The Release

With the advent of the Young Turks' supremacy, realized through the

Society of Union and Progress, all the political prisoners of the Ottoman

Empire were set free. Events took the chains from my neck and placed them

about Hamid's; 'Abdu'l-Baha came out of prison and 'Abdu'l-Hamid went in!

What became of the committee? asked someone, breaking the deep silence

that followed the recital of this thrilling page of history. Arif Bey,

continued 'Abdu'l-Baha, was shot with three bullets, the general was

exiled, the next in rank died, and the third ran away to Cairo, where he

sought and received help from the Baha'is.

Will you tell us how you felt while in prison and how you regard your

freedom? I asked. We are glad that you are free.

Thank you, he said graciously, and continuing--

Freedom is not a matter of place. It is a condition. I was thankful for

the prison, and the lack of liberty was very pleasing to me, for those

days were passed in the path of service, under the utmost difficulties and

trials, bearing fruits and results.

Unless one accepts dire vicissitudes, he will not attain. To me prison is

freedom, troubles rest me, death is life, and to be despised is honour.

Therefore, I was happy all that time in prison. When one is released from

the prison of self, that is indeed release, for that is the greater

prison. When this release takes place, then one cannot be outwardly

imprisoned. When they put my feet in stocks, I would say to the guard,

'You cannot imprison me, for here I have light and air and bread and

water. There will come a time when my body will be in the ground, and I

shall have neither light nor air nor food nor water, but even then I shall

not be imprisoned.' The afflictions which come to humanity sometimes tend

to centre the consciousness upon the limitations, and this is a veritable

prison. Release comes by making of the will a Door through which the

confirmations of the Spirit come.

This sounded so like the old theology that the modern in me rose doubting

if the discipline could be compensated for by the effort. What do you

mean by the confirmations of the Spirit?

The confirmations of the Spirit are all those powers and gifts which some

are born with (and which men sometimes call genius), but for which others

have to strive with infinite pains. They come to that man or woman who

accepts his life with radiant acquiescence.

Radiant acquiescence--that was the quality with which we all suddenly

seemed inspired as 'Abdu'l-Baha bade us good-bye.

It was a remarkable experience, hearing one who had passed along the

prison path for forty years declare There is no prison but the prison

self; and it drove conviction to one's mind as this white-robed messenger

from the East pointed the way out,--not by the path called Renunciation,

but Unattachment; Radiant Acquiescence--the Shining Pathway out of the

greater prison of self as 'Abdu'l-Baha so beautifully terms those bars

that keep us from our fulfillment.

Isabel Fraser.

The Purpose Underlying The Revelation Of The Revelation Which From Time Immemorial facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail