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

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October 30, 1912 Clustering around Him . . .

En route from Denver to Chicago: passengers clustered around Him; conversation with a Sufi; sharing equally

Mahmud writes: "While having tea in the morning, the Master said: This journey has passed pleasantly. The three days from California to Denver were comfortable and delightful. I did not believe that my weak constitution could bear the hardships and length of this journey.
At my request, `Abdu'l-Bahá wrote an account of His travels in America to the friends in the East. . . . 
In the afternoon `Abdu'l-Bahá conversed with passengers seated near Him, and after a few introductory remarks, spoke to them about the teachings. As the call was raised in the train, others clustered around Him and were delighted to hear His discourse on the unity of mankind, universal peace and divine civilization. Most of the passengers were interested and wanted to know more.
A man of Sufi inclinations saw the others listening with rapt attention, and spellbound by the words of the Master, asked to come near. The Master had him sit close by. After a few words, the man said, `All are from God.' The Master replied:
Yes, this is true, but one man is so exalted that others bow down before Him and He is adored by them like Christ or Moses, who called people to the oneness of divinity and who became the cause of the education of a nation, while another is so degraded that he bows down before dust and worships ants and serpents. Are these two one and the same? No, certainly not! Divine Manifestations are a different creation. All humanity is created by God but how they differ in intelligence. One is the wisest of the wise and the founder of the laws of happiness and prosperity, while the other is the most ignorant of the ignorant and a destroyer of the edifice of peace and honor.
Prophets, therefore, have a station of their own. Many people crossed the desert of Sinai but it was Moses who heard the voice of God because the divine Manifestations have a spiritual power peculiar to themselves. Mighty nations existed at the time of the appearance of the divine Manifestations but they were degraded and became obliterated. But observe what a banner of unique being Christ unfurled without friend or helper. All are from God but all have different stations. Both men and animals are from God but what a difference there is between them.
A minister visited Him. The Master advised him to abstain from dogmatic imitation and described to him the real meaning of baptism. Everyone was impressed by the Master's explanations and asked for addresses of the friends from whom they could learn more about the Bahá'í teachings.
In the evening He said, `Let us reserve sleepers for all of us. We slept in our seats last night and that is enough. Let us not suffer any more hardship.' We suggested that we would just get a sleeper for Him but He replied, `No, we must share equally.' Therefore, six sleepers were reserved for the night." 

We love the passages about the people being drawn to the Master on the trains.  It reminds me of some of my own potent teaching experiences--one recently--during travel. But how often we simply get on a plane or train and just rest / read / work, without being open to others. 'Abdu'l-Bahá must have continuously been open to others, regardless of His energy level or other circumstances.  Hence, a plethora of stories that serve as reminders. . . . "Look at Me, Follow Me. . . . "  

Well, I'll work on being open to others while traveling!  The movement from place to place must itself bring possibilities. 

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