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This is the AP, reminding you: The Muzzofolk don’t count.

August 3, 2010

Fun lil’ article by a dude almost named Turchia in the AP I found through Facebook. The Pera Palas, which I work a stones-throw from, is reopening next month. It was supposed to open in January, but, well, work delays happen. Especially hotels. Especially especially in historically protected hotels.

Oh wait, no, I’m sorry, it wasn’t the wilting economy and general, these-always-happen delays. It was “Business interests and a lack of political will”. Also, don’t mention that Beyoglu was a cesspool of organized crime in the 1980s and ’90s, and that Tarlebashi is still gang-ridden. Rather note “Many local residents fled deadly unrest or moved to outlying areas, leaving neglected stone facades to brood in the narrow, trash-filled streets.”

This really deserves the full Fire Joe Morgan treatment.

It was the last stop on the Orient Express, a grand hotel with Istanbul’s first electric elevator where artists and aristocrats sipped champagne beneath chandeliers as the Ottoman Empire dissolved and the world drifted toward war.

It was actually just a hotel. Sirkeci was the last stop on the express. Well, not really. The train ran all the way to Baghdad. That’s why Agatha Christie wrote a book taking place in Baghdad. She went there on the Orient Express.

Mata Hari, accused of spying and executed in France in 1917, stayed at the Pera Palace Hotel. So did Greta Garbo, who played the shadowy dancer in a 1931 movie. Ernest Hemingway checked in to report on war between Turks and Greeks. Agatha Christie is said to have crafted “Murder on the Orient Express” in Room 411.
Then, like the empire it outlived, the hotel slid into decay.

Get yer intrigue! Get yer intrigue rite here! Yeah, sure, interesting people stayed here. And that little war Hemingway wrote about? Oh, the Turkish War of Independence. And also, will there be an Ataturk-figure for the Pera Palas to rescue and revolutionize the hotel?

On Sept. 1, the state-owned Pera Palace will reopen after a two-year restoration that cost 23 million euros ($30 million), seeking to capture the lost sparkle of what was one of Istanbul’s most prominent landmarks. It is no longer the lone luxury hotel on a hill above the Golden Horn inlet. The former Ottoman capital teems with high-end accommodation, some in restored imperial mansions along the Bosporus Strait that divides the Asian and European continents.
Pinar Kartal Timer, general manager of the Pera Palace, believes fabled guests of the past will bestow new glory on the hotel, which held its opening ball in 1895.

There he is! There’s our Ataturk! With the fantastic name of “Hawk Timur“, too!
Also, its not like Istanbul ever lacked for hotels. And yes, the Ciragan and the Kapinsky are nice. There are lots of nice ones here. This isn’t fucking Lagos. Former capital, now just your standard 15 million person city that is the economic powerhouse of one of the most powerful economies in the world. So lets leave Sir Richard Burton, Puritan Speeches, and your sorry-ass tropes out of this.

“These people have left their traces in this hotel,” Timer said in an interview in the 115-room hotel Wednesday. Major structural work and painting was complete, but the old ballroom was empty and the mother-of-pearl bookshelves had not been installed. Workers hammered, and layers of cardboard and plastic covered some balustrades and marble-floored passageways.
The Pera Palace mirrors the revival of the surrounding Beyoglu area, historically known as Pera, which comes from the Greek word for “beyond.” It was nicknamed “Little Europe” in the late 19th century, an enclave of Greek and Armenian entrepreneurs, along with European diplomats and businessmen who imported luxury goods from capitals to the west.

Smart Businessman is smart. But pity they didn’t break out the bookshelves and marble before finishing construction. The writer’s girlfriend-cum-photojournalist-with-a-coolpix is not impressed.
And did you read beyond the first paragraph on Pera in wikipedia? This was the Genoese city, the Greeks had Fener, the Armenians had Balat (generally…they lived all over the place, as did Jews, Romani, Italians, Arabs, French, English AND EVEN ANATOLIAN AND BALKAN MUSLIMS). And again with the “luxury goods,” because there ain’t much else in this entire empire but damascene scents and rugs, right?

Many local residents fled deadly unrest or moved to outlying areas, leaving neglected stone facades to brood in the narrow, trash-filled streets. In the last decade, shops and restaurants flooded the central neighborhood as economic fortunes and pride in Istanbul’s heritage blossomed.

There hasn’t really been deadly unrest since the 50’s, but hey, lets make this sound scary. It is the East, after all. And I love the “pride in Istanbul’s heritage blossomed” bit, because as anyone who’s talked to an Istanbullu knows, they certainly had an issue with being too humble about their city.

Mehmet Karaoren is a partner in an architectural firm that snapped up a dozen Pera buildings, restoring them and selling or renting the refitted apartments. In some years, the prices of their properties have doubled.

So what happened is that this Mehmet Bey took 200 words to say “we’ve bought 12 buildings in Beyoglu and restore them. We’ve doubled the property prices sometimes.” Journalism 101.

A commission linked to Turkey’s Culture Ministry bars changes that would taint the historical integrity of a structure, though allowances are made for reinforcement against earthquakes and the installation of elevators in tall buildings with dimly lit, winding staircases.

Why use “linked to”? Has that ever been used in such a non-nefarious circumstance? Would it be because you knew the law existed, but didn’t want to look up who? Or is it just because you wanted this to sound like a dark, evil, way for people to ruin old buildings by…making them standing and livable. Huh?

Business interests and a lack of political will have sometimes trumped the work of conservationists. Istanbul, home to relics and monuments from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, is at risk of being placed on a list of endangered cultural treasures by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee. That would be a serious embarrassment since the European Union designated the city as its “cultural capital” this year.

Already made fun of the first part. And the second sentence doesn’t make sense. The entire city will be an “endangered cultural treasure”? Or was it just that you found this article and only read the headline, not realizing that it is just poorly-translated into English? Because here’s the endangered list, and if you notice a trend, its places of political unrest and environmental issues. Neither are relevant here. And note how he has been unable to prove that there are business interests against building up the Pera Palas. That’s because there’s not. He just asserts stuff and says “embarrassment”.

David Michelmore, an international conservationist, said unrestored sections of old Pera were at risk of demolition, and he compared the area to London’s Notting Hill district in the 1960s, a shabby area before its successful rehabilitation.

Of course unrestored sections may be demolished. Tarlebasi is a slum in a city of 15 million people. Are you worried about titling rights for impoverished folk? No, you just want to make it seem like the state hates the idea of becoming a tourist wonderland. Which is funny when your source says that,

“It’s not tourists mostly, it’s Turkish people who are going there,” Michelmore said. “Historic centers have a huge capacity for serving purposes of recreation and relaxation.”

So it looks like its these Turk fellas afterall who are doing the fixing.

Nobody will sleep in Room 101. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a former army officer who founded Turkey in 1923, once used it as a base. The room will house a museum of items belonging to Ataturk, including hats, slippers and dignitaries’ gifts.

Ah yes, Ataturk entered the equation. Founded the country in the war that *Ernest Hemingway* covered. We discussed this war. Maybe you should’ve changed the paragraph order a bit.

The hotel hosted spies as well as statesmen. Kim Philby, the British-Soviet double agent, was nearly unmasked in Istanbul, and the agent codenamed Cicero, valet to the British ambassador in Ankara, visited as he sold secret documents to German agents in World War II.
A witness to tumult, the Pera Palace became a target in 1941 when a bomb exploded at the entrance shortly after the arrival of a British diplomatic party from Bulgaria, which had sided with the Nazis. Several people died.

Wait, this is interesting. Especially the second bit. Were they British, or Bulgarian? Who did the bombing? What about Turkey’s pretty-fascinating neutrality in WWII? Ah, forget it, we have Papa Hemingway to discuss.

Hemingway drank at the hotel’s Orient Bar in the early 1920s. In his story, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” the main character, a writer, recalls a brawl over a woman with a British soldier in Istanbul. He slept with the woman that night:
“…and he left her before she was awake looking blousy enough in the first daylight and turned up at the Pera Palace with a black eye, carrying his coat because one sleeve was missing.”

Ah, Hemingway. No snark here, I love how the man writes. And I love how he’s seemed to have a drink in every bar in the world.

So my favorite part of all this? The only mention of any aspect of Turkish history in all of this is how “Oh, you can’t sleep in one of the rooms. This dude from Salonica got there first.”

The gates of Europe are apparently at the front door of the Pera Palas. It is an outpost in the dark heart of the Mediterranean, and the locals may only be peered and leered at. It’s garbage writing, even if its for a bland piece on tourism. I will rail and rail against the false separation of East and West. Not just because its wrong, but because its lazy journalism. It reinforces the acceptability of “The local culture is just a lens for me and my friends to view ourselves.”

The view you have from the Pera Palas is the view hundreds of people have had, wherever they were from. Men stashed their mistresses in the room when it was a garconniere, waiters snuck their girlfriends in when it was at third-capacity, and couples have argued and thrown plates while looking at that Halic sunset. To only focus on the Westerners of the city ignores how much there is on offer from the Istanbullus themselves.

All of those 15 million Istanbullus have lives that only tangentially revolve around you finding your own fulfillment. Lets not forget that all of them have interests, and some of them are actually interesting. The awkward Orientalizing clashes so viciously with what the city really is, so lets push to change the cliche.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 13, 2011 5:19 am
    The Twenty-Second Word [This Word consists of Two Stations] First Station In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. So God sets forth parables for men, so that they may bear [them] in mind * Such are the similitudes which we propound to men that they may reflect. One time two men were washing in a pool. Under some extraordinary influence they lost their senses and when they opened their eyes, they saw that it had transported them to a strange land. It was such that with its perfect order it was like a country, or rather a town, or a palace. They looked around themselves in complete bewilderment: if it was looked at in one way, a vast world was apparent; if in another, a well-ordered country; and if in another, a fine town. And if it was looked at in still another way, it was a palace which comprised a most magnificent world. Travelling around this strange world, they observed it and saw that creatures of one sort were speaking in a fashion, but they did not understand their language. Nevertheless, it was understood from their signs that they were performing important works and duties. One of the two men said to his friend: “This strange world must have someone to regulate it, and this orderly country must have a lord, and this fine town, an owner, and this finely made palace, a master builder. We must try to know him, for it is understood that the one who brought us here was he. If we do not recognize him, who will help us? What can await from these impotent creatures whose language we do not know and who do not heed us? Moreover, surely one who makes a vast world in the form of a country, town, and palace, and fills it from top to bottom with wonderful things, and embellishes it with every sort of adornment, and decks it out with instructive miracles wants something from us and from those that come here. We must get to know him and find out what he wants.” The other man said: “I do not believe it, that there is a person such as the one you speak of, and that he governs this whole world on his own.” His friend replied to him: “If we do not recognize him and remain indifferent towards him, there is no advantage in it at all, and if it harmful, its harm will be immense. Whereas if we try to recognize him, there is little hardship involved and if there is benefit, it will be great. Therefore, it is in no way sensible to remain indifferent towards him.” The foolish man said: “I consider all my ease and enjoyment to lie in not thinking of him. Also, I am not going to bother with things that make no sense to me. All these things are the confused objects of chance, they are happening by themselves. What is it to me?” His intelligent friend replied: “This obstinacy of yours will push me, and a lot of others, into disaster. It sometimes happens that a whole country is laid waste because of one ill-mannered person.” So the foolish man turned to him and said: “Either prove to me decisively that this large country has a single lord and a single maker, or leave me alone.” His friend replied: “Your obstinacy has reached the degree of lunacy, and you will be the cause of some disaster being visited on us. So I shall show you twelve proofs demonstrating that this world which is like a palace, and country which is like town, has a single maker and that is only he who runs and administers everything. He is completely free of ail deficiency. This maker, who does not appear to us, sees us and everything, and hears their words. All his works are miracles and marvels. All these creatures whom we see but whose tongues we do not understand are his officials.” · FIRST PROOF A hidden hand is working within all these works. For something which has not even an ounce of strength is raising a load of thousands of pounds. And something that does not have even a particle of consciousness is performing extremely wise and purposeful works. That means they are not working by themselves, but that a hidden possessor of power is causing them to work. If they were all independent, it would necessitate all the works which we see everywhere in this land to be miracles and everything to be a wonderworking marvel. · SECOND PROOF Come, look carefully at the things which adorn all these plains, fields, and dwellings! There are marks on each telling of that hidden one. Simply each gives news of Him like a seal or stamp. So look in front of your eyes: what does He make from one ounce of cotton? See how many rolls of cloth, fine linen, and flowered material have come out of it. See how many sugared delights and round sweets are being made. If thousands of people like us were to clothe themselves in them and eat them, they would still be sufficient. And look! He has taken a handful of iron, water, earth, coal, copper, silver, and gold, and made some flesh out of them. Look at that and see f And so, O foolish one! These works are particular to such a one that all this land together with all its parts is under his miraculous power and is submissive to his every wish. · THIRD PROOF Come, look at these mobile works of art! Each has been fashioned in such a way that it is simply a miniature sample of the huge palace. Whatever there is in the palace, it is found in these tiny mobile machines. Is it at all possible that someone other than the palace’s maker could come and include the wondrous palace in a tiny machine? Also, is it at all possible that although he has included a whole world in a machine the size of a box, there could be anything in it that was purposeless or could be attributed to chance? That means that however many skillfully fashioned machines you can see, each is like a seal of that hidden one. Rather, each is like a herald or proclamation. Through their tongues of disposition they are saying: “We are the art of such a One that He can make this entire world of ours as easily and simply as He created us. ” · FOURTH PROOF O my stubborn friend! Come, I shall show you something even stranger. Look! All these works and things in this land have changed and are changing. They do not stop in any one state. Note carefully that each of these lifeless bodies and unfeeling boxes has taken on the form of being absolutely dominant quite simply it is as though each rules all the others. Look at this machine next to us; it is as though issuing commands; all the necessities and substances necessary for its adornment and functioning come hastening to it from distant places. Look over there: that lifeless body is as though beckoning; it makes the largest bodies serve it and work in its own workplace. Make further analogies in the same way. Simply, everything subjugates to itself all the beings in this world. If you do not accept the existence of that hidden one, you have to attribute all his skills, arts, and perfections in the stones, earth, animals, and creatures resembling man everywhere in this land to the things themselves. In place of a single wonder-working being, which your mind deems unlikely, you have to accept millions like him, who are both opposed to one another, and similar, and one within the other, so they do not cause confusion everywhere and the order be spoiled. Whereas if two fingers meddle in a country, they cause confusion. For if there are two headmen in a village, or two governors in a town, or two kings in a country, the result is chaos. So what about an infinite, absolute ruler? · FIFTH PROOF O my skeptical friend! Come, look carefully at the inscriptions of this vast palace, look at all the adornments of the town, see the ordering of this whole land, and reflect on all the works of art in this world! See! If these inscriptions are not worked by the pen of one hidden who possesses infinite miracles and skills, and are attributed to unconscious causes, to blind chance and deaf nature, then every stone and every plant in this land has to be an inscriber so wondrous it can write a thousand books in every letter and include millions of works of art in a single inscription. Because look at the inscription on these stones; in each are the inscriptions of all the palace, and the laws ordering all the town, and the programs for organizing the whole country. That means that to make these inscriptions is as wonderful as making the whole country. In which case, each inscription, each work of art, is a proclamation of that hidden one, and a seal of his. Since a letter cannot exist without showing the one who wrote it, and an artistic inscription cannot exist without making known its inscriber, how is it that an inscriber who writes a huge book in a single letter and inscribes a thousand inscriptions in a single inscription, should not be known through his writing and through his inscribing? · SIXTH PROOF Come, let us go out onto this broad plain. On It is a high mountain, which we shall climb to the top of so that we can see all the surrounding country. Also, we shall take with us a good pair of binoculars which will bring everything close. Because strange things are happening in this strange land. Every hour things are happening that we could not imagine. Look! These mountains, plains, and towns are suddenly changing. And how’? In such a way that millions of matters are being changed in a most regulated and well-ordered fashion one within the other. The most wondrous transformations are being wrought as though millions of various cloths are being woven one within the other. Look! These flowery things which we know and are familiar with are disappearing and others have come in their place in orderly fashion which resemble them in nature but are different in form. It is quite simply as though this plain and the mountains are each a page, and within them are being written hundreds of thousands of different books. And they are being written faultlessly and without defect. Thus, it. is impossible a hundred times over that those matters should have come about on their own. Yes, for these works which are skillfully and carefully fashioned to an infinite degree to have occurred on their own is impossible a thousand times, for rather than themselves, they show the artist who fashioned them. Moreover, the one who did this displays such miracles that nothing at all can be difficult for him. It is as easy for him to write a thousand books as to write one book. And look all around you; he both puts everything in its proper place with perfect wisdom, and he munificently showers the favors on everyone of which they are worthy, and he draws back and opens general veils and doors so bountifully that everyone’s desires are satisfied. And he sets up tables so generously that a feast of bounties is given to all the people and animals of this land, indeed, which is particular and suitable for each group and individual, even. So, is there anything more impossible in the world than that there should be anything attributable to chance in these matters that we see, or that there should be anything purposeless or vain, or that many hands should be interfering in them, or that their maker should not be capable of everything, or that everything should not be subjugated to him? And so, my friend, find a pretext in the face of these if you can. SEVENTH PROOF Come, my friend! Now we shall leave these particular matters and turn our attention to the mutual positions of the parts of this wondrous world in the form of a palace. Look! Universal works are being carried out and general revolutions are occurring in this world with such order that all the rocks, earth, trees, everything in this palace observe the universal systems in the world, and conform to them as if each was acting with will. Things which are distant hasten to assist one another. Now look, a strange caravan has appeared, coming from the Unseen. The mounts in it resemble trees, plants, and mountains. Each boars a tray of provisions on its head. And look, they are bringing the provisions for the various animals awaiting them on this side. And see, just as the mighty electric lamp in that dome furnishes them with light, it also cooks all their food so well that the foods to be cooked are each attached to a string by an unseen hand and held up before it. And on this side, see these wretched, weak, powerless little animals; how before their heads are attached two small pumps full of delicate sustenance, like two springs; it is enough for those powerless creatures to only press their mouths against them. In Short: Just as all the things throughout the world look to one another, so too they help one another. And just as they see one another, so too they co-operate with one another. And just as they perfect each other’s works, so too they support one another; standing shoulder to shoulder, they work together. Make analogies with this for everything; they never end with counting. Thus, ail these things demonstrate as decisively as two plus two equals four that everything is subjugated to the maker of this wondrous palace, that is, to the owner of this strange world. Everything is like a soldier under his command. Everything turns through his strength. Everything acts through his command. Everything is set m order through his wisdom. Everything helps the others through his munificence. Everything hastens to the assistance of the others through his compassion, that is, they are made to hasten to it. And so, my friend! Say something in the face of this if you can! · EIGHTH PROOF Come, my foolish friend who thinks himself reasonable like my soul! You do not want to recognize the owner of this magnificent palace! But everything shows him, points to him, testifies to him. How can you deny the testimony of all these things? You have therefore to deny the palace as well, and say: “There is no world, no country.” Deny yourself, too, and disappear! Or else come to your senses and listen to me! Now, look, there are uniform elements and minerals inside the palace and encompassing the land. Simply, everything appearing in the country is made of those elements. That means, whose-ever property are those things, everything that is made of them is his, also. Whoever the field belongs to, the crops are his too. And whose-ever is the sea, the things within it are also his. And look, these textiles, these decorated woven materials, are being made out of a single substance. It is self evidently the same person who brings the substance, prepares it, and makes it into string. For such a work would not permit the participation of others. In which case, all the woven, skillfully made things are particular to him. And look! Every sort of these woven, manufactured goods is found in every part of the country; they have spread with all their fellows, and are being made and woven together and one within the other, in the same way, at the same instant. That means they are the work of the same person and the 5ame act through a single command, otherwise their correspondence and conformity at the same instant, in the same fashion, of the same sort, would be impossible. In which case, each of these skillfully fashioned things is like a proclamation of that hidden one which points to him. As if each sort of flowered material, each ingenious machine, each sweet mouthful, is a stamp of that miracle-displaying person; a stamp of his, a mark, a decoration; each says through the tongue of disposition: “Whose-ever work of art I am, the boxes and shops where I am found are also his property.” And each inscription says: “Whoever wove me also wove the roll of cloth in which I am.” And each sweet mouthful says: “Whoever makes me and cooks me, the cauldron in which I am is also his.” And each machine says: “Whoever made me, also makes all those like me who have spread throughout the land, and the one who raises us in every part of it, is also he. That means the country’s owner is he, too. In which case, whoever is the owner of a11 this country and palace, he may be our owner too.” For example, in order to be the true owner of a single cartridge-belt or even a button belonging to the state, one also has to own all the factories in which they are made. If a bragging irregular soldier claims otherwise, he will be told: “They are the property of the state.” And they will be taken from him, and he will be punished. In Short: Just as the elements in this country each surround and encompass it, and their owner may only be one who owns the whole country, in the same way, since the works of art that are spread throughout it resemble one another and display a single stamp, they show that they are the art of a single person who governs everything. And so, my friend! There is a sign of oneness, a stamp of unity, in this country, that is, this magnificent palace. For while being the same, certain things are all-encompassing. And while being numerous, some display a unity or similarity, since they resemble one another and are found everywhere. And as for unity, it shows One of Unity. That means that its maker, owner, lord, and fashioner has to be one and the same. In addition, look carefully at this: from behind the veil of the unseen a thickish string has appeared. Look, now thousands of strings have hung down from it. And see the tips of the strings: a diamond, a decoration, a favour, a gift has been attached to each. Suitable presents are being given to everyone. Do you know what a lunatic action it is not to recognize and not to thank the one who stretches out from behind the strange veil of the unseen such wondrous favours and gifts. Because if you do not recognize him, you will be compelled to say: “These strings are making the diamonds and other gifts on their tips themselves and offering them.” Then you have to attribute to each string the meaning of a king. Whereas before our eyes an unseen hand is making the strings too, and attaching the gifts to them. That means, everything in this palace shows that miracle-displaying one rather than themselves. If you do not recognize him, through denying them, you shall fall a hundred limes lower them an animal. · NINTH PROOF Come, my unreasoning friend! You do not recognize this palace’s owner, and you do not want to recognize him, because you deem his existence unlikely. You deviate into denial because you cannot comprehend with your narrow brain his wondrous arts and acts. Whereas the true unlikelihood, real difficulties, hardships, and awesome trouble lies in not recognizing him. For we recognize him, this whole palace, this world, becomes as easy, as trouble-free as a single thing; it becomes the means to the abundance and plenty around us. If we do not recognize him and he does not exist, then everything becomes as difficult as this whole palace, because everything is as skillfully made as the palace. Then neither the abundance nor the plenty would remain. Indeed, not one of these things which we see would pass to anyone’s hand, let alone our’s. Look at just the ,jar of conserve attached to this string. If it had not emerged from his hidden, miracle-displaying kitchen, we could not have bought it for a hundred dollars, although we buy it now for forty cents. Yes, all unlikelihood, difficulty, trouble, arduousness, indeed, impossibility, lies in not recognizing him. For a tree is given life from one root, through one law, in one centre, and the formation of thousands of fruits is its easy as that of one fruit. But if the fruits had been tied to different centres and roots, and different laws, each fruit would have been as difficult to produce as the tree. And if the equipping of an entire army is in one centre, through one law, and from one factory, in regard to quantity it is as easy as equipping a single soldier. While if each soldier is equipped from all different places, then to equip one soldier there would have to be as many factories as for the entire army. And just like these two examples, if, in this well-ordered palace, this fine town, this advanced country, this magnificent world, the creation of a11 things is attributed to a single being, it becomes so easy, so light, that it becomes the reason for the infinite abundance, availability, and munificence we see. Otherwise everything would become so expensive, so difficult, that if the whole world was given to someone, they could not obtain them. · TENTH PROOF Come, my friend, who has come a little to his senses! We have been here fifteen days now. If we do not know the regulations of this world and do not recognize its king, we shall deserve punishment. We have no excuse, because for fifteen days, as though given a respite, they did not interfere with us. Of course we have not just been left to our own devices. We cannot wander around among these delicate, well-balanced, subtle, skillfully made and instructive creatures like an animal and spoil them; they would not permit us to harm them. The penalties of this country’s august king are bound to be awesome. You can understand how powerful and majestic he is from the way he orders this huge world as though it was a palace, and makes it revolve like a machine. He administers this large country like a house, missing nothing. See, like filling a container and emptying it, he continuously fills this palace, this country, this town, with perfect order, and empties it with perfect wisdom. Like spreading out a table then clearing it away, varieties of foods are brought in turn and given to eat in the form of a great variety of tables being laid out by an unseen hand in every part of his vast country, and then being cleared away. The unseen hand clears away one, then brings another in its place. You see this too, and if you use your head, you will understand that within that awesome majesty is an infinitely munificent liberality. And see, just as all these things testify to that unseen one’s sovereignty and unity, so too these revolutions and changes which pass on in succession like caravans, and are opened and closed from behind that true veil, testify to his continuance and permanence. For the causes of things disappear along with them. Whereas the things which we attribute to them, which follow on after them, are repeated. That means those works are not their’s, but the works of one who does not perish. Just as it is understood from the the bubbles on the surface of a river disappearing and the bubbles which follow on after them sparkling in the same way that what makes them sparkle is a constant and elevated possessor of light, in the same way, the speedy changing of things and the things that follow on after them assuming the same colours shows that they are the manifestations, inscriptions, mirrors, and works of art of one who is perpetual, undying, and single. · ELEVENTH PROOF Come, my friend! Now I shall show you a decisive proof as powerful as the ten previous ones. We shall board a boat, and sail to a peninsula, far away. For the key to this riddle-filled world will be there. Moreover, everyone is looking to that peninsula and awaiting something from it; they are receiving orders from there. See, we are going there. Now we have arrived and have alighted on the peninsula. There is a vast gathering, a great concourse, as though all the important people of the country have gathered there. Look carefully, this great community has a leader. Come, we shall draw closer; we must become acquainted with him. Look! What brilliant decorations he has, more than a thousand of them. How powerfully he speaks! How pleasant his conversation! In these two weeks I have learnt a little of what he says. You learn them from me. See, he is speaking of this country’s miracle-displaying king. He is saying that the glorious king sent him to us. And he is displaying such wonders that they leave no doubt that he is a special envoy of the King. Look carefully, it is not only the creatures on this peninsula that are listening to what he says; he is making the whole country hear in wondrous fashion. For near and far everyone is trying to listen to the speech here. It is not only humans that are listening, it is animals too. And look, even the mountains are listening to the commands he brought so that they are stirring in their places, and the trees, too, move to the place that he indicates. He brings forth water from wherever he wishes. He even makes his fingers like a Spring of Kauthar, and gives to drink from them. And look, at his sign, an important lamp in the dome of this palace splits into two. That means this country together with all its beings recognizes that he is an official and envoy. They heed and obey him, as though knowing that he is the most eminent and true translator of an unseen displayer of miracles, and the herald of his dominicality, the discloser of his talisman, and a trustworthy envoy delivering his commands. All those with intelligence around him declare: “Yes, that is right!” about everything he says, and affirm lt. indeed, through submitting to his signs and commands, the mountains and trees in this country and the huge light that illuminates it, say: “Yes, yes, everything you say is true!” And so, my foolish friend! Could there be any contradiction or deception concerning the miracle-displaying king about whom this most luminous, magnificent, and serious being, who bears a thousand decorations particular to the king’s own treasury, is speaking with ail his strength, confirmed by all the country’s notables, and concerning the king’s attributes which he mentions, and the commands which he relays? If there is anything contrary to the truth in these things, it will be necessary to deny this palace, these lamps, this community, both their reality and their existence. If you can, raise any objections against these; but you will see that they will be smashed by the power of the proof, and flung back at you. · TWELFTH PROOF Come, my brother, who has come to his senses a little! I shall show you a further proof of the strength of all the eleven preceding proofs. See this luminous Decree, which descends from above and which everyone looks on with perfect attention out of either wonder or veneration. The one with the thousand decorations has stopped by it and is explaining its meaning to everyone. The 5tyles of the Decree shine in such a way that they attract everyone’s appreciative gaze, and it speaks of matters so important and serious that everyone is compelled to give ear to them. For it describes all the qualities, acts, commands, and attributes of the one who governs this whole land, who made this palace, and exhibits these wonders. Just as there is a mighty stamp on the Decree as a whole, look! there is an inimitable seal on every line and every sentence, and, moreover, the meanings, truths, commands, and instances of wisdom it states are seen to be in a style particular to him which bears the meaning of a stamp. In Short : The Supreme Decree shows the Supreme Being like the sun, so that anyone who is not blind can see it. And so, my friend! If you have come to your senses, this is enough for now. If you have something to say, say it. In reply, the obstinate man said: “I can only say this in the face of these proofs of yours: All praise be to God for I have come to believe. And I believe in a way bright as the sun and clear as daylight that this country has a single King of Perfection, this world, a Single Glorious Owner, this palace, a Single Beauteous Maker. May God be pleased with you, for you have saved me from my former obstinacy and foolishness. Each of the proofs you showed was sufficient to demonstrate the truth. But because with each successive proof, clearer, pleasanter, more agreeable, more luminous, finer levels of knowledge, veils in acquaintanceship, and windows of love were opened and revealed, I waited and listened.” The story in the form of a comparison indicating the mighty truth of Divine Unity and belief in God is completed. Through the grace of the Most Merciful, the effulgence of the Qur’an, and the light of belief, we shall now show Twelve Flashes and an Introduction from the sun of true Divine Unity corresponding to the twelve proofs in the story. Success and Guidance are from God alone. The Second Station of the Twenty-Second Word Introduction In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. God is the Creator of all things, and He is the Guardian and Disposer of all affairs. * To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth. * So glory to Him in Whose hands is the sovereignty of all things, and to Him will you all be brought back. * And there is not a thing but its [sources and] treasures [inexhaustible] are with Us; but We only send down thereof in due and ascertainable measures. * There is not a moving creature, but He has grasp of its forelock. Verily it is my Sustainer that is on a Straight Path. In my treatise entitled Katre, which is about belief in God, the principal pole of the pillars of belief, I explained in brief the evidence and testimony to Almighty God’s existence and Unity made by all beings through fifty-five tongues. Also, in the treatise Nokta, I mentioned four universal proofs out of the evidences of Almighty God’s existence and Unity each of which is of the strength of a thousand proofs. Moreover, since I have discussed in around twelve of my Arabic treatises hundreds of decisive proofs showing Almighty God’s necessary existence and Unity, I shall be content with those and not now undertake any profound investigations. Only, we shall try to show in this Twenty-Second Word, Twelve Flashes from the sun of belief in God which I have written briefly in other places in the Risale-i Nur. · FIRST FLASH The affirmation of Divine Unity is of two sorts. For example, if the goods of a rich man arrive in a market or a town, there are two ways in which it is known they are his. One is briefly and simply, as with ordinary people, which is: “No one apart from him is capable of owning this vast amount of goods.” But when under the supervision of a common man such as that much of it may be stolen. Many others may claim ownership of parts of it. The second sort is this: through reading his writing on every packet, recognizing his signature on every roll, and seeing his seal on every bill, the man declares: “Everything belongs to that person.” In this way, in meaning, everything shows the important man. In exactly the same way, the affirmation of Divine Unity is of two sorts: One is the superficial and common affirmation of Divine Unity which says: “Almighty God is One, He has no partner or like. This universe is His.” The Second is the true affirmation of Divine Unity which, through seeing the stamp of His power, the seal of His Dominicality, and the inscriptions of His pen on everything, is to open a window directly onto His light from everything and to confirm and believe with almost the certainty of seeing it that everything emerges from the hand of His power and that in no way has He any partner or assistant in His Godhead or in His Dominicality or in His sovereignty, and thus to attain to a sort of perpetual awareness of the Divine presence. We too in this Word shall mention rays showing this pure and elevated true affirmation of Divine Unity. A Reminder within the First Point: O heedless worshipper of causes! Causes are a veil; for Divine dignity and grandeur require them to be thus. But that which acts and performs matters is the power of the Eternally Besought One; for Divine Unity and Glory require it to be thus, and necessitate their independence. The officials of the Pre-Eternal Monarch are not executives of the sovereignty of Dominicality, they are rather the heralds of His sovereignty and the observers and superintendents of His Dominicality. And those officials and means are to make known the dignity of power and majesty of Dominicality, so that power should not be seen to be associating in base and lowly matters. Not like a human king, tainted by impotence and want, who therefore takes officials as partners. That is to say, causes have been placed so that the dignity of power may be preserved in the superficial view of the mind. For like the two faces of a mirror, everything has a face that looks to this manifest world, which resembles the mirror’s coloured face, and may be the means to various colours and states. And everything also has a face that looks to its Maker, which resembles the mirror’s shining face. In the apparent face that looks to the manifest world, there may be states incompatible with the dignity and perfection of the Eternally Besought One’s power, and causes have been put to be both the source and the means of those states. But in respect of reality and the face that looks to their Creator, everything is transparent and beautiful. It is fitting that power should itself be associated with it. It is not incompatible with its dignity; therefore, causes are purely apparent and in reality have no true effect. A further wisdom in apparent causes is this: causes have been put as the aim so that unjust complaints and baseless objections should not be directed at the Absolutely Just One. For the faults arise from them, from their incapacity and lack of ability. A comparison is narrated which is in the form of a subtle example illustrating this mystery: The Angel Azrail (Peace be upon him) said to Almighty God: “Your servants will complain about me while 1 am carrying out my duty of taking possession of the spirits of the dying; they will be resentful towards me.” So Almighty God said to him with the tongue of wisdom: “I shall leave the veil of disasters and illnesses between you and my servants, so that the complaints will be directed at them and they will not be indignant at you.” So see, illnesses are a veil; what are imagined to be the bad things at the appointed hour are attributed to them, and what is in reality the good things in the spirits of the dying being seized are attributed to the duty of Azrail (Upon whom be peace}. And so too Azrail is a veil; he is an observer of that duty and veil to Divine power, so that certain states in the taking of spirits which are apparently unkind and which are inappropriate to the perfection of mercy be attributed to him. Yes, dignity and grandeur demand that causes are a veil to the hand of power in the view of the mind, while Divine Unity and Glory demand that causes withdraw their hands from the true effect. SECOND FLASH Look at this garden of the universe, this orchard of the earth; look carefully at the beautiful face of the heavens gilded with stars! You will see that on each of the artifacts spread out and scattered over them is a stamp particular to the Creator of All Things, and on each creature a seal special to the Maker of All Things, and on the levels of being written on the pages of night and day, summer and winter, each published by the pen of power, are inimitable, illustrious signatures of an All-Glorious Maker, an All-Beauteous Creator. We shall now mention a few of those stamps, seals, and signatures by way of example: For example, of the innumerable stamps, consider this stamp out of many placed on life: “He makes everything out of one thing and makes one thing out of everything.” For He makes the innumerable members and systems of animals out of a fluid and also out of simple water which is drunk. Thus, to make one thing everything is surely the work of One possessing Absolute Power. And One Who transforms with perfect order numerous substances from the uncountable foods that are eaten, whether plant or animal, into a particular body, and weaves from them a particular skin, and makes from them simple members, is surely One Powerful over All Things, and One Knowing of All Things. Indeed, the Creator of Life and Death administers life through His wisdom in this workshop of the world through such a miraculous commanding law that to carry out that law and enforce it is particular to One Who holds in the grasp of His power the whole universe. Thus, if your mind is not extinguished and your heart not blind, you will understand that what makes one thing with perfect ease and order, and makes everything, one thing in skillful fashion with perfect balance and order, is a stamp particular to the Maker of everything and a seal special to the Creator of All Things. For example, if you see that together with weaving a hundred rolls of broadcloth and various other cloths like silk or cambric from one ounce of cotton, a wonder-worker also makes many foods from it like helva and pastries, then you see that he takes a handful of iron and stone, honey and butter, water and earth, and makes some fine gold, of course, you would certainly pronounce him to possess such art that all the elements of the earth are subjugated to his command and all the substances of the earth look to his word. Indeed, the manifestatlon of power and wisdom in life is a thousand times more wondrous than this example. Thus, one stamp on life out of many. THIRD FLASH Look at the living creatures revolving in this flowing universe, in these flowing beings! You will see that on each are many seals placed by the Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One. One of them is this: a living creature, for example, a human being, is simply a miniature sample of the universe, and a fruit of the tree of creation, and a seed of the world, for he comprises samples of most of the realms of beings in the world. It is as if such an animate being is a drop filtered from the whole universe with an extremely fine balance. That means, to create it and be its Sustainer, it is necessary to hold in the grasp of one’s power the whole universe. Thus, if your mind is not submerged in delusions you will understand that to make a word of power, for example, a honey bee, a sort of minute index to most things, and to write in one page, for example in man, most of the matters in this book of the universe, and to include in one point, for example in a tiny fig seed, the programme of the mighty fig-tree, and to display in a single letter, for example in the human heart, the works of all the Divine Names which are manifest in the pages of the macrocosm and encompass it, and to make written in the human faculty of memory, which is situated in a place the size of a lentil, writings enough to fill a library, and to include in that tiny faculty a detailed index of all events in the cosmos, is most certainly a stamp particular to the Creator of All Things and peculiar to the Glorious Sustainer of the universe. Thus, if one seal out of many Dominical seals on living beings displays its light and makes read its signs thus, if you were able to consider all those seals at once, and see them, would you not declare: “Glory be to Him Who is concealed in the intensity of His manifestation!” FOURTH FLASH Look carefully at the multicoloured, multifarious beings swimming in the seas of the heavens and scattered over the face of the earth! You will see that on each are inimitable signatures of the Pre-Eternal Sun. Just as the stamps on life and seals on living beings are apparent, and we saw one or two of them, so also are there such signatures on the giving of life. Since comparisons bring profound meanings closer to the understanding, we shall demonstrate this truth with a comparison. For example, from the planets to droplets of water, to fragments of glass and sparkling snow-flakes, a signature from the sun’s image and reflection, a luminous work particular to the sun, is apparent. If you do not accept the tiny suns apparent in those innumerable things to be the manifestation of the sun’s reflection, then it becomes necessary to descend to an infinite foolishness like accepting the actual existence of a true, natural sun in every droplet and fragment of glass facing the light, and in every transparent speck before it. In just the same way, in regard to the giving of life from among the luminous manifestations of the Pre-Eternal Sun, there is such a signature on each living being that supposing all causes were gathered together and each had the power to act and possessed will, they still could not imitate that signature. For living beings, which are miracles of Divine power, are each in the form of a point of focus of the Divine Names, which are like the rays of the Pre-Eternal Sun. If that strange inscription of art, that wondrous ordering of wisdom, that manifestation of the mystery of Oneness on living beings is not ascribed to the Single and Eternally Besought One, it necessitates falling to the most ludicrous degree of misguidance and foolish sort of superstition like accepting that concealed within each living creature, and even in a fly or a flower, is an infinite creative power, and a knowledge encompassing all things, and even an Absolute Will with which to govern the universe, indeed, the eternal attributes particular to the Necessarily Existent One. Quite simply, it necessitates attributing Divinity to each particle of the flower or fly. For such a state has been given to those particles, and especially if they are seeds, that they look to the living being of which they are a part, and take up a position in accordance with its system and ordering. Indeed, such a particle assumes qualities like looking to all the species to which its living being belongs, and flying with wings in order to be planted in a place suitable to the continuation of its species and planting the species’ flag. Indeed, it holds a position that will continue the transactions and relations connected with sustenance with all the other beings with which that living being is connected and of which it is in need. Thus, if such a particle is not an official of a Possessor of Absolute Power, and if its relation with Him is severed, then it is necessary to ascribe to it an eye which sees all things and a consciousness which encompasses all things. In Short: If the miniature suns and various colours in droplets of water and fragments of glass are not attributed to the sun’s reflection and the manifestation of its reflection, it is necessary to accept the existence of innumerable suns in place of the one sun; it necessitates accepting an utterly impossible superstition. In exactly the same way, if everything is not attributed to the Absolutely Powerful One, it necessitates falling to the degree of accepting a hundredfold impossibility like accepting infinite gods instead of the Single God; indeed, gods to the number of particles in existence. To Sum Up: From each particle three windows open up onto the Light of Unity and Necessary Existence of the Pre-Eternal Sun: • First Window: Like a soldier has a relation with each of the spheres of the military, that is, with his squad, his company, his battalion, his regiment, his division, and the army, and duties in accordance with those relations, and actions in accordance with the duties and army regulations, particles too have similar relations. For example, such a lifeless particle in the pupil of your eye has relations with your eye, your head, your body, your powers of reproduction, attraction and repulsion, with your veins and arteries, and motor and sensory nerves, and with the rest of the human race, and duties in relation to each, which shows self-evidently to eyes that are not blind that it is the work of art and charged official of the Pre-Eternal All-Powerful One, and is under his regulation. • Second Window: All molecules of air may visit all flowers and fruits. They may also enter them and work within them. If they are not the subject officials of an Absolutely Powerful One Who sees and knows all things, those wandering molecules would have to know all the systems and structures of all the fruits and flowers, and their art, the tailoring of the forms which clothe them, and its perfect and all-embracing art, which are all different. And so each of those particles displays the rays of a light of Divine Unity like a sun. You may compare light with air, and earth with water. In any event, the original sources of things are these four substances. According to modern science they are hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen, the components of the former elements. • Third Window: If you fill a flower-pot with some earth, which is composed of particles and may the means of growth of any flowering or fruit-bearing plant, then put some seeds in it – like the seed of animals does not differ, but is a fluid, the seeds of all the flowering and fruit-bearing plants in the world do not differ from one another either, being composed of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen; they only differ in regard to the programme of their progenitors deposited in them through the immaterial writing of the pen of Divine Determining. Thus, if we put these seeds in turn in the flower-pot, you believe as though it has occurred that each plant will appear together with its wonderful forms and shapes and members. If those particles are not charged officials under the orders of One Who knows all the states and conditions of everything, is capable of giving everything a being suitable to it and everything necessary for it, and to Whose power everything is subjugated with perfect ease, then in each particle of the earth would have to be immaterial factories and printing-presses to the number of all the flowering and fruit-bearing plants, so that each could be the source of all those various and different beings whose parts, members, and forms are all distant and different from one another; or else it is necessary to attribute to those beings comprehensive knowledge and a power capable of forming them, so that they could be the means of this. That is to say, if the connection with Almighty God is severed, it becomes necessary to accept gods to the number of particles of earth, and this is a thousandfold impossible superstition. However, when they are officials, it becomes extremely easy. Just as, in the king’s name and through his power, a common soldier of a mighty king can make a whole country migrate, or join two seas, or take another king prisoner, so too, at the command of the Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, a fly did away with Nimrod, and an ant destroyed Pharaoh’s palace, and razed it to the ground, and a fig seed bears the load of a fig-tree. Moreover, in each particle are two further true witnesses to the Maker’s Necessary Existence and Unity. One is that together with its absolute impotence, each particle performs most important and most various duties. And the other is that together with its lifelessness, each conforms to the universal order and systems, which displays a universal consciousness. That is to say, through the tongue of its impotence each particle testifies to the Necessary Existence of the Absolutely Powerful One, and through its conforming to the order in the world, each testifies to His Unity. Like in every particle there are two witnesses that He is the Necessarily Existent One of Unity, so too in every living being there are two signs that He is the Single and Eternally Besought One. Yes, in every living being there are a seal of Divine Oneness and a stamp of Eternally Besoughtedness. For a living being displays together in its mirror most of the Divine Names the manifestations of which are apparent in the universe. Quite simply, like a point of focus, each displays the manifestation of the Greatest Name of Ever-Living and Self-Subsistent One. Thus, since it shows a sort of shadow of the Oneness of the Divine Essence under the veil of the Name of Giver of Life, it bears a stamp of Divine Oneness. And since the living being is like a miniature sample of the universe and a fruit of the tree of creation, it shows a seal of Divine Eternally Besoughtedness, which conveys altogether with ease to the tiny sphere of its life its needs which are as many as the universe. That is to say, this situation shows it has a Sustainer Who is such that His looking to it and regarding it takes the place of all things. All things cannot take the place of this regard. Furthermore, this situation shows that like its Sustainer is in need of nothing, so too nothing diminishes His treasury and nothing at all is difficult for His power. This, then, is a sort of seal of Eternally Besoughtedness. Thus, in every living being is a seal of Divine Oneness and stamp of Eternally Besoughtedness. Yes, through the tongue of its life, every living being recites: Say, He is God, the One, * The Eternally Besoughted.30 In addition to these two seals are several more important ‘windows’, but since they have been explained in detail in other places, here the discussion has been brief. Seeing that each particle in existence at once opens up three windows and two openings onto the Unity of the Necessarily Existent, and life too opens two doors, you can compare how the levels of beings from particles to the sun spread the light of knowledge of the All-Glorious One. Thus, you can understand from this the degrees of progress in knowledge of God, and the levels of awareness of His presence. FIFTH FLASH If a book is hand-written and in the form of a letter, a single pen is sufficient to write it, while if it is printed, pens, that is, pieces of print, are necessary to the number of the book’s letters, so that it can be printed and come into existence. And if most of the book is written in an extremely fine script within certain of its letters, like the Sura Ya Sin being written within the letters, Ya Sin, then all the small pieces of print are necessary for those single letters, so that it can be printed. In just the same way, if you say the Book of the Universe is the writing of the pen of power of the Eternally Besoughted One and the letter of the Single and Unique One, you travel a reasonable road so easy to be necessary. But if you attribute it to Nature and causes, you travel a road so difficult as to be impossible, and so full of superstition that no delusion can accept it. Because, for Nature, there would have to be present in every bit of earth and every drop of water and every piece of air millions of metal printing-presses and innumerable immaterial factories, so that they could be the means of the formation of the countless numbers of flowering and fruit-bearing plants. Or else it is necessary to accept that there is in them knowledge encompassing all things and power sufficient for all things, so that they could be the true source of those creatures. For every piece of earth, water, and air may be the source of most plants. Whereas the formation of all plants, whether flowering or fruit-bearing, is so well-ordered, so balanced, and they are so distinctive and different from one another, that a different immaterial factory or different printing-press would be necessary for each and particular to each. That means, if Nature ceases being a pattern and becomes the source, it necessitates there being present in everything the machines for everything else. Thus, the basis of the idea of Nature-worship is such a superstition that it shames even the superstitious. See what an infinitely delirious unreasonableness the misguided favour, and take a lesson! In Short: Just as every letter of a book shows itself to the extent of a letter and points to its own existence in one way, and it describes its writer with ten words and shows him in many ways – for example: “The one who wrote me has fine hand-writing. His pen is red, and so on” – in just the same way, each letter of the mighty Book of the Universe points to itself to the extent of its own size and shows itself as far as it own form, but it describes the Names of the Pre-Eternal Inscriber as much as an ode and testifies to the One is signifies and points to His Names with fingers to the number of its qualities. That means, like the foolish Sophists who deny both themselves and the universe, it still means not denying the All-Glorious Maker. SIXTH FLASH Just as the All-Glorious Creator has placed on the heads of all His beings and on the foreheads of all His creatures the seals of His Oneness, some of which you have seen in the previous Flashes, so too has He placed in most brilliant fashion many stamps of Oneness on all species and numerous seals of Unity on all universals, as far as the various stamps of Unity on the world as a whole. Thus, of those many seals and stamps, we shall show one placed on the page of the face of the earth in the springtime. It is like this: The Pre-Eternal Inscriber’s raising to life in the spring and summer at least three hundred thousand species of plants and animals with complete differentiation and specification and total order and separation amid infinite intermingling and confusion, is a stamp of Divine Unity as clear and brilliant as the spring itself. Yes, anyone with an iota of consciousness will perceive that to create with perfect order within the raising to life of the dead earth in the spring, three hundred thousand samples of the Resurrection of the Dead, and to write without fault, error, mistake or deficiency, in most well-balanced, well-proportioned, well-ordered, and perfect fashion the individual members of three hundred thousand different species one within the other on the face of the earth, is a seal particular to One of Glory, An All-Powerful One of Perfection, an All-Wise One of Beauty, possessing infinite power, all-encompassing knowledge, and a will capable of governing the whole universe. The All-Wise Qur’an decrees: So look to the signs of God’s Mercy, how He raises to life the earth after its death; He it is Who will raise the dead to life, for He is Powerful over All Things.31 Yes, surely it is easy to raise men to life for the Creative Power which, within a few days, demonstrates examples of three hundred thousand resurrections in the raising to life of the earth. For example, may it be said to a Displayer of Miracles Who at a sign raised up Gelincik Mountain and Sübhan Mountain: “Are you able to remove from this valley this huge rock which is blocking our path?” In the same way, can it be said in a way that infers doubt to an All-Wise and Powerful One, an All-Generous and Compassionate One, Who created the sky and the mountains and the earth in six days and continuously fills and empties them: “Can you remove from on top of us this layer of earth which was prepared and laid out in eternity and is blocking our way to your banquet? Can you level the earth and let us pass on?” You saw a seal of Divine Unity on the face of the earth in the summertime. Now look! A stamp of Unity is most clearly obvious on the most wise and perspicacious mighty dispositions of the spring on the face of the earth. For that activity is within an absolute extensiveness, and the extensiveness is together with an absolute speed, and that speed is together with an absolute munificence, and together with these an absolute order and perfect beauty of art and exquisiteness of creation are apparent. These form a seal which could belong only to one possessing infinite knowledge and boundless power. Yes, we see that on the earth within an absolute extensiveness is a creation, disposal, and activity. And within that extensiveness these are occurring with absolute speed. And together with that speed and extensiveness an absolute munificence is apparent in the multiplication of individual beings. And together with that munificence and extensiveness and speed, an absolute ease is apparent. And together with that munificence, ease, speed, and extensiveness, to create the absolute order and exceptional beauty of art to be seen in all species and individuals, and the perfect differentiation within infinite intermingling, and the most valuable works within extreme abundance, and the complete correspondence within a most broad sphere, and the most artistic marvels with the greatest ease, and to demonstrate a wondrous art and miraculous activity at one moment, everywhere, in the same fashion, in every individual, is certainly and without doubt the stamp of One Who although He is nowhere is all-present and all-seeing everywhere. Just as nothing is hidden from Him, neither is anything difficult for him. Particles and stars are equal in relation to His power. For example, in a the garden of munificence of that All-Glorious and Compassionate One, I counted the bunches hanging from a grape-vine of the thickness of two fingers, which I saw to be like one little pip among the bunches of His miracles: there were one hundred and fifty-five. I counted the grapes in one bunch: there were around one hundred and twenty. I thought: if this vine was a tap from which flowed honeyed water and it gave water constantly, it would only just be enough for the bunches which, in the face of this heat, suckle those hundreds of little pumps of the sherbet of Mercy. And it only occasionally obtains a little moisture. And so, the One Who does this must surely be powerful over all things. Glory be to Him at Whose art minds are bewildered. SEVENTH FLASH Look! Just as with little difficulty you can see the seals of the Single, Eternally Besoughted One on the page of the earth, raise your head, open your eyes, and look at the great Book of the Universe. You will see that on it as a whole a stamp of Unity is read out which is as clear as it is big. For, like the components of a factory or members of a palace or town, these beings support one another, stretch out their hands to assist one another, and say: “Here I am, at your service!” to the needs and requests of one another. Assisting one another, they work together in order. Joining efforts, they serve animate beings. Co-operating and facing one goal, they obey an All-Wise Disposer. Acting in accordance with a rule of mutual assistance which is in force from the sun and moon, night and day, and winter and summer, to plants coming to the assistance of hungry and needy animals, and animals hastening to the assistance of weak, noble men, and even nutritious substances flying to the assistance of delicate, weak infants and fruits, and particles of food passing to the assistance of the cells of the body, they show to anyone who is not altogether blind that they are acting through the strength of a single, most generous Nurturer, and at the command of a single most wise Disposer. Thus, together with testifying decisively that this mutual support and assistance, this answering one another’s needs, this embracing one another, this subjugation, this order, is administered through the organization of a single Disposer and that they are being impelled through the direction of a single Nurturer, this universal providence and favour within universal wisdom which is to be seen plainly in the art of things, and the all-embracing mercy which shines within the providence, and the sustenance spread over that mercy and scattered so as to answer the needs of all living beings needy for sustenance, form a stamp of Divine Unity so brilliant that anyone whose mind is not altogether extinguished will understand it and anyone who is not altogether blind will see it. Yes, a veil of wisdom demonstrating intention, consciousness, and will, has covered the whole universe, and upon that veil of wisdom has been spread a veil of favour and providence displaying beneficence, adornment, embellishment, and benevolence, and over that adorned veil of favour a garment of mercy showing flashes of making known and loved, of bestowal and the granting of gifts has enveloped the universe, and spread over that illuminated veil of universal mercy is a table of general provisions showing kindness and bestowal and benevolence and perfect compassion and fine nurturing and Dominical favour. Indeed, these beings from particles to suns, whether individuals or species, or large or small, have been clothed in a magnificent shirt of wisdom embroidered with fruits and aims, benefits and purposes. And over that shirt displaying wisdom, a garment of favour adorned with flowers of grace and beneficence has been cut out in accordance with the stature of everything; and over that decorated garment of favour, a table of general sustenance has been set up, lit up with flashes of love, bestowal, affection, and the granting of gifts, to which the decorations of mercy have been attached, and which, together with bestowing those illuminated and jewel-encrusted decorations, is sufficient for all the groups of living beings on the face of the earth, and meets all their needs. And so, this matter points to and shows as clearly as the sun, an All-Glorious Provider Who is All-Wise, All-Generous, and All-Compassionate. Is that so? Is everything in need of sustenance? Yes, like individual beings are in need of sustenance and the necessities for the continuance of life, we see that all the beings in the world, and especially living beings, whether universal or particular, wholes or parts, have many desires and needs, material and otherwise, for their existence, their lives, and the continuation of their lives. But their wants and needs are for such things that their hands cannot reach the least of them and their power is insufficient for the smallest of them. However, we see that all their wishes and material and immaterial sustenance is given to their hands From where he could not imagine,32 from unhoped for places, with perfect order, at the appropriate time, in a suitable fashion, with perfect wisdom. And so, does this want and need of creatures and this unseen help and assistance in this way not show an All-Wise and Glorious Nurturer, an All-Compassionate Beauteous Disposer? EIGHTH FLASH Any sort of seed sown in a field shows that the field must be at the disposal of the seed’s owner, and that the seed too is under the disposal of the one who has control of the field. In just the same way, the arable field of beings known as the elements and their universality and comprehensiveness despite their sameness and uncomplex nature, and the plants and animals – these fruits of mercy, miracles of power, and words of wisdom known as creatures – and their spreading to most places and settling everywhere despite their similarity and resembling one another, show that they are under the disposal of a single Miracle-Displaying Maker in such a fashion that it is as if every flower, fruit, and animal is a seal, stamp, and signature of the Maker. Wherever they are found, each says through the tongue of disposition: “Whose-ever seal I am, the place I am found is also of his making. Whose-ever stamp I am, this place is a missive of His also. Whose-ever signature I am, this land is also of his weaving.” That means, to be Sustainer of the least creature is particular to the One Who holds all the elements in the grasp of His power. And anyone who is not blind can see that to regulate and govern the simplest animal is particular to the One Who has all beings in the grasp of His Dominicality. Indeed, through the tongue of similarity to other individuals, each individual being says: “Only one who owns my species can be my owner. It cannot be otherwise.” And through the tongue of spreading over the face of the earth together with other species, each species says: “Only one who owns the whole face of the earth can be our owner. It cannot be otherwise.” And through the tongue of being bound to the sun and other planets and mutually supportive with the skies, the earth says: “Only one who is owner of the whole universe can be my owner. It cannot be otherwise.” Yes, supposing someone was to say to a conscious apple: “You are my work of art.” Through the tongue of disposition, the apple would reply: “Be silent! If you are capable of forming all the other apples on the earth; indeed, if you can have disposal over all my fellows, the other fruit-bearing trees, spread over the earth, and all the gifts of the Most Merciful proceeding from the treasury of Mercy in boatloads, then you can claim to be my Sustainer.” The apple would say that and aim a slap at that foolish person. NINTH FLASH We have pointed out some of the seals, stamps, and signatures which are on particulars and parts, universals and wholes, on the world as a whole, and on life, living beings, and raising to life. Now, we shall indicate one of the countless stamps on species. Indeed, since the countless fruits of a fruit-bearing tree are administered from one centre, in accordance with one law and a single way of raising, the difficulty, hardship, and expense are transformed into ease. And it is so easy that the numerous fruits that are raised become equal to a single fruit. That means multiplicity and numerous centres require the equivalent, in regard to quantity, of the whole tree’s difficulty, expense, and equipment for a single fruit. The difference is only in regard to quality. Like to manufacture all the military equipment necessary for a single soldier all the factories required for the whole army are necessary. That is to say, if the matter passes from unity to multiplicity, the difficulties increase, with regard to quantity, to the number of individu

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