July 8, 2013

Be natural, be happy…

Wendell [Dodge] and I [William Dodge] were so glad to be with ‘Abdu’l-Baha [in ‘Akka, in 1901]. At some times we were quite jolly. We were mere boys of 18 and 21. Our interpreter, Ameen Fareed, told us that we must be reverent, that when we entered the presence of the Master we must bow our heads, clasp our hands, avoid smiling. Of course we felt the rebuke. So the next time we entered the dining room, our heads were bowed, our hands clasped, and we did not smile. ‘Abdu’l-Baha passed quickly by us. He seemed to ignore us. We felt further rebuked. Returning to our room we wondered why ‘Abdu’l-Baha seemed different in His attitude toward us. Well, we decided that we were not good actors. So when we entered the dining room for the next meal, we smiled. ‘Abdu’l-Baha smiled. He came over to us, took us in his arms and said: “That’s the way I want you, boys, to act -- be natural, be happy.” 
(Excerpt from the transcript of a talk given by William Copeland Dodge relating the account of his pilgrimage to ‘Akka in 1901) (To listen to and read the entire talk please visit Baha’i Talks,Messages and Articles)