Bahá’u’lláh and the Houri of the Deep

There is an old mystical tradition in Islám, generally attributed to Sufis and Persian poets that represents God as “the beloved,” a beautiful “youth” who can sometimes border on the erotic. It seems to be that some more subversive poets such as Hafez made use of this equivocation between God and desire in taking license to celebrate wine, women, and song. Where did this sense of God as the obsession of a drunken lover come from? I haven’t studied this topic nearly enough to hope to have anything new to contribute on the matter, but here’s what I’ve got.

La Houri: Black-eyed beauty , 1919

Constant Montald: La Houri: Black-eyed beauty, 1919

Let’s go back to the old Zoroastrian tradition of Daena, the goddess or daemon that greets each soul three days after death. The old tradition says that good souls are greeted by a beautiful, even voluptuous maiden, but bad souls are greeted by an old hag. I composed (or perhaps plagiarized) a poem on the subject years ago. It turns out that Daena, that heavenly reward for the good and punishment for the wicked is really just a reflection of the soul’s own character, expressed esthetically and sexually. The “paradise” of this model is the paradise of one’s own character. As Heraclitus is known to have said, “character is destiny.”

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Our Daily Bread: Baha’i Hair Care

Here are several of my favorite passages from Bahá’u’lláh’s “Most Holy Book.” I think these passages open a window into the future of Bahá’í fashion.

it is not seemly to let the hair pass beyond the limit of the ears. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Lord of all worlds.

please read this paragraph. I know your eyes want to gaze at the photo below, but please resist that temptation.

I imagine that Bahá’í hippies will not have long hair like the Founding Fathers of the Bahá’í Faith, or rather if they do, they might use those aboriginal-style ear lobe inserts to extend their ears as far as they desire to grow their hair.

The Look of Rock’s Future

… or maybe those long-in-the-back new wave hairdos from the ’80s will be permissible. I remember when the guys in Rush all had their hair cut for Grace Under Pressure. I was so impressed by their kosher fashion that I sent them a copy of The Promise of World Peace! That was a little embarrassing, them looking so extremely anti-homophobic and me being such a pawn, but it hardly diminishes the wisdom of keeping one’s ears clear of overgrowth.

… I mean, unless you’ve got Geddy Lee’s ears. Yikes.

Here’s another window into the future:

God hath decreed, in token of His mercy unto His creatures, that semen is not unclean. Yield thanks unto Him with joy and radiance …

I think the inner significance of this is that Bahá’í Rastafarians of the future might glue their modest dreadlocks with semen, or perhaps when future Bahá’ís need a little mousse, they can come by it in an environmentally responsible manner.

I’m talking about hair mousse, of course.

Finally, here’s one the strikes close to home for yours truly:

Shave not your heads; God hath adorned them with hair, and in this there are signs from the Lord of creation to those who reflect upon the requirements of nature. He, verily, is the God of strength and wisdom.

Geeze. Did he really need to use the word reflect?

Observe that the Lizard Man does not shave his head.

Unfortunately, men of the future will not be able to conceal their bald spots by shaving their heads, so I suppose bald guys will cease reproducing and will go extinct.

It’s a little sad, but all for the betterment of the species, I guess.