Posted by: samandal | November 4, 2010

Zikr’u’lláh, IV

Díyáfat-i-Qudrat, the Feast of Power

It is Bahá’u’lláh who, as the inimitable universal mirror for the all-pervasive Light of Alláh, meditates the meditator; it is Bahá’u’lláh who is meditated upon; and it is the grace of Bahá’u’lláh which flows forth in the process of meditation. Thus the merger of these three components of meditation—dhyáta, the subject of meditation; dhyeya, the object of meditation; and dhyána, the act of meditation—is the ultimate objective of meditation. There is no difference between this state of meditation and love, as in true love there exists only One, the Well-Beloved and none else. Annihilation in Bahá’u’lláh through the Holy Maiden (faná’ fi’l-shaykh) in his station of essential unity must be attained before annihilation in Alláh (faná’ fi’lláh) can be attained.

Many Bahá’ís seem to believe that the depth and height of prayer is to merely recite the published prayers of Bahá’u’lláh from memory. However, these prayers need to be understood not for what they appear to be, but for what they truly are: lessons in how to pray, and which attitude to adopt toward prayer (such as supplication, humility and surrender). But each one of the prayers of the prophet was originally an effusion from his heart intended as a guidepost to the cultivation of the correct attitude toward prayer, not a fixed template for it. The best prayers are those that rise spontaneously from the heart. On the other hand, although the Faith appears to have no apparent prescribed form of meditation, the real situation is actually just the opposite, as a careful examination of the relevant sources will disclose.

Subha is an Arabic word that means “praise.” In Arabic, all prayer beads are called subha and are used as a tool to perform the zikr. They are made from many kinds of wood or from natural materials, such as stone, amber, bone, ivory and coral. These prayer beads are intended only for sacred prayer and are never worn for personal adornment. Bahá’í prayer beads consist of either 95 beads or 19 beads strung with the addition of five beads below (5 x 19 = 95). The use of a subha to assist in these devotional recitations (adhkár) is entirely optional but serves as an anchor for the zikr, a kinesthetic cue device. The beads are moved with the breath and the zikr so that both unintentional sleep and excessive distraction are prevented by this action upon the zikr beads.