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

Saturday, April 20, 2013

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.

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