Who was `Abdu'l-Bahá, and why did He come to the West?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 6, 1912 Publicity; little Mary

Montreal: Newspaper publicity; the Master sick with a cold; the blessings of children
Mahmud writes: "In the morning `Abdu'l-Bahá came into our room. When He saw the pile of newspapers which had been collected to send to the friends in the East, He asked, with surprise, `What have you done? What are all these newspapers for?' We replied that they were the signs of the power and influence of the Cause of God. After leaving the church last night, the Master had caught a cold and His voice was hoarse, so even though He had planned to leave Montreal, His departure was delayed for a few days. During this time He went nowhere except to the home of Mr and Mrs Maxwell. However, many came to visit Him at the hotel.
Mrs Maxwell said to Him, `At the time that I visited `Akká I despaired of ever having the blessing of children. Praise be to God! My supplications and your prayers at the Holy Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh were accepted and I was blessed with a dear baby.'  Bestowing His grace and kindness upon her and the child, the Master said, `Children are the ornaments of the home. A home which has no children is like one without light.'
Mrs Maxwell said that her husband had used to say to her: `You have become a Bahá'í. Very well, you are responsible for this yourself. I have no hand in it. You must not speak to me about it anymore.' But now, she added, he was so proud of the Master's visit that if kings had come to their home he would not have felt so exalted. The room in which the Master stayed was considered by him to be holy and he would not allow anyone to enter it.
`Abdu'l-Bahá's advice to Mr Maxwell and others was this:
You must cling to those things which prove to be the cause of happiness for the world of man. You must show kindness to the orphans, give food to the hungry, clothe the naked and offer help to the poor so that you may be accepted in the Court of God.
Here is a quotation from one of the Tablets that was revealed today:
It is because the friends of California, and particularly those of San Francisco, have so frequently called and pleaded, expressed despair and wept and sent incessant supplications, that I have determined to go to California." 
It is interesting how He made His travel decisions.  So, now we gear up for His journey West! 

Now to take up the subject of Mary Maxwell, later Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhiyyih Khánum:  Violette Nakhjavani notes that Rúhiyyih Khánum often told the story about "one of her mother's visits to New York during  `Abdu'l-Bahá's stay in that city. When she arrived, the Master asked her how her child was, and where she was, for May had not come into His presence with Mary. She answered that as the little one was not feeling well that day, she had left her with her nurse at the hotel room. 
      `Abdu'l-Bahá looked at her in surprise.  
     "Your child is ill and you did not bring her to  `Abdu'l-Bahá?" He asked. 
     May instantly returned to the hotel and returned with her child. The Master looked at her lovingly and gave May an orange. 
     "Give her this and she will be healed," He said. 
     The awed mother apparently allowed her child to hold the orange, but she did not let her eat it. She kept it for all time. After Amatu'l-Bahá's passing, the dried, wrinkled and black remains of this precious fruit were found wrapped up and placed in a box with the note signifying its history and recording its efficacy!" (The Maxwells of Montreal, p. 278)

As `Abdu'l-Bahá stepped into the Maxwell house in Montreal, He said, "This is my home. All that is in it is mine. You are mine--your husband and child. This is my home." 

This seems quite unique--and perhaps those famous words contribute to the sense of holiness regarding the Maxwell home as "shrine." Is it May's spirituality that drew Him to claim the home and its inhabitants as His own? Or perhaps the sense of significance for Canada, for the future? 
Mary Maxwell, around 3

Mary, at that time, was two. Rúhiyyih Khánum describes "how 'maddening' her mother must have found her conduct at this time, and how mortifying, too: One day the Master, in the drawing-room, caught little Mary up in His arms and tried to kiss her; . . . He did not succeed as the small, strong, chubby and highly independent infant gave Him such a slap on the face that the shock knocked the turban off His head! Then began a mad chase around the drawing-room in which the Master pursued the elusive and indignant child. Mother always said at that moment she could have gladly killed me. She managed to say, 'Oh Abdu’l-Bahá, she is very naughty! What shall I do to punish her.' By this time the Master had succeeded in catching and kissing me. 'Leave her alone,' He said, 'she is the essence of sweetness." (Maxwells, 281–82)
Mary and May, later 

He Himself notes: “Today I was resting on the chaise longue in my bedroom. The little girl came in to me and pushed my eyelids up with her small finger and said, …'Wake up, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá!’ I took her in my arms and placed her head on my chest and we both had a good sleep.”

Rúhiyyih Khánum notes, "I was so attracted to Him that it was hard to keep me away from Him at all." (Maxwells, 282)

What memories! 

No comments:

Post a Comment