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


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

Consolation of Our Hearts

February 5th is the anniversary of the passing of my three-year-old son, David Cary, into eternal life.
David Cary Reinstein (1968-1972) 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 heartrending 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-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 199

Excerpts from a recent email.

. . . I have thought of your words and your David all day long. I have to admit that I had been on your site several times to look at some pictures of David that I had found.When I first saw the pictures of sadness I wept openly. I have tucked away David’s images into my heart.

I responded: There are also pictures of David on the page that are innocent, joyous, and even transcendent. The page is programmed to display the images in each group in random order. Each group represents a year of his life.

David Cary Reinstein (1968-1972) The last picture of David taken before his final five-week hospital stay shows him bathed in light and waving goodbye. It’s not a special-effect or camera trick. That’s the way he actually looked – bathed in light.

During David’s final hospital stay he was in and out of a coma but was always conscious and aware when I was at his bedside. David Cary Reinstein (1968-1972) One of the images shows him grasping a picture with his hand leaning against a large stuffed lion. The picture was an image of ‘Abdul-Bahá. For the entire five weeks he never let go of it. David died grasping it tightly and that picture is now in my wallet and has been for all these years.

Though one of the poems about him says I never recovered from grief I actually did recover soon but in a metaphysical way. I never stopped missing him would be more accurate. The poem also recounts a vision that I saw at the moment of his passing. That’s what literally occurred and what I saw. The poems were written more than ten years ago and recounted much older memories and not the way I had grown to feel.

After the Vision After the Passing The pictures After the Vision” and “After the Passing” were taken a few hours before David moved on. Note the quotations that go along with them. They are also a comfort.

The backgrounds on David’s biography pages are black not to represent grief but because they make the image colors appear richer by contrast.

God recompensed me with two beautiful healthy sons and one grandson (to date). Here’s a recent snapshot of my grandson, Alex, and his dad, Nick.

Nick and Alex Reinstein

A beautiful book about the passing of a child: A Child of Tender Years by Joyce M. Jackson is a story of a child’s journey from birth until age 14. “But it is also a journey for his mother as she watches him grow, learns with him…and from him. It is a story about sacrifice and letting go, of being completely reliant on God and radiantly acquiescing to all that He asks of us. It is a story about faith.” In this book you’ll also find the story of the Divine Gardener.

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

Martyred Prometheus

My life it seems is blessed with serendipity. Just a few hours after writing “A Tree Moves No Longer” I saw a momentary mention of the world’s oldest living thing on the History Channel. It was in a program about the physics and perception of time. I immediately googled the tree by name and found this major site among hundreds of others:

The serendipity event occurred on one of the site’s pages.

“The end of the field season was nearing. They asked for and were granted permission by the U.S. Forest Service to cut the tree down. It was ‘Prometheus’. After cutting the trunk at a convenient level, which happened to be more than eight feet above the original base, 4,844 rings were counted. This student had just killed the oldest living thing on earth!”

Where was his reverence for life? Why did the Forest Service permit such a destructive act?

My mind wandered to a 40-year-old movie, Soylent Green, starring Edmund G. Robinson and Charlton Heston which was perhaps the first film about ecological disaster. Will the last living tree in California be covered by a tent like the one in Soylent Green? Will anyone care?

Even the oldest trees have the ability to produce cones with viable seeds.
World’s oldest living thing
“The bristlecone pines have survived for unknown centuries. The current threat is from all the people who come to visit them. ‘Methuselah’, the oldest tree, is not marked due to the threat of vandalism. The recording of past events provided by these trees, along with the great beauty are too valuable for us to lose. The bristlecones will survive on their own, but we must have enough respect for their place in the environment to assure their recordings of events yet to occur.” can see several beautiful images of the bristlecones here:

Peace be upon those who hear the melody of the Dove in the Sadrat-el-Muntaha! — Bahá’u’lláh, Compilations, Baha’i Scriptures, p. 66

In a Tablet Bahá’u’lláh states, ‘The Holy Tree [Sadrat] is, in a sense, the Manifestation of the One True God, exalted be He. The Blessed Tree in the land of Za’faran referreth to the land which is flourishing, blessed, holy and all-perfumed,where that the Tree hath been planted.’]
We exhort mankind in these days when the countenance of Justice is soiled with dust, when the flames of unbelief are burning high and the robe of wisdom rent asunder, when tranquility and faithfulness have ebbed away and trials and tribulations have waxed severe, when covenants are broken and ties are severed, when no man knoweth how to discern light and darkness or to distinguish guidance from error. — Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 137