June 14, 2010

How Juliet Thompson heard about the Baha’i Faith

Juliet Thompson, (1873-1956) was a prominent early American Baha’i and artist. She was in Paris where she learned about the Faith and became a Baha'i in 1901. After a few years she settled in New York. In 1909 she went to 'Akka on pilgrimage and met 'Abdu'l-Baha, to whom she became devoted. When He arrived in New York in 1912, she followed Him everywhere and He agreed to allow her to paint His portrait. Juliet wrote a moving story about Mary Magdalen which was published in 1940. She describes here how she first heard about the Faith from Laura Barney – Laura is the believer “whose imperishable service was to collect and transmit to posterity in the form of a book, entitled "Some Answered Questions," 'Abdu'l-Bahá's priceless explanations, covering a wide variety of subjects, given to her in the course of an extended pilgrimage to the Holy Land.” (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 259)

June 7, 2010

Early believers recall witnessing the majesty, beauty, power and authority of Baha’u’llah

Haji Mirza Haydar-‘Ali, known by Western Baha’is as the ‘Angle of Carmel’ related the following story:

A certain man … once requested the late Haji Siyyid Javad-i-Karbila'i . . ., an early believer and one of the Mirrors of the Babi Dispensation, to describe the countenance of the Bab ... and its beauty. He said 'He was unsurpassed in beauty and sweetness; I saw in Him all the goodness and beauty ascribed to the person of Joseph.' … I asked him to tell us about the beauty of the One (Baha'u'llah) in Whose holy presence the Kingdom of beauty prostrates itself and at whose threshold the most high realm of omnipotence and majesty raises a song of praise and glory. He replied, 'Know with absolute certainty that if anyone, whether friend or foe, claims that he was able to look directly into the blessed face of Baha'u'llah he is a liar. I tested this repeatedly and tried time and again to gaze upon His blessed countenance, but was unable to do so. Sometimes, when a person attains the presence of Baha'u'llah, he is so enamoured and carried away that in fact he becomes dumbfounded, awestruck, oblivious of himself and forgetful of the world. And whenever he is not carried away, should he try to look into His blessed face with concentration, it would be like looking into the sun. In the same way that the eye is blinded by the efflulgent rays of the sun, causing tears to flow, should one persist in gazing upon the countenance of the Blessed Beauty, tears will fill the eyes making it impossible to gain any impression of Him.'

June 2, 2010

A story recalled by Baha’u’llah on becoming selfless ..

The story is told of a mystic knower, who went on a journey with a learned grammarian as his companion. They came to the shore of the Sea of Grandeur. The knower straightway flung himself into the waves, but the grammarian stood lost in his reasonings, which were as words that are written on water. The knower called out to him, "Why dost thou not follow?" The grammarian answered, "O Brother, I dare not advance. I must needs go back again." Then the knower cried, "Forget what thou didst read in the books of …[rhetoric and grammar], and cross the water." The death of self is needed here, not rhetoric: Be nothing, then, and walk upon the waves. (Baha'u'llah, The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys, pp. 51-52)

June 1, 2010

Mulla Husayn describes the effect on him of his first meeting with the Bab

I felt possessed of such courage and power that were the world, all its peoples and its potentates, to rise against me, I would, alone and undaunted, withstand their onslaught. The universe seemed but a handful of dust in my grasp. I seemed to be the Voice of Gabriel personified, calling unto all mankind: "Awake, for, lo! the morning Light has broken. Arise, for His Cause is made manifest. The portal of His grace is open wide; enter therein, O peoples of the world! For He who is your promised One is come!" (The Dawn-Breakers, Nabil's Narrative of the Early Days of the Bahá'í Revelation,; translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi p.65)