239 Days in America, Day 103: July 22, 1912 | New York

July 22, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

TODAY IS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ’S LAST DAY IN NEW YORK. Tomorrow morning he will leave for Boston and then he will spend three weeks in the lush countryside of Dublin, New Hampshire. He delayed his trip until tomorrow so that he could meet Prince Muhammad-‘Alí Páshá, the brother of Egypt’s ruler, who came to visit him today. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá won’t be back in New York until November.

In the week ahead, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visits Boston, and on Thursday the quirky inhabitants of Dublin, New Hampshire, awaken to find ‘Abdu’l-Bahá among them.

New York City 2

As He was preparing to depart for Boston and New Hampshire on July 22, the brother of the Khedive of Egypt, Prince Muhammad-‘Álí Páshá, arrived in the city. Abdu’l-Bahá visited him twice, and he returned the visits. The Prince later published in Egypt an account of his travels which referred to his meeting with Abdu’l-Bahá. He described Abdu’l-Bahá’s “vast sagacity and infinite intelligence” and “His vast experience and wide knowledge” and concluded by saying, “He made me happy by His delightful talks.”

Monday, July 22, 1912 3

At the morning gathering of the friends one asked about the longevity of life in ancient times. The Master replied:

“Some think that is a third motion of the earth which is the cause of the length or shortness of life. This motion, they say, is different from the diurnal and annual motions and is the cause of change in the condition of the globe. But the long lives mentioned in certain books and narratives have a different basis. For instance, it was a custom in former times to mention a dynasty or family by the name of one person only. However, the people in the following ages thought that the length of time that a family survived was the length of the life of that family’s founder.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá had planned to leave for Boston and Dublin today but because of the arrival of the brother of the Khedive of Egypt, the great Amír, Prince Muhammad-‘Alí Páshá, the Master’s departure was delayed. The Master paid him a visit which was returned by the prince. On each visit this eminent, enlightened man received the utmost love and showed great interest. When the prince returned to Egypt he published an account of his journey, describing his visit with the Master, which is available everywhere in Egypt and elsewhere. On page 414 of his account he describes his visit with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

“Monday morning, July 22. I was informed that His excellency, the venerable oriental sage, ‘Abbás Effendi, the head of the Bahá’í Movement, wished to see me. I therefore set 3:00 p.m. today for a conversation with him. ‘Abbás Effendi arrived at the appointed hour. I received him with respect and regard for his reverence and honor.

“Age has not altered his extraordinary sagacity and infinite intelligence. He stayed with me for an hour and conversed on diverse subjects of great importance and usefulness, which amply testified to his vast knowledge and wide experience. Truly, he is a man of science and knowledge and is one of the exalted personages of the East. We paid ‘Abbás Effendi a return visit. He was living in a small but well-furnished house. Everything to insure his comfort was available. He had a suite of ten persons with him wearing Persian kuláhs on their heads. From this orderly and well-organized reception, I understood that this revered personage, because of the weakness of the Americans, had brought such a large number of Persians with him so that he might draw attention to himself. I do not mean this to lower the dignity of this great man, nay, on the other hand, it shows his great intelligence and indicates his vast knowledge of the way by which he may impress the minds of the people so they may turn towards him. His numerous, most impressive speeches have found a wide circulation in America. Indeed, the newspapers and periodicals are still publishing them with commentaries by the learned men of their religion. His influence has reached to such a prominence that bigoted and jealous people are protesting vigorously against him. I stayed with him for a long time and we talked with each other on various subjects. He made me happy by his delightful talks. I departed from his presence with his love and reverence preserved in my heart.”

From such writings those with perception can see that although the Khedive’s brother was not a Bahá’í, he was drawn to and affected by the Master. His words are a brilliant testimony to the effectiveness of the Master’s talks, the impressiveness of His addresses and the vigour with which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá promulgates the teachings of God.

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

O my God! O my God! Verily, I invoke Thee and supplicate before Thy threshold, asking Thee that all Thy mercies may descend upon these souls. Specialize them for Thy favor and Thy truth.

O Lord! Unite and bind together the hearts, join in accord all the souls, and exhilarate the spirits through the signs of Thy sanctity and oneness. O Lord! Make these faces radiant through the light of Thy oneness. Strengthen the loins of Thy servants in the service of Thy kingdom.

O Lord, Thou possessor of infinite mercy! O Lord of forgiveness and pardon! Forgive our sins, pardon our shortcomings, and cause us to turn to the kingdom of Thy clemency, invoking the kingdom of might and power, humble at Thy shrine and submissive before the glory of Thine evidences.

O Lord God! Make us as waves of the sea, as flowers of the garden, united, agreed through the bounties of Thy love. O Lord! Dilate the breasts through the signs of Thy oneness, and make all mankind as stars shining from the same height of glory, as perfect fruits growing upon Thy tree of life.

Verily, Thou art the Almighty, the Self-Subsistent, the Giver, the Forgiving, the Pardoner, the Omniscient, the One Creator.

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

“I pray that you may become the candle of New York, spreading the Light of Love all around you.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 22, 1912

  1. Menon, Jonathan. “July 22, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 22 July 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/07/22/july-22-1912-the-week-ahead/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 116.
  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#section120
  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, 235. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#898388559

239 Days in America, Day 11: April 21, 1912 | Washington, DC

Washington High Society Receives ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 1

Every afternoon at 5 p.m., members of Washington’s elite sought out ‘Abdu’l-Bahá at the Parsons’s home: members of the House of Representatives, of the Senate, and of the Cabinet; Justices of the Supreme Court; officials of foreign embassies; and men of science such as Alexander Graham Bell and Admiral Robert Peary.

Agnes [Parsons] 2 had built a large, bright ballroom to the left of the front door especially for this purpose. It was twenty-five feet wide by fifty feet long, decorated in white with yellow silk curtains, and it seated 150 people. Carved garlands blanketed the ceiling, the paneled walls, and the high mantel at one end of the room. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke from a platform in front of the mantel, behind a bank of American Beauty roses that were delivered fresh every day. As the days passed, the crowds grew bigger.

Yet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá didn’t come to Washington simply to meet the nation’s wealthy and powerful. He also intended to assail America’s biggest taboo – the issue of race.

Washington D. C. 3

At 4:00 P.M. He [‘Abdu’l-Bahá ] spoke at the Universalist Church at 13th and L Streets to more than one thousand persons, who had started filling the auditorium an hour before time for the service to begin, In introducing Him the Reverend John Van Schairk, Jr., pastor of the church, said, “After arrangements for this meeting had been made, I received a letter warning me that I should be false to my belief if I held it… Against such narrowness this Church has always stood. We stand today humbly seeking the Spirit of Truth…” 4 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá then addressed the gathering…

Talk at Universalist Church, Thirteenth and L Streets, Washington, D.C.

All the existing nations had a divine foundation of truth or reality originally, which was intended to be conducive to the unity and accord of mankind, but the light of that reality gradually became obscured. The darkness of superstitions and imitations came and took its place, binding the world of humanity in the chains and fetters of ignorance. Enmity arose among men, increasing to such an extent that nation strove against nation in hatred and violence. War has been a religious and political human heritage.

Now it is enough! We must investigate reality. We must put away these superstitions. It is a self-evident truth that all humanity is the creation of God. All are His servants and under His protection. All are recipients of His bestowals. God is kind to all His servants. At most it is this: that some are ignorant; they must be educated in order that they may become intelligent. Some are immature as children; they must be aided and assisted in order that they may become mature. Some are sick and ailing; they must be healed. But the suffering patient must not be tested by false treatment. The child must not be warped and hindered in its development. The ignorant must not be restricted by censure and criticism. We must look for the real, true remedy. 5

Sunday, April 21, 1912

The highlight of the day was a very important and well-attended meeting at the Universalist Church. The minister of the church introduced ‘Abdu’l-Bahá with a most glowing tribute to His life and teachings. Then the Master rose from His seat and delivered an address on the need for cooperation, love, friendship and universal peace. He stressed Christ’s statement that ‘I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth’ [John 16:12-13], and added, ‘And now that time has come and the Divine Spirit has spoken, revealing all truth.’ …

I will now pray on your behalf:

“O Lord! These Thy servants have assembled here out of pure love. They have gathered together in perfect accord and harmony. O God! Illumine their faces, make joyous their souls with Thy most great glad tidings. Brighten their eyes with the verses of Thy guidance and delight their ears with the melody of Thy sweet voice.

O Lord, we are wrongdoers; forgive us. We are sinners; grant us Thy pardon. Shelter us in Thy refuge. Satisfy the needy through Thy forgiveness. Free us from the world of vain imaginings and guide us to the Truth, that we may seek the divine reality, shun the mortal world, approach the divine kingdom and, withdrawn from the world of darkness, enter the realm of light.

Deliver us from the darkness of material existence and illumine us with the rays of the infinite realm. Make us the manifestations of Thy light and the dawning places of Thy signs. Turn us from all else save Thee and cause us to become the recipients of Thy mysteries. Thou, O God, art the Compassionate, the Wise, the Forgiving, the Mighty.” 6

  1. Menon, Jonathan. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá Goes to Washington.” 239 Days in America, April 20, 2012. https://239days.com/2012/04/20/abdul-baha-comes-to-washington/.
  2. Reneau, Annie. “Shining Lamp: Agnes Parsons (1861-1934),” Brilliant Star, September 28, 2017. https://brilliantstarmagazine.org/articles/agnes-parsons-1861-1934.
  3. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 39.
  4. Hannen, Joseph H. “Abdul-Baha in Washington, D.C.” Star of the West, April 28, 1912.
  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, 39-40. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/3#593384709.
  6. Mahmud-i-Zarqani, Mirza. 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=2#section28


Because physical reality is a “complex adaptive system of complex adaptive systems,” the behaviors of any one agent influence the choices other agents have either by widening the range of alternatives or clarifying the current set available.

Agents may choose according to physical and natural laws, instinct and reflex, or in a uniquely human sense, by reason and rationale tempered by emotion. But choose they must.

This responsibility to choose foisted upon us puts each of us in a double bind of epic proportions: 1) we are forced to respond to situations created in part through the choices made by other agents in the system we may or may not know, and 2) the behaviors we exhibit through the choices we make will shape the situations facing other agents we may or may not know.

This suggests that others we do not know will make decisions that have a negative impact on our choices for which they are unaware AND there will be consequences of our thoughts, words, and actions which place others we do not know in unpleasantness or peril.

These binds are the seeds of true forgiveness in that we ask for it from those we do not know that we have harmed and grant it to those who have harmed us but do not know.