239 Days in America, Day 91: July 10, 1912 | New York

Heat Wave Knocks Out the Northeast 1

“The heat in New York is very terrible,” Ahmad Sohrab, one of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s translators, wrote to Agnes Parsons on July 9. “Especially the last three days it has been unbearable, yet the Master is standing firm on his ground.” In spite of the heat, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke to hundreds of people every evening at 8 p.m. in his house at 309 West 78th Street on the Upper West Side. “There is a great change in New York,” Sohrab wrote, “and although it is in the height of summer every night the three large rooms on the second floor are crowded by new people.”

Ahmad Sohrab had lived in the United States since 1901, and had arranged many of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s speaking engagements in America. Agnes Parsons, whom ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had stayed with in Washington, had already invited him to visit her summer home in Dublin, New Hampshire, but he had turned her down. “It will be well if you write him at this time another letter asking him to go to Dublin,” Ahmad told her. “I cannot see him living through this heat. It melts iron.”

New York City 2

Mrs. Getsinger was not the only one to receive Abdu’l-Bahá’s personal guidance and deepening. Every friend who came had precious moments with Him, for His words and deeds were matched exactly to each one’s needs. Juliet Thompson, who wished very much to have prayer beads used by Him, brought Him hers to use for a time. Later she found Him sitting with a lapful of beads brought by the friends. Hers He had given to someone else. Thus she learned another lesson.

Diary of Juliet Thompson, 12 June 1912 3

On the tenth of July, I went to the Master in the early morning with something in my heart to say, but already there were people with Him and I saw no chance of talking privately.

“Come, Juliet, sit by Me,” He called as I entered the room. “Now, speak.”

How could I, before those people? I hesitated.

“All your hopes and desires are destined to be fulfilled,” He said, “in the Kingdom of God.”

This was my cue.

“I came to tell You, my Lord, that now I have only one desire, to offer my heart for Your service.”

“This you will also do, but all your desires will be fulfilled.”

He kept me to lunch that day. While we were waiting in the English basement for the lunch to be announced, Valíyu’lláh Khán and I alone with the Master, He spoke again of my “truthfulness”.

“Oh,” I prayed, “may I some day have all the virtues so that in every way I can make you happy.”

“But he who possesses truthfulness possesses all the virtues,” said the Master. Then He went on to tell us a story. “There was once a disciple of Muhammad who asked of another disciple, ‘What shall I do to please God?’ And the other disciple replied: ‘Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not covet,’ etc., etc., etc. A great many ‘do nots’.” the Master laughed. “He asked still another, ‘What shall I do to become nearer to God?’ And this one said: ‘You must supplicate and pray. You must be generous. You must be courageous,’ etc., etc., etc. Then the disciple went to ‘Alí. ‘What do you say I should do in order to please God and to become nearer to Him?’ ‘One thing only: be truthful.’

“For,” continued the Master, “if you are truthful, you cannot commit murder. You would have to confess it! Neither can you steal. You would have to confess it. So, if one is truthful, he possesses all the virtues.

“I may tell you this,” He said to me, and He told me a thing so wonderful that, even to keep and cherish His words and read them over in the time to come, I cannot repeat it here.

“My Lord,” I said, “if ever I have told You an untruth it was because I deceived myself.”

“There are degrees of truth,” He answered, “but that word of yours which has so pleased Me was absolute, perfect, extraordinary truth.”

Wednesday, July 10, 1912 4

People from many different backgrounds continuously visited the Master. It seemed He was not silent for a moment. At one time He spoke of the discord among the various branches of Christianity, and at another, the degrees of oneness. He spoke of the despair of the material world and advanced decisive proofs of the necessity for divine power. The next moment He discussed the tribulations and persecutions suffered by the Ancient Beauty and the eventual victory of the Cause of God over all the powers of the world. At yet another moment He spoke of the veils which obscure the people at the time of the appearance of the Manifestation of the Preexistent Beauty. One of the explanations given today concerned the meaning of the Tablets of chrysolite mentioned in the Hidden Words, about which one of the friends had asked. The Master replied:

“What is meant is one of the holy Tablets. But it also alludes to the fact that the divine Tablets should be engraved on precious stones. In addition, there is a saying in the East by which the color white symbolizes divine will; red, divine decree and martyrdom; green, predestination; and yellow, execution of the decree.”

The day was cloudy and rainy. The weather in New York is like the rainy season in India. The evening was cooler, and when the rain stopped, a large number of friends and seekers came to visit the Master. He spoke to them about the outpouring of the showers of mercy and divine bounty and the fact that the bounties of the All-Bounteous God will never cease.

Today Mr and Mrs Clark said they wished to visit the Master and to obtain permission to go to Tabríz in Persia. The Master asked Valíyu’lláh Khán-i-Varqá to write and ask them to wait a little while. But as they came so eagerly and quickly to New York to secure permission, saying that they had been invited by the people of Tabríz, He permitted them to leave for Persia.

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

The divine sovereignty is an ancient sovereignty, not an accidental sovereignty.

If we imagine this world of existence has a beginning, we can say the divine sovereignty is accidental—that is, there was a time when it did not exist. A king without a kingdom is impossible. He cannot be without a country, without subjects, without an army, without dominion, or he would be without kingship. All these exigencies or requirements of sovereignty must exist for a king. When they do exist, we can apply the word sovereignty to him. Otherwise, his sovereignty is imperfect, incomplete. If none of these conditions exists, sovereignty does not exist.

If we acknowledge that there is a beginning for this world of creation, we acknowledge that the sovereignty of God is accidental—that is, we admit a time when the reality of Divinity has been without dominion (lit. “defeated”). The names and attributes of Divinity are requirements of this world. The names the Powerful, the Living, the Provider, the Creator require and necessitate the existence of creatures. If there were no creatures, Creator would be meaningless. If there were none to provide for, we could not think of the Provider. If there were no life, the Living would be beyond the power of conception. Therefore, all the names and attributes of God require the existence of objects or creatures upon which they have been bestowed and in which they have become manifest. If there was a time when no creation existed, when there was none to provide for, it would imply a time when there was no existent One, no Trainer, and the attributes and qualities of God would have been meaningless and without significance. Therefore, the requirements of the attributes of God do not admit of cessation or interruption, for the names of God are actually and forever existing and not potential. Because they convey life, they are called Life-giving; because they provide, they are called Bountiful, the Provider; because they create, they are called Creator; because they educate and govern, the name Lord God is applied. That is to say, the divine names emanate from the eternal attributes of Divinity. Therefore, it is proved that the divine names presuppose the existence of objects or beings..

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

“…he who possesses truthfulness possesses all the virtues …”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 10, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Heat Wave Knocks Out the Northeast.” 239 Days in America, 10 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/10/heat-wave-knocks-out-the-northeast/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 109-110.
  3. Thompson, Juliet. The Diary of Juliet Thompson. Edited by Marzieh Gail. 1st ed. 1947. Reprint, Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1983, 332-333. https://archive.org/details/diaryofjuliettho0000thom/page/332/mode/2up
  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=5#section108
  5. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 218-219. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#780932425