First Day of Ridvan: Purification
Verily, all created things were immersed in the sea of purification when, on that first day of Ridvan, We shed upon the whole of creation the splendours of Our most excellent Names and Our most exalted Attributes.
(Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 47)
This is a reference to the arrival of Bahá’u’lláh and His companions in the Najibiyyih Garden outside the city of Baghdad, subsequently referred to by the Bahá’ís as the Garden of Ridvan. This event, which took place thirty-one days after Naw-Ruz, in April 1863, signalized the commencement of the period during which Bahá’u’lláh declared His Mission to His companions. In a Tablet, He refers to His Declaration as “the Day of supreme felicity” and He describes the Garden of Ridvan as “the Spot from which He shed upon the whole of creation the splendours of His Name, the All-Merciful”. Bahá’u’lláh spent twelve days in this Garden prior to departing for Istanbul, the place to which He had been banished. The Declaration of Bahá’u’lláh is celebrated annually by the twelve-day Ridvan Festival, described by Shoghi Effendi as “the holiest and most significant of all Bahá’í festivals”.
Give me to drink of the river that is life indeed, whose waters have streamed forth from the Paradise (Ridvan) in which the throne of Thy Name, the All-Merciful, was established, that mine eyes may be opened, and my face be illumined, and my heart be assured, and my soul be enlightened, and my steps be made firm.
(Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 4)
In God We put Our trust, and to Him We cry for help, that haply there may flow from this pen that which shall quicken the souls of men, that they may all arise from their beds of heedlessness and hearken unto the rustling of the leaves of Paradise, from the tree which the hand of divine power hath, by the permission of God, planted in the Ridvan of the All-Glorious.
(Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 19)
Make haste, O my brother, that while there is yet time our lips may taste of the immortal draught, for the breeze of life, now blowing from the city of the Well-Beloved, cannot last, and the streaming river of holy utterance must needs be stilled, and the portals of the Ridvan cannot for ever remain open.
(Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 23)
O my brother! Take thou the step of the spirit, so that, swift as the twinkling of an eye, thou mayest flash through the wilds of remoteness and bereavement, attain the Ridvan of everlasting reunion, and in one breath commune with the heavenly Spirits. For with human feet thou canst never hope to traverse these immeasurable distances, nor attain thy goal. Peace be upon him whom the light of truth guideth unto all truth, and who, in the name of God, standeth in the path of His Cause, upon the shore of true understanding.
(Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 43)
Behold how within all things the portals of the Ridvan of God are opened, that seekers may attain the cities of understanding and wisdom, and enter the gardens of knowledge and power. Within every garden they will behold the mystic bride of inner meaning enshrined within the chambers of utterance in the utmost grace and fullest adornment.
(Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 139)