Recognition as an interpretive theme

Recognition of God’s Manifestation is “the first duty prescribed by God for His servants”, yet this weighty theme may imply much more than just acknowledgement of the station claimed by Bahá’u’lláh, perhaps offering an approach to interpreting certain mystical statements that appear at first to have difficult or impossible implications.

For instance, Bahá’u’lláh has written about the Seven Valleys that “any soul who turns his face towards the Supreme Horizon and recognizes God hath already traversed the seven valleys or seven stations mentioned in that work.” [provisional] Given the exalted character of the stations described in that text, this seems to imply that recognition of God is a fundamental, transformative characteristic of Bahá’í mysticism. It goes far beyond the signing of a declaration card, or associating oneself with His cause, implying such a change in one’s perception of existence that Bahá’u’lláh’s statement that “every created thing in the whole universe is but a door leading into His knowledge” becomes read not only as a lofty theme, but as depicting the underlying fabric of spiritual awareness.

If certain Bahá’í mystical Writings are examined from the perspective of this recognition, they can take on a different character from interpretations centered on the individual seeking to achieve them. For example, Bahá’u’lláh’s statement that “the heart wherein the least remnant of envy yet lingers, shall never attain My everlasting dominion”, rather than indicating that the heart must be purged of envy before the kingdom can be found, could be stating that so wondrous is His Revelation, that one has not yet found its kingdom so long as anything remains with power to beguile the seeker’s heart.

Likewise other texts, including the stages and degrees of the Seven Valleys and Gems of Divine Mysteries, can offer new insights when this recognition is taken as a central point being made, presenting the idea that progression through these stages may result from deepening one’s vision, and thus recognition, of the station of Bahá’u’lláh, the Ancient Beauty.