239 Days in America, Day 165: September 22, 1912 | Lincoln

150 Years of the Emancipation 1

ABRAHAM LINCOLN SIGNED THE Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. When it came into effect on January 1, 1863, more than three million of the four million slaves in the United States of America were freed. Fifty years later, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá entered the capital city of the state of Nebraska, which had been named after the Great Emancipator in 1867, celebrations were breaking out in African American communities across the country.

They began at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, DC, where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had challenged racial imagery on April 23. A “song jubilee” preceded an address by the new president of Howard University, Dr. Stephen Newman, on “Fifty Years of Freedom.” The observance, the Chicago Defender wrote, “shall stand as a model of a dignified, constructive and inspiring recognition of a day that means everything to the 12,000,000 Negroes on this continent.”

Ten days earlier, readers of the Independent had seen ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s assessment of the moral courage that it had taken for white Americans to go to war to free the slaves. “Never in all the annals of the world do we find such an instance of national self-sacrifice as was displayed here during the Civil War,” he said. “Americans who had never seen a weapon used in anger left their homes and peaceful pursuits, took up arms, bore utmost hardships, braved utmost dangers, gave up all they held dear, and finally their lives, in order that slaves might be free.” In his interview, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá called attention to the talk he had given at Howard University, America’s leading black university. “I told them that they must be very good to the white race of America,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, “that they must never forget to be grateful and thankful.” Likewise, “The white people must treat those whom they have freed with justness and firmness, but also with perfect love.”

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

Returning to a hotel in Lincoln, He sat in the lobby. Many people who had read the articles in the newspaper came and introduced themselves and asked questions until His train departed at 11:00 P.M. On board, the friends tried to persuade Him to take pullman accommodations; but He said, “‘We must all be in one place. The only purpose of this journey is to serve the Cause of God. We will all sleep on our seats.’” They spent the night in the chair car, riding toward Denver.

September 22, 1912 3

In the morning the Master spoke about the animosity of the enemies and their evil intentions towards the Blessed Beauty. Then the conversation turned to the corruption and iniquity of the Covenant-breakers. He said:

“”Shu’á of darkness wrote to his father quite openly that his purpose was to amass wealth and worldly property. With reference to me he stated that he was waiting for the fulfillment of the promise in the verse, ‘God will assuredly send down one who will deal mercilessly with him.‘”

Two newspaper reporters came to interview Him and recorded the interview with the utmost courtesy and respect. The Master instructed us to telephone and inquire about Mr Bryan and his wife. Expressing regret that Mr Bryan was not at home, Mrs Bryan said she and her daughter would be pleased to receive ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in their home. The Master and His entourage hired a large automobile and drove a long distance outside of the city until they reached a large estate which is located in one of the finest places in the region. Mrs Bryan hurried towards the automobile to greet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. She and her daughter expressed their joy and happiness for His blessings. After they had had tea and listened to Him, they begged Him to visit some of the rooms of the house, particularly the library and Mr Bryan’s study. They showed Him a book compiled by Mr Bryan and asked Him to pray for the success of his endeavors. Mr Bryan was currently on a campaign tour on behalf of [the future] President Wilson and was to lecture in many cities. In honor of the occasion, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá took a notebook and in His own hand wrote a prayer for assistance. He then said a few words which increased their happiness, devotion, assurance and honor. With that He departed.

Among those visiting the Master at the hotel in the afternoon were some Arabs. They had read about His arrival and His speeches in the newspapers and wished to see Him. The newspaper articles about His arrival and the Manifestations of God were translated and read to Him. It made Him happy to know that a stay in the city of only 12 hours had become the cause of spreading the teachings of God.

At 8:00 p.m., just before leaving the city, the Master came and sat in the lobby of the hotel. A number of people who had read about the new teachings in the newspapers approached and were introduced to Him. They all listened carefully to His explanations and expressed their pleasure. At 11:00 p.m. the train left Lincoln. His companions tried to persuade Him to take Pullman accommodation for Himself but He would not allow it, saying:

“We must all be together. The only purpose of this journey is to serve the Cause of God. We have no other aim. We will all sleep in our coach seats.”

He spent the night in the chair car with the rest of us, sometimes sleeping and sometimes awake. And in this way His time passed.

20 September 1912, Talk at Home of Dr. and Mrs. Clement Woolson, 870 Laurel Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota 4

This same difference is noticeable among animals; some have been domesticated, educated, others left wild. The proof is clear that the world of nature is imperfect, the world of education perfect. That is to say, man is rescued from the exigencies of nature by training and culture; consequently, education is necessary, obligatory. But education is of various kinds. There is a training and development of the physical body which ensures strength and growth. There is intellectual education or mental training for which schools and colleges are founded. The third kind of education is that of the spirit. Through the breaths of the Holy Spirit man is uplifted into the world of moralities and illumined by the lights of divine bestowals. The moral world is only attained through the effulgence of the Sun of Reality and the quickening life of the divine spirit. For this reason the holy Manifestations of God appear in the human world. They come to educate and illuminate mankind, to bestow spiritual susceptibilities, to quicken inner perceptions and thereby adorn the reality of man—the human temple—with divine graces. Through Them man may become the point of the emanations of God and the recipient of heavenly bounties. Under the influence of Their teachings he may become the manifestation of the effulgences of God and a magnet attracting the lights of the supreme world. For this reason the holy, divine Manifestations are the first Teachers and Educators of humanity; Their traces are the highest evidences, and Their spiritual tuition is universal in its application to the world of mankind. Their influence and power are immeasurable and unlimited. One heavenly Personage has developed many nations. For example, Jesus Christ, single and unassisted, educated the Roman, Greek and Assyrian nations and all of Europe. It is evident, therefore, that the greatest education is that of the Spirit.

The spirit of man must acquire its bounties from the Kingdom of God in order that it may become the mirror and manifestation of lights and the dawning point of divine traces, because the human reality is like the soil. If no bounty of rain descends from heaven upon the soil, if no heat of the sun penetrates, it will remain black, forbidding, unproductive; but when the moistening shower and the effulgent glow of the sun’s rays fall upon it, beautiful and redolent flowers grow from its bosom. Similarly, the human spirit or reality of man, unless it becomes the recipient of the lights of the Kingdom, develops divine susceptibilities and consciously reflects the effulgence of God, will not be the manifestation of ideal bounties, for only the reality of man can become the mirror wherein the lights of God are revealed. The reality of man will then be as the spirit of this world, for just as the animus of life quickens the physical human body, so the body of the world will receive its vivification through the animating virtue of the sanctified spirit of man.

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

Concerning the Covenant-breakers

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 22, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “150 Years of the Emancipation Proclamation.” 239 Days in America, 22 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/22/150-years-of-the-emancipation-proclamation/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 152.
  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#section182
  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, 330-331. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/25#691219964

239 Days in America, Day 147: September 04, 1912 | Montreal

Economics and Spirituality 1

“THE GREAT QUESTION RAISED by the Socialists was of paramount importance,” the Montreal Daily Star reported ‘Abdu’l-Bahá telling a packed parlor at the Maxwell home at 716 Pine Avenue West, on the evening of September 4, 1912. One night after receiving enthusiastic press coverage of his talk on economics, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explained that while the Socialists asked the right questions, they were unable to provide society with any permanent settlement to its most important problems.

Unfortunately, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá noted, although the question of economic disparity was of great importance, “the governments of the world had failed to give it the earnest attention it deserved.” In 1912, weak labor laws and the absence of social benefits throughout the industrializing world meant that many members of society lived in conditions of abject poverty. Growing expectations of economic justice had to be met, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, “otherwise disorder everywhere would be the culmination.”

In the same way that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s repeated warnings of a catastrophic war in Europe were prescient, so too his 1912 forecasts of widespread social disorder preceded by five years the world’s first Socialist Revolution in Russia. By the late 1910s and early 1920s, labor strife was ubiquitous in industrial societies worldwide.

Montreal 2

As the translations of the newspaper articles concerning His address at the Socialist Club were read to Him on September 4, ’Abdu’l-Bahá said, “‘This is all through the confirmations of the Blessed Beauty. Otherwise even if the King of Persia had come here he would not have been able to attract such meetings.’” …

Abdu’l-Bahá also commented, in discussing the warm reception of His address, “‘The greatness of the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh will be known when they are practiced. Not one out of a hundred has as yet come into force. The entire trend of your thoughts should be turned towards bringing these blessed Teachings into practice.’”

1 September 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. William Sutherland Maxwell, 716 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Canada 3

Life is the expression of composition; and death, the expression of decomposition. In the world or kingdom of the minerals certain materials or elemental substances exist. When through the law of creation they enter into composition, a being or organism comes into existence. For example, certain material atoms are brought together, and man is the result. When this composition is destroyed and disintegrated, decomposition takes place; this is mortality, or death. When certain elements are composed, an animal comes into being. When these elements are scattered or decomposed, this is called the death of the animal. Again, certain atoms are bound together by chemical affinity; a composition called a flower appears. When these atoms are dispersed and the composition they have formed is disintegrated, the flower has come to its end; it is dead. Therefore, it is evident that life is the expression of composition, and mortality, or death, is equivalent to decomposition. As the spirit of man is not composed of material elements, it is not subject to decomposition and, therefore, has no death. It is self-evident that the human spirit is simple, single and not composed in order that it may come to immortality, and it is a philosophical axiom that the individual or indivisible atom is indestructible. At most, it passes through a process of construction and reconstruction. For example, these individual atoms are brought together in a composition, and through this composition a given organism—such as a man, an animal or a plant—is created. When this composition is decomposed, that created organism is brought to an end, but the component atoms are not annihilated; they continue to exist because they are single, individual and not composed. Therefore, it may be said that these individual atoms are eternal. Likewise, the human spirit, inasmuch as it is not composed of individual elements or atoms—as it is sanctified above these elements—is eternal. This is a self-evident proof of its immortality.

Wednesday, September 4, 1912 4

An account of the Master’s talk at the Socialist Club and its influence was published in glowing terms in the newspapers. The force of His explanations and the persuasiveness of His proofs were the talk of the day. Many newcomers came to visit Him. The friends told the Master how happy they were to see the extent to which the Cause of God had penetrated the hearts. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said in reply:

“The greatness of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh will be known when they are acted upon and practiced. Not one of a hundred has as yet come into force. All of your thoughts should be turned toward bringing these blessed teachings into practice.”

When the translations of some of the newspaper articles were read to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, He said, again, ‘This is all through the confirmations of the Blessed Beauty. Otherwise, even if the king of Persia had come here he would not have been able to bring about even one such meeting.’ In the afternoon, for a change of routine, the Master took the elevator down from the seventh floor and went for an automobile ride to the foot of a mountain outside the city limits. It is a fine place where people go for recreation. It has a cable car, which took the Master and His companions up the mountain. The side of the mountain was perpendicular like a wall. The Master said, ‘This cable car is like a balloon flying in the air.’ It made one nervous to look down. When we reached the top, the Master walked around. It was a magnificent sight, with a view of the whole city stretched before us. The canals, streets and orchards of the town were below. It appeared as if a beautifully painted picture had been spread before one’s eyes.

While we were here, translations of other accounts of the meetings that had been published in the evening newspapers were read to Him. Suddenly He cried out:

“O Bahá’u’lláh! May I be a sacrifice for Thee. O Bahá’u’lláh! May my life be offered up for Thee. Thou hast spoken the Word which cannot be refuted. What a wonderful Cause Thou hast founded! It satisfies every assemblage! Each group testifies to its greatness. In the churches it shakes the souls; it excites the Theosophists; it imparts spirituality to the spiritualists; it makes the Unitarians aware of the reality of unity; it makes the socialists contented and grateful and inspires joy and happiness in the peace meetings. There is no refuge for any denomination except in submission to it. It is a miracle! It is the greatest force in the world of existence. This is all through the assistance of the Blessed Beauty. If healing the lame and crippled is a miracle, it can also be produced by a dose of medicine. This is no great achievement.”

From here the Master and His companions went to the home of Mr and Mrs Maxwell where letters from the East were given to Him. He read the petitions of the friends. Among them was a letter from Mírzá Haydar-‘Alí, in which he dwelt on the greatness and significance of the journey of the Master. The Master said:

“Yes, the value and greatness of these travels are not known now but will be apparent later on. As we had no other intention except to offer devotion to the Threshold of the One True God, we were assisted and the brightness of divine favor and grace appeared.”

Continuing, He said:

“At the time of Muhammad’s migration to Medina under divine protection, Abú Bakr, was with Him. He said to Abú Bakr, ‘Be not afraid, God is with us.’ These very words became afterwards the cause of his succession to the Caliphate because the word ‘with us’ included him also. Many proofs and arguments based on these words have been advanced. The value of this bounty, too, is not known now.”

At a meeting in the evening at Mrs Maxwell’s home, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave an address on spiritual brotherhood and the economic principles upheld by the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh which will be the cause of the salvation, prosperity and liberation of the nations of the world. This meeting was very special because the Master’s talk was so influential. The audience was invited to light refreshments of sweets and beverages. Among the guests were Americans, as well as Turks and Arabs clothed in their splendid robes, all of whom were attracted to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and fascinated by His demeanor and words.

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

Our thoughts should be turned toward bringing the blessed teachings of Bahá’u’lláh into practice

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 4, 1912


  1. Michel, Tony. “Economics and Spirituality.” 239 Days in America, 4 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/04/economics-and-spirituality/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 134-136.
  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, 306. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/22#066994489
  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#section164

239 Days in America, Day 133: August 21, 1912 | Green Acre

“Within Greenacre’s Mystic Charm and Calm” 1

“IT APPEARS A SINGULAR thing,” the reporter wrote, “that so many famous people could have been attracted to this little town up in Maine. . . . But as soon as one arrives at Greenacre and gets to know that wonderful woman, Miss Sarah Farmer, the life and the spirit of the Greenacre movement, wonder vanishes.”

We don’t know this reporter’s name, but he spent a day in Eliot during the second week of August, 1899, recording his impressions in a long news feature printed in the Lewiston Saturday Journal on the twelfth of the month: “Within Greenacre’s Mystic Charm and Calm: The Remarkable Colony of Ideals That Has Been Grafted Upon a Prosaic Maine Country Side.”

Green Acre 2

In a group of people who came to see Him on August 21 was a girl who said, “‘I have to beg your assistance. Tell me what I am fitted to do so that I may occupy myself with it?’” He asked her, “‘Do you believe in Me?’” When she replied, “‘Yes,’” He answered, “‘Be a perfect Bahá’í. Associate with Bahá’ís. Learn the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. Then you will be assisted in whatever you undertake to do.’” she responded, “‘I am a good Jewess,’” and He told her, “‘A good Jew becomes a Bahá’í. The foundation truth of the religion of His Holiness Moses and His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh is one. Turn yourself towards Bahá’u’lláh and you will get peace and tranquillity. …’” She threw herself at His feet and cried.

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

How wonderful it is! How powerful the spirit of man, while his body is so weak! If the susceptibilities of the spirit control him, there is no created being more heroic, more undaunted than man; but if physical forces dominate, you cannot find a more cowardly or fearful object because the body is so weak and incapable. Therefore, it is divinely intended that the spiritual susceptibilities of man should gain precedence and overrule his physical forces. In this way he becomes fitted to dominate the human world by his nobility and stand forth fearless and free, endowed with the attributes of eternal life.

Wednesday, August 21, 1912 4

During the visit of a group of Bahá’ís with the Master, a young girl came in and said, ‘I have come to ask for your assistance. Please tell me what I am fitted to do so that I may occupy myself with it.’ The Master asked, ‘Do you have trust in me?’ She replied, ‘Yes.’ He then said to her, ‘Be a perfect Bahá’í. Associate with Bahá’ís. Study the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. Then you will be assisted in whatever you undertake to do.’ She then said, ‘I am a good Jewess.’ The Master then said:

“A good Jew can also become a Bahá’í. The truth of the religion of Moses and of Bahá’u’lláh is one. Turn toward Bahá’u’lláh and you will acquire peace and tranquillity, you will hear the melody of the Kingdom, you will stir people’s souls and you will attain the highest degree of perfection. Be assured of this.”

When she heard the Master’s words she was so impressed that she threw herself at His feet and wept.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá explained some aspects of the divine philosophy and teachings to the pastor of the Portsmouth church. The pastor said that he had included some of these teachings in his pamphlets and some people had taken offence. The Master said, ‘Constancy in all things brings forth fruitful results.’

Mrs Tatum said, ‘I feel so dejected today. I am unhappy with myself.’ The Master replied:

“This is a sign of progress. The person who is satisfied with himself is the manifestation of Satan and the one who is not satisfied is the manifestation of the Merciful One. An egotist does not progress but the one who thinks himself imperfect will seek perfection for himself and will progress. If a man has a thousand good qualities, he must not look at them. He must search always for his shortcomings. For example, if a man has a building which is well-constructed and fully decorated but which has a small crack in one of its walls, he will, no doubt, forget the rest and turn his whole attention to repairing that crack. Furthermore, the attainment of absolute perfection for a human being is impossible; thus, however much he may progress he is still imperfect and has above him a point higher than himself. And the instant he sees this point he will not be satisfied with himself. It is for this reason that when someone called Christ ‘Good Master’, He replied that there is only One who is good and that is God.”

Another lady told ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that she had lectured in America on universal brotherhood and unity. She was pleased to see the Master in America promulgating these high ideals and that she was going to continue to spread these teachings in the Western states of America. The Master said to her:

“We must endeavor as much as we can to exterminate spite and perversity so that people may be delivered from the shackles of superstition. You must serve in this way and become the cause of the unity of the world of men.”

He spoke in the same vein with everyone. There were two people, Dr and Mrs Moore, who had been antagonistic towards the Cause of God from the very beginning. However, they had become so attracted and transformed that they came into the Master’s presence with great humility and pledged themselves to the service of the truth. The transformation of such people is a momentous task which will produce great results.

In the afternoon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went by automobile to the home of Mrs [Kate] Ives and sat next to the driver, which is where members of His entourage usually sit. He sat there until the party arrived. When a number of the friends had gathered, He went with them to the hill of Monsalvat. As soon as He arrived about four hundred people sang songs of praise to Him in unison. He addressed this gathering on the necessity of founding the school for the investigation of religions which Miss Farmer wished to establish on that mountain. A moving picture of this gathering was taken.

The gathering was also characterized by a renewed enthusiasm, ardor and love, which seemed to draw all hearts. It was an auspicious day.

He then went to Mrs [Esther Annie] Magee’s home where He dined with a group of friends. He spoke to them about the proofs and evidences of the existence of God and the composition of elements according to the will of the Almighty.

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

“The person who is satisfied with himself is the manifestation of Satan …”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

August 21 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “‘Within Greenacre’s Mystic Charm and Calm.’” 239 Days in America, 21 Aug. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/08/21/within-greenacres-mystic-charm-and-calm/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 129-130.
  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, 264. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/19#916420712
  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#section150

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 85: July 04, 1912 | New York

Happy Fourth of July! 1

“THERE WERE CELEBRATIONS EVERYWHERE,” Mahmúd wrote on July 4, in his chronicle of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s trip to America.

Mahmúd-i-Zarqání had traveled to America with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on the Cedric from Egypt, and accompanied him on his journey across the country as one of his secretaries. On July 4, 1912, Mahmúd was about to get his first taste of a good old-fashioned American celebration: a Fourth of July parade in New York.

New York Mayor William J. Gaynor had sent ‘Abdu’l-Bahá an invitation the week before while he was still in Montclair, New Jersey. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, who was recovering from exhaustion, replied that he would come if time permitted. His schedule in America involved periods of intense activity where he greeted guests from 7:00 a.m. to well after midnight, or spoke at five gatherings in a single day, alternating with shorter periods of rest. He didn’t say yes to every invitation.

New York City 2

And then came July 4. The mayor of New York asked Abdu’l-Bahá to be with him on the parade reviewing stand. Abdu’l-Bahá did not go, but sent the other Persian friends to represent Him.

After an evening meal in Abdu’l-Bahá’s house honoring the birthday of Juliet Thompson’s mother, the Master spoke of tests. “Even the sword is no test to the Persian believers. They are given a chance to recant they cry out instead: ‘Ya Bahá’u’l-Abhá!’ Then the sword is raised. They cry out all the more, ‘Ya Bahá’u’l-Abhá!’ But some of the people here are tested if I don’t say, ‘How do you do.’” 3

Thursday, July 4, 1912

A number of people met ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the morning. He spoke to them about divine knowledge and the spiritual stations which lead to eternal life — the ultimate goal of human existence. A black youth was there, to whom the Master gave the name ‘Mubárak’ [’happy’], and to a black woman He gave the name ‘Khush Ghadam’ [a person who brings good fortune, welcome news, good omen]. He spoke to them about the importance of harmony between the white and black races of America and described the various meetings attended by both blacks and whites and the talks given at them which dealt with this question.

Mrs Kaufman asked about the influence of heavenly bodies on the affairs of humanity. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá replied:

The words of the astrologers are for the most part doubtful and unreliable. But the whole of creation is interrelated like the different parts of the human body which have a complete affinity from the toenail to the hair on the head. Every part is perfectly connected with the other. Similarly, the whole of creation forms a chain composed, as it were, of many links connected with each other. It is therefore obvious that they all greatly influence each other and are part of organized, regular cycles.

He was then asked about the connection between the soul and the body. He replied, ‘It has the same connection as the sun has with the mirror. Death consists of the severance of this connection.’

‘Some say that your prayers and promises for us have come true and are being completely fulfilled.’

‘I always pray with complete self-effacement and humbly implore confirmations from the Kingdom of Abhá.’

‘Do you feel the excessive heat? Does it affect your health?’

‘I am so absorbed that I feel neither the heat nor the cold. It is all the same to me.’

Today the Master was occupied in revealing Tablets for the Eastern friends. Notwithstanding the heavy pressure of work, He does not delay His answers to important questions.

There was a large crowd in the evening to whom He spoke about the various kingdoms of creation and the virtues of the world of existence. After the meeting several seekers visited the Master in His room. He answered their questions regarding the stations of divinity and the journey in the path of knowledge and servitude. Everyone was pleased and delighted and joined us in offering praise and glory to God. 4

Talk at Fourth Annual Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Handel Hall, Chicago, Illinois, 30 April 1912

Each kingdom of creation is endowed with its necessary complement of attributes and powers. The mineral possesses inherent virtues of its own kingdom in the scale of existence. The vegetable possesses the qualities of the mineral plus an augmentative virtue, or power of growth. The animal is endowed with the virtues of both the mineral and vegetable plane plus the power of intellect. The human kingdom is replete with the perfections of all the kingdoms below it with the addition of powers peculiar to man alone. Man is, therefore, superior to all the creatures below him, the loftiest and most glorious being of creation. Man is the microcosm; and the infinite universe, the macrocosm. The mysteries of the greater world, or macrocosm, are expressed or revealed in the lesser world, the microcosm. The tree, so to speak, is the greater world, and the seed in its relation to the tree is the lesser world. But the whole of the great tree is potentially latent and hidden in the little seed. When this seed is planted and cultivated, the tree is revealed. Likewise, the greater world, the macrocosm, is latent and miniatured in the lesser world, or microcosm, of man. This constitutes the universality or perfection of virtues potential in mankind. Therefore, it is said that man has been created in the image and likeness of God.

Let us now discover more specifically how he is the image and likeness of God and what is the standard or criterion by which he can be measured and estimated. This standard can be no other than the divine virtues which are revealed in him. Therefore, every man imbued with divine qualities, who reflects heavenly moralities and perfections, who is the expression of ideal and praiseworthy attributes, is, verily, in the image and likeness of God. If a man possesses wealth, can we call him an image and likeness of God? Or is human honor and notoriety the criterion of divine nearness? Can we apply the test of racial color and say that man of a certain hue—white, black, brown, yellow, red—is the true image of his Creator? We must conclude that color is not the standard and estimate of judgment and that it is of no importance, for color is accidental in nature. The spirit and intelligence of man is essential, and that is the manifestation of divine virtues, the merciful bestowals of God, the eternal life and baptism through the Holy Spirit. Therefore, be it known that color or race is of no importance. He who is the image and likeness of God, who is the manifestation of the bestowals of God, is acceptable at the threshold of God—whether his color be white, black or brown; it matters not. Man is not man simply because of bodily attributes. The standard of divine measure and judgment is his intelligence and spirit.

Therefore, let this be the only criterion and estimate, for this is the image and likeness of God. A man’s heart may be pure and white though his outer skin be black; or his heart be dark and sinful though his racial color is white. The character and purity of the heart is of all importance. The heart illumined by the light of God is nearest and dearest to God, and inasmuch as God has endowed man with such favor that he is called the image of God, this is truly a supreme perfection of attainment, a divine station which is not to be sacrificed by the mere accident of color. 5

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

‘Abdu’l-Bahá showers Juliet’s mother with kindness on her birthday

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 04, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “Happy Fourth of July!” 239 Days in America, 4 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/04/on-the-fourth-of-july/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 108.
  3. Thompson, Juliet. The Diary of Juliet Thompson. Edited by Marzieh Gail. 1st ed. 1947. Reprint, Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1983, 326-327. https://archive.org/details/diaryofjuliettho0000thom/page/326/mode/2up.
  4. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=5#section102
  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, 69-70. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/4#517138722