Boston: Unitarian ministers, editor interview, more philosophers, spiritual ecstasy, farewell gathering
Mahmúd writes: "Among the visitors this morning was a group of Unitarian ministers who asked many questions and who received important answers. They took their leave with great humility. Another clergyman, Rabbi Fletcher, remained for over an hour in the Master's presence, asking various questions and receiving answers. He was so grateful and enthralled that it is difficult to describe his attraction. Dr Jack, the editor of an important London journal, also came for an interview. With great fervor and interest, he wrote down the answers to his questions for his journal. Besides the visits of these interested people, the Bahá'ís, who were in spiritual ecstasy and excitement, continuously begged for admission to `Abdu'l-Bahá's presence.
At a meeting in the afternoon at the Master's residence with philosophers and learned men of Boston, one visitor asked about the immortality of the soul. In response, `Abdu'l-Bahá delivered a most unique discourse on the subject, which left everyone astonished. Those leaders of science and knowledge were captivated with the beauty of the Covenant. The talk was so impressive that the Master Himself remarked as He left the meeting: `Until now there has never been such a discourse about the immortality of the soul.' This was purely the result of His authority and power. He had had no intention of speaking on this subject but when He was questioned, He answered without hesitation.
After the meeting He went to a public park in Boston. Later that evening, in the Huntington Chambers, the Bahá'ís held a farewell gathering with over one thousand in attendance. The Master spoke on the signs of progress in the 20th century. He then chanted a prayer in such an imploring manner that tears sprang to all eyes. The meeting ended with the utmost beauty and dignity."
Interesting how Unitarians and philosophers keep intersecting with `Abdu'l-Bahá. And the rabbi and the editor. . . . With all of this activity, no wonder the Baha'is were eager to attain His presence. If only we could feel some of that generative spiritual ecstasy!
It is worth reflecting on the Master's talk at Huntington Chambers (PUP 143–46): "I am going away from your city, but I leave my heart with you. My spirit will be here; I will not forget you. . . . I pray that you may advance continually in spiritual susceptibilities, that day by day you may grow more radiant and draw nearer to God until you become instruments in illuminating the world of humanity. . . ."
Then, in speaking about "this radiant century," He calls us to reflect on the miracles of accomplishment and enumerates many of them. This is surely an example to us now, in these complex times. Look for signs of progress, He tells us.
He ends with this: "In your hearts I have beheld the reflection of a great and wonderful love. The Americans have shown me uniform kindness, and I entertain a deep spiritual love for them. I am pleased with the susceptibilities of your hearts. I will pray for you, asking divine assistance, and then say farewell."
He concludes with a familiar prayer, "O my God! O my God! Verily, these servants are turning to Thee, supplicating Thy kingdom of Mercy. Verily they are attracted by Thy holiness and set aglow with the fire of Thy love. . . ."
Think of this being addressed to us, the descendants of those who heard this prayer for the first time.
I sense that He was pleased with all that happened in Boston in those five days. And later He will come back!