In late 2004, in a small meeting in rural South Carolina, a young Baha’i spontaneously started this soul-stirring chant from the writings of Baha’u’llah: “Beautify your tongues, O people, with truthfulness,” followed by, “and adorn your souls with the ornament of honesty.”
His youth group members then started to beat with their hands on whatever they could reach in order to add the beat, that essential element of drums and percussion to their creation. Quick to follow, another youth started to sing “Let your eye be chaste, your hand faithful, your tongue truthful, and your heart enlightened.” They sang them back to back as if they were all part of the same inspiring passage from the Baha’i writings. The chant resonated through the building, and the young Baha’is immediately realized their newly-created song brought immense happiness and joy into the group.
They felt they had discovered that moving, powerful inspiration we can all tap into by invoking the spirit with the unified human voice. They felt their hearts had begun to understand the profound symbolism in what Abdu’l-Baha said:
Soon the whole world, as in springtime, will change its garb. The turning and falling of the autumn leaves is past; the bleakness of the winter time is over. The new year hath appeared and the spiritual springtime is at hand. The black earth is becoming a verdant garden; the deserts and mountains are teeming with red flowers; from the borders of the wilderness the tall grasses are standing like advance guards before the cypress and jasmine trees; while the birds are singing among the rose branches like the angels in the highest heavens, announcing the glad-tidings of the approach of that spiritual spring, and the sweet music of their voices is causing the real essence of all things to move and quiver. – Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith, p. 352.
A few years later, most of the members of this group had become teenagers. In a Baha’i study class, alongside many other youth from the South, a tutor asked the original group of youth to share the song. They sang it with all their hearts, and suddenly a profound mystical energy filled the room.
Some of the young Baha’is, joyous and inspired, asked if they could sing it again. This time everyone in the room gradually started singing. The youth found a few drums lying around, and the drums began to resonate. Everyone in the room became filled with a powerful and healing energy. The singers set their egos aside, and gave voice to their innermost feelings, as deeper understandings of reverence unfolded.
A few days later two more youth created another song. During one of the evening devotionals they sang it and taught it to everyone else. The song was “O Baha’u’llah”. Again, the room became filled with a potent spirit of joy! All the participants sang with delight and drummed from the soul. After they sang for awhile, and while the drums still played, someone yelled out “Beautify your tongues,” and then the response “O people, with truthfulness” followed. They started to sing both songs back and forth as if they were one. No one could sit still or hold in their joy!
We hope you feel that joy in our song.
The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BahaiTeachings.org or any institution of the Baha’i Faith.