Glorified, immensely glorified art Thou, O my Beloved!… Thou hast made all things to be the revelations of Thy handiwork, the repositories of Thy knowledge, and the treasuries of Thy wisdom. I yield Thee such gratitude as can cause Thee to fulfill the needs of the people of all religions, and to waft fragrances of pardon over the entire creation… Give us to drink of the river that is life indeed, whose waters have streamed forth from the Paradise of Ridvan, in this Divine, this soul-stirring springtime. Thou art the Great Giver, the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Compassionate.~ Baha’u’llah
As a Bahai, especially at this time of year, I bask in these moving phrases and images from the Ridvan Prayer, reminding humanity that new Light and Life came into our world through Baha’u’llah in the mid-19th century. Ridvan (‘Paradise’) is the name of a historic garden in Persia, the site of Baha’u’llah’s declaration on April 21, 1863. Ridvan is also a symbol of spiritual springtime, the extended period of awakening and renewal brought by progressive manifestations of Divine Spirit. I refer to transformative figures such as Buddha, Christ, Muhammad, and Baha’u’llah—each announcing, in effect, Behold, I make all things new.
Though all parts of the visible and invisible creation are revelations of Divine handiwork—and always have been—we live in a time when this can be embraced and grasped anew, through the enrichment of both physical and spiritual sciences. Our daily experiences and career endeavors can once again be blessed with repositories of Divine knowledge because a new Revelation has been offered that is relevant to the needs of our current world. And our major decisions—both as individuals and as societies of our world family as a whole—can now be guided by the treasuries of Divine wisdom because our world’s collective scriptures have been supplemented by the Baha’i Writings.
The major principles of the Baha’i Faith center around contemporary worldwide challenges, such as: building unity while embracing diversity, balancing material and spiritual considerations, recognizing the equality of women and men, the complementarity of science and religion, transcending all prejudices, eliminating extremes of poverty and wealth, and universalizing education to generate an ever-advancing global civilization.
I find it heartening and even thrilling that the Ridvan Prayer calls for fulfilling the needs of people of all religions, a fresh reminder that we are all children of one Creator under a universal canopy of Divine Providence. We are interdependent with each other as one humanity in ever more noticeable ways, with one ultimate destiny as an earth community. But yes, we must admit the historic reality that we have treated each other inhumanely, and been guilty of persecution, oppression, and abuse of nature’s bounty. Yet hope abides because fragrances of pardon waft over us, allowing for our collective Spiritual Renewal.
Finally, I note that life-giving waters flow from the Paradise of Ridvan. That is, greater degrees of healing and vibrancy for our bodies and souls, for our institutional and cultural patterns, now spring forth from that Fount of Wisdom named Baha’u’llah. With a new Divine Manifestation, we are coming of age in terms of our collective consciousness, while still struggling at the tail-end of our turbulent adolescence. The horizons of Humanity’s Spiritual Maturity are increasingly visible in this New Day of Divine Light. So, may we praise and implement the guidance of the Great Giver, the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Compassionate.
We, the authors of this blog, dedicate it to the transparent exploration of the world’s sacred scripture and enlightened spiritual thought. We believe that the original inspiration of all faiths comes from a common source, named and revered in a myriad of ways. With that understanding, the innumerable symbols, beliefs, and practices of faith cease to divide. They become open windows to a common reality that inspires and unifies us. We find deeper insight and nourishment in our own faith and from the expression of faith from others.
We hope these weekly quotations and meditations speak to your heart and soul.