November 3, 2016

Seeing the world through the eyes of ‘Abdu’l-Baha – “the greatest theatre in which humanity plays its part”

O thou who hast clung to the pure hem of the Branch of the Blessed Tree.

Behold thou the world and the inhabitants thereof with a seeing eye. It is the greatest theatre in which humanity plays its part. Thou seest hosts of people, running in the Arena of profit and loss and the waves of the Sea of madness are visible and apparent in many parts. Uproarious voices are raised, and clamor, revolution and intense tumult reaches the ears of the discerning ones. Bitter quarrels and strife are waged between capital and labor, and with swords and arrows, spears and daggers, battles are fought between the lowly and the high. Everywhere the regiments of the Armies are drawn in battle array and the infernal and destructive artilleries are mounted on every side. The gleaming brightness of the swords of enmity is seen from afar and the intense brilliancy of the spears of hatred is illuminating the black darkness of the night and dazzling the eyes.

By the above statement is meant that the implements of warfare, struggle, battle and slaughter are prepared and ready in utmost completeness. On the other hand thou hearest the voice of music and harmony, the melody of harps, organs and songs, and seest the signs of joy and happiness, mirth and cheerfulness. Here thou observest the spectacle of the attachment of the people to gold and silver, and the display of decorations, tinsels, earthly pageants, pomps, worldly ambitions and covetousness are the conditions of the ephemeral world. And there thou hearest the moans of helplessness and lamentation, the groanings of pain and sufferings and the cries of terror and impotence. The wailing of the weeping ones, the deprecations of the afflicted ones, the grief of the distressed ones and the despair of those drowning in the Sea of Tests are ascending toward Heaven, fervently begging help and succor. Hither thou beholdest the burning pangs of separation, the enkindlement of the Fire of longing and the scorching of yearning, and yonder thou seest the agitation and raging of Kings and headless ministers, the contention and rivalry of thoughts and ideas of senseless leaders and the consultations, tactics, strategies, devices, constructions and destructions, fame and notoriety of the Counsellors of Kingdoms and Empires.

To sum up, when thou ponderest upon the results, ends, promises and conclusions of all these spectacles, thou shalt realize assuredly that all these are as fleeting mirages and its sweetness followed by bitter poison, and few days shall pass before all these conditions will become nonexistent.

But when thou closest thine eyes to this darkened world and openest them to the Realm on High thou seest only Lights, and everything imperishable, eternal, everlasting and immortal. There the reality of mysteries is unveiled to thee. Therefore happy is the soul who has not attached his heart to the allurements, seductions and ease of this mortal world. Nay, rather, with purity, freedom and excellence is dependent upon the Eternal World. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a Tablet to Haji Mirza Mahmoud, the Afnan; ‘The Baha’i Bulletin’, vol. 1, no. 6, April-May 1909)