239 Days in America, Day 5: April 15, 1912 | New York, NY

An Arms Dealer Tries to Sell War to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 1

“Do you consider the next great national war necessary?” [Hudson] Maxim asked.

“Why not try peace for awhile?” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá answered. “If we find war is better it will not be difficult to fight again; but if we find that peace is the glorification of humanity, the impulse of true civilization, the stimulus to inventive genius and the means of attainment to the good-pleasure of God, we must agree to adhere to it and establish it permanently.”

First Days in America: New York City 2

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: “You are a celebrated inventor and scientific expert whose energies and faculties are employed in the production of means for human destruction. Your name has become famous in the science of war. Now you have the opportunity of becoming doubly famous. You must practice the science of peace…invent guns of love which shall shake the foundations of humanity.”

“…Then will it be said by the people of the world, this is Mr. Maxim, inventor of the guns of war, discoverer of high explosives, military scientist, who has also discovered and invented means for increasing the life and love of man; who has put an end to the strife of nations and uprooted the tree of war… Then will your life become pregnant and productive with really great results… Then will your name be recorded in the pages of history with a pen of gold…” 3

Talk at Home of Mountfort Mills, 327 West End Avenue, New York

If we accept the supposition that man is but a part of nature, we are confronted by an illogical statement, for this is equivalent to claiming that a part may be endowed with qualities which are absent in the whole. For man who is a part of nature has perception, intelligence, memory, conscious reflection and susceptibility, while nature itself is quite bereft of them. How is it possible for the part to be possessed of qualities or faculties which are absent in the whole? The truth is that God has given to man certain powers which are supernatural. How then can man be considered a captive of nature? Is he not dominating and controlling nature to his own uses more and more? Is he not the very divinity of nature? Shall we say nature is blind, nature is not perceptive, nature is without volition and not alive, and then relegate man to nature and its limitations? How can we answer this question? How will the materialists and scholastic atheists prove and support such a supposition? As a matter of fact, they themselves make natural laws subservient to their own wish and purpose. The proof is complete that in man there is a power beyond the limitations of nature, and that power is the bestowal of God. 4

Saturday, April 13, 1912 [Monday, April 15, 1912]

In the carriage returning to His hotel, He said:

“I have made the subject of my talks here only one of the principles of the Blessed Beauty [Bahá’u’lláh]. I have not as yet touched upon others of greater importance. It is because I perceive the pulse of the people and the needs of the present circumstances that the confirmations of the Blessed Beauty successively rain down and assist me. These effects that you see are not only the result of addresses but are due to the assistance of the Blessed Beauty. Of course, everyone says that peace is desirable but the power to influence and conform is what is required. The Blessed Beauty is indeed my helper and protector, to the degree that were I, for example, even to make war the subject of my talks, the same effects would become apparent. It is indeed the confirmations of the Blessed Beauty that aid us. Otherwise how would Westerners show such consideration to us Easterners?” 5

  1. Menon, Jonathan. “An Arms Dealer Tries to Sell War to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.” 239 Days in America, April 15, 2012. https://239days.com/2012/04/15/an-arms-dealer-tries-to-sell-war-to-abdul-baha/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 25.
  3. “Addresses Delivered by Abdul-Baha in New York City and Vicinity,” Star of the West, no. 7 (July 13, 1912), 4-5, 10.
  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, 17-18. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#691430632
  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#section20

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