Out and About in New York 1
Since ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had returned from Chicago on May 11, he had been living on the top floor of the Hudson Apartment House at 227 Riverside Drive, but the landlord had asked him to leave because the constant stream of visitors was too much for his staff to handle. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá then moved for a few days to the home of Edward and Carrie Kinney, just around the corner at 780 West End Avenue. But before returning from Milford, he had asked his staff to rent the new house on West 78th Street.
There was already a gathering waiting to meet him. When speaking to them he compared the material advances of America to “a glass of the utmost transparency and purity,” the purpose of which is to bring about “divine civilization,” which acts as the “shining lamp.” Unlike the other famous Eastern visitors to America, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá did not condemn the industrial success of the nation. Instead, “the more people advance in the material realm, he said, “the more their capacity for attaining spirituality is augmented.” He continued: “The sounder the body, the greater is the resplendency and manifestation of the spirit.” The material world does not impede spirituality, but rather “the dogmas and imitations that are contrary to true science and a sound mind.”
Friday, June 7, 1912 2
One of our companions showed such grave negligence and impudence that the heart of the beloved Master as well as our own hearts were saddened. However, observing his behavior and the forbearance of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, we have not written about his actions, which were often the source of grief to the Master.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá had accepted an invitation from church leaders in Philadelphia and left New York, even though He was exhausted and greatly grieved. Nevertheless, He gave two talks to the friends in Philadelphia, one during the day and the other in the evening. He spoke on the importance of the steadfastness of the friends and their devotion and sincerity to the Cause and acceptance of afflictions in the path of God. He stated that the purpose of the Supreme Manifestation of Abhá in enduring the severest persecutions and afflictions, and the troubles and martyrdoms suffered by so many innocent souls, was for the purification of the souls, the detachment of the hearts, the happiness of the spirits and the spirituality of the friends.
Because of His extreme exhaustion, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá did not attend some of the meetings and gave His apologies. But the friends, with increasing fervor and ardor, resembling moths in the court of union, sang His praises and glories like unto enchanted nightingales, desiring neither sleep nor rest.
New York, Philadelphia, New York 3
The next day, [June 7] Mahmúd noted, “One of the servants showed such negligence and impudence that the Most Holy Heart and the hearts of the servants of the Holy Threshold were made sad.”
Talk at Church of the Ascension, Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street, New York, 02 June 1912
Question: Is peace a greater word than love?
Answer: No! Love is greater than peace, for peace is founded upon love. Love is the objective point of peace, and peace is an outcome of love. Until love is attained, peace cannot be; but there is a so-called peace without love. The love which is from God is the fundamental. This love is the object of all human attainment, the radiance of heaven, the light of man. 4
Question: What will be the food of the united people?
Answer: As humanity progresses, meat will be used less and less, for the teeth of man are not carnivorous. For example, the lion is endowed with carnivorous teeth, which are intended for meat, and if meat be not found, the lion starves. The lion cannot graze; its teeth are of different shape. The digestive system of the lion is such that it cannot receive nourishment save through meat. The eagle has a crooked beak, the lower part shorter than the upper. It cannot pick up grain; it cannot graze; therefore, it is compelled to partake of meat. The domestic animals have herbivorous teeth formed to cut grass, which is their fodder. The human teeth, the molars, are formed to grind grain. The front teeth, the incisors, are for fruits, etc. It is, therefore, quite apparent according to the implements for eating that man’s food is intended to be grain and not meat. When mankind is more fully developed, the eating of meat will gradually cease. 5
’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
- Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “Out and About in New York.” 239 Days in America, 7 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/07/new-york-new-york/. ↩
- ’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#section75 ↩
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 87. ↩
- 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, 169. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/12#943259481. ↩
- 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, 170-171. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/12#984611638. ↩