239 Days in America, Day 89: July 08, 1912 | New York

July 8, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

IT HAS BEEN A sweltering weekend in New York… ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is visiting the Museum of Natural History this afternoon [July 6].

In the week ahead: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visits the Museum, has lots to say about raising children, and speaks on the binding power of religion at All Souls Unitarian Church in Manhattan.

New York City 2

During the sweltering July days ‘Abdu’l-Bahá continued to receive the friends from morning until night, working with the Bahá’ís to deepen them, and to raise them up into a divine army that might spiritually conquer the world. He often prepared meals for them, prayed with them, walked with them in the garden near His house, notified the Eastern friends of the victories, introduced newcomers to the faith, spoke before large audiences—giving of Himself in ways that would drain away ordinary physical energy, and, with the giving, demonstrating the example of never-ending sacrifice. He urged the unity of the friends and deepened them in the history and the Teachings of the Faith, using many hours for explanations, and illustrations. At all times He reflected, like a many-faceted divine diamond, the various attributes which were part of the single light of God, descending on Him through the Blessed Perfection, Bahá’u’lláh.

Monday, July 8, 1912 3

After His prayers, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá called to Him, one by one, the friends, old and new, who had assembled at His house. Each had a particular request or question. They came into His presence and each had a portion of this bounty. Mr Hoar’s family was invited to dine at ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s home. As it was very warm and because of His heavy schedule, the Master did not get any rest until the afternoon when He went for a walk in a park adjacent to His house. He walks in the park, situated on the bank of the river, every day. Mr Moxey described ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s walks in that park in a beautiful poem.

Several friends came to see the Master in the afternoon. The name of Mr Barakat’u’lláh of India was mentioned. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

“This man culls the teachings of the blessed Cause and publishes them in the name of Islam in the illusive hope of building an imaginary castle and of deriving some profit by deceiving the Muslims. But in the long run he will see nothing but manifest loss.”

At the public meeting this evening ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s talk was on the dual nature of man. He said: ‘There are two natures in man. The realization of human virtues and perfections depends on the ascendancy of the spiritual over the animal nature in him.’

Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, 6 July 1912 4

By what means can man acquire these things? How shall he obtain these merciful gifts and powers? First, through the knowledge of God. Second, through the love of God. Third, through faith. Fourth, through philanthropic deeds. Fifth, through self-sacrifice. Sixth, through severance from this world. Seventh, through sanctity and holiness. Unless he acquires these forces and attains to these requirements, he will surely be deprived of the life that is eternal. But if he possesses the knowledge of God, becomes ignited through the fire of the love of God, witnesses the great and mighty signs of the Kingdom, becomes the cause of love among mankind and lives in the utmost state of sanctity and holiness, he shall surely attain to second birth, be baptized by the Holy Spirit and enjoy everlasting existence.

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

‘Abdu’l-Bahá walks every day in the park near His house

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 08, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Beating The Heat.” 239 Days in America, 8 July 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/07/08/beating-the-heat/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 109.
  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#section106
  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, 226. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#680242439

239 Days in America, Day 88: July 07, 1912 | New York

Who Is ‘Abdu’l-Bahá? 1

On June 2, 1912, at the Church of the Ascension in New York, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was asked a question that got to the heart of how he saw himself. A woman asked: “What relation do you sustain to the founder of your belief? Are you his successor in the same manner as the Pope of Rome?”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá was neither a priest, nor an ecclesiastical leader, nor a figure to be worshipped. His father, Bahá’u’lláh, in his Will and Testament, gave ‘Abdu’l-Bahá sole authority to interpret his teachings. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explained what this meant to an audience in America on December 2, 1912: “To ensure unity and agreement [Bahá’u’lláh] has entered into a Covenant with all the people of the world, including the interpreter and explainer of His teachings, so that no one may interpret or explain the religion of God according to his own view or opinion and thus create a sect founded upon his individual understanding . . . .”

Bahá’u’lláh appointed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to ensure that his religion would never splinter into competing sects, as had happened to every other major faith. His name, literally, means “servant of Bahá.”

New York City 2

On Sunday, July 7, the New York Times carried an article headed, “Billion Dollar Subways World’s Biggest Undertaking.”

When one of the inquirers of Greek background asked ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to accompany Him to a park outside the city where his friends were waiting to ask questions, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went with him. In the subway He said, “‘Man’s nature must attain an inclination to ascend and not to descend.’”

Early that week ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went to the Museum of Natural History and saw the enormous model of a whale. He commented, as Juliet Thompson recalled on July 12, “He could hold seventy Jonahs!” 3

Sunday, July 7, 1912 4

Lua Getsinger was again instructed by the Master to leave for California. His words to her were very emphatic and clear; among them was this admonition:

“The Blessed Beauty entered into this Covenant for obedience and not for opposition. I say this merely for the protection of the Cause of God and for the purpose of safeguarding unity among the friends. Were it not for the removal of vain imaginings and the eradication of differences, I should not have asserted that I am ‘the Center of the Covenant’. We must obey the Blessed Beauty. We must never forget His favors and exhortations. If even a breath of egotism is found in us, we shall perish at once. The friends must be alert. Everyone who expresses a word not from the texts sows discord among the believers. The Blessed Beauty entered into this Covenant for obedience; that is, that no one should utter a word from his own self or cause any conflict. If it were not so, everyone would open a way for himself and expound the Words of God in his own manner. One would say, for instance, ‘As I have the power of the Holy Spirit, I have a greater capacity for understanding.’ Others, even these old ladies, would at once retort, ‘We, too, have the power of the Holy Spirit.’

“The power of the Holy Spirit is limited to the Blessed Beauty and the interpretation thereof to none but me. If it is so, then there will be no differences. We must occupy ourselves with thoughts of spreading the Cause. Know that whoever has any thought other than this will become the cause of discord among the friends.”

’ Abdu’l-Bahá sent Lua with Mrs [Georgia] Ralston, a new believer who had been very much welcomed by the Master. He gave Mrs Ralston a beautiful small Persian carpet.

In the evening at a public meeting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke of the animosity shown by a Catholic priest towards the Cause of God. The Master called the friends to His presence and emphatically exhorted them to associate with one another with love and unity.

Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, 6 July 1912 5

Therefore, in this world he must prepare himself for the life beyond. That which he needs in the world of the Kingdom must be obtained here. Just as he prepared himself in the world of the matrix by acquiring forces necessary in this sphere of existence, so, likewise, the indispensable forces of the divine existence must be potentially attained in this world.

What is he in need of in the Kingdom which transcends the life and limitation of this mortal sphere? That world beyond is a world of sanctity and radiance; therefore, it is necessary that in this world he should acquire these divine attributes. In that world there is need of spirituality, faith, assurance, the knowledge and love of God. These he must attain in this world so that after his ascension from the earthly to the heavenly Kingdom he shall find all that is needful in that eternal life ready for him.

That divine world is manifestly a world of lights; therefore, man has need of illumination here. That is a world of love; the love of God is essential. It is a world of perfections; virtues, or perfections, must be acquired. That world is vivified by the breaths of the Holy Spirit; in this world we must seek them. That is the Kingdom of everlasting life; it must be attained during this vanishing existence.

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

“If even a breath of egotism is found in us, we shall perish at once.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 07, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “Who Is ‘Abdu’l-Bahá?” 239 Days in America, 7 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/07/who-is-abdul-baha/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 108-109.
  3. Thompson, Juliet. The Diary of Juliet Thompson. Edited by Marzieh Gail. 1st ed. 1947. Reprint, Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1983, 329, https://archive.org/details/diaryofjuliettho0000thom/page/328/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#section105.
  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, 226. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#653095072