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VOL. II. November 23, 1911. No. 14
Portrait of Abdul-Baha 2 With Abdul-Baha in Paris—By Mary Hanford Ford 3 With Abdul-Baha in Switzerland—By Juliet Thompson 9 California News—By Thornton Chase 13 News Notes from Paris—By Madame d'Astre 15
"When the ocean of My Presence hath disappeared and the Book of Origin is achieved to the end, turn your faces toward Him Whom God Hath Purposed, who hath branched from this Pre-Existent Root."—Words of BAHA'O'LLAH.
This photograph was selected by Abdul-Baha from several taken in Paris, recently, and permission granted to circulate it.
STAR OF THE WEST Vol. II Chicago (November 23, 1911) Kowl No. 14
WITH ABDUL-BAHA IN PARIS. BY MARY HANFORD FORD.
To one who has visited Abdul-Baha in his prison home at Acca, the delight of seeing him in the western world is almost indescribable. I was not so fortunate as to be with him in London, but I had the good fortune to arrive in Paris shortly after he reached that city, and for two weeks I was able to see him every morning.
He rented his own apartment in Paris, and a little fair-haired, pleasant-faced French maid presided over its domestic functions and answered the bell.
“This is my home and the home of my friends,” said Abdul-Baha, and every one was admitted here without question, no matter to what cult or nationality he belonged, no matter how shabby were his clothes. A background of Persian men was always present, for all the Persians in Paris apparently camped in the home of Abdul-Baha during his stay there, but besides the Persians there were French, Germans, English, Hindus, and a large sprinkling of Americans, among whom the tall figures of Mr. Woodcock and Mr. Mills were always noticeable.
Abdul-Baha, of course, paid all his own expenses in Paris, and the apartment he rented was a commodious one provided with the best modern conveniences, and containing a great drawing room which could easily accommodate from seventy-five to a hundred people.
Here the interested ones gathered every morning between ten and twelve, though it was whispered that even before dawn eager seekers were admitted to private interviews with Abdul-Baha, and naturally those who did not wish to be seen entering his house came in the early hours.
Abdul-Baha speaks only the Oriental tongues, but he understands all that is said in any language, and in Paris his wonderful words were translated by M. Dreyfus into especially perfect French. The little company assembled at No. 4 Avenue de Camoens never knew exactly at what time the eagerly expected one would appear. Sometimes he came joyfully, waving a good morning to all, or best of all, greeting each one with a warm hand clasp. At other times, when there had been bad news from the seat of war in Tripoli, he would enter with sadness written upon his eloquent countenance, and it was on such occasions that he gave the two little talks on war that I send you.
Sometimes his address was very short, but always his presence was so stimulating that no one had the slightest consciousness of disappointment when he arose and left the room. Abdul-Baha, is like a great magnet drawing together the noblest forces of nations and individuals. He is purely synthetic, not analytic, and his cohering power is enormous—he focalizes the temperament of every listener. The stimulus of his presence in this way is something quite indescribable; it must be experienced to be comprehended. But if one did not understand Persian or French, the electric contact with Abdul-Baha and his marvelous and poetic utterance would be sufficient to transform phlegmatic materialism into spiritual possibility.
The effect of this electric presence was that of clear and prodigious thinking which swept away like cobwebs all trivialities of sect and disunion, and pierced through to the divine harmonies which unite one to God and his neighbor. Every one who listened to Abdul-Baha must have realized that this was no sectarian founder of a cult. This was a spiritually endowed messenger whose message touched
all mankind, who came out of his prison to remind men of the mighty lessons God has spoken to lift us out of barbarism and cruelty, from war to peace, and that in this day we must follow even the letter of these heavenly lessons.
So he spoke always of peace, always of conduct, giving to his own followers definitions of their mission which were very positive, and must have sounded a trifle strange to some who perhaps may have retained a slightly sectarian bias, even under the inspiration of this divinely dowered Prophet of Unity.
“You are a society banded together for the increase of friendship among nations and races, and of brotherhood among men,” he said one day, waving his hand toward the circle before him, and constantly he adjured us to realize the privilege that was ours in being first to receive the “Breeze of God" which must always rise in the East and blow towards the West, and which is now floating again from that wonderful Orient into the faces of the expectant Occident.
It was exceedingly interesting to watch the faces of those who came each morning to listen to Abdul-Baha and observe the gradual but evident change of thought which took place in them so that hard lines gave way before invading gentleness and light irradiated countenances and eyes which previously had considered only material difficulties. I have not time to recall the countless instances of this sort. They were, of course, always intensified by an interview with Abdul-Baha himself. Sometimes people stayed with him three minutes, sometimes half an hour, for there were many waiting to speak with him. The time of the interview did not matter much and I never shall forget a dear little friend who is cashier of a big business house in Paris. She is devoutly unselfish, and eager only to do her utmost for every one. She had a three-minute interview. As she entered, Abdul-Baha advanced toward her with his hands outstretched.
“Ah, you are aflame! You are alive!” he cried. "How happy I am when people come to me who are alive not dead!”
Then he took her hands and said to her just the tender and inspiring words she needed, assuring her that God would always guide her. She was only in his room three minutes, but she came out with a look upon her face I shall never forget. Each day I was in Paris I went into the big shop where she was cashier, and the lovely look was still upon her face. I am sure it will never leave her.
I send you the striking passages from some of the talks given by Abdul-Baha while I was in Paris. My versions are, of course, not complete or perfect. Mirza Assad Ullah, who was present, carefully took down Abdul-Baha's words in Persian, and they will no doubt be translated and given us later. My own translations are merely the result of notes taken at the time and are necessarily incomplete. But certain significant words were of great moment and these I always preserved.
The two points Abdul-Baha seemed desirous of impressing upon his hearers especially were the fact that man has freed himself from the trammels of material conditions through the use of his spiritual gifts, and that possessing this power he should apply it for good, for the establishing of a perfect civilization, the abolition of cruelty and injustice, and the institution of love as the absolute rule.
To attain this he insisted it is only necessary to think right, and again and again, in various modifications he repeated the wonderful words: “While they make war, you think peace; while they create destruction, you think construction; while they are guilty of cruelty, you think tenderness!”
TALK ON THE BATTLE OF BENGHAZI.
I am not happy this morning, I am full of sadness. The news which the paper brought us was such as must fill one with anguish.
Animals fight, and when they fight it is for a cause, an end to be gained.
Men are fighting now, for what? For the ground, our sepulchre, our tomb, our cemetery!
The earth is the first and lowest of terrestrial things created by the Divine Will—and it is our tomb, our sepulchre, our cemetery; our death, not our life—and these men are fighting not for liberty or an ideal, but for ground, for the place of death not life, for a sepulchre, a tomb, a cemetery!
God has never forgotten the world, and no matter how black have been its conditions, there have always been societies established for the cherishing of love and equality and fraternity.
You are a people banded together to increase friendship among nations and races and brotherhood among men. So now, while these men are creating death, you think life, while they are guilty of cruelty, you think tenderness, while they make destruction, you think construction, while they create war, you think peace.
We must hope, we must not despair. We must look forward to the time when war and dissension will disappear, when love and unity will reign, and the light of God will shine upon all banners and into all hearts, and unite them to one another and to Him.
THE EARTH IS GOD'S.
There has been another battle today and much blood has been shed. The poor have given their lives as a sacrifice to the greed of others. Men are fighting for the earth—for land—and it belongs to no one but God. Kings have fought for it from Charlemagne to Napoleon I, yet they had no right to it. One fought wrongfully to wrest it from another who wrongfully possessed it. All people are merely tenants of God upon the land, yet nevertheless empires have disappeared in the struggle for its possession, and again men are shedding blood for the ownership of mere land.
While man might become a centre for good, for amity, he fights like ferocious beasts for the right to land.
God wishes man to establish just equality, not to transgress laws, to help one another and live together in love. Do what God asks, be the cause of unity and peace—wipe out the horrors of war and hatred!
Be ye capable of all good, eager to work for the cause of unity and peace, sacrificing all for this. Be eager to suffer for such an end. Forget yourself, forget personal danger, personal evil and inconvenience. Have no fear of evil to yourself in the great cause of unity and peace. Be dissolved in love, so that you may lose consciousness of everything except the good of all.
I met a man this morning who belongs to the sect of Buddhists and I said to him, "What is your message?" He replied “l'Amour, Love!” I said, “Yes, but what besides that?” He repeated, “Love, that is all, that is the only message.”
But the word Love is not a message; the word Love indicates an infinite thing, and how shall we bring an infinite thing into relation with humanity which is finite?
There are in reality many kinds of love, and each in itself is infinite and finite. There is the love of country, or the patriotic love, there is the family love, there is the love of friendship, the love of man and woman—each one is finite and limited. There is only one love which is infinite and unlimited and divine, and that is the love which comes with the Breath of the Holy Spirit—the Love of God—which breaks all barriers and sweeps all before it.
Animals are completely subject to nature, they are its slaves. They live and
die in the places in which they are born, they are the victims of storm and flood, they are hemmed in by desert, forest, by the great rivers and the sea.
But man has conquered nature, and is free. He is no longer the slave of the physical world, he dominates it and is free. He compels the physical world to do his will. He crosses wide spaces, sails over the ocean, and is beginning to fly through the air. He is in all things a freed being, and can give his commands to that nature in the midst of which he was born.
So man who is freed from material things and dominates nature, should learn to render his love also unlimited and divine. He should open his soul to the Breeze of God, that it may blow through him and break down all barriers.
So, if you love, endeavor to love divinely. If you love your country, love it not with the narrow feeling that it must be loved because it is yours alone, but with the greater consciousness that your home is a part of the universe. It you love brother or comrade or wife, love each one as a part of God, and not with the narrow sense of possession which renders the love selfish and exclusive. Then the Breeze of God blowing constantly through your love will purify it and make it divine so that the Breath of the Holy Spirit will enter into your being and unite you to God.
But do not seek the honors and loves of this world, seek rather God and His love, and then the Honors and Loves which belong to Him will be yours. All the glory of the heavens is his, all the beauty of the flowers, the scent of the roses and the colors of the sunset. But more than this the beauty of the soul is His, so that when you look long upon His beauty, it takes many forms and reappears in your consciousness in many figures. But all other beauty fades and disappears, all other honor but His becomes insignificant, all other love but His is undesirable.
The greatest treasure of man is wisdom. Through this he is lifted into great power, through this he becomes the mirror of Divine Love. He comprehends the past; he possesses the future. In all this man is infinitely superior to the rest of creation. The sun which brings life to the vegetable world, and gives it bloom and fragrance is, nevertheless, in spite of all its splendor, limited. It cannot go beyond the law which controls it, which co-ordinates its movement.
In the animal world it is the same. The elephant with all his strength and intelligence is bound by the law of his existence. He cannot go beyond this law or control it. With the beautiful birds which fly through the air in such seeming freedom, it is the same. They are bound by the law of their existence.
Man alone is free, man alone controls the environment which surrounds him, he alone makes nature his slave. Though he is of the animal world and cannot naturally live in the water, he has conquered the ocean, and if he wills may pass his life upon the bosom of the sea.
Though limited by space so that under ordinary circumstances he can only hear speech within a certain area, he has captured the word and can send it as far as he will through the marvelous agency of electricity, which he has made his own.
So also he has conquered space by means of photography, and can send pictures where he will, of all that he sees. He dominates the nature which enslaves all else, and has made it his obedient servant.
It is a pity that with this dominance and power which have become his, man has not willed to render perfect the civilization of all the world. But he does not. If he chose he could create at Paradise upon the earth, but instead of peace he makes war, instead of love he sows cruelty, instead of harmony he creates discord.
I shall pray for you that you may be impelled to use the power that is given you for divine purposes, that you may be the source of concord between individuals, that instead of war you may create peace, instead of cruelty you will create love, instead of discord you will make harmony.
THE HOLY SPIRIT.
The Divine Reality is far removed from man. It is absolutely remote and independent in its essence—beyond the comprehension of man—abstract, limitless and impersonal.
Man is limited, weak, fearful, poverty-stricken and helpless. The Divine Reality represents the Power Absolute, capacity for all things, fulfillment for all the needs of man.
The Divine Reality is to man what the sun is to the earth. The sun is life, radiance, heat, energy, power. The earth is dead, inert, helpless, incapable of initiative or change. It is poor, cold, and without resources.
The sun in its remoteness could never reach the earth, and the earth, wretched indifferent clod, could never attain to the glory and splendor of the sun. In order that one may gain the other, that life and fragrance may come to the helpless earth floating alone in dim space, there must be an intermediary. In some way the life-giving power of the radiant sun must be brought to the sodden earth, and this becomes possible through the media of light and heat. Through their means the glory of the distant luminary is transmitted to the dark ball of earth, and instantly it becomes the home of fragrance and blooming life. The glory of the magnificent source of light touches our dim planet and banishes death and darkness.
As there must be an intermediary to transmit to earth the life-giving power of the sun, so there must be an intermediary to bring God to man, and this is found through the ever-present efficacy of the Holy Spirit. As the media of light and heat carry fragrance and bloom to the earth, so the intermediary of the Holy Spirit brings to man warmth, perfection and inspiration.
The wonder-working rays of the radiant sun fall upon the dull earth, carrying there richness and glory. The earth alone is but a senseless clod; touched by the sun it becomes life, energy, budding and blossoming wealth.
So the Holy Spirit touches the heart of man and wakens him to eternal life. Like the sun to earth it brings to man warmth, energy and perfection. It gives him all possibilities. The cause of life widens before his eyes, eternity opens to him, and becomes his, he no longer knows fear, for the wealth of God is his, and every moment is his inviolable possession. Limitations disappear, and as he becomes more and more sensitive to the teaching of the Holy Spirit, all things are his own.
Without the sun the earth is only the habitation of death, and would remain forever in its frozen clasp, were it not for the intermediary of light and heat stirring its inert mass and transforming into budding energy and accomplishment all its repellant hardness.
So without the intermediary of the Holy Spirit man would remain dull, helpless and deprived of all attainment. But touched by that Divine Elixir he becomes tender, loving, responsive, and capable of every perfection of life.
Each one has in his environment a treasure. Let him seek that treasure eagerly, search for it with patience. Then when he has found it, there is another treasure still to be discovered in the same place for which he must also search.
(CONTINUED ON PAGE FOURTEEEN)
STAR OF THE WEST
[Continuing the BAHAI NEWS]
PUBLISHED NINETEEN TIMES A YEAR
By the BAHAI NEWS SERVICE, 515 South Dearborn Street., Chicago, Ill., U.S.A. Entered as second-class matter April 9, 1911, at the post office at Chicago, Illinois, under the Act of March 3, 1879.
Albert R. Windust—EDITORS—Gertrude Buikema Persian Editor.—Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, 1800 Belmont Road, Washington, D. C., U.S.A. Associate Editor.—Dr. Zia M. Bagdadi, Chicago.
TERMS: $1.00 per year; 10 cents per copy.
Note—Until further notice, distribution in the Orient is through Agents. Make Money Orders payable to BAHAI NEWS SERVICE, P. O. Box 283, Chicago, Ill., U.S.A.
Address all communications to BAHAI NEWS SERVICE, P. O. Box 283, Chicago, Ill., U.S.A.
TABLET FROM ABDUL-BAHA.
O thou Star of the West! HE IS GOD!
Be thou happy! Be thou happy! Shouldst thou continue to remain firm and eternal, ere long, thou shalt become the Star of the East and shalt spread in every country and clime. Thou art the first paper of the Bahais which is organized in the country of America. Although for the present thy subscribers are limited, thy form is small and thy voice weak, yet shouldst thou stand unshakable, become the object of the attention of the friends and the center of the generosity of the leaders of the faith who are firm in the Covenant, in the future thy subscribers will become hosts after hosts like unto waves of the sea; thy volume will increase, thy arena will become vast and spacious and thy voice and fame will be raised and become world-wide—and at last thou shalt become the first paper of the world of humanity. Yet all these depend upon firmness, firmness, firmness!
(Signed) ABDUL-BAHA ABBAS.
|1st||Baha' (Splendor)||Mar. 21|
|2nd||Jalal (Glory)||Apr. 9|
|3rd||Jamal (Beauty)||Apr. 28|
|4th||Azamat (Grandeur)||May 17|
|5th||Nur (Light)||June 5|
|6th||Rahmat (Mercy)||June 24|
|7th||Kalamat (Words)||July 13|
|8th||Asma (Names)||Aug. 1|
|9th||Kamal (Perfection)||Aug. 20|
|10th||Eizzat (Might)||Sept. 8|
|11th||Masheyat (Will)||Sept. 27|
|12th||Elm (Knowledge)||Oct. 16|
|13th||Kudrat (Power)||Nov. 4|
|14th||Kowl (Speech)||Nov. 23|
|15th||Massa'ulk (Questions)||Dec. 12|
|16th||Sharaf (Honor)||Dec. 31|
|17th||Sultan (Sovereignty)||Jan. 19|
|18th||Mulk (Dominion)||Feb. 7|
|Four Intercalary days.|
|19th||Ola (Loftiness)||Mar. 2|
|(Month of fasting.)|
|Vol. II||Chicago, (November 23, 1911) Kowl||No. 14|
We are happy in presenting a recent portrait of Abdul-Baha in this issue of the STAR OF THE WEST. As is generally known, for many years, he did not permit a photograph of himself to be made, although reproductions of one taken when he was a young man, had a limited circulation among the friends some years ago. In answer to a communication regarding it, Abdul-Baha expressed his wish, which we quote herewith, believing it will be read with interest at this time: “Verily thou hast seen the physical picture of Abdul-Baha printed by the rays of the phenomenal sun (the photograph) and thine eyes became overflowing with tears. Beg thou of God that He may show thee his (Abdul-Baha's) spiritual picture printed by the rays shining from the Merciful Kingdom. Then the attraction of God shall overtake thee, and make thee as a spark of fire with the Love of God.”
Word has been received from the editor of The Christian Commonwealth of his intention to keep its readers (numbering 50,000) informed of the progress of the Bahai Movement. We would suggest that the friends keep in touch with this excellent weekly publication, recognized everywhere as an organ of the progressive movement in religion and social ethics. The American postal subscription is $2.11 per annum. Address The Christian Commonwealth, 133 Salisbury Square, London, E. C., England.
WITH ABDUL-BAHA IN SWITZERLAND
LETTER FROM MISS JULIET THOMPSON.
Dear Friends: Miss Buikema has asked me to write you, through the STAR OF THE WEST, an account of my recent visit to Abdul-Baha; and it is a joy indeed to share this with you—as well as I can; for, though when one leaves Abdul-Baha after such a visit, one's greatest longing is to share the divine experience with all others,—to make as real as possible such an experience to those who have not had this blessing, and to recall it to those who have,—yet such deep things make one mute. I feel I can only speak stumblingly of that which I saw. Therefore, I beg you, beforehand, to forgive the inadequacy of this letter.
My great experience last summer in London at the Universal Races Congress, where I saw all the nations of the world represented by each nation's noble thinkers, assembled in the name of the human unity in their endeavor to find the way to that unity, was a very wonderful prelude and preparation to my meeting with Abdul-Baha in Europe.
To witness such a great and universal endeavor,—to see men from the uttermost parts of the earth—of every color and creed—meet thus fraternally, was indeed a proof of the power of the Spirit in the world today,—a proof that as our sister Miss Buckton said in her inspired ode (with which, as you know, the Congress opened):
- The Voice that cried: Let there be Light!
- Hath rent the veil of a darker night:
- Let there be Love!
Significant indeed is the fact that immediately after that gathering together of the world's truest thinkers in a meeting which was like a great plea to humanity, the Spiritual Educator—he whose life has been a long sacrifice for the sake of the world-unity—should begin his world-journey.
Never before has the Spiritual Educator himself come to the West—that is to say, never in any past Dispensation,—but this is the day of universal spiritual knowledge and of universal love—the day of maturity and brotherhood.
It was on the Lake of Geneva—a spot of ethereal beauty—that I saw him, during those few days of rest before he proceeded to London to his world-work.
They were quiet days, full of parable and symbol, which are just unfolding to me. The story of them is a beautiful and simple one,—so simple that it is difficult to tell, for its great beauty lies in the tender personal touches, and that which my spirit perceived—impossible to communicate.
If I could only picture to you Abdul-Baha in the West; Abdul-Baha with the power of his peace in the restless West; Abdul-Baha in the complex West with the power of his simplicity; Abdul-Baha with his noble and illumined beauty in the artificial and skeptical West;—so strongly defined in his completeness against our undevelopment!
And that illumined beauty—that dignity, not of this world—that majesty of spirit that marks him a king among men, never went unheeded; for wherever he passed, eyes turned to follow, and the crowds, with involuntary reverence, stood back.
M. and Madame Dreyfus-Barney and I staid at the hotel with Abdul-Baha, at Thonon, a great white hotel overlooking the lake, two mountains meeting in a beautiful line behind it.
Our dear friend and teacher, Mirza Assad Ullah was with him and five other Persian brothers. Mirza Baghar Khan from the south of Russia, M. Dabud, now of London, two others whose names I am sorry I cannot give you, Tammadon-ul-Molk,
of whose service in London we have read so much lately, and Kosro, the faithful servant. Mirza Ahmad Yazdi came later, also Mirza Raffie, Dr. Hakim of Teheran and Riaz Effendi of Cairo.
Abdul-Baha not being very much occupied during those days, we were with him constantly, sailing on the lake or driving through the mountain roads with him. The day of my arrival one of the Persian brothers, returning from a drive with him, told me this story:
Abdul-Baha, he said, to relieve the horses in a steep climb had gotten out of the carriage and walked. They passed through a village. The villagers clustered around him. They bared their heads and called him “Father.” One woman ran into her house and brought out some country bread and cheese. “Accept this, dear Father,” she said. (Blessed are the pure in heart!)
One drive I shall never forget. It was a drive through scenes of rare beauty,—roads winding among great hills that were as steps to the near Alps. Sitting opposite Abdul-Baha, in the carriage, I saw him in a way I should like to leave to the future—were it possible for me to express it!—his powerful head vividly defined against the most sublime of backgrounds; for those near mountains of the Alps, their heads hid in rolling clouds, were his background—perfect symbol of mystery!
As an artist I should like to say to those who have not seen Abdul-Baha that his head is the strongest and most nobly sculptured that it is possible to conceive.
One more touch I must give—a few words overheard in passing two ladies:
“He has so kind, so simple an air,” said one.
“Yes,” replied the other, “and eyes of fire!”
We passed fertile hills, covered with vines and corn—or fruit trees; we passed foaming mountain torrents; we passed little villages, and always the background of these verdant scenes was the panorama of the lonely Alps, their heads wreathed with clouds. And nothing escaped his eyes. Never shall I forget his keen, sympathetic, eager, delighted observation,—his tender interest in all human traces—his joy in the beautiful. He particularly seemed to enjoy the gentle hillsides—the green—the signs of verdure (think of his life spent in arid, stony Acca!). Whenever he passed a village—a human habitation—we saw his heart went out to it—though how much that heart went out these hearts could not know! We never passed a church, its spire delicately rising among the hills, but that he pointed it out to us. Once in the drive we saw a little village built on a barren height. This seemed to concern—even to trouble him greatly, and he referred several times to it. “How cold it must be for them there in winter!” he said, and told us of just such a village in Persia where the people in winter moved down to the valley.
Once he broke a silence thus: “There was no one in the world who loved trees and water and the country so much as BAHA'O'LLAH!
We were too moved to answer and again there was silence. And in that silence some realization came to me of the sacrifice of these Holy Ones, who accept with joy all privation, all suffering to lead us in the way of freedom—to imbue mankind with that love which will make us brothers—to purify, then unite the hearts. How great must be their love for us—how their hearts must bleed over us—that they can joyously court such suffering! A great enough love indeed to enkindle the whole world from one heart! How else save “with heart and life” could we respond to such love? One day he said to me: “The child does not realize the love of the parent, but when it becomes mature, it knows.” “Can the creature,” I asked, “ever realize the love of the Creator? “Yes, if not in this world, then in the next—as a sleeping one awakens.”
To turn to the day of our drive. We came to a great waterfall,—a sparkling, snowy torrent, dashing down a black precipice. He had us stop the carriage, and
walking to a spot at a little distance from us, on the very edge of the embankment, he watched for a long time in silence that immaculate outpouring. I can still see the figure of quiet power—the face of luminous purity—the Perfect Man—intent upon that manifestation of the power and purity of Nature.
Nature then had an added glory to me. I realized as never before her beauty and significance. That great Hidden Word recurred to me: “All things in the heavens and the earth have I ordained for thee except the hearts which I have appointed as the place for the descent of the manifestation of My beauty and glory." I saw Nature not only as a book of divine allegories, but fascinating for her own sake—for the sake of her loveliness and her secrets, which in this day when “the earth is revealing her news” she is giving up ever more freely to man. Watching Abdul-Baha as he communed with the bounty of Nature, I felt deeply the spiritual value of the arts and sciences. And ever since that drive—that little journey through country and town with the one of the perfect understanding and sympathy, this world has been God's world to me. I have understood better the subtleties of detachment—have seen where the emphasis should be placed. As one of our sisters, who also saw Abdul-Baha this summer, said very beautifully on her return: “In himself, he uplifts humanity into the spiritual station.” Does not this clothe the whole of humanity, comprising the world of nature, with a new dignity, and disclose boundless possibilities?
The simplicity of Abdul-Baha, his normality, give one the real clue to the spiritual life. His teaching is a Religion of Joy—of “expansion and fulfillment” on every plane—not of deprivation and asceticism. And this leads me to touch on another most beautiful attribute of his. We know well that his frequent injunction is, “Be happy!" Perhaps his most frequent question is: “Are you happy?”—and his own abundance of perfect happiness, of undimmed joy, is ever overflowing in the most delicious humor—the most irresistible humor that ever won a heart. Religion in the past took on an aspect of fear. This Abdul-Baha smiles away, teaching us the perfect repose and joy of the spirit's confidence in God as Love—the “radiant acquiescence” in Divine Guidance.
As we drove away from the waterfall, Abdul-Baha said, smiling, to me: “If I come to America, will you invite me to see such waterfalls?” “Does your coming,” I smiled in return, “depend on my invitation?” “My invitation to America,” was the reply, “will be the unity of the believers.”
We drove to an old inn in a cleft between two mountains, and sitting in the open porch at a rough table, had the simplest of country refreshment. Just as we were entering the inn a little group of peasant children, bunches of violets in their hands to sell, pressed around Abdul-Baha. They did not seem to see the rest of us. I can still see the dull little peasant faces raised wonderingly to that face—the outstretched hands full of violets. He took from his pocket a handful of francs and gave to them abundantly. How he gives—gives—gives! His love seems never content with giving. Tirelessly he gives of his spirit and heart—like a tender father he gives of material things—little keepsakes, or, in lovely symbol, flowers.
In the future I am sure stories will abound in that country-side of the sojourn there of Abdul-Baha. Then those little peasants, looking back to that moment of wonder at the sublimity of a face, will muse: “Was it he? Did we see him? It must have been he!”
I should like to speak here of something which was of unparalleled beauty to me: His power of attraction for the children. It was moving indeed to see their upward glances when he passed or stood near them, and the looks of love which he bent, as he lingeringly fondled the little heads, on those pure baby souls, so fresh from their Creator! Not that they could know, but in their innocence they felt. If only all might remember!
To return to the drive. As we passed a little church in Thonon, Abdul-Baha expressed a wish to attend it on Sunday. And this leads me to another, most vital subject: His attitude of perfect accord with the churches, demonstrated in St. John's and in the City Temple in London, where he freely gave the Message of Unity.
That these churches should have opened their doors for our Message is indeed beautiful, and a proof of two things: Of the freedom and illumination of the men who serve as their ministers, and of the wisdom of the London Bahais. For it was the Bahais who took the first step by connecting themselves with these two churches, some having pews and working in the City Temple and some in St. John's church. Thus, by demonstrating clearly, through sympathetic action, our oneness with the Christian world, they have been instruments to open these churches to the benediction of Abdul-Baha. And I, having witnessed this beautiful demonstration and the result of it, feel that we cannot live too close to the Christians.
But not only do the London Bahais make connection—or rather, manifest oneness with the Christian world, but with all progressive thought and activity, so that, again through their instrumentality, we find the Universal Races Congress opened to the presentation of our Message, The Christian Commonwealth and the Theosophical Society of Bristol sending cables of greeting to Abdul-Baha on his arrival in Europe, and later becoming firm friends; the Theosophical Society in London, the Brahma Sohmaj center, the Settlements, more centers than I can name, reverently welcoming him, while many distinguished individuals have sought his wisdom, to receive the unequalled blessing.
This wonderful harvest has been the result of diligent and wise seed-sowing in the world of thinkers and workers. While I was in Thonon, Abdul-Baha said to a little group of us: “This is the time for sowing the seed. The most important thing now is to spread the Cause of God. When harvest time comes, think how sad it will be if there is nothing to reap!”
So again I repeat I feel that we cannot be too active now.
The subject of our real oneness with all that is true and good in every progressive movement reminds me of a very beautiful message which I read while in London from Abdul-Baha to a socialist. Socialism, he said, was one of the leaves on the Tree of Life. Then he called this soul to come into the shade of the Tree of Life that he might partake of all its fruits.
At luncheon one day in Thonon we had a distinguished visitor who asked Abdul-Baha about our economic questions. He said there were many who felt that material problems should be solved first; that, in order to level the way for the spiritual advance, we should first better social conditions, and he spoke of a friend who felt this so strongly that, though connected with the church, he was making it his life-work.
“Such people,” said Abdul-Baha, “are doing the work of true religion.”
Then he went on to say that a new order of things must come but it must have a solid foundation, and that no foundation was solid save religion, which was the Love of God. When this unshakable basis of the Love of God was established in the world, then inevitably would the structure of a new social justice rise, and a new individual love and justice.
Before I close I must tell you the story of one day. We were to go to Vevey that day by boat, and in a little group of eight, we accompanied Abdul-Baha to the landing. It was in the freshness of early morning. The fishermen had hung out their nets in the sun. The dew was on the lilies in the grove in the shade of which we waited for the boat. Suddenly the Master left us to stray off alone. When we saw him next he was walking in the distance on the very edge of the lake, beyond that golden film of fishnets. It was then that the “veils of plurality were rent” for me—and I saw the essential oneness of all the Holy Messengers—the One Flame in many lamps.
The morning was misty, the veiled lake and mountains were like the world of dream. We gathered around him in the boat while he sat in our midst, the embodiment of command, yet of holiest sweetness; a combination of utter evanescence and supreme power impossible to convey in words. Suddenly he broke a silence by saying:
“Others are going from an immortal to a mortal kingdom, but the Bahais are journeying in the Ark of the Covenant from a mortal to an immortal world.
“The Jews had turned towards an immortal kingdom, but when they looked backward to mortal things they became dispersed.
“Again Christ led men on to an Immortal Kingdom; therefore their Signs remained.
“God be praised for now you are on a Ship bearing you to Immortal Worlds. Day by day your signs will become clearer.”
Could I only make clear to you that picture, the bow of our boat cleaving the mists, till we seemed to be actually navigating the ether; could I only make clear the figure sitting in our midst, I know you would feel there was no “looking backward” for those who had seen that journey so symbolized.
That night, when I sat for the last time at the table of Abdul-Baha, our dear sisters, Elizabeth Stewart and Lilian Kappes on their way to a life of consecration in Persia, were with us.
Breaking a revealing silence, with that speech which uplifts the soul in joy indescribable, Abdul-Baha said:
"To the refreshing water of the Teachings of BAHA'O'LLAH come many and various birds from many lands and at these cooling streams slake their thirst.
"When the Lamp is ignited the butterflies flutter around the Light.”
“May we,” said Lilian Kappes, "be ready to singe our wings at that Light.”
“Good!” said Abdul-Baha, “I am very much pleased with your answer!”
In the Love of that Light, your sister,
Doctor Fareed and Mrs. Getsinger are accomplishing good work in California. At San Francisco a wonderful interest in the Bahai Cause has developed. The friends there opened the doors of acquaintance to the utmost. The many opportunities, the lectures, addresses, and audiences through two months' time can only be outlined now. Soon after their arrival Dr. Fareed was introduced at some of the prominent clubs of the city, and he was enabled to speak at various lunches and functions. These resulted in his giving an address before a meeting of Scottish Rite Masons, and again before the local lodge of Knights Templar, and later before an assemblage of the Grand Lodge of Knights Templar, at which seven hundred members were present. He spoke on a Sunday to the congregation of the Unitarian Church of Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco. The many newspaper reports were all kindly and commendatory.
He met President Taft at a luncheon of the Union League Club, and also at the dedication of the ground for the 1915 Panama Exposition. He had an opportunity for a few minutes to speak privately to the President when, as a Bahai, he congratulated him upon his efforts for Arbitration Treaties and promotion of peace between nations. Thus the President was informed of the goal of the Bahai Movement, and its sympathy with all efforts for the Unity and Peace of the world.
Dr. Fareed gave a series of nine Sunday evening lectures, at the hall of the California Club, upon the beginning and growth of the Bahai Reformation, and also
another series on Thursday afternoons, explaining the general teachings concerning the betterment of nations and welfare of the world. There is rarely an afternoon or evening in which the Doctor or Mrs. Getsinger, or both are not busy giving information somewhere of the glorious movement.
Mrs. Getsinger's work has been no less important than Dr. Fareed's, but it has been mostly among women. There was one gathering of peculiar import. It was the Jewish Ladies Council of San Francisco. Over nine hundred persons were present. The platform was arranged like a Persian home, and a Persian Tea-party was given by Mrs. Getsinger, assisted by several friends, all in costume, appearing as Persian, Turkish, Egyptian and Jewish ladies. After the tea serving, Mrs. Getsinger talked of the Bahai influence and effects upon the lives of the women of the Orient, and Dr. Fareed, arriving as a guest at the party, and garbed as a Persian Sheik, also addressed them. It was a successful and delightful way of presenting the Glad-tidings of the Bahai Movement for women.
Mrs. Getsinger is also giving a course of addresses at Prof. Giffen's beautiful studio, on Tuesday evenings, speaking of the deeper meanings of the Teachings to those who sincerely desire them. At present her lectures are upon the first three of the “Seven Valleys.” Those who attend these meetings are deeply in earnest, and are endeavoring to travel the Path which shall truly bring them into the Country of Life and “Nearer to God.” In the aggregate thousands are hearing the Message and are kindly disposed towards it, while some are seeking eagerly the realities of the Divine Word.
Nothing has been said of the regular meetings, both public and private, which are being held constantly in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and elsewhere, but not a day passes in California without some actual and effective work being done for the Cause. Each Thursday afternoon, the beautiful home in Oakland is open, where Mrs. Goodall and Mrs. Cooper greet the many friends who gather from Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda, and San Francisco. On Sunday, Nov. 26th, the Day of Celebration of Abdul-Baha, a large gathering is expected there. Friday afternoons and Saturday evenings, there are meetings at the rooms of the “Assembly of Abdul-Baha" (so named by himself) in the Union Square Building.
The visit of Dr. Fareed and Mrs. Getsinger has proved to be a move of true value under the guidance of the Divine Wisdom. A real Unity is being prepared that Abdul-Baha may find the fragrance of the “Banquet” of Unity and Love, and be attracted thereby. T. C.
WITH ABDUL-BAHA IN PARIS.
(CONTINUED FROM PAGE SEVEN)
He must dig as the miner digs in his mine, to its uttermost depths, eager to seek, seek, for the jewel that is hidden there in the darkness.
It is the natural law of human life that men should seek thus for the best that is about him. Thus his vital force expands, and man becomes greater in his effort. He is thus most fully capable of the union with God which may be his.
The Orient is the germinating place for the soul. It is here that the Breeze of God is felt. Here Moses' Law was given, here Christ's Word was spoken, here Mohammed's banner was flung to the air.
The Occident on the contrary is the place of expansion. The West applies and solidifies that which the East suggests. It gives physical form and shape to the ideals of the East. But the Breeze of God does not blow there. It must be engendered in the East. Yet the Word of Christ has been developed in the West. It was the Occident which unfolded the teaching of Christ into a great civilization, which shows how wonderful was the Word of Christ, and how wonderful is the West.
But now the Breeze of God is no longer felt in the West. Its power is stilled, while in the East it is again forceful, fragrant, alive. Once more the West must receive the Breeze of God from the East. It cannot he stayed or hindered, it will blow from the East to the West; but it will be most beautiful if you will be the avenue through which it comes. If you are not that avenue, it will seek another channel, but blessed will be your privilege if through you it wins its way into the hearts of the West, rousing into fragrant life all the spiritual bloom and richness of that great country, and bringing new life to the world.
I will pray that it may be so.
NEWS NOTES FROM PARIS.
On Sunday, October 29th, a dinner, followed by a meeting, was given to Abdul-Baha at the home of Madame Gabriel Sacy. It was distinctly a French reunion and Abdul-Baha seemed pleased of the fact. On entering he took the photograph of Monsieur Gabriel Sacy, kissed it and said: “This home is as my own.”
Among his words during the dinner were these:
“I am from a far away country and here in Paris, at your table, I find in union, love and happiness, Persians, Arabs, Turks and French, which proves that we are of one race and that all men are brothers. The God of Persia is the God of France, of Turkey, Italy, etc. He is One and the same, so in loving Him we are united. Paris is the universal center of culture and learning, of science and the arts. She must also be the center of spirituality. There are all sorts of fruits; some can only ripen in a cold climate; others need the warmth and others yet the tropical sun. So it is with Paris. The greatest efforts are necessary that she may blossom and bear fruit.”
About sixty people came to the meeting after dinner. Abdul-Baha spoke for nearly an hour, interpreted into French by Mirza Azizollah Khan. Every one was impressed with his beautiful personality and his words of love, demanding of all to unite their efforts in asking of God the unity of mankind, universal peace and love.
“We must not fear difficulties and labor. They lead us to the noblest end. We must resist the whole world, for the world wants war; unite our efforts and with divine love we will succeed.”
Abdul-Baha gave his first public conference in Paris, as guest of the “Alliance Spiritualiste,” on November 9th. This Society, which has for its aim the encouragement and development of spirituality, constitutes a neutral and impersonal territory of study for all creeds and schools of spiritual thought. There could not have been a more appropriate setting for the exposition of the principles of the Revelation of BAHA'O'LLAH. The “Salle de l'Athénée Saint-Germain” was crowded to the doors by an interested and attentive public. Mme. J. Beauchamps, the President of the Society, opened the meeting and in a few sincere words welcomed Abdul-Baha in the name of the “Alliance -Spiritualiste.” A short address was delivered by Monsieur Le Leu, General Secretary, who dwelt upon the beauties of the Bahai Revelation, the most purely spiritual movement of all times, and upon the role it was to play in the future. Finally Abdul-Baha arose and in the profound silence began to expose the principles of the Bahai Revelation with a language colored and imaginative and touchingly human. He spoke at length and with impressive clearness and repeated several times his contentment at finding himself in the midst of so large a gathering, whose unity of sentiment and spirituality were forcibly apparent. He finished by chanting a prayer for all those present. The reunion was terminated by an admirable appreciation of the Bahai Revelation, on the part of Monsieur Jounet, and on leaving the hall one felt that the afternoon had been a complete success.
Madame d'Ange d’Astre.
MY VISIT TO ABBAS EFFENDI IN 1899 . . . . . Price 15 cents
is the title of an interesting account of the visit to Acca of Mrs. Margaret B. Peeke, and of her subsequent investigation of the teachings of the Revelation of BAHA'O'LLAH, which has recently been published in booklet form by her daughter-in-law, Dr. Pauline Barton-Peeke, of Cleveland, Ohio, who donated the edition to the Mashrak-el-Azkar fund, and to whom we are indebted for the following sketch of her life:
Mrs. Margaret Bloodgood Peeke, a descendant of Garry Marshall Peck and Narcissa Benedict, was born April 8, 1838, at Mechanicsville, New York, and spent most of her childhood days in New York City. She was but twelve years of age when her father died and her mother's brother, Chancellor Erastus E. Benedict, of New York City, charged himself with her education and became her counsellor and guide. At the age of fifteen she was contributor to magazines and periodicals. When twenty-two years old she married the Rev. George H. Peeke, a Congregational clergyman, and for fifteen years the cherished thought of a literary life was abandoned. But leisure came at length in an unexpected manner. Her pen was resumed and songs, verse and stories again found their way into various periodicals. She was for a time associate editor of the “Alliance” of Chicago. Her letters to that paper drew much attention to her favorite summer resort in the Cumberland mountains, and a little pamphlet, entitled “Pomona,” was her reply to many requests for information. The “Madonna of the Mountain” and other sketches breathed the pure air and primitive human sympathies of that region. She devoted much time to the study of the pygmies of America and their origin, the result of which was a volume entitled “Born of Flame.” She was also author of “Zenia, tho Vestal”—her heart's story. An enthusiastic lover of the Bible, she taught it successfully to large classes. Her teachings of Hermetic philosophy were unsurpassed and had a large following in New York, Chicago, Boston and Washington, and she visited the Hermetic societies abroad. As Inspectress General in America of the Martinist Order of France, she did a prodigious amount of work, besides editing the "Initiator" of that Order. She was a member of the “Rose Cross” Martinist Fraternity and Treasurer of the “Light of France”—Hermetic Society of France. She was denied the privilege of personally completing all the writing she had in mind, and “Letters and Numbers,” or the “Thirty-two Paths of Wisdom” was published posthumously by her beloved son and co-laborator E. C. B. Peeke. After her visit to Acca in 1899, she became deeply interested in the Revelation of BAHA'0'LLAH, and, imbued with its teachings, gave the Message to many. She passed away Nov. 2, 1908, at Pomona, Tenn. To the end she was steadfast and firm in the truth of the Revelation. She asked me to write to Abdul-Baha that she loved him very much. Then she turned her eyes upon her devoted son, and her last words were “and you, too, Benedict, must love Abdul-Baha.”
Address orders to MISS MARY LESCH, 5205 Jefferson Avenue, CHICAGO, ILL., U. S. A.
BAHAI WALL CALENDAR . . . . . . . . . . . Price $1.00
In order that Abdul-Baha, and his light-bearers and their friends may unite each day in reading the same words, a Unity Calendar for 1912 is lovingly sent forth by the Honolulu Bahai Assembly to Abdul-Baha and all the Bahal Assemblies.
The selling price of this calendar is $1.00 postpaid to any address. The members are taking this way of making money for the Mashrak-el-Azkar fund. We earnestly hope that you will send us as large an order and at as early a date as possible, so that they may be used as Christmas and New Year presents.
You will recognize the benefit which will be derived from the formation of a chain of daily thought that will unite all of those reading the same daily quotations. Our idea is that in dwelling upon these beautiful words, we will be more firmly united with Abdul Baha, and with each other and thereby place ourselves in the correct attitude of receiving more abundant sympathy and more strength from the teachings of the Revelation of BAHA'O'LLAH.
The committee having the calendar in charge, expects to revise and send for an edition for 1913, which it is hoped will be better, than this its first effort. During the year any suggestions and corrections or additions will be cheerfully received and the committee invites correspondence upon the same. Please send letters and orders to
HONOLULU BAHAI ASSEMBLY, P. O. Box 761, HONOLULU, TER. HAWAII.