November 18, 1912: The Week Ahead 1
THIS AFTERNOON ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ takes up J. Pierpont Morgan on an invitation to visit his vast library on the corner of Madison Avenue and 36th Street. Morgan, the tycoon owner of railroads, steelworks, and telegraph companies, runs much of modern civilization in America.
In the week ahead, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá attends a farewell dinner at the Great Northern Hotel, which, it turns out, will refuse to let any African Americans through the door; he expresses two very different opinions of America’s two richest men; and, as the decade moves on, the Great War cuts ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s home in Palestine off from the rest of the world while increasing prejudice engulfs African Americans at home.
Final Days in America: New York City 2
On November 19 the New York Times, in an article entitled “PROPHET BLESSES MORGAN,” reported:
“J. Pierpont Morgan was written down yesterday as one who had done “considerable philanthropy” when his library in East Thirty-sixth Street was visited by Abdul Baha, the Persian prophet. After the patriarch had wandered through the treasure rooms, he paused before the album long enough to write a blessing on the financier and thereto append his autograph. Beneath the Persian script his companion, Dr. Ameen Fareed, wrote this translation:
‘O, Thou Generous Lord, verily this famous personage has done considerable philanthropy, render him great and dear in Thy Kingdom, make him happy and joyous in both worlds, and confirm him in serving the Oneness, the world of humanity, and submerge him in the sea of Thy Favors.
ABDUL BAHA ABBAS’”
Monday, November 18, 1912 3
In the morning the Master was occupied revealing Tablets in answer to letters from the believers. He permitted some friends and newcomers to interview Him in His own room. When the visitors grew too numerous, He appeared in the gathering and showered love and kindness upon all.
Whenever the Master became tired, He would go alone to the nearby gardens along the bank of the river to rest. He said, ‘When I am alone, I do not talk, my mind is not busy and I can rest a little. But when I am not alone I must speak; I perspire and feel exhausted.’
These were the final days of His stay in America and there was a great rush of visitors. There was not one moment when people were not present.
In the afternoon, while talking to a group of the friends, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá suddenly said: ‘We wish to build a House of Worship on that side of the water.’ Later He said: ‘This city shall become good when the call of “Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá” shall reach the highest heaven from it. If the believers arise as they should erelong the word of God will envelop all these regions.’ He also added, ‘As the United States of America is far and free from the arena of the prevailing political turmoil, this government and country can prevent war between the nations and bring about peace and harmony among them.’
The Master was invited by the poet Mr Moxey and Mrs Moxey for supper. The hosts were among the devoted friends of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and they were eloquent in their praise of Him. During the Master’s previous visit to New York Mr Moxey had written a book of poetry, describing the demeanor, majesty and power of the Master. Mrs Moxey, who was a famous musician, opened the gathering by playing the piano and singing a melodious song of praise in His honor. The Master began His address with these words:
“I praise God that I am with you. Such an assembly would be utterly impossible to hold through worldly power and outward means because you are Westerners and we are Easterners. There was nothing to connect us. We had neither patriotic, racial, commercial nor political connections with you. But Bahá’u’lláh removed all these estrangements and prejudices and invited all to divine love. He joined all under the shade of the blessed Word. Hence, we are united and assembled here in such love. This love is the greatest of all means, as all other means and ties are limited; but harmony that comes about through the love of God is infinite and everlasting.”
These impressive words transformed the hearts. After the meeting several of the friends and His companions were honored to have supper with Him. Everyone was grateful and showed great devotion in that home.
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank K. Moxey, 575 Riverside Drive, New York 4
The teachings and ordinances of the divine religions are of two kinds. The first are spiritual and essential in nature—such as faith in God, faith in Christ, faith in Moses, faith in Abraham, faith in Muḥammad, the love of God and the oneness of the world of humanity. These divine principles shall be spread throughout the world. Strife and enmity shall disappear, ignorance, hatred and hostility cease and all the human race be bound together. The second kind of ordinances and teachings concern the outer conditions and transactions of the world of mankind. They are the nonessential, accidental or temporary laws of human affairs which are subject to change and transformation according to the exigencies of time and place. For instance, during the time of Moses divorce was permitted, but in the time of Christ it was made unlawful. In the Torah there are ten commandments concerning retribution for murder, which would not be possible to enforce at the present time and under existing conditions of the world. Therefore, these nonessential, temporary laws are superseded and abrogated to suit the exigencies and requirements of successive periods.
’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to Its Spiritual Destiny
Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America
Curated by Anne Perry
- Menon, Jonathan. “November 18, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 18 Nov. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/11/18/november-18-1912-the-week-ahead/. ↩
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 186-187. ↩
- ’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=9#section240 ↩
- 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, 445. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/32#583494526 ↩