Utterances of Abdul Beha Abas to Two Young Men, American Pilgrims to Acre
by Abdu'l-BaháNew York: Board of Counsel, 1901
TO TWO YOUNG MEN,
AMERICAN PILGRIMS TO ACRE DURING
NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER, 1901.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1901.To-day the body of the world is sick. All nations are raising the banners of war and the illness, being very severe, needs the Divine Doctor. This Divine Doctor has appeared and pointed out the proper remedy for the world’s disease, but the ignorant doctors continue to give various inefficient remedies, and therefore day by day the sickness becomes more dangerous. There is no way for the world to be cured of its ills except through the Divine Doctor, because it is likened unto the remedy, it being evident that without the spirit the body will not revive.
One of the most severe of the world’s diseases is that of contention and strife, the fire of which is burning among all nations and cannot be removed except through the word of God. As this intense fire can only be quenched by the Heavenly Water, therefore the faithful followers
of God must be as a banner of peace and as a most luminous sum of harmony and union.
In the days of Moses the people pitched the tent of Martyrdom, and in the time of Jesus Christ they established the greatest church; but in this time the believers in God must raise the tent of Peace, Union and Concord. I hope that through the providence of God the brilliancy of love will light all the horizons.
At the evening meal on this day, Abdul Beha spoke as follows: "In the world of creation there is one nature common to all things. When we study their nature, we perceive that they are either essentially as light or darkness, either fruitful or unfruitful, useful or useless, perfect or imperfect, until we come to man, when we find that the human essence is endowed with two natures, the earthly and the heavenly, being respectively the animal and the human, the satanic and the angelic, the manifestation of perfection and of imperfection, the weakness of the body and the strength of the spirit. The animal imperfections are as darkness, while the human virtues are as light. If the satanic imperfection overcomes, the darkness will prevail; but if the contrary, the perfect life will be attained. The Divine Manifestations are sent and manifested to train the souls of men in such wise that the divine qualities may overcome and the heavenly light shine universally — that the virtues of hu-
manity may be distinguished from their vices through the confirmation of the Spirit, and their spiritual qualities become manifest. Therefore the righteous people are spiritual educators and trainers, and their effective power is love. Love is the real magnet which attracts the hearts and souls of men, and consequently the purpose of the manifestations of God is to radiate the light of love from their hearts. This is why Jesus said, "I am love." Thus it becomes known that the highest human station. The chief virtue, the cause of the greatest progress and prosperity which humanity can attain, and the divine perfection of the human race is love, which is the greatest favor of the Majestic One. This is the Divine Light, the eternal life. All the Divine Manifestations and prophets taught this truth, and the purpose of all of them was love. Abraham was the servant of this Cause; Jesus Christ sacrificed himself for it; Mohammed, the prophet, promulgated this teaching; His highness, the Bab, lighted this candlestick; His Holiness, Beha 'Ullah, manifested this brilliant star. This is the original purpose, the Essential part of the Cause, the reality of the teachings of God. Therefore, we who are the servants of His Threshold must exert our utmost power, devote our lives, offer them as a ransom if necessary, and give our time and all we have to this cause, until this light be spread all over the world and this brilliant star
shines from the dawning place of humanity. Accordingly, His Holiness, Beha 'Ullah, (glory be to Him) has said, "All are fruits of one tree and leaves of one Branch." Therefore, it behooves us to ignore discord, purify our hearts and consort with all people with fragrance and spirituality till fighting and quarreling, war and dualism be, through the providence of God, removed from the nations; concord and agreement be the light of union, truthfulness and tranquility be spread among the people, and the world of humanity become as one person.
Albeit, this matter is a very great and we are very weak and poor, but our confidence and trust is on the strength and confirmation of God; the strength of God is capable of changing a drop of water into a large sea. Through the power of God, Peter, the fisherman, was made the Rock of the temple, and David, the shepherd, was made a prophet, while Joseph, a prisoner, became the Governor of Egypt. Consider how extremely weak were the disciples of Jesus Christ; but because they gave their lives for this Cause, they became confirmed and strengthened.
NOVEMBER 20TH. — DINNER.The history of the prophets who came before Abraham is not known, but it is known of those who came after him.
Abraham was a prophet for his own people; Moses was a prophet for the Israelites, and
through his power other prophets were manifested among the Israelites. Jesus Christ, through His spiritual power, taught a few in his time, though in reality there were only twelve disciples, one of whom was Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him, thus leaving eleven who remained with the Master. The greatest of these disciples was Peter, and the weakness of even his belief was such that he denied the Master three times. In the cycle of Mohammed, the prophet was a forcible power, and in the cycle of Beha 'Ullah (glory be to him) there existed the greatest spirituality and forbearance of oppression. The spiritual power of the Blessed Perfection in his days was such that thousands of people entered the Kingdom, and through the power of the Word of God, more than twenty thousand, upheld by the strength, steadfastness and firmness of their belief, under great oppression, went to the place of death and with perfect happiness and joy drank from the cup of martyrdom. They were cut to pieces while uttering "O Thou Baha 'Ullah!"
All this occurred during his day; therefore consider how great is his Cause! Compare it with that of the ancient prophets.
The Blessed Perfection, (glory be to him), in his holy days, declared himself universally, sent notices to queens and kings, and taught all who wished to know the truth. To the Shah of
Persia he wrote with the greatest evidence, and the Persians as well as the different nations, are informed of this. In his letter to the Shah of Persia, he requested that all of the learned men be called together for the purpose of asking him about miracles or arguments until either truthfulness or falsity should be manifest.
THURDAY, NOVEMBER 21ST — DINNER.The Kingdom of God is likened unto a garden, and the gardener comes and finds the trees unfruitful and the garden in disorder. Through his instructions order is restored and the trees become fruitful. Through the Divine Gardener, under the shadow of God’s mercy, certain souls are trained and educated. He changes unfruitful trees in fruitful ones; dried trees into fresh trees; and under his direction every kind of useful tree is planted, while many and fragrant flowers grow. By the "Cloud of Mercy," the heat and the light of the Sun, and by the life-giving breeze the Divine Gardener is strengthened.
As the garden of the world is planted and cultivated under the shadow of the Divine Gardener, it becomes the Paradise of God. All the unfruitful trees are changed into fruitful trees; different kinds of flowers and grasses grow; rivers and streams abound and the great ponds and lakes overflow, all in such manner that if any one should enter the garden he would say, "It is not
the same it was formerly, it is the greatest paradise."
We hope that the faithful followers of God in America will become gardeners of this Paradise of El-Abha, and the fruitful trees of this garden. Their statements and explanations should be as flowing rivers and streams so that they may give life; the fires of their love should be as the heat and the rays of the sun; their teachings should be like the rains of providence; their spiritual characters should be like the life-giving breezes which diffuse the fragrances throughout all regions. This is the bounty of the Kingdom; this is the providence of God.
NOVEMBER 21ST — SUPPER.When this blessed Cause was manifested in Persia, some of the divines and famous learned men became believers and were martyred. The people murdered the Bab, thinking they had ended the Holy Cause. They annihilated thousands of families, plundered the goods of the believers, killed men and captured women and children. However, it was found that this had no destructive effect upon the Cause, but that the flaming fire of God was kindled and more. The lamp of God became more brilliant, waves of the sea of bounty increased, the breeze of God grew stronger, and the fragrance of the Holy Spirit became more powerful; and after imprisoning the Blessed Perfection, the govern-
ment decided to banish him to Bagdad, thinking that through this banishment the root of the Cause would be destroyed. As it took one month to go from Teheran to Bagdad, it was thought by the people that all trace of the Cause would be lost; on the contrary, the Cause of God became more powerful, his words more widely spread, his proclamation more generally heard, and the power of his Cause the stronger; consequently the government decided to send the Blessed Perfection from Bagdad to Constantinople. As Constantinople was a large city and as there were many Persians in the city who traveled freely, this plan also proved fruitless. Through the power of the Persian government the Blessed Perfection was then sent to Adrianople, in Roumalia, a country very far from Persia (and a possession of Turkey). Because there was no railway, there was very little travel by the Persians to and from Adrianople, and therefore, it was thought by the learned men of Persia that the Cause of God would have no effect upon the Persians. However, it was soon learned that these places were not places of banishment for the Blessed Perfection, (glory be to Him), and it was therefore decided that he should be sent to some small place — a place where murderers were confined, where robbers were imprisoned, so that this Cause would be weakened. Accordingly, the clergy, or learned
men of Persia, being hostile to this Holy Cause, so arranged that the Blessed Perfection was sent from Adrianople (the Land of Mystery) to Acre, Syria.
In this prison (Acre) the flag of the Gardener of God was raised, the greatness of the Word of God appeared and the Sun of Truth shone in such a degree that all the horizons became clear.
Praise be to God! The promises about the Holy Land were fulfilled and the glad-tidings uttered through the tongues of the prophets of God were realized, for the enemies caused the Blessed Perfection to be sent to the Holy Land and to have his residence in the Promised Land.
Therefore the faithful followers of God must know that calamities in the path of God will cause His truth to become more apparent.
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ was the means of spreading the light of the Cause of God and the martyrdom of his disciples resulted in the eternal greatness of the Cause. The disciples were like torches, which, though burned by the fire of hostility of the people, yet they enlightened the world.
Therefore the believers must not be sorrowful for this re-confinement and for these new calamities, but they must be far more attracted and kindled in cutting themselves from the world.
NOVEMBER 23RD — DINNERA Certain rich man came into the presence of
Jesus Christ and said "O Thou Spirit of God, I want to be one of thy disciples." Jesus said, "Go and follow the ten commandments." In reply the man said, that he had known the ten commandments from his youth and wanted to receive some new teaching. Jesus then said, "Go to thy house and give all that thou hast in the path of God and carry thy cross and come to be my disciple."
The rich man thought a little and then went away sorrowful. The meaning of this is, that each soul who wishes to take a step in the path of God, must carry his cross, devote his life to God’s service, and welcome sacrifice. He must devote himself entirely to the Cause of God, and bear all calamities and hardships in the love of the Blessed Perfection. One must consider pains ensured in the way of God as the mercy of God, and calamities as his favors and gifts. If it were not so, every soul would be worthy of the love of God, by which the faithful are distinguished from unfaithful, the truthful from the untruthful, and the sincere friend and believer from the hypocritical enemy.
the love of God are great gifts. Every bitter thing in this way is sweet and every poison is the means of eternal life.
It seems that some of the believers are sad and sorrowful because of the re-confinement of Abdul Beha. They must not be so; rather, they must know that this is the means of my greatest joy and happiness; that is, my gratitude and thankfulness. Through the bounty of God, I hope for more of these calamities. It is my desire that I be put in a dark prison in chains, sent to the gallows that my breast may be the destination of a thousand bullets; cast into the sea, or driven into an endless wilderness.
My hope is that the believers may be steadfast after my departure; that their flame may be greater and their love more and more. Then they must be as lighted lamps in order to brighten the horizons and cause the proclamation of God to reach all people. They must spread the Divine Teachings throughout the world, save the souls of mankind from the darkness of ignorance and bring the people of all nations into the light of guidance and a lamp of the Supreme Concourse. So it will be.
NOVEMBER 24TH — SUPPER.In the time of the Manifestations of God the people were hindered mostly in two ways. First, the statements of the previous books were not
understood. Second, the people failed to see the pure identity of the temple or Body of the Manifestation. For instance, as to the statements of the previous books: When Jesus Christ was manifested, the Jews looked at the verses of the Old Testament literally, outwardly, and were hindered because they did not understand. The outward meaning of the verses was the cause of their hindrance. For example, it is stated in the Old Testament, concerning the reign of the Messiah, that he would ascend to the throne of David; his scepter would be of iron; he would spread the law of the Old Testament that all the people of the world would come under the shadow of the protection of the Old Testament; that all nations would worship the God of the Israelites; and that in the time of His reign, love would appear between mankind and the animals, so that ferocious beasts would become gentle, the wolf and the lamb would drink from the same fountain, the lion and deer would graze in the same pasture, and the birds of prey and partridges would live in the same nest. The people took the outward meaning of these statements. Because Jesus was not even possessor of a mat, they did not think he could be the possessor of the throne of the Kingdom. He was oppressed and persecuted and rejected. He fled to the mountains and the wilderness from the Jews who had denied him; he was hungry, desti-
tute and homeless. He had not even a wooden staff; therefore, they wondered how could He be the possessor of an iron scepter. He did not ascend the throne of David, but instead was hanged upon the cross, — for His throne was His Cross. He did not spread the Old Testament, but he abolished it. Other nations did not worship the God of the Israelites, on the contrary the Israelites were conquered by the Romans and some of the Jews became idolaters.
In the time or cycle of Jesus cruelty and tyranny were such that the people crucified even Jesus Christ Himself. How, then, could it be possible for the wolf and the lamb to drink from the same spring?
As the people did not understand the real meaning of those statements in the old prophecies, they could not comprehend the Holy Book, but took the outward meaning, and therefore arose to murder His Holiness, Jesus Christ, crying out, "We crucify him, we crucify him." They placed a crown of thorns on his head and made him ride a donkey through the street and bazaars. They mocked and laughed at him, spat in his Holy Face, and at last shed His pure blood.
In short, because the Jews did not understand the Old Testament they were deprived of the Beauty of Jesus Christ, while in reality all that was stated in the Old Testament did happen and appear. Some expected Christ to descend from
the placeless; some expected him from the City of Sabbath, and others expected the Messiah to descend from Heaven: In reality Jesus did descend from Heaven, because He was a Heavenly Man, although he was born from the womb of His Mother Mary. That is why He said He came from Heaven, and that He was in Heaven, as related in the Gospel of St. John. Because the people did not understand the meaning of Heaven, and had known Him from His birth as the child of His mother, Mary, they denied Him saying, "We know this man, He is Jesus of Nazareth," and they would not believe that He had come from Heaven.
These ignorant people thought Heaven was the endless sky, while the real meaning of Heaven is the world of spirituality. It is possible for man to walk on earth and at the same time be in Heaven, or in the spiritual world. The body is from the world of possibility, but the spirit is from the placeless.
As to the prophecies: One of them referred to the reign of Jesus. Here reign means spiritual reign and not rulership over a kingdom which is only a hand full of dust. Consider that reign even to this day in the world. Its commandments are effective, its lamps brilliant, and its dominion powerful. If this spiritual reign, even in this moral world, has such an effect, what will be its effect in the immortal world?
The Jews were waiting for a Messianic reign which would be like the reign of Victoria or the Queen of Holland. The worldly reign is for conquest and death, while the spiritual reign is for the mercy of God and eternal life. This spiritual kingdom gives life, while the worldly kingdom takes life; the worldly kingdom destroys and is the cause of poverty and need, because kings and queens are in reality the poorest of people, while the spiritual kingdom gives bounty and is the means of eternal wealth. As it was said the people of the Old Testament expected that Jesus would have an iron scepter. Scepter signifies that of a shepherd leading his sheep. The meaning is that the scepter is likened unto a sword, that is to say, the sword of the tongue and not that of iron, because the sword divides enemies from friends, and the tongue of the Son of Reality is that kind of a sword which separates enemies from friends, divides darkness from light and guidance from sedition. As Isaiah the prophet in his vision stated, "I have perceived a Temple having eyes like a flame of fire, and having two swords in Hid tongue, and His feet were of iron." The meaning of this is that the eye which burns all hindrances of veils must be of fire, and the foot being constant and firm in the Cause of God, must be likened unto iron, while the tongue which divides truth from falsehood must be likened unto a sword.
As soon as the Word of God was uttered by the tongue of Jesus Christ and the proclamation of His Holiness arose, truth was divided from falsehood and the people of light were distinguished from the people of darkness. Those who accepted the truth were considered to be the people of the Kingdom, and those who denied were accounted as the people of darkness. Therefore the tongue of His Holiness, Jesus Christ, was like a sword, that is, he spread the Teachings of God.
The prophecies in the Old testament referred to the spreading of the law of God. The law of God meant the spiritual teachings of God, and not the teachings pertaining to materials things.
The law and commandments are divided into two branches, spiritual teachings and corporeal or material teachings. Spiritual teachings pertain to morality and character which are the breezes of the Holy Spirit, the life of the soul. The spiritual teachings will never be abolished in any cycle, as they are the eternal law. One of the commandments is the love of God, and is the virtue that crowns the heads of the believers. This is the original and principal teaching that Jesus Christ spread in the world.
The teachings of Moses were effective only in Palestine; but the spiritual teachings of Jesus Christ were spread throughout the whole world.
The material teachings, those which distinguish lawful from unlawful things, change ac-
cording to the exigency of the times, because circumstances and conditions are not always the same. One of the symbols of the appearance of Jesus Christ was that the wolf and the lamb would drink at the dame fountain, the lion and the deer would graze in the same pasture, et cetera. This means that the spiritual dominion of His Holiness would unite all nations and tribes in harmony and love, that is to say, nations having hostility towards each other would eat at the same table and drink from the same fountain or cup. The difference between them is likened unto the difference between the wolf and the lamb. This appears to be difficult, but through the power of the word of God this friendship, harmony and agreement are produced, as is the case in this time when we consider the affiliation and love which now exists between the Americans and the Persians, notwithstanding the long distance which separates them.
The second hindrance to the people was that the Blessed Manifestations in the day of the advent appeared as human beings with human bodies, and subject to the same conditions as the balance of mankind. For instance, the people noticed that Jesus Christ was the same as all other men as regards eating, drinking, sleeping, sickness, fatigue, clothing and lodging. They said he was one like themselves and did not understand how He could be the Son of God. As He
a human being, a natural man, the people wondered how He could claim to be a heavenly man. Because he needed food, the people did not believe He could be the manifestation of opulence. He was obliged to sleep, and was a captive in the hands of the Jews, therefore they could not believe he knew the mysteries of the heart and was the Minister of the Kingdom. As he was submissive to the Romans they said he was not the Manifestation of God. He was hung upon the cross amidst the meanest surroundings, and therefore they declared that he was not the promised Messiah. In short, as the people were gazing at the human temple of His Holiness they were hindered from seeing the essence of the light of Christ. They were like Satan who gazed at the earthly body of Adam but being deprived of seeing the real individuality, his virtues and perfections were not noticed. Thus it was that Satan denied Adam.
These people who are veiled and blind in the time of the Holy Manifestations are the descendants of Satan; they consider the corporeal temple, and are deprived of the mystery and reality of God which shines in the hearts of the manifestations. They see the body but not the spirit, and consider the chimney but not the light of the lamp; they notice the shell, but not the pearl, the thorn but not the rose; they hear the word but are unable to understand the meaning; they
behold the house but are unable to see the owner. That is why they are veiled and are not able to distinguish between the Holy Manifestations and themselves, and consequently in the time of Jesus they rejected the Christ. Therefore Jesus Christ said he would come again in the clouds. Here clouds signify humanity. As the clouds are obstacles or hindrances in the way of seeing the sun, so also is the human temple an obstacle in the way of seeing the light which shines from the Holy Heart of the Sun of Reality.
DECEMBER 1ST.In this greatest period there are only two Manifestations, the Blessed Bab (May my soul be a ransom to him) and the Manifestation of the Blessed Perfection (Glory be to Him).
We are all the servants of the threshold of Baha and the one who serves most in His holy threshold is the most beloved. My greatest wish and desire is submissiveness and servitude at His Holy Threshold. My name, Abdul Baha, means the servant of God; my heart is the Servant of Baha, and my spirit is the servant of Baha, and rejoices only in his name. My purpose is love, not only by word but by action.
The essence of all essences is love, which is likened unto the meat of the nut, while all else is likened unto the shell or outside. Through the providence of the Blessed Perfection our spirits must be full of the love of God. There-
fore, anyone who asks you about me should be told I am the servant of beha, because this is my only wish.
Some years ago two believers became excited over a discussion as to the station of the Blessed Perfection, one of them declaring that Beha 'Ullah was the Holy Identity of God. To settle the dispute they submitted the matter to the Holy Presence, and the Blessed Perfection answered, "When there is a quarrel, all are wrong; but when there is love, all are right." The Blessed Perfection said the only thing that is not beloved is discord and all that is beloved is love.
The believers must love each other and must reflect the love of God. Some may say the lamp is a light; others say the lamp is the place of the manifestation of the light. Both statements are correct; but what is wrong is to quarrel, because it is contrary to the foundation laid by God.
Therefore, in order that there may be no discord, all of the believers in the truth must not mention me except as Abdul Baha, the Servant of God. The essential thing is love. I must love you and you must love me. Such is the meaning of the truth, while untruth means rancour, discord and hatred. All else save love is merely outwardly uttered words.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 2ND — SUPPER.This world is likened unto the ocean; the law
and teachings of God is the ship; the mate is the covenant; the captain is God; and the seashore is the Kingdom of Abha.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3RD.It is stated in the New Testament that Jesus Christ was once drinking of the fruit of the vine (juice of grapes) and said he would drink no more except in the presence of the father. This means that the spirit needs food for strength as well as the body. The appearance of the Holy Manifestations is for the purpose of causing the heavenly table to descend. This table means the Divine virtues and characteristics, and is the means of strengthening the spirit and life. Therefore we hope that as this heavenly table has descended from the Kingdom of Abha in this marvelous period, the believers and friends of God will have a great portion of it, so that they will be the cause of eternal life and the means of enlightening the hearts of the people of the world.
In short, I hope you will ask God to bless you as being the real sons of the Kingdom, because the sons of the Kingdom are of two kinds. One is the real son and the other is the material one. Judas Iscariot and Peter were both sons of the Kingdom, but Peter was the real son. Judas was the material son, consequently he was deprived. The real sons of the Kingdom are those who act according to the instructions and
teachings of Baha 'Ullah, the Blessed Perfection. They are drunken with the cup of providence, and are illumined by the Divine light. They are honored by all their perfections and virtues of humanity, and are characterized with attributes which embellish the essence of man in such a manner that all people, even the enemies testify of their good actions, attractions, separation from the world, purity, sanctity, knowledge and belief.
In conclusion, I must humbly supplicate that God will admit you as the real sons of His Kingdom in such manner that you may be an honor to the Cause of God and that all the people, being astonished, may say, "these young men are not the same. When they started for Acre they had a station; but on their return, they possess another station. They are baptized by the providence of God, by the fire of the love of God, and by the Holy Spirit. They have received a second birth, they have found eternal life."