Leaving Milford; Grieving for the Blessed Beauty; Returning to NY; Predicting great things for America
Mahmud writes: "When the Master left Milford, as well as the influence of His explanations, His kindness and gifts to the servants of the household made a great impression. Calling them before Him, He thanked them and gave each two gold coins. Much affected, all bowed their heads then turned their faces turned towards `Abdu'l-Bahá as He left with majesty and grace. As He turned to observe the lush greenery of that place, tears suddenly poured from His eyes. He was thinking about the Blessed Beauty and was grieved and saddened, recalling the afflictions and sufferings of the Pre-Existent Face.
"When the Master returned to New York in the evening, He went to a house built on the shore of the Hudson River which had been rented at His request [Mrs. Champney's house at 309 West 78th St.] Here, at a gathering of the friends, He spoke about the achievements of American civilization in education, agriculture and commerce and the high standard of its government and people, saying:
"Their material civilization resembles a glass of the utmost transparency and purity but divine civilization is like a shining lamp. When these two combine, the utmost perfection will be realized. The light of the oneness of humanity, of universal peace, of equality of human rights and of divine morals will emanate from this country to all the regions of the world and will illumine them all."*
"Someone asked whether, with all these worldly occupations and physical labors, it is possible that such a spiritual condition can be realized. `Abdu'l-Bahá replied:
"Provided they behave moderately, the more people advance in the material realm, the more their capacity for attaining spirituality is augmented. The sounder the body, the greater is the resplendency and manifestation of the spirit. Truly, what impedes spirituality are the dogmas and imitations that are contrary to true science and a sound mind."
* What a lofty prediction! It is hard to imagine this coming true at this juncture. But the Master's coming to America surely set in motion a new sensibility that will in time be manifest in the spiritual awakening of this country (and Canada).
How much more does Mrs. Champney's house mean, now that I have been there and even "played" Juliet, standing in the doorway!
This is where the famous scene with Juliet painting the Master took place with Lua shaking and wanting to be re-created! And then the striking announcement that Abdu'l-Baha was the Center of the Covenant and the impact on 125 people gathered there. Oh, what days!
The row house is only about a block from Riverside Park, and we could imagine the Master taking His walks there and meeting various friends.
Everything is so much more real when there is an actual place associated with the stories.