In the year before Seneca Falls, the Bab’s influence in Iran had spread so much that the authorities had him moved him to the far northwest near the border with Russia and shut him up in a mountain prison. A lone path connected its front gate to the town of Mahku at the foot of the mountain.
On the way to their fields in the morning, the local Kurdish farmers often stopped to look up at the mountain prison hoping to receive a blessing from the holy man within. The very presence of the Bab affected the warden and the guards. After seeing the Bab in a vision walking outside the castle, the warden relaxed all the rules pertaining to the prisoner and allowed the growing stream of visitors to come in and meet him.
The Bab saw his imprisonment in the path of God as the essence of freedom--and himself as the incarnation of God’s will:
“This solitary room (wherein I am) which has not even a door, is today the greatest of the gardens of Paradise, for the Tree of Truth is planted herein. All the atoms of which it is composed cry out, ‘In truth, there is no other God but God, and there is no other God beside me, the Lord of the Universe.”
During the bitterly cold winter of 1847-8, the Bab revealed in his dark stone cell his Holy book, the Bayan (the ‘Exposition’).
The opening of the Bayan, echoing the timeless opening invocation of the Qur’an, consists of nineteen letters, symbolizing the First and Primal First Unity:
“In the Name of God, the Most Exalted, the Most Holy…”
Click below for photos of Mahku at the time and today and then for an uplifting video on the Shrine of the Bab that begins with an appreciation of His time in Mahku: