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

239 Days in America, Day 134: August 22, 1912 | Green Acre

The Battles of Sarah J. Farmer 1

THE CAR APPROACHED FROM the direction of Kittery, slowed as it reached the streetcar depot at the top of Green Acre’s long driveway, and then stopped. While a tall man with dark hair kept watch in the front seat, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá got into the back, and sat next to Miss Sarah J. Farmer. It was Tuesday, August 20, 1912, and she had not set eyes on Green Acre for more than three years. The trouble had started way back during the 189os. The problem was that she was a woman.

In 1889, Sarah Farmer signed on as silent partner in the Eliot Hotel Company. Four local men had started the venture to capture the tourists flocking to nearby York Beach. But somehow the partners had overlooked the fact that Eliot was six miles from the sea, and the enterprise failed. They were therefore delighted, when, in 1894, Miss Farmer proposed to lease the boarded-up hotel each summer for a few weeks of lectures on religion.

Within two years, thousands of people were attending each July and August, and newspapers across the Northeast followed the proceedings. Sarah J. Farmer secured the leading public intellectuals of the era to speak at Green Acre, transforming it from a center for inter-religious dialogue into a place that encompassed the social and intellectual movements that were on the verge of launching the Progressive Era.

Green Acre 2

On August 22, in another of the crowds of people who continually came, was a woman who had survived the Titanic disaster. She said, “‘I am informed that you advised not to go by that boat.’” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá replied, “’Yes.’” She asked, “‘Did you know that it would happen thus?’” He responded, “’God sends a feeling of misgiving into man’s heart.’”

17 August 1912, Talk at Green Acre, Eliot, Maine 3

Bahá’u’lláh has proclaimed the promise of the oneness of humanity. Therefore, we must exercise the utmost love toward each other. We must be loving to all the people of the world. We must not consider any people the people of Satan, but know and recognize all as the servants of the one God. At most it is this: Some do not know; they must be guided and trained. They must be taught to love their fellow creatures and be encouraged in the acquisition of virtues. Some are ignorant; they must be informed. Some are as children, undeveloped; they must be helped to reach maturity. Some are ailing, their moral condition is unhealthy; they must be treated until their morals are purified. But the sick man is not to be hated because he is sick, the child must not be shunned because he is a child, the ignorant one is not to be despised because he lacks knowledge. They must all be treated, educated, trained and assisted in love. Everything must be done in order that humanity may live under the shadow of God in the utmost security, enjoying happiness in its highest degree.

Thursday, August 22, 1912 4

So many assembled this morning in the Master’s home that there was no room to stand. The Master said that it was not possible to speak to each individually, therefore He stood in front of the group and spoke about the teachings and divine exhortations. At one point He said, ‘I hope that harvests will be reaped from the seed-sowing and that it will receive heavenly blessings.’

After the meeting the Master gave permission to some earnest seekers to see Him privately. Afterwards, He went to visit the homes of some of the friends.

Today a lady who had survived the Titanic disaster came to see Him. ‘I am told,’ she said, ‘that you advised not to travel by that ship.’

The Master replied in the affirmative. She questioned, ‘Did you know that this would happen?’ The Master said, ‘God inspires man’s heart.’

When He returned to the Inn, some prominent people came to see Him. In the course of the conversation they said, ‘We have always understood that religion is opposed to science but we are now indebted to your discourses and teachings for throwing a new light on our thinking.’

The Master gave another talk on these issues for their enlightenment. Another group of people came to visit Him, expressing their heartfelt sorrow that He intended to leave Green Acre. They begged Him to write them a few words in His own handwriting and He wrote brief prayers for them in His exquisite script.

In the afternoon He paid farewell visits to some of the friends at their homes. At each gathering He offered life-giving words and in each home He was as the beloved one who steals hearts. He then returned home extremely exhausted, to the point that He could not even sit down. ‘Our condition’, He said, ‘is like that of the exhausted iron worker’s apprentice whose master said to him, “Die, but pump.”‘

After a brief rest He went to the hall at Eirenion and gave a talk on unity among the races, the elimination of prejudice amongst the peoples and nations, and the necessity for the oneness of the world of humanity in this enlightened age. At the end He chanted a prayer in such melodious and sweet tones that every heart was attracted to the divine kingdom and every soul turned to the Beauty of the Beloved.

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

So many people eager to see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

August 22 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “The Battles of Sarah J. Farmer.” 239 Days in America, 22 Aug. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/08/22/battles-sarah-j-farmer/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 130.
  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, 269-270. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/19#451722796
  4. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=6#section151

239 Days in America, Day 122: August 10, 1912 | Dublin

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey So Far: Month Four 1

TODAY MARKS THE END of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s fourth month in America. We thought we’d take this opportunity to look back at some of the highlights of the past month.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá has now passed the halfway mark on his journey through America. We look forward to having you join us for the final four months. And please, join the conversation!

New Hampshire 2

At the close of a meeting on August 10, after He had shaken hands with the crowd of people, He went with the Persians to another room and said, “‘Come here, be seated. Mrs. Parsons has sent tea, sweets and some fruits for you. Eat and drink.’” With a twinkle in His eyes, He continued:

Oh! you are very badly off here! May God hear your complaint! Oh! you are in great trouble. To live in this manner, to dwell in such a house, to walk in such air, and to stay with such … respected friends is, of course, very hard for you. … See what I meant by the jest. What a wonderful table the Blessed Perfection has spread for His friends! Had kings come here they would have been served. But this favor and zeal of the friends would not have appeared for any one of them. These great men love you with heart and soul and serve you without any fear, hope, or expectation of reward. The poet has truly said that these things, namely, the demon, … the phoenix, … and the faithful friend are scarce. Yes, like the demon and the phoenix, the true friend is scarce. But under the shadow of the Word of God, the Blessed Beauty has produced such friends for you.

Saturday, August 10, 1912 3

In the morning the Master explained and illustrated some of the verses from Bahá’u’lláh for the friends who had come from the surrounding area to see Him. The explanations ended with the statement that contentment in poverty is better than happiness in wealth but happiness in poverty is more praiseworthy than mere contentment. Above all is the rich man who, having sacrificed, emerges pure from tests and trials and becomes the cause of tranquillity to mankind. Gratitude is the cause of multiple blessings but the apex of gratitude is sacrifice. The station of sacrifice is the highest of all. For this reason it is said, ‘You will never attain unto righteousness until ye sacrifice that which ye love.’ The Master then narrated a story:

“At the time of his death a king longed for the station of a poor man, saying, ‘Would that I were a poor man so that I would neither have practiced oppression nor have had any regrets at the time of death.’ A poor man heard this, and said, ‘Praise be to God that at the hour of death kings desire to be poor. We poor people at the hour of death have no desire to be kings.’”

Conversation of this kind continued for some time.

In the afternoon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá addressed a meeting and spoke on the principles of the Cause, emphasizing universal peace among the nations. After the meeting a person in the audience said: ‘The Bahá’ís do not believe in any one person but believe in the good teachings of all the Prophets and religions.’ The implication of his statement was that believing in the Manifestation of God was of no consequence. But note the Master’s reply to this remark:

“The basic principles of all religions are the same and the Sun of Truth is one, yet every day it appears from a different dawning point. Hence, the Bahá’ís believe in the fundamental truth of all the religions and turn to the Sun of Truth. From whatever dawning point it may appear they turn toward it. At one time, it appeared from the dawning point of Moses, then from that of Jesus and again from that of Muhammad. But if all had looked only at the dawning points, they would have remained veiled like the Jews when the Sun of Truth appeared from another place. Today the Bahá’ís look at the Sun of Truth and not at the dawning point. From whatever place it may appear, they turn to it. You have rightly understood that the Bahá’ís do not believe in a person; rather they believe in the truth which shines from the divine dawning points.”

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

Gratitude is the cause of multiple blessings but the apex of gratitude is sacrifice

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

August 10, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey So Far: Month Four.” 239 Days in America, 10 Aug. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/08/10/abdul-bahas-journey-so-far-month-four/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 121-122.
  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=6#section139

239 Days in America, Day 105: July 24, 1912 | Boston

’Abdu’l-Bahá: Science Proves the Human Spirit 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ RECEIVED A LAST-MINUTE invitation just before dinner on July 24, 1912. He had already spoken to hundreds of people that day in Boston, in at least five different venues. Then the request came from the President of the American Theosophical Society. Although exhausted, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wasn’t one to say no, especially to a group devoted to the pursuit of spiritual matters.

“There is no religion higher than truth,” was the maxim of the Theosophical Society. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, a Russian noblewoman, had founded the organization in New York in 1875. Madame Blavatsky traveled the world in order to glean truths from the belief systems of the East, then immigrated to the West to inspire Americans. The event in Boston that evening took place just a stone’s throw away from the Victoria Hotel where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was staying.

“In the world of existence there is nothing so important as spirit,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá began. “The spirit of man is the animus of human life and the collective center of all human virtues.”

New Hampshire 2

On Wednesday, July 24, He spoke with the visitors at His hotel room from 8:00 A.M. until noon, when He went to speak at the Golden Ring Club. A number of people crowded into the car afterward and asked Him questions during an hour-and-a-half drive. Another group was waiting when He returned to the hotel. Later that night He spoke to the Boston Theosophical Society.

Wednesday, July 24, 1912 3

From 8:00 a.m. until noon, the Master spoke to friends and seekers who came to visit. Newspapers carrying accounts of the previous day’s meeting were brought to Him. Both His talk and the questions and answers were published.

In the afternoon He gave a public address about those deeds which bring about the beauty of perfection in this contingent world.

He was invited later to the Golden Links Club where He was asked whether Arabic might become the universal language. He said that it would not. He was then asked about Esperanto. He replied:

A few weeks ago, I wrote a letter from New York to one of the promoters of Esperanto telling him that this language could become universal if a council of delegates chosen from among the nations and rulers were established which would discuss Esperanto and consider the means to promote it.

He gave a public address on the subject of the relationship between the East and the West. The president of the club and its members were enchanted and reverently and humbly bid Him farewell. Some even continued to listen to His explanations in the automobile as it traveled for one and a half hours through parks, gardens and green fields, all beautifully landscaped. When He reached the hotel, He found another group waiting. After greeting the members of the Bahá’í Assembly, He spoke with the group at length.

Later that day the president of the Boston Theosophical Society invited the Master to speak to his association that evening. Although He was tired, seeing that the meeting place was not too far away, He accepted and gave a detailed and comprehensive talk on the immortality of the spirit of man. When the meeting ended, the people ran to the door to shake hands with the Master and to express their joy and devotion. Some were in ecstasy.

Talk to Theosophical Society, The Kensington, Exeter and Boylston Streets, Boston, Massachusetts 4

In the world of existence there is nothing so important as spirit, nothing so essential as the spirit of man. The spirit of man is the most noble of phenomena. The spirit of man is the meeting between man and God. The spirit of man is the animus of human life and the collective center of all human virtues. The spirit of man is the cause of the illumination of this world. The world may be likened to the body; man is the spirit of the body, because the light of the world is the human spirit. Man is the life of the world, and the life of man is the spirit. The happiness of the world depends upon man, and the happiness of man is dependent upon the spirit. The world may be likened to the lamp chimney, whereas man is the light. Man himself may be likened to the lamp; his spirit is the light within the lamp. Therefore, we will speak of this spirit.

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

Selecting a universal language

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 24, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Science Proves the Human Spirit.” 239 Days in America, 24 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/24/different-definition-of-spiritual/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 117.
  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#section122
  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, 239-240. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/17#220024050

239 Days in America, Day 93: July 12, 1912 | New York

The Short and Fearless Life of Lua Getsinger 1

AT ABOUT MIDNIGHT ON December 8, 1898, dozens of pairs of eyes peered at Louisa Moore Getsinger through the darkness of a poorly-lighted coffee house near the beach where the ship had dropped them off. Lua was a long way from home: this was Haifa, an outpost of the Ottoman Empire on the shores of the Holy Land. A group of men sat cross-legged on the floor, sipping tea, and speaking Persian and Arabic. One of them nodded; the rest stared in amazement…

Everything was wrapped in secrecy so as not to arouse the suspicion of the authorities, because ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was still a prisoner under house arrest. The group of fifteen pilgrims had been instructed to arrive in the Holy Land in groups of two. Lua and her husband, Edward, were the first to arrive.

They waited almost two days before receiving permission to proceed to ‘Akká, a five-mile journey on horseback along the sandy edge of Haifa Bay. Lua later wrote of the “violent beating of my heart.” When she first laid eyes on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá she ran to him, threw herself at his feet, and cried like a child.

“Arise and be of good cheer!” she remembers ‘Abdu’l-Bahá saying. He wasn’t one for outbursts of devotion, not to mention people prostrating themselves at his feet. Lua would stay in the Holy Land for four months, learn to speak Persian, and listen as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá instilled in her the need for women to arise and do “great things.”

New York City 2

While He [‘Abdu’l-Bahá] had already proclaimed the Faith in Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and other places, it was in New York that He stayed day after day, deepening those who came to Him, preparing them to develop new inner eyes, ears, hearts, and minds, bringing together interracial gatherings, trying to get the friends to see the spiritual qualities of each other as a reality.

Thursday, July 12, 1912 3

As the heat was excessive and because He had been revealing Tablets and visiting with the friends, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was tired. We said that there was a bath in the house and that the Master could have His bath every day. He said: ‘We are like soldiers; we must not form any habits or have a care for anything.’

At another time He was asked how He liked the large buildings of America. He replied:

“I have not come to see very tall buildings or places of interest in America. I look always for the foundation of the love of God in the realm of the hearts. I have no inclination to see other sights.”

At a meeting with the friends in the afternoon He explained the uniqueness of the divine teachings of this great Cause. Among them are the establishment of the Covenant and the Expounder of the Book ’[Abdu’l-Bahá], thereby closing the door on the differences that have arisen at the inception of past Dispensations; association with all religions; the prohibition of cursing or execrating other sects; the commandment to forgive enemies; the oneness of humanity and universal brotherhood; the giving and taking in marriage from all nationalities; the injunctions to parents to educate their children, whether boys or girls; the equality of the rights of men and women; the establishment of the supreme House of Justice as the center of authority; and finally the relinquishing of religious, patriotic, racial and political prejudices. His talk was long and very detailed.

In the evening ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was invited to Brooklyn and we accompanied Him. On the way He spoke about New York’s large population and the occupations of the people:

“This city with its suburbs has about half the population of Persia. If Persia had a population and an affluence like this, and had she turned herself to progress, she would have far excelled this country in all respects. There can be no comparison whatsoever between these people and the manners, love, hospitality, intuition and sagacity of the Persians.”

He then described the days of the Blessed Beauty’s sojourn in Constantinople, the self-subsistence and grandeur of the Ancient Beauty and the testimony of Mírzá Husayn Khán, who had said in Tihrán that there was only one person, Bahá’u’lláh, who had been the cause of glory and exaltation of the Persians in foreign lands and who did not court anyone’s favor in that city.

After approximately an hour’s drive, the carriage stopped at the home of Mrs Newton and Mrs Rivers. After a short rest, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went to the table for dinner. Afterwards, He thanked the hostesses, spoke briefly and then returned home. On the way back He spoke about the difference in time between the East and the West. ‘Here it is almost midnight’, He said, ‘while in the East it is midday and in other countries it is afternoon. Here we are going to sleep, while in the East they are busy doing work.’

While the carriage was in motion it felt less hot but the long distance and the exceedingly hot weather took their toll on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The carriage crossed the Hudson River, passing through the length of the city, which was bedecked with gas and electric lamps of red, yellow and green and colorful advertisements along its wide streets and in the shops. The light emanating from them threw a luster on the greatness of this mighty century. Then the carriage reached home.

Diary of Juliet Thompson, 12 July 1912 4

Percy [Stickney Grant] spent the morning with us, leaving us for a little while to return with bottles of ginger ale and grape juice which he mixed into a drink for us. When he finally left about noon I followed him out of the studio.

“What message have you,” I asked, “for the Master?”

He swore! It was a very mild swear, but he coupled the Master’s name with it, so I can’t repeat it.

“I believe you love Him,” he said fiercely, “more than anything on earth.”

“I do.”

“More than your art,” he added quickly.

“But of course.”

“Well, you shouldn’t. With your talent, Juliet, you could do immortal work. Do you never think of that?”

“I am thinking of His immortal work in us.”

“He has done it, in you!”

“Not yet.”

“Juliet, I have wanted to co-operate with Him. You know that. But I don’t believe He can do this thing alone.”

“I believe He is perfectly able to do it alone.”

“You do?”

“He changes the hearts and nobody else can do that. Well, what message shall I take to Him?”

“Tell Him with my greeting that I will come up some time to see Him, but I am out of town a great deal, most of the time, and–“

“Can’t you do any better than that?” I asked.

“I want to do something for His comfort and when Mr Flagler’s yacht comes back I want to take Him up the Hudson. I will be in town Friday, Juliet.”

“Then come up on Friday to see Him with me. Please come. You know I don’t often persist, but this time–forgive me if I do.”

“I think it is beautiful of you to persist in this instance, Juliet.” With the face of a martyr he kissed my hand. “I will come Friday.”

And, looking unspeakably miserable, he left me.

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

The divine Prophets are conjoined in the perfect state of love. Each One has given the glad tidings of His successor’s coming and each successor has sanctioned the One Who preceded Him. They were in the utmost unity, but Their followers are in strife. For instance, Moses gave the message of the glad tidings of Christ, and Christ confirmed the Prophethood of Moses. Therefore, between Moses and Jesus there is no variation or conflict. They are in perfect unity, but between the Jew and the Christian there is conflict. Now, therefore, if the Christian and Jewish peoples investigate the reality underlying their Prophets’ teachings, they will become kind in their attitude toward each other and associate in the utmost love, for reality is one and not dual or multiple. If this investigation of reality becomes universal, the divergent nations will ratify all the divine Prophets and confirm all the Holy Books. No strife or rancor will then remain, and the world will become united. Then will we associate in the reality of love. We will become as fathers and sons, as brothers and sisters living together in complete unity, love and happiness; for this century is the century of light. It is not like former centuries. Former centuries were epochs of oppression. Now human intellects have developed, and human intelligence has increased. Each soul is investigating reality. This is not a time when we shall wage war and be hostile toward each other. We are living at a time when we should enjoy real friendship.

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

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s conversation with Reverend Percy Grant

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 12, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “The Short and Fearless Life of Lua Getsinger.” 239 Days in America, 12 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/12/lua-getsingers-odyssey/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 110.
  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#section110
  4. Thompson, Juliet. The Diary of Juliet Thompson. Edited by Marzieh Gail. 1st ed. 1947. Reprint, Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1983, 338-339. https://archive.org/details/diaryofjuliettho0000thom/page/338/mode/2up
  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, 222-223. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#846487127

239 Days in America, Day 84: July 03, 1912 | New York

Woodrow Wilson: The Man Who Would Be President 1

Thomas Woodrow Wilson, now fifty-six years old, was a Southerner: he was born in Staunton, Virginia, in 1856. His earliest memory was of being three years old, hearing that Abraham Lincoln had been elected president and that there was going to be a war. Wilson earned his doctorate at Johns Hopkins University in history and political science, and taught constitutional law at Princeton, where he was appointed president of the university in 1902, serving until 1910. As governor of New Jersey he pursued an agenda of progressive reform, introducing worker’s compensation and sidelining the party bosses by introducing presidential electoral primaries. His quick rise to national prominence catapulted his presidential run.

Wilson stepped out onto the wide front porch of his house to face the crowd of reporters camped outside. His acceptance speech was short, and devoid of triumphalism. “The honor is as great as can come to any man by the nomination of a party,” he said, “and I hope I appreciate it at its true value; but just a [t] this moment I feel the tremendous responsibility it involves even more than I feel the honor.”

New York City 2

The New York Times for that day and Wednesday [July 3] noted, “Cuban Revolt Seems Over”; “Houdini’s New Trick, Escapes from Huge Can of Water after Being Locked in Chest”; and “Woodrow Wilson Is Nominated for President.”

Wednesday, July 3, 1912

Today was the anniversary of the Independence of the United States from England. There were celebrations everywhere. The Master was invited to attend the Fourth of July parade to which the mayor was also invited. A special messenger had been sent to the Master at Montclair with the invitation. He replied then that He would come if His schedule would permit. As it was not a spiritual occasion, the Master did not go but in order to show His interest, He sent us, His companions, wearing our Persian hats and ‘abás. We arrived before the mayor, were received with great honor as representatives of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and were given seats near the mayor’s chair. There were people there from many nations including China, Japan, Turkey and India, as well as members of the American military and businesses carrying flags and decorations for the celebration. All of these passed before the mayor and were followed by parades of men, women, boys and girls in gala dress and singing sweetly. As they passed by the mayor’s stand, he spoke to all gracefully and kindly. After the parade it was the turn of the poets and speech-makers.

When we returned from the event to the Master, we described all that had taken place. It was well that He did not go because the excessive heat and crowds would have been a strain to His strength and health. Whenever it is beneficial to the interests of the Cause, He endures every kind of hardship. For example, on certain days during this journey, in spite of exhaustion and fatigue, He went to faraway places and attended many gatherings in the course of one day. He said, ‘I am continually speaking from morning until evening. Not even the strongest person would have such patience and fortitude.’

In the afternoon, at the request of friends, He went for an automobile ride into town. In the evening He spoke at length in His home about the coming of the Promised One. 3

Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, 1 July 1912

I desire to make manifest among the friends in America a new light that they may become a new people, that a new foundation may be established and complete harmony be realized; for the foundation of Bahá’u’lláh is love. When you go to Green Acre, you must have infinite love for each other, each preferring the other before himself. The people must be so attracted to you that they will exclaim, “What happiness exists among you!” and will see in your faces the lights of the Kingdom; then in wonderment they will turn to you and seek the cause of your happiness. You must give the message through action and deed, not alone by word. Word must be conjoined with deed. You must love your friend better than yourself; yes, be willing to sacrifice yourself. The Cause of Bahá’u’lláh has not yet appeared in this country. I desire that you be ready to sacrifice everything for each other, even life itself; then I will know that the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh has been established. I will pray for you that you may become the cause of upraising the lights of God. May everyone point to you and ask, “Why are these people so happy?” I want you to be happy in Green Acre, to laugh, smile and rejoice in order that others may be made happy by you. I will pray for you. 4

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

‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave Eastern names to two black visitors

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 03, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Woodrow Wilson: The Man Who Would Be President.” 239 Days in America, 3 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/03/the-man-who-would-be-president/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 108.
  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#section101
  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, 218. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#000750473

239 Days in America, Day 80: June 29, 1912 | New Jersey

Speaking Persian in America 1

On Sunday, June 30, 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá traveled by car through the countryside to Morristown, New Jersey. Mr. [Haozoun Hohannes ] Topakyan had invited him and his attendants for a barbecue. The consul sported a Western suit with a jacket that draped past his belly. He didn’t wear a fez, unlike the Persians who joined him, but kept an imperial mustache that curled slightly upwards. He was known for his “Oriental barbecues,” as The New York Times called them, at which an entire lamb was roasted and served on a bronze and gold table.

Mr. Topakyan was gracious when he thought it was warranted. On June 30 he refused to sit without ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s permission. Topakyan had invited several reporters to come and speak with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. After they had eaten lunch, a photographer came and took ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s picture.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá met with Mr. Topakyan on several more occasions, and kept in touch with him for years after he left America. One of his letters reads: “I will pray for you and Madame so that the Doors of the Kingdom of God, be always open before your faces and the Infinite Divine bestowals may descend upon you uninterruptedly so that according to the statement of Christ you may be of those who are chosen and not of those who are called.”

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 2

‘Abdu’l-Bahá left Montclair at 8:30 A.M. on Saturday, June 29, and, after transferring to four different streetcars, arrived at Roy Wilhelm’s home in West Englewood, New Jersey. This was the large outdoor gathering—the Unity Feast—to which Abdu’l-Bahá had invited the friends before he left New York. He rested as the friends arrived and sat in a circle in the shade of the large trees. Then He spoke to individuals as He walked among them. Addressing the entire group He said, “This is a new Day and this hour is a new Hour in which we have come together. . . . True Bahai meetings are the mirrors of the kingdom wherein images of the Supreme Concourse are reflected. . . . First, you must become united and agreed among yourselves. . . .

Talk at Unity Feast, Outdoors, West Englewood, New Jersey 3

First, you must become united and agreed among yourselves. You must be exceedingly kind and loving toward each other, willing to forfeit life in the pathway of another’s happiness. You must be ready to sacrifice your possessions in another’s behalf. The rich among you must show compassion toward the poor, and the well-to-do must look after those in distress. In Persia the friends offer their lives for each other, striving to assist and advance the interests and welfare of all the rest. They live in a perfect state of unity and agreement. Like the Persian friends you must be perfectly agreed and united to the extent and limit of sacrificing life. Your utmost desire must be to confer happiness upon each other. Each one must be the servant of the others, thoughtful of their comfort and welfare. In the path of God one must forget himself entirely. He must not consider his own pleasure but seek the pleasure of others. He must not desire glory nor gifts of bounty for himself but seek these gifts and blessings for his brothers and sisters. It is my hope that you may become like this, that you may attain to the supreme bestowal and be imbued with such spiritual qualities as to forget yourselves entirely and with heart and soul offer yourselves as sacrifices for the Blessed Perfection. You should have neither will nor desire of your own but seek everything for the beloved of God and live together in complete love and fellowship. May the favors of Bahá’u’lláh surround you from all directions. This is the greatest bestowal and supreme bounty. These are the infinite favors of God.

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 4

When He had finished, the meal was ready; but just as it was announced, thunder was heard, and large raindrops began to fall. Abdu’l-Bahá walked to the road, taking a chair, and several friends grouped around Him. As He sat, His face turned upward, a strong wind began to blow, the clouds began to disperse, and the sun shown through. Then He rose and walked back into the grove. After the meal of Persian food Abdu’l-Bahá anointed the two hundred fifty guests with attar of roses. After dark, as the friends sat on the lawn with candles, Abdu’l-Bahá spoke, ending as He walked into darkness, “Peace be with you. I will pray for you.” 5

Saturday, June 29, 1912

‘Abdu’l-Bahá and we were invited to the home of the Persian Consul General, Mr Topakyan. On the way the Master stopped by the home of the minister who had visited Him the previous day. When he saw the Master approaching from the distance, he rushed out of his house and with great humility and reverence thanked the Master for gracing his home. His zeal and joy increased minute by minute as he listened to the Master’s encouraging words.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá then continued the journey by automobile through the wooded countryside and went directly to the home of the Persian Consul General in Morristown, which is one of the most delightful places in the region. One of its charming features is the creek that runs through the green-clad hills whose trees and verdure face the Consul-General’s house. This beautiful setting appealed both to the heart and the soul. After the arrival of the Master, who was welcomed by the Consul General and his staff, several important people were invited to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. A number of reporters also interviewed Him and expressed their delight in His answers to their questions. Around lunch time, a photographer arrived and took two photographs of the Master, one before lunch was served and the other while He was seated at the table. In brief, the Consul General was most courteous and humble in the Master’s presence, to such an extent that he refused to sit without permission. He recorded ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s talk and conversations for publication in the newspapers and was honored to host the Master.

After the Master had a brief rest and a stroll in the afternoon, another reporter came to the house. As he listened to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s explanations about the teachings, he recorded them for publication. Then with great majesty, dignity and grandeur, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left for New York. When He arrived home, He did not permit us to prepare dinner for Him. Instead, He ate some watermelon and bread and retired for the night. 6

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

Mahmud: June 29 – “This is a New Day; a New Hour”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 29, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “Speaking Persian in America.” 239 Days in America, 29 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/29/speaking-persian-in-america/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 102.
  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, 215. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/15#477829896
  4. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 102-103.
  5. Thompson, Juliet. The Diary of Juliet Thompson. Edited by Marzieh Gail. 1st ed. 1947. Reprint, Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1983, 324. https://archive.org/details/diaryofjuliettho0000thom/page/324/mode/2up.
  6. ’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=4#section97

239 Days in America, Day 79: June 28, 1912 | New Jersey

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s “Feast of Unity” 1

THE ORIENTAL PASSENGER WAVED his arms on the steps of the train parked at Lackawanna station. He had to stall the train. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s attendants, “ten fez-wearing Persians,” as The New York Times put it, had already loaded their baggage on the train headed northeast from Montclair to West Englewood, New Jersey. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had not yet arrived. Missing the train could mean missing the event he had organized in nearby Englewood.

The distressed passenger pulled the bell rope, a job usually reserved for the conductor of the train to indicate an unplanned stop. Then one of the Persians – perhaps accidentally – knocked off the train conductor’s hat, distracting him. At last ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived in his car, the train halted, and his friends hustled him into the coach …

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 2

On Friday [June 28], when He [Abdu’l-Bahá ] took a group of the friends by streetcar to the park in Montclair, He led them to the empty bandstand, and seated them saying, “‘factious persons … are trying to imprison Me again on My return to the Holy Land,.” When the friends suggested it would be better for Him not to return, He replied, “‘My Source is the Holy Threshold. What I have is from that Threshold. And ,my return, too, is to the same. Had to not been for His aid and assistance, would these people sitting on your right and left have had any care for you and Me … What are we and why are we showered with these favors? Where is Persia and where is America? …’”

Friday, June 28, 1912

As the Master had previously invited the friends in New York to a Unity Feast in Englewood, He prepared to leave Montclair in the morning. Although most Americans do not awaken until after sunrise, some friends and their children were waiting an hour before dawn to see Him and to receive His blessings. Then another group arrived and received His bestowals.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá left Montclair at half past eight in the morning, passed through New York, and after changing trams four times and passing twice by the river, He reached Englewood. Tired from the journey and the warm weather, having traveled from morning to noon, He briefly rested at the home of Mr [Roy] Wilhelm. Meanwhile, the friends began to arrive from the surrounding areas and gathered on the lawn adjoining the house. The meeting was arranged in a circle under the trees, with almost two hundred people seated at the table and being served by the Bahá’ís. Everyone enjoyed the delicacies and was extremely happy.

The green lawn under the shade trees was strewn with flowers so that it seemed as if an embroidered carpet had been spread, every design indicative of the power of the Covenant of the Ancient Beauty. To see the Master walking in this green, flower-covered garden, with a gentle breeze blowing, the purity of the air, the cleanliness of the surroundings and the rejoicing of the friends, was most pleasing; all seemed to vie with one another to please the Master.

When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá entered the circle, He delivered a very eloquent address on the greatness of the Cause, the influence of the Word of God, the importance of the meetings of the friends and the need for unity among the friends of God. He counseled them to be truthful and faithful. Afterwards He strolled in the rose garden. “Abdu’l-Bahá gave His permission for His photograph to be taken and was photographed in two groups. In one He is seated in the garden with His Persian servants standing around Him and in the other He is seen with the friends, some of whom are seated while others are standing.

A minister and another important personage came to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. He invited them into Mr Wilhelm’s house and spoke with them until dinner was ready. He later left the house to take a brief stroll. When the friends were seated at the table, He took vials of attar of rose in His hand and anointed, perfumed and blessed them all, one by one. He thus made them the anointed of the Court of Servitude and the recipients of the spirit of devotion to the Threshold of God, for the bounties of the Holy Spirit had descended and the favors of God encompassed all. Standing in the center of this assemblage of lovers, He spoke to them in a voice that was sweeter than honey then returned to Mr Wilhelm’s house.

That the friends were ecstatic today need not be stated, since their Host was the Beloved of the Covenant; their meeting was an assembly of love and amity, and the surroundings were green and verdant with trees in full bloom perfuming the air. There was a pilaf, a very delicious Persian dish that had been prepared for the occasion, sherbet, a Persian drink and many sweets. Everyone was happy at the unity of the gathering. The Master said:

“This meeting will be productive of great results. It will be the cause of attracting a new bounty. This day in which we have come together is a new day, and this hour a new hour. These meetings will be mentioned in the future and their results will be everlasting in all the divine worlds.”

There were two more meetings: one in the afternoon and the other in the evening in Englewood for some of the friends who were not able to take part in the first meeting. They took their seats in the garden adjoining Mr Wilhelm’s house, sitting on chairs and benches in rows. After a short walk, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá joined the visitors, sat down among them and requested the chanting of a prayer. He then spoke eloquently, encouraging the friends to spread the fragrances of God. As He was about to leave, one of the seekers asked Him, ‘What are the new teachings of this Cause that are not to be found in the other great religions?’ The Master stood in the center of the garden and summoned all to come near. They came and stood in two rows. The Master walked between the rows and spoke. His explanation was so magnificent that everyone was astonished. During His discourse a carriage and automobile passed near by. As they neared the gathering and saw ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the carriage passengers stopped, alighted and they, too, heard His speech and were attracted to the teachings. The Master described, one by one, the teachings of the Manifestation: the unity of humankind, universal peace, association with all religions, forgiveness of enemies, the prohibition of cursing foes, the equality of rights of men and women, the establishment of the House of Justice and the International Tribunal, compulsory education for both boys and girls, the prohibition of wars between nations and governments, and the harm of all forms of prejudice, be they racial, religious, sectarian, patriotic, political and so on. He spoke on these teachings extensively and in detail. At the end, He asked the audience whether these principles had been brought by past religious dispensations and recorded in their books. They all responded ‘No’. The inquirer was so overwhelmed that he clapped his hands in delight, expressing his joy and gratitude.

Because it was a moonlit night, this talk was given in the garden, so it was not recorded but these explanations can be found in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s other addresses. After the meeting, He remarked, ‘If these persons were to be confronted with the question, what new teachings did Christ bring other than changing the laws of the Sabbath and divorce, they would be utterly confounded.’

‘Abdu’l-Bahá stayed in Englewood for the night. 3

Talk at Bowery Mission, 227 Bowery, New York, 19 April 1912

When Jesus Christ appeared, it was the poor who first accepted Him, not the rich. Therefore, you are the disciples of Jesus Christ; you are His comrades, for He outwardly was poor, not rich. Even this earth’s happiness does not depend upon wealth. You will find many of the wealthy exposed to dangers and troubled by difficulties, and in their last moments upon the bed of death there remains the regret that they must be separated from that to which their hearts are so attached. They come into this world naked, and they must go from it naked. All they possess they must leave behind and pass away solitary, alone. Often at the time of death their souls are filled with remorse; and worst of all, their hope in the mercy of God is less than ours. Praise be to God! Our hope is in the mercy of God, and there is no doubt that the divine compassion is bestowed upon the poor. Jesus Christ said so; Bahá’u’lláh said so. While Bahá’u’lláh was in Baghdád, still in possession of great wealth, He left all He had and went alone from the city, living two years among the poor. They were His comrades. He ate with them, slept with them and gloried in being one of them. He chose for one of His names the title of The Poor One and often in His Writings refers to Himself as Darvísh , which in Persian means poor; and of this title He was very proud. He admonished all that we must be the servants of the poor, helpers of the poor, remember the sorrows of the poor, associate with them; for thereby we may inherit the Kingdom of heaven. God has not said that there are mansions prepared for us if we pass our time associating with the rich, but He has said there are many mansions prepared for the servants of the poor, for the poor are very dear to God. The mercies and bounties of God are with them. The rich are mostly negligent, inattentive, steeped in worldliness, depending upon their means, whereas the poor are dependent upon God, and their reliance is upon Him, not upon themselves. Therefore, the poor are nearer the threshold of God and His throne. 4

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

Mahmud: June 28 – Unity Feast in West Englewood, NJ

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 28, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s ‘Feast of Unity.’” 239 Days in America, 28 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/28/the-souvenir-of-abdul-baha/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 100.
  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=4#section96
  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, 11.https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#141496815

239 Days in America, Day 72: June 21, 1912 | New Jersey

Swifter, Higher, Stronger. 1

“The great mass of humanity does not exercise real love and fellowship,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told his audience on June 20. He believed that if humanity were to unite, people needed a universal cause that extended beyond national loyalties. It wasn’t enough for people to merely tolerate each other. He wanted people to “be as the parts and members of one body.” The organs of the human body are diverse in shape, composition and function, he explained, but the result of their harmony is a healthy human being, much more than the sum of its parts.

Such a degree of unity, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, had existed among Bahá’u’lláh’s early Persian followers: “There was no duality but complete mutuality of interests and love.” “If in need of a hat or cloak,” he said, “they would take and use it. The owner would be thankful and grateful that the garment had gone.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá hoped his unity feast would enable each participant to become “a cause of unity and center of accord,” and that it would generate “this same degree and intensity of love.”

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 2

‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived in Montclair, New Jersey, on Friday, June 21, staying in a house He had rented in advance. Most of His time was occupied in talking with the people who came to see Him.

Friday, June 21, 1912

In the morning ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke to the Bahá’ís and seekers of Montclair about the difference between the kingdom of the Manifestation of God and the kingdom of the material world. In the afternoon many believers from near and far were honored to visit Him. He spoke about some spiritual matters and counseled the friends that it is forbidden to interfere in political matters and that they should obey the laws of their country. Later, several friends arrived with the minister of the Unity Church, who invited the Master for a ride that they might receive His love and bestowals. Today a courier arrived with a special invitation from the Society of the Annual American Celebration [Independence Day, the 4th of July]. However, the Master did not promise to attend and deferred the matter depending on His schedule. 3

Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, 17 June 2022 4

We should all visit the sick. When they are in sorrow and suffering, it is a real help and benefit to have a friend come. Happiness is a great healer to those who are ill. In the East it is the custom to call upon the patient often and meet him individually. The people in the East show the utmost kindness and compassion to the sick and suffering. This has greater effect than the remedy itself. You must always have this thought of love and affection when you visit the ailing and afflicted.

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

Mahmud: June 21 – Counseling the believers on various Teachings …

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 21, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “Swifter, Higher, Stronger.” 239 Days in America, 21 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/21/swifter-higher-stronger/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 97.
  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=4#section89
  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, 204. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/14#428037065