Crossing the River
Bahá'u'lláh boarded a small boat waiting for Him; the people pressed all around Him, wishing to be in His Presence for as long as they could.
The boat pushed off, and ferried Bahá'u'lláh across the water, in company with 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the Purest Branch , another of His sons, and His secretary, and the companions on the bank all watched with sorrowing hearts as He receded into the distance.
Bahá'u'lláh set foot on the opposite bank and crossed into the Garden, just as the call of 'God is the Greatest' resounded throughout the district from the pinnacles of the mosque, summoning the inhabitants to the late afternoon prayer, at two hours to sunset. Shortly after Bahá'u'lláh's arrival, the River rose up, making it difficult to cross, and it was only on the ninth day that the whole of Bahá'u'lláh's family was able to join Him.
Those Remaining on the Banks
An extraordinary exhilaration, a marvellous exaltation in the atmosphere filled the companions that day. As they remained watching on the bank, they were aware of this, yet unable to understand what in due time they were to learn.
Seeing the boat reach the other side and Bahá'u'lláh disappear in the distance, they started off on foot toward the main bridge floating on the River, they made their way to the Garden, where food was cooking and tea prepared for the friends.
The Garden of Ridvan
For twelve days Bahá'u'lláh stayed in the Garden, and would be found each day in the utmost joy, walking majestically in the flower-lined avenues and amongst the trees.
The friends living in Baghdad would come during the day and return home each night, whilst others would be engaged in service to those in the Garden.
Eminent rulers, clergy and jurists would come continuously to Bahá'u'lláh's tent with their insoluble problems, and take their leave satisfied with their dilemmas entirely solved.
Day 1 - Mystery Manifest
On the very first day of the Ridván festivities, Bahá'u'lláh shone out to the world like the most brilliant sun. At that critical hour and without warning, amidst the unending multitude of interrupting visitors thronging His tent and the dangers such a news would bring to His exile, Bahá'u'lláh chose to lay bare the mystery surrounding His person, and assume the power and authority of the One promised by the Báb. He made known how the effulgence of the Eternal Truth had at that moment infused all created things with the life of every divine quality, immersing creation in the sea of purification; the sword was to be utterly cast from reach; and He made it known that the next Messenger would come to the world after a thousand years. In such a way, and through many signs, Bahá'u'lláh conveyed His position to those who were present, and announced with great joy the start of the Festival of Ridvan. Though on the threshold of His exile into great suffering in far-away lands, yet sadness and grief entirely vanished from everyone's hearts, and was replaced with unclouded delight.
The Story of Ridván