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"We desire but the good of the world and the happiness of the nations; that all nations shall become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men shall be strengthened, that diversity of religion shall cease and differences of race be annulled. So it shall be; these fruitless strifes; these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the 'Most Great Peace1 shall come."—Baha'o'llah.
Vol. 12 Asma 1,77 (August 1, 1921) No. 8
Pen Pictures of Abdul-Baha in America
FROM THE DIARY OF JULIET THOMPSON
(Continued from page 110)
YESTERDAY morning, June 12, 1913, 1 went up early to AbdulHaha's house, that house whose door opened about eight in the morning and kept open (with no one to guard it) until midnight!
He had beeu away and I had not seen him for three days. 1 had brought my pastels, thinking he might want to sit for me, but I found him looking utterly spent. He was in the lower reception room, or hall, the English basement of the house, and Valiolah Khan was with him. He looked up with brilliant eyes.
"What do you want of us, Juliet?" lie smiled.
''Only to be near you !'' (I had hidden my pastels.)
"You must excuse me from sitting for the portrait today. 1 am not able today."
Then he talked to us a little, but soon went out alone, to "the garden," leaving Ruth, Valiolah and me together.
"It is wonderful." said Ruth ;is Abdul-Baha went, "to see how the world is quickened today in all directions."
"And to know," I added, " that the voice that is quickening it, so powerfully quickening it, is that tender voiee that spoke to us just now."
Today (June 12th) I went up early to his house, but not early enough. As I turned into 78th Street, I saw him at the other end of the block on his way to the garden, his turban a dazzling spot in the sunlight, his robes floating out with great grace as he walked. .
Later he returned. Miss Buokton had
arrived by that time and a poor little waif of humanity, a Jewess. She was all in black, this poor child, with a little pale face, careworn and tearworn.
1 had been in the kitchen with Lua. I came out upon a scene dominated by the Master, lie was sitting, as usual,, at the window, the strong carving of hiis face thrown into high relief by masses of shadow, his turban and white aba bright in the sunlight. On one side sat Miss Bucktoii, on the other, this poor stricken child. While the biggest tears I had ever seen splashed from her eyes she told him her hopelessly dismal story.
"Don't grieve now, don't grieve," he said. lie was very, very still, and I think he was calming her.
"My brother has been in prison for three yeai-s. He was imprisoned unjustly. It was not his fault; he was led : he was weak, a victim of others. He lias four more years to serve. My father and mother are depressed all the time. My brother-in-law, who was our support, has just died."
There it was. the sum of human misery : poverty, weakness, disgrace, sorrow, despair arid the maddening pall of gloom.
"You must trust in God," said AbdulBaha.
"But the more I trust the worse things become!" she sobbed.
"You have never trusted."
"But my mother is reading the psalms all the time. She does not deserve that (iod should desert her so! I read the psalms myself, the ninety-first psalm
and the twenty-third psalm every night before I go to bed. I pray, too."
"To pray is not to read psalms. To pray is to trust in God and to be submissive in all things to Him. Be submissive, then things will change for you. Put your family in God's hands. Love God's will. Strong ships are not conquered by the sea; they ride the waves! Now be a strong ship, not a battered one."
At noon I took Mr. to him.
As we sat alone in the library, waiting for Abdul-Baha to return from the garden, I said:
"I think what he said at Mr. Gifford Finchot's last week was very interesting, that the people were rising like a great tide, wave upon wave, and unless the capitalists realized soon, they would be driven out with violence; that the people in the future would not work for wages, but for an interest in the concerns. ''
Just then Lua appeared at the door of the room where she had been sitting, bending toward the stairway with beautiful reverence.
"He is coming?" I asked.
"Yes, he is coming, Juliet."
He came into the room with both hands extended, and in a voice like ;i chime from his heart he said:
"Oh-h, Mr. , Mr. !"
Such love, such gladness, such sweetness, such welcome!
Then I slipped out.
When I re-entered the room Abdulr Baha was signing a photograph for
Mr. , rather, writing a prayer
"And now," Abdul-Baha said as he presented it, "you must give me your photograph. I want your face. I have given you mine, now you must give me yours."
"I will pray for you," he added, as
he said farewell to Mr. . "I will
mention you daily in my prayers."
Abdul-Baha detained me a moment. As I rejoined Mr. , Valiolah Khan
was entering the house. We (Mr. and I) were both out in an automobile.
"Do you see that young man going into the house?" I asked. "That is Valiolah Khan. His father was cut into pieces alive while his own little son (Valiolah Khan's youngest brother) was forced to look on at the butchery."
" 'If you will deny Baha'o'llah,' the executioners said to the child, 'we will take you to the palace of the Shall and honors and wealth will be heaped upon you.'
" 'But I do not want these things,' the little fellow answered.
" 'Then, if you do not deny him,' they continued, 'we will kill you worse than your father.' (I am expressing this .just as Valiolah Khan did, in his English.)
" 'You may kill me a thousand times worse,' was the reply. 'Is my blood of more value than my father's? To die in the path of Baha'o'llah is my supreme desire.' Then they fell on the child and choked him.
"A day or two ago," I continued. •'Valiolah Khan asked me about the portrait of Abdul-Baha—how it was getting on. 'One should paint the soul in a portrait, I think,' he said.
" 'But who can paint the soul of Abdul-Baha?' I asked.
" 'We can paint it with our blood.' he replied, very gently, but with kindling eyes." _____
The next day, Wednesday, June 13, as usual I went very early to Abdul -Baha's. so early that no one was there, that is. no callers. Some of the Persians, of course, were with him—Valiolah Khan and Mirza Ali Akbar. I found them in the lower reception hall, the English basement. The Master was sitting in the big chair in the corner by the window.
After a while he went out. When he returned, after he had given some private' interviews to those waiting, ho talked to people, on the first floor, sitting at the far end of the room, his back to the window, into which the sun poured. The strongest image in my memory is this luminous one of AbdulBaha sitting by the window, the majestic head dominating the holy figure, teaching us with smiles and gestures divine.
The meeting over, a few of us went upstairs. Abdul-Baha looked in, calling Juliet!" whereupon I joyously ran out to him.
"Bring your things in here and paint now," he said, pointing to the front room, the library.
Oh. these sittings, so wonderful, yet so difficult! We move from room to room, from background to background, light to light. He has given me three half hours, each time in a different room. And—Abdul-Baha. who could paint him? . . .
The next morning, Thursday, I went up very early to the house, but did not see the Master. But Lua and I had a wonderful talk with Valiolah Khan.
"My father," said Valiolah Khan, ''was much with Baha'o'llaii. One night Baha'o'llah, as he strode back and forth in his room, said to my father:
" 'At stated periods souls are sent to earth by the Mighty God with what we call the power of the great ether. And those who possess this power can do anything; they have all power. Even this walk of mine,' said Baha'o'llaii, 'has an effect in the world. Jesus Christ had this power. The people thought him a poor young man whom they had crucified; but he possessed the power of the great ether, therefore he could not remain underground. This ethereal power rose and quickened the world. And now look to the Master,' said Baha'o'llaii, 'for this power is his!'
•"baha'o'llaii," added Valiolah Khan, "taught my father much about Agha. Agha (Master) you know is one of the titles of Abdul-Baha, and the Greatest Mystery of God is another, and
the Greatest Branch is another. By all these we call him in Persia. The Blessed Perfection, Baha'o'llah, revealed the station of Abdul-Baha to my father. And my father wrote many poems to the Master, though the Master would scold him and say. 'You must not write such things to me!' But the heart of my father could not keep quiet. Once he wrote: " '0 Dawning-Place of the Beauty of
God! I know Thee! Though Thou wrappest Thyself in ten
thousand veils—I know Thee! Though Thou shouldst wear the tatters of a beggar—still would T know Thee!' "
In the afternoon I returned with my mother. Abdul-Baha received us in his room, full of lilies and carnations and roses.
"A-h-h, Mrs. Thompson! Marimba! Marimba!" ("Welcome.")
The intonation of that "Mar-haba!" —a welcome from a heart deeper than any human heart; a welcome indeed! Only this generation may know it on earth, but it is before all the world in the future at the threshold of Heaven!
The next morning I saw Abdul-Balm alone and we spoke of a friend, who had failed to understand Abdul-Baha's meaning the other day, thinking he meant to teach asceticism, that the spirit and the flesh were two separate things.
"That is not what I said," replied Abdul-Baha. "1 said that the spiritual man and the materialist were two different beings. The spirit is in the flesh," lie added.
"Yes, I know," I answered, beaming at the beauty of this and its deep significance, for there it all was—everything was said in those six words.
Those precious sittings, so few, with dear May and Lua praying beside me while I worked, perceiving and encouraging while I painted with a breathless and blind speed, lifted up on a wave of inspiration, only feeling! on page ISO)
PUBLISHED NINETEEN TIMES A YEAR
In the Interest of the BAHAI MOVEMENT
By the BAHAI NEWS SERVICE, 515 South Dearborn Street. Chicago, Hi.. U. S. A. Pabliihert: ALBERT R. WINDUST—GERTRUDE BUIKEMA—DR. ZIA M. BAGDADI
Entered as second-class matter April 9, 1911, at the post office at Chicago, 111., under the Act of March 3, 1ST*.
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Make Money Orders Payable to BAHAI NEWS SERVICE, P. O. Box 283. Chicago, 111., U. S. A.
To personal checks please add sufficient to cover the bank exchange. Address all communications to BAHAI NEWS SKRV1CE. P.O. Box 283. Chicago, 111., U.S.A.
"Thou hast written regarding the tests and trials to be manifested in the American countries. Know this, that hardships and misfortune shall increase day by day, and the people will be distressed. The doors of joy and happiness shall be closed upon all sides; terrible wars shall happen. Disappointment and the frustration of hopes shall surround the people from every direction, until they are obliged to turn to God. Then the Lights of great happiness will enlighten the horizons, so that the cry of ' Ya-Baha-El-Abha!' may arise upon all sides. This will happen!" (Signed) Abdul-baha Abbas.
(Portion of Tablet revealed by Abdul-Balm in the spring of 1904 for I. D. Brittingham, New York City, America.)
Letters from Abdul-Baha's Wife
Haifa, Palestine, March 26, 1921. Koohieh Khanum (Miss Sanderson). My dear spiritual daughter:
it is a long time since I have written you. It is not because you are forgotten. No, God forbid! You are ever present in our heart and we arc always eager to hear from you. The real cause was that we had not yet settled the affairs pertaining to the school. Mr. Remey was busy with the plan and the necessary tract of land was not quite prepared. Now, however, as we have made considerable progress, I would like to inform yon about the things done and ask what you have been able to accomplish. The plan has been completed and the governmental permission granted. The land is about nine thousand cubits and three hundred and fifty pounds have been gathered.
Now, I would like to show what yon
have been able to collect and what sum you are ready to contribute. The plan is such that we can begin by building nine rooms and build the rest when more money will be obtained.
The Master is at present in Tiberius. He needed a change after the severe indisposition he had some time ago. He has recovered and his health is improving daily. The pilgrims are not so numerous and he can obtain some rest.
The other members of the family are in good* health and extend to you their best regards.
He Is God!
My spiritual daughter, Roohieh Khanum T hope that in whatever spot or dwelling you may be. that you are protected and guarded under the shadow of the
favor and assistance of His Majesty, Abdul-Baha—May all souls be his sacrifice!
Your letters have arrived. Your great effort in regard to the school on Mt. Carmel, near the Tomb of the Bab, is evident and clear.
God willing, this perishable one (Monereh Khanum), through the assistance of Abdul-Baha, is your partner and associate in this fine undertaking.
His Majesty, Baha'o'llah has said: "One good action turns this world of dust into a heavenly abode."
Now, praise be to God, your high endeavor is centered in the Makam Ala (the Tomb of the Bab) and also in the highest paradise.
Do not feel discouraged if there is some delay (over its realization).
The greatest Holy Leaf is present and wishes me to convey to you her loving greetings, also the holy leaves, Zia Khanum, Rhooah Khanum and Tuba Khanurn, each in turn send greetings and salutations. Monereh.
O good wisher of the world of humanity! This fine intention of yours meets with the approval of His Majesty, Baha'o' Llah, and will render service to all mankind. • Abdui.i-baha Abbas.
Paris, France, April 21, 1921. To the Star Of The West -.
The enclosed letter from Monereh Khanum, the Master's wife, has just been received. Will you be so good as lo publish it at once.' I am svndinir i-opies of her two preceding letters, one of which you have already inserted in your publication (see Vol. 11, p;i«e 225) but if you see fit all three letters might appear simultaneously.
The earnest desire of Monereh Khanum to see this great project of hers quickly realized is strongly evinced in
Urbana, 111., May 2, 1921. To the Star Op The West :
I am sending you a translation of a letter from Mrs. Schwartz in Stuttgart,
this last letter and 1 deeply regret that she has so poor an instrument as myself to assist her. It seemed to me by making a direct appeal to every believer— especially to the women—since the Master expressed the desire that the women should build this school—that the response would be more spontaneous. I see that I was mistaken, though I am sure if every woman would make the willing sacrifice of a gown and other articles of wear which she indulges herself in, the necessary sum for beginning the school would be quickly forthcoming.
There are women outside the Cause who, I am sure, the thought of helping towards the education and emancipation of the women of the East would appeal to strongly. Why not try to enlist their sympathies by putting the matter before them? Could not a committee be formed to discuss ways and means?
May I make once more a most humble appeal to all believers—men, women and children—to send in their offering, big or small. The call for help has resounded from the spot we all look upon as most holy. A call from the women of the East to the women of the West to assist them to liberate themselves, and in so doing to help the East to shake off the shackles that have held and bound her for so many centuries, for there, where there is no equality between men and women, there can be no real civilization. This is a new era, a new dispensation, and we believers are forerunners of a new civilization, therefore, we cannot remain deaf to Monereh Khanum's appeal. Yours faithfully in El-Baha, Edith Roohich Sanderson,
[It is Die icish of Rhooah Khanum ~that all contributions for this school should l)e made through Mrs. Marjory Morten, New York City.—Zia Bagdadi.]
Germany, which I received not long ago. T thought possibly you might like it. With Bahai greetings,
Stuttgart, Germany. Dear friends:
In behalf of my husband,* who is out of town for a few days, I want to thank you most heartily for your transmission of a third food-draft for the Bahais. How kind and good it is of the Bahais over there to remember the German friends! We have many needy people in our group who are made happy by your kind help. All groups—as Esslingen, Zuffenhausen, Reublingen, Goppingen, Gera, Leipzig, etc.—are being provided with the American "love offerings (Liebesgaben), so that love is building a bridge from country to country. In Germany we now have to do without a great many things that seemed to be
long to the necessities of life, for instance, milk, which is only available for infants and people over 70 years of age. The butter rations are infinitesimal, white bread is not to be had and so forth. Finally, one gets used to everything and is content even so. Whosoever is a Bahai with heart and soul, deems mental health and spiritual wealth more precious than earthly comfort.
We are very busy here. The ground has been ploughed to receive the seed of the new teaching so that our circle is widening more and more.
With kind greetings to the whole Urbana group and best regards also from my husband,
Yours in El-Abha,
Alice. T Schwarz.
Pen Pictures of Abdul-Baha in America
(Continued from page 147) 'The Holy Spirit, alone, can paint pression I have left to you.
this portrait," I said to Abdul-Baha. "All coufirmaton conies from the Center of the Covenant. Oh, inspire me!" 'You will be inspired," said AbdulBaha, "for you are painting only for the sake of God."
Then I let go, relying on his promise and on the prayers of May and Lua; and then a great wave of inspiration came, lifting me to unimagined heights of confidence, endowing me with clear, sure perception, above all, filling, thrilling me with feeling, so profound and immense that my hand, strangely certain, as direct as though guided by a more powerful one, trembled so it could scarcely execute. In five half-hours the portrait was done (all except a sitting for the last touches)—each day in a different light and environment.*
To be painting from the face that mirrors the Face of God and realizing this! Oh, artists of the future, think what that means, and forgive the inadequate ex
*A portrait this size normally takes fortv hours at least.
Because of these great difficulties I could not make a studied portrait, it is only a sketch. The light was unspeakably weak and poor, everything external was against me. But they say it is really like Abdul-Baha—he, himself, says so. He said, "It is the very nature." But nothing is like him to me. 'That immortal flash of the eyes, that mouth superhumanly mobile, the piercing sweetness and brilliancy of the look, the celestial light of the ever-changin«r face—who could paintf An emanation of holiness that is almost visible, I can find no words for it. You will have to wait, oh people who are to come! till you see him in the Supreme Concourse. There was that other day, when in his address to the believers Abdul-Baha declared himself the Center of the Covenant. The words are on record, though not all, some he himself struck out when the notes were presented to him, so that the record is less strong, .more guarded than the spoken words were. They were uttered with a great calm. That day was the 19th of June. .
(To be continued)