The First Fruit considered the Most Pure and Holy One, the Creator of the Universe, now this Second Fruit considers the universe and its essential nature. Yes, it is through the mystery of Divine unity that the perfections of the universe are realized; and the elevated duties of beings understood; and the results of the creation of beings are established; and the value of creatures known; and the Divine purposes in the world find existence; and the instances of wisdom in the creation of living beings and conscious beings become apparent; and behind the stern, angry faces of the violent storms of upheaval and change the smiling, beautiful faces of mercy and wisdom are seen; and the numerous existences of transitory beings —such as their results, identities, true natures, spirits, and glorifications, which they leave in their places in the Manifest World before they depart— are known.
Furthermore, it is only through the mystery of Divine unity that it is known that the universe as a whole is a meaningful book of the Eternally Besought One; and all beings from the ground to the Divine Throne are a miraculous collection of Divine missives; and all the realms of creatures are a magnificent regular dominical army; and all sorts of beings from microbes and ants to rhinoceroses, eagles, and planets are diligent officials of the Pre-Eternal Sovereign; and since they act as mirrors to and have a relation with that Sovereign, the value of all things infinitely surpasses their individual value; and the answers are revealed of the unsolved, abstruse questions “Where do this flood of beings and these caravans of creatures come from? Where are they going? Why did they come? And what are they doing?” Otherwise, these elevated perfections of the universe would vanish, and those lofty, sacred truths be transformed into their opposites.
It is because the crimes of ascribing partners to God and disbelief constitute aggression against all the universe’s perfections and its sacred truths and the elevated rights of beings, that the universe becomes angry at the disbelievers and idolators. The heavens and earth become wrathful, and the elements unite to destroy them, overwhelming and submerging those who ascribe partners to God, such as Noah’s people, and the ‘Ad and Thamud peoples, and the Pharaoh. In accordance with the verse, Well-nigh bursting with fury,8
Hell so rages and fumes at the disbelievers and ascribers of partners to God that it almost bursts apart. Yes, to associate partners with God is a terrible insult to the universe and a great transgression against it. By denying the sacred duties of beings and the purposes of their creation, it insults their honour. To illustrate this, we shall allude to one example out of thousands.
For example, through the mystery of Divine unity the universe resembles a huge, corporeal angel; glorifying and sanctifying its Maker with hundreds of thousands of heads, to the number of species of beings, and with hundreds of thousands of mouths, to the number of members of those species, and with hundreds of thousands of tongues in every mouth, to the number of organs, parts, and cells of those members — a wondrous collection of elevated creatures engaged in worship like the Angel Israfil. Through the mystery of Divine unity, the universe is also an arable field yielding copious crops for the worlds and dwelling-places of the hereafter; a factory producing numerous goods, such as human actions, for the levels of the Abode of Bliss; and a movie-camera with a hundred thousand lenses continuously taking pictures of this world to show to the spectators in the eternal realm and especially in Paradise. To ascribe partners to God is to transform this truly wondrous, absolutely obedient, living, corporeal angel into a lifeless, soulless, unemployed, perishing, meaningless, wretched, futile collectivity, revolving in the tumult of events and storms of change and darkness of non-existence; and to convert this strange, utterly orderly, beneficial factory into an idle, confused, unconscious plaything of chance which is without product or result or function; to make it into the playground of deaf Nature and blind force, a place of mourning for all intelligent beings, and the slaughterhouse of all living creatures, and a vale of tears.
In accordance with the verse,
To assign partners to God is verily a great transgression,9
to associate partners with God, although a single evil, leads to to associate partners with God, although a single evil, leads to such vast and numerous crimes that those who perpetrate it deserve infinite torment in Hell. Anyway… since this Second Fruit has been explained and proved repeatedly in The Illuminating Lamp, we have cut short the long story here.
A strange feeling and perception which drove me to this Second Fruit. It was like this:
One time when observing the season of spring, I saw that the successive caravans of beings, and especially living creatures and the small young ones at that, which followed on one after the other and in a flowing torrent displaying hundreds of thousands of samples of the resurrection of the dead and Great Gathering on the face of the earth, appeared only briefly then disappeared. The tableaux of death and transience amid that constant, awesome activity seemed to me excessively sad; I felt such pity it made me weep. The more I observed the deaths of those lovely small creatures, the more my heart ached. I cried at the pity of it and within me felt a deep spiritual turmoil. Life which met with such an end seemed to me to be torment worse than death.
The living beings of the plant and animal kingdoms, too, which were most beautiful and lovable and full of valuable art, opened their eyes for a moment onto the exhibition of the universe, then disappeared and were gone. I felt grievous pain the more I watched this. My heart wanted to weep and complain and cry out at fate. It asked the awesome questions: “Why do they come and then depart without stopping?” These apparently useless, purposeless little creatures were being despatched to non-existence before my very eyes, despite having been created, nurtured and raised with so much attention and art, in such valuable form. They were merely torn up like rags and thrown away into the obscurity of nothingness. The more I saw this the more my inner senses and faculties, which are captivated by beauty and perfection and enamoured of precious things, cried out: “Why does no one take pity on them? Isn’t it a shame? Where did they come from, the death and ephemerality in these bewildering upheavals and transformations which persistently attack these wretched beings?”
As I started to utter fearful objections about Divine Determining and the grievous circumstances of the outer face of life and its events, the light of the Qur’an, the mystery of belief, the favour of the Most Merciful, and belief in Divine unity all came to my assistance. They lit up those darknesses, and transformed my laments into joy and my weeping into happiness and my pity into exclamations of “Blessed be God! What wonders God has willed!” They caused me to declare: “All praise be to God for the light of belief.” For through the mystery of Divine unity I saw that all creatures, and particularly living creatures, produce truly significant results and have general benefits.
In Short: All living beings, for instance this adorned flower or that sweet-producing bee, are Divine odes full of meaning which innumerable conscious beings study in delight. They are precious miracles of power and proclamations of wisdom exhibiting their Maker’s art in captivating fashion to innumerable appreciative observers. While to appear before the gaze of the Glorious Creator, Who wishes to observe His art Himself, and look on the beauties of His creation and the loveliness of the manifestations of His Names, is another exceedingly elevated result of their creation.
A further elevated function of their creation is described in the Twenty-Fourth Letter, and is their serving in five ways the manifestations of dominicality and Divine perfections which necessitate the infinite activity in the universe.
I saw that if it is a being with a spirit, besides benefits and results such as the above, since it leaves behind in its place in this Manifest World its spirit, and in innumerable memories and other ‘preserved tablets’ its form and identity, and in its seeds the laws of its being and a sort of future life, and in the World of the Unseen and Realm of the Divine Names the perfections and beauties it has mirrored, its apparent death has the meaning of a joyful release from duties; it merely passes behind a curtain of death and is hidden from worldly eyes. I exclaimed: “All praise and thanks be to God!”
These genuine, powerful, faultless, utterly brilliant instances of beauty and loveliness which are visible in all the levels of the universe and all its realms of beings, and have spread everywhere, demonstrate with complete certainty that the ugly, harsh, abhorrent, wretched former situation, which the association of partners with God necessitates, is impossible and illusory. For such ghastly ugliness could not exist hidden under the veil of such genuine beauty. If it was found there, that true beauty would be untrue, baseless, futile, and illusory. This means that the association of partners with God has no reality, its way is closed, it has become stuck in a bog; what it posits is impossible and precluded. Since this truth of belief, which pertains to the emotions, is explained in detail with numerous proofs in many parts of The Illuminating Lamp, we shall suffice here with this brief indication.
This fruit looks to conscious beings, and particularly to man. Through the mystery of Divine unity, among all creatures man may attain to the highest perfections, and become the most valuable fruit of the universe, the most perfect and refined of creatures, the most fortunate and happy of animate beings, and the addressee and friend of the world’s Creator. Indeed, all man’s perfections and his lofty aims are tied to the affirmation of Divine unity and find existence through its meaning. For if there was no unity, man would be the most unhappy of creatures, the lowest of beings, the most wretched of the animals, the most suffering and sorrowful of intelligent beings. For together with his infinite impotence, his innumerable enemies, his boundless want, and endless needs, he has been decked out with a great many faculties and senses, so that he feels innumerable sorts of pains and experiences countless sorts of pleasures. He has such aims and desires that one who does not govern the whole universe at once cannot bring about those desires.
For example, man has an intense desire for immortality. Only one who has disposal over the whole universe as though it was a palace can answer this wish; who can close the door of this world and open that of the hereafter, like closing the door of one room and opening that of another. Man also has thousands of desires, both negative and positive, which like the desire for immortality spread throughout the world and stretch to eternity. It is only the Single One, Who through the mystery of unity holds the whole universe in His grasp, that by answering these desires of man can cure the two awesome wounds of his impotence and want. Moreover, man has wishes for tranquillity and ease of heart so insubstantial, secret, and particular, and aims connected with the immortality and happiness of his spirit so vast, comprehensive, and universal, that they can be answered only by one who sees the subtlest and most imperceptible veils of his heart, and is not unconcerned, and hears its most inaudible, secret voices, and does not leave them unanswered. That one must also have sufficient power to subjugate the heavens and earth as though they were two obedient soldiers, and make them perform universal works.
Also, through the mystery of unity, all man’s members and senses gain a high value, while through ascribing partners to God and disbelief they fall to an infinitely low degree. For example, man’s most valuable faculty is intelligence. Through the mystery of Divine unity, it becomes a brilliant key to the sacred Divine treasuries, and to the thousands of coffers of the universe. Whereas if it descends to associating partners with God and to unbelief, it becomes an inauspicious instrument of torture which heaps up in man’s head all the grievous pains of the past and awesome fears of the future.
Also, for example, compassion, man’s most gentle and agreeable characteristic: if the mystery of Divine unity does not come to its assistance, it becomes a calamitous torment which reduces man to the depths of misery. A heedless mother who imagines she has lost her only child for all eternity feels this searing pain to the full.
Also, for example, love, man’s sweetest, most pleasurable, and most precious emotion: if the mystery of Divine unity assists it, it gives miniscule man the expanse and breadth of the universe, and makes him a petted monarch of the animals. Whereas if —I seek refuge with God— man descends to associating partners with God and unbelief, because he will be separated for all eternity from all his innumerable beloveds as they continuously disappear in death, love becomes a terrible calamity constantly lacerating his wretched heart. But vain amusements causing heedlessness temporarily numb his senses, apparently not allowing him to feel it.
If you make analogies with these three examples for man’s hundreds of faculties and senses, you will understand the degree to which Divine unity and the affirmation of it are the means by which he may be fulfilled and perfected. Since this Third Fruit too has been very well explained in detailed manner with proofs in perhaps twenty of the treatises of The Illuminating Lamp, I am sufficing with this brief indication here.
What impelled me to this Fruit was the following feeling:
At one time I was on the top of a high mountain. Through a spiritual awakening powerful enough to dispel my heedlessness, death and the grave appeared to me in all their stark reality, and transience and ephemerality with all their painful representations. Like everyone’s, my innate desire for immortality surged up and rebelled against death. The fellow-feeling and compassion in my nature, too, revolted against the annihilation of the people of perfection, the famous prophets, the saints, and the purified ones, for whom I feel great love and attachment; it boiled up angrily against the grave. I looked in the six directions, seeking help, but I found no solace, no assistance. For looking to the past, I saw a vast graveyard; and to the future, darkness; and above I saw horror; and to the right and left, grievous situations and the assaults of numberless harmful things. Suddenly, the mystery of Divine unity came to my assistance and drew back the veil, revealing the face of reality. “Look!”, it said.
First of all I looked at the face of death, which I feared greatly. I saw that for the people of belief it was a discharge from duties. The appointed hour was the discharge papers. It was a change of abode, the introduction to an everlasting life, and the door leading to it. It was to be released from the prison of this world and to fly to the gardens of Paradise. It was the occasion one enters the presence of the Most Merciful in order to receive the wages for one’s service. It was a call to go to the realm of bliss. Understanding this with complete certainty, I began to love death.
I looked then at transience and ephemerality, and I saw them to be a pleasurable renewal, like pictures on the cinema screen and bubbles on flowing water under the sun. Coming from the World of the Unseen in order to refresh the exquisite manifestations of the Most Beautiful Names, they were an excursion, a trip, in the Manifest World, with certain duties to perform; they were a wise and purposeful manifestation of dominical beauty; they performed the function of mirrors to the eternal beauty of beings. This I knew with certainty. I then looked at the six directions, and I saw that through the mystery of Divine unity they were so luminous they dazzled the eyes. I saw that the past was not a vast grave, but having been transformed into the future, had become thousands of enlightened gatherings of friends and thousands of light-filled vistas. I looked at the true faces of thousands of matters like these two, and I saw that they afforded nothing but joy and thanks.
I have described my feelings about this Third Fruit with proofs, particular and universal, in perhaps forty treatises of The Illuminating Lamp. They have been explained so clearly and decisively in the thirteen ‘Hopes’ of the Twenty-Sixth Flash in particular, the Treatise For The Elderly, that there could be no clearer elucidation. Here I have therefore cut this very long story very short.
to be continued