239 Days in America, Day 83: July 02, 1912 | New York

The Memoirs of an American Painter 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ’S JOURNEYS IN America were filled with interesting people. Beyond the rich and famous, there are many who are familiar to us only because they left vivid accounts about him. Juliet Thompson was such an individual. A reputable painter, speaker, and author, Thompson’s personal connection to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá defined her life and work. She displayed her affinity for him in her memoirs, published in 1947 as The Diary of Juliet Thompson, which would chronicle their time together in both the east and the west. . . .

On April 5, 1912, Juliet stood waiting at Pier 59 on the Hudson River as the Cedric, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s ship, pulled in at the White Star Line docks. She’d attend many functions he attended or spoke at while in the New York and New Jersey area, and spend much time with him in private conversation as well. She painted his portrait on June 1. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke to an audience at her home at 48 West 10th Street on November 15.

On December 5, the day ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left America, Juliet was there to watch him go. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was bound for Liverpool on board the Celtic. “It was death to leave that ship,” she wrote. “I stood on the pier with May Maxwell, tears blurring my sight. Through them I could see the Master in the midst of the group of Persians waving a patient hand to us. It waved and waved, that beautiful patient hand, till the Figure was lost to sight.”

New York City 2

On Tuesday [July 2] as Abdu’l-Bahá walked in the park by the river near His house, a group of persons of Greek ancestry who were strolling nearby introduced themselves and began asking questions. Abdu’l-Bahá talked to them of the Greek philosophers and the meaning of the history of Greece. “Then,” Mahmúd recorded, “He exhorted and encouraged them to acquire the virtues of the world of humanity. The attraction of His Beauty was so great that they spontaneously bowed to its influence. They came to the assembly of Bahá’ís that night and joined the group of lovers.”

Tuesday, July 2, 1912

After the usual morning prayers and thanksgiving to God, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá sent for us and offered thanks and praise to the Most Great Name for the assistance and protection vouchsafed by the Ancient Beauty.

The Master spoke with seekers and visited with friends until noon. After some milk and bread for lunch, He rested for awhile but the friends and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s companions remained to enjoy the generous lunch.

In the afternoon, a prominent gentlemen invited the Master to the Plaza Hotel, which is one of the most elegant hotels and a gathering place for the American elite. We went there to see the building. The Master sat in one of the small rooms. When the manager of the hotel offered to show Him the rest of the hotel, He did not accept. Afterwards the Master said to the friends: ‘When I see magnificent buildings and beautiful scenery, I contrast them with memories of the prison and of the persecutions suffered by the Blessed Beauty and my heart is deeply moved and I seek to avoid such sightseeing excursions.’

Tonight He spoke about God and creation: ‘The Kingdom of God’, He said, ‘is pre-existent and, since He is the Creator, without doubt He has always had a creation.’ 3

Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, 1 July 1912

Difference of capacity in human individuals is fundamental. It is impossible for all to be alike, all to be equal, all to be wise. Bahá’u’lláh has revealed principles and laws which will accomplish the adjustment of varying human capacities. He has said that whatsoever is possible of accomplishment in human government will be effected through these principles. When the laws He has instituted are carried out, there will be no millionaires possible in the community and likewise no extremely poor. This will be effected and regulated by adjusting the different degrees of human capacity. The fundamental basis of the community is agriculture, tillage of the soil. All must be producers. Each person in the community whose need is equal to his individual producing capacity shall be exempt from taxation. But if his income is greater than his needs, he must pay a tax until an adjustment is effected. That is to say, a man’s capacity for production and his needs will be equalized and reconciled through taxation. If his production exceeds, he will pay a tax; if his necessities exceed his production, he shall receive an amount sufficient to equalize or adjust. Therefore, taxation will be proportionate to capacity and production, and there will be no poor in the community. 4

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

‘Abdu’l-Bahá avoided sightseeing excursions

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 02, 1912


  1. Tamas, Corey. “The Memoirs of an American Painter.” 239 Days in America, 2 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/02/the-memoirs-of-an-american-painter/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 107-108.
  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#section100
  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, 217. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#828752876

239 Days in America, Day 82: July 01, 1912 | New York

July 1, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

ABDU’L-BAHÁ ARRIVED BACK in the city late yesterday evening. He’ll stay in New York for just over three weeks before heading up the east coast for a month-long trip to Dublin, New Hampshire and Eliot, Maine.

New York City 2

On Monday morning, July 1, after prayer, He said to the Persian friends, “‘This help and assistance are from Him [Bahá’u’lláh] and these confirmations are through His Bounty and Favor; otherwise we are nothing but weak servants. We are like flutes and all these tunes are from Him.’”

Monday, July 1, 1912

During the Master’s stroll in the park near the house, a person of Greek ancestry walked by. When he saw ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, he was attracted and approached Him. The passerby immediately summoned his friends, who were in the park, to gather round. In those green surroundings the Master spoke to them about Greek philosophers and about the progress and civilization of their country in ancient times. He then exhorted and encouraged them to acquire the virtues of the world of humanity. He was so compelling that they were immediately influenced. That evening they came to the Bahá’í gathering and became yet more links in the chain of lovers.

Every night after the public meeting, seekers are invited to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His own room. As they listen to His solutions to complex spiritual problems, to His convincing arguments and to answers to their questions, they are drawn towards the Kingdom of God and attracted to the Abhá horizon. Although it is summer and intensely hot, every day and night a new group of inquirers is introduced. 3

1 July 1912, Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York 4

What could be better before God than thinking of the poor? For the poor are beloved by our heavenly Father. When Christ came upon the earth, those who believed in Him and followed Him were the poor and lowly, showing that the poor were near to God. When a rich man believes and follows the Manifestation of God, it is a proof that his wealth is not an obstacle and does not prevent him from attaining the pathway of salvation. After he has been tested and tried, it will be seen whether his possessions are a hindrance in his religious life. But the poor are especially beloved of God. Their lives are full of difficulties, their trials continual, their hopes are in God alone. Therefore, you must assist the poor as much as possible, even by sacrifice of yourself. No deed of man is greater before God than helping the poor. Spiritual conditions are not dependent upon the possession of worldly treasures or the absence of them. When one is physically destitute, spiritual thoughts are more likely. Poverty is a stimulus toward God. Each one of you must have great consideration for the poor and render them assistance. Organize in an effort to help them and prevent increase of poverty. The greatest means for prevention is that whereby the laws of the community will be so framed and enacted that it will not be possible for a few to be millionaires and many destitute. One of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings is the adjustment of means of livelihood in human society. Under this adjustment there can be no extremes in human conditions as regards wealth and sustenance. For the community needs financier, farmer, merchant and laborer just as an army must be composed of commander, officers and privates. All cannot be commanders; all cannot be officers or privates. Each in his station in the social fabric must be competent—each in his function according to ability but with justness of opportunity for all.

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

Seekers in public meetings were invited to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá home

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 01, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “July 1, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 1 July 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/07/01/abdul-baha-returns-to-new-york/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 107.
  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#section99
  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, 216. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#305820706

239 Days in America, Day 81: June 30, 1912 | New Jersey

Donkeys in Baltimore 1

By this morning, Sunday [June 30], the delegates had voted on an additional fourteen ballots, and the New York Times printed the results of each vote on page two. Governor Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey was slowly breaking down the lead of the frontrunner, Champ Clark, the Speaker of the House.

There weren’t many stories in today’s Times that didn’t have to do with politics, but one of them was about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. “PROPHET’S DASH FOR TRAIN: Abdul Baha in Spectacular Rush from Montclair” described the spectacle on Saturday morning at the Lackawanna station when his attendants had tried to stop the train from departing without him. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was sandwiched between two Roosevelt stories on page six. The column to his left told how TR was gobbling up Republican newspaper endorsements. To his right Teddy chatted with reporters about Baltimore, his clothing still damp after a thunderstorm, which had narrowly missed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s unity feast in West Englewood, New Jersey, and had decided to wash out the Roosevelt family picnic in Oyster Bay instead.

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 2

On Sunday morning, June 30, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left for the home of Mr. Topakyan, the Persian Consul General, in Morristown. On His way there He stopped in Englewood at the home of the minister who had come to see Him the day before, After talking a few minutes, He continued His trip to Morristown. Concerning the afternoon activities, Abdu’l-Bahá’s translator, Dr. Amín Faríd, wrote:

The Consul-General of Persia, Topakyan, gave a barbecue in honor of Abdul-Baha and his Persian suite, at his delightful summer home and garden at Morristown, New Jersey. The journey was accomplished in an automobile from the home of Mr. Roy C. Wilhelm, in West Englewood, through beautiful meadows of New Jersey, and the whole day was spent most pleasantly at the Persian consulate, which is a building in the garden built after the old style of Persian architecture. Among the guests were some prominent men from New York and some society folk to interview him on all sorts of questions. He spoke that forenoon to those persons on the advance of materialism and its evil attendants or concomitants. The dinner was entirely Oriental in character, a barbecue a la Perse. 3

Sunday, June 30, 1912

In the morning, after His obligatory prayer and supplications, the Master invited us into His presence and served us tea with His own hand. He spoke of the blessings and confirmations of the Ancient Beauty, the Greatest Name:

This help and assistance are from Him and these confirmations are through His bounty and favor; otherwise, we are nothing but weak servants. We are as reeds and all these melodies are from Him. We are ants and this dignity of Solomon is from Him. We are servants and this heavenly dominion is from Him. We must, therefore, offer our constant gratitude to Him for His favors and must join heart and soul to praise Him for His blessings.

As His home is always filled with a continuous stream of visitors, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá did not accept invitations from societies or organizations to speak at public meetings. Instead He spoke to the people gathered in the evenings, gave special audiences during the day and attended to other tasks. This evening He spoke about His long stay in New York. ‘As it is the meeting place of the East and the West,’ He said, ‘I desire to make it a center of signs, and pray that the friends may advance and gain precedence in spirituality.’

Apart from these gatherings, the Master’s movements outside attract everyone and His look of favor captivates all. 4

Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons, 1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 24 April 1912

Praise be to God! I have no personal interests. I have an interest in the Kingdom, and this is a sincere intention. I have perfect love for you; therefore, I have traveled this long distance to meet and greet you. I hope that these gatherings may be productive of great results, and there is no greater result than the love of God. There is no greater result than bonds of service in the divine Kingdom and attainment to the good pleasure of the Lord. Therefore, I desire that your hearts may be directed to the Kingdom of God, that your intentions may be pure and sincere, your purposes turned toward altruistic accomplishment unmindful of your own welfare; nay, rather, may all your intentions center in the welfare of humanity, and may you seek to sacrifice yourselves in the pathway of devotion to mankind. Even as Jesus Christ forfeited His life, may you, likewise, offer yourselves in the threshold of sacrifice for the betterment of the world; and just as Bahá’u’lláh suffered severe ordeals and calamities nearly fifty years for you, may you be willing to undergo difficulties and withstand catastrophes for humanity in general. May you bear these trials and tests most willingly and joyously, for every night is followed by a day, and every day has a night. Every spring has an autumn, and every autumn has its spring. The coming of a Manifestation of God is the season of spiritual spring. 5

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

Mahmud: June 30 – Lua’s attempts not to leave the Master for California

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 30, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Donkeys in Baltimore.” 239 Days in America, 30 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/30/donkeys-in-baltimore/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 103.
  3. Dr. Ameen U. Fareed, “Barbecue in Honor of Abdul-Baha,” Star of the West, 3, no. 11 (Sept. 27, 1912), 8.
  4. ’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#section98
  5. 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, 54-55. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/3#867540848

239 Days in America, Day 80: June 29, 1912 | New Jersey

Speaking Persian in America 1

On Sunday, June 30, 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá traveled by car through the countryside to Morristown, New Jersey. Mr. [Haozoun Hohannes ] Topakyan had invited him and his attendants for a barbecue. The consul sported a Western suit with a jacket that draped past his belly. He didn’t wear a fez, unlike the Persians who joined him, but kept an imperial mustache that curled slightly upwards. He was known for his “Oriental barbecues,” as The New York Times called them, at which an entire lamb was roasted and served on a bronze and gold table.

Mr. Topakyan was gracious when he thought it was warranted. On June 30 he refused to sit without ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s permission. Topakyan had invited several reporters to come and speak with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. After they had eaten lunch, a photographer came and took ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s picture.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá met with Mr. Topakyan on several more occasions, and kept in touch with him for years after he left America. One of his letters reads: “I will pray for you and Madame so that the Doors of the Kingdom of God, be always open before your faces and the Infinite Divine bestowals may descend upon you uninterruptedly so that according to the statement of Christ you may be of those who are chosen and not of those who are called.”

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 2

‘Abdu’l-Bahá left Montclair at 8:30 A.M. on Saturday, June 29, and, after transferring to four different streetcars, arrived at Roy Wilhelm’s home in West Englewood, New Jersey. This was the large outdoor gathering—the Unity Feast—to which Abdu’l-Bahá had invited the friends before he left New York. He rested as the friends arrived and sat in a circle in the shade of the large trees. Then He spoke to individuals as He walked among them. Addressing the entire group He said, “This is a new Day and this hour is a new Hour in which we have come together. . . . True Bahai meetings are the mirrors of the kingdom wherein images of the Supreme Concourse are reflected. . . . First, you must become united and agreed among yourselves. . . .

Talk at Unity Feast, Outdoors, West Englewood, New Jersey 3

First, you must become united and agreed among yourselves. You must be exceedingly kind and loving toward each other, willing to forfeit life in the pathway of another’s happiness. You must be ready to sacrifice your possessions in another’s behalf. The rich among you must show compassion toward the poor, and the well-to-do must look after those in distress. In Persia the friends offer their lives for each other, striving to assist and advance the interests and welfare of all the rest. They live in a perfect state of unity and agreement. Like the Persian friends you must be perfectly agreed and united to the extent and limit of sacrificing life. Your utmost desire must be to confer happiness upon each other. Each one must be the servant of the others, thoughtful of their comfort and welfare. In the path of God one must forget himself entirely. He must not consider his own pleasure but seek the pleasure of others. He must not desire glory nor gifts of bounty for himself but seek these gifts and blessings for his brothers and sisters. It is my hope that you may become like this, that you may attain to the supreme bestowal and be imbued with such spiritual qualities as to forget yourselves entirely and with heart and soul offer yourselves as sacrifices for the Blessed Perfection. You should have neither will nor desire of your own but seek everything for the beloved of God and live together in complete love and fellowship. May the favors of Bahá’u’lláh surround you from all directions. This is the greatest bestowal and supreme bounty. These are the infinite favors of God.

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 4

When He had finished, the meal was ready; but just as it was announced, thunder was heard, and large raindrops began to fall. Abdu’l-Bahá walked to the road, taking a chair, and several friends grouped around Him. As He sat, His face turned upward, a strong wind began to blow, the clouds began to disperse, and the sun shown through. Then He rose and walked back into the grove. After the meal of Persian food Abdu’l-Bahá anointed the two hundred fifty guests with attar of roses. After dark, as the friends sat on the lawn with candles, Abdu’l-Bahá spoke, ending as He walked into darkness, “Peace be with you. I will pray for you.” 5

Saturday, June 29, 1912

‘Abdu’l-Bahá and we were invited to the home of the Persian Consul General, Mr Topakyan. On the way the Master stopped by the home of the minister who had visited Him the previous day. When he saw the Master approaching from the distance, he rushed out of his house and with great humility and reverence thanked the Master for gracing his home. His zeal and joy increased minute by minute as he listened to the Master’s encouraging words.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá then continued the journey by automobile through the wooded countryside and went directly to the home of the Persian Consul General in Morristown, which is one of the most delightful places in the region. One of its charming features is the creek that runs through the green-clad hills whose trees and verdure face the Consul-General’s house. This beautiful setting appealed both to the heart and the soul. After the arrival of the Master, who was welcomed by the Consul General and his staff, several important people were invited to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. A number of reporters also interviewed Him and expressed their delight in His answers to their questions. Around lunch time, a photographer arrived and took two photographs of the Master, one before lunch was served and the other while He was seated at the table. In brief, the Consul General was most courteous and humble in the Master’s presence, to such an extent that he refused to sit without permission. He recorded ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s talk and conversations for publication in the newspapers and was honored to host the Master.

After the Master had a brief rest and a stroll in the afternoon, another reporter came to the house. As he listened to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s explanations about the teachings, he recorded them for publication. Then with great majesty, dignity and grandeur, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left for New York. When He arrived home, He did not permit us to prepare dinner for Him. Instead, He ate some watermelon and bread and retired for the night. 6

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

Mahmud: June 29 – “This is a New Day; a New Hour”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 29, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “Speaking Persian in America.” 239 Days in America, 29 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/29/speaking-persian-in-america/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 102.
  3. 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, 215. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/15#477829896
  4. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 102-103.
  5. Thompson, Juliet. The Diary of Juliet Thompson. Edited by Marzieh Gail. 1st ed. 1947. Reprint, Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1983, 324. https://archive.org/details/diaryofjuliettho0000thom/page/324/mode/2up.
  6. ’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#section97

239 Days in America, Day 79: June 28, 1912 | New Jersey

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s “Feast of Unity” 1

THE ORIENTAL PASSENGER WAVED his arms on the steps of the train parked at Lackawanna station. He had to stall the train. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s attendants, “ten fez-wearing Persians,” as The New York Times put it, had already loaded their baggage on the train headed northeast from Montclair to West Englewood, New Jersey. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had not yet arrived. Missing the train could mean missing the event he had organized in nearby Englewood.

The distressed passenger pulled the bell rope, a job usually reserved for the conductor of the train to indicate an unplanned stop. Then one of the Persians – perhaps accidentally – knocked off the train conductor’s hat, distracting him. At last ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived in his car, the train halted, and his friends hustled him into the coach …

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 2

On Friday [June 28], when He [Abdu’l-Bahá ] took a group of the friends by streetcar to the park in Montclair, He led them to the empty bandstand, and seated them saying, “‘factious persons … are trying to imprison Me again on My return to the Holy Land,.” When the friends suggested it would be better for Him not to return, He replied, “‘My Source is the Holy Threshold. What I have is from that Threshold. And ,my return, too, is to the same. Had to not been for His aid and assistance, would these people sitting on your right and left have had any care for you and Me … What are we and why are we showered with these favors? Where is Persia and where is America? …’”

Friday, June 28, 1912

As the Master had previously invited the friends in New York to a Unity Feast in Englewood, He prepared to leave Montclair in the morning. Although most Americans do not awaken until after sunrise, some friends and their children were waiting an hour before dawn to see Him and to receive His blessings. Then another group arrived and received His bestowals.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá left Montclair at half past eight in the morning, passed through New York, and after changing trams four times and passing twice by the river, He reached Englewood. Tired from the journey and the warm weather, having traveled from morning to noon, He briefly rested at the home of Mr [Roy] Wilhelm. Meanwhile, the friends began to arrive from the surrounding areas and gathered on the lawn adjoining the house. The meeting was arranged in a circle under the trees, with almost two hundred people seated at the table and being served by the Bahá’ís. Everyone enjoyed the delicacies and was extremely happy.

The green lawn under the shade trees was strewn with flowers so that it seemed as if an embroidered carpet had been spread, every design indicative of the power of the Covenant of the Ancient Beauty. To see the Master walking in this green, flower-covered garden, with a gentle breeze blowing, the purity of the air, the cleanliness of the surroundings and the rejoicing of the friends, was most pleasing; all seemed to vie with one another to please the Master.

When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá entered the circle, He delivered a very eloquent address on the greatness of the Cause, the influence of the Word of God, the importance of the meetings of the friends and the need for unity among the friends of God. He counseled them to be truthful and faithful. Afterwards He strolled in the rose garden. “Abdu’l-Bahá gave His permission for His photograph to be taken and was photographed in two groups. In one He is seated in the garden with His Persian servants standing around Him and in the other He is seen with the friends, some of whom are seated while others are standing.

A minister and another important personage came to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. He invited them into Mr Wilhelm’s house and spoke with them until dinner was ready. He later left the house to take a brief stroll. When the friends were seated at the table, He took vials of attar of rose in His hand and anointed, perfumed and blessed them all, one by one. He thus made them the anointed of the Court of Servitude and the recipients of the spirit of devotion to the Threshold of God, for the bounties of the Holy Spirit had descended and the favors of God encompassed all. Standing in the center of this assemblage of lovers, He spoke to them in a voice that was sweeter than honey then returned to Mr Wilhelm’s house.

That the friends were ecstatic today need not be stated, since their Host was the Beloved of the Covenant; their meeting was an assembly of love and amity, and the surroundings were green and verdant with trees in full bloom perfuming the air. There was a pilaf, a very delicious Persian dish that had been prepared for the occasion, sherbet, a Persian drink and many sweets. Everyone was happy at the unity of the gathering. The Master said:

“This meeting will be productive of great results. It will be the cause of attracting a new bounty. This day in which we have come together is a new day, and this hour a new hour. These meetings will be mentioned in the future and their results will be everlasting in all the divine worlds.”

There were two more meetings: one in the afternoon and the other in the evening in Englewood for some of the friends who were not able to take part in the first meeting. They took their seats in the garden adjoining Mr Wilhelm’s house, sitting on chairs and benches in rows. After a short walk, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá joined the visitors, sat down among them and requested the chanting of a prayer. He then spoke eloquently, encouraging the friends to spread the fragrances of God. As He was about to leave, one of the seekers asked Him, ‘What are the new teachings of this Cause that are not to be found in the other great religions?’ The Master stood in the center of the garden and summoned all to come near. They came and stood in two rows. The Master walked between the rows and spoke. His explanation was so magnificent that everyone was astonished. During His discourse a carriage and automobile passed near by. As they neared the gathering and saw ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the carriage passengers stopped, alighted and they, too, heard His speech and were attracted to the teachings. The Master described, one by one, the teachings of the Manifestation: the unity of humankind, universal peace, association with all religions, forgiveness of enemies, the prohibition of cursing foes, the equality of rights of men and women, the establishment of the House of Justice and the International Tribunal, compulsory education for both boys and girls, the prohibition of wars between nations and governments, and the harm of all forms of prejudice, be they racial, religious, sectarian, patriotic, political and so on. He spoke on these teachings extensively and in detail. At the end, He asked the audience whether these principles had been brought by past religious dispensations and recorded in their books. They all responded ‘No’. The inquirer was so overwhelmed that he clapped his hands in delight, expressing his joy and gratitude.

Because it was a moonlit night, this talk was given in the garden, so it was not recorded but these explanations can be found in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s other addresses. After the meeting, He remarked, ‘If these persons were to be confronted with the question, what new teachings did Christ bring other than changing the laws of the Sabbath and divorce, they would be utterly confounded.’

‘Abdu’l-Bahá stayed in Englewood for the night. 3

Talk at Bowery Mission, 227 Bowery, New York, 19 April 1912

When Jesus Christ appeared, it was the poor who first accepted Him, not the rich. Therefore, you are the disciples of Jesus Christ; you are His comrades, for He outwardly was poor, not rich. Even this earth’s happiness does not depend upon wealth. You will find many of the wealthy exposed to dangers and troubled by difficulties, and in their last moments upon the bed of death there remains the regret that they must be separated from that to which their hearts are so attached. They come into this world naked, and they must go from it naked. All they possess they must leave behind and pass away solitary, alone. Often at the time of death their souls are filled with remorse; and worst of all, their hope in the mercy of God is less than ours. Praise be to God! Our hope is in the mercy of God, and there is no doubt that the divine compassion is bestowed upon the poor. Jesus Christ said so; Bahá’u’lláh said so. While Bahá’u’lláh was in Baghdád, still in possession of great wealth, He left all He had and went alone from the city, living two years among the poor. They were His comrades. He ate with them, slept with them and gloried in being one of them. He chose for one of His names the title of The Poor One and often in His Writings refers to Himself as Darvísh , which in Persian means poor; and of this title He was very proud. He admonished all that we must be the servants of the poor, helpers of the poor, remember the sorrows of the poor, associate with them; for thereby we may inherit the Kingdom of heaven. God has not said that there are mansions prepared for us if we pass our time associating with the rich, but He has said there are many mansions prepared for the servants of the poor, for the poor are very dear to God. The mercies and bounties of God are with them. The rich are mostly negligent, inattentive, steeped in worldliness, depending upon their means, whereas the poor are dependent upon God, and their reliance is upon Him, not upon themselves. Therefore, the poor are nearer the threshold of God and His throne. 4

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

Mahmud: June 28 – Unity Feast in West Englewood, NJ

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 28, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s ‘Feast of Unity.’” 239 Days in America, 28 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/28/the-souvenir-of-abdul-baha/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 100.
  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=4#section96
  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, 11.https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#141496815

239 Days in America, Day 78: June 27, 1912 | New Jersey

Militarizing Human Ingenuity 1

The invention of flight was an example of the ingenuity and aspiration that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá found so compelling in Americans. What surprised many was his eager embrace of technology. When speaking to Americans about the spiritual nature of humankind — in essence, what sets us apart from animals — ‘Abdu’l-Bahá turned to technological examples.

“A human being can soar in the skies or speed in submarine depths,” 2 he told an audience in New York [Boston] on April 15 [May 25]. “All the sciences, arts and discoveries were mysteries of nature, and according to natural law these mysteries should remain latent, hidden; but man has proceeded to break this law, free himself from this rule and bring them forth into the realm of the visible.” … 3 [New York on April 15]

The greatest intelligence of man is being expended in the direction of killing his fellow man,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had said in his interview with the munitions maker Hudson Maxim in New York. “The discovery of high explosives, perfecting of death-dealing weapons of war, the science of military attack, all this is a wonderful manifestation of human intelligence, but it is in the wrong direction.”

During ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s time in the West, he spoke often about the dangers of material progress unhinged from spiritual and moral development. In New York he offered an aeronautical metaphor to define a dilemma central to modern progress: “Two wings are necessary. One wing is physical power and material civilization; the other is spiritual power and divine civilization. With one wing only, flight is impossible . . . no matter how much material civilization advances, it cannot attain to perfection except through the uplift of spiritual civilization.” 4

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 5

In Newark, on Thursday [June 27], as they walked through the park, the Persian friends were aware of passersby staring at the unusual scene of the American friends following in reverence after ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Thursday, June 27, 1912 6

‘Abdu’l-Bahá returned to Montclair today and was in the best of health and happiness. He was engaged all morning explaining religion, dispensing the glad tidings of the Most Great Manifestation and expounding on the veils that envelop the people. Group after group came to Him, and each left with the utmost devotion and humility.

In the afternoon, at the request of Mr Edsall and other friends, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went to the park to rest for awhile. He said, as He left the tram at the entrance of the park, ‘What great changes have occurred! What waves have swept over us and brought us here! Let us see what waves are still to come.’

A gazebo was set on a small rise in the center of the park. There the Master sat on a bench, inviting Mr Edsall, his son-in-law and us to sit near Him. He stated, ‘The Committee of Union and Progress in Constantinople is very good but both internal and external enemies are laying plans to imprison me again on my return to the Holy Land.’ When we said that it might have been better had He remained in Egypt, He replied:

“My beginning and my end, the place from which I start and the place to which I return is the Holy Threshold. What I have is from that Threshold and to it I shall return. Had it not been for His aid and assistance, would these people sitting on your right and left have any concern about you and me? We must be just and speak the truth. Who are we that we should be showered with these favors? Compare the position of Persia with that of America.”

Later He spoke about certain verses in the Qur’án, saying:

“In reality these verses are the most convincing proof of the all-sufficing greatness and nobility of the Prophet of God [Muhammad], Who, triumphant and powerful, yet sets forth God’s address to Him with the words: ‘Thou didst not understand, ere this, what “the Book” was, nor what the faith was'[Qur’án 83:52]. And, ‘Unless we had confirmed thee, thou hadst certainly been very near inclining unto them [the unbelievers] a little. They would have taken thee for a friend’ [Qur’án 17:73-4]. All such verses are proofs of the truth and greatness of Muhammad. An imposter does not express weakness and ignorance when in a state of power and majesty. However, the people of desire interpret these verses otherwise.”

Again, He said:

“Once I said to Mírzá Muhammad Qulí, ‘Do you remember the days in Baghdád when we had not even fifteen paras to have a hot bath? We must now appreciate the favors of the Blessed Beauty and, in thankfulness, gird up our loins to serve Him. He has guided, assisted and made us victorious in this world as well as in His Kingdom.’”

The Master spoke at length about the withdrawal of the Blessed Beauty from Baghdád. He told of the prayers of the friends of God who recited, ‘Yá Alláh-ul-Mustagháth’, the receipt of the news of the bequest of Áqá Abu’l-Qásim-i-Hamadání, their eventual tracing of Bahá’u’lláh to the place in Sulaymáníyyih where He had taken abode, and then their dispatching a petition to the Blessed Beauty for His return.

The Master then got up and went towards the hotel. When He entered it, two wealthy ladies, guests at the hotel, were seated in the lobby. As soon as they saw Him they requested permission to be introduced to Him. The Master returned to the lobby a littler later and took a seat near them. They asked His purpose and He related to them a brief history of the Cause, something of the prison of ‘Akká and the spread of the fragrances of God. They remarked that He appeared to be very wealthy. He replied, ‘My riches are of the Kingdom and not of this world.’ They said that the signs of wealth were very evident. The Master then said, ‘Although I have nothing, yet I am richer than all the world.’ Then He spoke about true wealth and the transient nature of worldly affairs, citing passages from the Bible. During this discourse an elegant couple passed by and, hearing ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s voice, stopped to listen to His explanations. The two ladies and the couple were so astonished and charmed that the believers were spellbound by their transformation. The ladies gave their names and addresses to Mr Edsall so that they might meet with the friends and be counted among the people of Bahá.

What can I say? Every morning and evening hearts are fascinated and souls attracted to the Abhá Kingdom by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. This is accomplished even though He had neither rest nor relaxation. He used to say, ‘If my happiness and spirituality could come to the fore and my mind be at rest, then you would see how hearts could be attracted and souls set ablaze.’

When He returned home, He found a multitude waiting for Him. The gathering was even larger than before, with both new and old friends coming from New York, Newark and Montclair. As it was the last evening of the Master’s stay, the hearts were especially attracted and the minds full of a unique spirit. He spoke on the need for the breaths of the Holy Spirit in the material world and about the education of humanity through divine power.

Talk at Hotel Ansonia, Broadway and Seventy-third Street, New York, 17 April 1912

During my visit to London and Paris last year I had many talks with the materialistic philosophers of Europe. The basis of all their conclusions is that the acquisition of knowledge of phenomena is according to a fixed, invariable law—a law mathematically exact in its operation through the senses. For instance, the eye sees a chair; therefore, there is no doubt of the chair’s existence. The eye looks up into the heavens and beholds the sun; I see flowers upon this table; I smell their fragrance; I hear sounds outside, etc. This, they say, is a fixed mathematical law of perception and deduction, the operation of which admits of no doubt whatever; for inasmuch as the universe is subject to our sensing, the proof is self-evident that our knowledge of it must be gained through the avenues of the senses. That is to say, the materialists announce that the criterion and standard of human knowledge is sense perception. Among the Greeks and Romans the criterion of knowledge was reason—that whatever is provable and acceptable by reason must necessarily be admitted as true. A third standard or criterion is the opinion held by theologians that traditions or prophetic statement and interpretations constitute the basis of human knowing. There is still another, a fourth criterion, upheld by religionists and metaphysicians who say that the source and channel of all human penetration into the unknown is through inspiration. Briefly then, these four criteria according to the declarations of men are: first, sense perception; second, reason; third, traditions; fourth, inspiration. 7

Briefly, the point is that in the human material world of phenomena these four are the only existing criteria or avenues of knowledge, and all of them are faulty and unreliable. What then remains? How shall we attain the reality of knowledge? By the breaths and promptings of the Holy Spirit, which is light and knowledge itself. Through it the human mind is quickened and fortified into true conclusions and perfect knowledge. This is conclusive argument showing that all available human criteria are erroneous and defective, but the divine standard of knowledge is infallible. Therefore, man is not justified in saying, “I know because I perceive through my senses,” or “I know because it is proved through my faculty of reason,” or “I know because it is according to tradition and interpretation of the Holy Book,” or “I know because I am inspired.” All human standards of judgment are faulty, finite. 8

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

Mahmud: June 27 – Utterly dependent on and grateful to Bahá’u’lláh

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 27, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “Militarizing Human Ingenuity.” 239 Days in America, 27 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/27/militarizing-human-ingenuity/.
  2. 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, 144. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/10#975098386
  3. Ibid, 17. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#123097438
  4. Ibid, 12. [https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/15#557843750]
  5. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 100.
  6. ’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#section95
  7. The Promulgation of Universal Peace, 20-21. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#771269637
  8. Ibid, 22. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#575673545

239 Days in America, Day 77: June 26, 1912 | New Jersey

“Do Not Bring Him in Here” 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ WAS IN the best of health after more than a week recuperating in Montclair, New Jersey, away from the heat and humidity of New York. On June 27, 1912, he had taken the tram to the park with Mr. Edsall, his host, who had insisted that they get some fresh air. “What great changes have occurred!” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá reflected. “What waves have swept over us and brought us here!”

The afternoon among the trees could hardly have been more different than that hot day sixty summers ago when hell had broken loose in Tehran…

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 2

After He breakfasted at Mr. Charles Edsall’s home on Wednesday, June 26, and returned to His house, He found several of the ladies who had come down from New York hard at work washing dishes and cleaning floors. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá laughed and said, “‘Look! How the power of the Blessed Beauty works!’”

Wednesday, June 26, 1912 3

To some people visiting the Master for the first time, He spoke about Christ’s words to His disciples:

“‘Whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:19]. The Christians have not understood its meaning. They imagine that it means the redemption of sins through the Christian leaders. The intention of Christ was to permit His disciples to elaborate or abrogate the laws of the Torah, as He had altered only two, those of the Sabbath and divorce. But, alas! The spiritual leaders of the Christians did not grasp His meaning, so that when the Greeks and Romans became Christians, some of the idolatrous customs were incorporated into Christianity. For example, the adornment of churches with images, self-mortification, abstinence, monks’ habits, the lighting of candles in church, the ringing of the bell in the steeple and others. These are all from idolaters.”

Another group came into ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s presence asking about the mysteries of Sufism and reincarnation. Receiving satisfactory answers, they left happy and pleased.

In the afternoon in Newark, near Montclair, both new and old friends gathered at the home of Mrs Kerry. The Master spoke to them on the life of the spirit and its effect on the world of humanity and set aglow the fire of the love of God in their hearts. He then went to the Military Park and Gardens, which is the best public place in the town. His walk with His companions presented a magnificent sight. Attired in our Persian kuláhs and Eastern dress, and accompanying the Master and the several American men and women who followed Him with great reverence and humility, we formed a unique scene. All eyes turned towards the dignity, beauty and glory of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and to that gathering of the East and West.

The Master then went to Mr Harris’s home where the friends had gathered before dinner. The Master urged and encouraged the friends to associate with love and unity with all the peoples and nations of the world. After dinner, because it was late and the distance was great, He rested there for the night.

Talk at Studio of Miss Phillips, 39 West Sixty-seventh Street, New York, 12 April 1912 4

Today the nations of the world are self-engaged, occupied with mortal and transitory accomplishments, consumed by the fires of passion and self. Self is dominant; enmity and animosity prevail. Nations and peoples are thinking only of their worldly interests and outcomes. The clash of war and din of strife are heard among them. But the friends of the Blessed Perfection have no thoughts save the thoughts of heaven and the love of God. Therefore, you must without delay employ your powers in spreading the effulgent glow of the love of God and so order your lives that you may be known and seen as examples of its radiance. You must deal with all in loving-kindness in order that this precious seed entrusted to your planting may continue to grow and bring forth its perfect fruit. The love and mercy of God will accomplish this through you if you have love in your own heart.

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

Mahmud: June 26 – How certain Greek and Roman customs became incorporated into Christianity

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 26, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert, and Jonathan Menon. “‘Do Not Bring Him in Here.’” 239 Days in America, 26 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/26/do-not-bring-him-in-here/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 100.
  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=4#section94
  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, 8-9. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#294721855

239 Days in America, Day 76: June 25, 1912 | New Jersey

“Thy Pomp Shall Soon Pass Away” 1

“EVERYONE WISHES TO BE remembered,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said. It was Sunday, June 23, 1912, and the sound of church bells rang out in the distance. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá commented to those gathered at his residence in Montclair: “The church bells are pealing in memory of Jesus Christ although more than nineteen hundred years have passed since He lived upon the earth.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá contrasted Christ with an example of an “earthly conqueror”: Napoleon Bonaparte…

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s point: “Jesus Christ established the religion of God through love. His sovereignty is everlasting. Napoleon overthrew governments in war and bloodshed. His dominion passed away.”

The same thing happened to Napoleon’s nephew, Napoleon III. He, too, had carried out a coup in France, and he too went down to defeat, at the Battle of Sedan in 1870, which established the German Empire. Bahá’u’lláh had written to Napoleon III in 1868, and the king had laughed. “If this man is God,” he said, “I am two Gods!” Then he flung the letter to the floor.

“Hadst thou been sincere in thy words,” Bahá’u’lláh wrote back, “thou wouldst have not cast behind thy back the Book of God.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá quoted the letter to those gathered in Montclair: “Thy kingdom shall be thrown into confusion, and thine empire shall pass from thine hands, as a punishment for that which thou hast wrought. Then wilt thou know how thou hast plainly erred. . . . Thy pomp shall soon pass away.”

Tuesday, June 25, 1912

he Master was invited to breakfast at Mr Edsall’s home. When He returned home, He found a number of Bahá’í women, who had come from New York, wearing aprons and cleaning the house. These elegant ladies were washing dishes, sweeping, dusting the furniture and arranging the carpets. They did this with such love and zeal that it is beyond description. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

“See what the power of the Blessed Beauty does! What might and sway, what bounty and favor is this! He has inspired these persons to serve with such sincerity and love! They are washing dishes and sweeping the room. They are serving with heart and soul.”

He bestowed great favor on one of the ladies by inquiring about her husband, Dr Cork, a prominent physician in New York. She said to the Master, ‘From the moment He met you, he has not only ceased his opposition but is now helping me to serve the Cause.’

Later ‘Abdu’l-Bahá narrated the story of the conquest of Islam in Persia and spoke about the prohibition of the drinking of wine in the Qur’án. He said:

“When the Muslims arrested the leader of the Zoroastrians and flogged him for drinking wine, under the whip he cried, ‘O Muhammad of Arabia, what have you done! What an influence you have shown!’ Now they must say, ‘O Bahá’u’lláh, what have you done! With what power You have made the proud ones the captives of love and have united the East with the West!’”

At a meeting at His home that afternoon, the Master answered many questions. Among His pronouncements was the prohibition of self-mortification. He directed that the health and strength of the body be preserved, saying that the more the physical body improves, the more it is capable of making spiritual progress.

In the evening the drawing room and adjacent rooms were filled with people. Because the friends opened the gathering with singing and playing the piano in praise of the Master, He spoke about spiritual music which can enrapture the spirit and influence spirituality. 2

Talk at Hotel Ansonia to Bahá’í Friends of New Jersey, Broadway and Seventy-third Street, New York, 16 April 1912 3

The body of the human world is sick. Its remedy and healing will be the oneness of the kingdom of humanity. Its life is the Most Great Peace. Its illumination and quickening is love. Its happiness is the attainment of spiritual perfections. It is my wish and hope that in the bounties and favors of the Blessed Perfection we may find a new life, acquire a new power and attain to a wonderful and supreme source of energy so that the Most Great Peace of divine intention shall be established upon the foundations of the unity of the world of men with God. May the love of God be spread from this city, from this meeting to all the surrounding countries. Nay, may America become the distributing center of spiritual enlightenment, and all the world receive this heavenly blessing! For America has developed powers and capacities greater and more wonderful than other nations. While it is true that its people have attained a marvelous material civilization, I hope that spiritual forces may animate this great body and a corresponding spiritual civilization be established. May the inhabitants of this country become like angels of heaven with faces turned continually toward God. May all of them become the servants of the Omnipotent One. May they rise from present material attainments to such a height that heavenly illumination may stream from this center to all the peoples of the world.

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

Mahmud: June 25 – “… serving with heart and soul”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 25, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “‘Thy Pomp Shall Soon Pass Away.’” 239 Days in America, 25 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/25/thy-pomp-shall-soon-pass-away/.
  2. ’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#section93
  3. 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, 19-20. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#578408883

239 Days in America, Day 75: June 24, 1912 | New Jersey

June 24, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

NINE DAYS OF REST and recuperation. That’s what awaited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Montclair, New Jersey, twenty miles northwest of New York. He had remarked that the heat and humidity of the big city, along with its incessant crowds, were impairing his health. Today, he’s strolling in the park with friends.

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 2

The rest of the week ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spent in instructing the friends and visitors who flocked to His doors in Montclair and in making a brief trip to Newark. After early morning prayers Abdu’l-Bahá usually went to the market Himself to purchase food for the day; He managed most of the meals Himself, especially if guests were present, as there usually were.

Monday, June 24, 1912

In the morning ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said to us:

“After the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh I did everything within my power to promote the Cause of God. I clung to spiritual methods and rendered such servitude at the Threshold of God so that the divine Cause might advance throughout the world. And my correspondence was so heavy that, at the time of the death of an American maidservant of God, my letters to her were counted and numbered sixty-seven; so you can imagine the situation!”

When asked about His health at a gathering of the friends, He replied:

“Bodily health is not important. What is more important is spiritual health which gives eternal pleasure and has everlasting effect. The more the body is cared for, the worse it becomes. Thus denial is preferable for the body. I took only a cup of milk today and I feel much better. Why should man undergo so much trouble and hardship merely for the purpose of eating?”

In the afternoon He gave detailed answers to questions relating to His talks at Green Acre. He then spoke on the blind imitations and prejudices of people. 3

Talk at Union Meeting of Advanced Thought Centers, Carnegie Lyceum, West Fifty-seventh Street, New York, 14 April 1912 4

The most important thing is to polish the mirrors of hearts in order that they may become illumined and receptive of the divine light. One heart may possess the capacity of the polished mirror; another, be covered and obscured by the dust and dross of this world. Although the same Sun is shining upon both, in the mirror which is polished, pure and sanctified you may behold the Sun in all its fullness, glory and power, revealing its majesty and effulgence; but in the mirror which is rusted and obscured there is no capacity for reflection, although so far as the Sun itself is concerned it is shining thereon and is neither lessened nor deprived. Therefore, our duty lies in seeking to polish the mirrors of our hearts in order that we shall become reflectors of that light and recipients of the divine bounties which may be fully revealed through them.

This means the oneness of the world of humanity. That is to say, when this human body politic reaches a state of absolute unity, the effulgence of the eternal Sun will make its fullest light and heat manifest. Therefore, we must not make distinctions between individual members of the human family. We must not consider any soul as barren or deprived. Our duty lies in educating souls so that the Sun of the bestowals of God shall become resplendent in them, and this is possible through the power of the oneness of humanity. The more love is expressed among mankind and the stronger the power of unity, the greater will be this reflection and revelation, for the greatest bestowal of God is love. Love is the source of all the bestowals of God. Until love takes possession of the heart, no other divine bounty can be revealed in it.

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

Mahmud: June 24 – An example of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s heavy correspondence

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 24, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “June 24, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 24 June 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/06/24/a-day-of-rest/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 100.
  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=4#section92
  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, 14-15. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#397153357

239 Days in America, Day 74: June 23, 1912 | New Jersey

Politicking and Personalities 1

But he did have something to say about the process of selecting leaders, and the qualities of leadership. One of [Amos] Pinchot’s guests that day in Milford had asked him about the election. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá responded by discussing the way Americans elected their President.

The politicking at the conventions and the sensational press obscured a deeper debate about what kind of nation the United States should become. To what extent should The People rule? What should the role of the nation’s chief executive be?

The mass of the people, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá noted, tend to follow personalities. Indeed, the dramatic news stories during the past several months had demonstrated that the party nomination process had largely become a popularity contest. Instead, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá argued that the most suitable candidate would be the one chosen by the wisest people.

“It is evident that it is better the people elect the noble ones among them,” he said, “and then these elect the president of the republic. That is to say, the president should be the elect of the elect, because the public in general are not as well informed as they should be in regard to political affairs.”

“The affairs should be in the hands of the wise,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said. But then he clarified how the wise must act: “The wise people must be in the utmost faithfulness and sincerity of purpose, they must serve the people, and protect and safeguard their welfare.”

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 2

On Sunday morning, June 23, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told the Bahá’ís more of the history of the Faith. As He came into the living room where the people were gathered, He said to one of the incoming friends “You are always smiling.” Mr. Frank E. Osborne replied, “surely our faces should reflect happiness in this presence.” Abdu’l-Bahá replied, “Yes! — This is the day of Bahá’ulláh; the age of the Blessed Perfection; the cycle of the Greatest Name. If you do not smile now, for what time will you await and what greater happiness could you expect?” 3

Talk at Montclair, New Jersey 4

In brief, the nations of the world are becoming united under the sovereignty of the divine Kingdom. The East and the West are embracing here in love and affection today. This is not a commercial or political unity, but unity through the love of God. We have crossed the sea to spread that love in America, to announce the call of the Kingdom, to establish the spiritual foundations of international peace. Although men may arise against the Kingdom, the dominion and sovereignty of God will be set up. It is an eternal Kingdom, a divine sovereignty. In His day Christ was called Satan, Beelzebub, but hear the bells now ringing for Him! He was the Word of God and not Satan. They mocked Him, led Him through the city upon a donkey, crowned Him with thorns, spat upon His blessed face and crucified Him, but He is now with God and in God because He was the Word and not Satan. Fifty years ago no one would touch the Christian Bible in Persia. Bahá’u’lláh came and asked, “Why?” They said, “It is not the Word of God.” He said, “You must read it with understanding of its meanings, not as those who merely recite its words.” Now Bahá’ís all over the East read the Bible and understand its spiritual teaching. Bahá’u’lláh spread the Cause of Christ and opened the book of the Christians and Jews. He removed the barriers of names. He proved that all the divine Prophets taught the same reality and that to deny One is to deny the Others, for all are in perfect oneness with God.

Diary of Juliet Thompson, 23 June 1912 5

I showed Him the proofs of the pictures, then spoke of Mrs [Gertrude] Kasebier—who had seen Him only once, when she photographed Him. “She said she would like to live near You, my Lord.”

He laughed. “She doesn’t want to live near Me. She only wants a good time!” Then He grew serious. “To live near Me,” He said, “one must have My aims and objects. Do you remember the rich young man who wanted to live near Christ, and when he learned what it cost to live near Him–that it meant to give away all his possessions and take up a cross and follow Christ–then,” the Master laughed, “he fled away!

“Among the disciples of the Báb,” He continued, “were two: His amanuensis and a firm believer. On the eve of the Báb’s martyrdom the firm believer prayed: ‘Oh let me die with You!’ The amanuensis said: ‘What shall I do?’

“‘What shall I do?'” mocked the Master. “‘What do you want me to do?’ The disciple died with the Báb, his head on the breast of the Báb, and their bodies were mingled in death. The other died in prison anyway, but think of the difference in their stations!

Sunday, June 23, 1912

After morning prayers of thanksgiving, the Master, with some of these servants, went to the market to purchase food and utensils. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Himself supervised the affairs of the kitchen. During this journey He often cooked and prepared the meals, especially when there were special guests. When there were no guests, He would not permit us to go to the trouble of preparing special meals but instead was satisfied with a piece of bread and some cheese. With all this, His glory and majesty caused many to bow humbly before Him. In fact, it was seldom that many did not sit at His table both mornings and evenings to receive the blessings and honor of His presence. After returning from the market and completing His chores in the kitchen, He spoke of the development of Europe:

“The material progress of Europe is approaching its zenith. Everything that reaches its zenith undoubtedly begins to decline. I hope that spiritual progress will be bestowed on them and that they will be protected.

“It is obvious that whatever is growing, like a tree, is in the process of development. When we were going from Tihrán to Baghdád, there was not a friend to be found on the way but as the tree of the Cause of God was in its infancy and growing, it was apparent that the divine Cause would surround the East and the West and the reign of Násiri’d-Din Sháh would come to naught. Observe what has become of his sovereignty and consider where we are.”

In the afternoon the hall of the building was full of people. Many were standing in adjacent rooms to hear ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. He began by saying:

“It is not the place that should be looked at but the illumined faces and hearts of the friends. In Baghdád there was a small room, about one-third the size of this one, in which a number of the believers were living — but under the shade of the kindness of Bahá’u’lláh and they were very happy.” 6

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

Mahmud: June 23 – The Master supervised the affairs of the kitchen, often cooked and prepared meals

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 23, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Politicking and Personalities.” 239 Days in America, 23 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/23/in-the-hands-of-the-wise/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 97.
  3. 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, 210. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/15#889743033
  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, 212. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/15#557843750
  5. Thompson, Juliet. The Diary of Juliet Thompson. Edited by Marzieh Gail. 1st ed. 1947. Reprint, Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1983, 319. https://archive.org/details/diaryofjuliettho0000thom/page/318/mode/2up.
  6. ’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#section91