The Good Shepherds 1
YOU MIGHT HAVE EXPECTED ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to speak to the International Peace Forum on the scourge of war, or perhaps the need for international arbitration. Yet, just as he had done at the Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitration, and at various speeches to peace societies in New York, he tackled the subject in an unexpected way. He spoke instead about religion, and about the prophets of God throughout the ages.
The peace movement in the early twentieth century was deeply intertwined with religion. Peace organizations met in churches and synagogues. Their membership pursued the cause of peace with religious conviction. But ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wasn’t simply taking advantage of a captive audience in order to present a religious message; his approach ran much deeper. He argued that the binding power of religion must lie at the core of humankind’s hopes for peace.
“There is a brotherhood greater and superior to all other brotherhoods,” he said, “and that is the spiritual brotherhood, the heavenly brotherhood. This brotherhood is established by the Manifestations of the Holy One.”
New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts 2
The New York City American, the next day [Wednesday, May 29], in an article headed, “URGES ONE RELIGION FOR ALL,” reported about the meeting:
The Metropolitan Temple was filled yesterday with a fashionable and distinguished audience greeting Abdul Baha Abbas. Upon the platform were seated the Rev. Wesley J. Hill, former pastor of the Metropolitan Temple Church, who presided; the Rev. Rabbi Silverman and the Rev. Dr. Frederick Lynch, all of whom spoke…
Abdul Baha said that divine religions, like the waters, are in reality one. He advocated one universal religion with no racial difference.
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney, 780 West End Avenue, New York 3
The divine Manifestations have been iconoclastic in Their teachings, uprooting error, destroying false religious beliefs and summoning mankind anew to the fundamental oneness of God. All of Them have, likewise, proclaimed the oneness of the world of humanity. The essential teaching of Moses was the law of Sinai, the Ten Commandments. Christ renewed and again revealed the commands of the one God and precepts of human action. In Muḥammad, although the circle was wider, the intention of His teaching was likewise to uplift and unify humanity in the knowledge of the one God. In the Báb the circle was again very much enlarged, but the essential teaching was the same. The Books of Bahá’u’lláh number more than one hundred. Each one is an evident proof sufficient for mankind; each one from foundation to apex proclaims the essential unity of God and humanity, the love of God, the abolition of war and the divine standard of peace. Each one also inculcates divine morality, the manifestation of lordly graces—in every word a book of meanings. For the Word of God is collective wisdom, absolute knowledge and eternal truth.
Wednesday, May 29, 1912 4
A public meeting was held today by the Theosophical Society where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke on matters relating to the spirit and its passage through the world of existence. The effect of His address was such that the president of the society said, in the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, that his greatest desire was to bring about a perfect harmony between the Bahá’ís and the Theosophists. The happiness of Master increased day by day through influence of the Cause of God. Whenever He was asked about His health, He said with the utmost happiness, ‘My health and happiness depend on the progress of the Cause of God. Nothing else merits attention. This happiness is eternal, and this life is life everlasting.’
’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny
Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America
Curated by Anne Perry
- Sockett, Robert. “The Good Shepherds.” 239 Days in America, 29 May 2012, https://239days.com/2012/05/29/the-good-shepherds/. ↩
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 74-75. ↩
- 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, 154. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/12#218331438. ↩
- ’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#section66. ↩