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

Sunday, October 14, 2012

October 14, 1912 Higher attainments

Pleasanton--home of Mrs. Phoebe Hearst; good intentions attract confirmations
Mahmud writes: "In the morning `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke about the election of the president of the republic. He said:
The president must be a man who does not insistently seek the presidency. He should be a person free from all thoughts of name and rank; rather, he should say, `I am unworthy and incapable of this position and cannot bear this great burden.' Such persons deserve the presidency. If the object is to promote the public good, then the president must be a well-wisher of all and not a self-seeking person. If the object, however, is to promote personal interests, then such a position will be injurious to humanity and not beneficial to the public.
He then went to lunch. At the request of those present at the table the Master chanted the following prayer:
He is God! Thou seest us, O my God, gathered around this table, praising Thy bounty, with our gaze set upon Thy Kingdom. O Lord! Send down upon us Thy heavenly food and confer upon us Thy blessing. Thou art verily the Bestower, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
The Master then spoke extensively on the history of some famous people.
In the afternoon He went for an automobile ride through valleys, hills and meadows as far as the breakwater. When He returned to the house, the Master rested in the garden on special chairs brought for Him and the others and gave a detailed history of the life and teachings of the Blessed Beauty.
At the dinner table He spoke of His gratitude for the blessings of God and the importance of assisting the weak and poor. He was asked, `How is it that the desires of some people are achieved while others are not?' The gist of the Master's response was:
What conforms with divine decree will be realized. In addition, good intentions and sound thoughts attract confirmations. The desires of human beings are endless. No matter what level a human being reaches, he can still attain higher ones, so he is always making effort and desiring more. He can never find peace but through effort and resignation, so that, notwithstanding all efforts in worldly affairs, the human heart remains free and happy. He neither becomes proud on attaining wealth and position nor becomes dejected on losing them. This station can be attained only through the power of faith.
Such explanations and exhortations repeated at every meeting were warnings and reminders for these prominent people. Day by day their humility and sincerity increased owing to His presence."
William Randolph Hearst

As Kathryn Jewett Hogenson mentions in Lighting the Western Sky, William Randolph Hearst (Phoebe's son), though known mostly for his newspaper publishing, like his father, had political ambitions and aimed to become president of the United States, in the campaign of 1904 and subsequent elections.  (He even created his own political party!)  But I am not sure whether the Master's statement dissuaded him--or rather His remarks were just for Phoebe. Perhaps they were talking about Will's hopes.

Kathryn describes the Hearst estate at Pleasanton, called "La Hacicienda del Pozo de Verona," as a "magnificently luxurious 1,900 acre estate . . . originally purchased by George to be a horse ranch. . . . a cross between a Spanish castle and a Moorish villa on the Mediterranean" (47).  It had 53 rooms, including 40 guest rooms, each with a fireplace and sunken bath. Later, it would have California's first indoor swimming pool.

Though Phoebe, in 1912, had been a bit estranged from the Faith, she must have loved rekindling her connection to the Master--and in fact, the description of her last days (1919) in Kathryn's book include a lovely visit with Ella Cooper, with a potent reminder of how influential He had been in her life. May Maxwell remembered Phoebe as "a woman who loved to do good more than all else in life."  The Master had told her that "all her philanthropies and good deeds had been accepted at the Threshold of God, but that even these were as nothing in his sight compared with the fact that she had been the means of bringing the first group of people from the western world to the prison of Akka and that for this act she would obtain an eternal reward) (267). 

No comments:

Post a Comment