The nature of Baha'u'llah

iBrian

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What is the nature of Baha'u'llah?

Was he entirely human, but blessed in a particularly spiritual way - or to some extent Divine?

If the latter, in what way was he Divine?

Also, is Baha'u'llah and his teachings regarded as inerrant? If so, why? If not, in what way are they open to addition/correction?

Simply curious. :)
 
Nature of Baha'u'llah

Greetiings, Brian.

I have only just discovered this site and have been strolling around a bit. I love your questions and attitude, and think you are an excellent administrator! Keep up the good work!

As to the nature of Baha'u'llah -- this is absolutely central to understanding Baha'i belief. I hope you will not mind an extensive quote in Baha'u'llah's own words. (I have edited a bit - indicated by " .... " to shorten it and make reading easier.) Entire text: http://bahai-library.com/writings/bahaullah/gwb/022.html
I think it is best to start there, and add our personal explanations and explorations of the ideas afterwards.

Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah XXII: The Bearers of the Trust of God are made manifest ...

1 The Bearers of the Trust of God are made manifest unto the peoples of the earth as the Exponents of a new Cause and the Revealers of a new Message. Inasmuch as these Birds of the celestial Throne are all sent down from the heaven of the Will of God, and as they all arise to proclaim His irresistible Faith, they, therefore, are regarded as one soul and the same person. For they all drink from the one Cup of the love of God, and all partake of the fruit of the same Tree of Oneness.

2 These Manifestations of God have each a twofold station. One is the station of pure abstraction and essential unity. In this respect, if thou callest them all by one name, and dost ascribe to them the same attributes, thou hast not erred from the truth. ... For they, one and all, summon the people of the earth to acknowledge the unity of God, and herald unto them the Kawthar of an infinite grace and bounty. They are all invested with the robe of prophethood, and are honored with the mantle of glory. Thus hath Muhammad, the Point of the Qur'án, revealed: "I am all the Prophets." ...

3 It is clear and evident to thee that all the Prophets are the Temples of the Cause of God, Who have appeared clothed in divers attire. If thou wilt observe with discriminating eyes, thou wilt behold Them all abiding in the same tabernacle, soaring in the same heaven, seated upon the same throne, uttering the same speech, and proclaiming the same Faith. Such is the unity of those Essences of Being, those Luminaries of infinite and immeasurable splendor! Wherefore, should one of these Manifestations of Holiness proclaim saying: "I am the return of all the Prophets," He, verily, speaketh the truth. In like manner, in every subsequent Revelation, the return of the former Revelation is a fact, the truth of which is firmly established ....

4 The other station is the station of distinction, and pertaineth to the world of creation, and to the limitations thereof. In this respect, each Manifestation of God hath a distinct individuality, a definitely prescribed mission, a predestined revelation, and specially designated limitations. Each one of them is known by a different name, is characterized by a special attribute, fulfils a definite mission, and is entrusted with a particular Revelation. ...

5 It is because of this difference in their station and mission that the words and utterances flowing from these Well Springs of Divine knowledge appear to diverge and differ. Otherwise, in the eyes of them that are initiated into the mysteries of Divine wisdom, all their utterances are, in reality, but the expressions of one Truth. As most of the people have failed to appreciate those stations to which We have referred, they, therefore, feel perplexed and dismayed at the varying utterances pronounced by Manifestations that are essentially one and the same.

6 ... Thus, viewed from the standpoint of their oneness and sublime detachment, the attributes of Godhead, Divinity, Supreme Singleness, and Inmost Essence, have been, and are applicable to those Essences of Being, inasmuch as they all abide on the throne of Divine Revelation, and are established upon the seat of Divine Concealment. Through their appearance the Revelation of God is made manifest, and by their countenance the Beauty of God is revealed. Thus it is that the accents of God Himself have been heard uttered by these Manifestations of the Divine Being.

7 Viewed in the light of their second station ñ the station of distinction, differentiation, temporal limitations, characteristics and standards ñ they manifest absolute servitude, utter destitution, and complete self-effacement. Even as He saith: "I am the servant of God. I am but a man like you."...

8 Were any of the all-embracing Manifestations of God to declare: "I am God," He, verily, speaketh the truth, and no doubt attacheth thereto. For it hath been repeatedly demonstrated that through their Revelation, their attributes and names, the Revelation of God, His names and His attributes, are made manifest in the world. ... And were any of them to voice the utterance, "I am the Messenger of God," He, also, speaketh the truth, the indubitable truth. ... Viewed in this light, they are all but Messengers of that ideal King, that unchangeable Essence. And were they all to proclaim, "I am the Seal of the Prophets," they, verily, utter but the truth, beyond the faintest shadow of doubt. For they are all but one person, one soul, one spirit, one being, one revelation. They are all the manifestation of the "Beginning" and the "End," the "First" and the "Last," the "Seen" and the "Hidden" ñ all of which pertain to Him Who is the Innermost Spirit of Spirits and Eternal Essence of Essences. And were they to say, "We are the Servants of God," this also is a manifest and indisputable fact. For they have been made manifest in the uttermost state of servitude, a servitude the like of which no man can possibly attain. ...

9 Were the eye of discernment to be opened, it would recognize that in this very state, they have considered themselves utterly effaced and non-existent in the face of Him Who is the All-Pervading, the Incorruptible. Methinks, they have regarded themselves as utter nothingness, and deemed their mention in that Court an act of blasphemy. For the slightest whispering of self within such a Court is an evidence of self-assertion and independent existence. In the eyes of them that have attained unto that Court, such a suggestion is itself a grievous transgression. ....

10 By virtue of this station they have claimed for themselves the Voice of Divinity and the like, whilst by virtue of their station of Messengership, they have declared themselves the Messengers of God. In every instance they have voiced an utterance that would conform to the requirements of the occasion, and have ascribed all these declarations to Themselves, declarations ranging from the realm of Divine Revelation to the realm of creation, and from the domain of Divinity even unto the domain of earthly existence. Thus it is that whatsoever be their utterance, whether it pertain to the realm of Divinity, Lordship, Prophethood, Messengership, Guardianship, Apostleship, or Servitude, all is true, beyond the shadow of a doubt. ...
 
Sorry for the brief reply...

Basically, we believe that Baha'u'llah, and all the other Manifestations of God (including Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammed) were like perfectly polished mirrors reflecting forth the attributes of God. In every age God ordains that One such soul appears to reveal His will to mankind.

In them, we see the qualities of God, however this is not to say that they are God. We also acknowledge TWO stations of each Manifestation, one is their human side which gives them each distinct personalities and missions, the other is the Station of the Manifestation. When we ponder this we realise why sometimes the Manifestations speak of themselves and other times they speak as though with God's Tongue and refer to Him in the 1st person.

e.g. In Christianity: -

3rd Person (Human)
Mt 27:46
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

1st Person (The Manifestation/Mirror Reflecting God's Will and Attributes)
Joh 14:10
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

That's the gist of it... hopefully somebody will post some of Baha'u'llah's Writings to explain better.

Warmest,
Ocean Drop
 
Two big questions to continue this topic: :)


1. Baha'u'llah and the line of prophets

I'm curious - if Baha'u'llah is simply another in a line of prophets, and that other prophets will follow him, then why does Baha'u'llah actually need to be seen as the fulfillment of all current prophecies by the major religions?


2. Baha'u'llah and inerrancy

Also - a question on the nature of the Baha'u'llah - is he inerrant, or capable of error?

And if the reasoning is used that he speaks only what is told by God (as per the Islamic tradition and Muhammad) then is it not possible that - like the various prophets before him - that he was speaking not inerrant truths but only what was necessary for the ears of the culture being addressed? In this instance, disaffected Persians?

After all, the first of the Abramic line certainly don't appear to have been addressing humanity entire, as much as one specific peoples/cultural group.

Therefore is Baha'u'llah not also in this category?

In which case, on the theology side at least there is room for error by Baha'u'llah?

And if not, what would make Baha'u'llah such a special exception when the prophets before are deemed to have had their specific limitations - as necessitated by the fact that Baha'i sees Baha'u'llah as being an extension of a line that many of these other religions would naturally refute as a part of their general theology (ie, Jesus as the Christ and Son of God - fin; and the Islamic notion of Khatemiyyat (which seems somehow re-opened, re-presented, and then re-closed about Baha'u'llah)?
 
I said:
I'm curious - if Baha'u'llah is simply another in a line of prophets, and that other prophets will follow him, then why does Baha'u'llah actually need to be seen as the fulfillment of all current prophecies by the major religions?

Briefly, every religion associates the coming of the Promised One with mankind entering a new age. The Hindu's await the Kalki Avatar to appear and end the Kali Yuga (dark age) and bring about a Golden Age. The Buddhists await Maitreya. Zoroastarians await a "World-Renovator". Christians and Muslims await Christ to return and establish "Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, On Earth As It is In Heaven" as a reality. This Promised One is not only associated with a new revelation, but with a resurrection of mankind to such an extent that it will be even as a new creation altogether, for example: -

Bible
Revelation 21:1
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away;


Qur'an
104. The Day that we roll up the heavens like a scroll rolled up for books (completed) -- even as We produced the first Creation, so shall We produce a new one: a promise We have undertaken: truly shall We fulfil it.

(The Qur'an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 21)


We believe that with the Tip of Baha'u'llah's Most Exalted Pen, everything was made new and the teachings that will allow mankind to soar to the lofty heights promised in all scriptures has been laid out. The old creation has been rolled up as a scroll and a new creation of unity, peace, love and humbleness to our God is being rolled out in its stead.

I said:
Also - a question on the nature of the Baha'u'llah - is he inerrant, or capable of error?

No. God ordains that for every age a pure one appears to reveal God's will to mankind. An imperfect teacher would be inadequate to dispense perfect teachings.

I said:
And if the reasoning is used that he speaks only what is told by God (as per the Islamic tradition and Muhammad) then is it not possible that - like the various prophets before him - that he was speaking not inerrant truths but only what was necessary for the ears of the culture being addressed? In this instance, disaffected Persians?

Baha'u'llah revealed God's will for our time, a time in which not even borders and oceans are a barrier between the nations. In the words of Baha'u'llah "The Earth is But One Country, and Mankind Its Citizens". All His teachings are world embracing, hence why it is established in more countries than any other religion in the world (after Christianity). It is not specific to any culture, nation or any other group.. but to mankind as a whole.

I said:
After all, the first of the Abramic line certainly don't appear to have been addressing humanity entire, as much as one specific peoples/cultural group.

2000 years ago when Christ appeared, the Americas had yet to be discovered, Columbus had yet to set sail, the Earth was still thought to be flat etc. etc.. In such times, and even in 622AD when Muhammed appeared, the Earth was unready for the world embracing teachings of Baha'u'llah. God reveals His will as per the needs and capacity of mankind.

Hopefully you can see how the above answers, though brief, can be applied to answer the other questions posed.

Warmest,
Ocean Drop
 
Ocean Drop,

I have only one or two minor problems with what you had to say. You said

"No. God ordains that for every age a pure one appears to reveal God's will to mankind. An imperfect teacher would be inadequate to dispense perfect teachings."

First, you would need to define an "Age", so that one can verify your statement.

Secondly, God often used imperfect teachers to dispense his perfect teachings. "Truth is Truth whether it comes from Balaam's ass or Jesus". Of course, we cannot just accept words as truth, for they remain merely words until we have been lead to the point of perceiving the underlying Truths. "The letter kills, but the spirit gives life".

In His love,

Reed
 
Hi Reed,

The Perfect Teachers I refer to are: -

Abraham, Buddha, Moses, Krishna, Zoroaster, Christ, Muhammed, The Bab, Baha'u'llah.

Warmest,
Ocean Drop
 
overmywaders said:
Ocean Drop,

I have only one or two minor problems with what you had to say. You said

"No. God ordains that for every age a pure one appears to reveal God's will to mankind. An imperfect teacher would be inadequate to dispense perfect teachings."

First, you would need to define an "Age", so that one can verify your statement.

Secondly, God often used imperfect teachers to dispense his perfect teachings. "Truth is Truth whether it comes from Balaam's ass or Jesus". Of course, we cannot just accept words as truth, for they remain merely words until we have been lead to the point of perceiving the underlying Truths. "The letter kills, but the spirit gives life".

In His love,

Reed

Reed,

THe "Age" we live in....is fairly unique as far as we know for it's scientific advances and social characteristics that are pretty much unprecedented... We Baha'is believe the Revelation for today meets the unique problems we are facing... Issues of how we can get along together in a shrinking world... Elimianting prejudice and building the foundations of world peace.

Each age has unique problems that we believe were addressed by the Messengers of God.

Another answer to your question about "ages" in terms of past scriptures you have prophetic periods of time.

Your last comment:

"God often used imperfect teachers to dispense his perfect teachings."

God can use anyone of course but in our belief there were certain Manifestations of God that were unique in that they were perfectly reflecting the attributes of God and that mankind in turning to Them was able to understand God better ... such as in Jesus Christ. We also accept that Moses, Muhammad and Baha'u'llah were similar Manifestations of God.

- Art
 
O la la!

About Baha'u'llah being the fulfillment of the prophecies pronounced in earlier religions, for innocent humor - O la la! and I trust Baha'u'llah himself would not mind, I recall an experience my wife and I went through when we were into the soya diet fad.

We went to the common market to look for soya beans to make soya drinks and soya curds. But we didn't even know how it looked like. At one stall there were several kinds of beans on display. So we asked the woman stallholder whether they had soya beans.

She pointed to a bowl of white kidney shaped beans about a little over 1/2 inch long and less than 1/4 inch wide.

"Is that soya beans?" I asked her dubiously. You know what she answered me?

She replied with a rhetorical question, looking at me inquiringly, "Aren't you looking for soya beans?"

So, to play safe, my wife and I just bought a pound.

At home we were told by friends who were also into that fad, that what we bought was not soya beans but the common white beans used for pork and beans dishes. Soya bean is smaller and more rotund.


Now, I hope Baha'u'llah is enjoying himself with this clever ruse of the stallholder.

No offense intended, but just for fun.

Susma Rio Sep
 
Susma Rio Sep said:
About Baha'u'llah being the fulfillment of the prophecies pronounced in earlier religions, for innocent humor - ....


Now, I hope Baha'u'llah is enjoying himself with this clever ruse of the stallholder.

No offense intended, but just for fun.

Susma Rio Sep

Actually Baha'u'llah enjoyed humour as did His son Abdul-Baha and our Writings sometimes have humorous stories in them... of course these were in Farsi usually and not always easily conveyed in English..

"Humour, happiness, joy are characteristics of a true Bahá'í life. Frivolity palls and eventually leads to boredom and emptiness, but true happiness and joy and humour that are parts of a balanced life that includes serious thought, compassion and humble servitude to God are characteristics that enrich life and add to its radiance."

- Art
 
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