One of the most momentous of the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh is the Súriy-i-Haykal or Súratu'l-Haykal (Súrih of the Temple). Bahá'u'lláh ordered the Súrih and the Tablets to the Kings to be copied in the form of a pentacle symbolizing the human temple. The Tablets were copied in the following order: the Súriy-i-Haykal itself, then the Tablet to Pope Plus IX, the Tablet to Napoleon III, the Tablet to Czar Alexander II, the Tablet to Queen Victoria and the Tablet to Násiri'd-Dín Sháh. Associating this with the prophecy of Zechariah in the Old Testament, Bahá'u'lláh concludes the Súriy-i-Haykal with these words:

Thus have We built the Temple with the hands of power and might, could ye but know it. This is the Temple promised unto you in the Book. Draw ye nigh unto it. This is that which profiteth you, could ye but comprehend it. Be fair, O peoples of the earth! Which is preferable, this, or a temple which is built of clay? Set your faces towards it. Thus have ye been commanded by God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Follow ye His bidding, and praise ye God, your Lord, for that which He hath bestowed upon you. He, verily, is the Truth. No God is there but He. He revealeth what He pleaseth, through His Words 'Be and it is.' 1
Throughout the Tablet, the Pen of the Most High addresses the Haykal (Temple) and reveals the glory and majesty with which it is invested. In answer to a question, Bahá'u'lláh has stated2 that the Haykal which is addressed in this Súrih is the Person of Bahá'u'lláh, and so is the voice which addresses the

1. Quoted by Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day Is Come, pp. 47-8.

2. Quoted by Fádil-i-Mázindarání, Asráru'l-Áthár, vol. 5, p. 277.

Haykal. It is fascinating to know that the One Who speaks with the voice of God in this Tablet is identical with the One spoken to.

In this Súrih it is stated that the Haykal has been made a mirror to reflect the sovereignty of God and to manifest His Beauty and Grandeur to all mankind. It has been given the power to do whatsoever It desires. Oceans of knowledge and utterance have been placed within Its heart, and It has been made the Manifestation of God's own Self for all who are in heaven and on earth.

Speaking in this Súrih of the transcendent glory with which the Haykal is invested, Bahá'u'lláh states:

Naught is seen in My temple but the Temple of God and in My beauty but His Beauty, and in My being but His Being, and in My self but His Self, and in My movement but His Movement and in My acquiescence but His Acquiescence, and in My pen but His Pen, the Mighty, the All-Praised. There hath not been in My soul but the Truth, and in Myself naught could be seen but God.3
To fully appreciate the majesty and power of this outstanding work of Bahá'u'lláh in the absence of a translation is impossible. Suffice it to say that every time He addresses the Haykal He unveils a new facet of God's Revelation, as if opening a new door leading to some mystery enshrined in His Writings, a mystery hitherto hidden from the eyes of men. If the pure in heart is enabled to have just a glimpse of this infinite realm of divine Revelation which is beyond his comprehension, such a glimpse can endow his soul with an insight which no human agency can ever hope to confer upon it.

In one of His Tablets referring to the vastness and richness of His Revelation, Bahá'u'lláh states:

...immerse yourselves in this Ocean in whose depths lay hidden the pearls of wisdom and of utterance...4

These words of Bahá'u'lláh become a reality when the

3. Quoted by Shoghi Effendi, 'The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh', The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 109.

4. Gleanings, XIV, 16.

believer, in a state of detachment from this world, meditates upon the verses of the Súriy-i-Haykal. For he will find many such pearls hidden within its verses. The concept of the Haykal (Temple), in the form of the human temple and representing the Person of Bahá'u'lláh, in itself invokes many thoughts and opens many doors to a deeper understanding of His Revelation. Whereas the human temple is made of flesh and bone, the Haykal is constituted of the Word of God. It is portrayed vividly by Bahá'u'lláh in this celebrated Súrih, and He adds more mystery and realism to it when He addresses some limbs and organs of that Temple as well as the letters (H, Y, K, and L) which constitute the word.

Every word and letter uttered by the Manifestation of God assumes meaning and significance beyond the understanding of man. For example, there are lengthy Tablets revealed by the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh explaining the meaning of only one letter mentioned in the Holy Books of older religions. We have already given examples of this in a previous volume.* In the Súriy-i-Haykal, Bahá'u'lláh reveals the significance of the letters which form the word 'Haykal', and the potentialities with which each one has been invested by God. It is difficult to convey these without having access to the words of Bahá'u'lláh. Bahá'u'lláh states that the Haykal is the source of the creation of the new race of men, that through each one of its letters, God will raise up wonderful beings whose numbers are known to none except Him and whose faces will shine with the radiance of their Lord. These souls will circle around the Cause of God as a shadow moves around the sun. They will protect the Faith from the onslaught of the deniers and will offer up their lives willingly for the promotion of His Cause among men. This Tablet is replete with glad-tidings of the appearance of a band of devoted believers whom Bahá'u'lláh refers to as the new race of men. These words are revealed in the Súriy-i-Haykal:


* see vol. 1, p. 126.

The day is approaching when God will have, by an act of His Will, raised up a race of men the nature of which is inscrutable to all save God, the All-Powerful, The Self-Subsisting.5
Bahá'u'lláh exhorts the eye of the Haykal not to gaze upon the world of creation but to focus only upon the beauty of His Lord. He promises the advent of a day when He will have created, through this eye, people of penetrating insight who will see the signs and tokens of His Revelation with a vision bestowed upon them through His bounty and favour.

To the ear of the Haykal, Bahá'u'lláh gives counsel to become deaf to the voices of the ungodly and to listen to the melodies of His Revelation. Again, He states that through this ear He will create a race of men with ears purified and worthy to hear the Word of God as revealed by Him in this day.

The tongue of the Haykal is also addressed in the same vein--it has been created to mention the name of God and celebrate His praise. He gives the joyous tidings that through the creation of this tongue, God will raise up souls who will conquer the hearts of men through the power of their utterance and the sway of their word.

Bahá'u'lláh calls on the Haykal to stretch out its hands upon all the dwellers of earth and heaven, and to hold within its grasp the reins of the Cause of God. He prophesies that through these hands, He will soon create hands of power and might through whom God will reveal His omnipotence and ascendancy to all the peoples of the world. Concerning these hands Bahá'u'lláh reveals in the Súrih:

He will, ere long, out of the Bosom of Power draw forth the Hands of Ascendancy and Might--Hands who will arise to win victory for this Youth and who will purge mankind from the defilement of the outcast and the ungodly. These Hands will gird up their loins to champion the Faith of God, and will, in My name the self-subsistent, the mighty, subdue the peoples and kindreds of the earth.6

5. Quoted by Shoghi Effendi, 'Dispensation', idem, pp. 109-10.

6. ibid. p. 11O.

The heart of the Haykal, Bahá'u'lláh states, is the source of all knowledge. Of this knowledge He declares:

Within the treasury of Our Wisdom there lies unrevealed a knowledge, one word of which, if we chose to divulgeit to mankind, would cause every human being to recognize the Manifestation of God and to acknowledge His omniscience, would enable every one to discover the secrets of all the sciences, and to attain so high a station as to find himself wholly independent of all past and future learning. Other knowledges We do as well possess, not a single letter of which We can disclose, nor do We find humanity able to hear even the barest reference to their meaning. Thus have We informed you of the Knowledge of God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.7
Bahá'u'lláh affirms that through the outpouring of knowledge from the heart of the Haykal, He will soon raise up scientists of great calibre who will bring about such marvellous technological achievements that no one can as yet imagine them. This prophecy of Bahá'u'lláh has already been fulfilled--and this is only the beginning. We have previously stated* that the Revelation of the Báb ushered in a new era in the fields of science and technology, especially in communications, to prepare the way for the coming of Bahá'u'lláh. His Message being for all mankind, it is only logical that the same God who has revealed it would also create the means for its universal propagation, so that the news of the coming of Bahá'u'lláh might reach every part of the world.

The technological developments which have taken place in the field of communications since the advent of the Báb bear ample testimony to this. As the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh grew, the means of communication kept pace with it. During the early days of Bahá'u'lláh's ministry, His disciples had to travel mainly on foot or by donkey and mule to teach the Faith, but it did not take very long until some began to travel by steamship.


* see vol. 1, pp. 216-18.

7. Quoted by Shoghi Effendi, 'Dispensation', idem, p. 109.
They took His Message to India and other countries in this way.

Soon after the passing of Bahá'u'lláh, the time had come for the expansion of the Faith throughout the world, especially the West, but the pace was still slow. When 'Abdu'l-Bahá journeyed to the West, He travelled by steamship, railway and automobile. The Bahá'í communities in those days were, for the most part, isolated from each other and movement was slow. But today the Bahá'í community is engaged in enormous teaching activity covering the whole world. Wherever there is freedom of religion they are bringing the message of Bahá'u'lláh to the notice of their countrymen and consequently more people embrace the Faith. Hundreds of national and international teaching projects, and administrative functions involving peoples of all nations and races, are carried out in the five continents of the globe. All these activities are made possible by using the fast and marvellous system of communications which has become available in recent times. The Bahá'ís believe that this is no coincidence: that God, having called the peoples of the world to unity through the message of Bahá'u'lláh, has also provided the means by which that unity may be established. In the meantime, humanity benefits without realizing why these marvellous inventions have come about.

Those who are unfamiliar with the Faith or have not recognized the station of Bahá'u'lláh will no doubt view with scepticism the argument that the advent of the modern communications system is primarily due to the appearance of a universal religion in the world. It seems far-fetched and unacceptable. But in surveying the progress of their Faith, the followers of Bahá'u'lláh have seen that whenever the propagation of the Faith or the building of its Administrative Order* needed some new material means, they were miraculously provided in time. Some of the new inventions


* see the writings of Shoghi Effendi for an appreciation of the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh.

which have played a vital part in the development of the Faith have come about just in time to serve a particular need. To cite one example of many: Bahá'u'lláh revealed many Tablets, Epistles and Books which, if compiled, would produce about one hundred volumes. 'Abdu'l-Bahá's writings are no less in range. The Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá contain, among other things, teachings both spiritual and social, laws, exhortations and explanations about many subjects including man, the purpose of his life and his relationship to God. Added to these are the voluminous writings of Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Faith. In addition to his famous works, he has written no less than twenty-six thousand letters, some of them so lengthy that they warranted being printed in the form of a book. His writings contain invaluable guidance which, as the authorized Interpreter of the Words of Bahá'u'lláh, he has given to the Bahá'í world. It can be seen therefore that the Bahá'í Holy Writings are enormous in range and contain matters of vital interest for all humanity.

When the Universal House of Justice, the supreme governing body of the Bahá'í community, came into being in 1963, one of the most essential needs was the collating of all the Writings of the Central Figures of the Faith and the making of a comprehensive index of all the subjects they contained. This was a vital necessity for the supreme institution of the Faith which had to have access to each and every subject recorded in these Writings, so that it could guide the Bahá'í community in accordance with the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, and also legislate whenever feasible on matters which are not explicitly mentioned in these Writings.

Up until the formation of the Universal House of Justice, it was impossible even to attempt to make this comprehensive index. Such a colossal undertaking, involving the provision of a detailed list of every subject within such a vast range of writings, would not have been a practical proposition given the small size of the Bahá'í community because of the nonexistence of technological aids at that time. The invention of


these aids, such as photocopiers and electronic processors, and their commercial use, were almost synchronized with the birth of the Supreme Body of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. And soon this vital task was undertaken. Had it not been for this timely development, insignificant as it may seem today, it is difficult to imagine how the Universal House of Justice could have discharged its sacred functions in the Bahá'í world effectively, bearing in mind that prior to taking every major decision, the Supreme Body has to refer to the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi and take into consideration their words which have a bearing on the subject.

Indeed, as the believers play their part in the propagation and consolidation of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, God provides the means for its progress and eventual establishment as a world religion for all mankind. Both the constructive and destructive forces in the world assist in its promotion. The process of the breaking up of the old order is in itself a positive step, paving the way for the spreading of the new.

On the other hand, through the transforming power of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, God is creating a new race of men who arise to champion His Cause. Through the sacrificial outpourings of their substance and resources, they attract the spiritual forces which together with all the material aids sent down by Providence, propel the Cause of God forward.

Bahá'u'lláh in the Súriy-i-Haykal rebukes the people of the Bayán* for their blindness to His Revelation in spite of the fact that the Báb had nurtured and prepared them for His Coming. He identifies Himself with the Báb in the Súriy-i-Haykal when He addresses the Bábís:

Had the Primal Point (The Báb) been someone else beside Me as ye claim, and had attained My presence, verily He

* The followers of the Báb. However, the term 'people of the Bayán' here applies to followers of the Báb who did not embrace the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh.

would have never allowed Himself to be separated from Me, but rather We would have had mutual delights with each other in My Days.8
Bahá'u'lláh in the Súrih expatiates on His sufferings at the hands of the breakers of the Covenant of the Báb, those who denied His trust and turned away from His Cause. He describes how he had chosen one of his brothers, Mírzá Yahyá, showered upon him a sprinkling from the Ocean of His Knowledge, clothed him with the ornament of a name, and exalted him to such a station that all the believers turned to him in devotion and protected him from every tribulation.* Yet when Mírzá Yahyá witnessed the ascendancy of the Bearer of the Message of God for this age, he rose up against Him, attempted to take His life and repudiated His Cause. In a challenging tone Bahá'u'lláh declares that if the followers of Mírzá Yahyá did not turn to Him [Bahá'u'lláh] and lend their support, God would assist Him with His supreme Hosts, both visible and invisible, and would assuredly raise up a new race of men who would champion His Cause and make Him victorious in the end.

Bahá'u'lláh in the Súriy-i-Haykal reveals that the power of God is beyond the comprehension of man. Through this power all created things have come into being. If it be His will, He can in one instant take life from everything and in another bestow a new life upon it. These are His Own Words:

It is in Our power, should We wish it, to enable a speck of floating dust to generate, in less than the twinkling of an eye, suns of infinite, of unimaginable splendour, to cause a dewdrop to develop into vast and numberless oceans, to infuse into every letter such a force as to empower it to unfold all the knowledge of past and future ages.9

* see vols. 1 and 2. The title 'Subh-i-Azal' (The Morn of Eternity) was conferred upon Mírzá Yahyá. He was nominated by the Báb as head of the Bábí community.

8. Quoted by Shoghi Effendi, 'Dispensation', idem, p. 138.

9. ibid. p. 107.

He further explains that created things may be likened to the leaves of a tree which derive their sustenance and life from the root but outwardly seem to be flourishing independently of it.

It is in the Súriy-i-Haykal that, while admonishing the people for their perversity and blindness to His revelation, Bahá'u'lláh refers to the Manifestation of God who will come after Him.* These are His words:

By those words which I have revealed, Myself is not intended, but rather He Who will come after Me. To it is witness God, the All-Knowing...Deal not with Him as ye have dealt with Me.10
There is no doubt that this passage refers to the Manifestation of God who comes after Bahá'u'lláh, since Shoghi Effendi has confirmed this in His writings.† There is a similar passage revealed in another Tablet concerning the next Manifestation of God:

I am not apprehensive for My own self, My fears are for Him Who will be sent down unto you after Me--Him Who will be invested with great sovereignty and mighty dominion.11
However, the following passage from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, which sounds similar to the passages quoted above, relates to the person of 'Abdu'l-Bahá:

By God, O people! Mine eye weepeth, and the eye of 'Alí (the Báb) weepeth amongst the Concourse on high, and Mine heart crieth out, and the heart of Muhammad crieth out within the Most Glorious Tabernacle, and My soul shouteth and the souls of the Prophets shout before them that are endued with understanding...My sorrow is not for myself, but for Him Who shall come after Me, in the shadow

* According to the text of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Bahá'u'lláh's Most Holy Book) the next Manifestation of God will not appear before the lapse of at least a thousand years.

† see Dispensation, p. 117.

10. Quoted by Shoghi Effendi, 'Dispensation', idem, p. 117.

11. ibid.

[next manifestation] The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶37
of My Cause, with manifest and undoubted sovereignty, inasmuch as they will not welcome His appearance, will repudiate His signs, will dispute His sovereignty, will contend with Him, and will betray His Cause...12
In the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh there are references to the symbolic appearance of the Maid of Heaven to Him.* In the Súriy-i-Haykal He describes in a fascinating manner the proclamation of His mission by the Maiden symbolizing the 'Most Great Spirit' which animated Him throughout His Ministry. This is how He reveals the descent of this mysterious Spirit upon Himself:

While engulfed in tribulations I heard a most wondrous, a most sweet voice, calling above My head. Turning My face, I beheld a Maiden--the embodiment of the remembrance of the name of My Lord--suspended in the air before Me. So rejoiced was she in her very soul that her countenance shone with the ornament of the good-pleasure of God, and her cheeks glowed with the brightness of the All-Merciful. Betwixt earth and heaven she was raising a call which captivated the hearts and minds of men. She was imparting to both My inward and outer being tidings which rejoiced My soul, and the souls of God's honoured servants. Pointing with her finger unto My head, she addressed all who are in heaven and all who are on earth, saying: 'By God! This is the Best-Beloved of the worlds, and yet ye comprehend not. This is the Beauty of God amongst you, and the power of His sovereignty within you, could ye but understand. This is the Mystery of God and His Treasure, the Cause of God and His glory unto all who are in the kingdoms of Revelation and of creation, if ye be of them that perceive.' 13
It is impossible for man to understand the nature of the Manifestations of God and the spirit which motivates them. Just as it is impossible for a creature in the animal kingdom to

* see vol. 1.

12. Quoted by Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 250.

13. ibid. pp. 101-2.

appreciate the nature of man, so it is beyond the capacity of a human being to grasp the inner reality of God's Messengers, for they abide in a spiritual realm far above the reach of men. In former Dispensations the Holy Spirit manifested itself to the Founders of the great world religions and enabled them to reveal the teachings of God to humanity. But a human being can never understand nor experience this. In order to convey to his followers that He was animated by the power of God, each Manifestation of God has spoken in symbolic language concerning the appearance of the Holy Spirit to Him. In the Holy Writings of former religions we read how Moses heard the voice of God through the Burning Bush or how the Dove descended upon Christ or how Muhammad received His Revelation through the Angel Gabriel. All these are different symbols of the same entity, the Holy Spirit, which acts as an intermediary between God and His Manifestations. This link is similar to the rays of the sun by which energy is transmitted to the planets. Bahá'u'lláh, being the Supreme Manifestation of God,* whose advent has been hailed in the Heavenly Books as the advent of the Day of God Himself,† has stated in some of His Tablets that the Holy Spirit was created through one word of His. And in the Súriy-i-Haykal He declares:

The Holy Spirit Itself hath been generated through the agency of a single letter revealed by this Most Great Spirit, if ye be of them that comprehend.14
In His Writings, Bahá'u'lláh has indicated that whereas in past Dispensations the Prophets and Messengers of God received their Revelation through an intermediary, in this Dispensation the voice of God may be heard directly from the Person of Bahá'u'lláh. Affirming this in one of His Tablets,15 Bahá'u'lláh states that the same voice which Moses heard through the Burning Bush may be heard directly from Bahá'u'lláh in this Day.


* see vol. 1, pp. 295-6.

† see vol. 1, pp. 64, 236-8.

14. Quoted by Shoghi Effendi, 'Dispensation', The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 109.

15. Quoted by Shoghi Effendi, Advent, p. 66.

In reading such statements, however, one may be erroneously led to think that Bahá'u'lláh is identifying Himself with the Godhead. Such a conclusion is due to our lack of understanding of the infinite Realms of God. Our minds are limited, while the world of the Manifestations of God is beyond our capacity to appreciate. Bahá'u'lláh has clearly stated that God in His essence is unknowable and inaccessible to all, including His Manifestations. In one of His prayers Bahá'u'lláh describes His relationship with God in these words:

When I contemplate, O my God, the relationship that bindeth me to Thee, I am moved to proclaim to all created things 'verily I am God!'; and when I consider my own self, lo, I find it coarser than clay! 16
The station of Bahá'u'lláh is that of the Supreme Manifestation of God. Only by reading His own words and meditating on them in a prayerful attitude may we be enabled to acquire a limited understanding of His divine powers and attributes, Whom Shoghi Effendi describes as 'transcendental in His majesty, serene, awe-inspiring, unapproachably glorious'.17

The Súriy-i-Haykal contains many challenging themes. Every line is charged with enormous power and every subject is indicative of the greatness of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, such greatness that sometimes it staggers the imagination.

Although extensive parts of the Tablets which are added to the Súrih have been translated into English by Shoghi Effendi and published, only a few passages from the Súrih itself have been translated. We have already included most of them in this account, and quote the following in conclusion:

The onrushing winds of the grace of God have passed over all things. Every creature hath been endowed with all the potentialities it can carry. And yet the peoples of the world have denied this grace! Every tree hath been endowed with

16. Quoted by Shoghi Effendi, 'Dispensation', The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 113.

17. ibid. p. 97.

the choicest fruits, every ocean enriched with the most luminous gems. Man, himself, hath been invested with the gifts of understanding and knowledge. The whole creation hath been made the recipient of the revelation of the All-Merciful, and the earth the repository of things inscrutable to all except God, the Truth, the Knower of things unseen. The time is approaching when every created thing will have cast its burden. Glorified be God Who hath vouchsafed this grace that encompasseth all things, whether seen or unseen!18

18. Quoted by Shoghi Effendi, 'The Unfoldment of World Civilization', The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 169.