Mrs. Louise R. Waite
Impressions on ‘Abdu’l-Baha
Mrs. Louise R. Waite
Source: The Baha’i World 1934-1936
I was deeply impressed by His perfect naturalness, His lack of conventionality and set form, and His refreshing simplicity. Divinely simple is He. His hair, which is gray and long, but rather thin, would at one time be flowing softly around His head, and at another it would be tucked up beneath His turban in a careless, comfortable way. All His physical senses seem intensified and when eating anything which He particularly likes, He evidences the keenest enjoyment of it. Likewise, the perfume of a flower will seem to entrance Him. I thought of what one pilgrim at ‘Akka had said: “When ‘ABDU’L-BAHA inhales the odor of flowers, it is wonderful to see Him. It seems that the perfume of the hyacinth is telling Him something as He buries His face in the flowers. It is like the effort of the ear — a concentrated attention. How He understands the mystery of all these things of which we know nothing!” This, indeed, is true.
While there was a deep undercurrent of exultancy in ‘ABDU’L-BAHA, yet, during my visit, which was but a few days, to my consciousness there seemed a strain of sorrow and sadness, as if the weight of the world was upon His shoulders. Especially did I realize this upon my first night in ‘Akka. I occupied the room next to His. His bed rested against the same wall that mine did and I could hear His slightest move. I could not sleep, and as I lay there wide-awake, I heard Him pacing up and down His room; then He would throw Himself upon His bed; then arise and walk back and forth again. Once, when He threw Himself down upon His bed, He moaned. Oh, that moan! It came from the depths of His soul and it pierced me through the heart. … I felt that once again the Christ Spirit was daily, hourly, being crucified by the lack of perfect love and unity among the believers; that once again It was crying out: “O Jerusalem! Jerusalem! thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee! How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate!”
How I longed to go to Him and declare my love and faith in Him! Then I realized that it is not our love and faith in Him, but our love for one another, that is His crown of glory and the balm for His soul; for He had said to a pilgrim: “If you love one another, it is just the same as if you love Me. The closer you draw to one another, the closer you draw to Me. I will go away from this world, but love always stays. Therefore, you should love one another very much.”
…‘ABDU’L-BAHA, the Mystery of God!
Who can comprehend that Mystery? Surely not finite mind or intellect. Only through the heart can we catch a faint glimpse of His Station.