239 Days in America, Day 175: October 2, 1912 | San Francisco

Economics Begins with the Farmer 1

IN 1912 AMERICA, THE long process of twentieth-century urbanization was just beginning. In spite of the rapid growth of urban industries — the garment factories of the East Coast, the automobile manufacturing plants in Detroit, the steelworks of Pennsylvania and Indiana — most Americans still lived and worked on farms. Such rural vitality was on dazzling display during the National Irrigation Congress in Salt Lake City.

After spending the day on September 30, 1912, attending the opening convention at the Mormon Tabernacle in Temple Square, visiting the State Fair, and watching the bright lights of the electrical parade that evening, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá departed Salt Lake City on October 1 at 2:50 p.m. for the final leg of his long train journey to San Francisco. The train steamed forty miles north to stop in Ogden, Utah, then headed due west over the briny waters of Great Salt Lake on the Lucin Cutoff Railroad Trestle, a fifty-one-mile long shortcut built across the middle of the lake in 1904.

Throughout his trip in America, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had spoken in general terms about the economic issues that plagued the nation’s growing industrial society: widespread poverty, industrial slavery, the need to avoid coerced equality, and the missing moral principles — such as generosity and service — that were required to balance competing interests. But in Montreal on September 3, to a meeting of Socialists, he had laid out economic prescriptions in more detail. As the train sped toward San Francisco on October 2 and 3, he wrote to clarify his position to Agnes Parsons. “My explanation,” he told her, “has been mis-reported in the papers.” …

California 2

The people who were attracted to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in San Francisco were as varied as ever. Each day the people in neighboring houses watched His comings and goings in the two automobiles sent by Mrs. [Helen] Goodall, Mrs. [Ella Goodall] Cooper, and the [William and Georgia] Ralstons for His drives. Newspaper reporters came, and a cross section of people, some returning to bring their children. Kanichi Yamamoto, the first Japanese Bahá’í, asked ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to give Persian names to his three children, David Starr Jordan, the president of Leland Stanford Junior University, came; and the mayor of Berkeley [Frank K. Mott] asked questions concerning economics.

Wednesday, October 02, 1912 3

Among some of the prominent people visiting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was the president of Stanford University at Palo Alto. He was so attracted to the teachings that he begged the Master to come to his university and speak. Some newspaper reporters also visited the Master and were permitted to record His words about the teachings and history of the Cause. They too were showered with His special bestowals.

The Master gave a short address at a public meeting on the subject of spiritual life:

“We aspire to find true human beings in this world. Man becomes human only through spiritual life, and the foundation of such a life is made up of heavenly perfections, divine attributes, service to humanity, eagerness to receive eternal bounties, praiseworthy morals, unity, love of God, wisdom and knowledge of God. If the aim were this physical life only, then this creation would be in vain and men would not have more honor or be nobler than other creatures. The greatest of sensual pleasures, beauty of appearance and freedom are found among the animals. Birds excel all in sensual pleasures, for they build nests on the loftiest branches and breathe the purest air. All seeds and fruit are their property. Limpid streams, charming plains, beautiful fields, verdant hills, green valleys, exquisite gardens and lovely flowers are all for their pleasure and happiness. They have no grief, regrets, aspirations, ambitions, quarrels, contentions, wars or massacres. If the purpose of existence is sensual life and pleasures, then animal and man are equal. Happiness and pleasure are rather the possession of the bird and not those of distressed and sorrowful men.”

There was a gathering in the afternoon at the home of Mrs Goodall and Mrs Cooper in Oakland. The friends of Oakland and San Francisco rejoiced at meeting Him and the seekers were grateful and appreciative of His guidance. A large crowd filled the spacious house. Both before and after the meeting, those who had not had the honor of meeting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá came in groups to the second floor and were honored to receive His bounty. The Oakland friends brought their children to be blessed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. His talk to the gathering was on the power of the Word of God, the influence of the Supreme Cause and the union of the people of the East and the West. The audience became increasingly humble as the people listened to the Master.

There is a bay between San Francisco and Oakland which can be crossed in 15 minutes by boat. The Master’s automobile was being ferried across the channel at night. When it reached midway, we saw a magnificent sight: lighted boats traveling back and forth against the shimmering lights of San Francisco. The splendid buildings and towers adorned with brilliant lights seemed to be golden palaces set with colored jewels. Lights from the homes crowning the high hills appeared like a string of pearls. The Master enjoyed the scene and whenever He went that way He praised it highly.

25 September 1912, Talk at Second Divine Science Church, 3929 West Thirty-eighth Avenue, Denver, Colorado 4

After we have proved the validity of the Manifestations of the Word of God by investigating the divine teachings, we must discover for a certainty whether They have been real Educators of mankind. Among the revelators of the law of God was Moses. When He appeared, all the contemporaneous nations rejected Him. Notwithstanding this, single and alone He promulgated the divine teachings and liberated a nation from the lowest condition of degradation and bondage. The people of Israel were ignorant, lowly, debased in morals—a race of slaves under burdensome oppression. Moses led them out of captivity and brought them to the Holy Land. He educated and disciplined them, established among them the foundations of material and divine civilization. Through the education of Moses these ignorant people attained an advanced degree of power and prestige, culminating in the glory of the reign of Solomon. From the abyss of bereavement and slavery they were uplifted to the highest plane of progress and civilized nationhood. It is evident, therefore, that Moses was an Educator and Teacher. The purpose and mission of the holy, divine Messengers is the training and advancement of humanity, the cultivation of divine fruits in the gardens of human hearts, the reflection of heavenly effulgence in the mirrors of human souls, the quickening of mental capacity and the increase of spiritual susceptibilities. When these results and outcomes are witnessed in mankind, the function and mission of the Manifestations are unmistakable. Christ, single and alone, without schooling or outward education and trained to labor in the shop of a carpenter, appeared in the world at the time when the Jewish nation was in the greatest abasement. This radiant Youth, without wealth, power of armies or prestige, rescued the Jews who believed on Him from tyranny and degradation and lifted them to the highest plane of development and glory. Peter, His disciple, was a fisherman. Through the power of Christ he shed light upon all the horizons of the world. Furthermore, various people of the Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Assyrian nations were brought together in unity and agreement; where warfare and bloodshed had existed, humility and love were manifest, and the foundations of divine religion were established, never to be destroyed. This proves that Christ was a heavenly Teacher and Educator of the world of humanity, for such evidences are historical and irrefutable, not based upon tradition and circumstantial report. The power of His Word in cementing these nations together is as clear and evident as the sun at midday. There is no need of further demonstration.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

President of Stanford University and other prominent people visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

October 2, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Economics Begins with the Farmer.” 239 Days in America, 2 Oct. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/10/02/abdul-baha-argues-the-importance-of-the-rural-economy/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 166.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=8#section193
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 340-341. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/26#185593022

239 Days in America, Day 174: October 1, 1912 | San Francisco

The Biggest Week in the History of Salt Lake City 1

A FLICKERING SWARM OF bees circled the hive many stories above ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s head. They were fashioned from light bulbs whose filaments blinked as if to suggest busyness. The illuminated hive formed the heart of the blazing Star of Utah — symbols of a state that had boldly reduced its motto to a single word: “Industry.” It was the centerpiece of a massive pipe organ, draped in American flags, which bellowed forth the Grand March from Verdi’s opera, Aida.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá gazed out at 12,000 spectators as Lucile Francke, dressed as the Queen of Irrigation and Empress of the Valley, climbed the stage of the Mormon Tabernacle and mounted her throne on the uppermost tier of the platform. At 10 a.m. on September 30, 1912, she gave the order for the proceedings of the twentieth annual convention of the National Irrigation Congress to begin.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá had arrived in the city the day before. The streets were decked with patriotic regalia, and overflowed with visitors. The annual state fair was also occurring that week, side by side with the convention of the Irrigation Congress. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had planned a short stopover in Salt Lake City on his way to California, but decided to extend his stay. Shortly after his arrival he received an invitation to sit on the stage as an honorary guest the following morning.

California 2

Abdu’l-Bahá arrived in San Francisco on Tuesday, October 1, and remained there, with side trips to Oakland, Palo Alto, and Los Angeles, until Friday, October 25. Outwardly, many of the scenes familiar in other cities repeated themselves, as crowds hovered about Him like moths attracted to a light. Inwardly, each individual experienced a satisfying of personal needs that, in one sense, could never be shared, and that, in another, needed to be shared. For in dealing with each individual Abdu’l-Bahá demonstrated a facet of what each person must become in his dealings with others. He raised every act to a universal level by showing that people must become spiritual beings, reacting spontaneously to their environment, as He did, because thoroughly imbued with Bahá’u’lláh’s divine Teachings.

Tuesday, October 01, 1912 3

Tonight the train carrying the beloved Master reached the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Dr [Frederick] D’Evelyn, a devoted Bahá’í, came running as soon as he saw the Master and prostrated himself at His feet. On the way to the city Dr D’Evelyn described for about 15 minutes the yearning of the friends and how they longed to see the Center of the Covenant. When we reached the house especially prepared for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the waiting friends came out to welcome Him. Mr and Mrs Ralston, Mrs Goodall, Mrs Cooper and the other friends were ecstatically happy to have the honor and bounty of being in His presence and to have supper with Him. 4

From early morning the enthusiasm, eagerness, excitement, joy and singing of the believers surrounded ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, just as in the stories of the iguana and the sun and the moth and the candle. It was the ultimate example of a joyful reunion among the lovers of God. These ecstatic friends offered thanks for the bounty of attaining His presence and being near to Him.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá continuously gave thanks for the confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom and for the power and influence of the Cause of God and encouraged the believers to proclaim the Cause of God. At noon He went for a walk and then took a little rest.

I will describe ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s residence, as He saw it, because it is unique among all the homes in America which have been graced by Him. It is situated on an elevated plot of land on a wide street surrounded by a spacious garden. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would approach the house, climb a few steps and stand on the porch where He would see fragrant flowers and plants set in pots around the veranda and porch. When the Master entered the house, He would see on His right three large rooms, decorated with fine furniture and many varieties of flowers. Each room opens on the other by means of wide doors covered with velvet curtains, which, when drawn, create one large hall.

Every morning and afternoon the hall is filled with so many friends and seekers that there is standing room only. Many who seek private interviews meet Him on the second floor. On this second floor, accessible by a carpeted staircase, there is a large room occupied by some of His servants and to the left a small tea room. Across the hall is another room occupied by the Master. Attached to this room is a tea room and a bathroom. Situated in a corner of the house, the room commands a view of a large part of the city. At night the lights of the city appear like twinkling stars. Here many Americans, Japanese and Hindus come into ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s presence one after another. Each one has a question or statement to make. Many of the friends bring their children, supplicating His blessings and requesting Persian names for them. One of the Japanese friends at Mrs Goodall’s home in Oakland asked the Master for Persian names for his two sons and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave them the names Hasan and Husayn.

The third floor, where we have our rooms, is identical to the second floor. We each have our own room and are able to be close to the Master. The kitchen and dining room are on the first floor where some of the friends have the honor of dining with the Master at His table.

At each dawn, after offering prayers of gratitude, the Master calls His servants and serves us tea with His own hands. Using stories and narratives, He explains issues relating to the blessings of God and expresses gratitude for His divine confirmations. Later the friends arrive to experience the bounty of being with Him and to give praise. Whenever a group assembles, the Master comes downstairs to speak to them about great and lofty matters.

Before both lunch and dinner the Master takes a walk or goes for a ride. Mrs Goodall, Mrs Cooper and Mr and Mrs Ralston send two automobiles every day for His use. Whenever He goes out, the friends watch Him from the doors and windows of their houses. Even among the seekers there is much excitement.

’ Abdu’l-Bahá is reverently received at the churches by the clergymen. Each respectfully accompanies Him to the pulpit and introduces Him to their congregations with glowing praise. They speak of Him as the Prophet of the East, the messenger of peace and tranquillity and attest to His great station and the importance of the teachings. Following His addresses at the meetings, crowds of people continually surround Him, begging for blessings and confirmations. When He returns to His home afterwards He offers praise and gratitude for the confirmations of the Abhá Beauty.

25 September 1912, Talk at Second Divine Science Church, 3929 West Thirty-eighth Avenue, Denver, Colorado 5

The purpose of all the divine religions is the establishment of the bonds of love and fellowship among men, and the heavenly phenomena of the revealed Word of God are intended to be a source of knowledge and illumination to humanity. So long as man persists in his adherence to ancestral forms and imitation of obsolete ceremonials, denying higher revelations of the divine light in the world, strife and contention will destroy the purpose of religion and make love and fellowship impossible. Each of the holy Manifestations announced the glad tidings of His successor, and each One confirmed the message of His predecessor. Therefore, inasmuch as They were agreed and united in purpose and teaching, it is incumbent upon Their followers to be likewise unified in love and spiritual fellowship. In no other way will discord and alienation disappear and the oneness of the world of humanity be established.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

The Master’s daily routine activities

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

October 1, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “The Biggest Week in the History of Salt Lake City.” 239 Days in America, 1 Oct. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/10/01/biggest-week-history-salt-lake-city/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 165.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=8#section192
  4. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=8#section191
  5. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 339-340. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/26#922132408

239 Days in America, Day 173: September 30, 1912 | Salt Lake City

September 30, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

DURING THE PAST WEEK, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spent three days in Denver, Colorado, before continuing his train ride westward. After spending the night at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, amidst the spectacular mountain scenery and natural hot springs, he arrived in Salt Lake City at 2 p.m. yesterday. Today, he is attending the National Irrigation Congress at the Mormon Tabernacle, where he has been invited to sit on the speakers’ platform.

In the week ahead: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá travels to San Francisco. During the train ride, he writes an extensive letter to Agnes Parsons, addressing a wide range of economic issues. We’ll take a close look at the contents of this letter. We’ll also paint a portrait of San Francisco in 1912, and cover ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s meeting with the Mayor of Berkeley.

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

On Monday morning, September 30, 1912, the Salt Lake City Tribune printed an article headed, “COMES TO LECTURE ON BAHAI RELIGION: Leader of Movement Will Explain Tenets to People of Salt Lake”:

“Abdul Baha Abbas, leader of the Bahai movement, which he says has 10,000,000 followers in the world, is in Salt Lake City. He is making a tour of the United States and plans to lecture on his religion here.

“The principal tenets of the Bahai doctrines are the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God; the establishment of universal peace, the creation of a universal language and the establishment of a tribunal to which all the nations in the world would come to settle arguments. Its followers must seek out the truth in all matters of religion and conduct for themselves. They must have no pre-conceptions, handed down from their fathers, but must search and decide the truth for themselves.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá rode all day on Monday, September 30, traveling to California. Among the many things He spoke of to His companions, Mahmúd recalled His saying, “‘The Cause of God is penetrating and ere long it will surround the whole world. I see the expanse of America full of Bahais. Formerly when we asserted in the East that international peace was a necessity the people laughted at us. Now behold the congresses of peace that have come into existence. The law of God is the panacea for all ills. …’”

Monday, September 30, 1912 3

The Master left the Keynon Hotel in Salt Lake City to continue His journey to California. He spoke on various subjects. The following are some of His words:

“The Cause of God is penetrating. It will encompass the whole world. Now as I observe the wilderness of America, I see it full of Bahá’ís. Formerly, when we asserted in the East that international peace and unity of nations was a necessity, the people laughed at us. Now behold the congresses of peace that have come into existence. The law of God is the panacea for all ills because it is in accordance with the needs of the realities of creation. Legislators have devoted considerable discussion to this point. The most distinguished of them concluded that the laws must be derived from the necessary relations inherent in the reality of things. But the divine Manifestation asserted that to institute such laws is beyond human capacity, for human intelligence cannot encompass the realities of things, nor can it comprehend the essential relationships of such realities. Therefore, divine law is necessary, as it embraces the realities and penetrates all things.”

Today the Master was in the best of health and happiness. In spite of all the hardships of the long journey, He was as charmingly fresh as a flower. With unmitigated joy He mentioned the Blessed Beauty, Bahá’u’lláh.

In the afternoon He spoke about spiritual education and intellectual training:

“Peter was devoid of all schooling and so untrained that he could not remember the days of the week. He would tie up seven loaves of bread and open one each day. When he opened the seventh parcel he would know that it was the seventh day and that he had to go to the synagogue. However, under Christ his spiritual education was such that he became the cause of the enlightenment of the world. Indeed, what holy beings are raised up under the shadow of the Word of God!

“I remember once in Tihrán when I was a child, I was sitting by Áqá Siyyid Yahyá Vahíd when Mírzá ‘Alíy-i-Sayyáh came in wearing the táj and carrying the rod of a dervish and with his bare feet covered with mud. Someone asked him where he was coming from. He replied that he had come from the fortress of Máh-Kú, from the august presence of the Báb. Vahíd arose immediately and threw himself at the feet of Sayyáh, and with tears streaming down his face he rubbed his beard on Sayyáh’s feet saying, ‘He has come from the court of the Beloved.’ Although Vahíd was a renowned and illustrious person, still he was humble before the servants of the Threshold of God.”

Among the interesting things we saw along the way were the wooden covers over the railroad tracks. For a distance of some 50 miles deep passes are snow bound during the entire winter and become impassable for the trains. Now, owing to these covers, the difficulties are removed and the train can pass easily through the area. In English, these covers are called snow sheds. The history of California records that in olden times many people became snowbound and perished in these parts. One example is the the Donner party, the story of whose demise is very sad.

25 September 1912, Talk at Second Divine Science Church, 3929 West Thirty-eighth Avenue, Denver, Colorado 4

Each one of the divine religions has established two kinds of ordinances: the essential and the accidental. The essential ordinances rest upon the firm, unchanging, eternal foundations of the Word itself. They concern spiritualities, seek to stabilize morals, awaken intuitive susceptibilities, reveal the knowledge of God and inculcate the love of all mankind. The accidental laws concern the administration of outer human actions and relations, establishing rules and regulations requisite for the world of bodies and their control. These are ever subject to change and supersedure according to exigencies of time, place and condition. For example, during the time of Moses, ten commandments concerning the punishment of murder were revealed in His Book. Divorce was sanctioned and polygamy allowable to a certain extent. If a man committed theft, his hand was cut off. This was drastic law and severe punishment applicable to the time of Moses. But when the time of Christ came, minds had developed, realizations were keener and spiritual perceptions had advanced so that certain laws concerning murder, plurality of wives and divorce were abrogated. But the essential ordinances of the Mosaic dispensation remained unchanged. These were the fundamental realities of the knowledge of God and the holy Manifestations, the purification of morals, the awakening of spiritual susceptibilities—eternal principles in which there is no change or transformation. Briefly, the foundation of the divine religions is one eternal foundation, but the laws for temporary conditions and exigencies are subject to change. Therefore, by adherence to these temporary laws, blindly following and imitating ancestral forms, difference and divergence have arisen among followers of the various religions, resulting in disunion, strife and hatred. Blind imitations and dogmatic observances are conducive to alienation and disagreement; they lead to bloodshed and destruction of the foundations of humanity. Therefore, the religionists of the world must lay aside these imitations and investigate the essential foundation or reality itself, which is not subject to change or transformation. This is the divine means of agreement and unification.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

Leaving Salt Lake City for San Francisco

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 30, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “September 30, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 30 Sept. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/09/30/september-30-1912-the-week-ahead/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 163-164.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=7#section190
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 338-339. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/26#987408459

239 Days in America, Day 172: September 29, 1912 | Salt Lake City

“The Supreme Psychiatrist” 1

‘THE COCKROACHES SCUTTLED AS she approached, fleeing the sugary drops that had hardened on the countertop under the soda fountain. Feny E. Paulson had traveled to Salt Lake City all the way from Missoula, Montana — an approximately twenty-four hour journey. She lodged at the Young Women’s Christian Association. Feny noted that she found a dead fly in her German fries, and the chicken wings she ate still wore most of their feathers. But she was not there to be entertained; she had come to see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Meeting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had its own logistical complications. A telegram had been sent to Ms. Paulson, informing her of the date of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s arrival. But it failed to mention what railroad he would be arriving on. “Hence I spent most of my second day making the streetcar circuit,” Feny wrote in her diary, “station to station, reading schedules of train arrivals.”

When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá finally arrived in Salt Lake City at 2 p.m. on September 29, 1912, on the Grand Central R.R., Feny was there to greet him. “It was an oriental picture in an occidental setting,” she wrote of the scene. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had arrived with his retinue of companions, including a young Japanese man, Saichiro Fujita.

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

At the end of the interview the Master took a Bahá’í stone, pressed it to His forehead, then placed it on each of my eyes, His lips moving silently in a prayer or blessing he also gave me a locket-sized likeness of Himself as a father gives a treasure to one of His children.

… Although the details of each person in the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá are individually different, they are the means to the same end—spiritual progress. Incidents forgotten and hidden in the recesses of one’s being, in His presence, are in a flash perceived and unobtrusively aired, alchemized as it were, removing veils that inhibit necessary spiritual development. The problems and burdens that were but stepping stones in the past become non-essentials in the light of His divine love. 3

Sunday, September 29, 1912 4

In the morning several newspaper reporters who had heard of His arrival came to see the Master. They were fascinated with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s words concerning the history and teachings of the Cause of God. To one of them He said:

“When I entered this city, I saw there was quite a stir. I asked the reason and was told that an agricultural convention was being held. I remarked that Bahá’u’lláh, too, organized a convention in Persia. The difference is that your congress is of this world but Bahá’u’lláh’s is divine. Great persons have come to the congress but their motive is earthly as they have assembled to consider questions concerning agriculture. But in that other congress holy ones have gathered who irrigate the field of hearts with the water of eternal life, as their motive is heavenly. This congress is decorated with earthly lamps while that is embellished with heavenly lights. The music of this is terrestrial while the strains of that are celestial. This convention meets in a private hall while that gathering is held under the tent of the unity of mankind and international peace. The queen of this congress is a lady bedecked with ornaments and embellishments of this mortal world but the king of that congress is the King of the Throne of Eternity, Whose sovereignty is divine. When I compared these two congresses I became extremely glad and prayed that God may bless your farming and bestow upon you spiritual strength and capacity for life everlasting.”

Today many were attracted by the Master’s visit with us to the State Fair.297 He had been invited to the hotel by some delegates while others pleaded with Him to prolong His stay. Because of the shortness of time, He could not accept their invitation. ‘If we had time,’ He said, ‘some seeds would have been sown in this city, too. But the people are enjoying the celebration and we have no time at our disposal.’

This city is called the City of the Mormons because the majority of its inhabitants are of the Mormon denomination which allows polygamy and divorce.

In the afternoon the Master went to the place specifically set out and decorated for the agricultural exhibition. Alighting from the tram, He went to the exhibit of agricultural machines for plowing, planting and harvesting. He asked about their usage and cost. He then went to the vegetable and grain section and the fruit section. The Master praised the agricultural progress of America. The fruits and vegetables exhibited were among the finest specimens of grapes, apples, pears, pomegranates, cabbages and very large pumpkins, all of many colors and of varieties that we had not seen before.

The section manager saw the Master among the visitors and came towards us and the interpreter, asking to be introduced to Him. He accompanied the Master, offering Him samples of many fruits (even though the purchase, sale and consumption of these items was strictly prohibited). He described to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the various methods of agriculture and then concluded the tour at the grain and mineral display. The Master told us to purchase seeds of some of the fruits and flowers so they could be sent to the Holy Land to be planted at the Most Holy Shrine.

As He was returning to the hotel, the Master saw a Cardinal walking proudly with people on his way to dedicate a church. This Cardinal had heard about the Master and had spoken about the false Christ, thus he was often mentioned by the Master in His meetings.

24 September 1912, Talk at Home of Mrs. Sidney E. Roberts , Denver, Colorado 5

The world of humanity is filled with darkness; you are its radiant candles. It is very poor; you must be the treasury of the Kingdom. It is exceedingly debased; you must be the cause of its exaltation. It is bereft of divine graces; you must give it impetus and spiritual quickening. According to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh you must love and cherish each individual member of humanity.

The first sign of faith is love. The message of the holy, divine Manifestations is love; the phenomena of creation are based upon love; the radiance of the world is due to love; the well-being and happiness of the world depend upon it. Therefore, I admonish you that you must strive throughout the human world to diffuse the light of love. The people of this world are thinking of warfare; you must be peacemakers. The nations are self-centered; you must be thoughtful of others rather than yourselves. They are neglectful; you must be mindful. They are asleep; you should be awake and alert. May each one of you be as a shining star in the horizon of eternal glory. This is my wish for you and my highest hope. I have come long distances that you may attain these attributes and divine favors. Praise be to God! I have attended this meeting which has for its purpose the commemoration of God.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

Bahá’u’lláh organized a divine convention in Persia

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 29, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “‘The Supreme Psychiatrist.’” -239 Days in America-, 29 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/29/the-supreme-psychiatrist/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 162.
  3. Notes of Feny E. Paulson, National Bahá’í Archives, Wilmette, Ill.
  4. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=7#section189
  5. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 337. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/26#790816564

239 Days in America, Day 171: September 28, 1912 | Salt Lake City

‘Abdu’l-Bahá Crosses the Continental Divide 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ, AS WAS HIS usual practice, arose from his bed before dawn at the Shirley Hotel, Broadway and 17th Street, Denver, on Friday, September 27, 1912. He said goodbye to a number of early visitors and then took an automobile — perhaps a carriage — fourteen blocks northwest to the train station.

A wall of rock still separated ‘Abdu’l-Bahá from the Golden State. In 1912 the advanced technologies of the century of motion had not yet fully subdued the Rocky Mountains; the cliffs due west of Denver were still too steep for the railway to climb. The train that departed Union Station at 9 a.m. that morning, therefore, headed due south, skirted the treed foothills of the eastern edge of the Front Range, and completed the first leg of its long and winding route to Salt Lake City when it reached Colorado Springs, seventy miles from Denver.

The snow-capped summit of Pikes Peak receded into the distance as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s train continued south across the desert toward Pueblo. The town of Pueblo, Colorado, which produced both steel and saddles, bridged not only the Arkansas River, but also the changing transportation technologies of the era. From there the railroad jackknifed right, pulled west around the southern tip of the Front Range, and began to make a slow, 640-foot ascent to Canon City, nestled among the low mountains.

The route of the Denver and Rio Grande Railway snaked northwest along the Arkansas River, threaded the needle of Royal Gorge, and then climbed a full mile straight upward toward Leadville, Colorado, the highest incorporated city in the United States, at 10,152 feet. …

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

‘Abdu’l-Bahá left Glenwood Springs on the train about midnight and arrived in Salt Lake City the next afternoon, September 28, where an agricultural convention was in progress. Newspaper reporters, learning that He was unexpectedly in the city, sought Him out the following morning and interviewed Him. Then He visited the agricultural exposition, looking at the equipment for ploughing and irrigation, asking about their uses and prices, and surveying the displays of vegetables, grains, and fruits. He bought some seeds to send to the Holy Land.

Saturday, September 28, 1912 3

The train passed through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Some of these rose precipitously like walls from the railway bed, formidable and immense. Gazing at their summits one felt as if the mountains would fall down. There were some special roofless observation cars on the train so that passengers might have a full view of the majestic mountains. In these observation cars the passengers could see the mountains on the right and the serene river on the left. As the train passed through these beautiful scenes, the Master said:

“Dear friends, the waves of the bounties of the Blessed Beauty are surging. As I look I see the ocean of His favor swelling and saying, ‘I am with you.’ Truly, were it not for these glad tidings and His assistance, what could I have done? Just one person alone in the east and west of America, in the mountains and wilderness –it is no light matter. It is easy to say these things but it was unimaginable that they would let us into these churches. See how His aid and favor descend upon us. This trip fills us with wonder! Offer thanks to the Blessed Beauty that He has bestowed such confirmations upon us.”

Later, the Master told stories about the time of Muhammad, the Messenger of God, and mentioned the cave and His words, ‘God is indeed with us’.

The train reached Salt Lake City in the afternoon. The Master decided to stay in the city for one night. By chance, even as the city was being blessed by His footsteps, a large national agricultural convention was being held and the entire city was festively decorated.

24 September 1912, Talk at Home of Mrs. Sidney E. Roberts , Denver, Colorado 4

This evening we were speaking of the fellowship and unity of the Persian Bahá’ís. They can truly be called lovers. For example, if one of the friends of God arrived in their city, all the friends would rejoice and assemble together in a meeting with him. If he were ill, they would care for him; if sad, they would comfort him. They would care for him in every way and give unmistakable evidence that there is a spiritual relationship amongst them.

Strangers and outsiders are astonished at this love and radiant affection existing among the Bahá’ís. They inquire about it. They observe the unity and agreement manifest among them. They say, “What a beautiful spirit shines in their faces!” All envy it and wish that such a bond of love might be witnessed everywhere. Therefore, to you my first admonition is this: Associate most kindly with all; be as one family; pursue this same pathway. Let your intentions be one that your love may permeate and affect the hearts of others so that they may grow to love each other and all attain to this condition of oneness.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

“This trip fills us with wonder! Offer thanks to the Blessed Beauty …”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 28, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá Crosses the Continental Divide.” 239 Days in America, 28 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/28/abdul-baha-crosses-the-continental-divide/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 158-159.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=7#section188
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 336-337. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/26#961584862

239 Days in America, Day 170: September 27, 1912 | Glenwood Springs

A Forbidden Marriage 1

IT WAS A FALL day in New York. A light rain blurred the windows of the parsonage where the wedding was about to take place. Christians, Jews, Bahá’ís, as well as whites and blacks from both England and America were represented in the small group. For the duration of the ceremony, the divides of the world were held at bay.

The groom was Louis Gregory, a prominent African-American lawyer; the bride, Louise Mathew, a white, educated woman born in England. Their marriage was illegal in twenty-five of America’s forty-eight states, and by popular opinion, unacceptable everywhere. The wedding was kept quiet; the guest list few. As the groom put it, “We do not wish any sensational newspaper articles written.”

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

After morning prayers and tea Abdu’l-Bahá and His companions strolled around the beautiful grounds, surrounded by towering mountains. Then they went to the bath houses and bathed in the hot springs water. Abdu’l-Bahá said, “‘We have been in many places during this journey but we had no time to see the sights. We had not even a moment’s rest. Today, however, we have had a little respite.’” As they came out and looked at the river and mountains, Abdu’l-Bahá said, “‘May God have mercy on the tyrants who kept the Blessed Beauty in prison for forty years. Such scenes were loved by Him.’”

He indicated that it would be well to have lunch in the central garden of the U-shaped hotel. The manager came just then and, without being asked, ordered the waiters to set up tables and serve lunch to them in the garden. As they ate, they could be seen from all areas. People began to speak to them and recognize them from the pictures and articles that had appeared in the Denver newspapers.

They started coming to Him by groups to talk with Him.

September 27, 1912 3

After morning tea, the Master left the hotel for a walk. Three magnificent mountains stood in the distance on three sides, each crowned with trees and adorned with flowers of many hues. They were like peacock feathers and had a unique beauty from every viewpoint. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá strolled in the spacious garden and boulevard adjacent to the hotel until He reached the river where there were bath houses and hot springs. On the other side of the river, spanned by a two-story bridge, the tall buildings of the city could be seen rising high on the horizon. At the insistence of His companions the Master went to the baths with the entire party, thus bestowing upon us everlasting honor. The rooms and bathing facilities were magnificent. In a special room hot water gushed from a natural cave. It was so hot that a person could not stay more than 15 minutes. Coming out of the bath, the Master said:

“Today I am relieved of fatigue. We have been to many lovely places during this journey but because of our work we had no time to look at the scenery. We did not even think of a moment’s rest. Today, however, we have had a little respite.”

As the Master viewed the clear, transparent waters of the river shining like pure pearls and the majestic mountains and parks, He said, ‘May God not have mercy on the tyrants who kept the Blessed Beauty imprisoned between four walls in ‘Akká. How such scenes were loved by Him! Once He said that He had not seen greenery for several years.’

When He returned to the hotel He stood outside in the garden and said, ‘It would be good to eat here.’ The garden was adjacent to a large pond with fish of various colors and was enclosed on three sides by the hotel structure. Having seen the Denver newspapers, the hotel manager recognized the Master and us from photographs. Without waiting for the Master’s request, the manager instructed the waiters to serve lunch in the garden. A large table was spread with beautiful chairs. The Master sat down and instructed His companions to do the same. Both before and after lunch the Master generously tipped the waiters. When the residents of the hotel saw the majesty and glory of the Master they told others. Groups of people approached Him. Others watched from their rooms and balconies. Many were heard to say, ‘How nice to dine this way. It is evident that this is a very prominent person.’ Gradually the purpose of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s mission dawned upon the hotel guests as they were informed of the Cause of God.

In the afternoon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá took a walk in the garden and to some shops. While we were crossing a bridge, a messenger approached with some telegrams for us. One of them informed the Master that Mr [Thornton] Chase was seriously ill in a Los Angeles hospital. This made the Master and us very sad. He repeatedly mentioned the faithfulness of Mr Chase. Later He said:

“To turn to the Covenant is to obey the Blessed Beauty which is a cause of gathering together the people of Bahá. Let me explain clearly. The command to the people of Islam to prostrate before the black stone was simply a command to obey the Prophet of God and to prove the influence of the Cause of God. Now, were it not for the Word of the Blessed Beauty, we would be like everyone else and not different in the least.”

The Master and His party left Glenwood Springs at about midnight.

24 September 1912, Talk at Home of Mrs. Sidney E. Roberts , Denver, Colorado 4

What are the fruits of the human world? They are the spiritual attributes which appear in man. If man is bereft of those attributes, he is like a fruitless tree. One whose aspiration is lofty and who has developed self-reliance will not be content with a mere animal existence. He will seek the divine Kingdom; he will long to be in heaven although he still walks the earth in his material body, and though his outer visage be physical, his face of inner reflection will become spiritual and heavenly. Until this station is attained by man, his life will be utterly devoid of real outcomes. The span of his existence will pass away in eating, drinking and sleeping, without eternal fruits, heavenly traces or illumination—without spiritual potency, everlasting life or the lofty attainments intended for him during his pilgrimage through the human world. You must thank God that your efforts are high and noble, that your endeavors are worthy, that your intentions are centered upon the Kingdom of God and that your supreme desire is the acquisition of eternal virtues. You must act in accordance with these requirements. A man may be a Bahá’í in name only. If he is a Bahá’í in reality, his deeds and actions will be decisive proofs of it. What are the requirements? Love for mankind, sincerity toward all, reflecting the oneness of the world of humanity, philanthropy, becoming enkindled with the fire of the love of God, attainment to the knowledge of God and that which is conducive to human welfare.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

‘Abdu’l-Bahá has a little respite at hot spring baths

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 27, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “A Forbidden Marriage.” 239 Days in America, 27 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/27/a-forbidden-marriage/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 158-159.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=7#section187
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 336. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/26#332670787

239 Days in America, Day 169: September 26, 1912 | Denver

Drinking Tea with “The Girl from Kansas” 1

“THE CONVERSATION OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ did not stop,” the newswoman noted, “even as we drank our Persian tea together.” The pair sat near the window of his room at the Shirley Hotel in Denver, Colorado. He looked out at the “rain flecked leaves of a swaying tree,” she wrote, “and occasionally closed his eyes as though looking into the future for the realization of the message which he believes is finding material ground for fruitage in America.”

Those who encountered ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on America’s Western frontier were still grappling with their first impressions of him. Among them was Alice Rohe, a thirty-six-year-old reporter from Lawrence, Kansas. Her interview with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá took place on September 24, 1912, and was published the next day in the Daily News: Denver, Colorado.

Alice Rohe had met with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá for an hour at the Shirley Hotel. She described him as a “patriarch of old — his gray beard falling upon his breast, his white locks surmounted by a white turban, his erect figure draped in the flowing garments of Persia . . . .” Yet, she added, “this statement refers only to the first fleeting impression.” When he speaks, she noted, “the keen dark eyes become afire with the words he utters — the first impression of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá becomes a superficial one.”

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

The next day, September 26, the train left Denver heading west. At 2:00 A.M. [September 27] He got off at Glenwood Springs and took rooms at the Hotel Colorado.

September 26, 1912 3

As He intended to leave Denver, His talks with the believers became exhortations. He said:

“I hope that you will be under the protection of God, will succeed in rendering service to humanity and will always be a source of happiness to every heart. The best person is he who wins all hearts and is not the cause of grief to anyone. The worst of souls is he who causes hearts to be agitated and who becomes the cause of sadness. Always endeavor to make people happy and their hearts joyful so that you may become the cause of guidance to mankind. Proclaim the Word of God and diffuse the divine fragrances.”

Someone asked Him about eating meat. He replied:

“God has appointed provision for every living creature. To birds He has given beaks so that they pick up seeds. To animals such as cows and goats He has given teeth like scythes in order that they may eat grass. To carnivores He has given claws like forks and canine teeth so that they may prey because they cannot eat grass. Their food is meat. But man’s food is not meat for he has not been created with means to eat flesh. God has given him beauty of form and has created him blessed and not rapacious and bloodthirsty.”

The Master’s train left Denver at 9:00 a.m. Some of the articles that had been published in the Denver newspapers were translated for Him. They made His heart very happy as they described the spread of the teachings of God in that city and contained translations of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s words. Among them was the translation of these words:

“The contingent world is like the human body that has grown from the embryonic state and reached maturity and perfection. It may be said that the development of the human being from the beginning of life to the age of maturity is but a preparation for the appearance of the power of reason. This is the age of maturity and the time of the manifestation of the Most Great Intellect and the Most Ancient Bounty so that divine and material civilizations may be joined and the perfection of the human world may dawn.”

Around midnight ‘Abdu’l-Bahá became fatigued owing to the speed and motion of the train. We proposed that because California was still some distance away, if He would consent, it might be a good idea to stop for two or three days. At 2:00 a.m. the train reached Glenwood Springs, beautifully situated near many hot springs. We stayed at the Hotel Colorado, which is a fine hotel overlooking the river, nestled among green parks and wooded mountains.

24 September 1912, Talk at Home of Mrs. Sidney E. Roberts , Denver, Colorado 4

The honor of man is through the attainment of the knowledge of God; his happiness is from the love of God; his joy is in the glad tidings of God; his greatness is dependent upon his servitude to God. The highest development of man is his entrance into the divine Kingdom, and the outcome of this human existence is the nucleus and essence of eternal life. If man is bereft of the divine bestowals and if his enjoyment and happiness are restricted to his material inclinations, what distinction or difference is there between the animal and himself? In fact, the animal’s happiness is greater, for its wants are fewer and its means of livelihood easier to acquire. Although it is necessary for man to strive for material needs and comforts, his real need is the acquisition of the bounties of God. If he is bereft of divine bounties, spiritual susceptibilities and heavenly glad tidings, the life of man in this world has not yielded any worthy fruit. While possessing physical life, he should lay hold of the life spiritual, and together with bodily comforts and happiness, he should enjoy divine pleasures and content. Then is man worthy of the title man; then will he be after the image and likeness of God, for the image of the Merciful consists of the attributes of the heavenly Kingdom. If no fruits of the Kingdom appear in the garden of his soul, man is not in the image and likeness of God, but if those fruits are forthcoming, he becomes the recipient of ideal bestowals and is enkindled with the fire of the love of God. If his morals become spiritual in character, his aspirations heavenly and his actions conformable to the will of God, man has attained the image and likeness of his Creator; otherwise, he is the image and likeness of Satan. Therefore, Christ hath said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

“The best person is he who wins all hearts and is not the cause of grief to anyone.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 26, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “Drinking Tea with ‘The Girl from Kansas.’” 239 Days in America, 26 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/26/drinking-tea-with-the-girl-from-kansas/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 158.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=7#section186
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 335-336. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/26#568183350

239 Days in America, Day 168: September 25, 1912 | Denver

“The World is a School” 1

“WHEN I ARRIVED IN this country,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told the congregation at the Divine Science Church in Denver, Colorado, “I realized that American ideals are indeed most praiseworthy. . . .” The nations of Europe were on the verge of war, he noted, driven by prejudice and fanaticism. “You are free from such prejudice,” he added, “for you believe in the oneness and solidarity of the world of humanity.”

The church that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke in on the evening of September 25, 1912, had a distinctive history. Its founder, Nona Lovell Brooks, was one of the first female pastors in America. She was also an early proponent of the New Thought movement. While the movement held beliefs that were considered unorthodox by mainstream Christianity — among them spiritual healing and the non-existence of evil — it was more mainstream than some of the groups ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had encountered in America, such as the Theosophists or the Free Religionists. The congregation in Denver believed that truth came through the Bible, and that Jesus was a guide for human behavior.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived at 8 p.m. in an automobile put at his disposal by the editor of the Denver Post. He delivered what was perhaps his most expansive exposition yet on the common foundation of the world’s religions, and the barriers to religious unity.

“The world is a school,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told his audience, “in which there must be Teachers of the Word of God.” It was a deceptively simple metaphor — one that implied not only that humankind was a single body functioning within a single structure of guidance, but that it progressed over time under the direction of successive teachers.

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah

On September 25 there appeared an article in the [Denver] Post entitled, “ABDUL BA-HA ABBAS—PERSIAN TEACHER—TO CONVERT DENVER.” The reporter, Frances Wayne, wrote:

“A Man of God has come to town.

“With the arrival yesterday of Abdul Ba-ha Abbas, a quicker spirit of tolerance, of brotherly love, of sincerer charity, of all those virtues which lift man above the beast was given wing and must, before his departure, have its effect upon every man and woman who comes within the radius of this wise man of the East.

“Abdul Ba-ha entered the city without any of the glitter or pomp which is the attribute of nobility. He came … companioned by five devoted servants of the faith he preaches and by a reputation for sanity and holiness which makes of the most hardened cynic a respectful spectator.” 2

After a meeting the next day, September 25, He took a walk, and then spoke with the crowds who had gathered. To one person He said, “‘Man is like a bird which is in the cage. A bird cannot get freedom by merely knowing that there are pure breezes, spacious firmament, beautiful gardens, pleasant parks and fountains outside. It must get a power to break the cage and to fly into the pleasant firmament.’” That afternoon He spoke at the home of Mrs. Roberts and that night at a public meeting at the Hotel Shirley. 3

September 25, 1912 4

Most of the people coming today to see the Master were prominent and well-known. Because they so were attracted and transformed by His talks on the divine teachings of the oneness of humanity, universal peace and the principles of the religions, today I wrote to the friends in the East inviting them to come and see how people who had previously had no appreciation for those from the East, especially the Persians, now come in groups to the threshold of the Master and stand waiting their turn to become the recipients of His favor. They consider an interview with Him a source of pride and glory. Many philosophers, professors, clergymen and lecturers come with bowed heads to show their sincere humility. The people from churches and other organizations are also attracted and fascinated, happy to see His life-giving countenance. The Center of the Covenant has caused the Persians to be renowned for their respectability and has crowned the peoples of the East with eternal honor and glory. And how the newspapers of this region praise the Master and the learned and literary people of the West emphasize the importance of these teachings! Notwithstanding this, most of the Persians are asleep and do not understand the cause of their greatness and honor. They are asleep on the bed of negligence and resting in the lap of pride.

After the meeting the Master took a walk. His heart was filled with joy as He said:

“Did you see what a fire was set aglow in the hearts? A person must first be happy and attracted himself to be in a position to transform others. He himself must be impressed in order to impress others. You must act in a way that will make me happy, then you will see what will happen.”

To one who visited Him at the hotel, He remarked:

“I have come to your city and found tall buildings and advancement in material civilization. Now I will lead you to my own city which is the world above. Its administration is the oneness of humanity, its law is international peace, its palaces are ever shining with the lights of the Kingdom, its season is always spring, its trees are ever green, its fruits are fresh and sweet, its sun is ever ascending, its moon is always full, its stars are ever brilliant and its planets are ever circling. That is our city and the Founder is Bahá’u’lláh. We have enjoyed the pleasures of this city and now I invite you to that city. I hope that you will accept this invitation.”

To another He said:

“Man must take flight from the cage of the body and become pure spirit, for the body is a cage which causes difficulties for man and makes him the captive of nature and involves him in all types of misfortunes. But when a person discards all his physical habits, he is freed from all fetters. As physical powers attract the world of nature, so spiritual powers must break these chains. This condition is not realized by thought alone. The powers of nature are ever alert to allure man. The eye is fascinated by beautiful scenery; the ear is entranced by music; the heart is attracted by delights and human passions. A man may be rich but still he wants more because he is attracted by the world of nature; he has means of livelihood yet he desires more. Therefore, the spiritual powers must dominate so that he may be freed from these fetters and attain salvation. Man is like a bird in a cage. A bird cannot attain freedom merely by knowing that in the free world there are pure breezes, spacious skies, beautiful gardens, pleasant parks and fountains; rather, the bird must find a power to break the cage and soar into the wide firmament.”

He then narrated a story about detachment:

“The Persian friends travel mostly on foot. They sleep whenever they get tired. They rest wherever they see a shady tree. Once a person came to an Amír. The Amír wished to present him with a gift and with insistence gave him a robe. Later, when he became tired, he lay down under a tree in the forest with the robe folded under his head. But he could not sleep as he repeatedly imagined that a thief was crouching nearby to take away the robe. At last he rose, threw the robe away and said, ‘As long as this robe is with me, I shall not find rest. To find rest I must give it up.’ How long will you desire a robe for your body? Release your body that you may have no need for a robe.”

A public meeting was held in the afternoon at the home of Mrs Roberts. ’Abdu’l-Bahá walked awhile in the garden outside the house. Although most of the friends watched Him respectfully from a distance, when several ladies from Washington DC saw Him, they ran towards Him, expressing their faith and happiness in the divine teachings which they had heard from His own lips in Washington.

In brief, the Master’s talk that afternoon was to say farewell to the friends, to encourage them in their endeavors to diffuse the fragrances of God and to explain issues related to teaching. They were all set ablaze by His words.

In the evening the proprietor of the Hotel Shirley and the publisher of a newspaper announced that there would be a public meeting in the large hall of the hotel. The spacious room was filled to capacity. I will never forget the joy and excitement of the audience. At times the audience was plunged into a state of sadness and wonder and then into a state of such happiness and joy that peals of laughter could be heard outside the building. It is not possible to describe the excitement and attraction of the people. They all expressed their sadness that the Master was leaving the city. Those men and women staying at the hotel who because of their wealth and pride had previously not deigned to look at us, now sought us out. Everyone was fascinated by the majesty and grandeur of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and gave their hearts to Him.

Talk at Second Divine Science Church, 3929 West Thirty-eighth Avenue, Denver, Colorado 5

One of the forms of prejudice which afflict the world of mankind is religious bigotry and fanaticism. When this hatred burns in human hearts, it becomes the cause of revolution, destruction, abasement of humankind and deprivation of the mercy of God. For the holy Manifestations and divine Founders of religion Themselves were completely unified in love and agreement, whereas Their followers are characterized by bitter antagonism and attitudes of hostility toward each other. God has desired for mankind the effulgence of love, but through blindness and misapprehension man has enveloped himself in veils of discord, strife and hatred. The supreme need of humanity is cooperation and reciprocity. The stronger the ties of fellowship and solidarity amongst men, the greater will be the power of constructiveness and accomplishment in all the planes of human activity. Without cooperation and reciprocal attitude the individual member of human society remains self-centered, uninspired by altruistic purposes, limited and solitary in development like the animal and plant organisms of the lower kingdoms. The lower creatures are not in need of cooperation and reciprocity. A tree can live solitary and alone, but this is impossible for man without retrogression. Therefore, every cooperative attitude and activity of human life is praiseworthy and foreintended by the will of God. The first expression of cooperation is family relationship, which is unreliable and uncertain in its potency, for it is subject to separation and does not permanently cement together the individual members of humanity. There is also a cooperation and oneness in nativity or race which is likewise not efficient, for although its members may agree in general, they differ radically in personal and particular points of view. Racial association, therefore, will not ensure the requirements of divine relationship. There are other means in the human world by which physical association is established, but these fail to weld together the hearts and spirits of men and are correspondingly inefficient. Therefore, it is evident that God has destined and intended religion to be the cause and means of cooperative effort and accomplishment among mankind. To this end He has sent the Prophets of God, the holy Manifestations of the Word, in order that the fundamental reality and religion of God may prove to be the bond of human unity, for the divine religions revealed by these holy Messengers have one and the same foundation. All will admit, therefore, that the divine religions are intended to be the means of true human cooperation, that they are united in the purpose of making humanity one family, for they rest upon the universal foundation of love, and love is the first effulgence of Divinity.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

People were fascinated with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and considered an interview with Him a source of pride and glory

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 25, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “‘The World Is a School.’” 239 Days in America, 25 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/25/deceptively-simple-metaphor-new-thought/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 154.
  3. Ibid, 158.
  4. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=7#section185
  5. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 337-338. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/26#322101001

239 Days in America, Day 167: September 24, 1912 | Denver

The World Is Thinking of War 1

“THE PEOPLE OF THIS world are thinking of warfare,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told an audience in Denver, Colorado, on September 24, 1912, “you must be peacemakers.” Two days earlier, in Omaha, Nebraska, news reached ‘Abdu’l-Bahá of the impending conflict in the Balkan Peninsula. By the time he arrived in Colorado, the front pages of every newspaper in the country were trumpeting that the tensions in the Balkans were about to escalate.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá had lamented Italy’s invasion of Tripoli on April 12, 1912, his second day in America. In 1911, Italian troops had landed on the shores of the Ottoman provinces of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, in what is now western Libya. Italy’s victory emboldened the Balkan states in their own military aspirations against the Muslims. During the summer months of 1912, the Christian Balkan states -— Serbia, Greece, Montenegro, and Bulgaria -— created the Balkan League, whose mandate was to rid the area of the Ottomans.

On September 22, in Omaha, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had described how a general European war could be averted. North and South American republics should put pressure on European nations, financiers should refuse to give military loans, railroads should refuse to transport arms. When he arrived in Denver on September 24, he raised the issue of war and peace immediately.

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

After the morning sessions on September 24 He walked through the park. Many people stopped and looked, and some took photographs as He passed by. One of the friends remarked that, with their diversity of Easter and Western clothes, people were looking upon the sight as a comedy. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá laughed, “‘Yea, it is heavenly fun, a performance of the Kingdom and a wonderful theater.’”

When He went by train to the suburban home of Mrs. Clark in the afternoon, again some observers were whispering about them. Abdu’l-Bahá told the friends to tell them, “‘We are neither Turks nor Arabs; neither of the East nor of the West; but we are of heaven and of God.’”

September 24, 1912 3

There was a rush of people from early morning until noon. Friends, seekers, professors, clergymen and philosophers all came to see Him. They each raised questions and were filled with joy on hearing the Master’s words.

He was invited by some clergymen to speak in their churches. He tendered His regrets, saying, ‘My stay here is brief.’

Today the newspapers published ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s picture along with those of His companions, as well as articles describing His talks.

After the meeting He went for a walk and strolled through parks and boulevards. As the Master passed by the government buildings, monuments and statutes of American heroes, He remarked: ‘Their victories are trifling in comparison with the first victories of Islam, yet they are famous and a source of honor to all who know them. But these great victories have been completely forgotten.’ All eyes were attracted to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, to His glory, dignity and grandeur, as He walked with His companions dressed in their kuláhs and Persian clothes. One of the Master’s companions remarked that the people viewed this picturesque sight as an amusing comedy. He replied, ‘Yes, it is a heavenly act, a performance of the Kingdom, a wonderful pageant.’

Those who had read the newspapers about the arrival of the Master were heard saying to each other, ‘He is the Prophet of the East, the Messenger of Peace. Those who had cameras took the Master’s photograph as He walked by.

In the afternoon He was invited to the suburban home of Mrs Clark. As we rode on the train some passengers were seen to be whispering about us. He said, ‘Tell them we are neither Turks nor Arabs, neither of the East nor of the West, rather we are of heaven and of God.’ One of the companions said, ‘Being of that is good but being of God is better.’

When the Master arrived at Mrs Clark’s home, several of the friends had already gathered to see Him. He spoke to them about the confirmations of the Abhá Beauty and the power and influence of the Word of God. ‘See how He has made the Easterner and the Westerner friends’, He said, ‘and has bestowed sincere love and true friendship. Otherwise, what connection would there be between us and Americans, between this Japanese youth and Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání? Mrs Clark said: ‘I have frequently dreamt that my home would become honored with the footsteps of the Beloved Master. I am extremely thankful and grateful that my dreams have come true. My heart is now freed from ego, whereas before I used to consider myself better than anyone else.’ The Master said:

“Thank God, because the first self-conceited one was Satan. A man must never consider himself greater than others. Rather, he must always be humble and self-effacing. The bird, as long as it sees itself at a low level, is given impetus to soar and progress; but the moment it fancies itself high in the air, it begins to descend.”

Someone in the audience asked, ‘What shall I do to become a true servant?’ He replied:

“Act in accordance with the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. Do not only read His teachings but put into practice in your lives the Hidden Words and the other holy writings. Whatever I say is not even a drop from the ocean of the Supreme Pen and the treasure-filled sea of the bounty and favor of the Abhá Beauty.

“I have brought the message of Bahá’u’lláh to this country in order to teach people to investigate truth, to render service to humanity, to endeavor to bring about international peace, to exert every effort to guide humanity, to show kindness to all creatures and to raise the Call of the Kingdom. Man must be endowed with divine attributes and must enter the concourse of the exalted ones. These teachings are only a drop from the sea concealed in the Hidden Words. We must pray for each other. If we act according to the divine teachings, by God besides Whom there is none other God, we shall shine like lamps. But woe betide those people who are aware of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and know them to be the cause of eternal salvation and divine nearness but still do not bring their actions into conformity with them. Such is a source of great distress. Thus it is incumbent upon us to endeavor day and night to follow the teachings of God. This is the cause of eternal esteem, this is divine favor, this is the honor of mankind and this is everlasting life.”

Another person asked about telepathy or communication from mind to mind. He replied:

“It is evident. If a lover holds the hand of a beloved, it is obvious what feelings ensue. They communicate face to face and speak heart to heart, as this light is communicating now with human eyes, the sun with the earth, the cloud with the land and the breeze with the tree. This process is found in all things.”

The Master was asked about His health and comfort, to which He replied:

“I have not come for rest and diversion. I have come to raise the call of the Abhá Kingdom in order to diffuse the divine fragrances. Had I desired rest, I would have secured it more easily in the East. Now I must journey to various cities and countries and call people to the divine Kingdom. Suppose I had rested for a few years, what results would it have had?”

The Master was asked about His health and comfort, to which He replied:

“I have not come for rest and diversion. I have come to raise the call of the Abhá Kingdom in order to diffuse the divine fragrances. Had I desired rest, I would have secured it more easily in the East. Now I must journey to various cities and countries and call people to the divine Kingdom. Suppose I had rested for a few years, what results would it have had?”

Early in the evening when He returned to the hotel the Master discovered that the editor of The Post had placed an automobile at His disposal. On the way to the Church of Divine Science, He remarked:

“Behold the power and confirmation of the Blessed Beauty: The pastor comes in person with all humility to invite us and the proprietor of a leading journal sends his automobile for our use, so that we may raise the call of God in the church. Truly, such confirmations have never been seen in other dispensations and in no age have the Manifestations of the Cause of God met with such reverence and honor. But these things should be the cause of humility and self-effacement. We must not consider that they are due to our addresses or our eloquence. These shining lights which you see will instantly darken if the origin of their bounty is severed from them.”

When the Master’s automobile reached the church, a crowd of people was seen standing outside. Immediately the pastor came forward, and taking the Master’s arm, led Him to the pulpit. The pastor reverently introduced the Master to the audience. Then ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stood and delivered an address on the reality and condition of the Manifestations of God. After His talk, the people came to the pulpit to see Him and shake His hand, surrounding Him like moths. Another clergyman, with the utmost humility, asked the Master to speak at his church. He was so persuasive that every tongue was forced to say, ‘All heads are bowed before Him.’ With great courtesy, the Master tendered His apologies because of His limited time but promised to return.

As the Master left the church He was perspiring so much that His companions were concerned about His health and tried to keep Him warm with His ‘abá, shawl and blanket. Indeed, the guidance and protection of the Abhá Beauty prevailed and His assistance bestowed. Everything relating to this journey has been the cause of joy and a sign of the power of the King of Manifestations.

Talk at Home of Mrs. Sidney E. Roberts , Denver, Colorado4

Praise be to God! We are living in a century of light. Praise be to God! We are upon earth in the day of divine effulgence. Praise be to God! We are alive in this time of the manifestation of divine love. Praise be to God that we live in the day of the outpouring of heavenly bounty. Praise be to God! This is a day wherein the lights and splendors have awakened progress throughout the East and the West. Many holy souls in former times longed to witness this century, lamenting night and day, yearning to be upon the earth in this cycle; but our presence and privilege is the beneficent gift of the Lord. In His divine mercy and absolute virtue He has bestowed this upon us, even as Christ declared, “Many are called but few are chosen.” Verily, God has chosen you for His love and knowledge; God has chosen you for the worthy service of unifying mankind; God has chosen you for the purpose of investigating reality and promulgating international peace; God has chosen you for the progress and development of humanity, for spreading and proclaiming true education, for the expression of love toward your fellow creatures and the removal of prejudice; God has chosen you to blend together human hearts and give light to the human world. The doors of His generosity are wide, wide open to us; but we must be attentive, alert and mindful, occupied with service to all mankind, appreciating the bestowals of God and ever conforming to His will.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

Many came to see the Master from all walks of life

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 24, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “The World Is Thinking of War.” 239 Days in America, 24 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/24/the-world-is-thinking-of-war/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 152-153.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=7#section184
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 334-335. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/26#063559568

239 Days in America, Day 166: September 23, 1912 | Denver

September 23, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

DURING THE PAST WEEK, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá traveled from Chicago to Minneapolis, then continued westward to Omaha, Nebraska, and finally to nearby Lincoln, where he visited the family of William Jennings Bryan.

In the week ahead: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrives in Denver, Colorado, where he addresses the congregation at the Divine Science Church, a center of the New Thought Movement. While in Denver, news reaches him of a much-anticipated marriage that has taken place in New York City. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá then continues his trip west, making stops in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

At 2:00 P.M. on Monday, September 23, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived at the Denver station, He was greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Ashton and other friends and went to the Shirley Hotel. He asked reports who came to His third floor room to return a short time later, which they did, at 5:00 P.M.

At 8:00 P.M. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went to the home of Mrs. Sidney Roberts and spoke with the friends. He also accepted an invitation to speak in a church and asked the others who wished interviews to visit the hotel the next morning.

September 23, 1912 3

At eight in the evening He went to the home of Mrs [Sidney] Roberts where friends both old and new had gathered. There were so many people that they were seen standing as far the front entrance. He spoke to them about the power of the Abhá Kingdom which had enabled Him to travel far in spite of His weak constitution and which had gathered the friends in the assemblies of the love of God. After His talk He bestowed His special blessing on each person. As the Master was leaving the meeting, the pastor of the Church of Divine Science approached Him with the utmost humility and invited Him to speak at his church. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá accepted. Since so many people wished to have an interview with Him, He announced that during the few days He would be in Denver, He would see anyone who would call upon Him at the hotel between nine and twelve in the morning.

Regarding His health, He said:

“In the early stages of our long journey to California my health was affected. But as the journey was made for God and to diffuse the divine fragrances, my longstanding indisposition has been cured without any medicine. The confirmations of Abhá are descending from all sides.”

He added:

“It is written in the Hadíth [Islamic traditions] that cities shall draw nearer to each other. Besides spiritual nearness and communications between the cities of the hearts and friendships between diverse people in the promised Day, how physically close have the cities and countries also become. Truly, if not for railroads and the power of steam, how could these long distances be traversed with such ease? This is one of the miracles of this promised century of our current age.”

20 September 1912, Talk at Home of Dr. and Mrs. Clement Woolson, 870 Laurel Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota 4

It is clearly evident that while man possesses powers in common with the animal, he is distinguished from the animal by intellectual attainment, spiritual perception, the acquisition of virtues, capacity to receive the bestowals of Divinity, lordly bounty and emanations of heavenly mercy. This is the adornment of man, his honor and sublimity. Humanity must strive toward this supreme station. Christ has interpreted this station as the second birth. Man is first born from a world of darkness, the matrix of the mother, into this physical world of light. In the dark world from whence he came he had no knowledge of the virtues of this existence. He has been liberated from a condition of darkness and brought into a new and spacious realm where there is sunlight, the stars are shining, the moon sheds its radiance, there are beautiful views, gardens of roses, fruits and all the blessings of the present world. How did he attain these blessings? Through the agency of birth from the mother. Just as man has been physically born into this world, he may be reborn from the realm and matrix of nature, for the realm of nature is a condition of animalism, darkness and defect. In this second birth he attains the world of the Kingdom. There he witnesses and realizes that the world of nature is a world of gloom, whereas the Kingdom is a world of radiance; the world of nature is a world of defects, the Kingdom is a realm of perfection; the world of nature is a world without enlightenment, the Kingdom of spiritual humanity is a heaven of illumination. Great discoveries and revelations are now possible for him; he has attained the reality of perception; his circle of understanding is illimitably widened; he views the realities of creation, comprehends the divine bounties and unseals the mystery of phenomena. This is the station which Christ has interpreted as the second birth. He says that just as ye were physically born from the mother into this world, ye must be born again from the mother world of nature into the life of the divine Kingdom. May you all attain this second, spiritual birth. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

I pray that the confirmation of God may descend upon you. May you all be born again from this mortal world into the realm of the Kingdom. May you clearly witness the signs of God, sense the virtues of the divine, attain the eternal bounties and perceive the reality of everlasting life.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

Arriving in Denver, resting for a few hours and meeting with reporters, friends and seekers

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 23, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “September 23, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 23 Sept. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/09/23/september-23-1912-the-week-ahead/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 152.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=7#section183
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 332-333. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/25#356886008