TB Oriental Jew

`Tablet to an Oriental Jew',

Translation revised from Baha'i Scriptures (ed. Horace Holley), 118-124.

Stephen Lambden 2006 - under revision

In Progress -  Last partially revised 15-05-2015.

Introductory Note

This Tablet of Baha'-Allah to an `Oriental Jew' has much in common with sections of Baha'-Allah's Persian (and Arabic) Lawh-i Shaykh or Lawh-i Ibn-i Dhi`b (Epistle to the Son of the Wolf). It may thus be a partial rewriting or recension of portions of this important, very late scriptural Tablet of Baha-Allah which dates to around 1891 CE. The scriptural Tablet to an unnamed well-educated Jew translated in Baha'i Scriptures (ed. Holley), should probably be dated to c. 1891. Within it Baha'-Allah, for example, specifically mentions his pitching his tent on Mt. Carmel (near Haifa) which he is known to have done in the early 1890s. The text lying behind the translation below, thus most likely post-dates or was written around the same times as the 'Epistle to the Son of the Wolf'. I shall compare the translation below with what would seem to be the text from which it was translated and make a few obvious corrections or alterations to translational or textual idiosyncracies of the original Baha'i translator.

The translation in Holley `Baha'i Scriptures'  should be compared with the text published in :

 

`Tablet to an Oriental Jew'.

Translation under revision : last revised 15-05-2015

O Shaykh! 

Be directed to the shore of the Greatest Ocean, and enter the Crimson Ark, which God hath prepared for the people of Baha in the omnipotence of the names. Verily, It (the Crimson Ark) passeth over land and sea, and he who entereth it is saved, but he who entereth it not is lost. If thou shouldst succeed and enter, direct thy face toward the Holy of Holies of God, the Omnipotent, the Omnipresent, and say :

"Verily, I beg of Thee, O God, by the greatest splendor of Thy most glorious Baha, and, verily, all Thy Baha contains the greatest Glory!"

Then the doors of the Kingdom shall be opened before thy face, and thou shalt see that which the eyes did not see, and hear that which the ears did not hear. Verily, the Wronged One admonish-eth thee as He did before. He desireth for thee to enter the ocean of the Oneness of God, the Lord of the creatures.

This is a Day wherein all things declare and announce to the people this Manifestation, through Whom all that was hidden and stored in the knowledge of God, the Dear, the Glorious, was manifested.
 O Shaykh! Thou didst listen to the delightful cooing of the Dove of Bayan, while on the branches of the Lote-Tree of Knowledge ; and now hear the delightful chanting of the birds of wisdom that are raised and lifted up into the Supreme Paradise. Verily, He maketh thee understand that of which thou wert heedless. Listen to that which the Tongue of Power and Might hath announced in the Books of God, the Desired One of all, the Wise. In this time the voice was assuredly exalted from the Lote Tree in the supreme paradise and commanded Me to mention unto thee that which My Forerunner, who redeemeth Himself for this greatest Message and this right path, hath declared. He (the Bab) said, and that which He said is the truth,

"I have already written a gem concerning Him (the Manifestation) ; but verily, He is beyond My power of expression; and He cannot be reached, even by that which was mentioned in the Beyan. And until He (exalted and magnified is His Name!) spake concerning this greatest Manifestation and this greatest Gospel, verily, He, [119] the Manifestation, was magnified and exalted. (So that it is impossible) that He should be known by that which is beside Him, and become identified by the expression of His creatures. And, verily, I am the first servant who believed in Him and in His texts (revelations) and who partook of the first fruits of the gardens of the paradise of His knowledge, -- the gardens of His utterances. Yes, by His Majesty, He is the truth and there is no God but He! And all are made steadfast by His command.”

So chirped the real Dove on the branches of the  Divine Lotus Tree. Blessed is the soul who succeedeth by listening to it, and who partaketh and drinketh from the ocean of Godly revelations hidden in Its Word. And He (blessed and exalted is He!) said also in the Bayān, whose declaration is uplifted:

“In the ninth year ye shall attain unto all the good.”

And in another place He announced:

“And in the ninth year ye shall surely meet God.”

All these chantings that were manifested through the birds of the cities of knowledge coincide with that which was. Verily, I am God! And thus until the end of what He hath expressed (in that passage), magnified and exalted is He! The explanation of Lordliness and Godliness hath been mentioned before. We have already torn the veils asunder and disclosed that which bringeth the people nigh unto God, the possessor of the lives. Blessed is the one who succeedeth in attaining justice and equity in this bounty which envelopeth those in the heavens and earth, as a command on the part of God, the Lord of the creatures.

 O Shaykh! Listen with the ear of equity to the chanting of the Gospel. Christ said: (Exalted is His Revelation) after stating the references concerning His return:

“But of that Day and Hour no man knoweth; no, not the angels of Heaven, not even the Son of Man Himself, but the Father only.” (Matthew xxiv, 36)

The meaning of Father in this passage is God (Glory be to His Majesty!) and He is the true trainer and the real teacher.

[The Israelite prophet] Joel said:

“For verily the Day of the Lord is great and very terrible and who can abide it?” (Joel ii, 11)

The first verse mentioned of the references given (Matthew xxiv, 36) means that no one knoweth the time of the Manifestation save God, the All-knowing, the Informed. And the second quotation (Joel) expresseth the greatness of the Manifestation.

In the same  [120] way it is stated in the Qur’ān:

They questioned Thee (Muhammad) concerning the great News”.

Cf.  Surat Al-'A`rāf (The Surah of the Heights) Q. 7:187a :

Verily, this is the News whose greatness is mentioned in most of the Books (of different Dispensations). This is the News whereby all the limbs of the people were shaken, save Him whom God, the Protector, the Victor, the Assister, wisheth. As (this News) was looked upon by the physical eye, all the people and inhabitants of different countries became upset and bewildered, save him whom God desireth.

 O Shaykh! The Cause is so great and also the News! Meditate with clear insight and keenness upon the clear texts, the supreme Words, and that which hath been manifested in these days, that thou mayest discover the hidden mysteries in the Books, and to the uttermost exert thine energy in guiding the people. Hear with thy real hearing the declaration of Jeremiah:

“Alas, for verily that Day is great, so that none is like it!”

If thou shouldst look and reflect with the sight of equity thou wilt immediately recognize the greatness of this Day. Hear the voice of this Advisor, the All-knowing, and let not thy souls be excluded from the Mercy of God, which anticipated all existence -- of the unseen and the seen. Hear what David chanted:

“Who will bring me unto the fortified City?” (Psalms cviii, 10)

O Shaykh! Read what Isaiah hath announced in his Book:

“O thou that bringest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain! O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem! Lift up thy voice with strength; be not afraid. Say unto the cities of Judah: Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with power and His Arm shall rule for Him!” (Isaiah xl, 9-10)

In this Day, all the signs (references) are disclosed and fulfilled. The Great City hath descended from heaven and Zion is re-vivified and rejoiced, by the appearance of the Manifestation of God; and it hath heard the voice of God from all directions and places. In this Day, Jerusalem hath gained the new glad tidings, while the sycamore (wild, natural condition) becomes the cypress (nobility).

[The Israelite prophet] Amos said:

“Verily, the Lord will roar from Zion and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the habitation of the shepherds shall mourn and the top of Carmel shall wither.” (Amos i, 2)

Carmel in the Books of God is termed “The Heap of God,” “The Vine of God” and sometimes the Heap of Wilderness (bewilderment);  [121] and this is the station for the bounty of the Manifestation. The Tent of Glory was raised upon it (Carmel) in these days. Blessed are those who advance!

Also it was recorded:

“Our Lord shall come, and shall not keep silence.” (Psalms 1, 53)

O Shaykh! Meditate on the expression which was revealed unto Amos, because it is the desired of all people: “Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel; for lo! he that formeth the mountains. ...” Revealed by the Merciful in the Qur’ān: “Blessed are those who look carefully with clear insight, and blessed are the winners!”

 O Shaykh! By the Self (Life) of God! The river of Mercy is flowing, the ocean of Revelation is rolling and the Sun is shining and illuminating. Now, with an emptied heart, dilated breast and a tongue of righteousness, read these supreme words that were manifested through the Forerunner; (that is to say, the First Point or the Bāb). This is what He said when He was addressing  his eminence [ the leading Babi Shaykh `Ali Turshizi, entitled Azīm ["the one Mighty"] :

“This is what He promised thee before answering thee: Wait until nine years have elapsed from the time of the Bayān; then say: ‘Blessed is God, the best of all Creators!’

And also say,

‘It is a Revelation of which no one could have the full knowledge save God, -- not ye people who are heedless.’“

In the ninth year this greatest Manifestation shone forth (in His full Glory) from the Dayspring of God’s Will (in such a station) that no one could deny Him save those who are neglectful and doubtful. We ask God to strengthen His creatures to be directed to Him and to forgive the deeds they have committed in this impermanent life. Verily, He is the Pardoner, the Forgiver, the Merciful.

In another place the Bāb declared:

“Verily, I am the first servant who believed in Him (Bahā’-Allāh) and His texts.”

And he (the Bāb) also said [this]  in the Persian Bayān:

“Verily, He (Bahā’u’llāh) is the one who pronounceth in all conditions and createth the winds and treadeth upon the high places of the earth. The Lord, the God of Hosts, is His Name.” (See Amos iv, 12-13)

He said: “The dawn shall be darkened”; that is to say, if any one in the time of the Manifestation of the Speaker of Mount [mukallim al-tur] consider himself the true morning, he will be darkened by the power  [122] and might of God. He is a false morning; but considereth himself the true one. Woe unto him and woe unto those who follow him without proof from God, the Lord of the creatures.
[The Israelite prophet] Isaiah said:

“And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that Day.” (Isaiah ii, 11)

And concerning the greatness of the Manifestation, he (Isaiah) said:

“Enter into the rock and hide thee in the dust for the fear of the Lord and the Bahā of His Majesty.” (Isaiah ii, 19)

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice even with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it; the Bahā of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the excellency of the Lord and the Bahā of our God.” (Isaiah xxxv, 1-2). 

These expressions need no interpretation. They are clear like the sunshine, and like the light gleaming and radiating. Every just and equitable one can attain the Paradise of knowledge through inhaling the perfume of these meanings; and he will succeed in gaining that wherefrom most people are excluded and veiled.

 Say: Be pious toward God, O people,

and follow not the false statement of such as break the Covenant (Nakazeen) who violated the Testament of God and His Covenant and denied His Mercy which anticipated all in earth and heaven.

Also he [The Israelite prophet] (Isaiah) said:

“Say to them that are of a fearful heart: Be strong, fear not; behold your Lord!” (Isaiah xxv, 4)

This blessed verse demonstrateth the greatness of the Cause, because the sound of the Trumpet will agitate the people, while trembling and fear will possess them.
Blessed is the soul who is illumined by the light of reliance (upon God) and enlightened by the light of self-dedication and withdrawal from all else save God. Verily, such an one will never be prevented by the hardships and calamities of that Day; neither will he be frightened. Thus the tongue of Revelation hath declared as a command on the part of the Merciful. Verily, He is the Almighty, the Powerful, the Conqueror, the Omnipotent! It is incumbent on all who have ears and clear insight to meditate and ponder carefully upon these supreme words, in each of which oceans of meanings and distinct explanations are hidden, that the revelation of the Possessor of all religions may cause all [123] His creatures to attain the desire and that supreme station which is the dawning of the horizon of this Declaration.

 O Shaykh! If thou inhalest from the fragrance of the Revelation even less than the amount contained by the eye of a needle, thou wilt leave the whole universe and advance toward the light of the Face of His Presence, the Desired One. Indeed there are many hidden meanings in the utterances of His Presence the Spirit (Christ). He mentioned many things, but lack of prepared listeners and of people of insight, caused Him to withhold or seclude them; as He said: “But ye cannot bear them now.” (St. John xvi, 12) That dawning of the Revelation (Christ) meant that “His Presence, the Promised One, would mention them” (the many things).

As it was revealed by the Supreme Pen in Kitāb-i Aqdas: “The many things which occurred on the earth after revealing the texts.” In Kitāb-i Aqdas it was revealed as follows:

“O land of Tā (Tehran)! Thou shouldst not grieve on account of anything, because God hath already made thee the dawning-place of rejoicing for the creatures. If He wisheth, He may bless Thy throne by one who judgeth with justice and gathereth the sheep of God who are scattered by the wolves. Verily, he meeteth the people of Bahā with joy and gladness, and verily, he is the best of creatures in the presence of God. The Bahā of God and the splendor of those who are in the Kingdom of the Cause be upon him in every time.”

Now, the foregoing texts were revealed before, but in this moment the following verse is revealed:

“My God, my God! Bahā [-Allah] prayeth Thee and asketh Thee, by the illumination of Thy Face, by the waves of the ocean of Thy Cause, and the shining of the sun of Thy Revelation, to strengthen the royal justice and equity, and, if Thou desirest, bless the throne and the judgment by him. Verily, Thou art the Powerful above what Thou wishest, and there is no God but Thee, the Hearer and the Answerer!

“Be rejoiced, O Land of Tehrān! As God hath made thee the horizon of the Illumination, because the dawn of the Manifestation was born in thee and thou hast been named by that name, whereby the Orb of Bounty hath shone and the heaven and earth were illumined, afterward thy circumstances will be changed and the people of the Republic shall govern thee. Verily, thy Lord is the [124] All-knowing, the Pacific. Be tranquil through the bounty of thy Lord. Verily, thou wilt be engulfed by tranquillity after agitation. Thus it was preordained in a wonderful new Book."