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New Compilation – The Divine Melody: Song of the Mystic Dove

January 23, 2023, in Articles > Books, by

As a musician, I love finding references to the Word of God as being a melody. Here is one such example written by Abdu’l-Baha:

Today, to this melody of the Company on high, the world will leap and dance: ‘Glory be to my Lord, the All-Glorious!’ But know ye this: save for this song of God, no song will stir the world, and save for this nightingale-cry of truth from the Garden of God, no melody will lure away the heart. ‘Whence cometh this Singer Who speaketh the Beloved’s name?’.1

Recently, I conducted a more detailed search of the Baha’i Writings and was stunned to find that there are several hundred references to the Word of God as being a source of music. I began compiling all these quotations and found they filled 122 pages. With such a wealth of materials, I wanted to share this compilation so that others could enjoy reading about this fascinating concept. I’m so excited that Baha’i Publications Australia just released this compilation, which is entitled The Divine Melody: Song of the Mystic Dove and can be downloaded for free in either PDF or ePub format, or ordered to be printed on demand for those who prefer a physical copy.

I thought I would share a few of these beautiful quotations to give you an idea of the beauty of these references.

In the Most Holy Book, or the Kitab-i-Aqdas, Baha’u’llah writes about the Word of God as coming from a Nightingale singing on the celestial bough:

Thus hath the Nightingale sung with sweet melody upon the celestial bough, in praise of its Lord, the All-Merciful. Well is it with them that hearken.2

In Tablets of Baha’u’llah Revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas, Baha’u’llah states that anybody who is touched by the melodies of God is blessed.

Blessed is he that hath been enraptured by My wondrous melodies and hath rent the veils asunder through the potency of My might.3

Further in the same book, Baha’u’llah refers to the ‘warblings of the birds of heaven’ and the ‘songs of the nightingales’:

We have moreover given thee to drink the choice wine of utterance from the chalice of the heavenly bestowals of thy merciful Lord, which is none other than this Tongue of holiness—a Tongue that, as soon as it was unloosed, quickened the entire creation, set in motion all beings and caused the Nightingale to pour forth its melodies. This is the Fountain of living water for all that dwell in the realm of being… Moreover We have repeatedly enabled thee to hearken unto the warblings of the birds of heaven and to incline thine ear to the songs of the nightingales pouring forth their melodies upon the branches.4

There are just too many references to include here, so I hope you will be motivated to read the compilation. In the meantime, let me offer you a short summary of words used to describe the melodious Voice of God as emanating from:

  • the Mystic Dove
  • the Dove of Truth
  • the Doves of Utterance
  • the Dove of Certitude
  • the Nightingale of Paradise
  • the Nightingale of Holiness
  • the Nightingale of Knowledge
  • the Bird of Heaven
  • the Bird of Eternity
  • the Bird of Desire
  • the Birds of Holiness
  • the Birds of the cities of Knowledge
  • the divine and mystic Bird
  • the Birds of Wisdom
  • the Spirit of God
  • His wondrous, His sublime, His all-compelling, His clear, and most eloquent voice.

The Word of God itself is frequently referred to as

  • the sweet melodies
  • the melodies of the spirit
  • the most perfect and exalted melodies
  • the celestial Melody
  • the Melody of the Supreme Concourse
  • Wondrous Carol of the Spirit

Baha’u’llah also writes in The Seven Valleys:

He beholdeth in his own name the name of God; to him, ‘all songs are from the King,’5 and every melody from Him.6

The second part of the compilation contains quotations about how we can sing the Word of God: if every melody is from Him, and ‘all art is a gift of the Holy Spirit’,7 then singing the Words of God is such a beautiful way to teach, to commune with God, to express our praise and gratitude and to elevate our souls. It is often said that singing the word of God is the highest form of worship.

Music is one of the signs of God. Even as your kind of music stirs the bodies to motion and rouses them to excitement, divine music and the Heavenly Voice animate the hearts and souls. It is this spiritual music which is taught by the Prophets of God. I hope, therefore, that you will hearken to this celestial melody—that just as you spur the army and the nation to movement with earthly music, you will likewise use this heavenly music to confer abiding joy and ecstasy on the minds and spirits.8

Try, if thou canst, to use spiritual melodies, songs and tunes, and to bring the earthly music into harmony with the celestial melody. Then thou wilt notice what a great influence music hath and what heavenly joy and life it conferreth. Strike up such a melody and tune as to cause the nightingales of divine mysteries to be filled with joy and ecstasy.9

Because music is so important in the Baha’i Writings, I thought this short compilation could help us see exactly how wonderful singing the Word of God really is.

  1. Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 93 []
  2. Baha’u’llah, Kitab-i-Aqdas, K139, p. 70 []
  3. Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah Revealed After the Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 17 []
  4. Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah Revealed After the Kitab-i-Aqdas, pp. 195-197 []
  5. Jalalu’d-Din Rumi, The Mathnaví []
  6. Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys, The Valley of Unity, pp. 17-18 []
  7. Quoted in Lady Blomfield, The Chosen Highway, p. 167 []
  8. Mirza Maḥmud Zarqani, Badayiʻu’l-Athar, vol. 2, p. 275 []
  9. Abdu’l-Baha, in Compilation on Music, number 12 []
Posted by

Lorraine Manifold

Lorraine is a passionate advocate for sacred choral music as well as music education and firmly believes that we can all develop our inner musicianship to our heart’s content. Her favourite activities are conducting choirs, dabbling in writing choral music in English and French, and reading about the science of music. She is trying to write a book about it, but often gets side-tracked into writing shorter articles or making short videos. Born in Montreal, she now lives in Melbourne with her husband, Alan, and together they love doing anything music-related, in addition to dreaming about moving up to Queensland to bask in warmer weather. Lorraine holds a Master’s Degree in Vocal Pedagogy, a Bachelor's Degree (Hons.) in Music and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications.
Lorraine Manifold

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