Montclair, NJ: Spiritual Happiness
Mahmud wrote: "In the morning `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke about the followers of Yahyá, saying: These people are following their false imaginings. . . .
The Master then gave various accounts of their vain imaginings and the mischief they caused in both the spiritual and material affairs of Persia. He also spoke about their malicious calumnies against the sincere and trustworthy Bahá'ís of the East and the West. He ended His talk with an exposition on the erroneous notion prevailing among some religious leaders that science is opposed to religion, a belief that leads people to false dogmas and to adhere to vain imaginings.
In the afternoon the Master gave an exposition on the words of Christ: `He that desireth to follow Me, must bear his own cross.' He then mentioned the martyrs of this great Cause and, referring to `Abdu'l-Vahháb-i-Shírází, said:
Before he left the prison to go to the altar of divine sacrifice, he came first and placed his head on Bahá'u'lláh's feet and kissed them. Having embraced all the friends, he hastened to the plain of sacrifice, dancing and snapping his fingers in ecstasy. [For details on 'Abdu'l-Vahhab, see King of Glory, pp. 94–98]
As the Master recounted this event, His voice became so resonant and powerful that it caused the friends to tremble, and then His mood changed. His body dancing and His fingers snapping, He made such ecstatic cries it seemed that the scene of martyrdom had been reenacted before our very eyes. [see description in yesterday's post, by Juliet Thompson. ] Afterwards, He said: `Compare the condition and firmness of the martyrs of this Revelation with those of the disciples of Christ, taking into account the station attained. How great is the difference between this Day and the past. How far the one is from the other.'
Friends and seekers gathered in the evening. `Abdu'l-Bahá's response to Mr Edsall's father-in-law was very inspiring and impressive." [See talk in PUP, 210–13]
Here’s an excerpt from His talk: “This is the day of Bahá'u'lláh, the age of the Blessed Perfection, the cycle of the Greatest Name. If you do not smile now, for what time will you await and what greater happiness could you expect? This is the springtime of manifestation. The vernal shower has descended from the cloud of divine mercy; the life-giving breeze of the Holy Spirit is wafting the perfume of blossoms. From field and meadow rises a fragrant breath of thanksgiving like pure incense ascending to the throne of God. The world has become a new world; souls are quickened, spirits renewed, refreshed. Truly it is a time for happiness. . . .
Everywhere we hear the call of the spiritual world; in everything we behold the works of God. The church bells are pealing in memory of Jesus Christ although more than nineteen hundred years have passed since He lived upon the earth. This is through the power of the spirit. No material power could do this. Yet people in their blindness deny Christ, seeking to perpetuate their names in worldly deeds. Everyone wishes to be remembered. Through earthly and material accomplishments one will hardly be remembered nine years, while the memory and glory of Christ continue after nineteen hundred have passed. For His name is eternal and His glory everlasting. Therefore, man should hear with attentive ear the call of the spiritual world, seeking first the Kingdom of God and its perfections. This is eternal life; this is everlasting remembrance.”
Mahmud, also on June 23, relates: “After morning prayers of thanksgiving, the Master, with some of these servants, went to the market to purchase food and utensils. `Abdu'l-Bahá Himself supervised the affairs of the kitchen. During this journey He often cooked and prepared the meals, especially when there were special guests. When there were no guests, He would not permit us to go to the trouble of preparing special meals but instead was satisfied with a piece of bread and some cheese. With all this, His glory and majesty caused many to bow humbly before Him. In fact, it was seldom that many did not sit at His table both mornings and evenings to receive the blessings and honor of His presence. After returning from the market and completing His chores in the kitchen, He spoke of the development of Europe:
The material progress of Europe is approaching its zenith. Everything that reaches its zenith undoubtedly begins to decline. I hope that spiritual progress will be bestowed on them and that they will be protected.
It is obvious that whatever is growing, like a tree, is in the process of development. When we were going from Tihrán to Baghdád, there was not a friend to be found on the way but as the tree of the Cause of God was in its infancy and growing, it was apparent that the divine Cause would surround the East and the West and the reign of Násiri'd-Din Sháh would come to naught. Observe what has become of his sovereignty and consider where we are.
In the afternoon the hall of the building was full of people. Many were standing in adjacent rooms to hear `Abdu'l-Bahá. He began by saying:
It is not the place that should be looked at but the illumined faces and hearts of the friends. In Baghdád there was a small room, about one-third the size of this one, in which a number of the believers were living -- but under the shade of the kindness of Bahá'u'lláh and they were very happy.”