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

Saturday, September 7, 2013

'Abdu'l-Bahá's Reflections on His Travels to the West; the notes of His music

Earl Redman writes:  

‘Abdu’l-Bahá used the time in Ramleh to start catching up on the huge amount of correspondence He had been unable to answer. In a Tablet to the Persian believers, He wrote of His travels:

After my return from America and Europe, owing to the difficulties of the long voyage and to the innumerable inconveniences of the journey, a physical reaction set in and I became indisposed. Now, through the Favor and Bounty of the Blessed Perfection, I am feeling better; therefore, I am engaged in writing this letter, so that thou mayest realize that the friends of God are never forgotten under any circumstances . . . Now is the time when the believers of God may imitate the conduct and manner of Abdul Baha. Day and night they must engage in teaching the Cause of God but they must be in the same spiritual state which Abdul Baha manifested while traveling in America. When the teacher delivers an address, his words must first of all have a supreme and powerful effect over himself so that everyone may be in turn affected. His utterances must be like unto flames of fire, burning away the veils of dogmas, passion and desire. Moreover he must be in the utmost state of humility and evanescence – so that others may become mindful. He must have attained to the station of renunciation and annihilation. Then and not until then, will he teach the people with the Melody of the Supreme Concourse.

I have tarried in Egypt for a few days because I was weakened by the fatigue of traveling through the cities of Europe; by the variable climates of the American mountains and prairies and by the length and hardships of the voyage. While in Europe one day we were in London and another in Edinburgh; now in Paris and anon in Stuttgart; once in Budapest and again in Vienna. We were almost every hour in another place, delivering lengthy speeches and addresses, and notwithstanding the indisposition of the body, day and night I cried and raised my voice in large meetings and important churches . . . As there were many obstacles, the door of correspondence was closed; but the faces of the illumined friends were manifest at every hour in the Court of Consciousness, and at all times they were present in my memory. As I have now found a little leisure, I address you this letter so that I may occupy myself with the servitude of the believers of God, and become the means of the happiness of the hearts. This is the utmost desire of ’Abdu’l-Bahá.
A humbling message, this. Still in Egypt, He gathers strength for the journey back to Akka. How marvelous to think that we are not forgotten. . . . 

Ahmad Sohrab wrote:

"How wonderful it seems to me, his power of adaptability to all people . . . how he enjoys the free and unimpeded association of men! Here was Abdul-Baha sitting in a small telegraph office of Ramleh, talking heartily in Arabic with an operator and how he listened to him. First he spoke about the brother of the Khedive, and how he met him in America and France, praising his progressive ideas and intelligence. Then he said:
  "‘When I was in America I was most busy. Often I addressed three meetings a day, and gave innumerable interviews from early morning till midnight. In Europe I spread certain divine teachings which will insure security to the human world, and taught them that the foundation of the religions of God is one and the same. Now I have returned to Egypt in order to rest from the effects of this arduous journey; but while I am here correspondence is uninterrupted with all parts of the West . . . I have done this, not because I expected the praise of men. Far from it! How foolish are some people who may think that we have accepted all these hardships and undergone forty years of imprisonment by Sultan Abdul Hamid, in order to receive the commendations of men! How thoughtless they are! Neither their adulation or blame shall reach me. I have done my work! I have sown my seeds, and leave it to the power of God to cause their growth! You wait a few years longer and you will then hear the notes of this melodious music!’"

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