April 21, 2022- The titular word means “Paradise”, and is the name given to two gardens in west Asia. The first was a lush garden, north of Baghdad, from whence Baha’u’llah departed for what is now Istanbul, in April, 1863. It became the site of Baghdad Medical City, a large complex of hospitals, in 1973. The second is an island, surrounded by canals, in the vicinity of Akka, Israel. It was rented by ‘Abdu’l-Baha, in 1875, as a place where Baha’u’llah could spend time away from the dust and confines of the Prison City of Akka. It reminded Him of the Iraqi Garden of Ridvan, thus becoming eponymous to that spot, and also sacred to Baha’is.
Ridvan is also the name given to the twelve-day festival that celebrates Baha’u’llah’s declaration of His mission, which occurred on or around the ninth day of His stay at the original Garden of Ridvan, and made in the presence of His family and closest followers. Today, April 21, was the day of His arrival at the Garden and May 2 was the day He and His entourage departed. Thus, we celebrate the first, ninth and twelfth days as Holy Days, suspending work to the extent humanly possible.
Today also begins the nine-year period of which I have spoken in a few previous posts. The Universal House of Justice, our Supreme Body, has issued the framework for a Nine-Year Plan. Baha’i communities are also devising plans, within that framework and individual believers in turn are planning activities that fit within both the global framework and community plans. Our Faith works in both a top-down and bottom-up manner; the two being in synchronicity, through constant communication and consultation.
Both my activities here at Home Base and my travels thus have an essentially spiritual component. The goal is always building unity between people.