What follows is my provisional translation (in other words, not official or authorized; see here for more) of a Tablet of Baháʼuʼlláh, the original text of which is published in La’áli’u’l-Ḥikmat, vol. 3, pp. 70–73 (selection no. 35). I am grateful to Khazeh Fananapazir for his suggested edits to this translation and his enlightening explanations of certain imagery and other language used in this Tablet.
This is one of eleven Arabic Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh known as “the Tablets of the Hair,” which depict His hair and its wondrous qualities in figurative language. Authorized translations of five of these Tablets are available here. I have provisionally translated the other six here.
He it is Who stirreth to movement
Praise be to Thee, O my God, for Thou didst ordain that the treasure of life lie within the garden of Paradise, wherein Thou didst gather fire and water, and so join the two together that they can never be separated one from another for as long as Thy transcendent eternity endureth and the permanence of Thy sovereignty persisteth. Thou didst appoint as the treasurer of this trove the serpent of Thy might and protection,* and didst breathe into this treasurer from the subtle reality of Thy spirit in such wise that every other thing perished and all else sank into slumber.
It appeareth to have been made a rousing sign, for within it are ecstasy, rapture, and agitation. Therefore I beseech Thee, O my God, by the restlessness of the hearts of the lovers, to sustain Thy chosen ones with what Thou hast ordained in this hidden and renowned treasure. With its water, then, quicken Thou the souls of Thy loved ones! And from its fire is heat engendered in the hearts of the objects of Thine affection. Thou art He, O my God, Who hath made incumbent on the rebels their entrance into Thy fire and their eternal residence in Thy hell. At this very moment, I consent, on behalf of them that have rebelled against Thee, to enter this fire and spend eternity in these flames—and though Thy servants flee from the viper and its poison, I swear by Thy glory that I yearn for this serpent and long for its venomous bite. Thou, verily, art the All-Glorious, the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.
Lauded be Thy Name, O my God! I beseech Thee by this serpent to harmonize the hearts of Thy loved ones. Gather them, then, upon a single expanse, even as Thou didst join this fire and this water, bringing them together on one seat. Potent, supremely potent art Thou to accomplish this.
Glory be to Thee, O Thou Who art my Best-Beloved and the Object of my desire! How can I praise Thee through the bewildering wonders of what Thou hast fashioned in this handiwork, at once darkening and illumining, or the astonishing features of what Thou hast produced in this creation, both exceedingly subtle and eminently mighty? Thou seemest to have made it a volley of darts unto the hearts of Thy lovers and a shower of spears unto the souls of Thy devoted ones. And methinks, O my Beloved, that Thou endued it with neither mercy nor compassion, for it hath bitten the hearts of them that wish to be near Thee and stand in Thy presence, and hath stung the souls of those who have set their faces on reunion with Thy beauty.
Protect Thou, therefore, O my Well-Beloved, the rights of Thy servants and safeguard their blood from this hidden serpent, which hath secured itself in the sanctuary of Thy holy Habitation, and sought protection in Thy Fane and Thy Tabernacle, inasmuch as Thou hast forbidden Thy servants to enter this place. By Thy might! No hand shall ever reach it but the hands of Thy power, nor any soul attain it save Thy subduing sovereignty. Thou knowest, O my Master, how many of Thy favored servants it hath slain and Thy trusted creatures it hath wounded. How numerous are the holy bodies laid out on their beds by reason of the injuries it inflicted! How many the sanctified persons who lie on the dust because of its cruelty! Didst Thou not promise, O my Lord and my God, that Thou wouldst admit the doers of good into Thy most exalted Paradise, and cause the rebels to sink into the lowest abyss? I testify, at this moment, that this rebel hath ascended to the Paradise of Thy reunion and Thy presence, and that it dwelleth in the gardens of Thy countenance. It appeareth to be a phoenix of ardent love, strutting in the fire of Thy beauty and flaunting upon the meadow of Thy visage.
Glorified, immeasurably glorified art Thou for having fastened the heart of every contingent being with this strand, and having bound the souls of all living things with this cord!
Thy glory beareth me witness! I am astounded at the marvels Thou hast worked within it and through it, and by the unprecedented things it inwardly believeth. Methinks it deemeth not itself to be in rebellion, notwithstanding that it hath shed the blood of the followers of every religion! Rather, it recognizeth, in its essence, that it is the very begetter of beneficence, and it now seeketh, from Thy servants, a recompense for the favors it hath bestowed through them and upon them. It appeareth that, owing to the judgment Thou hast passed on it, Thou wilt reward its rebellion with every good Thou hast ordained through Thy power and decreed by Thy might.
Having said this, I know not in which direction to flee or through what door to escape. Nay, by Thy light! Never will I run away unless it be to Thee, and unto none else but Thyself shall I ever take flight. In all these things, I place my reliance on Thee. No God is there but Thee, the Almighty, the Most Powerful.
* There is a parallel here with the ancient mythologies of many cultures, in which dragons are portrayed as the guardians of treasures. Here, it is the serpentine hair of Bahá’u’lláh that plays this role.
A typescript of the original Arabic text of this Tablet appears below.