Hollow Reed

This reed is a Perfect Man Who is likened to a reed, and the manner of its likeness is this: when the interior of a reed is empty and free from all matter, it will produce beautiful melodies; and as the sound and melodies do not come from the reed, but from the flute player who blows upon it, so the sanctified heart of that blessed Being is free and emptied from all save God, pure and exempt from the attachments of all human conditions, and is the companion of the Divine Spirit. Whatever He utters is not from Himself, but from the real flute player, and it is a divine inspiration. That is why He is likened to a reed; and that reed is like a rod -- that is to say, it is the helper of every impotent one, and the support of human beings. It is the rod of the Divine Shepherd by which He guards His flock and leads them about the pastures of the Kingdom.'

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 45

When Bahá’u’lláh departed from Baghdad, and traveled to Rumelia, the friends remained behind. The inhabitants of Baghdadthen rose up against those helpless believers, sending them away as captives to Mosul. Ustad [Ustad Isma'il] was old and feeble, but he left on foot, with no provisions for his journey, crossed over mountains and deserts, valleys and hills, and in the end arrived at the Most Great Prison. At one time, Bahá’u’lláh had written down an ode of Rumi's for him, and had told him to turn his face toward the Báb and sing the words, set to a melody. And so as he wandered through the long dark nights, Ustad would sing these lines:

"I am lost, O Love, possessed and dazed,

Love's fool am I, in all the earth.

They call me first among the crazed,

Though I once came first for wit and worth.

O Love, who sellest me this wine,

O Love, for whom I burn and bleed,

Love, for whom I cry and pine  --

Thou the Piper, I the reed.

If Thou wishest me to live,

Through me blow Thy holy breath.

The touch of Jesus Thou wilt give

To me, who've lain an age in death.

Thou, both End and Origin,

Thou without and Thou within  --

From every eye Thou hidest well,

And yet in every eye dost dwell."

'He was like a bird with broken wings but he had the song and it kept him going onward to his one true Love.'

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Memorials of the Faithful, pp. 30-32

Consecration, dedication and enthusiastic service is the Keynote to successful teaching. One must become like a reed through which the Holy Spirit descends to reach the student of the Faith. We give the Message, and explain the Teachings, but it is the Holy Spirit that quickens and confirms.

Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 319

He hopes you will be guided and confirmed in your work, so many souls may find eternal life, through your selfless services. It is important that you make contact with pure hearted individuals, gain their confidence, they gain confidence in you, and then gradually teach them. It is better to concentrate on a few, rather than attempt to teach too many at a time. Consecration, devotion, dedication, humility are essential, that the Holy Spirit may use you as a reed for the diffusion of Its creative rays.

Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 322

Never must they let a day pass without teaching some soul, trusting to Bahá’u’lláh that the seed will grow. The friends should seek pure souls, gain their confidence, and then teach that person carefully until he becomes a Bahá’í, and then nurture him until he becomes a firm and active supporter of the Faith. Everyone must remember that it is the "Holy Spirit that quickens" and therefore the teacher must become like a reed through which the Holy Spirit may reach the seeking soul.

Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 321

One should remember it is not the individual who confirms another, but the Holy Spirit which confirms. Thus the individual must become as a reed, through which the spirit may descend, and quicken souls. Thus the best way to develop capacity in teaching the Faith, is to teach. As one teaches, he gains more knowledge himself, he relies more on the guidance of the spirit, and expands his own character. This is why Bahá’u’lláh made it incumbent on all to teach the Faith.

Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 599