October 12, 2021

The sufferings of Bahá’u’lláh and their significance – by George Townshend, M.A.

The Prayers and Meditations of Bahá’u’lláh which the beloved Guardian has given us is in large measure an intimate remembrance of the Redeemer's sufferings. And Bahá’u’lláh wished us to meditate on these sufferings. In the Tablet of Ahmad He says: "Remember My days during thy days, and My distress and banishment in this remote prison."

In a great poem known as the Fire Tablet He records at length the tale of His calamities and writes at the close:

"Thank the Lord for this Tablet whence thou canst breathe the fragrance of My meekness and know what hath beset Us in the path of God." He adds: "Should all the servants read and ponder this, there shall be kindled in their veins a fire that shall set aflame the world."

True religion in all ages has called on the faithful to suffer. On the one hand it brings to mankind a happiness in the absolute and the everlasting which is found nowhere but in religion. No unbeliever knows any joy which in its preciousness can be compared to the joys of religion. "The true monk," it has been said, "brings nothing with him but his lyre."

On the other hand Heaven is walled about with fire. This bliss must be bought at a great price. So it has ever been in all religions of mankind.

An ancient hymn of India proclaims a truth as real now as it was in distant times:

The way of the Lord is for heroes. It is not meant for cowards.

Offer first your life and your all. Then take the name of the Lord.

He only tastes of the Divine Cup who gives his son, his wife, his wealth and his own life.

He verily who seeks for pearls must dive to the bottom of the sea, endangering his very existence.

Death he regards as naught; he forgets all the miseries of mind and body.

He who stands on the shore, fearing to take the plunge, attains naught.

The path of love is the ordeal of fire. The shrinkers learn from it.

Those who take the plunge into the fire attain eternal bliss.

Those who stand afar off, looking on, are scorched by the flames.

Love is a priceless thing only to be won at the cost of death.

Those who live to die, those attain; for they have shed all thoughts of self.

Those heroic souls who are rapt in the love of the Lord, they are the true lovers.

All the founders of religions have had to endure rejection and wrong, and as mankind grew more and more mature and the victory of God nearer, these wrongs, these sufferings have grown more and more severe continually.