How Parrots Are Taught to Speak

Notes by Adib Masumian:

The following story comes from an account that Hádí Raḥmání Shírází originally wrote on 26 September 2002. The account was eventually published in the May 2010 issue of the Persian-language “Payám-i-Baháʼí” magazine (online at:…/Payam_i_Bahai/366.PDF).

At the outset, Shírází mentions that a Baháʼí by the name of Mírzá Kúchak Khán conveyed this account to him as it was originally narrated to him by Ḥájí Mullá Yúsufí Nakhaʻí Khúsifí, a relative of Muḥammad Qulí-Khán Nakhaʻí (the main character of this story) and the original narrator of the account.

In Khusef which is part of the Birjand, Janaab e Muhammad Quli Khan Nakha’ee, who was an influential and rich local man, believed in the Blessed Beauty Bahá’u’lláh. As a result of his acceptance of the Faith of Baha’u’llah most of his relatives also came to accept the Faith of God.

This Janaab e Muhammad Quli Khan Nakha’ee goes on pilgrimage to visit His holiness Bahá’u’lláh. He accompanies the other pilgrims on the first and the second day. But when he comes back to the pilgrim house he thinks with himself and in his soul and mind thus: I accepted the hardships and burdens of a six month journey hither to ‘Akká perhaps I might witness some extraordinary and divine happening …but Baha’u’llah speaks like other men and He gives instructions and teachings similar to other men. There is perhaps nothing extra-ordinary or miraculous here.

I was immersed in these thoughts when on the third day one of the servants there said to me that Baha’u’llah wants to see you alone and unaccompanied. I went to the presence of the Blessed Beauty immediately and I lifted aside the curtain of the room where He was to be close in his presence. I bowed and instantly I saw the Blessed Beauty as an incredibly bright and dazzling Light and so intense was my experience of this Light that I fell and lost consciousness. All I recall is that He said: “fee Amanil’lah” which means go with God’s safety.

The servants were able to drag me to the corridor and subsequently to the pilgrim house. I could not eat or sleep for two days after. What happened is as if I beheld His overwhelming Presence everywhere I went and I constantly was telling the other pilgrims that He is here.

My other fellow pilgrims got tired of me and asked ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to help me. After another two days again the servant came back and took me to Bahá’u’lláh’s presence. When I attained His presence, He poured forth loving kindness and gracious utterance. He bade me be seated.

Then Baha’u’llah said: Janaab e Muhammad Quli Khan! The Manifestations of the Divine Essence are forced to appear in human attire and clothes. If Their true Being that which is behind the veil of concealment if that were to appear then all humanity like your good self will lose consciousness and swoon to the unconscious realm. Then Bahá’u’lláh went on: “Do you know how parrots are taught to speak?” I bowed and said: “I do not know”.

Bahá’u’lláh explained: “The parrot owners have a parrot within a cage. Then they bring a big mirror in front of the cage. And then a man hides behind the mirror and starts repeating phrases and talking…The parrot sees that there is another parrot identical to itself talking in the cage in front (reflected in the mirror) and imagining that it is the reflected parrot that is doing the talking it too starts mimicking and learns to speak. Now if the person who is actually behind the mirror should reveal himself from the start, then the parrot will never learn to speak. It is thus that the Manifestations of the Divine should come into the world in human attire and human clothes so that They will not frighten mankind with Their awesome Being…”

This man was an utterly transformed being on his return from attaining Bahá’u’lláh’s presence and to the end of his days was engaged in teaching others and he attained spiritual insight and predicted the night of his own departure from this earthly realm.

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