Recent photo of Main Street, Pleasanton
Mahmud recounts: "Early in the morning Mrs Phoebe Hearst presented the Master with flowers of various hues and perfumes. She suggested that, if He wished, He could stroll through the surrounding gardens and nursery. He first toured the house and then went to the nursery which had many beautiful flowers. A few rare specimens attracted His particular attention. He said that the seeds of those flowers should be sent to the Holy Land for cultivation in the gardens adjoining the Shrines of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. Continuing, He said: `The real flowers are those in the garden of the hearts. The flowers of the love of God which are grown with the warmth of the Sun of Truth perfume the peoples of the world and never wither.'
At the table during lunch His discourse concerned the greatness of this time, the dignity of the world of humanity and the importance of acquiring eternal virtues and perfections. Turning to the grandchildren of Mrs Hearst He said:
In reality, children are the ornaments at the table, especially these children, who are very sweet! The hearts of children are extremely pure and simple. A person's heart must be like a child's, pure and free from all contamination.
His prayer at the dinner table was this:
He is God! How can we render Thee thanks, O Lord? Thy bounties are endless and our gratitude cannot equal them. How can the finite utter praise of the Infinite? Unable are we to voice our thanks for Thy favors and in utter powerlessness we turn wholly to Thy Kingdom beseeching the increase of Thy bestowals and bounties. Thou are the Giver, the Bestower, the Almighty.
He then gave an account of the history of the kings of the world and concluded with remarks about the death of Alexander.
When in the city of Zor the lamp of his life was extinguished and the last morn had dawned upon him, the wise men assembled by his corpse. One of them said, `Gracious God! The whole world could not contain this ambitious man yesterday but today a small plot of earth is sufficient to hold him.' Another remarked, `With all his greatness, glory and eloquence of speech, Alexander never advised us in such a manner as he is instructing us today with this silence.' Another said, `A few hours ago this man considered himself the sovereign of the whole world but now it has become evident that he was a servant and a subject.'
After dinner, He went into the salon. Mrs Hearst and her guests were so attracted by His words and actions that although she had not spoken openly to her relatives about the Faith and had been cautious about it, without hesitation she invited the Master to speak about the teachings of the Cause of God. He spoke of devotion to the Cause, the appearance of the lights of the Kingdom, universal peace and the oneness of humanity. After an exposition of the teachings, He spoke briefly on the variety and diversity in human capacities, adding: `Christ likened divine words to seeds, and the hearts and capacities of his listeners to soil of different kinds.' Mrs Hearst related her experiences of her days in `Akká and told of her joy on hearing a prayer chanted in the Holy Land. At her request the Master, in a melodious voice, read a prayer in eloquent Arabic. Although the listeners did not understand Arabic, most of them said that the beauty of the Tablet and `Abdu'l-Bahá's voice caused them to draw nearer to God. Some of those present this evening expressed their desire to accept the Faith. They said that although they had been aware of the Cause and had associated with the believers, by listening to the Master they now understood more."
Ah, yes, the Master teacher! And how interesting that Phoebe was drawn to a certain Arabic prayer. She herself was called "The Mother of the Faithful"--having taught some (like Robert Turner--the first African-American believer--and a disciple of 'Abdu'l-Baha). . . .
The Feast letter for this next Baha'i month has a marvelous quotation in it:
"On another occasion, the Master wrote: "Whenever an illumined assembly of the friends of God is gathered, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, although bodily absent, is yet present in spirit and in soul. I am always a traveller to America and am assuredly associating with spiritual and illumined friends. "
Source is not given. But what a great thought! This journey NEVER ends! It is always occurring.