hath been rent asunder and the Beauty of the Lord hath been revealed from this Scene of transcendent glory with such radiance as to cause the luminaries of His command to shine above the dayspring of His almighty Name. All hail then to this, the Festival of the Lord, that hath dawned above a horizon of surpassing grace!


This is a festival wherein all things have been adorned with the vesture of the names of God, and wherein His bounty hath compassed all things from first to last. All hail then to this, the Festival of the Lord, that hath shone above a dayspring of resplendent holiness!


Summon, then, the maids of eternity to hasten forth from their crimson chambers in their celestial grace, and to appear betwixt earth and heaven with the most glorious adorning. Grant them leave, then, to pass round to the inhabitants of the world, high and low alike, that cup of life which hath been drawn from the heavenly stream of mercy. All hail then to this, the Festival of the Lord, that hath appeared above the horizon of holiness with wondrous rapture!


Bid then the heavenly youths, who have been fashioned from the splendours of the All-Praised, to issue forth from their heavenly abode, decked in the attire of the All-Merciful, and to proffer with ruby fingers the chalice of immortality to the inmates of the highest Paradise among the companions of Bahá, that they may be drawn nigh unto the Splendour of the Lord of Grandeur—this shining and resplendent Beauty. All hail then to this, the Festival of the Lord, that hath appeared above a dayspring of exalted glory!


By God! This is the festival wherein the beauty of the Unknowable Essence hath appeared unveiled and arrayed with such sovereignty as to lay low the necks of them that have repudiated His truth. All hail then to this, the Festival of the Lord, that hath appeared with supreme dominion!


This is a festival wherein all things have been absolved by virtue of the appearance of Him Who is the Ancient King from behind the veil of names. Wherefore, rejoice in your hearts, O peoples of the world, for the breezes of forgiveness have been wafted over the entire creation and the spirit of life hath been breathed into the world. All hail then to this, the Festival of the Lord, that hath appeared above a dayspring of resplendent holiness!


Beware lest ye transgress the bounds of courtesy and commit that which your minds and your hearts abhor. This is that whereunto ye were bidden by the Pen of God, the Almighty, the Most Powerful. All hail then to this, the Festival of the Lord, that hath appeared above a horizon of wondrous grace!


This is a festival wherein the Beauty of the Lord of Grandeur hath been exalted above all things, and wherein He, unveiled and unconcealed, hath proclaimed His will and purpose unto all that are in heaven and on earth. And this is but a token of His grace that hath pervaded the entire creation. Therein was the Temple of Bahá seated upon the throne of eternity, and the splendours of His countenance dawned above the horizon of creation with the light of wondrous glory. All hail then to this, the Festival of the Lord, that hath appeared above a horizon of wondrous grace!


O ye that abide beneath the tabernacle of grandeur! O ye that dwell within the pavilion of inviolable sanctity! O ye that are sheltered under the canopy of loftiness and glory! Lift up your voices and sing in the most melodious of tones in your most exalted chambers, for in this Dispensation the veiled Beauty hath been revealed, and the Day-Star of the Unseen hath risen above the horizon of ancient glory. All hail then to this, the Festival of the Lord, that hath appeared with a splendid adorning!


O company of the Concourse on high, and O denizens of the immortal city! Hasten ye to pay homage, for the Shrine of grandeur hath appeared within this Tabernacle round which all former shrines revolve; and circle about and draw nigh unto the Lord of all men in these days, the like of which the eyes of the former generations have never beheld. All hail then to this, the Festival of the Lord, that hath dawned above the horizon of God, the Most Gracious, the All-Bountiful!


Drink deep, O ye dwellers of earth and heaven, from the chalice of eternal life that the hand of Bahá proferreth in this most lofty and exalted Paradise. By God! Whoso partaketh but a drop thereof shall neither suffer the vicissitudes of time nor fall prey to the wiles of the Evil One, but the Lord shall send him forth in every Dispensation adorned with a hallowed and wondrous beauty. All hail then to this, the Festival of the Lord, that hath been made manifest from the seat of the Lord of all wisdom!


Sanctify your souls from the world, O people, and hasten unto the Divine Lote-Tree in this furthermost sanctuary, that ye may hearken unto the voice of your Lord, the All-Merciful, calling from this Paradise which hath been created at the behest of God, the All-Praised, and before whose portals the inmates of the pavilion of sanctity bow down in adoration. All hail then to this, the Festival of the Lord, that hath shone forth above the horizon of majesty and grandeur!


Take heed, O people, lest ye deprive yourselves of the breezes of these days wherein the fragrance of the divine Robe is being wafted at every moment from the presence of this glorious and radiant Youth. All hail then to this, the Festival of the Lord, that hath shone from the dayspring of His name, the Most High!

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Another letter of thine, which made mention of the hallowed and blessed days of Riḍván, was received. Praise be to God, there wafted therefrom the sweet savours of the rose-garden of true knowledge and inner meaning. Should the people of the world resolve, one and all, to extol the days that We passed in the garden of Najíb Páshá, which hath been designated as the Garden of Riḍván, they would find themselves utterly incapable thereof and would confess to their powerlessness.


Verily, the eye of creation hath never beheld the light of those days, nor hath the gaze of humankind ever witnessed their like. The approach of Him Who is the Desire of the world, His entrance into that garden, His ascent upon the throne of utterance, and the words that streamed forth from the mouth of His will at that moment shall forever transcend every earthly mention. Any attribute that might be ascribed unto them, any praise wherewith they might be extolled will fail to do justice to the dust that hath been ennobled by His footsteps, how much less to His mighty throne, His manifest establishment thereon, and His pervasive and all-embracing utterance. Indeed, the splendours of that Day elude the understanding and comprehension of the peoples of the world.


That garden hath been named after its caretaker, who was called Riḍván. Those were the days whereon the All-Merciful cast the splendour of all His names over all who are in His heaven and on His earth. Some among His chosen ones had the honour of witnessing those days and beholding that which was manifested therein. In the arrival and departure of the Ancient Beauty, the signs and tokens of God were made clear and evident, and the light of Revelation was made to shine forth in the plenitude of its glory. Verily, His majesty was exalted, His power magnified, and His sovereignty revealed.


This servant[11] besought his Lord to write down for His chosen ones the recompense of this Day and of that which shone forth thereon above the horizon of the will of our Lord, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. Upon perusing thy letter, I presented myself before His throne and read it in its entirety in His presence. He graciously heard it and said, blessed and exalted be His utterance: “In My Name that hath shed its radiance upon all that are in heaven and on earth. O ‘Alí! Upon thee be My glory and My loving-kindness. Thou hast attained aforetime, and wilt continue hereafter to attain, unto My mention and My favour, and unto the Ocean and its waves, and the Light and its effulgence, and the Lote-Tree and its fruits, and the Sun and its rays. We have sent down unto thee, from the heaven of Our providence and bounty, verses whose import the wisest and most learned of men are powerless to apprehend. We beseech God, exalted and glorified be He, to aid thee at all times to serve His Cause amidst His servants, and to supply thee under all conditions, from the cup of His favour, with the living waters of His recognition, that all men may draw nigh unto His court of holiness and His throne of glory. He, verily, is the Almighty, the Most Powerful.


“Thou didst mention the days of Riḍván and those who gathered in thy house and in other homes to remember God, the Lord of the throne on high and of earth below, the King of this matchless Day. Well is it with the home that hath been adorned with My favour, within whose walls My remembrance hath been glorified, and which hath been honoured with the presence of such of My loved ones as have extolled My praise, clung to the cord of My providence, and recited My verses. These, verily, are among those honoured servants whom God hath extolled in the Qayyúmu’l-Asmá’ and other Holy Books. He, verily, is the One Who heareth all, Who seeth all, and Who is ready to answer.


“We, verily, have heard their remembrance and praise of this Announcement concerning which the Concourse on high hath cried out: By God! This is the Great Announcement which hath been mentioned in the Qur’án and in the former Books revealed by God, the Lord of the worlds. He, verily, praiseth His own Self on their behalf and mentioneth Himself through their tongues. He, verily, is the Most Generous, the Lord of grace abounding. Blessed the steadfast soul that hath stood unswayed by the tempestuous gales of doubt which the enemies have unleashed. And blessed the faithful one that hath remained unshaken by the onslaught of the hosts of oppression and the ascendancy of the exponents of denial, them that have fallen prey to their own idle imaginings and repudiated the very One to Whom they claim allegiance. These, verily, are accounted among the lost in My manifest Book.


“O ‘Alí! Call upon My loved ones on My behalf. Convey unto them My praise, My remembrance, and My greetings, that the sweet fragrances of the bounty of thy Lord may attract them and draw them nigh unto God, the Almighty, the All-Praised. We, moreover, call to remembrance My handmaidens and My leaves who have held fast to My Tree and clung to the hem of My mighty and luminous Robe. Upon thee, and upon them, man and woman alike, be the glory of God, the Compassionate, the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.”

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Selection 25

11. Mírzá Áqá Ján, the amanuensis of Bahá’u’lláh, in whose voice the first part of this Tablet was revealed. ↩

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