‘Abdu’l-Bahá

‘Abdu’l-Bahá is the Center of the Covenant of the Bahá’í Faith. Here is a description of Him from a well-known biography:

“Here is a life, abundant, spacious, immeasurable. It cannot be adequately described. It cannot be encompassed. It lies beyond the range of assessment, because every event in the life of the Son of Bahá’u’lláh carries a major accent. He was eight years old when He was taken to the dungeon of Tihran and saw His beloved Father bent under the weight of chains. From that tender age to His seventy-seventh year when, His work done, He left His mortal frame, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá lived a life of total self-abnegation, of unbroken, unqualified service to God and to man. In this field He did not spare Himself toil or pain. Bahá’u’lláh had given Him these designations: ‘the Greatest Branch’, ‘the Mystery of God’, ‘the Master’. But once the mantle of authority came to rest on His shoulders, He chose to be known as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá — the Servant of Bahá.
     “‘Abdu’l-Bahá sorrowed with the sorrowful and the stricken and the afflicted, in deep compassion. He rejoiced with the truly joyous. Thousands thronged to His door to seek relief. Some of them sought worldly goods. But many more desired the relief which only the goods of the spirit can bestow. To them all, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave freely and abundantly. No one found His door shut. No one was turned away. No one left His presence empty-handed. He did not merely wait for the oppressed and the bewildered and the fallen to come to Him. He went out to find them and to serve them. The learned and the wise also came to Him and drank deeply at the fount of His knowledge. Rulers and potentates, statesmen and generals, the mighty and the great came as well, and found in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá a counsellor whose motives were generous and disinterested.
     “It would be erroneous to imagine that by this description we have given a complete portrait of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and have encompassed Him. What we have said of Him can be said of saints and seers of all ages. No description can measure up to the theme of a life which transcended every barrier to its total fulfilment. Once an observer remarked that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá walked ‘the mystic way with practical feet’.”

     “Thornton Chase, the first Bahá’í of the American continent, wrote in the early years of the century:
     “The fame of him has gone round the world. Many, from this country, led by various motives, have visited him, and we have seen and heard them after their return. Without exception they have agreed in declaring that they have seen the most powerful being upon the earth. They tell how, going before him with varied expectations, curiosities or hopes, and finding themselves in his presence, they were overwhelmed with awe, shame, fear, love, abasement or exaltation, emotions differing according to the conditions of each. They tell how they fell at his feet and longed to kiss even the dust on which he trod . . .
     “Strong men, with tears streaming down their cheeks and voices broken with emotion, have told us of the unspeakable love, gentleness, majesty and power radiating from that simple man of slender build and medium height . . .
     “We are told how the little children love him — how he takes them in his arms and bears them on their way to school and enters into their hearts with his sweet sympathies; how the poor and afflicted hover around his steps and feed upon his words, while he blesses them with both material and spiritual gifts; how the friends brave all things, endure all things and bear all trials to gain the briefest visit to him; how his enemies bow and bend like willows before the gentle forgiveness of his look; how no soul can enter and leave his presence without being changed — for better, or for worse. (Thornton Chase, What Went Ye Out For to See)”

– H. M. Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: The Centre of the Covenant of Baha’u’llah p. 3-5

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