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Lo, the Day Star of Glory hath risen above the horizon of My Revelation, and enveloped with its radiance the whole of mankind. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, pp. 255-256.
…those souls whose inner being is lit by the love of God are even as spreading rays of light, and they shine out like stars of holiness in a pure and crystalline sky. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 203.
In all Faiths, the symbols of the sun and the stars stand for divine, heavenly illumination. As a light overcoming the darkness, stars symbolize the human spirit struggling to shine.
If you ever get the chance, go someplace truly dark on a clear night, away from the light pollution of major urban areas, and look up at the stars. Their massed brilliance will stun you, especially if you’ve never seen an unpolluted, unadulterated sky before. Instead of a few forlorn single stars dimly piercing the penumbra of city lights, you’ll witness an entire sweeping vista of stunning starlight, the wide edge of the Milky Way turning the night sky into a riot of color and light. Sadly, our industrialized civilization has robbed most people of that sight, one of the greatest and most profound spectacles life on Earth offers us.
Throughout human history our ancestors all had the moving, mystical, truly awe-inspiring experience of seeing the darkness brimming over with stars. They could truly observe the universe. Those stars inspired science, meditation, reflection, philosophy, literature, art—and faith. Their light gave us hope:
All the Prophets are lights, they only differ in degree; they shine like brilliant heavenly bodies, each have their appointed place and time of ascension. Some are like lamps, some like the moon, some like distant stars, and a few are like the sun, shining from one end of the earth to the other. All have the same Light to give, yet they are different in degree. – Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha in London, pp. 62-63.
Because the sun and the stars have always symbolized guidance, most Faiths have star-related symbols associated with them. They include the Christian Star of Bethlehem; the six-pointed Star of David of Judaism; the Star and Crescent symbol of Islam; the octagonal Star of Lakshmi in Hinduism; and the nine-pointed Baha’i star, which represents the unity of all religions.
The Baha’i writings frequently use the word day-star to symbolize and describe prophets of God—the messengers such as Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Christ, Muhammad and now Baha’u’llah—who shone their light across the world and founded the great Faiths. God’s intermediaries, these universal prophets enlighten humanity and deliver the life-giving warmth of the Creator’s love. A day-star, of course, describes one of two things: either the last star to disappear as it heralds the early morning dawn, or the sun itself, which lights the entire world:
The door of the knowledge of the Ancient Being hath ever been, and will continue for ever to be, closed in the face of men. No man’s understanding shall ever gain access unto His holy court. As a token of His mercy, however, and as a proof of His loving-kindness, He hath manifested unto men the Day Stars of His divine guidance, the Symbols of His divine unity, and hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be identical with the knowledge of His own Self. Whoso recognizeth them hath recognized God. Whoso hearkeneth to their call, hath hearkened to the Voice of God, and whoso testifieth to the truth of their Revelation, hath testified to the truth of God Himself. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, pp. 49-50.
This most powerful symbol—the sun as the source of all light and life—stands for the prophets of God:
By the terms “sun” and “moon,” mentioned in the writings of the Prophets of God, is not meant solely the sun and moon of the visible universe. Nay rather, manifold are the meanings they have intended for these terms. In every instance they have attached to them a particular significance. Thus, by the “sun” in one sense is meant those Suns of Truth Who rise from the dayspring of ancient glory, and fill the world with a liberal effusion of grace from on high. These Suns of Truth are the universal Manifestations of God in the worlds of His attributes and names. Even as the visible sun that assisteth, as decreed by God, the true One, the Adored, in the development of all earthly things, such as the trees, the fruits, and colours thereof, the minerals of the earth, and all that may be witnessed in the world of creation, so do the divine Luminaries, by their loving care and educative influence, cause the trees of divine unity, the fruits of His oneness, the leaves of detachment, the blossoms of knowledge and certitude, and the myrtles of wisdom and utterance, to exist and be made manifest.
Thus it is that through the rise of these Luminaries of God the world is made new, the waters of everlasting life stream forth, the billows of loving-kindness surge, the clouds of grace are gathered, and the breeze of bounty bloweth upon all created things. It is the warmth that these Luminaries of God generate, and the undying fires they kindle, which cause the light of the love of God to burn fiercely in the heart of humanity. It is through the abundant grace of these Symbols of Detachment that the Spirit of life everlasting is breathed into the bodies of the dead. Assuredly the visible sun is but a sign of the splendour of that Day-star of Truth, that Sun Which can never have a peer, a likeness, or rival. Through Him all things live, move, and have their being. Through His grace they are made manifest, and unto Him they all return. From Him all things have sprung, and unto the treasuries of His revelation they all have repaired. From Him all created things did proceed, and to the depositories of His law they did revert. – Baha’u’llah, The Book of Certitude, pp. 33-34.
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Stars in the Supernal Sky
Darkness softly wraps around
As I stand here on this earthly ground.
I gaze aloft and in awe I sigh,
To see these stars in the supernal sky.
A promise 'Abdu'l Baha has given
To us who remain steadfast and driven,
And faithful to the Covenant of God,
No matter where our feet have trod.
Become a star that leads aright,
Shining down with all God's might.
All the while in His protection,
Leading man with divine direction.
I feel such wonder on this ...night,
To be so small beneath this sight.
The majesty of God before my eyes,
In a universe that knows no size.