Introducing The Principal Theme
We will try to understand Bahá’u’lláh’s station by looking at His power to transform souls.
First, let us begin by reviewing what we learned in the preceding set.
In the past few classes, we have been learning about the period of Bahá’u’lláh’s life in ‘Akká and then later in Bahjí. We saw how He proclaimed His Message to the kings and rulers of the world and called upon them to recognize His station, to embrace His teachings, and to uphold justice.
But did they do so?
The leaders at the time, like many even today, were too proud to listen to God’s Manifestation, and injustice has continued to rule the world. We know, however, that nothing could silence Bahá’u’lláh or stop the progress of His Cause. For some forty years He revealed the Word of God, and His Revelation is His most precious gift to humanity. We are able to find joy when we follow His teachings and obey His laws and commandments.
The theme of the lesson: We are told by Bahá’u’lláh that God created us out of His love for us. If we were to be deprived of God’s love, even for a moment, we would perish and be no more. It is because of His love that the sun shines, that the plants grow, that animals give birth to their offspring, and that human beings receive blessings with every breath. Our love for each other, the kindness we give and receive, the tenderness we feel in our heart for so many people, is all but a reflection of God’s love for His creatures.
And Who today manifests to the utmost perfection God’s love for humanity?
This love is manifested by Bahá’u’lláh, and His love has the power to transform us.
We have used the word ‘transform’ in our classes before.
What does it mean?
The word ‘transform’ means to change from one condition to another.
Here is an example:
A caterpillar wraps itself in a cocoon and later emerges as a beautiful butterfly. The caterpillar is transformed into a butterfly.
Or think of the land during a period of drought when water is scarce. It is hard and dry. But then the rains come and transform the barren ground into green fields.
Likewise, Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings have the power to transform our souls. Through prayer, the study of His Writings, and constant effort, we can fill our hearts with His love; we become lovers of humanity, dedicated to the betterment of the world.
Today you are going to memorize a quotation in which Bahá’u’lláh tells us that, if He so wishes, He could change an atom into a sun and a drop into an ocean.
Does everyone know how small an ‘atom’ is?
Can we see an atom with our eyes?
How does an atom compare to the sun?
How does a drop compare to an ocean?
Now, imagine how the Word of God can change each one of us.
We are weak; He can make us strong. We are timid; He can give us courage. When you think of Bahá’u’lláh, then, remember always His immense love for you. Regard Him as a most loving Father, Whose teachings and counsels will guide you and make firm your steps. Become dependent on His love. Let His love give you courage, so you will grow and, like a seed that is transformed into a tree, become that which God has created all of us to be!
MEMORIZATION AID FOR 3 PRAYERS
PRAYER 1 “I implore Thee, O my God and my Master, by Thy word through which they who have believed in Thy unity have soared up into the atmosphere of Thy knowledge, and they who are devoted to Thee have ascended into the heaven of Thy oneness, to inspire Thy loved ones with that which will assure their hearts in Thy Cause. Endue them with such steadfastness that nothing whatsoever will hinder them from turning towards Thee.”
PRAYER 2 “O my Lord and my Hope! Help Thou Thy loved ones to be steadfast in Thy mighty Covenant, to remain faithful to Thy manifest Cause, and to carry out the commandments Thou didst set down for them in Thy Book of Splendors; that they may become banners of guidance and lamps of the Company above, wellsprings of Thine infinite wisdom, and stars that lead aright, as they shine down from the supernal sky. Verily, art Thou the Invincible, the Almighty, the All-Powerful.”
PRAYER 3 “O my Lord! O my Lord! This is a lamp lighted by the fire of Thy love and ablaze with the flame which is ignited in the tree of Thy mercy. O my Lord! Increase his enkindlement, heat and flame, with the fire which is kindled in the Sinai of Thy Manifestation. Verily, Thou art the Confirmer, the Assister, the Powerful, the Generous, the Loving.”
“… if it were His wish He could cause a mere atom to be transformed into a sun and a single drop into an ocean.”Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh
Meaning Of Words In Quote
Write any words you don’t know and look them up. Use this PDF
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There are countless stories in the history of the Faith that illustrate the power of Bahá’u’lláh to transform souls. There are two such stories today for you. The first is about the outstanding believer, Nabíl-i-Akbar, and the second is about a prominent man in the city of ‘Akká who lived there at the time of Bahá’u’lláh’s exile.
We know that every day around the world, more and more people come to know about Bahá’u’lláh and His teachings. As the fire of His love is kindled in their hearts and His words fill their souls, they are able to gradually cast away the habits of an old world and to acquire the qualities of a people worthy of the task to which humankind is being called today: to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.
During Bahá’u’lláh’s lifetime, those whose spiritual eyes were open had a special privilege. As they entered into His Divine presence, they caught a glimpse of such tenderness and love, combined with such grandeur and majesty, that their souls were transformed. They became new creations.
Nabíl-i-Akbar was a great scholar who possessed a vast knowledge of many fields. Few could match him in his eloquence. It is said that he once spoke to a group of academics in a far-off city who had not been told his identity. His listeners were lost in admiration. “Who could be so knowledgeable and present such illuminating explanations?” they wondered. “This is indeed a most exceptional man.” The only one who could possibly rival him, they all agreed, was the famous Nabíl-i-Akbar. Such was the widespread recognition of his intellectual accomplishments.
After embracing the Faith of the Báb, Nabíl-i-Akbar became a highly respected figure among his fellow believers. It was six years after his acceptance of the new religion when, while in Baghdád, he visited Bahá’u’lláh. At that time, Bahá’u’lláh had not yet openly declared His Mission, and the Bábís were not aware of His station. Nabíl-i-Akbar was received warmly at Bahá’u’lláh’s house and was invited to stay in one of the rooms set aside for guests.
Soon after his arrival, he observed a learned and highly dignified Bábí throw himself at the feet of Bahá’u’lláh. This act of extreme reverence, although sincere, did not please Bahá’u’lláh, Who asked him to rise immediately. Nabíl-i-Akbar felt Bahá’u’lláh certainly deserved respect, but he could not understand why such a prominent Bábí would worship Him so. He decided to watch Bahá’u’lláh carefully to find out whether He was endowed with special power. But he saw only humility and servitude in Bahá’u’lláh, and the more he observed Him the more convinced he became of his own intellectual superiority. So he began to think that he himself was in every way greater than Bahá’u’lláh.
One afternoon, Bahá’u’lláh arranged a meeting in His house. Nabíl-i-Akbar occupied the seat of honor, while Bahá’u’lláh sat among the friends and served them tea with His own hands. During the meeting, someone asked a question. Nabíl-i-Akbar began to speak immediately, thinking that no one else would be able to answer the question well. All the friends were silent, except Bahá’u’lláh Who occasionally while agreeing with Nabíl-i-Akbar’s explanation, would make a few comments on the subject. As Nabíl-i-Akbar heard these comments, he gradually became silent and listened more and more carefully to Bahá’u’lláh’s words. He was awed by the depth of their meaning. He felt deeply ashamed that he was occupying the seat of honor. Once Bahá’u’lláh stopped talking, he got up and went outside the room, and there he hit his head against the wall three times, furious with himself for not having seen the real grandeur of Bahá’u’lláh.
Not long after, He attended another meeting at which Bahá’u’lláh was present. This time, as he listened to Him, he discovered His words to be priceless gems compared to what all his past learning appeared worthless. He then wrote to Bahá’u’lláh and received a Tablet from Him, which assisted him in recognizing the full glory of Bahá’u’lláh’s station.
When his eyes were opened to the light of Divine guidance, Nabíl-i-Akbar became like a flame. He could rest no longer. He returned to Persia at Bahá’u’lláh’s instruction and began to teach the Faith. In his hometown, he led numerous souls to recognize their Lord. Even the prince of the city was captivated by his eloquence, knowledge and accomplishments. Again, he became known far and wide, but this time as a follower of Bahá’u’lláh. The enemies of the Faith grew envious. Their false accusations were brought to the attention of the king, whose anger terrified the prince. He began to attack Nabíl and turned the people of the city against him. But Nabíl could not be silenced. At last, they drove him out of the city. He went to Ṭihrán. There, too, he was exposed to danger at all times. But he continued to spread the Faith and became a guiding lamp to many souls. He then left for ‘Ishqábád and Bukhárá where, teaching the Cause of God to his last breath, he died in 1892. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has written of him:
“It is true that in this swiftly passing world, he was the target of countless woes; and yet, all those generations of powerful clerics, . . . all of them will disappear without a trace. They will leave no name behind them, no sign, no fruit. No word will be passed down from any of them; no man will tell of them again. But because he stood steadfast in this holy Faith, because he guided souls and served this Cause and spread its fame, that star, Nabíl, will shine forever from the horizon of abiding light.”
Nabíl-i-Akbar is one of the outstanding early believers of our Faith, and when you get older, you will probably learn more about his life and deeds. Here is another story about an individual transformed by Bahá’u’lláh.
As mentioned in an earlier class, upon their arrival in ‘Akká, Bahá’u’lláh and His companions were publicly denounced by the enemies of the Faith. Believing these false accusations, many of the inhabitants of the city were extremely unhappy about their arrival. Among them was Shaykh Maḥmúd, a well-respected citizen who was outraged that the government had sent such people to his city and wanted to get rid of them. At one point, he even felt that he would be justified in killing Bahá’u’lláh.
Shaykh Maḥmúd had forgotten about a vision he had been told as a ten-year-old boy by an elderly friend of his father. According to the vision, someday, the Promised One of All Ages would arrive in ‘Akká. He would speak Persian and would live in a room at the top of a long flight of stairs. The old man had counseled the boy to remain vigilant so that he would recognize the Promised One. But these words had faded from his mind as he grew up.
One day Shaykh Maḥmúd hid a weapon under his coat and went to the army barracks where Bahá’u’lláh was imprisoned. He told the guards that he wanted to see Bahá’u’lláh and, because he was a well-respected citizen, they granted him permission to enter. However, when the guards announced the visitor to Bahá’u’lláh, He said, “Tell him to cast away the weapon and then he may come in.” Upon hearing this from the guards, Shaykh Maḥmúd became so confused that he left and went home.
After a while, he returned to the army barracks, still determined to kill Bahá’u’lláh. He was a strong man and decided to use his bare hands. Again he went to the guards and requested permission to enter. But this time, when they told Bahá’u’lláh that Shaykh Maḥmúd wanted to see him, He said, “Tell him to purify his heart first and then he may come in.” This left him even more surprised than the previous time, and he went off in a state of confusion.
Later he had a dream in which his father and his friend, the old man, reminded him to be attentive, otherwise, he would be deprived of recognizing the Promised One. The dream had a striking effect on him. He returned to the army barracks and asked to speak to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. As he listened to the Master’s words, his hatred was washed away. Now he could be accepted into the presence of Bahá’u’lláh. With reverence, he entered into His presence and allowed his heart to be filled with His love.
The two stories in this episode offer us some insight into the process of individual transformation.
Let Us Reflect
For example, we come to understand that both Nabíl-i-Akbar and Shaykh Maḥmúd had to give up certain habits and ways of thinking in order to recognize Bahá’u’lláh’s wisdom and knowledge and be filled with the love of God.
Are there other similar insights they could gain from these stories?
For any of the figures we heard about, use the biography page to write down the information you would like to remember
- Bahá’u’lláh was born some two hundred years ago, on 12 November 1817, in Ṭihrán, the capital of Persia.
- Bahá’u’lláh’s given name was Mírzá Ḥusayn-‘Alí. The name of Bahá’u’lláh’s father was Mírzá
- Buzurg and His mother were named Khadíjih Khánum.
- Bahá’u’lláh’s ancestors came from the district of Núr in the province of Mázindarán.
- From an early age, Bahá’u’lláh showed signs of greatness.
- Bahá’u’lláh did not attend school and only received some instruction at home.
- As a young man, Bahá’u’lláh chose to devote His energies to the care of the poor and the defense of the weak.
- At the age of eighteen, Bahá’u’lláh married Ásíyih Khánum.
- Bahá’u’lláh was twenty-seven years old when, on 23 May 1844, the Báb declared His Mission.
- Mullá Ḥusayn was the bearer of the Message of the Báb sent to Bahá’u’lláh in Ṭihrán.
- Upon receiving the scroll of the Báb’s Writings, Bahá’u’lláh testified to the truth of His Revelation.
- The province of Mázindarán, and the district of Núr in particular, became the first in all of Persia to embrace the Message of the Báb.
- The independence of the Faith of the Báb from Islám was declared at the Conference of Badasht.
- The Conference of Badasht took place in the summer of 1848, while the Báb Himself was imprisoned in a remote part of Persia.
- Bahá’u’lláh steered the course of events at the Conference of Badasht.
- At the Conference of Badasht, Ṭáhirih was given her title by Bahá’u’lláh, which means “the Pure One”, and Quddús was given him, which means “Holy”.
- It was after the Conference of Badasht that Bahá’u’lláh came to be known by His title.
- The term “síyáh-chál” means the “black pit”
- The Síyáh-Chál was an underground prison in Ṭihrán.
- Bahá’u’lláh was taken to the Síyáh-Chál in the summer of 1852.
- Bahá’u’lláh was kept in the Síyáh-Chál for four months.
- While imprisoned in the Síyáh-Chál, Bahá’u’lláh received the first stirrings of God’s Revelation in His soul
- Bahá’u’lláh was imprisoned in the Síyáh-Chál for four months.
- Bahá’u’lláh was exiled from Persia in 1853.
- Bahá’u’lláh’s very difficult journey from Persia to Baghdád began on 12 January 1853 and took about three months.
- Bahá’u’lláh left Baghdád for Kurdistán in April 1854.
- Bahá’u’lláh spent a total of two years in Sulaymáníyyih.
- Bahá’u’lláh returned to Baghdád from the region of Kurdistán in April 1856.
- During the two years of Bahá’u’lláh’s absence from Baghdád, the fortunes of the Bábís had gone from bad to worse.
- During Bahá’u’lláh’s stay in Baghdád, the Bábí community was revived through His love and wisdom and the power of His words.
- Bahá’u’lláh was exiled to Constantinople, after staying in Baghdád for ten years.
- The Book of Certitude, or Kitáb-i-Íqán, was revealed in Baghdád.
- The Book of Certitude was revealed in 1862 in answer to some questions posed to Bahá’u’lláh by the Báb’s uncle.
- The Book of Certitude was revealed in two days and two nights.
- The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh were revealed in Baghdád.
- Before departing for Constantinople, Bahá’u’lláh spent twelve days in the Garden of Riḍván.
- The Garden of Riḍván was located outside the city of Baghdád.
- In the Garden of Riḍván, Bahá’u’lláh declared His Mission.
- The twelve-day period in April is celebrated by Bahá’ís every year as the Festival of Riḍván.
- The Festival of Riḍván is the holiest and most significant Bahá’í festival.
- Bahá’u’lláh and His family arrived in Constantinople on 16 August 1863.
- Bahá’u’lláh remained in Constantinople for about four months.
- From Constantinople, Bahá’u’lláh was exiled to Adrianople.
- Bahá’u’lláh and His family arrived in Adrianople on 12 December 1863.
- Bahá’u’lláh stayed in Adrianople for just over four and a half years.
- Bahá’u’lláh and His family were exiled from Adrianople to ‘Akká in 1868.
- In ‘Akká, Bahá’u’lláh and His companions were imprisoned in army barracks.
- The phrase “the Most Great Prison” refers to ‘Akká.
- Mírzá Mihdí was ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s younger brother.
- Mírzá Mihdí was known as the Purest Branch.
- The Purest Branch was twenty-two years old when he died.
- Bahá’u’lláh began the universal proclamation of His Mission in Constantinople.
- During His exiles to Constantinople and Adrianople and later in ‘Akká, Bahá’u’lláh addressed Tablets to the kings and rulers of the world.
- Bahá’u’lláh called on the kings and rulers of the world to uphold justice.
- The title Badí‘ means “wonderful”.
- Badí‘ delivered Bahá’u’lláh’s Tablet to the king of Persia in the summer of 1869.
- Badí‘ was seventeen years old when he delivered Bahá’u’lláh’s Tablet to the king of Persia.
- Badí‘ was called the “Pride of Martyrs” by Bahá’u’lláh.
- Bahá’u’lláh spent twenty-four years in ‘Akká and its vicinity, from 1868 to 1892.
- After nine years of confinement in ‘Akká, Bahá’u’lláh consented to leave its gates.
- Bahá’u’lláh spent the last thirteen years of His life on this earth in Bahjí.
- In one of His visits to Haifa, Bahá’u’lláh pointed out to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the spot on which the Shrine of the Báb was to be built.
- The twin cities of Haifa and ‘Akká are the administrative and spiritual world centers of the Bahá’í Faith.
- Bahá’u’lláh revealed the Word of God for nearly forty years.
- Bahá’u’lláh has left humanity volumes and volumes of Divine guidance that will enable it to build a glorious new world.
- The Kitáb-i-Aqdas was revealed around 1873 in the House of ‘Abbúd in ‘Akká.
- In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Bahá’u’lláh sets out the laws and commandments of this Dispensation that will enable humanity to live in accordance with the Will of God.
- Bahá’u’lláh has referred to the Kitáb-i-Aqdas as the “source of true felicity”, the “Straight Path”, and the “quickener of mankind”.
- The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is also known as the “Most Holy Book”.
Act Out A Transformation
- A cocoon opens to a butterfly
- A seed becomes a plant
- Dry desert to a meadow
- A person with no Faith/Belief/Virtues/Hope to a person who has
Can you think of any other transformations?
We have to give up certain habits and ways of thinking in order to recognize Bahá’u’lláh’s wisdom and knowledge and be filled with the love of God.
Will do a craft like the card below with a heart or a mind that fills up with the love of God. My template card is below.