Category: Alison Marshall's Column
Created: Friday, 17 February 2006 15:24
Published: Friday, 17 February 2006 15:24
Written by Alison
I am in the process of reading Some Answered Questions cover to cover. I have been meaning to do it for a long time, but these things always come in their own good time. Now that I am finally doing it, I am getting a great deal out of it. I am glad that I waited until after I had read all those books about Abdu'l-Baha, which gave me a feeling of who he is.
Now that I read Some Answered Questions, I have a sense that Abdu'l-Baha is saying just one thing over and over again in different ways. That feeling overwhelms me now when I read Baha'u'llah's writings. The remark from the Imam Ali, which Baha'u'llah quotes in the Iqan, "Knowledge is a single point but the ignorant have multiplied it." captures what I'm trying to say. The same idea is found in this Hidden Word: "O essence of negligence! Myriads of mystic tongues find utterance in one speech, and myriads of hidden mysteries are revealed in a single melody; yet, alas, there is no ear to hear, nor heart to understand." (PHW, 16)
The passage that got me going this morning was the following, from the chapter on miracles, chapter 22:
"But in the day of the Manifestation the people with insight see that all the conditions of the Manifestation are miracles, for They are superior to all others, and this alone is an absolute miracle. Recollect that Christ, solitary and alone, without a helper or protector, without armies and legions, and under the greatest oppression, uplifted the standard of God before all the people of the world, and withstood them, and finally conquered all, although outwardly He was crucified. Now this is a veritable miracle which can never be denied." (SAQ, p101)
This short summary of what Christ achieved moved me to tears. It is a description of the glory and grace of God. Without help from anyone in the physical world and, in fact, despite the enormous oppression and opposition from the forces in the physical world, and Christ's seeming defeat through his crucifixion, he nevertheless came out the winner. For me, this summarises everything that is worth knowing and everything that is beautiful. It is indeed a miracle.
And today, as we Baha'is look at the situation we find ourselves in, this principle applies to us too. We look around us and we see that the Baha'i administration is lost in the wilds of remoteness and no longer gives off Baha'u'llah's fragrance, and it seems that all has been lost. But we are not unique in feeling this way and in being in a situation that seems hopeless. Every generation that wishes to be remembered in spiritual history has found itself in a hopeless situation. This is the point. We win anyway, despite the fact that, on the face of it, we have lost.
Mirza Abu'l-Fadl, in his book The Baha'i Proofs (published by Kalimat!), explains that this is the greatest proof of Baha'u'llah's revelation and, indeed of any revelation. The religion of each of the manifestations prevails despite the fact that each of the manifestations was opposed by all the forces on the earth. This is the proof -- something other than worldly forces has brought the religion into being and made it successful. And that spiritual force is on our side too, if we look to it and not to worldly things for support.
"Even or odd, thou shalt win the wager." The friends of God shall win and profit under all conditions, and shall attain true wealth. In fire they remain cold, and from water they emerge dry. Their affairs are at variance with the affairs of men. Gain is their lot, whatever the deal. To this testifieth every wise one with a discerning eye, and every fair-minded one with a hearing ear. (Baha'u'llah: Crisis and Victory, p 154)