239 Days in America, Day 150: September 07, 1912 | Montreal

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Montreal Odyssey 1

AS A TRAVELER, HENRY David Thoreau wrote that what he got from his visit to Canada was a cold. Undeterred by a week of wetter and cooler than average Montreal weather, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá saw a different part of Montreal practically every day of his visit. The unpredictable weather did not stop him from seeing the city between his many public talks and appointments with visitors.

On ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s first afternoon in Montreal, Sutherland Maxwell took him and a small party for a carriage ride around town. They drove past the Unitarian Church where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would speak the following morning and through the McGill University campus. They then went to one of the oldest and grandest Catholic churches in the city, Notre Dame Basilica, on Place d’Armes square in the historic Old Port. The party stopped here and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá praised the building. Mahmúd-i-Zarqání said that after they had left the church, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá turned to the party and said, “Behold what eleven disciples of Christ have accomplished, how they sacrificed themselves! . . . When a person is detached, he is capable of revolutionizing the whole world.”

Montreal 2

The Toronto Star Weekly wrote of Him on September 7, in an article headed “ABDUL BAHA’S WORD TO CANADA”:

What is it that strikes one most in this remarkable man? Is it his message …? Is it his power of thought, his manner of expression, the privations he has endured? No; it is none of these. It is his great sincerity, He is a man with a mission, and he believes in it with all his soul. …

Saturday, September 7, 1912 3

’Today ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke to a group of people who came to visit Him at the hotel. Here is some of what He explained:

“As in the physical world there are four seasons, so in the realm of religion there is the season of heavenly and spiritual springtime. When its outpourings gradually diminish, the trees of existence cease to be verdant and creeping torpor spreads, it will become like winter. The souls will become withered and distressed and the soil of the hearts will become full of thorns and thistles. There will be no flowers, no hyacinths, no greenery, no pleasure, no freshness and no cheer. Then, once again, the divine spring will raise its tabernacle. The gardens of the world of humanity will become green and verdant, full of freshness and purity. The flowers of reality will open and the trees of existence will bring forth enduring fruit. This is the law of God and is in accord with the world of creation and this is the cause for the reappearance of holy Manifestations Who effect renewal and change in religious laws and commandments.”

In the afternoon the Master spoke about the oneness of the fundamental truths of the religions of God and the vain imaginings and beliefs of various peoples, saying:

“The foundation of all religions is one and the aim of all creeds of the world is also one. All are believers in the oneness of God. All believe that a mediator between the Creator and the creatures is needed. The question is that to the Jews Moses is the last, to the Christians it is Christ, to the Muslims it is Muhammad and to the Parsis it is Zoroaster. But their differences are only those of names. If these names are set aside, it is evident that their aim is one. Every divine religious law was complete for its time. The renewal of the laws of God and the appearance of the Manifestations of the bounties of the Lord in each cycle are necessary. Thus the people who seek truth and inner meanings can discover the divine mysteries and become aware of the secrets of the Books of God. They know God to be the Supreme, His bounties infinite and the doors of His mercy unbarred. They believe in all the Prophets and affirm ‘No difference do we make between any of them’ [Qur’án 2:130]. But those who adhere to outer meanings only, who worship outer form, cling to imitations and follow their superstitions. They use the allegories set forth in the verses of God to deny the Cause of the Lord of Signs. Therefore, offer thanks to God that you have attained unto reality, have responded affirmatively to the Call of God, have given up dogmatic imitations and have become cognizant of the mystery of oneness. Offer thanks to God. Be grateful to your Lord.”

5 September 1912, Talk at St. James Methodist Church, Montreal, Canada 4

… In order that human souls, minds and spirits may attain advancement, tranquillity and vision in broader horizons of unity and knowledge, Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed certain principles or teachings, some of which I will mention.

First, man must independently investigate reality …

Second, the oneness of the world of humanity shall be realized, accepted and established. When we reflect upon this blessed principle, it will become evident and manifest that it is the healing remedy for all human conditions. All mankind are the servants of the glorious God, our Creator. He has created all. Assuredly He must have loved them equally; otherwise, He would not have created them. He protects all. Assuredly He loves His creatures; otherwise, He would not protect them. He provides for all, proving His love for all without distinction or preference. He manifests His perfect goodness and loving-kindness toward all. He does not punish us for our sins and shortcomings, and we are all immersed in the ocean of His infinite mercy. Inasmuch as God is clement and loving to His children, lenient and merciful toward our shortcomings, why should we be unkind and unforgiving toward each other? As He loves humanity without distinction or preference, why should we not love all? Can we conceive of a plan and policy superior to the divine purpose? Manifestly, we cannot. Therefore, we must strive to do the will of the glorious Lord and emulate His policy of loving all mankind. The wisdom and policy of God are reality and truth, whereas human policy is accidental and limited to our finite understanding. The policy of God is infinite. We must emulate His example. If a soul be ailing and infirm, we must produce remedies; if ignorant, we must provide education; if defective, we must train and perfect that which is lacking; if immature and undeveloped, we must supply the means of attainment to maturity. No soul should be hated, none neglected; nay, rather, their very imperfections should demand greater kindness and tender compassion. Therefore, if we follow the example of the Lord of divinity, we will love all mankind from our hearts, and the means of the unity of the world of humanity will become as evident and manifest to us as the light of the sun. And from our example the light of the love of God will be enkindled among men. For God is love, and all phenomena find source and emanation in that divine current of creation. The love of God haloes all created things. Were it not for the love of God, no animate being would exist. This is clear, manifest vision and truth unless a man is veiled by superstitions and a captive to imaginations, differentiating mankind according to his own estimate, loving some and hating others. Such an attitude is most unworthy and ignoble.

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

Just like the physical four seasons “in the realm of religion there is the season of heavenly and spiritual springtime.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 7, 1912


  1. Michel, Tony. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Montreal Odyssey.” 239 Days in America, 7 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/07/abdul-baha-explores-montreal/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 136.
  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#section167
  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, 314-315. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/22#593477274

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

The Battles of Sarah J. Farmer 1

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

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

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

Green Acre 2

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

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

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

Thursday, August 22, 1912 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

August 22 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “The Battles of Sarah J. Farmer.” 239 Days in America, 22 Aug. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/08/22/battles-sarah-j-farmer/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 130.
  3. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 269-270. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/19#451722796
  4. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=6#section151

239 Days in America, Day 95: July 14, 1912 | New York

Religion: The Greatest Cause of Human Alienation 1

“‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ WILL SPEAK upon the oneness of humanity,” Reverend Leon Harvey told to his congregation at All Souls Unitarian Church in Brooklyn. “It is a great gospel,” he said. “Many have dreamed of it, but ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has lived it.”

The congregation at All Souls was one of the largest in the city. During its hundred-year history it had counted among its members some of New York’s most prominent reformers and cultural figures, including novelist Herman Melville. It was founded in 1819 under the Congregationalist banner, but by the late 1800s had become a Universalist Unitarian church – a movement with roots in Christianity, which accepted people of every religious background, unified by a dedication to spiritual growth and a commitment to serving the local community.

Reverend Harvey was pleased that he had assembled such a large crowd on one of the hottest days in memory. He began with a prayer: “We thank Thee for him whom we shall hear this morning and pray that whatever may come to us may not fall upon barren soil.”

Then ‘Abdu’l-Bahá took the pulpit and began. “In this great century the most important accomplishment is the unity of mankind,” he announced, “it has now become the paramount issue and question in the religious and political conditions of the world.”

Sunday, July 14, 1912

The Master returned to New York in the morning and went directly to Mrs Zieglar’s home to see her mother, who was unable to walk because of a foot ailment but who longed to see the beloved Master and attain His presence. When her desire was made known to the Master, He immediately decided to visit her. The ailing woman was very pleased and happy and found in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the fruit of her life and a feeling that she had been newly born.

When He returned to His residence the Master conversed until noon with the many seekers who had come to visit Him. Several distinguished ladies met with Him later in the afternoon at Mrs Krug’s home. He spoke to them about the education and training of women and after a period of questions and answers He left the gathering.

In the evening ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s talk at the meeting at His home centered on two groups — the materialists and theists. He spoke about divine power and demonstrated its outward influence on human souls in every cycle. After the meeting other seekers arrived and remained for some time before departing.

Being in a state of great exhaustion and fatigue, the beloved Master did not take dinner but instead went directly to bed. 2

Talk at All Souls Unitarian Church, Fourth Avenue and Twentieth Street, New York 3

Today I wish to speak to you upon the subject of the oneness of humanity, for in this great century the most important accomplishment is the unity of mankind. Although in former centuries and times this subject received some measure of mention and consideration, it has now become the paramount issue and question in the religious and political conditions of the world. History shows that throughout the past there has been continual warfare and strife among the various nations, peoples and sects; but now—praise be to God!—in this century of illumination, hearts are inclined toward agreement and fellowship, and minds are thoughtful upon the question of the unification of mankind. There is an emanation of the universal consciousness today which clearly indicates the dawn of a great unity.

In the investigation of a subject the right method of approach is to carefully examine its premises. Therefore, we must go back to the foundation upon which human solidarity rests—namely, that all are the progeny of Adam, the creatures and servants of one God; that God is the Protector and Provider; that all are submerged in the sea of divine mercy and grace and God is loving toward all.

Humanity shares in common the intellectual and spiritual faculties of a created endowment. All are equally subject to the various exigencies of human life and are similarly occupied in acquiring the means of earthly subsistence. From the viewpoint of creation human beings stand upon the same footing in every respect, subject to the same requirements and seeking the enjoyment and comfort of earthly conditions. Therefore, the things humanity shares in common are numerous and manifest. This equal participation in the physical, intellectual and spiritual problems of human existence is a valid basis for the unification of mankind.

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

Exhausting daily activities

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 14, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “Religion: The Greatest Cause of Human Alienation.” 239 Days in America, 14 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/14/shunning-division-welcoming-oneness/.
  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=5#section112
  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, 228-229. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#971819005