Grade 4 Lesson 16
Introducing the principal theme
In this last lesson of Grade 4, you will speak to the children about the passing of Bahá’u’lláh. It is important that, as their fourth year of classes comes to an end, they feel comforted and reinforced by Bahá’u’lláh’s promises that He will never leave us alone. It should also be clear to them that, at the time of His passing from this earthly realm of existence, Bahá’u’lláh left us under the shelter of His Son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. In introducing this theme, you should decide to what extent the previous lesson needs to be reviewed. In this particular case, it may be sufficient simply to remind the children that the task given to humanity at this time in history—to come together and build a just and peaceful world, illumined by the light of God’s teachings—is immense. “No greater task has humanity ever faced,” you could say. “But,” you could add, “we should never forget that Bahá’u’lláh is always with us, helping us in our efforts to serve His Cause, and we should work together as one body to reach the goal that God has given to humanity.”
With these short remarks, you could continue: “Today I am going to tell you the story of Bahá’u’lláh’s passing from this world. You remember that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had secured the Mansion of Bahjí for His beloved Father, where He was able to spend the later years of His life in some peace and tranquility. As you listen to the events surrounding His passing, think about what we discussed in an earlier class, that although Bahá’u’lláh was born into this world and lived at a specific time in history, He was a very special Being, filled with the eternal Spirit of God. Do you know what ‘eternal’ means? Something is eternal when it never ends. So we should never feel alone but should know that Bahá’u’lláh is close to us, helping us and protecting us at all times. Always call to mind His many attributes—His wisdom, His loving-kindness, His mercy and compassion, His forgiveness. He will keep you in His tender care.”
You could introduce the next set of ideas as follows: “At the time of His passing, Bahá’u’lláh urged His followers to arise and serve His Cause. He assured us of His Divine assistance and asked us to turn to His Son ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Whose guidance would enable us to remain united in our efforts to create a new world. Later today you are going to start to memorize the passage in which Bahá’u’lláh speaks of His passing and calls upon us turn to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. You should know that sometimes Bahá’u’lláh referred to His Son as ‘the Most Great Branch’. Think of the branch of a mighty tree. It can give us shelter and protect us. That Bahá’u’lláh left the community of His followers under the shelter of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Most Great Branch, is a blessing beyond measure. We can never fully appreciate the immense bounty that Bahá’u’lláh has bestowed upon humanity by giving us not only His most sublime Revelation but also His Son, through Whose knowledge and wisdom, He said, we would be guided and illumined.”
MEMORIZATION AID FOR 3 PRAYERS HERE
“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.”
In the passage below from the Most Holy Book, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Bahá’u’lláh calls on His followers to turn, after His passing, to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Most Great Branch.
When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces towards Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root.KITÁB-I-`AHD (Book of the Covenant)
MEANING OF WORDS IN THE QUOTE
WRITE ANY OF THE WORDS YOU ARE NOT SURE OF AND LOOK UP THE MEANING. YOU CAN USE THIS PDF IF YOU LIKE
SEND A POSTCARD
CONSIDER SENDING A POSTCARD TO A FRIEND OR NEIGHBOUR. YOU CAN USE EMAIL, SNAIL MAIL OR HAND DELIVER IT. TRY SENDING POSTCARDS AS A SERVICE PROJECT!
The story deals with the events surrounding the ascension of Bahá’u’lláh. It is suggested that you recount in one class period the events leading up to His passing and the burial of His earthly remains. Then you could relate the rest of the episode in the next session.
Part 1: Period the events leading up to His passing and the burial of His earthly remains
During the period when a Manifestation of God lives among humanity, new life is breathed into all of creation. For nearly forty years Bahá’u’lláh revealed the Word of God to humanity. He was now in the 75th year of His life on this earth, and soon His spirit would take its flight to its home in the realms beyond.
Nine months before His ascension, Bahá’u’lláh had expressed His desire to depart from this world. From that time on, even though He never spoke openly about the subject, it became increasingly clear from the remarks He made and the way He advised the friends that the end of His earthly life was approaching.
On the eve of Sunday, 8 May 1892, Bahá’u’lláh contracted a fever. In the immediate days that followed, He continued on occasion to receive the friends and pilgrims, either singly or in small groups, though it was evident that He was not well. Nine days after He had developed a fever, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave to the friends who had gathered at the Mansion of Bahjí Bahá’u’lláh’s tender greetings and conveyed to them the following message: “All the friends must remain patient and steadfast, and arise for the promotion of the Cause of God.
They should not become perturbed, because I shall always be with them, and will remember and care for them.” On hearing this message, the believers were drowned in a sea of grief, fearing these were Bahá’u’lláh’s last words to them. But the next day their sorrow turned into joy when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá woke them at dawn and offered them their morning tea, asking them to drink it with the utmost happiness and to give thanksgiving to God. Bahá’u’lláh’s health had been restored.
Their joy, however, would soon pass away. A few days later, Bahá’u’lláh called to His presence all the believers who were assembled at the Mansion. Tears streamed from their eyes while He addressed them from His bed, leaning against one of His sons. These were the words spoken by Bahá’u’lláh on that occasion as recorded by Nabíl, the great historian of the Faith:
“I am well pleased with you all . . . Ye have rendered many services, and been very assiduous in your labors. Ye have come here every morning and every evening. May God assist you to remain united. May He aid you to exalt the Cause of the Lord of being.”
This was the last time the group of friends attained Bahá’u’lláh’s presence. Six days later, on Saturday, 29 May 1892, His desire to depart from this world was fulfilled. In the early morning hours of that day, His spirit left this earthly plane of existence.
“The Sun of Bahá has set” were the opening words of the telegram that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá immediately sent to the Sulṭán of the Ottoman Empire, informing him of Bahá’u’lláh’s passing. A small room in a house just west of the Mansion was selected as the blessed spot that would receive His sacred remains. Shortly after sunset on the very day of His ascension, His body was laid to rest there. The Qiblih of the people of Bahá was now fixed on this Holiest of Spots. It was to this Spot that all of His followers, everywhere throughout the globe, would now turn daily in prayer.
Part 2 After The Burial of Bahá’u’lláh
The passing of One so loved and adored brought people from far and wide to the Mansion of Bahjí, all eager to express their sorrow to Bahá’u’lláh’s family. Many from the nearby villages were seen weeping and crying aloud in the fields around the Mansion. Government officials and religious leaders joined in grieving over His loss, more than a few paying their tribute to His greatness in writing. These and the similar messages received from cities throughout the region were all presented to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Who now represented His Father’s Faith.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá had increasingly acted as a shield for Bahá’u’lláh against the ungodly and jealous of this world, especially in the latter years of His life. All throughout those years, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had continued to live in ‘Akká with His family. There He was able to protect the small but growing Bahá’í community, defended its interests, and attended to its welfare. He greeted the pilgrims arriving from Persia and arranged for their interviews with His Father. He met with local officials, notables and townspeople, changing any trace of hostility into esteem and admiration. Service to the Blessed Beauty was the focus of His existence, and through His unremitting efforts, He succeeded in raising the prestige of the Cause of His beloved Father, Who, relieved of so many burdens, was able to enjoy in the later years of His life some small amount of peace and tranquility.
Once a week during those years, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would visit Bahá’u’lláh at Bahjí. On those occasions, He would always walk the entire distance on foot—an outward sign of His utter humility before God’s Manifestation. The length of the road from ‘Akká to Bahjí was not short, and eventually, His Father told Him that He must ride there. And so He obeyed. But, as soon as the Mansion of Bahjí came into full view, He would dismount and make the final approach on foot in reverence. Bahá’u’lláh, upon seeing His Son approaching from His window, would send those in His presence out to greet Him, saying: “The Master is coming. Haste ye to go out to meet Him and escort Him.” “The Master” was a title conferred on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá by His loving and unerring Father. Once they were together, no one was permitted to enter the room during their conversation, not even other members of the family.
In ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the believers had seen the perfect Example of His Father’s teachings. Now, with the passing of Bahá’u’lláh from this world, all of His faithful followers turned to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as the Center of the Covenant. In the next grade, you will see what it means that, as the last act of His life, Bahá’u’lláh established a Covenant to protect the community of His followers and called upon us to promise to love one another and to always remain united. You will also come to increasingly appreciate what it means that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is the Center of that Covenant.
What are some of the insights you gleaned from the events recounted?
For any of the figures we heard about, use any of the biography pages to write down the information you would like to remember.
Teachers Pay Teachers Free Biography page
Download My Story Report Here
- On 29 May 1892, in the 75th year of His life, Bahá’u’lláh’s spirit left this world.
- On the passing of Bahá’u’lláh, a telegram was sent to the Sulṭán with the following words: “The Sun of Bahá has set.”
- Bahá’u’lláh’s body was laid to rest in a small house near the Mansion of Bahjí.
- Bahá’u’lláh’s resting place in Bahjí is the Holiest Spot on earth and the Qiblih of the Faith.
Based on …” The Qiblih of the people of Bahá was now fixed on this Holiest of Spots. It was to this Spot that all of His followers, everywhere throughout the globe, would now turn daily in prayer.”
- The short Obligatory Prayer
- When do we say the short Obligatory Prayer
- Where is The Qiblih that we turn to for our daily prayer
I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee.
I testify, at this moment, to my powerlessness and to Thy might,
to my poverty and to Thy wealth.
Short obligatory prayer – Bahá’u’lláh
There is none other God but Thee,
The Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.
Say: O ye lovers of the One true God! Strive, that ye may truly recognize and know Him, and observe befittingly His precepts.Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pages 5-6