Prophetic Stars of Heaven
"And I will shew wonders in heaven above"
(King James Bible, Acts 2:19 )

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The Sesquicentenary
(150th Year Anniversary)
of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh


In 1852
(150 years ago this year - 2002)
there sat in Siyah-Chal the Black Dungeon of Tihran
with His feet in stocks
and about his neck an enormous chain
of unbearable weight.
He was imprisoned there from August 1852 to December 1852
before being exiled to the Most Great Prison in Acca.

The Story:

The Black Dungeon was really little more
than an unlit sewer
in which were chained together thieves, robbers and highwaymen,
awaiting their execution.
It was without bathing or toilet facilities
creating a horrible stench
that repulsed those sent to remove anyone from there.

Remember My days during thy days,
and My distress and banishment in this remote prison.
(Bahá'u'lláh, Compilations, Bahá'í Prayers, p. 210)

The Báb too
had been a prisoner.

Praise be unto Him
Who at this very moment
perceiveth in this remote prison
the goal of My desire.

He is the One Who beareth witness unto Me at all times and beholdeth Me ere the inception of 'after Hin'.[1]

[1 The numerical value of the letters of the word Hin is 68.
The year 1268 A.H. (1851-1852 A.D.)
is the year preceding the birth of the Bahá'í Revelation.]
(Above selection from: The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 18)

And so it was
that in the YEAR NINE -
which Moslem Year began in October 1852 A.D.
(1269 A.H. the year 'after Hin")
that Bahá'u'lláh while in the Black Dungeon
sometime between October and December 1852 A.D.
The Revelation:

"I was asleep on My couch:
the breaths of My Lord the Merciful passed over Me
and awakened Me from sleep:
to this bear witness the denizens [of the realms]
of His Power and His Kingdom,
and the dwellers in the cities of His Glory,
and Himself, the True.

I am not impatient of calamities in His way,
nor of afflictions for His love
and at His good pleasure.
God hath made affliction as a morning shower
to this green pasture,
and as a match for His lamp
whereby earth and heaven are illumined.
(quoted by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, A Traveller's Narrative, p. 77)

"The Couch" is thought of as a symbolic reference
to what Bahá'u'lláh refers to elsewhere
as "the tomb of the body".
Far was he from having the comfort and luxury of a sofa.
These were terrible times of martyrdom
and suffering for the Faith.

The same month that year
that saw the imprisonment of Bahá'u'lláh
also saw the martyrdom of Tahirih (Qurratu'l-Ayn)
"at the heightof her beauty and power"
(William Sears, Release the Sun, p. 120)

The Dispensation of the Báb ended when Bahá'u'lláh experienced the intimation of His mission in the Siyah-Chal, the subterranean dungeon in Tihran in which He was imprisoned between August and December 1852.
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 739)

The intimation of His Revelation to Bahá'u'lláh in the
Siyah-Chal of Tihran, in October 1852, marks the birth of
His Prophetic Mission and hence the commencement of the
one thousand years or more that must elapse before the
appearance of the next Manifestation of God.
(The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 196)

Signs in the Heavens:

Such momentous happenings were symbolized
by happenings in the very heavens above.

"...I see a strange, a unique conjunction in the stars.
It has never occurred before.
It proves that a momentous event is about to take place..."
(quoted by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Memorials of the Faithful, p. 110)

Biela's comet disappeared in 1846. It returned in August, 1852.
This was the very month and year in which Bahá'u'lláh was cast into
an underground prison in Teheran. It was the beginning of the
forty years of his Mission which ended in Israel in 1892 with his
death; the forty years foretold by Micah during which God would
show to the Messiah 'wonderful things'.
(William Sears, Thief in the Night)

The Americana record of this astronomical event states:
"Late in August, 1852, the larger portion again came into view; and
three weeks later the smaller one, now much fainter than its former
companion was seen about 1,500,000 miles in the lead." Sir James
Jeans confirms this: "Six years later [1852], when the comet's
orbit again brought it near to the sun, two pieces were observed
to be one and a half million miles apart." ...Following
this twin-appearance, Sir James Jeans states, "neither of them has
been seen in cometary form, but the place where they ought to be
is occupied by a swarm of millions of meteors, known as the
Andromedid meteors. Occasionally these meet the earth in its
orbit, and make a grand meteoric display." The two comets were no
longer separate comets, but were mingled in one great shower of
light, just as the Faith of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh are not
separate but one in the light which they shed upon the earth.
(William Sears, Release the Sun, p. 218)

'Have the stars fallen?'
Say: 'Yea, when He Who is the Self-Subsisting
dwelt in the Land of Mystery (Adrianople).
Take heed, ye who are endued with discernment!'
All the signs appeared
when We drew forth the Hand of Power
from the bosom of majesty and might.
(Bahá'u'lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 132)

It is said in Scripture and
Tradition that at the time of the birth or announcement of every
Messenger of God, a star or a sign appears in the heavens. Nimrod
was warned of the star that told of the coming of Abraham. The
soothsayers warned Pharaoh of the star in the heavens that foretold
the coming of Moses. The Magi informed Herod of the new star that
guided them to the throne of the "spiritual king," Jesus. The same
legend is told of Buddha, Zoroaster, Muhammad and Krishna. What
were the signs in the heavens during the appearance of the Báb and
Bahá'u'lláh? The holy Scriptures of all faiths had spoken of
Twin-Revelations that would appear at the "time of the end." Now
that the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh had appeared, fulfilling these
prophecies, what were the signs in the heavens? Signs, not for
one, but for two Messengers of God, Who would appear almost
simultaneously? Some of us know the story of the great comet of
1843 which foreshadowed the coming of the Báb. Sir James Jeans, late
British astronomer and mathematician, stated in his book Through
Space and Time, "oddly enough, many of the most conspicuous
appearances of comets seem to have coincided with, or perhaps just
anticipated, important events in history.
(William Sears, Release the Sun, p. 217)

With regard to the spiritual influence of stars,
though this influence of stars in the human world may appear strange,
still, if you reflect deeply upon this subject,
you will not be so much surprised at it.
('Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 245)

Heavenly Events in 2002:

In this Sesquicentenary Year
of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh
marvelous events are once again happening in the heavens.

Five planets, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Mercury and Venus assembled in a rare alignment during Ridvan this year. Such an astounding display won't be repeated for a century. It was an amazing thing for us to observe as we returned home from the Convention Report on eve of the 5th Day of Ridvan.

The five-planet array is a "standout" of the 21st Century, says Robert C. Victor, an astronomer who volunteers at the Abrams Planetarium of Michigan State University and has specialized in predicting and observing unusual configurations of the planets for nearly four decades.

Victor said there will be only three other chances in the coming 100 years to see five planets so tightly grouped, in September 2040, July 2060, and November 2100.

"BUT the groupings of 2040 and 2100 will have some of the planets barely above the horizon as darkness is falling, so viewers will likely have to resort to using binoculars," Victor said. "None of these three groupings will be as accessible to casual skywatchers as (was) the ... spectacular gathering in late April and early May."

And there shall be signs in the sun,
and in the moon, and in the stars;
and upon the earth distress of nations,
with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

Men's hearts failing them for fear,
and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth:
for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

(King James Bible, Luke 21:25-26)

While momentous events may be heralded in the heavens
let no one confuse this recognition,
of the relationship of all things -
and the appreciation of the mysteries
that exist in the heavens and nature,
with the superstitions of Astrology.

"Concerning your question
as to the influence of the stars and planets
on the life of a believer;
such ideas should be entirely dissociated from the Teachings.
(Compilations, Lights of Guidance)

O handmaid of God!
The stars in the sky do not exert any spiritual influence on this world of dust;
but all the members and parts of the universe
are very strongly linked together in that limitless space,
and this connection produceth a reciprocity of material effects.
('Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 160)

"Astronomy is a science, astrology does not come under the same category, but we should be patient with people who believe in it, and gradually wean them away from reliance on such things."
(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 516)
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi,
dated December 24, 1941, to an individual believer, Ibid,. p. 10)

"We should attach no importance to astrology or horoscopes. No exact science is involved, though sometimes some truth seems involved, but the percentage is small."
(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 516)
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi,
dated January 15, 1951 to an individual believer, Ibid,. p. 18)

" is absolutely essential that the teachings should not be confused with the obscure ideas related to numerology and astrology and the like. Individuals interested in them are free to believe in and credit such ideas and to make any inferences and deductions they desire from them, but under no circumstances are they expected to identify them with the principles and teachings of the Cause. We must at this stage preserve the purity and sanctity of the Bahá'í teachings.
(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 516)

and then there is

The Millennium Star

And in the Future
the Sign of the Southern Cross
but that is a story for a future time.