Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ascension of 'Abdu'l-Baha

On the morning of November 28th, Baha'is around the world commemorated the passing in 1921 of 'Abdu'l Baha, designated by Baha'u'llah, Founder of the Baha'i Faith as the Center of the Covenant to whom all Baha'is should turn and the Interpreter of Baha'u'llah's Writings, which exceed one hundred volumes. 'Abdu'l-Baha is also considered by Baha'is to be the perfect Exemplar of Baha'u'llah's teachings and is refered to by Baha'u'llah as the "Mystery of God". The Baha'i Writings offer this testimony of the station of this remarkable, revolutionary soul:

He is, and should for all time be regarded, first and foremost, as the Center and Pivot of Bahá'u'lláh's peerless and all-enfolding Covenant, His most exalted handiwork, the stainless Mirror of His light, the perfect Exemplar of His teachings, the unerring Interpreter of His Word, the embodiment of every Bahá'í ideal, the incarnation of every Bahá'í virtue, the Most Mighty Branch sprung from the Ancient Root, the Limb of the Law of God, the Being "round Whom all names revolve," the Mainspring of the Oneness of Humanity, the Ensign of the Most Great Peace, the Moon of the Central Orb of this most holy Dispensation -- styles and titles that are implicit and find their truest, their highest and fairest expression in the magic name 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He is, above and beyond these appellations, the "Mystery of God" -- an expression by which Bahá'u'lláh Himself has chosen to designate Him, and which, while it does not by any means justify us to assign to Him the station of Prophethood, indicates how in the person of 'Abdu'l-Bahá the incompatible characteristics of a human nature and superhuman knowledge and perfection have been blended and are completely harmonized. (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 134)

Horace Holly, an heroic early American Baha'i put it this way at a lecture he gave in Los Angeles in 1948:

"Now a message from God must be delivered, and there was no mankind to hear this message.

Therefore, God gave the world ‘Abdu’l-Baha. ‘Abdu’l-Baha¡ received the message of Baha’u’llah on behalf of the human race. He heard the voice of God; He was inspired by the spirit; He attained complete consciousness and awareness of the meaning of this message, and He pledged the human race to respond to the voice of God. My friends, to me that is the covenant that there was on this earth some one who could be a representative of an as yet uncreated race."

If you want to read some more about 'Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i Related Blog has a nice piece on his passing and my friend Phyllis Ring has a column about him regarding thanksgiving.