Throughout April, our intrepid translator Adib Masumian has been uploading to his website a series of tablets all with the title Lawh-i-quds (Tablet of Holiness). There are seven Tablets of Holiness. Adib seems to like this approach of translating in batches according to the title, for he has also covered the Tablets of the Hair, of which there are 12, and Tablets to Karim (Lawh-i-Karim), of which there are four. It certainly is a good way to clear the translation field, so to speak. It also sorts the problem of readers not knowing which tablet is being referred to when one is quoted.
All tablets of Holiness begin with the phrase “This is the tablet of holiness…” All tablets focus on the general theme of detaching from everything in the world and focusing entirely on Baha’u’llah. Here is a short description of each one.
Tablet of Holiness 1, 4350 words. This is the principal tablet of that name. Its theme is Baha’u’llah telling his correspondent not to listen to the talk of the followers of Azal. To expand on this issue, Baha’u’llah writes a sort of tablet within the tablet. He introduces this inner tablet this way: “In any case, regard thou all creation as a tablet, and at its heading, behold these words of consummate sweetness written in a most glorious script with the pen of loftiest sanctity”. He then goes on, in the rest of the tablet, to explain how to read the signs in creation that relate the phenomenon of people claiming to believe in God, all the while doing everything they can to injure him. Baha’u’llah’s argument is involved, and can’t be summarised here, but is a must-read. It contains an intricate use of metaphors that I have not read anywhere else.
Tablet of Holiness 2, 530 words. A letter counselling the correspondent not to be concerned about the Babis who do not recognise Baha’u’llah and are antagonistic towards him. Beautiful passage: “Whoso hath praised God upon His earth will be praised by Him in His Kingdom. His grace hath embraced all things and His mercy encompassed all who dwell on the earth and in the heavens.”
Tablet of Holiness 3, 360 words. An interesting explanation of the difference in character between those who believe and those who do not, no matter what evidence is placed before them. Beautiful passage: “They who have light in their hearts wish only for what God hath desired for them. They are indeed on the Straight Path! Extolled are they by the denizens of the Kingdom, as well as them that circle round the Throne of thy Lord, the Exalted, the Great.”
Tablet of Holiness 4, 340 words. This is a letter of proclamation. Beautiful passage: “Ascend, O people, unto My Kingdom, for it shall never perish; then behold the lights of the Face of your Lord, for they can never be concealed.”
Tablet of Holiness 5, 650 words. Adib suggests that another possible title for this one is Tablet of the Point, because Baha’u’llah designates the tablet as the Point, from which comes all existence. He says that although the tablet is motionless, nevertheless through it all created things are stirred. There is much about this tablet that is extraordinary. It is another must-read. “O ye who are immersed in the depths of Paradise! Should it be your wish to read this luminous and enduring Tablet, begin by performing ablutions with the water of that stream which floweth from the right hand of the Throne, then wash your outer beings and inner realities therewith, that ye may hear what the Dove of Paradise hath trilled out in these gardens with unique and wondrous melodies. Otherwise, ye shall not find the delights hidden within it, nor apprehend His gem-like wisdoms concealed therein, even should ye peruse it throughout the days of your lives—at every morn and eve, indeed at every moment. Thus warbleth the Dove in this atmosphere that God hath sanctified from the eyes of the disbelievers. Its air is pure, its winds pleasant; its scent is fragrant, its musk diffused. Seek it out, then, O company of near ones! In this wise hath God bestowed His imperishable, His eternal, His everlasting, His divine, His celestial gifts upon mankind.”
Tablet of Holiness 6, 280 words. A gorgeous letter of consolation to a believer who has suffered persecution. Beautiful passage: “Rejoice in My remembrance and forsake them that have disbelieved in God. They, verily, have not oppressed thee, rather their own selves, but by reason of their repudiation, they are oblivious of what they have done. The day is fast approaching when they will behold their deeds.”
Tablet of Holiness 7, 240 words. A pastoral letter to someone who seems to have been in Baha’u’llah’s presence at Ridvan. “O servant! Render thanks to thy Lord that He graciously aided thee to attain the divine Presence, such that thou didst visit the Ancient Beauty when He dawned forth from the horizon of ‘Iráq with lights of sublime majesty. By God! To hear a single melody from the mouth of the Lord indeed excelleth whatsoever lieth treasured in the heavens or on the earth, and thine arrival at the Habitation of God is, in truth, better for thee than whatever hath been fashioned in this world, and unto this is God Himself a witness.”