Here is a small Pilgrimage presentation with prayers sung like an angel, put together by my friend Allison Watson, who has since ascended to the spiritual world.
The title “In His Footsteps” was a phrase that her pilgrim guide used to remind us just how privileged we were to be walking on that Blessed Spot.
I’m honored to present her video here so everyone can benefit from her incredible voice and beautiful images. I hope you enjoy it too!
Here’s a prayer I’d like you to say for the progress of her soul:
O thou kind Lord, this dearly cherished maidservant was attracted to Thee, and through reflection and discernment, longed to attain Thy presence and enter Thy realms. With tearful eyes, she fixed her eyes on the kingdom of mysteries. Many a night she spent in deep communion with Thee, and many a day she lived in intimate remembrance of Thee. At every morn, she was mindful of Thee, and at every eve, she centered her thoughts upon Thee. Like unto a singing nightingale, she chanted Thy sacred verses and like unto a mirror, she sought to reflect Thy light. O thou forgiver of sins, open Thou the way for this awakened soul to enter Thy kingdom and enable this bird trained by Thy hand to sour in the eternal rose-garden. She is afire with longing to draw neigh unto Thee; enable her to attain Thy presence. She is distraught and distressed in separation from Thee; cause her to be admitted into Thy heavenly mansion. Thou art the Giver, the Glorious, the Eternal, the Bounteous; and Thou art the All-Gracious, the All-Merciful, the Omnipotent, He who is the Bestower of Gifts and the Forgiver of Sins. (‘Abdul-Bahá, Bahá’í Prayers, Wilmette, 2002, p. 45)
I was recently contacted by a couple who had a chance to go on a 3-day visit to the Bahá’í World Centre. Neither had been on pilgrimage before, and considered this the next best thing. The husband wanted to go, and the wife did not. They were at a stalemate and wondered if I could help. What follows are some ideas that we explored together.
When you go on pilgrimage, or for a three-day visit, you’re going to the most sacred spot on earth to have the most sacred experience of your life. Your goal is for your soul to connect with your Beloved. It’s an intensely personal experience, so in some ways it might be better not go as a couple, so that you can totally, totally be focused on your own experience without having to worry about your spouse. You may be giving him a real gift to let him go by himself.
Although family members are allowed to go on pilgrimage and many do go as a family, I’ve never seen anything in the Writings to suggest you should go with them. I think if Baha’u’llah meant for couples to do it together He would’ve said so. Instead He said it is required for men but not for women, so to my mind, pilgrimages are not meant to be taken together for the purpose of strengthening the marriage.
The Lord hath ordained that those of you who are able shall make pilgrimage to the sacred House, and from this He hath exempted women as a mercy on His part. He, of a truth, is the All-Bountiful, the Most Generous. (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 29)
If you don’t go, there’s another way of looking at it: instead of worrying that you are giving something up by letting him go alone, there’s a quote that says the greatest of all pilgrimages is to relieve the sorrow laden heart. In that context your sacrifice itself is the greatest of all pilgrimages.
Remember the saying: ‘Of all pilgrimages the greatest is to relieve the sorrow-laden heart. (Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 92)
Whether or not to go with a family member is a decision that everyone has to make themselves.
What has been your experience? Post your comments here: