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O Son of Man! Many a day hath passed over thee whilst thou hast busied thyself with thy fancies and idle imaginings. How long art thou to slumber on thy bed? Lift up thy head from slumber, for the Sun hath risen to the zenith, haply it may shine upon thee with the light of beauty.
O Son of Man! The light hath shone on thee from the horizon of the sacred Mount and the spirit of enlightenment hath breathed in the Sinai of thy heart. Wherefore, free thyself from the veils of idle fancies and enter into My court, that thou mayest be fit for everlasting life and worthy to meet Me. Thus may death not come upon thee, neither weariness nor trouble. – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, p. 18.
Several months have passed since the last installment in this series of essays about Baha’u’llah’s beautiful, mystical book The Hidden Words. My apologies for the delay—sometimes I get carried away with the beauty of these passages, and try to meditate on them each day, and then one of those passages sticks in my mind and seems to inhabit my thoughts for months. When that happens, it takes a long time to process and then attempt to understand the deep meanings of Baha’u’llah’s stunning aphorisms.
That’s what happened with these two Hidden Words.
They seem, after contemplating them for quite some time, to capsulize and contain the very essence of what it is to believe. I found them so profound; and I’m still struggling to come to terms with them.
Baha’u’llah calls to us, in the first of these passages, to awaken from our slumber: “Lift up thy head…” He asks us to leave behind our “fancies and idle imaginings” and emerge from the long night of the soul. Why? Because “the Sun hath risen to the zenith, haply it may shine upon thee with the light of beauty.”
Night and darkness, of course, always symbolize the unconscious state; while daytime stands for enlightenment and the awakening of the conscious mind. In this Hidden Word, Baha’u’llah tells us a new era of consciousness has come, and the Sun shines upon us all—that God has once again sent a holy messenger to humanity. He announces that the light has risen again, if only we would wake up and look.
In the second Hidden Word above, Baha’u’llah continues the allusion of the light shining upon us “from the sacred Mount.”
Often in religious scripture, Mount Sinai, or the sacred Mount—one of the most sacred places in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, where Moses received the Ten Commandments—symbolizes the prophet of God himself. The word Sinai also stands for the pure human heart, which receives the light of prophet.
Since Baha’is accept Baha’u’llah as the newest prophet of God—the latest in a long line of holy messengers like Abraham, Krishna, Buddha, Moses, Christ and Muhammad—this Hidden Word actually invites everyone “into My court…”
The capitalization of the word “My” indicates that here God speaks directly to us through His newest messenger, Baha’u’llah, asking each of us to attain everlasting life by recognizing the outpouring of light the new prophet brings. Baha’u’llah invites us to recognize his revelation, to understand that God has spoken again, to open our eyes and let the light pour in.
This invitation, which Baha’u’llah has offered to all humanity, has a promise embedded in it: “Thus may death not come upon thee, neither weariness nor trouble.”
How is that even possible? What does that promise mean?
It tells us that when we acknowledge God’s latest call, it begins to prepare our souls so that “thou mayest be fit for everlasting life and worthy to meet Me.” It does not promise some kind of instant salvation or gratification—instead, Baha’u’llah says that we must free ourselves from “the veils of idle fancies” in order to see clearly and recognize the “light of beauty.”
“Thus may death not come upon thee…”, Baha’u’llah wrote, offering everyone everlasting life.