This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
of 'Àbdu'lBahá. She was named Bahíyyih. Tothe followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláhshe was known and reverenced as TheGreatest Holy Leaf. To those she livedamong she was Khánum which is to say,Lady. It is this Khánum the woman, herpervading spirit, who lives on in the hearts of all who knew and loved her, -- Khánum,moving serene and steadfast through the days;showing goodness in a simple sharing of eachday's portion and leaving for us to take andshare in turn precious morsels of thesubstance that was for her the daily bread of life. Khánum 1895 When you think of the traits and ways thatmade up her lovely behavior she comes toyou at first, perhaps, as she welcomed youamong her guests, -- gracefully erect andpoised, controlled yet at ease, -putting othersat ease, without familiarity, -- and with themild dignity, simplicity andunselfconsciousness of a great lady. Hergraciousness and courtesy reflected thecourtly Persia of another day. Even with herfamily she observed some of the punctilio of that day, gestures that for her were a part of aliving ritual rather than a dead form; delicatevalues of human relationships that outlast allform and fashion and that expressed herinnate respect and consideration for everyfellow-being.And those restraining customs which in theEast still hedged about a lady of her rank andstation you saw as you came to know her thatshe accepted as she would inclement weatherthat kept her indoors; saw that she hadmolded her life to the bounds of her sphere,pouring into it the resources of her own spirit,and had found scope for all her qualities. Herbalance, sense of fineness and fitness andpractical judgment she displayed in creatingorder and grace in the household, and all theelements that make for well-being sheblended in an ambience of harmony. Herstrong will was never used to override and herdecided opinions were never pressed uponanother. Her ways were gentle. Others mightbreak the shell with a blow; it was for her tounsheath the kernel with infinite care andskill. In her you met with no exactions, nobiddance; she beckoned, smiling, and wouldhave no one come heavy-footed or bent to herwill. So quietly did she make her influencefelt that you were scarcely conscious of itsworking.And she shed her creative sympathy in theform of tender interest in every detail in the S
lives of those around her, entering into theirhours in the small and filling them withhappiness. At the moment you did notrecognize this sympathy as sympathy, butenjoyed it in pleasure. It is a charmingPersian habit to wrap a gift in an embroideredsilk or linen cloth, as fine in its way as thething enclosed. So, always, she gave a giftwithin the gift. You took the happy warmthof contentment you felt when you were withher and only later came to realize that thiswas the fine wrapping of a deeper joy, aricher core. One of the endless glimpses of this two-fold blessing we had one day whenwe were with
And she would. Butyou would not be content to describe her asmotherly. -who came trembling and tearful. for she knew that those in sore need canbe bruised by the least pressure of compassion. touched her whitecotton dress and the veil and wreath of orangeflowers we had improvised for her in westernfashion. "mádar ayb nadárad. it seemed. If you haddone wrong or failed in your effort." . havethem unaware of any debt of love. never mind. When you broughther your darkness she lit a taper.This tender expression she used generally toall those who were close about her.hardly more than achild. if you did not suffer and feltno shame in failure.her in Àkká and she lay ill of fever. too. So lightwas her touch that she woke in them no senseof responsibility or conscious gratitude. Not onlydid she not single out black from white in theflock. Khánum 1919 She would not weigh your worth and rewardyou according to your deserts. she loved you themore. Sheblessed her with a smile.pitying you for your weakness and defeat andpitying you. She left spirit and bodyalike utterly free. conscious of your chagrin in failure. Khánum 1931 . or evenfailed to make the effort. something that asks responseto the love showered. “How very pretty!”The little bride forgot her fears at that word of approval and went to her marriage with ablessing she was not yet able to understand. She would give the balm itself and add no weight of her own hand. Hermurmur of. Mother-love embraces and holds. She never sat in judgment and was not concerned withseparating the sheep from the goats. as if she knew that sufferinghas a sanctity of its own. She would not A Tribute to Bahíyyih Khánum by Marjorie Morten 2 use criticism and censure. Atthe time you neither knew nor asked itssource. To each one she was comforter. Evenwhen she comforted. and said softly. demanding nothing of thoseshe loved. -. but in the inner fold of your own natureshe did not call the fault dark nor see thewhite lamb in a good action. Just before the simple ceremony shesent for the young girl. her caress was feathersoft. has something of possessiveness. There was no hint of this in her affection.however lightly. nor would sheconsider whether your pain were inflicted orself-provoked. Motherliness is too confining aterm. and your thankfulness overflowed in ahappy sharing of the gift. so thathealing and comfort came as a magic gift. while all the house was filled withhushed preparations for a wedding thatevening." Mother.Among the Persians a mother in admonishingor consoling her child calls it mádar mother.was an assuaging echo in thehouse.
To have her there with themmade the day a festival.to uncover the very quickof tenderness to any need. someone in whom she felt a special needof a special favour. andfor others flowers. She was channel ratherthan cup. -. open treasury. a rosary. . keepsakes. She had that rarestheart -courage. And when they camedown in the evening she thanked them for herdelight in their play and for the happinesstheir happiness had given her.So alive was she to the source of all bountythat she had no consciousness of her ownbounty. When she gave joy sheblessed you for it. A Tribute to Bahíyyih Khánum by Marjorie Morten 3 . You knew that heropenhandedness was the evidence of anunbroken stream of impelling kindness thatflowed through her. and she knew thatthe most brutal self is secretly hoping to findgentleness in another. For her love was unconditioned. it was high privilege. -. blessing both the victim and thevalid pain itself. you felt no pausebetween impulse and act.Though she was unaware of her ownloving-kindness she was moved by the leasttrace of it in others. Anything thatwas given her she one day gave to someoneelse. Shedelighted in making presents. aswhen. . -.sweetmeatsand goodies and coins for the children.You were sure that if one tried to hurt her shewould wish to console him for his owncruelty.could penetrate disguise and see hungerbehind the mask of fury. not considered. during the last year of her life.a vial of attarof roses. But she tooknothing for granted in the way of devotedservice and even in her last hours shewhispered or smiled her thanks for everylittlest ministration. It was almost as if she didnot distinguish giving from receiving. When she made a gift she seemed tobe thanking you for it. Her generosity wasinstinctive. she wentone summer day to the mountain with thechildren of her family and sat watching themat their picnic. not locked casket. To serve her was notduty. This joy that sheshed she shared. The promptingincluded gratitude. And so deep washer understanding that she plumbed all themiseries of the human heart and read theirsignificance. or some delicate thing thatshe had used and cared for. . that never failed.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.