’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey So Far: Month Five 1
WE HAVE REACHED THE end of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s fifth month in North America. As he engages the press in Buffalo, New York, we thought we’d take this opportunity to look back at some of the highlights of the past month. …
Buffalo, Chicago, Kenosha 2
On Wednesday, September 11, after a series of interviews, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited two of the friends who were sick and distributed five dollars in coins to children who gathered around Him on the street. That evening He went to the Church of the Messiah. In the pastor’s study, before the meeting, the minister read an account of the Faith he had written for the church paper. When he concluded, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, “‘You have left nothing to Me to say here tonight. You have written and published everything in this booklet.’” After ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke to the congregation, the minister encouraged his parishioners to go to Bahá’í meetings and to investigate for themselves.
An article appearing in the Buffalo Express on September 11 began, “ABDUL BAHA AN OPTIMIST: Thinks Religious Unity And World Peace Will Come Within Present Century.”
Wednesday, September 11, 1912 3
People from all walks of life came to visit Him, including friends from Spokane and Mr Collins from Ottawa, who said that there were two thousand people in his city who believed in this golden age and in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and who wanted to have a glimpse of the Master. The Master entrusted him with a special Tablet and sent him, now ablaze like a ball of fire, back to his home.
Today the newspapers appeared with a new title for the Master, ‘The Prince of the East’, which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá did not welcome. He spoke with the reporters about the beginning and end of creation:
“If we determine a beginning and an end for creation, it is as if we determine a beginning and an end for God. There can be no creator without a creation. The sun without light and a king without subjects and a country are simply inconceivable.”
Here are some of His words to the friends:
“I am exceedingly pleased because I see you firm and unwavering in the Cause of God. Some individuals are like rootless plants, they are pulled out by the slightest breeze. But those who are steadfast are like trees that have strong roots and foundations. Storms cannot shake them; rather, they add to their freshness.”
The minister of the Church of the Messiah was greatly pleased [to] hear the Master’s teachings. He stated that they could not be contradicted by anyone. After thanking the Master for accepting his invitation to come to his church, the minister left.
In the afternoon the Master went to see two of the friends who were ill. When he arrived at their home, the neighborhood children crowded around Him, gazing at Him with reverence. Some asked about His native country and why He had come here. The friends explained it to them. The Master asked one of the friends to get change from a five dollar bill. He then distributed the coins among the children, who rushed to receive them, causing the Master to drop the rest of the coins. He then went into the home of Mr Mills where a number of friends had assembled. Refreshments had been prepared. The friends enthusiastically listened until the early evening hours as the Master unfolded the divine mysteries and encouraged them. Everyone begged His assistance and blessings and the desire of each for a few words from His own pen was granted. He then said, ‘Tomorrow we leave for Chicago.’ As soon as these words were uttered, the friends became downcast. Men and women, young and old, surrounded Him, supplicating Him for His blessings and confirmations in His absence.
When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived at the Church of the Messiah, the minister received Him at the entrance and led Him to a study where he humbly expressed his gratitude. He presented the Master with the official church newsletter in which he had published an extensive article about the history and teachings of the Cause. It had been written in a scholarly style and concluded with words in praise of the Master. When the article was translated for the Master, He turned to the minister and said, ‘You have left nothing for me to say here tonight. You have published everything in his booklet.’ We remarked that there could be no miracle greater than this, that clergymen were testifying to the greatness of the Cause of God with their own tongues and pens. The Master replied, ‘I have told you repeatedly that the Blessed Perfection is assisting us. All these confirmations which descend continually are from Him.’ He then went to the stage, stood before the audience and became the center of attraction for friends and seekers alike. The minister introduced ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in these words:
“It is my great honor to present to you the prophet of peace, the leader of the Bahá’í Cause. A short history and teachings of this Cause was published in today’s issue of the church newsletter and distributed this evening. I need not therefore dwell on these subjects. I propose to give as much time as possible to this eminent speaker. This great personage has traveled to many parts of the world and has delivered innumerable talks on the question of international peace. In Washington He gave a unique address in a church of our creed. The essential principles of this religion are the same as ours. I feel it an honor that I have been given the privilege of introducing to you the prophet of peace, His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.”
The Master stood and spoke on the divine teachings and the unity of the diverse nations under the canopy of the Word of God. The audience was so fascinated that although ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wished to leave the church early, it was not possible. The people came one after the other to meet Him and to give Him their regards. In return each received illumination from the Branch of the Ancient Root.
An unusual and outstanding feature of this evening’s experience was that at the conclusion of the meeting, the minister encouraged the congregation to go to the Bahá’í meetings to investigate and discover truth. This caused ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to express gratitude for the assistance of the Blessed Beauty and He continued to speak about the importance of this great journey until about 2:00 a.m. when He finally rested.
5 September 1912, Talk at St. James Methodist Church, Montreal, Canada 4
… In order that human souls, minds and spirits may attain advancement, tranquillity and vision in broader horizons of unity and knowledge, Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed certain principles or teachings, some of which I will mention.
First, man must independently investigate reality …
Second, the oneness of the world of humanity shall be realized, accepted and established. …
Third, religion must be the mainspring and source of love in the world …
Fourth, religion must reconcile and be in harmony with science and reason. …
Fifth, prejudice … is the destroyer of human foundations and opposed to the commands of God. …
Sixth, the world of humanity is in need of the confirmations of the Holy Spirit. …
Seventh, the necessity of education for all mankind is evident. Children especially must be trained and taught. If the parent cannot afford to do this owing to lack of means, the body politic must make necessary provision for its accomplishment. Through the broadening spirit of education illiteracy will disappear, and misunderstandings due to ignorance will pass away.
’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. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey So Far: Month Five.” 239 Days in America, 11 Sept. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/09/11/abdul-bahas-journey-so-far-month-five/. ↩
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 140. ↩
- ’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=7#section171 ↩
- 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, 317. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/22#055490096 ↩