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
Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America
Curated by Anne Perry
- 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/. ↩
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 179. ↩
- ’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 ↩
- 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 ↩