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Mahmúd's Diary:
The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Journey to America

by Abdu'l-Bahá and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani

translated by Mohi Sobhani.
edited by Shirley Macias.
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Chapter 10


Sunday, December 1, 1912
[New York]
Some of the friends came to see `Abdu'l-Bahá very early in the morning. They saw Him at prayer and heard from His lips the prayers and verses of the Supreme Pen.
At the Master's residence, streams of visitors were honored to attain His presence and grateful for His blessings and favors. Aflame with the love of God, they showed reverence towards His Cause.
The Master's talk concerned the capacity of the Americans to bring about universal peace. He said:
As Americans are removed from most political difficulties they live at ease in isolation and, compared to most other regions, are more desirous of peace and harmony, so they can succeed in bringing about universal peace provided they arise as they should and the nation and government put forth strenuous efforts and, through spiritual power, carry out the divine teachings and principles. The matter of peace, in the religion of Bahá'u'lláh, is a firm command and a religious obligation. It is not the resolution of a congress or the edict of a committee of some nation or country influenced by selfish desires and subject to amendments. Because it is a fundamental principle, it will inevitably come to pass. As the denial of Christ and opposition to Him are considered infidelity in religious terminology, the rejection of peace has the same status in the religion of Bahá'u'lláh.
No affair in the world succeeds without sacrifice. Up to now twenty thousand persons have been sacrificed for this Cause. The Bahá'ís have accepted every affliction and persecution. For forty years I was in a prison for promulgating universal peace and the oneness of humanity. Because these teachings were contrary to the interests and the despotism of the Sháh of Persia and the Sultán of Turkey, they arose in opposition and oppression. With all their power they girded their loins to uproot and efface the Cause of God. But the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh was victorious and the fame of His Revelation spread worldwide. Every opponent was overthrown and humiliated because this Cause was supported by the All-Powerful and because His teachings answer the need of the age to promote human happiness and provide supreme guidance.
In the afternoon `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke to a group of Christian ministers, saying:
The teachings of Christ are forgotten. Consider that Christ commanded Peter to sheathe his sword. He also said, `Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also' [Matt. 5:39]. But now, contrary to these teachings, see how Christians are killing one another. Christian leaders considered the shedding of the blood of each other a lawful act. What blood has been shed over the conflict between Protestants and Catholics!
This evening the Master spoke at a public meeting at Mrs Kinney's home about superstitions, dogmas and the blind imitation of the various religions, concluding with an explanation of the teachings of the Abhá Beauty. As supper was served, and as He had at other times, the Master invited some of the friends to His table to enjoy the Persian dishes. They were overjoyed to see their Master's smile and to hear His stories.

Monday, December 2, 1912
[New York]
After the Master had finished His morning prayers, the friends began to come to visit Him such that by midday the Master's residence was filled with people. He went downstairs and spoke to them:
I have stayed a long time with you in New York. My stay in other towns has not been a tenth as long. I have met with you day and night, individually and collectively; conveyed to you the admonitions of Bahá'u'lláh; delivered to you the heavenly glad tidings; and explained the means of human progress. I have elucidated the harmful effects of prejudices and imitations and the impurity of selfish desires, expounded the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh and clarified the meanings of the divine proofs and questions.
The time for my departure is near and I am making arrangements for the voyage. Therefore I shall not be able to attend every meeting, so I shall bid you farewell. I am pleased with you and grateful for your services. Truly, you have shown great kindness and extended to me the utmost hospitality. I supplicate to the Kingdom of Bahá'u'lláh to shower upon you His assistance and confirmations so that day by day you may be more assisted to defend the rights of Bahá'u'lláh, that your hearts may become more enlightened, your morals heavenly, your souls transported with joy and your conduct proof of your faith and certitude. May you be in the utmost sanctity, be completely attracted and turned to the Abhá Kingdom and become like brilliant lights. May you become evident signs of the Blessed Beauty and proofs of the reality of Bahá'u'lláh so that you may illuminate the world. And when people look at your deeds and conduct they will see the traces of holiness and severance and will behold heavenly brightness in you and all will testify that `these people are truly proofs of the reality of Bahá'u'lláh', and that `Bahá'u'lláh is undoubtedly the Sun of Truth who has educated these people through His power'. May they see divine lights in your behavior, find the signs of the love of God, observe praiseworthy conduct in you and seek the virtues of the world of man within you. You must each become the proclaimer of truth and shine from the horizon of the world of humanity like brilliant stars. This is what is meant by defending the rights of Bahá'u'lláh; this is the purpose of the Blessed Beauty in suffering afflictions and accepting confinement in the Most Great Prison. He bore all afflictions and difficulties and ascended to the Kingdom of God a prisoner so that we would act according to His teachings and arise and carry out that which is consistent with faithfulness; that we may act upon His exhortation and raise the call of the Abhá Kingdom and proclaim the light of the bounties of truth, so that the waves of the Most Great Ocean may surge high, this world may become the mirror of the world above, this bed of thorns may turn into a flower garden and this region of dust may reflect the All-Glorious Paradise.
In the afternoon He said:
We have sown some seeds and hope that the sun of favor will shine upon them, the rain of mercy will pour down, and the breezes of generosity will waft over them, because America has receptivity.
In the evening, He spoke to a gathering of the friends and said:
I supplicate and implore that the clouds of mercy may shower upon you and the Sun of Truth may shine upon you so that you may attain to the purpose of the holy Manifestations of God. This is my supplication because you are the beloved ones of the Blessed Beauty and the servants of the Greatest Name. I undertook this voyage in order to see you and, God willing, you will come to the Holy Land and we shall meet there in that land which was trodden by the sacred feet of the Prophets of God.382

Tuesday, December 3, 1912
[New York]
Group after group of older and newer believers sadly and tearfully came to see the Master, encircling Him and weeping at His imminent departure. Their hearts were sad and overcome with anguish. They confessed to Him their negligence and shortcomings in serving the Cause and their failure to obey His instructions and begged His assistance and blessings, confirmations and favor.
Today the believers were so overcome by emotion that even a stone would be affected. The anguish of their hearts was so great that all were affected. Indeed, in His presence they bowed and knelt so deeply that one could not distinguish between their heads and their feet.
There were two large meetings this afternoon and evening. One was at the home of Mrs Krug, which was filled with many people who had come just to be in `Abdu'l-Bahá's presence. The Master's talk was this:
He is God! Praise be to God that Mrs Krug has been the cause of your gathering in this meeting where you are engaged in mentioning God and in adducing proofs. I hope that day by day you will become more attracted, become more enlightened and make extraordinary spiritual progress. You should learn from one another so that you may know how to teach the Cause and guide the souls. Your hearts must be so attracted that when a question is heard you will be able to give a conclusive answer and the Holy Spirit may speak through your tongue. You must be assured and confident that the favors and confirmations of the Blessed Beauty will make a drop into an ocean, a seed into a fruitful tree, an atom into a luminous sun and a stone into a brilliant jewel. His favors are great, His treasuries inexhaustible and His bounties infinite. God, Who has bestowed favors upon others, shall surely bestow His favors upon you. I supplicate at the Court of the Almighty and beg that mighty confirmations may surround you, that from your tongues may flow irrefutable proofs and that your hearts become recipients for the splendors of the Sun of Reality. May your thoughts expand and your stations be exalted, so that you may be able to diffuse the fragrances of God and to make prodigious progress in the world of man. Unless a man acquires perfection for himself, he cannot teach others how to attain such perfection; and unless he gets life for himself, he cannot give life to others. We must therefore try first to acquire the bounties of the Kingdom for ourselves and attain life everlasting, and then endeavor to quicken the nations and give life to the world. Thus, we must constantly pray to His Holy Court and seek His eternal bounties. We must acquire pure hearts like unto mirrors, so that the lights of the Sun of Reality may shine. Every night and day we must supplicate to Him and beg for His assistance, saying: `O Lord, we are weak, make us strong; we are ignorant, make us wise. O Lord, we are poor, give us the wealth of the Kingdom. O God, we are dead, bestow upon us everlasting life; we are in utter lowliness, exalt us in Thy Kingdom. Should Thy heavenly confirmations surround us, each one of us can be a luminous star, otherwise we become lower than dust. O God, help us; make us victorious; assist us to overcome self and desire; and deliver us from the world of nature. O God! Quicken us through the breaths of the Holy Spirit so that we may arise to serve Thee, engage ourselves in worshipping Thee and broadcast the signs of Thy Kingdom with utmost truthfulness and sincerity. Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty, the Generous and the Compassionate.383
From this meeting the Master went to Mrs Kinney's home.384 The rush of friends and seekers was greater than ever before and all hearts were aflame. The Master exhorted them to exert their utmost to propagate the divine principles and to diffuse the fragrances of God. He explained the new teachings and the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. After the meeting, the believers gathered around Him. He bade farewell to each, bestowed His favor upon all and then went upstairs.385

Wednesday, December 4, 1912
[New York]
Among the new seekers who met the Master today was a rabbi to whom the Master spoke extensively about the Torah, saying:
The verse `God created heaven and earth in six days' has reference to the Day of God and the spiritual creation, for there was no day or night before the creation of this heaven and earth. And the meaning of `the water' in the verse of the Torah `The spirit of God moved upon the face of the water like a bird' is the water of knowledge which is the source of heavenly life. It is written that God said, `Let us make man in our image'; this means in the image of divine names and attributes, for God is holy above all physical images and is pure and sanctified above all forms or likenesses.
Elucidating further the nature of biblical language and the mysteries of the holy books, He explained the signs and prophecies regarding the promised Manifestation. The rabbi was impressed and acknowledged the Master's insight.
Later some prominent people, including professors, came to meet `Abdu'l-Bahá. They told him about Professor Colombo who had written an article about the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár near Chicago in which he referred to the contributions of the Eastern Bahá'ís towards its construction as one of the indications of the greatness of the Cause. The Master spoke with them about the dogmas and blind imitations of the priests and the superstitions of the religious leaders.
At the Kinney's home in the afternoon, a number of Mr Kinney's students met the Master. Some came during the meeting and others after it. The Master spoke to them about understanding the holy Book:
The object of reading and reciting is to understand the inner significance of the verses and mysteries of the Book. Had reading sufficed, all the Jewish people should have acknowledged Christ but as they lacked understanding of the mysteries and the inner meanings, they were deprived of the bounty of believing in Him. They interpreted the book in a literal or outward manner and did not find the appearance of Christ to conform to their traditions, imitations and the prevailing customs of their people, so they denied and rejected Him. Hence, they remained heedless and ignorant of divine realities and mysteries.
This evening there was a large gathering at the Theosophical Society of New York. The subject of the Master's address was `The Eternity of God's Kingdom': material existence, the betterment of the world through the divine favors, the guidance provided by the Manifestations of God and their reflection upon the world of creation. `This is the law of God, and thou shalt not find any change in it.'386 This is a translation of the Master's address:
He is God! Those who are uninformed of the world of reality, and do not study created things, cannot investigate and discover hidden truths. They only have a superficial idea of things, are embodiments of ignorance and blind imitators. They believe that which they have heard from their fathers and do not have any knowledge or understanding of their own and are bereft of hearing and insight. They rely on traditions and tales and follow the path of their ancestors. They imagine that God's dominion is accidental, that this world has existed for but six thousand or eight thousand years and that before that time God had neither creation nor sovereignty.
Should this notion be accepted, then, the Lord forbid, the Divine Reality is to be regarded as accidental, not eternal, whereas as long as there was God, He must have had a creation; as long as there was light, there must have been recipients of that light, because light cannot become manifest without illumining its recipients. So likewise without a creation, the existence of the Creator cannot be proven.
The Divine Reality presupposes a creation, the All-Provider presupposes a recipient of His bounty. To imagine a God without His creatures is like imagining a king without a country and a people. A king must have a kingdom. Could there be a king without a country and subjects? It is an impossibility. If there had been a time when there were no country and no army, how could we say there was a king at that time? Thus he must have had his people. Thus, as the Divine Eternity is infinite, His creation is also without beginning and without end. From everlasting God was the Creator, the All-Provider, the Quickener and the Bestower. There was no time when His attributes did not express themselves. Cessation is wholly inconceivable. The sun is the sun because of its light and heat. If we conceive the cessation of heat and light, we predicate the non-existence of the sun. If it had no light and no heat, it was not the sun. Likewise, when we say that at one time God had no creation and no recipient of His grace, we assert that there was no Creator. This is denying the eternity of the Divine Entity and regarding Him as an accidental being. It is obvious that this endless universe, this mighty handiwork of God, this vast firmament, these gigantic globes are not merely six or seven thousand years old. They are ancient. The reference in the Torah to six thousand years has an inner meaning and should not be taken literally. It is stated that God created the heavens and the earth in six days. If before such a creation there was no sun, no east and no west, how was it possible to determine the length of each day without the existence of a sun? Thus the statement has a different meaning.
The sovereignty of God is eternal and not accidental. His creation, His Kingdom, His Army are coexistent and will continue as such. The bestowals and bounties of God are constant and are uninterrupted. Like the light and heat of the sun, they have no cessation. The holy Manifestations of God, Who are the dawning places of divine bounties, have ever been and shall ever be. The wisdom and purpose of their appearance is to cause the image and likeness of God to appear in the world of man.
The reality of man possesses two aspects: one being the image and likeness of God and the other is the material and satanic aspect. Besides the physical body, man has a reality which is called the spiritual body, or the heavenly creation or form. When man says, `I saw', who is it that says `I saw'? Clearly it is something besides the physical body. When one thinks, it is like consulting with oneself. It is clear that there is a second entity which is being consulted. It is not the physical body that advises man `to do' or `not to do' a thing and informs him whether it is profitable or harmful.
Frequently a person firmly decides on a course of action, but later, upon some reflection, changes his mind. The reason is that he has consulted a reality, has become aware of the harm involved and has changed his former decision.
In addition to this, man journeys in the world of dreams. Though the body is here, the soul wanders in the East and West of the world. Who is it that makes these journeys? It is the second entity. Although a man has died and his body is under the earth, one's soul can, in a dream, ask him questions and receive answers. What is it that is talked to? It is the second reality. Hence, it is clear that besides the physical body man possesses another reality. Though the body grows weak, becomes fat or defective, still that reality remains unaltered. In sleep the body of man appears dead but that reality moves, understands, talks and discovers. This reality is the spiritual form and the heavenly temple, not the physical body. It reveals hidden realities, comprehends things, discovers arts and sciences, subdues electricity and other forces and communicates simultaneously with the East and the West. Plainly it is not the body. If it had been the body, similar powers and perfections should have existed in animals, for they share our physical powers. Hence, it is the second reality that reveals hidden realities, permeates the universe, becomes informed of mysteries, leads to the Kingdom and is a guide to the people of the world. It is this reality that distinguishes man from the animal. But this reality is in a state between the divine world and that of the animal. If spiritual forces prevail, this human reality becomes the noblest of all creatures and the possessor of the image and likeness of God; but if the animal aspect predominates, man becomes lower than animals because in man, animal desires and passions are even stronger and more harmful. For instance, anger, lust, struggle for existence, war, contention, fraud, deception, greed and avarice are among the imperfections of man but the necessary qualities in animals. A crafty man without spiritual education is as the fox. In the animal we find covetousness, aggression and passion. These qualities are also in man. Since the reality of man is comprehensive, his expression of these animal qualities is more vehement. They are among the exigencies of the world of nature and lead to the gloom of imperfections. They are the cause of utter degradation and misfortune.
On the other hand, man is the repository of divine perfections and heavenly favors that bring him eternal happiness and everlasting honor. Such perfections as justice, fidelity, truthfulness, purity, wisdom, piety, mercy, bounty, love, amity, nobility and sagacity enable man to comprehend the realities of things and unfold hidden mysteries. Human reality is therefore between light and darkness and has a threefold nature: the heavenly, the human and the physical. The physical condition is darkness upon darkness and the source of trouble, disgrace, discord, bloodshed and war. The heavenly condition, however, which is the zenith of the human aspect of man's nature, is light upon light and the means of acquiring everlasting prosperity, peace and tranquillity, honor and glory.
The holy divine Manifestations have appeared to make it easy to replace the gloom of animality with the lights of heavenly qualities and to change the imperfections of the world of nature to the perfections of the spirit so that the heavenly aspect may prevail, the image and likeness of God may appear in the world of man and the divine illumination and spiritual virtues may become manifest. These holy dawning places are the Educators of the world of existence and the Teachers of man. They deliver human beings from the darkness of error and heedlessness and the defects and vices of nature and lead them to the realm of spiritual virtues and heavenly perfections. Those who are ignorant become wise, those who are like animals attain human perfections, the rapacious become angelic, the tyrannical and proud become just and humble, so that earthly man becomes heavenly, the human is changed into the divine, the suckling child attains its maturity and the poor and abased attain wealth and glory. If the holy Manifestations had not appeared, all humanity would have remained in a state of animality, if not worse. If the children are not educated and are not trained in schools, they will remain ignorant. If plains and hills are left to their natural state, they will turn into jungles and forests which will not bear sweet and luscious fruit, but when the gardener takes control, flowers bloom, fruits appear and prosperity sheds its blessings. Creation is a dreary forest full of thorns under the yoke of nature and the holy Manifestations are the divine gardeners and the supreme educators of the world of man who come to promote the progress of the world of existence in order that the trees of beings may continue to be verdant, may burst into fresh foliage, may yield good fruits and may adorn the gardens of the human realities. This divine bestowal of this heavenly education is continuous.
It is impossible that this great bounty should cease, that this divine bestowal should end and that the Sun of Reality should sink forever into a setting not followed by a sunrise, a death not followed by a revival. How can the Sun of Reality, shining from the divine world, remain set forever and be precluded from educating the world of existence? No, by God! The function of the sun is to give illumination. How can it set forever and its effulgence brought to an end? Its bounty is eternal, its luster is ever manifest, its rays are perpetually radiant, its breezes are continually wafting and its bestowals are ever apparent. We must be expectant and hopeful, turning our gaze in the direction of His bountiful Kingdom that through the appearance of these holy Manifestations humanity may attain the blessings of the All-Glorious, that the earth be changed and the contingent world may become a garden and a paradise of delight. But the appearance of the divine Manifestation must take place in the most perfect form and invested with unparalleled powers and virtues. With a divine influence and heavenly mighty He must be exalted above all else and peerless in all His attributes, just as the sun is exalted above other stars. Though every star and planet shines in its place and gives light in the night, the sun has another splendor and its radiance is greater. The Manifestation of the bounty of God must also be like the physical sun so that the world may be convinced that He is a divine Teacher, an Educator of the world of man, a sun of reality and the brightest Light shining from the realm on high. His effulgence and influence must be inherent and not acquired from other human beings, otherwise we would say that others imparted such powers to Him. How can a man, who is educated by other human beings, become the educator of humanity at large? The Manifestations of the bounty of God must be self-subsistent, not under the shadow of others. He must be an educator, not educated by others. He must be perfect, not deficient. He must be independent of all, not dependent on training by others. He must combine in Himself all perfections, unrestricted by human limitations, so that He may be able to educate humanity, dispel the gloom of ignorance, through divine power change the world, bring about universal peace, establish the oneness of humanity and unite the diverse religions. I hope that the divine bounties and blessings may shine brightly so that the lights of the Sun of Reality may give luster to our eyes, illumination to our hearts and joy to our souls and may ennoble our thoughts and grant us eternal life. Then we may attain to the apex of the world of man.
For nine months I have been touring America, calling the people to the oneness of humanity. I have delivered addresses in churches and large assemblies in many cities, inviting the people to the oneness of mankind and to love and unity. The people of America extended a cordial welcome to me. In fact, Americans are a noble nation, with capacity to acquire every virtue and investigate every truth.
Since I shall leave your shores tomorrow, I bid you farewell. I pray that divine confirmations, heavenly glory and eternal life may be granted to you, so that you may reach the highest pinnacles of the world of man. I am most grateful to you and shall never forget you. I shall ever supplicate at the court of the Almighty and beg divine assistance and heavenly bounty for you.387
The Master's talk enthused the audience and one by one they came to Him to express their sincere thanks and admiration. When they were told of His imminent departure, they became downcast. It was astonishing to witness the deep sorrow of the friends and the lamentation of their hearts as they contemplated their separation from Him.

Thursday, December 5, 1912
[New York]
A great number of believers from New York and other cities came to the S. S. Celtic to bid farewell to their beloved. The tears in their eyes bespoke of their great sorrow. The sobs and lamentations of both the young and the old could be heard from afar. Although the first class lounge was quite large, it could not contain the crowd of believers. Some were sitting and others standing outside the lounge. As He moved among the friends, the Master spoke to them with words of exhortation and admonition, consoling their hearts as He bade them farewell. He guided the sorrowing ones onto the path of everlasting happiness and reminding them of the glad tidings of the Abhá Kingdom until the time came for the friends to depart. He then spoke His parting words:
He is God! This is our last day and my last meeting with you. In a few minutes our steamer will leave these shores and this is my last exhortation to you. I have repeatedly spoken to you and invited you to realize the oneness of humanity. I have impressed upon you that all human beings are the servants of the same God and God is kind to all; He provides for all and gives life to all. In the presence of God all are His servants and His bounties are equally distributed among all. We must also be kind to the people of the world and forget all religious, racial, patriotic and political prejudices. The whole earth is one globe. All nations are one family. All are the servants of one God. Therefore he who causes grief to another's heart has sinned against the Lord. God desired the joy of all hearts. He wishes that every individual may pass his life in utmost happiness and felicity and should abandon religious, racial, patriotic and political prejudices. Praise be to God! Your eyes are illumined, your ears are opened and your hearts are informed. You must not entertain these prejudices and differences. You must look to the bounty of God. He is the real Shepherd who is kind to the whole flock. When God is kind to all, is it befitting that we, who are His servants, should engage in war and conflict with one another? No, by God! We must be grateful to God and the way to express gratitude for His bounty is to love each other, show amity and affection and evince friendship and kindness toward all.
In brief, beware, lest you offend any heart or engage in backbiting. You must be friends to all and regard all as your own kith and kin. Your supreme object must always be to bring pleasure to a heart, to give food to the hungry, clothes to the naked, honor to the degraded, help to the helpless and comfort to the distressed. This is the way to win the good pleasure of God. This is that which is conducive to eternal happiness. This is the light of the world of man. As I wish eternal honor for you, so I exhort you with these words.
Behold what is happening in the Balkans! Human blood is being spilt! How many children are rendered orphans! How ruthlessly properties are looted! What a fire is aflame! God has created them to love one another but they are shedding one another's blood. God created them to help and assist one another but they are engaged in plunder and destruction. Instead of being a cause of comfort to their kind, they persecute one another. Make your motives lofty and exert with heart and soul every effort; perchance, the light of universal peace may shine forth and this gloom of estrangement be dispelled. May all human beings become one family and every individual seek the welfare of all. May the East help the West and the West assist the East, for the whole earth is one country and all its people are under the favor and protection of one Shepherd.
Behold! What persecutions have the Prophets of God suffered so that human beings may love one another and cling to the cord of love and unity. These sanctified souls ever sacrificed themselves for this aim. But behold! How ignorant is man! In spite of all these sufferings, people are warring against one another. Notwithstanding all the exhortations, they are massacring one another. What ignorance! What heedlessness! What gloom! They have a God who deals kindly and equally with all yet they move and act against His good pleasure. He is benevolent and merciful to all but they are in utmost hatred and war. He gives life to all but they bring death. He brings prosperity to the countries but they destroy one another's households. How heedless they are! Your duties are different because you have been informed of the divine mysteries and your eyes and ears are opened. You are to deal kindly with all the people of the world. You have no excuse before God. You know that the pleasure of God lies in the welfare and prosperity of all. You have hearkened unto His words of advice, His exhortations and His teachings. You must love all, even your enemies. To those who show you ill-will show them your good-will. To those who oppose you be a faithful friend. You should act according to these teachings. Perchance, the abysmal gloom of war and bloodshed may vanish; the light of God may shine forth; the East may be enlightened; the West may be filled with fragrance; the North and the South may embrace each other; and the nations of the world may associate with one another in utmost love and amity! Unless the world reaches this station, it can find no rest, no enduring happiness.
But if men act according to these holy teachings, the world of dust shall reflect the lights of the Kingdom and the earth shall become the Abhá paradise, a garden of blissful joy. I hope that each one of you will be assisted to act according to these teachings so that, like a brilliant star, you may give light to humanity and like a spirit move the body of the contingent world. This is eternal glory! This is everlasting happiness! This is the image and likeness of God and unto this I call you! I pray God that you may attain it.388
When the passengers and officers of the steamer heard this address and saw the devotion of the friends, they were overwhelmed and asked themselves, `What is it? Who is this personage in whose presence the Americans stand with such reverence and humility?' Young and old alike were like moths to a candle, circling about the light of the Covenant.
One by one the friends came to `Abdu'l-Bahá to shake His hand, to take hold of the mantle of His grace and favor and to supplicate His assistance and confirmation. Then, in great sorrow, they left the ship. They stood on the wharf, weeping and overcome by emotion, their heads bowed with grief and their hands lifted towards the heavens in prayer as they gazed their last at the Center of the Covenant. As the steamer moved out to sea, their grief and sadness and the fire of their devotion knew no bounds. The throng of believers, stretching as far as the eye could see, waved farewell to the Master, now far in the distance. And He said:
Observe how the power of the Cause of God has created a tumult in the hearts and what a revolution it has produced. See how the aid and assistance of the Abhá Beauty have reached us constantly and invariably the lights of victory have shone from the supreme horizon. These have been from the promised confirmations of the Kingdom of God and the assistance of the invisible sovereignty of the Abhá Beauty, which He has promised clearly in the verse, `Verily, We behold you from Our realm of Glory, and shall aid whosoever will arise for the triumph of Our Cause with the hosts of the Concourse on high and a company of Our favored angels.'389
The events that took place during `Abdu'l-Bahá's travels in Europe and His return to the East are recorded in the second volume of this book.
* * *
A hundred thousand thanks and praises for the confirmations of the Abhá Beauty and the bestowals of that essence of faithfulness, the Center of the Covenant, that this lowly servant was able to complete this first volume of the Kitáb-i-Badáyi'u'l-Áthár in the year 1332 AH [at the end of 1913 AD]. With his own hand he wrote it and submitted it to `Abdu'l-Bahá (may the lives of His followers be a ransom for His Covenant of faithfulness). In the year 1914 I was commissioned to go to India to obtain permission to publish and distribute it. With the assistance of the friends Mr Javan Mard Goshtasp and Mr Mehtar Isfandíyár Bahrám,390 I was able to publish it in 1914 in Bombay.

[Signed] Mahmúd Ibn-i-Ismael Zarqání




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