239 Days in America, Day 2: April 12, 1912 | New York, NY

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: New Yorker 1

‘Abdu’l-Bahá drew an analogy between human society and the structure of matter. “If the atoms which compose the kingdom of the minerals were without affinity for each other,” he said, “the universe could not have been created. When this attraction or atomic affinity is destroyed, the power of life ceases to manifest; death and nonexistence result. The purpose of man’s creation is, therefore, unity and harmony, not discord and separateness.” 2

First Days in America: New York City

That afternoon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said to a thousand persons in the [Mr. and Mrs. Howard] MacNutt home,

Array yourselves in the perfection of divine virtues. I hope you may be quickened and vivified by the breaths of the Holy Spirit. Then shall ye indeed become the angels of heaven whom Christ promised would appear in this Day to gather the harvest of divine planting. This is my hope. This is my prayer for you.3

Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Howard MacNutt, 935 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York

This is a most happy visit. I have crossed the sea from the land of the Orient for the joy of meeting the friends of God. Although I am weary after my long journey, the light of the spirit shining in your faces brings me rest and reward. In this meeting the divine susceptibilities are radiant. This is a spiritual house, the home of the spirit. There is no discord here; all is love and unity. When souls are gathered together in this way, the divine bestowals descend. The purpose of the creation of man is the attainment of the supreme virtues of humanity through descent of the heavenly bestowals. The purpose of man’s creation is, therefore, unity and harmony, not discord and separateness. 4

Thursday, April 11, 1912 [Friday, April 12, 1912]

The Master gave many such eloquent responses to the reporter’s questions and ended with a discussion about the rights of women, the discouragement of polygamy and other social ills.

As ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had been mentioned in the newspapers as ‘The Prophet of the East’, He said to the correspondent, ‘I am not a prophet; I am a servant of God. My name is ‘Abdu’l-Bahá [the servant of Bahá’]. Although the Master disclaimed the station of a Prophet, many newspapers, in describing His many qualities and attributes, continued to refer to Him as the ‘Prophet of the East’ and the ‘Messenger of Peace’.

After He had revealed several Tablets in honor of some of the assemblies in America and had given instructions regarding the arrangement of meetings, He granted an audience to other representatives of the press who had earlier telephoned asking permission for an interview. He spoke at length about the unity of the principles of religions, the necessity for universal peace, the importance of a spiritual civilization, as well as the importance of education and the progress of women. The reporters took down all of His statements and published them in the newspapers. Representatives from other magazines and journals took more photographs of the Master and printed them in their publications. As a result, there were continuous calls requesting public and private meetings with Him. 5

  1. Menon, Jonathan. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá: New Yorker.” 239 Days in America, April 12, 2012. https://239days.com/2012/04/12/friday-afternoon-in-the-city/.
  2. 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, 4. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#169029459.
  3. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 18.
  4. Ibid, 4. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#169029459.
  5. Mahmud-i-Zarqani, Mirza. 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=2#section18

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