239 Days in America, Day 105: July 24, 1912 | Boston

’Abdu’l-Bahá: Science Proves the Human Spirit 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ RECEIVED A LAST-MINUTE invitation just before dinner on July 24, 1912. He had already spoken to hundreds of people that day in Boston, in at least five different venues. Then the request came from the President of the American Theosophical Society. Although exhausted, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wasn’t one to say no, especially to a group devoted to the pursuit of spiritual matters.

“There is no religion higher than truth,” was the maxim of the Theosophical Society. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, a Russian noblewoman, had founded the organization in New York in 1875. Madame Blavatsky traveled the world in order to glean truths from the belief systems of the East, then immigrated to the West to inspire Americans. The event in Boston that evening took place just a stone’s throw away from the Victoria Hotel where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was staying.

“In the world of existence there is nothing so important as spirit,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá began. “The spirit of man is the animus of human life and the collective center of all human virtues.”

New Hampshire 2

On Wednesday, July 24, He spoke with the visitors at His hotel room from 8:00 A.M. until noon, when He went to speak at the Golden Ring Club. A number of people crowded into the car afterward and asked Him questions during an hour-and-a-half drive. Another group was waiting when He returned to the hotel. Later that night He spoke to the Boston Theosophical Society.

Wednesday, July 24, 1912 3

From 8:00 a.m. until noon, the Master spoke to friends and seekers who came to visit. Newspapers carrying accounts of the previous day’s meeting were brought to Him. Both His talk and the questions and answers were published.

In the afternoon He gave a public address about those deeds which bring about the beauty of perfection in this contingent world.

He was invited later to the Golden Links Club where He was asked whether Arabic might become the universal language. He said that it would not. He was then asked about Esperanto. He replied:

A few weeks ago, I wrote a letter from New York to one of the promoters of Esperanto telling him that this language could become universal if a council of delegates chosen from among the nations and rulers were established which would discuss Esperanto and consider the means to promote it.

He gave a public address on the subject of the relationship between the East and the West. The president of the club and its members were enchanted and reverently and humbly bid Him farewell. Some even continued to listen to His explanations in the automobile as it traveled for one and a half hours through parks, gardens and green fields, all beautifully landscaped. When He reached the hotel, He found another group waiting. After greeting the members of the Bahá’í Assembly, He spoke with the group at length.

Later that day the president of the Boston Theosophical Society invited the Master to speak to his association that evening. Although He was tired, seeing that the meeting place was not too far away, He accepted and gave a detailed and comprehensive talk on the immortality of the spirit of man. When the meeting ended, the people ran to the door to shake hands with the Master and to express their joy and devotion. Some were in ecstasy.

Talk to Theosophical Society, The Kensington, Exeter and Boylston Streets, Boston, Massachusetts 4

In the world of existence there is nothing so important as spirit, nothing so essential as the spirit of man. The spirit of man is the most noble of phenomena. The spirit of man is the meeting between man and God. The spirit of man is the animus of human life and the collective center of all human virtues. The spirit of man is the cause of the illumination of this world. The world may be likened to the body; man is the spirit of the body, because the light of the world is the human spirit. Man is the life of the world, and the life of man is the spirit. The happiness of the world depends upon man, and the happiness of man is dependent upon the spirit. The world may be likened to the lamp chimney, whereas man is the light. Man himself may be likened to the lamp; his spirit is the light within the lamp. Therefore, we will speak of this spirit.

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

Selecting a universal language

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 24, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Science Proves the Human Spirit.” 239 Days in America, 24 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/24/different-definition-of-spiritual/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 117.
  3. ’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#section122
  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, 239-240. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/17#220024050

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