Ala - Loftiness - Baha'i Feast Devotional Program
A compilation from the Baha'i writings on the topic of Loftiness ( Ala ) - a Baha'i Feast devotional program.
1. O Thou Who dealest equitably with all who are in heaven and on earth, and rulest over the kingdom of Thy creation and of Thy Revelation! I testify that every man of equity hath recognized his unfairness in the face of the revelation of the splendors of the Day-Star of Thy Justice, and the ablest of pens hath confessed its impotence before the movement of Thy most exalted Pen.
By Thy life, O Thou the Possessor of all names! The minds of the profoundest thinkers are sore perplexed as they contemplate the ocean of Thy knowledge, and the heaven of Thy wisdom, and the Luminary of Thy grace. How can he who is but a creation of Thy will claim to know what is with Thee, or to conceive Thy nature?
Praise, immeasurable praise be to Thee! I swear by Thy glory! My inner and outer tongue, openly and secretly, testify that Thou hast been exalted above the reach and ken of Thy creatures, above the utterance of Thy servants, above the testimonies of Thy dear ones and Thy chosen ones, and the apprehension of Thy Prophets and of Thy Messengers.
I beseech Thee, O my Lord, by Thy Name which Thou hast made to be the Day-Spring of Thy Revelation and the Dawning-Place of Thine inspiration, to ordain for this wronged One and for them that are dear to Thee what becometh Thy loftiness. Thou, in very truth, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Powerful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations, XLIII, pp. 55-56
2. And if anyone should reflect on the appearance of this Tree, he will undoubtedly testify to the loftiness of the Cause of God. For if one from whose life only twenty-four years have passed, and who is devoid of those sciences wherein all are learned, now reciteth verses after such fashion without thought or hesitation, writes a thousand verses of prayer in the course of five hours without pause of the pen, and produceth commentaries and learned treatises on such lofty themes as the true understanding of God and of the oneness of His Being, in a manner which doctors and philosophers confess surpasseth their power of understanding, then there is no doubt that all that hath been manifested is divinely inspired.
-- The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 109
3. The first Taráz and the first effulgence which hath dawned from the horizon of the Mother Book is that man should know his own self and recognize that which leadeth unto loftiness or lowliness, glory or abasement, wealth or poverty. Having attained the stage of fulfilment and reached his maturity, man standeth in need of wealth, and such wealth as he acquireth through crafts or professions is commendable and praiseworthy in the estimation of men of wisdom, and especially in the eyes of servants who dedicate themselves to the education of the world and to the edification of its peoples. -- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, pp. 34-35
4. The word of God which the Supreme Pen hath recorded on the fifth leaf of the Most Exalted Paradise is this: Above all else, the greatest gift and the most wondrous blessing hath ever been and will continue to be Wisdom. It is man's unfailing Protector. It aideth him and strengtheneth him. Wisdom is God's Emissary and the Revealer of His Name the Omniscient. Through it the loftiness of man's station is made manifest and evident. It is all-knowing and the foremost Teacher in the school of existence. It is the Guide and is invested with high distinction. Thanks to its educating influence earthly beings have become imbued with a gem-like spirit which outshineth the heavens.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 66
5. This is the Day which the Pen of the Most High hath glorified in all the holy Scriptures. There is no verse in them that doth not declare the glory of His holy Name, and no Book that doth not testify unto the loftiness of this most exalted theme. Were We to make mention of all that hath been revealed in these heavenly Books and holy Scriptures concerning this Revelation, this Tablet would assume impossible dimensions. It is incumbent in this Day, upon every man to place his whole trust in the manifold bounties of God, and arise to disseminate, with the utmost wisdom, the verities of His Cause. Then, and only then, will the whole earth be enveloped with the morning light of His Revelation.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, pp. 13-14
6. The term "heaven" denoteth loftiness and exaltation, inasmuch as it is the seat of the revelation of those Manifestations of Holiness, the Day-springs of ancient glory. These ancient Beings, though delivered from the womb of their mother, have in reality descended from the heaven of the will of God. Though they be dwelling on this earth, yet their true habitations are the retreats of glory in the realms above. Whilst walking amongst mortals, they soar in the heaven of the divine presence. Without feet they tread the path of the spirit, and without wings they rise unto the exalted heights of divine unity. -- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 67
7. Men are ignorant; the Manifestations of God make them wise. They are animalistic; the Manifestations make them human. They are savage and cruel; the Manifestations lead them into kingdoms of light and love. They are unjust; the Manifestations cause them to become just. Man is selfish; they sever him from self and desire. Man is haughty; they make him meek, humble and friendly. He is earthly; they make him heavenly. Men are material; the Manifestations transform them into semblance divine. They are immature children; the Manifestations develop them into maturity. Man is poor; they endow him with wealth. Man is base, treacherous and mean; the Manifestations of God uplift him into dignity, nobility and loftiness.
-- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, pp. 110-111
8. O thou fresh, slender branch saturated with the abundant rain of His bounty! I ask God to continue the heavenly abundant gifts upon thee and to grant thee more freshness, tenderness and fineness day by day. Verily I say unto thee that man is likened unto a tree. And as the life of a tree and its tenderness and brilliancy depend on the abundant rain descending from the clouds, so also the happiness of man, his pleasure, dignity, loftiness of position and highness of rank depend on the abundant bounty of the Kingdom and the light of the Sun of Truth coming from the horizon of the gift of God. -- `Abdu'l-Bahá, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 154
9. All praise, O my God, be to Thee Who art the Source of all glory and majesty, of greatness and honor, of sovereignty and dominion, of loftiness and grace, of awe and power. Whomsoever Thou willest Thou causest to draw nigh unto the Most Great Ocean, and on whomsoever Thou desirest Thou conferrest the honor of recognizing Thy Most Ancient Name. Of all who are in heaven and on earth, none can withstand the operation of Thy sovereign Will.
From all eternity Thou didst rule the entire creation, and Thou wilt continue for evermore to exercise Thy dominion over all created things. There is none other God but Thee, the Almighty, the Most Exalted, the All-Powerful, the All-Wise.
Illumine, O Lord, the faces of Thy servants, that they may behold Thee; and cleanse their hearts that they may turn unto the court of Thy heavenly favors, and recognize Him Who is the Manifestation of Thy Self and the Day-Spring of Thine Essence. Verily, Thou art the Lord of all worlds. There is no God but Thee, the Unconstrained, the All-Subduing.
-- Bahá'u'lláh, Prayers and Meditations, LIX, pp. 94-95