'Him Whom God Shall Make Manifest'

Never before in history, until the appearance of the Báb, has one Manifestation of God heralded another Who was His contemporary. The Báb was two years younger* than Bahá'u'lláh, and They lived about five hundred miles apart, the Báb in Shíráz and Bahá'u'lláh in Tihrán.

The Báb was an independent Manifestation of God Who inaugurated the Bábí Dispensation, abrogated the laws of Islám, formulated new laws and, like other Prophets, founded an independent religion which spread very rapidly throughout Persia and 'Iráq. His advent closed, on the one hand, the Prophetic Cycle in which several Manifestations of God had appeared and given their visions and prophecies concerning the Day of God, and opened, on the other, the Cycle of Fulfilment whose Central Figure is Bahá'u'lláh. He has been acclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh as the 'King of the Messengers', the 'Point round Whom the realities of the Prophets and Messengers revolve', and One Whose 'rank excelleth that of all the Prophets', Whose 'Revelation transcendeth the comprehension and understanding of all their chosen ones'.1 His Mission was to prepare men for


* The Báb, Whose name was Siyyid 'Alí-Muhammad, was born on the first day of Muharram 1235 A.H., and Bahá'u'lláh on the second day of the same month in 1233 A.H. These dates are in accordance with the lunar calendar used in the Islámic world. There is a tradition which attributes to Imám 'Alí, the successor of Muhammad, this saying: 'I am two years younger than my Lord'. (The comparable dates in the Christian calendar are, for the Báb, 20 October 1819, and for Bahá'u'lláh, 12 November 1817.)

1. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 57, for the words quoted, except for the first title which comes from the 'Tablet of Ahmad'.
the coming of Bahá'u'lláh, the Supreme Manifestation of God Whose advent has been promised in all the sacred Scriptures of the past.

The station of Bahá'u'lláh is so exalted that He was heralded by the Báb, Himself a Manifestation of God, Who paved the way for His coming, established a mighty Covenant concerning His Revelation and reared a new race of men worthy to meet Him and embrace His Cause.

The announcement of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', which the Báb gave to His followers, was firm and irrevocable, more clear and emphatic than that given by any Manifestation of God before Him. In past Dispensations the signs of the coming of the next Manifestation were always wrapped in mystery and expressed in allegorical terms. But the Báb gave no such signs. Rather, He indicated that the glory of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' would be so strikingly apparent that there would be no need of signs. Yet none could recognize Him through his own knowledge, He warned, nor judge Him by his own standards, nor adduce proofs to establish His authenticity, for He would be exalted above the recognition of His servants and known only through Himself and His Revelation. The sole testimony to His truth would be that which He Himself would reveal, and not that which men might produce. In one of His Writings extolling Bahá'u'lláh, the Báb affirmed that 'Certitude itself is ashamed to be called upon to certify His truth...and Testimony itself is ashamed to testify unto Him'.2

Throughout His ministry, the Báb continually emphasized the pre-eminence of the Supreme Manifestation Who would follow Him. In one of His prayers communing with Bahá'u'lláh, He revealed these words:

Exalted art Thou, O my Lord the Omnipotent! How puny and contemptible my word and all that pertaineth unto me appear unless they be related to Thy great glory. Grant that through the assistance of Thy grace whatsoever pertaineth unto me may be acceptable in Thy sight.3


2. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 30, for the words quoted.

3. Shoghi Effendi, 'The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh', included in The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 101, for the passage quoted.

In another passage He wrote:

Of all the tributes I have paid to Him Who is to come after Me, the greatest is this, My written confession, that no words of Mine can adequately describe Him, nor can any reference to Him in My Book, the Bayán, do justice to His Cause.4

The Báb's Mission, His teachings, laws and exhortations revolved around 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. In the Bayán, the Mother Book of His Dispensation, the Báb states that His aim in revealing its each and every letter was to enable His followers to recognize and obey 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. In another passage of the same Book He included these words:

The Bayán is, from beginning to end, the repository of all of His attributes, and the treasury of both His fire and His light.5

The Bayán, He declared, was dependent upon 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', Who, through one word of His mouth, could accept or reject all the laws ordained in it. The Báb mentions that the Bayán derives its glory from 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', Who, in truth, revealed it and Who alone could fully understand the inner meaning of all it contained. In another passage the Báb confirmed that only 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', and those whom He would teach, would be able to understand the significance of all the Holy Books of past Dispensations.

The Báb categorically asserted that He was a Messenger sent by 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', a lowly servant at His threshold. He warned His followers that, unless they recognized 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', they would be unfaithful to the Bayán and unworthy in His sight. He explained in the Bayán that those who followed Him and faithfully obeyed the ordinances of God, as revealed in that Book, were the true believers in God. When, however, 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' would come, the spirit of faith would be taken from


4. Shoghi Effendi, 'The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh', included in The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 100, for the passage quoted.

5. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 29, for the words quoted.

them unless they recognized Him and embraced His Faith. In another passage He gave the example of one well versed in the Bayán, who had memorized all its verses, had an immense knowledge and was the possessor of every virtue. Should such a man hesitate for one moment to accept the truth of the Cause of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', his belief in the Bayán would be nullified and his faith in God would become void. Addressing Vahíd, one of the most illustrious among His disciples, the Báb uttered this warning:

By the righteousness of Him Whose power causeth the seed to germinate and Who breatheth the spirit of life into all things, were I to be assured that in the day of His manifestation thou wilt deny Him, I would unhesitatingly disown thee and repudiate thy faith...If, on the other hand, I be told that a Christian, who beareth no allegiance to My Faith, will believe in Him, the same will I regard as the apple of Mine Eye.6

In many of His Writings the Báb expressed grief and agony at the thought of those among His followers who might reject the Promised One of the Bayán. Referring to the Revelation of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', He proclaimed:

...If on the day of His Revelation all that are on earth bear Him allegiance, Mine inmost being will rejoice, inasmuch as all will have attained the summit of their existence...If not, My soul will be saddened. I truly have nurtured all things for this purpose. How, then, can any one be veiled from Him? 7

Because He was a Manifestation of God, the Báb had true knowledge of the station of Bahá'u'lláh, a knowledge which is beyond the reach of all humanity. His vision of the omnipotence and grandeur of the One who was destined to follow Him was so majestic that no mortal mind can hope to attain it. It is for this reason that the utterances of the Báb in praise of Bahá'u'lláh stagger the imagination of those who are not in some degree aware of His exalted station. The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, as

6. Shoghi Effendi, 'The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh', included in The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 101, for the passage quoted.

7. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, pp. 30-1, for the passage quoted.

portrayed by the Báb, is so glorious and awe-inspiring that He allows no excuse to those who reject it. To the Báb, the advent of Bahá'u'lláh was as clear and evident as the sun and, therefore, He counselled His followers to permit no doubt to enter their minds when informed of the Message of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. Should their hearts waver in His Cause, the wrath of God would descend on them so long as such doubts remained.

Repeatedly in His Writings, the Báb called on His followers to beware lest anything in this world, including the Bayán and all other Holy Books, should become a barrier between them and 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. These are some of His words:

Suffer not the Bayán and all that hath been revealed therein to withhold you from that Essence of Being and Lord of the visible and invisible.8

And in another passage He revealed:

Beware, beware, lest in the days of His Revelation the Vahíd of the Bayán* shut thee out as by a veil from Him, inasmuch as this Vahíd is but a creature in His sight.9

And again He addressed His followers:

O congregation of the Bayán, and all who are therein! Recognize ye the limits imposed upon you, for such a One as the Point of the Bayán Himself hath believed in Him Whom God shall make manifest before all things were created. Therein, verily, do I glory before all who are in the kingdom of heaven and earth.10

Many times the Báb alluded to the 'year nine' as the date for the coming of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. The Báb's Mission began in the year 1260 A.H. (A.D. 1844). The 'year nine' was 1269 A.H., which opened about the middle of October

* The Báb and the eighteen Letters of the Living.

8. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 29, for the passage quoted.

9. ibid.

10. ibid.

1852, when Bahá'u'lláh had already been imprisoned for two months in the Síyáh-Chál of Tihrán, the scene of His transcendent Revelation.

Here are additional words gleaned from the Arabic Bayán and other Epistles which the Báb wrote to some of His disciples:

In the year nine, ye shall attain unto all good.

In the year nine, ye will attain unto the presence of God.*

After Hín† a Cause shall be given unto you which ye shall come to know.

Ere nine will have elapsed from the inception of this Cause, the realities of the created things will not be made manifest. All that thou hast as yet seen is but the stage from the moist germ until We clothed it with flesh. Be patient, until thou beholdest a new creation. Say: 'Blessed, therefore, be God, the most excellent of Makers!'

Wait thou, until nine will have elapsed from the time of the Bayán. Then exclaim: 'Blessed, therefore, be God, the most excellent of Makers!' 11

On the other hand, the Báb also referred to the year nineteen, a year coinciding with the Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdád, which occurred at the end of nineteen lunar years from the inception of the Bahá'í Era. Here is what the Báb wrote:

The Lord of the Day of Reckoning will be manifested at the end of Vahíd‡ and the beginning of eighty. § 12


* The Báb explained in His Writings that attaining 'unto the presence of God', as promised in the Holy Books, would be none other than attaining the presence of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'.

† Numerically, Hín is equal to 68, which means the year 1268. 'After Hín' indicates the beginning of the year 1269 This prophecy concerning Bahá'u'lláh originated from Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsá'í.

‡ Nineteen.

§ 1280 A.H. (A.D. 1863).

11. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, for the five passages quoted.

12. ibid., for the words quoted.

Concerning the date of the coming of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', the Báb, in the Persian Bayán, called upon His followers to be attentive from the inception of His own Faith until the number of Vahíd, and to hearken to the new Messenger whenever He appeared. Although the Báb frequently referred to the years nine and nineteen, He nevertheless clearly stated that the time of the coming of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' was entirely in His own hands. Whenever He chose to manifest Himself all must turn to Him and obey His commandments. From the fortress of Máh-Kú the Báb made this weighty pronouncement:

Were He to appear this very moment, I would be the first to adore Him, and the first to bow down before Him.13

The Báb lauded in glowing terms the greatness of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. He stated that nothing in the world of creation could give as much pleasure as hearing and understanding the utterances of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', and remarked that 'A thousand perusals of the Bayán cannot equal the perusal of a single verse to be revealed by "Him Whom God shall make manifest" '.14 In one of the chapters of the Bayán the Báb proclaimed that the most evident testimony to the truth of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' would be the revelation of His words. That His followers might be aware of the exalted character of the new Revelation, and to prepare them for the coming of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', the Báb ordained that once in every nineteen days His followers should read this particular chapter and meditate upon it.

Referring to those who might arise and announce themselves as the Promised One of the Bayán, the Báb confidently asserted that should anyone falsely claim this station He would be powerless to sustain it, as he would be unable to reveal the Word of God which is the greatest proof of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. Nevertheless, for the sake of honouring the station of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', He ordained that if


13. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, pp. 29-30, for the words quoted.

14. Shoghi Effendi, 'The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh', included in The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 100, for the words quoted.

a person were to claim this station, he should be left to himself; no one should oppose him or object to his words.

Anxious to protect Bahá'u'lláh, the Báb forbade His followers to engage in heated argument and controversy, as practised among the divines of Islám, which could only result in contention and discord among them. He urged them to be chaste in their writings and courteous in their speech, especially when expressing their views or adducing proofs during discussion. His purpose in these exhortations was to ensure that the words or deeds of His followers would in no way give offence to the person of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. Moreover, as a token of respect for the Supreme Manifestation of God, Who would be exalted above any question His creatures might put to Him, He admonished His followers not to ask Him any questions except those worthy of His station. But Bahá'u'lláh annulled this prohibition in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and permitted the believers freely to question Him.

To read the Writings of the Báb, especially the Bayán, is to realize that He prepared His followers in every possible way for the coming of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. Not only did He give them a true understanding of His station and reveal the spiritual prerequisites of worthiness to receive His Revelation, but He also instructed them on their behaviour. They should, He advised them, not only purify their inner beings from attachment to this world, but, in addition, should pay attention to their appearance and clothing so as not to offend Him.

In several passages in the Bayán and other Writings, the Báb mentioned Bahá'u'lláh by name and alluded to Him as 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. All these references clearly indicate Bahá'u'lláh as the Promised One of the Bayán and the object of the adoration of the Báb. A striking example is to be found in the Persian Bayán where, in the course of a reference to 'Him Whom God shall make manifest', the Báb anticipated the establishment of a new Order by Bahá'u'lláh. These are His words:


[questioning Bahá'u'lláh] The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶126
Well is it with him who fixeth his gaze upon the Order of Bahá'u'lláh and rendereth thanks unto his Lord! For He will assuredly be made manifest. God hath indeed irrevocably ordained it in the Bayán.15

Many were the tributes which the Báb paid in His Writings to the inconceivable greatness of the Revelation of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' and numerous were the expressions of His loyalty and self-effacement towards its Author. Having recognized Him to be the Source of His inspiration, the Revealer of His Revelation, and the Object of His adoration, the Báb often craved to lay down His life as a sacrifice in the path of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest'. In the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá',* described by Bahá'u'lláh as the 'first, the greatest and mightiest' 16 of the books revealed by the Báb, we find the following references to Bahá'u'lláh--'Him Whom God shall make manifest':

Out of utter nothingness, O great and omnipotent Master, Thou hast, through the celestial potency of Thy might, brought me forth and raised me up to proclaim this Revelation. I have made none other but Thee my trust; I have clung to no will but Thy will...O Thou Remnant of God! I have sacrificed myself wholly for Thee; I have accepted curses for Thy sake, and have yearned for naught but martyrdom in the path of Thy love. Sufficient witness unto me is God, the Exalted, the Protector, the Ancient of Days...

And when the appointed hour hath struck, do Thou, by the leave of God, the All-Wise, reveal from the heights of the Most Lofty and Mystic Mount a faint, an infinitesimal glimmer of Thy impenetrable Mystery, that they who have recognized the radiance of the Sinaic Splendour may faint away and die as they catch a lightening glimpse of the fierce and crimson Light that envelops Thy Revelation.17

The Báb in His Writings portrayed the person of 'Him Whom God shall make manifest' as majestic, awe-inspiring,

* The first chapter of this book was revealed by the Báb on the night of the Declaration of His Message to Mullá Husayn, on 22 May 1844.

15. Shoghi Effendi, 'The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh', included in The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 146-7, for the passage quoted.

16. ibid., p. 101, for the words quoted.

17. ibid., for the passage quoted.

incomparable and infinitely glorious. Their study enables one to acquire a better grasp of the verities of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, although bringing to light man's inadequacy fully to appreciate the significance of His Revelation, comprehend the potency of His words, or recognize the loftiness of His station.

It was perhaps owing to this inadequacy that, at one stage during the ministry of Bahá'u'lláh, there were two major schools of thought among the believers concerning His station. Some believed Him to be the Supreme Manifestation of God, while others went further than this. When Bahá'u'lláh was asked about His station, He confirmed that as long as individuals were sincere in their beliefs, both views were right, but if they argued among themselves or tried to convert each other, both were wrong. This indicates that man because of his finite mind will never be able to understand the true station of the Manifestation of God. The criteria are sincerity and faith. Knowing man's limitations, God accepts from him what he is able to achieve.

Despite this divergence of view among the early followers of Bahá'u'lláh as to His station, attributable solely to their varying capacities to grasp so exalted a concept, it is of immense significance that the central purpose of His Revelation to bring unity to mankind was never deflected. From its earliest days the Bahá'í community was protected from division and discord, and has continued throughout its eventful history to demonstrate the cohesive and unifying influence which motivates it. Those who recognize Bahá'u'lláh and embrace His Faith come under the shelter of a unity which is spiritual in nature, which surpasses all human limitations, and is derived from the power of God's Covenant for humanity in this age.

In the Writings of the Central Figures of the Bahá'í Faith there are many references to the exalted nature of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Faith, also elucidated this theme. Indeed, it may be said that one of his


major contributions to the consolidation of the Faith was his clear explanation concerning the significance of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. In his momentous work, The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh, he placed in right perspective every aspect of the Revelation: its Founders, its institutions, its guiding principles, its aims and purposes and its ultimate destiny. Prior to his elucidation and guidance, no coherent pattern was available to Bahá'ís for the proper and systematic study of their Faith. It was Shoghi Effendi who adapted the stupendous Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh to the limited capacity of man in this age, helped to canalize the outpourings of its spiritual energy, and enabled the believers to bring into focus their vision of the Faith, and to understand its workings.

The following is an extract from one of Shoghi Effendi's masterly expositions concerning the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh and His station:

He* Who in such dramatic circumstances was made to sustain the overpowering weight of so glorious a Mission was none other than the One Whom posterity will acclaim, and Whom innumerable followers already recognize, as the Judge, the Lawgiver and Redeemer of all mankind, as the Organizer of the entire planet, as the Unifier of the children of men, as the Inaugurator of the long-awaited millennium, as the Originator of a new 'Universal Cycle,' as the Establisher of the Most Great Peace, as the Fountain of the Most Great Justice, as the Proclaimer of the coming of age of the entire human race, as the Creator of a new World Order, and as the Inspirer and Founder of a world civilization.

To Israel He was neither more nor less than the incarnation of the 'Everlasting Father,' the 'Lord of Hosts' come down 'with ten thousands of saints'; to Christendom Christ returned 'in the glory of the Father,' to Shí'ah Islám the return of the Imám Husayn; to Sunní Islám the descent of the 'Spirit of God' (Jesus Christ); to the Zoroastrians the promised Sháh-Bahrám; to the Hindus the reincarnation of Krishna; to the Buddhists the fifth Buddha.


* Bahá'u'lláh.

In the name He bore He combined those of the Imám Husayn, the most illustrious of the successors of the Apostle of God--the brightest 'star' shining in the 'crown' mentioned in the Revelation of St. John--and of the Imám 'Alí, the Commander of the Faithful, the second of the two 'witnesses' extolled in that same Book. He was formally designated Bahá'u'lláh, an appellation specifically recorded in the Persian Bayán, signifying at once the glory, the light and the splendour of God, and was styled the 'Lord of Lords,' the 'Most Great Name,' the 'Ancient Beauty,' the 'Pen of the Most High,' the 'Hidden Name,' the 'Preserved Treasure,' 'He Whom God will make manifest,' the 'Most Great Light,' the 'All-Highest Horizon,' the 'Most Great Ocean,' the 'Supreme Heaven,' the 'Pre-Existent Root,' the 'Self-Subsistent,' the 'Day-Star of the Universe,' the 'Great Announcement,' the 'Speaker on Sinai,' the 'Sifter of Men,' the 'Wronged One of the World,' the 'Desire of the Nations,' the 'Lord of the Covenant,' the 'Tree beyond which there is no passing.' He derived His descent, on the one hand, from Abraham (the Father of the Faithful) through his wife Katurah, and on the other from Zoroaster, as well as from Yazdigird, the last king of the Sásáníyán dynasty. He was moreover a descendant of Jesse, and belonged, through His father, Mírzá 'Abbás, better known as Mírzá Buzurg--a nobleman closely associated with the ministerial circles of the Court of Fath-'Alí Sháh--to one of the most ancient and renowned families of Mázindarán.

To Him Isaiah, the greatest of the Jewish prophets, had alluded as the 'Glory of the Lord,' the 'Everlasting Father,' the 'Prince of Peace,' the 'Wonderful,' the 'Counsellor,' the 'Rod come forth out of the stem of Jesse' and the 'Branch grown out of His roots,' Who 'shall be established upon the throne of David,' Who 'will come with strong hand,' Who 'shall judge among the nations,' Who 'shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips slay the wicked,' and Who 'shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.' of Him David had sung in his Psalms, acclaiming Him as the 'Lord of Hosts' and the 'King of Glory'...


To Him Jesus Christ had referred as the 'Prince of this world,' as the 'Comforter' Who will 'reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment,' as the 'Spirit of Truth' Who 'will guide you into all truth,' Who 'shall not speak of Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak,' as the 'Lord of the vineyard,' and as the 'Son of Man' Who 'shall come in the glory of His Father' 'in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory,' with 'all the holy angels' about Him, and 'all nations' gathered before His throne. To Him the Author of the Apocalypse had alluded as the 'Glory of God,' as 'Alpha and Omega,' 'the Beginning and the End,' 'the First and the Last.' Identifying His Revelation with the 'third woe,' he, moreover, had extolled His Law as 'a new heaven and a new earth,' as the 'Tabernacle of God,' as the 'Holy City,' as the 'New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.' To His Day Jesus Christ Himself had referred as 'the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory'...

To Him Muhammad, the Apostle of God, had alluded in His Book as the 'Great Announcement,' and declared His Day to be the Day whereon 'God' will 'come down' 'overshadowed with clouds,' the Day whereon 'thy Lord shall come and the angels rank on rank,' and 'The Spirit shall arise and the angels shall be ranged in order'...

The plenitude of His glory the Apostle of God* had, moreover, as attested by Bahá'u'lláh Himself, compared to the 'full moon on its fourteenth night.' His station the Imám 'Alí, the Commander of the Faithful, had, according to the same testimony, identified with 'Him Who conversed with Moses from the Burning Bush on Sinai.' To the transcendent character of His mission the Imám Husayn had, again according to Bahá'u'lláh, borne witness as a 'Revelation whose Revealer will be He Who revealed' the Apostle of God* Himself...

The Báb had no less significantly extolled Him as the 'Essence of Being,' as the 'Remnant of God,' as the 'Omnipotent Master,' as the 'Crimson, all-encompassing Light,' as 'Lord of the visible and invisible,' as the 'sole Object of all previous Revelations, including the Revelation of the Qá'im Himself.' He had formally designated Him as 'He Whom God shall make manifest,' had


* Muhammad.

alluded to Him as the 'Abhá Horizon' wherin He Himself lived and dwelt, had specifically recorded His title, and eulogized His 'Order' in His best-known work, the Persian Bayán, had disclosed His name through His allusion to the 'Son of 'Alí, a true and undoubted Leader of men,' had, repeatedly, orally and in writing, fixed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the time of His Revelation, and warned His followers lest 'the Bayán and all that hath been revealed therein' should 'shut them out as by a veil' from Him. He had, moreover, declared that He was the 'first servant to believe in Him,' that He bore Him allegiance 'before all things were created,' that 'no allusion' of His 'could allude unto Him,' that 'the year-old germ that holdeth within itself the potentialities of the Revelation that is to come is endowed with a potency superior to the combined forces of the whole of the Bayán.' He had, moreover, clearly asserted that He had 'covenanted with all created things' concerning Him Whom God shall make manifest ere the covenant concerning His own mission had been established. He had readily acknowledged that He was but 'a letter' of that 'Most Mighty Book,' 'a dew-drop' from that 'Limitless Ocean,' that His Revelation was 'only a leaf amongst the leaves of His Paradise,' that 'all that hath been exalted in the Bayán' was but 'a ring' upon His own hand, and He Himself 'a ring upon the hand of Him Whom God shall make manifest,' Who 'turneth it as He pleaseth, for whatsoever He pleaseth, and through whatsoever He pleaseth.' He had unmistakably declared that He had 'sacrificed' Himself 'wholly' for Him, that He had 'consented to be cursed' for His sake, and to have 'yearned for naught but martyrdom' in the path of His love. Finally, He had unequivocally prophesied: 'Today the Bayán is in the stage of seed; at the beginning of the manifestation of Him Whom God shall make manifest its ultimate perfection will become apparent.' 'Ere nine will have elapsed from the inception of this Cause the realities of the created things will not be made manifest. All that thou hast as yet seen is but the stage from the moist germ until We clothed it with flesh. Be patient until thou beholdest a new creation. Say: Blessed, therefore, be God, the Most Excellent of Makers!'

'He around Whom the Point of the Bayán (Báb) hath revolved is come' is Bahá'u'lláh's confirmatory testimony to the inconceivable greatness and preeminent character of His own


Revelation. 'If all who are in heaven and on earth,' He moreover affirms, 'be invested in this day with the powers and attributes destined for the Letters of the Bayán, whose station is ten thousand times more glorious than that of the Letters of the Qur'ánic Dispensation, and if they one and all should, swift as the twinkling of an eye, hesitate to recognize My Revelation, they shall be accounted, in the sight of God, of those that have gone astray, and regarded as "Letters of Negation." ' 'Powerful is He, the King of Divine might,' He, alluding to Himself in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, asserts, 'to extinguish with one letter of His wondrous words, the breath of life in the whole of the Bayán and the people thereof, and with one letter bestow upon them a new and everlasting life, and cause them to arise and speed out of the sepulchres of their vain and selfish desires.' 'This,' He furthermore declares, 'is the king of days,' the 'Day of God Himself,' the 'Day which shall never be followed by night,' the 'Springtime which autumn will never overtake,' 'the eye to past ages and centuries,' for which 'the soul of every Prophet of God, of every Divine Messenger, hath thirsted,' for which 'all the divers kindreds of the earth have yearned,' through which 'God hath proved the hearts of the entire company of His Messengers and Prophets, and beyond them those that stand guard over His sacred and inviolable Sanctuary, the inmates of the Celestial Pavilion and dwellers of the Tabernacle of Glory.' 'In this most mighty Revelation,' He, moreover, states, 'all the Dispensations of the past have attained their highest, their final consummation.' And again: 'None among the Manifestations of old, except to a prescribed degree, hath ever completely apprehended the nature of this Revelation.' Referring to His own station He declares 'But for Him no Divine Messenger would have been invested with the Robe of Prophethood, nor would any of the sacred Scriptures have been revealed.'

And last but not least is 'Abdu'l-Bahá's own tribute to the transcendent character of the Revelation identified with His Father: 'Centuries, nay ages, must pass away, ere the Day-Star of Truth shineth again in its mid-summer splendour, or appeareth once more in the radiance of its vernal glory.' 'The mere contemplation of the Dispensation inaugurated by the Blessed Beauty,' He furthermore affirms, 'would have sufficed to overwhelm the saints of bygone ages--saints who longed to partake for one moment of its great glory.' 18


18. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, pp. 93-9.
Bahá'í Writings contain several references to Bahá'u'lláh as the universal Manifestation of God, Who inaugurated a new and universal cycle in human history. 'Abdu'l-Bahá has explained this in answer to a question:

Briefly, we say a universal cycle in the world of existence signifies a long duration of time, and innumerable and incalculable periods and epochs. In such a cycle the Manifestations appear with splendour in the realm of the visible, until a great and universal Manifestation makes the world the centre of His radiance. His appearance causes the world to attain to maturity, and the extension of His cycle is very great. Afterwards other Manifestations will arise under His shadow, who according to the needs of the time will renew certain commandments relating to material questions and affairs, while remaining under His shadow.19

Not only is Bahá'u'lláh the Author of the Bahá'í Dispensation whose duration, according to His own testimony, will be at least one thousand years, but He is also the Inaugurator of a universal cycle which is referred to as the Bahá'í Cycle. 'Abdu'l-Bahá mentions that the duration of this cycle will be at least five thousand centuries. During this period several Manifestations of God will appear, Who, while founding independent religions, will yet derive their inspiration from Bahá'u'lláh. In a Tablet 'Abdu'l-Bahá has made the following statement:

Concerning the Manifestations that will come down in the future 'in the shadows of the clouds', know verily that in so far as their relation to the source of their inspiration is concerned they are under the shadow of the Ancient Beauty.* In their relation, however, to the age in which they appear, each and every one of them 'doeth whatsoever He willeth'.20

In the light of the above statements it becomes clear that Bahá'u'lláh, through His own Revelation, is the source of spiritual life for mankind during the Bahá'í Dispensation. He will also remain the motivating force in future Dispensations

* Bahá'u'lláh.

19. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, chap. XLI.

20. Shoghi Effendi, 'The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh', included in The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 111, for the passage quoted.

and will release progressively, through the advent of other Manifestations of God, spiritual energies for the advancement of the human race throughout the Bahá'í Cycle. It is a central tenet of Bahá'í belief that the reality of the Manifestations of God is one and the same and that They differ only in the intensity of Their Revelations, each One manifesting the attributes of God in accordance with the capacity and receptivity of the people of His age. At first sight, this belief may not seem to accord with the statement that future Manifestations will be under the shadow of Bahá'u'lláh, while yet bringing new laws and teachings for mankind, each One inaugurating a new era within the Bahá'í Cycle. But let us look more closely.

The coming of a Manifestation of God may be likened to the appearance of spring in the physical realm. In the same way that the world of nature receives new life at each springtime, so humanity becomes refreshed and revivified by the advent of each Manifestation of God. We observe in nature that, as a result of the succession of seasons year after year, a tree grows progressively until it reaches a stage when it bears fruit for the first time. This is an event of great consequence, for the tree has reached its maturity and will throughout its life continue to produce similar fruits each year.

Similarly, man has grown progressively and step by step as a result of the appearance of the Manifestations of God. The Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh occurs in an era when mankind is destined to come of age, a stage similar to that when the tree blossoms and first gives its fruit. Therefore, whatever mankind may achieve as a result of the outpouring of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, whatever fruit the tree of humanity may yield during the Golden Age of His Dispensation, will provide the foundation for progress in future Dispensations. The study of the Writings will demonstrate that the ultimate objective of Bahá'u'lláh, so far as life on this planet is concerned, is the establishment of the oneness of mankind. This will be the fruit of His Revelation in relation to the structure of human society, the furthermost goal humanity can attain on this earth.


In Dispensations to come, man, as a result of the appearance of future Manifestations of God, will continue to develop and progress. He will acquire noble qualities and will grow spiritually to such a degree that none today can visualize the heights to which he will attain; yet he will function within the framework of the oneness of mankind established by Bahá'u'lláh, and the Manifestations of God Who appear from age to age during the Bahá'í Cycle will remain under His shadow.

Bahá'u'lláh, addressing His own generation, has affirmed the nature of the enduring foundation He has laid for mankind:

O ye children of men, the fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race...This is the straight path, the fixed and immovable foundation. Whatsoever is raised on this foundation, the changes and chances of the world can never impair its strength, nor will the revolution of countless centuries undermine its structure.21

The following illuminating passage, composed by Shoghi Effendi concerning the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh and its significance, in which he has quoted utterances of Bahá'u'lláh, emphasizes the pre-eminent character of this august Revelation:

The Faith of Bahá'u'lláh should indeed be regarded, if we wish to be faithful to the tremendous implications of its message, as the culmination of a cycle, the final stage in a series of successive, of preliminary and progressive revelations. These, beginning with Adam and ending with the Báb, have paved the way and anticipated with an ever-increasing emphasis the advent of that Day of Days in which He Who is the Promise of All Ages should be made manifest.

To this truth the utterances of Bahá'u'lláh abundantly testify. A mere reference to the claims which, in vehement language and with compelling power, He Himself has repeatedly advanced cannot but fully demonstrate the character of the Revelation of which He was the chosen bearer. To the words that have streamed from His pen--the fountainhead of so impetuous a Revelation--we should, therefore, direct


21. Shoghi Effendi, 'The Unfoldment of World Civilization', included in The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 202-3, for the passage quoted.
our attention if we wish to obtain a clearer understanding of its importance and meaning. Whether in His assertion of the unprecedented claim He has advanced, or in His allusions to the mysterious forces He has released, whether in such passages as extol the glories of His long-awaited Day, or magnify the station which they who have recognized its hidden virtues will attain, Bahá'u'lláh and, to an almost equal extent, the Báb and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, have bequeathed to posterity mines of such inestimable wealth as none of us who belong to this generation can befittingly estimate. Such testimonies bearing on this theme are impregnated with such power and reveal such beauty as only those who are versed in the languages in which they were originally revealed can claim to have sufficiently appreciated. So numerous are these testimonies that a whole volume would be required to be written in order to compile the most outstanding among them. All I can venture to attempt at present is to share with you only such passages as I have been able to glean from His voluminous writings.

'I testify before God,' proclaims Bahá'u'lláh, 'to the greatness, the inconceivable greatness of this Revelation. Again and again have We in most of Our Tablets borne witness to this truth, that mankind may be roused from its heedlessness.' 'In this most mighty Revelation,' He unequivocally announces, 'all the Dispensations of the past have attained their highest, their final consummation.' 'That which hath been made manifest in this preëminent, this most exalted Revelation, stands unparalleled in the annals of the past, nor will future ages witness its like.' 'He it is,' referring to Himself He further proclaims, 'Who in the Old Testament hath been named Jehovah, Who in the Gospel hath been designated as the Spirit of Truth, and in the Qur'án acclaimed as the Great Announcement.' 'But for Him no Divine Messenger would have been invested with the robe of prophethood, nor would any of the sacred scriptures have been revealed. To this bear witness all created things.' 'The word which the one true God uttereth in this day, though that word be the most familiar and commonplace of terms, is invested with supreme, with unique distinction.' 'The generality of mankind is still immature. Had it acquired sufficient capacity We would have bestowed upon it so great a measure of Our knowledge that all who dwell on


earth and in heaven would have found themselves, by virtue of the grace streaming from Our pen, completely independent of all knowledge save the knowledge of God, and would have been securely established upon the throne of abiding tranquillity.' 'The Pen of Holiness, I solemnly affirm before God, hath writ upon My snow-white brow and in characters of effulgent glory these glowing, these musk-scented and holy words: "Behold ye that dwell on earth, and ye denizens of heaven, bear witness, He in truth is your Well-Beloved. He it is Whose like the world of creation hath not seen, He Whose ravishing beauty hath delighted the eye of God, the Ordainer, the All-Powerful, the Incomparable!" ' 22

These utterances of Bahá'u'lláh, testifying to the greatness of His Cause, invoke feelings of awe and wonder in the hearts of His followers as they contemplate the enormous potentialities with which His Revelation has invested the human race. It is destined to cast its light upon countless centuries and ages, stretching into the far reaches of time. Its Herald, the Báb, the Primal Point 'round Whom the realities of the Prophets and Messengers revolve',23 sounded the trumpet-call of the dawn of the New Day and through His martyrdom shed an imperishable lustre upon it. Its Author, Bahá'u'lláh, 'the Glory of God', manifesting an 'infinitesimal glimmer' of His 'impenetrable Mystery',24 ushered in the Day of God, brought into being a new creation, breathed into it a new life, revealed the Laws and Teachings designed to advance the interests and safeguard the unity of the human race, and laid an enduring foundation for many millenniums to come. The Centre of its Covenant, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, 'the incarnation of every Bahá'í virtue and the embodiment of every Bahá'í ideal',25 protected it from the onslaught of the unfaithful, projected its light across the Western world and delineated the features of its Administrative Order, the nucleus and pattern of the future global Order to be established on this planet.

The rising institutions of this Administrative Order, local, national and international, are being reared upon the ruins of the old order by Bahá'u'lláh's faithful supporters, in full con-


22. Shoghi Effendi, 'The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh', included in The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 103-4.

23. Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, p. 6.

24. Shoghi Effendi, 'The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh', included in The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 101.

25. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 283.

fidence that the creative energies dwelling within His Revelation will, through Divine power, ultimately transform human society, at present so disillusioned and unstable, into a world community united in all its aspects, and destined to attain, in centuries to come, its Golden Age, the long-awaited Kingdom of God on earth.