“O selfless lover of the Traceless Friend! A thousand mystics have sought that Friend…”

What follows is my provisional translation (in other words, not official or authorized; see here for more) of a Tablet from ʻAbduʼl-Bahá, the original text of which is published in Muntakhabáti az Makátíb-i-ʻAbduʼl-Bahá, vol. 3, p. 104 (passage no. 151). I am grateful to Naeem Nabiliakbar for helping me to appreciate some of the subtle nuances in this Tablet that were not immediately obvious to me, and also to Sen McGlinn and Jack McLean for their suggested improvements to this translation. 

O selfless lover of the Traceless Friend! A thousand mystics have sought that Friend, and have yet remained deprived and distant from His Face. Yet thou hast found Him; thou hast recognized Him. Thou hast engaged thyself in service, and secured a glorious station; indeed, thou hast hoisted the standard of success and prosperity. How strange the story—how novel the news!

They who have sought have failed to find, while they who have sat have attained their Goal. By God! Theirs was the quest of the quenched, not the parched; theirs the search of thinkers, not lovers.

As the thinkers work to glean their grain
they think not of Laylí’s myst’ry arcane
’tis knowledge reserved for that Mad Majnún
who in burning his field’ll be granted that boon [1]

A lover in stillness is better than a thinker in motion. The glory of God rest upon thee.


[1] Passage from a ghazal by Saʻdí: https://ganjoor.net/saadi/divan/ghazals/sh12/

A typescript of the complete Persian text of this Tablet appears below.

ای جان‌فشانِ يارِ بی‌نشان، هزار عارفان در جستجوی او ولی محروم و مهجور از روی او. امّا تو يافتی، تو شناختی. تو نردِ خدمت باختی و کار خود ساختی و عَلَمِ فوز و فلاح افراختی. طُرفه حکايتی و غريب بشارتی. آنانکه جستند نيافتند؛ آنانکه نشستند يافتند. استغفر الله جستجويشان جستجوی سيراب بود نه تشنگان، و طلبشان طلب عاقلان بود نه عاشقان

عاقلانِ خوشه‌چين از سرِّ ليلی غافلند»
«کاين کرامت نيست جز مجنونِ خرمن‌سوز را

عاشقِ نشسته بِهْ از عاقلِ متحرّک. و البهاء عليک