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O SON OF LIGHT!
Forget all save Me and commune with My spirit. This is of the essence of My command, therefore turn unto it.
O SON OF MAN!
Be thou content with Me and seek no other helper. For none but Me can ever suffice thee.
O SON OF SPIRIT!
Ask not of Me that which We desire not for thee, then be content with what We have ordained for thy sake, for this is that which profiteth thee, if therewith thou dost content thyself. – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, p. 8.
These three Hidden Words express the core of God’s guidance for humanity.
Forget all save God, be content only with God and commune with His spirit, Baha’u’llah asks us. That advice and guidance, older than history and renewed again in the Baha’i teachings, can bring us peace, contentment and happiness. It can lead us toward our own inner, ineffable longing to merge with the eternal.
Like most of the mystical Baha’i writings, and like most of the Holy Books from all Faiths, these verses should not be taken literally. Instead, they speak to us in poetic, imaginative and symbolic ways, calling us to a higher level of understanding and
comprehension, asking us to try to grasp the mystery of life and strive to know the unknowable. Only the language of love and passion can express truths so deep. The great poets understood:
The real beloved is your beginning and your end.
When you find that one,
you’ll no longer expect anything else. – Rumi
The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle –
Why not I with thine?
See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea –
What are all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me? – Percy Bysshe Shelley
The poets speak of love, the minstrels sing of love, and the artists try to portray love. This deep, profoundly human instinct for unity, contentment and connection drives us all to spend our lives searching for it. Everyone has this great yearning of the human heart – not just for romantic love, but for a wider, more powerful merging of our souls with the Creator.
This pervasive theme means the higher forms of art tend to focus on exploring the primal urge of our hearts toward love. In that great art – the sonnets of Shakespeare, the mystical poetry of Rumi, Ibn Arabi and Hafiz, the best gospel and rock and roll and tribal music — romantic love becomes a metaphor, a symbol for the passionate love between humanity and the Divine.
And ultimately, of course, our collective destiny constantly calls us toward that numinous encounter with God’s love.
In Baha’u’llah’s Hidden Words, this same poetic, mystical theme pervades many of the short passages throughout the book. And in the Book of Certitude, Baha’u’llah urges us to look ahead, across the span of our lives, to our inevitable reunion with the spiritual reality:
O my brother! Take thou the step of the spirit, so that, swift as the twinkling of an eye, thou mayest flash through the wilds of remoteness and bereavement, attain the [garden] of everlasting reunion, and in one breath commune with the heavenly Spirits. For with human feet thou canst never hope to traverse these immeasurable distances, nor attain thy goal. Peace be upon him whom the light of truth guideth unto all truth, and who, in the name of God, standeth in the path of His Cause, upon the shore of true understanding. – Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 43.
The Baha’i teachings say that this earthly existence prepares us for an eternal life. If we can find contentment and peace here, Baha’u’llah tells us, we will enter the next life with our consciousness developed, our spirits ready and our hearts open:
The first life, which pertaineth to the elemental body, will come to an end, as hath been revealed by God: “Every soul shall taste of death.” But the second life, which ariseth from the knowledge of God, knoweth no death… O My brother! Forsake thine own desires, turn thy face unto thy Lord, and walk not in the footsteps of those who have taken their corrupt inclinations for their god, that perchance thou mayest find shelter in the heart of existence, beneath the redeeming shadow of Him Who traineth all names and attributes. – Gems of Divine Mysteries, pp. 48-49.
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