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Divine Sense of Humor?

Posted on November 8, 2017 at 8:15 AM

Day 7 of #bahaiblogging

Yes, I am running a day late, but not stressing over it. I started to write a piece about 'Abdu'l-Baha, son of Baha'u'llah, because on Day 6 I reflected on how a smile is like the sun, which led to me remembering 'Abdu'l-Baha once said to a group of people in New York: "I want you to be happy... to laugh, smile and rejoice in order that others may be made happy by you." He then said "I will pray for you." :D

So, I thought I'd write about 'Abdu'l-Baha's 'sense of humor' which has been written about before. Here's a web page with a piece about that, starting out with a joke he used to tell about the sad fate of a Muslim, a Christian and a Jew on a boat in a storm, which you might like.

The author of the piece claims that 'Abdu'l-Baha (who was called 'Master' although his name, which he claimed as his true name, means "servant") had a sense of humor that was downplayed by most biographers and essayists. One can imagine why. He, after all, was the son of Baha'u'llah. Should he not be completely and utterly engaged in convincing others to support the Cause of God, and to turn to Baha'u'llah's Teachings because Baha'u'llah (meaning Glory of God) is the mouthpiece of God for this Age of Enlightenment and Unity?

One reason I can think of is that there's a real danger in becoming too caught up in your own personal contribution to saving the planet... Muslims have a word for that. I am not sure what the word is, but it translates to something like 'trying to become partners with God.' I can just imagine the group of earnest people at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, eager to hear the words of 'Abdu'l-Baha. I wonder if they laughed at his closing words? Did he say 'I will pray for you' with a meaningful lilt?

It was a book largely about the transforming effect 'Abdu'l-Baha had on a Unitarian Minister (Howard Colby Ives) that turned the light on in my heart for Baha'u'llah. It is called Portals to Freedom. Stephen Fuqua reviewed it 5 years ago on my birthday, here:

Here's my tribute to the Master, in the words of the Indigo Girls, from the song 'Closer To Fine':

"...the best thing you've ever done for me
is to help me take my life less seriously.
It's only life after all."

You might also like God Loves Laughtera biography of Baha'i 'Hand of the Cause of God' William Sears (who was born on my daughter's birthday, a coincidence which freaked me out when I read it).

Peace! Niki

Categories: Spiritual Themes

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1 Comment

Reply Lucki
4:57 PM on November 8, 2017 
It's absolutely OK if you're running a day late. "There are no blog police." A fact that greatly reassures me as I try to keep up with the Challenge. As to the Master loving laughter, I remember enjoying some of that in Vignettes from the Life of 'Abdu'l-Baha when it first came out 35 years ago. And in Twigs of a Family Tree, my first spiritual child, Mead Simon, relates how heartening it was for him, as a seeker 35 years ago, to see that Baha'is were willing to laugh at themselves. It's a lighthearted story involving one of the hoariest old Baha'i jokes ever.