From the Worldwide Faith News archives

New Volume of Baha'i Sacred Writing, just translated, published

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Thu, 13 Jun 2002 13:00:45 -0700


Baha'i World News Service
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HAIFA, Israel, 13 June 2002 (BWNS) -- A new volume of recently translated
writings of Baha'u'llah, comprising a series of powerful messages written to
world leaders, has been issued by Baha'i World Centre Publications.

Entitled "The Summons of the Lord of Hosts," the 272-page  book contains
authoritative English translations of six major works written by Baha'u'llah
in the latter half of the 19th century. Collectively, the works clearly
enunciate Baha'u'llah's claim to prophethood and offer a prescription for
peaceful and just leadership in the modern world.

"Never since the beginning of the world," declares Baha'u'llah Himself in
the book, "hath the message been so openly proclaimed."

In addition to such pronouncements, Baha'u'llah outlines requirements of the
kings and rulers, including reduction of armaments, the resolution of
international conflicts, and reduction of expenditures which placed
unnecessary strain on the subjects.

Specifically, the book collects the Suriy-i-Haykal [Surih of the Temple],
Suriy-i-Ra'is [Surih of the Chief], Lawh-i-Ra'is [Tablet of the Chief],
Lawh-i-Fu'ad [Tablet to Fu'ad Pasha], Lawh-i-Sultan [Tablet to the Shah of
Iran], and Suriy-i-Muluk [Surih of the Kings].

While portions of some of these works have been translated and published
before, "The Summons of the Lord of Hosts" marks the first time full-length
and fully researched translations of them have been released.

The collected volume represents only a fraction of Baha'u'llah's output
during his 40-year ministry, when He revealed thousands of tablets which
altogether represent a volume more than 70 times the size of the Qur'an and
more than 15 times the size of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

Not only is the size of the revelation significant, but also -- thanks in
part to access to both original documents and the historical context in
which they were revealed -- the Baha'i Faith has a much more direct link to
its origins than is enjoyed by most other religions.

The primary work in the volume is the Surih of the Temple, regarded as one
of Baha'u'llah's "most challenging works." It includes letters addressed to
several individual monarchs, Napoleon III, Czar Alexander II, Queen
Victoria, and Nasiri'd-Din Shah, the Emperor of Persia, and also to Pope
Pius IX.

Baha'u'llah's address to Nasiri'd-Din Shah is the longest of all these
letters, in which He offers to meet with the Muslim clergy, and to provide
whatever definitive proofs of the new revelation they would require to test
Baha'u'llah's claim.

Another major work is the Surih of the Kings, described by Shoghi Effendi as
"the most momentous Tablet revealed by Baha'u'llah in which He, for the
first time, directs His words collectively to the entire company of the
monarchs of the East and West."

"Lay not aside the fear of God, O kings of the earth, and beware that ye
transgress not the bounds which the Almighty hath fixed ... Be vigilant,
that ye may not do injustice to anyone, be it to the extent of a grain of
mustard seed. Tread ye the path of justice, for this, verily, is the
straight path," Baha'u'llah asserts in a statement outlining the
requirements of just leadership.

There are also passages of spiritual significance, such as Baha'u'llah's
exposition in the Surih of the Chief explaining the progress of the human
soul in its path towards God.

To record the words of revelation as He was inspired, Baha'u'llah would
occasionally write them down Himself; but it was typical for the revelation
to be spoken aloud to His amanuensis. The dictation was sometimes recorded
in what has been called "revelation writing" -- a shorthand script written
with extreme quickness owing to the speed with which the words were uttered.
These original "revelation writing" drafts were later revised and approved
by Baha'u'llah.

These "revelation drafts," as well as the many other transcriptions of
Baha'u'llah's writings are held in the International Baha'i Archives. The
collection encompasses approximately 17,000 items, some of which are in
Baha'u'llah's own handwriting, while others are transcriptions made by
either Baha'u'llah's amanuensis or other known scribes, under Baha'u'llah's

The translators and scholars of the Research Department now work from
photocopies of the original documents, with the originals available from the
Archives if they are needed. All of the translations combine the efforts of
a number of translators, who strive to follow the pattern for translation of
Baha'i sacred writings set by Shoghi Effendi, head of the Baha'i Faith and
its authorized interpreter from 1921 until his death in 1957.

The book can be ordered through the United States Baha'i Distribution
Service, 4703 Fulton Industrial Boulevard Atlanta, GA 30336-2017, USA
(telephone: (800) 999-9019; email:

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BWNS - 2-CAM-020613-1-HAYKAL-163-S

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