8 January ― 9 Sharaf   Leave a comment

PARIS

IMG_9741Paris is exceedingly dispirited and is in a state of torpor and so far it hath not burst into flames although the French nation is an active and lively one. But the world of nature hath fully stretched its pavilion over Paris and hath done away with religious sentiments. But this power of the Covenant shall heat every freezing soul, shall bestow light upon everything that is dark and shall secure for the captive in the hand of nature the true freedom of the Kingdom.

Arise thou at present in Paris with the power of the Kingdom, with a divine confirmation, with a genuine zeal and ardour and with a flame of the love of God. Roar like unto a lion and exhibit such ecstasy and love among these few souls that praise and glorification may continuously reach thee from the divine Kingdom and mighty confirmations may descend upon thee. Rest thou assured. If thou dost act accordingly and hoist the standard of the Covenant, Paris shall burst into flame. Be constantly attached to and seek always the confirmations of Bahá’u’lláh for these turn the drop into a sea and convert the gnat into an eagle.

HIS HOLINESS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ

Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, pp: 102-103

MORNING:

IMG_8357Methinks, the lamp of Thy love is burning in their hearts, and the light of Thy tenderness is lit within their breasts. Adversities are incapable of estranging them from Thy Cause, and the vicissitudes of fortune can never cause them to stray from Thy pleasure.

I beseech Thee, O my God, by them and by the sighs which their hearts utter in their separation from Thee, to keep them safe from the mischief of Thine adversaries, and to nourish their souls with what Thou hast ordained for Thy loved ones on whom shall come no fear and who shall not be put to grief.  

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 3

 

EVENING:

IMG_8356Every existence, whether seen or unseen, O my Lord, testifieth that Thy mercy hath surpassed all created things, and Thy loving-kindness embraced the entire creation. Look upon them, I entreat Thee, with the eyes of Thy mercy. Thou art the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Compassionate. Do with them as beseemeth Thy glory, and Thy majesty, and Thy greatness, and Thy bounteousness and Thy grace. Deal not with them according to the limitations imposed upon them, or the manifold vicissitudes of their earthly life.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, pp:113-114

ON THE SUBJECT OF THE LIFE OF HIS HOLINESS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

IMG_9247“About this time another ship appeared in the harbor, an Italian vessel sent by order of the Italian consul. On it I was to escape by night. The friends implored me to go, but I sent this message to the captain: ‘The Báb did not run away; Bahá’u’lláh did not run away; I shall not run away’ — so the ship sailed away after waiting three days and three nights.

“It was while the Sultan’s committee of investigation was homeward bound that the first historic shell was dropped into ‘Abdu’l-Hamid’s camp and the first gun of freedom was into the home of despotism. That was God’s gun,” said Abdu’l- Bahá, with one of his wonderful smiles.

“When the committee reached Constantinople they had more urgent things to think of. The capital was in a state of uproar and rebellion and the committee, as members of the government staff, were delegated to investigate the insurrection. Meanwhile the people established a constitutional government and Abdu’l- Hamid was deposed.

“With the advent of the Young Turk’s supremacy, realized through the Society of Union and Progress, in 1898, all the political and religious prisoners of the Ottoman Empire were freed. Events took the chains from my neck and placed them about Hamid’s. Abdu’l Bahá came out of prison and Abdu’l-Hamid went in!”

“What became of the committee?” was asked.

“Arif Bey,” answered ‘Abdu’l Bahá, “was shot with three bullets; the general was exiled; the next in rank died suddenly and the third ran away to Cairo where he sought and received help from some of the friends there.”

“We are glad you are free,” I said.

Again the wondrous smile. “Freedom is not a matter of place. It is a condition. I was thankful for the prison and the lack of liberty was very pleasing to me, for those days were passed in the path of service under the utmost difficulties and trials, bearing fruits and results.

IMG_8356“Unless one accepts dire vicissitudes he will not attain. To me prison is freedom; troubles rest me; incarceration is an open court; death is life and to be despised is honor. Therefore, I was happy all that time in prison. When one is released from the prison of self, that is indeed freedom, for self is the greater prison. When this release takes place, one can never be imprisoned. They used to put my feet in stocks so,” and he put out his feet before him to illustrate and laughed as though it were a joke he enjoyed.

“I would say to the guard ‘You cannot imprison me, for here I have light and air and bread and water. There will come a time when my body will be in the ground and I shall have neither light nor air nor food nor water, but even then I shall not be imprisoned.’ The afflictions which come to humanity sometimes tend to center the consciousness upon the limitations. This is a veritable prison. Release comes by making of the will a door through which the confirmations of the spirit come.”

This sounded so like the old theology that the modern within me rebelled doubting if the discipline really compensated for the effort.

“What do you mean by the confirmations of the spirit?” I asked.

“The confirmations of the spirit are all those powers and gifts with which some are born and which men sometimes call genius, but for which others have to strive with infinite pains. They come to that man or woman who accepts his life with radiant acquiescence.”

Radiant acquiescence — that was the quality with which we were suddenly seemed inspired as Abdu’l-Bahá bade us good-bye.

It was a remarkable experience, hearing one who had passed along the prison path for forty years declare, “There is no prison save the prison of self”; and it drove conviction to the heart as this white-robed messenger from the East pointed the way out; not by renunciation, but by radiant acquiescence — the shining pathway out of the “greater prison of self.”

Divine Philosophy, pp: 20-23

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