APRIL 1863. Men and women, young and old, from all walks of life, gathered on the thoroughfare leading to the banks of the River Tigris to bid a tearful farewell to One Who had become their friend, their comforter and their guide.
As a prominent follower of The Bab, whose teachings had swept through Persia two decades before, Baha’u’llah had forfeited the privileged life into which He had been born, and instead embraced imprisonment and exile for the rest of His days. Already exiled from Iran, Mirza Husayn-‘Ali—known as Baha’u’llah—had been living in Baghdad when word came that He was to be again banished by the leaders of the Ottoman Empire.
Prior to this further exile, a tent was set up in the Garden of Ridvan outside the city on the Tigris River, where for 12 days He received friends and family.
Their despair would soon be transformed into hope: On the first day, Baha’u’llah announced to His companions what many of them had already suspected—that He was the great Divine Educator heralded by the Bab, the initiator of a new era in history in which the tyrannies and injustices of the past would give way to a world of peace and justice: an embodiment of the principle of the oneness of humankind.
The “Divine Springtime,” He would unequivocally proclaim, had arrived.
THIS IS THE DAY
“This is the Day in which God’s most excellent favors have been poured out upon men,
the Day in which His most mighty grace hath been infused into all created things.
It is incumbent upon all the peoples of the world to reconcile their differences,
and, with perfect unity and peace,
abide beneath the shadow of the Tree of His care and loving-kindness”.
O my God! O my God! I testify that this is Thy Day which hath been mentioned in Thy Books, Thy Epistles, Thy Psalms and Thy Tablets. In it Thou hast manifested that which was hidden in Thy Knowledge and stored up in the repositories of Thine unfailing protection.
I beseech Thee, O Lord of the world, by Thy Most Great Name whereby the limbs of the people were shaken, to assist Thy servants and Thy handmaidens to become steadfast in Thy Cause and to arise in Thy service.
Verily, Thou art potent to do whatsoever Thou willest, and in Thy grasp are the reins of all things. Thou protectest whomsoever Thou willest through Thy Power and Dominion. And verily, Thou art the Almighty, the All-Subduing, the Most Powerful.