The Birth of the Báb
Today marks the anniversary of the Báb’s birth. In 1819, the Prophet-Herald of the Baha’i Faith was born in Shiraz, Persia. His ministry was brief. His purpose was to announce the coming of Baha’u’llah. And his title, “the Báb” means “the gate.”
What always strikes me about the Báb’s writing and His life is: immediacy, efficiency, and clarity. In His brief life, He accomplished the unthinkable, wrote volumes of work, and inspired multitudes. And though this legacy is timeless, when I read the prayers revealed by the Báb, I am, time and again, struck with a sense of urgency, with a sense that our time is precious; it is powerful.
“Heed not your weaknesses and frailty; fix your gaze upon the invincible power of the Lord, your God, the Almighty.” –The Báb, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 94
And more specifically, the prayers for protection written by the Báb’s pen resonate very deeply for me. The persecuted Bábís come to mind, of course. The persecuted Baha’is, too. But more than that, I think of the people everywhere, of every background, who suffer in a world that has not yet recognized the fundamental unity of humanity, that does not yet know what to do with these threads that bind us all together.
“Be Thou my sufficing helper against the mischief of whosoever may desire to inflict sorrow upon me or wish me ill. Verily, Thou art the Lord of all created things. Thou dost suffice everyone, while no one can be self-sufficient without Thee.” —The Báb, Baha’i Prayers, p. 151
To say that the Bab’s life is a gift is to understate the matter. And so there’s not much more to be said. But as we wish each other a special holy day commemoration today, and as each of us takes the opportunity to reflect or pray or celebrate in our own different ways, I close with a passage that has helped me to direct my focus to the days ahead even while taking the time to honor this one.
“The sufferings sustained by the Bab so as to arouse humanity to the responsibilities of its coming age of maturity were themselves indications of the intensity of the struggle necessary for the world’s people to pass through the age of humanity’s collective adolescence. Paradoxical as it may seem, this is a source of hope. The turmoil and crises of our time underlie a momentous transition in human affairs. Simultaneous processes of disintegration and integration have clearly been accelerating throughout the planet since the Bab appeared in Persia. That our Earth has contracted into a neighbourhood, no one can seriously deny. The world is being made new.” –The Universal House of Justice, on the occasion of the official opening of the Terraces of the Shrine of the Báb)
Wishing all a happy holy day!