The Master's trip was not free of troubles. Mahmud alluded to this but was not explicit when he wrote: "One of our companions showed such grave negligence and impudence that the heart of the beloved Master as well as our own hearts were saddened. However, observing his behavior and the forbearance of `Abdu'l-Bahá, we have not written about his actions, which were often the source of grief to the Master."
Not sure of time/place--probably Akka
A note explains that this is a reference to Amin Farid's conduct. He "often solicited money and gifts in the name of `Abdu'l-Bahá despite the Master's explicit instructions to the contrary. Owing to his further disobedience to `Abdu'l-Bahá, Farid was later declared a Covenant-breaker."
How sad--the specter of human greed in the midst of this journey. But I suppose that `Abdu'l-Bahá had tests that were quite formidable. What forbearance He must have shown!
Today, in 1912, He left New York for Philadelphia, even though, as Mahmud reports, "He was exhausted and greatly grieved." [In Balyuzi, this trip occurred on Saturday, June 8, so I think Mahmud may be a day off.] "Nevertheless, He gave two talks to the friends in Philadelphia, one during the day and the other in the evening. [Both of these talks occurred on June 9, according to PUP.] "He spoke on the importance of the steadfastness of the friends and their devotion and sincerity to the Cause and acceptance of afflictions in the path of God. He stated that the purpose of the Supreme Manifestation of Abhá in enduring the severest persecutions and afflictions, and the troubles and martyrdoms suffered by so many innocent souls, was for the purification of the souls, the detachment of the hearts, the happiness of the spirits and the spirituality of the friends.
Because of His extreme exhaustion, `Abdu'l-Bahá did not attend some of the meetings and gave His apologies. But the friends, with increasing fervor and ardor, resembling moths in the court of union, sang His praises and glories like unto enchanted nightingales, desiring neither sleep nor rest."
Let's hope the friends were not invasive with their fervor and ardor! And on the other hand, can't we relate to the eagerness to approach the Master when He was there?
Rob Stockman, in his new book on `Abdu'l-Bahá in America, says that "Russell Conwell, the chief pastor of Baptist Temple in Philadelphia, had met `Abdu'l-Bahá in Akka in 1906 and cabled Him while He was in Egypt, inviting Him to speak in his church." So, this was one of the seven invitations He had before coming to this country.
Rob confirms that the trip took place on the 8th: "On Saturday, June 8, `Abdu’l-Bahá took the train to Philadelphia for a long-awaited visit that lasted just forty-five hours. Mahmúd says that exhaustion forced Him to cancel some meetings—presumably scheduled that day—but He spoke four times on Sunday to audiences totaling more than three thousand and to another hundred people on Monday. His talks fell into two types: private ones to the Bahá'í community designed to strengthen and consolidate it, and public ones designed to spread the Bahá'í principles and attract new people."
PUP, in fact, has a talk given by the Master on June 8 at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street in New York. Perhaps Mahmud was so exhausted he just missed this one. Or perhaps he was off dealing with Amin Farid. In any case, it is interesting to think about the human drama going on AND about the pitfalls of keeping accurate notes.
The Master's talk [PUP 171] begins, "The body politic today is greatly in need of a physician." He speaks about the absence of altruism and love and how only divine bounties and remedies can create the love needed in human hearts. He urges His hearers to "hold fast" to the "heavenly agencies" and pray to God that He will "exhilarate our spirits," "illumine our eyes, and "attune our ears to enjoy the celestial melodies."
We can read this talk in a different light, knowing of the Master's troubles with Farid, and wish for Him another revivifying walk in the garden, where He might "enjoy the celestial melodies."
I am a little late posting because there was no wifi last night due to a storm, then I was on an early flight to Indiana, where I have come to the Indiana summer school to present on the Master's visit!