Fundamental Verities in the Writings of the Báb:
1. Unsealing the Sealed Wine -- Slaying the Dragon of Dogmatism in the Writings of the Báb

By Habib Riazati

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #102
Bosch Baha'i School: Santa Cruz, California, USA
May 18–22, 2011
(see list of papers from #102)

    One of the challenges and obstacles in the path of progress of mankind has been dealing with the Myths and Symbols used by the past generations and religions that have been carried over to the present time. These myths and symbols are pointers to some hidden meanings. In other words, they are alluding to certain set of realities. These meanings change over times and the changes are very much impacted by the level of maturity of humankind. Yesterday's truths (meanings) may be today's myths or even superstitions. One of the prominent aspects of the Writings of the Báb, a feature that is also echoed in the Baha'i writings, has to do with providing a new set of meanings to the archetypical symbols of the past revelations and cultures. Symbols such as Life, Death, Rebirth, Creation, Evolution, Resurrection, First, Last, Return, God( s), Manifestation(s)s and other cross-generational symbols have changed their meanings over time. When one generation tries to uphold the literal significance of a given myth or a symbol and ignore the new meanings that are assigned by the subsequent generations; they become the victims of their own vain imaginations. This process leads to dogmas, fundamentalism and fanaticism.

    One of the most important contributions of the Báb to humankind was to slew the dragon of dogmatism in metaphysics. The Báb in His later Writings especially in the Persian Bayan and Panj Shan (Five Modes) looks at some of these ancient symbolic archetypes and assigns to them new sets of meanings that match the psychological and spiritual dynamics of humankind at the present stage of its evolution.

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