‘God Passes By’

In our small town in England we have just commemorated the 116th anniversary of the passing of Baha’u’llah. We gathered together with our friends to say prayers and reflect on this most poignant of Bahá’í Holy Days.

A thought that occurs to me is that there seems to be a comparison between the description of the passing of Baha’u’llah and that of the Buddha (whom Bahá’í s also revere as a Divine Educator or ‘Manifestation of God’).

The passing of Baha’u’llah is described in the following terms-

“Six days before He passed away He summoned to His presence, as He lay in bed leaning against one of His sons, the entire company of believers, including several pilgrims, who had assembled in the Mansion, for what proved to be their last audience with Him. “I am well pleased with you all,” He gently and affectionately addressed the weeping crowd that gathered about Him. “Ye have rendered many services, and been very assiduous in your labors. Ye have come here every morning and every evening. May God assist you to remain united. May He aid you to exalt the Cause of the Lord of being.”

‘God Passes By’ Shoghi Effendi, US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979 second printing Pages: 412

Compare this with a following description of the passing of the Buddha-

For a long time, Ananda, have you waited on The Tathgata with a kind, devoted, cheerful, single-hearted, unstinted service of body, with a kind, devoted, cheerful, single-hearted, unstinted service of voice, with a kind, devoted, cheerful, single-hearted, unstinted service of mind. You have acquired much merit, Ananda; exert yourself, and soon will you be free from all depravity.”

The Death of the Buddha, translated from the Mah-Parinibbna-Sutta (v. and vi.) of the Dgha-Nikya: Buddhist Writings. The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

What shines through for me in these descriptions is the generosity and humility of these Divine Teachers in acknowledging the service of their followers. One of the reasons perhaps, that the Divine Educators are remembered with prayer and devotion; while the demise of ten-thousand haughty warlords and kings and are but a mere list of dates on Wikipedia. 

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