Friday, May 2, 2014

May 3rd in Baha'i History

1863 - Baha'u'llah leaves Baghdad for Constantinople

On 3 May 1863, Bahá'u'lláh rode out of Baghdad, on His way to Constantinople, the imperial capital, accompanied by His family and selected companions. He had become an immensely popular and cherished figure. Eyewitnesses described the departure in moving terms, noting the tears of many onlookers and the honor paid to Him by the authorities.

"I have never aspired after worldly leadership. My sole purpose hath been to hand down unto men that which I was bidden to deliver by God..."  -- Bahá'u'lláh

(Baha'i International Community, 1992, Magazine - The Baha'is)

The departure of Bahá'u'lláh from the Garden of Ridvan, at noon, on the 14th of Dhi'l-Qa'dih 1279 A.H. (May 3, 1863), witnessed scenes of tumultuous enthusiasm no less spectacular, and even
more touching, than those which greeted Him when leaving His Most Great House in Baghdad. 'The great tumult', wrote an eyewitness, 'associated in our minds with the Day of Gathering, the
Day of Judgement, we beheld on that occasion. Believers and unbelievers alike sobbed and lamented. The chiefs and notables who had congregated were struck with wonder. Emotions were
stirred to such depths as no tongue can describe, nor could any observer escape their contagion.'

Mounted on His steed, a red roan stallion of the finest breed, the best His lovers could purchase for Him, and leaving behind Him a bowing multitude of fervent admirers, He rode forth on the first stage of a journey that was to carry Him to the city of Constantinople. 'Numerous were the heads Nabil himself a witness of that memorable scene, recounts, 'which, on every side, bowed to the dust at the feet of His horse, and kissed its hoofs, and countless were those who pressed forward to embrace His stirrups.' 'How great the number of those embodiments of fidelity,' testifies a fellow-traveller, 'who, casting themselves before that charger, preferred death to separation from their Beloved! Methinks, that blessed steed trod upon the bodies of those pure-hearted souls.' 'He (God) it was,' Bahá'u'lláh Himself declares, 'Who enabled Me to depart out of the city (Baghdad), clothed
with such majesty as none, except the denier and the malicious, can fail to acknowledge.'[83]
[83 Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 155.]

(Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant, p. 71)

1912 - Abdul-Baha in America

3 May 1912 Talk at Hotel Plaza Chicago, Illinois

3 May 1912 Talk at Hotel Plaza Chicago, Illinois

Today the members of an association of Indians residing in Chicago, who had previously attended `Abdu'l-Bahá's receptions, arrived as one body and after obtaining His permission, read Him an address of welcome:
From the Society of Indians Residing in Chicago to His Holiness `Abdu'l-Bahá `Abbás. In the Name of God!
We, the members of the Society of Indians Residing in Chicago welcome you to this country. The Cause that has brought your Excellency to this country is most surely a source of honor and grace to us. Asia has always been the dawning-place of religions: Muhammad, Christ, Buddha and Confucius were born in that enlightened continent; and we confidently believe that at this time, too, Asia will again usher in the universal principles of accord. The Bahá'í Cause, like the Cause of the Buddha, will be a source of uniting nations and will be a fulfillment of the teachings of our forefathers. Although Asia presently is in a state of backwardness, we console ourselves with the thought that although we are lacking in material progress, yet, concerning spirituality, we are the pride of the world.
We feel happy when we realize that through your Excellency, the means for the acquisition of Western arts and sciences will become available for those in the East and that the youth of Persia will come to these parts to acquire material knowledge and broaden their thinking and will return to their homes to benefit their brothers and sisters in the East on the road to progress.
Further, we believe that our country, India, will greatly benefit from a visit from your Excellency. The lack of unity between the Hindus and Muslims has kept them in the utmost contention and strife. As your Excellency's teachings are very much like the teachings of our religious leaders, they will undoubtedly unite them and make these contending nations one. We are certain that you will receive the same warmth and honor in India as here in America.
We pray to God to give your Excellency long life so that you may be enabled to convey your message to all mankind.
We are, most beloved Master, your sincere friends, the members of the Society of Indians Residing in Chicago.         (Mahmud's Diary)

1925 - Selfless Devotion

"Entire and selfless devotion is what is most needful. The brighter our torch burns, the more light will it give and the more readily will it impart its blaze to others.

(From a letter dated 3 May 1925 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer) (Compilations, The Individual and Teaching - Raising the Divine Call, p. 19)

1933 -  an environment within which man can spiritually progress

The more society is threatened by wars, and the more humanity is seen desperate before the problems that confront it, the more should the Bahá'ís take courage and redouble their energy in diffusing the teachings. For it is only through such divine precepts that the world can obtain peace and tranquility, and become an environment within which man can spiritually progress and attain his noble destiny.

Letter on behalf of Shoghi Effendi  (Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance v I, p. 45)

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