Entering the Qiblih, a Song to the Gardener

Lyrics to a song I wrote many years ago after my pilgrimage to the Qiblih.

Tree from The Lovely Phones Album on Enoch's Vision Gallery

Oh Gardener i accept Your wisdom
i do i really do accept it i do
no matter how much it hurts
i know You transplanted the sapling
to a radiant garden
i know it will thrive there forever
it was sickly and weak in this one

i can’t judge the Gardener’s doings
and i never even try
for i shall never be able
to create infinite gardens from nothingness
only the Gardener can do that

i think that if i were a garden
i would be a poor one
because i haven’t had any success so far
but i have crazy longings to grow

if You’re not too busy
and one day You notice me
which isn’t easy
because i’m not very significant
i beg now while in Your qiblih
would it just be possible
if it’s not a lot of trouble
for me to nourish another sapling
maybe a healthy one this time
if You notice me and take pity

please oh please
a healthy one or maybe two
who know about You
and are grateful
and i know i’m not much
and might never be
but please oh please
one more chance to love someone
and not be alone
please oh please
one more chance to nurture a tree

In the Baha’i Faith the Qiblih (point of adoration) is the location that Baha’is should face when saying their daily obligatory prayers, and is fixed at the Shrine of Baha’u’llah, near Akka, in present day Israel.

From the death of that beloved youth due to his separation from you the utmost sorrow and grief has been occasioned, for he flew away in the flower of his age and the bloom of his youth, to the heavenly nest.

 

But as he has been freed from this sorrow-stricken shelter and has turned his face toward the everlasting nest of the Kingdom and has been delivered from a dark and narrow world and has hastened to the sanctified realm of Light, therein lies the consolation of our hearts.

 

The inscrutable divine wisdom underlies such heart-rending occurrences. It is as if a kind gardener transfers a fresh and tender shrub from a narrow place to a vast region. This transference is not the cause of the withering, the waning or the destruction of that shrub, nay rather it makes it grow and thrive, acquire freshness and delicacy and attain verdure and fruition. This hidden secret is well-known to the gardener, while those souls who are unaware of this bounty suppose that the gardener in his anger and wrath has uprooted the shrub. But to those who are aware this concealed fact is manifest and this predestined decree considered a favor. Do not feel grieved and disconsolate therefore at the ascension of that bird of faithfulness, nay under all circumstances pray and beg for that youth forgiveness and elevation of station.

 

I hope that you will attain to the utmost patience, composure and resignation, and I supplicate and entreat at the Threshold of Oneness and beg pardon and forgiveness. My hope from the infinite bounties of God is that He may cause this dove of the garden of faith to abide on the branch of the Supreme Concourse that it may sing in the best of tunes the praises and the excellencies of the Lord of names and attributes. (‘Abdu’l-Baha)

Advertisements

Meanings of the Baha’i Ringstone Symbol

My prayer book cover illustrating the ringstone symbol

My prayer book cover illustrating the ringstone symbol

Common Religious Symbols

Seven common religious symbols in approximately chronological order.

Designed by `Abdu’l-Bahá, the Baha’i ringstone symbol, as its name implies, is the most common symbol found on rings worn by Bahá’ís, but it is also used on necklaces, book covers, and paintings. It consists of two stars (haykal) interspersed with a stylized Bahá’. The lower line is said to represent humanity, the upper line God, and the middle line represents the special station of Manifestation of God; the vertical line is the Primal Will or Holy Spirit proceeding from God through the Manifestations to humanity. The position of Manifestation of God in this symbol is said to be the linking point to God. (cit. wikipedia)

Excerpt: This part of the symbol comprises three levels, each level indicated by a number. Together they represent the underlying belief which is the basis of all the religions of God. They are as follows:

  1. The World of God – The Creator
  2. The World of the Prophets or Manifestation – Cause, or Command
  3. The World of Man – Creation.

“The followers of all religions believe that man, left to himself, can never recognize God and attain His presence; nor is man able to fathom the mystery and purpose of his own creation. God, in His unlimited bounty has singled out His Chosen Ones and will continue to do so, sending them to man at different times and ages in order to grant him penetrating insight and to enable him to have a glimpse of the unfading glories of the innumerable worlds beyond.

“The Prophets accept descent from their realms on high and suffer the abasement of living in human temples, walking amongst men and speaking their languages. The Manifestations are invariably denied, ridiculed, humiliated and even put to death. Were it not for their spiritual upliftment and leadership, man would have continued to live as a wild beast and would have been eternally doomed to deprivation and loss.

“These functions of the Prophets are clearly demonstrated in the design of the Greatest Name by having the world of the Prophets (shown in horizontal line) repeated in vertical line, thus joining the world of the Creator to that of His creation.”
A.Q. Faizi, Explanation of the Symbol of the Greatest Name

“Since the true bá, which is the universal reality, passes down through the three grades from the highest summit to the lowest centre and shines forth in each grade, it is the unifier and revealer of all the worlds. On the horizon of ancient grandeur, two brilliant stars are shining and luminous: one star is on the right, the other on the left. And this great mystery is the two shapes that have been drawn upon the left and right of the Greatest Name on the ringstone symbol. The mystery concerns the manifestation of Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb. Although the two shapes on right and left are in the form of a star, they refer nevertheless to the Temple of Man, which consists of a head and arms and two legs.” (Read the Tablet on the Birth of the Greatest Name II written by Baha’u’llah)

Is my personal interpretation illustrated below valid? It is clear that some of the corresponding shapes may be coincidental though they still have some significance. I see the concept of Progressive Revelation illustrated in the symbol.

Thus it is recorded: “Every knowledge hath seventy meanings, of which one only is known amongst the people. And when the Qá’im shall arise, He shall reveal unto men all that which remaineth.” He also saith: “We speak one word, and by it we intend one and seventy meanings; each one of these meanings we can explain.” (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 255)

Far from being limited, Bahá’u’lláh asserts that “knowledge hath seventy meanings”, and that the “meaning” of the Word of God “can never be exhausted”. (The Universal House of Justice, 1995 Jan 31, Questions on Scholarship)

Ancient Hindu SymbolAn ancient Hindu symbol that symbolizes Peace and Harmony, Lord Ganesh has it on his right hand. Differs from other uses of swastika by the four dots inside each of the four arms. Also, it is always drawn with the four inner arms at 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees on the compass, unlike other inscriptions where the inner arms are in the form of an ‘X’. The swastika was traditionally used in India by Buddhists and Hindus as a good luck sign. In East Asia, the swastika is often used as a general symbol of Buddhism.

Lotus with 7 Petals A seven petaled Lotus. Eight petaled lotuses are also common.

8 points of the symbol's design overlayed with lotus petal symbols. Illustrating the eight points of the symbol’s design overlayed with lotus petal symbols.

Lotus Flower A Lotus Flower

Star of david Hebrew Star of David

Zoroastrian Guardian Angel Zoroastrian Faravahar (guardian angel)

Buddhist Symbol The eight-spoked Dharmacakra. The eight spokes represent the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism.

Buddhist Symbol Widened Widening the Dharmacakra makes its ‘fit’ more clear.

Christian Cross The Christian Cross.

Star and Crescent The star and crescent is a symbol consisting of a crescent with a star at the concave side. In its modern form, the star is usually shown with five points (though in earlier centuries a higher number of points was often used). The two signs together or the crescent only is often regarded as a symbol of Islam.