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

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! 

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