Illumined By Thy Streaming Lights

In the writings of the Baha’i faith we read this beautiful prayer:

Cast upon this poor and desolate creature, O my Lord, the glance of Thy wealth, and flood his heart with the beams of Thy knowledge, that he may apprehend the verities of the unseen world, and discover the mysteries of Thy heavenly realm, and perceive the signs and tokens of Thy kingdom, and behold the manifold revelations of this earthly life all set forth before the face of Him Who is the Revealer of Thine own Self.
Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh

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May they arise to serve Thee and dedicate themselves to the Kingdom of Thy divinity, and set their faces toward the realm of Thy Self-Subsistence, and spread far and wide Thy signs, and be illumined by Thy streaming lights, and unfold Thy hidden mysteries. May they guide Thy servants unto gentle waters and to the fountain of Thy mercy that welleth and leapeth in the midmost heart of the Heaven of Thy oneness.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

And among His signs are His splendours, rising above the horizon of oneness, His lights streaming out from the dayspring of might, and the announcement of the Most Great Glad-Tidings by His Herald, the One, the Incomparable. Verily in this is a brilliant proof for the company of those who know.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Thus will all peoples witness the power of the Most Great Name, and every nation acknowledge the might of the Ancient Beauty, and see how He hath toppled down the walls of discord, and how surely He hath guided all the peoples of the earth to oneness; how He hath lit man’s world, and made this earth of dust to send forth streams of light.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

…the Holy Manifestations of God are even as a looking-glass, burnished and without stain, which gathereth streams of light out of that Sun, and then scattereth the glory over the rest of creation. In that polished surface, the Sun with all Its majesty standeth clearly revealed.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

It is daybreak, and from the rising-point of the invisible realms of God, the light of unity is dawning; and streaming and beating down from the hidden world of the Kingdom of oneness there cometh a flood of abounding grace.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

O my Lord! Illumine their eyes by the light of love, and enkindle their hearts by the rays streaming from the heaven of the Supreme Concourse.
‘abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace

Strive day and night; perchance these sleeping ones may be awakened by the celestial strains of the city of melody and hear the soft, delicate music which is streaming down from the kingdom of El-Abha.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy

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Bridges to Reality

SCS0CHwy280BridgeOverCrystalSprings O concourse of divines! Fear God from this day onwards in the views ye advance, for He Who is Our Remembrance in your midst, and Who cometh from Us, is, in very truth, the Judge and Witness. Turn away from that which ye lay hold of, and which the Book of God, the True One, hath not sanctioned, for on the Day of Resurrection ye shall, upon the Bridge, be, in very truth, held answerable for the position ye occupied…. And unto you We have sent down this Book which truly none can mistake…
— The Báb, Selections from the Writings of The Báb, p. 43

Take thou good heed that ye may all, under the leadership of Him Who is the Source of Divine Guidance, be enabled to direct thy steps aright upon the Bridge, which is sharper than the sword and finer than a hair, so that perchance the things which from the beginning of thy life till the end thou hast performed for the love of God, may not, all at once and unrealized by thyself, be turned to acts not acceptable in the sight of God. Verily God guideth whom He will into the path of absolute certitude. VII, 2.
— The Báb, Selections from the Writings of The Báb, p. 96

The sciences of today are bridges to reality; if then they lead not to reality, naught remains but fruitless illusion. By the one true God! If learning be not a means of access to Him, the Most Manifest, it is nothing but evident loss.

It is incumbent upon thee to acquire the various branches of knowledge, and to turn thy face toward the beauty of the Manifest Beauty, that thou mayest be a sign of saving guidance amongst the peoples of the world, and a focal centre of understanding in this sphere from which the wise and their wisdom are shut out, except for those who set foot in the Kingdom of lights and become informed of the veiled and hidden mystery, the well-guarded secret.
— ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 110)

Download a short and very diverse compilation of references to Bridges in the Bahá’í Writings and in some books about the Bahá’í faith.

The bridge in my photograph (above) is I-280 south of San Francisco high above Crystal Springs Road. I learned to drive on that twisting mountain road.

Clouds of His Bountiful Favor

BM713StormCloudsa This is the Day whereon the Ocean of God’s mercy hath been manifested unto men, the Day in which the Day Star of His loving-kindness hath shed its radiance upon them, the Day in which the clouds of His bountiful favor have overshadowed the whole of mankind. Now is the time to cheer and refresh the down-cast through the invigorating breeze of love and fellowship, and the living waters of friendliness and charity.
— Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 7

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Say: He Who is the Unconditioned is come, in the clouds of light, that He may quicken all created things with the breezes of His Name, the Most Merciful, and unify the world, and gather all men around this Table which hath been sent down from heaven. Beware that ye deny not the favor of God after it hath been sent down unto you. Better is this for you than that which ye possess; for that which is yours perisheth, whilst that which is with God endureth. He, in truth, ordaineth what He pleaseth. Verily, the breezes of forgiveness have been wafted from the direction of your Lord, the God of Mercy; whoso turneth thereunto, shall be cleansed of his sins, and of all pain and sickness. Happy the man that hath turned towards them, and woe betide him that hath turned aside.
— Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 46

Download a compilation about symbolic clouds drawn from the Bahá’í Writings.

Little Bird Becomes a Great Eagle

O servant of God! Through the power of God’s love the weak become mighty, the poor become rich, the little bird becomes a great eagle soaring on the ethereal wave, the tiny plant grows into a great palm tree.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 63

135044alttmp Be constantly attached to and seek always the confirmations of Bahá’u’lláh for these turn the drop into a sea and convert the gnat into an eagle.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 103

PIL07Eagle2Solar I photographed this statue of an eagle in Bahjí (near Akká, Israel) during my first Bahá’í pilgrimage. It’s outside the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh. The statue does not actually glow. That was something I added while developing the film. It’s a process called solarization. In the writings of the Bahá’í faith eagles are frequently used as symbols of victory due to how high they can soar and their great strength. Once while taking private pilot lessons over Puget Sound I saw two eagles not far from my wing tip. My altitude was 4500 feet (1371 m.).

Here you can download a document in Adobe PDF format that includes many references to eagles in the Bahá’í writings.

Sacred Gardens

Some of Bahá’u’lláh’s most beautiful and ecstatic writings are His luminous descriptions of gardens. Bahá’u’lláh declared his divine mission in a garden in Baghdad in 1863. He frequented the beautiful Garden of Ridván near Akká and wrote tablets describing wondrous visions he beheld in that garden. (See The Movement of Trees for a description and a painting of the Garden of Ridván.) Best known are the beautiful world famous Bahá’i gardens on the slopes of Mt. Carmel in Haifa.

Image (C)Copyright by Cary Enoch Reinstein
From the garden of whose soul will the blossoms of the invisible realities spring forth?
Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 60

From the garden of whose soul will the blossoms of the invisible realities spring forth?
A divine Mine only can yield the gems of divine knowledge, and the fragrance of the mystic Flower can be inhaled only in the ideal Garden, and the lilies of ancient wisdom can blossom nowhere except in the city of a stainless heart.
Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 191

Image (C)Copyright by Cary Enoch Reinstein
Shouldst thou, by the leave of God, enter this sublime and exalted garden, thou wouldst find its sun in its noontide glory, never to set, never to be eclipsed.
Bahá’u’lláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 71

Consider how all created things eloquently testify to the revelation of that inner Light within them. Behold how within all things the portals of the Ridván of God are opened, that seekers may attain the cities of understanding and wisdom, and enter the gardens of knowledge and power. Within every garden they will behold the mystic bride of inner meaning enshrined within the chambers of utterance in the utmost grace and fullest adornment.
Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 139)

Image (C)Copyright by Cary Enoch Reinstein
After this heavenly journey and mystical ascent the wayfarer will enter within the Garden of Wonderment.
Bahá’u’lláh, Gems of Divine Mysteries, p. 67

a heart like unto glass O Thou the Compassionate God. Bestow upon me a heart which, like unto glass, may be illumined with the light of Thy love, and confer upon me thoughts which may change this world into a rose garden through the outpourings of heavenly grace.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Compilations, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 70

Download a compilation from the Bahá’í Writings referring to gardens.

Technorati Tags: Sacred Spaces, Gardens, Garden of Ridvan, Akka

Streams of Divine Wisdom

A meditation on the symbolism of water in the Bahá’í sacred writings — variously expressed as “streams,” “living waters,” and “wellsprings.”

Thus will all peoples witness the power of the Most Great Name, and every nation acknowledge the might of the Ancient Beauty, and see how He hath toppled down the walls of discord, and how surely He hath guided all the peoples of the earth to oneness; how He hath lit man’s world, and made this earth of dust to send forth streams of light.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 21

streams of divine wisdom

O God, my God! This is thy radiant servant, Thy spiritual thrall, who hath drawn nigh unto Thee and approached Thy presence. He hath turned his face unto Thine, acknowledging Thy oneness, confessing Thy singleness, and he hath called out in Thy name among the nations, and led the people to the streaming waters of Thy mercy, O Thou Most generous Lord! To those who asked He hath given to drink from the cup of guidance that brimmeth over with the wine of Thy measureless grace.

O Lord, assist him under all conditions, cause him to learn Thy well-guarded mysteries, and shower down upon him Thy hidden pearls. Make of him a banner rippling from castle summits in the winds of Thy heavenly aid, make of him a wellspring of crystal waters.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 43

Image (C)Copyright by Cary Enoch Reinstein As to the Holy Manifestations of God, They are the focal points where the signs, tokens and perfections of that sacred, pre-existent Reality appear in all their splendour. They are an eternal grace, a heavenly glory, and on Them dependeth the everlasting life of humankind. To illustrate: the Sun of Truth dwelleth in a sky to which no soul hath any access, and which no mind can reach, and He is far beyond the comprehension of all creatures. Yet the Holy Manifestations of God are even as a looking-glass, burnished and without stain, which gathereth streams of light out of that Sun, and then scattereth the glory over the rest of creation. In that polished surface, the Sun with all Its majesty standeth clearly revealed. Thus, should the mirrored Sun proclaim, ‘I am the Sun!’ this is but truth; and should It cry, ‘I am not the Sun!’ this is the truth as well. And although the Day-Star, with all Its glory, Its beauty, Its perfections, be clearly visible in that mirror without stain, still It hath not come down from Its own lofty station in the realms above, It hath not made Its way into the mirror; rather doth It continue to abide, as It will forever, in the supernal heights of Its own holiness.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 50

We have made each one of Our Names a wellspring from which We have caused the streams of divine wisdom and understanding to gush forth and flow in the garden of Our Cause — streams whose number none can reckon save Thy Lord, the Most Holy, the Omnipotent, the Omniscient, the All-Wise.
Bahá’u’lláh, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts

Download a brief compilation from the Bahá’í sacred writings on the symbolism of Streams, Living Waters, and Wellsprings (16 pages in PDF format).

The artist vocation is to send light into the human heart. ~ Robert Schumann

Light Beams and Symbolism

Image (C)Copyright by Cary Enoch Reinstein

Recently I’ve been meditating on the Bahá’í sacred writings in a new way by making compilations. The free program Ocean contains an easily searchable library of hundreds of books including most major Bahá’í texts that have been translated into English (other languages are also available). One of Ocean’s features is the ability to extract text to compilations. The three compilations I’ve made so far contain quotations about Trees, Meditation, and the Symbolism of Dawn and Sunrise.

Meditating about dawn and sunrise and their symbolism to represent the Manifestation of God inspired me to re-purpose some of my favorite images. My earlier thoughts were published here and here. Compare this newly recolored image with the one I created for My Perception of Color.

Image (C)Copyright by Cary Enoch Reinstein

To me these images are completely different because I’ve used them to represent different feelings and perceptions. They were created years apart by grafting different parts from other incomplete images. This is what the second and older version looks like.

Image (C)Copyright by Cary Enoch Reinstein

Of all the bird images I’ve created over the years this one is still my favorite. Its earliest less colorful version appeared on the CD album cover of Bird by Susan Lewis Wright.

This is this week’s Ocean compilation, Symbolism of Dawn and Sunrise.

Be unrestrained as the wind, while carrying the Message of Him Who hath caused the Dawn of Divine Guidance to break. Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 339

Blessed is the man that hath inhaled the fragrance of the Most Merciful, and turned unto the Dawning-Place of His beauty, in this resplendent Dawn. Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 60