He [Bahá'u'lláh] declared Himself three times, first as the Bab predicted in certain odes written in 1852-53, where the Bab makes veiled references to Baha'u'llah's station as the Supreme Manifestation. You will remember in "The Son of the Wolf" how Baha'u'llah speaks of His first intimation that he is the Promised One. It was as if fire ran through His veins and He was consumed with a power that overmastered Him. The second declaration was to a few friends when He was leaving Baghdad, according to the Bab's second date, in 1863. Then in Adrianople between 1864 and 1868 He proclaimed it to the world in His epistles to the Kings.
On Preparation for Manifestation
In "Some Answered Questions" we learn that the Manifestation was chosen from birth but was not conscious of it till the time His Mission approached. Many fought against it at first. But all Manifestations went thru this long struggle of preparation, such as Moses in the Burning Bush, Jesus in the wilderness, Buddha under the Bod tree, and Baha'u'llah in the mountains of suliy [sic] who spent a longer time than others because His preparation was greatest. Baha'u'llah spent two years in the mountains alone. He also went to leave Subi-azel free to try to establish his cause. I assign preparation for His ministry as one of the reasons for His self-imposed exile. The greatness of Baha'u'llah's Manifestation is shown by His having a Manifestation for the forerunner, but He is greater than the Bab for He came for the whole world. We must never give out the impression that one Manifestation of God was greater in power or wisdom than another. They are only greater in what they manifest.
The ever-active enemies, fearing the growing influence of Baha'u'llah, petitioned that He, with His disciples, should be again exiled.
The Governor of Baghdad requested Baha'u'llah to attend at the Court House, to hear a Farman read, which had been sent by the Sultan. The Governor was loath to inform Baha'u'llah of the decree, being unwilling that any discourtesy should be shown to the kingly exile, for Whom he himself felt a profound reverence.
The reply came:
"My mission is not with the rulers of this world, neither with their statesmen, nor their officials. For what reason, therefore, should I enter their Court House?"
The Governor was bewildered, and knew not what to do in his perplexity. At length, he said within himself:
Meeting at the Mosque
"If I invite Him to the mosque, He will surely come, for is it not the House of God? In the holy place the Farman can be read to Him."
Baha'u'llah consented to go to the mosque, where the decree was announced to Him, that He and His family were to be exiled from Baghdad to an unknown destination.
The family and the friends were very sad at this new uprooting.
The preparations for the journey were extremely difficult.
The Master, as He was now called, shielded His adored Father in all ways that lay in His power from undesirable intruders, from the world's insistence, and from those who merely wanted idly to see and to hear something new.
He made the arrangements for the Beloved One to go to the Ridvan, there to abide until the family should have been able to make preparations for the departure.
Proclamation to Abdu'l-Baha
Whilst He tarried in the Ridvan, the appointed time had arrived for the momentous proclamation.
Baha'u'llah confided to the eldest son, 'Abbas, the Master, that He Himself was "He Whom God shall make Manifest," heralded by the Forerunner, the Bab.
As the Master heard the soul-stirring words, and realized that His own beloved Father was He Who should educate mankind in universal conceptions, abolish prejudices, bring unity and the most Great Peace into the distracted world, establish the Kingdom of God upon this sad earth, by making religion again a healing spring for all woes of the world, He understood why the Manifestation had once again become the cause of evil men's hatred and malignant persecution.
As these things were pondered by the Master, His mind, well-endowed with a peculiar receptiveness that was inborn, and strengthened by the education given to Him by His Father, saw, as in a radiant vision, the world of the future, when the divine Message, having become known and comprehended by "men of goodwill," would change the heart of the world, and the Kingdom where God's will shall be done on earth - for which we have been praying for nigh two thousand years - would be established.
Henceforth a new joy and increased devotion to His Father, Baha'u'llah (The Glory of God) took possession of Him. He consecrated Himself, body and soul and spirit, to the sacred work of the Baha'i Cause, spreading abroad the new message of Love and Justice, that message which His Holiness the Lord Christ had brought to man, and which mad had grown to disregard, forgetting his loyalty to the Lord of Compassion, and, as of old, worshipping the Golden Calf.
Baha'u'llah, the Master, and the ladies of the family rode horses and mules, and some were in Kasjafihs, a sort of erection (of the most jolting description) on the back of a mule, and the rest rode horses and mules.
They were escorted by some Turkish soldiers, who behaved very respectfully to the exiles, although they were prisoners. So great was the influence of the majestic personality of Baha'u'llah, that it affected all who came within its lines of force. Discourtesy shrank abashed from His Presence.
At length the tedious journey by land from Baghdad to Constantinople was accomplished - that being the "unknown destination."
Many were attracted to Baha'u'llah at Constantinople, and again the enemy, fearing anew His influence, plotted the further exile to Adrianople.
The account of the sojourn in this place, and the intrigues of another type of enemy, Baha'u'llah's half-brother, Subh-i-Azal, are written in another place.
Henceforth, His bitterest and most unscrupulous foe was "of His own kindred, and His own Father's house."
Consumed with the burning flame of jealousy, as soon as Baha'u'llah sent the Tablet of Declaration to this half-brother, acquainting him with the proclamation of His station as the Chosen One, every mischief which wounded vanity, joined with cunning and ruthless hatred, could devise was plotted and carried out.