April 21st, 2013 marks the 150th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Baha’u’llah – Founder of the Baha’i Faith, Who fulfills prophecy as the Prince of Peace and the Return of Christ seated upon the Throne of David (Isaiah 9:6-7). It is the commencement of the 12-day “Festival of Ridvan” (April 21st – May 2nd). “Ridván” means paradise, and is named for the Garden of Ridvan, outside Baghdad, Iraq, where Baha’u’llah stayed for twelve days before he was exiled from Persia, during His 40 years of exile and imprisonment from the East to Israel. It is the most holy Bahá’í festival, and is also referred to as the “Most Great Festival” and the “King of Festivals”. It was at this time, in 1863, that Baha’u’llah proclaimed that He fulfilled the prophecies for all of the world religions as the Promised One of this Day, and that He had come for the Unity of the World of Humanity, bringing God’s plan for Peace with Justice for all people.
This Ridvan is of particular importance, being not only the 150th anniversary of Baha’u’llah’s Proclamation, but also the 50th JUBILEE Anniversary of the mission of the Establisher of the Baha’i Faith in the United States of America, where Baha’u’llah’s Universal House of Justice (uhj.net) is now established in the Rocky Mountains of the United States, with the descendant of King David, the great, great-grandson of Baha’u’llah, seated as its President. In 1912, Baha’u’llah’s son, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, came from the east to the west, making his historic teaching trip throughout the US, bringing with him the new teachings of the 12 Basic Principles of the Baha’i Faith:
- The Oneness of Humanity
- Independent, Unfettered Investigation of the Truth
- Religion is Progressive, All Having a Common Foundation
- Religion Must Be the Source of Unity
- True Science and True Religion Must Correspond
- The Equality of Men and Women
- Removal of All Prejudice
- Universal Peace Upheld by a Spiritual World Government
- Universal Compulsory Education
- A Spiritual Solution to the Economic Problem
- A Universal Auxiliary Language
- Universal House of Justice with the Davidic King
“Unto Thee be praise, O Lord my God! I entreat Thee, by Thy signs that have encompassed the entire creation, and by the light of Thy countenance that hath illuminated all that are in heaven and on earth, and by Thy mercy that hath surpassed all created things, and by Thy grace that hath suffused the whole universe, to rend asunder the veils that shut me out from Thee, that I may hasten unto the Fountain-Head of Thy mighty inspiration, and to the Day-Spring of Thy Revelation and bountiful favors, and may be immersed beneath the ocean of Thy nearness and pleasure.
Suffer me not, O my Lord, to be deprived of the knowledge of Thee in Thy days, and divest me not of the robe of Thy guidance. Give me to drink of the river that is life indeed, whose waters have streamed forth from the Paradise (Ridvan) in which the throne of Thy Name, the All-Merciful, was established, that mine eyes may be opened, and my face be illumined, and my heart be assured, and my soul be enlightened, and my steps be made firm.
Thou art He Who from everlasting was, through the potency of His might, supreme over all things, and, through the operation of His will, was able to ordain all things. Nothing whatsoever, whether in Thy heaven or on Thy earth, can frustrate Thy purpose. Have mercy, then, upon me, O my Lord, through Thy gracious providence and generosity, and incline mine ear to the sweet melodies of the birds that warble their praise of Thee, amidst the branches of the tree of Thy oneness.
Thou art the Great Giver, the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Compassionate.”
–Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations, II