The prophet is the manifestation of the same Spirit which in its fullest
expression can rightfully be called Alpha and Omega, although the Spirit of
Alpha and Omega is in all beings : in a loving mother, in a kind father, in an
innocent child, in a helpful friend, in an inspiring teacher. The prophet is a
mystic, and greater than a mystic; the prophet is a philosopher, and greater
than a philosopher; the prophet is a poet, and greater than a poet; the prophet
is a teacher, and greater than a teacher; the prophet is a seer, and greater
than a seer. Why greater? Because he has a duty to perform, together with the
blessing that he brings upon earth.
In the terms of the Eastern people the prophet is termed Payghambar. There are
also two other names: Nabi and Rasul. Although each of these names is expressive
of the prophet, yet each name is significant of a certain attribute of the
prophet, and also each of those words denotes a certain degree of his evolution.
Payghambar verbally means the Message-bearer, and this word is used for the holy
ones, who from time to time brought a divine Message to a certain community,
nation or race, whenever there was need of wakening a certain people. The
Payghambar has worked as an alarm to warn people of coming dangers. The
Payghambar has brought reforms to improve the condition of his people.
(from a lecture given in the Netherlands, 9 October 1921)
There are two steps in the life of the Messenger, one minor and the other major.
One stage is when he begins to give the Message, the next stage is when the
Message is fulfilled. Nabi, therefore, is the one who begins to give the
Message; Rasul is the one who fulfils the Message.
(Continuation of the lecture of 19 August 1922)
Nabi is the prophet, who is not only for a certain section of humanity. Although
he may live and move only in a limited region of the world, yet what he brings
has its bearing upon the whole of humanity. It may not be fulfilled in his
lifetime, but some time a day of fulfilment comes, even if it be in some
centuries, that all he brought reaches the whole of humanity.
Rasul is a term which denotes an advanced degree, where the prophet has not only
brought a Message to the world, but fulfilled his task during his lifetime
through all tests and trials that a prophet is meant to meet in life.
The prophet is an interpreter of the divine law in human tongue. He is an
ambassador of the spiritual hierarchy, for he represents to humanity the
illuminated souls who are known and unknown to the world, who are hidden and
manifest, who are in the world or on the other side of the world.
The prophet is an initiate and an initiator, for he is an answer to the cry of
humanity, of individuals and of the collectivity. He is the one who sympathizes
with those in pain, who guides those who are in darkness, who harmonizes those
who are in conflict, and who brings peace to the world which, when excited by
centuries of its activity, always loses its equilibrium.
The prophet can never tell the ultimate truth, which only his soul knows and no
words can explain. His mission, therefore, is to design and paint and make the
picture of the truth in words that may be intelligible to mankind. The bare
truth not everyone can see. If he can, he needs no more teaching. The prophet,
so to speak, listens to the words of God in the language of God and he
interprets the same words in the human language. He speaks to everyone in their
own language; he converses with everyone standing on their own plane. Therefore
he has little chance to disagree, unless there were someone who wanted
disagreement and noting else. There he cannot help.
Besides the words that even an intellectual person can speak, the prophet brings
the love and the light which is the food of every soul. The very presence of the
prophet may make a person see things differently, and yet he may not know that
it was because of the prophet. He may only think that that, which was not clear
to him or for a moment seemed difficult to him, is now right and clear. For the
prophet is a living light, a light which is greater in power than the sun, for
the light of the sun can only make things clear to the eyes, but the light that
the prophet brings to the world makes the heart see all that the eyes are not
capable of seeing. The prophet brings love, the love of God, the Father and
Mother of the whole humanity, a love that is life itself. No words or actions
can express that love. The presence of the prophet, his very being, speaks of
it, if only the heart has ears to listen. Verily, to the believer all is right,
and to the unbeliever all is wrong.
The principal work of the prophet is to glorify the name of God, and to raise
humanity from the denseness of the earth, to open the doors of the human heart
to the divine beauty which is everywhere manifested, and to illuminate souls
which for years are groping in darkness.
The prophet brings the Message of the day, a reform for that particular period
in which he is born. A claim of prophet-hood is nothing to the real prophet. The
being of the prophet, the work of the prophet, and the fulfilment of his task,
is itself the proof of prophet-hood.