O SON OF THE THRONE!
Thy hearing is My hearing, hear thou therewith. Thy sight is My sight, do thou see therewith, that in thine inmost soul thou mayest testify unto My exalted sanctity, and I within Myself may bear witness unto an exalted station for thee. – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words #44, p. 14.
Baha’u’llah’s brief but powerfully compelling book The Hidden Words addresses the “inmost soul” of every person. The mystical aphorisms and short admonitions in Baha’u’llah’s transcendental compilation of wisdom, Abdu’l-Baha said, represent the quintessence of religious teachings speaking to us again from their source:
Baha’u’llah has revoiced and reestablished the quintessence of the teachings of all the Prophets, setting aside the accessories and purifying religion from human interpretation. He has written a book entitled the Hidden Words. The preface announces that it contains the essences of the words of the Prophets of the past, clothed in the garment of brevity, for the teaching and spiritual guidance of the people of the world. Read it that you may understand the true foundations of religion and reflect upon the inspiration of the Messengers of God. It is light upon light. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 86.
If this short book re-voices religion, then what does the passage above mean? When Baha’u’llah says “Thy hearing is My hearing, hear thou therewith,” and “Thy sight is My sight, do thou see therewith,” how can we understand what he refers to in this mystical passage?
Each of the one hundred and fifty-three Hidden Words has many different potential interpretations, and a short essay can only touch on one or two—but this particular passage contains a very powerful set of meanings that go to the real core of faith.
When Baha’u’llah wrote “Thy sight is My sight, do thou see therewith,” the capitalization of the word “My” gives us the first clue. In this passage Baha’u’llah speaks, as do all the Prophets, from the standpoint of the Creator. The capitalized word “My” means God in this context–and God, Baha’u’llah tells us, wants every human being to transcend the five senses and look deeper.
Here he asks every human being to see beyond simple physical sight—the material things we can see with our outer eyes—and look within. God sends us a request through His messenger, and it re-voices the request God has always made of His creatures: look past the physical and regard your spiritual reality. Think deeply, Baha’u’llah gently suggests, about recognizing your true self.
This profound message, eternal in the past and eternal in the future, represents our highest human calling. It asks us to relate to our source; to find a way to communicate with the eternal spiritual essence of life, to build a true and lasting relationship with the reality only our inner sight and hearing can perceive. It calls out to us, as all religions always have, to seek and find what lies past the temporal, material conditions of this fleeting life, and prepare for the next stage of our spiritual evolution. It asks us to consider our own immortality, and to live into it.
Simply and clearly, Baha’u’llah writes here that God asks for our recognition and our love.
What could be more deeply endearing?
Only if we voluntarily and willingly progress to that spiritual condition, this Hidden Word seems to imply, will God “bear witness to an exalted station” for each of us.
This Baha’i prayer from Abdu’l-Baha, which asks God to “give us sight; give us hearing; familiarize us with the mysteries of life,” speaks directly to the yearning of every soul for recognition, for love, for a lasting and permanent connection to the source of our being:
O God! We are as plants, and Thy bounty is as the rain; refresh and cause these plants to grow through Thy bestowal. We are Thy servants; free us from the fetters of material existence. We are ignorant; make us wise. We are dead; make us alive. We are material; endow us with spirit. We are deprived; make us the intimates of Thy mysteries. We are needy; enrich and bless us from Thy boundless treasury. O God! Resuscitate us; give us sight; give us hearing; familiarize us with the mysteries of life, so that the secrets of Thy kingdom may become revealed to us in this world of existence and we may confess Thy oneness. Every bestowal emanates from Thee; every benediction is Thine. Thou art mighty. Thou art powerful. Thou art the Giver, and Thou art the Ever-Bounteous. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 91.