239 Days in America, Day 81: June 30, 1912 | New Jersey

Donkeys in Baltimore 1

By this morning, Sunday [June 30], the delegates had voted on an additional fourteen ballots, and the New York Times printed the results of each vote on page two. Governor Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey was slowly breaking down the lead of the frontrunner, Champ Clark, the Speaker of the House.

There weren’t many stories in today’s Times that didn’t have to do with politics, but one of them was about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. “PROPHET’S DASH FOR TRAIN: Abdul Baha in Spectacular Rush from Montclair” described the spectacle on Saturday morning at the Lackawanna station when his attendants had tried to stop the train from departing without him. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was sandwiched between two Roosevelt stories on page six. The column to his left told how TR was gobbling up Republican newspaper endorsements. To his right Teddy chatted with reporters about Baltimore, his clothing still damp after a thunderstorm, which had narrowly missed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s unity feast in West Englewood, New Jersey, and had decided to wash out the Roosevelt family picnic in Oyster Bay instead.

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 2

On Sunday morning, June 30, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left for the home of Mr. Topakyan, the Persian Consul General, in Morristown. On His way there He stopped in Englewood at the home of the minister who had come to see Him the day before, After talking a few minutes, He continued His trip to Morristown. Concerning the afternoon activities, Abdu’l-Bahá’s translator, Dr. Amín Faríd, wrote:

The Consul-General of Persia, Topakyan, gave a barbecue in honor of Abdul-Baha and his Persian suite, at his delightful summer home and garden at Morristown, New Jersey. The journey was accomplished in an automobile from the home of Mr. Roy C. Wilhelm, in West Englewood, through beautiful meadows of New Jersey, and the whole day was spent most pleasantly at the Persian consulate, which is a building in the garden built after the old style of Persian architecture. Among the guests were some prominent men from New York and some society folk to interview him on all sorts of questions. He spoke that forenoon to those persons on the advance of materialism and its evil attendants or concomitants. The dinner was entirely Oriental in character, a barbecue a la Perse. 3

Sunday, June 30, 1912

In the morning, after His obligatory prayer and supplications, the Master invited us into His presence and served us tea with His own hand. He spoke of the blessings and confirmations of the Ancient Beauty, the Greatest Name:

This help and assistance are from Him and these confirmations are through His bounty and favor; otherwise, we are nothing but weak servants. We are as reeds and all these melodies are from Him. We are ants and this dignity of Solomon is from Him. We are servants and this heavenly dominion is from Him. We must, therefore, offer our constant gratitude to Him for His favors and must join heart and soul to praise Him for His blessings.

As His home is always filled with a continuous stream of visitors, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá did not accept invitations from societies or organizations to speak at public meetings. Instead He spoke to the people gathered in the evenings, gave special audiences during the day and attended to other tasks. This evening He spoke about His long stay in New York. ‘As it is the meeting place of the East and the West,’ He said, ‘I desire to make it a center of signs, and pray that the friends may advance and gain precedence in spirituality.’

Apart from these gatherings, the Master’s movements outside attract everyone and His look of favor captivates all. 4

Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons, 1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 24 April 1912

Praise be to God! I have no personal interests. I have an interest in the Kingdom, and this is a sincere intention. I have perfect love for you; therefore, I have traveled this long distance to meet and greet you. I hope that these gatherings may be productive of great results, and there is no greater result than the love of God. There is no greater result than bonds of service in the divine Kingdom and attainment to the good pleasure of the Lord. Therefore, I desire that your hearts may be directed to the Kingdom of God, that your intentions may be pure and sincere, your purposes turned toward altruistic accomplishment unmindful of your own welfare; nay, rather, may all your intentions center in the welfare of humanity, and may you seek to sacrifice yourselves in the pathway of devotion to mankind. Even as Jesus Christ forfeited His life, may you, likewise, offer yourselves in the threshold of sacrifice for the betterment of the world; and just as Bahá’u’lláh suffered severe ordeals and calamities nearly fifty years for you, may you be willing to undergo difficulties and withstand catastrophes for humanity in general. May you bear these trials and tests most willingly and joyously, for every night is followed by a day, and every day has a night. Every spring has an autumn, and every autumn has its spring. The coming of a Manifestation of God is the season of spiritual spring. 5

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

Mahmud: June 30 – Lua’s attempts not to leave the Master for California

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 30, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Donkeys in Baltimore.” 239 Days in America, 30 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/30/donkeys-in-baltimore/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 103.
  3. Dr. Ameen U. Fareed, “Barbecue in Honor of Abdul-Baha,” Star of the West, 3, no. 11 (Sept. 27, 1912), 8.
  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=4#section98
  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, 54-55. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/3#867540848

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 77: June 26, 1912 | New Jersey

“Do Not Bring Him in Here” 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ WAS IN the best of health after more than a week recuperating in Montclair, New Jersey, away from the heat and humidity of New York. On June 27, 1912, he had taken the tram to the park with Mr. Edsall, his host, who had insisted that they get some fresh air. “What great changes have occurred!” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá reflected. “What waves have swept over us and brought us here!”

The afternoon among the trees could hardly have been more different than that hot day sixty summers ago when hell had broken loose in Tehran…

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 2

After He breakfasted at Mr. Charles Edsall’s home on Wednesday, June 26, and returned to His house, He found several of the ladies who had come down from New York hard at work washing dishes and cleaning floors. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá laughed and said, “‘Look! How the power of the Blessed Beauty works!’”

Wednesday, June 26, 1912 3

To some people visiting the Master for the first time, He spoke about Christ’s words to His disciples:

“‘Whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:19]. The Christians have not understood its meaning. They imagine that it means the redemption of sins through the Christian leaders. The intention of Christ was to permit His disciples to elaborate or abrogate the laws of the Torah, as He had altered only two, those of the Sabbath and divorce. But, alas! The spiritual leaders of the Christians did not grasp His meaning, so that when the Greeks and Romans became Christians, some of the idolatrous customs were incorporated into Christianity. For example, the adornment of churches with images, self-mortification, abstinence, monks’ habits, the lighting of candles in church, the ringing of the bell in the steeple and others. These are all from idolaters.”

Another group came into ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s presence asking about the mysteries of Sufism and reincarnation. Receiving satisfactory answers, they left happy and pleased.

In the afternoon in Newark, near Montclair, both new and old friends gathered at the home of Mrs Kerry. The Master spoke to them on the life of the spirit and its effect on the world of humanity and set aglow the fire of the love of God in their hearts. He then went to the Military Park and Gardens, which is the best public place in the town. His walk with His companions presented a magnificent sight. Attired in our Persian kuláhs and Eastern dress, and accompanying the Master and the several American men and women who followed Him with great reverence and humility, we formed a unique scene. All eyes turned towards the dignity, beauty and glory of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and to that gathering of the East and West.

The Master then went to Mr Harris’s home where the friends had gathered before dinner. The Master urged and encouraged the friends to associate with love and unity with all the peoples and nations of the world. After dinner, because it was late and the distance was great, He rested there for the night.

Talk at Studio of Miss Phillips, 39 West Sixty-seventh Street, New York, 12 April 1912 4

Today the nations of the world are self-engaged, occupied with mortal and transitory accomplishments, consumed by the fires of passion and self. Self is dominant; enmity and animosity prevail. Nations and peoples are thinking only of their worldly interests and outcomes. The clash of war and din of strife are heard among them. But the friends of the Blessed Perfection have no thoughts save the thoughts of heaven and the love of God. Therefore, you must without delay employ your powers in spreading the effulgent glow of the love of God and so order your lives that you may be known and seen as examples of its radiance. You must deal with all in loving-kindness in order that this precious seed entrusted to your planting may continue to grow and bring forth its perfect fruit. The love and mercy of God will accomplish this through you if you have love in your own heart.

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

Mahmud: June 26 – How certain Greek and Roman customs became incorporated into Christianity

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 26, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert, and Jonathan Menon. “‘Do Not Bring Him in Here.’” 239 Days in America, 26 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/26/do-not-bring-him-in-here/.
  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#section94
  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, 8-9. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#294721855

239 Days in America, Day 76: June 25, 1912 | New Jersey

“Thy Pomp Shall Soon Pass Away” 1

“EVERYONE WISHES TO BE remembered,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said. It was Sunday, June 23, 1912, and the sound of church bells rang out in the distance. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá commented to those gathered at his residence in Montclair: “The church bells are pealing in memory of Jesus Christ although more than nineteen hundred years have passed since He lived upon the earth.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá contrasted Christ with an example of an “earthly conqueror”: Napoleon Bonaparte…

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s point: “Jesus Christ established the religion of God through love. His sovereignty is everlasting. Napoleon overthrew governments in war and bloodshed. His dominion passed away.”

The same thing happened to Napoleon’s nephew, Napoleon III. He, too, had carried out a coup in France, and he too went down to defeat, at the Battle of Sedan in 1870, which established the German Empire. Bahá’u’lláh had written to Napoleon III in 1868, and the king had laughed. “If this man is God,” he said, “I am two Gods!” Then he flung the letter to the floor.

“Hadst thou been sincere in thy words,” Bahá’u’lláh wrote back, “thou wouldst have not cast behind thy back the Book of God.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá quoted the letter to those gathered in Montclair: “Thy kingdom shall be thrown into confusion, and thine empire shall pass from thine hands, as a punishment for that which thou hast wrought. Then wilt thou know how thou hast plainly erred. . . . Thy pomp shall soon pass away.”

Tuesday, June 25, 1912

he Master was invited to breakfast at Mr Edsall’s home. When He returned home, He found a number of Bahá’í women, who had come from New York, wearing aprons and cleaning the house. These elegant ladies were washing dishes, sweeping, dusting the furniture and arranging the carpets. They did this with such love and zeal that it is beyond description. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

“See what the power of the Blessed Beauty does! What might and sway, what bounty and favor is this! He has inspired these persons to serve with such sincerity and love! They are washing dishes and sweeping the room. They are serving with heart and soul.”

He bestowed great favor on one of the ladies by inquiring about her husband, Dr Cork, a prominent physician in New York. She said to the Master, ‘From the moment He met you, he has not only ceased his opposition but is now helping me to serve the Cause.’

Later ‘Abdu’l-Bahá narrated the story of the conquest of Islam in Persia and spoke about the prohibition of the drinking of wine in the Qur’án. He said:

“When the Muslims arrested the leader of the Zoroastrians and flogged him for drinking wine, under the whip he cried, ‘O Muhammad of Arabia, what have you done! What an influence you have shown!’ Now they must say, ‘O Bahá’u’lláh, what have you done! With what power You have made the proud ones the captives of love and have united the East with the West!’”

At a meeting at His home that afternoon, the Master answered many questions. Among His pronouncements was the prohibition of self-mortification. He directed that the health and strength of the body be preserved, saying that the more the physical body improves, the more it is capable of making spiritual progress.

In the evening the drawing room and adjacent rooms were filled with people. Because the friends opened the gathering with singing and playing the piano in praise of the Master, He spoke about spiritual music which can enrapture the spirit and influence spirituality. 2

Talk at Hotel Ansonia to Bahá’í Friends of New Jersey, Broadway and Seventy-third Street, New York, 16 April 1912 3

The body of the human world is sick. Its remedy and healing will be the oneness of the kingdom of humanity. Its life is the Most Great Peace. Its illumination and quickening is love. Its happiness is the attainment of spiritual perfections. It is my wish and hope that in the bounties and favors of the Blessed Perfection we may find a new life, acquire a new power and attain to a wonderful and supreme source of energy so that the Most Great Peace of divine intention shall be established upon the foundations of the unity of the world of men with God. May the love of God be spread from this city, from this meeting to all the surrounding countries. Nay, may America become the distributing center of spiritual enlightenment, and all the world receive this heavenly blessing! For America has developed powers and capacities greater and more wonderful than other nations. While it is true that its people have attained a marvelous material civilization, I hope that spiritual forces may animate this great body and a corresponding spiritual civilization be established. May the inhabitants of this country become like angels of heaven with faces turned continually toward God. May all of them become the servants of the Omnipotent One. May they rise from present material attainments to such a height that heavenly illumination may stream from this center to all the peoples of the world.

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

Mahmud: June 25 – “… serving with heart and soul”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 25, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “‘Thy Pomp Shall Soon Pass Away.’” 239 Days in America, 25 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/25/thy-pomp-shall-soon-pass-away/.
  2. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=4#section93
  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, 19-20. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#578408883

239 Days in America, Day 75: June 24, 1912 | New Jersey

June 24, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

NINE DAYS OF REST and recuperation. That’s what awaited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Montclair, New Jersey, twenty miles northwest of New York. He had remarked that the heat and humidity of the big city, along with its incessant crowds, were impairing his health. Today, he’s strolling in the park with friends.

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 2

The rest of the week ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spent in instructing the friends and visitors who flocked to His doors in Montclair and in making a brief trip to Newark. After early morning prayers Abdu’l-Bahá usually went to the market Himself to purchase food for the day; He managed most of the meals Himself, especially if guests were present, as there usually were.

Monday, June 24, 1912

In the morning ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said to us:

“After the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh I did everything within my power to promote the Cause of God. I clung to spiritual methods and rendered such servitude at the Threshold of God so that the divine Cause might advance throughout the world. And my correspondence was so heavy that, at the time of the death of an American maidservant of God, my letters to her were counted and numbered sixty-seven; so you can imagine the situation!”

When asked about His health at a gathering of the friends, He replied:

“Bodily health is not important. What is more important is spiritual health which gives eternal pleasure and has everlasting effect. The more the body is cared for, the worse it becomes. Thus denial is preferable for the body. I took only a cup of milk today and I feel much better. Why should man undergo so much trouble and hardship merely for the purpose of eating?”

In the afternoon He gave detailed answers to questions relating to His talks at Green Acre. He then spoke on the blind imitations and prejudices of people. 3

Talk at Union Meeting of Advanced Thought Centers, Carnegie Lyceum, West Fifty-seventh Street, New York, 14 April 1912 4

The most important thing is to polish the mirrors of hearts in order that they may become illumined and receptive of the divine light. One heart may possess the capacity of the polished mirror; another, be covered and obscured by the dust and dross of this world. Although the same Sun is shining upon both, in the mirror which is polished, pure and sanctified you may behold the Sun in all its fullness, glory and power, revealing its majesty and effulgence; but in the mirror which is rusted and obscured there is no capacity for reflection, although so far as the Sun itself is concerned it is shining thereon and is neither lessened nor deprived. Therefore, our duty lies in seeking to polish the mirrors of our hearts in order that we shall become reflectors of that light and recipients of the divine bounties which may be fully revealed through them.

This means the oneness of the world of humanity. That is to say, when this human body politic reaches a state of absolute unity, the effulgence of the eternal Sun will make its fullest light and heat manifest. Therefore, we must not make distinctions between individual members of the human family. We must not consider any soul as barren or deprived. Our duty lies in educating souls so that the Sun of the bestowals of God shall become resplendent in them, and this is possible through the power of the oneness of humanity. The more love is expressed among mankind and the stronger the power of unity, the greater will be this reflection and revelation, for the greatest bestowal of God is love. Love is the source of all the bestowals of God. Until love takes possession of the heart, no other divine bounty can be revealed in it.

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

Mahmud: June 24 – An example of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s heavy correspondence

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 24, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “June 24, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 24 June 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/06/24/a-day-of-rest/.
  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#section92
  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, 14-15. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#397153357

239 Days in America, Day 74: June 23, 1912 | New Jersey

Politicking and Personalities 1

But he did have something to say about the process of selecting leaders, and the qualities of leadership. One of [Amos] Pinchot’s guests that day in Milford had asked him about the election. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá responded by discussing the way Americans elected their President.

The politicking at the conventions and the sensational press obscured a deeper debate about what kind of nation the United States should become. To what extent should The People rule? What should the role of the nation’s chief executive be?

The mass of the people, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá noted, tend to follow personalities. Indeed, the dramatic news stories during the past several months had demonstrated that the party nomination process had largely become a popularity contest. Instead, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá argued that the most suitable candidate would be the one chosen by the wisest people.

“It is evident that it is better the people elect the noble ones among them,” he said, “and then these elect the president of the republic. That is to say, the president should be the elect of the elect, because the public in general are not as well informed as they should be in regard to political affairs.”

“The affairs should be in the hands of the wise,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said. But then he clarified how the wise must act: “The wise people must be in the utmost faithfulness and sincerity of purpose, they must serve the people, and protect and safeguard their welfare.”

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 2

On Sunday morning, June 23, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told the Bahá’ís more of the history of the Faith. As He came into the living room where the people were gathered, He said to one of the incoming friends “You are always smiling.” Mr. Frank E. Osborne replied, “surely our faces should reflect happiness in this presence.” Abdu’l-Bahá replied, “Yes! — This is the day of Bahá’ulláh; the age of the Blessed Perfection; the cycle of the Greatest Name. If you do not smile now, for what time will you await and what greater happiness could you expect?” 3

Talk at Montclair, New Jersey 4

In brief, the nations of the world are becoming united under the sovereignty of the divine Kingdom. The East and the West are embracing here in love and affection today. This is not a commercial or political unity, but unity through the love of God. We have crossed the sea to spread that love in America, to announce the call of the Kingdom, to establish the spiritual foundations of international peace. Although men may arise against the Kingdom, the dominion and sovereignty of God will be set up. It is an eternal Kingdom, a divine sovereignty. In His day Christ was called Satan, Beelzebub, but hear the bells now ringing for Him! He was the Word of God and not Satan. They mocked Him, led Him through the city upon a donkey, crowned Him with thorns, spat upon His blessed face and crucified Him, but He is now with God and in God because He was the Word and not Satan. Fifty years ago no one would touch the Christian Bible in Persia. Bahá’u’lláh came and asked, “Why?” They said, “It is not the Word of God.” He said, “You must read it with understanding of its meanings, not as those who merely recite its words.” Now Bahá’ís all over the East read the Bible and understand its spiritual teaching. Bahá’u’lláh spread the Cause of Christ and opened the book of the Christians and Jews. He removed the barriers of names. He proved that all the divine Prophets taught the same reality and that to deny One is to deny the Others, for all are in perfect oneness with God.

Diary of Juliet Thompson, 23 June 1912 5

I showed Him the proofs of the pictures, then spoke of Mrs [Gertrude] Kasebier—who had seen Him only once, when she photographed Him. “She said she would like to live near You, my Lord.”

He laughed. “She doesn’t want to live near Me. She only wants a good time!” Then He grew serious. “To live near Me,” He said, “one must have My aims and objects. Do you remember the rich young man who wanted to live near Christ, and when he learned what it cost to live near Him–that it meant to give away all his possessions and take up a cross and follow Christ–then,” the Master laughed, “he fled away!

“Among the disciples of the Báb,” He continued, “were two: His amanuensis and a firm believer. On the eve of the Báb’s martyrdom the firm believer prayed: ‘Oh let me die with You!’ The amanuensis said: ‘What shall I do?’

“‘What shall I do?'” mocked the Master. “‘What do you want me to do?’ The disciple died with the Báb, his head on the breast of the Báb, and their bodies were mingled in death. The other died in prison anyway, but think of the difference in their stations!

Sunday, June 23, 1912

After morning prayers of thanksgiving, the Master, with some of these servants, went to the market to purchase food and utensils. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Himself supervised the affairs of the kitchen. During this journey He often cooked and prepared the meals, especially when there were special guests. When there were no guests, He would not permit us to go to the trouble of preparing special meals but instead was satisfied with a piece of bread and some cheese. With all this, His glory and majesty caused many to bow humbly before Him. In fact, it was seldom that many did not sit at His table both mornings and evenings to receive the blessings and honor of His presence. After returning from the market and completing His chores in the kitchen, He spoke of the development of Europe:

“The material progress of Europe is approaching its zenith. Everything that reaches its zenith undoubtedly begins to decline. I hope that spiritual progress will be bestowed on them and that they will be protected.

“It is obvious that whatever is growing, like a tree, is in the process of development. When we were going from Tihrán to Baghdád, there was not a friend to be found on the way but as the tree of the Cause of God was in its infancy and growing, it was apparent that the divine Cause would surround the East and the West and the reign of Násiri’d-Din Sháh would come to naught. Observe what has become of his sovereignty and consider where we are.”

In the afternoon the hall of the building was full of people. Many were standing in adjacent rooms to hear ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. He began by saying:

“It is not the place that should be looked at but the illumined faces and hearts of the friends. In Baghdád there was a small room, about one-third the size of this one, in which a number of the believers were living — but under the shade of the kindness of Bahá’u’lláh and they were very happy.” 6

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

Mahmud: June 23 – The Master supervised the affairs of the kitchen, often cooked and prepared meals

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 23, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Politicking and Personalities.” 239 Days in America, 23 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/23/in-the-hands-of-the-wise/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 97.
  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, 210. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/15#889743033
  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, 212. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/15#557843750
  5. Thompson, Juliet. The Diary of Juliet Thompson. Edited by Marzieh Gail. 1st ed. 1947. Reprint, Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1983, 319. https://archive.org/details/diaryofjuliettho0000thom/page/318/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#section91

239 Days in America, Day 73: June 22, 1912 | New Jersey

Elephants in Chicago 1

THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION would be over this evening. It had begun on Tuesday, June 18, 1912, at the Chicago Coliseum on Wabash Avenue. After months of campaign speeches, accusations, and rebuttals — and twelve weeks of primary elections in sixteen states — the delegates were ready to choose either President William Howard Taft or former President Theodore Roosevelt to be the Republican Presidential nominee.

Unlike almost everyone else in the building, William Jennings Bryan didn’t have any skin in the game. He was a Democrat, and had run as the Democratic candidate for President three times, in 1896, 1900, and 1908, losing each time. This week he was here not to politick, but to report. The nation wanted his viewpoint; he was in high demand. Several daily newspapers had contracted with him for his eye on each day’s proceedings. Monday morning’s dispatch evoked the early skirmishes on the convention floor:

“The delegates as they come in are badged, tagged and buttonholed,” Bryan wrote. “The prophets are revising their lists as they learn of additions or defections and the corridors of the hotels resound with the cheers of partisans. These things are to be found in every convention, but they are here in unusual abundance.”

Although he was enjoying himself (“We are having a great time”) he could also see through the hullabaloo. “There is a liberal education in a national convention,” he told the public on Monday, “but much that one learns is not useful to him afterwards.”

Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, 20 June 1912 2

The great mass of humanity does not exercise real love and fellowship. The elect of humanity are those who live together in love and unity. They are preferable before God because the divine attributes are already manifest in them. The supreme love and unity is witnessed in the divine Manifestations. Among Them unity is indissoluble, changeless, eternal and everlasting. Each One is expressive and representative of all. If we deny One of the Manifestations of God, we deny all. To inflict persecution upon One is to persecute the Others. In all degrees of existence each One praises and sanctifies the Others. Each of Them holds to the solidarity of mankind and promotes the unity of human hearts. Next to the divine Manifestations come the believers whose characteristics are agreement, fellowship and love. The Bahá’í friends in Persia attained such a brotherhood and love that it really became a hindrance in the conduct of material affairs. Each one into whatever house of the friends he went considered himself the owner of the house, so to speak. There was no duality but complete mutuality of interests and love. The visiting friend would have no hesitation in opening the provision box and taking out enough food for his needs. They wore each other’s clothes as their own when necessary. If in need of a hat or cloak, they would take and use it. The owner of the clothing would be thankful and grateful that the garment had gone. When he returned home, he would perhaps be told, “So and so was here and took away your coat.” He would reply, “Praise be to God! I am so grateful to him. Praise be to God! I am so thankful I have been given this opportunity of showing my love for him.” To such an extreme degree this love and fellowship expressed itself that Bahá’u’lláh commanded that no one should take possession of another’s belongings unless presented with them. The intention is to show to what an extent unity and love prevailed among the Bahá’í friends in the East.

I hope that this same degree and intensity of love may become manifest and apparent here; that the spirit of God shall so penetrate your hearts that each one of the beloved of God shall be considered as all; that each one may become a cause of unity and center of accord and all mankind be bound together in real fellowship and love.

Saturday, June 22, 1912

In the morning ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke about the followers of Yahyá, saying:

“These people are following their false imaginings. They say that the letter from the Báb to Yahyá begins thus: ‘From God, the Mighty, the Beloved, to God, the Mighty, the Beloved.’ But this passage is also written at the beginning of the letter to Dayyán and to others. In Tablets revealed by the Blessed Beauty there are also many such passages. The intent is an address from the Manifestation to Himself. What does this have to do with Yahyá? In a Tablet from the Báb to Yahyá and written in Yahyá’s own handwriting, he is directed by the Báb to ascertain God’s intention by asking Siyyid Husayn, the amanuensis.”

The Master then gave various accounts of their vain imaginings and the mischief they caused in both the spiritual and material affairs of Persia. He also spoke about their malicious calumnies against the sincere and trustworthy Bahá’ís of the East and the West. He ended His talk with an exposition on the erroneous notion prevailing among some religious leaders that science is opposed to religion, a belief that leads people to false dogmas and to adhere to vain imaginings.

In the afternoon the Master gave an exposition on the words of Christ: ‘He that desireth to follow Me, must bear his own cross.’ He then mentioned the martyrs of this great Cause and, referring to ‘Abdu’l-Vahháb-i-Shírází, said:

“Before he left the prison to go to the altar of divine sacrifice, he came first and placed his head on Bahá’u’lláh’s feet and kissed them. Having embraced all the friends, he hastened to the plain of sacrifice, dancing and snapping his fingers in ecstasy.

As the Master recounted this event, His voice became so resonant and powerful that it caused the friends to tremble, and then His mood changed. His body dancing and His fingers snapping, He made such ecstatic cries it seemed that the scene of martyrdom had been reenacted before our very eyes. Afterwards, He said: ‘Compare the condition and firmness of the martyrs of this Revelation with those of the disciples of Christ, taking into account the station attained. How great is the difference between this Day and the past. How far the one is from the other.’

Friends and seekers gathered in the evening. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s response to Mr Edsall’s father-in-law was very inspiring and impressive. 3

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

Mahmud: June 22 – False beliefs and malicious calumnies of the followers of Yahya

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 22, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Elephants In Chicago.” 239 Days in America, 22 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/22/elephants-in-chicago/.
  2. 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, 208-209. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/14#941667385
  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#section90

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

239 Days in America, Day 71: June 20, 1912 | New York

I Have Seen a Curious Article Which Astonished 1

MIRZÁ ABU’L-FAZL WAS ILL, bedridden, and sixty-seven years old when the attack on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá — published under the title “Bahaism: A Warning” — was given to him in Beirut. The article, written by Reverend Peter Z. Easton, had appeared in the September and October, 1911, issue of the British magazine Evangelical Christendom. By December it had found its way to Syria.

Defending the Bahá’í religion was nothing new for Abu’l-Fazl. Yet he appeared genuinely taken aback by Reverend Easton’s attack. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá calls the people of Europe to the lofty attributes of humanity,” Abu’l-Fazl wrote, “but Peter Z. Easton teaches them libels, execration, falsehood and calumnies!”

Mirzá Abu’l-Fazl Gulpáygání was a renowned scholar who had once risen to the highest ranks of the Shí’í Muslim clergy in Persia. His expertise encompassed Islamic and European sciences, rational philosophy, speculative theology, and even Buddhism. But then, in 1876, he became a Bahá’í. He was stripped of his position, imprisoned for four years, and narrowly escaped the campaigns of murder against Bahá’ís in the Middle East.

Abu’l-Fazl began his treatise by questioning Reverend Easton’s motives: “Jealousy has caused many to fall from the high station and lofty summit of courtesy,” he wrote. The implication was that Easton was jealous of Archdeacon Wilberforce, who had invited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to his church and prompted Easton’s attack.

“Are there not enough revilers, calumniators and prevaricators in the other parts of the world,” Abu’l-Fazl asked, “that such should also appear from Europe?”

New York, Philadelphia, New York 2

On Thursday, June 20, Juliet Thompson wrote (in a diary entry dated July 5):

… we went to Mrs. \[Gertrude] Kasebier’s—Lua [Getsinger], Mrs. William Hinkle-Smith (‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave her the name Tábandih which means “Light-Giver”), and I—in the car with the Master.

I shall never forget the Master’s beauty in the strange cold light of her studio—a green, under-water sort of light, in which He looked shining and chilled—like the statue of a god.

Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York 3

Whatsoever is conducive to unity is merciful and from the divine bounty itself. Every universal affair is divine. Everything which conduces to separation and estrangement is satanic because it emanates from the purposes of self. Consider how clearly it is shown in creation that the cause of existence is unity and cohesion and the cause of nonexistence is separation and dissension. By a divine power of creation the elements assemble together in affinity, and the result is a composite being. Certain of these elements have united, and man has come into existence. Certain other combinations produce plants and animals. Therefore, this affinity of the inanimate elements is the cause of life and being. Through their commingling, therefore, human affinity, love and fellowship are made possible. If the elements were not assembled together in affinity to produce the body of man, the higher intelligent forces could not be manifest in the body. But when these elements separate, when their affinity and cohesion are overcome, death and dissolution of the body they have built inevitably follow. Therefore, affinity and unity among even these material elements mean life in the body of man, and their discord and disagreement mean death. Throughout all creation, in all the kingdoms, this law is written: that love and affinity are the cause of life, and discord and separation are the cause of death.

Thursday, June 20, 1912

The Master went to a house rented for Him in Montclair. Since the weather in New York was hot and humid at this time, the Montclair friends had begged Him to visit. Mr Edsall’s relatives were elated and grateful for the beloved Master’s visit. This servant told the Eastern friends that there was a possibility that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would remain there to rest from His arduous journey and overcome His fatigue, which would alleviate the many troubles and hardships of the past.

That night the Master spoke of the Blessed Beauty’s stay in Baghdád and of His Declaration, about His teaching and educating the servants of God. 4

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

Mahmud: June 20 – Visiting friends in Montclair, New Jersey

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 20, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “I Have Seen a Curious Article Which Astonished Me.” 239 Days in America, 20 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/20/i-have-seen-a-curious-article-which-astonished-me/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 93.
  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, 207. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/14#639345813
  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=4#section88

239 Days in America, Day 70: June 19, 1912 | New York

To Drag the Soul Down to Hell 1

IT WAS A “SATANIC system” of control and submission, Reverend Peter Z. Easton 2 thought. He wrote his opinion in an article called “Bahaism: A Warning,” in the September and October, 1911, issue of the British magazine Evangelical Christendom.

America wasn’t the only place ‘Abdu’l-Bahá faced controversy. It had happened during his trip to England as well.

On September 17, 1911, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke at the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Smith Square, Westminster. The English magazine the Fortnightly Review reported the event like this: “Surely the dawn of a new day was heralded on that Sunday evening when the Archdeacon of Westminster walked hand in hand with Abdul Baha up the nave of St. John’s Church.”

The Archdeacon was Basil Wilberforce, the Chaplain of the House of Commons. He seated ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the Bishop’s chair, addressed him as “Master,” and even knelt to receive his blessing. But Reverend Easton, who had been a missionary in Azerbaijan for many years, was incensed by the warm reception given to a Persian by a minister of the Church of England.

“One wonders how it is that Christian men and women can be so deceived,” Easton pleaded.

New York, Philadelphia, New York 3

Later that Wednesday, when some of the friends described places for sightseeing in America, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá remarked, “‘We love meetings of fidelity and not picturesque scenes. We must first be faithful to God, to His laws and Covenant and then to His servants. If we wish to see places of interest and picturesque scenes we should do so when we go to pay visits or when we have to pass through such places and scenes.’”

Talk at Fourth Unitarian Church, Beverly Road, Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York, 16 June 1912 4

What is real unity? When we observe the human world, we find various collective expressions of unity therein. For instance, man is distinguished from the animal by his degree, or kingdom. This comprehensive distinction includes all the posterity of Adam and constitutes one great household or human family, which may be considered the fundamental or physical unity of mankind. Furthermore, a distinction exists between various groups of humankind according to lineage, each group forming a racial unity separate from the others. There is also the unity of tongue among those who use the same language as a means of communication; national unity where various peoples live under one form of government such as French, German, British, etc.; and political unity, which conserves the civil rights of parties or factions of the same government. All these unities are imaginary and without real foundation, for no real result proceeds from them. The purpose of true unity is real and divine outcomes. From these limited unities mentioned only limited outcomes proceed, whereas unlimited unity produces unlimited result. For instance, from the limited unity of race or nationality the results at most are limited. It is like a family living alone and solitary; there are no unlimited or universal outcomes from it.

Wednesday, June 19, 1912

As ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is to go to Montclair tomorrow, He bade farewell to the friends. Today He admonished and encouraged the friends, exhorting them to love and unity and to refrain from differences and disagreements. Then, at the request of Miss Juliet Thompson, He went to a photography studio where several photographs were taken. As she is an artist herself, she drew ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s likeness with her own hands in a few days.

Many people were present in the afternoon. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke with a minister about the prosperity of humankind and the oneness of the world of humanity.

Mrs Smith, a member of one of the distinguished families in Philadelphia, had recently embraced the Cause and had requested a Persian name. She was given the name Tábandih [Light-giver] by the Master. As she had a headache, He prescribed some medication for her, saying:

“You must always be happy. You must associate with joyous and happy people and be adorned with divine morals. Happiness has a direct influence in preserving our health while being upset causes illness. The basis of eternal happiness is spirituality and divine virtue, which is not followed by sorrow. But physical happiness is subject to a thousand changes and vicissitudes.

“Have you heard the story of the emperor who looked into the mirror and became very sad and despondent? He said, ‘Oh! What a healthy and vigorous body I had but how worn it has become now! What a handsome face I had but how ugly it has become now! What graceful stature I had but how bent my body has become with age!’ Thus he spoke one by one of the physical conditions of his youth and expressed his sadness at their loss. Such is the end of the physical happiness.”

Another friend asked about tribulations and unexpected accidents. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá replied:

“The chain of creation is interwoven in a natural law and divine order. Everything is interlinked. A link cannot be broken without affecting that natural order. Everything that happens is in conformity with this order and is based on consummate wisdom. Because it is decreed by God that every plant that grows must wither, all flourishing vegetation must fade away, every combination must disperse and all compositions must disintegrate. These are the necessary consequences of that universal law and of all relationships and is interpreted as divine decree.”

In every meeting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gives this kind of philosophical explanation to complex problems, thus illuminating the hearts. 5

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

Mahmud: June 19 – “The basis of eternal happiness is spirituality and divine virtue …”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 19, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “To Drag the Soul Down to Hell.” 239 Days in America, 19 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/19/to-drag-the-soul-down-to-hell/.
  2. Papijoon. “Bahai Stories: Mirza Abdu’l Fazl.” Bahai Stories, 20 June 2012, https://bahaistories-papijoon.blogspot.com/2012/06/i-have-seen-curious-article-which.html.
  3. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 93.
  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, 190-191. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/14#045318399.
  5. ’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#section87