One day, behind the hot stone walls of the prison city of 'Akká, Bahá'u'lláh said, "I have not gazed on verdure for nine years." It had been nine years since He had rested His eyes on green and growing things. 'Abdu'l-Baha knew how much His Father longed for the countryside. He was determined to gain for Him His heart's desire.
First, it seemed impossible to get permission for a prisoner to leave the city. However, Bahá'u'lláh had lived among the inhabitants of 'Akká for nine years. He had already won them over with His love and good will. Even the governor, longed to see Bahá'u'lláh happy and comfortable. Eventually, he said that Baha'u'liah was free to pass beyond the prison walls whenever He wished. He could find a home in the countryside nearby.
The best wishes of the people of' Aká were in hand. 'Abdu'l-Bahá set to work immediately to find a suitable place. First. He was able to arrange for the Blessed Beauty to live at Mazra'ih, a lovely home surrounded by vegetable gardens and orange groves. But by 1879, two years later, that beautiful house was no longer big enough. Bahá'u'lláh’s family was large, and there were many pilgrims. 'Abdu'l-Bahá set out to find a bigger home. He discovered Bahjí, the beautiful palace that Bahá'u'lláh called the Lofty Mansion. At Bahjí, Bahá'u'lláh met with the believers and revealed His Writings. ‘Abdu'l-Bahá continued to live in 'Akktá. There He met with the many city officials and countless other people. He made sure that no one interfered with His Father's Revelation. No one was allowed to disrupt His peace and comfort. 'Abdu'l-Bahá was ever His Father's Shield. Bahá'u'lláh often said,"It is the Master who is able to endure all of these demands and still see to the comfort of the believers."
One day Bahá'u'lláh made plans to visit the Garden of Junaynih on the plain north of ‘Akká. All the pilgrims and the Baha'is living at Bahjí were invited to go along. Naturally, they rushed to accept the invitation. A picnic in the garden in the presence of the Blessed Beauty was the greatest of all delights.
At dawn, the pilgrims faced the room where Bahá'u'lláh waited. They began their prayers and devotions. At sunrise they gathered outside the gate of the Mansion. Within the hour, His steps could be heard on the stairs. At once He appeared, blessing them with the gift of His presence.
A gentle white donkey earned the Lord of the Age along the road to the garden, while His followers walked beside Him. Hájí Khávar was a tall man. Thus he won the privilege of holding the umbrella over the Blessed Beauty, This way he could protect Him from the savage desert sun.
Even the heat of the desert sun can be defeated under the trees in a garden planted for the love of Cod. Here the air was fresh. Birdsongs and the perfume of flowers rode the air currents. The music of flowing water could also be heard. Soon the lovely picnic was spread before the believers. Soon the Heavenly Words poured into their hearts.
But something was missing. Something more was needed to complete their perfect day. They watched and waited. Suddenly the Blessed Beauty stopped His words. He turned towards the plain of 'Akká. "The Master," He said. "The Master is coming. Go and welcome Him. Hasten. Hasten to attend Him."
The pilgrims scrambled to obey. Sure enough, they saw Him walking, walking the road from ‘Akká to His Father. 'Abdu'l-Bahá refused to ride into the presence of the King of Kings. Strongly and steadily He approached. He was tall and straight as an arrow. His shoulders were broad and powerful. In a moment He was upon them, greeting the pilgrims. He clasped their hands in His. He smiled warmly upon them. Always, always, He continued His forward movement along the path to His Beloved.
Once in His Father's presence, He bowed His beautiful head. His deep blue eyes blazed with a fierce love, a complete understanding, an unbounded joy.
"Now," said the Blessed Beauty. "Now this garden has become truly most delightful."
(by Jean Gould; Core Curriculum for Spiritual Education – Stories)