THE LIFE OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHA
The life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Exemplar of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, stands out as a shining example of what real happiness is. From the age of nine He shared the sufferings and persecutions inflicted upon His Father, spending forty years in ‘Akká as a prisoner of two Turkish despots. Yet during those dark years, He remained the most cheerful of the companions of Bahá’u’lláh, and poured out His love on all whom He met. A few years after His release, He said:
Freedom is not a matter of place, but of condition. I was happy in that prison, for those days were passed in the path of service.
To me prison was freedom.
Troubles are a rest to me.
Death is life.
To be despised is honour.
Therefore was I full of happiness all through that prison time.
When one is released from the prison of self, that is indeed freedom! For self is the greatest prison.
When this release takes place, one can never be imprisoned. Unless one accepts dire vicissitudes, not with dull resignation, but with radiant acquiescence, one cannot attain this freedom. 8