To Queen Victoria Baha'u'llah has written :

"O Queen in London! Incline your ear unto the voice of your Lord, the Lord of all mankind, calling from the Divine Lote-Tree: Verily, no God is there but Me, the Almighty, the All-Wise! Cast away all that is on earth, and attire the head of your kingdom with the crown of the remembrance of your Lord, the All-Glorious. He, in truth, has come unto the world in His most great glory, and all that has been mentioned in the Gospel has been fulfilled. The land of Syria has been honored by the footsteps of its Lord, the Lord of all men, and north and south are both inebriated with the wine of His presence. Blessed is the man that inhaled the fragrance of the Most Merciful, and turned unto the Dawning-Place of His Beauty, in this resplendent Dawn. The Mosque of Aqsa vibrates through the breezes of its Lord, the All-Glorious, while Batha [Mecca] trembles at the voice of God, the Exalted, the Most High. Whereupon every single stone of them celebrates the praise of the Lord, through this Great Name.

Note : When Baha'u'llah says," There is no other God but me", He is not saying that He is God. No, it is God speaking through Him who is His Manifestation. You will soon discover that elsewhere He makes it quite clear that He is not God but merely His servant. You will also notice that elsewhere He says WE, meaning God and His Manifestation which is Himself.

"Lay aside your desire, and set then your heart towards your Lord, the Ancient of Days. We make mention of you for the sake of God, and desire that your name may be exalted through your remembrance of God, the Creator of earth and heaven. He, verily, is witness unto that which I say. We have been informed that you have forbidden the trading in slaves, both men and women. This, verily, is what God has enjoined in this wondrous Revelation. God has, truly, destined a reward for you, because of this. He, verily, will pay the doer of good his due recompense, were you to follow what has been sent unto you by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Informed. As to him who turns aside, and swells with pride, after that the clear tokens have come unto him, from the Revealer of signs, his work shall God bring to nothing. He, in truth, has power over all things. Man's actions are acceptable after his having recognized [the Manifestation]. He that turned aside from the True One is indeed the most veiled amongst His creatures. Thus has it been decreed by Him Who is the Almighty, the Most Powerful.

"We have also heard that you have entrusted the reins of counsel into the hands of the representatives of the people. You, indeed, have done well, for thereby the foundations of the edifice of your affairs will be strengthened, and the hearts of all that are beneath your shadow, whether high or low, will be tranquillized. It behooves them, however, to be trustworthy among His servants, and to regard themselves as the representatives of all that dwell on earth. This is what is counselled them, in this Tablet, He Who is the Ruler, the All-Wise... Blessed is he that enters the assembly for the sake of God, and judges between men with pure justice. He, indeed, is of the blissful...

"Turn unto God and say: O my Sovereign Lord! I am but a vassal of Yours, and You are, in truth, the King of kings. I have lifted my suppliant hands unto the heaven of Your grace and Your bounties. Send down, then, upon me from the clouds of Your generosity that which will rid me of all save You, and draw me near unto Yourself. I beseech You, O my Lord, by Your name, which You have made the king of names and the manifestation of Yourself to all who are in heaven and on earth, to rend asunder the veils that have intervened between me and my recognition of the Dawning-Place of Your signs and the Dayspring of Your Revelation. You are, verily, the Almighty, the All-Powerful, the All-Bounteous. Deprive me not, O my Lord, of the fragrances of the Robe of Your mercy in Your days, and write down for me that which You have written down for Your handmaidens who have believed in You and in Your signs, and have recognized You, and set their hearts towards the horizon of Your Cause. You are truly the Lord of the worlds and of those who show mercy, the Most Merciful. Assist me, then, O my God, to remember You amongst Your handmaidens, and to aid Your Cause in Your lands. Accept, then, that which has escaped me when the light of Your countenance shone forth. You, indeed, has power over all things. Glory be to You, O You in Whose hand is the kingdom of the heavens and of the earth."

In the Kitab-i-Aqdas, His Most Holy Book, Baha'u'llah thus addresses the German Emperor, William I :

"Say: O King of Berlin! Give ear unto the Voice calling from this manifest Temple: Verily, there is none other God but Me, the Everlasting, the Peerless, the Ancient of Days. Take heed lest pride debar you from recognizing the Dayspring of Divine Revelation, lest earthly desires shut you out, as by a veil, from the Lord of the Throne above and of the earth below. Thus counsels you the Pen of the Most High. He, verily, is the Most Gracious, the All-Bountiful. Do you remember the one whose power transcended your power [Napoleon III], and whose station excelled your station. Where is he? Wither (where) are gone the things he possessed? Take warning, and be not of them that are fast asleep. He it was who cast the Tablet of God behind him, when We made known unto him what the hosts of tyranny had caused Us to suffer. Wherefore, disgrace assailed him from all sides, and he went down to dust in great loss. Think deeply, O King, concerning him, and concerning them who, like unto you, have conquered cities and ruled over men. The All-Merciful brought them down from their palaces to their graves. Be warned, be of them who reflect."

And further, in that same Book, this remarkable prophecy :

"O banks of the Rhine! We have seen you covered with gore, inasmuch as the swords of retribution were drawn against you; and you shall have another turn. And We hear the lamentations of Berlin, though she be today in conspicuous glory."

Again in the Kitab-i-Aqdas these words, directed to Emperor Francis Joseph, are recorded:

"O Emperor of Austria! He who is the Dayspring of God's Light dwelt in the prison of Akka, at the time when you did set forth to visit the Aqsa Mosque [Jerusalem]. You passed Him by, and inquired not about Him, by Whom every house is exalted, and every lofty gate unlocked. We, verily, made it [Jerusalem] a place whereunto the world should turn, that they might remember Me, and yet you have rejected Him Who is the Object of this remembrance, when He appeared with the Kingdom of God, your Lord and the Lord of the worlds. We have been with you at all times, and found you clinging unto the Branch and heedless of the Root. Your Lord, verily, is a witness unto what I say. We grieved to see you circle round Our Name, while unaware of Us, though We were before your face. Open your eyes, that you may behold this glorious Vision, and recognize Him Whom you invoke in the daytime and in the night season, and gaze on the Light that shines above this luminous Horizon."

In the Suriy-i-Muluk Sultan Abdu'l-'Aziz is addressed in the following terms :

"Hearken, O king, to the speech of Him that speaks the truth, Him that does not ask you to recompense Him with the things God has chosen to bestow upon you, Him Who unerringly treads the straight Path. He it is Who summons you unto God, your Lord, Who showed you the right course, the way that leads to true felicity, that haply you may be of them with whom it shall be well.... He that gives himself wholly to God, God shall, assuredly, be with him; and he that places his complete trust in God, God shall, verily, protect him from whatsoever may harm him, and shield him from the wickedness of every evil plotter.

"Were you to incline your ear unto My speech and observe My counsel, God would exalt you to so eminent a position that the designs of no man on the whole earth could ever touch or hurt you. Observe, O king, with your inmost heart and with your whole being, the precepts of God, and walk not in the paths of the oppressor. Seize, and hold firmly within the grasp of your might, the reins of the affairs of your people, and examine in person whatever pertains unto them. Let nothing escape you, for therein lies the highest good.

"Render thanks unto God for having chosen you out of the whole world, and made you king over them that profess your faith. It well beseems you to appreciate the wondrous favors with which God had favored you, and to magnify continually His name. You can best praise Him if you love His loved ones, and does safeguard and protect His servants from the mischief of the treacherous, that none may any longer oppress them. You should, moreover, arise to enforce the law of God amongst them, that you may be of those who are firmly established in His law.

"Should you cause rivers of justice to spread their waters amongst your subjects, God would surely aid you with the hosts of the unseen and of the seen, and would strengthen you in your affairs. No God is there but Him. All creation and its empire are His. Unto Him return the works of the faithful.

"Place not your reliance on your treasures. Put your whole confidence in the grace of God, your Lord. Let Him be your trust in whatever you do, and be of them that have submitted themselves to His Will. Let Him be your helper and enrich yourself with His treasures, for with Him are the treasuries of the heavens and of the earth. He bestows them upon whom He will, and from whom He will He withholds them. There is none other God but Him, the All-Possessing, the All-Praised. All are but paupers at the door of His mercy; all are helpless before the revelation of His sovereignty, and beseech His favors.

"Overstep not the bounds of moderation, and deal justly with them that serve you. Bestow upon them according to their needs, and not to the extent that will enable them to lay up riches for themselves, to deck their persons, to embellish their homes, to acquire the things that are of no benefit unto them, and to be numbered with the extravagant. Deal with them with undeviating justice, so that none among them may either suffer want, or be pampered with luxuries. This is but manifest justice. Allow not the abject to rule over and dominate them who are noble and worthy of honor, and suffer not the high-minded to be at the mercy of the contemptible and worthless, for this is what We observed upon Our arrival in the City [Constantinople], and to it We bear witness...

"Set before your eyes God's unerring Balance and, as one standing in His Presence, weigh in that balance thine actions every day, every moment of thy life. Bring youtself to account before you are summoned to a reckoning, on the Day when no man shall have strength to stand for fear of God, the Day when the hearts of the heedless ones shall be made to tremble...

"You are God's shadow on earth. Strive, therefore, to act in such a manner as befits so eminent, so august (majestic, noble and impressive)a station. If you do depart from following the things We have caused to descend upon you and taught you, you will, assuredly, be derogating from that great and priceless honor. Return, then, and cleave wholly unto God, and cleanse your heart from the world and all its vanities, and suffer not the love of any stranger to enter and dwell therein. Not until you do purify your heart from every trace of such love can the brightness of the light of God shed its radiance upon it, for to none has God given more than one heart. This, verily, has been decreed and written down in His ancient Book. And as the human heart, as fashioned by God, is one and undivided, it behooves you to take heed that its affections be, also, one and undivided. Cleave, therefore, with the whole affection of your heart, unto His love, and withdraw it from the love of anyone besides Him, that He may aid you to immerse yourself in the ocean of His unity, and enable you to become a true upholder of His oneness....


"Let your ear be attentive, O King, to the words We have addressed you. Let the oppressor desist from his tyranny, and cut off the perpetrators of injustice from among them that profess your faith. By the righteousness of God! The tribulations We have sustained are such that any pen that recounts them cannot but be overwhelmed with anguish. No one of them that truly believe and uphold the unity of God can bear the burden of their recital. So great have been Our sufferings that even the eyes of our enemies have wept over Us, and beyond those of every discerning person. And to all these trials have We been subjected, in spite of Our action in approaching you, and in bidding the people to enter beneath your shadow, that you might be a stronghold unto them that believe in and uphold the unity of God.

"Have I, O King, ever disobeyed you? Have I, at any time, transgressed any of your laws? Can any of your ministers that represent you in Iraq produce any proof that can establish My disloyalty to you? No, by Him Who is the Lord of all worlds! Not for one short moment did We rebel against you, or against any of your ministers. Never, God willing, shall We revolt against you, though We be exposed to trials more severe than any We suffered in the past. In the daytime and in the night season, at evening and at morning, We pray to God on your behalf, that He may graciously aid you to be obedient unto Him and to observe His commandments, that He may shield you from the hosts of the evil ones. Do, therefore, as it pleases you, and treat Us as befits your station and beseems your sovereignty. Be not forgetful of the law of God in whatever you desire to achieve, now or in the days to come. Say: Praise be to God, the Lord of all worlds!"

Moreover, in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, is this vehement apostrophe to Constantinople:

"O Spot that is situated on the shores of the two seas! The throne of tyranny has, verily, been established upon you, and the flame of hatred has been kindled within your bosom, in such wise that the Concourse on high and they who circle around the Exalted Throne have wailed and lamented. We behold in you the foolish ruling over the wise, and darkness vaunting itself against the light. You are indeed filled with manifest pride. Has your outward splendor made you vainglorious? By Him Who is the Lord of mankind! It shall soon perish, and your daughters and your widows and all the kindreds that dwell within you shall lament. Thus informs you the All-Knowing, the All-Wise."

As to Nasiri'd-Din Shah, the Lawh-i-Sultan, despatched to him from Akka and constituting Baha'u'llah's lengthiest Epistle to any single sovereign, proclaims:

"O King! I was but a man like others, asleep upon My couch, when lo, the breezes of the All-Glorious were wafted over Me, and taught Me the knowledge of all that has been. This thing is not from Me, but from One Who is Almighty and All-Knowing. And He bade Me lift up My voice between earth and heaven, and for this there befell Me what has caused the tears of every man of understanding to flow. The learning current amongst men I studied not; their schools I entered not. Ask of the city wherein I dwelt, that you may be well assured that I am not of them who speak falsely. This is but a leaf which the winds of the will of your Lord, the Almighty, the All-Praised, have stirred. Can it be still when the tempestuous winds are blowing? Nay, by Him Who is the Lord of all Names and Attributes! They move it as they list. The evanescent is as nothing before Him Who is the Ever-Abiding. His all-compelling summons has reached Me, and caused Me to speak His praise amidst all people. I was indeed as one dead when His behest was uttered. The hand of the will of your Lord, the Compassionate, the Merciful, transformed Me. Can anyone speak forth of his own accord that for which all men, both high and low, will protest against him? Nay, by Him Who taught the Pen the eternal mysteries, save him whom the grace of the Almighty, the All-Powerful, has strengthened. The Pen of the Most High addressed Me saying : Fear not. Relate unto His Majesty the Shah that which befell you. His heart, verily, is between the fingers of your Lord, the God of Mercy, that haply the sun of justice and bounty may shine forth above the horizon of his heart. Thus has the decree been irrevocably fixed by Him Who is the All-Wise.

"Look upon this Youth, O King, with the eyes of justice; judge, then, with truth concerning what has befallen Him. Of a verity, God has made you His shadow amongst men, and the sign of His power unto all that dwell on earth. Judge between Us and them that have wronged Us without proof and without an enlightening Book. They that surround you love you for their own sakes, whereas this Youth loves you for your own sake, and has had no desire except to draw you near unto the seat of grace, and to turn you toward the right hand of justice. Your Lord bears witness unto that which I declare.

"O King! Were you to incline your ear unto the shrill of the Pen of Glory and the cooing of the Dove of Eternity which, on the branches of the Lote-Tree beyond which there is no passing, utters praises to God, the Maker of all names and Creator of earth and heaven, you would attain unto a station from which you would behold in the world of being nothing save the effulgence of the Adored One, and would regard your sovereignty as the most contemptible of your possessions, abandoning it to whosoever might desire it, and setting your face toward the Horizon aglow with the light of His countenance. Neither would you ever be willing to bear the burden of dominion save for the purpose of helping your Lord, the Exalted, the Most High. Then would the Concourse on high bless you. O how excellent is this most sublime station, could you ascend there unto through the power of a sovereignty recognized as derived from the Name of God!...

"O King of the age! The eyes of these refugees are turned towards and fixed upon the mercy of the Most Merciful. No doubt is there whatever that these tribulations will be followed by the outpourings of a supreme mercy, and these dire adversities be succeeded by an overflowing prosperity. We would hope, however, that His Majesty the Shah will himself examine these matters, and bring hope to the hearts. That which We have submitted to your Majesty is indeed for your highest good. And God, verily, is a sufficient witness unto Me....

"O would you permit Me, O Shah, to send unto you that which would cheer the eyes, and tranquillise the souls, and persuade every fair-minded person that with Him is the knowledge of the Book.... But for the repudiation of the foolish and the connivance of the divines, I would have uttered a discourse that would have thrilled and carried away the hearts unto a realm from the murmur of whose winds can be heard : `No God is there but He!'...

Note: Have you noticed that this time Baha'u''llah insures the reader that He is not God by saying, "No God is there but He". He was God's Messenger and His Manifestation for the age of Aquarius which, according to astronomy, began on the 23 of May in 1844. He was the greatest Manifestation that God Has ever sent to mankind and which the people of this world are still ignoring. Mankind will soon pay the price for its inaction because God is not going to allow mankind to continue on ignoring Him, the Creator of everything that exists.

"I have seen, O Shah, in the path of God what eye has not seen nor ear heard.... How numerous the tribulations which have rained, and will soon rain, upon Me! I advance with My face set towards Him Who is the Almighty, the All-Bounteous, while behind Me glides the serpent. My eyes have rained down tears until My bed is drenched. I sorrow not for Myself, however. By God! My head yearns for the spear out of love for its Lord. I never passed a tree, but My heart addressed it saying: `O would that you were cut down in My name, and My body crucified upon you, in the path of My Lord!'... By God! Though weariness lay Me low, and hunger consume Me, and the bare rock be My bed, and My fellows the beasts of the field, I will not complain, but will endure patiently as those endued with constancy and firmness have endured patiently, through the power of God, the Eternal King and Creator of the nations, and will render thanks unto God under all conditions. We pray that, out of His bounty -- exalted be He -- He may release, through this imprisonment, the necks of men from chains and fetters, and cause them to turn, with sincere faces, towards His Face, Who is the Mighty, the Bounteous. Ready is He to answer whosoever calls upon Him, and near is He unto such as commune with Him."

Note: It is the spirit essence of the prophet Zoroaster speaking through Baha'u'llah. Although He was animated by the Holy Spirit, His spirit essence was the same as that prophet who was the first major prophet to be crucified.

In the Qayyum-i-Asma' the Bab, for His part, thus addresses Muhammad Shah: "O King of Islam! Aid, with the truth, after having aided the Book, Him Who is Our Most Great Remembrance, for God has, in very truth, destined for you, and for such as circle round you, on the Day of Judgment, a responsible position in His Path. I swear by God, O Shah! If you show enmity unto Him Who is His Remembrance, God will, on the Day of Resurrection, condemn you, before the kings, unto hellfire, and you shall not, in very truth, find on that Day any helper except God, the Exalted. Purge, O Shah, the Sacred Land [Teheran] from such as have repudiated the Book, before the day whereon the Remembrance of God comes, terribly and of a sudden, with His potent Cause, by the leave of God, the Most High. God, verily, has prescribed to you to submit unto Him Who is His Remembrance, and unto His Cause, and to subdue, with the truth and by His leave, the countries, for in this world you have been mercifully invested with sovereignty, and will, in the next, dwell, near unto the Seat of Holiness, with the inmates of the Paradise of His good pleasure. Let not your sovereignty deceive you, O Shah, for `every soul shall taste of death,' and this, in very truth, has been written down as a decree of God."

In His Tablet to Muhammad Shah the Bab, moreover, has revealed :

"I am the Primal Point from which have been generated all created things. I am the Countenance of God Whose splendour can never be obscured, the Light of God Whose radiance can never fade.... All the keys of heaven God has chosen to place on My right hand, and all the keys of hell on My left.... I am one of the sustaining pillars of the Primal Word of God. Whosoever has recognized Me, has known all that is true and right, and has attained all that is good and seemly.... The substance wherewith God has created Me is not the clay out of which others have been formed. He has conferred upon Me that which the worldly-wise can never comprehend, nor the faithful discover....

"By My life! But for the obligation to acknowledge the Cause of Him Who is the Testimony of God ... I would not have announced this unto you.... In that same year [year 60] I despatched a messenger and a book unto you, that you might act towards the Cause of Him Who is the Testimony of God as befits the station of your sovereignty....

"I swear by the truth of God! Were he who has been willing to treat Me in such a manner to know who it is whom he has so treated, he, verily, would never in his life be happy. Nay--I, verily, acquaint you with the truth of the matter -- it is as if he had imprisoned all the Prophets, and all the men of truth, and all the chosen ones.... Woe betide him from whose hands flows evil, and blessed the man from whose hands flows good....

"I swear by God! I seek no earthly goods from you, be it as much as a mustard seed.... I swear by the truth of God! Were you to know that which I know, you would forego the sovereignty of this world and of the next, that you might attain My good pleasure, through your obedience unto the True One.... Were you to refuse, the Lord of the world would raise up one who will exalt His Cause, and the Command of God will, verily, be carried into effect."


Dear friends! How vast a panorama these gem like, these soul-searching divinely uttered pronouncements outspread before our eyes! What memories they evoke! How sublime the principles they inculcate! What hopes they engender! What apprehensions they excite! And yet how fragmentary must these above-quoted words, suited as they are to the immediate purpose of my theme, appear when compared with the torrential majesty which only the reading of the full text can disclose! He Who was God's Vicar on earth, addressing, at the most critical moment when His Revelation was attaining its zenith, those who concentrated in their persons the splendor, the sovereignty, and the strength of earthly dominion, could certainly not subtract one jot or tittle from the weight and force which the presentation of so historic a Message demanded. Neither the perils which were fast closing in upon Him, nor the formidable power with which the doctrine of absolute sovereignty invested, at that time, the emperors of the West and the potentates of the East, could restrain the Exile and Prisoner of Adrianople from communicating the full blast of His Message to His twin imperial persecutors as well as to the rest of their fellow-sovereigns.

The magnitude and diversity of the theme, the cogency of the argument, the sublimity and audacity of the language, arrest our attention and astound our minds. Emperors, kings and princes, chancellors and ministers, the Pope himself, priests, monks and philosophers, the exponents of learning, parliamentarians and deputies, the rich ones of the earth, the followers of all religions, and the people of Baha -- all are brought within the purview of the Author of these Messages, and receive, each according to their merits, the counsels and admonitions they deserve. No less amazing is the diversity of the subjects touched upon in these Tablets. The transcendent majesty and unity of an unknowable and unapproachable God is extolled, and the oneness of His Messengers proclaimed and emphasized. The uniqueness, the universality and potentialities of the Baha'i Faith are stressed, and the purpose and character of the Babi Revelation unfolded. The significance of Baha'u'llah's sufferings and banishments is disclosed, and the tribulations rained down upon His Herald and upon His Namesake recognized and lamented. His own yearning for the crown of martyrdom, which they both so mysteriously won, is voiced, and the ineffable glories and wonders in store for His own Dispensation foreshadowed. Episodes, at once moving and marvellous, at various stages of His ministry, are recounted, and the transitoriness of worldly pomp, fame, riches, and sovereignty, repeatedly and categorically asserted. Appeals for the application of the highest principles in human and international relations are forcibly and insistently made, and the abandonment of discreditable practices and conventions, detrimental to the happiness, the growth, the prosperity and the unity of the human race, enjoined. Kings are censured, ecclesiastical dignitaries arraigned, ministers and plenipotentiaries condemned, and the identification of His advent with the coming of the Father Himself unequivocally admitted and repeatedly announced. The violent downfall of a few of these kings and emperors is prophesied, two of them are definitely challenged, most are warned, all are appealed to and exhorted.

In the Lawh-i-Sultan (Tablet to the Shah of Persia) Baha'u'llah declares : "Would that the world-adorning wish of His Majesty might decree that this Servant be brought face to face with the divines of the age, and produce proofs and testimonies in the presence of His Majesty the Shah! This Servant is ready, and takes hope in God, that such a gathering may be convened in order that the truth of the matter may be made clear and manifest before His Majesty the Shah. It is then for you to command, and I stand ready before the throne of your sovereignty. Decide, then, for Me or against Me."

And moreover, in the Lawh-i-Ra'is, Baha'u'llah, recalling His conversation with the Turkish officer charged with the task of enforcing His banishment to the fortress-town of Akka, has written: "There is a matter, which, if you find it possible, I request you to submit to His Majesty the Sultan, that for ten minutes this Youth be enabled to meet him, so that he may demand whatsoever he deems as a sufficient testimony and regards as proof of the veracity of Him Who is the Truth. Should God enable Him to produce it, let him, then, release these wronged ones, and leave them to themselves." "He promised," Baha'u'llah adds in that Tablet, "to transmit this message, and to give Us his reply. We received, however, no news from him. Although it becomes not Him Who is the Truth to present Himself before any person, inasmuch as all have been created to obey Him, yet in view of the condition of these little children and the large number of women so far removed from their friends and countries, We have acquiesced in this matter. In spite of this nothing has resulted. Umar himself is alive and accessible. Inquire from him, that the truth may be made known unto you."

Referring to these Tablets addressed to the sovereigns of the earth, and which Abdu'l-Baha has acclaimed as a "miracle," Baha'u'llah has written: "Each one of them has been designated by a special name. The first has been named `The Rumbling,' the second, `The Blow,' the third, `The Inevitable,' the fourth, `The Plain,' the fifth, `The Catastrophe,' and the others, `The Stunning Trumpet Blast,' `The Near Event,' `The Great Terror,' `The Trumpet,' `The Bugle,' and their like, so that all the peoples of the earth may know, of a certainty, and may witness, with outward and inner eyes, that He Who is the Lord of Names has prevailed, and will continue to prevail, under all conditions, over all men.... Never since the beginning of the world has the Message been so openly proclaimed.... Glorified be this Power which has shone forth and compassed the worlds! This act of the Causer of Causes has, when revealed, produced two results. It has at once sharpened the swords of the infidels, and unloosed the tongues of such as have turned towards Him in His remembrance and praise. This is the effect of the fertilizing winds, mention of which has been made before time in the Lawh-i-Haykal. The whole earth is now in a state of pregnancy. The day is approaching when it will have yielded its noblest fruits, when from it will have sprung forth the loftiest trees, the most enchanting blossoms, the most heavenly blessings. Immeasurably exalted is the breeze that wafted from the garment of your Lord, the Glorified! For lo, it has breathed its fragrance and made all things new! Well it is with them that comprehend. It is indubitably clear and evident that in these things He Who is the Lord of Revelation has sought nothing for Himself. Though aware that they would lead to tribulations, and be the cause of troubles and afflictive trials, He, solely as a token of His loving-kindness and favor, and for the purpose of quickening the dead and of manifesting the Cause of the Lord of all Names and Attributes, and of redeeming all who are on earth, has closed His eyes to His own well-being and borne that which no other person has borne or will bear."

The most important of His Tablets addressed to individual sovereigns Baha'u'llah ordered to be written in the form of a pentacle, symbolizing the temple of man, including therein, as a conclusion, the following words which reveal the importance He attached to those Messages, and indicate their direct association with the prophecy of the Old Testament :


"Thus have We built the Temple with the hands of power and might, could you but know it. This is the Temple promised unto you in the Book. Draw near unto it. This is that which profits you, could you but comprehend it. Be fair, O peoples of the earth! Which is preferable, this, or a temple which is built of clay? Set your faces towards it. Thus have you been commanded by God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Follow His bidding, and praise God, your Lord, for that which He has bestowed upon you. He, verily, is the Truth. No God is there but He. He reveals what He pleases, through His words `Be and it is.'"

Referring to this same subject, He, in one of His Tablets, thus addresses the followers of Jesus Christ:

"O concourse of the followers of the Son! Verily, the Temple has been built with the hands of the will of your Lord, the Almighty, the All-Bounteous. Bear, then, witness, O people, unto that which I say: Which is preferable, that which is built of clay, or that which is built by the hands of your Lord, the Revealer of verses? This is the Temple promised unto you in the Tablets. It calls aloud: `O followers of religions! Haste you to attain unto Him Who is the Source of all causes, and follow not every infidel and doubter.'"

It should not be forgotten that, apart from these specific Tablets in which the kings of the earth are severally and collectively addressed, Baha'u'llah has revealed other Tablets -- the Lawh-i-Ra'is being an outstanding example -- and interspersed the mass of His voluminous writings with unnumbered passages, in which direct addresses, as well as references, have been made to ministers, governments, and their accredited representatives. I am not concerned, however, with such addresses and references, which, vital as they are, cannot be regarded as being endowed with that peculiar pregnancy which direct and specific messages, voiced by the Manifestation of God and directed to the world's Chief Magistrates in His day, must possess.

Dear friends! Enough has been said to portray the tribulations which, for so long a time, overwhelmed the Founders of so preeminent a Revelation, and which the world has so disastrously ignored. Sufficient attention has also been directed to the Messages addressed to those sovereign rulers who, either in the exercise of their unconditioned authority, have deliberately provoked these sufferings, or could have, in the plenitude of their power, arisen to mitigate their effect or deflect their tragic course. Let us now consider the consequences that have ensued. The reaction of these monarchs was, as already stated, varied and unmistakable and, as the march of events has gradually unfolded, disastrous in its consequences. One of the most outstanding amongst these sovereigns treated the Divine Summons with gross disrespect, dismissing it with a curt and insolent reply, written by one of his ministers. Another laid violent hold on the bearer of the Message, tortured, branded, and brutally slew him. Others preferred to maintain a contemptuous silence. All failed completely in their duty to arise and extend their assistance. Two of them, in particular, prompted by the dual impulse of fear and anger, tightened their grip on the Cause they had jointly resolved to uproot. The one condemned his Divine Prisoner to yet another banishment, to "the most unsightly of cities in appearance, the most detestable in climate, and the foulest in water," while the other, powerless to lay hands on the Prime Mover of a hated Faith, subjected its adherents under his sway to abject and savage cruelties. The recital of Baha'u'llah's sufferings, embodied in those Messages, failed to evoke compassion in their hearts. His appeals, the like of which neither the annals of Christianity nor even those of Islam have recorded, were disdainfully rejected. The dark warnings He uttered were haughtily scorned. The bold challenges He issued were ignored. The chastisements He predicted they derisively brushed aside.

What, then -- might we not consider -- has, in the face of so complete and ignominious a rejection, happened, and is still happening, in the course, and particularly in the closing years, of this, the first Baha'i century, a century fraught with such tumultuous sufferings and violent outrages for the persecuted Faith of Baha'u'llah? Empires fallen in dust, kingdoms subverted, dynasties extinguished, royalty besmirched, kings assassinated, poisoned, driven into exile, subjugated in their own realms, while the few remaining thrones are trembling with the repercussions of the fall of their fellows.

This process, so gigantic, so catastrophic, may be said to have had its inception on that memorable night when, in an obscure corner of Shiraz, the Bab, in the presence of the First Letter to believe in Him, revealed the first chapter of His celebrated commentary on the Surih of Joseph (The Qayyum-i-Asma'), in which He trumpeted His Call to the sovereigns and princes of the earth. It passed from incubation to visible manifestation when Baha'u'llah's prophecies, enshrined for all time in the Suriy-i-Haykal, and uttered before Napoleon III's dramatic downfall and the self-imposed imprisonment of Pope Pius IX in the Vatican, were fulfilled. It gathered momentum when, in the days of Abdu'l-Baha, the Great War extinguished the Romanov, the Hohenzollern, and Hapsburg dynasties, and converted powerful time-honored monarchies into republics. It was further accelerated, soon after Abdu'l-Baha's passing, by the demise of the effete Qajar dynasty in Persia, and the stupendous collapse of both the Sultanate and the Caliphate. It is still operating, under our very eyes, as we behold the fate which, in the course of this colossal and ravaging struggle, is successively overtaking the crowned heads of the European continent. Surely, no man, contemplating dispassionately the manifestations of this relentless revolutionizing process, within comparatively so short a time, can escape the conclusion that the last hundred years may well be regarded, in so far as the fortunes of royalty are concerned, as one of the most cataclysmic periods in the annals of mankind.


Of all the monarchs of the earth, at the time when Baha'u'llah, proclaiming His Message to them, revealed the Suriy-i-Muluk in Adrianople, the most August (majestic, noble and impressive) and influential were the French Emperor and the Supreme Pontiff. In the political and religious spheres they respectively held the foremost rank, and the humiliation both suffered was alike immediate and complete.

Napoleon III, son of Louis Bonaparte (brother of Napoleon I), was, few historians will deny, the most outstanding monarch of his day in the West. "The Emperor," it was said of him, "was the state." The French capital was the most attractive capital in Europe, the French court "the most brilliant and luxurious of the XIX century." Possessed of a fixed and indestructible ambition, he aspired to emulate the example, and finish the interrupted work, of his imperial uncle. A dreamer, a conspirator, of a shifting nature, hypocritical and reckless, he, the heir to the Napoleonic throne, taking advantage of the policy which sought to foster the reviving interest in the career of his great prototype, had sought to overthrow the monarchy. Failing in his attempt, he was deported to America, was later captured in the course of an attempted invasion of France, was condemned to perpetual captivity, and escaped to London, until, in 1848, the Revolution brought about his return, and enabled him to overthrow the constitution, after which he was proclaimed emperor. Though able to initiate far-reaching movements, he possessed neither the sagacity nor the courage required to control them.

To this man, the last emperor of the French, who, through foreign conquest, had striven to endear his dynasty to the people, who even cherished the ideal of making France the center of a revived Roman Empire -- to such a man the Exile of Akka, already thrice banished by Sultan Abdu'l-'Aziz, had transmitted, from behind the walls of the barracks in which He lay imprisoned, an Epistle which bore this indubitably clear arraignment and ominous prophecy:

"We testify that that which wakened you was not their cry [Turks drowned in the Black Sea], but the prompting of your own passions, for We tested you, and found you wanting.... Had you been sincere in your words, you would not have cast behind your back the Book of God [previous Tablet], when it was sent unto you by Him Who is the Almighty, the All-Wise.

...For what you have done, your kingdom shall be thrown into confusion, and your empire shall pass from your hands, as a punishment for that which you have wrought."

Baha'u'llah's previous Message, forwarded through one of the French ministers to the Emperor, had been accorded a welcome the nature of which can be conjectured from the words recorded in the "Epistle to the Son of the Wolf": "To this [first Tablet], however, he did not reply. After Our arrival in the Most Great Prison there reached Us a letter from his minister, the first part of which was in Persian, and the latter in his own handwriting. In it he was cordial, and wrote the following: `I have, as requested by you, delivered your letter, and until now have received no answer. We have, however, issued the necessary recommendations to our Minister in Constantinople and our consuls in those regions. If there be anything you wish done, inform us, and we will carry it out.' From his words it became apparent that he understood the purpose of this Servant to have been a request for material assistance."

In His first Tablet Baha'u'llah, wishing to test the sincerity of the Emperor's motives, and deliberately assuming a meek and unprovocative tone, had, after expatiating on the sufferings He had endured, addressed him the following words : "Two statements graciously uttered by the king of the age have reached the ears of these wronged ones. These pronouncements are, in truth, the king of all pronouncements, the like of which have never been heard from any sovereign. The first was the answer given the Russian government when it inquired why the war [Crimean] was waged against it. You did reply : `The cry of the oppressed who, without guilt or blame, were drowned in the Black Sea wakened me at dawn. Wherefore, I took up arms against you.' These oppressed ones, however, have suffered a greater wrong, and are in greater distress. Whereas the trials inflicted upon those people lasted but one day, the troubles borne by these servants have continued for twenty and five years, every moment of which has held for us a grievous affliction. The other weighty statement, which was indeed a wondrous statement, manifested to the world, was this: `Ours is the responsibility to avenge the oppressed and succour the helpless.' The fame of the Emperor's justice and fairness has brought hope to a great many souls. It beseems the king of the age to inquire into the condition of such as have been wronged, and it behooves (it is morally necessary for) him to extend his care to the weak. Verily, there has not been, nor is there now, on earth anyone as oppressed as we are, or as helpless as these wanderers."

It is reported that upon receipt of this first Message that superficial, tricky, and pride-intoxicated monarch flung down the Tablet saying : "If this man is God, I am two gods!" The transmitter of the second Tablet had, it is reliably stated, in order to evade the strict surveillance of the guards, concealed it in his hat, and was able to deliver it to the French agent, who resided in Akka, and who, as attested by Nabil in his Narrative, translated it into French and sent it to the Emperor, he himself becoming a believer when he had later witnessed the fulfilment of so remarkable a prophecy.

The significance of the sombre and pregnant words uttered by Baha'u'llah in His second Tablet was soon revealed. He who was actuated in provoking the Crimean War by his selfish desires, who was prompted by a personal grudge against the Russian Emperor, who was impatient to tear up the Treaty of 1815 in order to avenge the disaster of Moscow, and who sought to shed military glory over his throne, was soon himself engulfed by a catastrophe that hurled him in the dust, and caused France to sink from her preeminent station among the nations to that of a fourth power in Europe.

The Battle of Sedan in 1870 sealed the fate of the French Emperor. The whole of his army was broken up and surrendered, constituting the greatest capitulation hitherto recorded in modern history. A crushing indemnity was exacted. He himself was taken prisoner. His only son, the Prince Imperial, was killed, a few years later, in the Zulu War. The Empire collapsed, its program unrealized. The Republic was proclaimed. Paris was subsequently besieged and capitulated. "The terrible Year" marked by civil war, exceeding in its ferocity the Franco-German War, followed. William I, the Prussian king, was proclaimed German Emperor in the very palace which stood as a "mighty monument and symbol of the power and pride of Louis XIV, a power which had been secured to some extent by the humiliation of Germany." Deposed by a disaster "so appalling that it resounded throughout the world," this false and boastful monarch suffered in the end, and till his death, the same exile as that which, in the case of Baha'u'llah, he had so heartlessly ignored.

A humiliation less spectacular yet historically more significant awaited Pope Pius IX. It was to him who regarded himself as the Vicar of Christ that Baha'u'llah wrote that "the Word which the Son [Jesus] concealed is made manifest," that "it has been sent down in the form of the human temple," that the Word was Himself, and He Himself the Father. It was to him who styling himself "the servant of the servants of God" that the Promised One of all ages, unveiling His station in its plenitude, announced that "He Who is the Lord of Lords is come overshadowed with clouds." It was he, who, claiming to be the successor of St. Peter, was reminded by Baha'u'llah that "this is the day whereon the Rock [Peter] cried out and shouted ... saying: `Lo, the Father is come, and that which you were promised in the Kingdom is fulfilled.'" It was he, the wearer of the triple crown, who later became the first prisoner of the Vatican, who was commanded by the Divine Prisoner of Akka to "leave his palaces unto such as desire them," to "sell all the embellished ornaments" he possessed, and to "expend them in the path of God," and to "abandon his kingdom unto the kings," and emerge from his habitation with his face "set towards the Kingdom."

Count Mastai-Ferretti, Bishop of Imola, the 254th pope since the inception of St. Peter's primacy, who had been elevated to the apostolic throne two years after the Declaration of the Bab, and the duration of whose pontificate exceeded that of any of his predecessors, will be permanently remembered as the author of the Bull which declared the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin(1854), referred to in the Kitab-i-Iqan, to be a doctrine of the Church, and as the promulgator of the new dogma of Papal Infallibility (1870). Authoritarian by nature, a poor statesman, disinclined to conciliation, determined to preserve all his authority, he, while he succeeded through his assumption of an ultramontane attitude in defining further his position and in reinforcing his spiritual authority, failed, in the end, to maintain that temporal rule which, for so many centuries, had been exercised by the heads of the Catholic Church.

This temporal power had, throughout the ages, shrunk to insignificant proportions. The decades preceding its extinction were fraught with the gravest vicissitudes. As the sun of Baha'u'llah's Revelation was mounting to full meridian splendor, the shadows that beset the dwindling patrimony of St. Peter were correspondingly deepening. The Tablet of Baha'u'llah, addressed to Pius IX, precipitated its extinction. A hasty glance at the course of its ebbing fortunes, during those decades, will suffice. Napoleon I had driven the Pope from his estates. The Congress of Vienna had reestablished him as their head and their administration in the hands of the priests. Corruption, disorganization, impotence to ensure internal security, the restoration of the inquisition, had induced an historian to assert that "no land of Italy, perhaps of Europe, except Turkey, is ruled as is this ecclesiastical state." Rome was "a city of ruins, both material and moral." Insurrections led to Austria's intervention. Five great Powers demanded the introduction of far-reaching reforms, which the Pope promised but failed to carry out. Austria again reasserted herself, and was opposed by France. Both watched each other on the Papal estates until 1838, when, on their withdrawal, absolutism was again restored. The Pope's temporal power was now denounced by some of his own subjects, heralding its extinction in 1870. Internal complications forced him to flee, in the dead of night and in the disguise of a humble priest, from Rome which was declared a republic. It was later restored by the French to its former status. The creation of the kingdom of Italy, the shifting policy of Napoleon III, the disaster of Sedan, the misdeeds of the Papal government denounced by Clarendon, at the Congress of Paris, terminating the Crimean War, as a "disgrace to Europe," sealed the fate of that tottering dominion.

In 1870, after Baha'u'llah had revealed His Epistle to Pius IX, King Victor Emmanuel II went to war with the Papal states, and his troops entered Rome and seized it. On the eve of its seizure, the Pope repaired to the Lateran and, despite his age and with his face bathed in tears, ascended on bended knees the Scala Santa. The following morning, as the cannonade began, he ordered the white flag to be hoisted above the dome of St. Peter. Despoiled, he refused to recognize this "creation of revolution," excommunicated the invaders of his states, denounced Victor Emmanuel as the "robber King" and as "forgetful of every religious principle, despising every right, trampling upon every law." Rome, "the Eternal City, on which rest twenty-five centuries of glory," and over which the Popes had ruled in unchallengeable right for ten centuries, finally became the seat of the new kingdom, and the scene of that humiliation which Baha'u'llah had anticipated and which the Prisoner of the Vatican had imposed upon himself.

"The last years of the old Pope," writes a commentator on his life, "were filled with anguish. To his physical infirmities was added the sorrow of beholding, all too often, the Faith outraged in the very heart of Rome, the religious orders despoiled and persecuted, the Bishops and priests debarred from exercising their functions."

Every effort to retrieve the situation created in 1870 proved fruitless. The Archbishop of Posen went to Versailles to solicit Bismarck's intervention in behalf of the Papacy, but was coldly received. Later a Catholic party was organized in Germany to bring political pressure on the German Chancellor. All, however, was in vain. The mighty process already referred to had to pursue inexorably its course. Even now, after the lapse of above half a century, the so-called restoration of temporal sovereignty has but served to throw into greater relief the helplessness of this erstwhile potent Prince, at whose name kings trembled and to whose dual sovereignty they willingly submitted. This temporal sovereignty, practically confined to the minuscule City of the Vatican, and leaving Rome the undisputed possession of a secular monarchy, has been obtained at the price of unreserved recognition, so long withheld, of the Kingdom of Italy. The Treaty of the Lateran, claiming to have resolved once and for all the Roman Question, has indeed assured to a secular Power, in respect of the Enclaved City, a liberty of action which is fraught with uncertainty and peril. "The two souls of the Eternal City," a Catholic writer has observed, "have been separated from each other, only to collide more severely than ever before."

Well might the Sovereign Pontiff recall the reign of the most powerful among his predecessors, Innocent III who, during the eighteen years of his pontificate, raised and deposed the kings and the emperors, whose interdicts deprived nations of the exercise of Christian worship, at the feet of whose legate the King of England surrendered his crown, and at whose voice the fourth and the fifth crusades were both undertaken.

Might not the process, to which reference has already been made, manifest, in the course of its operation, during the tumultuous years in store for mankind, and in this same domain, a commotion still more devastating than it has yet produced?

The dramatic collapse of both the Third Empire and the Napoleonic dynasty, the virtual extinction of the temporal sovereignty of the Supreme Pontiff, in the lifetime of Baha'u'llah, were but the precursors of still greater catastrophes that may be said to have marked the ministry of Abdu'l-Baha (His eldest son who carried on after the death of His father). The forces unleashed by a conflict, the full significance of which still remains unfathomed, and which may be considered as a prelude to this, the most devastating of all wars, can well be regarded as the occasion of these dreadful catastrophes. The progress of the War of 1914-18 dethroned the House of Romanov, while its termination precipitated the downfall of both the Hapsburg and Hohenzollern dynasties.


The rise of Bolshevism, born amidst the fires of that inconclusive struggle, shook the throne of the Czars and overthrew it. Alexander II Nicolaevich, whom Baha'u'llah had commanded in His Tablet to "arise ... and summon the nations unto God," who had been thrice warned : "beware lest your desire deter you from turning towards the face of your Lord," "beware lest you barter away this sublime station," "beware lest your sovereignty withhold you from Him Who is the Supreme Sovereign," was not indeed the last of the Czars to rule his country, but rather the inaugurator of a retrogressive policy which in the end proved fatal to both himself and his dynasty.

In the latter part of his reign he initiated a reactionary policy which, causing widespread disillusionment, gave rise to Nihilism, which, as it spread, ushered in a period of terrorism of unexampled violence, leading in its turn to several attempts on his life, and culminating in his assassination. Stern repression guided the policy of his successor, Alexander III, who "assumed an attitude of defiant hostility to innovators and liberals." The tradition of unqualified absolutism, of extreme religious orthodoxy was maintained by the still more severe Nicolas II, the last of the Czars, who, guided by the counsels of a man who was "the very incarnation of a narrow-minded, stiff-necked despotism," and aided by a corrupt bureaucracy, and humiliated by the disastrous effects of a foreign war, increased the general discontent of the masses, both intellectuals and peasants. Driven for a time into subterranean channels, and intensified by military reverses, it exploded at last in the midst of the Great War, in the form of a Revolution which, in the principles it challenged, the institutions it subverted, and the havoc it wrought, has scarcely a parallel in modern history.

A great trembling seized and rocked the foundations of that country. The light of religion was dimmed. Ecclesiastical institutions of every denomination were swept away. The state religion was disendowed, persecuted, and abolished. A far-flung empire was dismembered. A militant, triumphant proletariat exiled the intellectuals, and plundered and massacred the nobility. Civil war and disease decimated a population, already in the throes of agony and despair. And, finally, the Chief Magistrate of a mighty dominion, together with his consort, and his family, and his dynasty, were swept into the vortex of this great convulsion, and perished.

The very ordeal that heaped such dire misfortunes on the empire of the Czars brought about, in its concluding stages, the fall of the almighty German Kaiser as well as that of the inheritor of the once famed Holy Roman Empire. It shattered the whole fabric of Imperial Germany, which arose out of the disaster that engulfed the Napoleonic dynasty, and dealt the Dual Monarchy its death blow.

Almost half a century before, Baha'u'llah, Who had predicted, in clear and resounding terms, the ignominious fall of the successor of the great Napoleon, had, in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, addressed to Kaiser William I, the newly acclaimed victor, a no less significant warning, and prophesied, in His apostrophe to the banks of the Rhine, in words equally unambiguous, the mourning that would afflict the capital of the newly federated empire.

"Do you remember,"Baha'u'llah thus addressed him, "the one [Napoleon] whose power transcended your power, and whose station excelled your station... Think deeply, O king, concerning him, and concerning them who, like unto you, have conquered cities and ruled over men."

And again:

"O banks of the Rhine! We have seen you covered with gore, inasmuch as the swords of retribution were drawn against you; and you shall have another turn. And We hear the lamentations of Berlin, though she be today in conspicuous glory."

On him who, in his old age, sustained two attempts upon his life by the advocates of the rising tide of socialism; on his son Frederick III, whose three months' reign was overshadowed by mortal disease; and finally on his grandson, William II, the self-willed and overweening monarch and wrecker of his own empire -- on these fell, in varying degrees, the full weight of the responsibilities consequent to these dire pronouncements.

William I, first German Emperor and seventh king of Prussia, whose entire lifetime had, up to the date of his accession, been spent in the army, was a militaristic, autocratic ruler, imbued with antiquated ideas, who initiated, with the aid of a statesman rightly regarded as "one of the geniuses of his century," a policy which may be said to have inaugurated a new era not only for Prussia but for the world. This policy was pursued with characteristic thoroughness and perfected through the repressive measures that were taken to safeguard and uphold it, through the wars that were waged for its realization, and the political combinations that were subsequently formed to exalt and consolidate it, combinations that were fraught with such dreadful consequences to the European continent.

William II, temperamentally dictatorial, politically inexperienced, militarily aggressive, religiously insincere, posed as the apostle of European peace, yet actually insisted on "the mailed fist" and "the shining armor." Irresponsible, indiscreet, inordinately ambitious, his first act was to dismiss that sagacious statesman, the true founder of his empire, to whose sagacity Baha'u'llah had paid tribute, and to the unwisdom of whose imperial and ungrateful master Abdu'l-Baha had testified. War indeed became a religion of his country, and by enlarging the scope of his multifarious activities, he proceeded to prepare the way for that final catastrophe that was to dethrone him and his dynasty. And when the war broke out, and the might of his armies seemed to have overpowered his adversaries, and the news of his triumphs was noised abroad, reverberating as far as Persia, voices were raised ridiculing those passages of the Kitab-i-Aqdas which so clearly foreshadowed the misfortunes that were to befall his capital. Suddenly, however, swift and unforeseen reverses fatally overtook him. Revolution broke out. William II, deserting his armies, fled ignominiously to Holland, followed by the Crown Prince. The princes of the German states abdicated. A period of chaos ensued. The communist flag was hoisted in the capital, which became a caldron of confusion and civil strife. The Kaiser signed his abdication. The Constitution of Weimar established the Republic, bringing the tremendous structure, so elaborately reared through a policy of blood and iron, crashing to the ground. All the efforts to that end, which through internal legislation and foreign wars had, ever since the accession of William I to the Prussian throne, been assiduously exerted, came to nothing. "The lamentations of Berlin," tortured by the terms of a treaty monstrous in its severity, were raised, contrasting with the hilarious shouts of victory that rang, half a century before, in the Hall of Mirrors of the Palace of Versailles.

The Hapsburg monarch, heir of centuries of glorious history, simultaneously toppled from his throne. It was Francis Joseph, whom Baha'u'llah chided in the Kitab-i-Aqdas for having failed in his duty to investigate His Cause, let alone to seek His presence, when so easily accessible to him in the course of his visit to the Holy Land. "You passed Him by," He thus reproves the pilgrim-emperor, "and inquired not about Him.... We have been with you at all times, and found you clinging unto the Branch and heedless of the Root.... Open your eyes, that you may behold this Glorious Vision and recognize Him Whom you invoke in the daytime and in the night season, and gaze on the Light that shines above this luminous Horizon."

The House of Hapsburg, in which the Imperial Title had remained practically hereditary for almost five centuries, was, ever since those words were uttered, being increasingly menaced by the forces of internal disintegration, and was sowing the seeds of an external conflict, to both of which it ultimately succumbed. Francis Joseph, Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, a reactionary ruler, reestablished old abuses, ignored the rights of nationalities, and restored that bureaucratic centralization that proved in the end so injurious to his empire. Repeated tragedies darkened his reign. His brother Maximilian was shot in Mexico. The Crown Prince Rudolph perished in a dishonourable affair. The Empress was assassinated in Geneva. Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife were murdered in Sarajevo, kindling a war in the midst of which the Emperor himself died, closing a reign which is unsurpassed by any other reign in the disasters it brought to the nation.


Belated efforts had been made to steady his tottering throne. The "ramshackle empire," a medley of states, races, and languages, was, however, relentlessly and rapidly disintegrating. The political and economic situation was desperate. The defeat of Austria and Hungary, in that same war, sounded its death knell and brought its dismemberment. Hungary sundered its connection. The conglomerate realm was carved up, and all that was left of the once formidable Holy Roman Empire was a shrunken republic that led a miserable existence until, in more recent times, it was, unlike its sister nation, completely extinguished and wiped off the political map of Europe.

Such was the fate of the Napoleonic, the Romanov, the Hohenzollern, and the Hapsburg empires, whose rulers, together with the sovereign occupant of the Papal throne, were individually addressed by the Pen of the Most High, and who were respectively chastised, forewarned, condemned, rebuked and admonished. What of the fate of those sovereigns who, exercising direct political jurisdiction over the Faith, its Founders, and followers, and within the radius of whose domains that Faith was born and first spread, were at liberty to crucify its Herald, banish its Founder, and mow down its adherents?


Already in the lifetime of Baha'u'llah, and later during the ministry of Abdu'l-Baha, the first blows of a slow yet steady and relentless retribution were falling alike upon the rulers of the Turkish House of Uthman and of the Qajar dynasty in Persia -- the archenemies of God's infant Faith. Sultan Abdu'l-'Aziz fell from power, and was murdered soon after Baha'u'llah's banishment from Adrianople, while Nasiri'd-Din Shah succumbed to an assassin's pistol, during Abdu'l-Baha's incarceration in the fortress-town of Akka. It was reserved, however, for the Formative Period of the Faith of God -- the Age of the birth and rise of its Administrative Order -- which, as stated in a previous communication, is through its unfoldment casting such a turmoil in the world, to witness not only the extinction of both of these dynasties, but also the abolition of the twin institutions of the Sultanate and the Caliphate.

Of the two despots Abdu'l-'Aziz was the more powerful, the more exalted in rank, the more preeminent in guilt, and the more concerned with the tribulations and fortunes of the Founder of our Faith. He it was who, through his farmans, had thrice banished Baha'u'llah, and in whose dominions the Manifestation of God spent almost the whole of His forty years' captivity. It was during his reign and that of his nephew and successor, Abdu'l-Hamid II, that the Center of the Covenant of God had to endure, for no less than forty years, in the fortress-town of Akka, an incarceration fraught with so many perils, affronts and privations.

"Hearken, O king!" is the summons issued to Sultan Abdu'l-'Aziz by Baha'u'llah, "to the speech of Him that speaks the truth, Him that does not ask you to recompense Him with the things God has chosen to bestow upon you, Him Who unerringly treads the Straight Path... Observe, O king, with your inmost heart and with your whole being, the precepts of God, and walk not in the paths of the oppressor.... Place not your reliance on your treasures. Put your whole confidence in the grace of God, your Lord.... Overstep not the bounds of moderation, and deal justly with them that serve you.... Set before your eyes God's unerring Balance, and, as one standing in His presence, weigh in that Balance your actions, every day, every moment of your life. Bring yourself to account before you are summoned to a reckoning, on the Day when no man shall have strength to stand for fear of God, the Day when the hearts of the heedless ones shall be made to tremble."

"The day is approaching," Baha'u'llah thus prophesies in the Lawh-i-Ra'is, "when the Land of Mystery [Adrianople], and what is beside it shall be changed, and shall pass out of the hands of the king, and commotions shall appear, and the voice of lamentation shall be raised, and the evidences of mischief shall be revealed on all sides, and confusion shall spread by reason of that which has befallen these captives at the hands of the hosts of oppression. The course of things shall be altered, and conditions shall wax so grievous, that the very sands on the desolate hills will moan, and the trees on the mountain will weep, and blood will flow out of all things. Then will you behold the people in sore distress."

"Soon," He, moreover has written, "will He seize you in His wrathful anger, and sedition will be stirred up in your midst, and your dominions will be disrupted. Then will you bewail and lament, and will find none to help or succor you.... Several times calamities have overtaken you, and yet you failed utterly to take heed. One of them was the conflagration which devoured most of the City [Constantinople] with the flames of justice, and concerning which many poems were written, stating that no such fire had ever been witnessed. And yet, you waxed more heedless.... Plague, likewise, broke out, and you still failed to give heed! Be expectant, however, for the wrath of God is ready to overtake you. Before long will you behold that which has been sent down from the Pen of My command."

"By your deeds," He, in another Tablet, anticipating the fall of the Sultanate and the Caliphate, thus reproves the combined forces of Sunni and Shi-ite Islam, "the exalted station of the people has been abased, the standard of Islam has been reversed, and its mighty throne has fallen."
And finally, in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, revealed soon after Baha'u'llah's banishment to Akka, He thus apostrophizes the seat of Turkish imperial power :

"O Spot that is situated on the shores of the two seas! The throne of tyranny has, verily, been established upon you, and the flame of hatred has been kindled within your bosom.... You are indeed filled with manifest pride. Has your outward splendor made you vainglorious? By Him Who is the Lord of mankind! It shall soon perish, and your daughters, and your widows, and all the kindreds that dwell within you shall lament. Thus informs you, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise."

Indeed, in a most remarkable passage in the Lawh-i-Fu'ad, wherein mention has been made of the death of Fu'ad Pasha, the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, the fall of the Sultan himself is unmistakably foretold: "Soon will We dismiss the one who was like unto him, and will lay hold on their Chief who rules the land, and I, verily, am the Almighty, the All-Compelling."

The Sultan's reaction to these words, bearing upon his person, his empire, his throne, his capital, and his ministers, can be gathered from the recital of the sufferings he inflicted on Baha'u'llah, and already referred to in the beginning of these pages. The extinction of the "outward splendor" surrounding that proud seat of Imperial power is the theme I now proceed to expose.


A cataclysmic process, one of the most remarkable in modern history, was set in motion ever since Baha'u'llah, while a prisoner in Constantinople, delivered to a Turkish official His Tablet, addressed to Sultan Abdu'l-'Aziz and his ministers, to be transmitted to Ali Pasha, the Grand Vizir. It was this Tablet which, as attested by that officer and affirmed by Nabil in his chronicle, affected the Vizir so profoundly that he paled while reading it. This process received fresh impetus after the Lawh-i-Ra'is was revealed on the morrow of its Author's final banishment from Adrianople to Akka. Relentless, devastating, and with ever-increasing momentum, it ominously unfolded, damaging the prestige of the Empire, dismembering its territory, dethroning its sultans, sweeping away their dynasty, degrading and deposing its Caliph, disestablishing its religion, and extinguishing its glory. The "sick man" of Europe, whose condition had been unerringly diagnosed by the Divine Physician, and whose doom was pronounced inevitable, fell a prey, during the reign of five successive sultans, all degenerate, all deposed, to a series of convulsions which, in the end, proved fatal to his life. Imperial Turkey that had, under Abdu'l-Majid, been admitted into the European Concert, and had emerged victorious from the Crimean War, entered, under his successor, Abdu'l-'Aziz, upon a period of swift decline, culminating, soon after Abdu'l-Baha's passing, in the doom which the judgment of God had pronounced against it.

Risings in Crete and the Balkans marked the reign of this, the 32nd sultan of his dynasty, a despot whose mind was vacuous, whose recklessness was extreme, whose extravagance knew no bounds. The Eastern Question entered upon an acute phase. His gross misrule gave rise to movements which were to exercise far-reaching effects upon his realm, while his continual and enormous borrowing, leading to a state of semi bankruptcy, introduced the principle of foreign control over the finances of his empire. A conspiracy, leading to a palace revolution, finally deposed him. A fatva of the mufti denounced his incapacity and extravagance. Four days later he was assassinated, and was succeeded by his nephew, Murad V, whose mind had been reduced to a nullity by intemperance and by a long seclusion in the Cage. Declared to be imbecile, he, after a reign of three months, was deposed and was succeeded by the subtle, the resourceful, the suspicious, the tyrannical Abdu'l-Hamid II who "proved to be the most mean, cunning, untrustworthy and cruel intriguer of the long dynasty of Uthman." "No one knew," it was written of him, "from day to day who was the person on whose advice the sultan overruled his ostensible ministers, whether a favourite lady of his harem, or a eunuch, or some fanatical dervish, or an astrologer, or a spy." The Bulgarian atrocities heralded the black reign of this "Great Assassin," which thrilled Europe with horror, and were characterized by Gladstone as "the basest and blackest outrages upon record in that [XIX] century." The War of 1877-78 accelerated the process of the empire's dismemberment. No less than eleven million people were emancipated from Turkish yoke. The Russian troops occupied Adrianople. Serbia, Montenegro and Rumania proclaimed their independence. Bulgaria became a self-governing state, tributary to the Sultan. Cyprus and Egypt were occupied. The French assumed a protectorate over Tunis. Eastern Rumelia was ceded to Bulgaria. The wholesale massacres of Armenians, involving directly and indirectly a hundred thousand souls, were but a foretaste of the still more extensive bloodbaths to come in a later reign. Bosnia and Herzegovina were lost to Austria. Bulgaria obtained her independence. Universal contempt and hatred of an infamous sovereign, shared alike by his Christian and Muslim subjects, finally culminated in a revolution, swift and sweeping. The Committee of Young Turks secured from the Shaykhu'l-Islam the condemnation of the Sultan. Deserted and friendless, execrated by his subjects, and despised by his fellow-rulers, he was forced to abdicate, and was made a prisoner of state, thus ending a reign "more disastrous in its immediate losses of territory and in the certainty of others to follow, and more conspicuous for the deterioration of the condition of his subjects, than that of any other of his twenty-three degenerate predecessors since the death of Soliman the Magnificent."

The end of so shameful a reign was but the beginning of a new era which, however auspiciously hailed at first, was destined to witness the collapse of the Ottoman ramshackle and worm-eaten state. Muhammad V, a brother of Abdu'l-Hamid II, an absolute nonentity, failed to improve the status of his subjects. The follies of his government ultimately sealed the doom of the empire. The War of 1914-18 provided the occasion. Military reverses brought to a head the forces that were sapping its foundations. While the war was still being fought the defection of the Sherif of Mecca and the revolt of the Arabian provinces portended the convulsion which was to seize the Turkish throne. The precipitate flight and complete destruction of the army of Jamal Pasha, the commander-in-chief in Syria -- he who had sworn to raze to the ground, after his triumphant return from Egypt, the Tomb of Baha'u'llah, and to publicly crucify the Center of His Covenant in a public square of Constantinople -- was the signal for the nemesis that was to overtake an empire in distress. Nine-tenths of the large Turkish armies had melted away. A fourth of the whole population had perished from war, disease, famine and massacre.

A new ruler, Muhammad VI, the last of the twenty-five successive degenerate sultans, had meanwhile succeeded his wretched brother. The edifice of the empire was now quaking and tottering to its fall. Mustafa Kamal dealt it the final blows. Turkey, that had already shrunk to a small Asiatic state, became a republic. The sultan was deposed, the Ottoman Sultanate was ended, a rulership that had remained unbroken for six and a half centuries was extinguished. An empire which had stretched from the center of Hungary to the Persian Gulf and the Sudan, and from the Caspian Sea to Oran in Africa, had now dwindled to a small Asiatic republic. Constantinople itself, which, after the fall of Byzantium, had been honored as the splendid metropolis of the Roman Empire, and had been made the capital of the Ottoman government, was abandoned by its conquerors, and stripped of its pomp and glory -- a mute reminder of the base tyranny that had for so long stained its throne.

Such, in their bare outline, were the awful evidences of that retributive justice which so tragically afflicted Abdu'l-'Aziz, his successors, his throne and his dynasty. What of Nasiri'd-Din Shah, the other partner in that imperial conspiracy which sought to extirpate, root and branch, the budding Faith of God? His reaction to the Divine Message borne to him by the fearless Badi', the "Pride of Martyrs," who had spontaneously dedicated himself to this purpose, was characteristic of that implacable hatred which, throughout his reign, glowed so fiercely in his breast.

The promised day is come - part three