The Ridván Festivities are approaching. These twelve days are very special and on each day of these twelve days, there will be a Ridván related post on this blog. I have found myself “forgetting” that Ridván is for twelve days. To remedy that, I prepared a series of materials, one for each day, to read during these twelve days. Perhaps I am not the only one. Therefore, on each day of Ridván, there will be a Ridván related post. This series of Ridván related blog posts started with “Prelude to the Ridván Celebrations“followed about this post on the progressive allusions made by Bahá’u’lláh prior to His Declaration in the Ridván Garden.

So momentous a Declaration

In the coming twelve days of Ridvan, excerpts from the Writings, historical accounts, messages and other materials directly related to these days will be posted. This series of posts began with the “prelude to Ridvan” telling the background of the request of the Ottoman Empire for Bahá’u’lláh to relocate. We continue with some excerpts from God Passes By where Shoghi Effendi elaborates certain aspects of these celebrations.

The arrival of Baha’u’llah in the Najibiyyih Garden, subsequently designated by His followers the Garden of Ridvan, signalizes the commencement of what has come to be recognized as the holiest and most significant of all Baha’i festivals, the festival commemorating the Declaration of His Mission to His companions. So momentous a Declaration may well be regarded both as the logical consummation of that revolutionizing process which was initiated by Himself upon His return from Sulaymaniyyih, and as a prelude to the final proclamation of that same Mission to the world and its rulers from Adrianople.

 

Solemn act of delay

Through that solemn act the “delay,” of no less than a decade, divinely interposed between the birth of Baha’u’llah’s Revelation in the Siyah-Chal and its announcement to the Bab’s disciples, was at long last terminated. The “set time of concealment,” during which as He Himself has borne witness, the “signs and tokens of a divinely-appointed Revelation” were being showered upon Him, was fulfilled. The “myriad veils of light,” within which His glory had been wrapped, were, at that historic hour, partially lifted, vouchsafing to mankind “an infinitesimal glimmer” of the effulgence of His “peerless, His most sacred and exalted Countenance.” … The nineteen years, constituting the first “Vahid,” preordained in the Persian Bayan by the pen of the Bab, had been completed. The Lord of the Kingdom, Jesus Christ returned in the glory of the Father, was about to ascend His throne, and assume the sceptre of a world-embracing, indestructible sovereignty. The community of the Most Great Name, the “companions of the Crimson Colored Ark,” lauded in glowing terms in the Qayyumu’l-Asma’, had visibly emerged. The Bab’s own prophecy regarding the “Ridvan,” the scene of the unveiling of Baha’u’llah’s transcendent glory, had been literally fulfilled.

 

Progressive hints to His imminent assumption of the prophetic office

… He Who had become the real leader of that community increasingly experienced, and progressively communicated to His future followers, the onrushing influences of its informing force. The festive, the soul-entrancing odes which He revealed almost every day; the Tablets, replete with hints, which streamed from His pen; the allusions which, in private converse and public discourse, He made to the approaching hour; the exaltation which in moments of joy and sadness alike flooded His soul; the ecstasy which filled His lovers, already enraptured by the multiplying evidences of His rising greatness and glory; the perceptible change noted in His demeanor; and finally, His adoption of the taj (tall felt head-dress), on the day of His departure from His Most Holy House – all proclaimed unmistakably His imminent assumption of the prophetic office and of His open leadership of the community of the Bab’s followers.

“Many a night,” writes Nabil, depicting the tumult that had seized the hearts of Baha’u’llah’s companions, in the days prior to the declaration of His mission, “would Mirza Aqa Jan gather them together in his room, close the door, light numerous camphorated candles, and chant aloud to them the newly revealed odes and Tablets in his possession. Wholly oblivious of this contingent world, completely immersed in the realms of the spirit, forgetful of the necessity for food, sleep or drink, they would suddenly discover that night had become day, and that the sun was approaching its zenith.”

 

Exact circumstances of His Declaration are shrouded in an obscurity

Of the exact circumstances attending that epoch-making Declaration we, alas, are but scantily informed. The words Baha’u’llah actually uttered on that occasion, the manner of His Declaration, the reaction it produced, its impact on Mirza Yahya, the identity of those who were privileged to hear Him, are shrouded in an obscurity which future historians will find it difficult to penetrate. The fragmentary description left to posterity by His chronicler Nabil is one of the very few authentic records we possess of the memorable days He spent in that garden.

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