‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey So Far: Month Four 1
TODAY MARKS THE END of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s fourth month in America. We thought we’d take this opportunity to look back at some of the highlights of the past month.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá has now passed the halfway mark on his journey through America. We look forward to having you join us for the final four months. And please, join the conversation!
New Hampshire 2
At the close of a meeting on August 10, after He had shaken hands with the crowd of people, He went with the Persians to another room and said, “‘Come here, be seated. Mrs. Parsons has sent tea, sweets and some fruits for you. Eat and drink.’” With a twinkle in His eyes, He continued:
Oh! you are very badly off here! May God hear your complaint! Oh! you are in great trouble. To live in this manner, to dwell in such a house, to walk in such air, and to stay with such … respected friends is, of course, very hard for you. … See what I meant by the jest. What a wonderful table the Blessed Perfection has spread for His friends! Had kings come here they would have been served. But this favor and zeal of the friends would not have appeared for any one of them. These great men love you with heart and soul and serve you without any fear, hope, or expectation of reward. The poet has truly said that these things, namely, the demon, … the phoenix, … and the faithful friend are scarce. Yes, like the demon and the phoenix, the true friend is scarce. But under the shadow of the Word of God, the Blessed Beauty has produced such friends for you.
Contentment in poverty is better than happiness in wealth but happiness in poverty is more praiseworthy than mere contentment. 3
In the morning the Master explained and illustrated some of the verses from Bahá’u’lláh for the friends who had come from the surrounding area to see Him. The explanations ended with the statement that contentment in poverty is better than happiness in wealth but happiness in poverty is more praiseworthy than mere contentment. Above all is the rich man who, having sacrificed, emerges pure from tests and trials and becomes the cause of tranquillity to mankind. Gratitude is the cause of multiple blessings but the apex of gratitude is sacrifice. The station of sacrifice is the highest of all. For this reason it is said, ‘You will never attain unto righteousness until ye sacrifice that which ye love.’ The Master then narrated a story:
At the time of his death a king longed for the station of a poor man, saying, ‘Would that I were a poor man so that I would neither have practiced oppression nor have had any regrets at the time of death.’ A poor man heard this, and said, ‘Praise be to God that at the hour of death kings desire to be poor. We poor people at the hour of death have no desire to be kings.’
Conversation of this kind continued for some time.
In the afternoon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá addressed a meeting and spoke on the principles of the Cause, emphasizing universal peace among the nations. After the meeting a person in the audience said: ‘The Bahá’ís do not believe in any one person but believe in the good teachings of all the Prophets and religions.’ The implication of his statement was that believing in the Manifestation of God was of no consequence. But note the Master’s reply to this remark:
The basic principles of all religions are the same and the Sun of Truth is one, yet every day it appears from a different dawning point. Hence, the Bahá’ís believe in the fundamental truth of all the religions and turn to the Sun of Truth. From whatever dawning point it may appear they turn toward it. At one time, it appeared from the dawning point of Moses, then from that of Jesus and again from that of Muhammad. But if all had looked only at the dawning points, they would have remained veiled like the Jews when the Sun of Truth appeared from another place. Today the Bahá’ís look at the Sun of Truth and not at the dawning point. From whatever place it may appear, they turn to it. You have rightly understood that the Bahá’ís do not believe in a person; rather they believe in the truth which shines from the divine dawning points.
- Sockett, Robert. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey So Far: Month Four.” 239 Days in America, 10 Aug. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/08/10/abdul-bahas-journey-so-far-month-four/. [return]
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 121-122. [return]
- ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=6#section139 [return]