September 16, 1912: The Week Ahead 1
‘‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ IS SPENDING the weekend in Kenosha in southern Wisconsin after being invited to visit there last week.
In the week ahead: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá returns to Chicago. We’ll take a look at the city’s vibrant newspapers. He will then ride the train northwest to Minneapolis and St. Paul where he will stay for two days and deliver two landmark talks on moral progress and what “Divinity” means. Then on Friday, he will continue his journey west across the wheat fields of Nebraska, and visit the home of William Jennings Bryan in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Buffalo, Chicago, Kenosha 2
He [Abdu’l-Bahá ] departed Monday morning, September 16, to return to Chicago, where He moved from Mrs. True’s home to a hotel. On the way there He said, “‘I am bearing these hardships of traveling so that the Cause of God may push on uncontaminated. For I am still anxious about what is going to happen after Me.’”
Monday, September 16, 1912 3
In the morning ‘Abdu’l-Bahá prepared to leave for Chicago. The believers, ‘like iguanas’, gazed at Him with eyes like those of parting lovers. He remarked:
“See what the power and influence of Bahá’u’lláh have wrought. Consider how He has brought the Japanese, the Americans and the Persians all under the shadow of one word and caused them to love one another.”
Along the way He spoke of the steadfastness of the believers of the East. He arrived in Chicago in the evening and a continuous stream of friends came to see Him. Some of them wanted to give Him some money but, despite their pleading and entreaties, He would not accept it and instead requested that the money be distributed among the poor. Some reporters had published their articles in the newspapers, which the Master appreciated.
At a gathering of the believers in the afternoon, some of the friends had arranged a musical program at which poems written by Mrs [Louise] Waite (who had been given the Persian name Shánaz Khánum by the Master) were sung to piano accompaniment as the Master descended the stairs. The Master walked among the friends in such a manner that everyone was moved, overcame their reserve and shed tears of joy and love. A clergyman came forward and supplicated ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: ‘O Thou Prophet of God, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pray thou for me.’ The Master bestowed His blessings upon him.
The Master spoke to the friends about the bonds of love which unite the hearts.280 At the conclusion of the meeting, He called to Mrs True, saying, ‘Because of your desire and insistence we came to this house but now we must go to a hotel.’
In the evening He exhorted the friends in sweet and expressive words to spread the fragrances of God, to proclaim the Words of their Lord and to show kindness to His friends. Afterwards, some were privileged to have private interviews with Him. After dinner He told us to pack our things to move to the hotel. In the automobile, He seemed to be depressed. He said:
“I am bearing the discomforts of this journey with stop-overs so that the Cause of God may be protected from any breach. For I am still not sure about what is going to happen after me. If I could be sure, then I would sit comfortably in some corner, I would not leave the Holy Land and travel far away from the Most Holy Tomb. Once, after the martyrdom of the Báb, the Cause of God was dealt a hard blow through Yahyá. Again, after the ascension of the Blessed Beauty, it received another blow. And I fear that self-seeking persons may again disrupt the love and unity of the friends. If the time were right and the House of Justice were established, the House of Justice would protect the friends.”
He then spoke about how disunity began in the Islamic cycle, saying, ‘Because of certain people who sought to fulfill their personal desires and who yet counted themselves among the supporters of the religion, the foundation of Islam was completely uprooted.’ He continued in this vein until the automobile arrived at the hotel.
Talk at Home of Mrs. Corinne True, 5338 Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 4
The source of perfect unity and love in the world of existence is the bond and oneness of reality. When the divine and fundamental reality enters human hearts and lives, it conserves and protects all states and conditions of mankind, establishing that intrinsic oneness of the world of humanity which can only come into being through the efficacy of the Holy Spirit. For the Holy Spirit is like unto the life in the human body, which blends all differences of parts and members in unity and agreement. Consider how numerous are these parts and members, but the oneness of the animating spirit of life unites them all in perfect combination. It establishes such a unity in the bodily organism that if any part is subjected to injury or becomes diseased, all the other parts and functions sympathetically respond and suffer, owing to the perfect oneness existing. Just as the human spirit of life is the cause of coordination among the various parts of the human organism, the Holy Spirit is the controlling cause of the unity and coordination of mankind. That is to say, the bond or oneness of humanity cannot be effectively established save through the power of the Holy Spirit, for the world of humanity is a composite body, and the Holy Spirit is the animating principle of its life.
’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny
Returning to Chicago from Kenosha
Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America
Curated by Anne Perry
- Sockett, Robert. “September 16, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 16 Sept. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/09/16/september-16-1912-the-week-ahead/. ↩
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 146. ↩
- ’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#section176 ↩
- 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, 321. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/23#622154911 ↩