TB Ridwan I
The Lawh-i Ridwan I (`Tablet of Ridván') of Baha'-Allah.
Text printed in Ayyam-i tis`ah, 254-261; GWB* XIV : 27-31.
Some Notes and Commentary on the Text and Translation of Shoghi Effendi.
UCMerced, May 3 2015.
Many current Baha'i sources consider the first Lawh-i Ridwan`Tablet of Ridván' to date from around the time of the first twelve day Ridwan period, April 22-March 3rd which took place near Baghdad in the Najibiyya Garden in 1863. This first Tablet is often associated with the text translated by Shoghi Effendi in his compilation, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah sect. XIV which begins with the words, "The Divine Springtime is come". This dating, however, has yet to be confirmed.
The Opening Basmala
This Tablet of Baha'-Allah has a neo-basmala heading, which reads
بسمه المجلى على من في الامكان
In His Name, the Theophany Realized (al-mujalla) before whomsoever is in the Realm of Existence (al-imkan)".
I add below in square brackets into the translation of Shoghi Effendi numbered verse and paragraph indications for the sake of commentary as well as select points of transliteration so as to indicate clearly the weight of the original Arabic.
In His Name, the One Gloriously Reveled (al-mujalla) before whomsoever is in the Realm of Existence (al-imkan).
The Divine Springtime is come, O Most Exalted Pen, for the Festival of the All-Merciful [`id al-rahman] is fast approaching. Bestir thyself, and magnify, before the entire creation, the name of God, and celebrate His praise, in such wise that all created things may be regenerated and made new. Speak, and hold not thy 28 peace. The day star of blissfulness [nayyir al-ibtihaj], shineth above the horizon of Our name, the Blissful (al-bahhaj) inasmuch as the kingdom of the name of God hath been adorned with the ornament of the name of thy Lord, the Creator of the heavens [fatir al-sama']. Arise before the nations of the earth, and arm thyself with the power of this Most Great Name (al-ism al-a`zam], and be not of those who tarry [al-sabirin].
Methinks that thou hast halted and movest not upon My Tablet. Could the brightness of the Divine Countenance have bewildered thee, or the idle talk of the froward filled thee with grief and paralyzed thy movement? Take heed lest anything deter thee from extolling the greatness of this Day—the Day whereon the Finger of majesty and power hath opened the seal of the Wine of Reunion, and called all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth. Preferrest thou to tarry when the breeze announcing the Day of God hath already breathed over thee, or art thou of them that are shut out as by a veil from Him?
No veil whatever have I allowed, O Lord of all names and Creator of the heavens, to shut me from the recognition of the glories of Thy Day—the Day which is the lamp of guidance unto the whole world, and the sign of the Ancient of Days unto all them that dwell therein. My silence is by reason of the veils that have blinded Thy creatures’ eyes to Thee, and my muteness is because of the impediments that have hindered Thy people from recognizing Thy truth. 29 Thou knowest what is in me, but I know not what is in Thee. Thou art the All-Knowing, the All-Informed. By Thy name that excelleth all other names! If Thy overruling and all-compelling behest should ever reach me, it would empower me to revive the souls of all men, through Thy most exalted Word, which I have heard uttered by Thy Tongue of power in Thy Kingdom of glory. It would enable me to announce the revelation of Thy effulgent countenance wherethrough that which lay hidden from the eyes of men hath been manifested in Thy name, the Perspicuous, the sovereign Protector, the Self-Subsisting.
Canst thou discover any one but Me, O Pen, in this Day? What hath become of the creation and the manifestations thereof? What of the names and their kingdom? Whither are gone all created things, whether seen or unseen? What of the hidden secrets of the universe and its revelations? Lo, the entire creation hath passed away! Nothing remaineth except My Face, the Ever-Abiding, the Resplendent, the All-Glorious.
This is the Day whereon naught can be seen except the splendors of the Light that shineth from the face of Thy Lord, the Gracious, the Most Bountiful. Verily, We have caused every soul to expire by virtue of Our irresistible and all-subduing sovereignty. We have, then, called into being a new creation, as a 30 token of Our grace unto men. I am, verily, the All-Bountiful, the Ancient of Days.
This is the Day whereon the unseen world crieth out: “Great is thy blessedness, O earth, for thou hast been made the foot-stool of thy God, and been chosen as the seat of His mighty throne.” The realm of glory exclaimeth: “Would that my life could be sacrificed for thee, for He Who is the Beloved of the All-Merciful hath established His sovereignty upon thee, through the power of His Name that hath been promised unto all things, whether of the past or of the future.” This is the Day whereon every sweet smelling thing hath derived its fragrance from the smell of My garment—a garment that hath shed its perfume upon the whole of creation. This is the Day whereon the rushing waters of everlasting life have gushed out of the Will of the All-Merciful [mashiyyat al-rahman]. Haste ye, with your hearts and souls, and quaff your fill, O Concourse of the realms above!
Say: He it is Who is the Manifestation of Him Who is the Unknowable, the Invisible of the Invisibles, could ye but perceive it. He it is Who hath laid bare before you the hidden and treasured Gem [al-kanz al-makhzun] were ye to seek it. He it is Who is the one Beloved of all things, whether of the past or of the future. Would that ye might set your hearts and hopes upon Him!
We have heard the voice of thy pleading, O Pen, 31 and excuse thy silence. What is it that hath so sorely bewildered thee? The inebriation of Thy presence, O Well-Beloved of all worlds, hath seized and possessed me.
Arise, and proclaim unto the entire creation the tidings that He Who is the All-Merciful (al-rahman] hath directed His steps towards the Riḍván and entered it. Guide, then, the people unto the garden of delight [al-jannan] which God hath made the Throne of His Paradise [`arsh al-jannan]. We have chosen thee to be our most mighty Trumpet [al-sur al-a`zam], whose blast is to signalize the resurrection of all mankind [li-hayat al-`alamin].
Say: This is the Paradise on whose foliage the wine of utterance hath imprinted the testimony: “He that was hidden from the eyes of men is revealed, girded with sovereignty and power!” This is the Paradise, the rustling of whose leaves proclaims: “O ye that inhabit the heavens and the earth! There hath appeared what hath never previously appeared. He Who, from everlasting, had concealed His Face from the sight of creation is now come.” From the whispering breeze that wafteth amidst its branches there cometh the cry: “He Who is the sovereign Lord of all is made manifest. The Kingdom is God’s,” while from its streaming waters can be heard the murmur: “All eyes are gladdened, for He Whom none hath beheld, Whose secret no one hath discovered, hath lifted the veil of glory, and uncovered the countenance of Beauty.” 32
Within this Paradise, and from the heights of its loftiest chambers, the Maids of Heaven have cried out and shouted: “Rejoice, ye dwellers of the realms above, for the fingers of Him Who is the Ancient of Days are ringing, in the name of the All-Glorious, the Most Great Bell, in the midmost heart of the heavens. The hands of bounty have borne round the cup of everlasting life. Approach, and quaff your fill. Drink with healthy relish, O ye that are the very incarnations of longing, ye who are the embodiments of vehement desire!”
This is the Day whereon He Who is the Revealer of the names of God hath stepped out of the Tabernacle of glory, and proclaimed unto all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth: “Put away the cups of Paradise and all the life-giving waters they contain, for lo, the people of Bahá have entered the blissful abode of the Divine Presence, and quaffed the wine of reunion, from the chalice of the beauty of their Lord, the All-Possessing, the Most High.”
Forget the world of creation, O Pen, and turn thou towards the face of thy Lord, the Lord of all names. Adorn, then, the world with the ornament of the favors of thy Lord, the King of everlasting days. For We perceive the fragrance of the Day whereon He Who is the Desire of all nations hath shed upon the kingdoms of the unseen and of the seen the splendor of the light of His most excellent names, and enveloped them with the radiance of the luminaries 33 of His most gracious favors—favors which none can reckon except Him, Who is the omnipotent Protector of the entire creation.
Look not upon the creatures of God except with the eye of kindliness and of mercy, for Our loving providence hath pervaded all created things, and Our grace encompassed the earth and the heavens. This is the Day whereon the true servants of God partake of the life-giving waters of reunion, the Day whereon those that are nigh unto Him are able to drink of the soft-flowing river of immortality, and they who believe in His unity, the wine of His Presence, through their recognition of Him Who is the Highest and Last End of all, in Whom the Tongue of Majesty and Glory voiceth the call: “The Kingdom is Mine [al-mulk li-nafsi]. I, Myself, am, of Mine own right, its Ruler [wa ana al-malik].”
Attract the hearts of men, through the call of Him, the one alone Beloved. Say: This is the Voice of God, if ye do but hearken. This is the Day Spring of the Revelation of God, did ye but know it. This is the Dawning-Place of the Cause of God, were ye to recognize it. This is the Source of the commandment of God, did ye but judge it fairly. This is the manifest and hidden Secret; would that ye might perceive it. O peoples of the world! Cast away, in My name that transcendeth all other names, the things ye possess, and immerse yourselves in this Ocean in whose depths lay hidden the pearls of wisdom and of utterance, an ocean that surgeth in My name, the All-Merciful. 34 Thus instructeth you He with Whom is the Mother Book.
The Best-Beloved is come. In His right hand is the sealed Wine of His name. Happy is the man that turneth unto Him, and drinketh his fill, and exclaimeth: “Praise be to Thee, O Revealer of the signs of God!” By the righteousness of the Almighty! Every hidden thing hath been manifested through the power of truth. All the favors of God have been sent down, as a token of His grace. The waters of everlasting life have, in their fullness, been proffered unto men. Every single cup hath been borne round by the hand of the Well-Beloved. Draw near, and tarry not, though it be for one short moment.
Blessed are they that have soared on the wings of detachment and attained the station which, as ordained by God, overshadoweth the entire creation, whom neither the vain imaginations of the learned, nor the multitude of the hosts of the earth have succeeded in deflecting from His Cause. Who is there among you, O people, who will renounce the world, and draw nigh unto God, the Lord of all names? Where is he to be found who, through the power of My name that transcendeth all created things, will cast away the things that men possess, and cling, with all his might, to the things which God, the Knower of the unseen and of the seen, hath bidden him observe? Thus hath His bounty been sent down unto men, His testimony fulfilled, and His proof shone 35 forth above the Horizon of mercy. Rich is the prize that shall be won by him who hath believed and exclaimed: “Lauded art Thou, O Beloved of all worlds! Magnified be Thy name, O Thou the Desire of every understanding heart!”
Rejoice with exceeding gladness, O people of Bahá, as ye call to remembrance the Day of supreme felicity, the Day whereon the Tongue of the Ancient of Days hath spoken, as He departed from His House, proceeding to the Spot from which He shed upon the whole of creation the splendors of His name, the All-Merciful. God is Our witness. Were We to reveal the hidden secrets of that Day, all they that dwell on earth and in the heavens would swoon away and die, except such as will be preserved by God, the Almighty, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
Such is the inebriating effect of the words of God upon Him Who is the Revealer of His undoubted proofs, that His Pen can move no longer. With these words He concludeth His Tablet: “No God is there but Me, the Most Exalted, the Most Powerful, the Most Excellent, the All-Knowing.”