Sunday, 6 November 2011

God does suffice

I discovered recently something new about the 'God sufficeth' prayer revealed by the Bab. The full version of the prayer appears on page 123 of Selections from the Writings of the Bab.

"Say: God sufficeth all things above all things, and nothing in the heavens or in the earth or in whatever lieth between them but God, thy Lord, sufficeth. Verily, He is in Himself the Knower, the Sustainer, the Omnipotent."

What I didn't know is that, in Persian Bayan 9:6, the Bab says that if a person recites this prayer 314 times, any question that person may have will be answered. Well, that is a very succinct comment on what the Bab actually says, but I don't have a translation of it, sorry.

I decided to give it a go. I haven't done a marathon session in ages. Baha'u'llah put me off doing it because he recommends not praying so much that you get fatigued. But since the Bab suggested it, I thought it would be OK.

I paced myself. I found that I was able, just, to do roughly 100 at a time. I took an hour or more off between each session. Effectively, it took all day, and the praying was my principal occupation for that day. My concentration went in and out, but overall, wasn't too bad. Certainly, it was all spent by the time I could see the finishing line. I used a book with over 314 pages to count, turning a page each time I recited two prayers.

As for the issue I was ostensibly praying about (a solution to a friend's difficulty), that is already sorting itself out like it never really was a problem at all.

What I didn't anticipate was the brand new view of the Kingdom I gained from my effort. The sessions took me deep into a zone that is hidden in the words of the prayer and I saw the heaven of unlimited abundance that Baha'u'llah speaks of in his writings. I can relate now to the image of the bread coming down from heaven. Bread is our sustenance. In everyday life, we tend to look 'laterally' for it; in other words, we look for it in things and people around us. But that isn't where the baker's shop is. The baker's shop is the invisible realm of the Kingdom. That's where all gifts and bounties originate. If you need anything, that's the place to source it. The difficult bit is to see that the shop is located close to you and that it is open, so you can walk into it anytime to obtain what you need, for free.

"Now look, what a sun in the sky there is;
night has retreated from the hills.
The wholesale bazaar of lovers
has been scattered by your perfumed locks
And because of your lips -- sugar rubies --
everything smells like a confectioner's shop."
-- Baha'u'llah: O Nightingales

There really is a confectioner's shop, just two bow length's away. And the amazing thing is this: it is an unending bounty. It never goes away. It is eternal. So once you find it, that's it, you have it for good. On and on, for a very, very long time after physical death. I love it now when Baha'u'llah uses images like "the ocean of Thy generosity", "the ocean of Thy knowledge", "the heaven of Thy gifts", "the living waters of Thy loving-kindness", "the endlessness of Thy purpose".

To everyone out there searching, I say: stop focusing solely on your difficulties, the details of your life and what's going on in this world. Give them to God to sort out, for God can do anything - absolutely anything. Baha'u'llah wants to be with you, and that means he wants to be with a person who is present to him, not one who is concerned with the comings and goings of the world of limitations. Leave that world to those who think they can win in it. Choose to win, instead, where you can win everything you've ever wanted and much, much more, and where there's enough for everyone else to do the same.

You know what? I'm beginning to wonder if I will run out of prose. I can see why some mystics wrote poetry, because there really does come a time when you can only allude to what you want to say. No words will point directly.

4 comments:

Farzin Barazandeh said...

I am always an admirer of what you write. Thank you for being such an exceptional person, woman and Baha'i.

SKG Blogger said...

The Babi/Baha'i split has problems for Baha'i practices.

Generally, the Bab reccomended various practices for Babis/Bayaniis. The problem is what status those practices have for Baha'is.

Alison Marshall said...

I don't understand why that is a problem. Baha'is are free to follow any practice given by the Bab, provided it does not conflict with the Aqdas. The Aqdas and related writings lay down what applies to Baha'is. But other Babi practices still have spiritual potency, just as, for example, saying the Lord's Prayer does. These practices are revealed by manifestations of God. You don't have to do them, but you can if they help you.

SKG Blogger said...

Also, do you have a full copy (not selections) from any of the writings of the Bab in English?