1912: A Year Supreme with Possibilities 1
‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ COULD HARDLY have picked a better time than 1912 to join the conversation about America. “Nineteen twelve,” said Eugene Debs, the Socialist Party’s candidate for President, “is a year supreme with possibilities.” That year marked the highpoint of a flurry of new social movements that had begun two decades earlier…
As ‘Abdu’l-Bahá crossed the country in 1912, the national debate around the Presidential election crystallized the forces of change that had been brimming for twenty years. Woodrow Wilson summed up the challenge facing the American people.
“Now this is nothing short of a new social age,” he said, “a new era of human relationships, a new stage-setting for the drama of life.”
New York City 2
Abdu’l-Bahá continued to explain in a multitude of ways so that all might understand, the object and goal of His endless work and teaching. On July 19, for example, He told the friends:
My weak constitution and excessive work are drawbacks. Otherwise it were possible that many extraordinary souls would have arisen among the friends. As along as such souls do not arise, the real object will not be accomplished. Devotion and capacity to work have been created to some extent in these friends. But the persons whom I mean have different qualities…
They [Mullá Hasan and Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Latif] were deputized by the Mujtahids to see the Blessed Beauty at Mázindarán. The moment they approached Him they were so changed and their reality was so transformed and adjusted that they did not remain indifferent for a moment. After undergoing great troubles and persecutions Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Latif was martyred at the altar of sacrifice. Similarly a blind Indian Sheik became so altered after his meeting the Beloved One that he was always found to be inebriated with joy and happiness. Such persons are required to rise for the Cause of God. Such persons are worthy of the field of service and devotion.
Friday, July 19, 2022 3
A letter was received from Mrs Parsons in Dublin, New Hampshire, begging Him to go there to meet some seekers after truth as well as for a change of surroundings and climate. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, although very tired and weak, spent the afternoon receiving friends and revealing Tablets for the believers. At the evening meeting He spoke about the martyrs of the Faith and visited the son of Varqá, the martyr, Mírzá Valíyu’lláh Khán, who was the recipient of the Master’s loving kindness. He then spoke of the martyrdom of Varqá and his son Rúhu’lláh in a most impressive and dignified manner, paying tribute to and demonstrating His great loyalty to these servants of the threshold of the Blessed Beauty. He then said, ‘It is my last night with you and I exhort you to be loving and united.’ When He finished His talk, all the friends demonstrated their great joy and happiness.
Talk at All Souls Unitarian Church, Fourth Avenue and Twentieth Street, New York, 14 July 1912 4
Still another cause of disagreement and dissension has been the formation of religious sects and denominations. Bahá’u’lláh said that God has sent religion for the purpose of establishing fellowship among humankind and not to create strife and discord, for all religion is founded upon the love of humanity. Abraham promulgated this principle, Moses summoned all to its recognition, Christ established it, and Muḥammad directed mankind to its standard. This is the reality of religion. If we abandon hearsay and investigate the reality and inner significance of the heavenly teachings, we will find the same divine foundation of love for humanity. The purport is that religion is intended to be the cause of unity, love and fellowship and not discord, enmity and estrangement. Man has forsaken the foundation of divine religion and adhered to blind imitations. Each nation has clung to its own imitations, and because these are at variance, warfare, bloodshed and destruction of the foundation of humanity have resulted. True religion is based upon love and agreement. Bahá’u’lláh has said, “If religion and faith are the causes of enmity and sedition, it is far better to be nonreligious, and the absence of religion would be preferable; for we desire religion to be the cause of amity and fellowship. If enmity and hatred exist, irreligion is preferable.” Therefore, the removal of this dissension has been specialized in Bahá’u’lláh, for religion is the divine remedy for human antagonism and discord. But when we make the remedy the cause of the disease, it would be better to do without the remedy.
’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
- Menon, Jonathan. “1912: A Year Supreme with Possibilities.” 239 Days in America, 19 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/19/1912-a-year-supreme-with-possibilities/. ↩
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 113-114. ↩
- ’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=5#section117 ↩
- 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, 231. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#992623475 ↩