Translations

City of Radiant Acquiescence

Baha'u'llah

In the name of God, the exalted, the most high.

Remind his servant of God's clemency in truth, that he might be honored thereby among the concourse of the worlds, and might give thanks to his lord at all times, insofar as God's bounties to him and the people of the heavens and the earth have been completed. This is from a Book wherein is mentioned that which will bring the people near to the court of the holy, the manifest. It bears witness that there is no God but him and all are his servants, and all shall return to him. The likeness of those who listen to the melodies of God and follow them is: A light illumined by the radiance of God, the mighty, the All-Powerful. Likewise, gaze at the crystal that ignites fires when the sun shines on it. This is a reminder from us to those who remember. Say, O people of the earth: If you sanctify your souls and spirits, you will find them more fine than crystal, and this is an indisputable truth. And if you allow God, your creator, to shine on them, there would be reflected in them the Word of God, the help in peril, the uncreated. Then the fire of nearness would be ignited therein, whereby your physical and ethereal bodies would be illumined, as would everything that pertains to you. Thus would the torch of love be kindled in the bush of your soul, which would burn away the veils that come between you and the splendor of the divine countenance. Thus do we teach you the paths of the soul, that you might be among the mystic knowers.

Say: If the odor of evanescence lingers in your heart with regard to this world and its baubles, you shall never perceive the fragrance of immortality from the coat of the holy, the radiant One. Follow, people of the earth, what God had enjoined upon you and do not differ with regard to the ordinances ordained in the Book. Then hold fast to the sure handle of God, the omnipotent, the magnificent, the All-Praised. In truth, in this tablet the dove warbles the songs of everlasting life and speaks to you from the kingdoms of the spirit. Herein is guidance and a reminder to the believers. Thus does God single out for his compassion whomever he pleases, and reveals to you from the heaven of glory mighty and wondrous fruits.

Say: People of the earth, the lamp of light has been ignited within the glass of sanctity, whereby the concourse of eternal life has been illumined. Fear God, and do not veil yourselves from him. The ark of God has been fashioned by the hands of the angels of paradise. So cling to it, people of the Bayan. It is better for you than the treasures and the glorious and sparkling gems found in the earth. The sun of beauty has risen to the zenith, but you are lying in the beds of heedlessness, deprived of this grace that even the eyes of the near ones have never seen. Fear God, then set out on the paths of radiant acquiescence in the days of God, the powerful, the splendid, the All-Praised. If you do not know his paths, we shall teach them to you in truth by virtue of a letter that God revealed to me so as to complete his proof to all those who are in the realm.

Know that radiant acquiescence has infinite stages. We shall instruct you in them by means of the words God makes to flow from my pen. This shall enable you to dispense with all that the ancients and moderns possess. Whoever wishes to tread the path of radiant acquiescence must be content with God, his creator, and with what he has ordained for him and written with an exalted pen in truth, and with whatever he has specified in holy and guarded tablets. He must be content with himself. But no one can attain this state until he has severed himself from all who are in the heavens and the earth, if you be among the mystic knowers. For if a human being commits the least iniquity within himself, he will not be content with himself.

This is that which we have shown you in truth, so that you might be content and might ascend to the station wherein honey and poison are the same, since both are decreed by the mighty, the ordainer. Were someone to worship God from all eternity and yet abhors within himself any of the calamities and adversities that have afflicted him, his name shall not be entered in the tablets as among those who are content with the holy and radiant pen. For those who claim in themselves the love of God but who regret their tribulations in his path cannot rightly be called content. This is what we say to you in truth, that you might be steadfast in love. How can someone assert that he has the love of God in his heart and then despise what befalls him from his beloved, the mighty, the generous? Or that he is content with the friends of God in the land and is humble before the believers? For if he deems himself above the believers, it is as though he has grown haughty toward God. We take refuge in God from that, concourse of the sincere! Whoever is content with God, his lord, will be content with his servants, who have believed in him and his signs on the day whereon all who are in the heavens and the earth have swooned. For a servant's satisfaction with God cannot be demonstrated save by his satisfaction with the friends of God, who have detached themselves from everything but God and depended on him.

Await, then, the day whereon the trump shall be sounded, the dove shall warble, the gates of paradise shall be thrown open, and God shall come with a wondrous Cause. Therefore, hasten to him, people of the Bayan, and do not hesitate for less than an instant. This is the basis of radiant acquiescence. Do not differ regarding it, concourse of near ones. At that time you will discover the breezes of radiant acquiescence from the east of sanctity. You shall be overcome by yearning and you shall be transformed upon the seat of the mighty, the trustworthy. Beware, people of the Bayan, that you do not delay within yourselves. Do not veil yourselves from the beauty of God, the glorious, the All-Praised. By God, it is better for you to stand in his presence once than to possess all that is on earth and in the heavens.

But you, who have asked of God, rejoice in yourself, for you have arrived at the city of radiant acquiescence and wended your way to the squares of sanctity. At this time, we bear witness to you that you have soared into the heaven of contentment. You have avoided your own regions and drawn near to the precincts of God, the mighty, the generous. You have emigrated from your homeland and journeyed unto God, until you arrived in the place that is visited by the people of the pavilions of eternity at morn and eve. Blessed are you and those like you, whom God has enabled to attain to the shore of eternity along the crimson sea. They hastened to the melodies of God from behind the veils of power. Then they made pilgrimage to the place around which circumambulate the bushes of Sinai, wherein all beings, whether among the ancients or the moderns, have removed their sandals.

Then know that your love for God is God's good-pleasure with you and your good-pleasure with him. This is the religious path that was ordained by the right hand of God's wisdom, and it shall not change with a change of prophets, nor is it renewed by the advent of a new messenger. Rather, all enjoin this upon the people, and it is a trust of God deposited in the hearts of the sincere. This is what suffices you above all else. Whoever attains this flowing spring shall never forsake an iota of the Book, and shall only be pleased with what God desires for him. Thus do we set forth for you the verses in truth, so that you might attain certitude. After you revive your spirit by means of the warbling of the dove and renew the temple of your soul with the robe of immortality, then return to the house of God in your own land and spread the glad-tidings from us among those who rejoice in the gladness of the spirit. Remind them of the verses of God and be as the breezes of spring to the people of your homeland, whereby they may renew their souls and spirits. This is what we command you in truth if you are among those who hear. You shall never be capable of this unless you turn toward God with your entire being and unless you reject all that is in the hands of the people.

Once you have renewed yourself then you will be able to renew the people. This is what the dove counsels you in truth, so that you might be among the reformers who have been encompassed by the guidance of God, who have tasted the sweetness of love and drunk from the springs that flow from the direction of a mighty throne.

Then remind for us all those who believe in God and his verses in your land, as well as those who have emigrated unto God and entered into the precincts of God, the glorious, the noble. Among them is K, who has surpassed all others in virtue, and whom we are at this time mentioning in the book as among the myriad of saints. Also among them is Q, who emigrated toward God in his days and was among the devout. They include H, who emigrated and then returned with our permission, who was immersed in the ocean of love. R heard the melodies of the dove and entered under the shadow of God, the mighty, the knowing. Among them are they who emigrated and returned, but whose names we have not mentioned, all of whom have attained a high station with regard to virtue, which none among the creation can comprehend. God will manifest to them the fruits of their deeds and they shall soar with sapphire wings into the garden of the holy, the generous. Some made the journey with their hearts, and their names were inscribed by the pen of power upon glorious and inaccessible tablets. The doors of paradise shall be thrown open before their faces, and they shall enter therein by virtue of our peace and compassion, where they shall reside. By God, were he to manifest to the people of the heavens and the earth an incalculably small portion of what he has decreed for those who journeyed and emigrated unto God, all would be led to the wondrous and sacred shore. But all have been veiled as a result of what they have committed in the days of God, and they were another, evil people.

Say: Concourse of believers, be patient at what has befallen you and be not anxious concerning the harm and suffering that have afflicted you. He shall bestow full recompense upon the long-suffering. The world and its people shall pass away, and all shall return to their abode in the fire, nor is there any escape for them from the vengeance of the lord, the conquering, the subduing, the mighty, the omnipotent. Say: People of the earth, do you not see the transformations occurring in the land, and the changes the earth is undergoing, such that no second goes by without most affairs therein suffering an alteration? Therefore, what sign reassures your hearts and souls? Woe unto you! Upon what basis have you acted in this vain life? For you have advanced toward your base selves, and turned away from the one who created you, nourished you, and showed greater compassion to you than has any other. Say: By God, you are only as a wayfarer resting in the shade of a tree. But that shade is of necessity ephemeral, and you must not repose your confidence in it or in anything that will pass away. Put your trust in what does not perish, in what endures in the immortality of God, the everlasting, the eternal, the glorious. Have you found that your mornings are like your evenings, or that your youth is like your old age? All this is a reminder to you, Muslims. The contradictions apparent in all things were only ordained to remind you of the impermanence of your selves, so that you might become aware of it and not be obdurate. Hold fast instead to the cord of God, then firmly grasp the firm handle of the Bayan. This is what was writ for you by the finger of the glorious, the true. Thus have we taught you the gems of knowledge, acquainted you with the wonders of wisdom, spoken to you of the realities of mystical insight, and shown you the paths of paradise - so that thereby your hearts and the hearts of the mystic knowers might be reassured.

Praise be to the lord of the worlds, and mercy be upon you, followers of the Bayan. Behold, I desire to sever myself from all names, and to call out to my lord with the melodies that enthrall the hearts of the unitarians. Praise be to you, O God, my God. Send to your lovers what will refresh their hearts and calm their souls, so that they might make mention of you aloud just as they make mention of you in their hearts. That is within your power, which encompasses both the easy and the hard. My beloved, raise the standards of your triumph and victory above the people of your kingdom, that they might gather together in the shade of your loving-kindness. These are the scattered, who have dispersed through your lands, and shall never find for themselves a refuge save with you, or a sanctuary other than you, or an asylum except for you. Then gather them beneath the shadow of the tree of your loving-kindness and honor them with your grace, and verily you are the most generous of the generous.

You know, my beloved, what your enemies have done to your friends, such that they usurped from them everything you had bestowed upon them by your munificence and inflicted on them that of which no ear had ever heard. In every land their blood was shed, and on every pyre their bodies were cremated. How many a little one was left with no elder, how many a mother wailed for her son, and how many a son wept for his father. You have reckoned all of that, and were witness to it. In truth, my God, you witness and see how tyranny has encompassed your earth and your countries such that the traits of justice will not be visible to anyone. All have followed the demons, and affairs have nearly reached the point where your name and attributes have been lifted from the earth. All have adopted a deity for themselves other than you. You are, concerning all this, knowing, informed. The darkness of heedlessness has encompassed all the people of your earth, such that were any of your servants to mention your name, they would ridicule him. My heart, and the breasts of the unitarians, have burned at this. By your glory, my beloved, I shall never find any of your servants following your path, nor shall I ever perceive from them the fragrance of your love. All have adopted this world for themselves as a protector, save for those who returned to you and were among the returnees.

Every day I associate with the servants, and I see them heedless of you, such that they turn their faces toward every countenance but not toward your illumined visage, and they turn toward every city save the city of your glorious divinity. It is as thought it was not you who had created them and nourished them. Thus have we found affairs to be among those idolaters. Abasement has reached the point where your friends will be unable to make mention of you, and when they wish to recite your words they will have to hide in their homes. Thus have the hearts of the lovers been filled with sorrow. If you accept this state of affairs for yourself, O my God, then woe betide your pure ones in your land. How can they hear from your enemies what does not befit your station? Would that all of them were struck blind so as not to see it, and struck deaf so as not to hear what is inappropriate to your radiant beauty. In truth, were you to leave them in this condition, by your might, the evidences of your sovereignty would be effaced in your kingdom, the pillars of your rule in your land would be demolished, and your name and epithet would be erased throughout all creation.

O my God and my beloved, do not make them wait, after matters have come to this. Rather, reveal them what will turn them toward you. Then remove this lad who has arisen against you with his entire being, and those who followed him in his passions, so as to purify your sanctified land from those infidels. I know, O my God, that you desired this every year, but it did not occur because you changed your mind, and this is the evident truth. Then send down, O my God, your fixed decrees and effective laws, which can never be repelled by a change of mind or altered by selfish passion. Then fix all this, my beloved, upon glorious and preserved Tablets and in a holy and wise book that shall never be effaced and which shall not be subject to limitations, but rather in which matters shall be inscribed by the mighty pen of command. Then decree thereafter, my God, what is good for your servants, for in your hand is all good. In truth, you are the ruler, the judge, the knowing, the giving, the wise.

How long, O my God, will you forebear toward your own enemies? By your glory, your patience has reached the point where your servants complain of the wonders of your might, rather they have become convinced it does not exist, whereas I remain certain that you are powerful over all things. In truth, you are the most powerful of the powerful.

You know that my anxiety was not for myself, nor for the abasement of your lovers. Rather, I see that all have risen in opposition to you and your beauty, and have ridiculed your verses. For this reason, my breast burns, my inmost soul cries out, and my eye weeps. In truth, you know what is in my soul, and you encompass all things. Therefor, my beloved, forgive me and my offenses, which I have committed in your presence, for my very mention of you is a sin unmatched by anything in the heavens or on earth. Then forgive my parents, my loved ones, my kith and kin. In truth, you are the most merciful of the merciful. Then forgive the one who hurried unto you and arrived in your presence, and his parents. Do not seize hold of them, my beloved, for their offenses and sins. Rather, show compassion tot hem and show them forbearance. In truth, you are the most clement of the clement, and the most generous of the generous. This is a Book from Baha to all who are in the heavens and on earth. Praise be to God, lord of the worlds.

Translated by Juan Cole