Tablet to Salman I
A Tablet which in its profundity and wealth of knowledge stands out as one of the most significant among Bahá'u'lláh's Writings is the Lawh-i-Salmán (Tablet of Salmán), revealed in Adrianople in honour of Shaykh Salmán. Shaykh Salmán was a devoted servant of Bahá'u'lláh and dedicated his life to travelling for Him. He carried His Writings to the believers in Persia and brought back their letters and news to Him. He rendered this service with such care that none of Bahá'u'lláh's Tablets ever fell into the hands of the enemy. It is recorded that on one occasion when he realized that he was about to be searched by the authorities in a Persian town, he ate the few Tablets he was carrying in order to protect the Cause and the believers for whom they were intended! Salmán was pure-hearted and very simple. The believers always enjoyed his company but there were some friends in high positions who were embarrassed and sometimes afraid to meet him because of his simplicity and frankness. Hájí Mírzá Haydar-'Alí writes of this in his Bihjatu's-Sudúr:
I spent some time in Shíráz where I used to attain the presence of the celebrated Salmán...I was filled with infinite joy by associating with him. He was truly a brilliant lamp. Outwardly he was an illiterate person and very simple, but inwardly he was the essence of wisdom and knowledge who could solve difficult problems and explain abstruse questions in simple language. Salmán was the essence of selflessness, he had no ego whatsoever. He was in no way able to flatter people or to deal deceitfully with them. It was for this reason that the pure in heart among the believers were truly devoted to him. But those who were sophisticated and conventional were not keen to associate with him. For they feared that he might ruin their prestige in the gatherings of the friends. It is commonly known and is true, that once the Ancient Beauty told Salmán to show respect towards important people in the meetings, and not to speak unkindly about them. Salmán replied, 'I do not consider anybody great except the Ancient Beauty and the Master. The so-called great are nothing but pompous men.' This remark amused Bahá'u'lláh.
In theTablet of Salmán Bahá'u'lláh bids him to journey throughout the land with feet of steadfastness, wings of detachment and a heart ablaze with the fire of the love of God, so that the forces of evil may be powerless to prevent him from carrying out his mission.
Revealed at the time when Mírzá Yahyá had openly arisen against Bahá'u'lláh, this Tablet also contains many passages concerning the unfaithfulness, the treachery, the ungodliness of Mírzá Yahyá and his shameful activities including his plans to take the life of Bahá'u'lláh. In moving language, He pours out His heart to Salmán and speaks of the anguish of His own heart, of His pains and sufferings which were inflicted by one whom He had brought up with such loving-kindness, care and consideration. He recalls the times when Mírzá Yahyá was in constant attendance by day and night. He would stand humbly in His presence and listen to the Words of God which were revealed with great power and majesty. But as the Cause began to grow, he was enticed by the prospect of his own fame. His whole being was so filled with the love of leadership that he left his Lord and rebelled against Him. Bahá'u'lláh in this Tablet intimates to Shaykh Salmán that He is so encompassed by grief and sorrow that His Pen is prevented from bestowing the knowledge of God upon people and revealing some of the mysteries of His Cause.
A great part of the Tablet of Salmán is in answer to a question concerning the meaning of a line from a poem by Mawlaví. In order to appreciate Bahá'u'lláh's profound explanations, one must be well versed in Islámic philosophy and the meaning of mystical terms. Otherwise it is not an easy task to understand this part of the Tablet. Furthermore, Bahá'u'lláh states that He is reluctant to expound the works of the mystics and sages of the past. For, He proclaims, the Sun of Truth has risen and oceans of knowledge have surged forth through His Revelation. Therefore there is no need to dwell on the words and teachings of old. Gnostics and men of learning must needs turn to Him as the Source of knowledge and receive enlightenment from Him.
Bahá'u'lláh calls on Salmán to meet the servants of God and counsel them on His behalf. They should cleanse their hearts so that they may be enabled to recognize the Beauty of His countenance, walk in His ways, meditate upon His Words, and know that if the worlds of God were limited to this one, the Báb would never have allowed Himself to fall into the hands of His enemy, nor would He have sacrificed His life in the path of God. In another Tablet2 Bahá'u'lláh states that if there were any merit in this mortal world, He Himself would have occupied its highest thrones and owned all its treasures. The fact that the Creator of this world has not set His own affection upon it is a proof that there are spiritual worlds far more glorious than this one. It is to these worlds that the soul of the believer repairs after its separation from the body.
Bahá'u'lláh in the Tablet of Salmán promises that through the influence of His Revelation, some souls will arise who, renouncing the world, will turn fully to Him with the utmost devotion, and regard the sacrifice of life in His path as the easiest of all things. He affirms that God has chosen these souls for His own Self, and that the dwellers of the realms on high long to attain their presence.
The history of the Cause records with pride many episodes in the lives of such believers, who have shed a great lustre upon the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. The tree of the Cause of God in this day has grown and flourished mainly as a result of two factors: one, the outpouring of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh which, like the rays of the sun, has imparted to it a measure of its vivifying energies; the other, the blood of the martyrs who willingly gave their lives in order to nourish and water it.
Bahá'u'lláh in this Tablet confers an exalted station upon the soul of the believer. He states that if the glory of such a station be revealed in this world, even to the extent of a needle's eye, every soul will expire through ecstasy. Because of this, the station of the true believer is kept hidden in this life. In another Tablet revealed in 'Akká Bahá'u'lláh makes a similar statement:
Blessed is the soul which, at the hour of its separation from the body, is sanctified from the vain imaginings of the peoples of the world. Such a soul liveth and moveth in accordance with the Will of its Creator...If any man be told that which hath been ordained for such a soul in the worlds of God, the Lord of the throne on high and of earth below, his whole being will instantly blaze out in his great longing to attain that most exalted, that sanctified and resplendent station...
In the Tablet of Salmán Bahá'u'lláh explains one of the most interesting mysteries in theQur'án, a mystery which had hitherto remained unnoticed. He refers to the well-known phrase, 'There is no God but Him'. This is the cardinal statement of faith which every Muslim must make, and which is the basis of the Islámic religion.
Excerpted from the Revelation of Baha'u'llah, Volume 2 by Adib Taherzadeh.
Excerpt from the Lawḥ-i-Salmán I - Tablet to Salmán I
Many Baha'is read the following on the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Bab.
O Salmán! Say: O people! Tread ye in the path of the one true God and ponder the ways and words of Him Who is the Manifestation of His ancient Being, that perchance ye may attain unto the Wellspring of the living waters of the All-Glorious. Were believers and non-believers to occupy the same station, were the worlds of God to be confined to this ephemeral plane, never would My previous Manifestation have surrendered Himself into the hands of His foes or laid down His life as a sacrifice. I swear by the dawning-light of this Cause that were the people to grasp the barest intimation of the fervour and longing which overcame that sovereign Beauty when His celestial Temple was suspended in the air, all would, in the intensity of their own yearning, offer up their souls in the path of this Manifestation of supernal glory. Indeed, sugar is the portion of the parrot, while dung is the share of the beetle; the crow hath no part in the warbling of the nightingale, and the bat fleeth the rays of the sun.