Ode to Iran

A love story
Added: Monday, 18 February 2008

watch original V-Blog in Persian

Picture a piano. Imagine a Steinway, dark, shiny, noble, sitting in a beautiful room. Behold the keys, black and white, ebony and ivory, interwoven, playful, dancing, loving. Feel the symphony rising in you, through you, and above you. Listen to the multitude of notes in perfect harmony. If I say the keys are in love, you'll agree.

But what if they weren't? What if, instead of loving each other they "co-existed" or "tolerated" each other? What would this piano sound like?

When we talk about peace in the Middle-East or the harmony of women and men, the equality of races or religions, our highest aspiration thus far seams to be "tolerance" and "co-existence". With such an aim, what tones do we expect to produce? Sure, it sounds better than if the keys were, in fact, at war with other, but perhaps silence is better than a piano whose keys endure each other. Especially since they're intricately connected. When one key strums, they all vibrate.

It's just like the fingers of a hand or the parts of a body. If your heart tolerated your kidneys, tolerated your lungs, tolerated your liver would you be healthy? Or if your fingers co-existed with each other or with your hands, would you be functional?

You get the picture. Love is the force of attraction. Cohesion is the physical manifestation of this spiritual force. Cohesion holds together the very molecules of our physical realities as well as the macro-structures, the planets, our solar system, our universe. Love is integration and functionality. Lack of love and cohesion is tantamount to fragmentation and disintegration.

Baha'u'llah says "O SON OF MAN! I loved thy creation, hence I created thee..." Love is the foundation of everything, the reason religions appear. And yet we take religion and pervert it so badly that it causes Baha'u'llah (in The Hidden Words) to bewail the state of those criminals who call themselves pious:

O YE THAT ARE FOOLISH, YET HAVE A NAME TO BE WISE! Wherefore do ye wear the guise of shepherds, when inwardly ye have become wolves, intent upon My flock? Ye are even as the star, which riseth ere the dawn, and which, though it seem radiant and luminous, leadeth the wayfarers of My city astray into the paths of perdition."

It's hard not to think of Iran – one of many places in this world where crime has been and is committed in the name of love. And yet Iran, this place of confusion, hurt, paradoxes and fragmentation is the cradle of the biggest love story of recent time. In 1844 in the city of Shiraz this story began. A message of love was born that was to be the most all-embracing love humanity had ever seen thus far. This was the love of no single person, people, no single religion, race, culture, tribe, political conviction, gender or nation. This was the love of humanity. This was the love of the notes of a symphony, of the members of one organism. This limitless love was born on the holy land of Iran and its people have yet to own it and be its ambassadors.

Until Iranians discover this love they will not rise to the grandeur that is theirs as the safe keepers of this love story. If you look at Iran's history, a nation that brought forth the first declaration of human rights, a nation with so much passion, pain and love that its art and culture bleed with longing, you realize that it has been groomed as the setting for such a love since time immemorial. The Iranian who embraces this love of humanity is the greatest patriot. The Iranian who resorts to the small-mindedness of his narrowly defined and limited forms of love is, I believe, its greatest enemy.

In the words of Abdul-Baha, one of Iran's greatest lovers:

O people of Persia! The heart is a divine trust; cleanse it from the stain of self-love, adorn it with the coronal of pure intent, until the sacred honor, the abiding greatness of this illustrious nation may shine out like the true morning in an auspicious heaven. This handful of days on earth will slip away like shadows and be over. Strive then that God may shed His grace upon you, that you may leave a favorable remembrance in the hearts and on the lips of those to come. "And grant that I be spoken of with honor by posterity."

Happy the soul that shall forget his own good, and like the chosen ones of God, vie with his fellows in service to the good of all; until, strengthened by the blessings and perpetual confirmations of God, he shall be empowered to raise this mighty nation up to its ancient pinnacles of glory, and restore this withered land to sweet new life, and as a spiritual springtime, array those trees which are the lives of men with the fresh leaves, the blossoms and fruits of consecrated joy.

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