Bicentenary Celebration in West Virginia Combines Renaissance Lute with Selections from the Persian Bayan

Discovering the Báb’s Persian Bayán: The Most Holy Book of the Bábí Religion (2019)
Faculty: Shahrokh Monjazeb, Nima Rafiei

Grant Gustafson of Waterford, VA combined Renaissance music on the lute and learnings from the Persian Bayán course at the community’s bicentennial celebration of the birth of the Báb.

Grant Gustafson with his lute“The Bahá’í Community of Jefferson County, West Virginia, hosted an afternoon of “Poetry, Music and Fellowship on the topic The Unity of Humankind” on October 19, 2019, in celebration of the Bicentennial of the Birth of the Báb. They invited the community to recite poems, tell stories, play songs, and come together under one purpose. This gave me the opportunity to share some of my insights from the wonderful Wilmette course on the Persian Bayán that I had just completed.

Rather than trying to summarize the entire scope of the course and of the Bayán, I decided to focus on only a few aspects around his redefinition of common terms such as paradise, hell, resurrection, and perfection, relating them both to the recognition of the Manifestations of God and to our own efforts as creators of works of art. I interspersed the presentation with selections of Renaissance music that I played on the lute.”

Grant’s closing remarks below on the subject of artistic discipline incorporate two pithy quotations from the Báb’s Persian Bayán.

“No created thing shall ever attain its paradise unless
it appeareth in its highest degree of perfection.”

“In this religion, no other command is as rigorously
enjoined as the duty of refinement, and it is forbidden
that one bring any object into being
in a state of
imperfection when one hath the
power
to manifest it in full perfection.”

~ The Báb

“Artists dedicate years of discipline and painstaking effort in an attempt to perfect, and, beyond self-expression, the  result can be to elevate inanimate objects—a slab of marble, a string of letters, a jumble of tones, a sheet of paper—to their own paradise.”  

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