239 Days in America, Day 157: September 14, 1912 | Chicago

What’s Love Got to Do with It? 1

‘“LOVE IS FICTION,” AN article published in the Chicago Tribune on January 28, 1912, stated. “There is no such thing,” it declared. “We talk of love, we read of love, we think of love. Yet we know there really is no love.”

Edward Burnett Tylor, often credited as being the founder of cultural anthropology, wrote the Tribune article. He based his argument on his extensive research into “primitive” societies, which he viewed as the kernels of modern polities. Marriage, he believed, originated as a dowry transaction to deal with surplus cows; he didn’t think much had changed.

Love, in its many forms, was something ‘Abdu’l-Bahá talked about throughout his time in America. While it is, perhaps, a word more likely to be found in an anniversary card than in mainstream social discourse, and an easy one to disregard, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá set out to redefine it.

Buffalo, Chicago, Kenosha 2

On Saturday, September 14, among other things, He [‘Abdu’l-Bahá] spoke of the Covenant and later addressed the Theosophical Society.

Saturday, September 14, 1912 3

Among ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s words were these:

“If the Blessed Perfection had not exerted Himself to raise up the Cause of God, the Cause of the Primal Point the Báb would have been completely effaced. Similarly, had it not been for the power of the Covenant after the ascension of the Ancient Beauty, it is evident what the people would have done, how they would have spent their time, like Mírzá Yahyá, taking many wives and satisfying their lusts and desires. They would have destroyed the divine standard.”

He then gave an account of the fruitless Kheiralla.

When someone remarked that the Tablet of Ishráqát [Splendors] had been translated and published in German, the Master said:

“All the affairs and conditions of the world serve the Cause of God. If they had driven me out of the United States or had refused me entry, it would have been a good thing. Opposition serves to promote the Cause of God, how much more helping the Cause accomplishes!”

Then He said, ‘Let us go for a walk before everybody arrives.’

He walked along the shore of [Lake Michigan] and spoke about the sacrifice of a Japanese admiral:

“With this type of sacrifice they attained success. But remember, if he had lived, it would have been better for his nation and government. Observe, a general sacrificed himself and his children for the emperor and became renowned for sincerity and faithfulness. From this example it becomes obvious what we should do in the path of the Abhá Beauty. If you view it in the light of justice, you will see that the emperor did not bestow upon his general a thousandth portion of the grace that the Blessed Beauty bestows upon us.”

Returning to the house, He found several believers and seekers from Chicago and surrounding communities. All were grateful to hear His divine words and teachings.

In the afternoon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was invited to speak at the Theosophical Society where He ignited a fire of spirituality in the minds of the audience. The president of the society introduced the Master with great respect, saying:

“Gentlemen, today it is a great bounty and high honor for us to be in the presence of a person who is the greatest prophet of peace and harmony. There is no doubt — and I feel and say on behalf of the audience — that to the present time we have not had the honor of hearing the life-giving words from the tongue of a living prophet. Therefore, with unbounded happiness and heartfelt honor I present to you His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the prophet of peace and the founder of universal brotherhood.”

The Master rose and spoke brilliantly about the distinction between spiritual realities and the animal nature of man, and the appearance of the perfection of man in the image of God. He explained some of the teachings of the new Manifestation. The audience applauded with so much excitement and joy that it felt as though there were an earthquake in the auditorium.

The president thanked the Master and acknowledged the truth and greatness of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. To show their concurrence with the words of their president, the members of the audience rose together in great excitement, a clear proof of the extraordinary powers of the Center of the Covenant. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá again arose and spoke:

“I am very happy with your warmth and consideration. God be praised that there exist in America such societies founded on human principles, the appreciation of spiritual values and the investigation of truth. I am most grateful to this society and hope that your inner perception may increase and that the bounties of God will be with you.”

When the Master went into another room the people rushed into it. Most of them wished to tell Him, ‘We testify to the truth of this Cause.’ The degree of excitement in the hearts of such a large gathering cannot be imagined. That such a transformation can occur in such a country is beyond belief.

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. …

Eighth, universal peace will be established among the nations of the world by international agreement. …

Ninth, there must be an equality of rights between men and women. …

Tenth, there shall be an equality of rights and prerogatives for all mankind.

Eleventh, one language must be selected as an international medium of speech and communication. Through this means misunderstandings will be lessened, fellowship established and unity assured.

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

Protection of the Cause of God

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 14, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” 239 Days in America, 14 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/14/whats-love-got-to-do-with-it/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 145.
  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=7#section174
  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, 318. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/22#719049970

239 Days in America, Day 156: September 13, 1912 | Chicago

“Sometimes I Made Him Laugh” 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ STEPPED DOWN onto the platform at LaSalle Street Station in Chicago just after 8 p.m. on Friday, September 12, 1912. He knew this part of the city well. Seven blocks north of here he had addressed the Federation of Women’s Clubs at the Hotel LaSalle on May 2. Eleven blocks up he had spoken to a standing-room-only crowd at the Fourth Annual Conference of the NAACP in Handel Hall.

The crowd of well-wishers on the platform parted into two lines to make way for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. “Come down Zacchaeus,” he called out, “for this day I would sup with thee.” Those who were close enough to hear him turned their attention to a skinny Japanese man dangling above their heads. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus had singled out Zacchaeus, who had climbed the branches of a tree in order to catch a glimpse of him. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá addressed Saichiro Fujita in the same words; Fujita was hanging from a lamp post. …

Buffalo, Chicago, Kenosha 2

On September 13, when some of the Persian friends remarked to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that “there was tea better” than that served by Mrs. True, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá replied, “‘This is the best tea of all, because it has been prepared with love.’” Talking about expenditures, He said, “’Sometimes I give away as much as $1000, if I have it, but at another time I do not spend even a single dollar. This is a matter of managing the affairs.’”

Many people came to entreat Him to speak to various organizations, but He refused most of them because of lack of time. Referring to previous meetings, He told one gathering, “‘Some took exception with me and asked why I sought to cultivate love between the whites and the colored. … When the people fondle an animal day and night, why do they not associate with a sensible man?’”

Friday, September 13, 1912 3

Mrs True prepared tea for us. When some of the Persian friends remarked to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that ‘there was better tea’ than this, the Master replied, ‘This tea is very good because it has been prepared with love.’ Referring to His expenses, He said:

“Sometimes I give away as much as $1,000, if I have it, but at another time I do not spend even a single dollar. This is so that affairs are regulated. Thus it is that I say that I want the friends to become divine and godly under the shadow of the favor of the Abhá Beauty. Through the teachings and bestowals of the Blessed Perfection happiness and prosperity can be gained. I swear by God, besides Whom there is no other God, that although we might have traversed America from the east to the west, had not His confirmations and favors been with us, no one would have paid any heed to us. It is all through His aid and assistance that these doors have been opened. It is with the power of faith that we ascend to the highest apex and attain honor in the all-glorious Kingdom. So it is that these honorable souls serve us with such love and sincerity.”

Visitors began to arrive. The friends from surrounding communities pleaded with Him to come to their cities. But because of the limited time and His plan to journey to the West, He did not accept their invitations. Reporters also came. He spoke on various subjects relating to the Cause and they took notes for publication in their newspapers.

At the meeting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke about the establishment of the divine civilization through the power of Bahá’u’lláh and about the world’s need for the divine teachings:

“Without divine civilization the mysteries of the Kingdom are not revealed and the bounties of heaven are not ascertained; supernatural wisdom and power do not manifest themselves; the intelligence of humanity does not reach maturity; the world of humanity does not become the mirror of the world above; spiritual powers fail to overcome animal influences of nature. These perfections are attained through divine civilization of which the world of man is in need.”

After the meeting one of the friends who came to see Him was Mr Jackson of Kenosha, Wisconsin. He told ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that the believers and seekers were anxiously awaiting His visit and that a minister had asked Him to promise to speak in his church.

Since the friends were allowed to visit en masse, each morning there was such a crowd that there was no way up or down the stairs. When the Master got tired, He would take a walk outside and then return to the house.

Today another group, including some of the black believers, visited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Here are some of His words to them:

“If a man has spiritual characteristics, be he white or black, he is near to God. Some have protested to me, asking why I seek to cultivate love between the whites and the blacks. Yet what a great error they make. You see people who love their dogs because of their faithfulness and the protection they provide. If but one good trait endears a dog to a human, why shouldn’t praiseworthy qualities cause a man to be loved and respected? Why should fellowship with an upright person be avoided? When people are prepared to fondle an animal day and night, why should they shun association with an intelligent human being?

“My hope is that you will rid and purify yourselves of imitations so that your thoughts and minds will be broadened and elevated, that you will be seekers of the truth, the lovers of the servants of God and the cause of the oneness of humanity.”

Today an important philosopher together with the president of the Worker’s Union, a socialist, visited the Master. They were so moved by the Master’s explanations and proofs of the existence of God and His divine laws that the friends’ hearts were overjoyed to see their sincerity and humility before Him.

Mrs True prepared tea for us. When some of the Persian friends remarked to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that ‘there was better tea’ than this, the Master replied, ‘This tea is very good because it has been prepared with love.’ Referring to His expenses, He said:

“Sometimes I give away as much as $1,000, if I have it, but at another time I do not spend even a single dollar. This is so that affairs are regulated. Thus it is that I say that I want the friends to become divine and godly under the shadow of the favor of the Abhá Beauty. Through the teachings and bestowals of the Blessed Perfection happiness and prosperity can be gained. I swear by God, besides Whom there is no other God, that although we might have traversed America from the east to the west, had not His confirmations and favors been with us, no one would have paid any heed to us. It is all through His aid and assistance that these doors have been opened. It is with the power of faith that we ascend to the highest apex and attain honor in the all-glorious Kingdom. So it is that these honorable souls serve us with such love and sincerity.”

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. …

Eighth, universal peace will be established among the nations of the world by international agreement. …

Ninth, there must be an equality of rights between men and women. Women shall receive an equal privilege of education. This will enable them to qualify and progress in all degrees of occupation and accomplishment. For the world of humanity possesses two wings: man and woman. If one wing remains incapable and defective, it will restrict the power of the other, and full flight will be impossible. Therefore, the completeness and perfection of the human world are dependent upon the equal development of these two wings.

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

Tea prepared with love

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 13, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “‘Sometimes I Made Him Laugh.’” 239 Days in America, 13 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/13/sometimes-i-made-him-laugh-saichiro-fujita/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 145.
  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=7#section173
  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, 318. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/22#405364030

239 Days in America, Day 155: September 12, 1912 | Chicago

Europe “One Vast Arsenal,” Says ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 1

FOUR IRANIAN MEN STOOD watching the mighty waters fall, and marveled at the greatness of America. It was Tuesday, September 10, 1912. “The great river feeding the falls,” one of them, Mahmúd-i-Zarqání, wrote, “is flanked on both sides by lakes, fields, mountains and woods. At some places the river falls from a height of a hundred meters. Because of the height of the falls and the crash of the water, small droplets of water form sprays which appear like a great sand storm.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Mahmúd-i-Zarqání, Dr. Ameen Fareed, and Ahmad Sohrab had arrived in Buffalo by train from Montreal at about 11 p.m. the night before, and had taken up residence in suites 118 and 120, on the third floor of the Iroquois Hotel. In the afternoon, after ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave interviews to the press in his suite, the four men each paid a streetcar fare of fifty cents for the hour-long ride to Niagara Falls.

From a perch engulfed in mist, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and his secretaries watched the Niagara River thunder over the cliffs into the basin below. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gazed into the roaring waters for more than half an hour. Ahmad Sohrab wrote that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá found the sight “unsurpassed in beauty and unique in awe inspiring charm.” For a time he sat on the bank of the river eating some grapes and pears. Ahmad Sohrab took the opportunity to write postcards to friends across America, and then the party returned to Buffalo by 8 p.m. After resting in his room for thirty minutes, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá then came downstairs and spoke to a group of about seventy people in the hotel’s ballroom. …

Buffalo, Chicago, Kenosha 2

On Thursday ‘Abdu’l-Bahá called the Persians together before dawn to pack, and they left for the train station. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left a tip with the manager for the bellboy who had served them previously. But to the taxi driver who wanted additional fare for driving Him to the station ‘Abdu’l-Bahá paid no attention. He told the friends, “‘A man may give $1,000 without minding it, but he should not yield even a dollar to the person who wishes to take it wrongfully, for such wrongful behavior is against justice. …’” His departing train sped past Niagara Falls and across the fields and valleys of the Midwest, until at 8:00 P.M. the lights of Chicago appeared. it was September 12.

The Chicago Record-Herald announced ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s return, saying that He “will hold a series of meetings” and that “He is a guest at the home of Mrs. Corinne True of 5338 Kenmore avenue and is accompanied by a Persian secretary, an interpreter and two servants.” A large group of demonstrative friends met Him at the train and He drove to Mrs. True’s home, where a crowd awaited Him.

The Independent magazine for September 12 contained a feature entitled, “America and World Peace,” 3 with the author listed as Abdul Baha Abbas. It opened with an editorial note and continued with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s responses to questions put to Him during an interview in New York on July 19. …

Thursday, September 12, 1912 4

‘Abdu’l-Bahá called us before dawn. He had already packed and readied His bags. We packed our belongings in readiness for our departure. Because the chambermaid for His room was not there, He left a dollar for her with the hotel manager. When He reached the railway station, the driver wanted more money than the usual fare. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá paid no heed to him, saying, ‘A man may give $1,000 without minding it but he should not yield even a dollar to the person who wishes to take it wrongfully, for such wrongful behavior flouts justice and disrupts the order of the world.’

As articles from the Buffalo newspapers were being translated for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the train, He again offered thanks for the assistance and protection from the Abhá Kingdom. He said:

“The confirmation and assistance of the Abhá Kingdom are more manifest than the sun. No eye or ear has seen or heard of such confirmations. Christ went into the Temple of the Jews where He spoke on the teachings of the Torah prohibiting buying and selling in the house of God. Up to the present time Christians glory in this and rejoice over it. But today through the assistance of the Abhá Beauty the Cause of God is proclaimed with the utmost openness in the churches and assemblies of the West.”

The train passed by Niagara Falls. Beautiful villages and factories nestled in green fields and wooded mountain valleys came into view. As midday approached, and as the number of passengers increased at every station, the heat grew more and more intense, causing ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to become tired and weary. He commented that, ‘The friends in America expect me to visit each city. How would this be possible? It is impossible to sit in a train every day from morning until afternoon; the body cannot stand it.’

Today the train traveled through several states. At 8:00 p.m. the lights from Chicago appeared in the distance like brilliant stars and the train pulled into the station.

The Master waited until all the passengers had left the train and then He slowly disembarked. The spacious train station was crowded with His friends. As soon as His feet touched the ground their hearts were stirred. One person hurried forward to shake His hand; another ran to kiss the hem of His robe; another held a bouquet of flowers to present to Him; and yet another raised his voice in praise and gratitude on attaining the bounty of meeting Him. It was an impressive sight, a field of yearning lovers canopied by heavens resounding with songs of joy. The friends formed two lines and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá walked majestically between them showering His blessings on each one. He then went by automobile to the home of Mrs True, the maidservant of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. There one of the Japanese friends bowed at His feet and received His blessings.

After a brief rest, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá appeared before the gathering. His eyes fell on Mr [Saichiro] Fujita, the Japanese gentleman. He remarked:

“So, how is our Japanese Effendi? Recently the government of Japan has undergone a change. A new emperor has come to the throne. The sovereignty of the former Mikado has come to an end; all the hue and cry have ceased, a handful of dust was thrown over him and covered all his imperial regalia. Such was the kingdom of the Mikado. The same is true of all the other kings.

“But as you are a believer in God, you have a kingdom which will never collapse and will be everlasting. Offer thanks to God, Who has bestowed upon you such a kingdom, greater than that of the Mikado. The first Bonaparte was a famous man and a great general who conquered most of the countries of Europe and became the emperor of France. The whole of Europe trembled before his command. The star of his prosperity set and it shall never rise again. At last a trifling incident obliterated his dominion and he became a prisoner in a state of extreme hardship in St Helena where he lamented until his death. One day as he was talking with his generals, they said that Christ, too, was a wise man like Napoleon. He replied, ‘No, you are mistaken. There is a vast difference between Him and me.’

“The sovereignty of Napoleon ceased as soon as he died but the Kingdom of Christ is eternal. The former established his mortal kingdom with bloodshed and the sword while Christ established the Kingdom of God with the life-giving breaths of the Holy Spirit. Napoleon established his kingdom through the power of oppression while Christ established His through the power of the love of God. A hundred thousand Napoleons may be effaced but the Kingdom of Christ will remain forever. Such is the Kingdom of God.”

5 September 1912, Talk at St. James Methodist Church, Montreal, Canada 5

… 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. …

Eighth, universal peace will be established among the nations of the world by international agreement. The greatest catastrophe in the world of humanity today is war. Europe is a storehouse of explosives awaiting a spark. All the European nations are on edge, and a single flame will set on fire the whole of that continent. Implements of war and death are multiplied and increased to an inconceivable degree, and the burden of military maintenance is taxing the various countries beyond the point of endurance. Armies and navies devour the substance and possessions of the people; the toiling poor, the innocent and helpless are forced by taxation to provide munitions and armament for governments bent upon conquest of territory and defense against powerful rival nations. There is no greater or more woeful ordeal in the world of humanity today than impending war. Therefore, international peace is a crucial necessity. An arbitral court of justice shall be established by which international disputes are to be settled. Through this means all possibility of discord and war between the nations will be obviated.

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

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s response to the taxi driver who demanded more for the usual fare

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 12, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Europe ‘One Vast Arsenal,’ Says ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.” 239 Days in America, 12 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/12/an-iranian-asks-americans-to-pray-that-war-shall-not-come/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 140.
  3. Abdul Baha Abbas, “America and World Peace,” The Independent, 73 (Sept. 12, 1912), 606-09.
  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=7#section172
  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, 317. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/22#922361457

239 Days in America, Day 154: September 11, 1912 | Buffalo

’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

People from as far away as Spokane and Ottawa came to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 11, 1912


  1. 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/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 140.
  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=7#section171
  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, 317. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/22#055490096

239 Days in America, Day 153: September 10, 1912 | Buffalo

Jim Loft and the Man on the Train 1

JIM LOFT WOULD NEVER meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá personally, nor would he play a role in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s travels across North America in 1912. Yet Jim would experience, and recount throughout his life, one of the unique tales about that historic journey.

On the afternoon of September 9, 1912, four-year-old James Loft — or “Jim” as he liked to be called — sat on a fence just outside of Oshawa, Ontario, alongside the railroad tracks. Five hours earlier, a train had left Montreal, beginning its fourteen-hour journey to Buffalo. It had stopped in Brockville near the Thousand Islands about 10:30 a.m., and was now making its way west along the north shore of Lake Ontario.

At about 3:30 p.m. near the town of Oshawa, Jim watched the train hurtle by. Through one of its windows he saw something that so overwhelmed him that he fell backwards off the fence and onto the grass below. He described what he saw as “a man wearing a long flowing white robe waving from the train.” Later in life he would explain that this was his earliest surviving memory.

Buffalo, Chicago, Kenosha 2

After hours of interviews He took a streetcar to Niagara Falls, at the request of the friends. There He ate some pears and grapes and walked in the park.

When His Persian companions suggested they stay in Buffalo for a period of time, He said, “‘Even half a day is not possible. We have no time for amusements. We must keep ourselves employed with our work.’” Conversing on a variety of subjects, including cleanliness, He mentioned, “‘I washed my hair with warm water without applying soap.’” Mahmúd recorded, “We touched His musk diffusing locks which were in utmost cleanliness and luster.”

After an evening meeting they all went out to view the city, Later He ate a little bread and cheese for supper before going to bed.

Tuesday, September 10, 1912 3

The moment the news of the Master’s arrival in Buffalo became known, the friends eagerly hastened to meet Him, grateful that their city had been blessed with His presence. Journalists came one after the other and left happy and satisfied, which surprised everyone. Owing to articles about the Cause in the city’s newspapers, a great number of people came to visit on the morning of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s arrival. The teachings so touched the hearts of the people that when the Master went out in the afternoon, passersby who saw Him pointed to Him, saying: ‘Look! There goes the Messenger of Peace, the Prophet from the East!’

At the request of some of His companions, after a short walk He took the trolley to Niagara Falls. It was far away and the round trip fare cost 50 cents per person. We had never seen or heard such huge, magnificent waterfalls. It was a beautiful sight. The great river feeding the falls is flanked on both sides by lakes, fields, mountains and woods. At some places the river falls from a height of a hundred meters. Because of the height of the falls and the crash of the water, small droplets of water form sprays which appear like a great sand storm. Below is a very large lake where people entertain themselves in barges and sailboats.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá went to the edge, admired the great falls and recalled the days of the Blessed Perfection:

“There were small waterfalls in Mázindarán which Bahá’u’lláh liked so much that He used to camp near them for several days.”

Continuing, He said:

“So much electricity can be generated from this water that it will suffice the whole town and it is also very good for the health.”

While sitting on the bank of the river He ate some pears and grapes and then walked for some time in the park. We suggested that He should stay here a few days but He replied, ‘Even half a day is not possible. We have no time for amusement. We must keep ourselves engaged in our work.’ He sat down on a bench in the center of the park and said, ‘I washed my hair with warm water without applying soap. It is much cleaner and takes longer to become dirty. Come and see how clean and soft it is.’ We touched His hair, which was like silk, very soft and absolutely clean. On this occasion ‘the place of His lovers was noticeably vacant‘. On the trolley ride back to the hotel, newspaper articles about His arrival in Buffalo were read to Him. The headline read: ‘’Abdu’l-Bahá, the Prophet of Peace, has arrived in Buffalo. The Bahá’ís are very happy to see Him among them in their homes. Their great longing for His arrival is fulfilled. Our hearty congratulations to the Bahá’ís.’ When the Master reached the hotel He met a number of journalists who were waiting for Him.

This evening ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s talk was about unity and amity among the peoples of the East and the West and also about the degrees of love which bring the whole creation into existence. His message breathed a new spirit of love and joy into friends and seekers alike. They all gathered around Him, shook His hand and expressed their humble appreciation. He then went into another room, followed by some journalists who made a note of His words.

Later in the evening He strolled along the store fronts with us. The gas and electric street lamps, as well as the brightly lit theaters and coffee shops, were picturesque. We reached a spot where several poor people had gathered. He gave a sum of money to each. Seeing the grandeur, nobility, generosity and grace of the Master, a huge crowd, with the utmost courtesy, lined up near Him and He showered kindness on all. It was a strange sight for them to see Him walking in the street accompanied by His Persian servants in Eastern attire. Everyone said, ‘This is the same Prophet of Peace who has been acclaimed in the newspapers!’

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. True distinction among mankind is through divine bestowals and receiving the intuitions of the Holy Spirit. If man does not become the recipient of the heavenly bestowals and spiritual bounties, he remains in the plane and kingdom of the animal. For the distinction between the animal and man is that man is endowed with the potentiality of divinity in his nature, whereas the animal is entirely bereft of that gift and attainment. Therefore, if a man is bereft of the intuitive breathings of the Holy Spirit, deprived of divine bestowals, out of touch with the heavenly world and negligent of the eternal truths, though in image and likeness he is human, in reality he is an animal; even as Christ declared, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” This means that if man be a captive of physical susceptibilities and be lacking the quickening of spiritual emotions, he is merely an animal. But every soul who possesses spiritual susceptibilities and has attained a goodly portion of the bestowals of the Holy Spirit is alive with the divine life of the higher Kingdom. The soul that is portionless and bereft is as dead. Therefore, He said, “Let the dead bury their dead.” Just as the physical body of man is in need of its force of life, even so the human soul is in need of the divine animus and vivification emanating from the Holy Spirit. Without this vivification and sustenance, man would be an animal, nay, rather, dead.

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

A great number of people came to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Buffalo

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 10, 1912


  1. Tamas, Corey. “Jim Loft and the Man on the Train.” 239 Days in America, 10 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/10/jim-loft-man-on-train/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 139.
  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=7#section170
  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, 316-317. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/22#009740833

239 Days in America, Day 152: September 09, 1912 | Montreal

The Golden Horseshoe Returns ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to America 1

“I CONSECRATED MY LIFE to making Canada a nation,” Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Canada’s former Prime Minister, said yesterday — Sunday, September 8, 1912 — in Marieville, Quebec. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá might have seen the news story on the front page of the Toronto Globe late this afternoon — Monday, September 9 — while he paced the platform of Toronto’s Union Station after a dusty seven-hour train ride from Montreal.

Last night in Montreal was a night to remember. The new Prime Minister, Robert Borden, whose Conservative Party had defeated Laurier’s Liberals in last autumn’s election by opposing Laurier’s free trade agreement with the United States, disembarked from the steamer Lady Grey at Montreal’s Victoria Pier at about 8 p.m. He had just come from Europe, where he had joined other leaders from King George V’s empire in renewing Britain’s pledge to the Entente Cordiale with France. Flags and bunting lined the streets, marching bands played, and thousands of citizens gathered and cheered. Hundreds of automobiles clogged the parade route, as if trying to prove how eagerly the new transport revolution was sweeping the city. A mile-long procession accompanied the Prime Minister to the Windsor Hotel, where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá also happened to be staying on his final night in Montreal.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá left Montreal an hour ahead of Prime Minister Borden this morning, on a 9 a.m. train bound for Buffalo. It stopped in the town of Brockville, near the Thousand Islands, at about 10:30. It passed Kingston, and then Belleville at 1:47 p.m., from where the Great Peacemaker, Deganawidah, set out across Lake Ontario in a canoe hewn from stone to forge the Iroquois Confederacy among six warring nations in present-day New York state. Near Oshawa, at about 3:30 p.m., a four-year-old Mohawk boy, Jimmy Loft, saw ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wave to him from a window of the passing train.

Buffalo, Chicago, Kenosha 2

After a dusty, hot, stifling ride, the train from Montreal to Buffalo stopped at Toronto where Abdu’l-Bahá walked for a time on the platform. He arrived in Buffalo late at night on Monday, September 9; but, as He had instructed, the friends had not been informed. By the next morning, however, the reporters and friends were lined up outside the door of His hotel room.

Monday, September 9, 1912 3

In the morning the bill for $700 for the week’s stay at the hotel was paid. As usual, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá directed me to take personal charge of His bags and move them myself. I fell short of my duty as the hotel stewards carried His bags with the other luggage. When He saw that His bags were not with me, He said: ‘In spite of these repeated reminders, you were neglectful. I would not have asked you to be so careful had it not contained valuable documents and writings which I wish to present to the libraries of London and Paris. Otherwise, material things are not important to me.’

All luggage sent through the railway station had to be examined by the Customs officers; but the chief officer at the Customs and his assistants passed our baggage, indicating that they were perfectly satisfied and had no reason to examine the effects of the Bahá’ís! When the Master was told this, His face opened up like a rose and He expounded on the stations of truthfulness and trustworthiness, which are the sources of the prosperity and assurance of the people of the world.

The enthusiasm and ardor of the friends knew no bounds. They surrounded ‘Abdu’l-Bahá like moths. Until the train pulled out of the station at nine o’clock, the friends continued to sigh and express their sorrow at His departure.

It is astonishing to see that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá does not want any comfort and will not take any rest, even while traveling on the train. When translations of the newspaper articles and letters from the friends were read to Him, He immediately answered and bestowed His bounties upon them. To some He wrote in His own hand. When He was tired of writing, the Master spoke about the coming of Christ from the heaven of holiness:

“The Gospel expressly records that in His first coming, although Christ was born to Mary, He Himself said that He came from heaven. Thus, the meaning of ‘heaven’ is the greatness of the Cause and eminence and might of the Manifestation of God Who spreads this divine Cause by His heavenly power and divine strength and not through material means.”

Whenever His eyes fell on the luxuriant beauty of the lakes and rivers along the route He would remember the Blessed Perfection.

At noon He said to us: ‘You have lunch. I will not eat anything until I am hungry.’

The air in the coach was stifling and, owing to the speed of the train, even though the windows and doors were closed, the dust was heavy. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá felt tired. When the train reached Toronto to change tracks, He walked a little on the platform, saying that He was exhausted. ‘We have not gone far, He said, ‘yet we feel tired. How will the great distance to California be traversed? We have no choice, as in the path of God we must regard troubles as blessings and discomforts as greatest bounties.’ We reached Buffalo late at night but, in obedience to His request, the friends were not informed.

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—whether it be religious, racial, patriotic or political in its origin and aspect—is the destroyer of human foundations and opposed to the commands of God. God has sent forth His Prophets for the sole purpose of creating love and unity in the world of human hearts. All the heavenly Books are the written word of love. If they prove to be the cause of prejudice and human estrangement, they have become fruitless. Therefore, religious prejudice is especially opposed to the will and command of God. Racial and national prejudices which separate mankind into groups and branches, likewise, have a false and unjustifiable foundation, for all men are the children of Adam and essentially of one family. There should be no racial alienation or national division among humankind. Such distinctions as French, German, Persian, Anglo-Saxon are human and artificial; they have neither significance nor recognition in the estimation of God. In His estimate all are one, the children of one family; and God is equally kind to them. The earth has one surface. God has not divided this surface by boundaries and barriers to separate races and peoples. Man has set up and established these imaginary lines, giving to each restricted area a name and the limitation of a native land or nationhood. By this division and separation into groups and branches of mankind, prejudice is engendered which becomes a fruitful source of war and strife. Impelled by this prejudice, races and nations declare war against each other; the blood of the innocent is poured out, and the earth torn by violence. Therefore, it has been decreed by God in this day that these prejudices and differences shall be laid aside. All are commanded to seek the good pleasure of the Lord of unity, to follow His command and obey His will; in this way the world of humanity shall become illumined with the reality of love and reconciliation.

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

Preparations to leave Montreal for Buffalo

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 9, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “The Golden Horseshoe Returns ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to America.” 239 Days in America, 9 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/09/golden-horseshoe-abdul-baha/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 139.
  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=7#section169
  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, 316. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/22#910852942

239 Days in America, Day 151: September 08, 1912 | Montreal

‘Abdu’l-Bahá Bids Farewell to Montreal 1

SEPTEMBER 8, 1912, WAS a wet Sunday and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spent his last day in Montreal at his hotel, saying farewell to the Maxwells and other Montreal friends and well-wishers. After a similar period of time, I, too am bidding farewell to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Montreal. If there was one overarching message I got from covering the week, it was his emphasis on the need for humanity to undergo a wholesale transformation.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá saw with clarity that Europe was headed towards an “appalling war,” and that economic injustice would lead to labor unrest on an unimagined scale. He defined the underlying spiritual principles of economic ills, international conflict, gender inequality and domestic poverty. His novel concepts defied conventional categories, yet were taken seriously by the mainstream media that could have all too easily represented him as a foreigner with exotic ideas.

During his time in Montreal, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá met with the leading members of society, including the Archbishop of Montreal and the principal of McGill University, as well as ministers, rabbis, labor leaders and wealthy merchants. But he was not on what one might today call a profile-raising public relations tour. He was in Montreal to enunciate his father’s teachings, and to boldly invite social leaders to help actualize them. “Would you not like to serve such an ideal?” he said to a group of McGill professors.

Montreal 2

Abdu’l-Bahá had taught and exhorted and given of Himself during ten days of ceaseless activity in Montreal. On September 8, His last full day with the friends, He said, “‘I have sown the seed. Now water it. You must educate the souls in divine morals, make them spiritual, and lead them to the oneness of humanity and to universal peace.’”

Sunday, September 8, 1912 3

In the afternoon He [‘Abdu’l-Bahá] gave an account of His imprisonment in the Most Great Prison and of His return to the Holy Land. Someone suggested that His return to ‘Akká might bring trouble to Him and again cause His imprisonment. ‘Oh no,’ He replied,

“that organization has been rolled up; that system has been rendered null. Those days were so hard that all had believed that when the Commission of Investigation returned to Constantinople ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s life and name would be effaced. But God did not will it. As we were imprisoned for the Cause of God and not for political reasons, while in prison we were not perturbed and had no worries. However, the others thought that after I was set free I would raise the banner of independence among the Arabs and unite them with me! See, how ill-informed was such a judgment!”

As this was the last day of His stay in Montreal, all the friends, both old and new, expressed their sorrow. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá consoled them with the glad tidings of certitude, spiritual nearness, assistance and heavenly grace.

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, for religion is the revelation of the will of God, the divine fundamental of which is love. Therefore, if religion should prove to be the cause of enmity and hatred instead of love, its absence is preferable to its existence.

Fourth, religion must reconcile and be in harmony with science and reason. If the religious beliefs of mankind are contrary to science and opposed to reason, they are none other than superstitions and without divine authority, for the Lord God has endowed man with the faculty of reason in order that through its exercise he may arrive at the verities of existence. Reason is the discoverer of the realities of things, and that which conflicts with its conclusions is the product of human fancy and imagination.

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

“I have sown the seed … You must water it.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 8, 1912


  1. Michel, Tony. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá Bids Farewell to Montreal.” 239 Days in America, 8 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/08/abdul-baha-bids-farewell-to-montreal/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 137.
  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=7#section168
  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, 315-316. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/22#356279711

239 Days in America, Day 150: September 07, 1912 | Montreal

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Montreal Odyssey 1

AS A TRAVELER, HENRY David Thoreau wrote that what he got from his visit to Canada was a cold. Undeterred by a week of wetter and cooler than average Montreal weather, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá saw a different part of Montreal practically every day of his visit. The unpredictable weather did not stop him from seeing the city between his many public talks and appointments with visitors.

On ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s first afternoon in Montreal, Sutherland Maxwell took him and a small party for a carriage ride around town. They drove past the Unitarian Church where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would speak the following morning and through the McGill University campus. They then went to one of the oldest and grandest Catholic churches in the city, Notre Dame Basilica, on Place d’Armes square in the historic Old Port. The party stopped here and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá praised the building. Mahmúd-i-Zarqání said that after they had left the church, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá turned to the party and said, “Behold what eleven disciples of Christ have accomplished, how they sacrificed themselves! . . . When a person is detached, he is capable of revolutionizing the whole world.”

Montreal 2

The Toronto Star Weekly wrote of Him on September 7, in an article headed “ABDUL BAHA’S WORD TO CANADA”:

What is it that strikes one most in this remarkable man? Is it his message …? Is it his power of thought, his manner of expression, the privations he has endured? No; it is none of these. It is his great sincerity, He is a man with a mission, and he believes in it with all his soul. …

Saturday, September 7, 1912 3

’Today ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke to a group of people who came to visit Him at the hotel. Here is some of what He explained:

“As in the physical world there are four seasons, so in the realm of religion there is the season of heavenly and spiritual springtime. When its outpourings gradually diminish, the trees of existence cease to be verdant and creeping torpor spreads, it will become like winter. The souls will become withered and distressed and the soil of the hearts will become full of thorns and thistles. There will be no flowers, no hyacinths, no greenery, no pleasure, no freshness and no cheer. Then, once again, the divine spring will raise its tabernacle. The gardens of the world of humanity will become green and verdant, full of freshness and purity. The flowers of reality will open and the trees of existence will bring forth enduring fruit. This is the law of God and is in accord with the world of creation and this is the cause for the reappearance of holy Manifestations Who effect renewal and change in religious laws and commandments.”

In the afternoon the Master spoke about the oneness of the fundamental truths of the religions of God and the vain imaginings and beliefs of various peoples, saying:

“The foundation of all religions is one and the aim of all creeds of the world is also one. All are believers in the oneness of God. All believe that a mediator between the Creator and the creatures is needed. The question is that to the Jews Moses is the last, to the Christians it is Christ, to the Muslims it is Muhammad and to the Parsis it is Zoroaster. But their differences are only those of names. If these names are set aside, it is evident that their aim is one. Every divine religious law was complete for its time. The renewal of the laws of God and the appearance of the Manifestations of the bounties of the Lord in each cycle are necessary. Thus the people who seek truth and inner meanings can discover the divine mysteries and become aware of the secrets of the Books of God. They know God to be the Supreme, His bounties infinite and the doors of His mercy unbarred. They believe in all the Prophets and affirm ‘No difference do we make between any of them’ [Qur’án 2:130]. But those who adhere to outer meanings only, who worship outer form, cling to imitations and follow their superstitions. They use the allegories set forth in the verses of God to deny the Cause of the Lord of Signs. Therefore, offer thanks to God that you have attained unto reality, have responded affirmatively to the Call of God, have given up dogmatic imitations and have become cognizant of the mystery of oneness. Offer thanks to God. Be grateful to your Lord.”

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. When we reflect upon this blessed principle, it will become evident and manifest that it is the healing remedy for all human conditions. All mankind are the servants of the glorious God, our Creator. He has created all. Assuredly He must have loved them equally; otherwise, He would not have created them. He protects all. Assuredly He loves His creatures; otherwise, He would not protect them. He provides for all, proving His love for all without distinction or preference. He manifests His perfect goodness and loving-kindness toward all. He does not punish us for our sins and shortcomings, and we are all immersed in the ocean of His infinite mercy. Inasmuch as God is clement and loving to His children, lenient and merciful toward our shortcomings, why should we be unkind and unforgiving toward each other? As He loves humanity without distinction or preference, why should we not love all? Can we conceive of a plan and policy superior to the divine purpose? Manifestly, we cannot. Therefore, we must strive to do the will of the glorious Lord and emulate His policy of loving all mankind. The wisdom and policy of God are reality and truth, whereas human policy is accidental and limited to our finite understanding. The policy of God is infinite. We must emulate His example. If a soul be ailing and infirm, we must produce remedies; if ignorant, we must provide education; if defective, we must train and perfect that which is lacking; if immature and undeveloped, we must supply the means of attainment to maturity. No soul should be hated, none neglected; nay, rather, their very imperfections should demand greater kindness and tender compassion. Therefore, if we follow the example of the Lord of divinity, we will love all mankind from our hearts, and the means of the unity of the world of humanity will become as evident and manifest to us as the light of the sun. And from our example the light of the love of God will be enkindled among men. For God is love, and all phenomena find source and emanation in that divine current of creation. The love of God haloes all created things. Were it not for the love of God, no animate being would exist. This is clear, manifest vision and truth unless a man is veiled by superstitions and a captive to imaginations, differentiating mankind according to his own estimate, loving some and hating others. Such an attitude is most unworthy and ignoble.

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

Just like the physical four seasons “in the realm of religion there is the season of heavenly and spiritual springtime.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 7, 1912


  1. Michel, Tony. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Montreal Odyssey.” 239 Days in America, 7 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/07/abdul-baha-explores-montreal/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 136.
  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=7#section167
  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, 314-315. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/22#593477274

239 Days in America, Day 149: September 06, 1912 | Montreal

‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Montreal’s Not-So-Yellow Press 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ HAD BEEN warned about Montreal. “The majority of the inhabitants are Catholics,” he had been told, who “are in the utmost fanaticism,” covered by “impenetrable clouds of superstitions. . . .” Percy Woodcock, a Canadian who had traveled with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to North America aboard the SS Cedric, had advised him in these terms against traveling to Montreal. Yet the concerted response of the Montreal press to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during his stay in Canada’s largest city proved Percy Woodcock wrong.

Montreal’s newspaper industry was highly competitive by 1912. At least fourteen newspapers, in both English and French, were published daily. Another fourteen weekly magazines, which focused on smaller, special interest groups within Montreal, provided the city’s inhabitants with plenty to read. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited Montreal during Labor Day and the visit of Prime Minister Robert Borden. Still, as Will C. van den Hoonaard recorded in his book, The Origins of the Baha’i Community of Canada, 1898-1948, twenty-five English language articles, and nine French language articles were published, a substantial number for a nine-day stay.

It wasn’t only the quantity of the articles that distinguished them, but their content as well. The English language publications of Montreal lacked the sensationalism that characterized several major American newspapers of the time. Literacy rates in America had rapidly increased, meaning that newspapers no longer had to rely on a small, educated readership for revenue. They began to sell the masses stories of adultery and crime, often told in hyperbolic, charged language and intentionally controversial. This became known as the Yellow Press.

It was in this climate that journalists were challenged to write about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Montreal 2

On the evening of September 6, Mrs. Maxwell reminisced with ’Abdu’l-Bahá, “’At the time when I was visiting ‘Akká I despaired of the blessing of ever possessing children. Praise be to God! My desire and your prayer at the Holy Tomb of Bahá’u’lláh were accepted and I was blessed with a dear baby [Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum].’”

Friday, September 6, 1912 3

’In the morning ‘Abdu’l-Bahá came into our room. When He saw the pile of newspapers which had been collected to send to the friends in the East, He asked, with surprise, ‘What have you done? What are all these newspapers for?’ We replied that they were the signs of the power and influence of the Cause of God. After leaving the church last night, the Master had caught a cold and His voice was hoarse, so even though He had planned to leave Montreal, His departure was delayed for a few days. During this time He went nowhere except to the home of Mr and Mrs Maxwell. However, many came to visit Him at the hotel.

Mrs Maxwell said to Him, ‘At the time that I visited ‘Akká I despaired of ever having the blessing of children. Praise be to God! My supplications and your prayers at the Holy Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh were accepted and I was blessed with a dear baby.’ Bestowing His grace and kindness upon her and the child, the Master said, ‘Children are the ornaments of the home. A home which has no children is like one without light.’

Mrs Maxwell said that her husband had used to say to her: ‘You have become a Bahá’í. Very well, you are responsible for this yourself. I have no hand in it. You must not speak to me about it anymore.’ But now, she added, he was so proud of the Master’s visit that if kings had come to their home he would not have felt so exalted. The room in which the Master stayed was considered by him to be holy and he would not allow anyone to enter it.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s advice to Mr Maxwell and others was this:

“You must cling to those things which prove to be the cause of happiness for the world of man. You must show kindness to the orphans, give food to the hungry, clothe the naked and offer help to the poor so that you may be accepted in the Court of God.”

Here is a quotation from one of the Tablets that was revealed today:

“It is because the friends of California, and particularly those of San Francisco, have so frequently called and pleaded, expressed despair and wept and sent incessant supplications, that I have determined to go to California.”

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, for the disagreements and dissensions which afflict and affect humanity primarily proceed from imitations of ancestral beliefs and adherences to hereditary forms of worship. These imitations are accidental and without sanction in the Holy Books. They are the outcomes of human interpretations and teachings which have arisen, gradually obscuring the real light of divine meaning and causing men to differ and dissent. The reality proclaimed in the heavenly Books and divine teachings is ever conducive to love, unity and fellowship.

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

‘Abdu’l-Bahá delayed His departure from Montreal due to a cold

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 6, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Montreal’s Not-So-Yellow Press.” 239 Days in America, 6 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/06/abdul-baha-in-montreals-not-so-yellow-press/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 136.
  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=7#section166
  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, 314. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/22#006273504

239 Days in America, Day 148: September 05, 1912 | Montreal

Principles for a Modern Religion 1

IT WAS A DRY and warm evening; a necessary break from the three days of steady Montreal rain. On September 5, 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave a talk at St. James Methodist Church, located on the north side of rue Sainte-Catherine and west of de Bleury. The church was called the “Westminster Abbey of Canada,” due to its Gothic Revival architecture and large, circular window of tracery. In contrast to its old-world design, an electric illumined sign outside the church read: “This evening the Prophet of the East will speak on the principles of the Bahá’í Faith and the salvation of the world of humanity.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s talk would similarly address a convergence of the old and the new.

“So people are calling me a prophet,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, when he saw the sign as he approached the church, and the meaning of it was translated for him. “Oh, would that they had omitted that word!” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s talk that night would clarify the matter: his father, Bahá’u’lláh, was the prophet. Bahá’u’lláh appointed his son to interpret and clarify his teachings after his passing.

Montreal 2

On September 5, the Bishop in Montreal visited ’Abdu’l-Bahá to express his pleasure at the meetings being held and his gratitude for “the address concerning the purpose of the Manifestation of Christ and the other holy Manifestations.” ’Abdu’l-Bahá said, “’Tonight I shall speak in the Methodist Church. You may come if you wish.’”

Thursday, September 5, 1912 3

The Bishop of Montreal came to visit the Master to express his admiration and gratitude for the Master’s address concerning the purpose of the appearance of Christ and the other Manifestations. He was pleased to learn about other meetings and talks. The Master said to him, ‘Tonight I shall speak at the Methodist church. You may come if you wish.’

The editor of an illustrated Toronto magazine was announced. He happily recorded a detailed account of the history and teachings of the Cause. Another visitor was a Jewish rabbi who became very enthusiastic when he heard the Master’s explanations.

One of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s talks today was this:

“The degree to which these different denominations testify to the greatness of the Cause of God has never been seen in past history. Even socialists say that although so many philosophers have written books on economic questions, the Bahá’í Cause has the solution.”

When we arrived at the Methodist Church in the evening, we saw an electric illumined sign reading: ‘This evening the Prophet of the East will speak on the principles of the Bahá’í Faith and the salvation of the world of humanity.’ When the translation of this announcement was read to the Master, He said, ‘So, people are calling me a prophet. Oh, would that they had omitted that word!’ In order to correct this impression, in the course of His address He emphasized His devotion to Bahá’u’lláh.’Abdu’l-Bahá went to the vestry where a number of ministers came to greet Him with such reverence and humility that it was really something to be seen. He then went into the auditorium and took a seat on the platform. The minister welcomed Him by motioning the audience to rise, which they immediately did to show their respect. The minister then made an introductory speech about the world’s apathy to the commandments of the Gospel and the urgent need for laws of peace and harmony among the peoples of the West. Finally he urged the audience to listen carefully to the address and the new teachings given by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

The Master stood before the audience and spoke about the continuity of the Divine Bounties, the power and majesty of the Kingdom of God and these wonderful teachings. The audience was awakened to the Faith to such a degree that a judge named Mr Riger, who had previously heard of the Master and had come for the first time this evening to hear Him speak, stood and said, ‘Some have imagined that the succession of the Prophets and the bounties of God were limited. But tonight we have heard with our own ears these divinely ordained teachings from an Eastern prophet who is the successor of the Prophets of God. We will never forget his message. There is no doubt that these teachings of universal peace, the oneness of humanity and the distribution of wealth are in complete accord with the principles of economic law, the equality of rights and the adoption of one universal language. These are the basic principles for the progress of the world of humanity.’ The minister then stood and said, ‘It is an error to think that the West has attained perfection and that the East has no bounties or teachings to offer to the West. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has said many things which we have not heard before or understood.

The Master then chanted a prayer and publicly thanked the judge. Later, in the vestry, the clergymen were so deferential in His presence, they could not find words to express their gratitude. Of particular note was the judge, who repeatedly expressed his desire to become a Bahá’í.

Talk at St. James Methodist Church, Montreal, Canada 4

From time immemorial the divine teachings have been successively revealed, and the bounties of the Holy Spirit have ever been emanating. All the teachings are one reality, for reality is single and does not admit multiplicity. Therefore, the divine Prophets are one, inasmuch as They reveal the one reality, the Word of God. Abraham announced teachings founded upon reality, Moses proclaimed reality, Christ established reality and Bahá’u’lláh was the Messenger and Herald of reality. But humanity, having forsaken the one essential and fundamental reality which underlies the religion of God, and holding blindly to imitations of ancestral forms and interpretations of belief, is separated and divided in the strife, contention and bigotry of various sects and religious factions. If all should be true to the original reality of the Prophet and His teaching, the peoples and nations of the world would become unified, and these differences which cause separation would be lost sight of. To accomplish this great and needful unity in reality, Bahá’u’lláh appeared in the Orient and renewed the foundations of the divine teachings. His revelation of the Word embodies completely the teachings of all the Prophets, expressed in principles and precepts applicable to the needs and conditions of the modern world, amplified and adapted to present-day questions and critical human problems. That is to say, the words of Bahá’u’lláh are the essences of the words of the Prophets of the past. They are the very spirit of the age and the cause of the unity and illumination of the East and the West. The followers of His teachings are in conformity with the precepts and commands of all the former heavenly Messengers. Differences and dissensions, which destroy the foundations of the world of humanity and are contrary to the will and good pleasure of God, disappear completely in the light of the revelation of Bahá’u’lláh; difficult problems are solved, unity and love are established. For the good pleasure of God is the effulgence of love and the establishment of unity and fellowship in the human world, whereas discord, contention, warfare and strife are satanic outcomes and contrary to the will of the Merciful. 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.

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

The Bishop of Montreal, a Jewish rabbi, and the editor of an illustrated Toronto magazine came to visit the Master

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 5, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “Principles for a Modern Religion.” 239 Days in America, 5 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/05/the-modern-purpose-of-religion/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 136.
  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=7#section165
  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, 313-314. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/22#588901888