Alison Marshall's Column

Alison is an unenrolled Baha'i, a business writer and a mystic. She lives in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Worlds within

In this podcast, I discuss what Baha'u'llah says in the first paragraph of the Tablet of the Vision about the worlds of light that lie within this world of gloom and discuss what this means for our spiritual journey.

{sstreamtalk}|250|11-minute 40-second MP3 audio of Alison discussing the worlds within|#5192CA{/sstreamtalk}

Passages from the writings quoted in the audio:

"O My Name! Listen to My call from the precincts of My throne, that it might transport thee to a shoreless sea, the depths of which no diver ever plumbed. Verily, thy Lord is knowing and generous. We desired to favor thee with the mention of what We saw, that thou mightest perceive the world of light that lieth within this realm of gloom, mightest be convinced that We have worlds within this world, and mightest thank thy Lord, the All-Perceiving."
Baha'u'llah: Tablet of the Vision

"... until, like Jacob, thou forsake thine outward eyes, thou shalt never open the eye of thine inward being..."
Baha'u'llah: Seven Valleys and Four Valleys, p 9

"Give ear unto this: Never shall mortal eye recognize the everlasting beauty..."
Baha'u'llah: Persian Hidden Words, no 10

"Blind thine eyes, that thou mayest behold My beauty; stop thine ears, that thou mayest hearken unto the sweet melody of My voice..."
Baha'u'llah: Persian Hidden Words, no 11

"The first call of the Beloved is this: O mystic nightingale! Abide not but in the rose-garden of the spirit."
Baha'u'llah: Persian Hidden Words, no 1

"Praise be to thee, O My God. Bless Thy friends, then send down upon them from the heaven of Thy magnanimity what will render them detached from all save Thee and cause them to set their faces toward the horizon from which hath risen the sun of Thy grace."
Baha'u'llah: Tablet of the Vision

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More on Breath of Spirit

If you haven't yet had a chance to listen to the audio, Breath of Spirit, then I recommend that you do. There is an important relationship between the things that Baha'u'llah is saying in that tablet and the things I was saying in my audio, The Main Game. I am referring in particular to the last paragraph of the tablet. It reads:

"Then, O birds of the sacred skies, do not deprive yourselves, by virtue of your concentration upon this ephemeral world, of this immortal fountain. Possibly you will receive permission to enter the eternal chamber of audience with the glorious beauty. Thus do we make mention to you of the mysteries, insofar as what was referred to in all the tablets as the water of life was hidden from your intellects and your hearts. Perhaps you will attain to the water in that spring after severing yourselves from all who are in the heavens and on earth, and will return to the wonders of his overflowing grace."

Read more: More on Breath of Spirit

Mashriq Handbook

I mentioned on yesterday's audio, The Main Game, that Sen and Terry had searched the writings for passages on the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar.

As a result, Sen produced the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar Handbook. You'll find a version of it at:

The raw quotes are at:

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The main game

Here is my next podcast. This time I talk about what the main game of the Baha'is should be—Baha'u'llah. I discuss the importance of focusing our attention and energies on Baha'u'llah and not the Baha'i administration.

{sstreamtalk}|250|11-minute MP3 audio of Alison discussing the main game|#5192CA{/sstreamtalk}

Passages from the writings quoted in the audio:

"Let not the things they have perpetrated grieve thee. Truly they are even as dead, and not living. Leave them unto the dead, then turn thy face towards Him Who is the Life-Giver of the world. Beware lest the sayings of the heedless sadden thee. Be thou steadfast in the Cause, and teach the people with consummate wisdom. Thus enjoineth thee the Ruler of earth and heaven. He is in truth the Almighty, the Most Generous. Ere long will God exalt thy remembrance and will inscribe with the Pen of Glory that which thou didst utter for the sake of His love. He is in truth the Protector of the doers of good."
Baha'u'llah: Tablets of Baha'u'llah, pp 15-16

"Verily Thou art the mighty One Whom neither the power of all the world nor the strength of nations can weaken. There is no God but Thee, the One, the Incomparable, the Protector, the Self-Subsistent."
Baha'u'llah: Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p 34

The background music was composed by Mark Isham. The track is called Mrs Soffel and it is from his album, Film Music.

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Infallibility, again

I was thinking about the post I made the other day about the fear of God and my reference in there to infallibility. I wanted to explain more about that.

There has been lots of discussion about what infallibility means. We know that there are two kinds of infallibility—absolute and contingent. Absolute infallibility is often called the Most Great Infallibility and this belongs to Baha'u'llah only. In the passage from Spendors (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, page 108), Baha'u'llah explains at length what it means. In large measure, it comes to the one principle: God can do whatever God wants.

Early on in that discussion, Baha'u'llah cites the Qur'anic verse (21:23): "Verily, He shall not be asked of His doings but all others shall be asked of their doings." This means that everyone except Baha'u'llah shall be asked of their doings.

It also gives us a clue as what the second kind of infallibility - contingent or conferred infallibility—does not mean. Reflecting this second degree of infallibility does not put a person in the category where they shall not be asked of their doings. A person who manifests contingent or conferred infallibility shall be asked of their doings.

Read more: Infallibility, again