A Commentary on Fire Tablet
First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #83
Center for Bahá'í Studies: Acuto, Italy
July 3–6, 2008
(see list of papers from #83)
The Fire Tablet presents the best exemplar of a spiritual journey, one taken by Bahá'u'lláh from His human station upward to His divine seat, where His clay of self is melted in reunion with God. The reader of the Tablet is invited to accompany Bahá'u'lláh in His journey, take a share in what He has endured in the path of beloved and feel a glimpse of the morn of reunion with God.
The Tablet includes a brief introduction which is not found in published volumes, the body and a brief conclusion, and the body of the Tablet is divided into three main sections. This paper tries to analyze the metaphors and the mystical concepts used in each section of the body of the Tablet as well as the valleys journeyed through by reference to writings. The first section introduces the valleys of search and love. In this part of the Tablet Bahá'u'lláh in the voice of servant laments first the trials befallen on the righteous believers in the path of God, then laments through the tongues of the prophets of the past and finally laments the passions endured by Himself. Metaphors are used here to depict how all the creatures are in search for God and seek the shelter of God's love.
In the second section, which introduces the valleys of knowledge, unity, contentment, and wonderment, the voice of Bahá'u'lláh changes to the voice of God, and in reunion with God, He addresses His human station and reveals the wisdom behind enduring all the sufferings and trials. The metaphors in this part are used to depict the kingdom of heaven and victory of the cause as well as to remind us of the greater covenant held between the Báb and people of Bayan.
Finally in the last section, the voice of God once again is shifted to the voice of Servant. In this section the valley of absolute nothingness makes itself manifest. The Tablet ends with a brief conclusion in which the reader expresses the feelings of gratitude as the chance is given to him to feel the meekness of Bahá'u'lláh which will kindle a fire in his veins that burns the world and all he has, so with absolute poverty he enters the realm of God which is the last valley of this journey.
The name of the Tablet may refer to the fire of love of God, disguised in the form of calamity which emits the light of guidance. The calamities are lamented in the beginning and thanked in the end for they help the wayfarer to finalize His journey.
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