December 27, 2009

The story of Thomas Breakwell -- as recalled by one of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s secretaries

This young man, who had obtained permission to visit ‘Abdu'l-Baha before the renewal of His incarceration, arrived from Paris in the opening days of the imprisonment. He attained the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Baha for two days and nights and stayed at the Master's house in the midst of those dreadfully anxious times. His devotion, attraction and love were so intense that his blessed name shall endure for centuries in the annals of the Faith of God, while his wonderful life shall be retold in many accounts.

I do not know the story of his conversion, [Please see Baha’i Heroes and Heroines] but it was clear that he came from a Christian background, was endowed with spiritual sensitivity and ardour, and had accepted the Faith on the basis of the verses and prophecies of the divinely revealed scriptures of former religions, rather than a sentimental attraction to the Faith's contemporary social and philosophical principles. He would usually be seen reciting the verses of the Bible in glorification of the Kingdom of God, and while his pilgrimage was not long, yet the intensity of the fire of his love and the fervour of his longing and attraction moved the friends deeply. When in the presence of the Master he seemed enthralled by the matchless beauty of the Beloved, and as he completed his pilgrimage and received permission to depart, he evinced moving signs of deep adoration and veneration.

December 19, 2009

Impact of Baha’u’llah’s arrest in Tehran on His family

From our doors nobody was ever turned away; the hospitable board was spread for all comers …

Whilst the people called my Father 'The Father of the poor', they spoke of my mother as 'The Mother of Consolation', though, naturally, only the women and little children ever looked upon her face unveiled…

One day I remember very well, though I was only six years old at the time. It seemed that an attempt had been made on the life of the Shah by a half-crazy young Babi.

My father was away at his country house in the viliage of Niyavaran, which was his property, the villagers of which were all and individually cared for by him.

Suddenly and hurriedly a servant came rushing in great distress to my mother.

December 14, 2009

A dervish’s early recognition of Baha’u’llah’s station

One day, in the course of one of His riding excursions into the country, Baha’u’llah accompanied by His companions seated by the roadside, a lonely youth. His hair was dishevelled, and he wore the dress of a dervish.[1] By the side of a brook he had kindled a fire, and was cooking his food and eating it. Approaching him, Baha’u’llah most lovingly inquired: 'Tell me. dervish, what is that you are doing'?" "I am engaged in eating God," he bluntly replied. "I am cooking God and am burning Him." The unaffected simplicity of his manners and the candour of his reply pleased Baha’u’llah extremely. He smiled al his remark and began to converse with him with unrestrained tenderness and freedom. Within a short space of time, Baha’u’llah had changed him completely. Enlightened as to the true nature of God, and with a mind purged from the idle fancy of his own people, he immediately recognized the Light which that loving Stranger had so unexpectedly brought him. That dervish, whose name was Mustafa became so enamoured with the teachings which had been instilled into his mind that, leaving his cooking utensils behind, he straightway rose and followed Baha’u’llah. On foot, behind His horse, and inflamed with the fire of His love, he chanted merrily the verses of a love-song which he had composed on the spur of the moment and had dedicated to his Beloved. "Thou art the Day-Star of guidance," ran its glad refrain. 'Thou art the Light of Truth. Unveil Thyself to men, O Revealer of Truth." Although, in later years, that poem obtained wide circulation among his people, and it became known that a certain dervish ... had, without premeditation, composed it in praise of his Beloved, none seemed to be aware to whom it actually referred, nor did anyone suspect, at a time when Baha’u’llah was still veiled from the eyes of men, that this dervish alone had recognized His station and discovered His glory. 
(Nabil, 'The Dawn-Breakers')
[1.Literally beggar, poor one: the name given to one of many orders of religious mendicants and Islamic mystics]

December 10, 2009

A western pilgrim sees ‘Abdu’l-Baha for the first time

To describe 'Abdu'l-Baha so that the reader may form any mental picture of Him that would in any way do Him justice, is as impossible as to try to paint a sunbeam. The artist may put the ray of yellow light in exactly the right place and with most beautiful effect; but no matter how great his skill, he cannot catch the real essence of the sunbeam -- that golden luminosity, which is like an elixir of life, is uncatchable, unpaintable. So it is with the likeness of 'Abdu'l-Baha. His expression is ever changing; each thought and emotion is mirrored forth and the face becomes so illumined that words are but as the dull, lifeless paint which cannot reproduce the sunteams -- yet, some idea can be gathered from them.

When I first saw ‘Abdu’l-Baha I was alone and I came face to face with Him all unexpectedly. He stood not even four feet from me. It was in the upper court, with the blue sky overhead and the sunlight shining down brightly upon Him, the hour being but a little after "high noon." I might have thought Him any other member of His family, as His sons-in-law were often passing to and fro, but every atom of my being, my heart and soul cried out, "This is He." The face of my dreams of Him stood before me with that same heavenly smile of welcome. The Light of Infinite Love was radiating from His countenance. Majestic, and yet sublimely tender, He was looking right into my eyes. I gave a start as if I had suddenly plunged into an ocean, then stood transfixed. It seemed as if I had come upon Him unawares and saw the "Glory of the Lord" shining forth around Him; and I know I must have felt as did Mary Magdalene when Christ revealed Himself to her in her vision after the crucifixion -- "The Risen Lord." He motioned me to pass on. I could not. A sense of my great unworthiness made me bow my head – then He passed by me. He was dressed white. His hair fell in soft waves His shoulders and His head was crowned with a white turban bound around with a white cloth. His step was firm and kingly.

December 4, 2009

Baha’u’llah’s marriage with Asiyih Khanum

In about 1832, Baha'u'llah's older sister Sarih married Mirza Mahmud, a son of a minister of the Shah of Persia for the town of Yalrud, which is located near Baha’u’llah’s ancestral place, Takur in the northern province of Mazindaran. Three years later in about October 1835, Baha'u'llah himself, at the age of eighteen, married the sister of Mirza Mahmud, Asiyih Khanum who was then about sixteen years old. She was reported to have been beautiful, kind and caring. Baha’u’llah’s older sister had an active and supporting role in her Brother’s wedding arrangements.

This is how Bahiyyih Khanum, Asiyih Khanum’s daughter, recalled her mother many years later during a conversation with lady Blomfield, a Baha’i from the West who had gone on pilgrimage to Holy Land: