239 Days in America, Day 233: November 29, 1912 | New York

New York: The Melting Pot on the Hudson: 1912-2012 1

Just as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had spoken of the need for an international council with a mandate for peace, an early version of it emerged, making an unlikely neighborhood in New York City its headquarters. In 1912, down 43rd Street in Turtle Bay, slaughterhouses, packing sheds, cattle pens, and noisy railroad piers lined the banks of the East River. By the 1920s fashionable townhouses had taken over, and a large communal garden ran through the backyards of the homes on 48th and 49th Streets. When the United Nations was formed after World War II, its Modernist headquarters rose in Turtle Bay between 1949 and 1952, replacing six blocks of slaughterhouses. Today, on clear mornings, the sunrise reincarnates itself in the UN Secretariat’s glass facing, bathing the passersby on the East River in a wash of gold.

“I am greatly pleased with the city of New York,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said on his first day in America, “Its harbor entrance, its piers, buildings and broad avenues are magnificent and beautiful.” But he had an admonition. “As New York has made such progress in material civilization, I hope that it may also advance spiritually. . . .” Spiritual civilization is not as easy to see as material. It requires perception and the ability to look beyond outward appearances, to the selfless acts of millions of people that are often forgotten by history.

But just as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had stood up for women’s emancipation as he pulled into New York harbor, seated an African American lawyer at the head of his table in Washington, argued for peace to an arms dealer, spent the week with a former convict, wiped away the tears of a reverend, met with children, servants, students, government officials and crowds in the thousands, he expended his energy to the utmost, planting the seeds of what he called a spiritual civilization. “This timely seed,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told an audience on April 12, “when planted in the hearts of the beloved of God, will be watered by showers of divine mercy and warmed by the sunshine of divine love. Its fruitage and flower shall be the solidarity of mankind, the perfection of justice and the praiseworthy attributes of heaven manifest in humanity.”

Final Days in America: New York City 2

On Friday, November 29, He moved to the Emery home. In an evening meeting at the Kinneys’, He spoke with the friends about their offers of money. He said, “‘Distribute it among the poor from Me. It will be as if I have given it to them. The most acceptable offering to Me is the unity among friends, service to the Cause of God, diffusing the Divine Fragrances, and acting upon the admonitions of the Beauty of Abhá.’”

Friday, November 29, 1912 3

At the request of Mrs Emery, the Master moved to her home. The time of His departure was drawing near. On reaching the house, He said, ‘Today I must rest for I am extremely tired.’ Nevertheless, the friends and seekers continued to come to visit Him at the homes of Mrs Emery and Mrs Kinney. One of His discourses today was this:

“One of the bounties of religion and faith is the attainment of peace of the heart and soul and the joy of spirit and conscience. This station can only be gained through faith and understanding. Peace of mind is the soul’s delight, as it is the means of acquiring that extraordinary state in which man finds happiness in times of affliction and tranquillity in trouble. In spite of poverty he acquires a sense of affluence and in a state of riches and power he offers help and protection to the weak because the well-assured soul is like a tree which has strong roots and is not shaken by any event. This cannot be attained except through complete faith and understanding. How many are the people who have all means of comfort, luxury, security and wealth and every means of enjoyment and good living, yet they have no peace of mind and are ever anxious and uneasy! If outwardly they are happy one day, they become depressed and anxious the next. If they find physical rest at one moment, they face suffering and misfortune the next, until the time comes to leave this world, then they will do so with utmost regret and distress.

“But those who have faith in God act according to the divine teachings; even though they need a little food to survive, they will pass their lives in the utmost happiness and joy. This is one of the bounties of religion; this is eternal happiness, life everlasting and real affluence. Without this all riches lead to woe and all power and strength are the cause of hardship and affliction. Therefore, offer praise unto God that you are endowed with this imperishable wealth and have attained this supreme blessing.”

Today some of the friends offered money to the Master but He would not accept it despite their pleading. Instead He told them, ‘Distribute it among the poor on my behalf. It will be as though I have given it to them. But the most acceptable gift to me is the unity of the believers, service to the Cause of God, diffusion of the divine fragrances and adherence to the counsels of the Abhá Beauty.’

The believers were saddened because He did not accept their gifts. However, since these were the last days of His visit and He was about to leave, the New York Bahá’ís collected several gifts for the women of the holy household and for the Greatest Holy Leaf.

Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney, 780 West End Avenue, New York 4

This evening I wish to speak to you concerning the mystery of sacrifice. There are two kinds of sacrifice: the physical and the spiritual. The explanation made by the churches concerning this subject is, in reality, superstition. For instance, it is recorded in the Gospel that Christ said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.” He also said, “This [wine] is my blood … which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” These verses have been interpreted by the churches in such a superstitious way that it is impossible for human reason to understand or accept the explanation.

They say that Adam disobeyed the command of God and partook of the fruit of the forbidden tree, thereby committing a sin which was transmitted as a heritage to His posterity. They teach that because of Adam’s sin all His descendants have, likewise, committed transgression and have become responsible through inheritance; that, consequently, all mankind deserves punishment and must make retribution; and that God sent forth His Son as a sacrifice in order that man might be forgiven and the human race delivered from the consequences of Adam’s transgression.

We wish to consider these statements from the standpoint of reason. Could we conceive of the Divinity, Who is Justice itself, inflicting punishment upon the posterity of Adam for Adam’s own sin and disobedience? Even if we should see a governor, an earthly ruler punishing a son for the wrongdoing of his father, we would look upon that ruler as an unjust man. Granted the father committed a wrong, what was the wrong committed by the son? There is no connection between the two. Adam’s sin was not the sin of His posterity, especially as Adam is a thousand generations back of the man today. If the father of a thousand generations committed a sin, is it just to demand that the present generation should suffer the consequences thereof?

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

‘Abdu’l-Bahá accepted an invitation to stay at the home of a believer

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 29, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “New York: The Melting Pot on the Hudson: 1912-2012.” 239 Days in America, 29 Nov. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/11/29/new-york-the-melting-pot-on-the-hudson/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 189-190.
  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=9#section251
  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, 449. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/33#112906790

239 Days in America, Day 224: November 20, 1912 | New York

‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Andrew Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth” 1

THE WORLD’S RICHEST MAN when 1912 began was a Scottish immigrant from Dunfermline, County Fife, who emigrated with his family to Allegheny, Pennsylvania, at the age of twelve in 1848. …

He retired in 1901 at the age of sixty-six, selling his steel interests to J. P. Morgan for $480 million and becoming the richest man on earth.

But even as he was living the life of a robber baron during the Gilded Age, piling up capital and repressing striking workers, Carnegie was already formulating a different outlook on wealth than most of his tycoon friends. “Man must have no idol,” he wrote, “and the amassing of wealth is one of the worst species of idolatry! No idol is more debasing than the worship of money! . . . To continue much longer overwhelmed by business cares and with most of my thoughts wholly upon the way to make more money in the shortest time, must degrade me beyond hope of permanent recovery.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá participated in several peace gatherings sponsored by Carnegie, including the Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitration, which Carnegie’s millions had underwritten. In November Carnegie called on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in New York, and, it seems, gave him a copy of his book, The Gospel of Wealth. In it Carnegie had argued for the responsibility the rich had to improve society. Not only should they give away all their wealth, but they had to administer it themselves, focusing their resources on enterprises that would elevate the masses of society “in the forms best calculated to do them lasting good,” not merely frittering it away on indiscriminate charity. …

‘Abdu’l-Bahá had upheld similar views on the responsibilities of the wealthy at least since 1875, when he wrote The Secret of Divine Civilization, an open letter to Iranians proposing an ambitious program of social, legal, religious, and educational reform. “Wealth is praiseworthy in the highest degree,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote, “if it is acquired by an individual’s own efforts and the grace of God, in commerce, agriculture, art and industry, and if it be expended for philanthropic purposes. Above all, if a judicious and resourceful individual should initiate measures which would universally enrich the masses of the people, there could be no undertaking greater than this.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá read The Gospel of Wealth and wrote back to Andrew Carnegie on January 10, 1913, shortly after he had arrived in London after his American journey. Carnegie was so impressed with the letter that he sent it to the New York Times. In his reply, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá contributed the observation that to redistribute wealth successfully it was essential to make sure that the act of doing so did not create further rifts between the classes.

Wednesday, November 20, 1912 2

The Master again called some of the friends and asked them to show kindness and love to Mr [Howard] MacNutt and to be patient with him. Some of His words were these:

“You must all arise in unison to serve the Cause of God. You must work hand in hand to teach the Cause and know that the confirmations of Bahá’u’lláh will descend upon you. My hope is that New York will excel all other cities because at the beginning it had precedence over them. God willing, it shall be so again. The favors of the Kingdom of God are great, the attention and bounties of the Blessed Beauty are fixed upon you and His hidden hosts are assisting you. Arise in this arena and you shall see what will transpire.

“I am but one of His servants. After the ascension of the Blessed Beauty, the Ottoman people and government arose against me as did enemies of the area from different nations and religions. In such a state everyone was attacking me from outside and even my brothers from inside opposed me. But in a short time the enemies were frustrated and brought low so that some of them cried, ‘Would to God that Bahá’u’lláh had not ascended because this Cause has become even greater, its fame has spread to more places, and its support has become stronger.’ Therefore, we must arise in servitude so that His confirmations may surround us from all sides. Undoubtedly whenever you arise to serve and proclaim the Cause you shall be assisted and shall attain success. Rest assured.”

In the afternoon the friends gathered at the home of Mr [Hooper] Harris, each one eager and delighted to see the Master and to listen to His words. While He was leaving His residence, some school children saw the Master and rushed towards Him. They asked, ‘Who is this man who looks like Christ?’ Miss Juliet Thompson spoke to them outside the house about the Cause and the life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. They asked to meet Him and they were invited to come to Mr [Edward] Kinney‘s home, where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spent most of His days, the following Sunday.

Both private and public meetings were held in that home. The first to third floors were filled with people, some even standing on the stairs. From this day forward a spirit of steadfastness in the Covenant of God, unity and faithfulness appeared among the friends as the Master burnt away the veils and the hearts of the believers attained the highest degree of love and union. This was the Master’s purpose in staying so long in New York. Furthermore, many wonderful friends became humble and sincere in His presence.

He spoke this evening to a large gathering about the influence of the Cause and the victory of the Supreme Word over the nations and powers of the world.

17 November 1912, Talk at Genealogical Hall, 252 West Fifty-eighth Street, New York 3

After every night there is a morn. In the supreme wisdom of God it is decreed that when the gross darkness of religious hatred and hostility, the obscurity of religious ignorance, superstition and blind imitations cover the world, the Sun of Truth shall arise and the spirit of reality become manifest and reflected in human hearts. At such a time as this Bahá’u’lláh appeared upon the horizon of the Orient. For fifty years He endured the greatest hardships and ordeals, ever striving to dispel the darkness of religious conditions, to remove the cause of enmity and rancor, to awaken the world of humanity from the beds of negligence and heedlessness by the flashing light of the glorious glad tidings and trumpet tone of the heavenly call and summons. For the spread of this message He offered His life and bore every vicissitude.… He was always under the threat and menace of the sword, yet He uplifted the standard of divine teachings and flooded the world of the East with illumination. In the Orient today the light of the heavenly glad tidings is visible everywhere, the divine call is heard, the effulgence of the Sun of Reality is shining, the precious rain is pouring down from the clouds of mercy, and the breaths of the Holy Spirit are bestowing fresh life upon the hearts of men. Erelong the darkness will pass away entirely, and the regions of the East will become completely illumined; enmity, hatred, ignorance and bigotry will no longer remain; the satanic powers which destroy human equality and religious unity will be dethroned, and the nations will dwell in peace and harmony under the overspreading banner of the oneness of humanity. Therefore, we supplicate the Lord our God with sincere and contrite hearts, asking aid and assistance in the accomplishment of this mighty end: that the nations shall be unified in the Word of God; that war, enmity and hatred between races, religions, native lands and denominations shall disappear and be forever unknown; and that peoples and nations shall spiritually embrace each other in the indissoluble bond and power of the love of God. Then will the world of humanity become radiant and the human race enjoy to the fullest capacity the graces of divine bestowal. So long as religious discord and enmity continue among mankind, the world of humanity will find neither happiness, rest nor composure.

Pray that God may assist in this heavenly undertaking, that the world of mankind shall be saved from the ordeals of ignorance, blindness and spiritual death. Then will you behold light upon light, joy upon joy, absolute happiness reigning everywhere, the people of the religions consorting together in fragrance and felicity, this world in its maturity becoming the reflection of the eternal Kingdom and this terrestrial abode of man the very paradise of God. Pray for this! Pray for this!

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

“You must work hand in hand to teach the Cause …”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 20, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Andrew Carnegie’s ‘Gospel of Wealth.’” 239 Days in America, 20 Nov. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/11/20/abdul-baha-andrew-carnegie-gospel-of-wealth/.
  2. ’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#section242
  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, 440-441. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/32#708845191

239 Days in America, Day 215: November 11, 1912 | Baltimore

November 11, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ LEFT THE nation’s capital at 9 a.m. this morning on a train bound for Baltimore, arriving at Camden Station shortly afterward. He and his party checked into the Hotel Rennert to rest before making their way to Baltimore’s First Unitarian Church where he is scheduled to speak later today. He will step back onto his train at 3 p.m. for the final leg of his long eastern trip.

In the week ahead, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá returns to New York after almost four months away, the Progressive Movement reaches a triumphant climax with Woodrow Wilson’s aggressive reform agenda, and, New York’s first big Mafia trial comes to a close, after filling the city’s newspapers with sensational gangland stories for two months.

The Journey East: Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., Baltimore 2

Abdu’l-Bahá traveled to Baltimore on Monday, November 11, went to a hotel, granted interviews to the press, spoke at a Unitarian Church, and went for a late breakfast at the Struvens’ home.

He wired the friends in Philadelphia, who had been asking Him to come, that His train would be passing through their city and that He would see them at the station, They were on the platform when He arrived and rushed joyously to Him. Most got on the train and rode with Him to the next station, They were joyful, enthusiastic, and departed weeping, a sight which so amazed the other people on the train that they came to find out who these people were. Abdu’l-Bahá talked to them and, at their request, gave them the addresses of Bahá’ís whom they could ask for further information.

Monday, November 11, 1912 3

The believers were so eager to see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that they began to arrive at His residence from early morning. Their hearts were burning with the fire of separation and each craved His assistance and bestowals.

The believers had already assembled when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived at the railway station at 9:00 a.m. To the amazement of onlookers, they gathered around Him, their hearts filled with sorrow and anguish. This happened in every city of America when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived and departed. Onlookers were at a loss to understand how a person from the East in Iranian dress had won the veneration and respect of the men and women of America.

Some of the friends accompanied the Master to Baltimore where He stayed at a hotel. Among the many visitors who came to see Him was a newspaper reporter who was given a detailed discourse on universal peace and the ability of the American people and government to enforce it. The Master’s words were noted down for publication.

Later, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke at the Unitarian Church of Baltimore regarding the oneness of the world of man, the immutability of the principles of the divine religions and the changing of the social laws according to the demands of the time.

When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left the church He went to lunch at the home of Mr [Howard] and Mrs [Hebe] Struven. The Baltimore believers were overjoyed to see their Master. In one of His talks to the friends He said:

“Praise be to God! I have spent time with you in utmost happiness. I am very pleased with you and will not forget you. I pray that you may daily become more illumined and more spiritual. When I reach the Holy Land, I shall lay my head on the threshold of the Blessed Shrine and, weeping, I shall supplicate on your behalf for assistance and heavenly favors, eternal honor and everlasting joy.”

The Master and the friends then left for the station in two automobiles. On the way ‘Abdu’l-Bahá embraced Mr Struvens as a kind father embraces a son and with the utmost kindness thanked him for his many services to the Cause in such glowing terms that the others were astonished.

A message from the friends in Philadelphia was relayed to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá expressing their hope and expectation that since it was on His way, He might be able stop in their city. He replied, ‘We have been there once. Now we have neither time nor possibility. Send them a telegram saying that they may come to the station so that we can meet for a few minutes.’

At 6:00 p.m. when the train reached the station, the friends, both men and women, were on the platform. When the train stopped, they immediately rushed towards the Master’s seat and fell upon His feet, fulfilling their hearts’ desire. With great eagerness and enthusiasm, many of them accompanied the Master to the next station, honored to be in His presence. They begged His assistance that they might render service to the Cause of God and then, weeping, left Him. When the other passengers saw these 30 or so friends from Philadelphia hovering near the Master with such heartfelt emotions, their curiosity to know more was aroused. Fascinated by His majesty and grandeur, they surrounded the Master to hear explanations of the divine teachings. They were transformed and attracted to the teachings and asked for the addresses of the friends and assemblies. Teaching the Cause of the God and guiding the people along the road gives so much joy and excitement that there are no words to describe it.

At about 1:00 a.m. the city of New York was once more graced with the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. He stayed at the same house which had previously been rented at His instruction. Thus for the second time this house became the court of the Center of the Covenant and the threshold of bounty and favor. The owners of the house and their relatives had joined the group of sincere and devoted believers and were counted among the lovers of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

10 November 1912, Talk at 1901 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D. C. 4

I am greatly pleased with the friends in Washington and experience real happiness in meeting them. Likewise, I am pleased with the friends from Baltimore, for I have observed that their hearts are attracted to the love of Bahá’u’lláh. Their vision is extended toward the Kingdom of Bahá. Their spirits are rejoicing in the glad tidings of Abhá. Verily, they are servants of the Cause of God. All are engaged in service, and the perfection of their desire is to enter into the Kingdom of Abhá and draw near unto God. For that reason I am very happy and well pleased with them. I pray for you all. May the favors of the Blessed Beauty, Bahá’u’lláh, encompass you, and may the lights of the Sun of Reality be your illumination. May you all become united and assured. May you serve the Cause of God as one single, united force. I give you the glad tidings that the confirmations of God will descend upon you. Be ye assured of this. Ye will become illumined. Ye will become conquerors.

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

Chicago believers gathered at the train station to see the Master off

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 11, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “November 11, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 11 Nov. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/11/11/november-11-1912-the-week-ahead/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 183-184.
  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=9#section233
  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, 428. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/31#309517566

239 Days in America, Day 211: November 07, 1912 | Washington, D.C.

“These Are, Indeed, United States” 1

AGNES PARSONS GOT DRESSED while it was still dark outside on Wednesday, November 6, 1912, the morning after the election. She had heard that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s train would be pulling into Washington’s Union Station at 6:30 a.m., so she rose early to arrive at the station on time. But the train didn’t come. When she learned that it would be at least an hour and forty-five minutes late, Mrs. Parsons had a long breakfast at the station.

The mercury was rising quickly when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá finally stepped down from the train just before 9 a.m. He got into Agnes Parsons’ carriage and was ferried to the house he had rented at 1901 Eighteenth Street, NW, just a five-minute walk from the Parsons’ home, near Dupont Circle. Every day for the next five days he would speak to large crowds in the Parsons’ bright white and yellow ballroom at 4 p.m. — it sat 150 people — and would welcome guests to his own residence every morning.

At 8:15 p.m. that night, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá rose to speak at the Universalist Church of Our Father, at Thirteenth and L Streets. Back on April 21 the church’s pastor, the Reverend Dr. John van Schaick, had waited on the sidewalk to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and had conducted him through a side door to the chancel. After an introduction, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke on the underlying unity of the world’s religions. This time, he spoke about liberty.

“Praise be God! The standard of liberty is held aloft in this land,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá began. “You enjoy political liberty; you enjoy liberty of thought and speech, religious liberty, racial and personal liberty. Surely this is worthy of appreciation and thanksgiving.”

The Journey East: Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., Baltimore 2

On Thursday [November 7] He [‘Abdu’l-Bahá] spoke at the Church of the Brotherhood …

Thursday, November 7, 1912 3

Each hour people came to receive bounties from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s presence. The Master answered many important questions.

He had lunch at Mrs Parsons’s home. At the table, He joyfully offered thanks for the confirmations and assistance of the Abhá Kingdom. As well giving interviews at Mrs Parsons’s home, He also spoke to a large gathering at the Universalist Church. On behalf of the congregation the pastor thanked the Master for coming and then reminded the audience about the importance of knowing something about all religions and abandoning prejudice, which would broaden their horizons. He then gave an account of the Cause, how it had become the target for the persecution and sacrifice of so many souls in its path and concluded by reading a few passages from the Book of Isaiah. The audience was thus prepared to hear the Master’s discourse.

The Master rose and delivered an impressive address, at the beginning of which He said:

“In truth, I have found much love and justice in the people of America. I have observed that they have complete freedom of thought in all matters, which is deserving of praise. So I am greatly pleased with the pastor and thank him for his expression of love for us. The leaders of religions must be like this so that people may become broad-minded. They must be kind to all nationalities for God is kind to all and His love is infinite. Therefore, the love of His servants must also be universal and without limitation.”

In His address He dealt with brotherhood and the oneness of humanity, explaining some of the teachings and principles of Bahá’u’lláh. The audience was so impressed and moved that the pastor again came to the pulpit to express thanks and praise on their behalf. He was honored that this was the second occasion on which the Master had given an address in the church. He said that the Master’s words would become the cause of honor and happiness to humanity, especially since we are all sheep of God’s flock, each other’s brothers, and that God is our real shepherd and protector. The pastor then requested a prayer which the Beloved recited in Persian.

One by one members of the audience came to shake the Master’s hand, begging for His assistance and blessings.

Such meetings in the churches of Washington and the influence and impact of the Master’s talks have excited envy in the hearts of certain ministers who have neither interviewed nor heard Him and they distributed leaflets full of calumny and criticism to the people coming out of the churches.

Talk at Universalist Church, Thirteenth and L Streets, NW, Washington, D.C. 4

I will read to you from the Arabic text the very words written by Bahá’u’lláh in His Epistle to the Sulṭán of Turkey. They will be translated to you as I read. “O King! Thou hast committed that by reason of which Muḥammad, the Prophet of God, lamenteth in the highest heaven. Verily, the world hath made thee proud so that thou hast turned away from the face of Him by Whose light the people of the supreme assembly are illuminated, and erelong thou shalt find thyself in manifest loss. Thou hast united with the Persian chief in opposition to Me after I came unto you from the rising place of greatness and might with a matter which has consoled the eyes of those near unto God. Verily, this is a day wherein the Fire speaketh through all things, declaring that the Beloved of the two worlds hath come, and on the part of everything an Interlocutor of the matter hath sprung up to listen unto the Word of thy Lord, the Precious, the Knowing. Dost thou imagine that thou canst quench the fire which God hath kindled in the horizons? No! By Himself, the True One, wert thou of those who know. Rather, by that which thou hast done its burning is increased and its blaze augmented; and it shall encompass the earth and whosoever is thereupon. Thus the matter hath been decreed, and whosoever is in the heavens and upon the earth could not withstand His command.

“The day is approaching when the Land of Mystery [Adrianople], and what is beside it shall be changed, and shall pass out of the hands of the king, and commotions shall appear, and the voice of lamentation shall be raised, and the evidences of mischief shall be revealed on all sides, and confusion shall spread by reason of that which hath befallen these captives at the hands of the hosts of oppression. The course of things shall be altered, and conditions shall wax so grievous, that the very sands on the desolate hills will moan, and the trees on the mountain will weep, and blood will flow out of all things. Then wilt thou behold the people in sore distress. Was Pharaoh able to hinder God by exercising his dominion when he rebelled upon the earth and was of the disobedient? We have indeed manifested the Interlocutor [Moses] from his house in spite of his will; verily, we were able to do this. And remember when Nimrod kindled the fire of polytheism whereby he would burn the Friend of God [Abraham]. Verily, we extinguished the fire by the truth and brought upon Nimrod manifest grief. Verily, the oppressor [King of Persia] slew the Beloved of the Worlds [the Báb] that he might thereby extinguish the light of God among His creatures and deprive mankind of the pure water of life in the days of his Lord, the Mighty, the Kind. We have made the matter manifest in the country and elevated His mention among the unitarians. Verily, the Servant hath assuredly come to vivify the world and bring to union whosoever is upon the surface of the whole earth. That which God willeth shall overcome, and thou shalt see the earth as the garden of Abhá. Thus hath it been written by the pen of command in an irrevocable Tablet.”

There are many other prophecies in this book, especially in the Epistle to the Sháh of Persia, all of which prophecies have come to pass. As they are lengthy, we will not have time to quote them.

The purpose of these quotations is to show that Bahá’u’lláh’s great endeavor in the East was to unify mankind, to cause them to agree and become reconciled, thereby manifesting the oneness of the world of humanity, preparing the way for international peace and establishing the foundations of happiness and welfare. But the nations have not hearkened to His summons and message. The Persian and Turkish governments arose against His Cause, and the result is that both these governments have been disintegrated and broken. Had they been attentive to His commands and received His admonitions, they would have been protected. They would have enjoyed happiness and prosperity. They would have been bound together in ties of fellowship and brotherhood, availing themselves of the wonderful bounties of love and unity and dwelling in the delectable paradise of the divine Kingdom. But, alas, the commands and guidance of the Blessed One have been neglected and ignored. Day by day they have followed their own devices and imaginations, until now this fire of war is raging most furiously.

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

“In truth, I have found much love and justice in the people of America.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 7, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “‘These Are, Indeed, United States.’” 239 Days in America, 7 Nov. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/11/07/these-are-indeed-united-states/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 179.
  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=9#section229
  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, 398-399. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/30#030047315

239 Days in America, Day 208: November 04, 1912 | Cincinnati

November 4, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

TODAY AT 9:15 A.M. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá departed Chicago on the Pennsylvania Railroad. The train skirted the southern rim of Lake Michigan, then took off cross-country, heading southeast across the patchwork fields of Indiana, steaming through Logansport, Kokomo, Anderson, and Richmond. At 5:15 P.M. it will reach the Ohio River, delivering ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to Cincinnati for an overnight stay.

In the week ahead, the presidential election season of 1912 comes to a conclusion as Americans go to the polls to vote. As the results scurry across America along the telegraph wires, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá pays a final visit to the nation’s capital.

The Journey East: Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., Baltimore 2

Before leaving Chicago that day [November 4], ‘Abdu’l-Bahá sent a telegram to Cincinnati informing the friends, who had been supplicating His presence, that He would stay there for one night and that the stay would be “private.” The friends met Him at the Cincinnati station and took Him to the Grand Hotel where a public meeting with five hundred persons attending had been arranged, followed by a banquet.

Monday, November 4, 1912 3

The Master left for Cincinnati in the morning. At the request of the friends there who longed for a glimpse of His face, the Master sent a telegram informing them that He would stay with them one night in order to visit the believers. At the Chicago train station the friends of God, both men and women, wept as they saw their Master depart. It was a grand occasion and a testimony to the greatness of the Cause of God and the influence of His Covenant. Well-respected people of the West have been attracted to the Beloved of the East. They hovered like moths around the divine lamp and wept at their friend’s departure. Among those who accompanied ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to the next station was Mrs True with whom the Master spoke about the Tarbíyat Schools in Tihrán.

In the evening Cincinnati was blessed by the arrival of the Master. With eagerness and excitement, the believers anxiously awaited a glimpse of His face. Mrs Farmer and other believers had arranged a public meeting at the Grand Hotel after which a beautiful banquet was given. Arriving at the hotel, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá first went to the hall where some five hundred had assembled to hear Him. He spoke about the sovereignty and endless bounties of God and concluded with explanations of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh from the holy writings. His words captivated the hearts of His listeners.

The Master then went into the dining room of the hotel where He was delighted to see the beaming faces of the friends, the brightness of the electric lights, the table decorated with colorful flowers and the hearts immersed in the love of God. More than 50 people were seated around the table. The Master sat at the head of the table while the Persian friends sat nearby. In great happiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke these heavenly words:

“It is an excellent table for we have assembled here through the love of Bahá’u’lláh. Tonight I am exceedingly happy to be with you. You must be very happy and in a prayerful attitude for no better meeting could be held. The holding of meetings at which people from the East come to the far West and sit together with you with such love and affection was impossible but through His penetrative power Bahá’u’lláh has made this easy and has joined the East and the West. Would that the friends of Persia were here now and could see this!”

When the conversation turned to Los Angeles, the Master spoke about Mr Chase and the nobility of his spirit. He chanted a prayer in life-giving strains:

“O Thou kind Lord, we render thanks unto Thee that Thou has brought us from the farthest lands of the East to the most distant lands of the West and gathered us at this table arrayed with the finest, most diverse, sweetest and most delicious material foods. We thank Thee especially for the presence of those who have turned toward the Kingdom of Thy favor and have fixed their eyes upon the horizon of Thy kindness.

“O Lord! These souls have turned toward Thee, they desire Thy pleasure and are grateful for Thy blessings. They walk in the ways of Thy will.

“O Lord! Grant them heavenly food; enable them to partake of the Lord’s supper. Exalt this noble lady in Thy Kingdom, bestow everlasting life upon her and grant her Thine eternal favor. As Thou hast given us these earthly blessings so, too, give us heavenly food. Bestow upon us Thine everlasting grace. Strengthen us to arise in praise and gratitude to Thee that we may be aided and assisted to do that which beseems Thy glorification.”

Thou art the Mighty, the Generous, the Compassionate.

About 40 of the friends stayed at the hotel rather than return to their homes that night.

Talk at Grand Hotel, Cincinnati, Ohio 4

In the Orient I was informed that there are many lovers of peace in America. Therefore, I left my native land to associate here with those who are the standard-bearers of international conciliation and agreement. Having traveled from coast to coast, I find the United States of America vast and progressive, the government just and equitable, the nation noble and independent. I attended many meetings where international peace was discussed and am always extremely happy to witness the results of such meetings, for one of the great principles of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings is the establishment of agreement among the peoples of the world. He founded and taught this principle in the Orient fifty years ago. He proclaimed international unity, summoned the religions of the world to harmony and reconciliation and established fellowship among many races, sects and communities. At that time He wrote Epistles to the kings and rulers of the world, calling upon them to arise and cooperate with Him in spreading these principles, saying that the stability and advancement of humanity could only be realized through the unity of the nations. Through His efforts this principle of universal harmony and agreement was practically demonstrated in Persia and other countries. Today in Persia, for instance, there are many people of various races and religions who have followed the exhortations of Bahá’u’lláh and are living together in love and fellowship without religious, patriotic or racial prejudices—Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Zoroastrians and many others.

America has arisen to spread the teachings of peace, to increase the illumination of humankind and bestow happiness and prosperity upon the children of men. These are the principles and evidences of divine civilization. America is a noble nation, the standard-bearer of peace throughout the world, shedding light to all regions. Foreign nations are not untrammeled and free from intrigues and complications like the United States; therefore, they are not able to bring about universal harmony. But America—praise be to God!—is at peace with all the world and is worthy of raising the flag of brotherhood and international agreement. When this is done, the rest of the world will accept. All nations will join in adopting the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh revealed more than fifty years ago. In His Epistles He asked the parliaments of the world to send their wisest and best men to an international world conference which should decide all questions between the peoples and establish universal peace. This would be the highest court of appeal, and the parliament of man so long dreamed of by poets and idealists would be realized. Its accomplishment would be more far-reaching than the Hague tribunal.

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

Friends in Chicago bid the Master a heartfelt farewell

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 4, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “November 4, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 4 Nov. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/11/04/november-4-1912-the-week-ahead/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 179.
  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=9#section226
  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, 388-389. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/29#841374064

239 Days in America, Day 195: October 22, 1912 | San Francisco

A Fearful Dose of Fashionable Religion 1

“WE FORESEE THAT THE daily papers are about to give this city a fearful dose of ‘fashionable religion,’” warned an editorial in the San Francisco Monitor on October 5, 1912, referring to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s arrival in the city. It described ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as “the leader of the latest in fads,” and warned that the local press would soon be flooded with coverage. “Be prepared for the deluge!” the writer declared.

At least he was right about the deluge. At least thirty-seven separate articles and announcements covered ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit to California. With the exception of the Monitor piece, the press coverage was positive, inquisitive, and reasonably accurate. John D. Barry, a celebrated essayist, fiction writer, and travel journalist, wrote two editorials on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the San Francisco Bulletin — on October 12 and 14 — which provided a counterpoint to the piece that appeared in the Monitor.

“The harm in Bahaism and all such so-called ‘religions’ is first of all this:” the Monitor claimed, “They deny the divinity of Jesus Christ. They draw Him down to the level of a mere good man, a kindly philosopher.” In churches throughout the nation, of course, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had affirmed the divine nature of Jesus. Seven days after the Monitor article, he would argue at length on behalf of Christ in front of two-thousand people at the Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco’s largest Jewish synagogue.

California 2

He [Abdu’l-Bahá] then began to make preparations for the journey back across the country.

Tuesday, October 22, 1912 3

In the morning the Master remarked, ‘I did not sleep at all last night but was deep in thought.’ When the train arrived at the station a group of friends greeted the Master with joy and happiness. The Master spoke repeatedly today about the steadfastness and enthusiasm of the friends in Los Angeles. His had been elated to witness their constancy in the Cause.

The believers from San Francisco and surrounding areas gathered group by group at the Master’s residence, where He received them in His room. He strongly encouraged them to spread the divine fragrances and teach the Cause of God. To the seekers He gave the glad tidings of the dawning of the Morn of Guidance and the coming of the era of peace, tranquillity, amity and unity among the nations of the world.

His address in the morning at the public meeting centered around the days of the Blessed Beauty, the exaltation of the Word of the God and the vain imaginings of the followers of Yahyá. In the afternoon He spoke particularly on the duty of teaching the Cause of God and gave a detailed account of the Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh revealed to the kings and rulers of the world.

After an evening stroll, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá showed special kindness to the friends from Portland and Seattle, who had arrived today to visit their beloved Master. He spoke with them on several subjects, saying, among other things: said:

“Until now it never happened that someone from the East, impelled by the promptings of his conscience, should come to the West to see the friends of God and to associate with respected individuals with such sincere love and friendship and without any political or commercial motive or the desire of sightseeing. It is without precedent and is not recorded in any history. If others have come, it has been to sightsee or for commercial or other reasons.”

In response to some questions, He said:

“A great war and commotion shall inevitably take place in the world. Things will come to such a pass that the generality of mankind will rise against the statesmen of the world and say, ‘You sit in your palaces in perfect comfort; you eat and drink sumptuously; you sleep blissfully; you eat delicious food and relax in gardens with beautiful views. But for the sake of your name and worldly fame, you throw us, your subjects, into war, shed our blood and tear our bodies to pieces. But no thorn ever pricks your hands and not for a moment do you leave your rest and comfort.’”

12 October 1912, Talk at Temple Emmanu-El, 450 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California 4

Verily, I now declare to you that Moses was the Interlocutor of God and a most noteworthy Prophet, that Moses revealed the fundamental law of God and founded the real ethical basis of the civilization and progress of humanity. What harm is there in this? Have I lost anything by saying this to you and believing it as a Bahá’í? On the contrary, it benefits me; and Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Movement, confirms me, saying, “You have been fair and just in your judgment; you have impartially investigated the truth and arrived at a true conclusion; you have announced your belief in Moses, a Prophet of God, and accepted the Torah, the Book of God.” Inasmuch as it is possible for me to sweep away all evidences of prejudice by such a liberal and universal statement of belief, why is it not possible for you to do likewise? Why not put an end to this religious strife and establish a bond of connection between the hearts of men? Why should not the followers of one religion praise the Founder or Teacher of another? The other religionists extol the greatness of Moses and admit that He was the Founder of Judaism. Why do the Hebrews refuse to praise and accept the other great Messengers Who have appeared in the world? What harm could there be in this? What rightful objection? None whatever. You would lose nothing by such action and statement. On the contrary, you would contribute to the welfare of mankind. You would be instrumental in establishing the happiness of the world of humanity. The eternal honor of man depends upon the liberalism of this modern age. Inasmuch as our God is one God and the Creator of all mankind, He provides for and protects all. We acknowledge Him as a God of kindness, justice and mercy. Why then should we, His children and followers, war and fight, bringing sorrow and grief into the hearts of each other? God is loving and merciful. His intention in religion has ever been the bond of unity and affinity between humankind.

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

Uniqueness of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit to the West

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

October 22, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “A Fearful Dose of Fashionable Religion.” 239 Days in America, 22 Oct. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/10/22/not-to-destroy-or-disrupt-but-to-create/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 170.
  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=8#section213
  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, 368-369. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/27#295647205

239 Days in America, Day 194: October 21, 1912 | Los Angeles

October 21, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

IN THE PAST WEEK, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited the Hearst estate in Pleasanton, California, where he spent three relaxing days in the company of Phoebe Hearst and her family. Then we traced the final days of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s close friend Thornton Chase, and looked at the profound correspondence that passed between the two men over the years. We followed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to Inglewood Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, where Chase had recently been laid to rest, and watched as he knelt and kissed the stone.

In the week ahead: conflicting press coverage of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s trip to San Francisco; ‘Abdu’l-Bahá addresses the Century Club of California, a prominent women’s organization; and he heads north to Sacramento, where he delivers two major public addresses, the second of which reiterates his fear that Europe is destined for war.

California 2

Abdu’l-Bahá left Los Angeles Monday evening, traveled all night, and arrived in San Francisco the next day.

Monday, October 21, 1912 3

From morning until noon all the rooms in the Master’s suite were filled with people. Even the corridor was filled. The Master moved among the crowd, sometimes in the rooms and sometimes in the corridor, instructing the assemblage in the divine teachings, persuading them to serve the cause of universal peace and encouraging them to develop divine virtues and heavenly perfections in themselves.

When the people were told the Master was leaving, they became saddened and expressed their deep sorrow. Some churches and clubs sent messages inviting the Master to prolong His stay and to speak before their audiences. He was unable to accept their invitations and responded: ‘I have no time, as I must return soon to the East. Nonetheless, I have great love and attachment for each one of you.’

With great eagerness, friends both old and new brought their children to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and to receive His blessings and protection.

As the time of departure grew near, the friends in Los Angeles were in a spiritual and prayerful mood. The Master spoke to them:

“Thank the Lord that you have attained His eternal favors and have been blessed with seeing eyes. All are blind but you are endowed with sight. All are earthly but you are heavenly. Although you live on earth, you soar high in heaven. It is my hope that day by day you will seek assistance and will rise to promote the Word of God. Go every year to visit the grave of Mr Chase on my behalf, for he was a sanctified soul; his station will be known later.

“I have come a long distance to see you; I have traveled 12,000 miles. Praise be to God that I have found you in spiritual joy and happiness. I pray that you may live under the care and protection of God and be assisted by Him in rendering greater service to His mighty Cause, so that each of you may become a fruit-bearing tree in the garden of His favor, full of freshness and life. May you acquire more bounties of the Kingdom and engage yourselves in guiding souls, so that Los Angeles may become a divine city and a center of the lights of the Kingdom. If the friends of God act according to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, they will succeed in guiding the people, will promote the unity of mankind and will strive for universal peace. Heavenly confirmations will descend upon them and they shall attain that station which is the desire of the holy ones and near ones.”

When the Master reached the railway station, it was learned that Mrs Goodall, without telling us, had secured pullman reservations for everyone. Although the Master had a comfortable berth in the train, He was so tired He could not sleep.

12 October 1912, Talk at Temple Emmanu-El, 450 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California 4

Today the Christians are believers in Moses, accept Him as a Prophet of God and praise Him most highly. The Muslims are, likewise, believers in Moses, accept the validity of His Prophethood, at the same time believing in Christ. Could it be said that the acceptance of Moses by the Christians and Muslims has been harmful and detrimental to those people? On the contrary, it has been beneficial to them, proving that they have been fair-minded and just. What harm could result to the Jewish people, then, if they in return should accept Christ and acknowledge the validity of the Prophethood of Muḥammad? By this acceptance and praiseworthy attitude the enmity and hatred which have afflicted mankind so many centuries would be dispelled, fanaticism and bloodshed pass away and the world be blessed by unity and agreement. Christians and Muslims believe and admit that Moses was the Interlocutor of God. Why do you not say that Christ was the Word of God? Why do you not speak these few words that will do away with all this difficulty? Then there will be no more hatred and fanaticism, no more warfare and bloodshed in the Land of Promise. Then there will be peace among you forever.

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

As the time of departure from Los Angeles grew near many people wanted to see the Master

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

October 21, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “October 21, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 21 Oct. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/10/21/october-21-1912-the-week-ahead/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 169-170.
  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=8#section212
  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, 368. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/27#623647365

239 Days in America, Day 187: October 14, 1912 | San Francisco

October 14, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

THE PAST SEVEN DAYS stand out as some of the most eventful of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s entire trip to America. He argued for a novel, scientific basis for peace in front of two thousand at Stanford University in Palo Alto, tackled the subject of evolution at the Open Forum in San Francisco, and engaged Rabbi Martin A. Meyer’s Reform Jewish congregation at the Temple Emanu-El by delivering his longest address in America. Over this weekend he is spending three nights in the countryside, at the palatial estate of Phoebe Hearst in nearby Pleasanton.

In the week ahead we will hear Americans’ earliest impressions of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, during the 1898 pilgrimage to ‘Akká that Mrs. Hearst organized, and we will follow ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to Los Angeles as he pays his respects to one of the first Americans ever to reach out to him across the ocean, the late Thornton Chase.

California 2

On Monday afternoon [October 14] He went with the Persian friends to the estate of Phoebe Hearst, at her invitation, and remained for two nights. Mahmúd observed, “Some of the relatives of the lady were also present. As there were people of different dispositions, the discourses of the Beloved were brief and full of wisdom according to the exigencies of the occasion. Many important ideas were couched in condensed sentences so that they made the maximum of effect with the minimum of words.”

Monday, October 14, 1912 3

In the morning ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke about the election of the president of the republic. He said:

“The president must be a man who does not insistently seek the presidency. He should be a person free from all thoughts of name and rank; rather, he should say, ‘I am unworthy and incapable of this position and cannot bear this great burden.’ Such persons deserve the presidency. If the object is to promote the public good, then the president must be a well-wisher of all and not a self-seeking person. If the object, however, is to promote personal interests, then such a position will be injurious to humanity and not beneficial to the public.”

He then went to lunch. At the request of those present at the table the Master chanted the following prayer:

“He is God! Thou seest us, O my God, gathered around this table, praising Thy bounty, with our gaze set upon Thy Kingdom. O Lord! Send down upon us Thy heavenly food and confer upon us Thy blessing. Thou art verily the Bestower, the Merciful, the Compassionate.”

The Master then spoke extensively on the history of some famous people.

In the afternoon He went for an automobile ride through valleys, hills and meadows as far as the breakwater. When He returned to the house, the Master rested in the garden on special chairs brought for Him and the others and gave a detailed history of the life and teachings of the Blessed Beauty.

At the dinner table He spoke of His gratitude for the blessings of God and the importance of assisting the weak and poor. He was asked, ‘How is it that the desires of some people are achieved while others are not?’ The gist of the Master’s response was:

“What conforms with divine decree will be realized. In addition, good intentions and sound thoughts attract confirmations. The desires of human beings are endless. No matter what level a human being reaches, he can still attain higher ones, so he is always making effort and desiring more. He can never find peace but through effort and resignation, so that, notwithstanding all efforts in worldly affairs, the human heart remains free and happy. He neither becomes proud on attaining wealth and position nor becomes dejected on losing them. This station can be attained only through the power of faith.”

Such explanations and exhortations repeated at every meeting were warnings and reminders for these prominent people. Day by day their humility and sincerity increased owing to His presence.

12 October 1912, Talk at Temple Emmanu-El, 450 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California 4

There is another and more significant aspect to this religious impulse and impetus. The children of Israel were in bondage and captivity in the land of Egypt four hundred years. They were in an extreme state of degradation and slavery under the tyranny and oppression of the Egyptians. While they were in the condition of abject poverty, in the lowest degree of abasement, ignorance and servility, Moses suddenly appeared among them. Although He was but a shepherd, such majesty, grandeur and efficiency became manifest in Him through the power of religion that His influence continues to this day. His Prophethood was established throughout the land, and the law of His Word became the foundation of the laws of the nations. This unique Personage, single and alone, rescued the children of Israel from bondage through the power of religious training and discipline. He led them to the Holy Land and founded there a great civilization which has become permanent and renowned and under which these people attained the highest degree of honor and glory. He freed them from bondage and captivity. He imbued them with qualities of progressiveness and capability. They proved to be a civilizing people with instincts toward education and scholastic attainment. Their philosophy became renowned; their industries were celebrated throughout the nations. In all lines of advancement which characterize a progressive people they achieved distinction. In the splendor of the reign of Solomon their sciences and arts advanced to such a degree that even the Greek philosophers journeyed to Jerusalem to sit at the feet of the Hebrew sages and acquire the basis of Israelitish law. According to eastern history this is an established fact. Even Socrates visited the Jewish doctors in the Holy Land, consorting with them and discussing the principles and basis of their religious belief. After his return to Greece he formulated his philosophical teaching of divine unity and advanced his belief in the immortality of the spirit beyond the dissolution of the body. Without doubt, Socrates absorbed these verities from the wise men of the Jews with whom he came in contact. Hippocrates and other philosophers of the Greeks likewise visited Palestine and acquired wisdom from the Jewish prophets, studying the basis of ethics and morality, returning to their country with contributions which have made Greece famous.

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

Presidential election

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

October 14, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “October 14, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 14 Oct. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/10/14/october-14-1912-the-week-ahead/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 168.
  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=8#section205
  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, 362-363. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/27#004021410

239 Days in America, Day 172: September 29, 1912 | Salt Lake City

“The Supreme Psychiatrist” 1

‘THE COCKROACHES SCUTTLED AS she approached, fleeing the sugary drops that had hardened on the countertop under the soda fountain. Feny E. Paulson had traveled to Salt Lake City all the way from Missoula, Montana — an approximately twenty-four hour journey. She lodged at the Young Women’s Christian Association. Feny noted that she found a dead fly in her German fries, and the chicken wings she ate still wore most of their feathers. But she was not there to be entertained; she had come to see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Meeting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had its own logistical complications. A telegram had been sent to Ms. Paulson, informing her of the date of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s arrival. But it failed to mention what railroad he would be arriving on. “Hence I spent most of my second day making the streetcar circuit,” Feny wrote in her diary, “station to station, reading schedules of train arrivals.”

When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá finally arrived in Salt Lake City at 2 p.m. on September 29, 1912, on the Grand Central R.R., Feny was there to greet him. “It was an oriental picture in an occidental setting,” she wrote of the scene. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had arrived with his retinue of companions, including a young Japanese man, Saichiro Fujita.

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

At the end of the interview the Master took a Bahá’í stone, pressed it to His forehead, then placed it on each of my eyes, His lips moving silently in a prayer or blessing he also gave me a locket-sized likeness of Himself as a father gives a treasure to one of His children.

… Although the details of each person in the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá are individually different, they are the means to the same end—spiritual progress. Incidents forgotten and hidden in the recesses of one’s being, in His presence, are in a flash perceived and unobtrusively aired, alchemized as it were, removing veils that inhibit necessary spiritual development. The problems and burdens that were but stepping stones in the past become non-essentials in the light of His divine love. 3

Sunday, September 29, 1912 4

In the morning several newspaper reporters who had heard of His arrival came to see the Master. They were fascinated with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s words concerning the history and teachings of the Cause of God. To one of them He said:

“When I entered this city, I saw there was quite a stir. I asked the reason and was told that an agricultural convention was being held. I remarked that Bahá’u’lláh, too, organized a convention in Persia. The difference is that your congress is of this world but Bahá’u’lláh’s is divine. Great persons have come to the congress but their motive is earthly as they have assembled to consider questions concerning agriculture. But in that other congress holy ones have gathered who irrigate the field of hearts with the water of eternal life, as their motive is heavenly. This congress is decorated with earthly lamps while that is embellished with heavenly lights. The music of this is terrestrial while the strains of that are celestial. This convention meets in a private hall while that gathering is held under the tent of the unity of mankind and international peace. The queen of this congress is a lady bedecked with ornaments and embellishments of this mortal world but the king of that congress is the King of the Throne of Eternity, Whose sovereignty is divine. When I compared these two congresses I became extremely glad and prayed that God may bless your farming and bestow upon you spiritual strength and capacity for life everlasting.”

Today many were attracted by the Master’s visit with us to the State Fair.297 He had been invited to the hotel by some delegates while others pleaded with Him to prolong His stay. Because of the shortness of time, He could not accept their invitation. ‘If we had time,’ He said, ‘some seeds would have been sown in this city, too. But the people are enjoying the celebration and we have no time at our disposal.’

This city is called the City of the Mormons because the majority of its inhabitants are of the Mormon denomination which allows polygamy and divorce.

In the afternoon the Master went to the place specifically set out and decorated for the agricultural exhibition. Alighting from the tram, He went to the exhibit of agricultural machines for plowing, planting and harvesting. He asked about their usage and cost. He then went to the vegetable and grain section and the fruit section. The Master praised the agricultural progress of America. The fruits and vegetables exhibited were among the finest specimens of grapes, apples, pears, pomegranates, cabbages and very large pumpkins, all of many colors and of varieties that we had not seen before.

The section manager saw the Master among the visitors and came towards us and the interpreter, asking to be introduced to Him. He accompanied the Master, offering Him samples of many fruits (even though the purchase, sale and consumption of these items was strictly prohibited). He described to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the various methods of agriculture and then concluded the tour at the grain and mineral display. The Master told us to purchase seeds of some of the fruits and flowers so they could be sent to the Holy Land to be planted at the Most Holy Shrine.

As He was returning to the hotel, the Master saw a Cardinal walking proudly with people on his way to dedicate a church. This Cardinal had heard about the Master and had spoken about the false Christ, thus he was often mentioned by the Master in His meetings.

24 September 1912, Talk at Home of Mrs. Sidney E. Roberts , Denver, Colorado 5

The world of humanity is filled with darkness; you are its radiant candles. It is very poor; you must be the treasury of the Kingdom. It is exceedingly debased; you must be the cause of its exaltation. It is bereft of divine graces; you must give it impetus and spiritual quickening. According to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh you must love and cherish each individual member of humanity.

The first sign of faith is love. The message of the holy, divine Manifestations is love; the phenomena of creation are based upon love; the radiance of the world is due to love; the well-being and happiness of the world depend upon it. Therefore, I admonish you that you must strive throughout the human world to diffuse the light of love. The people of this world are thinking of warfare; you must be peacemakers. The nations are self-centered; you must be thoughtful of others rather than yourselves. They are neglectful; you must be mindful. They are asleep; you should be awake and alert. May each one of you be as a shining star in the horizon of eternal glory. This is my wish for you and my highest hope. I have come long distances that you may attain these attributes and divine favors. Praise be to God! I have attended this meeting which has for its purpose the commemoration of God.

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

Bahá’u’lláh organized a divine convention in Persia

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 29, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “‘The Supreme Psychiatrist.’” -239 Days in America-, 29 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/29/the-supreme-psychiatrist/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 162.
  3. Notes of Feny E. Paulson, National Bahá’í Archives, Wilmette, Ill.
  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=7#section189
  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, 337. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/26#790816564

239 Days in America, Day 169: September 26, 1912 | Denver

Drinking Tea with “The Girl from Kansas” 1

“THE CONVERSATION OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ did not stop,” the newswoman noted, “even as we drank our Persian tea together.” The pair sat near the window of his room at the Shirley Hotel in Denver, Colorado. He looked out at the “rain flecked leaves of a swaying tree,” she wrote, “and occasionally closed his eyes as though looking into the future for the realization of the message which he believes is finding material ground for fruitage in America.”

Those who encountered ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on America’s Western frontier were still grappling with their first impressions of him. Among them was Alice Rohe, a thirty-six-year-old reporter from Lawrence, Kansas. Her interview with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá took place on September 24, 1912, and was published the next day in the Daily News: Denver, Colorado.

Alice Rohe had met with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá for an hour at the Shirley Hotel. She described him as a “patriarch of old — his gray beard falling upon his breast, his white locks surmounted by a white turban, his erect figure draped in the flowing garments of Persia . . . .” Yet, she added, “this statement refers only to the first fleeting impression.” When he speaks, she noted, “the keen dark eyes become afire with the words he utters — the first impression of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá becomes a superficial one.”

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

The next day, September 26, the train left Denver heading west. At 2:00 A.M. [September 27] He got off at Glenwood Springs and took rooms at the Hotel Colorado.

September 26, 1912 3

As He intended to leave Denver, His talks with the believers became exhortations. He said:

“I hope that you will be under the protection of God, will succeed in rendering service to humanity and will always be a source of happiness to every heart. The best person is he who wins all hearts and is not the cause of grief to anyone. The worst of souls is he who causes hearts to be agitated and who becomes the cause of sadness. Always endeavor to make people happy and their hearts joyful so that you may become the cause of guidance to mankind. Proclaim the Word of God and diffuse the divine fragrances.”

Someone asked Him about eating meat. He replied:

“God has appointed provision for every living creature. To birds He has given beaks so that they pick up seeds. To animals such as cows and goats He has given teeth like scythes in order that they may eat grass. To carnivores He has given claws like forks and canine teeth so that they may prey because they cannot eat grass. Their food is meat. But man’s food is not meat for he has not been created with means to eat flesh. God has given him beauty of form and has created him blessed and not rapacious and bloodthirsty.”

The Master’s train left Denver at 9:00 a.m. Some of the articles that had been published in the Denver newspapers were translated for Him. They made His heart very happy as they described the spread of the teachings of God in that city and contained translations of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s words. Among them was the translation of these words:

“The contingent world is like the human body that has grown from the embryonic state and reached maturity and perfection. It may be said that the development of the human being from the beginning of life to the age of maturity is but a preparation for the appearance of the power of reason. This is the age of maturity and the time of the manifestation of the Most Great Intellect and the Most Ancient Bounty so that divine and material civilizations may be joined and the perfection of the human world may dawn.”

Around midnight ‘Abdu’l-Bahá became fatigued owing to the speed and motion of the train. We proposed that because California was still some distance away, if He would consent, it might be a good idea to stop for two or three days. At 2:00 a.m. the train reached Glenwood Springs, beautifully situated near many hot springs. We stayed at the Hotel Colorado, which is a fine hotel overlooking the river, nestled among green parks and wooded mountains.

24 September 1912, Talk at Home of Mrs. Sidney E. Roberts , Denver, Colorado 4

The honor of man is through the attainment of the knowledge of God; his happiness is from the love of God; his joy is in the glad tidings of God; his greatness is dependent upon his servitude to God. The highest development of man is his entrance into the divine Kingdom, and the outcome of this human existence is the nucleus and essence of eternal life. If man is bereft of the divine bestowals and if his enjoyment and happiness are restricted to his material inclinations, what distinction or difference is there between the animal and himself? In fact, the animal’s happiness is greater, for its wants are fewer and its means of livelihood easier to acquire. Although it is necessary for man to strive for material needs and comforts, his real need is the acquisition of the bounties of God. If he is bereft of divine bounties, spiritual susceptibilities and heavenly glad tidings, the life of man in this world has not yielded any worthy fruit. While possessing physical life, he should lay hold of the life spiritual, and together with bodily comforts and happiness, he should enjoy divine pleasures and content. Then is man worthy of the title man; then will he be after the image and likeness of God, for the image of the Merciful consists of the attributes of the heavenly Kingdom. If no fruits of the Kingdom appear in the garden of his soul, man is not in the image and likeness of God, but if those fruits are forthcoming, he becomes the recipient of ideal bestowals and is enkindled with the fire of the love of God. If his morals become spiritual in character, his aspirations heavenly and his actions conformable to the will of God, man has attained the image and likeness of his Creator; otherwise, he is the image and likeness of Satan. Therefore, Christ hath said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

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

“The best person is he who wins all hearts and is not the cause of grief to anyone.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 26, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “Drinking Tea with ‘The Girl from Kansas.’” 239 Days in America, 26 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/26/drinking-tea-with-the-girl-from-kansas/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 158.
  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=7#section186
  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, 335-336. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/26#568183350