Denver; Giving their hearts to `Abdu'l-Bahá
Mahmud writes: "Most of the people coming today to see the Master were prominent and well-known. Because they so were attracted and transformed by His talks on the divine teachings of the oneness of humanity, universal peace and the principles of the religions, today I wrote to the friends in the East inviting them to come and see how people who had previously had no appreciation for those from the East, especially the Persians, now come in groups to the threshold of the Master and stand waiting their turn to become the recipients of His favor. They consider an interview with Him a source of pride and glory. Many philosophers, professors, clergymen and lecturers come with bowed heads to show their sincere humility. The people from churches and other organizations are also attracted and fascinated, happy to see His life-giving countenance. The Center of the Covenant has caused the Persians to be renowned for their respectability and has crowned the peoples of the East with eternal honor and glory. And how the newspapers of this region praise the Master and the learned and literary people of the West emphasize the importance of these teachings! Notwithstanding this, most of the Persians are asleep and do not understand the cause of their greatness and honor. They are asleep on the bed of negligence and resting in the lap of pride.
After the meeting the Master took a walk. His heart was filled with joy as He said:
Did you see what a fire was set aglow in the hearts? A person must first be happy and attracted himself to be in a position to transform others. He himself must be impressed in order to impress others. You must act in a way that will make me happy, then you will see what will happen.
To one who visited Him at the hotel, He remarked:
I have come to your city and found tall buildings and advancement in material civilization. Now I will lead you to my own city which is the world above. Its administration is the oneness of humanity, its law is international peace, its palaces are ever shining with the lights of the Kingdom, its season is always spring, its trees are ever green, its fruits are fresh and sweet, its sun is ever ascending, its moon is always full, its stars are ever brilliant and its planets are ever circling. That is our city and the Founder is Bahá'u'lláh. We have enjoyed the pleasures of this city and now I invite you to that city. I hope that you will accept this invitation.
To another He said:
Man must take flight from the cage of the body and become pure spirit, for the body is a cage which causes difficulties for man and makes him the captive of nature and involves him in all types of misfortunes. But when a person discards all his physical habits, he is freed from all fetters. As physical powers attract the world of nature, so spiritual powers must break these chains. This condition is not realized by thought alone. The powers of nature are ever alert to allure man. The eye is fascinated by beautiful scenery; the ear is entranced by music; the heart is attracted by delights and human passions. A man may be rich but still he wants more because he is attracted by the world of nature; he has means of livelihood yet he desires more. Therefore, the spiritual powers must dominate so that he may be freed from these fetters and attain salvation. Man is like a bird in a cage. A bird cannot attain freedom merely by knowing that in the free world there are pure breezes, spacious skies, beautiful gardens, pleasant parks and fountains; rather, the bird must find a power to break the cage and soar into the wide firmament.
He then narrated a story about detachment:
The Persian friends travel mostly on foot. They sleep whenever they get tired. They rest wherever they see a shady tree. Once a person came to an Amír. The Amír wished to present him with a gift and with insistence gave him a robe. Later, when he became tired, he lay down under a tree in the forest with the robe folded under his head. But he could not sleep as he repeatedly imagined that a thief was crouching nearby to take away the robe. At last he rose, threw the robe away and said, `As long as this robe is with me, I shall not find rest. To find rest I must give it up.' How long will you desire a robe for your body? Release your body that you may have no need for a robe.
A public meeting was held in the afternoon at the home of Mrs Roberts. `Abdu'l-Bahá walked awhile in the garden outside the house. Although most of the friends watched Him respectfully from a distance, when several ladies from Washington DC saw Him, they ran towards Him, expressing their faith and happiness in the divine teachings which they had heard from His own lips in Washington.
In brief, the Master's talk that afternoon was to say farewell to the friends, to encourage them in their endeavors to diffuse the fragrances of God and to explain issues related to teaching. They were all set ablaze by His words.
In the evening the proprietor of the Hotel Shirley and the publisher of a newspaper announced that there would be a public meeting in the large hall of the hotel. The spacious room was filled to capacity. I will never forget the joy and excitement of the audience. At times the audience was plunged into a state of sadness and wonder and then into a state of such happiness and joy that peals of laughter could be heard outside the building. It is not possible to describe the excitement and attraction of the people. They all expressed their sadness that the Master was leaving the city. Those men and women staying at the hotel who because of their wealth and pride had previously not deigned to look at us, now sought us out. Everyone was fascinated by the majesty and grandeur of `Abdu'l-Bahá and gave their hearts to Him."
Joy and excitement! We experienced these days back in July of last year when filming our sections for Colorado. We looked for the home of Mrs. Roberts, but it was no longer there. Neither is the Hotel Shirley. But the Denver train station, the Clark house, and the Oxford Hotel (where He will stay on the way back) are still there.
Last year on this day we were in Dublin, NH filming the church, Dublin Inn, Agnes Parson's boat house, the lake, the train station where the Master (and others) arrived from Boston. . . . Miraculously, an antique car from 1914 pulled into the general store--and since we only had a car from 1930 yesterday in Eliot, we were most excited to see if the couple who owned this older car would agree to have it pose for us in front of the Dublin Inn. Indeed, they were, and it's owner drove and even consented to be in a costume and in our film, as he drove multiple times down the driveway to the front of the Inn. Two of us got to ride in the car (in costume) and two of us stood on the porch. I would count that as one of the best days of my life! Now I need to think about going to Denver on Friday. . . .
PS Don't you love the statement: "You must act in a way that will make me happy, then you will see what will happen." Why not try it?