Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ridvan Rocks!

I hadn't planned to do another Ridvan post, but it seems I've come down with a case of Ridvan Fever. I realized more clearly than ever before in my Baha'i life that Ridvan is my favorite time of the year. The Fast? Deep and profound. Naw Ruz? A great release after the "season of restraint". The birthdays of the Bab or Baha'u'llah? So, so sweeeet as we say in Boston. Ayyam-i-Ha? Good, clean fun for all. Ridvan? Nothing can touch it! Our 12th Day of Ridvan celebration last night at the Boston Baha'i Center was no exception. The usual crowd hailing from diverse points on the globe gathered for prayers, readings from Baha'i history detailing those epic twelve days in the Ridvan Garden outside of Baghdad in 1863 and some music. The evening was put together by some of the Baha'i youth who were well represented (they are the future of the Cause of God after all). Having reached my 30's I no longer qualify for inclusion in the youth demographic but it was fun to sit back and watch them shine in a grandpa Baha'i kind of way. One day I'll have to write something about the adventures of Generation X Baha'is like myself but I'll save that for later. The climax of this evening was a youth leading us in a song called the 12 Days of Ridvan set to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas. The first time we attempted this it was excruciating. It was like something they might play to upset prisons being held at Guantanamo Bay. Luckily we gave it another try and this time we were sufficiently warmed up. We were all in a fit of laughter and I couldn't help but think that this would have pleased Baha'u'llah Who was known to have had a good sense of humor Himself! We ended as always with fellowship and food, not a morsel of which I could eat having just been put on a diet by my doctor (a friend told me not to call it a diet, but a change in lifestyle). My favorite part of any Baha'i event of course, are the children and we had some fine examples of those little munchkins last night (I've included some photos as evidence). The longer I've been living as a Baha'i, the more I've internalized the rhythms and cycles of Baha'i life. You could say I'm on Baha'i time now. Part of why I love Ridvan so much is that the spirit of this Holiest of Baha'i Festivals seems to take hold of me, mind, body and soul. It's like I can feel the warmth of the Divine Springtime all over me and I get this goofy smile for 12 days straight and I feel a sense of being spiritually renewed, resurrected, re-created. This is what Baha'u'llah said about this special time:

"O friends! It behoveth you to refresh and revive your souls through the gracious favors which in this Divine, this soul-stirring Springtime are being showered upon you. The Day Star of His great glory hath shed its radiance upon you, and the clouds of His limitless grace have overshadowed you. How high the reward of him that hath not deprived himself of so great a bounty, nor failed to recognize the beauty of his Best-Beloved in this, His new attire."
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 94)

If you want to read a more eloquent essay about Ridvan than I could ever write, you should head right over here.

Anyway, I have to clean up my home a bit in preparation for having a 12th Day of Ridvan breakfast featuring the world famous Copeland pancakes. You know you wish you could be there! I'll close with a selection from the Most Holy Tablet, known as the Tablet to the Christians, which is one of my favorites and highly appropriate for Ridvan:

"Say: Blessed the slumberer who is awakened by My Breeze. Blessed the lifeless one who is quickened through My reviving breaths. Blessed the eye that is solaced by gazing at My beauty. Blessed the wayfarer who directeth his steps towards the Tabernacle of My glory and majesty. Blessed the distressed one who seeketh refuge beneath the shadow of My canopy. Blessed the sore athirst who hasteneth to the soft-flowing waters of My loving-kindness. Blessed the insatiate soul who casteth away his selfish desires for love of Me and taketh his place at the banquet table which I have sent down from the heaven of divine bounty for My chosen ones. Blessed the abased one who layeth fast hold on the cord of My glory; and the needy one who entereth beneath the shadow of the Tabernacle of My wealth. Blessed the ignorant one who seeketh the fountain of My knowledge; and the heedless one who cleaveth to the cord of My remembrance. Blessed the soul that hath been raised to life through My quickening breath and hath gained admittance into My heavenly Kingdom. Blessed the man whom the sweet savours of reunion with Me have stirred and caused to draw nigh unto the Dayspring of My Revelation. Blessed the ear that hath heard and the tongue that hath borne witness and the eye that hath seen and recognized the Lord Himself, in His great glory and majesty, invested with grandeur and dominion. Blessed are they that have attained His presence. Blessed the man who hath sought enlightenment from the Day-Star of My Word. Blessed he who hath attired his head with the diadem of My love. Blessed is he who hath heard of My grief and hath arisen to aid Me among My people. Blessed is he who hath laid down his life in My path and hath borne manifold hardships for the sake of My Name. Blessed the man who, assured of My Word, hath arisen from among the dead to celebrate My praise. Blessed is he that hath been enraptured by My wondrous melodies and hath rent the veils asunder through the potency of My might. Blessed is he who hath remained faithful to My Covenant, and whom the things of the world have not kept back from attaining My Court of holiness. Blessed is the man who hath detached himself from all else but Me, hath soared in the atmosphere of My love, hath gained admittance into My Kingdom, gazed upon My realms of glory, quaffed the living waters of My bounty, hath drunk his fill from the heavenly river of My loving providence, acquainted himself with My Cause, apprehended that which I concealed within the treasury of My Words, and hath shone forth from the horizon of divine knowledge engaged in My praise and glorification. Verily, he is of Me. Upon him rest My mercy, My loving-kindness, My bounty and My glory." (Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 16)

Hey readers, share your Ridvan reflections with the world in the comment section.

Coming Soon on Baha'i Thought: Culture Wars or Consultation?