Saturday, August 8, 2009

August 8th in Baha'i History

1910: Mary Sutherland Maxwell, later to be known as Amatu'l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum, is born in New York City to parents May Maxwell and William Sutherland Maxwell.

1912 – Abdul-Baha was in Dublin, NH
One of the devoted friends asked the Master about imperfect realities and their immortality. He replied:
All realities and spirits are immortal, even the spirits of non-believers and imperfect persons. But they cannot be compared in any way with the spirits of the sanctified souls and holy personages. Although this wood has existence, yet in comparison with the existence of man, it is as nothing.
In the afternoon `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke at a public gathering. He touched on various aspects of love and unity among people and the necessity for cooperation and mutual assistance in human society. In answer to a question regarding vengeance, He replied that man has no right to seek vengeance but that the community is responsible for the protection of all life, property and honor. He then went on to say:
The more material education advances, the more competitive is the race in aggression and injustice. But spiritual education is the cause of competition in praiseworthy actions and the acquisition of human perfections. We hope that day by day these injustices will diminish and the spiritual virtues increase.
The Master went into another room where a young man with a striking personality and pleasing appearance asked Him in what school He had studied philosophy. The Master answered: `In the same school where Christ studied.' He then asked the Master, `What is the relationship between God and nature?' The Master replied:
Some of the philosophers believe that God is the Supreme Reality and that every human being has a spark of this divine reality within him; that He Himself is in a state of utmost power and that all things manifest Him according to their different capacities. Therefore they hold that the Supreme Being is dispersed into infinite forms. This is the position of Plato. But we say that existence as conceived by man or comprehended through human reason or intellect is a characteristic of matter. Matter is like unto essence, while existence is its manifestation. The body of man is essence and existence is dependent upon it. This human body is matter while existence is a power conditioned on matter.
But it is not so with the Essential Self-Existent One. His existence is true existence which is self-subsistent, not an intellectually perceived and comprehended existence; it is an Existence by which all created things come into being. All things are like unto His handiwork and are dependent upon Him. We refer to Him as Self-Existent because we need to make use of a term but we do not mean that that Being can be contained within our comprehension. What is intended is the Reality from Whom all things emanate, the Reality through Whom all things exist.
Not only was the questioner grateful and satisfied with this response but everyone else was also pleased. (Mahmud's Diary)

1913 – Abdul-Baha tells The Story of the Dervish

Then the Master told us the story of a Dervish, as follows: When Baha-Ullah with his family were leaving Bagdad, a Derv- ish begged Abdul Baha's permission to join the party. He was told that the trip would be most difficult, but the Dervish was willing to accept all manner of hardships so he traveled with the party as far as Constantinople. Then when they left for Adrianople, he stayed behind but joined them later, for having become accustomed to associate with the Bahais, he could not live without them. In Adrianople, he rented a room in an adjoining Mosque with another friend, and for some time they lived to-gether peacefully. One day the Dervish came to Baha- Ullah, saying: “My friend attacked me this morning and gave me a sound beating, but I said nothing. I was in a state of utmost resignation. Then after half an hour he returned, kissed my hands and said: ‘Verily, you have attained the stage of great merit, you are now a saint.’” Baha-Ullah, listening with interest to this story, said laughingly: “If he beats you another time and you demonstrate such resignation, he may believe that you have attached the station of Prophethood.” (Abdul-Baha in Egypt)

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