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

Monday, April 29, 2013

April 27, 1913 more children . . .

Earl Redman writes: 

On 27 April ‘Abdu’l-Bahá greeted a number of children brought to Him. He loved children and they loved Him. One child, when later asked to pray for the Master’s health, responded by saying he didn’t want ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s health to improve because then He would go away.

This reminds me of the Minneapolis/St. Paul story in which a little boy says to 'Abdu'l-Bahá (upon meeting Him): "I love you first and then my father."  Amazing how children were attracted. 

My favorite story about a child is about Jimmy Loft, a four-year-old Mohawk boy, who was sitting on a fence post in Canada when 'Abdu'l-Bahá's train passed. The Master stood and waved at the boy, who was so surprised, he fell off the fence post. Years later--I think about 40--he saw a photo of 'Abdu'l-Baha and recognized it--and became the first Mohawk Baha'i. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Stuttgart: Health sacrificed for serving the Faith

Earl Redman writes: 

‘Abdu’l-Bahá stayed in the same hotel He had stayed in during His earlier visit, the Hotel Marquardt. The cold He had acquired in Budapest worsened in Stuttgart and by the 25th it had settled into His chest and made it difficult for Him to talk. His physician said He should not go out into the bad weather, but His attendants devised a solution so that the people at a meeting scheduled for that night would not be disappointed. The plan was that Abdu’l-Bahá would be taken to the Museum in an enclosed saloon car, safe from the foul weather. In a room apart from the main hall, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would have His place to meet those who wished to see Him while Wilhelm Herrigel gave a talk in His stead in the main hall. But as soon as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá learned of this plan, and how eagerly the audience were expecting Him, He arose. ‘Physicians had made Him stay indoors, He said; but His health was for the purpose of serving the Faith’.[i]
            No sooner had Herrigel begun speaking, than ‘Abdu’l-Bahá walked into the surprised hall and, with His full and powerful voice, gave a talk on world peace. Immediately after His talk, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was about be taken quickly back to the hotel to rest. But as they headed for the door, the Master heard someone sobbing and He stopped to find out who was sad. His attendants found a woman who had tried to reach the Master, but had been prevented by the mass of the crowd. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stayed long enough to speak with the lady.[ii]

[i] Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 389.    [ii] ibid. pp. 389–90.

It doesn't seem fair that we don't have a record of the conversation--and perhaps how the woman was consoled. Too many things left out of accounts!  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"We Are Not Lost": Reflections of a Journalist in 2013

Kurt Asplund writes: 

This is an awesome article, written by someone who's not a Baha'i, but nevertheless felt compelled to remember 'Abdu'l-Baha in the wake of the Boston bombings:

Despite Our Depredations, We Are Not Lost

In 1912, a man named 'Abdu'l-Bahá came to the United States to give talks. He was 68 and had lived a life of poverty, persecution, imprisonment and physical peril. His long beard was white, and his posture was stooped. He wore a buff-colored fez, wrapped in a white cloth.

He had been through decades of hardship that would have killed one man and embittered another. He was not either of those men. He came here to speak of peace.

In 1912, humankind's worst was still to come. The Battle of Verdun, Hiroshima, Auschwitz, the Rape of Nanking, Rwanda. 'Abdu'l-Bahá could see the future scrawled on the present. "Now the instruments of death have become so multiplied and perfected that 100,000 can be destroyed in a day," he said in Cleveland.

In Palo Alto, he called man "a noble creature" endowed with "potential for ever higher perceptions" who was nonetheless bloodthirsty. In Washington, he spoke again of human ferocity but waxed hopeful about the United States as place where humankind's splintered reality might be mended, where the oneness of all people might be made visible.

This turns out to have been more than a little optimistic. The only reason I know anything about 'Abdu'l-Bahá is because John Woodall, a psychiatrist from Newtown, pressed a volume of his speeches into my hand during the week after the massacre in his town. Woodall is of the Bahá'í faith. Abdu'l-Bahá was the son of its founder, Bahá'u'lláh.

Last week, the Boston Marathon began with 26 seconds of silence, in memory of the 26 Newtown victims. The 26-mile marker was dedicated to them too, and people from the town ran in the race. The idea was: Remember and heal. Then two bombs exploded.

Working on radio coverage Monday, I felt my body shake with nerves a few times. Twice I began to cry. Scrambling through Twitter for scraps of news, I opened pictures I wish I hadn't seen. Later in the day, I read about the little boy. In other words, I had the same day you did.

This is a hard world. Our president has shown admirable seriousness about the deaths in Newtown but does everything possible to obscure the tiny bodies in 
Pakistan, dead from our drones. Since we started using them there, we've killed 176 kids by accident, by one accounting. Boston was horrible but not the worst bombing of Sunday and Monday. Explosions and guns in Somalia killed about 30, and a wave of coordinated car bombings in Iraq killed at least 75.

Two days later, the gun bills in Washington fizzled out. This was a good week for the instruments of death, a hard week for Boston, Newtown, Mogadishu, Baghdad.

And yet, and yet, 'Abdu'l-Bahá was right. We are marvellous creatures. We make music and laughter and great science and medicine. In Boston, there were people running toward the carnage to give aid. In the hospitals, there were miracle-workers stemming the tide of blood and trauma, snatching the almost-dead back from the brink.

A comedian named Patton Oswalt offered hope in an Internet post on Monday: "The vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a 
virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago."

The post went viral. We're ravenous for a better story about us.

On the 
BBC last week, British geneticist Steven Jones reflected on the message of the New Testament. "Why should you bother to be nice to anybody? Why not be horrible all the time? You may do well out of it. [Scientists] don't have an answer …What's striking is that we humans live in far larger groups than any other primate or mammal without, generally speaking, killing each other."

Jones said one of our inventions, religion, may be an engine that (sometimes) makes us better than we otherwise would be. A species that can create an 'Abdu'l-Bahá or the people who ran toward the smoke, that species is not wholly lost.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

April 21, 1913 Vienna

Earl Redman writes: 

On 21 April, the Persian Minister paid the Master a call in the morning and in the afternoon, He went for a drive. During His stay in Vienna, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá also permitted a sculptor to model him.

If only I knew more about this very special day!  And about the sculptor/sculpture!

April 18 or 19? Arriving in Vienna

Earl Redman writes: 

Arriving in Vienna, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stayed at the Grand Hotel. Although still suffering the effects of His cold, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited the Turkish Ambassador the next day. The Ambassador had previously been fanatically against the Bahá’ís, but after meeting the Master, he was so impressed that he requested He stay for lunch. Later, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went for a walk and passed people taking a collection for charity to which He made a contribution. Later that afternoon, He went to give a talk at the Theosophical Hall. To get there, He had to climb up 120 steps – the building was new and there was no lift yet.[i] Over a year later the Master referred to this in talking to pilgrims:

My power consists of the bestowals of the Blessed Beauty . . . From early morning until now I have been reading and writing and I am feeling exceedingly well. Young people like you can only work three or four hours without ceasing . . . At nine in the evening there was a meeting on the top floor of a high building in a remote part of the city. A heavy snow was falling. It was very cold weather. I had this cold and fever, but notwithstanding this, I went, ascended 120 steps and addressed the people for about two hours.[ii]

‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke three times to the Theosophists in Vienna, and one of them, Frau Tyler, called to ‘express her newly found devotion’.[iii] Another visitor was Baroness Bertha von Suttner, the novelist and a leading figure for decades in the international peace movement who had won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905, one of the few women to do so.

[i] Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 388.
[ii] Star of the West, nol. V, No. 14 (23 November 1914), pp. 217–18.
[iii] Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 389.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April 15–18, 1913 A flame aglow; arms outstretched in longing

Earl Redman writes: 

The Master had a bad cold for two days, 15 and 16 April, but that didn’t stop Him from getting up and meeting His many visitors. It did, however delay his travel plans for a few days until 18 April.
            At the railway station where He was met by ‘a great number of devoted friends . . . many Hungarians and also some Turks, Americans, and Indians’,[i] thirty of whom had ostensibly accepted the Bahá’í teachings.[ii] Before departing for Vienna, He told the group that ‘He had set a flame aglow, and the day would break when its light would shine visibly to everybody. He explained that the origin of a tree is only a small seed, but if it develops and begins to grow, it will bear a beautiful fruit’.[iii] ‘Each one in his own language begged for a blessing in his endeavor to serve. Then as the train moved out, they continued to gaze at His holy countenance with their arms outstretched in longing!’[iv]
            A few weeks after leaving Budapest, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote to Leopold Stark and asked him to ‘unite all those in Budapest who are likely to form the first nucleus.’

[i] Root, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Visit to Budapest’, in Star of the West, vol. 24, no. 3 (June 1933), p. 89.
[ii] Smith (ed), Bahá’ís in the West, p. 120.
[iii] Bahá’í Community of Austria, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Budapest, p. 6.
[iv] Root, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Visit to Budapest’, in Star of the West, vol. 24, no. 3 (June 1933), p. 89.

I feel like this some days, that my arms are outstretched in longing--across time, across the parameters of geography.  With every departure of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, there seems to be a grief on the part of those who see Him leave. Yet the flame will be more visible in the future. May that future be close at hand! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

April 14, 1913

Earl Redman writes: 

On the 14th, ‘Alí ‘Abbás Áqá, a Persian carpet salesman who had become very attached to the Master, invited Him for dinner at his home. One of the guests was the Ottoman Consul-General.[i] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá also visited the home of Mr Paikert, who lived on a high hill overlooking the city. Afterwards, He visited Professor Robert Nadler, Mr Stark and Count Albert Apponyi.
            Professor Nadler, who was a professor of painting at the Royal Academy of Art, asked if he could paint a portrait of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The Master agreed and went to Nadler’s studio on 13 April. Years later, Nadler said to Martha Root:

When I saw ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, He was in His seventieth year. I was so impressed and charmed with His Personality that I had the great longing to paint His portrait. He consented to come to my studio, but said He could not give me much time because He was so busy. I marvelled at His expression of peace and pure love and absolute good-will. He saw everything with such a nice eye; everything was beautiful to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, both the outer life of Budapest and the souls of all. He praised the situation of our city, our fine Danube in the midst of the town, good water, good people. Oh, He had so many beautiful thoughts! I was inspired, and I knew I did not have much time, so I concentrated very much. He gave me three sittings.[ii]

Nadler also talked of the painting in 1937:

. . . he came three times to my studio, and was a very patient model. I was all too happy to be able to paint him, feature by feature, and to be able to immortalize the earthly temple of so highly developed a soul.
I was glad to hear him and his companions say that they thought the portrait a success. They even asked me what the price of it would be, but at that time I had no desire to gain financially by selling the picture, which remains one of my best works. It has been my pleasure to have ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s portrait in my studio for twenty-four years, and I shall never forget the few hours of his presence there.[iii]

‘Abdu’l-Bahá liked the result of Nadler’s work. In 1945, the building which housed the painting was heavily bombed and the only part of the building that survived relatively undamaged was the part containing the painting. The painting was purchased by Bahá’ís in 1972 who gave it to the Universal House of Justice.[iv]

[i] Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 387.
[ii] Root, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Visit to Budapest’, in Star of the West, vol. 24, no. 3 (June 1933), p. 88.
[iii] The Bahá’í World, vol VII (1936–1938), pp. 34–5.
[iv] Smith (ed), Bahá’ís in the West, pp. 118, 125.

Friday, April 12, 2013

April 12–14, 1913 Budapest; Peace; Vambery

Earl Redman writes: 

The following morning, Alajos Paikert, the founder of the Hungarian Turanian Society, visited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and invited Him to address his group a few days later. The talk, on 14 April, was at the former House of Magnates in the National Museum Building. Mr Paikert introduced the Master to the 200 prominent men and women. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke in Persian, translated into English by Ahmad Sohrab, then Leopold Stark retranslated His words into Hungarian. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke of the Turanian culture (one of the early tribes of the Avestan era, east of Iran) and noted that it had been destroyed by religious conflict. He then gave them a plan to create an enduring peace. Afterwards, someone asked where the centre of peace would be located. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá responded that it would be established in whichever country where peace was first established.[i]
            In the afternoon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited Professor Arminius Vámbéry, who was 82 years old and ill at the time. Vámbéry was one of the most erudite and interesting scientists and Orientalists of his time, ‘whom both Queen Victoria and King Edward of Great Britain distinguished for many years with their friendship’.[ii] In the Bahá’í Faith, the famous man found his heart’s desire. Before meeting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Vámbéry had not believed in any religion, despite having travelled in and learned the languages of many countries. The Master quoted Vámbéry as saying, ‘Because of this, I am amazed and surprised, that I, Vámbéry have not the courage to and cannot mention the name of Christ with reverence in the churches of the Jews. But you have proved with such courage and power, in the synagogues of the Jews, that Jesus Christ was the Word and the Spirit of God’.[iii]
            Vámbéry tried to see the Master again the next day, going along the river from his house at 26 Quai Franz Joseph to the Master’s hotel in spite of very cold and stormy weather and his illness. But when he arrived, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was out and though he waited for a long time, Vámbéry was forced to return home unsatisfied. After ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had returned to Egypt, He sent Vámbéry a Tablet and a rug. In response, Vámbéry wrote back to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

I forward this humble petition to the sanctified and holy presence of Abdul-Baha Abbas who is the centre of knowledge, famous throughout the world and beloved by all mankind. O thou noble friend . . . Although I have travelled through many countries and cities of Islam, yet have I never met so lofty a character and so exalted a personage as your excellency and I can bear witness that it is not possible to find such another. . .
. . .every person is forced by necessity to enlist himself on the side of your excellency and accept with joy the prospect of a fundamental basis for a universal religion of God being laid through your efforts.
I have seen the father of your excellency from afar. I have realized the self-sacrifice and noble courage of his son and I am lost in admiration.
For the principles and aims of your excellency I express the utmost respect and devotion and if God, the most high, confer long life, I will be able to serve you under all conditions. I pray and supplicate this from the depths of my heart.[iv]

[i] ibid. p. 87.
[ii] ibid. p. 88.
[iii] Star of the West, vol. IX, no. 2 (9 April 1918), p. 24.
[iv] ibid. vol. IV, no. 17 (19 January, 1914), pp. 284–5.

Apri 10-11, 1913 Human hearts in Budapest

Earl Redman writes: 

The next day [April 10], ‘Abdu’l-Bahá prepared tea for His party and admired the panoramic view of the Danube. He could see the broad river spanned by many ornamented suspension bridges and plied by colourful boats. After tea, He crossed the Chain Bridge to Buda, quickly attracting many curious people who stopped to ask Him questions. One man recognized ‘Abdu’l-Bahá from His photograph in the morning’s newspaper and hurried over to have the Master autograph the margin of his paper.[i]
            During the day, a stream of visitors came to the hotel and He told them that He was grateful to God that the idea of a spiritual life was obvious in Budapest. He told them that ‘it was his hope that Budapest might become a centre for the reunion of the East and West, and that from this city the light might emanate to other places’. When people asked Him what He thought of Budapest’s ornate buildings, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá kindly replied that He had come to Budapest to see ‘the objects of interest and buildings of human hearts, and not the buildings of stone and of the city’.  [ii]
            Later that day, Professor Germanus, a young Orientalist, brought a group of Turkish students bearing ‘a letter of solemn welcome signed by all students of the Turkish language in Budapest’. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá happily conversed with them in flawless Turkish. That evening, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave a talk to fifty people at the Theosophical meeting, calling them ‘a noble, spiritual gathering because they were most diligent in their endeavors for peace and fellowship’.[iii]           
            One morning when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited the home of Leopold Stark and his wife, Mrs Stark offered Him wine or another refreshment. When ‘Abdu’l- Bahá declined, Mrs Stark offered Him some ‘fine spring water, a table delicacy since Roman times’. The maid brought in a tray with beautiful crystal glasses and placed it carefully on a table. When the maid saw ‘Abdu’1-Bahá standing near the window, she ‘slowly and deliberately . . . advanced, knelt before him and begged him to bless her. This very touching scene brought tears to the eyes of those who surrounded the Master . . . When asked later by her mistress why she did this, she said, “I was impelled to, because he seemed to me one of the ‘Kings of the East’.”’

[i] Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 385. [ii] Root, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Visit to Budapest’, in Star of the West, vol. 24, no. 3 (June 1933), p. 85. [iii] ibid.

On 11 April ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke at a meeting in the old Parliament Building. He stood on a high platform directly underneath two white-winged angels holding Hungary’s coat of arms. Before His talk, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was very tired and hardly able to speak, but, as He had done at other times, He gathered His strength and He gave a powerful address.[i] As the Master stood on the platform, He was flanked by Prelate Giesswein on one side and Dr Goldziher on the other. The sight of this unity brought forth a tremendous burst of applause: ‘They felt, if they did not understand, that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá standing between the Catholic prelate and the Jewish orientalist represented the reconciliation of these two great religions’.[ii]
            Dr Germanus interpreted ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s talk into Hungarian for the packed house. All seats were filled and many people crowded into the galleries, aisles and corridors with some even having to listen from outside. The audience was perfect for the Master, being an amazing mix of members of Parliament, university professors, artists, Catholic priests, Protestant clergymen, and representatives of women’s groups, Esperantists, and humanitarian societies as well as many nationalities and races. ‘All seats were occupied while many stood in the gallery; aisles and corridors were crowded and a line extended even to the street!’

[i] Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 386.
[ii] Root, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Visit to Budapest’, in Star of the West, vol. 24, no. 3 (June 1933), p. 86.

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 9, 1913 Budapest!

Earl Redman writes: 

Before 1913, no Bahá’í travel teacher had visited Budapest and no Bahá’ís lived there. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s reputation had washed across the continent, however, and Leopold Stark, and others who lived there, had read of His journey and had written to beg that He might grace Budapest with His Presence. As during most of His epic journey, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá made His decisions about where to go and what to do according to the circumstances of the moment. Thus He decided to go to Budapest.
            ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived at the train station in Budapest on 9 April, where He was met by the eminent Orientalist Dr Ignatius Goldziher, Professor Julius Germanus, Leopold Stark and others. He was taken to the Ritz Hotel where He had a room with a view of the Danube River.
            Only minutes after His arrival at the hotel, the first delegation of visitors arrived to welcome Him. This group included one of the most honoured thinkers and pacifists in the country, Prelate Alexander Giesswein, and Professor Robert A. Nadler, a well-known painter. Reporters, of course, were also present. The group welcomed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

In the name of all present we welcome the blessed Presence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. We admire your great life and we offer You our thanks and deep gratitude, that at Your age, You take upon Yourself these long journeys for the sake of helping and comforting humanity. Such labours, such sacrifices as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá endures are our great examples, that we may know how to live and to serve humanity.   

See also: Root, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Visit to Budapest’, in Star of the West, vol. 24, no. 3 (June 1933), p. 84; article reprinted in Zinky and. Baram (eds), Martha Root, pp. 361–2.

On a personal note, our dear friend Andrew Singer (whom we met in person in Dec. in Scotland) lives in Budapest and has done some research on the Master's visit there.  Some years ago I traveled to Budapest and was taken on a walking tour along the River where the Master had walked. . . .  

April 3-8, 1913 Various Sites in Germany

Earl Redman writes: 

On 3 April ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave many interviews until 3 p.m. when Albert Schwarz, the Consul for Norway, and a devoted Bahá’í who later served as Chairman of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Germany and who was described by Shoghi Effendi as ‘Germany’s outstanding pioneer worker’, drove Him to the famous Castle Solitude. This was followed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s first public talk at the Burger Museum that evening attended by over 500 people.
            ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had four hours of interviews with people at the hotel on the morning of 4 April. When finished, He said, ‘I was most happy to see the believers of Germany so holy, so pure and so united. They are the Angels of the Paradise of Abha’.
            At four o’clock in the afternoon, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left for Esslingen, about ten kilometres away, where a large meeting for children had been arranged.

The Bahá’ís in Esslingen had secured a hall which they had decorated with greenery, plants and flowers. The hall was filled with about 50 children and 80 adults. To welcome ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the children, each holding a bunch of flowers, formed two lines in the entry hall through which He passed. Each child gave the Master his bunch of flowers as He greeted them. In return, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave the children small boxes of chocolates and bon-bons. Everyone was radiantly happy.
            When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá moved into the main hall, Ahmad Sohrab had to clear a path through the eager crowd. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave a short talk, during which he said, These children are of the Kingdom, they are illumined with the Light of God. . . I love them very much. They are mine . . . May God guide and protect them, make of them useful men and women for the advancement of the Kingdom on earth’.  
            Then everyone shared tea, chocolate and cake. The group then gathered in front of the hall and a group photograph was taken. Finally, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá climbed into His car to leave. Ahmad Sohrab wrote that the children were ‘crowding around and waving their flowers. Then one after another stepped up and handed their fragrant tokens. O, it looked really beautiful; I cannot describe it, so wonderfully sweet! The children waving their dear little hands, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the auto, covered with flowers, waving his blessed hands to them’.  

Next morning, back in Stuttgart at the Hotel Marquardt, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said of the children’s meeting:
"The effect of last night’s meeting will be put on record in the world of eternity. The mentioning of it will be throughout the centuries and will be recorded in the countries of the Orient. Because these children are tender plants, their hearts are clear and transparent. They have not yet come to the dross of the world; that is why Christ said: “Blessed are the children, for they are of the Heavenly Kingdom.”

Later in the day, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had a tour of the Royal Palace of Emperor Wilhelm and in the afternoon gave a talk on women at the specific request of Alma Knobloch, at a Unity Feast hosted by the Frauen Club. About 160 people were present when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived at 4 p.m. Everyone was delighted with the results of the Feast, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said of it, ‘The Supreme Concourse of Angels were pleased and rejoiced. It was an illumined meeting, giving eternal life to mankind’.  In the evening the Master gave yet another talk, to the Esperantists.

On 6 April ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had a pleasant trip through the cherry blossom district, with the trees in full bloom, then continued on into the Black Forest. On several occasions the Master remarked how glad he was to have seen Germany in the spring. ‘Truly’, He said, ‘it is worthy to become a paradise’. The party visited Mr and Mrs Schweizer in Zuffenhausen before returning to Stuttgart for the evening meeting at the Obere Museum. This was the largest public meeting given in the city and was organized by the Bahá’í women. Alma Knobloch wrote:
The Master asked me to select a subject for the evening and I asked Him to speak on ‘Woman’. Smilingly he questioned, ‘On the German Woman?’ I answered, ‘No, on Woman in general’. His face beamed with that radiance that brought divine fragrances and He said, ‘Very well, very well’ . . . His address was highly appreciated, especially by those noble, esteemed ladies who had so marvelously assisted us in our early work. After the talk he went through the hall shaking hands and giving words of cheer.

On 7 April  ‘Abdu’l-Bahá travelled to Bad Mergentheim, about 60 miles north of Stuttgart, at the behest of Consul Albert Schwarz, who was later named a Disciple of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá by Shoghi Effendi. Bad Mergentheim was a small, quiet town known for its health spa and hotel, both of which Schwarz owned. They drove up in Consul Schwarz’s automobiles, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spent the rest of the day and that night as his guest. The Master commented that he had not heard so many nightingales singing in such a beautiful setting since He had left Persia.
             In 1916, the local Bahá’ís commemorated the Master’s visit through ‘the dedication of a handsome monument . . . It consisted of a life-sized head of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in bronze on a granite stone about six feet in height. It was placed next to a rose arbor and thus had a mass of exquisite roses for a background’. The Nazis removed it in 1937, but it was replaced in 2007.
            Before He left the next day, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke with the people working at the spa and told them they must be very conscientious, pointing out their great responsibility to alleviate the suffering of people.  ‘Abdu’l-Bahá then left Bad Mergentheim and returned to Stuttgart. He had lunch with Consul and Mrs Schwarz and met many Bahá’ís before boarding the train at 8 p.m. for Budapest. Wilhelm Herrigel joined the group to act as the Master’s translator for German.


Wouldn't you love to be described as "the Angels of the Paradise of Abha"? Or visit a cherry blossom district with the Master? Or be part of "an illumined meeting, giving eternal life to mankind"?