Baha’u’llah was born on the 12th of November, 1817 as Mirza Husayn –Ali Nuri. He was the founder of the Baha’i Faith and died on 29th of May, 1892.
Babism was a 19th century extension of Shi’ism and he claimed to be a messenger of God. He preached that humanity is the only race and that all the different religions come from a single God.
He had been sentenced to imprisonment and banishment by the ottoman and Persian officials that led to the ultimate 24-year captivity in the prison of Acre, Israel where he took his last breath. On 9th of May, 1892 Baha’u’llah caught a fever which grew rapidly and resulted in his death 20 days later.
He was buried in a shrine just outside of Acre. The most notable among his religious works are Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the Kitáb-i-Íqán and Hidden Words.
What Is Ascension?
The literal meaning of the word ascension is the act of ascending i.e. to climb up or rise. This word can be explained in varying contexts based on philosophy or in a spiritual sense. It can mean different things to different people. In the spiritual sense, it’s quite same as the concept of ‘Enlightenment’ in Buddhism. To achieve enlightenment about something is to have a deep insight or full understanding of that particular topic and understanding the mind and purpose of God.
It is the highest state of humanity and is all about the unity and oneness of the Creator and all of his creations. It involves the dissolution of ones ego (lower self) in order to experience their true existence (higher self). It aims to achieve the true realization of a person’s correct potential as if he is a spiritual being experiencing human on goings.
It would be better to say that ascension implies bringing heaven onto earth by raising the lower non-physical soulful being to a higher state of spiritual revelation. It’s about the awakening of the heart and soul of an individual and his inner wisdom. In a more religious context, it means entering the heaven without dying i.e. with an alive soul. On the whole, it’s about spiritual energy and consciousness with a lot going on in the mind-spirit-body level.
Traditions And Customs
The ascension of Baha’u’llah who was the prophet and founder of the Baha’i faith is an occasion of mourning which takes place on the 29th of May every year. On this day, the death of Baha’u’llah is commemorated by Baha’is worldwide at 3 o clock in the morning. This is one of the nine crucial Baha’i holidays on which they don’t work. Just before dawn, at 3:00 AM, Baha’u’llah had passed away in the Mansion of Bahji near Israel and his soul had ascended to heaven.
Till today, all the local Baha’i communities come together near his shrine on the auspicious date and time to remember and honor their founder with Baha’i prayers and scriptures. These are generally recited in Arabian with a special prayer kept reserved for this occasion known as the “Tablet of Visitation”. The sacred remains of Baha’u’llah are present in the shrine of Baha’u’llah which was given the title of an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. This is considered to be one of the holiest places on Earth by the Baha’is much like Mecca. Baha’u’llah was buried shortly after sunset on the very day of his ascension. After his ascension, his eldest son ‘Abdul l-Baha was appointed as the “Centre of the Covenant”.
Kitab-i-Ahd also known as the Book of the covenant is Baha’u’llah’s last will or testament found in his own hand writing. On the 29th of May, 1992 i.e. the centenary of Baha’u’llah’s death, thousands of Baha’is from more than 200 countries worldwide gathered to pay respect to Baha’u’llah at his shrine. Sometimes, arrangements are made by the Baha’is through the Office of Pilgrimage in Haifa, Israel to adjust their pilgrimage dates to around the time of the Ascension. This is done so that during the pilgrimage trips, the Baha’is and the followers of Baha’u’llah can visit his holy shrine.
There are around 5.5 million followers of the Baha’i faith in present times who have Baha’u’llah in their mind and heart. All the adherents of Baha’i communities from all over the world may individually or collectively take part in the Ascension and commemorate him with the help of prayers and readings. This is followed by refreshments and fellowship all in good spirit. This also celebrates the spirit of unity and friendship welcoming every one of the Baha’i faith. This occasion celebrates the life and teachings of Baha’u’llah which helps his followers to learn and perfect their own spiritual lives.