Saturday, January 25, 2014

January 25th in Baha'i History

1926 - Death of Edward Granville Browne

For a biography by Moojan Momen click here.

Just two years before His death, Bahá'u'lláh received at Bahji one of the few Westerners to meet Him, and the only one to leave a written account of the experience. The visitor was Edward Granville Browne, a rising young orientalist from Cambridge University, whose attention had originally been attracted by the dramatic history of the Báb and His heroic band of followers. Of his meeting with Bahá'u'lláh, Browne wrote:
Though I dimly suspected whither I was going and whom I was to behold (for no distinct intimation had been given to me), a second or two elapsed ere, with a throb of wonder and awe, I became definitely conscious that the room was not untenanted. In the corner where the divan met the wall sat a wondrous and venerable figure... The face of him on whom I gazed I can never forget, though I cannot describe it. Those piercing eyes seemed to read one's very soul; power and authority sat on that ample brow... No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain! A mild dignified voice bade me be seated, and then continued: --

"Praise be to God that thou hast attained!...Thou hast come to see a prisoner and an exile...We desire but the good of the world and the happiness of the nations; yet they deem us a stirrer up of strife and sedition worthy of bondage and banishment...That all nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should cease, and differences of race be annulled -- what harm is there in this?...Yet so it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the 'Most great Peace' shall come..."

            (Baha'i International Community, 1992 May 29, Statement on Baha'u'llah, p. 27)
Balyuzi tells us that the collection of Browne’s papers in the University Library at Cambridge holds twelve letters written to him by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the time-period 1890-1913.   The author gives us some glimmerings of the eternal truths which the Master shared with Professor Browne:
The bonds of amity between them, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá writes, are so strong that ‘absence is the same as presence’, and distance no bar to the hearts. He had always, He says, brought to remembrance ‘the days of our consorting’. He expresses the hope that they would meet once again. Time was too short, He states, to explain adequately the principles, the purposes, the conduct of the Faith, but He counts on the perspicacity and the intelligence of that ‘spiritual companion’ to comprehend the truth of the matter. He advises Browne to aim high and be rid of small nationalism, for whatever is of limited, local consequence is human- bound, and whatever benefits the world of man is celestial (p.98).

(Balyuzi, Edward Granville Browne and the Baha’I Faith) and this blog. To read further please click here.

1943 - There are no set forms of meditation prescribed in the teachings, no plan, as such, for inner development. The friends are urged -- nay enjoined -- to pray, and they also should meditate, but the manner of doing the latter is left entirely to the individual.  The inspiration received through meditation is of a nature that one cannot measure or determine. God can inspire into our minds things that we had no previous knowledge of, if He desires to do so.

(25 January 1943 to the believers)

                (Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 240 #1771)

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