Selfless

The next morning ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was preparing to leave for Vienna, when the president of the Turanian Society was announced. He requested ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to delay His departure because they had planned another meeting for Him, and had widely advertised it. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá acceded to this request.
(H.M. Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá - The Centre of the Covenant, p. 387)


The first person singular seldom crept into the Master’s speech. He once told group of New York friends that in the future the words ‘I’ and ‘Me’ and ‘Mine’ would be regarded as profane. Lua Getsinger reported that one day she and Georgie Ralston were driving with the Master. He closed His eyes and apparently fell asleep. Lua and Georgie talked on, probably about their own concerns, for suddenly the Master’s eyes sprang open and He laughed. ‘I, me, my, mine: words of the Devil!’ He said.
(Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)


The Master’s life was centered on God, not on Himself. To do God’s will, to be His servant, were his concerns. He disliked photographs of Himself, permitting them only to satisfy His friends. ‘But to have a picture of oneself,’ He said, ‘is to emphasize the personality, which is merely the lamp, and is quite unimportant. The light burning within the lamp has the only real significance.’
(Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)


When Bahá’u’lláh lived at Bahji – and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá at Akka – the Master would visit His Father once a week. He liked to do this on foot and when asked why He did not ride to Bahji He responded by asking, ‘…who am I that I should ride where the Lord Christ walked?’ However, His Father requested Him to ride, so in order to comply the Master rode out of Akka, but when He sighted Bahá’u’lláh’s Mansion, He dismounted. Bahá’u’lláh used to watch for His approach from His second-floor window and as soon as He saw Him coming. He would joyously tell His family to go out to meet Him.
(Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)


In ‘Akka the Master’s room often contained not even a bed as He was continually giving His own to those more needy than He. Wrapped in a blanket, He would lie on the floor or even on the roof of His home. It was not possible to buy a bed in the town of ‘Akka; a bed ordered from Haifa took at least thirty-six hours to arrive. Inevitably, when the Master went on His morning round of visitations and found a feverish individual tossing on bare ground, He sent him His bed. Only after His own situation was inadvertently discovered did He receive another bed, thanks to some kind friend.
(Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 66)


The gates of the Akka prison were finally opened for Bahá’u’lláh, His family and companions after a confinement of two years, two months and five days. Many of His companions were consigned to the caravanserai, an unfit dwelling-place. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá occupied one room himself. The rooms were damp and filthy. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá sold a certain gift which had been given to Him in Baghdad and with the proceeds began to repair the rooms for the companions of Bahá’u’lláh. He left the repair of His own room to the last. The money ran out and as a result His room remained unrepaired and in very bad condition. Not only were its walls damp but the roof leaked and the floor was covered with dust. He sat and slept on a mat in that room. His bed cover was a sheepskin. The room was infested with fleas and when He slept under the sheepskin, fleas gathered and began biting. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá worked out a tactic of defeating the fleas by turning over His sheepskin at intervals. He would sleep for a while before the fleas found their way again to the inner side. He would then turn the sheepskin over again. Every night He had to resort to this tactic eight to ten times.
(Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)


One day in early May 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá travelled by train from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Washington, D.C. – a twelve-hour ride. ‘His companions begged Him to take a special compartment or a berth on the train; but He refused saying, “I spend money only to help people and to serve the Cause of God; and I have never liked distinctions since my childhood."’ (Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 108)


During His last earthly hours ‘Abdu’l-Bahá lay in bed with a fever and His night-robe needed changing. However, none could be found, as He had given them away.
(Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 66)