Eighth Reflection

The Eighth Reflection: The Three Principles of Baha’i Revelation Nader Saiedi

Baha’u’llah writes: Incline thine ear and hear! This is the voice of My pen raised before mystics, then divines, and then kings and rulers . (Iqtidarat)

The writings of Baha’u’llah (1817-1892) extend from 1852, the year of the inception of the Baha’i Faith, to 1892, the year of His ascension. Both the Bab (1819-1850), the Prophet Who paved the way for the coming of Baha’u’llah, and Baha’u’llah are characterized by an unprecedented ocean of revelation. That is why the Baha’i scriptures constitute almost an entire library, rather than only one or a few books. In addition, there is no historical or objective doubt about the authenticity of these writings. The writings of Baha’u’llah alone would be equivalent to one hundred books. These writings address all kinds of issues in a variety of styles. However, despite the amazing diversity and plurality of His writings, they all represent a grand divine order and unity. The statement of Baha’u’llah, quoted above, unveils this order and unity. As He notes, His writings are revealed in three stages. The first stage is addressed to the mystics, the second to the divines and clerics, and the third to the kings and rulers of the world. This order is not accidental. The logical and dialectical structure of this order is itself another testimony to the primordial unity, originality, novelty and purity of Baha’u’llah’s consciousness. In this reflection, we will explore these three stages, the corresponding principle announced by each of the stages, and the logical connection and unity of the three principles. The principle explained in the first stage is the mystical consciousness, that reality is ultimately spiritual. The second stage emphasizes historical consciousness and extends that dynamism to the realm of religion and the Word of God. The third principle emphasized in the final stage of His revelation is the global consciousness and its twin requirements of the oneness of humankind and universal peace. Together, these three principles constitute an organic unity, and this unity defines the uniqueness of Baha’u’llah’s message. 1. Mystical Consciousness The first stage of His revelation (1852-1860) took place during much of His exile in Baghdad. Some of the principal works of this stage are the Hidden Words , the Four Valleys, The Ode of the Dove , and the Seven Valleys . The principle emphasized in these writings is the spiritual interpretation of reality. According to the writings of Baha’u’llah, all of reality is ultimately a diverse manifestation of divine names and attributes. All beings, therefore, are sublime mirrors in which the divine revelation is manifest. This radical affirmation of the sacredness of all beings and the cosmic solidarity and unity of all things is based upon the idea that the ultimate truth of all beings is the very divine revelation that is enshrined within their inmost heart. History is a spiritual journey towards the realization and unfoldment of this all-encompassing inherent divine revelation in the lives of human beings. In His Hidden Words , we read: O Son of Man! Thou art My dominion and My dominion perisheth not, wherefore fearest thou thy perishing? Thou art My light and My light shall never be extinguished, why dost thou dread

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