239 Days in America, Day 209: November 05, 1912 | Cincinnati

On Election Day, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Praises Cincinnati’s Favorite Son 1

CLEAR SKIES ACROSS THE country east of the Rocky Mountains promised a big turnout at the polls on this Election Day, November 5, 1912.

President Taft arrived in Cincinnati last night at half-past seven, about two hours after ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s train had pulled in from Chicago. But whereas ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had arrived quietly, a throng of ten thousand people turned out at the train station to greet Taft, their city’s favorite son, many of them workers who had missed their suppers in order to catch a glimpse of the President. Taft got into an automobile while a brass marching band played. He was driven north through downtown toward his brother Charles’s house on Pike Street, while green and red fire lit up the sidewalks and an impromptu parade formed around the car. …

‘Abdu’l-Bahá had planned to depart Cincinnati early this morning, but he had so many visitors he couldn’t leave. At the Grand Hotel, on Central Avenue at 4th Street, he talked of the President. “I am most grateful to President Taft for having extended his influence toward the establishment of universal peace,” he said.

The Journey East: Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., Baltimore 2

The next day [November 5] the Cincinnati Inquirer reported that “Dr. Abdul Baha” had spoken. It also reported that Woodrow Wilson had been elected President of the United States.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s departure from Cincinnati was delayed until noon on November 5, because of the crowds that came to see Him.

Tuesday, November 5, 1912 3

Early in the morning ‘Abdu’l-Bahá called His attentive lovers to Him and bestowed kindness on everyone. Several representatives of the press came to see Him and recorded His words about the history of the Cause and the teachings of the Abhá Beauty. Their reports appeared in various newspapers and publications.

Although the Master had planned to leave in the morning, the crowd of seekers and the attraction of the friends caused Him to prolong His stay until noon. Today He spoke about the Universal House of Justice and the International Parliament of man, where representatives from all the parliaments of the world will resolve conflicts between nations, such as that in the Balkans. This organization will cure the chronic diseases of the nations.

He then gave an account of how Constantine embraced Christianity and came under the shelter of Christ. He said, ‘Although he wore a crown as a monarch, yet he had to offer his all to the Son of Mary.’ He spoke at length on such topics until He was tired. Then the friends invited Him for a drive through the public parks.

At noon the Master left for Washington DC. At the time of departure, the friends were happy as they recalled their visit and reunion with Him but wept because of His departure from their midst. These opposites, happiness and sorrow, like heat and cold, were both felt and seen.

A few stations beyond Cincinnati, a doctor sitting near the Master asked permission to speak with Him and inquired about the object of His journey. The Master said to the doctor:

“My aim is to create harmony and concord among the different groups and to eradicate prejudice, hatred and enmity so that the peoples and nations of the world may become brothers and well-wishers of mankind and not engage in wars and massacres, and that catastrophes such as that in the Balkans with their bloodshed and annihilation of families may not occur again. Until such events cease, humanity will find no rest, the tabernacle of universal peace will not be raised and the oneness of the world of man will not be realized. We are all the flock of God, members of the same human race and the creatures of one Creator. God is kind to all and His bounties are equally bestowed upon all.

“Sixty years ago Bahá’u’lláh instituted the foundations of such teachings in Persia. He advocated the establishment of universal peace and the oneness of humanity. The Sháh of Persia and the Sultán of Turkey threw us into prison. They killed twenty thousand of us hoping that this Cause would be annihilated and that these teachings of Bahá’u’lláh would be forgotten. But in spite of these obstacles the religion of Bahá’u’lláh progressed day by day. Then there was a revolution and the constitution was established and I was set free. Leaving the prison of ‘Akká, I traveled to countries in Africa, Europe and America, called people to these blessed teachings and invited nations and religions to the oneness of the foundation of all religions and the abandonment of prejudices, wars, dogmatic imitations and superstitions.”

The doctor was delighted and very impressed by the Master’s words and thanked Him sincerely. The Master replied:

“I, too, am very pleased to make your acquaintance. I, a Persian, am delighted to meet an eminent Westerner like you in utmost harmony and fellowship. This meeting of ours is an example of the joining of the East and the West.”

In the afternoon Washington was again blessed by the arrival of the Master. The friends eagerly hastened to meet Him and accompanied Him to a house rented especially for Him. In the evening great numbers of friends gathered around Him like moths around a brilliant candle. The Master spoke about His journey to California, the influence of the Word of God and the devotion of the friends to the Abhá Beauty.

5 November 1912, Talk at Grand Hotel, Cincinnati, Ohio 4

I am most grateful to President Taft for having extended his influence toward the establishment of universal peace. What he has accomplished in making treaties with various nations is very good, but when we have the interparliamentary body composed of delegates from all the nations of the world and devoted to the maintenance of agreement and goodwill, the utopian dream of sages and poets, the parliament of man, will be realized.

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

Various newspapers publish articles about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the teachings of the Faith

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 5, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “On Election Day, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Praises Cincinnati’s Favorite Son.” 239 Days in America, 5 Nov. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/11/05/on-election-day-abdul-baha-praises-cincinnatis-favorite-son/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 179.
  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=9#section227
  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, 389. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/29#710683858

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 97: July 16, 1912 | New York

Join the Conversation! 1

IT’S BEEN ALMOST ONE hundred days since we began to explore ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s journey across America. On April 11, 1912 he arrived in New York, and began to engage Americans in conversation about the issues that confronted the nation, including race, religion, gender, social justice, international peace, and America’s future. We have been telling the story here at 239 Days In America in real time, time-shifted 100 years later.

One thing we’ve learned over the past three months is that 1912 wasn’t all that different from 2012. A fiercely contested election challenged Americans to decide what kind of country they wanted to live in. Minorities and women fought for civil rights. Workers faced off against corporations. American soldiers landed on foreign shores, sparking debate about the nation’s role in the world.

To those of you who have accompanied us on the journey so far, thank you. And if you’re just joining us, welcome!

New York City 2

By Tuesday, July 16, Mahmúd observed, “His extended stay in New York had brought wonderful results among the friends.”

Each individual’s experience with him was a thread weaving in and out of the experiences each of the others was having. It was this balance, this whole, that gave the completeness of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s example. He possessed an unparalleled ability for weaving together in a fabric of love and harmony the inner private development of the mass of individuals who surged to see Him, for making them part of the new World Order. He taught them so that the new community of believers would grow and develop and become self-perpetuating after His departure.

Tuesday, July 16, 2022

‘Abdu’l-Bahá returned to New York to find a large group gathered at His home, waiting for Him. At the meeting the Master shone as a lamp and burnt away the veils of superstition. One eminent woman, a doctor, asked him: ‘What is the cause of all these calamities and troubles in the world of creation?’ He replied:

“Calamities are of two kinds. One kind results from bad morals and misconduct such as falsehood, dishonesty, treachery, cruelty and the like. Surely, misdeeds bring forth evil consequences. The other kind is the result of the exigencies of the contingent world, of consummate divine law, and of universal relationships, and is that which is bound to happen, as, for instance, changes, alterations, life and death. It is impossible that a tree should not wither or that life should not end in death.”

Answering questions from the audience, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explained that God is holy beyond comprehension, appearance, ascent and descent, ingress and egress, thereby correcting the erroneous notions of some philosophers and ascetics. The Master’s explanations were long and very convincing.

A wonderful meeting was held in the evening. Two very dear friends, Mr Harlan Ober and Miss Grace Robarts were married. Besides the many friends, many others were present, including a very devoted Christian minister [Howard Colby Ives]. The Master had instructed that the wedding be performed according to the law of Christianity and it was performed by the minister. After the ceremony, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá rose and chanted a prayer, blessing the marriage of the two devoted believers. Congratulations were given and everyone praised the ceremony. 3

Talk at All Souls Unitarian Church, Fourth Avenue and Twentieth Street, New York, 14 July 1912 4

Consider how discord and dissension have prevailed in this great human family for thousands of years. Its members have ever been engaged in war and bloodshed. Up to the present time in history the world of humanity has neither attained nor enjoyed any measure of peace, owing to incessant conditions of hostility and strife. History is a continuous and consecutive record of warfare brought about by religious, sectarian, racial, patriotic and political causes. The world of humanity has found no rest. Mankind has always been in conflict, engaged in destroying the foundations, pillaging the properties and possessing the lands and territory of each other, especially in the earlier periods of savagery and barbarism where whole races and peoples were carried away captive by their conquerors. Who shall measure or estimate the tremendous destruction of human life resulting from this hostility and strife? What human powers and forces have been employed in the prosecution of war and applied to inhuman purposes of battle and bloodshed? In this most radiant century it has become necessary to divert these energies and utilize them in other directions, to seek the new path of fellowship and unity, to unlearn the science of war and devote supreme human forces to the blessed arts of peace. After long trial and experience we are convinced of the harmful and satanic outcomes of dissension; now we must seek after means by which the benefits of agreement and concord may be enjoyed. When such means are found, we must give them a trial.

Consider the harmful effect of discord and dissension in a family; then reflect upon the favors and blessings which descend upon that family when unity exists among its various members. What incalculable benefits and blessings would descend upon the great human family if unity and brotherhood were established! In this century when the beneficent results of unity and the ill effects of discord are so clearly apparent, the means for the attainment and accomplishment of human fellowship have appeared in the world. Bahá’u’lláh has proclaimed and provided the way by which hostility and dissension may be removed from the human world. He has left no ground or possibility for strife and disagreement.

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

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s care and compassion

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 16, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Join the Conversation!” 239 Days in America, 16 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/16/join-the-conversation/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 110.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=5#section114
  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, 229-230.https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#315324576

239 Days in America, Day 86: July 05, 1912 | New York

The Lesson of the Titanic 1

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, who had been offered tickets on the Titanic, had spoken about the tragedy in Washington just as the Senate hearings began. “Although such an event is indeed regrettable,” he said, “we must realize that everything which happens is due to some wisdom.” He was consoled, he noted, “by the realization that the worlds of God are infinite . . .”

Like Senator [Isidor] Rayner, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá perceived a deeper meaning in the Titanic disaster. “We are living in a day of reliance upon material conditions,” he stated. “Men imagine that the great size and strength of a ship, the perfection of machinery or the skill of a navigator will ensure safety, but these disasters sometimes take place that men may know that God is the real Protector.”

Yet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was also pragmatic. “Let no one imagine that these words imply that man should not be thorough and careful in his undertakings,” he said. “[H]e must provide and surround himself with all that scientific skill can produce. He must be deliberate, thoughtful and thorough in his purposes, build the best ship and provide the most experienced captain; yet, withal, let him rely upon God and consider God as the one Keeper.”

Friday, July 5, 1912 2

Some Tablets were revealed for friends in California, consoling them because of their separation from Him since He was not traveling to that state at the present time. Most of the friends on the West Coast of America had not yet had the honor to see Him. When they learned of His intention, they were saddened and sent telegrams begging Him to visit their state.

Today, at the invitation of Juliet Thompson, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went to a museum near His house. On the first floor there were statues, figures of animals and a collection of relics of early American civilization. On observing these objects, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, ‘From these things it appears that America had a great civilization in ancient times.’

In the evening, He spoke to a large number of friends and seekers at His home about detachment from physical desires and the attainment of everlasting life. Everyone was delighted.

5 July 1912, Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York 3

Consider to what a remarkable extent the spirituality of people has been overcome by materialism so that spiritual susceptibility seems to have vanished, divine civilization become decadent, and guidance and knowledge of God no longer remain. All are submerged in the sea of materialism. Although some attend churches and temples of worship and devotion, it is in accordance with the traditions and imitations of their fathers and not for the investigation of reality. For it is evident they have not found reality and are not engaged in its adoration. They are holding to certain imitations which have descended to them from their fathers and ancestors. They have become accustomed to passing a certain length of time in temple worship and conforming to imitations and ceremonies. The proof of this is that the son of every Jewish father becomes a Jew and not a Christian; the son of every Muslim becomes a follower of Islám; the son of every Christian proves to be a Christian; the son of every Zoroastrian is a Zoroastrian, etc. Therefore, religious faith and belief is merely a remnant of blind imitations which have descended through fathers and ancestors. Because this man’s father was a Jew, he considers himself a Jew. Not that he has investigated reality and proved satisfactorily to himself that Judaism is right—nay, rather, he is aware that his forefathers have followed this course; therefore, he has held to it himself.

The purpose of this is to explain that the darkness of imitations encompasses the world. Every nation is holding to its traditional religious forms. The light of reality is obscured. Were these various nations to investigate reality, there is no doubt they would attain to it. As reality is one, all nations would then become as one nation. So long as they adhere to various imitations and are deprived of reality, strife and warfare will continue and rancor and sedition prevail. If they investigate reality, neither enmity nor rancor will remain, and they will attain to the utmost concord among themselves.

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

Revealing Tablets for believers in California

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 05, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “The Lesson of the Titanic.” 239 Days in America, 5 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/05/the-lesson-of-the-titanic/.
  2. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=5#section103
  3. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 221. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#695281489

239 Days in America, Day 50: May 30, 1912 | New York

A Portrait in Moments 1

Many afternoons ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went for a stroll in Riverside Park on the Hudson River. He explained: “When I sleep on the grass, I obtain relief from exhaustion . . . .” Seeing him at a small gathering in Cleveland, a reporter noted: “There was no churchy pomp in his manner.” He was also known to get up early to bake bread, and held dinner parties for which he acted as both chef and host.

Then there were cars. Agnes Parsons recounts the story of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spotting an electric motor car across a busy street in Washington, and sending Mason Remey over with the directive “find out price.” Similar enthusiasm was directed at trains and trams, though ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had less affection for sea travel: the rollicking waves he experienced on the Cedric made his stomach queasy.

Yet lest this convey the impression of a man of leisure, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá slept no more than four or five hours each night. Howard Colby Ives recalls: “From five o’clock in the morning frequently until long after midnight He was actively engaged in service . . . .” Beyond ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s busy schedule of public talks and private meetings, he was also directing the affairs of an international community. During his 7 a.m. breakfast and 10 p.m. dinner each day he responded to a perpetual stream of letters and cablegrams.

New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts 2

On Thursday, May 30, as Ethel Barrymore announced her intention to play in vaudeville, and the bubonic plague broke out in Hong Kong, Abdu’l-Bahá spoke at the Theosophical Lodge and at the University of New York.

Talk at Theosophical Lodge, Broadway and Seventy-ninth Street, New York 3

I am greatly pleased with these expressions of kindly feeling and evidences of spiritual susceptibility. Tonight I am very happy in the realization that our aims and purposes are the same, our desires and longings are one. This is a reflection and evidence of the oneness of the world of humanity and the intention toward accomplishment of the Most Great Peace. Therefore, we are united in will and purpose. In the world of existence there are no greater questions than these. Oneness of the world of humanity ensures the glorification of man. International peace is the assurance of the welfare of all humankind. There are no greater motives and purposes in the human soul. As we are agreed upon them, the certainty of unity and concord between Bahá’ís and Theosophists is most hopeful. Their purposes are one, their desires one, and spiritual susceptibilities are common to both. Their attention is devoted to the divine Kingdom; they partake alike of its bounty.

Thursday, May 30, 1912 4

After meeting with some of the friends and a few seekers, the Master went to a hall at the University of New York and gave an address on scientific questions and divine philosophy. His talk influenced many prominent people, all of whom were deeply moved and fascinated. Seeing the influence of the Cause in these sorts of large gatherings, the Bahá’ís offered thanks and gratitude for the confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom.

During this time the Master occupied Himself by writing Tablets in response to questions from both the Eastern and the Western friends. Today He gave an account of the lives of Varqá and Rúhu’lláh. He showed His great kindness to the sons of this martyr in the path of God, Mírzá Azíz’u’lláh Khán and Mírzá Valíyu’lláh Khán. The Master then told the friends about some of the precepts of the Cause. During these discourses, He said often:

“I am the interpreter of the Writings of the Blessed Beauty, as explicitly designated by the Supreme Pen. All must obey. All matters pertaining to the Faith must be referred to the authorized interpreter. In the future all must turn to the divine House of Justice.”

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

Mahmud: May 30 – Written communications with friends in East and West

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

May 30, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “A Portrait in Moments.” 239 Days in America, 30 May 2012, https://239days.com/2012/05/30/a-day-in-the-life/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 75.
  3. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 156. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/12#760155138.
  4. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=3#section67.