‘The Beauty Of The Rose’

I have always loved the rose- which is of course a traditional symbol of beauty and  love. It has also been the flower of choice of many a poet including W.B Yeats who amongst other devices used  the rose as a symbol of his personal muse and poetry in general. See for example the following line from ‘To The Rose Upon The Rood Of  Time’

‘RED Rose, proud Rose, sad Rose of all my days!
Come near me, while I sing the ancient ways…’

Apparently in classical times the rose was sacred to a number of goddesses including Aphrodite and Isis. It is also a symbol of love and beauty in Persian poetry and the writings of the Sufis. I am struck by the amount of rose imagery in the writings of Bahá’u’lláh (who for some time assumed the guise of a dervish on the banks of the Tigris).  My favourite example is this from the ’The Hidden Words’

‘O FRIEND! In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love, and from the nightingale of affection and desire loosen not thy hold. Treasure the companionship of the righteous and eschew all fellowship with the ungodly‘.

Bahá’u’lláh also uses the rose as a symbol of spiritual enlightenment referring to ‘the rose-garden of knowledge’ and the ‘rose-garden of My wisdom’. He also exhorts the reader to

‘…soar upward from the clay of self and dwell in the rose bower of the heart’

The rose symbolising spiritual enlightenment is also contrasted with clay as a symbol of materialism

‘O MY CHILDREN! I fear lest, bereft of the melody of the dove of heaven, ye will sink back to the shades of utter loss, and, never having gazed upon the beauty of the rose, return to water and clay‘.

Bahá’u’lláh also appears to use the rose as a symbol of the arrival of a new spiritual era-

‘Hear Me, ye mortal birds! In the Rose Garden of changeless splendour a Flower hath begun to bloom, compared to which every other flower is but a thorn’

(All quotations taken from the Bahá’í Reference Library)

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