First time reading Book of Covenant & Book of the Branch

Sep 2018
19
Canada
#1
Was been reading the Covenant with Baha'u'llah to understand administration better. Please take no offense at the posting, I'm just seeking clarity. N O T attacking the religion, just want to understand things and ask for help.

Ghusn-i-A'zam and Ghusn-i-Ackbar: How do we know that the titles are talking of Abdu'l-Baha and Muhammad Ali? I tried looking for seeing more on Abdu'lbaha being a branch, but can't find anywhere that says he is the branch? It seems like the branch identity isn't revealed directly. I know Abdu'l-Baha is leader after Baha'u'llah but can't find any place where Baha'u'llah directly calls him branch like this? There isn't even a reference in the tablet of the branch identifying Abdulbaha as Mighty Branch. It sounds like the most mighty branch is a mystery person but I know this isn't true. Muhammad Ali I know nothing but just Googled the title and found his name.
"We have chosen ‘the Greater’ after ‘the Most Great’, as decreed by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Informed. " I don't understand this, is the Greater branch Shoghi Effendi? My google tells me its Muhammad Ali but he was not leader after Abdulbaha so I don't know.

I thought Abdu'l-Baha can interpret? I googled more and came to quote saying what people don't understand, tell Abdu'l-Baha. To me this doesn't mean his interpret is always correct, but his understanding is better. And why by him do bones rot faster? "Through him every mouldering bone is quickened." Like through him things will die?

I'm so confused and want to understand more, sorry if this is repeat or sounds aggressive. I really mean no attack here, I think of Baha'i a lot and maybe joining but I need to understand things like this before I commit.
 
Likes: tonyfish58
Mar 2015
227
Bend area, Oregon
#2
Ravinder:

You wrote in part, ". . . I think of Baha'i a lot and maybe joining but I need to understand things like this before I commit."

As my time is limited for now, I will comment briefly that you have asked some valid questions which deserve explanation, and as you have wisely indicated in your words above, before "commit(ting)" and/or "joining" you definately must continue to prayerfully and thoroughly seek a fuller understanding of the Will and Testament of Bahá'u'lláh, being the Kitáb-i-`Ahd (Book of My Covenant), and His designation in that "Book" of Ghuṣn-i-A`ẓam (Most Mighty Branch) as well as the mention in it of Ghuṣn-i-Akbar (Greater Branch).

I am very willing to provide further comment later should others not do so in the interim.

LR
 
Mar 2015
227
Bend area, Oregon
#3
Ravinder:

I will offer a few more comments and thoughts for your consideration.

Bahá'u'lláh in multiple places refers to His spiritual Reality as being the Sadratu'l-Muntahá, literally the “tree beyond which there is no passing” (see Qur'an 53:14), or the “Divine Lote-Tree”. His sons were all known as the aghsán (branches), or when speaking of them in the singular as a ghuṣn (branch) of that Tree. Some of His sons were designed with special titles well known amongst themselves, the entire family, and those around them. His daughters were given the title of varaqat (leaf or leaves) of that Tree.

Bahá'u'lláh titled His eldest son, Abbas, as Ghuṣn-i-A`ẓam, translated as “Most Mighty Branch” or “Most Great Branch”. Bahá'u'lláh titled His second son, Mírzá Muhammad `Alí, as Ghuṣn-i-Akbar, translated as “Greater Branch” or “Greatest Branch”. It was not until after Bahá'u'lláh’s passing, when Abbas as the “Most Mighty Branch” was accused by his brothers of over-reaching the authorities bestowed upon Him by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-`Ahd (Book of My Covenant), that Abbas began referring to Himself as `Abdu'l-Bahá, meaning servant of Bahá. From that time forward He has been referred to in the Bahá’í community as `Abdu'l-Bahá (Servant of Bahá). `Abdu'l-Bahá claimed no other authority for Himself other than the responsibilities bestowed upon Him by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-`Ahd, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Most Holy Book), the Súriy-i-Ghusn (Tablet of the Branch), or in a number of other Tablets revealed mentioning the significance of Him as a “branch”.

Although Bahá'u'lláh refers to them both in the Kitáb-i-`Ahd, before (or if) we need to delve into the depths of all that, let’s consider Bahá'u'lláh’s counsels in His Lawh-i-Maqṣúd, “At the outset of every endeavour, it is incumbent to look to the end of it”, and in His Asl-i-Kullu’l-Khayr “. . . to look at the end of things . . .”. Considering Bahá'u'lláh’s counsel, and weighing the works of `Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas and Mírzá Muhammad `Alí’, let us then ask some questions. Which one was responsible for the wide spread of the Cause of God in His lifetime? Which one was responsible for pouring all his efforts into opposition of the work of the other? Which one is it that has “given birth to an Instrument which may be viewed as the Charter of the New World Order” for what Bahá'u'lláh referred to as “this unique, this wondrous System—the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed”? As we “look at the end of things”, what were the end results of `Abdu'l-Bahá’s works for the Cause of God and what were the end results of Mírzá Muhammad `Alí’s efforts related to the Cause of God?

For now, please consider those questions. Thank you.

-LR
 
Likes: tonyfish58
Mar 2015
227
Bend area, Oregon
#4
Ravinder:

In further reference to your query about Bahá'u'lláh specifically referring to `Abdu'l-Bahá as Ghuṣn-i-A`ẓam in the Kitáb-i-`Ahd, consider that Mírzá Muhammad `Alí was well aware of it, just as he was designated as Ghuṣn-i-Akbar in that same Document. In all that Mírzá Muhammad `Alí opposed, he would surely have also opposed `Abdu'l-Bahá’s title as Ghuṣn-i-A`ẓam should he have had an issue with it. Per my understanding, there is no record of Mírzá Muhammad `Alí ever objecting to `Abdu'l-Bahá's title Ghuṣn-i-A`ẓam.

In Shoghi Effendi’s treatise ‘The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh’ he wrote, “In a letter dictated by Bahá'u'lláh and addressed by Mírzá Áqá Ján, His amanuensis, to `Abdu'l-Bahá while the latter was on a visit to Beirut, we read the following: ‘Praise be to Him Who hath honored the Land of Bá (Beirut) through the presence of Him round Whom all names revolve. All the atoms of the earth have announced unto all created things that from behind the gate of the Prison-city there hath appeared and above its horizon there hath shone forth the Orb of the beauty of the great, the Most Mighty Branch of God --His ancient and immutable Mystery--proceeding on its way to another land. Sorrow, thereby, hath enveloped this Prison-city, whilst another land rejoiceth... Blessed, doubly blessed, is the ground which His footsteps have trodden, the eye that hath been cheered by the beauty of His countenance, the ear that hath been honored by hearkening to His call, the heart that hath tasted the sweetness of His love, the breast that hath dilated through His remembrance, the pen that hath voiced His praise, the scroll that hath borne the testimony of His writings.’ " (The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 136)

In the Kitáb-i-`Ahd, Bahá'u'lláh makes it clear that the Ghuṣn-i-A`ẓam is the one He had previously referred to in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (verse 121) where He reveals, “When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root.” In the Kitáb-i-`Ahd , Bahá'u'lláh also wrote, “Verily God hath ordained the station of the Greater Branch [Muḥammad ‘Alí] to be beneath that of the Most Great Branch [‘Abdu’l-Bahá]. He is in truth the Ordainer, the All-Wise. We have chosen ‘the Greater’ after ‘the Most Great’, as decreed by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.” Considering that “. . . God hath ordained the station of the Greater Branch to be beneath that of the Most Great Branch”, we might ponder on what Bahá'u'lláh has revealed in another Tablet, “. . . They that are of the same grade and station are fully aware of one another’s capacity, character, accomplishments and merits. They that are of a lower grade, however, are incapable of comprehending adequately the station, or of estimating the merits, of those that rank above them. Each shall receive his share from thy Lord. . . .” (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, LXXXVI)

When considering `Abdu'l-Bahá as the designated Interpreter, one might first turn to Bahá'u'lláh’s words in His Commentary on the Surah of the Sun (Quran 91), “Know assuredly that just as thou firmly believest that the Word of God, exalted be His glory, endureth for ever, thou must, likewise, believe with undoubting faith that its meaning can never be exhausted. They who are its appointed interpreters, they whose hearts are the repositories of its secrets, are, however, the only ones who can comprehend its manifold wisdom. Whoso, while reading the Sacred Scriptures, is tempted to choose therefrom whatever may suit him with which to challenge the authority of the Representative of God among men, is, indeed, as one dead, though to outward seeming he may walk and converse with his neighbors, and share with them their food and their drink.” (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, LXXXIX) As you know, in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (verse 121) already cited above, Bahá'u'lláh directs all to “turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root.” Then prior to the the Kitáb-i-Aqdas Bahá'u'lláh revealed, “Verily the Limb of the Law of God hath sprung forth from this Root which God hath firmly implanted in the Ground of His Will . . . Whoso turneth towards Him hath turned towards God, and whoso turneth away from Him hath turned away from My beauty, hath repudiated My Proof, and transgressed against Me.(Súriy-i-Ghusn) For me personally, it is an interesting observation, but may be no more than my vain imaginings, but the term “A`ẓam” in the title Ghuṣn-i-A`ẓam, and the term “Akbar” in the title Ghuṣn-i-Akbar are derived from entirely different Arabic language “roots”.

In the Súriy-i-Ghusn, where Bahá'u'lláh reveals that “through Him every mouldering bone is quickened” does not mean that “by him bones rot faster”, but symbolically means just the opposite – they “quickened”, having new life. Bahíyyih Khánum (the Greatest Holy Leaf) also wrote, “By the righteousness of God, O beloved friend, through this glad-tiding the ailing are cured and every mouldering bone is quickened. This most joyful tiding is the news of the good health and well-being of the blessed, the exalted, the holy person of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘He Whom God hath purposed’—may the life of all created things be offered up for His oneness.” Consider Bahá'u'lláh’s words as one example, “Whoso hath been quickened by its vitalizing power, will find himself impelled to attain the court of the Beloved; and whoso hath deprived himself therefrom, will sink into irretrievable despondency.” (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, LXXXV)

I hope what I have more completely offered above satisfies to some degree your queries. Take care.

-LR
 
Sep 2018
19
Canada
#5
This is very informative, thank you so much Larry! You have described issues perfectly to me. I really can't give enough thanks, you have put a smile to me!
 

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