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

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12, 1912 No language to express gratitude

New York: joyous reunion; Andrew Carnegie; meeting at Kinney's with people of color
Mahmud writes: "Early in the morning, Mrs Champain, the owner of the house [He rented--see Juliet's Diary], and her relatives came to see `Abdu'l-Bahá and to receive His blessings. They were at a loss to know in what language they could express their gratitude for the fact that their home had become the residence of the Master and the point of adoration for His lovers. The house is located on Riverside Drive near the Hudson River. Each morning and evening the Master walks in the gardens on the banks of the river.
As there is a war raging between the Balkan states and Turkey, it is the main topic in all the newspapers and people look upon these visitors in their Persian garments with eyes full of prejudice. We have even been refused accommodation in some of the large hotels because they thought we were Turks. The Master remarked, `Observe how much enmity and hatred prejudices have produced among various parties and peoples and what suffering and hardship have been caused by them.' But whenever those who feel enmity towards us have been informed of the Cause of God and entered `Abdu'l-Bahá's presence, they become humble and are honored to meet Him.
`Abdu'l-Bahá had been repeatedly asked by some of the New York Bahá'ís to see some of the wealthy people who wanted Him to visit them in their homes, but each time He said:
I deal with the poor and visit them, not the rich. I love all, especially the poor. All sorts of people come here and I meet them all with sincere love, with heart and soul. Yet I have no intention of visiting the homes of the rich.
On another occasion, a famous man, Mr Andrew Carnegie, humbly requested an interview with the Master. Although he was one of the millionaires of America, his request was granted and is recorded in one of His writings.
In the afternoon was the usual weekly meeting of the Bahá'í women at the home of Mrs Krug. When the Master arrived, Mrs Krug was reciting a prayer. When she finished, `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke:
He is God!
This is the assemblage of my daughters in the home of my daughter, Mrs Krug. Therefore I am very happy with this gathering. It is a good gathering, very illumined. It is a spiritual assembly, a heavenly assemblage, the glances of favor surround this meeting and the Supreme Concourse looks down upon it. They heard the prayer that you read and it made them joyous. They thank Bahá'u'lláh saying, `We thank Thee, O Bahá'u'lláh, that these maidservants are attracted to Thee and are turned to Thy Kingdom. They have no purpose but Thy Will; they wish for no station but that of service to Thy Cause.'
O Bahá'u'lláh! Assist these noble maidservants; make these worldly daughters heavenly; inspire their hearts and gladden their souls.
O Bahá'u'lláh! Make these bodies as light-giving candles, these beings the envy of flower gardens and fill their souls with a melody which will enrapture the Supreme Concourse and make them dance for joy. Make each of them a brilliant star so that the world of existence may be illumined with their light.
O Bahá'u'lláh! Give them heavenly power, bestow on them the inspiration of the Kingdom and vouchsafe to them divine assistance so that they may be enabled to render service unto Thee.
Thou are the Compassionate, the Merciful and the Lord of Bounty and Favor.
There was a gathering in the evening at the home of Mr Kinney which was attended mostly by black people. At the meeting the Master likened the faith of Mr [Arthur] Dodge to that of Peter and expressed His admiration for that sincere and true servant who was so firm in the Covenant. The Master showed similar kindness to Mr [Hooper] Harris who was permitted to speak to the public gathering before the Master's address. The Master's talk was a confirmation of Mr Harris's speech, an explanation of the prophecies of the Book of Daniel concerning the Most Great Manifestation and the statement in the New Testament about the Promised One."
This version of the day is different from the drama Juliet tells re. the 11th and 12th. I'll have to add that when I get a chance! 

We shot footage in front of the home of Mrs. Champain. I think this was the house where Juliet painted the Master's portrait. It is only a couple of blocks from the park. 

ah, the last destination.  Only 23 days left. . . .

Juliet writes:

Early as I could on 12 November, I sought His Beloved Presence. Ruth and Lawrence White (who have lately been married) were with Him and Rhoda and Marjorie. It seems impossible sometimes for the physical ear, or the human mind, to retain His Divine Words. They moved me to tears.

"Don't cry! Don't cry!" said the Master, with His infinite tenderness.

The twelfth of November, the Birthday of Bahá'u'lláh, was the day of Mrs Krug's meeting and never, never shall I forget it.

There, at Mrs Krug's, the Master invoked Bahá'u'lláh. And as His cry, "Yá Bahá'u'lláh!" rang out, I hid my eyes, for it was as though He were calling Someone the same plane with Him, Someone Whom He saw, and Who would certainly come.

He came--the Blessed Beauty, the Lord of Hosts. A Power flashed into our midst, a great Sacred Power ... I can find no words. Burning tears poured down my cheeks. My heart shook.

After the meeting, the Master, Who was resting in another room, sent for me. I had supplicated through
Valíyu'lláh Khán that He would come to the meeting at our house Friday.

"Tomorrow, Juliet," He said, "I will tell you about your meeting. Now go back to the house and wait till I come."

I did so and He soon came--came and sat in the corner of the window in the English basement just as He used to last summer. Carrie Kinney was there and Mr Hoar.

He had spoken so often in public and in private of an inevitable world war, warning America not to enter it, that I felt moved to mention it now.

"Will the present war in the Balkans," I asked, "terminate in the world war?"

"No, but within two years a spark will rise from the Balkans and set the whole world on fire."

Soon He rose and calling, "Come, Juliet," and beckoning to Valíyu'lláh Khán, took us out to walk in "His garden", that narrow strip of park above the river. As we followed Him, Valíyu'lláh Khán said: "How blessed to be walking in His footsteps!"

He led us to a bench and sat down between us, clasping my hand tightly. And then He began to ask me questions: question after question about the believers in New York, as to a certain condition among them, a lack of firmness in the Covenant, which I had never suspected--of which I was really ignorant. Of course, I did know that earlier there had been awful confusion--some teaching that 'Abdu'l-Bahá was like Peter, others that He was Jesus Himself--but I thought that time was past.

"But I don't know, my Lord!" I said. "If I knew, I would tell you."

"I know you don't know," He laughed, "and I do know. There are many things I know that you do not know. I was only testing you. I have loved you for your truthfulness, for the truth you spoke in a matter you remember. I wanted to see if your heart were in the same state of truthfulness." Then He said: "With those who are against the Centre of the Covenant you must not associate at all. When you find that a soul has turned away from the Covenant you must cut yourself off completely from him. You will know these people. You will see it in their faces." (How on earth, I thought, could I trust my judgement of the faces? He answered my unspoken thought at once.) "You will see a dimness on the faces, like the letting down of a veil."

"My Lord," I said, "I feel that I have failed in everything. I have failed You in all my pitiful efforts to bring about unity. And I know my failure has been due to lack of strict obedience."

"Obedience," said the Master, "is firmness in the Covenant. You must associate with the steadfast ones." He mentioned three people who, since His return--since I met His ferryboat alone--have wreaked their displeasure on me, one of whom had even "scandalized my name" (!) for several years; then added to the list--Mason Remey. This was bitter! "You must be a rock, as they are rocks."

"My Lord," I asked, with a sinking heart, "am I not firm in the Covenant?"

"You could be more firm," He laughed.

"Oh, my Lord!"

He rose and we began to walk.

"I had hoped," I said miserably, "that nobody loved You better than I."

"I know you love Me, Juliet," He answered, "but there are degrees of love." Then He told me He carried a measuring-rod in His hand by which He measured the love of the people and that rod was obedience.

At the corner, at the entrance to the park, He paused. "You must love Me," He said, "for the sake of God."

"You are all I shall ever know of God!"

"I am the Servant of God. You must love Me for His sake and for the sake of Bahá'u'lláh. I am very kind to you Juliet," He added.

"I know, my Lord."

"Now go back to your mother, so that she may be pleased with you!" He laughed, and left me to wait for the bus.

But when He had crossed the street, when I saw Him stop for a moment to speak to Valíyu'lláh Khán, I sank on the chain of the fence utterly broken-hearted.

Oh I am nothing, nothing, I thought. I have done nothing but fail Him. Which was just what He wanted me to see, I suppose.

But, could it be that I was not firm? I examined my character: Yes, it was unstable.

This promotes our own self-reflection. Yes, I see myself as unstable, too.  How to attain constancy? 

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