Friday, August 25, 2006

Visit to Nutritionist

Visit Number Three to Nutritionist Michele

By John Taylor; 2006 August 25

I do not think I have ever met anybody who includes home-made encrypted puzzles into everyday conversation, but that is what my almost 12 year old daughter Silvie does routinely. A week or so ago, seven year old Thomas mentioned that he did not like a certain movie. Silvie wondered why, so she ran off, filled in a sheet with random letters and wrote above them detailed instructions as to how to break the code. She showed the sheet to Thomas, who, hardly knowing how to read her instructions, hesitated. Without waiting she followed the instructions and blocked out all of the red herring letters and then read aloud to him her decoded message: "Why don't you like such and such a film?"

I should not then have been surprised at what happened yesterday at the nutritionist's office, but I was. Silvie wants to be a vegetarian but remains a very picky eater; she has been tired, bored, sickly and unwilling to leave the house to go anywhere lately. Her mother suggested that I take her along to Hamilton on my third consultation with the nutritionist in an effort to persuade her to eat better. They did not tell me this, but Silvie had been intrigued by my horror stories about the dietitian and wanted to find out if she was the ravening witch that I had portrayed her as.

My stories about her started with my first visit. I had a bit of a run-in with this health professional (her name is Michele) on my first consultation; she really did seem to be in a bad mood that day. Plus, I have a way of being in-your-face about things I have gleaned from my reading. Face it, our personalities clashed. I remember mentioning to Michele that I was interested in going on Roy Walford's low calorie diet plan if I ever lose enough weight to start it. She opposed such a semi-starvation regime, and mentioned a study that had found that slightly underweight people have a higher mortality rate than slightly overweight individuals. I subsequently read in a debunking nutrition newsletter that this study was severely flawed because it failed to factor out moribund fatties, that is, people who rapidly lost weight and became underweight because they were already well on the slow road to death from cancer or some other grave condition. This happened to my mother, by the way, she was overweight all my life until about a year before she died of cancer, at which time she became underweight, emaciated by her condition. Any researcher who fails to take into account such reasons for being thin has to be either corrupt or very dumb indeed.

Anyway, although I did not agree with Michele on that one, I shut up; on several other issues I was more outspoken and she got pretty upset, as people tend to do around me, I do not know why. In spite of our contretemps, I wanted to take her dietary advice very seriously indeed. A couple of years before I could barely walk from arthritis, had severe and frequent migraine attacks, resurgent acne, and was constantly getting minor infections in toes and fingers. I became a vegetarian, based on what I had read about long-term damage from chronic inflammation. This reduced my problems greatly, and I wanted to gain my health, walk normally again and have a chance at doing some good with my life. So, I tried to take advantage of our clash of personalities and make it into a good thing by painting Michele as an ogre in the kids eyes.

"No, if I take that Twinkie the nutritionist will tear off my head, shrink it and use it in one of her potions."

Keeping this parlous image in mind helped push me to make jarring dietary and lifestyle changes that I otherwise might never have done: I took a 1000 mmg. of vitamin B12 daily; I sloshed olive oil on everything on my plate, I took the time religiously every week or so to make up a huge vat of my gazpacho and a mess of bean salad. Thanks to that terrible image of my next visit with the food Nazi in my mind I did the right thing, I exercised, I ate right more than I imagined possible for me. I went regularly to the local farmer's market to buy fresh veggies; in fact I went so often that this year I am no longer "the guy who walks his bike through," I am actually on a first name basis with many farmers and vendors there. The second visit Michele was much nicer, she was far from the monster I had imagined her, but her legend in the mind of the kids grew unabated.

So while my reason for seeing Michele yesterday was to find out if my cholesterol was better and my B12 count normalized, Silvie's reason was to witness an ogre in the flesh. On the way to Hamilton in the back seat of the car she drew the enclosed picture of how she imagined our visit would play out. She nervously asked me in the waiting room if Michele had a sense of humor. I said, Go ahead, show it to her, we will soon find out. On previous visits I had loudly lamented to all in earshot that I had not lost but gained weight in spite of increased exercise, as depicted in Silvie's cartoon. Fortunately, this time it turned out that I had lost five pounds, to my relief, and B12 levels had responded (from 145 to 330) and cholesterol was better, though levels of LDL remain low (from 0.83 to 0.86). At a pause in our discussion, we showed her the cartoon. She was nice about it but stressed that dieticians are not strict like that, and Silvie believed her. On the way out of the place Silvie whispered in my ear that I am a wimp for being afraid of a nice lady like that. Well, I may be a wimp, but at least I am a wimp with a 330 B12 count.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Smartened Up Taxes

Smartened Up Taxes

By John Taylor; 20 August, 2006

Dear Friends,

I have not written for a while and it is high time to start back again. To get me back in the swing of things here are some personal anecdotes. Dunnville is not without its share of bigots. A few days ago I was standing at the back of a line. The vendor, counting her change, exclaimed, "Hey, that guy just jewed me out of five bucks! Somebody stop him." The fellow in question was walking away as the person at the front of the line objected to her choice of words. "Hey, I am a Jew and I resent your use of that anti-Semitic expression. You should have said that somebody screwed me out of five bucks." Second in line pipe up, "Hey, I am a registered sex therapist and I resent the implication that the sex act has anything at all necessarily to do with violence or shortchanging. It is an honest natural expression of a legitimate aspect of human nature." Next in line was a fellow in dirty coveralls. He said, "Hey, I am a carpenter, and I object to your jumping to the conclusion that the expression "screw" has anything to do with sex. A screw is an extremely useful way to keep things together while allowing for future repair and improvements. If it weren't for screws our world would fall apart. We really, literally, would be screwed." I could not let all this pass without putting in my two cents worth. "You are obsessed with disputing over words while the real problem is staring us all in the face. We are all being cheated here. We would not be lined up here wasting time waiting for somebody to count out pennies if we had a smart card system allowing us to swipe a machine that would perform all our petty getting and trading, including counting change, automatically."

I have finished Jane Jacob's Dark Age Ahead and have included at the end of this essay a lengthy selection from her chapter on finance, "Dumbed Down Taxes," because I think it is all-fired important. Important too is this:

"Virtually all ideologues, of any variety, are fearful and insecure, which is why they are drawn to ideologies that promise prefabricated answers for all circumstances. Every society contains such people. But they can exert considerable power only when they control public purse strings which are not subject to the principles of subsidiarity and fiscal accountability. In the case of Canada, that flaw is actually written into the country's constitution, but in various forms and degrees it occurs just about everywhere." (Jane Jacobs, Dark Age Ahead, p. 115)

She explains in detail what subsidiarity is in our excerpt at the end of this essay, but for now we need only consider fiscal accountability ... in view of my little experience in the cashier's line. As it is, the banking system has united and agreed upon limited standards, enough at least to automate ATM's, which perform computerized transactions, but not nearly the number of those still using cash. We still take the time while shopping to manually count out our loonies and pennies, largely because yet another middleman intermediating at the micro level of the economy would be too expensive. Yet here is our chance, should we ever take the final step to eliminate cash, to make the sort of adjustment that Jane Jacobs seems to be talking about, without perhaps even needing to change the Canadian constitution. If municipal and other local governments got an automatic cut in every purchase taking place there, they would have an alternative to their present, clumsy, unfair property tax revenue stream. The local government provides the ATM cash machines in every store and, like any teller machine, takes a cut of the action, as do so-called "senior" levels of government, including the world government. In return, each government will be required in annual reports with open statistics to demonstrate that the taxes are being well spent on infrastructure. If the system is set up right -- as I have often said, the next Einstein will not be a physicist, he will be an accountant -- we would be well on the way to a "smartened-up" taxation system.

Consider, if you will, the Huqquq. Here is a tax that is so subsidiary and accountable that the onus is firmly placed upon the individual not only to pay it but also to assess it. It is a tax for the Age of Responsibility. At the same time, it is a fixed tax, a simple 19 percent of capital gain, and thus very simple. At the same time, as the House has ruled, it is in the spirit of the Huqquq to make regular payments, either yearly or more frequently, which means that a conscientious Baha'i will be constantly up on his or her financial condition.

I think this regular financial taking into account is in the spirit of the daily self-assessment that is at the heart of our devotional, calendrical routine. Gradually, we will have spreadsheets depicting our budget and financial condition, updated constantly, that we will habitually look over before we take ourselves into account for each day. Similarly, no doubt we will have some medical measures too, charting in detail our every bodily function during the day. If we abused our body, say by not drinking enough water or by bingeing on a donut, alarms and redlining will let us know, just the same as if we spent over budget during the day. After all, it is hypocritical for individuals to criticize government for poor spending when we ourselves do not do the correct amount of saving and giving required for our own financial, as well as literal, health.

My latest orphan book rescued from oblivion at our Dunnville library book sale is:

Linda McQuaig, "All You Can Eat; Greed, Lust and the New Capitalism," Penguin, Toronto, 2001

Her take on our present problems is that we have, as it were, meta-problems. The wealthy and powerful few are not just greedy, they are meta-greedy. She starts the book off by pointing to a typical court case in the 1300's where a fishmonger is caught profiteering in lampreys; he is pilloried and rolled through London on a wheel for trying to get an extra profit. Flash forward to now, a little town in Mexico decides not to grant a building permit to a corporation that wants to build a toxic dump there; their water supply was poisoned by the last tenant and the people are reluctant to be poisoned again. NAFTA intervenes and invokes a multi-million dollar fine on that town for daring to interfere with that company's legitimate profit motive. "Interestingly, the enemy today is no longer believed to be greed but rather any collective action aimed at curbing that greed, restraining it in the name of the broader collective interest." (p. 6) She sums up her book like this:

"This book is not about greed -- not about how bad it is or how guilty we should feel about giving in to it and indulging ourselves. Rather, this book is about the curious way our society has made greed and acquisitiveness its central organizing principle. I describe this as "curious" because there is nothing natural or inevitable about our approach. Indeed (historically the) ... attainment of material possessions was considered a less important mark of distinction and status than the display of other forms of human behavior -- like bravery, loyalty, devotion, service, honour and dedication to duty." (pp. 6-7)

This, of course, is a very perceptive insight into the soul of our capitalist kleptocracy. What is the Baha'i two cents worth on this? What is our point of distinction? I think we can all answer that easily enough: our distinction is spiritual distinction. Interestingly, the phrase "spiritual distinction" does not appear in the Writings of the Bab or Baha'u'llah, though it does in the Master's great work on development, SDC, which recommends this sort of what we now would call identity or self-image:

"It means to see one's self as only one of the servants of God, the All-Possessing, and except for aspiring to spiritual distinction, never attempting to be singled out from the others." (Abdu'l-Baha, Secret of Divine Civilization, 39)

I just read in a science magazine an interesting take on this. It seems that there was a study in 2002 of the word choice of poets who ended up killing themselves compared to non-suicidal poets. You guessed it, the suicides used words like "I" and "me" very frequently, and the non-suicides preferred "we." What am I supposed to think about that? Why is the "I" constantly being downgraded, what can I say, how am I to deal with this? What does it mean for me? O God, I think I am going to kill myself, or worse, not turn out to be a good Baha'i. Anyway, the Master's most famous and powerful statement on distinction He reserved for a meeting on June 15, 1912 at a private residence in New York. Here is the climactic, closing paragraph of that memorable speech, and here He defines, beyond all shadow of ambiguity, exactly what spiritual distinction entails.

"I desire distinction for you. The Baha'is must be distinguished from others of humanity. But this distinction must not depend upon wealth -- that they should become more affluent than other people. I do not desire for you financial distinction. It is not an ordinary distinction I desire; not scientific, commercial, industrial distinction. For you I desire spiritual distinction -- that is, you must become eminent and distinguished in morals. In the love of God you must become distinguished from all else. You must become distinguished for loving humanity, for unity and accord, for love and justice. In brief, you must become distinguished in all the virtues of the human world -- for faithfulness and sincerity, for justice and fidelity, for firmness and steadfastness, for philanthropic deeds and service to the human world, for love toward every human being, for unity and accord with all people, for removing prejudices and promoting international peace. Finally, you must become distinguished for heavenly illumination and for acquiring the bestowals of God. I desire this distinction for you. This must be the point of distinction among you." (Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 189)

This kind of change in attitude is necessary if we are ever going to smarten up our financial system. As it is, it is expected that every government, like our greedy, suicidal egotist, will grab as much money as it possibly can, and surrender not a jot or tittle of its discretionary spending powers. National governments rip dollars away from local governments, and even the idea that the UN should have an independent revenue stream is kept well out of the arena of discussion. Even when international corporations grow to the point where they can bully national governments and play one upon the other, where they act like pirates with impunity, the very idea that they could maybe be put on the leash of a world government never comes up for discussion.

Dumbed-Down Taxes (Chapter Five, Jacobs, Jane, Dark Age Ahead, Random House, New York, 2004, pp. 103-105)

"Henri Pirenne tells us that the low point of the Dark Age that followed Western Rome's collapse occurred about the year 1000. After that, instead of sinking ever deeper into incompetent poverty, our ancestral culture slowly took a turn for the better. Pirenne also analyzes why and how culture's trajectory pivoted upward. The poor, backward European cities, many of them, at the time, hardly more than embryos of cities, with Venice leading the way and others following -- began trading with one another again and, indirectly through Venice, with the Middle East and Asia. The cities developed by importing, creating, and exporting innovations. By trading and mutually adopting innovations, they slowly drew abreast of advanced Asian cities and then surpassed them in economic and social capability and prosperity.

"Disadvantaged in almost every way though they were, the early medieval cities typically benefited from subsidiarity and fiscal accountability. Subsidiarity is the principle that government works best -- most responsibly and responsively -- when it is closest to the people it serves and the needs it addresses. Fiscal accountability is the principle that institutions collecting and disbursing taxes work most responsibly when they are transparent to those providing the money.

"The cities of the Roman Empire had lost these advantages in the desperate years before the collapse, when the imperial treasury extorted from them as much as it could and disbursed the money for schemes and needs according to its own, frequently crazed, priorities. The early medieval cities regained the two principles slowly, in various ways. Some, like London, received royal charters authorizing them to farm (that is, collect) their own taxes. Others, like Hamburg and cities of the Low Countries and northern France, gained subsidiarity and fiscal accountability through the efforts of merchants and citizens united by common interests and then, increasingly, by custom. Many others, like Venice itself, Florence, Bologna, and Genoa, achieved subsidiarity and fiscal accountability as by-products of their own sovereignty as city-states.

"Both principles are important, but the need for subsidiarity has become especially acute, for reasons I shall sketch out later. Yet both subsidiarity and fiscal accountability of public money have almost disappeared from the modern world, as if a cycle is returning to the Roman imperium, rather than to principles that renewed Western culture long after Rome's failure. Today, over almost all the world, major taxes, including those most remunerative and most economically informative, like income taxes based on ability to pay, or those directly reflecting economic expansion, like sales or value-added taxes, are collected either by sovereign governments or by their surrogates, provincial governments. This is true of federal governments like those of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Germany, and of centralized sovereignties like those of England, France, Sweden, and Israel-to name a few of both types.

"The only exceptions are a few city-states like Hong Kong and Singapore and near-city-states like the Czech Republic (the city-state of Prague), Slovakia (the city-state of Bratislava), and Taiwan (the city-state of Taipei). Only very minor taxation, such as property taxes, responsive neither to ability to pay nor to economic expansion, is typically permitted to cities.

"Because city sources of public revenue are frequently inadequate to needs, so-called senior governments sporadically come to their aid with grants of public money and programs devised for using the grants. These resources are disbursed into many different localities, currently in many different situations, with unlike needs and dissimilar opportunities. Sovereign governments cannot possibly be in intimate touch with all this variation. Even with the best will in the world, the disbursers must act as if common denominators exist, and if these cannot be found, will allow idiosyncratic needs and opportunities to go unanswered.

"An example is a stillborn hotel tax in Toronto. The numbers of tourists visiting the city have declined since the late 1990s. The city has had virtually no money for marketing itself or its events as tourist destinations, so hotels in the city asked the City Council to tax hotel rooms modestly to raise such funds. When the city government boldly passed the requested tax, the provincial government annulled the act; only the province could enact such a tax, and only by making it a province-wide policy. Other hotels in the province, most notably in Windsor, a virtual suburb of Detroit across the river, vigorously resisted the tax, in the case of Windsor on the reasonable grounds that it wouldn't help that city's economy.

"The social and economic needs of urban residents and businesses are extremely varied and complex compared with those of simpler settlements. They require wide ranges of awareness and knowledge that are humanly beyond the comprehension of functionaries in distant institutions, who try to overcome that handicap by devising programs that disregard particulars on the assumption that one size can fit all, which is untrue. Even when sovereignties and provinces or states give special grants to this or that locality, the special grants almost always reflect the priorities of the disbursing institutions, not those of the recipient settlements.

"So dysfunctional have these ordinary arrangements become that in North America associations of mayors of municipalities, and associations of municipalities themselves, have taken to expressing their disappointments and dissatisfactions loudly, sometimes at screaming levels. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), composed of thirty currently rich countries, published a report in 2002, Cities for Citizens: Improving Metropolitan Governance, the purport of which is that something is wrong which needs fixing.

"The disconnection between public treasuries and local domestic needs drawing upon them does not exist within taxpayers' pockets or bank accounts. The same taxpayers supply money for all layers of government. Rather, the disconnection is purely administrative and governmental. It is a political artifact with the strength of bureaucratic tradition. That being so, the dumbed-down result should theoretically be simple to mend; but, if experience in Canada is a guide, it can't be mended."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Master in New York and Chicago

Master in New York and Chicago

Scanned and proofed by John Taylor; 2006 August 17

In his diary for Saturday, April 13, 1912, Mahmud wrote the following entry: “Among the prominent people who called upon the Master were the President of the New York Peace Society [Mr W. H. Short] and an important inventor of armaments [Mr Hudson Maxim]. It happened that both were visiting 'Abdu'l-Baha at the same time. It was interesting to see the power and majesty with which the Master spoke to these two about serving the world of humanity and public welfare.” Both left His presence with joy and devotion.” (41-42) Here is the text of that interview, as reported later on in Star of the West.





APRIL 15TH, 1912.

Notes by Howard MacNutt.


- Star of the West, Vol. 3, No. 7, July 13, 1912, p. 4

Abdu’l-Baha: "You are very welcome; am most happy to greet you. I have looked forward with much pleasure to this meeting. Welcome! Welcome!”

Mr. Short: "It gives me great happiness indeed to meet Abdu’l-Baha. I too have looked forward to this meeting. The New York Peace Society extends him greetings and welcome to our city and our country."

A. B. "You are indeed a servant to humanity. A servant to humanity is a servant to God. Your mission is a high, holy and sanctified one; there could be no greater, no holier mission than that of bringing peace to this warring world. Therefore I have waited for you with the greatest longing.

"In this day the majority of mankind are endeavoring to destroy the foundations of the happiness of the world. How many are engaged in the invention of means for the destruction of human kind; how many are employed in the science and practice of war; how many are occupied in various kinds of strife and antagonism; how many stand ready to shed the blood of innocent men, their brothers!

So it is that history is blackened with this record of human intention and accomplish anent. Every hour war is threatened upon some new pretext; today patriotism is its basis, tomorrow religious prejudice, racial egotism, territorial greed, commercial selfishness it matters little what the excuse may be blood is shed and human beings torn to pieces upon battlefields. Political interests clash; a great war follows; sadness, gloom and cruelty envelop the world.

"But you are endeavoring to uplift the standard of peace in the world. You must continue to work until the world is released from these prejudices which are bringing about such inhuman conditions. For the clouds of war will surely vanish from the horizons. There is no doubt that your work is the greatest work and its outcome certain."

Mr. S. All the members of the New York Peace Society feel the truth and inspiration of what you have said."

A. B. "You must rest assured and let there be no traces of doubt in your souls that God is your Assister and Helper. The Heavenly confirmations will descend upon you more and more. God will protect you and give you new strength continually. Your world-motives will conquer the world of men; all obstacles will disappear before your advance; no earthly power can resist the onrushing power of Peace. For this power is assisted by the Power of God and that which is divinely assisted must prevail.

Consider how the Cause of Christ was confirmed. How many resisted it! What mountains of obstacles were raised against it! What hostile forces sought to destroy its foundations! Yet the kings and emperors of the world could not resist its spread and establishment. No power of earth can withstand the inflow of the Spirit of Truth. If earthly kings and kingdoms come in its way, it will conquer and they will be overthrown, always. For your cause is Truth itself and Truth is Omnipotent. If all nations arise to prevent, they will be vanquished and you will be victorious [Visitor much impressed.] You are a servant of God, not a servant of this world. A servant of God is he who gives some benefit to the world of man."

Mr. S. "We belong to a race [Anglo Saxon] which has wielded the power of oppression. We have been the oppressor, not the oppressed. The whole matter of World Peace presents a different aspect to the western mind.

"Justice, human rights and religion are controlling motives of the men of the New York Peace Society. We must confess that hitherto Americans have not felt the welfare of Eastern countries to be as important as the development of our own interests. We have not known enough of the ideals of other countries.

As a rule we meet only immigrants and discontented wanderers from foreign lands. But recently this has been changed and the aspect is wider. Our press is not the reflector of foreign news. Our people travel in distant countries; but few important and influential foreigners come to visit us. Our purpose in the Peace Society is not only to establish the doctrines of peace but to defend the principles of human brotherhood; to acquaint the people of this country with foreign matters and provide opportunity that they may meet and know foreign men. Therefore we take advantage of every opportunity to introduce such men to our people. We will be very glad and greatly honored to arrange a reception under the auspices of the New York Peace Society at which `Abdu’l-Baha can address a large assemblage, meet our friends and exchange mutual sentiments. I have just come from the home of Mr. Carnegie. He is not able to go out owing to a throat affection, but will be glad to receive `Abdu’l-Baha at his home. Mr. and Mrs. Carnegie will attend the Peace Conference at Lake Mohonk in June. As I understand `Abdu’l-Baha will be there also, the meeting with Mr. Carnegie might be mutually arranged then. Acquaintances and friendships begun at Lake Mohonk will be most pleasant at a reception thereafter."

A. B. "I go to Washington next week. Is there time enough before departure to arrange the plans suggested?”

Mr. S. "It would be better if we had more time. Something could be arranged, but it is doubtful."

A. B. "How many days in advance would be necessary?"

Mr. S. "There should be at least two weeks.

Almost any date would be suitable except Friday, May 10th.”

May 13th finally decided upon.


Mr. Short remaining.

Mr. Hudson Maxim, scientist, inventor and expert upon explosives, was then announced.

He entered.

Abdul Baha. "Welcome! Welcome! Very welcome!"

Hudson Maxim. "I am glad to hear you speak English"

A. B. "My life has been spent in the Orient where foreign languages are seldom used. Otherwise I would have acquired English. Language is the great barrier between nations. When thoughts are interchanged destinies become one. All languages are difficult of acquirement for the real language is deeper than the outer words"

H. M. "Are you speaking in Turkish?"

A. B. "In Persian. I also speak Turkish and Arabic; Turkish is very difficult. In the East it is thought that acquiring Turkish is equivalent td the study of three other tongues."

H. M. "I understand you are a messenger of peace to this country. What is your opinion about modern war? Shall the great nations maintain armament and defenses as a guarantee or warrant against war? [presenting papers] Here is an article I have written upon this subject. Shall the nations have an international police navy which protects and insures peace in the world, or shall they disarm and have no navies?”

A. B. "Everything that prevents war is good.”

H. M. "Christ said He came to make war. Caesar was great in history because he was great in battle and military skill."

A. B. "We have the history of the world for nearly six thousand years. Before that there is no record. During these six thousand years there has been constant war, strife, bloodshed. We can see at a glance the results, achievements and outcomes of war. The history of warfare and strife is known, the effect apparent. Have we not a sufficient standard of experience in this direction? Let us now try peace for awhile. If good results follow, let us adhere to it. If not let us throw it away and fight again. Nothing will be lost by the experiment."

H. M. "Evolution has now reached a period in the life of nations where commerce takes the place of warfare. Business is war, cruel, merciless."

A. B. "True! War is not limited to one cause. There are many kinds of war and conflict going on, political war, commercial war, patriotic and racial war; this is the very civilization of war."

H. M. "Do you consider the next great national war necessary?"

A. B. "I hope your efforts may be able to prevent it. Why not try peace for awhile? If we find war is better, it will not be difficult to fight again; but if we find that peace is the glorification of humanity, the impulse of true civilization, the stimulus to inventive genius and the means of attainment to the good pleasure of God, we must agree to adhere to it and establish it permanently."

H. M. "There is much newspaper talk about the United States fighting Japan. There is no prospect of it whatever. We don't want to kill good customers. Commercial energy is more profitable to us. Competition of commerce is as severe, trying and as cruel as wars of olden time. Science has made war expensive; so expensive it don't pay to fight. We make more money by being peaceful, so long as the other fellow keeps quiet and sticks to business. If an English navy came over here and bombarded New York a week they would injure themselves more than us. The expense of ammunition and equipment would cost a great deal more than the damage inflicted by their guns and shells. You are right in advocating peace. I am an advocate of peace from another standpoint. I would make war so expensive that the nations could not afford to fight and therefore would agree to maintain peace."

A. B. "The product of human invention, genius and the outcome of human disposition to kill and fight have well nigh reached their limit. It seems as if the art of war could not be carried further. In ancient times when nation fought against nation, probably one thousand would be killed in battle, the expense would not be great, the outcome of victory decisive and final; but in modern times the science of war has reached such a stage of perfection that in twenty four hours one hundred thousand could be sacrificed, great navies sent to the bottom of the sea, great cities destroyed in a few hours. The possibilities are incalculable, inconceivable; the after effects even more dreadful than the initial shock. In Egypt, the fellaheen who till the Nile banks gather four or five harvests from the soil. Suppose they are called away from their peaceful pursuits, take up arms, expend their possessions for powder and go to war. The first consequences are grievous enough, but the after-results are even more deplorable. The country suffers beyond all power of estimation; agriculture is crippled, abandoned, sustenance fails, poverty and suffering continue long afterward. Furthermore, how many wars there have been in the Orient during past centuries; war and peace in constant succession; but your country America remained unaffected by them or their consequences. The news of war might reach Europe and America long after it had happened. But all this is changed in the present century. As soon as war is declared in any part of the world, all human attention is directed toward it; commerce and the machinery of nations are paralyzed; the whole world thrown into a condition of grave uncertainty. Therefore it is evident that the time has come to end war and establish peace. This is an exigency and requirement of the present century."

H. M. "Fewer are killed in modern engagements than in the battles of ancient times; the range is longer and the action less deadly."

A. B. "How about the war between Japan and Russia?

H. M. "Less men are killed in war in a year now than are killed by our industries through preventable accidents."

A. B. "War is the most preventable accident.”

H. M. "The short sword was more deadly in battle than the quick firing gun, for the reason that massed men come together in hand to hand conflict and the slaughter was fearful. At Mukden two hundred and fifty thousand soldiers retreated without loss. In ancient times many thousands would have been overtaken and killed. War is no more dangerous now than automobiling."

A. B. "History shows that in war between the Roman and Persian Empires extending over a period of twenty years, in which one hundred thousand men were engaged upon each side, only five or six thousand were killed. In modern warfare there are bombs which kill men like stripping leaves from a tree. An Egyptian general who had served in war against England was accused of cowardice at a meeting in Syria. He asked those present, 'Have you ever seen an English shell? When you see one explode among troops you will be excused for defeat and cowardice'”

H. M. [Making diagram.] "The effect of a bomb is not so great as expected. Most of its force is expended upward into the air. It is impossible to mass men close enough to it for a full utilization of its energy. If its explosive energy could be expended in the right direction, it would do plenty of killing."

A. B. "The greatest intelligence of man is being expended in the direction of killing his fellow man. The discovery of high explosives, perfecting of death-dealing weapons of war, the science of military attack, all this is a wonderful manifestation of human intelligence; but it is in the wrong direction. You are a celebrated inventor and scientific expert whose energies and faculties are employed in the production of means for human destruction. Your name has become famous in the science of war. Now you have the opportunity of becoming doubly famous. You must practice the science of peace. You must expend your energies and intelligence in a contrary direction. You must discover the means of peace; invent guns of love which shall shake the foundations of humanity.

The guns you are now building cause the death of man; you must build guns which will be the cause of life to humanity. Henceforth your life and energy should be given to this blessed purpose. You must work and experiment along this line. This work and accomplishment will be more wonderful than all you have done heretofore. Then it will be said by tile people of the world, this is Mr. Maxim, inventor of the guns of war, discoverer of high explosives, military scientist, who has also discovered and invented means for increasing the life and love of man; who has put an end to the strife of nations and uprooted the tree of war. This will be the most wonderful accomplishment of any human being. Your name will glow with mention throughout the history of ages and ages. Then will your life become pregnant and productive with really great results. Consider this: the inventor of high explosives has discovered the means of universal peace; an active worker in the science of war has become a factor in the assembly of love! Then will your name be recorded in the pages of history with a pen of gold. No man in history will equal you in fame and greatness. You will be doubly renowned. God will be pleased with you and from every standpoint of estimation you will be a perfect man."



Photographs by Muriel Jones and A. C. Killius.

- Star of the West, Vol. 3, No. 7, July 13, 1912, p. 6

`Abdu’l-Baha's meeting with the children of the friends in Chicago on Sunday morning, May 5th, was an event that shall

ever be remembered by all who were present. Although many lived considerable distance and found it necessary to arise as early as five o'clock, yet promptly at the appointed hour of eight, about thirty-five children were on hand to greet him and receive the spiritual baptism in store for them.

They were gathered in a circle in the middle of the beautiful parlor of The Plaza, the parents and friends making another circle behind them.

When Abdu'l-Baha entered all arose. While he took the seat prepared for him, the children sang without accompaniment, "Softly His Voice is Calling Now."

Then followed the scene that is indelibly stamped upon the minds and hearts. He called each child to him in turn, took them in his lap, petting and stroking the hair arid hugging and kissing the little ones, pressing the hands and embracing the older ones, all with such infinite love and tenderness shining in his eyes and thrilling in the tones of his voice, that when he whispered in English in their ears to tell him their names, they answered as joyfully and freely as they would a beloved father. To each child he gave a little different touch, patting some on the breast, some on the back and some on the head. He blessed them all. There was no suggestion of haste and a hush fell upon the group a quiet, vibrant, eloquent silence making many to feel that it was just such a picture Jesus must have made and which has touched the hearts of all child lovers for these two thousand years.

The children's joy and his own happiness seemed to culminate when one dear little tot ran to him and fairly threw herself into his arms. When he let her go she stood for a second and then suddenly laughed aloud with perfect joy, which found its instant echo in a ripple around the whole circle.

`Abdu’l-Baha then stood and spoke as follows: You are the children of whom His Holiness Christ has said, you are the denizens of the Kingdom; and according to the words of Baha’u’llah you are the very lamps or candles of the world of humanity, for your hearts are exceedingly pure and your spirits are most delicate. You are near the source; you have not yet become contaminated. You are like lambs, or like a very polished mirror.

My hope for you is that your parents may educate you spiritually, giving you the utmost ethical training. May your education be most perfect so that each one of you may be imbued with all the virtues of the human world. May you advance in all the degrees, be they material degrees or spiritual degrees.

May you all become learned, acquire sciences and arts, acquire the arts and crafts; may you be useful members of human society, may you be conducive to the progress of human civilization; may you be a cause of the manifestation of the divine bestowals, may each one of you be a shining star, radiating the light of the oneness of humanity towards the East and West; may you be conducive to the unity of mankind; may you be conducive to the love of the whole. May the reality deposited in the human entity become apparent through your efforts. I pray for all of you, asking God's aid and confirmation in your behalf.

"You are all my children, you are my spiritual children. The spiritual children are very dear, they are dearer than physical children, because it is possible for physical children to prove unspiritual but you are all spiritual children, therefore you are very dear; you are most beloved. I wish for you progress along all degrees. May God aid you. May you be surrounded by His gaze of kindness, and may you be nurtured and attain maturity under His protection. You are all blessed."

`Abdu’l-Baha then divided a bouquet of flowers which was upon the center table, and also gave to each child an envelope full of rose petals. He then walked slowly around the circle, laying his hand in blessing upon each little head, his face beaming with divine love as he murmured a tender word to each one.

The children thought they were dismissed, but he made them still more happy by taking them all into Lincoln park to be photographed with him.

`Abdu’l-Baha then expressed a desire to walk alone and strode majestically away, with his hands clasped behind him. All eyes followed him. He walked over to the noble Lincoln statue nearby and for a few moments stood gazing up at it, making a remarkably impressive and significant picture -- the lonely figure of our immortal Lincoln gazing down upon him who is today giving to the world spiritual emancipation.

Many of the children lingered under the trees or played upon the grass in the glorious spring sunshine, seemingly reluctant to leave the place where Abdu'l Baha had so abundantly blessed them, or, perhaps, with the hope that some further expression of his love for them might be forthcoming ere they returned to their homes; nor were some of them disappointed, for, as he came toward a group of little ones under the trees, he gathered them in his arms and submitted to another photograph.

This glimpse of Abdu'l Baha with the children of the friends in Chicago, would not be complete without reference to the beautiful photograph of him and little Musette Jones, reproduced on page 2 of this issue. It was taken in his suite of rooms at The Plaza. A copy of it was later presented to him and over her heart he wrote the word "Rouhieh," meaning Spiritual.

Group photo caption: “You are all my spiritual children.”


- Star of the West, Vol. 3, No. 7, July 13, 1912, p. 7

Translated by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, May 13, 1912, New York City.

YE beloved friends of Abdul Baha! Two days ago, through the protection and providence of the Blessed Perfection, I reached New York. Since my arrival I have met the friends of God and associated with them.

The minister of the Unity Church in Montclair, New Jersey, repeatedly invited me to address his congregation. Therefore, yesterday I went to Montclair and spoke before an audience composed of many hundreds of people. Truly, I say, the minister, the deacons of the church and the officers exercised the greatest love and consideration. In introducing the Cause of God and Abdu'l Baha the minister gave an address in the utmost eloquence and fluency of tongue and instead of reading from the Old and New Testaments, he said: "I will read from the new Scriptures." He then read extracts from the Words of Baha’u’llah and Abdu'l-Baha. (Extracts from the address of the minister, Rev. Edgar Wiers, will be sent to you by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab.) [See page 12.] I addressed them on the subject of Divine Unity, the oneness which exists among the Manifestations of God, such as His Highness Moses, His Highness Abraham, His Holiness Jesus Christ, His Holiness Mahomet, His Highness the Bab, and the Universal Manifestation, His Holiness Baha’u’llah. The audience listened with utmost attention and joy.

Last night by the invitation of the Inter national Peace Forum, I appeared in the Grace Methodist Church, New York City, and delivered a detailed address before an audience composed of nearly two thousand people. Irrefutable proofs and incontrovertible evidences were expounded, demonstrating the absolute necessity of establishing the Most Great Peace and International Arbitration. I proclaimed that His Highness Baha’u’llah had upraised this ensign fifty years ago in the Most Great Prison in Acca.

With utmost longing Abdu’l-Baha traveled to Chicago to meet the Friends of God. Praise be to God! he found the beloved rejoiced by the glad tidings of God and attracted to the Kingdom of God. In churches and gatherings, while in Chicago, he spoke and scattered the seeds and raised the most glorious mention of the Kingdom of Abha. You have seen with your own eyes that not one soul met him with opposition. Every soul who appeared in the presence of Abdu’l-Baha returned happy, rejoiced and assured. This became possible by the inexhaustible Bounties of the Beauty of Abha and the victory and confirmation of His Highness the Almighty. Having returned to Washington, we met very important personages, and all that was expressed was listened to with profound attention; no soul hesitated in belief; we spoke with everyone according to his merit and capacity. Many questions were asked by different important seekers on religious, political, socialistic, civic rights, scientific problems and deep spiritual subjects. Answers to every one of these questions satisfied, the interrogator. No soul hesitated in the acceptance of truth.

In Chicago you had a like experience when all questioners were equally satisfied. Now Abdu’l-Baha scattered the seeds of Truth in Chicago and the "Breeze of God" was wafted over that city. The friends of God must water those seeds and through the power and confirmation of the Kingdom of Abha must labor so that those seeds may grow and develop in that field, become verdant and green so that many harvests may be gathered. This result will be attained through unity and harmony and the love and communion of the hearts. Therefore, the friends of God must first ignite this lamp of unity in their own gathering and afterwards hoist the tent of the oneness of the world of humanity.

His Highness Baha’u’llah, addressing the children of men, said: "Ye are all the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch." The only difference lies herein: Some are ignorant you must bestow upon them knowledge; some are heedless you must make them mindful; some are asleep you must awaken them; some are sick you must heal them; some are children you must educate them; so that the world of humanity, through the power of God, may attain to maturity.

Man must exercise kindness toward those who are sick and immature and not be impatient or displeased. The shepherd must gather together the scattered flock and not disperse them. These are the principles of the people of Baha'. You must live and act in accord with these teachings.

Abdu'l-Baha is always expecting to hear wonderful news from you. He is ever anticipating that through the power of confirmation of the Kingdom of Abha, the world of human thought may be stirred with tremendous exhilaration in Chicago. This will be attained through the excellent conduct, the unity, the magnanimity and the spiritual utterances of the friends of God. In that time the radiant faces of the beloved ones will become illumined in the Kingdom of Abha, the fame of their union and concord will be spread throughout the east and the west and their spiritual victories will embrace the north and the south.

If, at any time, an unimportant and ignorant soul arises in opposition, do not heed him nor consider his objection of any importance. We have had in the past opposers who have been among the world's celebrities; we have had enemies like Nasser Ed Din and Abdul Hamid, two powerful kings; but all of these people, through the power of the Kingdom of Abha, have vanished and disappeared from the face of the earth and today the banner of the covenant is unfurled and waving over all the races.

Upon ye be Baha-el-Abha!


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Just Scanned In

Just Scanned In

By John Taylor; 2006 August 16

just scanned in: With `Abdu'l-Baha in Dublin, New Hampshire

By Joseph H. Hannen

Star of the West, Vol. 3, No. 11, p. 3, September 27, 1912

At a mean altitude of something like 1,700 feet (and that, if one may he pardoned an apparent anachronism, is no mean altitude) the historic village of Dublin lies, a gem amid the verdure-clad hills of New Hampshire and recently shining with particular luster because of the presence of Abdu'l-Baha, the Servant of God, and the consequent centering of the spiritual rays, which focus from all the world where he is.

The village of Dublin proper is three miles from the railroad, the station being Harrisville. Antedating the railroad, it is one of the points which even that willing servant of the people, which winds and twists tortuously in an effort to oblige all, has not reached. And this is fortunate for the preservation of the beauties of nature. The population of Dublin during the summer is about five times that of the winter, and as a resident says, it might as well be locked up in midwinter, as indeed it is isolated by the elements. But now the winters are usually busy seasons of building, as new summer homes are planned, the while nature is creating materials for the glorious panorama of recurring spring and summer. For many picturesque and splendid estates are to be found here, making of this favored spot a kind of Switzerland, with lines softened because of the wooded hills and the abundant verdure of the earth, which burgeons and blossoms in almost tropical luxuriance.

Here the traveler is reminded of Haifa, in Syria, and Abdu'l-Baha agreed to the resemblance, adding, "It is warmer there!" for even in midsummer the air in Dublin is delightfully cool and the nights almost cold.

Hither the writer with Mrs. Hannen and Miss Knobloch was bidden, to spend a night and a day. Reaching Harrisville late in the afternoon of Tuesday, July 30, 1912, our first and joyful surprise was to be met at Harrisville by Abdu'l Baha who had come over from Dublin with Mrs. Parsons for that purpose, the latter also welcoming an expected guest. Mirza Vali'o'llah Khan was on hand to interpret and to add to the homecoming aspect of the occasion. First bestowing his guests in a waiting automobile and seeing to their comfort and happiness, Abdu'l-Baha joined Mrs. Parsons and Mrs. Ford in a carriage, and we were rapidly whisked to the Dublin Inn, a quaint and exquisitely appointed hostelry just suited to the surroundings. Such is the magic of this place that in the vastness of the hill country even the "honk, honk!" of the auto, seemed subdued, and the sense of being part of a scene of primal magnificence was not disturbed by the means of transportation, the electric lights and modern conveniences which abound. Dublin has long been known to the friends as the summer home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons, and now for a time it is the Spiritual Summer Capital of the Republic of Religions -- God's Covenant with man of which Abdu'l-Baha is the Center!

At the inn we found Mrs. Hoagg and Mrs. Cline, of San Francisco, and we learned that Mr. George Latimer, of Portland, Oregon, was also a visitor. As we had come from Portland, Maine, and Washington, the meeting of extremes was evidenced by the fact that the little party of pilgrims were from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, San Francisco to Washington, thus spanning the continent from two points, a demonstration of the power of the Word of Baha'u'llah. Then in the party with Abdu'l-Baha were representatives of Persia, Syria, Russia and Egypt. A cosmopolitan gathering truly, and one which is attracting much attention in that section; although the naturalness and simplicity manifested by all makes them seem quite at home. This was manifested by Abdu'l-Baha at the station; the master of the situation, issuing his orders quietly, passing around among trainmen and officials, the scene might well have been in Akka or Haifa!

As soon as we were comfortably ensconced at the Inn, Abdu'l-Baha visited us, and there ensued one of those delightful meetings which characterize such occasions. He asked if we were well; if we were happy, if our rooms were comfortable, and exhibited the tender solicitude of a host to his guests, or more properly, a father to his children. Then ensued the following:

Abdu'l-Baha: "In returning, I will certainly go to Europe."

Miss Knobloch: "To Stuttgart?"

Abdu'l-Baha: "Perhaps." (Laughing).

Mrs. Ifiannen: "They are supplicating for it."

Abdu'l-Baha: "See how much we have moved from one place to another. How far New York is from here: Washington, Chicago, Philadelphia, the many places we have visited. And now these ladies have come to invite me to come to California. They are supplicating that I should come to California. Now these two have come to insist that we shall go; and letters are coming about it. A letter came yesterday from the Spiritual Assembly, asking how it came that we went to other places and not there. Now Mrs. Hoagg is going to build an aeroplane and take me there. What do you advise? Shall I ride on it?"

Mrs. Hannen: "It would not be very safe."

Abdu'l-Baha: "When I ride on it, it is the Ark of Noah. This aeroplane will become the Ark of Noah." (This was accompanied by an exchange of smiles which showed Abdu'l-Baha's keen sense of humor.

Abdu'l-Baha: "Tonight have promised to be present at the house of Mrs. Parsons at 8 o'clock." When told that we were happy to have had Abdu'l-Baha with us, the reply was, "I am very happy also."

At Abdu'l-Baha's House, Dublin, Wednesday Morning July 31st

Abdu'l-Baha: "Anyone whom I send to a place is confirmed; anyone. One of them is Miss Alma Knobloch. God has confirmed her. In the beginning she was teaching in Stuttgart. Now she is in Leipzig.

One of our party was obliged to leave on the afternoon train because of a promise made to another; Abdu'l-Baha desired all to remain, but upon hearing of the facts said, "Let two remain and one go."

"The Baha'is must be prompt in the fulfillment of their promises, and perform whatever promise they have given.

"In reality, the length or shortness of the meeting has no influence whatever. It depends upon capacity. A piece of dry wood, as soon as it comes in contact with fire, receives the ignition, but a piece of wet wood, even if it stays in the fire a long time, is not ignited; it will only produce smoke and fumes. No matter how long a piece of stone is in the fire it will not dissolve. Therefore the length of time has no sway whatever. There must be capacity. Although the length of time of the meeting with Mr. Hannen is short, yet it is my hope that its results may become manifold. From here with a shining face, a merciful heart and a heavenly power may you return and become the cause of the guidance of the people; to be the cause of the firmness of the souls in the Covenant.

"I desire to answer some letters that Miss Knobloch has sent. They have been here for some time, but there has been no opportunity whatever to answer them."

After a time of dictation to Mirza Ahmad Sohrab: "I am writing while you are silent. Is this permitted? [To Miss Knobloch and Mrs. Hannen] You enjoy it because the letter is to your sister. It is fortunate for her that I find time to answer today. Letters come by bundles, but there is no time to answer them."

Abdu'l-Baha finished dictation, and surveying the mountains with a convenient field glass, commented on the beauty of the panorama. It was indeed matchless, superb. In the distance a chain of mountains stretched, lofty Monadnock the highest, the others reaching as far as the eye could see. In English he said: "Good mountains; good green; good meadow; good plain; good view. Speak to me. Speak to me!" Told of the study of the Ighan in the Wednesday night meetings in Washington, his comment was,

"Very good! Very good! It is very good to memorize the logical points and the proofs of the Holy Books. Those proofs and evidences which establish the fact that Baha'u'llah is the fulfillment of the Promises of the Holy Books. These proofs ought to be collected and memorized. As soon as someone will ask you -- What are your proofs? -- you may cry out at the top of your voice and say: 'Here they are!'"

A question was asked based upon the familiar reply to those who say there is good in all things: "What shall we say when they ask, 'Of what use are the flies and mosquitoes?'"

"Answer the questioner: 'What is the use of your creation? What benefit have you given to the world' The same benefit that you have given to the world, the mosquito has. You say that the mosquito harms, and sucks in the human blood; but you kill animals and eat them. You do not suck blood, but decapitate the animals. Therefore, you are more harmful than the mosquito. By this, I mean that man commits greater sins. But that which is the reality of the matter is this: The world of life, the world of existence is connected, each to the other. All the created beings are the members of this stupendous body.

Each one is a member, and that member should not remain imperfect. If that member is, for instance, harming the human body, but it is useful from some other standpoint, because it is one member of the members of this creational book, is it allowable that a member of the members of this great world be imperfact? For instance, we do not know what is the use of this nail. It grows and it is cut again. We see that we have the nail; but we do not know that there are a thousand wisdoms within the creation of this nail. For instance, men ask: Why should we have the beard; why should we have the moustache? They shave. But in reality there is a great wisdom in this. It is healthful. The skin receives the oxygen through the beard."

Asking for further questions, the problem of contributing for the care of Baha'is who may be sick or infirm, was presented; in view of the fact that there are many demands and at times the friends are able to do but little, generally speaking.

Abdu'l-Baha: "The Friends must strive and show efforts and assist. Whosoever is a believer and assured, firm in the Cause, there is no doubt that he will contribute towards the assistance of the poor. This is an evidence of the faith. But if a person comes in contact with another who is in the utmost need, and he sees that he can help, and if he fails, this is an evidence of the weakness of his faith. If his faith is firm and strong, it is impossible for him not to assist. There is no greater trial than the test of riches. Whosoever you see that is helping and assisting the poor ones according to his ability, know of a certainty that his faith is strong. Continue according to your ability, not beyond your power, and tell him to content himself with it. Not that he may receive your assistance and not look out for himself. He is not able to work, that is why he needs assistance; if he were able to work it is not allowable to assist him. Lazy people should not be assisted; otherwise everybody would leave his work and expect others to support them. There would be no end to it. But there may be someone who is either unable to work or is striving to find some work and is not able to find it; it is not really a shortcoming but he cannot succeed. Such souls are to be assisted. The aim is this, that the friends of God must assist each other, and in assistance be greater than all the other communities of the world. If one of the friends find out that another has no food for this evening, for instance, he should not rest, he should not sleep till he finds food for him. All the members of humanity are in need of each other."

At 9:30 A. M. July 31st, Abdu'l-Baha, on the Veranda of His House

Walking to and fro and addressing Mr. Latimer: 'The Baha'i must first be informed of the Principles and Teachings of Baha'u'llah, then go forth and spread the Message. It is like unto a soldier, who arms himself with the buckler and armor, and then he enters the battlefield to fight against the foe. But if he goes to fight without arming himself, he will be defeated. The Baha'is are the Army of God. Their defensive armors or weapons are: First, Faith; second, Assurance; third, Severance; fourth, Complete Attraction to the Kingdom of Abha. If they are armed with these weapons, they will gain the victory in whatever field they may enter. As long as he is not equipped with these weapons, he will not be successful. He must cut himself entirely from all imitations.

In Persia we were under the sword. From one moment to the other we had no assurance of life, and during our long imprisonment we were in constant danger. As we were not attached to this life, we were entirely forgetful of these outward conditions. Therefore we remained firm. We did not notice the gleaming, flashing swords around us. But in reality we were happy. [Here he laughed heartily.] At that time there were many severe tests, but there was abundant spirituality. We were walking on the earth, but in reality we were soaring toward the Supreme Concourse. [Laughing] What were those days, and what are these days! Those days were the cause of the development of the souls. Those days people progressed and advanced spiritually. During the eventful days of Nassr Ed Din Shah, those people who were Baha'is were fearless, filled with the glad tidings of God, overflowing with supplication and communion. When a Baha'i walked in the streets, in his heart he was praying to God, begging of God --

'Make me a sacrifice in Thy Path! Let the enemies surround me, carry me to the arena of martyrdom, make me a ransom to Thy Cause!'

It is very easy now to be martyred, but it was very difficult at that time. Those frightful looking soldiers, those horrible executioners, those dreadful farrashes, and especially the cannoneers with their fierce moustaches. They threw fear into the hearts of the staunchest and the firmest. Yet the friends were most firm and resolute before the faces of these beings of terror. At the time of trials, wonderful confirmations descend upon man, regenerating him and making him a new creation.

"Mirza Ghorban Ali, who was one of the Seven Martyrs, a man of great piety and learning, was a strong Babi, but he was very fearful and timid. He was so fearful of being known as a Babi that when he met the friends in the streets he would not look at them. He shunned their association. Yet the enemies found him out somehow, and brought him into the prison house. As he was well known among the military class for his wisdom and devotion, two of these influential officers went to Mirza Tagi Khan, the Prime Minister, and interceded for him.

When the Prime Minister found out that such important men were interceding for him, he became very lenient and told them to bring him to him so that he might recant. This Prime Minister was such a domineering and bloodthirsty man that the army was in constant fear of him, so that when he was reviewing the army if he just turned his eyes upon one of the soldiers he would tremble and shake with fear. Finally these two officers took Mirza Ghorban Ali to the Prime Minister, and they were so happy in the thought that he would be released before long.

When he came before the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister looked at him and said: 'These friends of yours have interceded for you. Are you ready to repudiate Ali Mohammed (The Bab)"' Mirza Glorban Ali, looking around, saw the executioner about fifteen feet from him, standing, and then he turned to the Minister and asked: 'Whom shall I repudiate, Ali or Mohammed?' Mohammed being the Prophet and Ali the son-in-law, they are considered the Holy Ones in the Mohammedan world. The name of the Bab is composed of these two. The Prime Minister became so angry that he ordered the executioners to take him away and kill him, and he left the presence of the Prime Minister with serene face and a heavenly smile on his countenance. At such a time, a firm believer is known!"

just scanned in: The Center of the Covenant

from: Star of the West, Vol. 3, No. 7, p. 16, July 13, 1912

The time has come when the Bahais of the West should understand what is intended by "The Center of the Covenant therefore we are pleased to publish in this issue the article from the pen of Charles Mason Remey, "`Abdu-l-Baha, the Center of the Covenant." A tablet regarding this important subject was recently revealed by `Abdu'l-Baha through Mr. Remey. We publish it herewith:

Tablet to Mr. Remey.

To his honor Mr. Remey.

Upon him be Baha'u'llah-el-Abha!

O thou who art firm in the Covenant! Thy letter was received and I was informed of its contents. Explain the matter according to the following Teachings, and do not add one word thereto:

His Holiness Abraham -- Upon him be Peace! -- took the Covenant of His Holiness Moses and gave the glad tidings of His appearance. His Holiness Moses took the Covenant of the Promised One, His Holiness the Christ, and gladdened the world with the glad tidings of His Manifestation. His Holiness the Christ took the Covenant of the "Paraclete" which means His Holiness Mohammed and announced the glad tidings of His Appearance. His Holiness Mohammed took the Covenant of His Holiness the Bab, and the Bab was the Promised One of His Holiness Mohammed, for He gave the good news of His Coming. His Holiness the Blessed Perfection Bahaullah WAS the Promised One of His Holiness the Bab. The Blessed Perfection has prophesied of the coming of a Promised One after one thousand years, or after thousands of years. That Personage is the Promised One of the Blessed Perfection, and He will appear after one thousand years or after thousands of years. Likewise with the trace of the Supreme Pen He has taken a great Covenant and Testament from all the Baha'is that after His Departure they must obey the Center of the Covenant and must not deviate one hair's breadth from obedience to him. He has commanded in the most explicit term in two instances in the Book of Akdas and He has appointed most unmistakably the interpreter of the Book.

In all the Tablets, especially the chapter of "Branch," whose meanings are all Abdu'l-Baha, that is, "the Servant of Baha," everything that is necessary as revealed from the Supreme Pen. As Abdu'l-Baha is the interpreter of the Book, he says that the chapter of "Branch" means Abdul-Baha, it refers to the servitude of Abdu'l-Baha and nothing else.

In brief, one of the special favors of this dispensation of His Holiness Baha'u'llah which is not seen in past Manifestations is this that He has left no place for difference. For in His own Day, with the Trace of His own Supreme Pen He has taken a Covenant and a Testament. He has pointed to the one who should be looked upon as authority by all, He has shown the interpreter of the Book and has closed the doors of outside interpretation.

Everyone should thank God that in this Blessed Cause He has tranquilized all and has left no place for hesitation. Therefore obedience and submission must be shown and the face turned completely to him (the Center of the Covenant)

Restrict discussion to this and do not exceed thereto, so that it may become the cause of fellowship and the remover of differences.



Translated by M. Ahmad Sohrab, Montclair,

Interview with Badiullah.

Notwithstanding that Baha'u'llah pointed to the one who should be looked upon as authority by all and named the interpreter of His Words, leaving no place for difference and misunderstanding, yet it is known that shortly after the departure [death] of Bahaullah difficulties arose. The following interview between Badiullah [brother of Abdu'l-Baha] and Howard MacNutt at the home of Abdu'l-Baha in Akka, Syria, January 10, 1905, is a presentation of this important subject of "The Center of the Covenant" from another standpoint. It is printed in the STAR OF THE WEST at the request of Abdu'l-Baha:

Interview with Badiullah.

Another afternoon, Badiullah came in to see us. Our conversation had been upon "loyalty to the Covenant?' After the interpreter had explained our view, Badi'u'llah listened gravely for a while, then said: "Nine days after the ascension of the Blessed Perfection, [Baha'u'llah] the Kitab El Ahd [Book of the Covenant] was read. After a few days Mohammed Ali Effendi [brother of Abdul Baha and Badiullah and a part of the family withdrew from Abbas Effendi [Abdu'l-Baha].

The other members of the family were instigated by words of Mohammed Ali to the effect that the Blessed Perfection had written in the Kitab-i-Aqdas [Book of the Laws] that no Manifestation should appear for one thousand years and that Abbas Effendi was taking the title of "Manifestation" to himself. This was the cause of the breaking away of part of the family, including myself.

Afterwards I saw some of the actions of Mohammed Ali and realized that the reason he had withdrawn from Abbas Effendi was not on account of the words of Baha'u'llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas but that it had been occasioned by his own feelings. And I saw too that these actions were not consistent with the commands and writings of the Blessed Perfection. From this I saw and knew clearly that the cause of his withdrawal had been hatred of Abbas Effendi.

The brother of the wife of Mohammed Ali, Mirza Majded din, was sent by Mohammed Ali to Damascus with a letter for the Governor of Damascus. In that letter Mohammed Ali wrote a complaint against Abbas Effendi. This messenger was also instructed to tell the Governor by word of mouth certain things which would injure the Cause further for Abbas Effendi. The letter and messages were duly delivered to the Governor general of Damascus. In twenty five days the messenger returned. Just about that time a telegram came from the Sultan to the Governor General of Beirut who telegraphed it to the Governor at Akka: "Abbas Effendi and his brothers shall not be allowed to go outside the city."

I was deeply grieved by these happenings. After thinking over the matter carefully I concluded that the best course would be for Mohammed Ali and all the family to come here to Abbas Effendi and reach some understanding so that discord and disunion might no longer exist. I thought they should come themselves and ask for the truth of these rumors set afloat by Mohammed Ali concerning Abbas Effendi. I myself came first to Abbas Effendi and told him what I wanted to accomplish. Then I went to Mohammed Ali and said "Do come with me to Abbas Effendi so that all the terrible trouble may cease."

All the family were happy about this proposal of mine, except Mohammed Ali himself. I spoke a great deal to him and tried to persuade him to follow my advice but without success. I have written out in detail all the conversations I had with Abbas Effendi upon these matters. What I am giving you today is but a brief synopsis of them. After hearing my words Mohammed Ali spoke a great deal to his family and those who followed him, uttering falsehood and thus driving them further and further away from the prospect of unity. When I finally realized that reconciliation and harmony were impossible I was so deeply grieved that I became very ill. When I recovered I wished to leave Akka and determined to do so if I could secure permission.

I wrote to the Governor General of Beirut asking that I "might be removed from this prison to another prison as the conditions were so distasteful to me here." I took a copy of this letter. Although this prison was the best of all homes to me on account of the Blessed Perfection's life here, yet I was so miserable I wished to leave at any sacrifice. By the way, all I ever heard Abbas Effendi say proved the rumors set afloat by Mohammed Ali to be false and untruthful. After I had written to the Governor General of Beirut, I wrote to the Sultan, copying this letter also. There is a prison on the Island of Rhodes where criminals and offenders are sent. In my letter to the Sultan I asked that I might be sent to it. I forwarded this letter to a man in Constantinople asking him to present it to the Sultan.

Afterwards I saw Abbas Effendi and learned that he did not sanction this action, so I wrote immediately to the man in Constantinople, saying, "Do not deliver the letter." I also wrote to the Governor General of Beirut countermanding my wish to be removed from Akka. If the letter had been delivered to the Sultan it might have been too late to change the result. The prisoners at Rhodes are mostly Jews and Turks. As time went on I found it impossible for me to remain with Mohammed Ali. Finally I went to talk with him again. Accompanying me as a witness to the conversation was Sayyid Ali, a brother of a son-in-law of Abbas Effendi. I said to Mohammed Ali, "If you will go with me to Abbas Effendi, come and go with me now." He said, "I will not go." I then took my family and left the house.

I have written two accounts regarding this matter, one brief, another in full detail, beginning at the time of the Ascension of the Blessed Perfection. The short one has been translated into English; the long one is not yet translated (January, 1905). The latter account explains everything fully and clearly shows that Mohammed Ali's action and behavior was not on account of his love for the Blessed Perfection but on account of his personal feelings and jealousy.

Since I came to Abdu'l-Baha with my family, fifty men and women have come back to him in love and loyalty. Five or six returned after a few days; and only day before yesterday five others came to him, about fifty in all. The adherents to Muhammad Ali do not number fifty all told. In Akka there are two, in Haifa, three, in Teheran, one, and in other places a few. Only this small number remain in support of him. And why is this so? Because it was not for the Glory of God but for his own personal motives that Mohammed Ali acted so. The Blessed Perfection said,

"My Cause is to unite men and bind them together; and those who violate this command step away from the protecting Shadow of My Word."

He commanded that we must sow the seeds of love in our hearts, not the thorns of hatred. Therefore if any of the sons of the Blessed Perfection follow His Word they are under the Shadow of His Command and Protection; and if not they are afar off. For example, if the Sultan has a Governor who obeys the Sultan it is the duty of the people to love and obey him because he himself is obedient. I wish this explanation to be perfectly and clearly understood in America. In the Persian Hidden Words, Baha'u'llah says:

"0 Friend! In the garden of the heart plant only flowers of love and cling to the Nightingale of Love and yearning."

All must know and realize that he who says that which is not in accordance with the Words of the Blessed Perfection or speaks that which causes discord to arise in human souls is assuredly not one of the servants of God and a follower of the Blessed Perfection. It is impossible for a true lover to desire to harm his beloved. If he does that which injures his loved one it is evident that his love is not true. The sign of a true lover is that all his actions aim to please his beloved. The first quality of a real lover is that he sacrifices his own desire for the wish and desire of his beloved. Mohammed Ali has followed his own will and desire and has left the Will and Desire of the Beloved. This is why he failed and fell.

JET: more material on the Covenant

Having just scanned the above, I could not resist including some supplemental material on the Covenant, as broken by one Badi'u'llah. Who was he?

"The second wife of Baha'u'llah, whom He married in Tihran in 1849, was Fatimih Khanum, usually referred to as Mahd-i-'Ulya. She was a cousin of Baha'u'llah and gave birth to six children, of whom four survived. They were one daughter, Samadiyyih, and three sons, Muhammad-'Ali, Diya'u'llah and Badi'u'llah. These four, along with their mother, violated the Covenant of Baha'u'llah. Mahd-i-'Ulya died in 1904." (Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant, p. 22)

I was surprised to learn in investigating this (I probably knew but forgot) that Baha'u'llah's famous tablet to His son, you know, "Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity..." (Gl, 285) was not written to AB or Mirza Mihdi but to this very Badi'u'llah. Taherzadeh explains it like this:

"It is interesting to note that Baha'u'llah had revealed a special Tablet addressed to His son Badi'u'llah. Had he followed the exhortations of His father in that celebrated Tablet, he could have become a brilliant light in the firmament of the Cause but his close association with the Arch-breaker of the Covenant extinguished the light of faith in his heart. ... This Tablet begins with 'O Badi'' and ends with a passage (not yet translated into English) in which Baha'u'llah prays that God may protect Mirza Badi'u'llah from the all-consuming fire of envy and jealousy. However, through his violation of the Covenant, Baha'u'llah's prayer for him remained unfulfilled. (Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant, p. 176)

The following is about the half brother Badi'u'llah is from the second part of the Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha, the part which was written much later in the game.

"Ye know well what the hands of the Center of Sedition, Mirza Muhammad Ali, and his associates have wrought. Among his doings, one of them is the corruption of the Sacred Text whereof ye are all aware, the Lord be praised, and know that it is evident, proven and confirmed by the testimony of his brother, Mirza Badi'u'llah, whose confession is written in his own handwriting, beareth his seal, is printed and spread abroad. This is but one of his misdeeds. Can a transgression be imagined more glaring than this, the interpolation of the Holy Text? Nay, by the righteousness of the Lord! His transgressions are writ and recorded in a leaflet by itself. Please God, ye will peruse it." (Abdu'l-Baha, Will and Testament, p. 20)

"Gracious God! After Mirza Badi'u'llah had declared in his own handwriting that this man (Muhammad Ali) had broken the Covenant and had proclaimed his falsification of the Holy Text, he realized that to return to the True Faith and pay allegiance to the Covenant and Testament would in no wise promote his selfish desires. He thus repented and regretted the thing he had done and attempted privily to gather in his printed confessions, plotted darkly with the Center of Sedition against me and informed him daily of all the happenings within my household. He has even taken a leading part in the mischievous deeds that have of late been committed. Praise be to God affairs recovered their former stability and the loved ones obtained partial peace. But ever since the day he entered again into our midst, he began afresh to sow the seeds of sore sedition. Some of his machinations and intrigues will be recorded in a separate leaflet." (Abdu'l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 21)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Two Articles about the Master

Two Articles about the Master

Scanned and proofed by John Taylor, 2006 August 14

Interview between a Rabbi and Abdu’l-Baha

In Praise of the "Greatest Branch" by Abu’l-Fazl

Interview between a Prominent Rabbi and Abdu’l-Baha

from Star of the West, Book II, Vol. III, No. 6, p. 6; June 24, 1912

ENTERING the room the Rabbi saluted, which was answered by Abdu'l Baha
in like manner.

Abdu'l-Baha: "You are most welcome Rabbi."

Rabbi: "I have long desired to meet you."

Abdu'l-Baha: "Very good; very good."

Rabbi: "Your address yesterday was excellent. I have had the pleasure of
hearing you upon two other occasions, but your address of yesterday had
an extraordinary universality. You have very clearly established the
teachings of brotherhood but I am afraid that although your principles
are very lofty they will not be accepted by all the religionists and the
workers for peace."

Abdu’l-Baha: "Reality will always be victorious. No one can stand before
the onward march of reality. The phenomenal is always conquered by the
eternal. All the contingent beings are defeated by the will of heaven.
One small Arabian boy can lead two thousand camels in the Sahara. One
intelligent Hindu boy can conquer an elephant."

Rabbi: "It is true. In the Bible we have the statement that ‘A little
child shall lead them.’”

Abdu’l-Baha: "Truth will always be victorious; therefore it does not
know defeat but the people of reality must exert great effort, and if
the people of reality neglect to display this effort that is another
matter. The people of reality must demonstrate their willingness in this
direction. They must realize that the greatest reality of this age is
the oneness of the human world. They must forget traditions and
imitations of the past. For instance, if we look upon the Catholic
religion we see that they believe that an important part is the
transubstantiation; that is, the change of the bread and wine into the
body of Christ. If we ponder a little we realize that this is a
nonessential. It is imitation and the reverse of reality.

"Again, if we look at the Hindus we see that they have made images and
worship them as deities, and they have eight million such deities in
their temples. It is evident that these are superstitions and
imaginations. They worship the cow, the stone, the water and the forces
of nature -- all these are imitations of the past and they have no
foundation whatever."

Rabbi: "Do you then regard the transubstantiation as being on the same
ground as the worshipping of idols?”

'Abdu'l-Baha: “All these are imitations. They have no reality. As these
are the opposite of realities, therefore they have no foundation.
Everything that keeps man away from God, is an idol. Everything which
detracts man's attention from God is an idol, no matter what it is."

Rabbi: "Then every channel between God and His creature is an idol

'Abdu'l-Baha: "Consider, let us not bind ourselves with imitations. Let
us study the condition of the Jews for a moment. When they were in Egypt
they were captives; they were poor; they were prisoners in the hand of
Pharaoh; they were ignored; they were a dependent people, they were
surrounded by all kinds of troubles and vicissitudes; the people looked
down upon them; they were considered as outcasts. Then Moses came. He
gathered them together; inspired them with the power of unity; imparted
to them new life; taught them the laws of God encouraging them in the
morals and virtues of humanity; delivered them from the hand of Pharaoh;
freed them from the bondage of captivity; educated them, trained them
and carried them away from the land of darkness into the holy of holies
of light. Their power was increased; their majesty became refulgent;
their fame was spread throughout the world, until they were enabled to
found the Solomonic sovereignty. In philosophy and art they attained
such heights that the philosophers of Greece and Rome traveled long
distances to learn from them. Now is it possible to say that to revere
and respect these souls is equivalent to the worshipping of idols? We
must respect Moses because he achieved a work which no one else could
do. It is an evident fact that His Holiness Moses was a channel between
God and man. No further proof is required for this. I do not attempt to
prove the validity of Moses by pointing to his turning the rod into a
serpent; instead I give evident proofs.

"Again you wi11 note that His Highness Christ was a Jew. Ponder well
over this matter: The Jews were captives in the hand of the Romans; they
were their slaves. From every standpoint they were scattered and
impoverished. Nebuchadnezzar carried seventy thousand of them into
captivity at Babylon. Even today the tombs of Esther and Daniel are
there. And afterwards what did Titus, the Roman Emperor, not do! He
entirely destroyed the foundation of the Jewish temple. The effect of
the destruction of Titus is manifest up to this time for we see them
scattered all over the world. His Holiness Christ appeared and
established unity among the Romans, the Greeks, the Chaldeans, the
Assyrians, the Europeans and the Americans. He established a bond of
unity between all the nations. All the great prophets, the kings and the
worthies of the Israelite nation could not make the Persians believe in
Moses. All the prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Nehemiah, et
al. could not make one Zoroastrian believe in Moses. But one Jew came
and many millions believe in Him. He spread His name in the East and in
the West. He caused the Bible to be translated in all the languages of
the world, and today nearly every home contains a Bible. He demonstrated
throughout the world to all the nations of the world that the Israelite
people were the chosen people, that the Israelite prophets were the
prophets of God, that their books were the looks of God, that their
words were the words of God. This is evident. These are not intellectual
or traditional evidences but they are such evidences as permit of no
discussion. Look at America. You see a Bible in almost every house that
you enter. See what Christ has accomplished. Witness what one soul who
was crucified has accomplished.

When He was living upon the earth He was alone, ridiculed and rejected
by His own people. Almost everybody cursed and ridiculed Him. His own
relatives left Him; even His disciples almost abandoned Him; they placed
upon His head a crown of thorns and paraded Him over the streets, and
finally they crucified Him. He was alone! alone! but the traces of His
work and the signs of His message have filled the world. Man must be
just. After these statements no one can deny the greatness of Christ.
Now is it evident to you that all these conditions among the nations are
on account of injustice? If they had all been just they would have been
united on this principle: that these prophets were channels for the
bounty of God, for they were the first teachers of mankind.

"The philosophers are also teachers but all they could do was to teach
themselves and a few other souls. But the prophets of God taught the
whole world. They trained all the children of men in morals and ethics.
Who can say that they failed to accomplish their work, and who would
give the names of the philosophers the first place?

Rabbi: "Indeed, indeed you are one of the greatest logicians of the
world. Up to this time I have been talking to you as a man; now I will
address you as a Rabbi. Your premises and syllogisms do not agree. It is
not correct to say that Christ has accomplished all these things for but
few of his teachings were accepted until about three hundred and fifty
years after his crucifixion—“

Abdu'l Baha here exclaimed: “I understand, I understand," and then
continued: "His Highness Moses laid the foundation but the result of His
teachings became apparent during the time of Solomon. If there had been
no Moses there would have been no Solomon. The sovereignty of Solomon
was the outcome of the principles of Moses. If there had been no Moses
the children of Israel would have been entirely lost, and up to this
time they would have been slaves in the land of Pharaoh. Their very name
would have disappeared from the page of history. Moses laid down a few
principles, but the results of those principles became apparent five
hundred years afterward. If an inquirer is just he will realize that
Moses laid with His own hand Solomonic universality. Likewise if His
Highness Christ had not laid the foundations of Christianity, the
evident signs which we see today would not have been realized.

"I scatter the seeds today, six months hence they may become apparent.
In the meantime, can anyone deny the germination of these seeds, and
when they are grown, repudiate the fact that these plants owe the origin
to the seed?”

Rabbi: "Suppose that Christ was the Promised One of the Jews; how did
the doctrine of divinity creep in among the Christians?”

Abdu’l-Baha: "Do not look upon the Christians of today. The Christians
are today submerged in the sea of imitation. It is evident that man is
the highest of God's creatures on the face of the earth. For example,
there are certain attributes which are apparent in the mineral kingdom.
The vegetable kingdom has the attributes existing in the mineral kingdom
but with another attribute, which is the power of growth. The animal has
the attributes of the mineral and the vegetable kingdoms but with
another attribute, which is the power of instinct. Therefore the animal
is a composite of the mineral and vegetable kingdoms, but man has the
virtues of the mineral kingdom, the virtues of the vegetable kingdom,
the virtues of the animal kingdom and another distinct virtue, which is
that of intellect, consequently man is the highest creation of God. He
is the peerless creature and in him are contained all the virtues of the
human world.

"Christ was the mirror; God was the Sun. The Sun appeared with all its
effulgence and splendor in the mirror; that is, the virtues, the
perfections and the characteristics of God appeared in Christ. This is
what is meant where it is written in the Bible that 'We have created man
in our own image.' The perfect man is the visage and image of God, just
as the mirror reflects the sun. We can not say that the sun has come
down from heaven and has taken a place in the mirror. The sun is
eternal, living in its own station. It had no ascent or descent entrance
or exit; but the rays and the heat of the sun have become fully
reflected in the clear mirror. That is why Christ said the future is in
the sun and the sun is in the future. The Sun of Truth reflected itself
in the mirrors of Moses and Christ."

Rabbi: "Most wonderful! We must name this divine philosophy the
philosophy of Abdu'l Baha. I am extraordinarily delighted to have had
this privilege to talk with you."

Abdu'l Baha: "I am very happy indeed to meet you.

Rabbi: "I hope I will have the pleasure of meeting you again."

'Abdu'l-Baha: "God willing. May you be under His protection.

In Praise of the "Greatest Branch"

Written by MIRZA ABUL FAZL, November 24, and read in Washington, D. C.
November 26, 1902, at the celebration of the anniversary of the Feast of
the Appointment of The Center of the Covenant.

from Star of the West, Book II, Vol. III, No. 14, November 23, 1912

In the Name of God, the Most Holy, the Abha!

YE beloved of God and His friends! Praise and glorification behoove the
holy court of the True One, the Exalted, who has, in this great age and
wonderful cycle, primarily caused the shining star of the Blessed Being
of the First Point (The Bab) to appear like unto the beaming orb of the
morn from the horizon of the world; has rejoiced and revived the
creatures through the glad tidings of the advent of the new Day, and the
Manifestation of the Glorious Lord. Praise be to God! Who subsequently
caused the Sun of the most holy Beauty of El Abha (Exalted is His
Supreme Name!) to dawn forth in the midst of the heaven of power and
grandeur. After the disappearance of these two Lights a third Splendor
became manifest from the Sinai of Epiphany, and the Orb of the Covenant
shone forth from the firmament of beatitude, the apex of exaltation and
glory, with the most marvelous effulgence. Through these three shining
lights, the darkness of the nations, superstitions, will be dispelled,
the dust of discord of the people will be subsided by the showers of
mercy descending from the clouds of divine providence; the banner of
peace will be hoisted; the mortal world will be clothed in the excellent
robe of ideal humanity; the bond of perfect love will be strengthened
among contradictory nations and repugnant peoples; and the world, east
and west, will become the Paradise of El Abha and as a garden bringing
forth fruits of divine grace. We, therefore, praise Him in such
glorification from which the lights of sincerity may gleam forth and
scintillate throughout ages and epochs; and we thank Him in such
sanctification from which the pure fragrances of meekness and humbleness
will be diffused and exhaled with the duration of nights and days!

O ye beloved of God and His friends! This great Day has been assigned to
the blessed name of the Lord of the world, the sign of pre-existence,
the standard of divine victory among nations, the Light of the heaven
and the earth, the point around which the Supreme Concourse revolves, in
the kingdom of Names His Holiness, Abdu’l-Baha. (May the life of the
creatures be a sacrifice to Him!) Ye are all attracted to his love,
united in his servitude, overshadowed under his banner, and are
assembled together in this excellent meeting, with rejoiced hearts and
shining faces, speaking the praise of the most holy beauty of El Abha,
and uttering the glorification of the Center of His Covenant, His
Holiness, Abdu’l-Baha (May the life of the creatures be a sacrifice to
Him!)! Ye are all attracted to His love, united in His servitude,
overshadowed under His banner, and are assembled together in this
excellent meeting, with rejoiced hearts and shining faces, speaking the
praise of the Most Holy Beauty of El-Abha, and uttering the
glorification of the Center of His Covenant, His Holiness, Abdu’l-Baha.

How can this servant duly praise and thank God, the Exalted, who hath
enabled him to make his tongue fluent in glorifying the Center of the
Covenant in this wonderful meeting, in the presence of His chosen ones
and friends? Again I praise Him for this wondrous confirmation and
glorious success. Verily, He is the Mighty, the Praiseworthy!

How can this weak one befittingly glorify and sanctify a most holy
personage with whose name all the ancient and heavenly books are adorned
and who has been announced and prophesied, by the tongue of the prophets
and chosen ones, from the beginning to the end? Every prophetic page
seems like unto a heaven, studded with the beaming stars and shining
pearls of the praises of the Orb of the Universe; or like unto a rose
garden decked and embellished by the verdant leaves and fragrant flowers
of the glorification of the Center of the Covenant. Again we praise Him
with such words whereby hearts are cheered and breasts are dilated, and
we thank Him in such hymns whereby the light of bliss and beatitude
shine forth from the horizon of the hearts!

O ye beloved of God and His friends! Consider how in the second Psalm,
David (Peace be upon him!) has announced the appearance of the Son of
God in dominion and judgment, and how he hath warned the kings and
judges of the earth to serve him! Consider in the fourth chapter of
Isaiah how that great prophet has foretold the appearance of the Exalted
Branch of the Lord in the utmost beauty and glory, and how God hath
appointed him a place of refuge for the saved ones. Consider how Isaiah
has spoken in the eleventh chapter of his book that the lofty "Branch"
of the Blessed Tree shall appear from the root of David, and shall grow
out of the Holy Land; how the spirit of supremacy and power, of counsel
and divine wisdom shall rest upon him; the lights of glory and divine
grandeur shall beam forth from his shining face; how he shall hoist the
pavilion of universal peace and divine equity, and assemble all the
various and contradictory nations, including weak and strong, high and
low, under the shadow of union and harmony.

Reflect upon the 26th verse of the 30th chapter of the book of Isaiah,
how God, the Almighty, has clearly spoken that in the day when Israel
shall be saved, and the sins and errors of the heirs of Abraham effaced,
the shining moon of the Center of the Covenant shall gleam forth in the
utmost glory and splendor, and the beaming lights scintillating from the
brilliant face of that dawning place of supremacy and Lordship shall be
like unto the Sun of Truth! Consider how, in the first few verses of the
42nd chapter of Isaiah, it is clearly shown that in the last day, God,
the Exalted, shall elect the bearer of the banner of His servitude,
confer upon him the Holy Spirit of His divinity, unfurl the standard of
the Supreme Covenant and Testament in His Name, and shall protect him,
with His strong hand, from the deceit of the violators and the devices
of the people of rancor; that Servant of the Lord shall become a banner
for the people's salvation and a light for hearts and souls; shall
restore the blind and deliver the captives; direct those who sit in
darkness unto light; place all the creatures under the standard of
universal peace, security and absolute emancipation, and make the
tongues of all in the East and West fluent in new hymns and wonderful

Likewise, consider the 7th chapter of Daniel. First, in the 9th and 10th
verses, God hath announced the Manifestation of the Great Lord, the
Ancient King, the Most Holy Beauty of Abha (Glorified is His Supreme
Name!) and hath spoken of the founding of the sound religion and
manifest law and of the rise of the hosts of chosen ones and holy ones.

Then He hath said in the 13th and 14th verses of the same chapter that
the Excellent Branch shall be extended from that Ancient Root, and the
Spirit of God descended from Heaven shall shine forth from His Beaming
Face, and Glory and Kingdom shall be conferred upon Him from God; His
command shall influence all nations and multitudes, and His Kingdom
shall continue forever.

Likewise, consider the 8th and 9th verses of the chapter of Zechariah,
where the great prophet has clearly prophesied that in the day of the
Most Great Manifestation, the dawning of the Sun of the Ancient Beauty,
God, the Exalted, shall bring about the removal of the nations' iniquity
and the elimination of the people's calamities by the rise of that
Excellent "Branch" extended from the Pre-existent Root; and He hath made
the restoration of the Holy Lands, the covenanted country of the
prophets and chosen ones, dependent upon the power of that Blessed being.

Likewise, in the 12th and 13th verses of the 6th chapter of the same
book, God, the Exalted, hath explicitly promised Zechariah that in the
Day of the Lord's Manifestation the Blessed BRANCH shall grow up out of
the Pure Tree of Divinity, shall bear the Glory of the Lord, shall sit
and rule upon His Throne, and shall build the Temple of the Divine
worship; the banner of universal peace and eternal beatitude shall be
hoisted among all mankind through the council of peace held between the
BRANCH and the LORD.

Consider the New Testament: in every instant in which His Holiness,
Christ (Glory be to Him!) and His eminent disciples have announced the
coming of the Kingdom of God, they have spoken of the rising of the
Excellent Branch and of the dawning of the Orb of the Covenant.
Especially His Holiness, John, has adorned all the prophecies of his
Book of Revelation with this Glorious Name, and has clearly stated the
appearance of the Covenant of God in the Day of the Lord's
Manifestation. He has explicitly said that in that Great Day, the New
Holy City shall be illuminated with Lights shining from the Face of the
Lord and His appointed Branch; the rivers of wonderful enlightenments,
which would impart life to the people of the world and save nations,
shall flow forth from the Throne of the Lord and that of the Center of
His Covenant. Nay, rather, he hath elucidated that those written in the
Book of Life of the Excellent BRANCH shall be saved, and those
overshadowed under His Ancient Standard shall inherit everlasting glory.

To resume: the tongues of all the prophets sung the praise of His
Blessed Name, and the hearts of the chosen ones rejoiced at the
announcement of His coming, until that Most Holy Being was born in the
Day (May 23, 1844) of the Manifestation of the "First Point" (Exalted is
His Supreme Name!). The birthday of the "Branch extended from the
Ancient Root;" coincided with the day of the appearance of the Lord's
precursor and the "Mystery of God" was realized by this coincidence. In
His childhood He was nurtured under the favor of the Most Holy Beauty of
El-Abha, until, at the age of nine, He escorted the Ancient Beauty
(Baha’u’llah) from Teheran to Baghdad. He shared with the Beauty of
El-Abha in every calamity and affliction during their exile from Baghdad
to Constantinople, Adrianople, and finally to Acca (the prison), and
endured unbearable sufferings. The Tongue of Grandeur was always
uttering the greatness of His station, and appointed His Holiness, the
Excellent Branch, to the position of the "Center of the Covenant." In a
Tablet revealed by the Beauty of El Abha to 'Abdu'l-Baha, while the
latter was in Beirut, He said: "We have appointed thee a protection to
all the creatures, a guardian to all in the heaven and the earth, and a
fortress to those who believe in God, the One, the Omniscient!"

O ye beloved of God! How can I duly praise the Lord of mankind, the
Center of the Covenant (May the life of all the creatures be a sacrifice
to him! and how can I explain the loftiness of his station! For he is
the one whom all the divine Manifestations have praised and extolled.

Let us now offer our humble efforts in praising and glorifying God, the
Exalted, who has honored us by serving the Center of His Covenant, hath
made us know in his name, and hath placed us under the shadow of his
glorious banner. We thank Him in such praises whereby the faces of the
steadfast ones are illuminated!

Praise be to God, the King of the Heaven and the earth!

(signed) Abul Fazl