America on the Sidelines 1
At Grey Towers, Gifford Pinchot’s estate in Milford, Pennsylvania, on June 3, 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had argued that justice could not be served by governing vast regions from a single center. “Each of the colonial countries serves to adorn one great capital,” he said. But “Tremendous changes will take place in Europe. The great centralized powers will break up into smaller independent states.” In short, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told the Americans, “Europe will be forced to follow your system.”
It would take the Great War to achieve it.
New York, Philadelphia, New York 2
Abdu’l-Bahá went to the Unity Club on Wednesday [June 5] to speak to a children’s affair at which various civic leaders and statesmen, and Admiral Peary, were also present. He spoke that evening at the Women’s Union on the education of women.
Wednesday, June 5, 1912
In the morning, the Master, together with some of His servants, went to Brooklyn to attend a children’s event given by the Unity Club. The gathering included dignitaries, civic leaders and national statesmen. After exchanging greetings in the drawing room, the Master went to the dining room. All of the rooms, as well as the salon, were exquisitely decorated with flowers of various hues. Many kinds of dishes were brought, some of which the Master did not touch. At the table some of the eminent people spoke to Him. Among them was Admiral Peary, the famous explorer of the North Pole, who gave an account of the voyage he undertook to further his exploration. Admiral Peary then praised the Master and spoke of his good fortune in meeting Him and the importance of the teachings. He asked the Master to make a short speech. Although ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had not planned to speak, He delivered a discourse on the perfection of creation, its present defects and the need for education capable of producing great results by removing these imperfections. He also spoke on the importance of the education of children. Although there had been many speeches, this address created a great excitement, capturing everyone’s attention. When it was time for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to leave, He gave permission for Him to be photographed with us.
In the evening there was a meeting at the Women’s Union. A number of men were also present. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke on the education of women, service to humanity and the freeing of oneself from ego and desire. His address strongly impressed the audience, giving wings to both their hearts and minds. 3
Talk at Church of the Ascension, Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street, New York, 02 June 1912 4
Question: What is the attitude of your belief toward the family?
Answer: According to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh the family, being a human unit, must be educated according to the rules of sanctity. All the virtues must be taught the family. The integrity of the family bond must be constantly considered, and the rights of the individual members must not be transgressed. The rights of the son, the father, the mother—none of them must be transgressed, none of them must be arbitrary. Just as the son has certain obligations to his father, the father, likewise, has certain obligations to his son. The mother, the sister and other members of the household have their certain prerogatives. All these rights and prerogatives must be conserved, yet the unity of the family must be sustained. The injury of one shall be considered the injury of all; the comfort of each, the comfort of all; the honor of one, the honor of all.
’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. “America on the Sidelines.” 239 Days in America, 5 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/05/waiting-on-america/. ↩
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 87. ↩
- ’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=4#section73 ↩
- 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, 168. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/12#526459415. ↩