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\ THE primary aim of this work is twofold. It 
would fain contribute to the cause of universal 
peace, and promote the better understanding of 
the various religions which really are but one 
religion. The union of religions must necessarily 
precede the union of races, which at present is so 
lamentably incomplete. It appears to me that 
none of the men or women of good-will is justified 
in withholding any suggestions which may have 
occurred tohim. For the crisis, both political and 
religious, is alarming. 

The question being ultimately a religious one, 
the author may be pardoned if he devotes most of 
his space to the most important of its religious 
aspects. He leaves it open to students of 
Christian politics to make known what is the 
actual state of things, and how this is to be 
remedied. He has, however, tried to help the 
reader by reprinting the very noble Manifesto of 
the Society of Friends, called forth by the declara- 



tion of war against Germany by England on the 
fourth day of August 1914. 

In some respects I should have preferred a 
Manifesto representing the lofty views of the 
present Head of another Society of Friends—the 
Bahai Fraternity. Peace on earth has been the 
ideal of the Babis and Bahais since the Bab’s 
time, and Professor E, G. Browne has perpetuated 
Baha-’ullah’s noble declaration of the imminent 
setting up of the kingdom of God, based upon 
universal peace. But there is such a thrilling 
actuality in the Manifesto of the Disciples of 
George Fox that I could not help availing myself 
of Mr. Isaac Sharp’s kind permission to me to 
reprint it. It is indeed an opportune setting forth 
of the eternal riches, which will commend itself, 
now as never before, to those who can say, with 
the Grandfather in Tagore’s poem, ‘I am a jolly 
pilgrim to the land of losing everything.’ The 
rulers of this world certainly do not cherish this 
ideal; but the imminent reconstruction of inter- 
national relations will have to be founded upon it if 
we are not to sink back into the gulf of militarism. 

I have endeavoured to study the various races 
and religions on their best side, and not to fetter 
myself to any individual teacher or party, for 
‘out of His fulness have all we received.’ Max 


Miiller was hardly right in advising the Brahmists 
to call themselves Christians, and it is a pity that 
we so habitually speak of Buddhists and Moham- 
medans. I venture to remark that the favourite 
mame of the Bahais among themselves is 
‘Friends.’ The ordinary name Bahai comes from 
the divine name Baha, ‘Glory (of God),’ so that 
Abdul Baha means ‘Servant of the Glory (of 
God).’ One remembers the beautiful words of 
the Latin collect, ‘Cui servire regnare est.’ 

Abdu'l Baha (when in Oxford) graciously gave 
mea ‘new name. Evidently he thought that my 
work was not entirely done, and would have me 
be ever looking for help to the Spirit, whose 
‘strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Since 
then he has written me a Tablet (letter), from 
which I quote the following lines :— 

‘O thou, my spiritual philosopher, 

‘Thy letter was received. In reality its contents 
were eloquent, for it was an evidence of thy literary 
fairness and of thy investigation of Reality. . . . 
There were many Doctors amongst the Jews, but 
they were all earthly, but St. Paul became heavenly 
because he could fly upwards. In his own time no 
one duly recognized him ; nay, rather, he spent his 
days amidst difficulties and contempt. Afterwards 

1 Ruhani (‘spiritual’). 


it became known that he was not an earthly bird, 
he was a celestial one; he was not a natural 
philosopher, but a divine philosopher. 

‘It is likewise my hope that in the future the 
East and the West may become conscious that 
thou wert a divine philosopher and a herald to 
the Kingdom.’ 

I have no wish to write my autobiography, but 
may mention here that I sympathize largely with 
Vambeéry, a letter from whom to Abdu! Baha will 
be found farther on ; though I should express my 
own adhesion to the Bahai leader in more glowing 
terms. Wishing to get nearer to a ‘human- 
catholic’ religion I have sought the privilege of 
simultaneous membership of several brotherhoods 
of Friends of God. It is my wish to show that 
both these and other homes of spiritual life are, 
when studied from the inside, essentially one, and 
that religions necessarily issue in racial and world- 
wide unity, RUHANI, 

OXFORD, August 1914. 
























A Message (reprinted by permisston) from the Religious 
Society of Friends 

WE find ourselves to-day in the midst of what 
may proye to be the fiercest conflict in the history 
of the human race. Whatever may be our view 
of the processes which have led to its inception, 
we have now to face the fact that war is proceed- 
ing upon a terrific scale and that our own country 
is involved in it. 

We recognize that our Government has made 
most strenuous efforts to preserve peace, and has 
entered into the war under a grave sense of duty 
to a smaller State, towards which we had moral 
and treaty obligations. While, as a Society, we 
stand firmly to the belief that the method of 
force is no solution of any question, we hold 
that the present moment is not one for criticism, 
but for devoted service to our nation. 

What is to be the attitude of Christian men 
and women and of all who believe in the brother- 
hood of humanity? In the distress and perplexity 

of this new situation, many are so stunned as 


scarcely to be able to discern the path of duty. 
In the sight of God we should seek to get back 
to first principles, and to determine on a course 
of action which shall prove us to be worthy 
citizens of His Kingdom. In making this effort 
let us remember those groups of men and women, 
in all the other nations concerned, who will be 
animated by a similar spirit, and who believe 
with us that the fundamental unity of men in the 
family of God is the one enduring reality, even 
when we are forced into an apparent denial of it. 

Although it would be premature to make any 
pronouncement upon many aspects of the situation 
on which we have no sufficient data for a reliable 
judgment, we can, and do, call ourselves and you 
to a consideration of certain principles which may 
safely be enunciated. 

1. The conditions which have made this 
catastrophe possible must be regarded by us as 
essentially unchristian, This war spells the 
bankruptcy of much that we too lightly call 
Christian. No nation, no Church, no individual 
can be wholly exonerated. We have all partici- 
pated to some extent in these conditions. We 
have been content, or too little discontented, with 
them. If we apportion blame, let us not fail first 
to blame ourselves, and to seek the forgiveness of 
Almighty God. 

2. In the hour of darkest night it is not for 
us to lose heart. Never was there greater need 


for men of faith, To many will come the 
temptation to deny God, and to turn away with 
despair from the Christianity which seems to be 
identified with bloodshed on so gigantic a scale. 
Christ is crucified afresh to-day. If some forsake 
Him and flee, let it be more clear that there are 
others who take their stand with Him, come 
what may. 

3. This we may do by continuing to show the 
spirit of love to all. For those whose conscience 
forbids them to take up arms there are other 
ways of serving, and definite plans are already 
being made to enable them to take their full 
share in helping their country at this crisis. In 
pity and helpfulness towards the suffering and 
stricken in our own country we shall all share. 
If we stop at this, ‘what do we more than others ?’ 
Our Master bids us pray for and love our enemies. 
May we be saved from forgetting that they too 
are the children of our Father. May we think 
of them with love and pity. May we banish 
thoughts of bitterness, harsh judgments, the re- 
vengeful spirit. To do this is in no sense un- 
patriotic. We may find ourselves the subjects of 
misunderstanding. But our duty is clear—to be 
courageous in the cause of love and in the hate 
of hate. May we prepare ourselves even now for 
the day when once more we shall stand shoulder 
to shoulder with those with whom we are now at 
war, in seeking to bring in the Kingdom of God. 


4. It is not too soon to begin to think out the 
new situation which will arise at the close of the 
war. We are being compelled to face the fact 
that the human race has been guilty of a gigantic 
folly. We have built up a culture, a civilization, 
and even a religious life, surpassing in many 
respects that of any previous age, and we have 
been content to rest it all upon a foundation of 
sand, Such a state of society cannot endure so 
long as the last word in human affairs is brute 
force. Sooner or later it was bound to crumble. 
At the close of this war we shall be faced with 
a stupendous task of reconstruction. In some 
- ways it will be rendered supremely difficult by 
the legacy of ill-will, by the destruction of human 
life, by the tax upon all in meeting the barest 
wants of the millions who will have suffered 
through the war. But in other ways it will be 
easier. We shall be able to make a new start, 
and to make it all together. From this point of 
view we may even see a ground of comfort in the 
fact that our own nation is involved. No country 
will be in a position which will compel others to 
struggle again to achieve the inflated standard of 
military power existing before the war. We shall 
have an opportunity of reconstructing European 
culture upon the only possible permanent founda- 
tion—mutual trust and good-will. Such a re- 
construction would not only secure the future of 
European civilization, but would save the world 


from the threatened catastrophe of seeing the 
great nations of the East building their new social 
order also upon the sand, and thus turning the 
thought and wealth needed for their education 
and development into that which could only be 
a fetter to themselves and a menace to the West. 
Is it too much to hope for that we shall, when 
the time comes, be able as brethren together to 
lay down far-reaching principles for the future of 
mankind such as will ensure us for ever against a 
repetition of this gigantic folly? If this is to be 
accomplished it will need the united and persistent 
pressure of all who believe in such a future for 
mankind. There will still be multitudes who can 
see no good in the culture of other nations, and 
_ who are unable to believe in any genuine brother- 
hood among those of different races, Already 
those who think otherwise must begin to think 
and plan for such a future if the supreme oppor- 
tunity of the final peace is not to be lost, and if 
we are to be saved from being again sucked down 
into the whirlpool of military aggrandizement and 
rivalry. In time of peace all the nations have 
been preparing for war. In the time of war let 
all men of good-will prepare for peace. The 
Christian conscience must be awakened to the 
magnitude of the issues. The great friendly 
democracies in each country must be ready to 
make their influence felt. Now is the time to 
speak of this thing, to work for it, to pray for it. 


5. If this is to happen, it seems to us of vital 
importance that the war should not be carried on 
in any vindictive spirit, and that it should be 
brought to a close at the earliest possible moment. 
We should have it clearly before our minds from 
the beginning that we are not going into it in 
order to crush and humiliate any nation. The 
conduct of negotiations has taught us the necessity 
of prompt action in international affairs. Should 
the opportunity offer, we, in this nation, should be 
ready to act with promptitude in demanding that 
the terms suggested are of a kind which it will 
be possible for all parties to accept, and that the 
negotiations be entered upon in the right spirit. 

6. We believe in God. Human free will gives 
us power to hinder the fulfilment of His loving 
purposes. It also means that we may actively 
co-operate with Him. If it is given to us to see 
something of a glorious possible future, after all 
the desolation and sorrow that lie before us, let 
us be sure that sight has been given us by Him. 
No day should close without our putting up our 
prayer to Him that He will lead His family into 
a new and better day. At a time when so severe 
a blow is being struck at the great causes of moral, 
social, and religious reform for which so many have 
struggled, we need to look with expectation and 
confidence to Him, whose cause they are, and find 
a fresh inspiration in the certainty of His victory. 

August 7, 1914. 


‘In time of war let all men of good-will pre- 
pare for peace.’ German, French, and English 
scholars and investigators have done much to 
show that the search for truth is one of the most 
powerful links between the different races and 
nations. It is absurd to speak—as many Germans 
do habitually speak—of ‘deutsche Wissenschaft,’ 
as if the glorious tree of scientific and historical 
knowledge were a purely German production. 
Many wars like that which closed at Sedan and 
that which is still, most unhappily, in progress 
will soon drive lovers of science and culture to 
the peaceful regions of North America! 

The active pursuit of truth is, therefore, one of 
those things which make for peace. But can we 
say this of moral and religious truth? In this 
domain are we not compelled to be partisans 
and particularists? And has not liberal criti- 
cism shown that the religious traditions of all 
races and nations are to be relegated to the least 
cultured classes? That is the question to the 
treatment of which I (as a Christian student) offer 
some contributions in the present volume. But I 
would first of all express my hearty sympathy 
with the friends of God in the noble Russian 
Church, which has appointed the following prayer 
among others for use at the present crisis :’ 

‘ Deacon. Stretch forth Thine hand, O Lord, 
from on high, and touch the hearts of our enemies, 

1 Church Times, Sept. 4, 1914. 


that they may turn unto Thee, the God of peace 
Who lovest Thy creatures: and for Thy Name’s 
sake strengthen us who put our trust in Thee by 
Thy might, we beseech Thee. Hear us and have 

Certainly it is hardness of heart which strikes 
us most painfully in our (we hope) temporary 
enemies. The only excuse is that in the Book 
which Christian nations agree to consider as in 
some sense and degree religiously authoritative, 
the establishment of the rule of the Most High is 
represented as coincident with extreme severities, 
or—as we might well say—cruelties. I do not, 
however, think that the excuse, if offered, would 
be valid. The Gospels must overbear any incon- 
sistent statement of the Old Testament. 

But the greatest utterances of human morality 
are to be found in the Buddhist Scriptures, and 
it is a shame to the European peoples that the 
Buddhist Indian king Asoka should be more 
Christian than the leaders of ‘German culture.’ 
I for my part love the old Germany far better 
than the new, and its high ideals would I hand 
on, filling up its omissions and correcting its 
errors. ‘O house of Israel, come ye, let us walk 
in the light of the Lord.’ Thou art ‘the God of 
peace Who lovest Thy creatures.’ 





THE crisis in the Christian Church is now so 
acute that we may well seek for some mode of 
escape from its pressure. The Old Broad Church 
position is no longer adequate to English cir- 
cumstances, and there is not yet in existence a 
thoroughly satisfactory new and original position 
for a Broad Church student to occupy. Shall we, 
then, desert the old historic Church in which we 
were christened and educated? It would cer- 
tainly be a loss, and not only to ourselves. Or 
shall we wait with drooping head to be driven 
out of the Church? Such a cowardly solution 
may be at once dismissed. Happily we have in 
the Anglican Church virtually no excommunica- 
tion. Our only course as students is to go 
forward, and endeavour to expand our too 
narrow Church boundaries. Modernists we are; 
modernists we will remain; let our only object 
be to be worthy of this noble name. 

But we cannot be surprised that our Church 
rulers are perplexed. For consider the embar- 



rassing state of critical investigation. Critical 
study of the Gospels has shown that very little 
of the traditional material can be regarded as 
historical ; it is even very uncertain whether the 
Galilean prophet really paid the supreme penalty 
as a supposed enemy of Rome on the shameful 
cross. Even apart from the problem referred 
to, it is more than doubtful whether critics have 
left us enough stones standing in the life of 
Jesus to serve as the basis of a christology or 
doctrine of the divine Redeemer. And yet 
one feels that a theology without a theophany 
is both dry and difficult to defend. We want 
an avatar, ze. a ‘descent’ of God in human 
form; indeed, we seem to need several such 
‘descents,’ appropriate to the changing circum- 
stances of the ages. Did not the author of 
the Fourth Gospel recognize this? Certainly 
his portrait of Jesus is so widely different from 
that of the Synoptists that a genuine reconcilia- 
tion seems impossible. I would not infer from 
this that the Jesus of the Fourth Gospel belonged 
to a different age from the Jesus of the Synoptists, 
but I would venture to say that the Fourth 
Evangelist would be easier to defend if he held 
this theory. The Johannine Jesus ought to have 
belonged to a different zon. 



Well, then, it is reasonable to turn for guidance 
and help to the East. There was living quite 
lately a human being of such consummate 
excellence that many think it is both permissible 
and inevitable even to identify him mystically 
with the invisible Godhead. Let us admit, such 
persons say, that Jesus was the very image of 
God. But he lived for his own age and his own 
people ; the Jesus of the critics has but little to 
say, and no redemptive virtue issues from him to 
us. But the ‘Blessed Perfection,’ as Baha’ullah 
used to be called, lives for our age, and offers his 
spiritual feast to men of all peoples. His story, 
too, is liable to no diminution at the hands of the 
critics, simply because the facts of his life are 
certain. He has now passed from sight, but he 
is still in the ideal world, a true image of God 
and a true lover of man, and helps forward the 
reform of all those manifold abuses which hinder 
the firm establishment of the kingdom of God. 
I shall return to this presently. Meanwhile, suffice 
it to say that though I entertain the highest rever- 
ence and love for Baha’ullah’s son, Abdul Baha, 
whom I regard as a Mahatma—‘a great-souled 
one’—and look up to as one of the highest 
examples in the spiritual firmament, I hold no 
brief for the Bahai community, and can be as im- 
partial in dealing with facts relating to the Bahais 


as with facts which happen to concern my own 
beloved mother-church, the Church of England. 

I shall first of all ask, how it came to pass that 
so many of us are now seeking help and guidance 
from the East, some from India, some from Persia, 
some (which is my own case) from India and from 


So far as Persia is concerned, the reason 
is that its religious experience has been no 
less varied than ancient. Zoroaster, Manes, 
Christ, Muhammad, Dh’u-Nun (the introducer 
of Sufism), Sheykh Ahmad (the forerunner of 
Babism), the Bab himself and Baha’ullah (the 
two Manifestations), have all left an ineffaceable 
mark on the national life. The Bab, it is true, 
again and again expresses his repugnance to the 
‘lies’ of the Sufis, and the Babis are not behind 
him ; but there are traces enough of the influence 
of Sufism on the new Prophet and his followers. 
The passion for martyrdom seems of itself to pre- 
Suppose a tincture of Sufism, for it is the most 
extreme form of the passion for God, and to love 
God fervently but steadily in preference to all the 
pleasures of the phenomenal world, is character- 
istically Sufite. 

What is it, then, in Sufism that excites the 
Bab’s indignation? It is not the doctrine of the 


soul’s oneness with God as the One Absolute 
Being, and the reality of the soul’s ecstatic com- 
munion with Him. Several passages are quoted 
by Mons. Nicolas' on the attitude of the Bab 
towards Sufism ; suffice it here to quote one of 

‘Others (z.e. those who claim, as being identi- 
fied with God, to possess absolute truth) are 
known by the name of Sufis, and believe them- 
selves to possess the internal sense of the Shari‘at” 
when they are in ignorance alike of its apparent 
and of its inward meaning, and have fallen far, 
very far from it! One may perhaps say of them 
that those people who have no understanding 
have chosen the route which is entirely of dark- 
ness and of doubt.’ 

Ignorance, then, is, according to the Bab, the 
great fault of the Sufis*® whom he censures, and 
we may gather that that ignorance was thought to 
be especially shown in a crude pantheism and a 
doctrine of incarnation which, according to the 
Bab, amounts to sheer polytheism.* God in 
Himself, says the Bab, cannot be known, though 
a reflected image of Him is attainable by taking 

1 Beyan arabe, pp. 3-18. 

2 The orthodox Law of Islam, which many Muslims seek to 

3 Yet the title Sufi connotes knowledge. It means probably 
‘one who (like the Buddha on his statues) has a heavenly eye.’ 
Prajnaparamita (Divine Wisdom) has the same third eye (Havell, 
Indian Sculpture and Painting, illustr. XLV.). 

4 The technical term is ‘ association.’ 


heed to His manifestations or perfect por- 

Some variety of Sufism, however, sweetly 
and strongly permeates the teaching of the Bab. 
It is a Sufism which consists, not in affiliation to 
any Sufi order, but in the knowledge and love of 
the Source of the Eternal Ideals. Through de- 
tachment from this perishable world and earnest 
seeking for the Eternal, a glimpse of the unseen 
Reality can be attained. The form of this only 
true knowledge is subject to change; fresh 
‘mirrors’ or ‘portraits’ are provided at the end 
of each recurring cosmic cycle or zon. But the 
substance is unchanged and unchangeable. As 
Prof. Browne remarks, ‘the prophet of a cycle is 
naught but a reflexion of the Primal Will,—the 
same sun with a new horizon.’! 

Tue BAs 

Such a prophet was the Bab; we call him 
‘prophet’ for want of a better name; ‘yea, | say. 
unto you, a prophet and more than a prophet.’ 
His combination of mildness and power is so rare 
that we have to place him in a line with super- 
normal men. But he was also a great mystic and 
an eminent theosophic speculator. We learn that, 
at great points in his career, after he had been in 
an ecstasy, such radiance of might and majesty 
streamed from his countenance that none could 

1 INE as a: 


bear to look upon the effulgence of his glory and 
beauty. Nor was it an uncommon occurrence 
for unbelievers involuntarily to bow down in lowly 
obeisance on beholding His Holiness; while the 
inmates of the castle, though for the most part 
Christians and Sunnis, reverently prostrated them- 
selves whenever they saw the visage of His 
Holiness.’ Such transfiguration is well known to 
the saints. It was regarded as the affixing of the 
heavenly seal to the reality and completeness of 
Bab’s detachment. And from the Master we 
learn? that it passed to his disciples in proportion 
to the degree of their renunciation. But these 
experiences were surely characteristic, not only 
of Babism, but of Sufism. Ecstatic joy is the 
dominant note of Sufism, a joy which was of 
other-worldly origin, and compatible with the 
deepest tranquillity, and by which we are made 
like to the Ever-rejoicing One. The mystic poet 
Far‘idu’d-din writes thus,— 
Joy! joy! I triumph now; no more I know 
Myself as simply me. I burn with love. 

The centre is within me, and its wonder 
Lies as a circle everywhere about me.® 

And of another celebrated Sufi Sheykh (Ibnu'l 
Far‘id) his son writes as follows: ‘When moved 
to ecstasy by listening [to devotional recitations 
and chants] his face would increase in beauty and 

DINE pp Zan, 242: 2 Mirza Jani (VH, p. 242). 
8 Hughes, Déct. of slam, p. 618 0. 


radiance, while the perspiration dripped from all 
his body until it ran under his feet into the 


Sufism, however, which in the outset was a 
spiritual pantheism, combined with quietism, de- 
veloped in a way that was by no means s0 satis- 
factory. The saintly mystic poet Abu Sa‘id had 
defined it thus: ‘To lay aside what thou hast 
in thy head (desires and ambitions), and to give 
away what thou hast in thy hand, and not to 
flinch from whatever befalls thee.’2 This is, of 
course, not intended as a complete description, 
but shows that the spirit of the earlier Sufism 
was profoundly ethical. Count Gobineau, how- 
ever, assures us that the Sufism which he knew 
was both enervating and immoral. Certainly the 
later Sufi poets were inclined to overpress sym- 
bolism, and the luscious sweetness of the poetry 
may have been unwholesome for some—both for 
poets and for readers, Still I question whether, 
for properly trained readers, this evil result 
should follow. The doctrine of the impermanence 
of all that is not God and that love between two 
human hearts is but a type of the love between 
God and His human creatures, and that the 
supreme happiness is that of identification with 

1 Browne, Literary Listory of Persia, ii. 503. 
2 bid. ii. 208. 


God, has never been more alluringly expressed 
than by the Sufi poets. 

The Sufis, then, are true forerunners of the 
Bab and his successors. There are also two men, 
Muslims but no Sufis, who have a claim to the 
same title. But I must first of all do honour to 
an Indian Sufi. 

InayaT KHAN 

The message of this noble company has been 
lately brought to the West.’ The bearer, who is 
in the fulness of youthful strength, is Inayat 
Khan, a member of the Sufi Order, a practised 
speaker, and also devoted to the traditional sacred 
music of India. His own teacher on his death- 
bed gave him this affecting charge: ‘Goest thou 
abroad into the world, harmonize the East and 
the West with thy music; spread the know- 
ledge of Sufism, for thou art gifted by Allah, 
the Most Merciful and Compassionate.’ So, then, 
Vivekananda, Abdul Baha, and Inayat Khan, 
not to mention here several Buddhist monks, are 
all missionaries of Eastern religious culture to 
Western, and two of these specially represent 
Persia. We cannot do otherwise than thank 
God for the concordant voice of Bahaite and 
Sufite. Both announce the Evangel of the essen- 
tial oneness of humanity which will one day—and 
sooner than non-religious politicians expect—be 

1 Message Soufi de la Liberté Spirituelle (Paris, 1913). 


translated into fact, and, as the first step towards 
this ‘desire of all nations, they embrace every 
opportunity of teaching the essential unity of 
religions : 

Pagodas, just as mosques, are homes of prayer, 

Tis prayer that church-bells chime unto the air ; 

Yea, Church and Ka’ba, Rosary and Cross, 
Are all but divers tongues of world-wide prayer.? 

So writes a poet (Omar Khayy4m) whom 
Inayat Khan claims as a Sufi, and who at any 
rate seems to have had Sufi intervals. Unmixed 
spiritual prayer may indeed be uncommon, but we 
may hope that prayer with no spiritual elements 
at all is still more rare. It is the object of 
prophets to awaken the consciousness of the 
people to its spiritual needs. Of this class of 
men Inayat Khan speaks thus,— 

‘The prophetic mission was to bring into the 
world the Divine Wisdom, to apportion it to the 
world according to that world’s comprehension, to 
adapt it to its degree of mental evolution as well 
as to dissimilar countries and periods. It is by 
this adaptability that the many religions which 
have emanated from the same moral principle 
differ the one from the other, and it is by this 
that they exist. In fact, each prophet had for his 
mission to prepare the world for the teaching of 
the prophet who was to succeed him, and each of 

1 ‘Whinfield’s translation of the quatrains of Omar Khayydm, 
No. 22 (34). 


them foretold the coming of his successor down 
to Mahomet, the last messenger of the divine 
Wisdom, and as it were the look-out point in 
which all the prophetic cycle was centred. For 
Mahomet resumed the divine Wisdom in this 
proclamation, ‘‘ Nothing exists, God alone is,” 
—the final message whither the whole line of 
the prophets tended, and where the boundaries 
of religions and philosophies took their start. 
With this message prophetic interventions are 
henceforth useless. 

‘The Sufi has no prejudice against any 
prophet, and, contrary to those who only love one 
to hate the other, the Sufi regards them all as 
the highest attribute of God, as Wisdom herself, 
present under the appearance of names and forms. 
He loves them with all his worship, for the lover 
worships the Beloved in all Her garments... . 
It is thus that the Sufis contemplate their Well- 
beloved, Divine Wisdom, in all her robes, in her 
different ages, and under all the names that she 
bears,—Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mahomet.’ : 

The idea of the equality of the members of 
the world-wide prophethood, the whole body of 
prophets being the unique personality of Divine 
Wisdom, is, in my judgment, far superior to the 
corresponding theory of the exclusive Muham- 
madan orthodoxy. That theory is that each 
prophet represents an advance on his predecessor, 

1 Message Soufi de la Liberté (Paris, 1913), PP- 34, 35- 


whom he therefore supersedes. Now, that Mu- 
hammad as a prophet was well adapted to the 
Arabians, I should be most unwilling to deny. I 
am also heartily of opinion that a Christian may 
well strengthen his own faith by the example of 
the fervour of many of the Muslims. But to say 
that the Kur’an is superior to either the Old 
Testament or the New is, surely, an error, only 
excusable on the ground of ignorance. It is true, 
neither of Judaism nor of Christianity were the 
representatives in Muhammad’s time such as we 
should have desired; ignorance on Muhammad’s 
part was unavoidable. But unavoidable also was 
the anti-Islamic reaction, as represented especially 
by the Order of the Sufis. One may hope that 
both action and reaction may one day become 
unnecessary. Zka¢ will depend largely on the 

It is time, however, to pass on to those pre- 
cursors of Babism who were neither Sufites nor 
Zoroastrians, but who none the less continued the 
line of the national religious development. The 
majority of Persians were Shi‘ites; they regarded 
Ali and the ‘Imams’ as virtually divine manifesta- 
tions. This at least was their point of union; 
otherwise they fell into two great divisions, 
known as the ‘Sect of the Seven’ and the ‘Sect 
of the Twelve’ respectively. Mirza Ali Muham- 
mad belonged by birth to the latter, which now 
forms the State-religion of Persia, but there are 


several points in his doctrine which he held in 
common with the former (z.e. the Ishmailis). 
These are—‘the successive incarnations of the 
Universal Reason, the allegorical interpretation of 
Scripture, and the symbolism of every ritual form 
and every natural phenomenon.’ The doctrine of 
the impermanence of all that is not God, and that 
love between two human hearts is but a type of 
the love between God and his human creatures, 
and the bliss of self-annihilation, had long been 
inculcated in the most winning manner by the 


Yet they were no Sufis, but precursors of 
Babism in a more thorough and special sense, 
and both were Muslims. The first was Sheykh 
Ahmad of Ahsa, in the province of Bahrein. He 
knew full well that he was chosen of God to 
prepare men’s hearts for the reception of the 
more complete truth shortly to be revealed, and 
that through him the way of access to the hidden 
twelfth Imam Mahdi was reopened. But he did 
not set this forth in clear and unmistakable terms, 
lest ‘the unregenerate’ should turn again and rend 
him. According toa Shi‘ite authority he paid two 
visits to Persia, in one of which he was in high 
favour with the Court, and received as a yearly 
subsidy from the Shah’s son the sum of 700 

1 WH, introd. p. xiii. 


tumans, and in the other, owing chiefly to a mali- 
cious colleague, his theological doctrines brought 
him into much disrepute. Yet he lived as a pious 
Muslim, and died in the odour of sanctity, as a 
pilgrim to Mecca.’ 

One of his opponents (Mulla ‘Ali) said of him 
that he was ‘an ignorant man with a pure heart.’ 
Well, ignorant we dare not call him, except 
with a big qualification, for his aim required great 
knowledge; it was nothing less than the reconcilia- 
tion of all truth, both metaphysical and scientific. 
Now he had certainly taken much trouble about 
truth, and had written many books on philosophy 
and the sciences as understood in Islamic countries. 
We can only qualify our eulogy by admitting 
that he was unaware of the limitations of human 
nature, and of the weakness of Persian science. 
Pure in heart, however, he was; no qualification 
is needed here, except it be one which Mulla ‘Ali 
would not have regarded as requiring any excuse. 
For purity he (like many others) understood in 
a large sense. It was the reward of courageous 
‘buffeting’ and enslaving of the body; he was 
an austere ascetic. 

He had a special devotion to Ja‘far-i-Sadik,? 
the sixth Imam, whose guidance he believed 
himself to enjoy in dreams, and whose words he 
delighted to quote. Of course, ‘Ali was the 

1 See AMB (Nicolas), pp. 264-272; VA, pp. 235, 236. 
CHIMP ass eXo fri 


director of the council of the Imams, but the 
councillors were not much less, and were equally 
faithful as mirrors of the Supreme. This remains 
true, even if ‘Ali be regarded as himself the 
Supreme God? identical with Allah or with the 
Ormazd (Ahura- Mazda) of the Zoroastrians. 
For the twelve Imams were all of the rank of 
divinities. Not that they were ‘partners’ with 
God; they were simply manifestations of the 
Invisible God. But they were utterly veracious 
Manifestations ; in speaking of Allah (as the 
Sheykh taught) we may venture to intend ‘Ali.? 

This explains how the Sheykh can have taught 
that the Imams took part in creation and are 
agents in the government of the world. In 
support of this he quoted Kur’an, Sur. xxiii. 14, 
‘God the best of Creators,’ and, had he been a 
broader and more scientific theologian, might 
have mentioned how the Amshaspands (Amesha- 
spentas) are grouped with Ormazd in the creation- 
story of Zoroastrianism, and how, in that of Gen. i., 
the Director of the Heavenly Council says, ‘ Let 
us make man.’® 

The Sheykh also believed strongly in the 

1 The Sheykh certainly tended in the direction of the sect of 
the ‘Ali-Ilahis (VZ, p. 142; Kremer, Herrschende Ideen des Islams, 
p. 31), who belonged to the gfu/at or extreme Shi‘ites (Browne, 
Lit. Hist. of Persia, p. 310). 

2 The Sheykh held that in reciting the opening swra of the 
Kur’an the worshipper should think of “Ali, should intend ‘Ali, as 
his God. 3 Genesis i. 22. 



existence of a subtle body which survives the 
dissolution of the palpable, material body,’ and 
will alone be visible at the Resurrection. Nothing 
almost gave more offence than this; it seemed 
to be only a few degrees better than the absolute 
denial of the resurrection-body ventured upon by 
the Akhbaris.?- And yet the notion of a subtle, 
internal body, a notion which is Indian as well as 
Persian, has been felt even by many Westerns to be 
for them the only way to reconcile reason and faith. 

Sevyip Kazim—IsLam—ParsiisM—BuDDHISM 

On Ahmad’s death the unanimous choice of 
the members of the school fell on Seyyid (Sayyid) 
Kazim of Resht, who had been already nominated 
by the Sheykh. He pursued the same course 
as his predecessor, and attracted many inquirers 
and disciples. Among the latter was the lady 
Kurratu’l ‘Ayn, born in a town where the Sheykhi 
sect was strong, and of a family accustomed to 
religious controversy. He was not fifty when 
he died, but his career was a distinguished one. 
Himself a Gate, he discerned the successor by 
whom he was to be overshadowed, and he was 
the teacher of the famous lady referred to. To 
what extent ‘Ali Muhammad (the subsequent Bab) 
was instructed by him is uncertain. It was long 
enough no doubt to make him a Sheykhite and to 
justify ‘Ali Muhammad in his own eyes for raising 

LIN, p. 236, 2 Gobineau, pp. 39, 40. 


Sheykh Ahmad and the Seyyid Kazim to the 
dignity of Bab, 

There seems to be conclusive evidence that 
Seyyid Kazim adverted often near the close of 
life to the divine Manifestation which he believed 
to be at hand. He was fond of saying, ‘I see 
him as the rising sun.’ He was also wont to 
declare that the ‘ Proof’ would be a youth of the 
race of Hashim, z.e. a kinsman of Muhammad, 
untaught in the learning of men. Of a dream 
which he heard from an Arab (when in Turkish 
Arabia), he said, ‘This dream signifies that my 
departure from the world is near at hand’; and 
when his friends wept at this, he remonstrated 
with them, saying, ‘ Why are ye troubled in mind? 
Desire ye not that I should depart, and that the 
truth [in person] should appear ?’? 

I leave it an open question whether Seyyid 
Kazim had actually fixed on the person who was 
to be his successor, and to reflect the Supreme 
Wisdom far more brilliantly than himself. But 
there is no reason to doubt that he regarded his 
own life and labours as transitional, and it is 
possible that by the rising sun of which he 
loved to speak he meant that strange youth of 
Shiraz who had been an irregular attendant at his 
lectures. Very different, it is true, is the Muham- 
madan legend. It states that ‘Ali Muhammad was 
present at Karbala from the death of the Master, 

1 AMB, pp. 91, 95; cp. WH, p. 342. 2 NEY, p. 31. 


that he came to an understanding with members of 
the school, and that after starting certain miracle- 
stories, all of them proceeded to Mecca, to fulfil the 
predictions which connected the Prophet-Messiah 
with that Holy City, where, with bared sabre, he 
would summon the peoples to the true God. 

This will, I hope, suffice to convince the reader 
that both the Sufi Order and the Sheykhite Sect 
were true forerunners of Babism and Bahaism. 
He will also readily admit that, for the Sufis 
especially, the connexion with a church of so 
weak a historic sense was most unfortunate. It 
would be the best for all parties if Muslims both 
within and without the Sufi Order accepted a 
second home in a church (that of Abha) whose 
historical credentials are unexceptionable, retain- 
ing membership of the old home, so as to be able 
to reform from within, but superadding member- 
ship of the new. Whether this is possible on 
a large scale, the future must determine. It will 
not be possible if those who combine the old 
home with a new one become themselves thereby 
liable to persecution. It will not even be desirable 
unless the new-comers bring with them doctrinal 
(I do not say dogmatic) contributions to the 
common stock of Bahai truths—contributions of 
those things for which alone in their hearts the 
immigrant Muslim brothers infinitely care. 

It will be asked, What are, to a Muslim, and 
especially to a Shi'ite Muslim, infinitely precious 


things? I will try to answer this question. First 
of all, in time of trouble, the Muslim certainly 
values as a ‘ pearl of great price’ the Mercifulness 
and Compassion of God. Those who believingly 
read the Kur’an or recite the opening prayer, and 
above all, those who pass through deep waters, 
cannot do otherwise. No doubt the strict justice of 
God, corresponding to and limited by His compas- 
sion, is also a true jewel. We may admit that the 
judicial severity of Allah has received rather too 
much stress ; still there must be occasions on which, 
from earthly caricatures of justice pious Muslims 
flee for refuge in their thoughts to the One Just 
Judge. Indeed, the great final Judgment is, to a 
good Muslim, a much stronger incentive to holiness 
than the sensuous descriptions of Paradise, which 
indeed he will probably interpret symbolically. 
The true Muslim will be charitable even to the 
lower animals.’ Neither poor-law nor Society for 
the Protection of Animals is required in Muslim 
countries. How soon organizations arose for the 
care of the sick, and, in war-time, of the wounded, 
it would be difficult to say; for Buddhists and 
Hindus were of course earlier in the field than 
Muslims, inheriting as they did an older moral 
culture. In the Muslim world, however, the 
twelfth century saw the rise of the Kadirite Order, 
with its philanthropic procedure.’ Into the ideal 

1 Nicholson, Zhe Mystics of Islam, p. 108. 
2D. S. Margoliouth, Mohammedanism, pp. 211-212, 


of man, as conceived by our Muslim brothers, there 
must therefore enter the feature of mercifulness. 
We cannot help sympathizing with this, even 
though we think Abdul Baha’s ideal richer and 
nobler than any as yet conceived by any Muslim 

There is also the idea—the realized idea—of 
brotherhood, a brotherhood which is simply an 
extension of the equality of Arabian tribesmen. 
There is no caste in Islam; each believer stands 
in the same relation to the Divine Sovereign. 
There may be poor, but it is the rich man’s merit 
to relieve them. There may be slaves, but slaves 
and masters are religiously one, and though there 
are exceptions to the general kindliness of masters 
and mistresses, it is in East Africa that these 
lamentable inconsistencies are mostly found. The 
Muslim brothers who may join the Bahais will not 
find it hard to shake off their moral weaknesses, 
and own themselves brothers of their servants. 
Are we not all (they will say) sons of Adam? 
Lastly, there is the character of Muhammad. 
Perfect he was not, but Baha’ullah was hardly 
quite fair to Muhammad when (if we may trust 
a tradition) he referred to the Arabian prophet as 
a camel-driver. It is a most inadequate descrip- 
tion. He had a ‘rare beauty and sweetness of 
nature’ to which he joined a ‘social and political 
genius’ and ‘towering manhood.’ ! 

1 Sister Nivedita, The Wed of Indian Life, pp. 242, 243. 


These are the chief contributions which Muslim 
friends and lovers will be able to make; these, 
the beliefs which we shall hold more firmly 
through our brothers’ faith. Will Muslims accept 
as well as proffer gifts? Speaking of a Southern 
Morocco Christian mission, S. L. Bensusan admits 
that it does not make Christians out of Moors, 
but claims that it ‘teaches the Moors to live finer 
lives within the limits of their own faith.’ * 

I should like to say something here about the 
sweetness of Muhammad. It appears not only 
in his love for his first wife and benefactress, 
Khadijah, but in his affection for his daughter, 
Fatima. This affection has passed over to the 
Muslims, who call her very beautifully ‘the Saluta- 
tion of all Muslims.’ The Babis affirm that 
Fatima returned to life in their own great heroine. 

There is yet another form of religion that I 
must not neglect—the Zoroastrian or Parsi faith. 
Far as this faith may have travelled from its 
original spirituality, it still preserved in the Bab’s 
time some elements of truth which were bound to 
become a beneficial leaven. This high and holy 
faith (as represented in the Gathas) was still the 
religion of the splendour or glory of God, still the 
champion of the Good Principle against the Evil. 
As if to show his respectful sympathy for an 
ancient and persecuted religion the Bab borrowed 
some minor points of detail from his Parsi 

1 Morocco (A. & C. Black), p. 164. 


neighbours. Not on these, however, would I 
venture to lay any great stress, but rather on the 
doctrines and beliefs in which a Parsi connexion 
may plausibly be held. For instance, how can we 
help tracing a parallel between Ali and the Imams 
on the one hand and Ahura-Mazda (Ormazd) and 
his council of Amshaspands (Amesha-spentas) on 
the other? The founders of both religions con- 
ceived it to be implied in the doctrine of the Divine 
Omnipresence that God should be represented in 
every place by His celestial councillors, who would 
counteract the machinations of the Evil Ones. 
For Evil Ones there are; so at least Islam holds. 
Their efforts are foredoomed to failure, because 
their kingdom has no unity or cohesion. But 
strange mystic potencies they have, as all pious 
Muslims think, and we must remember that ‘Ali 
Muhammad (the Bab) was bred up in the faith of 

Well, then, we can now. proceed further and 
say that our Parsi friends can offer us gifts worth 
the having. When they rise in the morning they 
know that they have a great warfare to wage, and 
that they are not alone, but have heavenly helpers. 
This form of representation is not indeed the 
only one, but who shall say that we can dispense 
with it? Even if evil be but the shadow of good, 
a Maya, an appearance, yet must we not act as 
if it had a real existence, and combat it with all 
our might? 


May we also venture to include Buddhism 
among the religions which may directly or in- 
directly have prepared the way for Bahaism? 
We may; the evidence is as follows. Manes, or 
Mani, the founder of the widely-spread sect of 
the Manichzans, who lived in the third century 
of our era, writes thus in the opening of one of 
his books,— 

‘Wisdom and deeds have always from time to 
time been brought to mankind by the messengers 
of God. So in one age they have been brought 
by the messenger of God called Buddha to India, 
in another by Zoroaster to Persia, in another by 
Jesus to the West. Thereafter this revelation 
has come down, this prophecy in this last age, 
through me, Mani, the Messenger of the God of 
Truth to Babylonia’ (‘Irak). 

This is valid evidence for at least the period 
before that of Mani. We have also adequate 
proofs of the continued existence of Buddhism 
in Persia in the eleventh, twelfth, and thir- 
teenth centuries; indeed, we may even assert 
this for Bactria and E. Persia with reference to 
nearly 1000 years before the Muhammadan 

Buddhism, then, battled for leave to do the 
world good in its own way, though the intolerance 

1 Literary History of Persta, i. 103. 
2 R. A. Nicholson, The Mystics, p. 18. Cp. E. G. Browne, 
Lit. Hist. of Persia, i. 440 77 


of Islam too soon effaced its footprints. There 
is still some chance, however, that Sufism may 
be a record of its activity; in fact, this great 
religious upgrowth may be of Indian rather than 
of Neoplatonic origin, so that the only question 
is whether Sufism developed out of the Vedanta 
or out of the religious philosophy of Buddhism. 
That, however, is too complex a question to be 
discussed here. 

All honour to Buddhism for its noble effort. 
In some undiscoverable way Buddhists acted as 
pioneers for the destined Deliverer. Let us, then, 
consider what precious spiritual jewels its sons 
and daughters can bring to the new Fraternity. 
There are many most inadequate statements 
about Buddhism. Personally, I wish that such 
expressions as ‘the cold metaphysic of Buddhism’ 
might be abandoned; surely metaphysicians, too, 
have religious needs and may have warm hearts. 
At the same time I will not deny that I prefer 
the northern variety of Buddhism, because I] seem 
to myself to detect in the southern Buddhism a 
touch of a highly-refined egoism. Self-culture 
may or may not be combined with self-sacrifice. 
In the case of the Buddha it was no doubt so 
combined, as the following passage, indited by 
him, shows— 

‘All the means that can be used as bases for 
doing right are not worth one sixteenth part of 
the emancipation of the heart through love. That 


takes all those up into itself, outshining them 
in radiance and in glory.’} 

What, then, are the jewels of the Buddhist 
which he would fain see in the world’s spiritual 
treasury ? 

He will tell you that he has many jewels, but 
that three of them stand out conspicuously — 
the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Of 
these the first is ‘Sakya Muni, called the Buddha 
(the Awakened One).’ His life is full of legend 
and mythology, but how it takes hold of the 
reader! Must we not pronounce it the finest of 
religious narratives, and thank the scholars who 
made the Lakta Vistara known to us? The 
Buddha was indeed a supernormal man; morally 
and physically he must have had singular gifts. 
To an extraordinary intellect he joined the en- 
thusiasm of love, and a thirst for service. 

The second of the Buddhist brother’s jewels 
is the Dharma, ze. the Law or Essential Right- 
ness revealed by the Buddha. That the Master 
laid a firm practical foundation for his religion 
cannot be denied, and if Jews and Christians 
reverence the Ten Words given through ‘ Moses,’ 
much more may Buddhists reverence the ten 
moral precepts of Sakya Muni. Those, however, 
whose aim is Buddhaship (z.e. those who propose 
to themselves the more richly developed ideal of 
northern Buddhists) claim the right to modify 

1 Mrs. Rhys Davids, Buddhism, p. 229. 


those precepts just as Jesus modified the Law of 
Moses. While, therefore, we recognize that good 
has sometimes come even out of evil, we should 
also acknowledge the superiority of Buddhist 
countries and of India in the treatment both of 
other human beings and of the lower animals. 

The Sangha, or Monastic Community, is the 
third treasure of Buddhism, and the satisfaction 
of the Buddhist laity with the monastic body is 
said to be very great. At any rate, the cause of 
education in Burma owes much to the monks, 
but it is hard to realize how the Monastic Com- 
munity can be in the same sense a ‘refuge’ from 
the miseries of the world as the Buddha or 

The name Dharmakaya’ (Body of Dharma, or 
system of rightness) may strike strangely upon 
our ears, but northern Buddhism makes much of 
it, and even though it may not go back to Sakya 
Muni himself, it is a development of germs latent 
in his teaching; and to my own mind there is no 
more wonderful conception in the great religions 
than that of Dharmakaya. If any one attacks 
our Buddhist friends for atheism, they have only 
to refer (if they can admit a synthesis of northern 
and southern doctrines) to the conception of 
Dharmakaya, of Him who is ‘for ever Divine 
and Eternal, who is ‘the One, devoid of all 
determinations.’ ‘This Body of Dharma,’ we 

1 Johnston, Buddhist China, p. 77. 


are told, ‘has no boundary, no quarters, but is 
embodied in all bodies... . All forms of cor- 
poreality are involved therein; it is able to create 
all things. Assuming any concrete material form, 
as required by the nature and condition of karma, 
it illuminates all creations. . . . There is no place 
in the universe where this Body does not prevail. 
The universe becomes dust; this Body for ever 
remains. It is free from all opposites and con- 
traries, yet it is working in all things to lead 
them to Nirvana.’’ 

In fact, this Dharmakaya is the ultimate prin- 
ciple of cosmic energy. We may call it principle, 
but it is not, like Brahman, absolutely impersonal. 
Often it assumes personality, when it receives the 
name of Tathagata. It has neither passions nor 
prejudices, but works for the salvation of all 
sentient beings universally. Love (Aarund) and 
intelligence (d0dhz) are equally its characteristics. 
It is only the veil of illusion (saya) which prevents 
us from seeing Dharmakaya in its magnificence. 
When this veil is lifted, individual existences as 
such will lose their significance ; they will become — 
sublimated and ennobled in the oneness of 
Dharmakaya.’ . 

Will the reader forgive me if I mention some 
other jewels of the Buddhist faith? One is the 
Buddha Ami‘tabha, and the other Kuanyin or 
Kwannon, his son or daughter; others will be 

1 Suzuki, Outlines, pp. 223-24. 2 Thid. p. 179. 


noted presently. The latter is especially popular 
in China and Japan, and is generally spoken of by 
Europeans as the ‘ Goddess of Mercy.’ ‘Goddess,’ 
however, is incorrect,’ just as ‘God’ would be 
incorrect in the case of Ami‘tabha. Sakya Muni 
was considered greater than any of the gods. 
All such Beings were saviours and helpers to 
man, just as Jesus is looked up to by Christian 
believers as a saviour and deliverer, and perhaps 
I might add, just as there are, according to the seer- 
poet Dante, three compassionate women (donne) 
in heaven.” Kwannon and her Father may surely 
be retained by Chinese and Japanese, not as 
gods, but as gracious dodhzsatts (z.e. Beings whose 
essence is intelligence). 

I would also mention here as ‘jewels’ of the 
Buddhists (1) their tenderness for all living 
creatures. Legend tells of Sakya Muni that in 
a previous state of existence he saved the life of 
a doe and her young one by offering his own life 
as a substitute. In one of the priceless panels of 
Bérdbudir in Java this legend is beautifully used.® 
It must indeed have been almost more impressive 
to the Buddhists even than Buddha’s precept. 

E’en as a mother watcheth o’er her child, 
Her only child, as long as life doth last, 

1 Johnston, Buddhist China, p. 123. 

2 Dante, D.C., Znf. ii, 124 f The ‘blessed women’ seem to 
be Mary (the mother of Christ), Beatrice, and Lucia. 

3 Havell, Indian Sculpture and Painting, p. 123. 


So let us, for all creatures great or small, 

Develop such a boundless heart and mind, 

Ay, let us practise love for all the world, 

Upward and downward, yonder, thence, 

Uncramped, free from ill-will and enmity. 
(2 and 3) Faith in the universality of inspira- 
tion and a hearty admission that spiritual pre- 
eminence is open to women. As to the former, 
Suzuki has well pointed out that Christ is 
conceived of by Buddhists quite as the Buddha 
himself.” ‘The Dharmakaya revealed itself as 
Sakya Muni to the Indian mind, because that was 
in harmony with its needs. The Dharmakaya 
appeared in the person of Christ on the Semitic 
stage, because it suited their taste best in this 
way.’ As to the latter, there were women in the 
ranks of the Arahats in early times; and, as the 
Psalms of the Brethren show, there were even 
child-Arahats, and, so one may presume, girl- 
Arahats. And if it is objected that this refers 
to the earlier and more flourishing period of the 
Buddhist religion, yet it is in a perfectly modern 
summary of doctrine that we find these suggestive 
words,® ‘ With this desire even a maiden of seven 
summers * may be a leader of the four multitudes 
of beings.’ That spirituality has nothing to do 

1 Mrs. Rhys Davids, Buddhism, p. 219. 

2 Suzuki, Outlines of the Mahiydna Buddhism. 

3 Omoro in Oxford Congress of Religions, Transactions, i. 152. 

4 «The age of seven is assigned to all at their ordination’ 
(Psalms of the Brethren, p. xxx.) The reference is to child- 


with the sexes is the most wonderful law in the 
teachings of the Buddhas.’ 

India being the home of philosophy, it is not 
surprising either that Indian religion should take 
a predominantly philosophical form, or that there 
should be a great variety of forms of Indian 
religion. This is not to say that the feelings were 
neglected by the framers of Indian theory, or that 
there is any essential difference between the forms 
of Indian religion. On the contrary, love and 
intelligence are inseparably connected in that 
religion and there are fundamental ideas which 
impart a unity to all the forms of Hindu religion. 
That form of religion, however, in which love 
(karund) receives the highest place, and becomes 
the centre conjointly with intelligence of a theory 
of emancipation and of perfect Buddhahood, is 
neither Vedantism nor primitive Buddhism, but 
that later development known as the Mahayana. 
Germs indeed there are of the later theory ; and 
how should there not be, considering the wisdom 
and goodness of those who framed those systems ? 
How beautiful is that ancient description of 
him who would win the joy of living in Brahma 
(Tagore, Sadhkand, p. 106), and not much behind 
it is the following passage of the Bhagavad-Gita, 
‘He who hates no single being, who is friendly 
and compassionate to all . . . whose thought and 
reason are directed to Me, he who is [thus] 
devoted to Me is dear to Me’ (Discourse xii. 13, 


14). This is a fine utterance, and there are others 
as fine. 

One may therefore expect that most Indian 
Vedantists will, on entering the Bahai Society, 
make known as widely as they can the beauties 
of the Bhagavad-Gita. I cannot myself profess 
that I admire the contents as much as some 
Western readers, but much is doubtless lost to 
me through my ignorance of Sanskrit. Prof. 
Garbe and Prof. Hopkins, however, confirm me 
in my view that there is often a falling off in the 
immediateness of the inspiration, and that many 
passages have been interpolated. It is important 
to mention this here because it is highly probable 
that in future the Scriptures of the various 
churches and sects will be honoured by being 
read, not less devotionally but more critically. 
Not the Bibles as they stand at present are re- 
vealed, but the immanent Divine Wisdom. Many 
things in the outward form of the Scriptures are, 
for us, obsolete. It devolves upon us, in the 
spirit of filial respect, to criticize them, and so 
help to clear the ground for a new prophet. 

A few more quotations from the fine Indian 
Scriptures shall be given. Their number could 
be easily increased, and one cannot blame those 
Western admirers of the Gita who display almost 
as fervent an enthusiasm for the unknown author 
of the Gita as Dante had for his savzo duca in his 
fearsome pilgrimage. 



Such criticism was hardly possible in England, 
even ten or twenty years ago, except for the Old 
Testament. Some scholars, indeed, had had their 
eyes opened, but even highly cultured persons 
in the lay-world read the Bhagavad-Gita with 
enthusiastic admiration but quite uncritically. 
Much as I sympathize with Margaret Noble 
(Sister Nivedita), Jane Hay (of St. Abb’s, 
Berwickshire, N.B.), and Rose R. Anthon, I 
cannot desire that their excessive love for the 
Gita should find followers. I have it on the 
best authority that the apparent superiority of 
the Indian Scriptures to those of the Christian 
world influenced Margaret Noble to become 
‘Sister Nivedita’—a great result from a com- 
paratively small cause. And Miss Anthon shows 
an excess of enthusiasm when she puts these 
words (without note or comment) into the mouth 
of an Indian student :— 

‘But now, O sire, I have found all the wealth 
and treasure and honour of the universe in these 
words that were uttered by the King of Kings, 
the Lover of Love, the Giver of Heritages, 
There is nothing I ask for; no need is there in 
my being, no want in my life that this Gita does 
not fill to overflowing.’ ? 

There are in fact numerous passages in the 

1 Stories of India, 1914, p. 138. 


Gita which, united, would form a Holy Living 
and a Holy Dying, if we were at the pains to 
add to the number of the passages a few taken 
from the Upanishads. Vivekananda and Rabin- 
dranath Tagore have already studded their 
lectures with jewels from the Indian Scriptures. 
The Hindus themselves delight in their holy 
writings, but if these writings are to become 
known in the West, the grain must first be sifted. 
In other words, there must be literary and per- 
haps also (I say it humbly) moral criticism. 

I will venture to add a few quotations :— 

‘Whenever there is a decay of religion, O 
Bharatas, and an ascendency of irreligion, then I 
manifest myself. 

‘For the protection of the good, for the de- 
struction of evil-doers, for the firm establishment 
of religion, I am born in every age.’ 

The other passages are not less noble. 

‘They also who worship other gods and make 
offering to them with faith, O son of Kunti, do 
verily make offering to me, though not according 
to ordinance.’ 

‘Never have I not been, never hast thou, and 
never shall time yet come when we shall not 
all be. That which pervades this universe is 
imperishable; there is none can make to perish 
that changeless being. This never is born, and 
never dies, nor may it after being come again 
to be not; this unborn, everlasting, abiding, 


Ancient, is not slain when the body is slain. 
Knowing This to be imperishable, everlasting, 
unborn, changeless, how and whom can a man 
make to be slain or slay? As a man lays aside 
outworn garments, and takes others that are 
new, so the Body-Dweller puts away outworn 
bodies and goes to others that are new. Ever- 
lasting is This, dwelling in all things, firm, 
motionless, ancient of days.’ 


Judaism, too, is so rich in spiritual treasures 
that I hesitate to single out more than a very few 
jewels. It is plain, however, that it needs to be 
reformed, and that this need is present in many 
of the traditional forms which enshrine so noble a 
spiritual experience. The Sabbath, for instance, is 
as the apple of his eye to every true-hearted Jew ; 
he addresses it in his spiritual songs as a Princess. 
And he does well; the title Princess belongs of 
right to ‘Shabbath.’ For the name—be it said 
in passing—is probably a corruption of a title of 
the Mother-goddess Ashtart, and it would, I think, 
have been no blameworthy act if the religious 
transformers of Israelite myths had made a special 
myth, representing Shabbath as a man. When 
the Messiah comes, I trust that He will do this. 
For ‘the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath.’ 

The faith of the Messiah is another of Israel’s 
treasures. Or rather, perhaps I should say, the 


_ faith in the Messiahs, for one Messiah will not 
meet the wants of Israel or the world. The 
Messiah, or the Being-like-a-man (Dan. vii. 13), 
is a supernatural Being, who appears on earth 
when he is wanted, like the Logos. We want 
Messiah badly now; specially, I should say, we 
Christians want ‘great-souled ones’ (Mahatmas), 
who can ‘guide us into all the truth’ (John 
xvi. 13). That they have come in the past, I 
doubt not. God could not have left his human 
children in the lurch for all these centuries. 
One thousand Jews of Tihran are said to have 
accepted Baha’ullah as the expected Messiah. 
They were right in what they affirmed, and only 
wrong in what they denied. And are we not 
all wrong in virtually denying the Messiahship 
of women-leaders like Kurratu’l ‘Ayn; at least, 
I have only met with this noble idea in a work 
of Fiona Macleod. 


And what of our own religion ? 

What precious jewels are there which we can 
share with our Oriental brethren? First of all 
one may mention that wonderful picture of the 
divine-human Saviour, which, full of mystery as 
it is, is capable of attracting to its Hero a fervent 
and loving loyalty, and melting the hardest heart. 
We have also a portrait (implicit in the Synoptic 
Gospels) —the product of nineteenth century 


criticism—of the same Jesus Christ, and yet who 
could venture to affirm that He really was the 
same, or that a subtle aroma had not passed away 
from the Life of lives? In this re-painted portrait 
we have, no longer a divine man, but simply a 
great and good Teacher and a noble Reformer. 
This portrait too is in its way impressive, and 
capable of lifting men above their baser selves, 
but it would obviously be impossible to take this 
great Teacher and Reformer for the Saviour and 
Redeemer of mankind. 

We have further a pearl of great price in the 
mysticism of Paul, which presupposes, not the 
Jesus of modern critics, nor yet the Jesus of the 
Synoptics, but a splendid heart-uplifting Jesus in 
the colours of mythology. In this Jesus Paul 
lived, and had a constant ecstatic joy in the 
everlasting divine work of creation. He was 
‘crucified with Christ,’ and it was no longer Paul 
that lived, but Christ that lived in him. And the 
universe—which was Paul’s, inasmuch as it was 
Christ’s—was transformed by the same mysticism. 
‘It was,’ says Evelyn Underhill,’ ‘a universe 
soaked through and through by the Presence 
of God: that transcendent-immanent Reality, 
“above all, and through all, and in you all” as 
fontal ‘‘ Father,” energising “Son,” indwelling 
“Spirit,” in whom every mystic, Christian or 

' The Mystic Way, p. 194 (chap. iii. ‘St. Paul and the Mystic 
Way ’). 


non-Christian, is sharply aware that ‘we live 
and move and have our being.” To his ex- 
tended consciousness, as first to that of Jesus, this 
Reality was more actual than anything else— 
‘God is all in all.””’ 

It is true, this view of the Universe as God- 
filled is probably not Paul's, for the Epistles to 
the Ephesians and Colossians are hardly that 
great teacher’s work. But it is none the less 
authentic, ‘God is all and in all’; the whole 
Universe is temporarily a symbol by which God 
is at once manifested and veiled. I fear we have 
largely lost this. It were therefore better to re- 
conquer this truth by India’s help. Probably 
indeed the initial realization of the divinity of 
the universe (including man) is due to an in- 
creased acquaintance with the East and especially 
with Persia and India. 

And I venture to think that Catholic Christians 
have conferred a boon on their Protestant brethren 
by emphasizing the truth of the feminine element 
(see pp. 31, 37) in the manifestation of the Deity, 
just as the Chinese and Japanese Buddhists have 
done for China and Japan, and the modern 
reformers of Indian religion have done for India. 
This too is a ‘gem of purest ray.’ 

erence dir 




SEyyIp ‘Att MunamMap (THE BAs) 

SEyyip ‘At Muuammap was born at Hafiz’ city. 
It was not his lot, however, to rival that great 
lyric poet; God had far other designs for him. 
Like St. Francis, he had a merchant for his 
father, but this too was widely apart from ‘Ali 
Muhammad’s destiny, which was neither more 
nor less than to be a manifestation of the Most 
High. His birthday was on the rst Muharrem, 
A.H. 1236 (March 26, a.p. 1821). His maternal 
uncle,’ however, had to step in to take a father’s 
place; he was early left an orphan. When 
eighteen or nineteen years of age he was sent, for 
commercial reasons, to Bushire, a place with a 
villainous climate on the Persian Gulf, and there 
he wrote his first book, still in the spirit of Shi‘ite 

It was in a.p. 1844 that a great change took 
place, not so much in doctrine as in the outward 

1 This relative of the Bab is mentioned in Baha~ullah’s Book 
of Ighan, among the men of culture who visited Baha~ullah at 

Baghdad and laid their difficulties before him. His name was 
Seyyid “Ali Muhammad (the same name as the Bab’s), 



framework of ‘Ali Muhammad’s life. That the 
twelfth Imam should reappear to set up God’s 
beneficent kingdom, that his ‘Gate’ should be 
born just when tradition would have him to be 
born, was perhaps not really surprising ; but that 
an ordinary lad of Shiraz should be chosen for 
this high honour was exciting, and would make 
May 23rd a day memorable for ever.’ 

It was, in fact, on this day (at 2.5 a.m.) that, 
having turned to God for help, he cried out, ‘God 
created me to instruct these ignorant ones, and to 
save them from the error into which they are 
plunged.’ And from this time we cannot doubt 
that the purifying west wind breathed over the 
old Persian land which needed it so sadly. 

It is probable, however, that the reformer had 
different ideas of discipleship. In one of his 
early letters he bids his correspondent take care 
to conceal his religion until he can reveal it with- 
out fear, Among his chief disciples were that 
gallant knight called the ‘Gate’s Gate,’ Kuddus, 
and his kind uncle. Like most religious leaders 
he attached great worth to pilgrimages. He 
began by journeying to the Shi‘ite holy places, 
consecrated by the events of the Persian Passion- 
play. Then he embarked at Bushire, accom- 
panied (probably) by Kuddus. The winds, how- 
ever, were contrary, and he was glad to rest a few 
days at Mascat. It is probable that at Mecca 

1 TN, pp. 3 (n.1), 220 £3 cp. AMB, p. 204, 


(the goal of his journey) he became completely 
detached from the Muhammadan form of Islam. 
There too he made arrangements for propaganda. 
Unfavourable as the times seemed, his disciples 
were expected to have the courage of their con- 
victions, and even his uncle, who was no longer 
young, became a fisher of men. This, it appears 
to me, is the true explanation of an otherwise 
obscure direction to the uncle to return to Persia 
by the overland route, wa Baghdad, ‘with the 
verses which have come down from God.’ 

The overland route would take the uncle 
by the holy places of ‘Irak; ‘Ali Muhammad's 
meaning therefore really is that his kinsman is to 
have the honour of evangelizing the important 
city of Baghdad, and of course the pilgrims who 
may chance to be at Karbala and Nejef. These 
were, to Shi‘ites, the holiest of cities, and yet the 
reformer had the consciousness that there was no 
need of searching for a £26/a. God was every- 
where, but if one place was holier than another, it 
was neither Jerusalem nor Mecca, but Shiraz. 
To this beautiful city he returned, nothing loth, 
for indeed the manners of the pilgrims were the 
reverse of seemly. His own work was purely 
spiritual: it was to organize an attack on a 
foe who should have been, but was no longer, 

Among his first steps was sending the ‘ First 
to Believe’ to Isfahan to make a conquest of the 


learned Mulla Mukaddas. His expectation was 
fully realized. Mukaddas was converted, and 
hastened to Shiraz, eager to prove his zeal. His 
orders were (according to one tradition) to intro- 
duce the name of ‘Ali Muhammad into the call to 
prayer (azaz) and to explain a passage in the 
commentary’ on the Sura of Joseph. This was 
done, and the penalty could not be delayed. 
After suffering insults, which to us are barely 
credible, Mukaddas and his friend found shelter 
for three days in Shiraz in the Bab’s house. 

It should be noted that I here employ the 
symbolic name ‘the Bab.’ There is a traditional 
saying of the prophet Muhammad, ‘I am the city 
of knowledge, and ‘Ali is its Gate. It seems, 
however, that there is little, if any, difference 
between ‘Gate’ (Gad) and ‘Point’ (xwkta), or 
between either of these and ‘he who shall arise’ 
(Aa7m) and ‘the Imam Mahdi.’ But to this we 
shall return presently. 

But safety was not long to be had by the Bab 
or by his disciples either in Shiraz or in Bushire 
(where the Bab then was). A fortnight after- 
wards twelve horsemen were sent by the governor 
of Fars to Bushire to arrest the Bab and bring 
him back to Shiraz. Such at least is one tradition,! 
but some Babis, according to Nicolas, energetically 
deny it. Certainly it is not improbable that the 
governor, who had already taken action against 

1 AMB, p. 226. 


the Babi missionaries, should wish to observe the 
Bab within a nearer range, and inflict a blow on 
his growing popularity. Unwisely enough, the 
governor left the field open to the mullas, who 
thought by placing the pulpit of the great mosque 
at his disposal to be able to find material for 
ecclesiastical censure. But they had left one 
thing out of their account—the ardour of the Bab’s 
temperament and the depth of his conviction. 
And so great was the impression produced by 
the Bab’s sermon that the Shah Muhammad, who 
heard of it, sent a royal commissioner to study 
the circumstances on the spot. This step, how- 
ever, was a complete failure. One may doubt 
indeed whether the Sayyid Yahya was ever a 
politician or a courtier. See below, p. go. 

The state of things had now become so 
threatening that a peremptory order to the 
governor was sent from the court to put an end 
to such a display of impotence. It is said that 
the aid of assassins was not to be refused; the 
death of the Bab might then be described as ‘a 
deplorable accident.’ The Bab himself was liable 
at any moment to be called into a conference of 
mullas and high state-officers, and asked absurd 
questions. He got tired of this and thought he 
would change his residence, especially as the 
cholera came and scattered the population. Six 
miserable months he had spent in Shiraz, and it 
was time for him to strengthen and enlighten the 


believers elsewhere. The goal of his present 
journey was Isfahan, but he was not without 
hopes of soon reaching Tihran and disabusing 
the mind of the Shah of the false notions which 
had become lodged in it. So, after bidding fare- 
well to his relatives, he and his secretary and 
another well-tried companion turned their backs 
on the petty tyrant of Shiraz... “The Bab, 
however, took a very wise precaution. At the 
last posting station before Isfahan he wrote to 
Minuchihr Khan, the governor (a Georgian by 
origin), announcing his approach and invoking 
the governor’s protection. 

Minuchihr Khan, who was religiously open- 
minded though not scrupulous enough in the 
getting of money,’ granted this request, and 
sent word to the leading mulla (the Imam-Jam‘a) 
that he should proffer hospitality to this eminent 
new-comer. This the Imam did, and so respect- 
ful was he for ‘forty days’ that he used to bring 
the basin for his guest to wash his hands at meal- 
times.* The rapidity with which the Bab indited 
(or revealed) a commentary on a suva of the 
Kur’an greatly impressed him, but afterwards he 
gave way to the persecuting tendencies of his 
colleagues, who had already learned to dread the 
presence of Babite missionaries. At the bidding 
of the governor, however, who had some faith in 
the Bab and hoped for the best, a conference was 

1 AMB, p. 370. 2 NH, p.- 346. 8 Lhd B37 2) 


arranged between the mullas and the Bab (poor 
man!) at the governor’s house. The result was 
that Minuchihr Khan declared that the mullas 
had by no means proved the reformer to be an 
impostor, but that for the sake of peace he would 
at once send the Bab with an escort of horsemen 
tothe capital. This was to all appearance carried 
out. The streets were crowded as the band of 
mounted men set forth, some of the Isfahanites 
(especially the mullas) rejoicing, but a minority 
inwardly lamenting. This, however, was only a 
blind. The governor cunningly sent a trusty 
horseman with orders to overtake the travellers 
a short distance out of Isfahan, and bring them 
by nightfall to the governor's secret apartments 
or (as others say) to one of the royal palaces. 
There the Bab had still to spend a little more 
than four untroubled halcyon months. 

But a storm-cloud came up from the sea, no 
bigger than a man’s hand, and it spread, and the 
destruction wrought by it was great. On March 
4, 1847, the French ambassador wrote home stat- 
ing that the governor of Isfahan had died, leaving 
a fortune of 4o million francs.’ He could not be 
expected to add what the Babite tradition affirms, 
that the governor offered the Bab all his riches 
and even the rings on his fingers,’ to which the 

1 AMB, p. 242. 
2 TWN, pp. 12, 13, 264-8; WA, p. 402 (Subh-i-Ezel’s narrative), 

ep. pp. 211,346. 


prophet refers in the following passage of his 
famous letter to Muhammad Shah, written from 
Maku : 

‘The other question is an affair of this lower 
world. The late Meu’timed [a title of Minuchihr 
Khan], one night, made all the bystanders with- 
draw, ... then he said to me, “I know full 
well that all that I have gained I have gotten by 
violence, and that belongs to the Lord of the Age. 
I give it therefore entirely to thee, for thou art 
the Master of Truth, and I ask thy permission to 
become its possessor.” He even took off a ring 
which he had on his finger, and gave it tome. I 
took the ring and restored it to him, and sent him 

away in possession of all his goods... . I will 
not have a dinar of those goods, but it is for you 
to ordain as shall seem good to you... . [As 

witnesses] send for Sayyid Yahya? and Mulla 
Abdu'l-Khalik.’ . . . The one became acquainted 
with me before the Manifestation, the other after. 
Both know me right well; this is why I have 
chosen them.’ ® 

It was not likely, however, that the legal heir 
would waive his claim, nor yet that the Shah or 
his minister would be prepared with a scheme for 
distributing the ill-gotten riches of the governor 

1 See above, p. 47. 

2 A disciple of Sheykh Ahmad. He became a Babi, but grew 
lukewarm in the faith (VA, pp. 231, 342 n.}), 

3 AML, Ppi37 2,147 3. 


among the poor, which was probably what the 
Bab himself wished. It should be added (but 
not, of course, from this letter) that Muinuchihr 
Khan also offered the Bab more than 5000 horse- 
men and footmen of the tribes devoted to his 
interests, with whom he said that he would with 
all speed march upon the capital, to enforce the 
Shah’s acceptance of the Bab’s mission. This 
offer, too, the Bab rejected, observing that the 
diffusion of God’s truth could not be effected by 
such means. But he was truly grateful to the 
governor who so often saved him from the wrath 
of the mullas. ‘God reward him,’ he would say, 
‘for what he did for me.’ 

Of the governor’s legal heir and successor, 
Gurgin Khan, the Bab preserved a much less 
favourable recollection. In the same letter which 
has been quoted from already he says: ‘ Finally, 
Gurgin made me travel during seven nights with- 
out any of the necessaries of a journey, and with 
a thousand lies and a thousand acts of violence.’ * 
In fact, after trying to impose upon the Bab by 
crooked talk, Gurgin, as soon as he found out 
where the Bab had taken refuge, made him start 
that same night, just as he was, and without 
bidding farewell to his newly-married wife, for 
the capital. ‘So incensed was he [the Bab] at this 
treatment that he determined to eat nothing till 
he arrived at Kashan [a journey of five stages], 

1 AMB, p. 371. 


and in this resolution he persisted .. . till he 
reached the second stage, Murchi-Khur. There, 
however, he met Mulla Sheykh Ali... and 

another of his missionaries, whom he had com- 
missioned two days previously to proceed to 
Tihran; and then, on learning from his guards 
how matters stood, succeeded in prevailing on 
him to take some food.’ * 

Certainly it was a notable journey, diversified 
by happy meetings with friends and inquirers at 
Kashan, Khanlik, Zanjan, Milan, and Tabriz. 
At Kashan the Bab saw for the first time that 
fervent disciple, who afterwards wrote the history 
of early Babism, and his equally true-hearted 
brother—merchants both of them. In fact, Mirza 
Jani bribed the chief of the escort, to allow him 
for two days the felicity of entertaining God’s . 
Messenger.” Khanlik has also—though a mere 
village—its honourable record, for there the Bab 
was first seen by two splendid youthful heroes *— 
Riza Khan (best hated of all the Babis) and Mirza 
Fluseyn ‘Ali (better known as Baha-ullah). At 
Milan (which the Bab calls ‘one of the regions 
of Paradise’), as Mirza Jani states, ‘two hundred 
persons believed and underwent a true and sincere 
conversion. * What meetings took place at 

1 WE, pp. 348, 349. bid. pp. 213, 214. 

3 Jbid. pp. 96-101. 

4 Ibid, p. 221. Surely these conversions were due, not to a. 
supposed act of miraculous healing, but to the ‘majesty and 
dignity’ of God’s Messenger. The people were expecting a 


Zanjan and Tabriz, the early Babi historian does 
not report; later on, Zanjan was a focus of Babite 
propagandism, but just then the apostle of the Zan- 
jan movement was summoned to Tihran. From 
Tabriz a remarkable cure is reported,’ and as a 
natural consequence we hear of many conversions. 

The Bab was specially favoured in the chief of 
his escort, who, in the course of the journey, was 
fascinated by the combined majesty and gentle- 
ness of his prisoner. His name was Muhammad 
Beg, and his moral portrait is thus limned by 
Mirza Jani: ‘He was a man of kindly nature 
and amiable character, and [became] so sincere 
and devoted a believer that whenever the name 
of His Holiness was mentioned he would incon- 
tinently burst into tears, saying, 

I scarcely reckon as life the days when to me thou wert all 

But by faithful service for what remains I may still for the 
past atone.’ 

It was the wish,.both of the Bab and of this 
devoted servant, that the Master should be allowed 
to take up his residence (under surveillance) at 
Tabriz, where there were already many Friends of 
God. But such was not the will of the Shah and 
his vizier, who sent word to Khanlik? that the 

Messiah, and here was a Personage who came up to the ideal 
they had formed. 

1 NH, p, 226. 

2 Khanlik is situated ‘about six parasangs’ from Tihran 
(WH, p. 216). It is in the province of Azarbaijan. 


governor of Tabriz (Prince Bahman Mirza) 
should send the Bab in charge of a fresh escort 
to the remote mountain-fortress of Maku. The 
faithful Muhammad Beg made two attempts to 
overcome the opposition of the governor, but in 
vain; how, indeed, could it be otherwise? All 
that he could obtain was leave to entertain the 
Bab in his own house, where some days of rest 
were enjoyed. ‘I wept much at his departure,’ 
says Muhammad. No doubt the Bab often 
missed his respectful escort; he had made a 
change for the worse, and when he came to the 
village at the foot of the steep hill of Maku, he 
found the inhabitants ‘ignorant and coarse.’ 

It may, however, be reasonably surmised that 
before long the Point of Wisdom changed his 
tone, and even thanked God for his sojourn at 
Maku. For though strict orders had come from 
the vizier that no one was to be permitted to see 
the Bab, any one whom the illustrious captive 
wished to converse with had free access to him. 
Most of the time which remained was occupied 
with writing (his secretary was with him); more 
than 100,000 ‘ verses’ are said to have come from 
that Supreme Pen. 

By miracles the Bab set little store; in fact, 
the only supernatural gift which he much valued 
was that of inditing ‘signs or verses, which 
appear to have produced a similar thrilling effect 
to those of the great Arabian Prophet. But in 


the second rank he must have valued a power to 
soothe and strengthen the nervous system which 
we may well assign to him, and we can easily 
believe that the lower animals were within the 
range of this beneficent faculty. Let me mention 
one of the horse-stories which have gathered 
round the gentle form of the Bab.’ 

It is given neither in the Babi nor in the 
Muslim histories of this period. But it forms a 
part of a good oral tradition, and it may supply 
the key to those words of the Bab in his letter to 
Muhammad Shah?: ‘ Finally, the Sultan [ze. the 
Shah] ordered that I should journey towards 
Maku without giving me a horse that I could 
ride. We learn from the legend that an officer 
of the Shah did call upon the Bab to ride a horse 
which was too vicious for any ordinary person to 
mount. Whether this officer was really (as the 
legend states) ‘Ali Khan, the warden of Maku, 
who wished to test the claims of ‘Ali Muhammad 
by offering him a vicious young horse and watch- 
ing to see whether ‘Ali Muhammad or the horse 
would be victorious, is not of supreme importance. 
What does concern us is that many of the people 
believed that by a virtue which resided in the 
Bab it was possible for him to soothe the sensitive 
nerves of a horse, so that it could be ridden with- 
out injury to the rider. 

There is no doubt, however, that ‘Ali Khan, 

1 AMB, p. 371. 2 [bid. pp. 249, 250. 


the warden of the fortress, was one of that 
multitude of persons who were so thrilled by the 
Bab’s countenance and bearing that they were 
almost prompted thereby to become disciples. It 
is highly probable, too, that just now there was 
a heightening of the divine expression on that 
unworldly face, derived from an intensification of 
the inner life. In earlier times ‘Ali Muhammad 
had avoided claiming Mahdiship (Messiahship) 
publicly ; to the people at large he was not re- 
presented as the manifested Twelfth ImAm, but 
only as the Gate, or means of access to that more 
than human, still existent being. To disciples of 
a higher order ‘Ali Muhammad no doubt disclosed 
himself as he really was, but, like a heavenly 
statesman, he avoided inopportune self-revelations. 
Now, however, the religious conditions were 
becoming different. Owing in some cases to the 
indiscretion of disciples, in others to a craving for 
the revolution of which the Twelfth Imam was 
the traditional instrument, there was a growing 
popular tendency to regard Mirza ‘Ali Muhammad 
as a ‘return’ of the Twelfth Imam, who was, by 
force of arms, to set up the divine kingdom upon 
earth. It was this, indeed, which specially pro- 
moted the early Babi propagandism, and which 
probably came up for discussion at the Badasht 

In short, it had become a pressing duty to 
enlighten the multitude on the true objects of the 


Bab. Even we can see this—we who know that 
not much more than three years were remaining 
to him. The Bab, too, had probably a presenti- 
ment of his end; this was why he was so eager 
to avoid a continuance of the great misunderstand- 
ing. He was indeed the Twelfth Im4m, who 
had returned to the world of men fora short time. 
But he was not a Mahdi of the Islamic type. 

A constant stream of Tablets (letters) flowed 
from his pen. In this way he kept himself in 
touch with those who could not see him in the 
flesh. But there were many who could not rest 
without seeing the divine Manifestation. Pilgrims 
seemed never to cease; and it made the Bab still 
happier to receive them. 

This stream of Tablets and of pilgrims could 
not however be exhilarating to the Shah and his 
Minister. They complained to the castle-warden, 
and bade him be a stricter gaoler, but ‘Ali Khan, 
too, was under the spell of the Gate of Knowledge ; 
or—as one should rather say now—the Point or 
Climax of Prophetic Revelation, for so the Word 
of Prophecy directed that he should be called. 
So the order went forth that ‘Ali Muhammad 
should be transferred to another castle—that of 

At this point a digression seems necessary. 

1 Strictly, six or eight months (Feb. or April to Dec. 1847) 
at Maku, and two-and-a-half years at Chihrik (Dec. 1847 to 

July 1850). 


The Bab was well aware that a primary need of 
the new fraternity was a new Kuran. This he 
produced in the shape of a book called 7%e Bayan 
(Exposition). Unfortunately he adopted from the 
Muslims the unworkable idea of a sacred language, 
and his first contributions to the new Divine 
Library (for the new Kur’an ultimately became 
this) were in Arabic. These were a Commentary 
on the Sura of Yusuf (Joseph) and the Arabic 
Bayan. The language of these, however, was a 
barrier to the laity, and so the ‘first believer’ 
wrote a letter to the Bab, enforcing the necessity 
of making himself intelligible to all. This seems 
to be the true origin of the Persian Bayan. 

A more difficult matter is ‘Ali Muhammad’s 
very peculiar consciousness, which reminds us of 
that which the Fourth Gospel ascribes to Jesus 
Christ. In other words, ‘Ali Muhammad claims 
for himself the highest spiritual rank. ‘As for 
Me,’ he said, ‘I am that Point from which all that 
exists has found existence. I am that Face of 
God which dieth not. I am that Light which 
doth not go out. He that knoweth Me is 
accompanied by all good; he that repulseth Me 
hath behind him all evil.’? It is also certain that 
in comparatively early writings, intended for 
stedfast disciples, “Ali Muhammad already claims 
the title of Point, z.e. Point of Truth, or of Divine 
Wisdom, or of the Divine Mercy.? 

1 AMB, p. 369. 2 Beyan Arabe, p. 206. 


It is noteworthy that just here we have a very 
old contact with Babylonian mythology. ‘Point’ 
is, in fact, a mythological term. It springs from 
an endeavour to minimize the materialism of the 
myth of the Divine Dwelling-place. That ancient 
myth asserted that the earth-mountain was the 
Divine Throne. Not so, said an early school of 
Theosophy, God, z.e. the God who has a bodily 
form and manifests the hidden glory, dwells on 
a point in the extreme north, called by the 
Babylonians ‘the heaven of Anu.’ 

The Point, however, z.e. the God of the Point, 
may also be entitled ‘The Gate,’ z.e. the Avenue 
to God in all His various aspects. To be the 
Point, therefore, is also to be the Gate. ‘Ali, the 
cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, was not only 
the Gate of the City of Knowledge, but, according 
to words assigned to him in a fadzth, ‘the 
guardian of the treasures of secrets and of the 
purposes of God.’? 

It is also in a book written at Maku—the 
Persian Bayan—that the Bab constantly refers to 
a subsequent far greater Person, called ‘ He whom 
God will make manifest.’ Altogether the harvest 
of sacred literature at this mountain-fortress was 
a rich one. But let us now pass on with the Bab 
to Chihrik—a miserable spot, but not so remote as 
Maku (it was two days’ journey from Urumiyya). 
As Subh-i-Ezel tells us, ‘ The place of his captivity 

1 AMB, p. 142. 


was a house without windows and with a doorway 
of bare bricks,’ and adds that ‘at night they would 
leave him without a lamp, treating him with the 
utmost lack of respect.’* In the Persian manner 
the Bab himself indicated this by calling Maku 
‘the Open Mountain,’ and Chihrik ‘the Grievous 
Mountain.’’ Stringent orders were issued making 
it difficult for friends of the Beloved Master to 
see him; and it may be that in the latter part of 
his sojourn the royal orders were more effectually 
carried out—a change which was possibly the 
result of a change in the warden. Certainly 
Yahya Khan was guilty of no such coarseness 
as Subh-i-Ezel imputes to the warden of Chihrik. 
And this view is confirmed by the peculiar 
language of Mirza Jani, ‘Yahya Khan, so long 
as he was warden, maintained towards him an 
attitude of unvarying respect and deference.’ 

This ‘respect and deference’ was largely owing 
to a dream which the warden had on the night 
before the day of the Bab’s arrival. The central 
figure of the dream was a bright shining saint. 
He said in the morning that ‘if, when he saw His 
Holiness, he found appearance and visage to 
correspond with what he beheld in his dream, he 
would be convinced that He was in truth the 
promised Proof’ And this came literally true. 
At the first glance Yahya Khan recognized in the 
so-called Bab the lineaments of the saint whom 

lA, p. 403. 2 Co TN, 9.276. 


he had beheld in his dream. ‘Involuntarily he 
bent down in obeisance and kissed the knee of 
His Holiness.’? 

It has already been remarked that such 
‘transfiguration’ is not wholly supernatural. 
Persons who have experienced those wonderful 
phenomena which are known as ecstatic, often 
exhibit what seems like a triumphant and angelic 
irradiation. So—to keep near home—it was among 
the Welsh in their last great revival. Such, too, 
was the brightness which, Yahya Khan and other 
eye-witnesses agree, suffused the Bab’s countenance 
more than ever in this period. Many adverse 
things might happen, but the ‘Point’ of Divine 
Wisdom could not be torn from His moorings. 
In that miserable dark brick chamber He was ‘in 
Paradise.’ The horrid warfare at Sheykh Tabarsi 
and elsewhere, which robbed him of Babu’l Bab 
and of Kuddus, forced human tears from him for 
a time; but one who dwelt in the ‘Heaven of 
Pre-existence’ knew that ‘Returns’ could be 
counted upon, and was fully assured that the gifts 
and graces of Kuddus had passed into Mirza 
Yahya (Subh-i-Ezel). For himself he was free 
from anxiety. His work would be carried on by 
another and a greater Manifestation. He did 
not therefore favour schemes for his own forcible 

1 WH, p.240. A slight alteration has been made to draw out 
the meaning. 


We have no direct evidence that Yahya Khan 
was dismissed from his office as a mark of the 
royal displeasure at his gentleness. But he must 
have been already removed and imprisoned,’ when 
the vizier wrote to the Crown Prince (Nasiru’d- 
Din, afterwards Shah) and governor of Azarbaijan 
directing him to summon the Bab to Tabriz and 
convene an assembly of clergy and laity to discuss 
in the Bab’s presence the validity of his claims.’ 
The Bab was therefore sent, and the meeting 
held, but there is (as Browne has shown) no 
trustworthy account of the deliberations? Of 
course, the Bab had something better to do than 
to record the often trivial questions put to him 
from anything but a simple desire for truth, so 
that unless the great Accused had some friend to 
accompany him (which does not appear to have 
been the case) there could hardly be an authentic 
Babi narrative. And as for the Muslim accounts, 
those which we have before us do not bear the 
stamp of truth: they seem to be forgeries. 
Knowing what we do of the Bab, it is probable 
that he had the best of the argument, and that 
the doctors and functionaries who attended the 
meeting were unwilling to put upon record their 
own fiasco, 

The result, however, zs known, and it is not 
precisely what might have been expected, ze. it 

LNA, Bass 3: 2 Ibid. p. 284. 
3 TN, Note M, ‘Bab Examined at Tabriz.’ 


is not a capital sentence for this troublesome 
person. The punishment now allotted to him 
was one which marked him out, most unfairly, 
as guilty of a common misdemeanour—some act 
which would rightly disgust every educated person. 
How, indeed, could any ‘one adopt as his teacher 
one who had actually been disgraced by the 
infliction of stripes?’ Ifthe Bab had been captured 
in battle, bravely fighting, it might have been 
possible to admire him, but, as Court politicians 
kept on saying, he was but ‘a vulgar charlatan, 
a timid dreamer.’* According to Mirza Jani, it 
was the Crown Prince who gave the order for 
stripes, but his ‘/arrashes declared that they would 
rather throw themselves down from the roof of 
the palace than carry it out.’* Therefore the 
Sheykhu’l Islam charged a certain Sayyid with 
the ‘baleful task,’ by whom the Messenger of 
God was bastinadoed. 

It seems clear, however, that there must have 
been a difference of opinion among the advisers 
of the Shah, for shortly before Shah Muhammad’s 
death (which was impending when the Bab was 
in Tabriz) we are told that Prince Mahdi-Kuli 
dreamed that he saw the Sayyid shoot the Shah 
at a levee.* Evidently there were some Court 
politicians who held that the Bab was dangerous. 
Probably Shah Muhammad’s vizier took the 

1 Cp. Isaiah lili. 5. 2 Gobineau, p. 257. 
3 NE, p. 290. Rvltid. Dx Stim 


disparaging view mentioned above (ze. that the 
Bab was a mere mystic dreamer), but Shah 
Muhammad’s successor dismissed Mirza Akasi, 
and appointed Mirza Taki Khan in his place. It 
was Mirza Taki Khan to whom the Great 
Catastrophe is owing. When the Bab returned 
to his confinement, now really rigorous, at 
Chihrik, he was still under the control of the old, 
capricious, and now doubly anxious grand vizier, 
but it was not the will of Providence that this 
should continue much longer. A release was at 

It was the insurrection of Zanjan which 
changed the tone of the courtiers and brought 
near to the Bab a glorious departure. Not, be 
it observed, except indirectly, his theosophical 
novelties; the penalty of death for deviations 
from the True Faith had long fallen into desuetude 
in Persia, if indeed it had ever taken root there.? 
Only if the Kingdom of Righteousness were to 
be brought in by the Bab by material weapons 
would this heresiarch be politically dangerous; 
mere religious innovations did not disturb high 
Court functionaries, But could the political leaders 
any longer indulge the fancy that the Bab was a 
mere mystic dreamer? Such was probably the 
mental state of Mirza Taki Khan when he wrote 
from Tihran, directing the governor to summon 
the Bab to come once more for examination to 

1 Gobineau, p. 262. 


Tabriz. The governor of Azarbaijan at this time 
was Prince Hamzé Mirza. : 

The end of the Bab’s earthly Manifestation is 
now close upon us. He knew it himself before the 
event,’ and was not displeased at the presentiment. 
He had already ‘set his house in order,’ as regards 
the spiritual affairs of the Babi community, which 
he had, if I mistake not, confided to the intuitive 
wisdom of Baha-ullah. His literary executorship 
he now committed to the same competent hands. 
This is what the Baha'is History (The Traveller's 
Narratwe) relates,— 

‘Now the Sayyid Bab... had placed his 
writings, and even his ring and pen-case, in a 
specially prepared box, put the key of the box in 
an envelope, and sent it by means of Mulla Bakir, 
who was one of his first associates, to Mulla ‘Abdu’! 
Karim of Kazwin. Thistrust Mulla Bakir delivered 
over to Mulla ‘Abdu’l Karim at Kum in presence 
ofa numerouscompany. . . . Then Mulla ‘Abdu’ 
Karim conveyed the trust to its destination.’ ? 

The destination was Baha-’ullah, as Mulla Bakir 
expressly told the ‘numerous company.’ It also 
appears that the Bab sent another letter to the 
same trusted personage respecting the disposal of 
his remains. 

It is impossible not to feel that this is far more 
probable than the view which makes Subh-i-Ezel 

1 WH, pp. 235, 309-311, 418 (Subh-i-Ezel). 
2 TN, pp. 41, 42. 


the custodian of the sacred writings and the 
arranger of a resting-place for the sacred remains. 
I much fear that the Ezelites have manipulated 
tradition in the interest of their party. 

To return to our narrative. From the first no 
indignity was spared to the holy prisoner. With 
night-cap instead of seemly turban, and clad only 
in an under-coat,! he reached Tabriz. It is true, his 
first experience was favourable. A man of probity, 
the confidential friend of Prince Hamzé Mirza, 
the governor, summoned the Bab to a first non- 
ecclesiastical examination. The tone of the inquiry 
seems to have been quite respectful, though the 
accused frankly stated that he was ‘that promised 
deliverer for whom ye have waited 1260 years, 
to wit the Ka’im.’ Next morning, however, all 
this was reversed. The ‘man of probity’ gave 
way to the mullas and the populace,’ who dragged 
the Bab, with every circumstance of indignity, to 
the houses of two or three well-known members 
of the clergy. ‘These reviled him; but to all who 
questioned him he declared, without any attempt 
at denial, that he was the Ka’im [=he that 
ariseth], At length Mulla Muhammad Mama- 
ghuri, one of the Sheykhi party, and sundry 
others, assembled together in the porch of a 
house belonging to one of their number, ques- 
tioned him fiercely and insultingly, and when he 

1 NE, p. 294. 
2 See Mew History, pp. 296 f, a graphic narration. 


had answered them explicitly, condemned him to 

‘So they imprisoned him who was athirst for the 
draught of martyrdom for three days, along with 
Aka Sayyid Huseyn of Yezd, the amanuensis, and 
Aka Sayyid Hasan, which twain were brothers, 
wont to pass their time for the most part in the 
Bab’s presence. . . 

‘On the night before the day whereon was 
consummated the martyrdom . . . he [the Bab] 
said to his companions, ‘‘ To-morrow they will slay 
me shamefully. Let one of you now arise and 
kill me, that I may not have to endure this 
ignominy and shame from my enemies; for it is 
pleasanter to me to die by the hands of friends.” 
His companions, with expressions of grief and 
sorrow, sought to excuse themselves with the 
exception of Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali, who at once 
made as though he would obey the command. 
His comrades, however, anxiously seized his 
hand, crying, ‘“‘Such rash presumption ill accords 
with the attitude of devoted service.” ‘‘ This act 
of mine,” replied he, ‘‘is not prompted by pre- 
sumption, but by unstinted obedience, and desire 
to fulfil my Master’s behest. After giving effect 
to the command of His Holiness, I will assuredly 
pour forth my life also at His feet.” 

‘His Holiness smiled, and, applauding his faith- 
ful devotion and sincere belief, said, ‘‘ To-morrow, 
when you are questioned, repudiate me, and re- 


nounce my doctrines, for thus is the command 
of God now laid upon you....” The Bab’s 
companions agreed, with the exception of Mirza 
Muhammad ‘Ali, who fell at the feet of His 
Holiness and began to entreat and implore... . 
So earnestly did he urge his entreaties that His 
Holiness, though (at first) he strove to dissuade 
him, at length graciously acceded. 

‘Now when a little while had elapsed after the 
rising of the sun, they brought them, without 
cloak or coat, and clad only in their undercoats 
and nightcaps, to the Government House, where 
they were sentenced to be shot. Aka Sayyid 
Fluseyn, the amanuensis, and his brother, Aka 
Sayyid Hasan, recanted, as they had been 
bidden to do, and were set at liberty; and Aka 
Sayyid Fluseyn bestowed the gems of wisdom 
treasured in his bosom upon such as sought for 
and were worthy of them, and, agreeably to his 
instructions, communicated certain secrets of the 
faith to those for whom they were intended. 
He (subsequently) attained to the rank of martyr- 
dom in the Catastrophe of Tihran. 

‘But since Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali, athirst for 
the draught of martyrdom, declared (himself) in 
the most explicit manner, they dragged him along 
with that (Central) Point of the Universal Circle! to 
the barrack, situated by the citadel, and, opposite 
to the cells on one side of the barrack, suspended 

1 Ze. the Supreme Wisdom. 


him from one of the stone gutters erected under 
the eaves of the cells. Though his relations and 
friends cried, “Our son is gone mad; his confession 
is but the outcome of his distemper and the raving 
of lunacy, and it is unlawful to inflict on him the 
death penalty,” he continued to exclaim, “I am in 
my right mind, perfect in service and sacrifice.” 
. . . Now he had a sweet young child; and they, 
hoping to work upon his parental love, brought 
the boy to him that he might renounce his faith. 
But he only said,— 
** Begone, and bait your snares for other quarry ; 
The ‘Anka’s nest is hard to reach and high.” 
So they shot him in the presence of his Master, 
and laid his faithful and upright form in the dust, 
while his pure and victorious spirit, freed from the 
prison of earth and the cage of the body, soared 
to the branches of the Lote-tree beyond which 
there is no passing. [And the Bab cried out 
with a loud voice, ‘‘ Verily thou shalt be with me 
in Paradise.” | . 
‘Now after this, when they had suspended His 
Holiness in like manner, the Shakaki regiment 
received orders to fire, and discharged their 
pieces in a single volley. But of all the shots 
fired none took effect, save two bullets, which 
respectively struck the two ropes by which His 
Holiness was suspended on either side, and 
severed them. The Bab fell to the ground, and 
took refuge in the adjacent room. As soon as 


the smoke and dust of the powder had somewhat 
cleared, the spectators looked for, but did not find, 
that Jesus of the age on the cross. 

‘So, notwithstanding this miraculous escape, 
they again suspended His Holiness, and gave 
orders to fire another volley. The Musulman 
soldiers, however, made their excuses and re- 
fused. Thereupon a Christian regiment! was 
ordered to fire the volley. . . . And at the third 
volley three bullets struck him, and that holy 
spirit, escaping from its gentle frame, ascended 
to the Supreme Horizon.’ It was in July 1850. 

It remained for Holy Night to hush the clamour 
of the crowd. The great square of Tabriz was 
purified from unholy sights and sounds. What, 
we ask, was done then to the holy bodies—that 
of Bab himself and that of his faithful follower ? 
The enemies of the Bab, and even Count 
Gobineau, assert that the dead body of the 
Bab was cast out into the moat and devoured 
by the wild beasts? We may be sure, however, 
that if the holy body were exposed at night, 
the loyal Babis of Tabriz would lose no time 
in rescuing it. The Mew History makes this 

1 Why a Christian regiment? The reason is evident. 
Christians were outside the Babi movement, whereas the 
Musulman population had been profoundly affected by the 
preaching of the Babi, and could not be implicitly relied upon. 

2 A similar fate is asserted by tradition for the dead body of 
the heroic Mulla Muhammad ‘Ali of Zanjan. 


‘To be brief, two nights later, when they 
cast the most sacred body and that of Mirza 
Muhammad ‘Ali into the moat, and set three 
sentries over them, Haji Suleyman Khan and 
three others, having provided themselves with 
arms, came to the sentries and said, “We will 
ungrudgingly give you any sum of money you 
ask, if you will not oppose our carrying away 
these bodies ; but if you attempt to hinder us, we 
will kill you.” The sentinels, fearing for their 
lives, and greedy for gain, consulted, and as the 
price of their complaisance received a large sum 
of money. 

‘So Haji Suleyman Khan bore those holy 
bodies to his house, shrouded them in white 
silk, placed them in a chest, and, after a while, 
transported them to Tihran, where they re- 
mained in trust till such time as instructions for 
their interment in a particular spot were issued 
by the Sources of the will of the Eternal Beauty. 
Now the believers who were entrusted with the 
duty of transporting the holy bodies were Mulla 
Huseyn of Khurasan and Aka Muhammad of 
Isfahan,! and the instructions were given by 
Baha-ullah. So far our authority. Different 
names, however, are given by Nicolas, AdZB, 

The account here given from the Vew History 
is in accordance with a letter purporting to be 

LePVep: £10, 0-2 3 V7, Dp. 5i2 ee 


written by the Bab to Haji Suleyman Khan 
exactly six months before his martyrdom; and 
preserved in the Mew Yistory, pp. 310, 311. 

‘Two nights after my martyrdom thou must 
go and, by some means or other, buy my body 
and the body of Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali from 
the sentinels for 4oo tumans, and keep them in 
thy house for six months. Afterwards lay Aka 
Muhammad ‘Ali with his face upon my face 
the two (dead) bodies in a strong chest, and send 
it with a letter to Jenab-i-Baha (great is his 
majesty!) Baha is, of course, the short for 
Baha~-ullah, and, as Prof. Browne remarks, the 
modest title Jenab-i-Baha was, even after the 
presumed date of this letter, the title commonly 
given to this personage. 

The instructions, however, given by the Bab 
elsewhere are widely different in tendency. He 
directs that his remains should be placed near 
the shrine of Shah ‘Abdu’'l-‘Azim, which ‘is a 
good land, by reason of the proximity of Wahid 
(ze. Subh-i-Ezel).’? One might naturally infer 
from this that Baha-’ullah’s rival was the guardian 
of the relics of the Bab. This does not appear 
to have any warrant of testimony. But, according 
to Subh-i-Ezel himself, there was a time when he 
had in his hands the destiny of the bodies. He 
Says that when the coffin (there was but one) came 

1 TN, p. 46, n.1 
* The spot is said to be five miles south of Tihran. 


into his hands, he thought it unsafe to attempt a 
separation or discrimination of the bodies, so that 
they remained together ‘until [both] were stolen.’ 

It will be seen that Subh-i-Ezel takes credit 
(1) for carrying out the Bab’s last wishes, and (2) 
leaving the bodies as they were. To remove the 
relics to another place was tantamount to stealing. 
It was Baha~ullah who ordered this removal for 
a good reason, viz., that the cemetery, in which 
the niche containing the coffin was, seemed so 
ruinous as to be unsafe. 

There is, however, another version of Subbh-i- 
Ezel’s tradition; it has been preserved to us by 
Mons. Nicolas, and contains very strange state- 
ments. The Bab, it is said, ordered Subh-i-Ezel 
to place his dead body, if possible, in a coffin of 
diamonds, and to inter it opposite to Shah ‘Abdu’l- 
‘Azim, in a spot described in such a way that only 
the recipient of the letter could interpret it. ‘So 
I put the mingled remains of the two bodies in a 
crystal coffin, diamonds being beyond me, and I 
interred it exactly where the Bab had directed 
me. The place remained secret for thirty years. 
The Baha'is in particular knew nothing of it, but 
a traitor revealed it tothem. Those blasphemers 
disinterred the corpse and destroyed it. Or if not, 
and if they point out a new burying-place, really 
containing the crystal coffin of the body of the Bab 
which they have purloined, we [ Ezelites] could not 
consider this new place of sepulture to be sacred.’ 


The story of the crystal coffin (really suggested 
by the Bayan) is too fantastic to deserve credence. 
But that the sacred remains had many resting- 
places can easily be believed; also that the place 
of burial remained secret for many years. Baha- 
‘ullah, however, knew where it was, and, when 
circumstances favoured, transported the remains 
to the neighbourhood of Haifa in Palestine. The 
mausoleum is worthy, and numerous pilgrims 
from many countries resort to it. 


The gentle spirit of the Bab is surely high up 
in the cycles of eternity. Who can fail, as Prof. 
Browne says, to be attracted by him? ‘His 
sorrowful and persecuted life; his purity of conduct 
and youth; his courage anduncomplaining patience 
under misfortune ; his complete self-negation ; the 
dim ideal of a better state of things which can be 
discerned through the obscure mystic utterances 
of the Bayan; but most of all his tragic death, all 
serve to enlist our sympathies on behalf of the 
young prophet of Shiraz.’ 

‘I] sentait le besoin d'une réforme profonde A 
introduire dans les mceurs publiques. . . . II s’est 
sacrifié pour I’humanité; pour elle il a donné son 
corps et son ame, pour elle il a subi les privations, 

les affronts, les injures, la torture et le martyre.’ 
(Mons. Nicolas.) 


Ln an old Persian song, applied to the Bab by 
his followers, wt 1s written :— 

In what sect is this lawful? In what religion is 
this lawful ? 

That they should kill a charmer of hearts! Why 
art thou a stealer of hearts ? 

MuvuLLA Husreyvn or BuSHRAWEYH 

Mulla Huseyn of Bushraweyh (in the province 
of Mazarandan) was the embodied ideal of a 
Babi chief such as the primitive period of the 
faith produced—I mean, that he distinguished 
himself equally in profound theosophic specula- 
tion and in warlike prowess. This combination 
may seem to us strange, but Mirza Jani assures 
us that many students who had left cloistered 
ease for the sake of God and the Bab developed 
an unsuspected warlike energy under the pressure 
of persecution. And so that ardour, which in the 
case of the Bab was confined to the sphere of 
religious thought and speculation and to the un- 
locking of metaphorical prison-gates, was displayed 
in the case of Mulla Huseyn both in voyages on 
the ocean of Truth, and in warfare. Yes, the 
Mulla’s fragile form might suggest the student, 
but he had also the precious faculty of general- 
ship, and a happy perfection of fearlessness. 

Like the Bab himself in his preparation-period, 
he gave his adhesion to the Sheykhi school of 


theology, and on the decease of the former leader 
(Sayyid Kazim) he went, like other members of 
the school, to seek for a new spiritual head. 
Now it so happened that Sayyid Kazim had 
already turned the eyes of Huseyn towards 
‘Ali Muhammad ; already this eminent theosophist 
had a presentiment that wonderful things were in 
store for the young visitor from Shiraz. It was 
natural, therefore, that Huseyn should seek further 
information and guidance from ‘Ali Muhammad 
himself. No trouble could be too great; the 
object could not be attained in a single interview, 
and as ‘Ali Muhammad was forbidden to leave 
his house at Shiraz, secrecy was indispensable, 
Fluseyn, therefore, was compelled to spend the 
greater part of the day in his new teacher’s house. 

The concentration of thought to which the 
constant nearness of a great prophet (and ‘more 
than a prophet’) naturally gave birth had the only 
possible result. All barriers were completely 
broken down, and Huseyn recognized in his 
heaven-sent teacher the Gate (a4) which opened 
on to the secret abode of the vanished Imam, and 
one charged with a commission to bring into 
existence the world-wide Kingdom of Righteous- 
ness. ‘T’o seal his approval of this thorough con- 
version, which was hitherto without a parallel, the 
Bab conferred on his new adherent the title of 
‘The First to Believe.’ 

This honourable title, however, is not the only 


one used by this Hero of God. Still more 
frequently he was called ‘The Gate of the Gate,’ 
z.é. the Introducer to Him through Whom all true 
wisdom comes; or, we may venture to say, the 
Bab’s Deputy. Two other titles may be mentioned. 
One is ‘The Gate. Those who regarded ‘Ali 
Muhammad of Shiraz as the ‘ Point’ of prophecy 
and the returned Imam(the Ka’im) would naturally 
ascribe to his representative the vacant dignity of 
‘The Gate.’ Indeed, it is one indication of this 
that the Subh-i-Ezel designates Mulla Huseyn 
not as the Gate’s Gate, but simply as the Gate. 

And now the ‘good fight of faith’ begins in 
earnest. First of all, the Bab’s Deputy (or per- 
haps ‘the Bab’*’—but this might confuse the 
reader) is sent to Khurasan,” taking Isfahan and 
Tihran in his way. I need not catalogue the 
names of his chief converts and their places of 
residence.* Suffice it to mention here that among 
the converts were Baha-’ullah, Muhammad ‘Ali 
of Zanjan, and Haji Mirza Jani, the same who 
has left us a much ‘ overworked’ history of Babism 
(down to the time of his martyrdom). Also that 
among the places visited was Omar Khayydm’s 
Nishapur, and that two attempts were made by 
the ‘Gate’s Gate’ to carry the Evangel into the 
Shi‘ite Holy Land (Mash-had). 

1 Some Babi writers (including Subh-i-Ezel) certainly call 
Mulla Huseyn ‘the Bab,’ 
Zoi, pe 4A. 3 See Nicolas, AMB, 


But it was time to reopen communications 
with the ‘lord from Shiraz’ (the Bab). So his 
Deputy resolved to make for the castle of Maku, 
where the Bab was confined. On the Deputy’s 
arrival the Bab foretold to him his own (the Bab’s) 
approaching martyrdom and the cruel afflictions 
which were impending. At the same time the 
Bab directed him to return to Khurasan, adding 
that he should ‘ go thither by way of Mazandaran, 
for there the doctrine had not yet been rightly 
preached.’ So the Deputy went first of all to 
Mazandaran, and there joined another eminent 
convert, best known by his Babi name Kuddus 

I pause here to notice how intimate were the 
relations between the two friends—the ‘Gate’s 
Gate’ and ‘Sacred.’ Originally the former was 
considered distinctly the greater man. People 
may have reasoned somewhat thus :—It was no 
doubt true that Kuddus had been privileged to 
accompany the Bab to Mecca,! but was not the 
Bab’s Deputy the more consummate master of 
spiritual lore ?? 

It was at any rate the latter Hero of God who 
(according to one tradition) opened the eyes of 
the majority of inquirers to the truth. It is also 
said that on the morning after the meeting of the 
friends the chief seat was occupied by Kuddus, 

1 For the divergent tradition in Nicolas, see AMB, p. 206. 
2 NH, p. 43, Cp. p. 404. 


while the Gate’s Deputy stood humbly and re- 
verentially before him. This is certainly true 
to the spirit of the brother-champions, one of 
whom was conspicuous for his humility, the other 
for his soaring spiritual ambition. 

But let us return to the evangelistic journey. 
The first signs of the approach of Kuddus were a 
letter from him to the Bab’s Deputy (the letter is 
commonly called ‘ The Eternal Witness’), together 
with a white robe! and a turban. In the letter, it 
was announced that he and seventy other believers 
would shortly win the crown of martyrdom. This 
may possibly be true, not only because circum- 
stantial details were added, but because the chief 
leaders of the Babis do really appear to have had 
extraordinary spiritual gifts, especially that of 
prophecy. One may ask, Did Kuddus also foresee 
the death of his friend? He did not tell him so 
in the letter, but he did direct him to leave 
Khurasan, in spite of the encyclical letter of the 
Bab, bidding believers concentrate, if possible, on 

So, then, we see our Babi apostles and their 
followers, with changed route, proceeding to the 
province of Mazandaran, where Kuddus resided. 
On reaching Miyami they found about thirty be- 
lievers ready to join them—the first-fruits of the 
preaching of the Kingdom. Unfortunately opposi- 

1 White was the Babite colour. See WH, p. 189; TN, 

Dp. Xxx), 1, 


tion was stirred up by the appearanceof the apostles. 
There was an encounter with the populace, and the 
Babis were defeated. The Babis, however, went on 
steadily till they arrived at Badasht, much perturbed 
by the inauspicious news of the deathof Muhammad 
Shah, 4th September 1848. We are told that 
the ‘ Gate’s Gate’ had already foretold this event,’ 
which involved increased harshness in the treat- 
ment of the Bab. We cannot greatly wonder that, 
according to the Babis, Muhammad Shah’s journey 
was to the infernal regions. 

Another consequence of the Shah’s death was 
the calling of the Council of Badasht. It has 
been suggested that the true cause of the summon- 
ing of that assembly was anxiety for the Bab, and 
a desire to carry him off to a place of safety. But 
the more accepted view—that the subject before 
the Council was the relation of the Babis to the 
Islamic laws—is also the more probable. The 
abrogation of those laws is expressly taught by 
Kurratu'l ‘Ayn, according to Mirza Jani. 

How many Babis took part in the Meeting ? 
That depends on whether the ordinary Babis were 
welcomed to the Meeting or only the leaders. If 
the former were admitted, the number of Babis 
must have been considerable, for the ‘Gate’s 
Gate’ is said to have gathered a band of 230 
men, and Kuddus a band of 300, many of them 
men of wealth and position, and yet ready to give 

LNA, pase 


the supreme proof of their absolute sincerity. 
The notice at the end of Mirza Jani’s account, 
which glances at the antinomian tendencies of 
some who attended the Meeting, seems to be in 
favour of a large estimate. Elsewhere Mirza 
Jani speaks of the ‘troubles of Badasht,’ at which 
the gallant Riza Khan performed ‘most valuable 
services. Nothing is said, however, of the part 
taken in the quieting of these troubles either by 
the ‘Gate’s Gate’ or by Kuddus. Greater troubles, 
however, were at hand; it is the beginning of the 
Mazandaran insurrection (a.p. 1848-1849). 

The place of most interest in this exciting 
episode is the fortified tomb of Sheykh Tabarsi, 
twelve or fourteen miles south of Barfurush. The 
Babis under the ‘Gate’s Gate’ made this their 
headquarters, and we have abundant information, 
both Babite and Muslim, respecting their doings. 
The ‘Gate’s Gate’ preached to them every day, 
and warned them that their only safety lay in 
detachment from the world. He also (probably 
as Bad, ‘Ali Muhammad having assumed the rank 
of Mukta, Point) conferred new names (those of 
prophets and saints) on the worthiest of the 
Babis,’ which suggests that this Hero of God had 
felt his way to the doctrine of the equality of the 
saints in the Divine Bosom. Of course, this great 
truth was very liable to misconstruction, just as 
much as when the having all things in common 

1 This is a Muslim account. See VA, p. 303. 


was perverted into the most objectionable kind of 
communism.! ‘Thus,’ the moralist remarks, ‘did 
they live happily together in content and gladness, 
free from all grief and care, as though resignation 
and contentment formed a part of their very 

Of course, the new names were given with a 
full consciousness of the inwardness of names. 
There was a spirit behind each new name; the 
revival of a name by a divine representative meant 
the return of the spirit. Each Babi who received 
the name of a prophet or an Imam knew that his 
life was raised to a higher plane, and that he was 
to restore that heavenly Being to the present age. 
These re-named Babis needed no other recompense 
than that of being used in the Cause of God. 
They became capable of far higher things than 
before, and if within a short space of time the 
Bab, or his Deputy, was to conquer the whole 
world and bring it under the beneficent yoke of 
the Law of God, much miraculously heightened 
courage would be needed. I am therefore able 
to accept the Muslim authority’s statement. The 
conferring of new names was not to add fuel to 
human vanity, but sacramentally to heighten 
spiritual vitality. 

Not all Babis, it is true, were capable of such 
insight. From the Babi account of the night- 
action, ordered on his arrival at Sheykh Tabarsi 

1 NH, Pp. 55. 


by Kuddus, we learn that some Babis, including 
those of Mazandaran, took the first opportunity 
of plundering the enemy’s camp. For this, the 
Deputy reproved them, but they persisted, and 
the whole army was punished (as we are told) by 
a wound dealt to Kuddus, which shattered one 
side of his face.’ It was with reference to this 
that the Deputy said at last to his disfigured 
friend, ‘I can no longer bear to look upon the 
wound which mars your glorious visage. Suffer 
me, I pray you, to lay down my life this night, 
that I may be delivered alike from my shame and 
myanxiety.’ So there was another night-encounter, 
and the Deputy knew full well that it would be 
his last battle. And he ‘said to one who was 
beside him, “Mount behind me on my horse, and 
when I say, ‘Bear me to the Castle,’ turn back 
with all speed.” So now, overcome with faint- 
ness, he said, ‘‘ Bear me to the Castle.” There- 
upon his companion turned the horse’s head, and 
brought him back to the entrance of the Castle ; 
and there he straightway yielded up his spirit to 
the Lord and Giver of life.’ Frail of form, but a 
gallant soldier and an impassioned lover of God, 
he combined qualities and characteristics which 
even in the spiritual aristocracy of Persia are 
seldom found united in the same person. 

1 WH, 68 f. 


~MuittA Muuyammap ‘ALi oF BARFURUSH 

He was a man of Mazandaran, but was con- 
verted at Shiraz. He was one of the earliest to 
cast in his lot with God’s prophet. No sooner 
had he beheld and conversed with the Bab, 
than, ‘because of the purity of his heart, he at 
once believed without seeking further sign or 
proof.’’ After the Council of Badasht he received 
among the Babis the title of Jenab-i-Kuddus, ze. 
‘His Highness the Sacred,’ by which it was 
meant that he was, for this age, what the sacred 
prophet Muhammad was to an earlier age, or, 
speaking loosely, that holy prophet’s ‘ re-incarna- 
tion.’ It is interesting to learn that that heroic - 
woman Kurratu’l ‘Ayn was regarded as the ‘re- 
incarnation’ of Fatima, daughter of the prophet 
Muhammad. Certainly Kuddus had enormous 
influence with small as well as great. Certainly, 
too, both he and his greatest friend had prophetic 
gifts and a sense of oneness with God, which go far 
to excuse the extravagant form of their claims, or 
at least the claims of others on their behalf. Ex- 
travagance of form, at any rate, lies on the surface 
of their titles. There must be a large element of 
fancy when Muhammad ‘Ali of Barfurush (ze. 
Kuddus) claims to be*‘a ‘return’ of the great 
Arabian prophet and even to be the Ka’im (ze. 
the Imam Mahdi), who was expected to bring in 

1 NE, pi 35: 


the Kingdom of Righteousness. There is no 
exaggeration, however, in saying that, together 
with the Bab, Kuddus ranked highest (or equal 
to the highest) in the new community." 

We call him here Kuddus, z.e. holy, sacred, 
because this was his Babi name, and his Babi 
period was to him the only part of his life that 
was worth living. True, in his youth, he (like 
‘the Deputy’) had Sheykhite instruction,’ but 
as long as he was nourished on this imperfect 
food, he must have had the sense of not having 
yet ‘attained.’ He was also like his colleague 
‘the Deputy’ in that he came to know the Bab 
before the young Shirazite made his Arabian 
pilgrimage; indeed (according to our best in- 
formation), it was he who was selected by ‘Ali 
Muhammad to accompany him to the Arabian 
Holy City, the ‘Gate’s Gate,’ we may suppose, 
being too important as a representative of the 
‘Gate’ to be removed from Persia. The Bab, 
however, who had a gift of insight, was doubtless 
more than satisfied with his compensation. For 
Kuddus had a noble soul. 

The name Kuddus is somewhat difficult to 
account for, and yet it must be understood, be- 
cause it involves aclaim. It must be observed, 

1 In VA, pp. 359, 399, Kuddus is represented as the ‘last to 
enter,’ and as ‘the name of the last.’ 

2 We may infer this from the inclusion of both persons in the 
list of those who went through the same spiritual exercises in the 
sacred city of Kufa (VH, p. 33). 


then, first of all, that, as the early Babis believed, 
the last of the twelve Imams (cp. the Zoroastrian 
Amshaspands) still lived on invisibly (like the 
Jewish Messiah), and communicated with his 
followers by means of personages called Babs 
(z.e. Gates), whom the Imam had appointed as 
intermediaries. As the time for a new divine 
manifestation approached, these personages ‘re- 
turned,’ z.¢. were virtually re-incarnated, in order 
to prepare mankind for the coming great epi- 
phany. Such a ‘Gate’ in the Christian cycle 
would be John the Baptist ;' such ‘Gates’ in the 
Muhammadan cycle would be Waraka ibn Naw- 
fal and the other Hanifs, and in the Babi cycle 
Sheikh Ahmad of Ahsa, Sayyid Kazim of Resht, 
Muhammad ‘Ali of Shiraz, and Mulla Huseyn of 
Bushraweyh, who was followed by his brother 
Muhammad Hasan. ‘Ali Muhammad, however, 
whom we call the Bab, did not always put forward 
exactlythe same claim. Sometimes he assumed the 
title of Zikr* (z.e. Commemoration, or perhaps Re- 
minder); sometimes (p. 81) that of Nukta, ze. Point 
( = Climax of prophetic revelation). Humility may 
have prevented him from always assuming the 
highest of these titles (Nukta). He knew that 
there was one whose fervent energy enabled him 

I John the Baptist, to the Israelites, was the last Imam before 

? And when God wills He will explain by the mediation of 
His Zikr (the Bab) that which has been decreed for him in the 
Book.—Early Letter to the Bab’s uncle (AMB, p. 223). 


to fight for the Cause as he himself could not. 
He can hardly, I think, have gone so far as to 
‘abdicate’ in favour of Kuddus, or as to affirm 
with Mirza Jani! that ‘in this (the present) cycle 
the original “ Point” was Hlazrat-i-Kuddus.’ He 
may, however, have sanctioned Muhammad ‘Ali’s 
assumption of the title of ‘Point’ on some 
particular occasion, such as the Assembly of 
Badasht. It is true, Muhammad ‘Ali’s usual 
title was Kuddus, but Muhammad ‘Ali himself, 
we know, considered this title to imply that in 
himself there was virtually a ‘return’ of the great 
prophet Muhammad.? We may also, perhaps, 
believe on the authority of Mirza Jani that the 
Bab ‘refrained from writing or circulating any- 
thing during the period of the “ Manifestation ” of 
Hazrat-i-Kuddus, and only after his death claimed 
to be himself the Ka’im.’* It is further stated 
that, in the list of the nineteen (?) Letters of the 
Living, Kuddus stood next to the Bab himself, 
and the reader has seen how, in the defence of 
Tabarsi, Kuddus took precedence even of that 
gallant knight, known among the Babis as ‘the 
Gate’s Gate.’ 

On the whole, there can hardly be a doubt 
that Muhammad ‘Ali, called Kuddus, was (as I 
have suggested already) the most conspicuous 
Babi next to the Bab himself, however hard we 
may find it to understand him on certain occasions 

INE, p.530- 2 Thid. p. 359. 3 Tbid. p. 368. 


indicated by Prof. Browne. He seems, for in- 
stance, to have lacked that tender sense of life 
characteristic of the Buddhists, and to have 
indulged a spiritual ambition which Jesus would 
not have approved. But it is unimportant to 
pick holes in such a genuine saint. I would 
rather lay stress on his unwillingness to think 
evil even of his worst foes. And how abominable 
was the return he met with! Weary of fighting, 
the Babis yielded themselves up to the royal 
troops. As Prof. Browne says, ‘they were re- 
ceived with an apparent friendliness and even 
respect which served to lull them into a false 
security and to render easy the perfidious mas- 
sacre wherein all but a few of them perished on 
the morrow of their surrender.’ 

The same historian tells us that Kuddus, loyal 
as ever, requested the Prince to send him to 
Tihran, there to undergo judgment before the 
Shah. The Prince was at first disposed to grant 
this request, thinking perhaps that to bring 
so notable a captive into the Royal Presence 
might serve to obliterate in some measure the 
record of those repeated failures to which his 
unparalleled incapacity had given rise. But when 
the Sa‘idu’l-‘Ulama heard of this plan, and saw 
a possibility of his hated foe escaping from his 
clutches, he went at once to the Prince, and 
strongly represented to him the danger of allowing 
one so eloquent and so plausible to plead his cause 


before the King. These arguments were backed 
up by an offer to pay the Prince a sum of 400 (or, 
as others say, of 1000) ¢wmans on condition that 
Jenab-i-Kuddus should be surrendered uncon- 
ditionally into his hands. To this arrangement 
the Prince, whether moved by the arguments or 
the ¢uméans of the Sa‘ idu’l-‘Ulama, eventually con- 
sented, and Jenab-i-Kuddus was delivered over 
to his inveterate enemy. 

‘The execution took place in the meydan, or 
public square, of Barfurush. The Sa‘idu’l-“Ulama 
first cut off the ears of Jenab-i-Kuddus, and 
tortured him in other ways, and then killed him 
with the blow of an axe. One of the Sa‘idu’l- 
‘Ulama’s disciples then severed the head from the 
lifeless body, and others poured naphtha over the 
corpse and set fire to it. The fire, however, as 
the Babis relate (for Subh-i-Ezel corroborates the 
Parikh-t-Jadid in this particular), refused to burn 
the holy remains ; and so the Sa‘idu’l-‘ Ulama gave 
orders that the body should be cut in pieces, 
and these pieces cast far and wide. This 
was done, but, as Haji Mirza Jani relates, 
certain Babis not known as such to their fellow- 
townsmen came at night, collected the scattered 
fragments, and buried them in an old ruined 
madrasa or collegehard by. By this madrasa, as 
the Babi historian relates, had J enab-i- Kuddusonce 
passed in the company of a friend with whom he | 
was conversing on the transitoriness of this world, 


and to it he had pointed to illustrate his words, 
saying, “This college, for instance, was once 
frequented, and is now deserted and neglected; a 
little while hence they will bury here some great 
man, and many will come to visit his grave, and 
again it will be frequented and thronged with 
people.”’ When the Baha’is are more conscious 
of the preciousness of their own history, this 
prophecy may be fulfilled, and Kuddus be duly 
Sayyvip YAaHuya Darasi 

Sayyid Yahya derived his surname Darabi from 
his birthplace Darab, near Shiraz. His father 
was Sayyid Ja‘far, surnamed Kashfj, z.¢. discloser 
(of the divine secrets). Neither father nor son, 
however, was resident at Darab at the period of 
this narrative. The father was at Buzurg, and the 
son, probably, at Tihran. So great was the 
excitement caused by the appearance of the Bab 
that Muhammad Shah and his minister thought it 
desirable to send an expert to inquire into the new 
Teacher’s claims. They selected Sayyid Yahya, 
‘one of the best known of doctors and Sayyids, 
as well as an object of veneration and confidence,’ 
even in the highest quarters. The mission was 
a failure, however, for the royal commissioner, 
instead of devising some practical compromise, 
actually went over to the Bab, in other words, 
gave official sanction to the innovating party. 

1 TN, pp. 7, 854; Nicolas, AIZB, pp. 233, 388. 


The tale is an interesting one. The Bab at first 
treated the commissioner rather cavalierly. A 
Babi theologian was told off to educate him; the 
Bab himself did not grant him an audience. To this 
Babi representative Yahya confided that he had 
some inclination towards Babism, and that a 
miracle performed by the Bab in his presence 
would make assurance doubly sure. To this the 
Babi is said to have answered, ‘ For such as have 
like us beheld a thousand marvels stranger than 
the fabled cleaving of the moon to demand a 
miracle or sign from that Perfect Truth would be 
as though we should seek light from a candle in 
the full blaze of the radiant sun.” Indeed, what 
marvel could be greater than that of raising the 
spiritually dead, which the Bab and his followers 
were constantly performing ?” 

It was already much to have read the inspired 
‘sions,’ or verses, communicated by the Bab, 
but how much more would it be to see his 
Countenance! The time came for the Sayyid’s 
first interview with the Master. There was still, 
however, in his mind a remainder of the besetting 
sin of mullas’—arrogance,—and the Bab’s answers 
to the questions of his guest failed to produce 
entire conviction. The Sayyid was almost re- 
turning home, but the most learned of the disciples 
bade him wait a little longer, till he too, like 

WNT, pet 22: 
2 Accounts of miracles were spiritualized by the Bab. 


themselves, would see clearly... The truth is 
that the Bab committed the first part of the 
Sayyid’s conversion to his disciples. The would- 
be disciple had, like any novice, to be educated, 
and the Bab, in his first two interviews with the 
Sayyid, was content to observe how far this 
process had gone. 

It was in the third interview that the two souls 
really met. The Sayyid had by this time found 
courage to put deep theological questions, and 
received correspondingly deep answers. The 
Bab then wrote on the spot a commentary on the 
108th Sura of the Kur’an.? In this commentary 
what was the Sayyid’s surprise to find an explana- 
tion which he had supposed to be his own original 
property! He now submitted entirely to the 
power of attraction and influence® exercised so 
constantly, when He willed, by the Master. He 
took the Bab for his glorious model, and obtained 
the martyr’s crown in the second Niriz war. 

MuiiA Muwammap ‘ALI or ZANjJAN 

He was a native of Mazandaran, and a disciple 
of a celebrated teacher at the holy city of Karbala, 
decorated with the title Sharifu-’1 Ulama (‘noblest 
of the Ulama’). He became a mujtahid (‘an 
authority on hard religious questions’) at Zanjan, 
the capital of the small province of Khamsa, which 

l NAG PATA. 2 Nicolas, p. 233. 
SVE press 


lay between Irak and Azarbaijan, | Muslim 
writers affirm that in his functions of mujtahid he 
displayed a restless and intolerant spirit,1 and he 
himself confesses to having been ‘proud and 
masterful.’ We can, however, partly excuse one 
who had no congeniality with the narrow Shi‘ite 
system prevalent in Persia. It is clear, too, that 
- his teaching (which was that of the sect of the 
Akhbaris),’ was attractive to many. He declares 
that two or three thousand families in Khamsa 
were wholly devoted to him.? 

At the point at which this brief sketch begins, 
our mulla was anxiously looking out for the return 
of his messenger Mash-hadi Ahmad from Shiraz 
with authentic news of the reported Divine 
Manifestation. When the messenger returned he 
found Mulla Muhammad ‘Ali in the mosque about 
to give a theological lecture. He handed over 
the letter to his Master, who, after reading it, at 
once turned to his disciples, and uttered these 
words: ‘To search for a roof after one has 
arrived at one’s destination is a shameful thing. 
To search for knowledge when one is in posses- 
sion of one’s object is supererogatory. Close 
your lips [in surprise], for the Master has arisen ; 
apprehend the news thereof. The sun which 
points out to us the way we should go, has ap- 
peared ; the night of error and of ignorance is 

1 Gobineau ; Nicolas. 2 NH, pp. 138, 349. 
3 Tbid. p. 350. 


brought to nothing.’ With a loud voice he then 
recited the prayer of Friday, which is to replace 
the daily prayer when the Imam appears. 

The conversion! of Mulla Muhammad ‘Ali 
had important results, though the rescue of the 
Bab was not permitted to be one of them. The 
same night on which the Bab arrived at Zanjan 
on his way to Tabriz and Maku, Mulla Muhammad 
‘Ali was secretly conveyed to Tihran. In this 
way one dangerous influence, much dreaded at 
court, was removed. And in Tihran he remained 
till the death of Muhammad Shah, and the acces- 
sion of Nasiru’d-din Shah. The new Shah 
received him graciously, and expressed satisfac- 
tion that the Mulla had not left Tihran without 
leave. He now gave him express permission to 
return to Zanjan, which accordingly the Mulla 
lost no time in doing. The hostile mullas, how- 
ever, were stirred up to jealousy because of the 
great popularity which Muhammad ‘Ali had 
acquired, Such was the beginning of the famous 
episode of Zanjan. 


Among the Heroes of God was another 
glorious saint and martyr of the new society, 
originally called Zarrin Taj (‘Golden Crown’), 
but afterwards better known as Kurratu’l ‘Ayn 

1 For Muhammad ‘Ali’s own account, see Nicolas, AB, 
PP. 349, 350. 


(‘Refreshment of the Eyes’) or Jenab-i-Tahira 
(‘ Her Excellency the Pure, Immaculate’). She 
was the daughter of the ‘sage of Kazwin,’ Haji 
Mulla Salih, an eminent jurist, who (as we shall 
see) eventually married her to her cousin Mulla 
Muhammad. Her father-in-law and uncle was 
also a mulla, and also called Muhammad ; he was 
conspicuous for his bitter hostility to the Sheykhi 
and the Babi sects. Kurratu’l ‘Ayn herself had 
a flexible and progressive mind, and shrank from 
no theological problem, old or new. She absorbed 
‘with avidity the latest religious novelties, which 
were those of the Bab, and though not much sym- 
pathy could be expected from most of her family, 
yet there was one of her cousins who was favour- 
able like herself to the claims of the Bab. Her 
father, too, though he upbraided his daughter for 
her wilful adhesion to ‘this Shiraz lad,’ confessed 
that he had not taken offence at any claim which 
she advanced for herself, whether to be the Bab 
or even more than that. 

Now I cannot indeed exonerate the ‘sage of 
Kazwin’ from all responsibility for connecting 
his daughter so closely with a bitter enemy of 
the Bab, but I welcome his testimony to the 
manifold capacities of his daughter, and his 
admission that there were not only extraordinary 
men but extraordinary women qualified even to 
represent God, and to lead their less gifted fellow- 
men or fellow-women up the heights of sanctity. 


The idea of a woman-Bab is so original that it 
almost takes one’s breath away, and still more 
perhaps does the view—modestly veiled by the 
Haji—that certain men and even women are of 
divine nature scandalize a Western till it becomes 
clear that the two views are mutually comple- 
mentary. Indeed, the only difference in human 
beings is that some realize more, and some less, 
or even not at all, the fact of the divine spark 
in their composition. Kurratu’l ‘Ayn certainly 
did realize her divinity. On one occasion she 
even reproved one of her companions for not at 
once discerning that she was the Azé/a towards 
which he ought to pray. This is no poetical 
conceit; it is meant as seriously as the phrase, 
‘the Gate,’ is meant when applied to Mirza ‘Ali 
Muhammad. We may compare it with another 
honorific title of this great woman—‘ The Mother 
of the World.’ 

The love of God and the love of man were 
in fact equally prominent in the character of 
Kurratu'l ‘Ayn, and the Glorious One (el-Abha) 
had endowed her not only with moral but with 
high intellectual gifts. It was from the head 
of the Sheykhi sect (Haji Sayyid Kazim) that 
she received her best-known title, and after 
the Sayyid’s death it was she who (see below) 
instructed his most advanced disciples; she her- 
self, indeed, was more advanced than any, and 
was essentially, like Symeon in St, Luke’s 


Gospel, a waiting soul. As yet, it appears, the 
young Shiraz Reformer had not heard of her. 
It was a letter which she wrote after the death 
of the Sayyid to Mulla Huseyn of Bushraweyh 
which brought her rare gifts to the knowledge 
of the Bab. Huseyn himself was not com- 
missioned to offer Kurratu’l ‘Ayn as a member 
of the new society, but the Bab ‘knew what was 
in man,’ and divined what the gifted woman 
was desiring. Shortly afterwards she had oppor- 
tunities of perusing theological and devotional 
‘works of the Bab, by which, says Mirza Jani, 
‘her conversion was definitely effected.’ This 
was at Karbala, a place beyond the limits of 
Persia, but dear to all Shi‘ites from its associa- 
tions. It appears that Kurratu’l ‘Ayn had gone 
thither chiefly to make the acquaintance of the 
great Sheykhite teacher, Sayyid Kazim. 

Great was the scandal of both clergy and 
laity when this fateful step of Kurratu’l ‘Ayn 
became known at Kazwin. Greater still must it 
have been if (as Gobineau states) she actually 
appeared in public without a veil. Is this true? 
No, it is not true, said Subh-i-Ezel, when 
questioned on this point by Browne. Now and 
then, when carried away by her eloquence, she 
would allow the veil to slip down off her face, 
but she would always replace it. The tradition 
handed on in Baha-’ullah’s family is different, 

and considering how close was the bond between 


Baha and Kurratu’l ‘Ayn, I think it safer to 
follow the family of Baha, which in this case 
involves agreeing with Gobineau. This noble 
woman, therefore, has the credit of opening the 
catalogue of social reforms in Persia. Presently 
I shall have occasion to refer to this again. 

Mirza Jani confirms this view. He tells us 
that after being converted, our heroine ‘set her- 
self to proclaim and establish the doctrine,’ and 
that this she did ‘seated behind a curtain.” We 
are no doubt meant to suppose that those of 
her hearers who were women were gathered 
round the lecturer behind the curtain. It was 
not in accordance with conventions that men 
and women should be instructed together, and 
that — horrible to say—by a woman. The 
governor of Karbala determined to arrest her, 
but, though without a passport, she made good 
her escape to Baghdad. There she defended 
her religious position before the chief mufti. 
The secular authorities, however, ordered her 
to quit Turkish territory and not return, 

The road which she took was that by Kirman- 
shah and Hamadan (both in Irak; the latter, 
the humiliated representative of Ecbatana). Of 
course, Kurratu’l ‘Ayn took the opportunity of 
preaching her Gospel, which was not a scheme 
of salvation or redemption, but ‘certain subtle 
mysteries of the divine’ to which but few had 
yet been privileged to listen. The names of some 


of her hearers are given; we are to suppose that 
some friendly theologians had gathered round 
her, partly as an escort, and partly attracted by 
her remarkable eloquence. Two of them we shall 
meet with presently in another connection. It 
must not, of course, be supposed that all minds 
were equally open. There were some who raised 
objections to Kurratu’l ‘Ayn, and wrote a letter 
to the Bab, complaining of her. The Bab 
returned discriminating answers, the upshot of 
which was that her homilies were to be con- 
sidered as inspired. We are told that these 
same objectors repented, which implies apparently 
that the Bab’s spiritual influence was effectual at 
a distance. 

Other converts were made at the same places, 
and the idea actually occurred to her that she 
might put the true doctrine before the Shah. It 
was a romantic idea (Muhammad Shah was any- 
thing but a devout and believing Muslim), not 
destined to be realized. Her father took the 
alarm and sent for her to come home, and, much 
to her credit, she gave filial obedience to his 
summons. It will be observed that it is the 
father who issues his orders; no husband is 
mentioned. Was it not, then, most probably on 
this return of Kurratu’l ‘Ayn that the maiden was 
married to Mulla Muhammad, the eldest son 
of Haji Mulla Muhammad Taki. Mirza Jani 
does not mention this, but unless our heroine 


made two journeys to Karbala, is it not the 
easiest way of understanding the facts? The 
object of the ‘sage of Kazwin’ was, of course, to 
prevent his daughter from traversing the country 
as an itinerant teacher. That object was attained. 
I will quote from an account which claims to be 
from Haji Muhammad Hamami, who had been 
charged with this delicate mission by the family. 

‘I conducted Kurratu'l ‘Ayn into the house of 
her father, to whom I rendered an account of 
what I had seen. Haji Mulla Taki, who was 
present at the interview, showed great irritation, 
and recommended all the servants to prevent 
“this woman” from going out of the house under 
any pretext whatsoever, and not to permit any 
one to visit her without his authority. Thereupon 
he betook himself to the traveller’s room, and 
tried to convince her of the error in which she 
was entangled. He entirely failed, however, and, 
furious before that settled calm and earnestness, 
was led to curse the Bab and to load him with 
insults. Then Kurratu’l ‘Ayn looked into his 
face, and said to him, ‘‘ Woe unto thee, for I see 
thy mouth filling with blood.”’ 

Such is the oral tradition which our informant 
reproduces. In criticizing it, we may admit that 
the gift of second sight was possessed by the Babi 
and Bahai leaders. But this particular anec- 
dote respecting our heroine is (may I not say ?) 
very improbable. To curse the Bab was not the 


way for an uncle to convince his erring niece. 
One may, with more reason, suppose that her 
father and uncle trusted to the effect of matri- 
mony, and committed the transformation of the 
lady to her cousin Mulla Muhammad. True, 
this could not last long, and the murder of Taki 
in the mosque of Kazwin must have pre- 
cipitated Kurratu’l ‘Ayn’s resolution to divorce 
her husband (as by Muhammadan law she 
was entitled to do) and leave home for ever. 
It might, however, have gone hardly with her 
if she had really uttered the prophecy related 
above. Evidently her husband, who had accused 
her of complicity in the crime, had not heard 
of it. So she was acquitted. The Bab, too, 
favoured the suggestion of her leaving home, 
and taking her place among his missionaries.’ 
At the dead of night, with an escort of Babis, 
she set out ostensibly for Khurasan. The route 
which she really adopted, however, took her by 
the forest-country of Mazandaran, where she had 
the leisure necessary for pondering the religious 

The sequel was dramatic. After some days 
and nights of quietude, she suddenly made her 
appearance in the hamlet of Badasht, to which 
place a representative conference of Babis had 
been summoned. 

The object of the conference was to correct 

1 Nicolas, AdZB, p. 277. 


a widespread misunderstanding. There were 
many who thought that the new leader came, 
in the most literal sense, to fulfil the Islamic 
Law. They realized, indeed, that the object of 
Muhammad was to bring about an universal 
kingdom of righteousness and peace, but they 
thought this was to be effected by wading 
through streams of blood, and with the help of 
the divine judgments. The Bab, on the other 
hand, though not always consistent, was moving, 
with some of his disciples, in the direction of 
moral suasion ; his only weapon was ‘the sword 
of the Spirit, which is the word of God.’ When 
the Ka’im appeared all things would be renewed. 
But the Ka'im was on the point of appearing, 
and all that remained was to prepare for his 
Coming. No more should there be any distinc- 
tion between higher and lower races, or be- 
tween male and female. No more should the 
long, enveloping veil be the badge of woman’s 

The gifted woman before us had her own 
characteristic solution of the problem. So, doubt- 
less, had the other Babi leaders who were present, 
such as Kuddus and Baha-’ullah, the one against, 
the other in favour of social reforms, 

It is said, in one form of tradition, that 
Kurratu’l ‘Ayn herself attended the conference 
with a veil on. If so, she lost no time in dis- 
carding it, and broke out (we are told) into the 


fervid exclamation, ‘I am the blast of the 
trumpet, I am the call of the bugle,’ ze. ‘ Like 
Gabriel, I would awaken sleeping souls.’ It 
is said, too, that this short speech of the 
brave woman was followed by the recitation by 
Baha-’ullah of the Sura of the Resurrection 
(Ixxv.). Such recitations often have an over- 
powering effect. 

The inner meaning of this was that mankind 
was about to pass into a new cosmic cycle, for’ 
which a new set of laws and customs would be 

There is also a somewhat fuller tradition. 
Kurratu’l ‘Ayn was in Mazandaran, and so was 
also Baha’ullah. The latter was taken ill, and 
Kurratu’l ‘Ayn, who was an intimate friend of his, 
was greatly concerned at this. For two days she 
saw nothing of him, and on the third sent a 
message to him to the effect that she could keep 
away no longer, but must come to see him, not, 
however, as hitherto, but with her head uncovered. 
If her friend disapproved of this, let him censure 
her conduct. He did not disapprove, and on the 
way to see him, she proclaimed herself the trumpet 

At any rate, it was this bold act of Kurratu'l 
‘Ayn which shook the foundations of a literal 
belief in Islamic doctrines among the Persians. 
It may be added that the first-fruits of Kurratu’l 
‘Ayn’s teaching was no one less than the heroic 


Kuddus, and that the eloquent teacher herself 
owed her insight probably to Baha-’ullah. Of 
course, the supposition that her greatest friend 
might censure her is merely a delightful piece of 

I have not yet mentioned the long address 
assigned to our heroine by Mirza Jani. It seems 
to me, in its present form, improbable, and yet 
the leading ideas may have been among those 
expressed by the prophetess. If so, she stated 
that the laws of the previous dispensation were 
abrogated, and that laws in general were only 
necessary till men had learnt to comprehend the 
Perfection of the Doctrine of the Unity. ‘And 
should men not be able to receive the Doctrine 
of the Unity at the beginning of the Manifesta- 
tion, ordinances and restrictions will again be 
prescribed for them.’ It is not wonderful that 
the declaration of an impending abrogation of 
Law was misinterpreted, and converted into a 
licence for Antinomianism, Mirza Jani mentions, 
but with some reticence, the unseemly conduct of 
some of the Babis. 

There must, however, have been some who 
felt the spell of the great orator, and such an 
one is portrayed by Mme. H. Dreyfus, in her 
dramatic poem God’s Heroes, under the name of 
‘Ali. I will quote here a little speech of ‘Ali’s, 
and also a speech of Kurratu’l ‘Ayn, because 

1 NE, pp. 357-358. 


they seem to me to give a more vivid idea of the 
scene than is possible for a mere narrator.’ 


‘Soon we shall leave Badasht: let us leave it 
filled with the Gospel of life! Let our lives show 
what we, sincere Muhammadans, have become 
through our acceptance of the Bab, the Mahdi, 
who has awakened us to the esoteric meaning of 
the Resurrection Day. Let us fill the souls of 
men with the glory of the revealed word. Let 
us advance with arms extended to the stranger. 
Let us emancipate our women, reform our society. 
Let us arise out of our graves of superstition and 
of self, and pronounce that the Day of Judgment 
is at hand; then shall the whole earth respond to 
the quickening power of regeneration!’ 

QurrRaTu LAIN 
(Deeply moved and half to herself.) 

‘T feel impelled to help unveil the Truth to 
these men assembled. If my act be good the 
result will be good; if bad, may it affect me 

‘(Advances majestically with face unveiled, and 
as she walks towards Baha-ullah’s tent, addresses 
the men.) That sound of the trumpet which 

1 God’s Heroes, by Laura Clifford Barney [Paris, 1909], p. 64, 
Act IIT. 


ushers in the Day of Judgment is my call to you 
now! Rise, brothers! The Quran is completed, 
the new era has begun. Know me as your sister, 
and let all barriers of the past fall down before 
our advancing steps. We teach freedom, action, 
and love. That sound of the trumpet, it is I! 
That blast of the trumpet, it is I! 

(Z22¢ Qurratu’l ‘Ain.)’ 

On the breaking up of the Council our heroine 
joined a large party of Babis led by her great 
friend Kuddus. On their arrival in Nir, how- 
ever, they separated, she herself staying in that 
district. There she met Subh-i-Ezel, who is said 
to have rendered her many services. But before 
long the people of Mazandaran surrendered the 
gifted servant of truth to the Government. 

We next meet with her in confinement at 
Tihran. There she was treated at first with the 
utmost gentleness, her personal charm being felt 
alike by her host, Mahmiid the Kalantar, and by 
the most frigid of Persian sovereigns. The 
former tried hard to save her. Doubtless by 
using Ketman (ze. by pretending to be a good 
Muslim) she might have escaped. But her view 
of truth was too austere for this. 

So the days—the well-filled days—wore on. 
Her success with inquirers was marvellous ; 
wedding-feasts were not half so bright as her 
religious soirées. But she herself had a bride- 


groom, and longed to see him. It was the 
attempt by a Babi on the Shah’s life on August 
15, 1852, which brought her nearer to the desire 
of her heart. One of the servants of the house 
has described her last evening on earth. I quote 
a paragraph from the account. 

‘While she was in prison, the marriage of the 
Kalantar’s son took place. As was natural, all the 
women-folk of the great personages were invited. 
But although large sums had been expended on 
the entertainments usual at such a time, all 
theiladies called loudly for Kurratu’l ‘Ayn. She 
came accordingly, and hardly had she begun to 
speak when the musicians and dancing-girls were 
dismissed, and, despite the counter attractions of 
sweet delicacies, the guests had no eyes and ears 
save for Kurratu’l ‘Ayn. 

‘At last, a night came when something strange 
and sad happened. I had just waked up, and saw 
her go down into the courtyard. After washing 
from head to foot she went back into her room, 
where she dressed herself altogether in white. 
She perfumed herself, and as she did this she 
sang, and never had I seen her so contented and 
joyous as in this song. Then she turned to the 
women of the house, and begged them to pardon 
the disagreeables which might have been occa- 
sioned by her presence, and the faults which 
she might have committed towards them; in a 
word, she acted exactly like some one who is about 


to undertake a long journey. We were all sur- 
prised, asking ourselves what that could mean. In 
the evening, she wrapped herself in a chadour, 
which she fixed about her waist, making a band of 
her chargud, then she put on again her chagchour. 
Her joy as she acted thus was so strange that we 
burst into tears, for her goodness and inexhaustible 
friendliness made us love her. But she smiled 
on us and said, “This evening I am going to 
take a great, a very great journey.” At this 
moment there was a knock at the street door. 
‘Run and open,” she said, “for they will be 
looking for me.” 

‘It was the Kalantar who entered. He went 
in, as far as her room, and said to her, “Come, 
Madam, for they are asking for you.” “ Yes,” 
said she, “I know it. I know, too, whither I am 
to be taken; I know how I shall be treated. 
But, ponder it well, a day will come when thy 
Master will give thee like treatment.” Then she 
went out dressed as she was with the Kalantar; 
we had no idea whither she was being taken, and 
only on the following day did we learn that she 
was executed,’ 

One of the nephews of the Kalantar, who was 
in the police, has given an account of the closing 
scene, from which I quote the following : 

‘Four hours after sunset the Kalantar asked 
me if all my measures were taken, and upon the 
assurances which I gave him he conducted me 


into his house. He went in alone into the 
enderin, but soon returned, accompanied by 
Kurratu’'l ‘Ayn, and gave me a folded paper, say- 
ing to me, ‘You will conduct this woman to the 
garden of Ilkhani, and will give her into the 
charge of Aziz Khan the Serdar.” 

_ ‘A horse was brought, and I helped Kurratu’l 
‘Ayn to mount. I was afraid, however, that the 
Babis would find out what was passing. So I 
threw my cloak upon her, so that she was taken 
fora man. With an armed escort we set out to 
traverse the streets. I feel sure, however, that if 
a rescue had been attempted my people would 
have run away. I heaved a sigh of relief on 
entering the garden. I put my prisoner in a 
room under the entrance, ordered my soldiers to 
guard the door well, and went up to the third 
story to find the Serdar. 

‘He expected me. I gave him the letter, and 
he asked me if no one had understood whom | 

had in charge. “No one,” I replied, “and now 
that I have performed my duty, give me a receipt 
for my prisoner.” . “ Not yet,” le said; “‘you 

have to attend at the execution; afterwards I will 
give you your receipt.” 

‘He called a handsome young Turk whom he 
had in his service, and tried to win him over by 
flatteries and a bribe. He further said, “I will 
look out for some good berth for you. But you 
must do something for me. Take this silk hand- 


kerchief, and go downstairs with this officer. He 
will conduct you into a room where you will find a 
young woman who does much harm to believers, 
turning their feet from the way of Muhammad. 
Strangle her with this handkerchief. By so 
doing you will render an immense service to 
God, and I will give you a large reward.” 

‘The valet bowed and went out with me. I 
conducted him to the room where I had left my 
prisoner. I found her prostrate and praying. 
The young man approached her with the view of 
executing his orders. Then she raised her head, 
looked fixedly at him and said, “Oh, young man, 
it would ill beseem you to soil your hand with 
this murder.” 

‘I cannot tell what passed in this young man’s 
soul, But it is a fact that he fled like a madman. 
I ran too, and we came together to the serdar, to 
whom he declared that it was impossible for him 
to do what was required. ‘I shall lose your 
patronage,” he said. “I am, indeed, no longer 
my own master; do what you will with me, but I 
will not touch this woman.” ; 

‘Aziz Khan packed him off, and reflected for 
some minutes. He then sent for one of his horse- 
men whom, as a punishment for misconduct, he 
had put to serve in the kitchens. When he came 
in, the serdar gave him a friendly scolding: “Well, 
son of a dog, bandit that you are, has your punish- 
ment been a lesson to you? and will you be 


worthy to regain my affection? Ithinkso. Here, 
take this large glass of brandy, swallow it down, 
and make up for going so long without it.” Then 
he gave him a fresh handkerchief, and repeated 
the order which he had already given to the 
young Turk. 

‘We entered the chamber together, and 
immediately the man rushed upon Kurratu’ 
‘Ayn, and tied the handkerchief several times 
round her neck. Unable to breathe, she fell to 
the ground in a faint; he then knelt with one 
knee on her back, and drew the handkerchief 
with might and main. As his feelings were 
stirred and he was afraid, he did not leave her 
time to breathe her last. He took her up in his 
arms, and carried her out to a dry well, into which 
he threw her still alive. There was no time to 
lose, for daybreak was at hand. So we called 
some men to help us fill up the well.’ 

Mons. Nicolas, formerly interpreter of the 
French Legation at Tihran, to whom we are 
indebted for this narrative, adds that a pious 
hand planted five or six solitary trees to mark 
the spot where the heroine gave up this life for 
a better one. It is doubtful whether the ruthless 
modern builder has spared them. 

The internal evidence in favour of this story is 
very strong; there is a striking verisimilitude 
about it. The execution of a woman to whom 
so much romantic interest attached cannot have 


been in the royal square; that would have been > 
to court unpopularity for the Government. More- 
over, there is a want of definite evidence that 
women were among the public victims of the 
‘reign of Terror’ which followed the attempt on 
the Shah’s life (cp. ZV, p. 334). That Kurratu'l 
‘Ayn was put to death is certain, but this can 
hardly have been in public. It is true, a European 
doctor, quoted by Prof. Browne (7, p. 313), 
declares that he witnessed the heroic death of 
the ‘ beautiful woman.’ He seems to imply that 
the death was accompanied by slow tortures. 
But why does not this doctor give details? Is 
he not drawing upon his fancy? Let us not 
make the persecutors worse than they were. 

Count Gobineau’s informant appears to me 
too imaginative, but I will give his statements in 
a somewhat shortened form. 

‘The beauty, eloquence, and enthusiasm of 
Kurratu’'l “Ayn exercised a fascination even upon 
her gaoler. One morning, returning from the 
royal camp, he went into the exderan, and told 
his prisoner that he brought her good news. “I 
know it,” she answered gaily; “you need not be 
at the pains to tell me.” ‘‘ You cannot possibly 
know my news,” said the Kalantar; “it is a 
request from the Prime Minister. You will be 
conducted to Niyavaran, and asked, ‘ Kurratu’l 
‘Ayn, are you a Babi?’ You will simply answer, 
‘No.’ You will live alone for some time, and 


avoid giving people anything to talk about. The 
Prime Minister will keep his own opinion about 
you, but he will not exact more of you than 

The words of the prophetess came true. She 
was taken to Niyavaran, and publicly but gently 
asked, ‘Are you a Babi?’ She answered what 
she had said that she would answer in such a case. 
She was taken back to Tihran. Her martyr- 
dom took place in the citadel. She was placed 
upon a heap of that coarse straw which is used 
to increase the bulk of woollen and felt carpets. 
But before setting fire to this, the executioners 
stifled her with rags, so that the flames only 
devoured her dead body. 

An account is also given in the London manu- 
script of the Mew Hzstory, but as the Mirza 
suffered in the same persecution as the heroine, 
we must suppose that it was inserted by the 
editor. It is very short. 

‘For some while she was in the house of 
Mahmid Khan, the Kalantar, where she exhorted 
and counselled the women of the household, till 
one day she went to the bath, whence she 
returned in white garments, saying, ‘“‘ To-morrow 
they will kill me.” Next day the executioner 
came and took her to the Nigaristan. As she 
would not suffer them to remove the veil from 
her face (though they repeatedly sought to do so) 

they applied the bow-string, and thus compassed 


her martyrdom. Then they cast her holy body 
into a well in the garden,’? 

My own impression is that a legend early 
began to gather round the sacred form of Her 
Highness the Pure. Retracing his recollections 
even Dr. Polak mixes up truth and fiction, and 
has in his mind’s eye something like the scene 
conjured up by Count Gobineau in his description 
of the persecution of Tihran :— : 

‘On vit s’avancer, entre les bourreaux, des 
enfants et des femmes, les chairs ouvertes sur 
tout le corps, avec des méches allumées flam- 
bantes fichées dans les blessures.’ 

Looking back on the short career of Kurratu’l 
‘Ayn, one is chiefly struck by her fiery enthusiasm 
and by her absolute unworldliness. This world 
was, in fact, to her, as it was said to be to Kuddus, 
a mere handful of dust. She was also an eloquent 
speaker and experienced in the intricate measures 
of Persian poetry. One of her few poems which 
have thus far been made known is of special 
interest, because of the belief which it expresses 
in the divine-human character of some one (here 
called Lord), whose claims, when once adduced, 
would receive general recognition. Who was 
this Personage? It appears that Kurratu’l ‘Ayn 
thought Him slow in bringing forward these 
claims. Is there any one who can be thought of 
but Baha-'ullah ? 

WE, pp 283.4 


The Bahaite tradition confidently answers in 
the negative. Baha-’ullah, it declares, exercised 
great influence on the second stage of the heroine’s 
development, and Kurratu’l ‘Ayn was one of those 
who had pressed forward into the innermost 
sanctum of the Bab’s disclosures. She was aware 
that ‘ The Splendour of God’ was ‘He whom God 
would manifest.’ The words of the poem, in Prof. 
Browne's translation, refer, not to Ezel, but to his 
brother Baha-’ullah. They are in Z7-W, p. 315. 

‘Why lags the word, “4m I not your Lord” ? 
“ Yea, that thou art,” let us make reply.’ 

The poetess was a true Bahaite. More than 
this; the harvest sown in Islamic lands by Kur- 
ratu’l ‘Ayn is now beginning to appear. A letter — 
addressed to the Christcan Commonwealth last 
June informs us that forty Turkish suffragettes 
are being deported from Constantinople to Akka 
(so long the prison of Baha-’ullah) : 

‘« During the last few years suffrage ideas have 
been spreading quietly behind in the harems. 
The men were ignorant of it; everybody was 
ignorant of it; and now suddenly the floodgate 
is opened and the men of Constantinople have 
thought it necessary to resort to drastic measures. 
Suffrage clubs have been organized, intelligent 
memorials incorporating the women’s demands 
have been drafted and circulated; women’s 
journals and magazines have sprung up, pub- 


lishing excellent articles; and public meetings 
were held. Then one day the members of these © 
clubs—four hundred of them—cast away their 
vetls. The staid, fossilized class of society were 
shocked, the good Mussulmans were alarmed, 
and the Government forced into action. These 
four hundred liberty-loving women were divided 
into several groups. One group composed of 
forty have been exiled to Akka, and will arrive in 
a few days. Everybody is talking about it, and 
it is really surprising to see how numerous are 
those in favour of removing the veils from the 
faces of the women. Many men with whom I 
have talked think the custom not only archaic, 
but thought-stifling. The Turkish authorities, 
thinking to extinguish this light of liberty, have 
greatly added to its flame, and their high-handed 
action has materially assisted the creation of a 
wider public opinion and a better understanding 
of this crucial problem.” The other question 
exercising opinion in Haifa is the formation of a 
military and strategic quarter out of Akka, which 
in this is resuming its bygone importance. Six 
regiments of soldiers are to be quartered there. 
Many officers have already arrived and are hunt- 
ing for houses, and as a result rents are trebled. 
It is interesting to reflect, as our Baha corre- 
spondent suggests, on the possible consequence of 
this projection of militarism into the very centre 
fount of the Bahai faith in universal peace.’ 


Bawa-ULLAn (Mirza Huseyn Axi or Nor) 

According to Count Gobineau, the martyrdom 
of the Bab at Tabriz was followed by a Council 
of the Babi chiefs at Teheran (Tihran), What 
authority he has for this statement is unknown, 
but it is in itself not improbable. Formerly the 
members of the Two Unities must have desired 
to make their policy as far as possible uniform. 
We have already heard of the Council of Badasht 
(from which, however, the Bab, or, the Point, 
was absent) ; we now have to make room in our 
mind for the possibilities of a Council of Tihran. 
It was an important occasion of which Gobineau 
reminds us, well worthy to be marked by a 
Council, being nothing less than the decision 
of the succession to the Pontificate. 

At such a Council who would as a matter of 
course be present? One may mention in the 
first instance Mirza Huseyn ‘Ali, titled as Baha- 
‘ullah, and his half-brother, Mirza Yahya, otherwise 
known as Subh-i-Ezel, also Jenab-i-‘Azim, Jenab- 
i-Bazir, Mirza Asadullah’ (Dayyan), Sayyid 
Yahya (of Darab), and others similarly honoured 
by the original Bab. And who were the candi- 
dates for this terribly responsible post ? Several 
may have wished to be brought forward, but one 
candidate, according to the scholar mentioned, 

1 Gobineau, however, thinks that Mirza Asadu’llah was not 
present at the (assumed) Council. 


overshadowed the rest. This was Mirza Yahya 
(of Nar), better known as Subh-i-Ezel. 

The claims of this young man were based on 
a nomination-document now in the possession of 
Prof. Browne, and have been supported by a letter 
given in a French version by Mons. Nicolas. 
Forgery, however, has played such a great part 
in written documents of the East that I hesitate 
to recognize the genuineness of this nomination. 
And I think it very improbable that any company 
of intensely earnest men should have accepted 
the document in preference to the evidence of 
their own knowledge respecting the inadequate 
endowments of Subh-i-Ezel. 

No doubt the responsibilities of the pontificate 
would be shared. There would be a ‘Gate’ and 
there would be a ‘ Point.’ The deficiencies of the 
‘Gate’ might be made good by the ‘ Point.’ More- 
over, the ‘Letters of the Living’ were important 
personages ; their advice could hardly be rejected. 
Still the gravity and variety of the duties devolving 
upon the ‘ Gate’ and the ‘ Point’ give us an uneasy 
sense that Subh-i-Ezel was not adequate to either 
of these posts, and cannot have been appointed 
to either of them by the Council. The probability 
is that the arrangement already made was further 
sanctioned, viz. that Baha-’ullah was for the present 
to take the private direction of affairs and exercise 
his great gifts as a teacher, while Subh-i-Ezel (a 
vain young man) gave his name as ostensible 


head, especially with a view to outsiders and to 
agents of the government. 

It may be this to which allusion is made in a 
tradition preserved by Behiah Khanun, sister of 
Abbas Effendi Abdul Baha, that Subh-i-Ezel 
claimed to be equal to his half-brother, and that he 
rested this claim on a vision. The implication is 
that Baha-ullah was virtually the head of the Babi 
community, and that Subh-i-Ezel was wrapt up in 
dreams, and was really only a figurehead. In 
fact, from whatever point of view we compare the 
brothers (half-brothers), we are struck by the all- 
round competence of the elder and the incom- 
petence of the younger. Ass leader, as teacher, 
and as writer he was alike unsurpassed. It may 
be mentioned in passing that, not only the Hzdden 
Words and the Seven Valleys, but the fine though 
unconvincing apologetic arguments of the Book 
of Ighan flowed from Baha-’ullah’s pen at the 
Baghdad period. But we must now make good 
a great omission. Let us turn back to our hero's 
origin and childhood. 

Huseyn ‘Ali was half-brother of Yahya, ze. 
they had the same father but different mothers. 
The former was the elder, being born in a.p. 
1817, whereas the latter only entered on his 
melancholy life in a.p. 1830.1 Both embraced 

1 It is a singular fact that an Ezelite source claims the name 
Baha’ullah for Mirza Yahya. But one can hardly venture to 
credit this. See ZV, p. 373 n.1 


the Babi faith, and were called respectively 
Baha-ullah (Splendour of God) and Subh-i-Ezel 
(Dawn of Eternity), Their father was known 
as Buzurg (or, Abbas), of the district of Nir in 
Mazandaran. The family was distinguished ; 
Mirza Buzurg held a high post under government. 

Like many men of his class, Mirza Fluseyn 
‘Ali had a turn for mysticism, but combined 
this—like so many other mystics—with much 
practical ability. He became a Babi early in 
life, and did much to lay the foundations of 
the faith both in his native place and in the 
capital. His speech was like a ‘ rushing torrent, 
and his clearness in exposition brought the most 
learned divines to his feet. Like his half-brother, 
he attended the important Council of Badasht, 
where, with God’s Heroine—Kurratu’l ‘Ayn—he 
defended the cause of progress and averted a 
fiasco. The Bab—‘an ambassador in bonds ’— 
he never met, but he corresponded with him, 
using (as it appears) the name of his half-brother 
as a protecting pseudonym.} 

The Bab was ‘taken up into heaven’ in 1850, 
upon which (according to a tradition which I am 
compelled to reject) Subh-i-Ezel succeeded to 
the Supreme Headship. The appointment would 
have been very unsuitable, but the truth is (pace 
Gobineau) that it was never made, or rather, God 
did not will to put such a strain upon our faith. 

1 TN, p:-373 ut. 


It was, in fact, too trying a time for any new 
teacher, and we can now see the wisdom of Baha- 
‘ullah in waiting for the call of events. The 
Babi community was too much divided to yield 
a new Head a frank and loyal obedience. Many 
Babis rose against the government, and one 
even made an attempt on the Shah’s life. Baha- 
‘ullah (to use the name given to Huseyn ‘Ali of 
Nir by the Bab) was arrested near Tihran on 
a charge of complicity. He was imprisoned for 
four months, but finally acquitted and released. 
No wonder that Baha-’ullah and his family were 
anxious to put as large a space as possible between 
themselves and Tihran. : 

Together with several Babi families, and, of 
course, his own nearest and dearest, Baha-’ullah 
set out for Baghdad. It was a terrible journey 
in rough mountain country and the travellers 
suffered greatly from exposure. On their arrival 
fresh misery stared the ladies in the face, un- 
accustomed as they were to such rough life. They 
were aided, however, by the devotion of some of 
their fellow-believers, who rendered many volun- 
tary services; indeed, their affectionate zeal needed 
to be restrained, as St. Paul doubtless found in 
like circumstances. Baha-’ullah himself was 
intensely, divinely happy, and the little band of 
refugees—thirsty for truth—rejoiced in their 
untrammelled intercourse with their Teacher. 
Unfortunately religious dissensions began to arise. 


In the Babi colony at Baghdad there were some 
who were not thoroughly devoted to Baha-’ullah. 
The Teacher was rather too radical, too pro- 
gressive forthem. They had not been introduced 
to the simpler and more spiritual form of religion 
taught by Baha-ullah, and probably they had 
had positive teaching of quite another order from 
some one authorized by Subh-i-Ezel. 

The strife went on increasing in bitterness, 
until at length it became clear that either Baha- 
’ullah or Subh-i-Ezel must for a time vanish from 
the scene. For Subh-i-Ezel (or, for shortness, 
Ezel) to disappear would be suicidal; he knew 
how weak his personal claims to the pontificate 
really were. But Baha-’ullah’s disappearance 
would be in the general interest ; it would enable 
the Babis to realize how totally dependent they 
were, in practical matters, on Baha-ullah. ‘ Ac- 
cordingly, taking a change of clothes, but no 
money, and against the entreaties of all the 
family, he set out. Many months passed; he 
did not return, nor had we any word from him or 
about him. 

‘There was an old physician at Baghdad who 
had been called upon to attend the family, and 
who had become our friend. He sympathized 
much with us, and undertook on his own account 
to make inquiries for my father. These inquiries 
were long without definite result, but at length a 
certain traveller to whom he had described my 


father said that he had heard of a man answering 
to that description, evidently of high rank, but 
calling himself a dervish, living in caves in the 
mountains. He was, he said, reputed to be so 
wise and wonderful in his speech on religious 
things that when people heard him they would 
follow him; whereupon, wishing to be alone, he 
would change his residence to a cave in some 
other locality. When we heard these things, we 
were convinced that this dervish was in truth our 
beloved one. But having no means to send him 
any word, or to hear further of him, we were 
very sad. 

‘There was also then in Baghdad an earnest 
Babi, formerly a pupil of Kurratu’l ‘Ayn. This 
man said to us that as he had no ties and did not 
care for his life, he desired no greater happiness 
than to be allowed to seek for him all loved 
so much, and that he would not return without 
him. He was, however, very poor, not being 
able even to provide an ass for the journey ; and 
he was besides not very strong, and therefore not 
able to go on foot. We had no money for the 
purpose, nor anything of value by the sale of 
which money could be procured, with the exception 
of a. single rug, upon which we all slept. This 
we sold and with the proceeds bought an ass for 
this friend, who thereupon set out upon the 

‘Time passed ; we heard nothing, and fell into 


the deepest dejection and despair. Finally, four 
months having elapsed since our friend had 
departed, a message was one day received from 
him saying that he would bring my father home 
on the next day. The absence of my father had 
covered a little more than two years. After his 
return the fame which he had acquired in the 
mountains reached Baghdad. His followers 
became numerous ; many of them even the fierce 
and untutored Arabs of Irak. He was visited 
also by many Babis from Persia.’ 

This is the account of the sister of our beloved 
and venerated Abdul Baha. There are, however, 
two other accounts which ought to be mentioned. 
According to the Traveller's Narrative, the refuge 
of Baha-’ullah was generally in a place called 
Sarkalu in the mountains of Turkish Kurdistan ; 
more seldom he used to stay in Suleymaniyya, 
the headquarters of the Sunnites. Before long, 
however, ‘the most eminent doctors of those 
regions got some inkling of his circumstances 
and conditions, and conversed with him on the 
solution of certain difficult questions connected 
with the most abstruse points of theology. In 
consequence of this, fragmentary accounts of this 
were circulated in all quarters. Several persons 
therefore hastened thither, and began to entreat 
and implore.’? 

If this is correct, Baha-’ullah was more widely 

tT, pp. 64,65; 


known in Turkish Kurdistan than his family was 
aware, and debated high questions of theology as 
frequently as if he were in Baghdad or at the 
Supreme Shrine. Nor was it only the old 
physician and the poor Babi disciple who were 
on the track of Baha-’ullah, but ‘several persons’ 
—no doubt persons of weight, who were anxious 
for a settlement of the points at issue in the Babi 
community. A further contribution is made by 
the Ezeli historian, who states that Subh-i-Ezel 
himself wrote a letter to his brother, inviting him to 
return.’ One wishes that letter, could be recovered. 
It would presumably throw much light on the 
relations between the brothers at this critical 

About 1862 representations were made to the 
Shah that the Babi preaching at Baghdad was 
injurious to the true Faith in Persia, The 
Turkish Government, therefore, when approached 
on the subject by the Shah, consented to transfer 
the Babis from Baghdad to Constantinople. An 
interval of two weeks was accorded, and before 
this grace-time was over a great event happened— 
his declaration of himself to be the expected 
Messiah (Him whom God should manifest). As 
yet it was only in the presence of his son (now 
best known as Abdul Baha) and four other 
specially chosen disciples that this momentous 
declaration was made. There were reasons why 

1 TN, p. 359. 


Baha-’ullah should no longer keep his knowledge 
of the will of God entirely secret, and also reasons 
why he should not make the declaration absolutely 

The caravan took four months to reach 
Constantinople. At this capital of the Muham- 
madan world their stay was brief, as they were 
‘packed off’ the same year to Adrianople. Again 
they suffered greatly. But who would find fault 
with the Great Compassion for arranging it 
so? And who would deny that there are more 
important events at this period which claim our 
interest? These are (1) the repeated attempts on 
the life of Baha~ullah (or, as the Ezelis say, of 
Subh-i-Ezel) by the machinations of Subh-i-Ezel 
(or, as the Ezelis say, of Baha-’ullah), and (2) the 
public declaration on the part of Baha-’ullah that 
he, and no one else, was the Promised Manifesta- 
tion of Deity. 

There is some obscurity in the chronological 
relation of these events, z.e. as to whether the 
public declaration of Baha-ullah was in definite 
opposition, not only to the claims of Subh-i-Ezel, 
but to those of Zabih, related by Mirza Jani,’ and 
of others, or whether the reverse is the case. At 
any rate Baha-ullah believed that his brother 
was an assassin and a liar. This is what he 
says, — ‘Neither was the belly of the glutton | 

1 See VA, pp. 385, 394; ZA, p. 357. The Ezelite historian 
includes Dayyan (see above). 


sated till that he desired to eat my flesh and 

drink my blood. . . . And herein he took counsel 
with one of my attendants, tempting him unto 
this. . . . But he, when he became aware that 

the matter had become publicly known, took the 
pen of falsehood, and wrote unto the people, and 
attributed all that he had done to my peerless 
and wronged Beauty.’? 

These words are either a meaningless extrava- 
gance, or they are a deliberate assertion that Subh- 
i-Ezel had sought to destroy his brother, and had 
then circulated a written declaration that it was 
Baha-’ullah who had sought to destroy Subh-i-Ezel. 
It is, I fear, certain that Baha-~’ullah is correct, and 
that Subh-i-Ezel did attempt to poison his brother, 
who was desperately ill for twenty-two days. 

Another attempt on the life of the much- 
loved Master was prevented, it is said, by the 
faithfulness of the bath-servant. ‘One day while 
in the bath Subh-i-Ezel remarked to the servant 
(who was a believer) that the Blessed Perfection 
had enemies and that in the bath he was much 
exposed. . . . Subh-i-Ezel then asked him 
whether, if God should lay upon him the command 
to do this, he would obey it. The servant under- 
stood this question, coming from Subbh-i-Ezel, to 
be a suggestion of such a command, and was so 
petrified by it that he rushed screaming from the | 
room. He first met Abbas Effendi and reported 

* ZN, pp. 368, 369. 


to him Subh-i-Ezel’s words. . . . Abbas Effendi, 
accordingly, accompanied him to my father, who 
listened to his story and then enjoined absolute 
silence upon him.’ * 

Such is the story as given by one who from 
her youthful age is likely to have remembered 
with precision. She adds that the occurrence 
‘was ignored by my father and brother,’ and that 
‘our relations with Subh-i-Ezel continued to be 
cordial.. How extremely fine this is! It may 
remind us of ‘ Father, forgive them,’ and seems 
to justify the title given to Baha-’ullah by his 
followers, ‘ Blessed Perfection.’ 

The Ezelite historian, however, gives a 
different version of the story.? According to 
him, it was Subh-i-Ezel whose life was threatened. 
‘It was arranged that Muhammad Ali the barber 
should cut his throat while shaving him in the 
bath. On the approach of the barber, however, 
Subh-i-Ezel divined his design, refused to allow 
him to come near, and, on leaving the bath, 
instantly took another lodging in Adrianople, 
and separated himself from Mirza Huseyn ‘Ali 
and his followers.’ 

Evidently there was great animosity between 
the parties, but, in spite of the Azght Paradtses, it 
appears to me that the Ezelites were chiefly in 
fault. Who can believe that Baha-'ullah spread 
abroad his brother’s offences?? On the other 

1 Phelps, pp. 38, 39. 4 TN, pp. 359;.360;. 3 Tbid. 


hand, Subh-i-Ezel and his advisers were capable 
of almost anything from poisoning and assassina- 
tion to the forging of spurious letters. I do not 
mean to say that they were by any means the 
first persons in Persian history to venture on 
these abnormal actions. 

It is again Subh-i-Ezel who is responsible for 
the disturbance of the community. 

It was represented—no doubt by this bitter 
foe—to the Turkish Government that Baha-’ullah 
and his followers were plotting against the 
existing order of things, and that when their 
efforts had been crowned with success, Baha- 
‘ullah would be designated king! This may 
really have been a dream of the Ezelites (we 
must substitute Subh-i-Ezel for Baha-’ullah) ; the 
Bahaites were of course horrified at the idea. 
But how should the Sultan discriminate? So 
the punishment fell on the innocent as well as 
the guilty, on the Bahaites as well as the Ezelites. 

The punishment was the removal of Baha- 
‘ullah and his party and Subh-i-Ezel and his 
handful of followers, the former to Akka (Acre) 
on the coast of Syria, the latter to Famagusta in 
Cyprus. The Bahaites were put on board ship 
at Gallipoli. A full account is given by Abbas 
Effendi’s sister of the preceding events. It 
gives one a most touching idea of the deep 

1 For another form of the story, see Phelps, 4ddas Effendi, 

p. 46. 


devotion attracted by the magnetic personalities 
of the Leader and his son. 

I have used the expression ‘Leader,’ but in 
the course of his stay at Adrianople Baha-'ullah 
had risen to a much higher rank than that of 
‘Leader. We have seen that at an earlier 
period of his exile Baha-ullah had made known 
to five of his disciples that he was in very deed 
the personage whom the Bab had enigmatically 
promised. At that time, however, Baha-'ullah 
had pledged those five disciples to secrecy. But 
now the reasons for concealment did not exist, 
and Baha-’ullah saw (in 1863) that the time had 
come for a public declaration. This is what is 
stated by Abbas Effendi’s sister :—* 

‘He then wrote a tablet, longer than any he 
had before written, [which] he directed to be read 
to every Babi, but first of all to Subh-i-Ezel. 
He assigned to one of his followers the duty of 
taking it to Subh-i-Ezel, reading it to him, and 
returning with Subh-i-Ezel’s reply. When Subb-i- 
Ezel had heard the tablet he did not attempt to 
refute it; on the contrary he accepted it, and 
said that it was true. But he went on to maintain 
that he himself was co-equal with the Blessed 
Perfection,’ affirming that he had a vision on the 
previous night in which he had received this 

‘When this statement of Subh-i-Ezel was 

1 Phelps, pp. 44-46. 2 Seep, 128, 


reported to the Blessed Perfection, the latter 
directed that every Babi should be informed of 
it at the time when he heard his own tablet read, 
This was done, and much uncertainty resulted 
among the believers. They generally applied to 
the Blessed Perfection for advice, which, however, 
he declined to give. At length he told them 
that he would seclude himself from them for four 
months, and that during this time they must 
decide the question for themselves. At the end 
of that period, all the Babis in Adrianople, with 
the exception of Subh-i-Ezel and five or six 
others, came to the Blessed Perfection and 
declared that they accepted him as the Divine 
Manifestation whose'coming the Bab had foretold. 
The Babis of Persia, Syria, Egypt, and other 
countries also in due time accepted the Blessed 
Perfection with substantial unanimity.’ — 
Baha-'ullah, then, landed in Syria not merely 
as the leader of the greater part of the Babis at 
Baghdad, but as the representative of a wellnigh 
perfect humanity. He did not indeed assume 
the title ‘The Point,’ but ‘The Point’ and 
‘Perfection’ are equivalent terms. He was, 
indeed, ‘Fairer than the sons of men,’! and no 
sorrow was spared to him that belonged to what 
the Jews and Jewish Christians called ‘the pangs 
of the Messiah.’ It is true, crucifixion does not 
appear among Baha-'ullah’s pains, but he was at 

1 Ps, xlv. 2. 


any rate within an ace of martyrdom. This is 
what Baha-'ullah wrote at the end of his stay at 
Adrianople :—* 

‘By God, my head longeth for the spears for 
the love of its Lord, and I never pass by a tree 
but my heart addresseth it [saying], ‘Oh would 
that thou wert cut down in my name, and my 
body were crucified upon thee in the way of my 
Lord!’ | 

The sorrows of his later years were largely 
connected with the confinement of the Bahaites 
at Acre (Akka), From the same source I quote 
the following. 

‘We are about to shift from this most remote 
place of banishment (Adrianople) unto the prison 
of Acre. And, according to what they say, it is 
assuredly the most desolate of the cities of the 
world, the most unsightly of them in appearance, 
the most detestable in climate, and the foulest in 

It is true, the sanitary condition of the city 
improved, so that Bahaites from all parts visited 
Akka as a holy city. Similar associations belong 
to Haifa, so long the residence of the saintly son 
of a saintly father. 

If there has been any prophet in recent times, 
it is to Baha-’ullah that we must go. Pretenders 
like Subh-i-Ezel and Muhammad are quickly 
unmasked. Character is the final judge. Baha- 

1 Browne, 4 Year among the Persians, p..518. 


‘ullah was a man of the highest class—that of 
prophets. But he was free from the last infirmity 
of noble minds, and would certainly not have 
separated himself from others. He would have 
understood the saying, ‘Would God all the 
Lord’s people were prophets.’ What he does 
say, however, is just as fine, ‘I do not desire 
lordship over others; I desire all men to be even 
as I am.’ 

He spent his later years in delivering his 
message, and setting forth the ideals and laws of 
the New Jerusalem. In 1892 he passed within 
the veil. 

PAR Tei 


(continued ) 



SuBu-I-EzEL (oR Aza) 

‘He is a scion of one of the noble families of 
Persia. His father was accomplished, wealthy, 
and much respected, and enjoyed the high con- 
sideration of the King and nobles of Persia. His 
mother died when he was a child. His father 
thereupon entrusted him to the keeping of his 
honourable spouse,’ saying, “ Do you take care 
of this child, and see that your handmaids attend 
to him properly.”’ This ‘honourable spouse’ 
is, in the context, called ‘the concubine’— 
apparently a second wife is meant. At any rate 
her son was no less honoured than if he had been 
the son of the chief or favourite wife; he was 
named Huseyn ‘Ali, and his young half-brother 
was named Yahya. 

According to Mirza Jani, the account which the 
history contains was given him by Mirza Huseyn 
‘Ali’s half-brother, who represents that the later 
kindness of his own mother to the young child 
Yahya was owing to a prophetic dream which she 

1 NE, pp. 374 ff. 


had, and in which the Apostle of God and the 
King of Saintship figured as the child’s protectors. 
Evidently this part of the narrative is imaginative, 
and possibly it is the work of Mirza Jani. But 
there is no reason to doubt that what follows is 
based more or less on facts derived from Mirza 
Fluseyn ‘Ali. ‘I busied myself,’ says the latter, 
‘with the instruction of [Yahya]. The signs of 
his natural excellence and goodness of disposition 
were apparent in the mirror of his being. He 
ever loved gravity of demeanour, silence, courtesy, 
and modesty, avoiding the society of other 
children and their behaviour. I did not, how- 
ever, know that he would become the possessor 
of [so high] a station. He studied Persian, but 
made little progress in Arabic. He wrote a good 
nasta tk hand, and was very fond of the poems of 
the mystics.’ The facts may be decked out. 
Mirza Jani himself only met Mirza Yahya 
once. He describes him as ‘ an amiable child,’! 
Certainly, we can easily suppose that he retained 
a childlike appearance longer than most, for he 
early became a mystic, and a mystic is one whose 
countenance is radiant with joy. This, indeed, 
may be the reason why they conferred on him the 
name, ‘Dawn of Eternity.’ He never saw the 
Bab, but when his ‘honoured brother’ would 
read the Master’s writings in a circle of friends, 
Mirza Yahya used to listen, and conceived a 
1 NEAL, p. 376. 


fervent love for the inspired author. At the time 
of the Manifestation of the Bab he was only four- 
teen, but very soon after, he, like his brother, took 
the momentous step of becoming a Babi, and 
resolved to obey the order of the Bab for his 
followers to proceed to Khurasan. So, ‘having 
made for himself a knapsack, and got together 
a few necessaries,’ he set out as an evangelist, 
‘with perfect trust in his Beloved,’ somewhat as 
S. Teresa started from her home at Avila to 
evangelize the Moors. ‘But when his brother 
was informed. of this, he sent and prevented 
him.’ * 

Compensation, however, was not denied him. 
Some time after, Yahya made an expedition in 
company with some of his relations, making con- 
genial friends, and helping to strengthen the Babi 
cause. He was now not far off the turning-point 
in his life. 

Not long after occurred a lamentable set-back 
to the cause—the persecution and massacre which 
followed the attempt on the Shah’s life by an unruly 
Babi in August 1852. He himself was in great 
danger, but felt no call to martyrdom, and set out 
in the disguise of a dervish® in the same direction 
as his elder brother, reaching Baghdad somewhat 
later. There, among the Babi refugees, he found 
new and old friends who adhered closely to the 
original type of theosophic doctrine ; an increasing 

1 WA, p. 44. 4° TWN, P. 374: 


majority, however, were fascinated by a much 
more progressive teacher. The Ezelite history 
known as Hasht Brhisht (‘ Eight Paradises’) gives 
the names of the chief members of the former 
school,’ including Sayyid Muhammad of Isfahan, 
and states that, perceiving Mirza Huseyn ‘Ali’s 
innovating tendencies, they addressed to him a 
vigorous remonstrance. 

It was, in fact, an ecclesiastical crisis, as the 
authors of the Zraveller’s Narrative, as well as 
the Ezelite historian, distinctly recognize. Baha- 
‘ullah, too,—to give him his nobler name— 
endorses this view when he says, ‘Then, in 
secret, the Sayyid of Isfahan circumvented him, 
and together they did that which caused a great 
calamity.’ It was, therefore, indeed a crisis, and 
the chief blame is laid on Sayyid Muhammad.? 
Subh-i-Ezel is still a mere youth and easily 
imposed upon; the Sayyid ought to have known 
better than to tempt him, for a stronger teacher 
was needed in this period of disorganization than 
the Ezelites could produce. Mirza Yahya was 
not up to the leadership, nor was he entitled to 
place himself above his much older brother, 
especially when he was bound by the tie of 

1 TN, Pp. 356. 

2 TN, p. 94. ‘He (z.e. Sayyid Muhammad) commenced a 
secret intrigue, and fell to tempting Mirza Yahya, saying, “ The 

fame of this sect hath risen high in the world ; neither dread nor 

danger remaineth, nor is there any fear or need for caution before 
you 9 


gratitude. ‘Remember,’ says Baha-’ullah, ‘the 
favour of thy master, when we brought thee up 
during the nights and days for the service of the 
Religion, Fear God, and be of those who repent. 
Grant that thine affair is dubious unto me; is it 
dubious unto thyself?’ How gentle is this 
fraternal reproof! 

There is but little more to relate that has not 
been already told in the sketch of Baha-ullah, 
He was, at any rate, harmless in Cyprus, and had 
no further opportunity for religious assassination. 
One cannot help regretting that his sun went 
down so stormily. I return therefore to the 
question of the honorific names of Mirza Yahya, 
after which I shall refer to the singular point of 
the crystal coffin and to the moral character of 

Among the names and titles which the Ezelite 
book called Light Paradises declares to have been 
conferred by the Bab on his young disciple are 
Subh-i-Ezel (or Azal), Baha-’ullah, and the strange 
title Mir'at (Mirror). The two former—‘ Dawn of 
Eternity’ and ‘Splendour of God’—are referred 
to elsewhere. The third properly belongs to a 
class of persons inferior to the ‘Letters of the 
Living,’ and to this class Subh-i-Ezel, by his own 
admission, belongs. The title Mir'at, therefore, 
involves some limitation of Ezel’s dignity, and its 
object apparently is to prevent Subh-i-Ezel from 
claiming to be ‘He whom God will make mani- 


fest.’ That is, the Bab in his last years had an 
intuition that the eternal day would not be ushered 
into existence by this impractical nature. 

How, then, came the Bab to give Mirza Yahya 
such a name? Purely from cabbalistic reasons 
which do not concern us here. It was a mistake 
which only shows that the Bab was not infallible. 
Mirza Yahya had no great part to play in the 
ushering-in of the new cycle. Elsewhere the 
Bab is at the pains to recommend the elder of the 
half-brothers to attend to his junior’s writing and 
spelling.’ Now it was, of course, worth while to 
educate Mirza Yahya, whose feebleness in Arabic 
grammar was scandalous, but can we imagine 
Baha-'ullah and all the other ‘letters’ being passed 
over by the Bab in favour of such an imperfectly 
educated young man? The so-called ‘nomina- 
tion’ is a bare-faced forgery. 

The statement of Gobineau that Subh-i-Ezel 
belonged to the ‘Letters of the Living” of the 
First Unity is untrustworthy. M. Hippolyte 
Dreyfus has favoured me with a reliable list of 
the members of the First Unity, which I have 
given elsewhere, and which does not contain the 

1 The Tablets (letters) are in the British Museum collection, in 
four books of Ezel, who wrote the copies at Baha-’ullah’s dictation. 
The references are—I., No. 6251, p. 162; IL, No. sri, p- 
253, to which copy Rizwan Ali, son of Ezel, has appended ‘ The 
brother of the Fruit’ (Ezel) ; III., No. 6254, p. 236; IV., No. 
6257, p. 158. 

2 Fils du Loup, p. 156 n.3, 


name of Mirza Yahya. At thesame time, the Bab 
may have admitted him into the second hierarchy 
of 18[19]." Considering that Mirza Yahya was 
regarded as a ‘return’ of Kuddus, some prefer- 
ment may conceivably have found its way to him. 
It was no contemptible distinction to be a member 
of the Second Unity, z.e. to be one of those who 
reflected the excellences of the older ‘ Letters of 
the Living.’ As a member of the Second Unity 
and the accepted reflexion of Kuddus, Subh-i- 
Ezel may have been thought of as a director of 
affairs together with the obviously marked-out 
agent (waéz), Baha-ullah. We are not told, how- 
ever, that Mirza Yahya assumed either the title 
of Bab (Gate) or that of Nukta (Point).’ 

I must confess that Subh-i-Ezel’s account of 
the fortune of the Bab’s relics appears to me, as 
well as to M. Nicolas,’ unsatisfactory and (in one 
point) contradictory. How, for instance, did he 
get possession of the relics? And, is there any 
independent evidence for the intermingling of the 
parts of the two corpses? How did he procure a 
crystal coffin to receive the relics? How comes 
it that there were Bahaites at the time of the 
Bab’s death, and how was Subh-i-Ezel able to 

1 Fils du Loup, p.163n.1. ‘The eighteen Letters of Life had 
each a mirror which represented it, and which was called upon to 
replace it if it disappeared. There are, therefore, 18 Letters of 
Life and 18 Mirrors, which constituted two distinct Unities.’ 

2 Others, however, give it him (ZV, p. 353). 

3 AMB, p. 380 n. 


conceal the crystal coffin, etc., from his brother 
Baha-’ullah ? 

Evidently Subh-i-Ezel has changed greatly 
since the time when both the brothers (half- 
brothers) were devoted, heart and soul, to the 
service of the Bab. It is this moral transforma- 
tion which vitiates Subh-i-Ezel’s assertions. Can 
any one doubt this? Surely the best authorities 
are agreed that the sense of historical truth is 
very deficient among the Persians. Now Subh-i- 
Ezel was in some respects a typical Persian ; that 
is how I would explain his deviations from strict 
truth. It may be added that the detail of the 
crystal coffin can be accounted for. Inthe Arabic 
Bayan, among other injunctions concerning the 
dead,’ it is said: ‘As for your dead, inter them in 
crystal, or in cut and polished stones. It is 
possible that this may become a peace for your 
heart.’ This precept suggested to Subh-i-Ezel 
his extraordinary statement. 

Subh-i-Ezel had an imaginative and possibly a 
partly mystic nature. As a Manifestation of God 
he may have thought himself entitled to remove 
harmful people, even his own brother. He did not 
ask himself whether he might not be in error in 
attaching such importance to his own personality, 
and whether any vision could override plain 
morality. He was mistaken, and J hold that the 
Bab was mistaken in appointing (if he really did 

1 Le Beyan Arabi (Nicolas), p. 252; similarly, p. 54. 


so) Subh-i-Ezel as a nominal head of the Babis 
when the true, although temporary vice-gerent 
was Baha-’ullah. For Subh-i-Ezel was a con- 
summate failure ; it is too plain that the Bab did 
not always, like Jesus and like the Buddha, know 
what was in man. 


The historical work of the Ezelite party, called 
The Exght Paradises, makes Ezel nineteen years 
of age when he came forward as an expounder of 
religious mysteries and wrote letters to the Bab. 
On receiving the first letter, we are told that the 
Bab (or, as we should rather now call him, the 
Point) instantly prostrated himself in thankfulness, 
testifying that he was a mighty Luminary, and 
spoke by the Self-shining Light, by revelation. 
Imprisoned as he was at Maku, the Point of 
Knowledge could not take counsel with all his 
fellow-workers or disciples, but he sent the 
writings of this brilliant novice (if he really was 
so brilliant) to each of the ‘ Letters of the Living,’ 
and to the chief believers, at the same time con- 
ferring on him a number of titles, including 
Subh-i-Ezel (‘Dawn of Eternity’) and Baha- 
‘ullah (‘Splendour of God’). 

If this statement be correct, we may plausibly 
hold with Professor E. G. Browne that Subb-i- 
Ezel (Mirza Yahya) was advanced to the rank of 

a ‘Letter of the Living,’ and even that he was 


nominated by the Point as his successor. It has 
also become much more credible that the thoughts 
of the Point were so much centred on Subh-i-Ezel 
that, as Ezelites say, twenty thousand of the words 
of the Bayan refer to Ezel, and that a number 
of precious relics of the Point were entrusted to 
his would-be successor. 

But how can we venture to say that it is 
correct? Since Professor Browne wrote, much 
work has been done on the (real or supposed) 
written remains of Subh-i-Ezel, and the result 
has been (I think) that the literary reputation of 
Subh-i-Ezel is a mere bubble. It is true, the 
Bab himself was not masterly, but the confusion 
of ideas and language in Ezel’s literary records 
beggars all comparison. A friend of mine con- 
firms this view which I had already derived from 
Mirza Ali Akbar. He tells me that he has ac- 
quired a number of letters mostly purporting to 
be by Subh-i-Ezel. There is also, however, a 
letter of Baha-’ullah relative to these letters, ad- 
dressed to the Muhammadan mulla, the original 
possessor of the letters. In this letter Baha-’ullah 
repeats again and again the warning : ‘When you 
consider and reflect on these letters, you will 
understand who is in truth the writer.’ 

I greatly fear that Lord Curzon’s description 
of Persian untruthfulness may be illustrated by 
the career of the Great Pretender. The Ezelites 
must, of course, share the blame with their leader, 


and not the least of their disgraceful misstate- 
ments is the assertion that the Bab assigned the 
name Baha-'ullah to the younger of the two half- 
brothers, and that Ezel had also the [non-existent] 
dignity of ‘Second Point.’ 

This being so, I am strongly of opinion that 
so far from confirming the Ezelite view of subse- 
quent events, the Ezelite account of Subh-i-Ezel’s 
first appearance appreciably weakens it. Some- 
thing, however, we may admit as not improbable. 
It may well have gratified the Bab that two 
representatives of an important family in Mazan- 
daran had taken up his cause, and the character of 
these new adherents may have been more con- 
genial to him than the more martial character of 


We have already been introduced to a 
prominent Babi, variously called Asadu’llah 
and Dayyan; he was also a member of the 
hierarchy called ‘the Letters of the Living.’ He 
may have been a man of capacity, but I must 
confess that the event to which his name is 
specially attached indisposes me to admit that 
he took part in the so-called ‘Council of Tihran.’ 
To me he appears to have been one of those 
Babis who, even in critical periods, acted without 
consultation with others, and who imagined that 
they were absolutely infallible. Certainly he could 


never have promoted the claims of Subh-i-Ezel, 
whose defects he had learned from that per- 
sonage’s secretary. He was well aware that 
Ezel was ambitious, and he thought that he had 
a better claim to the supremacy himself. 

It would have been wiser, however, to have 
consulted Baha-’ullah, and to have remembered 
the prophecy of the Bab, in which it was ex- 
pressly foretold that Dayyan would believe on 
‘Him whom God would make manifest.’ Subh- 
i-Ezel was not slow to detect the weak point in 
Dayyan’s position, who could not be at once the 
Expected One and a believer in the Expected 
One.’ Dayyan, however, made up as well as 
he could for his inconsistency. He went at 
last to Baha-’ullah, and discussed the matter in 
all its bearings with him. The result was that 
with great public spirit he retired in favour of 

The news was soon spread abroad; it was not 
helpful to the cause of Ezel. Some of the Ezelites, 
who had read the Christian Gospels (translated 
by Henry Martyn), surnamed Dayyan ‘the Judas 
Iscariot of this people.’* Others, instigated 
probably by their leaders, thought it best to nip 
the flower in the bud. So by Ezelite hands 
Dayyan was foully slain. 

It was on this occasion that Ezel vented curses 
and abusive language on his rival. The proof is 

1 See Ezel’s own words in Mustaikaz, p. 6. ‘2 TN, 9.337: 


only too cogent, though the two books which 
contain it are not as yet printed.’ 

Mirza Haypar ‘ALI 

A delightful Bahai disciple—the Fra Angelico 
of the brethren, as we may call him,— Mirza 
Haydar ‘Ali was especially interesting to younger 
visitors to Abdul Baha. One of them writes thus : 
‘He was a venerable, smiling old man, with 
long Persian robes and a spotlessly white turban. 
As we had travelled along, the Persian ladies had 
laughingly spoken of a beautiful young man, who, 
they were sure, would captivate me. They would 
make a match between us, they said. 

‘This now proved to be the aged Mirza, whose 
kindly, humorous old eyes twinkled merrily as 
he heard what they had prophesied, and joined 
in their laughter. They did not cover before 
him. Afterwards the ladies told me something 
of his history. He was imprisoned for fourteen 
years during the time of the persecution. At one 
time, when he was being transferred from one 
prison to another, many days’ journey away, he 
and his fellow-prisoner, another Bahai, were 
carried on donkeys, head downwards, with their 
feet and hands secured. Haydar ‘Ali laughed and 

1 They are both in the British Museum, and are called re- 
spectively Mustaikaz (No. 625b) and Asar-el-Ghulam (No. 6256). 
I am indebted for facts (partly) and references to MSS. to my 
friend Mirza “Ali Akbar. 


sang gaily. So they beat him unmercifully, and 
said, “Now, will you sing?” But he answered 
them that he was more glad than before, since he 
had been given the pleasure of enduring some- 
thing for the sake of God. 

‘He never married, and in Akka was one of 
‘the most constant and loved companions of Baha- 
’ullah. I remarked upon his cheerful appearance, 
and added, “But all you Bahais look happy.” 
Mirza Haydar ‘Ali said: ‘‘Sometimes we have 
surface troubles, but that cannot touch our happi- 
ness, The heart of those who belong to the 
Malekoot (Kingdom of God) is like the sea: 
when the wind is rough it troubles the surface 
of the water, but two metres down there is perfect 
calm and clearness.” ’ ; 

The preceding passage is by Miss E. S. Stevens 
(Fortnightly Review, June 1911). A friend, who 
has also been a guest in Abdul Baha’s house, 
tells me that Haydar ‘Ali is known at Akka as 
‘the Angel.’ 

Axsput Baua (AzpBas EFFENDI) 

The eldest son of Baha-’ullah is our dear 
and venerated Abdul Baha (‘Servant of the 
Splendour’), otherwise known as Abbas Effendi. 
He was born at the midnight following the day 
on which the Bab made his declaration. He was 
therefore eight years old, and the sister who 
writes her recollections five, when, in August 


1852, an attempt was made on the life of the 
Shah by a young Babi, disaffected to the ruling 
dynasty. The future Abdul Baha was already 
conspicuous for his fearlessness and for his 
passionate devotion to his father. The gamzns 
of Tihran (Teheran) might visit him as he paced 
to and fro, waiting for news from his father, but 
he did not mind—not he. One day his sister— 
a mere child—was returning home under her 
mother’s care, and found him surrounded by a 
band of boys. ‘He was standing in their midst 
as straight as an arrow—a little fellow, the 
youngest and smallest of the group—firmly but 
quietly commanding them not to lay their hands 
upon him, which, strange to say, they seemed 
unable to do.’* 

This love to his father was strikingly shown 
during the absence of Baha-’ullah in the mountains, 
when this affectionate youth fell a prey to incon- 
solable paroxysms of grief. At a later time— 
on the journey from Baghdad to Constantinople— 
Abdul Baha seemed to constitute himself the 
special attendant of his father. ‘In order to get 
a little rest, he adopted the plan of riding swiftly 
a considerable distance ahead of the caravan, 
when, dismounting and causing his horse to lie 
down, he would throw himself on the ground and 
place his head on his horse’s neck. So he would 
sleep until the cavalcade came up, when his horse 

1 Phelps, pp. 14, 15. 2 [bid. p. 20. 


would awake him by a kick, and he would 
remount.’ ? 

In fact, in his youth he was fond of riding, and 
there was a time when he thought that he would 
like hunting, but ‘when I saw them killing birds 
and animals, ] thought that this could not be 
right. Then it occurred to me that better than 
hunting for animals, to kill them, was hunting for 
the souls of men to bring them to God. I then 
resolved that I would be a hunter of this sort. 
This was my first and last experience in the 

‘A seeker of the souls of men.’ This is, in- 
deed, a good description of both father and son. 
Neither the one nor the other had much of what 
we call technical education, but both understood 
how to cast a spell on the soul, awakening its 
dormant powers. Abdul Baha had the courage 
to frequent the mosques and argue with the 
mullas; he used to be called ‘the Master’ par 
excellence, and the governor of Adrianople be- 
came his friend, and proved his friendship in the 
difficult negotiations connected with the removal 
of the Bahaites to Akka.? 

But no one was such a friend to the unfortunate 
Bahaites as Abdul Baha. The conditions under 
which they lived on their arrival at Akka were so 
unsanitary that ‘every one in our company fell 
sick excepting my brother, my mother, an aunt, 

1 Phelps, pp. 31, 32. 2 Ibid. p. 20, n.2. 


and two others of the believers.’* Happily Abdul 
Baha had in his baggage some quinine and bis- 
muth, With these drugs, and his tireless nursing, 
he brought the rest through, but then collapsed 
himself. He was seized with dysentery, and was 
long in great danger. But even in this prison-city 
he was to find a friend. A Turkish officer had 
been struck by his unselfish conduct, and when 
he saw Abdul Baha brought so low he pleaded 
with the governor that a Zakém might be called in. 
This was permitted with the happiest result. 

It was now the physician’s turn. In visiting 
his patient he became so fond of him that he 
asked if there was nothing else he could do. 
Abdul Baha begged him to take a tablet (ze. 
letter) to the Persian believers. Thus for two 
years an intercourse with the friends outside was 
maintained; the physician prudently concealed the 
tablets in the lining of his hat! 

It ought to be mentioned here that the hard- 
ships of the prison-city were mitigated later. 
‘During the years 1895-1900 he was often 
allowed to visit Haifa. Observing this the 
American friends built Baha-’ullah a house in 
Haifa, and this led to a hardening of the con- 
ditions of his life. But upon the whole we may 
apply to him those ancient words : 

‘He maketh even his enemies to be at peace 
with him.’ 

1 Phelps, pp. 47-51. 


In 1914 Abdul Baha visited Akka, living in 
the house of Baha-ullah, near where his father 
was brought with wife and children and seventy 
Persian exiles forty-six years ago. But his per- 
manent home is in Haifa, a very simple home 
where, however, the call for hospitality never 
passes unheeded. ‘From sunrise often till mid- 
night he works, in spite of broken health, never 
sparing himself if there is a wrong to be righted, 
or a suffering to be relieved. His is indeed a 
selfless life, and to have passed beneath its 
shadow is to have been won for ever to the 
Cause of Peace and Love.’ 

Since 1908 Abdul Baha has been free to 
travel ; the political victory of the Young Turks 
opened the doors of Akka, as well as of other 
political ‘houses of restraint.’ America, England, 
France, and even Germany have shared the 
benefit of his presence. It may be that he spoke 
too much; it may be that even in England his 
most important work was done in personal inter- 
views. Educationally valuable, therefore, as Some 
Answered Questions (1908) may be, we cannot 
attach so much importance to it as to the story 
—the true story—of the converted Muhammadan. 
When at home, Abdul Baha only discusses 
Western problems with visitors from the 

The legacy left by Baha-ullah to his son was, 
it must be admitted, an onerous educational duty. 


It was contested by Muhammad: Effendi—by 
means which remind us unpleasantly of Subh-i- 
Ezel, but unsuccessfully. Undeniably Baha-ullah 
conferred on Abbas Effendi (Abdul Baha) the 
title of Centre of the Covenant, with the special 
duty annexed of the ‘ Expounder of the Book.’ 
I venture to hope that this ‘expounding’ may not, 
in the future, extend to philosophic, philological, 
scientific, and exegetical details. Just as Jesus 
made mistakes about Moses and David, so may 
Baha-’ullah and Abdul Baha fall into error on 
secular problems, among which it is obvious to 
include Biblical and Kuranic exegesis. 

It appears to me that the essence of Bahaism 
is not dogma, but the unification of peoples and 
religions in a certain high-minded and far from 
unpractical mysticism. I think that Abdul Baha 
is just as much devoted to mystic and yet 
practical religion as his father. In one of the 
reports of his talks or monologues he is introduced 
as saying: 

‘A moth loves the light though his wings 
are burnt. Though his wings are singed, he 
throws himself against the flame. He does not 
love the light because it has conferred some 
benefits upon him. Therefore he hovers round 
the light, though he sacrifice his wings. This is 
the highest degree of love. Without this abandon- 
ment, this ecstasy, love is imperfect. The Lover 
of God loves Him for Himself, not for his own 


sake.’—From ‘Abbas Effendi,’ by E. S. Stevens, 
fortnightly Review, June 1911, p. 1067. 

This is, surely, the essence of mysticism. As 
a characteristic of the Church of ‘the Abha’ it 
goes back, as we have seen, to the Bab. Asa 
characteristic of the Brotherhood of the ‘New 
Dispensation’ it is plainly set forth by Keshab 
Chandra Sen. It is also Christian, and goes back 
to Paul and John. This is the hidden wisdom— 
the pearl of great price. 





AFTER the loss of his father the greatest trouble 
which befell the authorized successor was the 
attempt made independently by Subh-i-Ezel and 
the half-brother of Abdul Baha, Mirza Muhammad 
‘Ali, to produce a schism in the community at 
Akka. Some little success was obtained by the 
latter, who did not shrink from the manipulation 
of written documents.  Badi-’ullah, another half- 
brother, was for a time seduced by these dis- 
honest proceedings, but has since made a full 
confession of his error (see Star of the West). 

It is indeed difficult to imagine how an intimate 
of the saintly Abdul Baha can have ‘lifted up his 
foot’ against him, the more so as Abdul Baha 
would never defend himself, but walked straight 
forward on the appointed path, That path must 
have differed somewhat as the years advanced. 
His public addresses prove that through this 
or that channel he had imbibed something of 
humanistic and even scientific culture; he was 
a much more complete man than St. Francis of 
Assisi, who despised human knowledge. It is 



true he interpreted any facts which he gathered 
in the light of revealed religious truth. But he 
distinctly recognized the right of scientific research, 
and must have had some one to guide him in the 
tracks of modern inquiry. 

The death of his father must have made a 
great difference to him in the disposal of his time. 
It is to this second period in his life that Mr. 
Phelps refers when he makes this statement : 

‘His general order for the day is prayers and 
tea at sunrise, and dictating letters or “tablets,” 
receiving visitors, and giving alms to the poor 
until dinner in the middle of the day. After this 
meal he takes a half-hour’s siesta, spends the 
afternoon in making visits to the sick and others 
whom he has occasion to see about the city, and 
the evening in talking to the believers or in 
expounding, to any who wish to hear him, the 
Kuran, on which, even among Muslims, he is 
reputed to be one of the highest authorities, 
learned men of that faith frequently coming from 
great distances to consult him with regard to 
its interpretation. 

‘He then returns to his house and works until 
about one o'clock over his correspondence. This 
is enormous, and would more than occupy his 
entire time, did he read and reply to all his letters 
personally. As he finds it impossible to do this, 
but is nevertheless determined that they shall all 
receive careful and impartial attention, he has 


recourse to the assistance of his daughter Ruha, 
upon whose intelligence and conscientious devotion 
to the work he can rely. During the day she 
reads and makes digests of letters received, which 
she submits to him at night.’ 

In his charities he is absolutely impartial ; his 
love is like the divine love—it knows no bounds 
of nation or creed. Most of those who benefit by 
his presence are of course Muslims; many true 
stories are current among his family and intimate 
friends respecting them. Thus, there is the 
story of the Afghan who for twenty-four years 
received the bounty of the good Master, and 
greeted him with abusive speeches. In the 
twenty-fifth year, however, his obstinacy broke. 

Many American and English guests have been 
entertained in the Master’s house. Sometimes 
even he has devoted a part of his scanty leisure 
to instructing them. We must remember, how- 
ever, that of Bahaism as well as of true Christianity 
it may be said that it is not a dogmatic system, 
but a life. No one, so far as my observation 
reaches, has lived the perfect life like Abdul 
Baha, and he tells us himself that he is but the 
reflexion of Baha-’ullah. We need not, therefore, 
trouble ourselves unduly about the opinions of 
God’s heroes ; both father and son in the present 
case have consistently discouraged metaphysics and 
theosophy, except (I presume) for such persons as 

have had an innate turn for this subject. 


Once more, the love of God and the love of 
humanity—which Abdul Baha boldly says is 
the love of God—is the only thing that greatly 
matters. And if he favours either half of humanity 
in preference to the other, it is women folk. He 
has a great repugnance to the institution of 
polygamy, and has persistently refused to take 
a second wife himself, though he has only 
daughters. Baha-’ullah, as we have seen, acted 
differently ; apparently he did not consider that 
the Islamic peoples were quite ripe for monogamy. 
But surely he did not choose the better part, as 
the history of Bahaism sufficiently shows. At 
any rate, the Centre of the Covenant has now 
spoken with no uncertain sound. 

As we have seen, the two schismatic enter- 
prises affected the sensitive nature of the true 
Centre of the Covenant most painfully; one 
thinks of a well-known passage in a Hebrew 
psalm. But he was more than compensated by 
several most encouraging events. The first was 
the larger scale on which accessions took place 
to the body of believers; from England to the 
United States, from India to California, in sur- 
prising numbers, streams of enthusiastic adherents 
poured in. It was, however, for Russia that the 
high honour was reserved of the erection of the 
first Bahai temple. To this the Russian Govern- 
ment was entirely favourable, because the Bahais 
were strictly forbidden by Baha~ullah and by 


Abdul Baha to take part in any revolutionary 
enterprises. The temple took some years to 
build, but was finished at last, and two Persian 
workmen deserve the chief praise for willing self- 
sacrifice in the building. The example thus set 
will soon be followed by our kinsfolk in the 
United States. A large and beautiful site on 
the shores of Lake Michigan has been acquired, 
and the construction will speedily be proceeded 

It is, in fact, the outward sign of a new era. 
If Baha-’ullah be our guide, all religions are 
essentially one and the same, and all human 
societies are linked by a covenant of brotherhood. 
Of this the Bahai temples—be they few, or be 
they many—are the symbols. No wonder that 
Abdul Baha is encouraged and consoled thereby. 
And yet I, as a member of a great world- 
wide historic church, cannot help feeling that 
our (mostly) ancient and beautiful abbeys and 
cathedrals are finer symbols of union in God 
than any which our modern builders can pro- 
vide. Our London people, without distinction 
of sect, find a spiritual home in St. Paul’s Cathe- 
dral, though this is no part of our ancient 

Another comfort was the creation of a mauso- 
leum (on the side of Mt. Carmel above Haifa) 
to receive the sacred relics of the Bab and of 
Baha-'ullah, and in the appointed time also of 


Abdul Baha. This too must be not only a 
comfort to the Master, but an attestation for all 
time of the continuous development of the 
Modern Social Religion. 

It is this sense of historical continuity in 
which the Bahais appear to me somewhat de- 
ficient. They seem to want a calendar of saints 
in the manner of the Positivist calendar. Bahai 
teaching will then escape the danger of being 
not quite conscious enough of its debt to the past. 
For we have to reconcile not only divergent 
races and religions, but also antiquity and (if I 
may use the word) modernity. I may mention 
that the beloved Master has deigned to call me 
by a new name.” He will bear with me if I 
venture to interpret that name in a sense favour- 
able to the claims of history. 

The day is not far off when the details of 
Abdul Baha’s missionary journeys will be ad- 
mitted to be of historical importance. How 
gentle and wise he was, hundreds could testify 
from personal knowledge, and I too could perhaps 
say something—I will only, however, give here. 
the outward framework of Abdul Baha’s life, and 
of his apostolic journeys, with the help of my 
friend Lotfullah. I may say that it is with de- 
ference to this friend that in naming the Bahai 
leaders I use the capital H (He, His, Him), 

1 See the description given by Thornton Chase, Jz Galilee, 
pp. 63 7 2 «Spiritual Philosopher.’ 


Abdul Baha was born on the same night in 
which His Holiness the Bab declared his mission, 
on May 23, a.p. 1844. The Master, however, 
eager for the glory of the forerunner, wishes that 
that day (ze. May 23) be kept sacred for the 
declaration of His Holiness the Bab, and has 
appointed another day to be kept by Bahais as 
the Feast of Appointment of the CENTRE OF THE 
Covenant—Nov. 26. It should be mentioned 
that the great office and dignity of Centre of the 
Covenant was conferred on Abdul Baha Abbas 
Effendi by His father. 

It will be in the memory of most that the 
Master was retained a prisoner under the Turkish 
Government at Akka until Sept. 1908, when the 
doors of His prison were opened by the Young 
Turks. After this He stayed in Akka and Haifa 
for some time, and then went to Egypt, where He 
sojourned for about two years. He then began 
His great European journey. He first visited 
London. On His way thither He spent some 
few weeks in Geneva.’ On Monday, Sept. 3, 1911, 
He arrived in London; the great city was honoured 
by a visit of twenty-six days. During His stay in 
London He made a visit one afternoon to Vanners’ 
in Byfleet on Sept. 9, where He spoke to a number 
of working women. 

1 Mr. H. Holley has given a classic description of Abdul 

Baha, whom he met at Thonon on the shores of Lake Leman, in 
his Modern Social Religion, Appendix I, 


He also made a week-end visit to Clifton 
(Bristol) from Sept. 23, 1911, to Sept. 25. 

On Sept. 29, 1911, He started from London 
and went to Paris and stayed there for about two 
months, and from there He went to Alexandria. 

His second journey consumed much time, but 
the fragrance of God accompanied Him. On 
March 25, 1912, He embarked from Alexandria 
for America. He made a long tour in almost all 
the more important cities of the United States 
and Canada. 

On Saturday, Dec. 14, 1912, the Master— 
Abdul Baha—arrived in Liverpool from New 
York. He stayed there for two days. On the 
following Monday, Dec. 16, 1912, He arrived in 
London. There He stayed till Jan. 21, 1913, 
when His Holiness went to Paris. 

During His stay in London He visited Ox- 
ford (where He and His party—of Persians 
mainly—were the guests of Professor and Mrs. 
Cheyne), Edinburgh, Clifton, and Woking. It 
is fitting to notice here that the audience at 
Oxford, though highly academic, seemed to be 
deeply interested, and that Dr. Carpenter made 
an admirable speech. 

On Jan. 6, 1913, Abdul Baha went to Edin- 
burgh, and stayed at Mrs, Alexander Whyte’s. 
In the course of these three days He addressed 
the Theosophical Society, the Esperanto Society, 
and many of the students, including representatives 


of almost all parts of the East. He also spoke 
to two or three other large meetings in the bleak 
but receptive ‘northern Athens.’ It is pleasant 
to add that here, as elsewhere, many seekers 
came and had private interviews with Him. It 
was a fruitful season, and He then returned to 

On Wednesday, Jan. 15, 1912, He paid another 
visit to Clifton, and in the evening spoke to a 
large gathering at 8.30 p.m. at Clifton Guest 
House. On the following day He returned to 

On Friday, Jan. 17, Abdul Baha went to the 
Muhammadan Mosque at Woking. There, in 
the Muhammadan Mosque He spoke to a large 
audience of Muhammadans and Christians who 
gathered there from different parts of the world. 

On Jan. 21, 1913, this glorious time had an 
end. He started by express train for Paris from 
Victoria Station. He stayed at the French capital 
till the middle of June, addressing (by the help of 
His interpreter) ‘all sorts and conditions of men.’ 
Once more Paris proved how thoroughly it de- 
served the title of ‘city of ideas.’ During this 
time He visited Stuttgart, Budapest, and Vienna. 
At Budapest He had the great pleasure of meet- 
ing Arminius Vambery, who had become virtually 
a strong adherent of the cause. 

Will the Master be able to visit India? He 
has said Himself that some magnetic personality 


might draw Him. Will the Brahmaists be pleased 
to see Him? At any rate, our beloved Master 
has the requisite tact. Could Indians and English 
be really united except by the help of the Bahais? 

The following Tablet (Epistle) was addressed 
by the Master to the Bahais in London, who had 
sent Him a New Year’s greeting on March 21, 

1914 :— 
‘He 1s Gop! 

‘O shining Bahais! Your New Year’s greet- 
ing brought infinite joy and fragrance, and became 
the cause of our daily rejoicing and gladness. 

‘Thanks be to God! that in that city which is 
often dark because of cloud, mist, and smoke, 
such bright candles (as you) are glowing, whose 
emanating light is God’s guidance, and whose in- 
fluencing warmth is as the burning Fire of the 
Love of God. 

‘This your social gathering on the Great Feast 
is like unto a Mother who will in future beget 
many Heavenly Feasts. So that all eyes may be 
amazed as to what effulgence the true Sun of the 
East has shed on the West. 

‘How It has changed the Occidentals into 
Orientals, and illumined the Western Horizon 
with the Luminary of the East! 

‘Then, in thanksgiving for this great gift, 
favour, and grace, rejoice ye and be exceeding 
glad, and engage ye in praising and sanctifying 
the Lord of Hosts. 


‘Hearken to the song of the Highest Con- 
course, and by the melody of Abha’s Kingdom 
lift ye up the cry of “ Ya Baha-’ul-Abha!” 

‘So that Abdul Baha and all the Eastern 
Bahais may give themselves to praise of the 
Loving Lord, and cry aloud, “Most Pure and 
Holy is the Lord, Whe has changed the West 
into the East with lights of Guidance!” 

‘Upon you all be the Glory of the Most 
Glorious One!’ 

Alas! the brightness of the day has been 
darkened for the Bahai Brotherhood all over the 
world. Words fail me for the adequate expres- 
sion of my sorrow at the adjournment of the hope 
of Peace. Yet the idea has been expressed, and 
cannot return to the Thinker void of results. 
The estrangement of races and religions is only 
the fruit of ignorance, and their reconciliation is 
only a question of time. Sursum corda. 

PAK Lov 





The Letters of the Living were the most faithful and most gifted of 
the disciples of the so-called Gate or Point. See Zvaveller’s 
Narrative, Introd. p. xvi. 

Babu’! Bab. 
A. Muhammad Hasan, his brother. 
A. Muhammad Baghir, his nephew. 
A. Mulla Ali Bustani. 
Janabe Mulla Khodabacksh Qutshani. 
Janabe Hasan Bayjastani. 
Janabe A. Sayyid Hussain Yardi. 
Janabe Mirza Muhammad Ruzi Khan. 
Janabe Sayyid Hindi. 
Janabe Mulla Mahmud Khoyi. 
Janabe Mulla Jalil Urumiyi. 
Janabe Mulla Muhammad Abdul Maraghai. 
Janabe Mulla Baghir Tabrizi. 
Janabe Mulla Yusif Ardabili. 
Mirza Hadi, son of Mirza Abdu’l Wahab 
Janabe Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali Qazwini. 
Janabi Tahirah. 
Hazrati Quddus. 



There is a puzzling variation in the claims of 
‘Ali Muhammad. Originally he represented him- 
self as the Gate of the City of Knowledge, or— 
which is virtually the same thing—as the Gate 
leading to the invisible twelfth Imam who was 
also regarded as the Essence of Divine Wisdom. 
It was this Imam who was destined as Ka’im (he 
who is to arise) to bring the whole world by force 
into subjection to the true God. Now there was 
one person who was obviously far better suited — 
than ‘Ali Muhammad (the Bab) to carry out the 
programme for the Ka’im, and that was Hazrat-i’- 
Kuddus (to whom I have devoted a separate 
section). For some time, therefore, before the 
death of Kuddus, ‘Ali Muhammad abstained from 
writing or speaking ex cathedra, as the returned 
Ka’im ; he was probably called ‘the Point.’ After 
the death of this heroic personage, however, he 
undoubtedly resumed his previous position. 

On this matter Mr. Leslie Johnston remarks 
that the alternation of the two characters in the 
same person is as foreign to Christ’s thought as it 
is essential to the Bab’s.’ This is perfectly true. 
The divine-human Being called the Messiah has 
assumed human form; the only development of 
which he is capable is self-realization. The 
Imamate is little more than a function, but the 

Messiahship is held by a person, not as a mere 
| Some Alternatives to Jesus Christ, p. 117. 


function, but as a part of his nature. This is 
not an unfair criticism. The alternation seems to 
me, as well as to Mr. Johnston, psychologically 
impossible. But all the more importance attaches 
to the sublime figure of Baha-’ullah, who realized 
his oneness with God, and whose forerunner is 
like unto him (the Bab). 

The following utterance of the Bab is deserving 
of consideration : 

‘Then, verily, if God manifested one like thee, 
he would inherit the cause from God, the One, the 
Unique. But if he doth not appear, then know 
that verily God hath not willed that he should make 
himself known. Leave the cause, then, to him, 
the educator of you all, and of the whole world.’ 

The reference to Baha-’ullah is unmistakable. 
He is ‘one like thee,’ ze. Ezel’s near kinsman, 
and is a consummate educator, and God’s Mani- 

Another point is also important. The Bab 
expressed a wish that his widow should not marry 
again. Subh-i-Ezel, however, who was not, even 
in theory, a monogamist, lost no time in taking 
the lady for a wife. He cannot have been the 
Bab’s successor. 

LETTER OF OnE Expecting Martvrpom! 

‘He is the Compassionate [superscription]. 
O thou who art my Kibla! My condition, thanks 

1 The letter is addressed to a brother. 


to God, has no fault, and “to every difficulty 
succeedeth ease.” You have written that this 
matter has no end. What matter, then, has any 
end? We, at least, have no discontent in this 
matter; nay, rather we are unable sufficiently to 
express our thanks for this favour. The end of 
this matter is to be slain in the way of God, and 
O! what happiness is this! The will of God will 
come to pass with regard to His servants, neither 
can human plans avert the Divine decree. What 
God wishes comes to pass, and there is no power 
and no strength, but in God. O thou who art 
my Kibla! the end of the world is death : ‘every 
soul tastes of death.” If the appointed fate which 
God (mighty and glorious is He) hath decreed 
overtake me, then God is the guardian of my 
family, and thou art mine executor: behave in 
such wise as is pleasing to God, and pardon 
whatever has proceeded from me which may 
seem lacking in courtesy, or contrary to the 
respect due from juniors: and seek pardon for 
me from all those of my household, and commit 
me to God, God is my portion, and how good 
is He as a guardian!’ 


The practical purpose of the Revelation of 
Baha-’ullah is thus described on authority : 
To unite all the races of the world in perfect 


harmony, which can only be done, in my opinion, 
on a religious basis. 

Warfare must be abolished, and international 
difficulties be settled by a Council of Arbitration. 
This may require further consideration. 

It is commanded that every one should practise 
some trade, art, or profession. Work done in a 
faithful spirit of service is accepted as an act of 

Mendicity is strictly forbidden, but work must 
be provided for all. A brilliant anticipation ! 

There is to be no priesthood apart from the 
laity. Early Christianity and Buddhism both 
ratify this. Teachers and investigators would, 
of course, always be wanted. 

The practice of Asceticism, living the hermit 
life or in secluded communities, is prohibited. 

Monogamy is enjoined. Baha-’ullah, no doubt, 
had two wives. This was ‘for the hardness of 
men’s hearts’; he desired the spread of mono- 

Education for all, boys and girls equally, is 
commanded as a religious duty—the childless 
should educate a child. 

The equality of men and women is asserted. 

A universal language as a means of inter- 
national communication is to be formed. Abdul 
Baha is much in favour of Esperanto, the noble 
inventor of which sets all other inventors a worthy 

example of unselfishness. 



Gambling, the use of alcoholic liquors as a 
beverage, the taking of opium, cruelty to animals 
and slavery, are forbidden. 

A certain portion of a man’s income must be 
devoted to charity. The administration of charit- 
able funds, the provision for widows and for the 
sick and disabled, the education and care of 
orphans, will be arranged and managed by elected 


The contrast between the Old and the New 
is well exemplified in the contrasting lives of 
Rammohan Roy, Debendranath Tagore, and 
Keshab Chandra Sen. As an Indian writer says: 
‘The sweep of the New Dispensation is broader 
than the Brahmo Samaj. The whole religious 
world is in the grasp of a great purpose which, in 
its fresh unfolding of the new age, we call the 
New Dispensation. The New Dispensation is 
not a local phenomenon; it is not confined to 
Calcutta or to India; our Brotherhood is but one 
body whose thought it functions to-day ; it is not 
topographical, it is operative in all the world- 
religions.’ * 

-*No full account has yet been given to the 
New Brotherhood’s work and experiences during 
that period. Men of various ranks came, drawn 
together by the magnetic personality of the man 

1 Cp. Auguste Sabatier on the Religion of the Spirit, and 
Mozoomdar’s work on the same subject. 


they loved, knowing he loved them all with a 
larger love; his leadership was one of love, and 
they caught the contagion of his conviction. . 
And so, if I were to write at length, I could cite 
one illustration after another of transformed lives 
—lives charged with a new spirit shown in the 
work achieved, the sufferings borne, the persecu- 
tions accepted, deep spiritual gladness experienced 
in the midst of pain, the fellowship with God 
realized day after day’ (Benoyendra Nath Sen, 
The Spirit of the New Dispensation), The test 
of a religion is its capacity for producing noble 
men and women. 


God Himself in His inmost essence cannot be 
either imagined or comprehended, cannot be 
named. But in some measure He can be known 
by His Manifestations, chief among whom is 
that Heavenly Being known variously as Michael, 
the Son of man, the Logos, and Sofia. These 
names are only concessions to the weakness of 
the people. This Heavenly Being is sometimes 
spoken of allusively as the Face or Name, the 
Gate and the Point (of Knowledge). See p. 174. 

The Manifestations may also be called Mani- 
festers or Revealers. They make God known 
to the human folk so far as this can be done by 
Mirrors, and especially (as Tagore has most 
beautifully shown) in His inexhaustible love. 


They need not have the learning of the schools. 
They would mistake their office if they ever inter- 
fered with discoveries or problems of criticism 
or of science. 

The Bab announced that he himself owed 
nothing to any earthly teacher. A heavenly 
teacher, however, if he touched the subject, would 
surely have taught the Bab better Arabic. It is 
a psychological problem how the Bab can lay so 
much stress on his ‘signs’ (ayat) or verses as 
decisive of the claims of a prophet. One is 
tempted to surmise that in the Bab’s Arabic 
work there has been collaboration. 

What constitutes ‘signs’ or verses? Prof. 
Browne gives this answer :* ‘ Eloquence of diction, 
rapidity of utterance, knowledge unacquired by 
study, claim to divine origin, power to affect and 
control the minds of men.’ I do not myself see 
how the possession of an Arabic which some 
people think very poor and others put down to 
the help of an amanuensis, can be brought within 
the range of Messianic lore. It is spiritual 
truth that we look for from the Bab. Secular 
wisdom, including the knowledge of languages, 
we turn over to the company of trained scholars. 

Spiritual truth, then, is the domain of the 
prophets of Bahaism. A prophet who steps 
aside from the region in which he is at home is 
fallible like other men. Even in the sphere of 

1 E. G. Browne, /RAS, 1889, p. 155. 


exposition of sacred texts the greatest of prophets 
is liable to err. In this way I am bound to say 
that Baha-’ullah himself has made mistakes, and 
can we be surprised that the almost equally 
venerated Abdul Baha has made many slips? 
It is necessary to make this pronouncement, lest 
possible friends should be converted into seeming 
enemies. The claim of infallibility has done harm 
enough already in the Roman Church! 

Baha-’ullah may no doubt be invoked on the 
other side. This is the absolutely correct state- 
ment of his son Abdul Baha. ‘He (Baha-’ullah) 
entered into a Covenant and Testament with the 
people. He appointed a Centre of the Covenant, 
He wrote with his own pen. . . appointing him 
the Expounder of the Book.’* But Baha-’ullah 
is as little to be followed on questions of philology 
as Jesus Christ, who is not a manifester of science 
but of heavenly lore. The question of Sinlessness 
I postpone. 


I do not myself think that the interval of nine- 
teen years for the Great Manifestation was meant 
by the Bab to be taken literally. The number 19 
may be merely a conventional sacred number and 
have no historical significance. I am therefore 
not to be shaken by a reference to these words 
of the Bab, quoted in substance by Mirza Abu’ 

1 Star of the West, 1913, p. 238. 


Fazl, that after nine years all good will come to 
his followers, or by the Mirza’s comment that it 
was nine years after the Bab’s Declaration 
that Baha-’ullah gathered together the Babis at 
Baghdad, and began to teach them, and that at the 
end of the nineteenth year from the Declaration of 
the Bab, Baha-’ullah declared his Manifestation. 

Another difficulty arises. The Bab does not 
always say the same thing. There are passages 
of the Persian Bayan which imply an interval 
between his own theophany and the next parallel 
to that which separated; his own theophany from 
Muhammad’s. He says, for instance, in Waked 
II. Bab 17, according to Professor Browne, 

‘If he [whom God shall manifest] shall appear 
in the number of Ghiyath (1511) and all shall 
enter in, not one shall remain in the Fire. If He 
tarry [until the number of] Mustaghath (2001), all 
shall enter in, not one shall remain in the Fire.’?! 

I quote next from Woakzd III. Bab 15 :— 

‘None knoweth [the time of] the Manifestation 
save God: whenever it takes place, all must 
believe and must render thanks to God, although 
it is hoped of His Grace that He will come ere 
[the number of] Mustaghath, and will raise up the 
Word of God on his part. And the Proof is 
only a sign [or verse], and His very Existence 
proves Him, since all also is known by Him, 

1 History of the Babis, edited by E. G. Browne; Introd. 
p. xxvi, Zyvaveller’s Narrative (Browne), Introd. p. xvii. 


while He cannot be known by what is below Him. 
Glorious is God above that which they ascribe to 
Flim," * 

Elsewhere (vii. 9), we are told vaguely that 
the Advent of the Promised One will be sudden, 
like that of the Point or Bab (iv. 10); it is an 
element of the great Oriental myth of the winding- 
up of the old cycle and the opening of a new.” 

A Bahai scholar furnishes me with another 

‘God knoweth in what age He will manifest 
him. But from the springing (beginning) of the 
manifestation to its head (perfection) are nineteen 
years.’ * 

This implies a preparation period of nineteen 
years, and if we take this statement with a 
parallel one, we can, I think, have no doubt that 
the Bab expected the assumption, not immediate 
however, of the reins of government by the 
Promised One. The parallel statement is as 
follows, according to the same Bahai scholar. 

‘God only knoweth his age. But the time of 
his proclamation after mine is the number Wahid 
(=19, cabbalistically), and whenever he cometh 
during this period, accept him.’ * 

Another passage may be quoted by the kind- 

1 History of the Babis, Introd. p, xxx. 

2 Cheyne, Mines of Isaiah Re-explored, Index, ‘ Myth’ 
8 Bayan, Wahid, 11. chap. iii. 

4 Bayan, Brit. Mus. Text, p. 151. 


ness of Mirza ‘Ali Akbar. It shows that the Bab 
has doubts whether the Great Manifestation will 
occur in the lifetime of Baha-'ullah and Subb-i- 
Ezel (one or other of whom is addressed by the 
Bab in this letter). The following words are an 
extract :— 

‘And if God hath not manifested His greatness 
in thy days, then act in accordance with that 
which hath descended (z.e. been revealed), and 
never change a word in the verses of God. 

‘This is the order of God in the Sublime Book; 
ordain in accordance with that which hath 
descended, and never change the orders of God, 
that men may not make variations in God’s 

Non-Finatity oF REVELATION 

Not less important than the question of the 
Bab’s appointment of his successor is that of his 
own view of the finality or non-finality of his 
revelation. The Bayan does not leave this in 
uncertainty. The Kur’an of the Babis expressly 
states that a new Manifestation takes place when- 
ever there is a call for it (ii. 9, vi. 13); successive 
revelations are like the same sun arising day after 
day (iv. 12, vii. 15, viii. 1), The Bab’s believers 
therefore are not confined to a revelation con- 
stantly becoming less and less applicable to the 
spiritual wants of the present age. And very large 
discretionary powers are vested in ‘Him whom 


He will make manifest,’ extending even to the 
abrogation of the commands of the Bayan (iii. 3): 


The comparisons sometimes drawn between 
the history of nascent Christianity and that of 
early Bahaism are somewhat misleading. ‘Ali 
Muhammad of Shiraz was more than a mere 
forerunner of the Promised Saviour ; he was not 
merely John the Baptist—he was the Messiah, 
All-wise and Almighty, himself. True, he was 
of a humble mind, and recognized that what he 
might ordain would not necessarily be suitable for 
a less transitional age, but the same may be said 
—if our written records may be trusted—of Jesus 
Christ. For Jesus was partly his own forerunner, 
and antiquated his own words. 

It is no doubt a singular coincidence that both 
‘Ali Muhammad and Jesus Christ are reported 
to have addressed these words to a disciple: 
‘To-day thou shalt be with me in Paradise.’ 
But if the Crucifixion is unhistorical—and there 
is, I fear, considerable probability that it is—what 
is the value of this coincidence ? 

Moré important is it that both in early Chris- 
tianity and in early Bahaism we find a conspicuous 
personage who succeeds in disengaging the faith 
from its particularistic envelope. In neither case 
is this personage a man of high culture or worldly 

~~. ae 


position.’ This, I say, is most important. Paul 
and Baha-‘ullah may both be said to have trans- 
formed their respective religions. Yet there is 
a difference between them. Baha~ullah and his 
son Abdul-Baha after him were personal centres 
of the new covenant; Paul was not. 

This may perhaps suffice for the parallels— 
partly real, partly supposed — between early 
Christianity and early Bahaism. I will now 
refer to an important parallel between the de 
velopment of Christianity and that of Buddhism. 
It is possible to deny that the Christianity of 
Augustine * deserves its name, on the ground of 
the wide interval which exists between his 
religious doctrines and the beliefs of Jesus 
Christ. Similarly, one may venture to deny 
that the Mahayana developments of Buddhism 
are genuine products of the religion because they: 
contain some elements derived from other Indian 
systems. In both cases, however, grave injustice 
would be done by any such assumption, It is 
idle ‘to question the historical value of an 
organism which is now full of vitality and active 
in all its functions, and to treat it like an archae- 
ological object, dug out from the depths of the 
earth, or like a piece of bric-a-brac, discovered in 

2 Leslie Johnston’s phraseology (Same <liermaiives &@ Jesus 
Caérisé, p. 114) appears to need revision. 

: Professor Anesaki of Tokio regards Augustine as the Christian 


the ruins of an ancient royal palace. Maha- 
yanaism is not an object of historical curiosity. 
Its vitality and activity concern us in our daily 
life. It is a great spiritual organism. What 
does it matter, then, whether or not Mahayanaism 
is the genuine teaching of the Buddha?’' The 
parallel between the developments of these two 
great religions is unmistakable. We Christians 
insist—and rightly so—on the ‘genuineness’ of 
our own religion in spite of the numerous elements 
unknown to its ‘Founder.’ The northern Bud- 
dhism is equally ‘genuine, being equally true to 
the spirit of the Buddha. 

It is said that Christianity, as a historical 
religion, contrasts with the most advanced 
Buddhism. But really it is no loss to the 
Buddhist Fraternity if the historical element in 
the life of the Buddha has retired into the back- 
ground. A cultured Buddhist of the northern 
section could not indeed admit that he has thrust 
the history of Gautama entirely aside, but he 
would affirm that his religion was more philo- 
sophical and practically valuable than that of his 
southern brothers, inasmuch as it transcended the 
boundary of history. In a theological treatise 
called Chin-kuang-ming we read as follows: ‘It 
would be easier to count every drop of water in 
the ocean, or every grain of matter that composes 
a vast mountain than to reckon the duration of 

1 Suzuki, Outlines of Mahdyana Buddhism, p. 15. 


the life of Buddha.’ ‘That is to say, Buddha’s 
life does not belong to the time-series: Buddha is 
the ‘I Am” who is above time.’! And is not 
the Christ of Christendom above the world of 
time and space? Lastly, must not both Christians 
and Buddhists admit that among the Christs or 
Buddhas the most godlike are those embodied in 
narratives as Jesus and Gautama ? 


Religion, as conceived by most Christians of 
the West, is very different from the religion of 
India. Three-quarters of it (as Matthew Arnold 
says) has to do with conduct; it is a code with a 
very positive and keen divine sanction. Few of 
its adherents, indeed, have any idea of the true 
position of morality, and that the code of Chris- 
tian ethics expresses barely one half of the 
religious idea, The other half (or even more) 
is expressed in assurances of holy men that God 
dwells within us, or even that we are God. A true 
morality helps us to realize this—morality is not 
to be tied up and labelled, but is identical with 
the cosmic as well as individual principle of Love. 
Sin (ze. an unloving disposition) is to be avoided 
because it blurs the outlines of the Divine Form 
reflected, however dimly, in each of us. 

There are, no doubt, a heaven where virtue is 
rewarded, and a hell where vice is punished, for 

1 Johnston, Buddhist China, p. 114. 


the unphilosophical minds of the vulgar. But 
the only reward worthy of a lover of God is to 
get nearer and nearer to Him. Till the indescrib- 
able goal (Nirvana) is reached, we must be con- 
tent with realizing. This is much easier to a 
Hindu than to an Englishman, because the former 
has a constant sense of that unseen power which 
pervades and transcends the universe. I do not 
understand how Indian seekers after truth can 
hurry and strive about sublunary matters. Surely 
they ought to feel ‘that this tangible world, with 
its chatter of right and wrong, subserves the 
intangible.’ 2 

Hard as it must be for the adherents of such 
different principles to understand each other, it 
is not, I venture to think, impossible. And, as 
at once an Anglican Christian and an adopted 
Brahmaist, I make the attempt to bring East and 
West religiously together. 


The greatest religious teachers and reformers 
who have appeared in recent times are (if I am 
not much mistaken) Baha-ullah the Persian and 
Keshab Chandra Sen the Indian. The one began 
by being a reformer of the Muhammadan society 
or church, the other by acting in the same 
capacity for the Indian community and more 
especially for the Brahmo Samaj—a very imperfect 
and loosely organized religious society or church 


founded by Rammohan Roy. By a natural 
evolution: the objects of both reformers were 
enlarged; both became the founders of world- 
churches, though circumstances prevented the 
extension of the Brotherhood of the New Dis- 
pensation beyond the limits of India. 

In both cases a doubt has arisen in the minds 
of some spectators whether the reformers have 
anything to offer which has not already been 
given by the Hebrew prophets and by the finest 
efflorescence of these—Jesus Christ. I am 
bound to express the opinion that they have. 
Just as the author of the Fourth Gospel looks 
forward to results of the Dispensation of the 
Spirit which will outdo those of the Ministry of 
Jesus (John xiv, 12), so we may confidently look 
forward to disclosures of truth and of depths upon 
depths of character which will far surpass any- 
thing that could, in the Nearer or Further East, 
have been imagined before the time of Baha-’ullah. 

I do not say that Baha~ullah is unique or that 
His revelations are final. There will be other 
Messiahs after Him, nor is the race of the 
prophets extinct. The supposition of finality is 
treason to the ever active, ever creative Spirit of 
Truth, But till we have already entered upon a 
new zon, we shall have to look back in a special 
degree to the prophets who introduced our own 
zon, Baha-ullah and Keshab Chandra Sen, 
whose common object is the spiritual unification 


of all peoples. For it is plain that this union of 
peoples can only be obtained through the influence 
of prophetic personages, those of the past as well 
as those of the present. 

Qua.ities or THE Men or THE Cominc 
Reicion (Gal. v. 22) 

1. Love. What islove? Let Rabindranath 
Tagore tell us. 

‘In love all the contradictions of existence 
merge themselves and are lost. Only in love are 
unity and duality not at variance. Love must be 
one and two at the same time. 

‘Only love is motion and rest in one. Our 
heart ever changes its place till it finds love, and 
then it has its rest... . 

‘In this wonderful festival of creation, this 
great ceremony of self-sacrifice of God, the lover 
constantly gives himself up to gain himself in 

‘In love, at one of its poles you find the 
personal, and at the other the impersonal.’’ 

I do not think this has been excelled by any 
modern Christian teacher, though the vivid 
originality of the Buddha’s and of St. Paul’s 
descriptions of love cannot be denied. The 
subject, however, is too many-sided for me to 
attempt to describe it here. Suffice it to say 

1 Tagore, Sadhana (1913), p. 114. 


that the men of the coming religion will be 
distinguished by an intelligent and yet intense 
altruistic affection—the new-born love. 

2 and 3. Joy and Peace. These are funda- 
mental qualities in religion, and especially, it is 
said, in those forms of religion which appear to 
centre in incarnations. This statement, however, 
is open to criticism. It matters but little how 
we attain to joy and peace, as long as we do 
attain to them. Christians have not surpassed 
the joy and peace produced by the best and 
safest methods of the Indian and Persian sages. 

I would not belittle the tranquil and serene 
joy of the Christian saint, but I cannot see that 
this is superior to the same joy as it is exhibited 
in the Psalms of the Brethren or the Sisters in 
the Buddhistic Order. Nothing is more remark- 
able in these songs than the way in which joy 
and tranquillity are interfused. So it is with 
God, whose creation is the production of tran- 
quillity and utter joy, and so it is with godlike 
men—men such as St. Francis of Assisi in the 
West and the poet-seers of the Upanishads in 
the East. All these are at once joyous and 
serene. As Tagore says, ‘Joy without the play 
of joy is no joy; play without activity is no 
play.” And how can he act to advantage who 
is perturbed in mind? In the coming religion all 
our actions will be joyous and tranquil. Mean- 

1 Tagore, Sadhana (1913), p. 131. 


time, transitionally, we have much need both of 
long-suffering’ and of courage; ‘quit you like 
men, be strong.’ (I write in August 1914.) 


And whatasto Islam? Is any fusion between 
this and the other great religions possible? A 
fusion between Islam and Christianity can only 
be effected if first of all these two religions 
(mutually so repugnant) are reformed. Thinking 
Muslims will more and more come to see that 
the position assigned by Muhammad to himself 
and tothe Kur’an implies that he had a thoroughly 
unhistorical mind. In other words he made 
those exclusive and uncompromising claims 
under a misconception. There were true apostles 
or prophets, both speakers and writers, between 
the generally accepted date of the ministry of 
Jesus and that of the appearance of Muhammad, 
and these true prophets were men of far greater 
intellectual grasp than the Arabian merchant. 

Muslim readers ought therefore to feel it no 
sacrilege if I advocate the correction of what 
has thus been mistakenly said. Muhammad was 
one of the prophets, not ¢4e prophet (who is 
virtually =the Logos), and the Kur’an is only 
adapted for Arabian tribes, not for all nations of 
the world. 

1 This quality is finely described in chap. vi. of The Path of 
Light (Wisdom of the East series). 


One of the points in the exhibition of which 
the Arabian Bible is most imperfect is the love 
of God, ze. the very point in which the Sufi 
classical poets are most admirable, though indeed 
an Arabian poetess, who died 135 Hij., expresses 
herself already in the most thrilling tones.’ 

Perhaps one might be content, so far as the 
Kur’an is concerned, with a selection of Suras, 
supplemented by extracts from other religious 
classics of Islam. I have often thought that we 
want both a Catholic Christian lectionary and a 
Catholic prayer-book. To compile this would be 
the work not of a prophet, but of a band of 
interpreters. An exacting work which would 
be its own reward, and would promote, more 
perhaps than anything else, the reformation and 
ultimate blending of the different religions. 

Meantime no persecution should be allowed 
in the reformed Islamic lands. Thankful as we 
may be for the Christian and Bahaite heroism 
generated by a persecuting fanaticism, we may 
well wish that it might be called forth otherwise. 
Heroic was the imprisonment and death of 
Captain Conolly (in Bukhara), but heroic also are 
the lives of many who have spent long years in 
unhealthy climates, to civilize and moralize those 
who need their help. 

1 Von Kremer’s Herrschende Ideen des Islams, pp. 64, etc. 



‘There is one God and Father of all, who is 
over all, and through all, and in all,’ 

These words in the first instance express the 
synthesis of Judaism and Oriental pantheism, but 
may be applied to the future synthesis of Islam 
and Hinduism, and of both conjointly with 
Christianity. And the subjects to which I shall 
briefly refer are the exclusiveness of the claims 
of Christ and of Muhammad, and of Christ’s 
Church and of Muhammad’s, the image-worship 
of the Hindus and the excessive development of 
mythology in Hinduism. With the lamented 
Sister Nivedita I hold that, in India, in proportion 
as the two faiths pass into higher phases, the 
easier it becomes for the one faith to be brought 
into a synthesis combined with the other. 

Sufism, for instance, is, in the opinion of most, 
‘a Muhammadan sect.’ It must, at any rate, be 
admitted to have passed through several stages, 
but there is, I think, little to add to fully developed 
Sufism to make it an ideal synthesis of Islam 
and Hinduism. That little, however, is important. 
How can the Hindu accept the claim either of 
Christ or of Muhammad to be the sole gate to 
the mansions of knowledge? 

The most popular of the Hindu Scriptures 
expressly provides for a succession of avatars ; 
how, indeed, could the Eternal Wisdom have 


limited Himself to raising up a single repre- 
sentative of Messiahship. For were not Sakya 
Muni, Kabir and his disciple Nanak, Chaitanya, 
the Tamil poets (to whom Dr. Pope has de- 
voted himself) Messiahs for parts of India, and 
Nisiran for Japan, not to speak here of Islamic 
countries ? 

It is true, the exclusive claim of Christ (1 
assume that they are adequately proved) is not 
expressly incorporated into the Creeds, so that 
by mentally recasting the Christian can rid 
himself of his burden. And a time must surely 
come when, by the common consent of the 
Muslim world the reference to Muhammad in 
the brief creed of the Muslim will be removed. - 
For such a removal would be no disparagement 
to the prophet, who had, of necessity, a thoroughly 
unhistorical mind (p. 193). 

The ‘one true Church’ corresponds of course 
with the one true God. Hinduism, which would 
willingly accept the one, would as naturally 
accept the other also, as a great far-spreading 
caste. There are in fact already monotheistic 
castes in Hinduism. 

As for image-worship, the Muslims should 
not plume themselves too much on their abhor- 
rence of it, considering the immemorial cult of 
the Black Stone at Mecca. If a conference of 
Vedantists and Muslims could be held, it would 
appear that the former regarded image-worship 


(not idolatry)* simply as a provisional concession 
to the ignorant masses, who will not perhaps 
always remain so ignorant. So, then, Image- 
worship and its attendant Mythology have 
naturally become intertwined with high and 
holy associations. Thus that delicate poetess 
Mrs. Naidu (by birth a Parsi) writes : 

Who serves her household in fruitful pride, 
And worships the gods at her husband’s side. 

I do not see, therefore, why we Christians 
(who have a good deal of myth in our religion) 
should object to a fusion with Islam and Hinduism 
on the grounds mentioned above. Only I do 
desire that both the Hindu and the Christian 
myths should be treated symbolically. On this 
(so far as the former are concerned) I agree with 
Keshab Chandra Sen in the last phase of his 
incomplete religious development. That the 
myths of Hinduism require sifting, cannot, | am 
sure, be denied. 

From myths to image-worship is an easy step. 
What is the meaning of the latter? The late Sister 
Nivedita may help us to find an answer. She 
tells us that when travelling ascetics go through 
the villages, and pause to receive alms, they are 
in the habit of conversing on religious matters 
with the good woman of the house, and that thus 
even a bookless villager comes to understand the 

1 Idols and images are not the same thing ; the image is, or 
should be, symbolic. So, at least, I venture to define it. 


truth about images. We cannot think, however, 
that all will be equally receptive, calling to mind 
that even in our own country multitudes of people 
substitute an unrealized doctrine about Christ for 
Christ Himself (ze. convert Christ into a church 
doctrine), while others invoke Christ, with or 
without the saints, in place of God. 

Considering that Christendom is to a large ex- 
tent composed of image-worshippers, why should 
there not be a synthesis between Hinduism and 
Islam on the one hand, and Hinduism, Buddh- 
ism, Islam, and Christianity on the other? The 
differences between these great religions are 
certainly not slight. But when we get behind 
the forms, may we not hope to find some grains 
of the truth? I venture, therefore, to maintain 
the position occupied above as that to which 
Indian religious reformers must ultimately come. 

I do not deny that Mr. Farquhar has made a 
very good fight against this view. The process 
of the production of an image is, to us, a strange 
one. It is enough to mention the existence of a 
rite of the bringing of life into the idol which 
marks the end of that process. But there are 
many very educated Hindus who reject with 
scorn the view that the idol has really been 
made divine, and the passage quoted by Mr. 
Farquhar (p. 335) from Vivekananda! seems to 
me conclusive in favour of the symbol theory. 

1 Sister Nivedita’s teacher. 


It would certainly be an esthetic loss if these 
artistic symbols disappeared. But the most 
precious jewel would still remain, the Being who 
is in Himself unknowable, but who is manifested 
in the Divine Logos or Sofia and in a less de- 
gree in the prophets and Messiahs. 


There are some traces both in the Synoptics 
and in the Fourth Gospel of a Docetic view 
of the Lord’s Person, in other words that His 
humanity was illusory, just as, in the Old Testa- 
ment, the humanity of celestial beings is illusory. 
The Hindus, however, are much more sure of 
this. The reality of an incarnation would be un- 
worthy of a God. And, strange as it may appear 
to us, this Docetic theory involves no pain or 
disappointment for the believer, who does but 
amuse himself with the sports’ of his Patron. 
At the same time he is very careful not to take 
the God as a moral example; the result of this 
would be disastrous. The avatér is super-moral.” 

What, then, was the object of the avatar ? 
Not simply to amuse. It was, firstly, to win the 
heart of the worshipper, and secondly, to com- 
municate that knowledge in which is eternal life. 

And what is to be done, in the imminent sifting 

1 See quotation from the poet Tulsi Das in Farquhar, 7%e 
Crown of Hinduism, p. 431. 
2 See Farquhar, p. 434. 


of Scriptures and Traditions, with these stories ? 
They must be rewritten, just as, I venture to 
think, the original story of the God-man Jesus was 
rewritten by being blended with the fragments of 
a biography of a great and good early Jewish 
teacher. The work will be hard, but Sister 
Nivedita and Miss Anthon have begun it. It 
must be taken as a part of the larger undertaking 
of a selection of rewritten myths. 

Is Baha-’ullah an avatéy? There has no doubt 
been a tendency to worship him. But this 
tendency need not be harmful to sanity of in- 
tellect. There are various degrees of divinity. 
Baha-’ullah’s degree may be compared to St. Paul's. 
Both these spiritual heroes were conscious of their 
superiority to ordinary believers; at the same 
time their highest wish was that their disciples 
might learn to be as they were themselves. Every 
one is the temple of the holy (divine) Spirit, and 
this Spirit-element must be deserving of worship. 
It is probable that the Western training of the 
objectors is the cause of the opposition in India 
to some of the forms of honour lavished, in spite 
of his dissuasion, on Keshab Chandra Sen.} 

Is Jesus Unique? 

One who has ‘learned Christ’ from his earliest 
years finds a difficulty in treating the subject at 
1 Life and T. eachings of Keshub Chunder Sen, pp. 111 ff. 


the head of this section. ‘The disciple is not 
above his Master,’ and when the Master is so far 
removed from the ordinary—is, in fact, the re- 
generator of society and of the individual,—such 
a discussion seems almost more than the human 
mind can undertake. And yet the subject has to 
be faced, and if Paul ‘learned’ a purely ideal Christ, 
deeply tinged with the colours of mythology, why 
should not we follow Paul’s example, imitating a 
Christ who put on human form, and lived and 
died for men as their Saviour and Redeemer? 
Why should we not go even beyond Paul, and 
honour God by assuming a number of Christs, 
among whom —if we approach the subject 
impartially —— would be Socrates, Zarathustra, 
Gautama the Buddha, as well as Jesus the 
Christ ? 

Why, indeed, should we not? If we consider 
that we honour God by assuming that every 
nation contains righteous men, accepted of God, 
why should we not complete our theory by assum- 
ing that every nation also possesses prophetic (in 
some cases more than prophetic) revealers ? Some 
rather lax historical students may take a different 
view, and insist that we have a trustworthy 
tradition of the life of Jesus, and that ‘if in that 
historical figure I cannot see God, then I am with- 
out God in the world.’* It is, however, abundantly 
established by criticism that most of what is con- 

1 Leslie Johnston, Some Alternatives to Jesus Christ, p. 199. 


tained even in the Synoptic Gospels is liable to 
the utmost doubt, and that what may reasonably 
be accepted is by no means capable of use as the 
basis of a doctrine of Incarnation. I do not, 
therefore, see why the Life of Jesus should be 
a barrier to the reconciliation of Christianity and 
Hinduism. Both religions in their incarnation 
theories are, as we shall see (taking Christianity 
in its primitive form), frankly Docetic, both 
assume a fervent love for the manifesting God on 
the part of the worshipper. I cannot, however, 
bring myself to believe that there was anything, 
even in the most primitive form of the life of the 
God-man Jesus, comparable to the wxmoral story 
of the life of Krishna. Small wonder that many 
of the Vaishnavas prefer the ava/ér of Rama. 

It will be seen, therefore, that it is impossible 
to discuss the historical character of the Life of 
Jesus without soon passing into the subject of His 
uniqueness. It is usual to suppose that Jesus, 
being a historical figure, must also be unique, 
and an Oxford theologian remarks that ‘we see 
the Spirit in the Church always turning backwards 
to the historical revelation and drawing only 
thence the inspiration to reproduce it.’ He 
thinks that for the Christian consciousness there 
can be only one Christ, and finds this to be 
supported by a critical reading of the text of 
the Gospels. Only one Christ! But was not the 

1 Leslie Johnston, of. c#z. pp. 200 f. 


Buddha so far above his contemporaries and suc- 
cessors that he came to be virtually deified? How 
is not this uniqueness? It is true, Christianity has, 
thus far, been intolerant of other religions, which 
contrasts with the ‘easy tolerance’ of Buddhism 
and Hinduism and, as the author may wish to 
add, of Bahaism. But is the Christian,intolerance 
a worthy element of character? Is it consistent 
with the Beatitude pronounced (if it was pro- 
nounced) by Jesus on the meek? May we not, 
with Mr. L. Johnston’s namesake, fitly say, ‘Such 
notions as these are a survival from the bad old 
days’ ?? 

Tue Spirit or Gop 

Another very special jewel of Christianity is 
the doctrine of the Spirit. The term, which etymo- 
logically means ‘wind,’ and in Gen. i. 2 and Isa. 
xl, 13 appears to be a fragment of a certain divine 
name, anciently appropriated to the Creator and 
Preserver of the world, was later employed for 
the God who is immanent in believers, and who 
is continually bringing them into conformity with 
the divine model. With the Brahmaist theologian, 
P. C. Mozoomdar, I venture to think that none of 
the old divine names is adequately suggestive 
of the functions of the Spirit. The Spirit’s work 
is, in fact, nothing short of re-creation; His 
creative functions are called into exercise on 

1 Johnston, Buddhist China, p. 306. 


the appearance of a new cosmic cycle, which in- 
cludes the regeneration of souls. 

I greatly fear that not enough homage has 
been rendered to the Spirit in this important 
aspect. And yet the doctrine is uniquely precious 
because of the great results which have already, 
in the ethical and intellectual spheres, proceeded 
from it, and of the still greater ones which faith 
descries in the future. We have, I fear, not yet 
done justice to the spiritual capacities with which 
we are endowed. I will therefore take leave to 
add, following Mozoomdar, that no name is so fit 
for the indwelling God as Living Presence.’ 
His gift to man is life, and He Himself is Full- 
ness of Life. The idea therefore of God, in the 
myth of the Dying and Reviving Saviour, is, 
from one point of view, imperfect. At any rate 
it is a more constant help to think of God as full, 
not of any more meagre satisfaction at His works, 
but of the most intense joy. 

Let us, then, join our Indian brethren in 
worshipping God the Spirit. In honouring the 
Spirit we honour Jesus, the mythical and yet real 
incarnate God. The Muhammadans call Jesus 
ruhullah, ‘the Spirit of God,’ and the early 
Bahais followed them. One of the latter addressed 
these striking words to a traveller from Cam- 
bridge: ‘You (ze. the Christian Church) are 
to-day the Manifestation of Jesus; you are the 

1 Mozoomdar, The Spirit of God (1898), p. 64. 


Incarnation of the Holy Spirit; nay, did you 
but realize it, you are God.’! I fear that this may 
go too far for some, but it is only a step in 
advance of our Master, St. Paul. If we do not 
yet fully realize our blessedness, let us make it 
our chief aim to do so. How God’s Spirit can 
be dwelling in us and we in Him, is a mystery, 
but we may hope to get nearer and nearer to its 
meaning, and see that it is no Maya, no illusion. 
As an illustration of the mystery I will quote this 
from one of Vivekananda’s lectures.’ 

‘Young men of Lahore, raise once more that 
wonderful banner of Advaita, for on no other 
ground can you have that all-embracing love, 
until you see that the same Lord is present in 
the same manner everywhere; unfurl that banner 
of love. “Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal 
is reached.” Arise, arise once more, for nothing 
can be done without renunciation. If you want 
to help others, your own little self must go... . 
At the present time there are men who give up 
the world to help their own salvation. Throw 
away everything, even your own salvation, and 
go and help others.’ 


It is much to be wished that Western influence 
on China may not be exerted in the wrong way, 

-1 E.G. Browne, A Year among the Persians, p. 492. 
2 Jnana Yoga, p. 154. 


z.é. by an indiscriminate destruction of religious 
tradition. Hitherto the three religions of China 
—Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism—have 
been regarded as forming one organism, and as 
equally necessary to the national culture. Now, 
however, there is a danger that this hereditary 
union may cease, and that, in their disunited state, 
the three cults may be destined in course of time 
to disappear and perish. Shall they give place 
to dogmatic Christianity or, among the most 
cultured class, to agnosticism? Would it not be 
better to work for the retention at any rate of 
Buddhism and Confucianism in a purified form ? 
My own wish would be that the religious-ethical 
principles of Buddhism should be applied to the 
details of civic righteousness. The work could 
only be done by a school, but by the co-operation 
of young and old it could be done. 

Taoism, however, is doomed, unless some 
scientifically trained scholar (perhaps a Buddhist) 
will take the trouble to sift the grain from the 
chaff, As Mr. Johnston tells us,’ the opening 
of every new school synchronizes with the closing 
of a Taoist temple, and the priests of the cult are 
not only despised by others, but are coming 
to despise themselves. Lao-Tze, however, has 
still his students, and accretions can hardly be 
altogether avoided. Chinese Buddhism, too, has 
accretions, both philosophic and religious, and 

1 Buddhist China, p. 12. 


unless cleared of these, we cannot hope that 
Buddhism will take its right place in the China 
of the future. Suzuki, however, in his admirable 
Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism, has recognized 
and expounded (as I at least think) the truest 
Buddhism, and it is upon him I chiefly rely in 
my statements in the present work. 

There is no accretion, however, in the next 
point which I shall mention. The noble 
altruism of the Buddhism of China and Japan 
must at no price be rejected from the future 
religion of those countries, but rather be adopted 
as a model by us Western Christians. Now 
there are three respects in which (among others) 
the Chinese and Japanese may set us an example. 
Firstly, their freedom from self, and even from 
pre-occupying thoughts of personal salvation. 
Secondly, the perception that in the Divine 
Manifestation there must be a feminine element 
(das ewig-werbliche). And thirdly, the possibility 
of vicarious moral action. On the first, I need 
only remark that one of those legends of 
Sakya Muni, which are so full of moral meaning, 
is beautified by this selflessness. On the second, 
that Kuan-yin or Kwannon, though formerly a 
god,’ the son of the Buddha Amitabha, is now 
regarded as a goddess, ‘the All-compassionate, 
Uncreated Saviour, the Royal Bodhisat, who 

1 ¢God’ and ‘Goddess’ are of course unsuitable. Read 


(like the Madonna) hears the cries of the 
world.’ ? : 

But it is the third point which chiefly concerns 
us here because of the great spiritual comfort 
which it conveys. It is the possibility of doing 
good in the name of some beloved friend or 
relative and to ‘turn over’ (pavimarta) one’s 
karma to this friend. The extent to which this 
idea is pressed may, to some, be bewildering. 
Even the bliss of Nirvana is to be rejected that 
the moral and physical sufferings of the multitude 
may be relieved. This is one of the many ways 
in which the Living Presence is manifested. 


Tablet of Ishrakat (p. 5).—Praise be to God 
who manifested the Point and sent forth from it 
the knowledge of what was and is (z.e. all things) ; 
who made it (the Point) the Herald in His Name, 
the Precursor to His Most Great Manifestation, 
by which the nerves of nations have quivered 
with fear and the Light has risen from the 
horizon of the world, Verily it is that Point 
which God hath made to be a Sea of Light for 
the sincere among His servants, and a ball of fire 
for the deniers among His creations and the im- 
pious among His people.—This shows that Baha- 
‘ullah did not regard the so-called Bab as a mere 

1 Johnston, Buddhist China, pp. 101, 273. 


The want of a surely attested life, or extract 
from a life, of a God-man will be more and more 
acutely felt. There is only one such life ; it is that 
of Baha-’ullah. Through Him, therefore, let us 
pray in this twentieth century amidst the manifold 
difficulties which beset our social and _ political 
reconstructions ; let Him be the prince-angel 
who conveys our petitions to the Most High. 
The standpoint of Immanence, however, suggests 
a higher and a deeper view. Does a friend need 
to ask a favour of a friend? Are we not in Baha- 
ullah (‘the Glory of God’), and is not He in 
God? Therefore, ‘ye shall ask what ye will, and 
it shall be done unto you’ (John xv. 7). Far be 
_ it that we should even seem to disparage the Lord 
Jesus, but the horizon of His early worshippers 
is too narrow for us to follow them, and the 
critical difficulties are insuperable. The mirage 
of the ideal Christ is all that remains, when these 
obstacles have been allowed for. 

We read much about God-men in the narratives 
of the Old Testament, where the name attached 
to a manifestation of God in human semblance 
is ‘malak Yahwé (Jehovah)’ or ‘malak Elohim ’— 
a name of uncertain meaning which I have en- 
deavoured to explain more correctly elsewhere. 
In the New Testament too there is a large 
Docetic element. Apparently a supernatural 
Being walks about on earth—His name is Jesus 

of Nazareth, or simply Jesus, or with a deifying 


prefix ‘Lord’ and a regal appendix ‘Christ.’ He 
has doubtless a heavenly message to individuals, 
but He has also one to the great social body. 
Christ, says Mr. Holley, is a perfect revelation 
for the individual, but not for the social organism. 
This is correct if we lay stress on the qualifying 
word ‘perfect,’ especially if we hold that St. Paul 
has the credit of having expanded and enriched 
the somewhat meagre representation of Christ 
in the Synoptic Gospels. It must be conceded 
that Baha-’ullah had a greater opportunity than 
Christ of lifting both His own and other peoples 
to a higher plane, but the ideal of both was the 

Baha-’ullah and Christ, therefore, were both 
‘images of God’ ;* God is the God of the human 
people as well as of individual men, so too is 
the God of whom Baha-’ullah is the reflection or 
image. Only, we must admit that Baha-ullah 
had the advantage of centuries more of evolu- 
tion, and that he had also perhaps more complex 
problems to solve. 

And what as to ‘Ali Muhammad of Shiraz? 
From a heavenly point of view, did he play a 
great vé/e in the Persian Reformation? Let 
us listen to Baha-’ullah in the passage quoted 
above from the Tablet of Ishrakat. 

1 Bousset, Kyrtos-Christos, p. 144. Christ is the ‘image of 
God’ (2 Cor. iv. 4; Col. i. 15); or simply ‘the image’ (Rom. 
Vili. 29). 



O giver of thyself! at the vision of thee as 
joy let our souls flame up to thee as the fire, flow 
on to thee as the river, permeate thy being as 
the fragrance of the flower. Give us strength to 
love, to love fully, our life in its joys and sorrows, 
in its gains and losses, in its rise and fall. Let 
us have strength enough fully to see and hear 
thy universe, and to work with full vigour therein. 
Let us fully live the life thou hast given us, let 
us bravely take and bravely give. This is our 
prayer to thee. Let us once for all dislodge from 
our minds the feeble fancy that would make 
out thy joy to be a thing apart from action, 
thin, formless and unsustained. Wherever the 
peasant tills the hard earth, there does thy joy 
gush out in the green of the corn; wherever 
man displaces the entangled forest, smooths the 
stony ground, and clears for himself a home- 
stead, there does thy joy enfold it in orderliness 
and peace. 

O worker of the universe! We would pray 
to thee to let the irresistible current of thy uni- 
versal energy come like the impetuous south 
wind of spring, let it come rushing over the 
vast field of the life of man, let it bring the scent 
of many flowers, the murmurings of many wood- 
lands, let it make sweet and vocal the lifeless- 
ness of our dried-up soul-life. Let our newly 


awakened powers cry out for unlimited fulfilment 
in leaf and flower and fruit!—Tagore, Sadhana 

(p. 133). 


The opportuneness of the Baha movement is 
brought into a bright light by the following ex- 
tract from a letter to the Master from the great 
Orientalist and traveller, Arminius Vambéry. 
Though born a Jew, he tells us that believers 
in Judaism were no better than any other pro- 
fessedly religious persons, and that the only hope 
for the future lay in the success of the efforts 
of Abdul Baha, whose supreme greatness as a 
prophet he fully recognizes. He was born in 
Hungary in March 1832, and met Abdul Baha 
at Buda-Pest in April 1913. The letter was 
written shortly after the interview; some may 
perhaps smile at its glowing Oriental phraseology, 
but there are some Oriental writers who really 
mean what they seem to mean, and one of these 
(an Oriental by adoption) is Vambéry. 

‘,. . The time of the meeting with your ex- 
cellency, and the memory of the benediction of 
your presence, recurred to the memory of this 
servant, and I am longing for the time when I 
shall meet you again. Although I have travelled 
through many countries and cities of Islam, yet 
have I never met so lofty a character and so 


exalted a personage as Your Excellency, and I 
can bear witness that it is not possible to find 
such another. On this account I am hoping that 
the ideals and accomplishments of Your Excel- 
lency may be crowned with success and yield results 
under all conditions, because behind these ideals 
and deeds I easily discern the eternal welfare and 
prosperity of the world of humanity. 

‘This servant, in order to gain first-hand in- 
formation and experience, entered into the ranks 
of various religions; that is, outwardly I became 
a Jew, Christian, Mohammedan, and Zoroastrian. 
I discovered that the devotees of these various 
religions do nothing else but hate and anathe- 
matize each other, that all these religions have 
become the instruments of tyranny and oppression 
in the hands of rulers and governors, and that 
they are the causes of the destruction of the 
world of humanity. 

‘Considering these evil results, every person is 
forced by necessity to enlist himself on the side 
of Your Excellency and accept with joy the 
prospect of a fundamental basis for a universal 
religion of God being laid through your efforts. 

‘IT have seen the father of Your Excellency 
from afar. I have realized the self-sacrifice 
and noble courage of his son, and I am lost in 

‘For the principles and aims of Your Excel- 
lency I express the utmost respect and devotion, 


and if God, the Most High, confers long life, I 
will be able to serve you under all conditions. 
I pray and supplicate this from the depths of my 
heart.—Your servant, VAMBERY.’ 

(Published in the Zgyptcan Gazette, Sept. 24, 
1913, by Mrs. J. Stannard.) 


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Two Papers on Babism in /RAS. 1889. 
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DREYFUS, HIPPOLYTE.— The Universal Religion ; Bahaism. 
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L? Asie Centrale. Paris. 2nd edition, Paris, 1866. 
HAMMOND, ERIC.—Tzhe Splendour of God. 1909. 
HOLLEY, HoRACE.—The Modern Social Religion. 1913. 
HUART, CLEMENT.—La Religion du Bab. Paris, 1889. 
Nicoxas, A, L. M.—Seyy’ed Ali Mohammed, dit Le Bab, Paris, 
Le Béyin Arabe. Paris, 1905. 
PHELPS, MyRON H.—JLi/e and Teachings of Abbas Efendi. New 
York, 1914. 
ROMER, HERMANN.—Die Bali-Behii, Die jringste muhammeda- 
nische Sekte. Potsdam, 1912. 
RicE, W. A.—‘Bahaism from the Christian Standpoint,’ Last 
and West, January 1913. 
SKRINE, F. H.—Bahaism, the Religion of Brotherhood and its 
place in the Evolution of Creeds. 1912. 
Witson, S. G.—‘ The Claims of Bahaism,’ Hast and West, July 


LEpitre au Fils du Loup. Baha-ullah. Traduction frangaise 
par H. Dreyfus. Paris, 1913. 
Le Beyan arabe. Nicolas. Paris, 1905. 
The Hidden Words. Chicago, 1905. 
The Seven Valleys. Chicago. 
Livre de la Certitude. Dreyfus. Paris, 1904. 
The Book of Ighan. Chicago. 
Works of ABDUL BAHA: 
Some Answered Questions, 1908. 
Lablets. Vol. i. Chicago, 1912. 

The Brilliant Proof, Chicago, 1913. 


Printed by R. & R. CrarK, Limirep, Edinburgh. 


A New Study of Genesis and Exodus 
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This work is really a commentary on Genesis and part of Exodus, but 
after a new fashion. As little as possible will be mere repetition of what 
has been said by others. An attempt will be made to bring the Hebrew 
text into a more correct form, and to throw light on the contents of the 
text thus restored from the comparative study of myths and legends. Not 
as if its writers and editors were entirely in the mythological stage ; but 
without a comparison of the Biblical stories with analogous ones told by 
other ancient peoples the interpretations of the ‘“‘early traditions of the 
Israelites ” will be in many respects a mistaken one. 

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An American reviewer of Tvaditions and Beliefs remarks: “‘It is 
much to be desired that he present us with a complete history of Israel on 
the lines of his study.” The present volume gives an account, as complete 
as the evidence allows, of that interesting and changeful period which 
begins with the finding of the great law-book in the Temple under Josiah, 
and ends with the destruction of Jerusalem. This forms Part I. Part II. 
contains a study of the Israelite law-books, with the exception of the 
“* Priestly Code,” which, though it contains a kernel of older date, is in its 
present form post-exilic. The point of view throughout is that set forth in 
Traditions and Beliefs, which, while recognising both direct and indirect 
Babylonian influence on Palestine, finds in the extant evidence a larger 
amount of reference to North Arabian influence, both political and religious. 
The Introduction contains explanations and answers to objections fitted to 
remove the difficulties which may arise on a first acquaintance with the 
North Arabian (miscalled the Jerahmeel) theory. 

“ 4 valuable contribution to the special literature of Biblical Interpretation.”— 


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With a Re-examination of the Prophetic 

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The new study which the author has had the delight of giving has had 
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different religions of the ancient Israelites. The present volume consists 
partly of a synthetic historical sketch—so far as this was possible—of these 
two religions in their interlacing development, and partly of a detailed 
examination of such parts of the narrative and prophetic writings as have 
proved most remunerative from a fresh textual and historical point of view. 
It need hardly be said that recent discussions of the relation between magic 
and religion have not been without their influence on the historical sketch, 
and that the recent debates on the North Arabian land of Mizrim or Mizri 
have confirmed the author’s conviction that North Arabia as well as Babylon 
has influenced the development of the people of Israel. 

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This book is a continuation of Dr. Cheyne’s attempt to get behind the 
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phantiné confirm the most startling of his own views. New and important 
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Asmodaeus are placed in a new light. Similarly the text of the Books of 
Esther, Judith, 1 Maccabees, and 1 Baruch is keenly criticised. Some, 
however, may be more interested with the chapters on the Song of Solomon, 
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ment of the Apocalypse and of the personal and place names of the N.T. 
Boanerges, for instance, leaves something to be said even after Dr. Rendel 

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This is an original contribution to the study of the ‘‘ Later Isaiah.” It 
is shown that the current views of the ‘‘ Liberation” of the Jewish exiles 
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King Cyrus, but a successful North Arabian adventurer. Also that the 
next generation after the author of the Prophecy of Consolation did not 
know anything of a general release of the Jews in Babel. Among other 
results is the discovery that the Israelites worshipped a small Divine Com- 
pany under a supreme director. This has been long certain to the author 
(see Traditions and Beltefs), and has now been confirmed by the Jewish 
papyri found at Elephantiné. 

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A Dictionary of the Bible 


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as ies, 

Cheyne, Thomas Kelly, 1841-1915. 
The reconciliation of races and religions, by Thomas Kelly 
Cheyne... London, A. and C. Black, 1914. 

xx,216p. front. (port.) 224™. 
“Bahal bibliography” : p 215-216. 

1. Bahaism. 1. Tide, 
15-6117 Revised 

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