The departure of Bahá'u'lláh from the Garden of Ridvan, at noon, on the 14th of Dhi'l-Qa'dih 1279 A.H. (May 3, 1863), witnessed scenes of tumultuous enthusiasm no less spectacular, and even more touching, than those which greeted Him when leaving His Most Great House in Baghdad. "The great tumult," wrote an eyewitness, "associated in our minds with the Day of Gathering, the Day of Judgment, we beheld on that occasion. Believers and unbelievers alike sobbed and lamented. The chiefs and notables who had congregated were struck with wonder. Emotions were stirred to such depths as no tongue can describe, nor could any observer escape their contagion."
Mounted on His steed, a red roan stallion of the finest
breed, the best His lovers could purchase for Him, and leaving behind Him a
bowing multitude of fervent admirers, He rode forth on the first stage of a
journey that was to carry Him to the city of Constantinople. "Numerous
were the heads," Nabil himself a witness of that memorable scene,
recounts, "which, on every side, bowed to the dust at the feet of His
horse, and kissed its hoofs, and countless were those who pressed forward to
embrace His stirrups." "How great the number of those embodiments of
fidelity," testifies a fellow-traveler, "who, casting themselves
before that charger, preferred death to separation from their Beloved!
Methinks, that blessed steed trod upon the bodies of those pure-hearted
souls." "He (God) it was," Bahá'u'lláh Himself declares,
"Who enabled Me to depart out of the city (Baghdad), clothed with such
majesty as none, except the denier and the malicious, can fail to
acknowledge." These marks of homage and devotion continued to surround Him
until He was installed in Constantinople.
- Shoghi Effendi ('God Passes By')