August 15, 2011

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s simple manners and genuine love for children – as recalled by an American pilgrim in the Holy Land

That day -- the fourth of July -- He took us Himself to the Holy Tomb [The resting-place of Baha’u’llah at Bahji near 'Akka] in the morning.

I realize now why the Gospels are written so simply. I find I am only able to state bare facts. But these surely are more eloquent than all human comment on them. Let me give them to you, then --simply.

First, with a father's tender care, He came to the carriage with us and watched us start. At the house in Bahji He joined us -- in a cool, whitewashed room, its door and window-trimmings painted blue, the usual linen-covered divan lining its walls, under three wide windows. . . .

On a table was a single photograph -- Lua's. Our Lord called me to sit by His side; then, pointing to the photograph, said:

"Your friend!"

I got it and placed it on a little table close to His elbow, between the couch where He sat and my own chair. As I did this His face lit up with a smile of heaven.

August 5, 2011

The child who shook hands with the Guardian – recounted by ‘Ali Nakhjavani

The story I will now relate, although not all of it refers to the Greatest Holy Leaf, illustrates what I witnessed of the tender relationship between the Greatest Holy Leaf and Shoghi Effendi. Once our mother asked my brother and I to go to the Master's house after prayers at the Shrine of the Báb. In those days the Guardian was younger and, following prayers, he would walk down to Abbas Street and, the terraces beyond Abbas Street not yet having been built, he would turn to the right on Abbas Street, and then proceed to Haparsim Street and straight down to the Master's house. The pilgrims would usually walk with him. On that particular day my brother and I, too, followed Shoghi Effendi because we thought how much better it was to go to the Master's house with him. When Shoghi Effendi reached the gate he turned and said, 'Fí Amáni'lláh' (May you be under God's protection) and went in. Being younger than Jalal, I was glad to follow him when he set out after Shoghi Effendi. The Guardian went up the stairs and we did, too, and then entered the house. It was the custom of the Guardian to have his one major meal each day with the Greatest Holy Leaf. It was also his practice to go to her after meeting with the pilgrims and sit and talk to her. Shoghi Effendi turned right to go through the corridor next to the room in which the Master passed away and proceeded to the next room which was the Greatest Holy Leaf's bedroom. He went along that corridor and we followed, and when he opened the door I was so close to Shoghi Effendi at that point that I saw that the Greatest Holy Leaf was in bed. As soon as she heard the footsteps of Shoghi Effendi and the opening of the door she was at the point of rising from bed to sit in the presence of the Guardian. Although the distance is not far from the door to the bed, Shoghi Effendi literally ran from the door to the bed and gently restrained her, saying 'Já'iz níst' (it is not permissible). He did not want her to be disturbed.