The Name Enoch

In the sacred writings of the Baha’i faith we read, “How great the multitude of truths which the garment of words can never contain! How vast the number of such verities as no expression can adequately describe, whose significance can never be unfolded, and to which not even the remotest allusions can be made!”
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah)

Enoch is my true name and my given name, Cary, fits me well also. Cary derives from Germanic pre-English and means “dweller in a castle” or a fortified town. Its various forms are similar to Carl with assorted spellings and derivatives. Some of its feminine forms are Karen (with multiple spellings) and Carla. Cary rhymes with Harry, Larry, etc. It does not rhyme with “hairy.” People frequently mispronounce or misspell my name though it should be quite simple to say. The ‘a’ is short like in cat or have, the second syllable rhymes with ‘eee’ and the first one is accented.

Cary Grant This is my namesake. My parents told me they named me after Cary Grant.

Shortly after I became a Bahá’í in 1963 I took the middle name of Enoch. My parents had failed to give me a middle name and I wanted one. I eventually made it legal so it appears on my passport and other documents. Enoch who received only the briefest mentions as a prophet in the Old Testament occurs frequently in Apocrypha and related works of unknown origin. One of the translations of his name is Wise teacher which was what I aspired to be.

The Prophet Enoch sees a vision of a future Bahá’í House of Worship. (My personal interpretation! I am not a Biblical scholar. Nevertheless I’m aware of and sensitive to some of the inner symbolic meanings.) I feel it is important to stress that some of the Fundamentalist Christian views of Enoch are purely superstitious and mythological. Enoch did not physically enter into heaven because it is impossible and has never happened in the literal sense. Such stories contain symbolic rather than literal meanings.

“If any man be told that which hath been ordained for such a soul in the worlds of God, the Lord of the throne on high and of earth below, his whole being will instantly blaze out in his great longing to attain that most exalted, that sanctified and resplendent station…. The nature of the soul after death can never be described, nor is it meet and permissible to reveal its whole character to the eyes of men.”
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah)

…the habitation wherein the Divine Being dwelleth is far above the reach and ken of any one besides Him. Whatsoever in the contingent world can either be expressed or apprehended, can never transgress the limits which, by its inherent nature, have been imposed upon it. God, alone, transcendeth such limitations. He, verily, is from everlasting. No peer or partner has been, or can ever be, joined with Him. No name can be compared with His Name. No pen can portray His nature, neither can any tongue depict His glory. He will, for ever, remain immeasurably exalted above any one except Himself.
(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah)
Bahá’� House of Worship in Wilmette Illinois

O Son of the Wondrous Vision. I have breathed within thee a breath of My own Spirit, that thou mayest be My lover. – Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words

This was what I read that directly inspired me to take the name Enoch:

And the vision was shown to me thus: Behold, in the vision clouds invited me and a mist summoned me, and the course of the stars and the lightnings sped and hastened me, and the winds in the vision caused me to fly and lifted me upward, and bore me into heaven. And I went in till I drew nigh to a wall which is built of crystals and surrounded by tongues of fire: and it began to affright me.

And I went into the tongues of fire and drew nigh to a large house which was built of crystals: and the walls of the house were like a tesselated floor (made) of crystals, and its groundwork was of crystal. Its ceiling was like the path of the stars and the lightnings, and between them were fiery cherubim, and their heaven was (clear as) water. [ … ] I fell upon my face. And I beheld a vision, And lo! there was a second house, greater than the former, and the entire portal stood open before me, and it was built of flames of fire. And in every respect it so excelled in splendour and magnificence and extent that I cannot describe to you its splendour and its extent.

And its floor was of fire, and above it were lightnings and the path of the stars, and its ceiling also was flaming fire. And I looked and saw therein a lofty throne: its appearance was as crystal, and the wheels thereof as the shining sun, and there was the vision of cherubim. And from underneath the throne came streams of flaming fire so that I could not look thereon.

And the Great Glory sat thereon, and His raiment shone more brightly than the sun and was whiter than any snow. None of the angels could enter and could behold His face by reason of the magnificence and glory and no flesh could behold Him. The flaming fire was round about Him, and a great fire stood before Him, and none around could draw nigh Him: ten thousand times ten thousand (stood) before Him, yet He needed no counselor. And the most holy ones who were nigh to Him did not leave by night nor depart from Him. And until then I had been prostrate on my face, trembling: and the Lord called me with His own mouth, and said to me: ‘ Come hither, Enoch, and hear my word.’ And one of the holy ones came to me and waked me, and He made me rise up and approach the door: and I bowed my face downwards.

Bahá’� House of Worship in Wilmette Illinois

BOOK OF ENOCH, Chapter 14
From: The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament
by R.H. Charles, Oxford: The Clarendon Press

Note that the inner and outer walls of the 19-story tall Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois are constructed of concrete embedded with crystalline quartz.
Exterior Detail
Two of the images here are from the Bahá’í Media Bank which allows them to be reposted on the Web. I lived in the Wilmette vicinity for two years. That was what directly inspired me to get into photography. I made the exterior detail photograph above.

Fragments of biblical references to Enoch are scattered among the Dead Sea Scrolls. This is one of them.
Fragment of an Enoch scroll
One book is part of the Eastern Orthodox version of the Bible and not considered apocryphal by them. There are many possible and equally meaningful interpretations of these passages. If you question mine then read on.

There’s a unique circumstance that enables me to put forward such a free interpretation of scripture. The historical Enoch –assuming that one ever existed– wrote nothing that has survived and that’s verifiably from the historic Enoch. What comes down to us is called Pseudepigrapha because later writers took the pseudonym of a prophet to give weight to their writings. As an example, many Biblical scholars attribute the entire book of Isaiah to three authors from different time periods. That shouldn’t detract from their symbolic spiritual validity. They sound and feel inspired. There is historical evidence that the prophecies contained in that book were fulfilled.

I feel free to do the same thing with poetry and to some extent with nearly any insightful writing I come across. Another example is the e-mail signature line I’ve used for many years.

“Behind all these manifestations is the one radiance, which shines through all things. The function of art is to reveal this radiance through the created object.” — Joseph Campbell

The author doesn’t mean the same thing that Bahá’ís mean when they say “Manifestation.” To be brief, he doesn’t accept the individuals Bahá’ís know about as necessarily revealers of sacred text (Founders of the world’s great religions) but only as wise or enlightened teachers. But when Bahá’ís read the quotation they immediately leap to an association that’s meaningful to them. Such words and associations transcend the life of the writer. Thus those words may endure for a very long time.

“Countless works of art have been truly inspired and that inspiration stays in association with the work and is mirrored in the heart and the mind of the receptive viewer.” — Otto Rogers

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