The Hidden Words
Transcript of a talk by Hand of the Cause of God A. Q. Faizí - Wilmette, Illinois, December 9, 1967.
First of all, a general description of The Hidden Words: When you study The Hidden Words, and compare it with other Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, the Writings revealed in Adrianople and later on in the Most Great Prison, you will come to realize that The Hidden Words is the embryonic stage of our Faith. Whatever exists in our Faith exists in The Hidden Words in an embryonic form. By that I mean the general shape of things in given, but not very clear, distinct, explicit and detailed. There are those references to many different aspects of our Faith. It is like a seed which is sown in the city of Baghdád, grew in Adrianople, and reached its fruition in the Most Great Prison. I will give you two examples and the rest you will find by yourselves.
In The Hidden Words Bahá'u'lláh says, "How can you ever turn from this clear, sweet water to that which is wine?" This is not a prohibition sentence. It's just a statement: How can you turn from this to that? But when it grew, the tree grew in Adrianople, and then in the city of 'Akká the Book of Aqdas was revealed, it was utterly forbidden. It is no more ambiguous. It's explicit and is absolutely forbidden for any Bahá'í under any form. In another place, He says, "Do you remember that Covenant I made with you in that early morning?" But what is the Covenant? Nobody knew at that time. I said that nobody knew; there were many who knew even then that 'Abdu'l-Bahá was the Center of the Covenant when He was a boy of twelve years. There were many who knew that, but the others did not know. It was ambiguous. But in the city of 'Akká, it was revealed in the Book of Aqdas [The Kitáb-i-Aqdas] that all that is known to you in the books and the writings regarding this Covenant that this refers to the Most Great Branch. He then made it explicit and 'Abdu'l-Bahá was introduced. That's why I call it the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh in its embryonic stage. This is one way to study this book.
The Hidden Words to me is a very glorious sunrise in a beautiful forest. When you study this glorious sunrise and this glorious forest, you must not go and think about one sentence. You will never realize the glory of it, the immensity and majesty of it. You will lose sight of the whole glorious sunrise. Therefore you stay far away from it so you can see the whole view in front of you, very clearly, full of color, full of beautiful references. When you go away from it, you will find it is a world , a plan of life for man. The lines are beautifully drawn; the roads are perfectly paved, on condition that we will not pay attention to little words here and there at the beginning. This is a mistake that many of us do with all the Writings; we stick to one sentence, and we stick to it accompanied by doubt.
Now when you stand at a distance, you will look at it and will find that The Hidden Words is a contract between Bahá'u'lláh and man. For the sake of those who know the Persian words of it, I would repeat because I want to tell them how this idea dawned upon me; that this is a contract because of one word in The Hidden Words. He says, "My first counsel" (in Persian or in Arabic), is what He said is the origin of the word "contract" in the Arabic language. This suggested the idea of this contract between Bahá'u'lláh and man for his spiritual journey that man is destined to go through and reach the ultimate aim and goals of his life.
Now if you have some paper or pieces of paper, put in some columns. The first one will be: "Why is man chosen for this spiritual journey, and not other created things in the whole universe?" The second column will be, "What are the provisions for this spiritual journey?" Now when man, accompanied by Bahá'u'lláh, enters the road, he will find it the most beautifully arranged road where there are red lights, through which we must not pass, and green lights, through which we are allowed to go. Therefore, two other columns will be added: the red lights and the green lights. And the last one, "What is the ultimate aim, what do we obtain, to where do we reach, what are the results of this spiritual journey?" Therefore, we have five columns, or five pages. First, why is man chosen for this spiritual journey; second, what are the provisions; third, the red lights; fourth, the green lights; and fifth, the results. If you would like to changes the places of the red lights and the green lights, it's according to your own taste [laughter].
All right, now when we study The Hidden Words, we find the exalted station of man. God addresses man and says, "I knew of My love for you; therefore I created you." This is one of the reasons why man is chosen. Please, when you study the writings of the beloved Master, you will find one very interesting point. He has given one definition for three different things. You will find it, please.
Now a definition of science, of religion and of love: It's extremely important to study this definition. This definition is given in Some Answered Questions where it says, "What is religion?" and then 'Abdu'l-Bahá defines it. The same definition is given for love and the same for science. When we bring it together in the form of discussion group, or anything else, let us discuss with each other. Why is there one definition for three different things? You will come to understand that these three things, if they are followed in their true sense of meaning and words, the three will bring you to one end. They are the same rules bringing you to the same end.
The definitions of love, given by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, are these: He says, "Love is the cause of development of every enlightened man." If there is any intelligence in man, love will be the cause of its growth. Love is the greatest law in this vast universe of God. There are many laws in the universe, many laws of nature, but this is the greatest law commanding the whole universe. Without it, the universe fall into pieces. Love is the one law which causes and controls order among the existing atoms. By this example, we will come to understand how the treasures of Bahá'í literature are full of such gems that the young, aspiring, ambitious newly-enrolled believers, especially, with their enthusiasm, should try to find, to collect them together, like a jeweler who puts the same jewels around certain diamonds, to make a beautiful design.
Then Bahá'u'lláh addresses man again, and says: "You are My fortress, you are My lamp, you are My light, My glory, My dominion, My garment. I made you by the hands of power. I entrusted in you an essence of My light. I created you rich and exalted, and from the essence My knowledge I manifested you." These are some of the references in The Hidden Words by the exalted pen of Bahá'u'lláh addressed to man.
As we go on, please compare this with what is prevailing today, and most unfortunately in our educational institutions, propagated by the educators of our children, our youth. They tell them they are a bundle of nerves, passion, desire and that everyone of these must find a free channel to express themselves. But this is the exalted position of man. The greatest wrong that we commit in this life, the greatest of all the mistakes that people commit these days is that they apply the laws of the animal world to the human kingdom. It is true that these things should find a free outlet, but this is true of the animal world, not of the human world. Humanity must be disciplined to have chastity and let them channel out in the proper way, as prescribed by God, and not by ego and self. See how much the parents are responsible to give strength and power to the children to stand against these current ideas. If they are weak, they will be carried away by these forces. Make them as strong as possible. Give them the spirit of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. Make them a fortress so that they can stand against all the currents of conflicting ideas and they can prove they are created as man and not as animals. We must study these things.
What does it mean when Bahá'u'lláh says, "I have entrusted in you my own mystery, My own light, the essence of My knowledge." This is not something to be taken easily and lightly. These words should be pondered upon, studied, disciplined, so that our reality will be manifested. Those talents, those potentialities which are given and concealed in our human temple will come out and will be something else than what the others are. Then we can conquer countries, conquer hearts, give light to the souls of the people. If we are like them, we cannot do anything. There are thousands of candles all dark. If we are dark like them, we'll join them where there is no light. But if one of us is enlightened, we can enlighten others with this enlightened one. And Bahá'u'lláh wants to clearly manifest this power. Who can ever guess, Bahá'u'lláh, says. There are eyes that do not see. If the eyes do not see that there is light here in this lamp, he will never believe it. You ignite it and this lamp will be changed into light. And then He says, who can ever think of a man having all these powers, but let him be ignited with the love of God, then he will illumine many souls. That's why man is chosen for this spiritual journey. But what are the provisions?
You all know the first one. He says, "My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart..." There are three conditions for this pure-hearted man: pure, kindly and radiant. 'Abdu'l-Bahá has explained this in a most beautiful way. He says, suppose this is a container of milk. Milk, in itself, He says, is good nourishment for children and for grownups. From this milk, many things are produced, such as butter, cheese, yogurt and seven or eight other things. Now, He says, this is a pure heart, when serves for the Cause of God, is good nourishment for the Cause and from it many other things will be produced. Now He says, pour into this milk a drop of vinegar. The milk itself will be spoiled and nothing will be produced. That drop of vinegar in our soul is our ego. If we bring our ego into our services to Bahá'u'lláh, to His Cause, nothing will be produced. We must empty ourselves from our ego and make ourselves a proper channel, a proper instrument, in the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, and let Him work through us. When the heart is pure, it must be kind, but also radiant, like the sunshine that is over all, without any discrimination, without any prejudice. This was the greatest praise that 'Abdu'l-Bahá could give. It's very easy to forget this little word "I" and then we will be relieved from it, once and for all. And then our services will be productive.
It is a spiritual practice, to be kind, loving to all the people of the world, without discrimination. Like the sun. The sun never says, "I won't shine on Vietnam because there is war, or on Africa because they are black." No, it shines everywhere. The clouds rain everywhere. And Bahá'u'lláh says that the Bahá'ís should be like the sunshine and the clouds that rain over all and everywhere. Their love must be pure and radiant.
The Guardian emphasized, even not for the sake of teaching, love your contacts, but not for the sake that you will make him a Bahá'í. Just love him or her. If he doesn't become a Bahá'í, don't be angry with him, don't change your love, don't say he's hopeless, because we cannot judge the soul of another man.
May I interrupt here to say something about teaching. I am extremely sorry that because of these material comforts and ease that exist in Europe and many other parts of the world, many of our Bahá'í friends have taken the same attitude in teaching. I will give you an example and then perhaps it will be illustrated what I have in mind. When you are in your apartment, you press a button and you go to the eightieth story of the building, you press another one, you come down. You take a taxi. You go to the travel agency, get a ticket and next morning you are in Paris having breakfast at the Folly Bergiere. [Laughter]. Of course, the Folly Bergiere does not serve breakfast. [more laughter]. All right, all these things are done within twenty-four hours in the quickest and speediest way. And we believe that when we have a contact sitting in front of us, his heart also has a button which we can press and push in the Book of Íqán and have the card in hand. This has happened. The Guardian says, love your contacts, be patient with them and be wise, and never change your action, because you can never judge the soul of man. You are dealing with the soul of man, not something material. The response of the soul of man is different in different people.
Now, the second thing that Bahá'u'lláh says is a provision. He asks the man who will accompany Him in this spiritual journey: "Would you like to bring me any gift as we go on our journey?" The most beloved of all things to me is justice. Bring me justice. Then He as we go along this journey. "If you always want to be very happy, you must walk close to Me. But the moment you go away from Me, you will be drowned in oceans of sadness." This is another provision. And then He says, "God sufficieth all things." Don't go after anything else, only search for God. Have God with you always.
Now with these provisions, and some others you will find after studying The Hidden Words, they come to the road they want to take. Now there are two lights: red lights, which means the things you should not do, and green lights. As they walk, He says, "First you must deny your ego." We always come back to the same thing: the ego. "Comfort is not created for you. Don't ask me for that which I don't like for you." I want to explain this through another Tablet of Bahá'u'lláh.
He said never insist in your prayers to God that you want something. Just pray, but never insist. He says that out of His bounty, He will give you that which you like, but then it will be followed by tests that you will not be able to bear. Never insist. Then He gives an example. A father has a glass of liquid in his hand. The child thinks that it is a sweet drink. The father knows that it is poison. It's quinine, it's bitter. The child insists that he wants some of it. Then Bahá'u'lláh says, then the father is obliged to put a little bit in a spoon and puts it at the tip of his tongue, the bitterness of which he will never be able to suffer. Then He says, don't insist, just pray. If He gives it to you, all right, if He doesn't, don't insist.
As they walk together, this spiritual man, who wants to tread this path, hand in hand with Bahá'u'lláh, he now becomes a little bit familiar with his companion, Bahá'u'lláh and say something which is beyond his reach. Then Bahá'u'lláh says, "Do not transgress your limits."
How very often we transgress our own limits. We say things to God that are not within the limitation of man. We even ask why did Bahá'u'lláh do this, or why did Bahá'u'lláh write that. Why did His say that marriage depends on the consent of parents? We love each other and that's enough. This is beyond our comprehension. These are secret mysteries that man cannot understand. Therefore, we must leave our affairs in His hands and never transgress our limits.
He sees a poor man on the way and walks proudly before him. Bahá'u'lláh immediately says, don't wax proud before a poor man. Now he becomes very familiar and he starts to talk, to gossip, to backbite, and Bahá'u'lláh says, "How is it you have forgotten your own sins and you are telling me of the sins of others?" You see how close He walks with us. How very explicitly He gives us direction. How beautiful and delicate. Then, in another emphatic way, He says, don't ever breathe the mistakes of others, as long as you are a sinner yourself. This is the most detrimental factor in any community. It has destroyed families, communities, and this is the most unwanted guest in any house. Please, never let's have it. Never, in our communities and in our homes. Tomorrow, when we study about the principles of Bahá'í education, perhaps we will deal more about this and the detrimental effects of this in homes for the education of children.
Then, as they are walking, suddenly he sees a man sitting down and getting busy with the material world. He says, I don't want you to get busy with this world. Come along with Me. In another place, he sees him gathering gold. He says, "You want gold, but I don't want you to have it." And he goes on. I will explain this afterwards. I know there will be many questions. Let's turn to the green lights; they are better.
First of all, "always turn your face to My face. Don't turn it away. Always, have Me in your mind, in your whole life, in your whole daily life. Have Me, the center of your mind." Now here I have a chance to tell you something about our new believers throughout the world. I have gathered many things from them. I have learned many things from them, which are priceless in the explanations of the most mysterious problems of the Cause. Let's not think that these people are coming in masses and they do not understand. On the contrary, to me they are treasure-houses opened by Bahá'u'lláh and they are coming out. When it was discussed how we can, under all conditions, have our faces turned to God, an Indian woman got up and said (a new believer): "Every morning I go to bring water for my house. I have three jugs, one above the other. I fill them with water from the spring. I put them on my head and walk towards my house. I stop at the grocery shop and buy something. I greet my friend and ask him about his home and his children, and so on. I greet a women and start talking to her. And I do all these things and keep the equilibrium of three jugs on my head. I never let them go. Do the same thing with God. It will be easy." Could this be explained in a better way? I don't think so.
Then He says, "Look at your accounts every day." See what you have done every day. In the life of our beloved Guardian, we will find that even as a child, when he played during the day. Supposed he had hit somebody just by mistake. His father and mother said that he would never go to sleep, as a child, unless and until he would go to the house of that boy and make him happy, and then he would go to sleep. Bahá'u'lláh Himself said that if somebody was sad because of Him, He could never go to sleep unless He would make him happy.
Then we come across one sentence which I believe is the most important in the whole of The Hidden Words. He says, "Rejoice with the joy of your own heart." It is something that we have utterly forgotten. The western world has forgotten this for centuries. The art of meditation, the art of contemplation, the art of dreaming within oneself, and Bahá'u'lláh wants us to start doing this again. First, it means that there is nothing in world to make you happy, outside of your own heart. If you possess the whole world, the treasures of the world, the pleasures of the world, they may be momentary pleasures, but they will be bitter sadness throughout your life. They will never bring you any happiness. People are wrong to change the places of their entertainment and enjoyments from New York to Paris, to Rome, to Africa, to Australia. They are searching for it, while they are carrying it along with themselves. He says, "Go deep into thy heart." There is a realm in your heart. There it will spring up with the water of joy, a constant stream of joy will be flowing from your own heart. Nothing will stop it and nothing will be able to give it except yourselves. This is done by spiritual exercise. 'Abdu'l-Bahá tells the story of one of the prisoner in 'Akká, who had been with Bahá'u'lláh in the Most Great Prison. He said that he had a small rug, a samovar, one cup and a teapot. He said that every afternoon he would sprinkle water somewhere and sweep and then spread this rug, bring his samovar and let the water boil. He would say, "Listen to it. How it boils. It's better than anything, better than anything else in the world. The weather is most pleasant. (referring to the weather of 'Akká, which was the most stinking in the whole world)." Then he would pour tea for himself. 'Abdu'l-Bahá said that he held the cup, looked at its color and said that never was there any tea as beautiful. Every day his tea was better than the previous one. And he would drink it with all sorts of happiness and gratitude and praise to God for one cup of tea, which he had made. And he was full of prayer as he was drinking, full of praise, of joy and happiness, because it was something springing up from his own soul.
Now, I saw in a place, in an antique shop, some cups. They told me they belonged to the age of Louis IV. I asked, what is importance of them. The owner of the shop said, "They cost $22,000." Six of them. I asked, "Any fool buys this from you?" He said, "Many fools hire them from me." I asked him how? He said, "I have already made more than this from them. Somebody invites a group of friends. He boasts to them that he is giving them tea in the cups of Louis IV." Just think of the lowness and baseness of people's ambitions. Millions of children are dying of starvation, are deprived of education, of everything in life, and then $2,000 is paid for one afternoon to hire these cups to give tea to some few people, who, when leaving, will make fun of their host. You know all these things, better than I do. Rejoice with the joy of your own heart.
Then He says, "Whatever you do in your life, let it be for the majesty, for the glory of My Cause, then I will glorify you in the Kingdom of God. Never belittle My Cause." Belittling the Cause of God is to compare with man-made plans. To compare some of the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh with, for instance Schweitzer or Einstein. How shortsighted many of us are. 'Abdu'l-Bahá said this but then some didn't. It's very interesting. Einstein also said the same thing. The person never believed in 'Abdu'l-Bahá until he read what Einstein said. It's very bad. All of these spiritual exercises are needed for us to reach that stage of certitude. When you reach there, you will see everything full of truth, and nothing but truth.
Now when we pass through all these roads, what will be the result of our journey? Bahá'u'lláh says, "Then you will all walk on one earth. Your ear will become My ear. Your eyes will be My eyes."
Bahá'u'lláh says, "From every atom of your existence, your deeds, your words will the signs of the unity of God be manifested. Because I have created as my treasure-house, in which I have deposited the pearls of mysteries and the essence of my knowledge." Then towards the end He says, "Now think and ponder upon your affairs."
This is my humble suggestion, to study The Hidden Words, to have a clear idea to where The Hidden Words will lead us, and I hope that we will come in different groups to discuss this together, in such a way that every session will be an upliftment to our souls.