Baha'u'llah in Kurdistan

Srglv cave in Sulaimaniyah

"Just over a year after arriving in Baghdad, Bahá’u’lláh withdrew to the mountainous wilderness of Kurdistan, where He lived alone for two years. He spent His time reflecting on the implications of the divine purpose to which He had been called." - Solitude in the mountains of Kurdistan

Possible sources of images of the cave, and the area Baha'u'llah withdrew to:

Abbas and Sons

Abbas of Noor

The sun burned above the high Iranian plateau, and its heat rolled over the land. It gave heat and only heat. It was a dark sun, for there were no eyes to see it. It burned upon the city of the blind; a city of people without eyes. All the eyes of the city had been plucked out and piled in the city square by the king.

The king destroyed the city, and the survivors among the blind scattered into the darkness around them.

The king was the founder of a new dynasty, and so he established a new capital city. His chosen site was far to the north, near the holy mountain Damavand. Tehran has remained the capital of Iran ever since.

The creation of the new capital at Tehran was an economic bonanza for the locals, and many men from the surrounding villages profited. The modest town grew into a great city, and eventually became one of the largest cities in the world.

Full story...

Messiah as Man

I wasn’t brought up Christian, but I was brought up to believe in a holy trinity of sorts. I was taught that a certain few men were perfect images of God; that these men, though not God in essence, were perfect reflections of God in the “material world,” and thus they were effectively God so far as mankind is concerned. As images of God in the material realm (i.e., idols), they could be regarded as God incarnate. Hence Bahá’u'lláh, the founder of my parents’ religion wrote, “I am God.”

Hitchens comic

The metaphor I was given was made of three parts: the sun, the light of the sun, and a mirror. The sun represented God, the sunlight the Holy Spirit, and lastly, the mirror took the place of the incarnation, or as Bahá’ís say, the “manifestation,” a term which spiritualists have long equated with “materialization.” It is effectively equivalent to incarnation.

Full story...

The real Baha'u'llah

Yesterday I was interested to read a comment that appeared on Baquia's blog, which had been pointed out to me by Steve. It is written by Andrew Carter, who I interviewed for this blog last year. Back then, he was saying that he believed Baha'u'llah was a manifestation of God. But it seems that he has changed his mind. He says:

"I was once swayed by the idealism and casuistry of certain Baha’i writers who insist that Baha’u'llah was actually a teacher of inner freedom and transformation. I no longer believe this. No matter how one gilds the lily, Baha’u'llah was not a spiritual guide, but rather a religious dictator, and the religion he created expresses the thematic continuity of his authoritarianism." comment made on Baha'i Rants

This accusation that Baha'u'llah is a "religious dictator" reminded me of a similar accusation made by someone else many years ago. At that time, Juan Cole wrote an enlightening and moving defence of Baha'u'llah and posted it on H-Baha'i. I thought it would be timely, given the above, to repost that message here. A key thing that comes through for me is that the authoritarianism we see in the Baha'i community today is assumed to reflect the way Baha'u'llah was. But this isn't the case.

Date: Wed, 16 Jul 1997 11:55:34 -0400
From: jrcole@... (Juan R. I. Cole)

Read more: The real Baha'u'llah

Official sites on Baha'u'llah

The other day, I found time to look at the World Centre's new site on Baha'u'llah, "The Life of Baha'u'llah. A Photographic Narrative". The URL is

{josquote}I know the World Centre has been criticised for spending so much money on the arc, but I think the following passage in Gleanings provides a scriptural basis for what it's done...{/josquote}

As the title suggests, the site provides an overview of Baha'u'llah's life using photographs and short pieces of text. The site is based around the places where Baha'u'llah lived, starting in Iran where he grew up and taking you through each of his places of exile (Baghdad, Constantinople, Adrianople, Akka) through to the places he lived when he left Akka, Mazra'ih and Bahji and areas where he pitched his tent on Mt Carmel. Overall, I found the site a good one. The structure is intuitive, the pictures help you to get an idea of the environment Baha'u'llah lived in (for example, he seemed to live amongst stone!) and the small pieces of text do tell you useful things, although I felt the use of quotes was a bit overdone. Perhaps someone who hadn't read those quotes before would have a different reaction. The highlight for me was the series of photographs under the heading Holy Relics.

Read more: Official sites on Baha'u'llah