It is quite apparent to the seeing mind that a man’s spirit is something very different from his physical body. The spirit is changeless, indestructible. The progress and development of the soul, the joy and sorrow of the soul, are independent of the physical body. If we are caused joy or pain by a friend, if a love prove true or false, it is the soul that is affected. If our dear ones are far from us — it is the soul that grieves, and the grief or trouble of the soul may react on the body. Thus, when the spirit is fed with holy virtues, then is the body joyous; if the soul falls into sin, the body is in torment!
(‘Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks)
Commit thyself to God; give up thy will and choose that of God; abandon thy desire and lay hold on that of God; that thou mayest be a holy, spiritual and heavenly example among the maid-servants of God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 89-90)
Juliet Thompson has given us a sweet picture of the Master in ‘Akka: ‘He had sent for us that afternoon to meet Mr. Sprague and the Persian believers and, not being ready, I put on a dress I could slip into easily. As I passed the Master standing in His door: ‘I am afraid I am not dressed well enough,’ I said. He touched my arm, smiling with the utmost sweetness. ‘The Persian believers do not look at the dress, My child. They look at the heart.’
(Thompson, Diary, p. 85)
In Philadelphia, Abdu’l-Baha spoke to the friends about the Nineteen-Day Feast, which lies at the foundation of Baha’i spiritual and community life and which is held at the start of each Baha’i month. He stressed the importance of this occasion: ‘Each one of you must think how to make happy and pleased the other members of your Assembly, and each one must consider all those who are present as better and greater than himself, and each one must consider himself less than the rest. Know their station as high, and think of your own station as low. Should you act and live according to these behests, know verily, of a certainty, that that Feast is the Heavenly Food. That Supper is the “Lord’s Supper”! I am the Servant of that gathering.’
(Star of the West, vol. IV, p. 120)
“Under a grove of trees near Lake Michigan, while in Chicago in 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Baha gave intimate and loving counsel to His friends: ‘Some of you may have observed that I have not called attention to any of your individual shortcomings. I would suggest to you, that if you shall be similarly considerate in your treatment of each other, it will be greatly conducive to the harmony of your association with each other.'”
(Star of the West, vol. Ill, No. 4, p. 29. Quoted in Baha’i News, September 1977, p. 6.)
“The Master had an inexhaustible supply of stories. His facial expressions and tone of voice made a story seem real. My favorite was a little story He told about a dog.
“The Master was in Akka when Kamal Pasha became prime minister. His brother became governor of Akka. In Turkey the brother of the prime minister could do whatever he wished. One day the governor came with a carriage, and he and the Master went out together. On the way, the Master noticed that the governor had a hunting outfit and four of five large hunting dogs. A gazelle was sighted. The dogs chased after it. An Arab Baha’i who had also come along had a small dog. The governor’s five dogs did not catch anything, but this little dog caught a large gazelle.
“The governor was ashamed…He said, “What can I do? THE BAHA’IS ARE ASSISTED. These five dogs of mine could catch nothing, but this little dog did.” He dismounted and took the little dog in his arms and kissed it. He told the owner of the dog that he would not give it back to him.” (Found in the published work, The Light of the World – by George Orr Latimer)
Featured Image: Painting by HENRI DE TOULOUSE-LAUTREC, titled “Horse and Roder with a Little Dog”)