Father and Son

November 27. 2021, Grapevine- In a nutshell, I have been treated like royalty by my son, since he was in the Navy, and continuing to the present time. Truth be known, I would do the same, were he ever again in need. That has, to our minds, been the bedrock of a parent/child relationship for all time. I would do the same if I had a daughter.

Today marked the Centenary of the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, the eldest son and Successor to Baha’u’llah, as Head of the Baha’i Faith. He took the leadership role upon His Father’s Ascension, on May 29, 1892, serving in that capacity for over 29 years, until November 28, 1921. The fluctuations in the actual day when His passing is honoured stem from the use of the Lunar Calendar for this day, as well some other commemorations.

What is most important for the generality of mankind is the tenor of the relationship between the two Great Teachers. Baha’u’llah, like Christ, Gautama Siddhartha, Muhammed and Others before Him, brought a set of Spiritual Teachings, geared towards the people of His time and for many centuries thereafter. ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s major tasks were to interpret His Father’s Teachings to the world and to serve as an Exemplar, with regard to how these Divine Principles may best be manifested in everyday life. He was the first to recognize His Father as a Divine Messenger, even while still a child.

So were Their interwoven lives the stuff of both celestial spiritual provenance and of how parents and children can most optimally work in concert. ‘Abdu’l-Baha was a devoted Son to His mother as well, and a steadfast Brother to His two siblings: Bahiyyih, entitled Khanum (“Lady”, in Persian) and Mihdi, His younger brother, who died accidentally, while still young. He was a chaste and loving Husband to Munirih Khanum.

Even with the constant upheavals in the family’s lives, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, the Perfect Son in every way imaginable, walked among people of all strata of society, seeing none as an inherent enemy and giving even His detractors their due. He served the people of British-ruled Palestine tirelessly, helping feed thousands of people during the privations during and after World War I. He visited rich and poor alike, during travels in Egypt, Europe and North America, from 1910-1913.

When Baha’u’llah transcended in 1892, and His eldest Son, in 1921, hundreds of people, from the political leaders of Palestine to farmers, fishermen and labourers in the streets, gathered to pay their respects. Their Family had come as prisoners of the Sultan, but focused Their energies solely on bettering the lives of those among whom They lived. That effort was not lost on the people, and remains to this day as a prime example for all who call themselves members of the human family.

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