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

Thursday, November 17, 2011

November 17, 1912

New York: Gratitude, closures, no further desire, our turn to serve . . . 
Mahmud writes: "Early in the morning `Abdu'l-Bahá voiced His thankfulness to the Abhá Kingdom, saying:
Praise be to God! His divine help and assistance have enveloped us and the confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom have surrounded us. The Cause of God has reached every ear and the divine fragrances have spread throughout all regions. The East and the West are illumined with the light of the most great guidance. The foundation of the Cause of God is firmly and securely established. The friends of the Blessed Beauty have risen in faithfulness and occupied themselves in proclaiming the Word of God. The foundation of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár is laid. I have no further desire. I wish to reach Haifa and to settle again in the Holy Land. It is now your turn to serve, to render your servitude to the holy threshold. Occupy yourselves day and night in the diffusion of the divine fragrances. All confirmations encircle those who are engaged in rendering services to the court of oneness. Nothing avails except servitude to the Blessed Beauty. If, after the ascension of the Blessed Beauty, I had not risen in servitude to Him, these confirmations would not have descended.
After a short pause, He continued:
Had there not been this servitude, constancy and confirmation the affairs would have fallen into the hands of the ambitious and the standard of the Cause would have fallen forever. Unseemly matters would have ensued. The story of Yahyá would have been repeated. Had it not been for the firmness and power of the Ancient Beauty, the mainstay of the Cause would have fallen apart. Nothing would have been witnessed but the propagation of selfish desires and, apart from these, nothing would have been witnessed but the propagation of selfish desires and, apart from these, nothing would have remained but some words and phrases.
Today He mentioned the passing of Áqá Ridá Ghánad Muhájir [See Memorials of the Faithful] and spoke about the greatness of his station, saying, `I must go myself to the Holy Land to build his effulgent tomb with my own hands and read there a prayer of visitation.'
From morning until the afternoon every room of the Master's residence was full of people. All were recipients of His everlasting bounties and bathed in the surging waves of the love of God.
This evening the Master spoke to a gathering of the friends regarding the maturity and perfection of the world and gave an account of Bahá'u'lláh. He concluded His address with the chanting of a prayer in a melodious voice, immersing the hearts in a sea of ecstasy and rapture. Many new people attended the meeting and were impressed and moved by the blessings of `Abdu'l-Bahá. They remained in His presence until He left, expressing their sincerity and reverence."

There is also a note in Mahmud's Diary that He spoke at the Genealogical Hall, 252 West Fifty-Eighth Street (see PUP 437–42]

Every word of this entry seems imbued with significance--the sense of wisdom and closure, an intuitive grasp that the purpose of the trip had been realized, a clarification about the relationship of servitude to confirmations, how we are to take up the work shown to us by the Master. . . The profundity of this is striking. 

Listening to a piece of music right now that infuses the east and the west, I am in a state beyond words.  An understanding of the end of this journey co-mingles with the grief of His departure.  And yet, He has never departed, never will depart from our midst. 

Where we are unified, there He is!  And where He is, our hearts can be in a state of ecstasy and rapture. What is better than that?

The music ended and I must prepare to meet students at the Dallas Museum of Art. . . . ah, to spread the fragrances there and everywhere. 

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