Today is the first day of the holiest of all Bahá’í festivals, Riḍván (usually pronounced as it is in Farsi: rihz-vahn). The name means “Paradise” and was the name Bahá’u’lláh, the Messenger of God for this day whose teaching formed the Bahá’í Faith, gave to the garden just outside of Baghdad where he formally announced his Mission to his family and closest followers. The twelve days of Riḍván commemorate the twelve days Bahá’u’lláh spent in that garden.
The writings of the Bahá’í Faith speak highly of the power of the arts. When used properly they can uplift the soul, ennoble the spirit, and serve as a great force of attraction drawing humanity together. Regarding music, Bahá’u’lláh informed us,
We, verily, have made music as a ladder for your souls, a means whereby you may be lifted up unto the realm on high … (Kitáb-i-Aqdas, paragraph 51)
Those who recite the verses of the All-Merciful in the most melodious of tones will perceive in them that with which the sovereignty of the earth and heaven can never be compared. (Kitáb-i-Aqdas, paragaph 116)
So it is with great pleasure that I share here the work of my friend Joze Marcelino Kongo, who is a remarkable Bahá’í musician. In it he sets Bahá’u’lláh’s stirring and resplendent words to moving and beautiful music.
These words are the Portuguese translation of the third of the Persian Hidden Words, a book in which Bahá’u’lláh took the essence of religion and “clothed in the garment of brevity.” In English, this Hidden Word states:
O FRIEND! In the garden of thy heart, plant naught but the rose of love, and from the nightingale of affection and desire loosen not thy hold. Treasure the companionship of the righteous and eschew all fellowship with the ungodly.
You can hear more of Joze’s music on his website–which is undergoing maintenance right now; I’ll post it once it’s back up. You can follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jozemarcelino. He was also interviewed by Bahá’í Blog, who I hope will not mind that I borrowed their photo of him for the header image above!