Passing of Abdu'l-Baha Sources

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1922.08.--- - Shrine of the Báb and American Temple (Corinne True)

Src : Star of West Vol 13 No 5 p120 - PDF13-118


When some of the American friends visited the holy shrine of the Bab and Abdul Baha shortly after the ascension of Abdul Baha, to our astonishment we found two large pictures of the American or "Mother Mashreq 'ul Azkar" (as named by Abdul Baha) hanging on the walls of the two rooms used by the pilgrims who visit the shrine. These are the only pictures on those sacred walls and were placed by the Center of the Covenant, himself.

1922.06.--- - Our Trip to Haifa (Summer 1922)

Src : Star of West Vol 13 No 5 p120, Feb 1923 - PDF13-294

As for our nine days in Haifa, they were days naturally full of spiritual inspiration. I was especially privileged in visiting on several occasions the Holy Family, a favor not hitherto granted to male pilgrims to Haifa. They told us intimate details of the life and passing of Abdul Baha; - how he refused every comfort which his family tried to secure for his last days, how upon his death he had hardly one change of clothing. Anything above this amount of clothing he had always given away. Thus his life stands out as a beacon light, pointing to others the way of service.

We made many visits and prayers at the tombs of Abdul Baha and of the Bab. From the beautiful garden surrounding the tombs we looked down the mountain side to the sea, already perceiving in our imagination the glorious parkway which shall one day rise from the Mediterranean to the Holy Tombs. Even now the authorities of Haifa are planning to construct such a boulevard, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Abdul Baha.

1923.02.--- - Shoghi Effendi in Holy Land

Src : Star of West Vol 13 No 5 p315, Feb 1923 - PDF13-313


Just before his ascension Abdul Baha said to a friend in Haifa that his work was finished but that there was one in Europe - referring to Shoghi Effendi who was then at Oxford University in England - who would astonish the world.

Shoghi Effendi, after a six months' absence, returned to Haifa on Friday afternoon, December 15th, in radiant health and happiness and resumed "the reins of the office" of Guardian of the Bahai Cause, committed to him in the Will and Testament of Abdul Baha.

In all countries the hearts of the friends of Abdul Baha are filled with rejoicing over this good news of the return to Palestine of the primal branch of the tree of unity for it means a new day, a new era in the Bahai Cause.

1923.09.--- - 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi (Fadil)

Src : Star of West Vol 14 No 6 p180, Sep 1923 - PDF14-181


From a Recent Talk by Jináb-i-Fádil

WHEN I was in Haifa I felt that 'Abdu'l-Bahá was planning to take a very long journey. We did not, however, grasp its significance. We thought that it was to be a physical journey. We did not realize that it was to be to the Kingdom of Abha.

One day, in the Pilgrim House, it was said that the physical appearance of 'Abdu'l-Baha showed signs of weariness. Some of us thought that this was due to the small amount of food which 'Abdu'l-Baha ate. He always divided the food among the guests, a symbol of the way in which he distributed spiritual sustenance. He took almost nothing, himself, but a glass of milk or the yolk of an egg.

A group of friends were selected and their spokesman, a very old and spiritual Baha'i, went to 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Overcome with emotion at the question which he was about to present, he could not speak a word. 'Abdu'l-Bahá took him by the hand, and encouraged him. The old man said: "The believers feel that there are two reasons for 'Abdu'l-Bahá's weariness. First, he does not eat enough. Secondly, he works too hard." Then 'Abdu'l-Bahá, very humbly, told him that he was mistaken. "Do you think," he said. "that this material food has any effect upon my body? This food has no effect. Only good news from the believers, the glad tidings which comes from all parts of the world of the advancement of the Cause, of the unity of the believers, this, only, improves my health. As to the second point - I am going to take a long journey and at that time my spirit will rest."

Later, we understood what the Master had meant. These talks showed that 'Abdu'l-Bahá had finished his work, was preparing for the great journey to the Kingdom.

ANOTHER day 'Abdu'l-Bahá said that the Bahá'ís look to the light, many others look to the glass in which the light is shining. The Bahá'ís apprehend

the inner reality of man and the light of God which is living in the Being of the Manifestations of God; others look to the outward appearance or the garment of names. The religionists who denied the Manifestations in the past clung to the garment, the glass, Bahá'ís turn to the reality of the light.

At the time when the Bab was being driven by his enemies from place to place there lived in a certain city a believer who had never seen him. He had heard that the Bab wore a green turban, as did all the descendants of Muhammed. This believer went to see the Bab, and he looked for the green turban. It so happened that just before his arrival the Bab had taken off his green turban, putting on instead, a Persian cap. So the man did not recognize him. The Bab joked, saying: "I have heard that you have become a believer in the new movement. What has caused this change?"

The man answered: "The proof of Muhammed was his eloquent Arabic book. I have heard that this young man brought through revelation several eloquent Arabic and Persian epistles which have the spirit of the word of Muhammed."

The Bab said: "Whoever thus reveals, you believe?"

He then began writing verses, like a crystal river. The man, overwhelmed, cried out that such an one must be a Manifestation. "But why does not he wear a green turban?"

So 'Abdu'l-Bahá showed us that we should judge not by the garment, but by the heart beneath.

When but a youth Bahá'u'lláh, dressed at that time, as a government official and not in the turban and flowing robes of the scholar, entered the classroom of a celebrated theologian. Many students were there. The teacher, who was deeply versed in religious philosophy, suggested, for discussion, some very difficult topics. Immediately the class entered into controversy, many voices being raised; and the teacher was not satisfied with the discussion.

Bahá'u'lláh then asked permission to speak. He soon solved the difficult problems. All had heard that he had never attended a school; yet no sooner did he begin to speak than they realized that he was an ocean of thought whose waves washed the shores of every mind in that audience. The teacher said: "Behold! you have all studied! But here is one who has never studied, who gives luminous answers."

When Shoghi Effendi returned to Haifa many did not realize that, though dressed differently, though young, yet he was the perfect mirror reflecting 'Abdu'l-Bahá. I was so fortunate as to be in Haifa when Shoghi Effendi arrived. It was as though he brought an ocean of hope, activity and longing to serve and to sacrifice. No sooner did he arrive than he began to write to all parts of the Bahá'í world. One who met him saw in him the same will, the same love, the same tenderness, the same overpowering desire to serve that he saw in 'Abdu'l-Bahá.

In sonic of his last talks in Haifa, 'Abdu'l-Bahá said: "After my departure there will be a short time of quiet in the Bahá'í Cause. Then the flame of love and activity will leap forth and there will follow a great period of work, and proclamation of the Cause, of going out to all the highways and byways of the world." This is coming to pass. First, since the return of Shoghi Effendi, and a great shock, a feeling of loss. Now, his correspondence with all parts of the world, there is a great resuscitation. The advices and exhortations in the last Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá that none must rest, but must teach -these are being realized in the visible world. This is the first year of the mission of Shoghi Effendi. To show him our great attraction in the Cause we must manifest great activity. It behoveth us that in this year we engage in extraordinary service and walk steadfastly toward the city of universal peace and the oneness of hearts and minds.

1923.12.--- - The Ascension of the Master

Src : Star of West Vol 14 No 9 p264, Dec 1923 - PDF14-265

Jinib-i-Fidil tells of how the friends in 'Ishq1lb:id, Russia, invited 'Abdu'I-Ba!"1i to visit their city, how 'Abdu'I-Bahi accepted the invitation and then, before the journey was accomplished, departed from this world. Straightway a wonderful, dynamic, spiritual outpouring appeared in 'Ishqabad. Many people bq-an to investigate the Cause, the Mashriqu'lAdhkar was filled to the doors and so eager was the interest in the heavenly teachings that the believers hardly had time for rest or sleep but were constantly teaching. And there appeared among the friends such a i.leautiful spirit of faithfulness, affection and severance that it seemed as though they were living 1Il the other world. Then they realized that the Master had visited them in spirit and in truth and his promise to them was fulfilled.

1923.12.--- - From "Letters from Palestine" By B. Pullen-Burry

Src : Star of West Vol 14 No 9 p264, Dec 1923 - PDF14-265

"His funeral was such the like of which Palestine had never seen before, was the general verdict. A deep feeling of veneration, respect and love for the deceased and sympathy for the mourning relatives he left behind him brought together great crowds, different in religion, race and language. His tomb lies halfway up the slopes of Carmel and the wonderful procession, about ten thousand in number, who wended their way to it, was composed of all the notabilities in Palestine-Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druses, Egyptians, Greeks, Turks, Kurds, and a host of American ami European friend s, Syrian men, womell and children, all followed their Belove.! One. It was headed by a guard of honour consisting of the City Constabulary Force, followed by Boy Scouts of the Muslim and Christian communities holding aloft their banners, then came a company of Muslim choristers chanting verses from the Qur'an. The chiefs of the Muslim community, headed by thc Mufti, with a number of Christian priests, Latin, Greek and Anglican, pr~ceded the coffin borne on the shoulders of those he loved. Immediately behind it came the members of his family, next to them walked the British High Com· missioner, the Governor of Jerusalem and the Governor of Phoenicia. After them, the Consul and the notables of the land. then followed the vast multitudes who believed in him and reverenced him. The procession walking very slowly took about two hours to reach the mausoleum which had been prepared for these won· derful Persian refonners. "The remains of the Bah who heralded Bana'u'llah had already been laid to rest in the center of a set of three rooms, posterior to those destined for 'Abdu'!BaM, which look out on the Great Sea over the town of Haifa."

Shrine of the Master P265 (Mason Remey)

Src : Star of West Vol 14 No 6 p180, Sep 1923 - PDF14-181


From diary notes of Charles Mason Remey upon his visit to Haifa in March, 1922.

EARLY in the morning following my arrival in Haifa I went up the mountain alone to visit the Holy Tomb of the Master and that of the Báb. I found Mirza Abbas Gholi within the shrine placing handfuls of freshly cut flowers upon the thresholds of the inner chambers.

The arrangement of the three back chambers of the Tomb, which constitute the tomb proper of the Báb, are the same as formerly, but the three front chambers facing the north, instead of being used for various purposes, as formerly, now form the tomb of the Master.

Curtis Kelsey, who went to Haifa from America in order to install electric light plants at the Holy Tombs and in the Bahá'í Colony, has made an artistic arrangement in his wiring of the Tombs upon Mount Carmel and one quite in harmony with the style and character of the buildings. The black iron lamps hang as formerly, suspended from the high, vaulted ceiling, but he has reversed the shades, thus giving the effect of an indirect lighting system. The venetian iron candelabra, in the inner shrine of the Báb, which the Master permitted me to make and place there some

years ago, is still hanging as before, with its nine tall candles, save that in the central sanctuary lamp, where formerly there hung a glass oil container with a floating wick, there is now an electric bulb. A very powerful electric light is placed on the exterior of the tomb, directly above the main doorway to the north. This is lighted every evening and it forms a focal point on the mountainside and is visible for many miles out at sea.

Several times, in the night, after the household had quieted, Lotfullah Hakim and I climbed up the mountain to the Tomb of the Master, for a few moments of prayer before the door of the Shrine which at that late hour was invariably locked though lights from within might have led one to imagine the building to be open. As is customary in the Orient, burial shrines of importance are kept illumined by night. The Bahá'í sacred Shrines are never left in darkness.

I wish that I might adequately describe the spiritual experience of those nocturnal pilgrimages. The beauty of the spot is beyond description in words. In the clear, scintillating moonlight of the Orient the eye can see for many miles.

From this Holy Tomb, Mount Hermon, with its cap of snow, seventy or eighty miles distant, was distinctly visible in the clear moonlight. About the Tomb are fragrant trees, shrubs and flowers. On still nights, when there was little wind, the air would often be heavy with the fragrance of orange blossoms as we knelt on the doorsill pouring out our hearts in prayer and supplication...

One evening during the visit, Shoghi Effendi brought with him to the Pilgrim House the original text of the blessed Testament of the Master. We stood about the table as he reverently laid the package thereon, carefully unfolding the envelope from a silk handkerchief in which it was wrapped. As he took the three Tablets from the cover we saw that each was in the handwriting of the Master - written, as Shoghi Effendi called our attention to witness - without hesitation or correction and signed by the Master in several places. We stood with bated breath in the presence of this document of documents in which is contained the wondrous plan for the spiritual organization of the Cause of God and our guidance for a thousand or thousands of years.

The substance of the Testament was, of course, most unexpected. No one could have anticipated its wonderful ordinances. But as one studies it and imbibes its thought he sees at once that no other plan could have been made for guarding and preserving the Cause save the one which the Master has given in his Will. Never have I read anything which gave me the joy and the inspiration that this holy document produced in my heart. It filled my heart with the assurance that the Cause was safely guarded. It gives us a fixed direction toward which to turn and a permanent center about which we all are to revolve so long as we are in this world.

1 The women of 'Abdul-BahWs family were obliged to observe the Mus customs of Palestine during that time which required that they remain indoors, or veiled when in public.

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