I was saddened to read that Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani- a Baha’i unjustly imprisoned for ten years in Iran’s harsh Gohardasht prison- has been refused leave to attend his wife’s funeral. Mrs. Ashraf Khanjani passed away after an illness lasting a few months. The couple had been married for over fifty years and had raised four children together. Mr Khanjani’s ‘crime’ was to be a member of an ad-hoc committee serving the needs of the Baha’i community in Iran. The dedication of this man and wife both to each other and their faith put me in mind of `Abdu’l-Baha’s description of an ideal Baha’i marriage.
When, therefore, the people of Bahá undertake to marry, the union must be a true relationship, a spiritual coming together as well as a physical one, so that throughout every phase of life, and in all the worlds of God, their union will endure; for this real oneness is a gleaming out of the love of God. In the same way, when any souls grow to be true believers, they will attain a spiritual relationship with one another, and show forth a tenderness which is not of this world. They will, all of them, become elated from a draught of divine love, and that union of theirs, that connection, will also abide forever. Souls, that is, who will consign their own selves to oblivion, strip from themselves the defects of humankind, and unchain themselves from human bondage, will beyond any doubt be illumined with the heavenly splendours of oneness, and will all attain unto real union in the world that dieth not.
This vision of a spiritual union also has interesting parallels with the Swedenborgian concept of Marriage in Heaven’-
Marriage in Heaven is the bonding of two individuals into one mind. The essential element of marriage is the union of personalities or minds. Further, we can know from this that the intrinsic quality of the personalities or minds determines the quality of the union, and also the quality of the love between the two. Now it is possible to see from where true marriage love comes from – namely, that its first formation occurs in the minds of people who are in a married state. From there, it descends and branches out into the body, where it is perceived and felt as love. Actually, anything that is perceived and felt in the body has its original in the body’s spiritual level, because it originates from discernment and intention. Discernment and intention make up the spiritual person.
Emanuel Swedenborg, Heaven and Hell