October 24, 2010

The Holy Family enters the prison in Akka – recalls the Greatest Holy Leaf, Bahiyyih Khanum

The Greatest Holy Leaf told me that they were marvelously happy in the barracks, and that the second night they were there, they got laughing so hard Baha'u'llah came to the door and told them to stop, that He was afraid the guard would think they had gone crazy to be so happy in such a place.

I then asked the Greatest Holy Leaf if she would give us some of the incidents of her early life with Baha'u'llah and if she was with Him at 'Akka in the Barracks. She said that when they were coming to the 'Akka Prison they landed first at Haifa, seventy-two in number. They were kept in a little house here for a few hours and then put in sailboats. They sailed across the bay to 'Akka, and as there was no place to land, they were placed in chairs, carried by two men and taken to shore. Everybody had come to the shore to watch their arrival because everyone was interested to see what kind of people these prisoners were.

October 13, 2010

Meeting Shoghi Effendi for the first time – Recollection by Hand of the Cause, Ugo Giacherry

I have now only a vague memory of what happened or what I saw in the hours until I met Shoghi Effendi that evening of the middle of February 1952.

Those Baha'is who went on pilgrimage during the lifetime of Shoghi Effendi will remember the air of expectation which reigned all day until the coveted moment when, at dinner-time, one was ushered into the Guardian's presence. It was a custom to let the newcomer precede everyone else to the dining-room of the Western Pilgrim House -- an oval-shaped room at the northern end of the lower floor of the building. When my time came that evening, friendly, eager hands led me down the staircase into a large empty hall and through another room to a clear glass door of the French type which opened into the dining-room. Those loving hands literally pushed me through the door into the room where a large table was set for the evening meal. At the far north-eastern side of the table, almost facing the door, sat Shoghi Effendi, his handsome face absorbed in deep thought. A few seconds elapsed as I paused, unable to utter a word or a cry, while my heart was ready to burst. He was wearing a dark steel-grey coat and on his head rested a black tarboosh of unusual height and shape. He lifted his head in my direction and then I met his luminous penetrating gaze. As he rose to greet me a broad smile illumined his whole face, while his eyes seemed to probe my innermost being, as if searching for proofs of love and trust.

October 1, 2010

The Most Perfect Gentleman

Howard Colby Ives, a very distinguished early believer, was a former Unitarian Clergyman, who met ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in April, 1912 when the Master came to New York. He wrote a fascinating autobiography entitled 'Portals to Freedom', from which the excerpt below has been taken:

'I have before spoken of His [‘Abdu’l-Baha’s] unfailing courtesy. It was really more than what that term usually connotes to the Western mind. The same Persian word is used for both reverence and courtesy. He "saw the Face of His Heavenly Father in every face" and reverenced the soul behind it. How could one be discourteous if such an attitude was held towards everyone!

'The husband of 'Abdu'l-Baha's hostess in Dublin, who, while never becoming an avowed believer, had many opportunities of meeting and talking with the Master, when asked to sum up his impressions of Him, responded, after a little consideration: "I think He is the most perfect gentleman I have ever known."’ (Howard Colby Ives, Portals to Freedom, p. 116)