December 13, 2014

The King summons the Báb

Muhammad Shah, the king of Persia, was torn between two conflicting desires. He wanted to meet the Báb. He was anxious to see in person this young Man Who could win over to His Faith someone as learned and gifted as Vahid, and a man of such nobility, stature and wealth as Manuchihr Khan [the Governor of Isfahan]. He was eager to know more of this young Prophet Who could so powerfully affect such illustrious people. Yet he was alarmed at the same time. He was frightened of what might happen if the Báb gained too much popularity. His Prime Minister, Haji Mirza Aqasi, constantly warned him to beware of the Báb. The priests at Court spoke of the Báb in the same manner the religious authorities had spoken of Jesus, saying: "He is a political revolutionary.  He will undermine your state and destroy your influence over your subjects."

The king wavered.  He blew hot and cold. Prompted by the Prime Minister, he at one time issued instructions to do away with the Báb, then later withdrew them. Now, thinking it would have pleased his friend, the late Manuchihr Khan, the king again expressed his eagerness to meet the Báb in person. Therefore, he summoned the Báb to the capital city of Tihran.

The historian Nicolas wrote: "The Shah, whimsical and fickle, forgetting that he had, a short time before, ordered the murder of the Reformer [the Báb], felt the desire of seeing at last the man who had aroused such universal interest." [1]

December 6, 2014

Louis Gregory’s vision and ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s interpretation

Louis G. Gregory was one of the first African-Americans in the United States to embrace the Baha'i Faith. He was later named a Hand of the Cause of God posthumously by Shoghi Effendi. Louis made a pilgrimage in May of 1911 to meet 'Abdu'l-Baha and visit the Holy Shrines. He wrote a journal of his experiences on pilgrimage. Below is an excerpt from his journal:

Soon after accepting the Revelation the writer [Louis Gregory] had a vision (Joel 2-28). Baha'u'llah was seen with head bent gently forward. His right arm was extended and from His right side flowed four layers of mellow golden light, each layer containing numberless spirals and beautiful figures. The light was of uniform brightness. This vision soon vanished and I found myself turning into a street in which some enemies of the Cause of God were menacing the believers. I raised my right hand above my head and shouted, "It is all true! Mine eyes have seen the Glory!" 

'Abdu'l-Baha explained. "There are four classes of people. The first is those who have accepted the teachings and occupy themselves spreading the Glad Tidings. The second is those who are good believers, but make no effort to guide others. The third is those who have heard the Message of the Kingdom but have not accepted it. The fourth is those who have not yet heard of this Revelation. As to the contention of those who deny and oppose, you have already had experience enough to know what this means." 
(Louis Gregory, ‘A Heavenly Vista, The Pilgrimage of Louis Gregory’)