Posted by: samandal | June 24, 2010

Húr-i-‘Ujáb, Húr-i-‘Abhá: Wondrous Maiden, Most Luminous Maiden

Díyáfat-i-Rahmat, the Feast of Mercy

“The worship of God as Mother is much easier because Mother is the replica of love, compassion and eternal forgiveness.”                                                            (Swami Muktananda Saraswati)

In the Bahá’í Faith, the Holy Maiden is intimately linked with the agency of revelation. In her role of annunciator, she is the counterpart of the archangel Jabrá’íl in Islám. The Annunciation of the Maid of Heaven to Bahá’u’lláh in the Síyáh-Chál echoes the Annunciation of Jabrá’íl to Máryám in the ‘Ain Sittí Máryám (Virgin’s Fount): the houris of paradise (symbolic embodiments of spiritual perfections, the alter egos of faithful believers) proclaim the Holy Advent of Bahá’u’lláh in compensation for the relative lack of universal acclamation. The Wondrous Maiden (Húr-i-‘Ujáb), the Most Luminous Maiden (Húr-i-‘Abhá) is none other than the feminine personification of the Bahá’í revelation. The Holy Maiden is much more than a mere allegorical symbol; unlike the archangel Jabrá’íl, who is understood to be the archetypal intelligence of humanity, the Holy Maiden is the transcendent Self of Bahá’u’lláh, an extension of the presence of God herself.

Mírzá Husayn-‘Alí Núrí came as the very embodiment of Bahá’u’lláh, whose spiritual station as the Splendor of God is mediated by the Holy Maiden. The transcendent Self of Bahá’u’lláh is gendered as both masculine (rational) and feminine (intuitive), and the communion between Bahá’u’lláh and the Maiden is reflected in the dialogue that takes place between the rational human soul of Husayn-‘Alí Núrí and the inimitable spiritual station of Bahá’u’lláh, whose voice is synonymous with the Holy Maiden. This interpretation, however, transcends its own anthropomorphism, because the Maiden is masculine inasmuch as she draws Bahá’u’lláh toward herself and inseminates his soul with the spirit of revelation.

Symbols may be limited by language and imagination, but they represent archetypal patterns which are central to human existence. We need not “feminize” a God whose feminine names and attributes are functions of her Will and sources of her Acts; but we do need to honor and affirm, interpret and expand, our contingent experience of the names and attributes embodied by the Maiden through our recognition of her role as the mediator of divine revelation.

This Súfí prayer is for private use:

Holy Maiden,                                                                                                   Word and Wisdom of God,                                                                        Shekhínáh of infinite light and eternal life,                                                      illumine my heart.

Awaken me                                                                                                         to feel the heart of light and love,                                                                 wherein this life and mind and body may dissolve.                                  Alláh’u’Abhá.