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Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era

  • Author:
  • J. E. Esslemont

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 edition
  • Pages:
  • 286
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Pages 31-33

Letters to Kings

About this time Bahá’u’lláh wrote His famous letter to the Sulṭán of Turkey, many of the crowned heads of Europe, the Pope, and the Sháh of Persia. Later, in His Kitáb-i-Aqdas 1 He addressed other sovereigns, the rulers and Presidents of America, the leaders of religion in general and the generality of mankind. To all, He announced His mission and called upon them to bend their energies to the establishment of true religion, just government and international peace. In His letter to the Sháh He powerfully pleaded the cause of the oppressed Bábís and asked to be brought face to face with those who had instigated their persecution. Needless to say, this request was not complied with; Badí, the young and devoted Bahá’í who delivered the letter of Bahá’u’lláh, was seized and martyred with fearful tortures, hot bricks being pressed on his flesh!
In the same letter Bahá’u’lláh gives a most moving account of His own sufferings and longings:—
O King, I have seen in the way of God what no eye hath seen and no ear hath heard. Friends have disclaimed me; 32 ways are straitened unto me; the pool of safety is dried up; the plain of ease is [scorched] yellow. How many calamities have descended, and how many will descend! I walk advancing toward the Mighty, the Bounteous, while behind me glides the serpent. My eyes rain down tears until my bed is drenched; but my sorrow is not for myself. By God, my head longeth for the spears for the love of its Lord, and I never pass by a tree but my heart addresseth it [saying], “O would that thou wert cut down in my name and my body were crucified upon thee in the way of my Lord;” yea, because I see mankind going astray in their intoxication, and they know it not: they have exalted their lusts, and put aside their God, as though they took the command of God for a mockery, a sport, and a plaything; and they think that they do well, and that they are harboured in the citadel of security. The matter is not as they suppose: to-morrow they shall see what they [now] deny.
We are about to shift from this most remote place of banishment [Adrianople] unto the prison of Acre. And, according to what they say, it is assuredly the most desolate of the cities of the world, the most unsightly of them in appearance, the most detestable in climate, and the foulest in water; it is as though it were the metropolis of the owl; there is not heard from its regions aught save the sound of its hooting. And in it they intend to imprison the servant, and to shut in our faces the doors of leniency and take away from us the good things of the life of the world during what remaineth of our days. By God, though weariness should weaken me, and hunger should destroy me, though my couch should be made of the hard rock and my associates of the beasts of the desert, I will not blench, but will be patient, as the resolute and determined are patient, in the strength of God, the King of Pre-existence, the Creator of the nations; and under all circumstances I give thanks unto God. And we hope of His graciousness (exalted is He) … that He will render [all men’s] faces sincere toward Him, the Mighty, 33 the Bounteous. Verily He answereth him who prayeth unto Him, and is near unto him who calleth on Him. And we ask Him to make this dark calamity a buckler for the body of His saints, and to protect them thereby from sharp swords and piercing blades. Through affliction hath His light shone and His praise been bright unceasingly: this hath been His method through past ages and bygone times. A Traveller’s Narrative (Episode of the Báb), pp. 145–147.
1. The Aqdas, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, The Book of Aqdas, and The Most Holy Book all refer to the same book.   [ Back To Reference]