Friday, April 21, 2006

Ridvan: The Resurrection of All Mankind

(Entrance to the Shrine of Baha'u'llah the Holiest Spot on Earth for Baha'is)

Baha'is around the world have began celebrating what is known as the Festival of Ridvan. "Ridvan" means Paradise and the twelves days of this Festival commemorate the public declaration of Baha'u'llah of His Prophetic Mission in 1863 in Baghdad. These twelve days are the most holy of Holy Days in the Baha'i calendar. In every part of the globe, north, south, east and west Baha'is representing more than 2,100 racial, national, and ethnic groups will be praising the name of Baha'u'llah. When I reflect on what this special period means to me, it is essentially about a promise made and a promise kept. God, Lord of the Universe has promised humanity that we would never be left without His love, guidance, and wisdom. From age to age He has sent us those trascendent Figures of History, the Educators of humanity such as Moses, Christ and Muhammad. We have also been promised that a Day would come when peace, justice and unity would envelope the world, a world that would reflect to the fullest degree the Will of God. Like all the promises of the Creator, this promise has also been kept. When the Glory of God (Baha'u'llah) lifted the veils of concealment and announced the joyful tidings of the coming of the Kingdom in 1863, the Promised One of All Religions was finally made manifest.

"Arise, and proclaim unto the entire creation the tidings that He Who is the All-Merciful hath directed His steps towards the Ridvan and entered it. Guide, then, the people unto the garden of delight which God hath made the Throne of His Paradise. We have chosen thee to be our most mighty Trumpet, whose blast is to signalize the resurrection of all mankind." (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 31) "Suffer me not, O my Lord, to be deprived of the knowledge of Thee in Thy days, and divest me not of the robe of Thy guidance. Give me to drink of the river that is life indeed, whose waters have streamed forth from the Paradise (Ridvan) in which the throne of Thy Name, the All-Merciful, was established, that mine eyes may be opened, and my face be illumined, and my heart be assured, and my soul be enlightened, and my steps be made firm." (Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 4)