The Mystical Dimensions of the Bahá'i Administrative Order

By Kavian S. Milani

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #36
London School of Economics: London, England
July 13–15, 2001
(see list of papers from #36)

published in Lights of Irfan, volume 3, pages 95-106
© 2002, ‘Irfán Colloquia

    Writing in the 1930's Shoghi Effendi stated that there are features and relationships in the Bahá'i Administrative Order that will be defined and analyzed by future generations. This article is a study of one such feature; that is, the mystical dimensions of the Bahá'i Administrative Order. The thesis is advanced that Bahá'u'llah has through the Covenant bequeathed to posterity "an excellent and priceless heritage." Through this heritage the wayfarer can encounter the Holy Outpouring (Fayd-i- Muqaddas). Whereas the Administrative Order is generally examined as a system of governance, this paper explores the Administrative Order as a mystical entity. It is generated through a "mystic intercourse" with Bahá'u'llah as the "active" (Pen) element and `Abdu'l-Bahá as the "recipient" (Tablet) element. This mystic intercourse begets the Will and Testament that then becomes the Charter of the Administrative Order. The Bahá'i Administrative Order has a number of unique features when examined as a mystical entity, and this paper interrogates some parallels between it and Sufism (Islamic Spirituality) as alternative mystical paths. The implication for the human soul whether a believer, scholar or one serving on Administrative bodies is clear: the encounter with the Administrative Order is critical to the mystical path.

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