Baha'-Allah - The Lawḥ-i Hawdaj / Sāmsūn

AT THE SHORE OF THE BLACK SEA :

The LawḤ-i HAWDAJ / SāMSūN

OF

MĪRZĀ ḤUSAYN `ALĪ NURI, BAHĀ'-ALLĀH.

Stephen N. Lambden

Now being revised, updated and completed: 2006-7 +2017.

Last updated 05-03-2017.

In July 1984 the Research Department of the Bahā'ī World Centre in Haifa, Israel were kind enough to supply me with a typed transcript of the Arabic text of Bahā'-Allāh's Lawḥ-i Hawdaj or Sāmsūn. Then unpublished, this important Tablet of the founder of the Bahā'ī Faith is reproduced below according to the Haifa typescript accompanied by my own provisional English translation. The following introduction and notes are not intended to be exhaustive.

The Lawḥ-i Hawdaj  [Sāmsūn]

Having intimated the full measure of his claim to independent mazhariyya  (Manifestationhood) to a few of his trusted devotees, Bahā'-Allāh left Baghdad for Constantinople / Istanbul on May 3rd 1863 accompanied by certain members of his family and disciples. Having passed through Kirkuk, Mosul and Diyabakir (among other stopping points) the Bābī exiles arrived at Sāmsūn, a port on the shore of the Black Sea; this in early August 1863. It was on sighting the Black Sea in the vicinity Sāmsūn that the Lawḥ-i Sāmsūn (hence this title) was written by Bahā'-Allāh.

It was in view of the fact that Bahā'-Allāh was carried in a litter or howdah (Ar. hawdaj) during this stage of the journey to the Ottoman capital, that he revealed the aforementioned Tablet. It was on his sighting the Black Sea from the howdah that the Lawḥ-i Sāmsūn, also known as the Lawḥ-i hawdaj (Tablet of the Howdah) was communicated. The Lawḥ-i Sāmsūn  is said to have been revealed by Bahā'-Allāh at the request of his amanuensis Mīrzā Āqā Jān Kāshānī. Drawing on the unpublished narrative of Āqā Muhammad Riḍā'-yi Qannad-i Shirazi (1880s?), Balyuzi has described the writing of this Tablet in the following manner:

Mīrzā Āqā Jān brought writing material. And Baha'u'llah's hand moved over the paper, as he sat in His kajāvih [= howdah] reciting aloud what flowed from His creative Pen. That was how the stirring verses of the Surat al-Hawdaj (= Sura of the Howdah) were revealed, while drawing close to the shore of the Black Sea and in sight of it... (Balyuzi, BKG:195). [1]

The full text of the Lawḥ-i Hawdaj was recorded by (the aforementioned) Āqā Riḍā' in his narrative. It is probably this text that forms the basis of the Haifa typescript reproduced below (cf. ibid. 195). In the translation below I have divided the text into paragraphs with occasional verse numbering though this is not exactly registered in the original - though the addresses in the original Arabic sometimes suggests them.

Test as printed in Sahifa-yi `Irfan VIII: 15-16.

PDf. Howdah = Samsun-S`I.pdf

THE TABLET OF THE HOWDAH

 [I]

[1] These are verses which were disclosed in the Pavilion of Eternity and the Howdah of Holiness  at the moment when the Greatest Name arrived at the precinct of majesty in the land of Sāmsūn, at the shore of a mighty ocean. [2] Then did the hosts of the inspiration of God descend, so splendidly ornamented,  that all who are in the heavens and on earth were thunderstruck thereat. [3] Before them did the Sun of the Divine Beauty radiate forth in an holy, ethereal Temple and addressed the Ark with the like of that which had streamed forth from the Pen of God aforetime, in a Tablet in which We addressed the Holy Mariner with a secret, sorrowful Call [4] And this in accordance with what hath this moment been sent down in this Tablet from an holy, luminous Pen. [5] And whomsoever desires to comprehend the mysteries of the Command on the part of One Wise,  All-Knowing, let such an one consider these two Tablets and thus become cognizant of the mysteries of God; eyes solaced thereby and one numbered among such as are possessed of certainty.

[II]

[1] The times of reclining in the Howdah of Holiness hath been completed and the Beauty of the Divine Essence hath emerged unto a mighty, noble panorama. [2] Say:  `The terrestrial journey hath found completion at the shore of a mighty ocean.' [3] At this did the Howdah of Immortality weep and a luminous Ship of Holiness rejoice.

[III]

[1]

O Holy Mariner!

(ya mallāḥ al-quds)

The promise hath come to pass  just as We promised thee through a sure and knowing Tongue. [2] So be of good cheer within thyself that the Logos-Self of God, which is naught save Him, might embark upon the Ark through this novel yet ancient Command. [3] Before thee shall be made manifest all that We, in very truth, promised thee, if thou art truly patient. [4]  We announced unto thee aforetime all that hath come to pass and none in all the worlds hath been privy thereto. [5] We made them to be heedless thereof on account of that which their hands hath wrought.  And this, assuredly, is but manifest justice.

[IV]

[1]

By God!

Such as enter beneath thy shade shall be seized by a grievous and tormenting mischief. [2] By God! This is the Touchstone of God. He hath risen up with justice and shall distinguish between  truth and falsehood, doubt and certitude.

[V]

[1] But thou, Purify! thy vision from the limitations of mortal men and suffer not thy sight to be distracted from this luminous Panorama. [2] Waft then upon them [a portion] of the breezes of the Divine Bounty perchance they might be purified of their idle fancies and be oriented towards God, the Mighty, the Wise; [3]  their hearts cleansed of their vain imagining and they be enabled to attain unto the sacred, wondrous Homeland. [4] And perchance thereby the veils of imitation be burned up and the Beauty of the Divine Oneness radiate forth  in the ethereal lamp[s] of the hearts. [5] It is not fitting that the servants [of God] weigh the Balance of God for they shall at every moment be weighed and so be counted among such as are weighed. [6] So turn aside from them!  And disregard their outrages for Thou, verily, art One Generous, Possessed of Grace, All-Knowing. [7]  Then, when Thou hast shut Thine eyes to the rebellion and opened them to that which is most-excellent, waft upon the denizens of existence fragrances holy and beneficent. [8] This perchance they might become cognizant within themselves that God hath preferred them above all creatures, [9] made them to be the associates of His Own Logos-Self, ennobled them through the Meeting with Him, caused to descend upon them the fruits of Union from an Holy, Manifest Tree. [10] [He furthermore] made them to be robed in the garment of distinction, preferred them above such creatures as have been and now exist, and made their names to be inscribed upon mighty, preserved Tablets. [11] All this shall assuredly be conferred upon them; as long, that is, as they alter not the bounty of God unto themselves, comprehend that which God hath graciously bestowed upon them, and at every moment render thanks unto Him.

[VI]

[1]

And Thou, O Ark of the Cause! Transport them!

[2]

Embark across the Ocean with the permission of God, the Mighty, the Powerful.

[3]

O Ship of Holiness!

Rejoice within thyself for a Beauty, mighty and transcendent hath come upon thee.

[VII]

[1]

O Sea of Immortality!

Delight thine eyes for there hath come upon thee a Sea spiritual and ethereal. [2] Wherefore wert thou created before other seas if thou be of those that are truly aware.  [3] Then honor the guests of God, servants who ride upon thee, and who have arrived before thee, and be not such as create confusion. [4] Preserve the trustees of God!  Act not treacherously within thyself and be not of those that are perfidious.

[VIII]

[1]

O fishes of the Sea!

Be joyous within thyselves then be mindful of thy Creator, [2] in that thou hast attained to the Meeting with God in the days in which the Sun of the Divine Beauty hath radiated forth from the Dawning Place of an Ancient Name.

[IX]

[1]

O Atmosphere of the Sea!

Waft thou upon the luminous, well-fashioned bodies which God created from the Light of His Essence before He created the heavens and the earth! [2] Exalt within thyself them rejoice in thy spirit for God hath provided for thee an atmosphere,  spiritual and ethereal.

[X]

 [1]

By God!

While the inmates of the inhabitants of the sea hath rejoiced  those that dwell on the land hath raised tumult [2] for the Beauty of the Divine Essence hath emerged from the Howdah of Eternity and come to dwell within an Ark proximate and elevated.

[XI]

[1]

Say:

`O People of Secret and the Disclosed, the Hidden and the Manifest! Let nothing sadden thee. [2] Rejoice at the rejoicing of God, the Sanctified, the Most-Elevated, the All Knowing.'

[XII]

[1] Say: `This is assuredly the Jubilation which hath captivated the totality of things existent and hath encompassed all that inhabit all the worlds.  [2] Yet hath none been enraptured save such as hath turned towards the Panorama of God, the Sanctified, the Mighty, the Luminous.

[XIII]

[1]

Say:

`This is assuredly the Divine Bounty which hath inclined all the atoms towards the Beauty of the Divine Essence with a nearness comparable to the Beloved One's being mindful of the name of the Loved One.' [2] Thus do We set forth the verses of the Spirit and widen the expanse of the Divine Bounty  for all who are gathered in the earthly dominion.

[XIV]

[1]

And Thou, O Depth of Holiness!

Raise thou a Call at the conclusion of this discourse [2] in that the Depth of God, the Help in Peril, the Victorious, the Steadfast, hath arrived before thee.

[XV]

[1]

O Billowing Ocean of the Divine Oneness!

Be joyous in thine essence [2] in that the Billowing Ocean of Joy hath risen up over thee. This, verily, is a mighty bounty.

[XVI]

[1]

O Fathomless Deep of the Divine Might!

Be exhilarated within thy spirit [2] for the Fathomless Deep of God, the Most-Elevated, the Mighty, the Powerful, hath compassed thee about. [3] So be thou gladdened in that about thee are transported those that are nigh unto God.  [4]  And at this moment hath all atoms reoriented [their gaze], risen up in thine atmosphere, and are of such as look on, [5]  for the Breezes of Holiness passeth over them from the Shore of the Divine Oneness, from this Enshrouded, Veiled, Concealed, Manifest, Apparent and Hidden Riḍwān. [6] So blessed be they and such as hath entered beneath His shadow, been ennobled with the Meeting with Him, drunk deep of His Cup, and taken hold on His strong and Firm Cord.

[XVII]

[1] In such manner have We graciously conferred Divine Favor upon those of former and of latter times [2] and sent down from the Clouds of Holiness that which serves to purify the hearts of such  as are possessed of divine knowledge. [3] And We have decreed the Robe of Guidance for all things should they give assent to Him and be of the truly pious. [4]  Thus hath been decreed in the Heaven of the Divine Command that which is the cause of the enrichment of all the worlds.

[XVIII]

[From the Right-hand side of the Command / Cause there hath issued forth (the statement)]

There hath indeed been manifest [herein] a tribulation [test]  (fitnah) which We sent down [revealed] in this scriptural Tablet (al-lawh). We thus spoke forth and such is indeed the certain Truth-Reality (huwa al-haqq). By God! Such as have entered into Thy shadow, shall indeed be seized by the torment of a mighty tribulation [test] (`adhāb fitnat in `azimin) )!

Brief, personal comments on the text by paragraph ...

Stephen Lambden early 1980s ... under revision 2017.

[I]

These verses form a kind of prolegomenon to the root of the Tablet of the Howdah. Speaking with the voice of God Bahā'-Allāh sets the scene for the occasion of the revelation of this Tablet, refers to the stunning nature of his inspiration and directs the attention of his fellow Bābīs to the previously revealed Tablet of the Holy Mariner (Lawḥ-i mallāh al-quds; written in Baghdad in late March l863). In the opening line Bahā'-Allāh refers to himself as the "Greatest Name" (al-ism al-a`ẓam) and to the Black Sea as a "mighty ocean" (baḥr `azīm). The howdah from which he sighted the Black Sea is transcendentalised or brought into relation with the celestial realm; as the "Pavilion of Eternity" (khidr al-baqa') and "Howdah of Holiness" (hawdaj al-quds) it symbolizes the enshrouded spiritul heights where revelation originates.

        The second sentence indicates that Bahā'-Allāh was subject to divine revelation of a stunning nature. The "hosts of the inspiration of God" (junud wahy Allah) descended, arrayed in such attire that all beings, mystically speaking, were dumbfounded. Alternatively, this second sentence might be translated:

"Then did the hosts of the inspiration of God descend upon an Ornament (ṭarāz = Bahā'-Allāh himself) before whom all who are in the heavens and on earth were thunderstruck (i.e. at the Divine beauty of Bahā'-Allāh ?)".

By the "Sun of the Divine Beauty" the spiritual powers are doubtless indicated. They radiated or shone forth from the person of Bahā'-Allāh which is probably what is meant by "an holy, ethereal Temple" (haykal quds laṭīf). From the person of Bahā'-Allāh the Divine light of prophethood beamed forth before the Bābī exiles, in the mystic being of their charismatic leader. The content of Bahā'-Allāh's revelation in the Tablet of the Howdah is in line with that set forth in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner.

        In the latter Tablet, which intimates Bahā'-Allāh's imminent assumption of leadership of the Bābī community in the face of a largely unreceptive Bābī audience, (to be necessarily brief and simplistic), God bids the Holy Mariner (= Bahā'-Allāh himself) let the "Ark" of his Cause set sail or be unveiled. In the Tablet of the Howdah the Tablet of the Holy Mariner is supplemented and given a concrete level of meaning in terms of Bahā'-Allāh's now more open claim to independent prophethood and his imminent journey across the Black Sea to Istanbul.

        In the last sentence of this opening paragraph it is indicated that true understanding of the  two aforementioned Tablets would make clear the "Mysteries of the Divine Command" (asrār al-amr); most probably the status of the person of Bahā'-Allāh and / or God's purpose in exiling the Bābīs from Baghdad, as prophetically indicated in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner and the Tablet of the Howdah. It should be borne in mind when reading the Tablet of the Howdah that at the time of its beng written most Bābīs were not aware of the full nature of Bahā'-Allāh's claims. Many still viewed Mīrzā Yahyā - who was present with the exiles by the time of the arrival at Sāmsūn - as head of the Bābī community; dissatisfied with his position and troubled by his dissimulation though many were - apart from certain staunch supporters antagonistic to Bahā'-Allāh. The journey to Istanbul and the problems associated with Bābī factionalism created some confusion and uncertainty. By means of an insightful comprehension of his "two Tablets", Bahā'-Allāh assures his companions, the "mysteries of God" would become apparent.

[II]

Bahā'-Allāh here refers to the transition in his journey from an overland route to a sea voyage; to his imminent departure from Sāmsūn to Istanbul by sea. The period of his reclining or being 'enthroned' in the "Howdah of Holiness" (hawdal al-quds) had come to an end. From it he, "the Beauty of the Divine Essence [Ipseity]" (jamāl al-huwiyya), has witnessed a marvellous panorama or outlook, the expanse of the Black Sea. Allusion is also made to Bahā'-Allāh's manifestation of his Divine status. His emergence from the howdah symbolizes the unveiling of his phophethood in the contingent realm. His moving from the Howdah of Immortality" (hawdaj al-khuld) to a "liminous Ship of holiness" (safinat quds munīr) caused the former to weep and the latter to rejoice.

[III]

Shi`i Islamic image of the Noah like ark of salvation structured  with images of the names of the twelve Imams as the  ahl al-bayt (`People of the house' of God).

In this paragraph reference is made to the fulfillment of the symbolic "prophecies" in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner - revealed roughly four and a half months previously around March 26th 1863. God addresses (through Bahā'-Allāh) the Holy Mariner (the Divine Reality of Bahā'-Allāh himself) and infoms him that the "promise hath come to pass". It is implied that such passsages as the following have, in view of the imminent sea journey, round concrete realization:

"O Holy Mariner!

Bid thine ark of eternity appear before the Celestial Concourse;.. Launch it upon the ancient sea, in His Name, the Most Wondrous;.. And let the angelic spirits enter, in the Name of God, the Most High;.. Unmoor it, then, that it may sail upon the ocean of glory;.. Haply the dwellers therein may attain the retreats of nearness in the everlasting realm;.. Having reached the sacred strand, the shore of the crimson seas;.. Bid them issue forth and attain this ethereal, invisible station.." (From the opening lines of the Tablet of the Holy Mariner)

The Holy Mariner is commanded to be jubilant in the light of the fact that the "Logos-Self of God" (nafs Allah  = Bahā'-Allāh) is about to embark upon the "Ark" in accordance with God's ancient,  divinely foreknown and foreordained yet now activated command. He, that is, Bahā'-Allāh, will see all the predictions come to realization; prophecies which none of the Bābīs, on account of their evil ways, were aware of or properly understood.

[IV]

Here it is indicated that the associates of Bahā'-Allāh will be seized or overtaken by a "grievous and tormenting mischief" (alternatively, `the terror of a mighty test' ). At one point in his God God Passes By  Shoghi Effendi refers to this part of the Tablet of the Howdah. He writes,

Baha'u'llah.. revealed a Tablet, designated Lawḥ-i-Hawdaj.., which, by such allusions as the `Divine Touchstone', `the grievous and tormenting mischief', re- affirmed and supplemented the dire prediction recorded in the recently revealed Tablet of the Holy Mariner" (Wilmette 1979; p.157)

Allusion is made in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner to the Bābī rejection of Bahā'-Allāh's claims and it was probably this that Shoghi Effendi had in mind. More specifically perhaps, the opposition of Yahyā and the emergent Azali faction. With Bahā'-Allāh's assumption of absolute leadership of the Bābī community confusion would be caused by the (proto-) Azalis and all would be put to the test. Opposition to Bahā'-Allāh would act as a means of distinguishing `the faithful' from those antagonistic to Bahā'-Allāh. By the "Touchstone of God" (mihakk Allāh) Bahā'-Allāh himself may be intended; faith in him being the means of determining "truth" from "falsehood". Alternatively, this phrase may imply that the "greivous and tormenting mischief" would be the means of differentiation.

[V]

Having begun to dwell on tribulations to come God here instructs Bahā'-Allāh to cease concerning himself with the "limitations of mortal men". He should direct his gaze towards "this luminous panorama", the majestic sight of the Black Sea symbolic of the spiritual vision before him. God, further, commands Bahā'-Allāh to waft the "breezes of the Divine Bounty", spiritual graces, upon his contomporaries to the end that they might be inwardly purified and turn towards Him. They might thus find refeuge in their original spirltual haven, the "Sacred and Wondrous Homdeland" (a Sufi phrase indicative of mankind's primordial locale). Should the hearts of Bahā'-Allāh's associates be cleansed, his spiritual radiance, the "Beauty of the Divine Oneness" (jamāl al-tawḥīd), would shine forth in tho lamps of their inward selves.

Alluding to those Qur'ānic texts that speak of the setting up of a "Balance" on the eschatological "Day of Judgement" Bahā'-Allāh teaches that mortal men should not put him or his Cause, the "Balance of God" (mīzān Allāh), to the test. Rather, it is God'a creatures who are to be weighed or tested by the manifestation of God.

Having taught that it is not fitting for God's servants to put the Divine Plan to the test Bahā'-Allāh is commanded by God to turn aside from his wayward associates who have stirred sedition or comitted "outrages". He should direct his attention to the spiritually receptive Bābīs who are souls of great distinction; such souls as have or will be blessed by attaining the presence of the Maniestation of God, which is the eschatological "Meeting with God" promised in the Qur'ān. His Bābī companions, should they respond to his call, will be the recipients of special divine favours.

[VI]

Bahā'-Allāh now addresses the "Ark" of the Cause" (fulk al-amr) and the "Ship of Holiness" (safinat al-quds) which are most probably symbolic of the heaven of faith (in Bahā'-Allāh) and the ship that would carry the exiles to Istanbul. The "Ark of the Cause" should embark, move on, or set sail carrying the Bābīs towards the heights of spiritual realization and the "Ship of Holiness" rejoice on account of Bahā'-Allāh's entering therein.

[VII]

[7] The Black Sea is here spiritulized and referred to as the "Sea of Immortality" (bahr al-baqā'). A personified reality it should be solaced in view of its coming into contact with the spiritual and etheral "Sea" of Bahā'-Allāh's person/revelation. Mystically speaking, the transcendentalized Black Sea was created before all other seas. This inasmuch as it is to carrry Bahā'-Allāh and his followers. It should honour the migrant Bābīs and keep them safe.

[VIII]

The fish of the Black Sea are here addressed. They too should rejoice - the language is obviously poetic - and be mindful of God in view of their proximity to the person of Bahā'-Allāh which is the attaining of the eschatological "Meeting with Gcd" (liqā' allāh). Bahā'-Allāh doubtless refers to himself as the "Dawning-Place of an Ancient Name".

[IX]

Addressed now, is the air or atmosphere above the Black Sea. Like a spiritual breeze it should waft upon the luminous, pre-extstent spiritual bodies (ajsād) of the companions of Bahā'-Allāh. It is here presupposed, as with the realities of the Prophet Muammad, the Imāms and other prophets and worthies according to a multitude of Shā` ā traditions about the nār-i muhammadiyya, that the Bābīs were created in primordial times from the "Light of His [God's] Essence" (nār dhātihi) (For details see U. Rubin, Pre-existence and light, Israel Oriental Studies V (1975), pp.62-117). The air of the Black Sea should, furthermore, be exceedingly joyous on account of its being diffused with the ethereal and spiritual air or atmosphere of Bahā'-Allāh's presence/revelation.

[X]

[10] In view of the fact that Bahā'-Allāh, the "Beauty of the Divine Essence [Ipseity]" (jamāl al-huwiyya), has unveiled himself, emerged from the "Howdah of Eternity" (hawdaj al-baqā'), and is about to enter on a ship to Istanbul, an "Ark proximate and elevated", the creatures aassociated with the Black Sea have rejoiced while those that dwell on the land have raised a tumult. Those that dwell on the land do not wish to be deprived of the presence of Bahā'-Allāh.

[XI]

[11] It is perhaps the Bābīs who are here addressed as the "people of the secret and the disclosed, the hidden and the manifest in view of the fact that they are outwardly Bābīs yet potentially devotees of Bahā'-Allāh or inwardly Bahā'ās. Alternatively the denizens of all spheres of existence, seen and unseen, might be intended. Whatever the case they are exhorted to rejoice at or in view of the "Rejoicing of God" (farah Allāh). By this "Rejoicing of God" is probably meant the spiritual happiness that has captivated all created things on account of Bahā'-Allāh's disclosure of his claim to exalted Prophethood. With the Ridwan declaration, joy and happiness become potentially omnipresent. Those who have been wrapt in joyous ecstacy are those Bābīs who have turned towards Bahā 'u'llāh as the locus of the Divine Manifestation, the "Panorama of God" (manzar Allāh), or who gaze expectantly towards the Black Sea symbolic of the coming episode of Divine disclosure.

The Divine Bounty (fadl) of Bahā'-Allāh's theophanic disclosure has inclined all atoms towards him; towards the Divine, the "Beauty of the Divine [Ipseity]" (jamāl al-huwiyya). Every atom has been enabled to attain a new level of nearness to God; the kind of nearness evident when a lover is mindful of his Beloved or God, the Beloved (al-mabub) is mindful of the archtypal reality of that which he loves, the "name of the Loved One" (ism al-abāb). With such declarations or the revealing of verses Bahā'-Allāh sets forth the verses of the Spirit" (āyāt al-ruh), i.e. he is divinely  inspired.

[XII]

In this paragraph the Black Sea, personified and transcendentalized, is three times addressed; (1) as the "Depth of Holiness" (lujjat al-quds), (2) the "Billowing Ocean of the Divine Oneness" ( ṭamaṭam al-ahadiyya), and (3) the "Fathomless Deep of the Divine Might" (qamaqam al-`izz). The great expanse of the sea is commanded to raise a proclamatory shout, be joyous in its essence and exhilirated in spirit. This in view of the fact that the ocean of Bahā'-Allāh's presence, the "Depth/Abyss of God" (lujjat Allāh), the "Billowing Ocean of Joy" (ṭamaṭam al-surur) and the "Fathomless Deep of God" (qamaqam Allāh) has drawn nigh or overshadowed it. The terms "depth" (lujjat), "billowing ocean" (qamaqam) and "fathomless deep" (ṭamaṭam) (note the rhyme in the Arabic), are quite common in Bābī and Bahā'i texts of an esotoric nature, and are often associated with various aspects of the Divine. Details cannot be gone into here.

In the final lines of paragraph [12] Bahā'-Allāh and his companions in exile are referred to as "those that are nigh unto God" (muqarrabīn; a Qur'ā nic term). The Black Sea should be happy over its transporting such elevated souls.

All atoms, Bahā'-Allāh continues, situated near at the shore of the Black Sea, have reoriented their gaze and risen up into the air of the Black Sea, in order to look upon and catch the "Breezes of Holiness" from the manifest yet hidden "Riḍwān" (= [loosely] `Paradise') of the peron of Bahā'-Allāh. Such atoms are blessed as are those persons who have attained Bahā'-Allāh's presence and are strong in faith.

[XIII]

Here it is probably implied that the relation of such Tablets as the Lawḥ-i Hawdaj on the part of Bahā'-Allāh and past messengers of God, is an expression of the Divine favour which serves to purify receptive hearts. Such as turn to Bahā'-Allāh will be fittingly guided. This is the will of God.

 [XIV]

[1]  Here the "Depth of Holiness!" (         ) is perhaps Baha'-Allah himself who is commanded by God "to raise thou a Call at the conclusion of this discourse" becasue  [2] "Depth of God" (           ), has already arrived.

[XV]

[1] The address here is to the "Billowing Ocean of the Divine Oneness!" (                 ) and is expressive of the     need for inner joyfulness desoite outer calamity! The divine providence is pouring joyous divine bounty over the addressee. Baha'-Allah is told to be "joyous in thine essence" because cascading, tulultous joy is rising up as a "mighty bounty".

[XVI]

[1] O Fathomless Deep of the Divine Might! Be exhilarated within thy spirit [2] for the Fathomless Deep of God, the Most-Elevated, the Mighty, the Powerful, hath compassed thee about. [3] So be thou gladdened in that about thee are transported those that are nigh unto God.  [4]  And at this moment hath all atoms reoriented [their gaze], risen up in thine atmosphere, and are of such as look on, [5]  for the Breezes of Holiness passeth over them from the Shore of the Divine Oneness, from this Enshrouded, Veiled, Concealed, Manifest, Apparent and Hidden Riḍwān. [6] So blessed be they and such as hath entered beneath His shadow, been ennobled with the Meeting with Him, drunk deep of His Cup, and taken hold on His strong and Firm Cord.

[XVII]

[1] In such manner have We graciously conferred Divine Favor upon those of former and of latter times [2] and sent down from the Clouds of Holiness that which serves to purify the hearts of such  as are possessed of divine knowledge. [3] And We have decreed the Robe of Guidance for all things should they give assent to Him and be of the truly pious. [4]  Thus hath been decreed in the Heaven of the Divine Command that which is the cause of the enrichment of all the worlds.

[XVIII] The Postscript ...

[From the Right-hand side of the Command / Cause there hath issued forth (the statement)]

There hath indeed been manifest [therein] a [period of] tribulation [test]  (fitnah) which We sent down [revealed] in this scriptural Tablet (al-lawh). We spoke forth and such is indeed the certain Truth-Reality (huwa al-haqq). By God! Such as have entered into Thy shadow, shall indeed be seized by the torment (`adhāb) of a mighty tribulation [test] (fitnat in `azimin) )!

This final postscript - not present in all mss. - appears to be a note of commentary by Baha'-Allah himself summing up the import of the Lawh-i Hawdaj /Samsun. In essence this prophetic, scriptural Tablet, is said to be expressive of a current or imminent  trial, test , tribulation or time of transition (fitna). It seems to be associated with the transition from the centrality of the religion of the Bab - figuring the leadership role of Mirza Yahya Nuri (c.1831-1914) - to the emergent Baha'i religion centered in Baha'-Allah himself as the locus of Divine Inspiration and guidance. The final divine oath or By God! ending perhaps described Babis as "such as have entered into Thy shadow" or possible the companions of Baha'-Allah himself en route to Edirne-Adrianople, the "land of mystery".