239 Days in America, Day 38: May 18, 1912 | New York

The Truth for Which Men Ought to Die 1

IN THE CLOSING MONTHS of 1911, Howard Colby Ives paused at a small book stall in Manhattan and looked upon the face of a man who would reorder the whole course of his life.

Ives was a Unitarian minister whose life had been a protracted, and often desperate, struggle for spiritual meaning. He was a voracious reader of weighty tomes on theology, philosophy, and social thought, but on this day he picked up the December issue of Everybody’s Magazine. On page 775, amid leaves of advertisements for Waverly electric cars and AutoStrop safety razors, he read a story about the birth of a new religion.

“My life divides itself, in retrospect, sharply in two,” Ives later wrote. The years before he met ‘Abdu’l-Bahá he defined as “forty-six years of gestation.” His autobiography, Portals to Freedom, casts aside these nearly five decades in a few short paragraphs.

New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts 2

‘On Saturday the talks and interviews continued all day long. Dr. Bagdadi recalled, “…He used to take a walk in the park along Riverside Drive. Often He went alone, and, knowing that the friends would like to accompany Him, He said, ‘I sleep on the grass. I come out of fatigue. My mind rests. But when I am not alone, surely I talk, and treat of body and mind cannot be gained.’” 3

Talk at Union Meeting of Advanced Thought Centers, Carnegie Lyceum, West Fifty-seventh Street, New York, 14 April 1912

Throughout the universe the divine power is effulgent in endless images and pictures. The world of creation, the world of humanity may be likened to the earth itself and the divine power to the sun. This Sun has shone upon all mankind. In the endless variety of its reflections the divine Will is manifested. Consider how all are recipients of the bounty of the same Sun. At most the difference between them is that of degree, for the effulgence is one effulgence, the one light emanating from the Sun. This will express the oneness of the world of humanity. The body politic, or the social unity of the human world, may be likened to an ocean, and each member, each individual, a wave upon that same ocean. 4

Saturday, 18 May, 1912 5

Among those visiting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá were some New York clergymen. One of them, Dr John H. Randall, while the Master and His retinue had been absent, had spoken to his congregation about the life and teachings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. He expressed the hope that he would follow in the footsteps of the Master. So effective was his talk that many of his listeners burst into tears. He came with great humility to ask ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to deliver an address in his church. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá replied that since He had been invited to speak that week at several gatherings in Boston, He was not able to accept the invitation until after He returned.

This morning ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke to the people in the Church of the Divine Paternity. The minister of the church, Dr [Frank Oliver] Hall, spoke at length on the manifestation of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh, giving a detailed account of the appointed successor and the Covenant of God. He explained that the meaning of the name of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was that He was under the canopy of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh and concluded by saying that this Cause is the same reality that underlies all the religions of God and will become the cause of brotherhood, concord and universal peace.

The beloved Master stood and delivered an address about the unity of religions and the teachings of the new Manifestation in such a way that all were attracted to the divine fragrances. After His talk the audience pleaded with Him to allow them to line up on one side of the podium in order to shake His hand and then leave from the other side. Although they were permitted to do this, there was still such a crowd around the Master’s carriage that it was difficult to proceed.

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

Mahmud: May 18 — Clergy Invites ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to Speak

  1. Sockett, Robert. “The Truth For Which Men Ought To Die.” 239 Days in America, May 18, 2012. https://239days.com/2012/05/18/the-truth-for-which-men-ought-to-die/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 70.
  3. Zia Bagdadi, “‘Abdu’l-Bahá in America,” Star of the West, 19, no. 6 (Sept. 1928), 182.
  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, 14. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#658447153
  5. ’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=3#section55.

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