Sunday, November 05, 2006

Knowledge must result in Action

A representative from a well known society made reference to its meetings for the purpose of a search into the reality of truth, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said “I know of your work. I think a great deal of it. I know your desire is to serve mankind, and to draw together Humanity under the banner of Oneness; but its members must beware less it become only a discussion. Look about you. How many committees have been formed, and living for a little while, have died! Committees and Societies can not create or give life.
“People get together and talk, but it is God’s Word alone that is powerful in its results. Consider for a moment: you would not trade together if you had no income from it and derived no benefit! Look at the followers of Christ. Their power was due to their ardour and their deeds. Every effort must have its result, else it is not a true effort. You must become the means of lighting the world of humanity. This is the infallible proof and sign. Every progress depends on two things, knowledge and practice. First acquire knowledge, and, when conviction is reached, put it into practice.
“Once a learned man journeyed to see me to receive my blessing, saying he knew and comprehended the Bahá’í teachings. When I told him that he could receive the blessings of the Holy Spirit at any time when he put himself in a receptive attitude to accept them, he said he was always in a receptive attitude.
“‘What would you do,’ I asked ‘if I were to suddenly turn and strike you?’ He instantly flared with indignation and strode angrily about the room.
“After a little I went over and took his arm, saying, ‘But you must return good for evil. Whether I honoured you or despised you, you should follow the teachings; now you merely read them. Remember the words of Jesus who said, ‘The first shall be last, and the last first.’ The man turned, shook my hand and departed, and I have since heard of many kind acts he has done.” When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was addressed by the name of prophet, he answered, “My name is ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Servant of God” [literally, the Slave of Glory.][1]
[1]Compare:—“My Name is ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. My Reality is ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: and Service to all the human race is my perpetual Religion.... ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is the Banner of the Most Great Peace ...The Herald of the Kingdom is he, so that he may awaken the people of the East and the West. The Voice of Friendship, of Truth, and of Reconciliation is he, quickening all regions. No name, no title will he ever have, except ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. This is my longing. This is my Supreme height. O ye friends of God! ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is the manifestation of Service, and not Christ. The Servant of humanity is he, and not a chief. Summon ye the people to the station of Service of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and not his Christhood.” (From a letter sent to the friends in New York, January 1st, 1907.)

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