February 09, 2012

Bahiyyih Khanum..greatest example of servitude to God


a dear friend, Nava Sarracino, forwarded this excerpt to me today.  it depicts the highest embodiment of Baha'i character and servitude toward God.  Bahiyyih Khanum represented every Baha'i value and principle during her lifetime, but especially when the Guardian passed away in 1957 -- she was the one to whom everyone turned to represent the Baha'i Faith until the Universal House of Justice was elected in 1963.

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Quote from Marjory Morten, a Western Pilgrim, who describes some of the attributes of Bahá’íyyih Khánum:

“You were sure that if one tried to hurt her she would wish to console him for his own cruelty.  For her love was unconditioned, could penetrate disguise and see hunger behind the mask of fury, and she knew that the most brutal self is secretly hoping to find gentleness in another.  She had that rarest heart-courage, - to uncover the very quick of tenderness to any need.  And so deep was her understanding that she plumbed all the miseries of the human heart and read their significance, 
blessing both the victim and the valid pain itself.  

So alive was she to the source of all bounty that she had no consciousness of her own bounty.  When she made a gift she seemed to be thanking you for it.  The prompting included gratitude.  When she gave joy she blessed you for it.  It was almost as if she did not distinguish giving from receiving … 

She took nothing for granted in the way of devoted service and even in her last hours she whispered or smiled her thanks for every littlest ministration … She delighted in making presents, - sweetmeats and goodies and coins for the children, and for others flowers, keepsakes, - a vial of attar of roses, a rosary, or some delicate thing that she had used and cared for.  Anything that was given her she one day gave to someone else, someone in whom she felt a special need of a special favour. 

She was channel rather than cup; open treasury, 
not locked casket.
And as she would not lock away her small treasures, neither would she store up her wisdom and her riches of experience.  In her, experience left no bitter ash.  Her flame transmuted all of life, even its crude and base particles, into gold.  And this gold she spent.  Her wisdom was of the heart.  
She never reduced it to formula or precept: we have no wise sayings of hers that we can hang motto-like on our walls, just by being what she was she gave us all that she knew.

… Something greater than forgiveness she had shown in meeting the cruelties and strictures in her own life.  To be hurt and to forgive is saintly but far beyond this is the power to comprehend and not to be hurt.  This power she had … She was never known to complain or lament.  It was not that she made the best of things, but that she found in everything, even in calamity itself, the germs of enduring wisdom.  She did not resist the shocks and upheavals of life and she did not run counter to obstacles.  

She was never impatient.  She was as incapable of impatience as she was of revolt.  But this was not so much long-suffering as it was quiet awareness of the forces that operate in the hours of waiting and inactivity.  Always she moved with the larger rhythm, the wider sweep, toward the ultimate goal.  Surely, confidently, she followed the circle of her orbitaround the Sun of her existence, in that complete acquiescence, that perfect accord, which underlies faith itself.”

Quoted in Baharieh Rouhani Má’ání, Leaves of the Twin Divine Trees, pp. 222-223

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