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

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Another Inspired Letter of Light

Here's another beautiful reflection on this year and on the sublime personage of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, a constant source of inspiration and guidance. . . . May we all wake up more fully to the thoughts and ideas expressed in this missive.


November 22, 2012

To the American Bahá'í community
for the Feast of Qawl

Dearly loved Friends,

As our joyous celebration of this centennial year of His epoch-making American sojourn swiftly draws to a close, we will, during the Bahá'í month that begins with this Feast, be observing two Holy Days intimately connected with the life and mission of 'Abdu'l-Bahá-namely, the Day of the Covenant, celebrated on November 26, and the anniversary of His Ascension, commemorated in the early morning hours of November 28.

Against this rich backdrop of events, we feel moved to share with you a few selections from one of the beloved Guardian Shoghi Effendi's most significant letters, "The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh," which-though written in 1934 and addressed to the Bahá'ís of the West-elucidates for all believers for all time the distinctive stations of the Central Figures of our Faith, including the Master:

"An attempt I strongly feel should now be made to clarify our minds regarding the station occupied by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the significance of His position in this holy Dispensation. It would be indeed difficult for us, who stand so close to such a tremendous figure and are drawn by the mysterious power of so magnetic a personality, to obtain a clear and exact understanding of the role and character of One Who, not only in the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh but in the entire field of religious history, fulfills a unique function. Though moving in a sphere of His own and holding a rank radically different from that of the Author and the Forerunner of the Bahá'í Revelation, He, by virtue of the station ordained for Him through the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, forms together with them what may be termed the Three Central Figures of a Faith that stands unapproached in the world's spiritual history. He towers, in conjunction with them, above the destinies of this infant Faith of God from a level to which no individual or body ministering to its needs after Him, and for no less a period than a full thousand years, can ever hope to rise. . . .

"He is, and should for all time be regarded, first and foremost, as the Center and Pivot of Bahá'u'lláh's peerless and all-enfolding Covenant, His most exalted handiwork, the stainless Mirror of His light, the perfect Exemplar of His teachings, the unerring Interpreter of His Word, the embodiment of every Bahá'í ideal, the incarnation of every Bahá'í virtue, the Most Mighty Branch sprung from the Ancient Root, the Limb of the Law of God, the Being 'round Whom all names revolve,' the Mainspring of the Oneness of Humanity, the Ensign of the Most Great Peace, the Moon of the Central Orb of this most holy Dispensation-styles and titles that are implicit and find their truest, their highest and fairest expression in the magic name 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He is, above and beyond these appellations, the 'Mystery of God'-an expression by which Bahá'u'lláh Himself has chosen to designate Him, and which, while it does not by any means justify us to assign to Him the station of Prophethood, indicates how in the person of 'Abdu'l-Bahá the incompatible characteristics of a human nature and superhuman knowledge and perfection have been blended and are completely harmonized. . . .

"'I affirm,' is 'Abdu'l-Bahá's own written comment on the Tablet of the Branch, 'that the true meaning, the real significance, the innermost secret of these verses, of these very words, is my own servitude to the sacred Threshold of the Abhá Beauty, my complete self-effacement, my utter nothingness before Him. This is my resplendent crown, my most precious adorning. On this I pride myself in the kingdom of earth and heaven. Therein I glory among the company of the well-favored!' . . .

"'My name is 'Abdu'l-Bahá. My qualification is 'Abdu'l-Bahá. My reality is 'Abdu'l-Bahá. My praise is 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Thraldom to the Blessed Perfection is my glorious and refulgent diadem, and servitude to all the human race my perpetual religion. . . . No name, no title, no mention, no commendation have I, nor will ever have, except 'Abdu'l-Bahá. This is my longing. This is my greatest yearning. This is my eternal life. This is my everlasting glory.'"

We hope these powerful passages will, throughout a month so closely associated with His memory, serve to remind us all of the majesty, the greatness, the unique and transcendent nature of the Figure Who visited these shores a scant hundred years ago, will inspire a renewed gratitude in our hearts for His assiduous and loving labors on our behalf, and will fan to flame the fire of our determination to advance the teaching work of the Five Year Plan-the surest way the abundant seeds He planted during His stay can be brought to full and glorious fruition.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,


Kenneth E. Bowers

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