O Nightingales, by Baha’u’llah
Cosmic Conversations Blog
by Alison Marshall
1w ago
O Nightingales (Ay Bulbulan) is a short poem in which Baha’u’llah announces to those who are searching for their divine Beloved that they can now see him before them. Read the Introduction. Watch on YouTube. Translation by Juan Cole Nightingales, O nightingales! The season of roses, the blooming time… is here. Mystics, O mystics! What you could not see, now you can. Lovers, O lovers! The adored one’s cheek is in full view. Seekers, O seekers! The object of desire is before your eyes. The beauty of the Eternal Truth has dawned; the lights of the Absolute have shone. You must be freed from the b ..read more
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Houri of Wonder, by Baha’u’llah
Cosmic Conversations Blog
by Alison Marshall
1w ago
Houri of Wonder (Hur-i ‘Ujab) is a poem in which Baha’u’llah proclaims the coming of his new revelation using the image of a woman of striking beauty and power appearing in heaven. Read the Introduction. Watch on YouTube. Translation by Juan Cole The beauty of holiness has risen from behind her veil–          and that is a wondrous thing; And spirits have fainted from the fire of their attraction,          and that is a wondrous affair. Then they awoke and soared into the pavilions of sanctity at the thro ..read more
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History of Ridvan, by Baha’u’llah
Cosmic Conversations Blog
by Alison Marshall
1w ago
History of Ridvan is the name given by the translator to a short, but important, passage Baha’u’llah wrote on the Day of Ridvan (21 April, 1863), in which he abrogates the law of holy war. Read the Introduction by Juan Cole. Translation by Juan Cole On the first day that the Ancient Beauty (Baha’u’llah) seated himself upon the Most Great Throne at the garden that was entitled “Ridvan” [“paradise”], the tongue of grandeur uttered three blessed verses. One was that in this dispensation, the sword has been sheathed. Another was that anyone who put forward a claim [to be a Manifestation] before th ..read more
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Introduction to Gems of the Mysteries
Cosmic Conversations Blog
by Alison Marshall
1w ago
This is an introduction to Baha’u’llah’s book-length work Gems of the Mysteries. The introduction is written by Juan Cole, who has also translated the work. A revolution was introduced into Babi culture in the late 1850s and early 1860s by the exiled nobleman Mirza Husayn ‘Ali Nuri, known as Baha’u’llah (1817-1892). The messianic Babi movement founded in Iran by Sayyid ‘Ali Muhammad Shirazi (1819-1850) had primarily employed an esoteric or gnostic cultural style similar to the kabbalah in Judaism, expressed for the most part in Arabic. In Iraq, Baha’u’llah turned instead to the Sufi or mystica ..read more
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Progress on my book, Paradise of Presence
Cosmic Conversations Blog
by Alison Marshall
5M ago
I am making good progress on my book, Paradise of Presence: Conversations in the Mindscape of Eternity. In September 2023, I decided to stop writing blog posts in order to focus completely on the book. It was a wise decision, because I have been able to complete all the chapters of the book. I am now doing a final edit and sending them off to my reviewer. Once that is done, I can focus on writing the Introduction. The book is turning out to be much better than I imagined it would be when I started writing in 2015. It just kept developing as I kept working on it. I’d write a draft, leave it for ..read more
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In support of Ukraine
Cosmic Conversations Blog
by Alison Marshall
10M ago
I am a big supporter of Ukraine. As a follower of Baha’u’llah, I consider it my religious duty to support Ukraine. But having said that, my support isn’t out of duty; on the contrary, I am passionate about it. In this blog post, I explain why. The fundamental reason I support Ukraine is because, as I understand it, this position is in keeping with Baha’u’llah’s principles. Writing in the mid-19th century – in other words, years prior to the situation we face today – Baha’u’llah said that if one country takes up arms against another, then everyone must rise up to prevent the aggressor country f ..read more
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Baha’u’llah is a cure for conspiracy theories
Cosmic Conversations Blog
by Alison Marshall
11M ago
Baha’u’llah is a cure for conspiracy theories. He regularly tells his followers to eliminate their idle fancies and vain imaginings. Those two terms serve as umbrella concepts that incorporate an awful lot of mental baggage. Conspiracy theories, which are theories based in fear and on disinformation, are a good example of modern-day vain imaginings. These theories have reality only in the minds of their believers.  The other day, during a conversation with a relative, I discovered that this person believes in conspiracy theories – that democracy is discredited due to a deep state conspira ..read more
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Commentary: Tablet of the Howdah
Cosmic Conversations Blog
by Alison Marshall
11M ago
Tablet of the Howdah is a largely unknown work of Baha’u’llah. The translation by Stephen Lambden appears in volume 3 of Eric Michot’s four-volume pdf series of provisional translations of Baha’u’llah. Baha’u’llah wrote the tablet during his journey from Baghdad to Istanbul, which took him across Turkey and up to the northern coast, where he saw the Black Sea for the first time at the port of Samsun. Apparently, Mirza Aqa Jan asked Baha’u’llah to reveal a tablet for the occasion. Referring to the revelation that descended on him, Baha’u’llah commented that this tablet was linked to the Tablet ..read more
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The kingdom of God is within
Cosmic Conversations Blog
by Alison Marshall
1y ago
Where is the kingdom of God? Where is the entrance that goes through from this physical world into the kingdom of God?  The kingdom of God is found in a mysterious and unexpected place. Just as the entrance to Narnia was unexpectedly discovered at the back of a wardrobe, the entrance to the kingdom of God is also located in a mysterious and unexpected place. It is in the heart of each person.  Does the entrance have a door? Yes. How do you open the door? Is it locked? Yes, you need a key to unlock the door.  Where is the key? Is it hidden too? Yes, it’s hidden in a place most pe ..read more
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Love is what unites us
Cosmic Conversations Blog
by Alison Marshall
1y ago
I believe love is what unites us. The theme of unity pervades the Baha’i writings, and believers talk about it constantly, and pray for a world filled with united people. But what exactly is it that unites humanity? I say it is love. What is love? I say it is Baha’u’llah, his Word, and his light. I say that it is this that unites all human beings and, indeed, all in creation. This is what I believe, this is what I am all about, this is what I teach, and this is what my book is about. Despite this testimony, I am not a member of the Baha’i community because the Universal House of Justice has de ..read more
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