Read: Ode of the Dove


Name of Tablet in Arabic or Persian:
Qasídiy-i-Varqá'iyyih; its full title is "Qasídiy-i-`Izz-Varqá'iyyih"

Translation into English:
"Ode of the Dove." Provisional translations have been published by Denis MacEoin in _Bahá'í Studies Bulletin_ 2:2 (September 1983), with comments and additional translation issues offered by Juan Cole in ibid 2:3 and 2:4. Full translation by Cole of both the poem and Bahá'u'lláh's notes available at http://bahai-library.com/provisionals. It is also discussed in _Bahá'u'lláh: King of Glory_, 118, and _God Passes By_, 123, and a short passage translated on p. 118 of the latter. Cole's "Bahá'u'lláh and the Naqshbandi Sufis" discusses the circumstances surrounding this tablet, its themes and content, and its comparison with Ibn-i-Farid's Qasídiy-i-Ta'iyyih in a fair degree of detail.

The original poem which Bahá'u'lláh is modelling is, to my knowledge, only available in translation in R. A. Nicholson's _Studies in Islamic Mysticism_, and this actually only about 1/3 of the whole poem. However, I discuss the poetical form of the "qasida" and summarize Farid's version in my "Themes of 'The Erotic' in Sufi Mysticism," at http://bahai-library.com/personal/jw/my.papers (where Farid's original is referred to by one of its other titles, "Ta'iyyatu'l-kubra").

Significance of Name:
The name is likely a reference to Bahá'u'lláh as the Dove, for in the Notes He writes: "O people of the Bayán, and whoso draweth nigh to God and His verses in the Living One of Utterance: Give ear to that which the Dove of the divine Essence doth warble in the utmost rapture, overwhelmed with the love of God and with yearning for Him, having died to the self and now living in God, the Mighty, the Powerful" (trans. Cole). It is also, like the poem, a rhyming equivalent to Farid's, i.e. "Qasídiy-i-Ta'iyyih" — > "Qasídiy-i-Varqá'iyyih."

Tablet was revealed in:
Arabic, with Notes later revealed in Persian

Name of Recipient:
Recipient was a group of Sufis in Sulaymaniyyih

Reason for Revelation of the Tablet:
Shoghi Effendi summarizes best the full story in God Passes By, p. 123:

"Amazed by the profundity of His insight and the compass of His understanding, [the Sufis] were impelled to seek from Him what they considered to be a conclusive and final evidence of the unique power and knowledge which He now appeared in their eyes to possess. 'No one among the mystics, the wise, and the learned,' they claimed, while requesting this further favor from Him, 'has hitherto proved himself capable of writing a poem in a rhyme and meter identical with that of the longer of the two odes, entitled Qasídiy-i-Ta'iyyih composed by Ibn-i-Farid. We beg you to write for us a poem in that same meter and rhyme.' This request was complied with, and no less than two thousand verses, in exactly the manner they had specified, were dictated by Him, out of which He selected one hundred and twenty-seven, which He permitted them to keep, deeming the subject matter of the rest premature and unsuitable to the needs of the times. It is these same one hundred and twenty-seven verses that constitute the Qasídiy-i-Varqá'iyyih, so familiar to, and widely circulated amongst, His Arabic speaking followers."

Such was their reaction to this marvelous demonstration of the sagacity and genius of Bahá'u'lláh that they unanimously acknowledged every single verse of that poem to be endowed with a force, beauty and power far surpassing anything contained in either the major or minor odes composed by that celebrated poet...

Date of Revelation:
Sometime between April 1854-March 1856

Place of Revelation:
While in retreat in the mountains of Kurdistan, north of Baghdad, near the town of Sulaymaniyyih. Additions to the Tablet were revealed in the Baghdad, upon his return.

Other Tablets revealed at about the same time:
Many prayers and odes extolling the attributes and glorifying the character of His Revelation were revealed by Him, almost all of which were lost. However, certain letters He wrote to eminent personages of the town exist, as does the tablet Saqi-Az-Ghayb-I-Baqa.

Style, subject, and genre of the Tablet: [?]

Style: This tablet contains both tones, that of command and authority and that of servitude, meekness and supplication.
Subject: Mystical Writings.
Genre: Poem

Voice of Tablet: [?]
Dialogue between two voices: that of Bahá'u'lláh, and that of the Holy Spirit personified as the Maid of Heaven.

Outline Contents of Tablet (if possible): Here is a summary of the Tablet's contents. If parts of it sound odd, it must be remembered that there is a clearly-defined ancient Arabic form of poetry called the "qasida," a romantic/mystical poem, which has a traditional plot, focus, and conclusion. Bahá'u'lláh is not only following this model, but is even more clearly reflecting — if altering — Farid's poem. (1) Bahá'u'lláh extols the beauty of the Maid of Heaven and how He longs union with her; (2) He laments over his remoteness from her and her rejection of Him; (3) Bahá'u'lláh begs the Maiden to end His exile, and pledges His sacrifice for her; (4) she rejects Him, and He is surrounded by enemies; (5) the Maiden tells Him that she has had many suitors [Manifestations?], all of whom she has rejected; (6) she chides Bahá'u'lláh that His love for her is false and His pledge of self-sacrifice not sufficiently sincere; (7) Bahá'u'lláh reiterates that He *is* sincere in His desire to sacrifice His very being for her; (8) the Maiden replies that, if He could only rend the final veils of nearness, He would attain union and learn divine secrets; (9) the Maiden blesses the sincere ones who have sacrificed themselves and attained her presence.

List the principal themes of the Tablet:

The principal themes are passages from the Qur'an; mysteries of God's revelation; the praise and glorification of the Most Great Spirit; the glorification of the attributes and splendors of the Maid of Heaven; His sufferings and the behavior of His enemies; His determination to face any calamities which God might visit upon Him; the relationship between the Manifestation and the Spirit which animates and sustains Him; the immensity of the spiritual domains of God from which all Revelations descend.

Tablet's relationship to other tablets:

Besides the obvious relationship with Ibn-i-Farid's poem, there is surely also a relationship between this and other of Bahá'u'lláh's own Tablets. For example, it recalls the dialogue between Bahá'u'lláh and Carmel in the "Tablet of Carmel," and it is even more similar to the "Tablet of the Holy Mariner," which not only has much dialogic content, but has related themes and a poetic form.

Holy-Writings.com v2.7 (213613) © 2005 - 2015 Emanuel V. Towfigh & Peter Hoerster | Imprint | Change Interface Language: DE EN