Today around the world, Baha’is and their friends are celebrating the birthdays of The Bab and Baha’u’llah, the Twin Divine Messengers sent by God 200 years ago to guide humanity into an era of peace, unity, justice, and oneness. 🌍✌🏽⚖☀️
“So how did you become a Baha’i?” It’s a question that’s bound to give you a really great story about a person’s spiritual journey. I’ve heard the chronicles of countless Baha’is in response to this question, and it never gets old. Whether it was meeting a Baha’i in a chance encounter, reading about the Baha’i Faith in a search for religious truth, being invited to a Baha’i activity and feeling attracted, or a crazy act of divine intervention, every Baha’i has their story of what brought them to the Faith. Even Baha’is who grew up in Baha’i families, like myself, are tasked with investigating the truth for themselves upon reaching the age of 15, and determining if they want to declare their faith. Each person has the responsibility of making their own decision as to whether or not they identify as a Baha’i and accept the station and claims of the Prophet-Founder, Baha’u’llah (meaning ‘Glory of God’, as well as the Forerunner to the Baha’i Faith, The Bab (meaning ‘The Gate’).
For me personally, at age 15, I had no doubts that I believed in Baha’u’llah and The Bab, and hence, I declared myself a Baha’i. However, I didn’t quite understand what that truly entailed for my daily life, and it wasn’t until my early 20’s that I truly took the time to reflect on what I personally believed. Over the next few years, I had my own roundabout spiritual journey that led me to identifying much more strongly as a Baha’i. As I was in the midst of songwriting for the Wizdome album, I decided I really wanted to document my journey as a Baha’i in one of the songs.
My next thought was, “Wouldn’t it be cool to hear several people’s stories of how they became Baha’is, all on one song?” So I hit up a bunch of my Baha’i friends, who were also into the art form of rap, and brought them together to consult on the idea. My homies Joel, Bill, Kishan, Jose Maria, and DJ all responded to the call.
At our first meeting, I shared the vision for the song, and then we went around the room and each person shared their personal journey of becoming a Baha’i and developing a relationship with Baha’u’llah. It was a really beautiful way to start things off. Next, we delved into the Baha’i Writings. I had selected the following passage from Baha’u’llah for us to study:
“O My servants! My holy, My divinely ordained Revelation may be likened unto an ocean in whose depths are concealed innumerable pearls of great price, of surpassing luster. It is the duty of every seeker to bestir himself and strive to attain the shores of this ocean, so that he may, in proportion to the eagerness of his search and the efforts he hath exerted, partake of such benefits as have been pre-ordained in God’s irrevocable and hidden Tablets. If no one be willing to direct his steps towards its shores, if every one should fail to arise and find Him, can such a failure be said to have robbed this ocean of its power or to have lessened, to any degree, its treasures? How vain, how contemptible, are the imaginations which your hearts have devised, and are still devising! O My servants! The one true God is My witness! This most great, this fathomless and surging Ocean is near, astonishingly near, unto you. Behold it is closer to you than your life-vein! Swift as the twinkling of an eye ye can, if ye but wish it, reach and partake of this imperishable favor, this God-given grace, this incorruptible gift, this most potent and unspeakably glorious bounty.”
Ocean, pearls, treasure. There was so much beautiful imagery in the passage that set the tone for the song. After deepening on the passage and sharing what stuck out to us, DJ led us through a poetry workshop activity to get the creative juices flowing. We each wrote the word “treasure”, and then listed the next ten words that came to mind in a stream of consciousness. Treasure… ocean… boats… sandcastles….surfing….etc, you get the point. This activity gave each of us more words to draw from when writing our verses. It’s a really helpful exercise!
DJ then played some beats that a friend of his had created, and we all listened to see if one caught our ear. There were a couple that we liked, but one that the majority of the group agreed matched the vibe of the song best. We then took some time coming up with a “hook”, or chorus, for the song. We messed around for a bit, trying out different lyrics and rhythms, before coming up with a hook that we all thought sounded fresh. “I jumped into the ocean, I let my soul in…”
After nailing the hook, each person went back home and worked out their verses. Weaving our personal journeys as Baha’is with the oceanic imagery of the quote from Baha’u’llah gave us the proper artistic constraints to create something really amazing! After a few more meetings to refine our verses and flow of the song, we hit the recording studio, and hammered out this summer jam. An ode to Baha’u’llah and all the treasures found in His glorious and refreshing Revelation.
The song was included as track #3 on the Wizdome album, but later on, ‘Treasure’ took a life of its own! The team all really desired to create a music video for the song, as the imagery in the lyrics was really beautiful. However, it proved quite difficult to coordinate. Eventually, with the coming of the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah approaching in October 2017, the crew found the extra motivation to get the video done in July 2017. We scheduled a weekend to all head out to Southern California with my good friend and cinematographer Brian and crafted the video!
Leading up to the video release on October 22nd, the Treasure Crew also embarked on a mini-tour across the Southwest United States, visiting the cities of Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Denver, San Diego, San Clemente, Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, and Laveen! It was amazing to bring the song and video to so many people, and we capped it off by sharing the music video on the date of the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah!
Since the music video release and tour, the Treasure Crew has had the bounty of performing the song in many spaces – Baha’i gatherings, church services, interfaith spaces, and hip hop shows. To request a performance, shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
That’s the story of Treasure! Hope you enjoyed reading! To learn more about the project, the Treasure Crew also released a 4 episode, behind-the-scenes video series called “Treasure Hunters” via YouTube, which you can check out below!
Are you a member, or friend, of the Baha’i Faith? Share how you discovered The Bab and Baha’u’llah in the comments below! 👍🏽👍🏽
Unfamiliar with the Baha’i Faith? Ask any questions you have in the comments and I’ll be sure to share a thoughtful response! 👇🏽
Fan of the song and video? Share this blog post on your social media pages or email it to a friend so they can hear it to! 🙏🏽