Naw Ruz Holy Day Program
Naw Ruz Holy Day Devotional Program
This year, March 21 marked the Vernal Equinox in the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere and the Autumnal Equinox in the South—that day when the sun’s light strikes the Equator directly and illuminates every continent equally.
You would think that the world’s people would celebrate this day—and it turns out they do. Called Naw-Ruz, Nowruz or New Year’s by Zoroastrians, Alewites, Sufis, some Muslims, and Baha’is, this secular holiday has been observed around the world for more than three thousand years. (In Farsi, the Persian language, Naw-Ruz means “new year” or “new day.”)
The UN’s General Assembly in 2010 recognized the International Day of Nowruz, describing it as a spring festival of Persian origin which has been celebrated for over 3,000 years. During the meeting of The Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage of the United Nations, Nowruz was officially registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The United Nations also now recognizes March 21 as World Happiness Day, and has just issued a report that explores the elements of happiness.
Baha’is celebrate Naw-Ruz, New Year’s Day, on this equinox every year. Like most happy holy days, the Baha’i New Year usually includes singing, eating, dancing and socializing. Because Naw-Ruz also marks the end of the 19-day Baha’i Fast, it brings a warm, diverse and fascinating group of people together to eat with one another, celebrate, have fun, enjoy each other’s company and truly welcome the exciting, unlimited possibilities of a new year.
Baha’is all over the world will celebrate Naw-Ruz as the annual, celebratory feast of renewal, the spiritual and physical springtime. But for Baha’is, Naw-Ruz isn’t only a party – it serves as a symbolic reminder of the oneness of all the messengers of God, and the spiritual springtime they each brought to humanity. Abdu’l-Baha explains that Naw-Ruz represents the return of the Sun of Reality, when a re-awakening of the spirit occurs and the light of a new revelation shines equally upon the entirety of God’s creation.
Praised be Thou, O my God, that Thou hast ordained Naw-Ruz as a festival unto those who have observed the fast for love of Thee and abstained from all that is abhorrent unto Thee. Grant, O my Lord, that the fire of Thy love and the heat produced by the fast enjoined by Thee may inflame them in Thy Cause, and make them to be occupied with Thy praise and with remembrance of Thee.
Since Thou hast adorned them, O my Lord, with the ornament of the fast prescribed by Thee, do Thou adorn them also with the ornament of Thine acceptance, through Thy grace and bountiful favor. For the doings of men are all dependent upon Thy good-pleasure, and are conditioned by Thy behest. Shouldst Thou regard him who hath broken the fast as one who hath observed it, such a man would be reckoned among them who from eternity had been keeping the fast. And shouldst Thou decree that he who hath observed the fast hath broken it, that person would be numbered with such as have caused the Robe of Thy Revelation to be stained with dust, and been far removed from the crystal waters of this living Fountain.
Thou art He through Whom the ensign "Praiseworthy art Thou in Thy works" hath been lifted up, and the standard "Obeyed art Thou in Thy behest" hath been unfurled. Make known this Thy station, O my God, unto Thy servants, that they may be made aware that the excellence of all things is dependent upon Thy bidding and Thy word, and the virtue of every act is conditioned by Thy leave and the good-pleasure of Thy will, and may recognize that the reins of men's doings are within the grasp of Thine acceptance and Thy commandment. Make this known unto them, that nothing whatsoever may shut them out from Thy Beauty, in these days whereon the Christ exclaimeth: "All dominion is Thine, O Thou the Begetter of the Spirit (Jesus)"; and Thy Friend (Muhammad) crieth out: "Glory be to Thee, O Thou the Best-Beloved, for that Thou hast uncovered Thy Beauty, and written down for Thy chosen ones what will cause them to attain unto the seat of the revelation of Thy Most Great Name, through which all the peoples have lamented except such as have detached themselves from all else except Thee, and set themselves towards Him Who is the Revealer of Thyself and the Manifestation of Thine attributes."
He Who is Thy Branch and all Thy company, O my Lord, have broken this day their fast, after having observed it within the precincts of Thy court, and in their eagerness to please Thee. Do Thou ordain for him, and for them, and for all such as have entered Thy presence in those days all the good Thou didst destine in Thy Book. Supply them, then, with that which will profit them, in both this life and in the life beyond.
Thou, in truth, art the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
Prayers and Meditations, Baha'u'llah, pages 67-69
I am the Most Holy, the Most Great, the Most Glorious.
Praise be to Thee, O my God, that Thou hast ordained this day as a festival unto the favoured among Thy servants and the sincere among Thy loved ones. Thou hast called this day by that Name whereby all created things have been subdued and the breezes of Thy Revelation have been wafted between earth and heaven, a Name through which all that hath been recorded in Thy Holy Books and Sacred Scriptures hath been made manifest, and which Thy Messengers and Thy Chosen Ones have foretold, that all men might be made ready to behold Thee, to turn towards the ocean of Thy reunion, to stand before the seat of Thy throne, and to hear Thy wondrous call from the Dayspring of Thine invisible Self and the Dawning-Place of Thine Essence.
I yield Thee praise, O Lord my God, that Thou hast fulfilled Thy testimony, completed Thy favour, established upon the throne of Divine Revelation Him Who proclaimed Thy oneness and Thy unity, and summoned all humanity to appear before Him. Amongst the people are those who have turned towards Him, attained His presence, and quaffed the choice wine of His Revelation. I beseech Thee by Thy sovereign might which hath dominion over all things, and by Thy bounty which embraceth the entire creation, to enable Thy loved ones to sever themselves from all except Thee and to fix their gaze upon the horizon of Thy grace. Assist them, then, to arise to serve Thee, that they may evince whatsoever Thou hast desired in Thy realm and may unfurl the banners of Thy victory in Thy land. Thou, verily, art the Almighty, the Most Exalted, the Sovereign Protector, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
I yield Thee praise, O Lord my God, that Thou hast made this prison to be a throne for Thy kingdom, a heaven for Thy heavens, a dayspring for Thy daysprings, a dawning-place for Thy dawns, a source for the outpourings of Thy bounty, and a spirit of life unto the bodies of Thy creatures. I entreat Thee to aid Thy chosen ones to act in accordance with Thy good-pleasure. Sanctify them, then, O my God, from whatsoever may soil the hem of their garments in Thy days. Thou seest, O Lord, in certain lands, that which runneth counter to Thy pleasure, and Thou beholdest those who claim to love Thee committing the very deeds that Thine enemies have committed. Purify them, O Lord, with the living waters wherewith Thou hast purified the well-favoured amongst Thy people and the sincere amongst Thy servants. Purge them, moreover, from whatsoever may tarnish the fair name of Thy Cause in Thy lands or veil the people of Thy cities from Thy recognition.
I implore Thee, O Lord, by Thy Name that transcendeth all other names, to guard them from following the path of self and passion, that all may unite around that which Thou hast commanded in Thy Book. Make them, then, to be hands of Thy Cause, that through them Thy verses may be spread abroad throughout Thine earth and the emblems of Thy holiness may be manifested amidst Thy people. Potent art Thou to do as Thou pleasest. There is none other God but Thee, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.
He is the Most Holy, the Most Mighty, the Most Exalted.
Praise be unto Thee, O Thou Who art the Lord of the world and the Ruler of the nations! I testify that Thou hast from eternity been sanctified above the mention of all created things and exalted beyond the loftiest descriptions of Thy creatures. Whensoever Thy devoted servants sought to ascend unto the station of Thy recognition, the hosts of Thy knowledge barred their way; and whensoever Thy near ones desired to gain admittance to the heaven of Thy nearness, the overpowering majesty of Thine utterance kept them back. We bear witness that the loftiest of the divine names are but servants at Thy door, and that their most glorious manifestations bow down before Thy countenance and are humbled in Thy presence. Thou art, in truth, He Who can neither be described in letters, nor evoked by words, nor even contained within the hidden meanings they conceal. For these are all circumscribed by the inherent limitations of speech which characterize all the utterances of the peoples of the world.
Exalted, immeasurably exalted, art Thou above the mention of every soul and the understanding of every heart! Exalted, immeasurably exalted, art Thou above the description of anyone save Thyself and beyond every conception of Thy creatures! Were Thine own Manifestations to soar upon the wings of the seen and the unseen, yet would they fail to attain unto the first effulgence shining from the horizon of Thy most exalted Countenance and the dawning-place of Thy most sublime Revelation. And were the Exponents of Thy Lordship enabled to ascend for as long as the kingdoms of earth and heaven endure, yet would they be forever powerless to draw nigh unto the Day-Star of Thy beauty.
Blessed be the one who comprehendeth Thine enduring reality and the evanescence of all else but Thee, and who acknowledgeth Thy sovereign authority and the powerlessness of all save Thyself. And as the evanescence of all things is established before the surging ocean of Thy remembrance, O King of all names, it likewise becometh evident that their every mention and description falleth short of Thy might and grandeur and ill beseemeth Thy loftiness and power. And yet in spite of this, O my God, Thou hast, out of the wonders of Thy grace and munificence and as a token of Thy bounty and Thy favour, enjoined upon all to make mention of Thee and to praise Thee, and hast accepted their glorification of Thee out of Thy grace and generosity. Wherefore doth Thine own Self call on Thy Self and Thy very Essence invoke Thine Essence on behalf of Thy lovers who have borne every hardship in Thy path and every adversity out of love for Thee and contentment with Thy good-pleasure, in this blessed day which Thou hast made to be a festival for the inmates of Thy kingdom and for those who have kept the Fast by Thy command and obeyed Thy resistless decree.
Exalted be this blessed and glorious day which Thou hast designated by that beloved Name which is both hidden and manifest, and which, when it shone forth above the horizon of eternity, the Divine Lote-Tree called out, saying: “By God! The Lord of creation hath come, Whom no name can describe.” Whereupon Paradise was set astir and proclaimed with joy and fervour: “O concourse of the world! He hath come, round Whom circle the Daysprings of the All-Merciful, the Manifestations of the All-Praised, and the Dawning-Places of inspiration.” And all things cried aloud: “This is that Tablet with which the kingdom of creation hath been adorned and through which the gate leading unto the Divine Presence hath been flung open unto all who are in heaven and on earth.” Happy the one who hath forsaken every desire and hath drawn nigh unto the One Whose reality no word or utterance can convey.
By God! This is the Day whereon from the murmur of the waters can be heard: “No God is there but Him, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting”, and from the whispering of whose breezes can be heard: “No God is there but Him, the Almighty, the Best-Beloved”, and from the rustling of whose trees can be heard: “No God is there but Him, the Most Powerful, the Ever-Giving, the All-Glorious, the All-Loving”, and beyond them, from the Tongue of Grandeur can be heard: “This is the Day of the appearance of Him Who is manifest yet hidden, Who is visible yet concealed. Hasten unto Him, O ye who are the daysprings of the divine names, and draw nigh unto Him, O ye who dwell in the kingdom of creation, with hearts that have been purified from superstitions and vain imaginings and sanctified from the idle talk of men!”
Immeasurably exalted is the state of Thy loved ones who have clung to the cord of Thy command, held fast to the hem of Thine ordinances, uttered that which hath been permitted unto them in Thy Tablets, transgressed not the bounds ordained in Thy Book, and spoken out in Thy lands with wisdom as decreed in the scrolls of Thy bounty and the epistles of Thy grace. O Lord! Assist them to arise for the triumph of Thy Cause through what Thou hast expounded unto them with Thy most exalted Pen and what Thou hast instructed them in certain of Thy Tablets. O Lord! Leave them not to themselves, but keep them safe through Thy sovereignty and power and assist them through Thy might and bounty.
O Lord! They are Thy servants and bondsmen who have believed in Thee and have drawn nigh unto the heaven of Thy bounty. Suffer them not to be deprived of the tokens of Thy tender mercies in Thy days; neither do thou withhold from them the fragrance of the roses of Thy wisdom. Guide them then, O my God, to the ocean of Thy good-pleasure, that in Thy Name they may immerse themselves therein, and that they may not be saddened by that which their own minds have conceived, nor grieved by all that they have witnessed in Thy path. Verily Thou art the All-Powerful One Whose might every powerful one hath recognized, Whose sovereignty every possessor of majesty hath acknowledged, before the waves of the ocean of Whose knowledge every learned one confesseth his ignorance, and before the evidences of Whose power every soul endued with strength admitteth his helplessness.
Thou art the One, O my God, to Whom every name is abashed to be related, and in Whose presence all things shrink for shame from being mentioned. From eternity Thou hast dwelt in those transcendent heights that are exalted above all mention and description. How great are Thy sovereignty and Thy power and how mighty Thy grandeur!—this, though all things acknowledge that Thou art entirely sanctified from, and immeasurably exalted above, all but Thine own Self. Thou hast subdued the entire world through a single Word that hath been related to the kingdom of Thine utterance and from which the fragrance of the robe of Thy Command hath been wafted.
O Lord of all being and Educator of all things visible and invisible! Grant us ears that are pure, hearts that are sanctified, and eyes that see, so that we may discover the sweetness of Thine enthralling utterance, may fix our gaze upon Thy supreme horizon, and may come to know whatever hath been sent down through Thy bounty, O Thou Who art the King of Names! Kindle then the fire of Thy love in Thy lands, that the hearts of Thy creatures may be set ablaze thereby, that they may turn towards Thee, may recognize Thy unity and acknowledge Thy oneness. O Lord of all names! Rend asunder before their faces the veils of glory, and make known unto them the excellence of this Day which hath been adorned with Thy Name and illumined with the light of Thy Countenance. Thou, verily, art He Whom the good works of the people can never exalt nor their evil deeds deter, Whom the ascendancy of the rulers cannot humble nor the power of the mighty vanquish. Thou doest through Thy sovereignty whatsoever Thou willest. No God is there but Thee, the All-Powerful, the Most Exalted, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
Send down, then, upon Thy loved ones, O my God, from the heaven of Thy bounty that which will cause them to fix their gaze upon Thee and to act in accordance with Thy will and behest. Ordain for them, then, what will profit them and preserve them, what will draw them nigh and set them free. Verily Thou art their Lord, their Creator, and their Helper. No God is there but Thee, the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Generous.
I beseech Thee, moreover, O my God, to unite the hearts of Thy loved ones and to join them together in harmony and fellowship in Thy Cause, that naught may appear from them that would ill beseem them in Thy days. Thou, verily, art the All-Powerful, the Most Exalted, the Most High, the Most Great. Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds!
…just as the solar cycle has its four seasons, the cycle of the Sun of Reality has its distinct and successive periods. Each brings its vernal season or springtime. When the Sun of Reality returns to quicken the world of mankind a divine bounty descends from the heaven of generosity. The realm of thoughts and ideals is set in motion and blessed with new life. Minds are developed, hopes brighten, aspirations become spiritual, the virtues of the human world appear with freshened power of growth and the image and likeness of God become visible in man. It is the springtime of the inner world…
In it the former springtime has returned, the world is resuscitated, illumined and attains spirituality; religion is renewed and reorganized, hearts are turned to God, the summons of God is heard and life is again bestowed upon man.
-Abdu’l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 12.
O people of the world! We have enjoined upon you fasting during a brief period, and at its close have designated for you Naw-Ruz as a feast. The Kitab-i-Aqdas, Baha'u'llah, pages 24-25
"This sacred day, when the sun illumines equally the whole earth, is called the equinox, and the equinox is the symbol of the Manifestation of God. The Sun of Truth rises on the horizon of Divine Mercy and sends forth its rays. This day is consecrated to commemorate it. It is the beginning of Spring.
When the sun appears at the equinox, it causes a movement in all living things. The mineral world is set in motion, plants begin to shoot, the desert is changed into a prairie, trees bud and every living thing responds, including the bodies of animals and men.
The rising of the sun at the equinox is the symbol of life, and likewise it is the symbol of the Divine Manifestations of God, for the rising of the Sun of Truth in the Heaven of Divine Bounty established the signal of Life for the world. The human reality begins to live, our thoughts are transformed and our intelligence is quickened. The Sun of Truth bestows Eternal Life, just as the solar sun is the cause of terrestrial life."
Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, Vol. 5, p. 4
If we are not happy and joyous at this season, for what other season shall we wait and for what other time shall we look? This is the time for growing; the season for joyous gathering! Take the cup of the Testament in thy hand; leap and dance with ecstasy in the triumphal procession of the Covenant! Lay your confidence in the everlasting bounty, turn to the presence of the generous God … turn thy vision to the horizon of eternal wealth; and pray for help from the Source of Mercy! … Soon the whole world, as in springtime, will change its garb. The turning and falling of the autumn leaves is past; the bleakness of the winter time is over. The new year hath appeared and the spiritual springtime is at hand. The black earth is becoming a verdant garden; the deserts and mountains are teeming with red flowers; from the borders of the wilderness the tall grasses are standing like advance guards before the cypress and jessamine trees; while the birds are singing among the rose branches like the angels in the highest heavens, announcing the glad-tidings of the approach of that spiritual spring, and the sweet music of their voices is causing the real essence of all things to move and quiver.
`Abdu'l-Baha: Baha'i World Faith, pages 351-352
Letters Written During Naw-Rúz, 1916
To the American Bahá’ís of the North Eastern States
O ye heavenly heralds:
These are the days of Naw-Ruz. I am always thinking of those kind friends! I beg for each and all of you confirmations and assistance from the threshold of oneness, so that those gatherings may become ignited like unto candles, in the republics of America, enkindling the light of the love of God in the hearts; thus the rays of the heavenly teachings may begem and brighten the states of America like the infinitude of immensity with the stars of the Most Great Guidance.
The Northeastern States on the shores of the Atlantic - Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York - in some of these states believers are found, but in some of the cities of these states up to this date people are not yet illumined with the lights of the Kingdom and are not aware of the heavenly teachings; therefore, whenever it is possible for each one of you, hasten ye to those cities and shine forth like unto the stars with the light of the Most Great Guidance.…man must become the cause of the illumination of the world of humanity and propagate the holy teachings revealed in the sacred books through the divine inspiration. It is stated in the blessed Gospel: Travel ye toward the East and toward the West and enlighten the people with the light of the Most Great Guidance, so that they may take a portion and share of eternal life. Praise be to God, that the Northeastern States are in the utmost capacity. Because the ground is rich, the rain of the divine outpouring is descending. Now you must become heavenly farmers and scatter pure seeds in the prepared soil. The harvest of every other seed is limited, but the bounty and the blessing of the seed of the divine teachings is unlimited. Throughout the coming centuries and cycles many harvests will be gathered. Consider the work of former generations. During the lifetime of Jesus Christ the believing, firm souls were few and numbered, but the heavenly blessings descended so plentifully that in a number of years countless souls entered beneath the shadow of the Gospel…. It has often happened that one blessed soul has become the cause of the guidance of a nation. Now we must not consider our ability and capacity, nay, rather, we must fix our gaze upon the favors and bounties of God, in these days, Who has made of the drop a sea, and of the atom a sun.
Upon you be greeting and praise!
To the American Bahá’ís of the Southern States
O ye heralds of the Kingdom of God:
A few days ago an epistle was written to those divine believers, but because these days are the days of Naw-Ruz, you have come to my mind and I am sending you this greeting for this glorious feast.… In reality every day which man passes in the mention of God, the diffusion of the fragrances of God and calling the people to the Kingdom of God, that day is his feast. Praise be to God that you are occupied in the service of the Kingdom of God and are engaged in the promulgation of the religion of God by day and by night. Therefore all your days are feast days. There is no doubt that the assistance and the bestowal of God shall descend upon you.
In the Southern States of the United States, the friends are few, that is, in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Consequently you must either go yourselves or send a number of blessed souls to those states, so that they may guide the people to the Kingdom of Heaven. One of the holy Manifestations, addressing a believing soul, has said that, if a person become the cause of the illumination of one soul, it is better than a boundless treasury…. It is also mentioned in the Gospel: Travel ye to all parts of the world and give ye the glad tidings of the appearance of the Kingdom of God.
In brief, I hope you will display in this respect the greatest effort and magnanimity. It is assured that you will become assisted and confirmed. A person declaring the glad tidings of the appearance of the realities and significances of the Kingdom is like unto a farmer who scatters pure seeds in the rich soil. The spring cloud will pour upon them the rain of bounty, and unquestionably the station of the farmer will be raised in the estimation of the lord of the village, and many harvests will be gathered.
Therefore, ye friends of God! Appreciate ye the value of this time and be ye engaged in the sowing of the seeds, so that you may find the heavenly blessing and the lordly bestowal….
`Abdu'l-Baha: Tablets of the Divine Plan, pages 5-7, 11-12
He is the Ever-Living, the Ever-Abiding, the Self-Subsisting.
God testifieth to the unity of His Godhood and to the singleness of His own Being. On the throne of eternity, from the inaccessible heights of His station, His tongue proclaimeth that there is none other God but Him. He Himself, independently of all else, hath ever been a witness unto His own oneness, the revealer of His own nature, the glorifier of His own essence. He, verily, is the All-Powerful, the Almighty, the Beauteous.
He is supreme over His servants, and standeth over His creatures. In His hand is the source of authority and truth. He maketh men alive by His signs, and causeth them to die through His wrath. He shall not be asked of His doings, and His might is equal unto all things. He is the Potent, the All-Subduing. He holdeth within His grasp the empire of all things, and on His right hand is fixed the Kingdom of His Revelation. His power, verily, embraceth the whole of creation. Victory and overlordship are His; all might and dominion are His; all glory and greatness are His. He, of a truth, is the All-Glorious, the Most Powerful, the Unconditioned.
Praise be to Thee, to Whom the tongues of all created things have, from eternity, called, and yet failed to attain the heaven of Thine eternal holiness and grandeur. The eyes of all beings have been opened to behold the beauty of Thy radiant countenance, yet none hath succeeded in gazing on the brightness of the light of Thy face. The hands of them that are nigh unto Thee have, ever since the foundation of Thy glorious sovereignty and the establishment of Thy holy dominion, been raised suppliantly towards Thee, yet no one hath been able to touch the hem of the robe that clotheth Thy Divine and sovereign Essence. And yet none can deny that Thou hast ever been, through the wonders of Thy generosity and bounty, supreme over all things, art powerful to do all things, and art nearer unto all things than they are unto themselves.
Far be it, then, from Thy glory that anyone should gaze on Thy wondrous beauty with any eye save Thine own eye, or hear the melodies proclaiming Thine almighty sovereignty with any ear except Thine own ear. Too high art Thou exalted for the eye of any creature to behold Thy beauty, or for the understanding of any heart to scale the heights of Thine immeasurable knowledge. For should the birds of the hearts of them that are nigh unto Thee be ever enabled to soar as long as Thine own overpowering sovereignty can endure, or to ascend as long as the empire of Thy Divine holiness can last, they shall, in no wise, be able to transcend the limitations which a contingent world hath imposed upon them, nor pass beyond its confines. How, then, can he whose very creation is restricted by such limitations, attain unto Him Who is the Lord of the Kingdom of all created things, or ascend into the heaven of Him Who ruleth the realms of loftiness and grandeur?
Glorified, immeasurably glorified art Thou, my Best-Beloved! Inasmuch as Thou hast ordained that the utmost limit to which they who lift their hearts to Thee can rise is the confession of their powerlessness to enter the realms of Thy holy and transcendent unity, and that the highest station which they who aspire to know Thee can reach is the acknowledgement of their impotence to attain the retreats of Thy sublime knowledge, I, therefore, beseech Thee, by this very powerlessness which is beloved of Thee, and which Thou hast decreed as the goal of them that have reached and attained Thy court, and by the splendours of Thy countenance that have encompassed all things, and by the energies of Thy Will whereby the entire creation hath been generated, not to deprive them that have set their hopes in Thee of the wonders of Thy mercy, nor to withhold from such as have sought Thee the treasures of Thy grace. Ignite, then, within their hearts the torch of Thy love, that its flame may consume all else except their wondrous remembrance of Thee, and that no trace may be left in those hearts except the gem-like evidences of Thy most holy sovereignty, so that from the land wherein they dwell no voice may be heard except the voice that extolleth Thy mercifulness and might, that on the earth on which they walk no light may shine except the light of Thy beauty, and that within every soul naught may be discovered except the revelation of Thy countenance and the tokens of Thy glory, that haply Thy servants may show forth only that which shall please Thee and shall conform wholly unto Thy most potent will.
Glory be to Thee, O my God! The power of Thy might beareth me witness! I can have no doubt that should the holy breaths of Thy loving-kindness and the breeze of Thy bountiful favour cease, for less than the twinkling of an eye, to breathe over all created things, the entire creation would perish, and all that are in heaven and on earth would be reduced to utter nothingness. Magnified, therefore, be the marvellous evidences of Thy transcendent power! Magnified be the potency of Thine exalted might! Magnified be the majesty of Thine all-encompassing greatness, and the energizing influence of Thy will! Such is Thy greatness that wert Thou to concentrate the eyes of all men in the eye of one of Thy servants, and to compress all their hearts within his heart, and wert Thou to enable him to behold within himself all the things Thou hast created through Thy power and fashioned through Thy might, and were he to ponder, throughout eternity, over the realms of Thy creation and the range of Thy handiwork, he would unfailingly discover that there is no created thing but is overshadowed by Thine all-conquering power, and is vitalized through Thine all-embracing sovereignty.
Behold me, then, O my God, fallen prostrate upon the dust before Thee, confessing my powerlessness and Thine omnipotence, my poverty and Thy wealth, mine evanescence and Thine eternity, mine utter abasement and Thine infinite glory. I recognize that there is none other God but Thee, that Thou hast no peer nor partner, none to equal or rival Thee. In Thine unapproachable loftiness Thou hast, from eternity, been exalted above the praise of any one but Thee, and shalt continue for ever, in Thy transcendent singleness and glory, to be sanctified from the glorification of any one except Thine own Self.
I swear by Thy might, O my Beloved! To make mention of any created thing beseemeth not Thy most exalted Self, and to bestow any praise upon any one of Thy creatures would be wholly unworthy of Thy great glory. Nay, such a mention would be but blasphemy uttered within the court of Thy holiness, and such praise would amount to no less than a transgression in the face of the evidences of Thy Divine sovereignty. For the mere mention of any one of Thy creatures would in itself imply an assertion of their existence before the court of Thy singleness and unity. Such an assertion would be naught but open blasphemy, an act of impiety, the essence of profanity and a wanton crime.
Wherefore, I bear witness with my soul, my spirit, my entire being, that should They Who are the Daysprings of Thy most holy unity and the Manifestations of Thy transcendent oneness be able to soar so long as Thine own sovereignty endureth and Thine all-compelling authority can last, they will fail in the end to attain unto even the precincts of the court wherein Thou didst reveal the effulgence of but one of Thy most mighty Names. Glorified, glorified be, therefore, Thy wondrous majesty. Glorified, glorified be Thine unattainable loftiness. Glorified, glorified be the pre-eminence of Thy kingship and the sublimity of Thine authority and power.
The highest faculties which the learned have possessed, and whatsoever truths they, in their search after the gems of Thy knowledge, have discovered; the brightest realities with which the wise have been endowed, and whatever secrets they, in their attempts to fathom the mysteries of Thy wisdom, have unravelled, have all been created through the generative power of the Spirit that was breathed into the Pen which Thy hands have fashioned. How, then, can the thing which Thy Pen hath created be capable of comprehending those treasures of Thy Faith with which, as decreed by Thee, that Pen hath been invested? How can it ever know of the Fingers that grasp Thy Pen, and of Thy merciful favours with which it hath been endowed? How can it, already unable to reach this station, be made aware of the existence of Thy Hand that controlleth the Fingers of Thy might? How can it attain unto the comprehension of the nature of Thy Will that animateth the movement of Thy Hand?
Glorified, glorified be Thou, O my God! How can I ever hope to ascend into the heaven of Thy most holy will, or gain admittance into the tabernacle of Thy Divine knowledge, knowing as I do that the minds of the wise and learned are impotent to fathom the secrets of Thy handiwork—a handiwork which is itself but a creation of Thy will?
Praise be to Thee, O Lord, my God, my Master, my Possessor, my King. Now that I have confessed unto Thee my powerlessness and the powerlessness of all created things, and have acknowledged my poverty and the poverty of the entire creation, I call unto Thee with my tongue and the tongues of all that are in heaven and on earth, and beseech Thee with my heart and the hearts of all that have entered beneath the shadow of Thy names and Thine attributes, not to shut us from the doors of Thy loving-kindness and grace, nor to suffer the breeze of Thy bountiful care and favour to cease from being wafted over our souls, nor to permit that our hearts be occupied with any one except Thee, or our minds to be busied with any remembrance save remembrance of Thy Self.
By the glory of Thy might, O my God! Wert Thou to set me king over Thy realms, and to establish me upon the throne of Thy sovereignty, and to deliver, through Thy power, the reins of the entire creation into my hands, and wert Thou to cause me, though it be for less than a moment, to be occupied with these things and be oblivious of the wondrous memories associated with Thy most mighty, most perfect, and most exalted Name, my soul would still remain unsatisfied, and the pangs of my heart unstilled. Nay, I would, in that very state, recognize myself as the poorest of the poor, and the most wretched of wretches.
Magnified be Thy name, O my God! Now that Thou hast caused me to apprehend this truth, I beseech Thee by Thy Name which no scroll can bear, which no heart can imagine and no tongue can utter—a Name which will remain concealed so long as Thine own Essence is hidden, and will be glorified so long as Thine own Being is extolled—to unfurl, ere the present year draw to a close, the ensigns of Thine undisputed ascendancy and triumph, that the whole creation may be enriched by Thy wealth, and may be exalted through the ennobling influence of Thy transcendent sovereignty, and that all may arise and promote Thy Cause.
Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the All-Highest, the All-Glorious, the All-Subduing, the All-Possessing.
He is the Sovereign King, the Holy of Holies.
Praise be unto Thee, O Lord my God! This is that Day among Thy Days and that Hour among Thy blessed Hours which Thou hast reserved for Thine own Self, related to Thine own Being, and exalted in station, that Thy Name may endure and Thy sovereignty be made manifest. Thou hast made this Day to be the source of all days, inasmuch as Thou hast showered upon it the revelations of the Throne of Thy majesty and the signs of Thy transcendent favour. Thou hast created it anew, at this time, in the most excellent form in this ancient Temple, so that on this Day, and by its grace, all the dwellers of earth and heaven might be raised again to life and, unbeknownst to and unapprehended by all, be called upon to render account regarding Thy Self. Perchance Thy sacred and celestial blessings and Thy divine and glorious bestowals might be completed therein, that they may testify to the creation of all things on the Day of Thy presence and to the appearance of Thy days and the dawning of the Sun of Thy beauty.
Even as mention was made of this signal honour and supreme bounty, of the ecstasy of yearning for Thee, the ascendancy of Thine all-conquering love, and the transports of Thy holy rapture, I heard the call of one of Thy servants who hath believed in Thee and in Thy signs, who hath renounced all things, turned towards the Countenance of Thy beauty, and hastened through every region unto the habitation of Thy repose. He hath at last reached Thy door and stood before the light of Thine everlasting holiness that hath shone forth above the horizon of Thy oneness and the dayspring of Thine eternity, longing to ascend unto the heights of Thy presence and reunion and to abide upon the seat of Thy nearness within Thy sacred Precinct. Cause, then, O my God, the dove of yearning to soar within his heart, and the seas of Thy love to surge within his inmost being, and the matchless tokens of Thy remembrance to flow from his tongue, and the gems of Thy praise to issue from his spirit. Draw him ever nearer, O my Lord, that he may be enabled to safeguard within the inmost recesses of his heart this most brilliant light and hidden treasure, and that he may thus dwell with Thy Servant in Thy most exalted horizon and all-glorious realm.
Thou, verily, abidest even now in Thine everlasting habitation, and beholdest this crimson spirit, and hearest this most sweet melody in the midmost heart of the Divine Essence, the centre of the Realm of mysteries. Powerful art Thou to do what Thou willest. Thou, verily, art the Exalted, the Almighty, the All-Glorious, the Self-Subsisting.
In God Passes By, Shoghi Effendi recounts how it was on the night of Naw-Rúz 110 years ago in the presence of believers from the East and the West, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá fulfilled the most sacred task of his ministry. Using his bare hands, he laid to rest the sacred remains of the Báb on Mt. Carmel. Immediately afterwards, when the Master then rested his forehead on the wooden casket containing the Báb’s remains, he started sobbing aloud, and wept with such a weeping that all those who were present wept with him.
He might have wept for the heroic life of the Báb, and the thousands who gave their lives in his Cause. He might have wept for the countless risks and perils, that his Father, and countless members of that generation of early believers, had endured from the moment Hájí Sulaymán Khán recovered those precious remains from the edge of a moat in Tabriz in 1850, until being transferred into the hands of the Master in ‘Akká in 1899.
He might have wept for the imprisonment, delays and complications, caused by the machinations of the Covenant Breakers, he and the believers of his generation in ‘Akká had to endure for another decade before finally being able to erect the Shrine into which he would place the Bab’s remains in 1909.
Indeed, many a time the Master was heard to remark about how “Every stone of that building, every stone of the road leading to it, I have with infinite tears and at tremendous cost, raised and placed in position”.
Above all, our beloved ‘Abdu’lBahá may have wept out of pure relief. For, as he later stated “the holy, the luminous body of the Báb... after having for sixty years been transferred
from place to place, by reason of the ascendancy of the enemy, and from fear of the malevolent, and having known neither rest nor tranquility” had “through the mercy of the Abhá Beauty, been ceremoniously deposited... in the exalted Shrine on Mt. Carmel”.
Thus, as we remember the Naw- Rúz of 1909, we commemorate the culmination of countless personal sacrifices made by three generations of believers, including not least those untold sacrifices made by the first Center of the Covenant, in order to execute the task entrusted to him by the Manifestation of God for this Day. May the deeds of the Master and early believers cause us all to ponder what selfless sacrifices that we, the current generation of believers, are being called on to make, if we are to fulfill on the sacred task we have been entrusted with by the Center of the Cause in this day, the Universal House of Justice.