December 10, 2011

The Passing of Mirza ‘Abu’l-Fadl

January 21, 1914
‘Abdu’l-Baha’s residence, Haifa

Today very sad news has been received. He was indeed a very glorious personage. In every way he was unequalled. It is impossible for a person to be perfect in all things. His honor Agha Mirza Haydar Ali must write his life history.

In reality, he was in the utmost severance in the utmost firmness and steadfastness in the Cause of God. He was detached from all things. From the day this person became a believer until this day, he was engaged in service in the Cause of God. He was engaged either in giving the Message or in writing. He was never attached to this world.

How learned he was and studious of books! He was familiar with every nation. With the precepts of all religions he was acquainted. He was my partner and participant in the servitude of the holy threshold.

During the days of sorrow, he was my consolation. I had perfect confidence in him. Every written criticism of the Cause I used to refer to him and he wrote the answer.

How humble and meek he was! No matter how much we insisted that this person take a servant for himself, he refused, that he might serve the friends and give them tea. All friends and strangers, when they went to his home, he used to serve. Although his body was weak, sick, feeble and feverish, he used to stand and make tea. All his thoughts were directed to making his visitors pleased and happy at any rate.

During all this time I did not hear from him the word – “I; I said or I wrote." He used to say, "I submitted to them; I submitted to the friends."

Never a word was uttered by him, saying, I have knowledge," or I have experience." He was indeed effaced and selfless. He was self sacrificing at the holy threshold. The odor of existence could not be inhaled from him.

A great wisdom necessitated his passing. There is nothing to do but to exercise patience. How many a man equals a thousand men!

All the friends of God should gather together and pray at the holy tomb of the Báb and I will pray here. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, vol. 9, no. 2, April 9, 1918) (Please also visit Baha’i Heroes and Heroines for a brief write-up about Mirza Abu’l-Fadl)

November 26, 2011

Without love unity cannot be established

Unity is love. It cannot be established without love. Therefore try, as far as possible, to be filled with love. Love is perpetual life, the most perfect vitality. Consider how love has gathered us together from the East and the West! If there were no love between us our friendship would have been concluded with salutations, such as “Good morning” and "Good evening." Love draws us in friendship to the people of every race and religion. He is a Baha’i, of the people of Baha, from whom we breathe the fragrance of this love again. …

The highest love is independent of any personal advantages which we may draw from the love of the friend. If you love truly, your love for your friend will continue, even if he treats you ill. A man who really loves God, will love Him whether he be ill, or sad, or unfortunate. He does not love God because He has created him -- his life may be full of disassociations and miseries. He does not love God because He has given him health or wealth, because these may disappear at any moment. He does not love Him because He has given him the strength of youth, because old age will surely come upon him. The reason for his love is not because he is grateful for certain mercies and benefits. No! The lover of God desires and adores Him because He is perfection and because of His perfections. Love should be the very essence of love, and not dependent on outward manifestations.

A moth loves the light, though his wings are burnt. Though his wings are singed, he throws himself against the flame. He does not love the light because it has conferred some benefit upon him. Therefore he hovers round the light, though he sacrifices his wings.

This is the highest degree of love. Without this abandonment, this ecstasy love is imperfect.

The lover of God loves Him for Himself, not for his own sake.
 (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha quoted in ‘Fortnightly Review’, June, 1911; Star of the West, vol. VIII, no. 9, August 20, 1917)

September 20, 2011

The faculty of Meditation: “… the sign of the intellect is contemplation and the sign of contemplation is silence …”

Sunday, January 12th, 1913
At the Friend’s Meeting House, St. Martin’s Lane, London, W.C.

About one thousand years ago a society was formed in Persia called the Society of the Friends, who gathered together for silent communion with the Almighty.

They divided Divine philosophy into two parts: one kind is that of which the knowledge can be acquired through lectures and study in schools and colleges. The second kind of philosophy was that of the Illuminati, or followers of the inner light. The schools of this philosophy were held in silence. Meditating, and turning their faces to the Source of Light, from that central Light the mysteries of the Kingdom were reflected in the hearts of these people. All the Divine problems were solved by this power of illumination.

This Society of Friends increased greatly in Persia, and up to the present time their societies exist. Many books and epistles were written by their leaders. When they assemble in their meeting-house they sit silently and contemplate; their leader opens with a certain proposition, and says to the assembly 'You must meditate on this problem'. Then, freeing their minds from everything else, they sit and reflect, and before long the answer is revealed to them. Many abstruse divine questions are solved by this illumination.

Some of the great questions unfolding from the rays of the Sun of Reality upon the mind of man are: the problem of the reality of the spirit of man; of the birth of the spirit; of its birth from this world into the world of God; the question of the inner life of the spirit and of its fate after its ascension from the body.

September 9, 2011

Proof of the divine mission of Founders of Religions and the need to independently investigate truth

October 1912
Oakland, California, USA
(The only talk given by 'Abdu'l-Bahá to a Japanese audience. Mr. Yamamoto, the first Japanese Bahá'í, arranged for 'Abdu'l-Bahá to speak at the Japanese Independent Church, in Oakland, California)

It is a great happiness to be here this evening, especially for the reason that the members of this Association have come from the region of the Orient. For a long time I have entertained a desire to meet some of the Japanese friends. That nation has achieved extraordinary progress in a short space of time; a progress and development which have astonished the world. Inasmuch as they have advanced in material civilization they must assuredly possess the capacity for spiritual development. For this reason I have an excessive longing to meet them. Praise be to God! this pleasure is now afforded me, for here in this city I am face to face with a revered group of the Japanese. According to report the people of the Japanese nation are not prejudiced. They investigate reality. Wherever they find truth they prove to be its lovers. They are not attached tenaciously to blind imitations of ancient beliefs and dogmas. Therefore it is my great desire to discourse with them upon a subject in order that the unity and blending together of the nations of the east and the nations of the west may be furthered and accomplished. In this way religious, racial and political prejudice, particularly bias and sectarianism will be dispelled amongst men. Any kind of prejudice is destructive to the body-politic.

September 4, 2011

Man “has animal tendencies. But the Divine power in him is great”

Haifa, September, 1920
Conversation with pilgrims

Question: Just before the Master came in we were talking about how to train children to be thoughtful of others and unselfish. Will the Master speak to us on this subject?

‘Abdu’l-Baha: "The body of man is from the world of nature. His body is akin to that of the animal. He has animal tendencies. But the Divine power in him is great. His spirit is pure, sanctified and heavenly. His body is satanic. If his spiritual qualities overcome his animal qualities he becomes illumined, full of activities and good qualities. But if the animal qualities overcome the spiritual, the spiritual will be entirely extinguished. All the qualities will be animalistic. In such a state the love of self is found; man is immersed in passion; darkness succeeds darkness. Man becomes negligent of God. No sign of his spirituality remains. This is why His Holiness Christ says that we must be born again. When man is born from the womb of the mother he is freed from material darkness. In the same way he must be born from the world of nature so that he may become free from the darkness of the world of nature. This is the second birth. Man must always strive to have his spirit overcome his body. When his spirit overcomes his body, the second birth takes place and he becomes freed from imperfections. He becomes filled with virtues. He becomes nearer the Divine and follows the Divine teachings. He becomes like a lighted candle. This is the reality of the subject. But when he is immersed in the world of nature he is like an animal, a fierce animal. He displays all the worst qualities. (Notes by Mabel Paine, of Urbana, Illinois, on her visit to Haifa, Palestine, with a party of pilgrims, September, 1920; Star of the West, vol.11, no. 6, December 31, 1920)

June 24, 2011

Nature is governed by one universal law

A table talk in Akka, during 1904-1906

Nature is that condition, that reality, which in appearance consists in life and death, or, in other words, in the composition and decomposition of all things.

This Nature is subjected to an absolute organization, to determined laws, to a complete order and a finished design, from which it will never depart — to such a degree, indeed, that if you look carefully and with keen sight, from the smallest invisible atom up to such large bodies of the world of existence as the globe of the sun or the other great stars and luminous spheres, whether you regard their arrangement, their composition, their form or their movement, you will find that all are in the highest degree of organization and are under one law from which they will never depart.

But when you look at Nature itself, you see that it has no intelligence, no will. For instance, the nature of fire is to burn; it burns without will or intelligence. The nature of water is fluidity; it flows without will or intelligence. The nature of the sun is radiance; it shines without will or intelligence. The nature of vapor is to ascend; it ascends without will or intelligence. Thus it is clear that the natural movements of all things are compelled; there are no voluntary movements except those of animals and, above all, those of man. Man is able to resist and to oppose Nature because he discovers the constitution of things, and through this he commands the forces of Nature; all the inventions he has made are due to his discovery of the constitution of things. For example, he invented the telegraph, which is the means of communication between the East and the West. It is evident, then, that man rules over Nature.

June 8, 2011

Baha'u'llah in Chains in Tehran

Los Angeles on October 19, 1912
Extracts from a talk

The Blessed Beauty (Baha’u’llah) appeared in Persia, in Teheran. He was in the utmost of ease and affluence. He was most influential and surrounded with luxury. All the pleasures of the transitory world were provided for him, and all the grandees of Persia longed to enjoy the influence and affluence, the things of wealth and position of Baha’u’llah. But consider that he suffered all these things to be separated from him. He sacrificed his honor, his fame and his station amongst men, sacrificing all, even his life. Ever was he subjected to the sword, and many were the ordeals which he endured, and many were the indignities to which he was subjected. How many nights he passed beneath chains, how many days in dark dungeons!

When I visited the dungeon in Teheran, as a child, in order to see Baha’u’llah when the door was opened there were some steps leading down into the place. They took me as far as midway. I peered through the darkness: I could not find anyone; it was exceedingly gloomy. Then I heard the blessed voice saying, "'Take him away." When I heard his voice I tried to see the Blessed Beauty, but because of the great darkness I could not. Then I was taken out; they seated me. They said it was customary about midday to take the prisoners out for their meals; so there I sat. About noon the jailers were all ready and the prisoners were taken out. I saw Baha’u’llah, neck in chains, and another, both chained to the same links, a link about his neck and another about the person who was chained with him. The weight of the chain was so excessive that his neck was bent; he walked with great difficulty, and he was in a very sad condition. His clothes were tattered and battered; even the hat on his head was torn. He was in the most severe ordeal and his health was quite visibly failing. They brought me and seated me, and they took him to the place where there was a pond, in order that he might wash his face. After that they took him back to the dungeon and, although I was a child, I was so overcome I was unconscious. And then Baha’u’llah said, "Take the child to the house, "therefore I was taken away.

June 6, 2011

How to train children from their earliest childhood

Stuttgart, Germany
April 28, 1913

Among the children many blessed souls will arise, if they be trained according to the Baha’i Teaching.

If a plant is carefully nurtured by a gardener, it will become good and produce better fruit. These children must be given a good training from their earliest childhood. They must be given a systematic training which will further their development, in order that they may receive greater insight, so that their spiritual receptivity be broadened. Beginning in childhood they must receive instruction. They cannot be taught through books. Many elementary sciences must be made clear to them in the nursery; they must learn them in play, in amusement.

Most ideas must be taught them through speech, not by book learning.

One child must question the other concerning those things and the other child must give the answer. In this way they will make great progress. For example, mathematical problems must also be taught in the form of questions and answers.

One of the children asks a question and the other must give the answer.

Later the children will of their own accord speak with each other concerning these same subjects. The children who are at the head of their class must receive premiums. They must be encouraged, and when one of them shows good advancement, for their further development they must be praised and encouraged therein.

Even so in God like affairs. Verbal questions must be asked and the answers must be given verbally. They must discuss these affairs with each other in this manner.
(Star of the West, vol. VII, no. 15, December 12, 1916)

May 22, 2011

"The real teaching of Buddha is the same as the teaching of Jesus Christ."

London, England

...The real teaching of Buddha is the same as the teaching of Jesus Christ. The teachings of all the Prophets are the same in character. Now men have changed the teaching. If you look at the present practice of the Buddhist religion, you will see that there is little of the Reality left. Many worship idols although their teaching forbids it.

Buddha had disciples and he wished to send them out into the world to teach, so he asked them questions to see if they were prepared as he would have them be. "When you go to the East and to the West," said the Buddha, "and the people shut their doors to you and refuse to speak to you, what will you do?" -- The disciples answered and said; "We shall be very thankful that they do us no harm." -- "Then if they do you harm and mock, what will you do?" -- 'We shall be very thankful that they do not give us worse treatment." -- "If they throw you into prison?" -- 'We shall still be grateful that they do not kill us." -- "What if they were to kill you?" the Master asked for the last time. "Still," answered the disciples, "we will be thankful, for they cause us to be martyrs. What more glorious fate is there than this, to die for the glory of God?" And the Buddha said: 'Well done!" The teaching of Buddha was like a young and beautiful child, and now it has become as an old and decrepit man. Like the aged man it cannot see, it cannot hear, it cannot remember anything.... ('Abdu'l-Bahá in London: Addresses, and Notes of Conversations", Commemorative ed, London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1987; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Buddah,Krishna, Zoroaster and Related Subjects)

April 25, 2011

The Titanic disaster – ways to view and lessons learned

23 April 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

Today I have been speaking from dawn until now, yet because of love, fellowship and desire to be with you, I have come here to speak again briefly. Within the last few days a terrible event has happened in the world, an event saddening to every heart and grieving every spirit. I refer to the Titanic disaster, in which many of our fellow human beings were drowned, a number of beautiful souls passed beyond this earthly life. Although such an event is indeed regrettable, we must realize that everything which happens is due to some wisdom and that nothing happens without a reason. Therein is a mystery; but whatever the reason and mystery, it was a very sad occurrence, one which brought tears to many eyes and distress to many souls. I was greatly affected by this disaster. Some of those who were lost voyaged on the Cedric with us as far as Naples and afterward sailed upon the other ship. When I think of them, I am very sad indeed. But when I consider this calamity in another aspect, I am consoled by the realization that the worlds of God are infinite; that though they were deprived of this existence, they have other opportunities in the life beyond, even as Christ has said, "In my Father's house are many mansions." They were called away from the temporary and transferred to the eternal; they abandoned this material existence and entered the portals of the spiritual world. Foregoing the pleasures and comforts of the earthly, they now partake of a joy and happiness far more abiding and real, for they have hastened to the Kingdom of God. The mercy of God is infinite, and it is our duty to remember these departed souls in our prayers and supplications that they may draw nearer and nearer to the Source itself.

March 21, 2011

“equinox is the symbol of the divine messenger” – an explanation about Naw-Ruz

Friday evening, March 21st,
1913, at 15 rue Greuze, Paris

I am extremely glad to see you on this Naw-Ruz occasion. This day is the anniversary of many historical events, among them the victory of the Persians over the Arabs who invaded Persia and were successfully repulsed.

This day in Persia inaugurates a feast which continues for thirteen days and in which all take part, rich and poor alike. They adorn themselves with new clothes and their houses are open to all. Money is distributed, music is played and the houses are decorated with flowers, for it is a fete; work is put aside and enjoyment invited. Travelers in Persia feel this transformation, for the country is in a state of complete renewal. A town which seemed dead yesterday comes to life today. People who looked anxious yesterday, today have faces shining with gladness. The poor man of yesterday, with sordid garments, is well dressed today and the whole national life is infused with joy. From time immemorial this day has been consecrated, for in this there is a symbol.

At this moment the sun appears at the meridian and the day and night are equal. Until today the north pole has been in darkness. This sacred day when the sun illumines equally the whole earth is called the equinox and the equinox is the symbol of the divine messenger. The sun of truth rises on the horizon of divine mercy and sends forth its rays on all. This is the beginning of the spring. When the sun appears at the equinox it causes a movement in all living things. The mineral world is set in motion,, plants begin to sprout, the desert is changed into a prairie, trees bud and every living thing responds, including the bodies of animals and men.

March 17, 2011

Human spirit: its education on this plane of existence, and its immortality after its departure

(Words of ‘Abdul-Baha from Diary of Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, February, 1914)

Thou has asked concerning the spirit and its immortality after its departure. Know thou that at the time of its translation it ascends and ascends until it reaches the presence of God, clothed in a temple (body) which will not become subject to the changes wrought by ages and cycles, nor by the contingencies of the world, nor the emanations thereof.

It will continue to exist through the eternity of the Kingdom of God -- its sovereignty, its dominion, its potency. From it will appear the signs of God and his qualities, the providence of God and his bestowal. Verily the pen is unable to move in a befitting manner in explaining this truth -- its exaltation and loftiness.

The hand of mercy shall cause it to enter into men's minds, though it cannot be grasped through any explanation, nor be described by those means which are available in the world.

Blessed is the spirit which abandons the body, previously sanctified and freed from the doubts of the nations. Verily, it moves in the atmosphere of the will of its Lord, and it enters into the supreme paradise. It is welcomed by the angels of the Most High. It associates with the prophets of God, and his chosen ones, and it converses with them, and relates to them those events which have happened to it in the path of God, the Lord of both worlds.

March 13, 2011

We need a “Mediator”, an “Intermediary”, between us and God

Paris, October 31st, 1912

The Divine Reality is Unthinkable, Limitless, Eternal, Immortal and Invisible.

The world of creation is bound by natural law, finite and mortal.

The Infinite Reality cannot be said to ascend or descend. It is beyond the understanding of man, and cannot be described in terms which apply to the phenomenal sphere of the created world.

Man, then, is in extreme need of the only Power by which he is able to receive help from the Divine Reality, that Power alone bringing him into contact with the Source of all life.

An intermediary is needed to bring two extremes into relation with each other. Riches and poverty, plenty and need: without an intermediary power there could be no relation between these pairs of opposites.

So we can say there must be a Mediator between God and Man, and this is none other than the Holy Spirit, which brings the created earth into relation with the 'Unthinkable One', the Divine Reality.

The Divine Reality may be likened to the sun and the Holy Spirit to the rays of the sun. As the rays of the sun bring the light and warmth of the sun to the earth, giving life to all created beings, so do the 'Manifestations'[Manifestations of God] bring the power of the Holy Spirit from the Divine Sun of Reality to give light and life to the souls of men.

February 18, 2011

Question: What Divine wisdom is there in fasting?

February 1907

Answer: The Divine wisdom in fasting is manifold. Among them is this: As during those days (i.e. the period of fasting which the followers afterward observe) the Manifestation of the Sun of Reality, through Divine inspiration, is engaged in the Descent of Verses, the instituting of Divine Law and the arrangement of Teachings, through excessive occupation and intense attraction there remains no condition or time for eating and drinking. For example, when His Holiness Moses went to Mount Tur (Sinai) and there engaged in instituting the Law of God, he fasted forty days. For the purpose of awakening and admonishing the people of Israel, fasting was enjoined upon them.

Likewise His Holiness Christ in the beginning of instituting the Spiritual Law, the systematizing of the Teachings and the arrangement of counsels, for forty days abstained from eating and drinking. In the beginning the disciples and Christians fasted. Later the assemblages of the chief Christians changed fasting into Lenten observances.

Likewise the Koran having descended in the month Ramazan, fasting during that month became a duty. In like manner His Holiness the Supreme (the BAB), in the beginning of the Manifestation, through the excessive effect of descending Verses, passed days in which his nourishment was reduced to tea only.

February 7, 2011

Baha’u’llah compares humanity to the leaves of one tree and not two

Paris 1913

From the beginning the followers of all religions have believed in two seas, — one salt and one fresh; in two trees — the tree of good and the tree of evil. For this men have called one another heretics. Misinterpreting the divine commands, men have acquired prejudices and on these prejudices they have waged religious wars and caused bloodshed. Behold what is happening to-day! Men are killing their brothers, believing this to be a cause of salvation, believing that such work is approved by God, believing that those whom they kill will be sent to hell.
Baha’u’llah speaks to humanity in a different tone, declaring humanity to be like the leaves of a single branch, the branches of a single trunk.

For the new day hath dawned — awaken the sleeping ones! Thanks be to God, you are the beloved of the universe that love the whole world. Praise be to God your affection is for all, you are the enemies of none, lovers of humanity, a precious mine for the souls.

Thus will you disperse the heavy clouds of prejudice. The doors of the kingdom are open to you, the divine good news of the ages has come to you. Go further into the teachings and you will arrive at the splendors of divine mysteries.

The teachings of Baha’u’llah will give to the hearts the necessary impulse for bestowing eternal life and will cause the breeze of the Holy Spirit to waft upon you, so that with a single heart you will turn toward God. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, From a talk given in Paris in 1913, ‘Abdu’l-Baha on Divine Philosophy’ compiled by Isabel Fraser Chamberlain, 1918, The Tudor Press, Boston, Mass., approved by Baha’i committee on publications)

January 22, 2011

“There are no whites and blacks before God. All colors are one, and that is the color of servitude to God.”

23 April 1912
Talk at Howard University
Washington, D.C.
Translated by Amin Banani

Today I am most happy, for I see here a gathering of the servants of God. I see white and black sitting together. There are no whites and blacks before God. All colors are one, and that is the color of servitude to God. Scent and color are not important. The heart is important. If the heart is pure, white or black or any color makes no difference. God does not look at colors; He looks at the hearts. He whose heart is pure is better. He whose character is better is more pleasing. He who turns more to the Abha Kingdom is more advanced.

In the realm of existence colors are of no importance. Observe in the mineral kingdom colors are not the cause of discord. In the vegetable kingdom the colors of multicolored flowers are not the cause of discord. Rather, colors are the cause of the adornment of the garden because a single color has no appeal; but when you observe many-colored flowers, there is charm and display.

The world of humanity, too, is like a garden, and humankind are like the many-colored flowers. Therefore, different colors constitute an adornment. In the same way, there are many colors in the realm of animals. Doves are of many colors; nevertheless, they live in utmost harmony. They never look at color; instead, they look at the species. How often white doves fly with black ones. In the same way, other birds and varicolored animals never look at color; they look at the species.

Now ponder this: Animals, despite the fact that they lack reason and understanding, do not make colors the cause of conflict. Why should man, who has reason, create conflict? This is wholly unworthy of him. Especially white and black are the descendants of the same Adam; they belong to one household. In origin they were one; they were the same color. Adam was of one color. Eve had one color. All humanity is descended from them. Therefore, in origin they are one. These colors developed later due to climates and regions; they have no significance whatsoever. Therefore, today I am very happy that white and black have gathered together in this meeting. I hope this coming together and harmony reaches such a degree that no distinctions shall remain between them, and they shall be together in the utmost harmony and love.

January 9, 2011

Baha’u’llah brought new teachings not found in previous sacred books

Paris 1913

This is my second visit to Paris and I meet you with great joy. On a third visit to Europe I hope to see a brilliant flame — the signal of the paradise of El-Abha. That this continent be flooded with rays streaming from the veritable sons of light — this is my hope.

There was a time when the light of Christ shone in the world; when the proclamation of the kingdom was widespread and many spirits and hearts were drawn heavenward; but the law of this world is evanescent. That lamp is lighted and again it is extinguished. This flower starts with a sprout which day by day becomes more verdant, finally bursting into leaves and blossoms. But flowers fade and fruitage yields its seed which is kept and planted again, for the dead tree bears no more fruit. New seeds must be sown and again trees and lowers will bloom.

The great splendor of the day of Christ has gradually merged into the night, so that in this age there is hardly a ray of that great spiritual luminary lighting the world; but after the drought of summer and the cold of winter comes the new life of spring. After each sunset comes a sunrise.

The spiritual light of the world has risen again from the eastern horizon. The night is finished; the day is come and the first rays of the dawn are destroying the shadows, dispersing the clouds, making the plants to grow, the trees to become verdant and ornamenting the flower-beds with roses. The sun of reality hath reappeared with tremendous power and soon the light of Baha’u’llah will be diffused throughout the world. See how the light of Christ's shining star took three hundred years to shed its rays on the world, whereas the light of Baha’u’llah has permeated all regions in less than half a century. His cause has been spread in every country and the mention of Baha’u’llah made in every tongue. In nearly every country there is an assembly of friends from Teheran to Paris, to San Francisco, to Japan. This is a different age and light is spreading with great rapidity.

January 3, 2011

The Universal Language of the Spirit – the last public talk given by ‘Abdu’l-Baha at His home in Haifa, November 19, 1921

A talk given by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in his home at Haifa, Palestine, November 19, 1921 at the regular six o'clock evening meeting called "The Persian Meeting. Mr. John D. Bosch of Geyserville, California, was the only occidental present among the sixty friends who met at this time, just nine days before the passing away of ‘Abdu’l-Baha. In fact, this was the last public talk given by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in the Persian meeting when an occidental attended. Interpreted by Mirza Mohammed Ali Afnan. Taken down in Persian by Dr. Lotfu’llah Hakim.

‘Abdu’l-Baha opened the meeting by saying to Mr. Bosch:

Although you are here with these assembled friends and cannot speak with them nor they with you, yet you can speak with one another through the heart. The language of the heart is even more expressive than the language of the tongue and is more truthful and has a wider reach and a more potent effect.

Mr. Bosch said: This is a wonderful spiritual experience to be here with the friends.

‘Abdu’l-Baha then said: When lovers meet it may be that they cannot exchange a single word, yet with their hearts they speak to one another. Thus do the clouds speak to the earth and the rain comes down; the breeze whispers to the trees; the sun speaks to the eyes of men. Although this is not actual speech yet this is the way in which the hearts of the friends talk together. It is the harmony between two persons, and this harmony is of the hearts. For instance, you were in America and I was in the Holy Land. Although our lips were still yet with our hearts we were conversing together. The friends here love you very much. They have a real attachment for you although with the tongue they cannot express it.

Mr. Bosch said: I am very glad. I love them too.

‘Abdu’l-Baha then said: If this love is real and true, if it is from the heart it will characterize itself by self sacrifice, When the attachment is superficial friends do not sacrifice themselves even to the extent of a hair's breadth.