239 Days in America, Day 165: September 22, 1912 | Lincoln

150 Years of the Emancipation 1

ABRAHAM LINCOLN SIGNED THE Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. When it came into effect on January 1, 1863, more than three million of the four million slaves in the United States of America were freed. Fifty years later, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá entered the capital city of the state of Nebraska, which had been named after the Great Emancipator in 1867, celebrations were breaking out in African American communities across the country.

They began at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, DC, where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had challenged racial imagery on April 23. A “song jubilee” preceded an address by the new president of Howard University, Dr. Stephen Newman, on “Fifty Years of Freedom.” The observance, the Chicago Defender wrote, “shall stand as a model of a dignified, constructive and inspiring recognition of a day that means everything to the 12,000,000 Negroes on this continent.”

Ten days earlier, readers of the Independent had seen ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s assessment of the moral courage that it had taken for white Americans to go to war to free the slaves. “Never in all the annals of the world do we find such an instance of national self-sacrifice as was displayed here during the Civil War,” he said. “Americans who had never seen a weapon used in anger left their homes and peaceful pursuits, took up arms, bore utmost hardships, braved utmost dangers, gave up all they held dear, and finally their lives, in order that slaves might be free.” In his interview, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá called attention to the talk he had given at Howard University, America’s leading black university. “I told them that they must be very good to the white race of America,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, “that they must never forget to be grateful and thankful.” Likewise, “The white people must treat those whom they have freed with justness and firmness, but also with perfect love.”

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

Returning to a hotel in Lincoln, He sat in the lobby. Many people who had read the articles in the newspaper came and introduced themselves and asked questions until His train departed at 11:00 P.M. On board, the friends tried to persuade Him to take pullman accommodations; but He said, “‘We must all be in one place. The only purpose of this journey is to serve the Cause of God. We will all sleep on our seats.’” They spent the night in the chair car, riding toward Denver.

September 22, 1912 3

In the morning the Master spoke about the animosity of the enemies and their evil intentions towards the Blessed Beauty. Then the conversation turned to the corruption and iniquity of the Covenant-breakers. He said:

“”Shu’á of darkness wrote to his father quite openly that his purpose was to amass wealth and worldly property. With reference to me he stated that he was waiting for the fulfillment of the promise in the verse, ‘God will assuredly send down one who will deal mercilessly with him.‘”

Two newspaper reporters came to interview Him and recorded the interview with the utmost courtesy and respect. The Master instructed us to telephone and inquire about Mr Bryan and his wife. Expressing regret that Mr Bryan was not at home, Mrs Bryan said she and her daughter would be pleased to receive ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in their home. The Master and His entourage hired a large automobile and drove a long distance outside of the city until they reached a large estate which is located in one of the finest places in the region. Mrs Bryan hurried towards the automobile to greet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. She and her daughter expressed their joy and happiness for His blessings. After they had had tea and listened to Him, they begged Him to visit some of the rooms of the house, particularly the library and Mr Bryan’s study. They showed Him a book compiled by Mr Bryan and asked Him to pray for the success of his endeavors. Mr Bryan was currently on a campaign tour on behalf of [the future] President Wilson and was to lecture in many cities. In honor of the occasion, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá took a notebook and in His own hand wrote a prayer for assistance. He then said a few words which increased their happiness, devotion, assurance and honor. With that He departed.

Among those visiting the Master at the hotel in the afternoon were some Arabs. They had read about His arrival and His speeches in the newspapers and wished to see Him. The newspaper articles about His arrival and the Manifestations of God were translated and read to Him. It made Him happy to know that a stay in the city of only 12 hours had become the cause of spreading the teachings of God.

At 8:00 p.m., just before leaving the city, the Master came and sat in the lobby of the hotel. A number of people who had read about the new teachings in the newspapers approached and were introduced to Him. They all listened carefully to His explanations and expressed their pleasure. At 11:00 p.m. the train left Lincoln. His companions tried to persuade Him to take Pullman accommodation for Himself but He would not allow it, saying:

“We must all be together. The only purpose of this journey is to serve the Cause of God. We have no other aim. We will all sleep in our coach seats.”

He spent the night in the chair car with the rest of us, sometimes sleeping and sometimes awake. And in this way His time passed.

20 September 1912, Talk at Home of Dr. and Mrs. Clement Woolson, 870 Laurel Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota 4

This same difference is noticeable among animals; some have been domesticated, educated, others left wild. The proof is clear that the world of nature is imperfect, the world of education perfect. That is to say, man is rescued from the exigencies of nature by training and culture; consequently, education is necessary, obligatory. But education is of various kinds. There is a training and development of the physical body which ensures strength and growth. There is intellectual education or mental training for which schools and colleges are founded. The third kind of education is that of the spirit. Through the breaths of the Holy Spirit man is uplifted into the world of moralities and illumined by the lights of divine bestowals. The moral world is only attained through the effulgence of the Sun of Reality and the quickening life of the divine spirit. For this reason the holy Manifestations of God appear in the human world. They come to educate and illuminate mankind, to bestow spiritual susceptibilities, to quicken inner perceptions and thereby adorn the reality of man—the human temple—with divine graces. Through Them man may become the point of the emanations of God and the recipient of heavenly bounties. Under the influence of Their teachings he may become the manifestation of the effulgences of God and a magnet attracting the lights of the supreme world. For this reason the holy, divine Manifestations are the first Teachers and Educators of humanity; Their traces are the highest evidences, and Their spiritual tuition is universal in its application to the world of mankind. Their influence and power are immeasurable and unlimited. One heavenly Personage has developed many nations. For example, Jesus Christ, single and unassisted, educated the Roman, Greek and Assyrian nations and all of Europe. It is evident, therefore, that the greatest education is that of the Spirit.

The spirit of man must acquire its bounties from the Kingdom of God in order that it may become the mirror and manifestation of lights and the dawning point of divine traces, because the human reality is like the soil. If no bounty of rain descends from heaven upon the soil, if no heat of the sun penetrates, it will remain black, forbidding, unproductive; but when the moistening shower and the effulgent glow of the sun’s rays fall upon it, beautiful and redolent flowers grow from its bosom. Similarly, the human spirit or reality of man, unless it becomes the recipient of the lights of the Kingdom, develops divine susceptibilities and consciously reflects the effulgence of God, will not be the manifestation of ideal bounties, for only the reality of man can become the mirror wherein the lights of God are revealed. The reality of man will then be as the spirit of this world, for just as the animus of life quickens the physical human body, so the body of the world will receive its vivification through the animating virtue of the sanctified spirit of man.

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

Concerning the Covenant-breakers

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 22, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “150 Years of the Emancipation Proclamation.” 239 Days in America, 22 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/22/150-years-of-the-emancipation-proclamation/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 152.
  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#section182
  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, 330-331. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/25#691219964

239 Days in America, Day 164: September 21, 1912 | Omaha

‘Abdu’l-Bahá Calls On the “Great Commoner” 1

THE GRITTY CRUNCH OF the dirt road gave way to a rhythmic humming from the smooth bricks that paved the long driveway. Their tiny vibrations traveled along the axles of the rented automobile, through its iron chassis, and into the seat cushion on which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá sat. Trees lined the drive on either side, and at the top of the hill a mansion made of soft-toned red brick looked down across rolling countryside to the thickly wooded valley of nearby Antelope Creek. Fairview, the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Jennings Bryan, stood three miles south of Lincoln, Nebraska. It was the afternoon of Monday, September 23, 1912.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá had taken the train from Omaha to Lincoln, the capital of the state, to return the courtesy of Bryan’s visit to ‘Akká six and a half years earlier. “We called on Abbas Effendi as we were leaving Palestine,” Bryan had written from Vienna on June 5, 1906, in an article for the Chicago Daily News. He was traveling the lands of the Ottoman Empire and had stopped to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá who was still a prisoner in ‘Akká.

“The Great Commoner,” as William Jennings Bryan was known at home in America, had not been impressed with Sultan ‘Abdu’l-Hamíd II and the bureaucracy he ran. “The government of the sultan is the worst on earth,” he wrote. “It is more despotic than the Russian government ever was and adds corruption to despotism. . . . The sultan still rules by his arbitrary will, taking life or granting favor according to his pleasure. He lives in constant fear of assassination and yet he does not seem to have learned that his own happiness, as well as justice to the people, demands that the government shall rest upon the will of the governed.”

He found ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, whose teachings he likened to Tolstoy’s minus the strict pacifism, to be a welcome voice of reform. “How much he may be able to do in the way of eliminating the objectionable features of Mohammedanism no one can say,” Bryan thought, “but it is a hopeful sign that there is . . . an organized effort to raise the plane of discussion from brute force to an appeal to intelligence.”

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

The next morning, September 21, as they were having tea in the room, they read the news of the first Balkan War. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá observed, “‘Our war is the best of all. We conquer all. At the time a crown of thorns was placed on the head of the Christ, He saw the crowns of kings under His feet. Now I see all the powers and nations vanquished and lost in the desert while the Cause of God is victorious over all. The divine Manifestations see with their eyes all the coming events of the world.’”

Saturday, September 21, 1912 3

In the morning, as we were having tea served by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the latest news from the Balkan war was relayed to Him. He commented, in part:

“Our own ‘war’ is good because it conquers all. When a crown of thorns was placed on the head of Christ, He saw with His own eyes the crowns of kings under His feet. Now, when I look, I see all the powers and nations defeated, scattered and lost in the wilderness while the Cause of God is victorious over all and subdues all. All future events are evident and visible to the eyes of the holy Manifestations.”

He illustrated this by narrating the historical events from the digging of ditches to the victory of Islam over the treasuries of Anushírván and Khusraw. The hypocrites, who disbelieved in the promises of Muhammad in their hearts, saw these victories and cried out: ‘This is that which God and His Messenger have promised us.’

The translation of an article regarding universal peace was read to the Master. He said:

“If the republics of the Americas assembled and agreed on the question of peace, and if all of them would turn to the [Peace] Assembly at the Hague, most of the powers of Europe would follow suit. But looking at it from another point of view, if an international war breaks out in Europe, international peace will be established more quickly. Also, if these ideas regarding peace spread among the public, the financiers will refuse to give loans for wars and the manufacture of armaments, the railway companies will abstain from transporting instruments of destruction and the armed forces will not engage in carnage and the spilling of blood. Also the boundaries should be established.”

Later the Master was interviewed by two journalists and spoke to them about the pernicious attitudes of politicians, the destructiveness of war, the validity of the divine teachings regarding universal peace, the unity of religions and the oneness of mankind.

In one of the Tablets revealed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in honor of a friend in Mázindarán, these words were recorded:

“The light of Bahá’u’lláh has shone to such a degree on the continent of America that in every city where a number of believers reside, the call of ‘Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá’ has been raised. In great churches and meetings ‘Abdu’l-Bahá cries out and proves the truth of the Prophet of God [Muhammad] and of the Báb and of the rising sun of Bahá’u’lláh. Most of the newspapers express praise in glowing articles. Where are the Persians, that they may behold the splendors of the Luminary of the World [Bahá’u’lláh] Whose light has shone forth from the horizon of Mount Awrang and now illumines the mountains and plains of America? In spite of all this, the people of Núr are still asleep and do not know what an honor has been showered upon that region.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá had soup prepared especially for Him for lunch. The Master instructed us to have lunch at the hotel. In the afternoon after tea, the Master left for Lincoln to visit Mr [William Jennings] Bryan, the [future] Secretary of State of the United States, and said:

“During Mr and Mrs Bryan’s last visit to Haifa, we were, while in ‘Akká, in great danger, and the enemies were rebellious and increasingly perverse in those last days, thus he was unable to see us. So now we are going to see him.”

The train had left just as the Master reached the station. He decided to wait for the next train. A few minutes later, a man who had seen our Persian dress and kuláhs came to us and said, ‘We received a telegram from the friends in Minneapolis and have been looking for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.’ He immediately ran to give the news to the other friends and brought them to Him. They were extremely grateful that He had not left by the first train. The Master spoke to them about the major calamities that had befallen the Cause of God, saying:

“Up to now, whatever has occurred has had the effect of spreading the Cause of God. When the Blessed Beauty left Tihrán and when He departed from Baghdád for the Holy Land, it was so devastating that the friends shed tears of blood. Now it has become evident what mysteries were concealed in that event and what victories lay in store; even the prophecies of the holy books regarding the Holy Land and the promised Manifestation were fulfilled through that banishment.”

A professor who had heard of some of the principles of the Bahá’í Cause was very happy and grateful to have visited the Master. At midnight the Master left Omaha and three hours later arrived in Lincoln.

20 September 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. Albert L. Hall, 2030 Queen Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 4

The great question appertaining to humanity is religion. The first condition is that man must intelligently investigate its foundations. The second condition is that he must admit and acknowledge the oneness of the world of humanity. By this means the attainment of true fellowship among mankind is assured, and the alienation of races and individuals is prevented. All must be considered the servants of God; all must recognize God as the one kind Protector and Creator. In proportion to the acknowledgment of the oneness and solidarity of mankind, fellowship is possible, misunderstandings will be removed and reality become apparent. Then will the light of reality shine forth, and when reality illumines the world, the happiness of humankind will become a verity. Man must spiritually perceive that religion has been intended by God to be the means of grace, the source of life and cause of agreement. If it becomes the cause of discord, enmity and hatred, it is better that man should be without it. For in its teachings we seek the spirit of charity and love to bind the hearts of men together. If, on the contrary, we find it alienates and embitters human hearts, we are justified in casting it aside. Therefore, when man through sincere investigation discovers the fundamental reality of religion, his former prejudices disappear, and his new condition of enlightenment is conducive to the development of the world of humanity.

The purport of our subject is that, just as man is in need of outward education, he is likewise in need of ideal refinement; just as the outer sense of sight is necessary to him, he should also possess insight and conscious perception; as he needs hearing, at the same time memory is essential; as a body is indispensable to him, likewise a mind is requisite; one is a material virtue, the other is ideal. As human creatures fitted and qualified with this dual endowment, we must endeavor through the assistance and grace of God and by the exercise of our ideal power of intellect to attain all lofty virtues, that we may witness the effulgence of the Sun of Reality, reflect the spirit of the Kingdom, behold the manifest evidences of the reality of Divinity, comprehend irrefutable proofs of the immortality of the soul, live in conscious atonement with the eternal world and become quickened and awake with the life and love of God.

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

“All future events are evident and visible to the eyes of the holy Manifestations.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 21, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá Calls On the “Great Commoner”.” 239 Days in America, 21 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/21/abdul-baha-calls-on-the-great-commoner/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 151.
  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#section181
  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, 327-328. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/24#927538974

239 Days in America, Day 163: September 20, 1912 | Minneapolis

Thinking for Yourself 1

“IF YOU SHOULD ASK a thousand persons, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told his audience, ‘What are the proofs of the reality of Divinity?’ perhaps not one would be able to answer.”

On September 20, 1912, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the home of Albert Hall, a lawyer known for his defense of the poor, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá asked a number of rhetorical questions about spiritual reality: “What proofs have you regarding the essence of God?” he asked; “How do you explain inspiration and revelation?”; “What are the evidences of conscious intelligence beyond the material universe?”; “Can you suggest a plan and method for the betterment of human moralities?”; “Can you clearly define and differentiate the world of nature and the world of Divinity?” It is not hard to imagine, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had said on September 20, that “you would receive very little real knowledge and enlightenment upon these questions” if you asked them. material virtues. Civilization is the sign and evidence of this progression.”

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

‘Abdu’l-Bahá left Minneapolis on Friday, September 20, seeing Dr. [Clement] Woolson again when the train stopped in St. Paul.

During the trip to Omaha ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

“A man fully learned, deeply attracted and wholly severed like some of the first Persian teachers is required for these American countries. The Cause of God must find a solid foundation. … Then the confirmations of the Kingdom of Abhá will envelop these nations and a resurrection will be set up. Up to the present time it has not reached the mark I desire. It rests wholly on the confirmations of the Kingdom of Abhá and on the sanctified souls among the friends. God is my witness! If a person draws only one breath in a state of compete severance, it will bear fruits whether it be after a thousand years.”

It was late at night when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá reached Omaha, and He went immediately to the hotel.

Friday, September 20, 1912 3

Today we departed from Minneapolis. In the morning friends and seekers surrounded ‘Abdu’l-Bahá like moths. He spoke to them in these words:

“You must have deep love for one another. Go to see each other and be consoling friends to all. If a friend lives a little distance from the town, go to see him. Do not content yourselves with words only but act according to the commandments of God. Hold weekly meetings and give feasts. Put forth your efforts to acquire spiritual perfections and to spread the knowledge of God. These are the attributes of the Bahá’ís. Otherwise, what use is there in being a Bahá’í in word alone.”

At 8:00 a.m., after packing the parcels to be sent to the East, the Master left the hotel for the train station. The assembled friends were sad and dejected owing to His departure from their midst. He consoled them until the train left the station, saying:

“I shall never forget you. You are always in my mind. Convey to all the friends my kind regards. I love all. I exhort you to be kind to the poor and love them. Help them, for the poor are broken-hearted. If you sacrifice yourself for the rich, they think you do it because you are obliged to. But if you love the poor, they feel joy and are sincerely grateful. To help the poor is essential. May you be under the protection of God.”

When the train reached St Paul station, Dr Woolson came to say goodbye and received the Master’s blessing. He was showered with bounty.

On the way ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke about teaching the Cause of God in America and remarked:

In this country it is essential to have teachers who are attracted, wholly severed and learned like some of the self-sacrificing Persian teachers. The Cause of God must become firmly established in these regions. The teachers must move continually, one after another, from one place to another to raise the divine call. Then will the confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom envelop these nations and wonders will be achieved. This desire of mine has not yet come about. It depends on the confirmations of the all-glorious Kingdom and on the sanctified breaths of the friends. The one true God is my witness! If a person draws only one pure breath in a state of severance, it will be effective for a thousand years.

Later He related many stores about the days in Baghdád. In the afternoon He spoke about Mr [Edward Granville] Browne and said:

I wrote to him, saying, ‘You are the first European teacher and author to have attained His Blessed Presence. Do not lose this distinction.’ He did not understand me and his loss will be known when the lights of guidance shine in England with supreme brilliancy.

Two hours after midnight the train reached Omaha. As the Master was extremely tired, as soon as He arrived at the hotel He retired immediately, without eating.

20 September 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. Albert L. Hall, 2030 Queen Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 4

Philosophy is of two kinds: natural and divine. Natural philosophy seeks knowledge of physical verities and explains material phenomena, whereas divine philosophy deals with ideal verities and phenomena of the spirit. The field and scope of natural philosophy have been greatly enlarged, and its accomplishments are most praiseworthy, for it has served humanity. But according to the evidence of present world conditions divine philosophy—which has for its object the sublimation of human nature, spiritual advancement, heavenly guidance for the development of the human race, attainment to the breaths of the Holy Spirit and knowledge of the verities of God—has been outdistanced and neglected. Now is the time for us to make an effort and enable it to advance apace with the philosophy of material investigation so that awakening of the ideal virtues may progress equally with the unfoldment of the natural powers. In the same proportion that the body of man is developing, the spirit of man must be strengthened; and just as his outer perceptions have been quickened, his inner intellectual powers must be sensitized so that he need not rely wholly upon tradition and human precedent. In divine questions we must not depend entirely upon the heritage of tradition and former human experience; nay, rather, we must exercise reason, analyze and logically examine the facts presented so that confidence will be inspired and faith attained. Then and then only the reality of things will be revealed to us. The philosophers of Greece—such as Aristotle, Socrates, Plato and others—were devoted to the investigation of both natural and spiritual phenomena. In their schools of teaching they discoursed upon the world of nature as well as the supernatural world. Today the philosophy and logic of Aristotle are known throughout the world. Because they were interested in both natural and divine philosophy, furthering the development of the physical world of mankind as well as the intellectual, they rendered praiseworthy service to humanity. This was the reason of the triumph and survival of their teachings and principles. Man should continue both these lines of research and investigation so that all the human virtues, outer and inner, may become possible. The attainment of these virtues, both material and ideal, is conditioned upon intelligent investigation of reality, by which investigation the sublimity of man and his intellectual progress is accomplished. Forms must be set aside and renounced; reality must be sought. We must discover for ourselves where and what reality is. In religious beliefs nations and peoples today are imitators of ancestors and forefathers. If a man’s father was a Christian, he himself is a Christian; a Buddhist is the son of a Buddhist, a Zoroastrian of a Zoroastrian. A gentile or an idolator follows the religious footsteps of his father and ancestry. This is absolute imitation. The requirement in this day is that man must independently and impartially investigate every form of reality.

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

“Put forth your efforts to acquire spiritual perfections and to spread the knowledge of God.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 20, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “Thinking for Yourself.” 239 Days in America, 20 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/20/using-reason-to-prove-divinity/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 150-151.
  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#section180
  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, 326-327. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/24#852349855

239 Days in America, Day 162: September 19, 1912 | Minneapolis

Minneapolis, Flour Power, and the Ideal Virtues of Man 1

THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI RIVER rushed over the half-circled ledges of layered limestone and sandstone, pouring forward on its long journey toward America’s south. St. Anthony Falls was the focal point of a city that was the world leader in flour milling: Minneapolis, Minnesota. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke at the industrial center on September 20, 1912. He talked about the need for moral progress in addition to the material progress so evident in America.

“If we review history,” he told his audience, “we will observe that human advancement has been greatest in the development of material virtues. Civilization is the sign and evidence of this progression.”

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

On September 19, the Minneapolis Journal reported:

Long before the other guests at the Plaza hotel were astir today, Abdul Baha Abbas, head of the Bahaists of the world, who believes and teaches the eventual harmony and unity of religious mankind, … was up and about in parlor 603, pacing quietly across the room and back, and pausing occasionally to look meditatively out across Hennepin avenue into Loring Park. …

… He smiled faintly, and two beautiful, large hazel eyes looked about the room. He rose from the divan on which he had been sitting and walked towards the window, Except that his complexion is dark and he is short of stature, he looked not unlike the portraits of General Robert E. Lee, the contour nose being particularly striking. …

H. S. Fugeta, a Japanese from Cleveland, who had joined the party at Chicago, came in and knelt beside a window chair, where Abdul Baha had seated himself and the leader placed his hands on the head of the kneeling man and uttered prayer in Persian. The syllables were strangely effective and rhythmetrical. Mirza Ahmed Sorab translated it aloud.

“Your spiritual growth is noteworthy; you are becoming stronger; your spirit is awake and you will be happy,” was the less poetic English rendition of part of it.

Thursday, September 19, 1912 3

It was reported to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that the proceedings of the Bahá’í meeting the night before had been published in today’s newspapers. He said:

“Notwithstanding this, the Muslims and the Christians alike are not satisfied with us. They are engaged in pleasurable diversions and enjoyable pastimes in their homes while we are laboring to prove the truths of the divine Manifestations in these great temples. So it is with the mischief-makers and Covenant-breakers. Behold how they are preoccupied with themselves and with the satisfaction of their selfish desires, while I am so wholly occupied with spreading the Cause of God in America that I have not had a moment’s rest.”

After a visit with friends and seekers, the Master went to a museum. Among its many antiques objects were some small tear vials from ancient Phoenicia in which people had preserved their tears at the time of the death of their loved ones and then buried with the dead bodies. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, ‘See how these bottles have outlasted the bodies of men under the earth.’ He continued:

“When people of the West become wealthy, they begin to collect antique objects in order to render a service to the world of art. But when Persians become wealthy, they keep one hundred horses in their stables, give themselves up to pomp and show, engage themselves in satiating their selfish desires. But in comparison with service to the Cause, both attitudes are barren, producing no result. For example, if the effort these people put into gathering these objects, and the millions of dollars spent acquiring them, were employed for the Cause of God, their stars of happiness and prosperity would shine evermore from the horizon of both worlds. If in this city they brought ten persons into the Cause of God, it would gain momentum and would become the cause of eternal honor and happiness as well as the source of everlasting life.”

After returning to the hotel, telegrams reporting the good news were prepared and dispatched to the Assemblies of the East.

Among the friends assembled to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá were several philosophers and clergymen. The Master spoke about the oneness of mankind, universal brotherhood and the teachings of God. Everyone expressed their admiration and sincere appreciation. The friends were delighted to see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s influence and power and pleaded with Him to prolong His stay. He replied, ‘We have little time. We must go everywhere to announce the Cause of God. We have called the people here and now we must hasten to other places until we reach California.’

There was a splendid meeting in the afternoon at the home of Mr Hall. Several people were there, including some philosophers, professors, clergymen and women, all of whom listened to the Master’s words with great pleasure. The Master spoke about the oneness and unity of mankind and the increased capacity of this enlightened century. After He spoke, a number of the guests requested the privilege of having a private interview with Him.

Dr [Clement] Woolson brought his automobile to take the Master to a meeting in St Paul, some 15 miles from Minneapolis. The distance was covered in comfort and at a good speed. The Master praised the cleanliness and beauty of the Mississippi River and the greenness of the hills, plains and gardens along the way. He arrived at Dr Woolson’s home and there addressed the assembled friends who were very taken with His words. His explanation of nature’s lack of perfection and its recreation through divine education gave the audience a new perspective.

The Master took a walk in the garden. Several children approached Him and politely asked Him about His country and the purpose of His visit. He spoke with them kindly. They then followed Him in respectful silence and when He approached the house, they asked permission to come inside. To each He gave some coins and showered them with kindness. One tiny child slipped off his father’s lap and ran to the Master, saying. ‘I love you first and then my father.’

When it was time to leave two automobiles were at the door. One belonged to some enthusiastic women who were new to the Cause. The Master sat in their automobile. Then Dr Woolson came out to say that the automobile meant for the Master was the other one. The Master then went to that automobile and they drove to Minneapolis at full speed to attend the meeting being held in the evening at Mr Hall’s home. The other automobile did not reach its destination and it was later learned than it had broken down on the way and that the women had had to make other arrangements. Because they arrived late, they had the honor of having dinner with the Master.

20 September 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. Albert L. Hall, 2030 Queen Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 4

Man possesses two types of virtues: One is material, and the other ideal in character. For example, the body of man expresses certain material virtues, but the spirit of man manifests virtues that are ideal. The sense of sight in man is a physical virtue; but insight, the power of inner perception, is ideal in its nature. The sense of hearing is a physical endowment, whereas memory in man is ideal. Among other human forces the power of ideation, or faculty of intellection, is material, but the power of love is spiritual. The acquisition of the realities of phenomena is an ideal virtue; likewise, the emotions of man and his ability to prove the existence of God. Realization of moral standards and the world of discovery involve virtues essentially ideal.

If we review history, we will observe that human advancement has been greatest in the development of material virtues. Civilization is the sign and evidence of this progression. Throughout the world, material civilization has attained truly wonderful heights and degrees of efficiency—that is to say, the outward powers and virtues of man have greatly developed, but the inner and ideal virtues have been correspondingly delayed and neglected. It is now the time in the history of the world for us to strive and give an impetus to the advancement and development of inner forces—that is to say, we must arise to service in the world of morality, for human morals are in need of readjustment. We must also render service to the world of intellectuality in order that the minds of men may increase in power and become keener in perception, assisting the intellect of man to attain its supremacy so that the ideal virtues may appear. Before a step is taken in this direction we must be able to prove Divinity from the standpoint of reason so that no doubt or objection may remain for the rationalist. Afterward, we must be able to prove the existence of the bounty of God—that the divine bounty encompasses humanity and that it is transcendental. Furthermore, we must demonstrate that the spirit of man is immortal, that it is not subject to disintegration and that it comprises the virtues of humanity.

Material virtues have attained great development, but ideal virtues have been left far behind. If you should ask a thousand persons, “What are the proofs of the reality of Divinity?” perhaps not one would be able to answer. If you should ask further, “What proofs have you regarding the essence of God?” “How do you explain inspiration and revelation?” “What are the evidences of conscious intelligence beyond the material universe?” “Can you suggest a plan and method for the betterment of human moralities?” “Can you clearly define and differentiate the world of nature and the world of Divinity?”—you would receive very little real knowledge and enlightenment upon these questions. This is due to the fact that development of the ideal virtues has been neglected. People speak of Divinity, but the ideas and beliefs they have of Divinity are, in reality, superstition. Divinity is the effulgence of the Sun of Reality, the manifestation of spiritual virtues and ideal powers. The intellectual proofs of Divinity are based upon observation and evidence which constitute decisive argument, logically proving the reality of Divinity, the effulgence of mercy, the certainty of inspiration and immortality of the spirit. This is, in reality, the science of Divinity. Divinity is not what is set forth in dogmas and sermons of the church. Ordinarily when the word Divinity is mentioned, it is associated in the minds of the hearers with certain formulas and doctrines, whereas it essentially means the wisdom and knowledge of God, the effulgence of the Sun of Truth, the revelation of reality and divine philosophy.

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

‘Abdu’l-Bahá “… so wholly occupied with spreading the Cause of God in America …”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 19, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “Minneapolis, Flour Power, and the Ideal Virtues of Man.” 239 Days in America, 19 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/19/minneapolis-flour-power-and-the-ideal-virtues-of-man/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 148-150.
  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#section179
  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, 325-326. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/24#187189111

239 Days in America, Day 161: September 18, 1912 | Minneapolis

The Century of Motion 1

“THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ remarked, “are not content to stand still.” From the moment he arrived in the United States, on April 11, 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has called attention to the nation’s relentless technological innovation, its commerce and material development, and its commitment to progressive social ideals. He has even noted America’s passion for modern modes of transportation, a passion he seems to share.

At 10 a.m. on the morning of September 18, 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left the Chicago & North Western Railway station in the busiest rail hub on the planet, and embarked on a four hundred mile train ride west to Minneapolis. It would be the first stop in a two-week journey that would take him nearly two thousand miles to the edge of Pacific Ocean in the state of California.

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

The next day, Wednesday, September 18, Abdu’l-Bahá spoke in the assembly hall of the hotel, at the Commercial Club, and later at a synagogue. …

All of the major newspapers of Minneapolis carried articles about His activities. Concerning His traveling, the September 18 Minneapolis Tribune indicated that “Albert H. Hall received a telegram from Abdul Baha last night [September 17, the night He arrived] announcing his coming.”

Wednesday, September 18, 1912 3

The assembly hall of the hotel became a joyous meeting place for the friends. With great happiness and excitement the friends eagerly listened to the Master’s words.

“Praise be to God that He has given you a prosperous country. Towns are flourishing, commerce is progressing and the outward evidences of prosperity are displayed with utmost beauty and perfection. But all these things are as nothing when compared to the bounties of God. The whole globe is nothing before one ray of the Sun of Truth. Thus it is said in the Gospel that Satan took Christ to the top of a high mountain, showed Him the world outspread and told Him that he would give Him all these things if he would follow him. But Christ refused.”

He then answered questions from the audience about socialism and gave interviews to some newspaper reporters about various subjects, such as the necessity for a spiritual civilization, spiritual guidance and the principles and life history of Bahá’u’lláh.

Later, a Jewish rabbi visited the Master and requested that He speak in his synagogue. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke with him, saying, ‘I have come from your original homeland, Jerusalem. I passed forty-five years in Palestine, but I was in prison.’ The rabbi said, ‘We are all prisoners in this world.’ The Master added, ‘But I was imprisoned in two prisons. Even then I was contented and was completely happy and grateful.’ The rabbi then said, ‘The Prophets of God have always been imprisoned and now His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the chosen one of God, is imprisoned.’ The Master stated, ‘I am but the servant of God; but the practice of people has always been to persecute all the Prophets and the holy ones and then later to prostrate themselves at the mention of their names.’ When they finished their conversation, the rabbi expressed his sincere thanks and requested permission to leave. The Master embraced Him and said, ‘We desire that all religions unite in bonds of brotherhood, to love one another. May they join hands and embrace each other, and honor and respect one another’s masters.’

The Master was invited to the Commercial Club this morning. As He drove through the city’s parks and boulevards on the way, He remarked:

“Tonight when we speak in the Jewish synagogue we shall bring proofs and arguments in support of the Spirit [Christ]. This is the wish and confirmation of the Blessed Beauty. It is as if the Abhá Beauty were present in the Mansion at ‘Akká and I went into His presence and said that I wished to speak in a Jewish synagogue. It is clear that His wish would be that the truth of Jesus should be demonstrated.”

Several newspaper reporters asked Him questions about the principles of the Faith. He told them:

“The laws and commandments of God are of two kinds: one set is composed of those essential spiritual principles which are the basis for human prosperity, praiseworthy morals and the acquisition of the virtues and perfections of man. These never change. The other kind are subsidiary laws related to our material life. These are revealed to regulate transactions and to meet the exigencies of the time. These change in keeping with the requirements of the age.”

While He was giving a detailed explanation of the laws of God, prominent members of the Club gathered around Him. They listened with rapt attention to His words concerning the failure of the four criteria [for establishing reality] — namely, the senses, the intellect, tradition and inspiration — to arrive at the correct conclusions and the efficacy of all-encompassing power of the command of God. They expressed their sincere admiration for His blessings and kindness, particularly for His talk.

Today a billboard outside a building announced: ‘’Abdu’l-Bahá, the venerable Prophet of the East and the Leader of the Bahá’ís, will speak here at noon today.’

In the evening the Master delivered a brilliant address at the Jewish synagogue, providing decisive proofs of the validity and truth of Christ and the Cause of Muhammad. It was so persuasive that men and women came to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá with the utmost humility and admiration. One of them said openly that he would no longer be a Jew.

16 September 1912, Talk at Home of Mrs. Corinne True, 5338 Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 4

We must use our utmost endeavors in order that the Holy Spirit may influence minds and hearts toward peace, the bounties of God surround, the divine effulgences become successive, human souls advance, minds expand in wider vision, souls become more holy and the world of humanity be rid of its great menace. For the betterment of the world Bahá’u’lláh endured all the hardships, ordeals and vicissitudes of life, sacrificing His very being and comfort, forfeiting His estates, possessions and honor—all that pertains to human existence—not for one year, nay, rather, for nearly fifty years. During this long period He was subjected to persecution and abuse, was cast into prison, was banished from His native land, underwent severities and humiliation and was exiled four times. He was first exiled from Persia to Baghdád, thence to Constantinople, thence to Rumelia and finally to the great prison-fortress of ‘Akká in Syria, where He passed the remainder of His life. Every day a new oppression and abuse was heaped upon Him until He winged His flight from the dungeon to the supreme world and returned to His Lord. He endured these ordeals and difficulties in order that this earthly human world might become heavenly, that the illumination of the divine Kingdom should become a reality in human hearts, that the individual members of mankind might progress, the power of the Holy Spirit increase its efficacy and penetration and the happiness of the world of humanity be assured. He desired for all tranquillity and composure and exercised loving-kindness toward the nations regardless of conditions and differences. He addressed humanity, saying, “O humankind! Verily, ye are all the leaves and fruits of one tree; ye are all one. Therefore, associate in friendship; love one another; abandon prejudices of race; dispel forever this gloomy darkness of human ignorance, for the century of light, the Sun of Reality hath appeared. Now is the time for affiliation, and now is the period of unity and concord. For thousands of years ye have been contending in warfare and strife. It is enough. Now is the time for unity. Lay aside all self-purposes, and know for a certainty that all men are the servants of one God Who will bind them together in love and agreement.”

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

Praising signs of a prosperous country and warning against materialism

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 18, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “The Century of Motion.” 239 Days in America, 18 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/18/the-century-of-motion/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 147-148.
  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#section178
  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, 322. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/23#550254111

239 Days in America, Day 160: September 17, 1912 | Minneapolis

Following the Example of America 1

“THE PEOPLE OF THIS land enjoy many blessings,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told a reporter from the Independent, a popular national weekly newspaper. In 1908 the Independent, published from Boston, had printed William English Walling’s account of the Springfield Race Riot. On July 19, 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá sat for his interview: it appeared in print on Chicago’s newsstands during the week of September 12, 1912.

“In spite of the lofty position ascribed to him by his followers,” the editor wrote, “his interest in ordinary human affairs is keen. He was dressed in flowing robes and turban, which accorded well with his square-cut grey beard. His blue eyes are frank, lively and humorous, his figure of medium hight sic and slight, but erect and graceful in spite of his sixty-eight years.”

“I am very pleased with America and its people,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá began. “I find religion, high ideals, broad sympathy with humanity, benevolence and kindness widespread here, and my hope is that America will lead in the movement for universal peace.”

Buffalo, Chicago, Kenosha 2

Abdu’l-Bahá and His entourage traveled most of the day of Tuesday, September 17, on the train toward Minnesota. “In these days,” Mahmúd noted, “the Holy Being appeared to be sad and depressed. At one time He said, ‘…The Ark of the Cause is invested with tempests and storms from all sides. But the confirmations of the Pre-existent Beauty are with us.’”

At 9:00 P.M. Mr. Albert Hall and some others got on the train several stops away from Minneapolis and rode with them. Abdu’l-Bahá told the reporters waiting for Him when they arrived that He would see them the following morning and went to the Hotel Plaza. When the friends told Him of many speaking invitations, He replied, “‘Oh no, we cannot stay more than two days. We come to your city to put a fresh spiritual unction into it. We come to sow the seeds, to make the people awake, to deliver to them the greatest news and then to depart from the city. In this short space of time our work is to proclaim the Cause of God, and, Praise be to God, its results are becoming evident, and powerful confirmations are descending upon us day by day.’”

Tuesday, September 17, 1912 3

The Master bade farewell to the friends and promised to come back to Chicago on His return from California. Here are a few of His remarks to the friends:

“I ask the Blessed Beauty to assist you and confirm you. Wherever I go, you will be in my thoughts. I shall not forget any one of you. I beg of God that you may become more enlightened, more severed, more spiritual, more aflame and that you may be humble and submissive, for as long as man does not consider himself to be good but regards himself as weak and deficient, he progresses; but the moment he considers himself good and says, ‘I am perfect’, he falls into pride and retrogresses.”

To another gathering, He spoke about socialism:

“The principles of socialism are outstripped in the religions of God. For instance, God commands, ‘But [they prefer] them [the poor] before themselves, although there be indigence among them’ [Qur’án 59:9]. That is, the believers spend of their substance and share their possessions and prefer others to themselves willingly and with utmost spirituality. Socialists, however, desire to enforce equality and association by compulsion. Although the preference for others which is the exhortation of God is more difficult because the rich are enjoined to prefer others to themselves, this will become common and will be the cause of tranquillity and an aid to the order of the world, because it depends upon the inclination and willingness of the giver. But socialism and egalitarianism, although easier, as those who have are made equal with others, yet such a system will not become widespread and is the cause of disturbance and tumult because it rests on compulsion and coercion.

“In the Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh it is mentioned that if a rich man neglects the duty of educating his children, the House of Justice is authorized to compel him to assist financially and to educate them. But this is a matter for the family of that wealthy man and comes under the jurisdiction of the House of Justice. The point is that there are matters greater than equality and socialism in divine religions. In the Cause of God there were persons like the King of Martyrs [Mírzá Muhammad-Hasan] who, in the days of tribulation, expended all their wealth and property to relieve the sufferings of the poor and the weak. In Persia the Bahá’ís were willing to sacrifice themselves for one another to such a degree that once when one of the Bahá’ís was a guest in the home of another believer, and the authorities demanded the arrest of the guest, the host gave the guest’s name as his own and surrendered himself to them, was martyred in his place, thus sacrificing his life for his guest and brother.”

Turning to the editor of the Police Journal, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said,

“A newspaper must in the first instance be the means of creating harmony among the people. This is the prime duty of the proprietors of newspapers, to eradicate misunderstandings between religions and races and nationalities and promote the oneness of mankind.”

Mírzá ‘Alí-Akbar Nakhjavání, who had been granted permission to accompany ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on His journey to California, arrived from Malden, joining Mr Fujita, the Japanese, and the other servants. The train left Chicago at 10:00 a.m. Many of the friends had gathered at the railway station and surrounded the Master, begging for divine confirmations, blessings and assistance to render services to the Cause of God.

Although the air was cool and the train was clean and free of dust, still ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was tired and weak. In the afternoon we observed a strange phenomenon. We heard moaning from the seat on which the Master was reclining. When we came close to Him we saw that His eyes, like beautiful tulips, were open and that He was chanting a prayer in mournful tones. As we drew even closer, He paid no attention nor looked at us. Although He was awake, He appeared to be sleeping. We tried to understand what He was saying but it was impossible. Meanwhile the train stopped and one of us had the audacity to ask the Master whether He would like to step outside and take a little walk. He came out of His state of reverie and said, ‘No, we won’t go out.’

During this time ‘Abdu’l-Bahá appeared to be sad and depressed. At one time He said, ‘I did not sleep at all last night. The ark of the Cause is beset by tempests and storms on all sides. But the confirmations of the Ancient Beauty are with us.’

At 9:00 in the evening, when the train was but a few stations away from Minneapolis, we were joined by Mr [Albert Heath] Hall and some friends. When we reached Minneapolis another group of friends and journalists received the bounty of seeing the Master. He told them that He was very tired and would see them the following morning to answer their questions and to give them material for their newspaper articles.

He went to the Hotel Plaza which faces a lovely park with a beautiful lake. The friends said that many ministers and other prominent people of the city had tendered invitations to the Master. He said:

“We cannot stay more than two days. We come and in each city we create a stir, scatter some seeds, awaken the people, inform them of the Most Great Call and then leave. In this short space of time our work is to proclaim the Cause of God and, praise be to God, the results are evident day by day and accompanied by great confirmations.”

16 September 1912, Talk at Home of Mrs. Corinne True, 5338 Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 4

Therefore, we must strive in order that the power of the Holy Spirit may become effective throughout the world of mankind, that it may confer a new quickening life upon the body politic of the nations and peoples and that all may be guided to the protection and shelter of the Word of God. Then this human world will become angelic, earthly darkness pass away and celestial illumination flood the horizons, human defects be effaced and divine virtues become resplendent. This is possible and real, but only through the power of the Holy Spirit. Today the greatest need of the world is the animating, unifying presence of the Holy Spirit. Until it becomes effective, penetrating and interpenetrating hearts and spirits, and until perfect, reasoning faith shall be implanted in the minds of men, it will be impossible for the social body to be inspired with security and confidence. Nay, on the contrary, enmity and strife will increase day by day, and the differences and divergences of nations will be woefully augmented. Continual additions to the armies and navies of the world will be made, and the fear and certainty of the great pandemic war—the war unparalleled in history—will be intensified; for armament, heretofore limited, is now being increased upon a colossal scale. Conditions are becoming acute, drawing nigh unto the degree of men warring upon the seas, warring upon the plains, warring in the very atmosphere with a violence unknown in former centuries. With the growth of armament and preparation the dangers are increasingly great.

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

The secret to maintaining one’s spiritual progress

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 17, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Following the Example of America.” 239 Days in America, 17 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/17/following-the-example-of-america/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 147.
  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#section177
  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, 321. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/23#577019256

239 Days in America, Day 159: September 16, 1912 | Chicago

September 16, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

‘‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ IS SPENDING the weekend in Kenosha in southern Wisconsin after being invited to visit there last week.

In the week ahead: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá returns to Chicago. We’ll take a look at the city’s vibrant newspapers. He will then ride the train northwest to Minneapolis and St. Paul where he will stay for two days and deliver two landmark talks on moral progress and what “Divinity” means. Then on Friday, he will continue his journey west across the wheat fields of Nebraska, and visit the home of William Jennings Bryan in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Buffalo, Chicago, Kenosha 2

He [Abdu’l-Bahá ] departed Monday morning, September 16, to return to Chicago, where He moved from Mrs. True’s home to a hotel. On the way there He said, “‘I am bearing these hardships of traveling so that the Cause of God may push on uncontaminated. For I am still anxious about what is going to happen after Me.’”

Monday, September 16, 1912 3

In the morning ‘Abdu’l-Bahá prepared to leave for Chicago. The believers, ‘like iguanas’, gazed at Him with eyes like those of parting lovers. He remarked:

“See what the power and influence of Bahá’u’lláh have wrought. Consider how He has brought the Japanese, the Americans and the Persians all under the shadow of one word and caused them to love one another.”

Along the way He spoke of the steadfastness of the believers of the East. He arrived in Chicago in the evening and a continuous stream of friends came to see Him. Some of them wanted to give Him some money but, despite their pleading and entreaties, He would not accept it and instead requested that the money be distributed among the poor. Some reporters had published their articles in the newspapers, which the Master appreciated.

At a gathering of the believers in the afternoon, some of the friends had arranged a musical program at which poems written by Mrs [Louise] Waite (who had been given the Persian name Shánaz Khánum by the Master) were sung to piano accompaniment as the Master descended the stairs. The Master walked among the friends in such a manner that everyone was moved, overcame their reserve and shed tears of joy and love. A clergyman came forward and supplicated ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: ‘O Thou Prophet of God, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pray thou for me.’ The Master bestowed His blessings upon him.

The Master spoke to the friends about the bonds of love which unite the hearts.280 At the conclusion of the meeting, He called to Mrs True, saying, ‘Because of your desire and insistence we came to this house but now we must go to a hotel.’

In the evening He exhorted the friends in sweet and expressive words to spread the fragrances of God, to proclaim the Words of their Lord and to show kindness to His friends. Afterwards, some were privileged to have private interviews with Him. After dinner He told us to pack our things to move to the hotel. In the automobile, He seemed to be depressed. He said:

“I am bearing the discomforts of this journey with stop-overs so that the Cause of God may be protected from any breach. For I am still not sure about what is going to happen after me. If I could be sure, then I would sit comfortably in some corner, I would not leave the Holy Land and travel far away from the Most Holy Tomb. Once, after the martyrdom of the Báb, the Cause of God was dealt a hard blow through Yahyá. Again, after the ascension of the Blessed Beauty, it received another blow. And I fear that self-seeking persons may again disrupt the love and unity of the friends. If the time were right and the House of Justice were established, the House of Justice would protect the friends.”

He then spoke about how disunity began in the Islamic cycle, saying, ‘Because of certain people who sought to fulfill their personal desires and who yet counted themselves among the supporters of the religion, the foundation of Islam was completely uprooted.’ He continued in this vein until the automobile arrived at the hotel.

Talk at Home of Mrs. Corinne True, 5338 Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 4

The source of perfect unity and love in the world of existence is the bond and oneness of reality. When the divine and fundamental reality enters human hearts and lives, it conserves and protects all states and conditions of mankind, establishing that intrinsic oneness of the world of humanity which can only come into being through the efficacy of the Holy Spirit. For the Holy Spirit is like unto the life in the human body, which blends all differences of parts and members in unity and agreement. Consider how numerous are these parts and members, but the oneness of the animating spirit of life unites them all in perfect combination. It establishes such a unity in the bodily organism that if any part is subjected to injury or becomes diseased, all the other parts and functions sympathetically respond and suffer, owing to the perfect oneness existing. Just as the human spirit of life is the cause of coordination among the various parts of the human organism, the Holy Spirit is the controlling cause of the unity and coordination of mankind. That is to say, the bond or oneness of humanity cannot be effectively established save through the power of the Holy Spirit, for the world of humanity is a composite body, and the Holy Spirit is the animating principle of its life.

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

Returning to Chicago from Kenosha

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 16, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “September 16, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 16 Sept. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/09/16/september-16-1912-the-week-ahead/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 146.
  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#section176
  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, 321. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/23#622154911

239 Days in America, Day 158: September 15, 1912 | Kenosha

Documenting a “Luminous Journey” 1

FOR THE PAST FIVE years, Anne Perry and her husband Tim have been working on a feature-length documentary film chronicling ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s 1912 journey through the United States and Canada. I recently had the chance to interview Anne about the film.

Buffalo, Chicago, Kenosha 2

On Sunday, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and his entourage prepared to leave for Kenosha, Wisconsin. They had to transfer trains en route, and somehow missed the second train. The friends were sorry, but ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, “‘There is wisdom in it.’” They left by the next train, and on the way came upon the wreckage of the train they had missed; it had collided with another train. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, “’The protection of the Blessed Beauty was with us,’” and then narrated the episode of leaving Alexandria for America, saying, “‘Some of the people proposed that we leave London by the S. S. Titanic, which was wrecked on the same voyage. The Blessed Beauty guided us to come direct.’”

In Kenosha ‘Abdu’l-Bahá talked with the friends first and then addressed the Congregational church.

Sunday, September 15, 1912 3

In the morning ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke to Dr [William Frederick] Nutt about Kheiralla in such majestic and forcible tones that both the hearer and the translator trembled with fear. Finally, He said:

He wants me to send for him. As a visitor to this country, the great and lowly of this land come to see me. If his intention be good, he also should come with utmost sincerity.”

The Blessed Being was very tired after His talk.

The Master had an appointment in Kenosha and was preparing to go there. He was accompanied by Dr Nutt, a Japanese believer and these companions. On the way we had to change trains. Although we hurried, we missed the second train. The friends were saddened but ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, ‘Oh, it matters not. There is a wisdom in this.’ We left by the next train and found that the train we had missed was wrecked and some of the passengers injured. It was clear that it had collided with another train. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, ‘This, too, was the protection of the Blessed Beauty.’ He then narrated the episode of His leaving Alexandria for America:

“Some proposed that we leave via London by the S. S. Titanic, which sank on the same voyage. The Blessed Beauty guided us to come direct.”

The friends were waiting with their automobiles at the railway station to take the Beloved to the hall of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. The Master went onto the stage of the auditorium and sat on a chair. It was a divine and joyous festival, the people like heavenly angels of the utmost spirituality, prayerfulness and gratitude. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke briefly but effectively about the victorious power and penetrating influence of the Cause of the Blessed Beauty. He then went to a long table that extended the length of the hall which was covered with a variety of multicolored flowers.

As lunch was being served, the young friends, having received ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s permission, sang songs of praise to Him, accompanied by a piano. The Master then gave an account of the persecutions and hardships of Bahá’u’lláh, the time spent in the Most Great Prison, the Turkish revolution and the changes that took place after the establishment of a constitutional form of government in Turkey. ‘God removed all obstacles’, He said, ‘and provided all the necessities, thus enabling ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to reach this place and have the pleasure of seeing you.’

The friends then brought their children to Him to be blessed. He took the children onto His lap one by one and gave them flowers, fruits and sweets. Mr Jackson said:

“Every time we have held a public entertainment for the friends we have left two seats vacant at each end of the table, one in the name of Bahá’u’lláh and the other in that of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. We constantly longed to witness a day such as this. We have now attained our highest hopes and our eyes have seen the light of the Master.”

Another person said, ‘When the clergymen were informed of your arrival, they announced in the churches that this evening the prophet of the East will speak at the Kenosha Congregational Church.’

After lunch ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left the hall of the ‘Mashriqu’l-Adhkár’ and went to Mrs Henry Goodale’s home, where the friends were overjoyed and uplifted to hear Him speak. He said to them, in part:

“The Cause of God has always appeared from the East but it has been more effective in the West. Once Badrí Páshá said in an address, ‘Gentlemen, Westerners have taken everything from us: the sciences, the arts and the laws they took from the East. Now we fear that they may wrest from us the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh, as well.’ Those were his words. But Bahá’u’lláh is neither of the East nor of the West, neither of the South nor of the North. He is holy above all these directions. He is heavenly and godly.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s address in the evening at the Congregational Church was on the unity of the Manifestations of God, that they are one in essence and that the differences among their followers is due to obsolete imitations. His explanation of the divine teachings gave new life and insights to the audience. After His talk, everyone came to Him to pay Him their respects.

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. …

These are a few of the principles proclaimed by Bahá’u’lláh. He has provided the remedy for the ailments which now afflict the human world, solved the difficult problems of individual, social, national and universal welfare and laid the foundation of divine reality upon which material and spiritual civilization are to be founded throughout the centuries before us.

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

Experiencing the majesty and power of the Center of the Covenant

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 15, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “Documenting a ‘Luminous Journey.’” 239 Days in America, 15 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/15/documenting-a-luminous-journey/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 145-146.
  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#section175
  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#613399229

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