Selections From the Writings of `Abdu'l-Bahá
190: Thou seest me, O my God, bowed down in lowliness, ...
Thou seest me, O my God, bowed down in lowliness, humbling myself before Thy commandments, submitting
to Thy sovereignty, trembling at the might of Thy
dominion, fleeing from Thy wrath, entreating Thy grace,
relying upon Thy forgiveness, shaking with awe at Thy
fury. I implore Thee with a throbbing heart, with streaming
tears and a yearning soul, and in complete detachment from
all things, to make Thy lovers as rays of light across Thy
realms, and to aid Thy chosen servants to exalt Thy Word,
that their faces may turn beauteous and bright with splendour,
that their hearts may be filled with mysteries, and that
every soul may lay down its burden of sin. Guard them
then from the aggressor, from him who hath become a
shameless and blasphemous doer of wrong.
Verily Thy lovers thirst, O my Lord; lead them to the
wellspring of bounty and grace. Verily, they hunger; send
down unto them Thy heavenly table. Verily, they are
naked; robe them in the garments of learning and knowledge.
Heroes are they, O my Lord, lead them to the field of
battle. Guides are they, make them to speak out with
arguments and proofs. Ministering servants are they, cause
them to pass round the cup that brimmeth with the wine of
certitude. O my God, make them to be songsters that carol
in fair gardens, make them lions that couch in the thickets,
whales that plunge in the vasty deep.
Verily Thou art He of abounding grace. There is none
other God save Thee, the Mighty, the Powerful, the Ever-Bestowing.
O ye my spiritual friends! For some time now the
pressures have been severe, the restrictions as shackles of
iron. This hapless wronged one was left single and alone,
for all the ways were barred. Friends were forbidden access
to me, the trusted were shut away, the foe compassed me
about, the evil watchers were fierce and bold. At every
instant, fresh affliction. At every breath, new anguish. Both
kin and stranger on the attack; indeed, one-time lovers,
faithless and unpitying, were worse than foes as they rose up
to harass me. None was there to defend `Abdu'l-Bahá, no
helper, no protector, no ally, no champion. I was drowning
in a shoreless sea, and ever beating upon my ears were the
raven-croaking voices of the disloyal.
At every daybreak, triple darkness. At eventide, stone-hearted
tyranny. And never a moment's peace, and never
any balm for the spear's red wounds. From moment to
moment, word would come of my exile to the Fezzan
sands; from hour to hour, I was to be cast into the endless
sea. Now they would say that these homeless wanderers
were ruined at last; again that the cross would soon be put
to use. This wasted frame of mine was to be made the
target for bullet or arrow; or again, this failing body was to
be cut to ribbons by the sword.
Our alien acquaintances could not contain themselves for
joy, and our treacherous friends exulted. `Praise be to God,'
one would exclaim, `Here is our dream come true.' And
another, `God be thanked, our spear-head found the heart.'
Affliction beat upon this captive like the heavy rains of
spring, and the victories of the malevolent swept down in a
relentless flood, and still `Abdu'l-Bahá remained happy and
serene, and relied on the grace of the All-Merciful. That
pain, that anguish, was a paradise of all delights; those
chains were the necklace of a king on a throne in heaven.
Content with God's will, utterly resigned, my heart surrendered
to whatever fate had in store, I was happy. For a
boon companion, I had great joy.
Finally a time came when the friends turned inconsolable,
and abandoned all hope. It was then the morning dawned,
and flooded all with unending light. The towering clouds
were scattered, the dismal shadows fled. In that instant the
fetters fell away, the chains were lifted off the neck of this
homeless one and hung round the neck of the foe. Those
dire straits were changed to ease, and on the horizon of
God's bounties the sun of hope rose up. All this was out of
God's grace and His bestowals.
And yet, from one point of view, this wanderer was
saddened and despondent. For what pain, in the time to
come, could I seek comfort? At the news of what granted
wish could I rejoice? There was no more tyranny, no more
affliction, no tragical events, no tribulations. My only joy in
this swiftly-passing world was to tread the stony path of
God and to endure hard tests and all material griefs. For
otherwise, this earthly life would prove barren and vain,
and better would be death. The tree of being would produce
no fruit; the sown field of this existence would yield no
harvest. Thus it is my hope that once again some circumstance
will make my cup of anguish to brim over, and that
beauteous Love, that Slayer of souls, will dazzle the beholders
again. Then will this heart be blissful, this soul be
O Divine Providence! Lift to Thy lovers' lips
a cup brimful of anguish. To the yearners on Thy pathway,
make sweetness but a sting, and poison honey-sweet.
Set Thou our heads for ornaments on the points of
spears. Make Thou our hearts the targets for pitiless
arrows and darts. Raise Thou this withered soul to life on
the martyr's field, make Thou his faded heart to drink
the draught of tyranny, and thus grow fresh and fair once
more. Make him to be drunk with the wine of Thine
Eternal Covenant, make him a reveller holding high his
cup. Help him to fling away his life; grant that for Thy
sake, he be offered up.
Thou art the Mighty, the Powerful. Thou art the
Knower, the Seer, the Hearer.