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.

His holiness the Christ loved both his disciples and believers to such an extent that he sacrificed his life for them. His holiness the Supreme (the Bab) loved the friends to such an extent that he gave his life for them. The Blessed Beauty (Baha'u'llah) loved the friends so much that for their sakes he accepted a thousand difficulties and afflictions. Four times he was exiled. He was banished from one place to another. His properties were confiscated. He gave all -- his family, his relatives, his possessions. He accepted imprisonment, chains and fetters. His holy person was imprisoned in the fortress of Acca until the last moment of his life. He was made to suffer more calamities, afflictions and difficulties than could be enumerated. He had not a moment's rest. He had not an hour's comfort. He was continually under the greatest hardships and ordeals. What great persecutions he endured from his enemies! What great afflictions he bore from his own relatives! He accepted all these trials for our sakes so that he might educate us, so that he might make us illumined, so that he might make us heavenly, so that he might change our character, change our lives, so that he might illumine our inmost self. All these troubles he accepted for our sakes. He did indeed sacrifice his life for us. This love is the real love. This is the inner attachment and the genuine friendship. This is the love which sacrifices one's all, one's life. This is the reality of love. He accepted all these troubles.

All this cannot be accomplished by merely talking. It cannot be done by saying 'I love you' or, 'How is your health' or, 'You are my beloved' or, 'You are esteemed.' This is not Love. This is an attachment that will break in the testing. This is why one sees persons associating with one another, appearing to be enwrapped with one another. Each seems to sacrifice himself for the other. But when they part they become as strangers. This is human love. It is not spiritual love; it is not divine love; it has no real foundation and in the time of testing it will fall and disappear.

If you should go to Persia and mingle with the friends there and should be in the house of any one of the friends, and people should come in to take you to kill you, you would then witness how the owner of the house would sacrifice himself for you. He would sacrifice himself for you rather than allow even one hair of your head to be hurt. This is love! It has happened often in Persia that the friends have sacrificed themselves for one another. This has happened many times. This love is the love of God.

The King of Martyrs and the Beloved of Martyrs were two souls who were greatly honored among the people. They were very wealthy. They were extremely comfortable. The people pillaged all their property. They put them in chains. They put them in prison. The Shah of Persia decreed that they should be killed; that they should either deny their faith or be killed. The notables came to them and advised them to renounce their faith. The friends came and advised them; even the government advised them to recant so that they might save their lives. But they would not deny. They continued to cry aloud, 'Ya Baha’u’l-Abha!' (O, Thou the Glory of the Most Glorious!) And so they were martyred.

This is the love of God! This is the love of the heart! This is divine love! (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, vol. 13, October 1922)