239 Days in America, Day 129: August 17, 1912 | Green Acre

The Methods for Investigating Truth 1

TODAY, GREEN ACRE COMPRISES twenty-three acres of grassland and mixed pine and deciduous forest. But in 1912 the land west of the Inn was bare: a treeless view stretched as far as the curve of the river, affording the visitors a panoramic view of the reflecting sunset.

Half an hour after arriving at Green Acre yesterday afternoon, and checking into a corner room on the third floor of the Inn, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá delivered a short address to over eight hundred people. They overflowed the flower-laden “Eirenion,” a lecture hall that Sarah Farmer, Green Acre’s founder, had built and named with a Greek word meaning “The Hall of Peace.” Then ‘Abdu’l-Bahá set off for Portsmouth to visit Miss Farmer, who had been confined in a private sanatorium against her will for the past two years.

In the evening, as the sun settled over the wide western horizon, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stood again in the Eirenion and gave one of the longest speeches he would deliver during his time in America. Its subject: the methods available to the human mind for investigating reality.

Green Acre 2

Again, day and night, He was occupied in virtually endless discussions with individuals who sought His presence and in speaking with larger groups on topics as diverse as the interests of the people present., Mahmúd noted, on August 17:

“many of the fortune-tellers, spiritualists and ascetics, came there [to Green Acre] every year to spread their superstitious views. The address of the Beauty of the Covenant [‘Abdu’l-Bahá] demolished and destroyed their cobwebs of superstitions. They were checked to such a degree that some of these imposters who in previous years delivered lectures contrary to the Cause of God, now came to His Holy Presence, bowed before Him and expressed repentance.”

That evening ‘Abdu’l-Bahá offered candy to some persons who refrained from eating certain kinds of foods. “‘Food has nothing to do with faith,’” He told them. “‘You should eat things which give you strength and enable you to acquire spirituality.’”

Talk at Green Acre, Eliot, Maine 3

Nay, rather, the virtue of man is this: that he can investigate the ideals of the Kingdom and attain knowledge which is denied the animal in its limitation. The station of man is this: that he has the power to attain those ideals and thereby differentiate and consciously distinguish himself an infinite degree above the kingdoms of existence below him.

The station of man is great, very great. God has created man after His own image and likeness. He has endowed him with a mighty power which is capable of discovering the mysteries of phenomena. Through its use man is able to arrive at ideal conclusions instead of being restricted to the mere plane of sense impressions. As he possesses sense endowment in common with the animals, it is evident that he is distinguished above them by his conscious power of penetrating abstract realities. He acquires divine wisdom; he searches out the mysteries of creation; he witnesses the radiance of omnipotence; he attains the second birth—that is to say, he is born out of the material world just as he is born of the mother; he attains to everlasting life; he draws nearer to God; his heart is replete with the love of God. This is the foundation of the world of humanity; this is the image and likeness of God; this is the reality of man; otherwise, he is an animal. Verily, God has created the animal in the image and likeness of man, for though man outwardly is human, yet in nature he possesses animal tendencies.

You must endeavor to understand the mysteries of God, attain the ideal knowledge and arrive at the station of vision, acquiring directly from the Sun of Reality and receiving a destined portion from the ancient bestowal of God.

Monday, August 17, 1912 4

The beloved Master’s health was better and He was happy. He spoke of the pleasant climate of Green Acre and visited with friends and seekers until He left for a walk. On the way to Mr [Charles Mason] Remey’s house the Master was accompanied by a group to whom He spoke about many spiritual truths. When He arrived, Mr Remey offered Him a cup of water, saying that he had longed for many years to invite the Master and that he thanked God for being given the honor to offer Him a cup of water. The Master said:

“Your home is simple and furnished plainly. People are captivated by the superfluities of the present generation. It is impossible for a man to furnish his house in utmost perfection. The more he tries the more he finds it lacking because every day new products are manufactured. People have filled their lives with difficulties.”

Later the Master went to the home of Mrs [Carrie] Kinney. There He spoke about material progress and the philosophers’ lack of feeling for the spiritual kingdom, saying that ‘This is befitting of animals. Truth must be sought and laid bare. No one should endeavor to force upon people what he conceives. The brilliant reality, which is the spirit of the world today, is one. It can never be multiple.’ He uttered such statements on numerous occasions and in various ways. Because Green Acre is known as a center for religious freedom and advanced liberal views, many fortune-tellers, spiritualists and ascetics come here every year to spread their superstitious views. The discourse of the Center of the Covenant completely swept away the cobwebs of their superstitions. They were checked to such a degree that some of the impostors, who in previous years had delivered lectures contrary to the Cause of God, now came to see Him, bowing before Him and repenting. Some of them begged Him to heal them, saying, ‘You have healed many.’ The Master replied:

“We pray but God bestows healing. We do not make claims for ourselves. We are only the expounders of the Word. We are all promulgating the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. I am ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Bahá’u’lláh is the Dawning Place of Holiness. Address your needs to Him. I am only the expounder and promulgator of the Word. Bahá’u’lláh is the Source, the One Who has illumined this dark world, made corporeal into spiritual, quickened the dormant minds, changed the earthly souls into heavenly ones and given life to the dead and sight to the blind.”

That night He delivered an address on the unity of mankind in the east hall of the Eirenian. On His return to the Inn He spoke with the audience in jests which nevertheless touched on many important subjects. He offered sweets to some visitors who, following the superstitious ideas of the ascetics, did not eat certain foods. He dispelled their beliefs by saying, ‘Food has nothing to do with faith. Rather, you should eat things to gain strength and you should acquire spirituality.’

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

‘Abdu’l-Bahá encourages simplicity in furnishing one’s home

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

August 17 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert, and Jonathan Menon. “The Methods for Investigating Truth.” 239 Days in America, 17 Aug. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/08/17/the-methods-of-investigating-reality/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 125-126.
  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, 262-263. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/19#680440450
  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=6#section146

239 Days in America, Day 117: August 05, 1912 | Dublin

August 5, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

THE QUIET LITTLE TOWN of Dublin, New Hampshire, it turns out, is a crossroads of some of the most controversial discussions in American life. Over the last ten days we’ve looked at Eugenics, the artistic representation of indigenous peoples, and interracial marriage.

In the week ahead, the new Progressive Party convenes for its national convention in Chicago, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá weighs in on materialist philosophy, and a look at “the language of religion.”

New Hampshire 2

On the afternoon of August 5 among the people that crowded to be with Him in Dublin were two ladies who were hard of hearing, They asked the translator if they could sit near ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in order to hear Him with their ear trumpets. Abdu’l-Bahá replied, “‘Yes, the nearer they come, the better they will hear the Words of God… It matters little in what way or be what means they hear it.’”

Talk at Dublin Inn, Dublin, New Hampshire 3

But we ask for things which the divine wisdom does not desire for us, and there is no answer to our prayer. His wisdom does not sanction what we wish. We pray, “O God! Make me wealthy!” If this prayer were universally answered, human affairs would be at a standstill. There would be none left to work in the streets, none to till the soil, none to build, none to run the trains. Therefore, it is evident that it would not be well for us if all prayers were answered. The affairs of the world would be interfered with, energies crippled and progress hindered. But whatever we ask for which is in accord with divine wisdom, God will answer. Assuredly!

Monday, August 5, 1912

Standing on the lawn and facing the green and verdant hills and valleys, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

“How calm it is. No disturbing sound is heard. When a man observes the wafting of the breeze among these trees, he hears the rustling of the leaves and sees the swaying of the trees, it is as though all are praising and acknowledging the one true God.”

Before the afternoon meeting a devoted lady told the Master that one of her friends, when informed that she was planning to attend the meeting, strongly advised her not to go lest she fall into a trap. He said to her:

“It has always been the practice of the heedless to hold back the sincere ones from the Cause of God. As for a trap, praise be to God that we have been trapped happily for sixty years and we have no desire to escape. It is a trap that frees people from the shackles of prejudice and superstitions and delivers them from the prison of self and desire. It makes them the captives of the love of God and of service to the Cause of the oneness of humanity.”

After delivering the message of God and explaining the divine teachings, the Master spoke humorously about the philosophers.

“They say that had there been a spiritual world they would have sensed it. But, as a matter of fact, inability to sense a thing is not a proof of the nonexistence of that thing. If inability to sense constitutes proof of perfection, the cow must be the greatest philosopher, for she does not realize anything beyond the animal world.”

This amusing statement that the cow is the greatest of all philosophers caused everyone to laugh. After the meeting, some men and women invited Him to go for a ride in their automobile. While driving, a herd of cows passed in front of the automobile and, becoming frightened, began to run about every which way. The ladies in the car cried out, ‘Oh Master, see the crowd of philosophers. How frightened they are running away from us.’ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá laughed so heartily that He tired Himself. As the Americans like such jests, it became an oft- repeated remark. 4

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

Green and verdant surroundings inspire praises for God

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

August 5, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “August 5, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 5 Aug. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/08/05/august-5-1912-the-week-ahead/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 121.
  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, 247. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/18#294361180
  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=6#section134

239 Days in America, Day 51: May 31, 1912 | New York

The Presidential Election Gathers Steam 1

“The 1912 presidential election was a unique moment in the Progressive Era,” writes scholar Brett Flehinger, “because it drew together politicians, social reformers, intellectuals, and economists onto a single stage and produced a many-sided national debate about the future of America’s economic, political, and social structure.” This is the first in a recurring series of features on the political environment of the country in which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke.

New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts 2

On Friday [May 31] the papers announced a waiters’ strike and the death of Wilbur Wright of typhoid fever and stated that future physicians would be hypnotists and psychologists. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went to Fanwood, New Jersey, where He visited Hoar’s Sanitorium, conducted a morning public meeting, and presented an afternoon address in the Town Hall. The friends entreated Him to stay in the refreshing country air for a few days; but He replied, “‘We have no time for amusement. We must engage ourselves in the service of the Threshold of God.’”.

Talk at Town Hall, Fanwood, New Jersey 3

Is it impossible for us to receive the infinite bounties of God? Is it impossible to attain the virtues of the spiritual world because we are not living in the time of Moses, the period of the prophets or the era of Christ? Those were spiritual cycles. Can we not develop spiritually because we are far from them and are living in a materialistic age? The God of Moses and Jesus is able to bestow the same favors, nay, greater favors upon His people in this day. For example, in past ages He bestowed reason, intelligence and understanding upon His servants. Can we say He is not able to confer His bounties in this century? Would it be just if He sent Moses for the guidance of past nations and entirely neglected those living now? Could it be possible that this present period has been deprived of divine bounties while past ages of tyranny and barbarism received an inexhaustible portion of them? The same merciful God Who bestowed His favors in the past has opened the doors of His Kingdom to us. The rays of His sun are shining; the breath of the Holy Spirit is quickening. That omniscient God still assists and confirms us, illumines our hearts, gladdens our souls and perfumes our nostrils with the fragrances of holiness. Divine wisdom and providence have encircled all and spread the heavenly table before us. We must take a bountiful share of this generous favor.

Friday, May 31, 1912 4

At the request of Mr [William H.] Hoar, the Master visited a sanatorium, visiting with the friends and holding two meetings, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. In both meetings He proclaimed the Word of God and spoke of the teachings of the Blessed Beauty. Many were attracted to the Divine Voice. As the village of Fanwood is a summer resort and its fields and countryside very green and refreshing, it was very much enjoyed by the Master. But when they pleaded with Him to prolong His stay for a few days, because of the excessive heat and soot in New York, He said: ‘We have no time for amusement and fresh air. We must engage ourselves in service to the Threshold of Oneness.’ The services and devotion of Mr Hoar and his family were much appreciated by the Master and were spoken of frequently at the Holy Threshold.

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

Mahmud: May 31 – “We have no time for amusement …”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

May 31, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “The Presidential Election Gathers Steam.” 239 Days in America, 31 May 2012, https://239days.com/2012/05/31/the-presidential-election-of-1912/.
  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, 162. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/12#328662947.
  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#section68.