239 Days in America, Day 101: July 20, 1912 | New York

The Secret of Divine Civilization 1

“IT IS A SPECTACLE never before witnessed,” William Jennings Bryan wrote from the Democratic National Convention in Baltimore. He was surprised at how aggressively moneyed interests had entered the political process in 1912. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had first gone on record about leadership and corruption thirty-seven years earlier, when he was just thirty-one years old. In 1875 he wrote a long, open letter — called The Secret of Divine Civilization — to the people and government of Persia in support of the early modernization efforts of Násiri’d-Dín Sháh, the king who had banished Bahá’u’lláh and his family from Iran.

In The Secret of Divine Civilization, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá demanded a high standard of conduct from political leaders: “First,” he wrote, “the elected members must be righteous, God-fearing, high-minded, incorruptible.” “These give no thought to amassing enormous fortunes for themselves; they believe, rather, that their own wealth lies in enriching their subjects.” He added: “They take no pride in gold and silver, but rather in their enlightenment and their determination to achieve the universal good.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s open letter to the people of Persia engaged a wide range of national issues. In America, Social Gospel churchmen marched in the forefront of reform, but in Iran the clergy, and their arbitrary interpretation of the law, was a major barrier to progress. Two plaintiffs could go to two different religious officials about the same case and receive opposite decisions. “It may even happen that in one and the same case two conflicting decisions will be handed down by the same mujtahid, on the grounds that he was inspired first in one direction and then in the other,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote. “There can be no doubt that this state of affairs has confused every important issue and must jeopardize the very foundations of society.”

New York City 2

The next day [July 20] He spoke extensively about the martyrs. On the following evening He was invited to the home of the Consul General of Turkey where he spoke to a group of Armenians.

When the July 20 issue of Harper’s Weekly appeared on the newsstands, it included an article entitled, “A Ray from the East,” by Charles Johnston:

During the past few months there has appeared at peace conferences, in fashionable pupils, and at select meetings of devotees, a venerable Oriental with benign eyes and a patriarchal beard who is heralded as the head of a new world-religion … 3

Saturday, July 20, 2022

‘Abdu’l-Bahá received an invitation from the Consul General of Turkey. After meeting with the friends and expressing His happiness at their devotion and unity, He left for the Consul’s home. He took the ferry across the water, then a tram and arrived at the Consul General’s house. The Consul himself had gone to meet the Master by another route but his wife and relatives received Him with the utmost respect and reverence until the Consul General returned.

A number of prominent men and statesmen, as well as the Consul General, were present. The Master rested for a short time in one of the rooms. Then the Consul General, praising ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, introduced Him to the audience. The Master came to the table and spoke on the danger of wine and alcohol. He then considered some philosophical subjects and answered questions from the Consul’s wife about misconduct and its harmful consequences. She was pleased and when He was about to depart expressed her gratitude by kissing His hand. Everyone begged His pardon for any lack in their service to Him.

The Consul General’s brother-in-law requested and obtained permission to take the Master’s photograph. The Consul General then accompanied the Master to the railway station to see Him off, even though ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had asked him not to do so.

At a gathering of Armenians in the evening the Master gave a stirring and impressive talk concerning the attributes of the world of humanity, spiritual courage and valor. His talk was not recorded because we arrived at the meeting late. 4

Talk at All Souls Unitarian Church, Fourth Avenue and Twentieth Street, New York, 14 July 1912 5

Other sources of human dissension are political, racial and patriotic prejudices. These have been removed by Bahá’u’lláh. He has said, and has guarded His statement by rational proofs from the Holy Books, that the world of humanity is one race, the surface of the earth one place of residence and that these imaginary racial barriers and political boundaries are without right or foundation. Man is degraded in becoming the captive of his own illusions and suppositions. The earth is one earth, and the same atmosphere surrounds it. No difference or preference has been made by God for its human inhabitants; but man has laid the foundation of prejudice, hatred and discord with his fellowman by considering nationalities separate in importance and races different in rights and privileges.

Diversity of languages has been a fruitful cause of discord. The function of language is to convey the thought and purpose of one to another. Therefore, it matters not what language man speaks or employs. Sixty years ago Bahá’u’lláh advocated one language as the greatest means of unity and the basis of international conference. He wrote to the kings and rulers of the various nations, recommending that one language should be sanctioned and adopted by all governments. According to this each nation should acquire the universal language in addition to its native tongue. The world would then be in close communication, consultation would become general, and dissensions due to diversity of speech would be removed.

Another teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is in relation to universal peace: that all mankind must be awakened to and become conscious of the harm of war, that they should be brought to realize the benefits of peace and know that peace is from God while warfare is satanic. Man must emulate the merciful God and turn away from satanic promptings in order that universal inclination shall be toward peace, love and unity and the discord of war vanish.

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

Invitation from the Consul General of Turkey

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 20, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “The Secret of Divine Civilization.” 239 Days in America, 20 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/20/secret-of-divine-civilization/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 114.
  3. Charles Johnston, “A Ray from the East,” Harper’s Weekly, 59 (July 20, 1912), 9.
  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#section118
  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, 232-233. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#387272638

239 Days in America, Day 98: July 17, 1912 | New York

“Have Mercy on Yourselves and on Those Beneath You” 1

“LAY NOT ASIDE THE fear of God, O Kings of the Earth,” Bahá’u’lláh wrote in 1868, “and beware that ye transgress not the bounds which the Almighty hath fixed. Be vigilant, that ye may not do injustice to anyone, be it to the extent of a grain of mustard seed. Tread ye the path of justice, for this, verily, is the straight path.”

During ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s time in America, he spoke frequently of his father’s incarceration, and how this prisoner had addressed the rulers and kings of the earth. “If we study the historical record,” Abdu’l-Bahá noted, “we will find that none of the Prophets of the past ever spread His teachings or promulgated His Cause from a prison.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá was only eight years old when Bahá’u’lláh was imprisoned in the Síyáh-Chál, Tehran’s notorious underground dungeon. The family would endure a lifetime of imprisonment and exile, first in Baghdad, then in Constantinople and Adrianople, and finally in the Ottoman prison city of ‘Akká in Palestine.

New York City 2

The friends from the West Coast who could not travel to the East to meet Abdu’l-Bahá sent telegrams beseeching Him to come. In July some of the Californians came in person asking Him to visit them.

On July 17, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá chanted a prayer at the marriage of Harlan Ober and Grace Robarts, at which Howard Colby Ives officiated.

Wednesday, July 17, 2022

In the morning, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:

“The holding of last night’s meeting was done with wisdom and it produced great love. The marriage of the Bahá’ís was also performed according to Christian rites, so that the world may know that the people of Bahá are not confined by trivial customs, that they respect all nations and their peoples, that they are free from all prejudices and associate with all religions with utmost peace and happiness.”

He then said:

“My discourses in various gatherings have been founded on principles that are in conformity with reality as well as with the utmost wisdom. For instance, I say that the foundation of all divine religions is the same and that the Prophets are the dawning places of truth. No one can take exception or say that the principles of the Prophets and the truth of their teachings are different. Then I state that the basic teachings of Bahá’u’lláh are universal peace; the oneness of humanity; prohibition of execration and calumny; association with the followers of all religions in harmony and unity of nations, of races and of governments; and such like. I ask, did any of these principles exist in former books and religions? At the end of the talk I say that the laws of the divine religions are of two kinds: the first deals with spiritual verities which are one and the same in all religions; the other with laws which change according to the exigency of the time. For example, it is written in the Torah that if one breaks the teeth of another, his teeth must also be broken; and if one blinds the eyes of another, his eyes must also be blinded. For the sake of one dollar the thief’s hand was to be cut off. Now, can such laws be permitted and enforced in this age? Surely, no one can say it is permissible. In this way, all answers to important questions have been elucidated perfectly and none can deny them or protest against them.” 3

Talk at All Souls Unitarian Church, Fourth Avenue and Twentieth Street, New York, 14 July 1912 4

First, He has proclaimed the oneness of mankind and specialized religious teachings for existing human conditions. The first form of dissension arises from religious differences. Bahá’u’lláh has given full teachings to the world which are conducive to fellowship and unity in religion. Throughout past centuries each system of religious belief has boasted of its own superiority and excellence, abasing and scorning the validity of all others. Each has proclaimed its own belief as the light and all others as darkness. Religionists have considered the world of humanity as two trees: one divine and merciful, the other satanic; they themselves the branches, leaves and fruit of the divine tree and all others who differ from them in belief the product of the tree which is satanic. Therefore, sedition and warfare, bloodshed and strife have been continuous among them. The greatest cause of human alienation has been religion because each party has considered the belief of the other as anathema and deprived of the mercy of God.

The teachings specialized in Bahá’u’lláh are addressed to humanity. He says, “Ye are all the leaves of one tree.” He does not say, “Ye are the leaves of two trees: one divine, the other satanic.” He has declared that each individual member of the human family is a leaf or branch upon the Adamic tree; that all are sheltered beneath the protecting mercy and providence of God; that all are the children of God, fruit upon the one tree of His love. God is equally compassionate and kind to all the leaves, branches and fruit of this tree. Therefore, there is no satanic tree whatever—Satan being a product of human minds and of instinctive human tendencies toward error. God alone is Creator, and all are creatures of His might. Therefore, we must love mankind as His creatures, realizing that all are growing upon the tree of His mercy, servants of His omnipotent will and manifestations of His good pleasure.

Even though we find a defective branch or leaf upon this tree of humanity or an imperfect blossom, it, nevertheless, belongs to this tree and not to another. Therefore, it is our duty to protect and cultivate this tree until it reaches perfection. If we examine its fruit and find it imperfect, we must strive to make it perfect. There are souls in the human world who are ignorant; we must make them knowing. Some growing upon the tree are weak and ailing; we must assist them toward health and recovery. If they are as infants in development, we must minister to them until they attain maturity. We should never detest and shun them as objectionable and unworthy. We must treat them with honor, respect and kindness; for God has created them and not Satan. They are not manifestations of the wrath of God but evidences of His divine favor. God, the Creator, has endowed them with physical, mental and spiritual qualities that they may seek to know and do His will; therefore, they are not objects of His wrath and condemnation. In brief, all humanity must be looked upon with love, kindness and respect; for what we behold in them are none other than the signs and traces of God Himself. All are evidences of God; therefore, how shall we be justified in debasing and belittling them, uttering anathema and preventing them from drawing near unto His mercy? This is ignorance and injustice, displeasing to God; for in His sight all are His servants.

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

‘Abdu’l-Bahá explains the principles that He incorporates in His Talks

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 17, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “‘Have Mercy on Yourselves and on Those Beneath You.’” 239 Days in America, 17 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/17/to-the-rulers-and-kings-of-the-earth/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 111.
  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#section115
  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, 230-231. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#468345676

239 Days in America, Day 86: July 05, 1912 | New York

The Lesson of the Titanic 1

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, who had been offered tickets on the Titanic, had spoken about the tragedy in Washington just as the Senate hearings began. “Although such an event is indeed regrettable,” he said, “we must realize that everything which happens is due to some wisdom.” He was consoled, he noted, “by the realization that the worlds of God are infinite . . .”

Like Senator [Isidor] Rayner, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá perceived a deeper meaning in the Titanic disaster. “We are living in a day of reliance upon material conditions,” he stated. “Men imagine that the great size and strength of a ship, the perfection of machinery or the skill of a navigator will ensure safety, but these disasters sometimes take place that men may know that God is the real Protector.”

Yet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was also pragmatic. “Let no one imagine that these words imply that man should not be thorough and careful in his undertakings,” he said. “[H]e must provide and surround himself with all that scientific skill can produce. He must be deliberate, thoughtful and thorough in his purposes, build the best ship and provide the most experienced captain; yet, withal, let him rely upon God and consider God as the one Keeper.”

Friday, July 5, 1912 2

Some Tablets were revealed for friends in California, consoling them because of their separation from Him since He was not traveling to that state at the present time. Most of the friends on the West Coast of America had not yet had the honor to see Him. When they learned of His intention, they were saddened and sent telegrams begging Him to visit their state.

Today, at the invitation of Juliet Thompson, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went to a museum near His house. On the first floor there were statues, figures of animals and a collection of relics of early American civilization. On observing these objects, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, ‘From these things it appears that America had a great civilization in ancient times.’

In the evening, He spoke to a large number of friends and seekers at His home about detachment from physical desires and the attainment of everlasting life. Everyone was delighted.

5 July 1912, Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York 3

Consider to what a remarkable extent the spirituality of people has been overcome by materialism so that spiritual susceptibility seems to have vanished, divine civilization become decadent, and guidance and knowledge of God no longer remain. All are submerged in the sea of materialism. Although some attend churches and temples of worship and devotion, it is in accordance with the traditions and imitations of their fathers and not for the investigation of reality. For it is evident they have not found reality and are not engaged in its adoration. They are holding to certain imitations which have descended to them from their fathers and ancestors. They have become accustomed to passing a certain length of time in temple worship and conforming to imitations and ceremonies. The proof of this is that the son of every Jewish father becomes a Jew and not a Christian; the son of every Muslim becomes a follower of Islám; the son of every Christian proves to be a Christian; the son of every Zoroastrian is a Zoroastrian, etc. Therefore, religious faith and belief is merely a remnant of blind imitations which have descended through fathers and ancestors. Because this man’s father was a Jew, he considers himself a Jew. Not that he has investigated reality and proved satisfactorily to himself that Judaism is right—nay, rather, he is aware that his forefathers have followed this course; therefore, he has held to it himself.

The purpose of this is to explain that the darkness of imitations encompasses the world. Every nation is holding to its traditional religious forms. The light of reality is obscured. Were these various nations to investigate reality, there is no doubt they would attain to it. As reality is one, all nations would then become as one nation. So long as they adhere to various imitations and are deprived of reality, strife and warfare will continue and rancor and sedition prevail. If they investigate reality, neither enmity nor rancor will remain, and they will attain to the utmost concord among themselves.

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

Revealing Tablets for believers in California

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 05, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “The Lesson of the Titanic.” 239 Days in America, 5 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/05/the-lesson-of-the-titanic/.
  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#section103
  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, 221. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#695281489

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 60: June 09, 1912 | Philadelphia

Acres of Diamonds 1

“IN THE ESTIMATION OF God all men are equal.” 2

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s words at the Baptist Temple in Philadelphia on June 9, 1912, echoed the Declaration of Independence, conceived in that same city nearly a century-and-a-half before. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explained that his father, Bahá’u’lláh, “taught that an equal standard of human rights must be recognized and adopted.”

It was something that the pastor at the Baptist Temple — Dr. Russell H. Conwell — had been practicing for over forty years. By the time ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited Conwell’s church, it was surrounded by a university, and not one but three hospitals, all designed to uplift the community of Philadelphia.

Conwell first heard about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during a visit to the Middle East. He later sent a cable to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Egypt, inviting him to address his congregation. It wasn’t Conwell’s first trip to the Middle East. Forty years earlier he had gone as a journalist, a trip that set his life in motion …

Talk at Unitarian Church, Fifteenth Street and Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 3

At a time when warfare and strife prevailed among nations, when enmity and hatred separated sects and denominations and human differences were very great, Bahá’u’lláh appeared upon the horizon of the East, proclaiming the oneness of God and the unity of the world of humanity. He promulgated the teaching that all mankind are the servants of one God; that all have come into being through the bestowal of the one Creator; that God is kind to all, nurtures, rears and protects all, provides for all and extends His love and mercy to all races and people. Inasmuch as God is loving, why should we be unjust and unkind? As God manifests loyalty and mercy, why should we show forth enmity and hatred? Surely the divine policy is more perfect than human plan and theory; for no matter how wise and sagacious man may become, he can never attain a policy that is superior to the policy of God. Therefore, we must emulate the attitude of God, love all people, be just and kind to every human creature. We must consider all as the leaves, branches and fruit of one tree, children of one household; for all are the progeny of Adam. We are waves of one sea, grass of the same meadow, stars in the same heaven; and we find shelter in the universal divine Protector. If one be sick, he must be treated; the ignorant must be educated; the sleeping must be awakened; the dead must be quickened with life. These were principles of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh.

New York, Philadelphia, New York 4

On Sunday morning, June 9, He [Abdu’l-Bahá ] drove to 15th Street and Girard Avenue where the Unitarian Church was located and told the congregation of some of the major Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. In the afternoon He received visitors, including reporters, who came to His hotel rooms. That evening He spoke before the congregation of twenty-five hundred in the Baptist Temple, at Broad and Berks Streets. In His lengthy address He elaborated on nine of the principles of the Bahá’í Faith.

Sunday, June 9, 1912

As the Master intended to leave Philadelphia for New York in the morning, many friends were disappointed owing to their imminent separation from Him. They came to the railway station in great sadness to see Him off and all along the way supplicated assistance and guidance from Him.

In the evening in New York, the Master gave the friends a poignant account of His journey to Philadelphia, outlining the objective of His visit. He also spoke on spiritual stations and the inner progress of the soul, which are the ultimate fruits of human life.

Today the Master revealed many important Tablets. One of them was to Monsieur Dreyfus:

“O thou kind Friend,

“I visited Philadelphia, for a few days, at the invitation of two ministers and at the request of the friends of God. Two large congregations gathered in the two churches and I spoke within the measure of my incapacity. But the confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom, as evident as the sun, descended and enfolded us. Although we are powerless, He is Mighty. Although we are poor, He is All-Sufficient. The importance of this blessed verse became truly manifest: ‘We shall aid whosoever will arise for the triumph of Our Cause with the hosts of the Concourse on high and a company of Our favored angels.’

“I hope that both you and the maidservant of Bahá will be able to render important services on this journey and will become the cause of proclaiming the Word of God. Convey my respectful greetings to the maidservant of Bahá. I pray God for confirmations and assistance for her.

“May the Glory of the All-Glorious rest upon thee.

During this time, both day and night, many people besides these servants were present at the table and enjoyed the presence of the Master.

This evening He spoke of the days in Baghdád, saying:

“The Blessed Beauty did not make any more public speeches after leaving Baghdád and Adrianople. The mode of His discourse and the style of His utterances were a cause of wonder and were without peer or likeness. However, out of respect, I do not wish to give my speeches in that manner.” 5

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

Mahmud: June 9 – The mode and the style of Bahá’u’lláh’s discourse and utterances were a “cause of wonder and were without peer or likeness”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 9, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “Acres of Diamonds.” 239 Days in America, 9 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/09/acres-of-diamonds/.
  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, 182. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/13#242057922.
  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, 174. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/13#529704265.
  4. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 88.
  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#section77

239 Days in America, Day 57: June 06, 1912 | New York

Can You Paint Me in a Half Hour? 1

“YOU KNOW CHRIST DIDN’T look like a woman, the way all the pictures of Him look.” That was Juliet Thompson, talking to God, when she was just ten years old. “Please let me paint Him when I grow up as the King of Men.” She held onto this wish for the next twenty-six years.

Juliet lived, and wrote, with her heart on her sleeve. Her diary is filled with Biblical metaphors, capitalized pronouns, and a highly personal, poetic language which, while heartwarming, can also be off-putting if you don’t like that kind of thing. It is a diary, after all, not a newspaper, and it offers a unique insight into the kinds of close personal relationships ‘Abdu’l-Bahá formed with a handful of Americans — in this case an effusive, rising portrait artist from Greenwich Village.

Juliet traveled to ‘Akká to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in 1909. But her first meeting with him dashed her hopes of ever painting the Christ. When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá walked into a room, she wrote, “His effulgence struck me blind.” “Could the sun with the whole universe full of its radiations, or endless flashes of lightning be captured in paint?” Besides, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was adamant that he wasn’t Christ.

Then, the night before the SS Cedric docked in New York, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá cabled a message: “On My arrival in America Miss Juliet Thompson shall paint a wonderful portrait of Me.” (Those would be Juliet’s pronouns.) She described her “surprise and dismay, fear, joy and gratitude all mixed together” at hearing the news.

Thursday, June 6, 1912 2

In the morning, a group of the friends gathered in the Master’s residence. He spoke to them about the Unity Club’s children’s event, explaining divine education and morals. He then went to Mrs Newton’s home in Brooklyn. The servants of Abdu’l-Bahá were also invited to accompany Him for lunch at the home of Mrs Newton and Mrs Rivers.

Today a new guest came from the East to see the Master and to be in His presence, Mírzá ‘Alí-Akbar Nakhjavání. At the table the Master asked him about conditions in the East. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave a brief discourse at the table:

“Nothing in the world of existence is greater than such gatherings as these because they have been called solely for the love of God. Observe with what love people from the East are seated at the same table with people from the West. Such love and unity were previously impossible. The power of Bahá’u’lláh has created an affinity in these hearts and has drawn these souls under the canopy of one Word. No family ever gathers with such love and associates with such happiness and joy. It is through the divine power and through the potency of the Word of God that we are assembled here with such gladness and delight. We are turned towards the Abhá Kingdom and like the plants of the flower garden we are swayed by the breezes of His kindness and favor. Today is a day which shall never be forgotten, for we are under the shadow of the Blessed Beauty. Our hearts are joyous with His glad tidings; we breathe the fragrant breezes of the Abhá Kingdom; our ears are delighted with the divine summons, and our spirits are alive through heavenly bounties. Such a day shall never be forgotten.”

In the afternoon, after a short ride in the large public park of Brooklyn, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá returned to New York. A group of people had assembled at His residence to see Him. Saying that He wanted to be alone for awhile, He went to a small garden by the bank of the river near His residence. After a few minutes He returned and spoke to the friends of the heavenly melodies.

New York, Philadelphia, New York 3

On Thursday, June 6, one newspaper carried an article headed “Tracing Darrow Fund,” which described how the lawyer, Clarence Darrow, had been accused of jury bribing. Abdu’l-Bahá, in addition to speaking with the scores of people who surged to His home, took time for a ride in a public park in Brooklyn and a walk alone in the little garden near His home..

Talk at Church of the Ascension, Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street, New York, 02 June 1912 4

Question: Will you state the tenets of your faith?

Answer: First, investigate reality. Man must leave imitation and seek reality. The contemporaneous religious beliefs differ because of their allegiance to dogma. It is necessary, therefore, to abandon imitations and seek their fundamental reality.

Second, the oneness of humanity. All human creatures are the servants of God. All are submerged in the sea of His mercy. The Creator of all is one God; the Provider, the Giver, the Protector of all is one God. He is kind to all; why should we be unkind? All live beneath the shadow of His love; why should we hate each other? There are certain people who are ignorant; they must be educated. Some are like children; they must be trained and educated until they reach maturity. Others are sickly, intellectually ill, spiritually ill; they must be treated and healed. But all are the servants of God.

Third, religion must be conducive to love of all, the cause of fellowship, unity and light. If it be the cause of enmity, bloodshed and hatred, its nonbeing is better than its being, its nonexistence better than its existence. Religion and science conform and agree. If a question of religion violates reason and does not agree with science, it is imagination and not worthy of credence.

Fourth, equality between men and women. In all degrees they are equal. The readjustment of the economic laws for the livelihood of man must be effected in order that all humanity may live in the greatest happiness according to their respective degrees.

Fifth, spiritual brotherhood. All mankind must attain to spiritual fraternity—that is to say, fraternity in the Holy Spirit—for patriotic, racial and political fraternity are of no avail. Their results are meager; but divine fraternity, spiritual fraternity, is the cause of unity and amity among mankind. As heretofore material civilization has been extended, the divine civilization must now be promulgated. Until the two agree, real happiness among mankind will be unknown. By mere intellectual development and power of reason, man cannot attain to his fullest degree—that is to say, by means of intellect alone he cannot accomplish the progress effected by religion. For the philosophers of the past strove in vain to revivify the world of mankind through the intellectual faculty. The most of which they were capable was educating themselves and a limited number of disciples; they themselves have confessed failure. Therefore, the world of humanity must be confirmed by the breath of the Holy Spirit in order to receive universal education. Through the infusion of divine power all nations and peoples become quickened, and universal happiness is possible.

These are some of the principles of the Bahá’ís.

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

Mahmud: June 6 – The power of Bahá’u’lláh has created an affinity in the hearts of people from East and West

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 6, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “Can You Paint Me in a Half Hour?” 239 Days in America, 6 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/06/can-you-paint-me-in-a-half-hour/.
  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#section74
  3. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 87.
  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, 169-170. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/12#954195323.

239 Days in America, Day 55: June 04, 1912 | New York

The World Before the War 1

“THE CONTINENT OF EUROPE is one vast arsenal,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told a New York newspaper. Even though he spoke energetically of peace, he harbored no illusions about the convulsions that were about to overtake Western civilization. The European arsenal, he said, “only requires one spark at its foundations and the whole of Europe will become a wasted wilderness.”

The decades leading up to the Great War have often been interpreted by historians as bursting with confidence — an unbounded faith in the future. In many ways it was true. The preceding century had seen an unprecedented pace of change. The signs of progress were everywhere.

Humanity, many people thought, had become less warlike. The better off countries became, the less violent they would be. Norman Angell, an English journalist, had made this thesis the core of his 1910 book, The Great Illusion. It was only an illusion, he said, that countries actually benefited by war and conquest. But Angell had missed a key point: Europeans had merely transported their aggression to other, less visible parts of the world.

Tuesday, June 4, 1912

When the Master left Milford, as well as the influence of His explanations, His kindness and gifts to the servants of the household made a great impression. Calling them before Him, He thanked them and gave each two gold coins. Much affected, all bowed their heads then turned their faces turned towards ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as He left with majesty and grace. As He turned to observe the lush greenery of that place, tears suddenly poured from His eyes. He was thinking about the Blessed Beauty and was grieved and saddened, recalling the afflictions and sufferings of the Pre-Existent Face.

When the Master returned to New York in the evening, He went to a house built on the shore of the Hudson River which had been rented at His request. Here, at a gathering of the friends, He spoke about the achievements of American civilization in education, agriculture and commerce and the high standard of its government and people, saying:

“Their material civilization resembles a glass of the utmost transparency and purity but divine civilization is like a shining lamp. When these two combine, the utmost perfection will be realized. The light of the oneness of humanity, of universal peace, of equality of human rights and of divine morals will emanate from this country to all the regions of the world and will illumine them all.”

Someone asked whether, with all these worldly occupations and physical labors, it is possible that such a spiritual condition can be realized. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá replied:

“Provided they behave moderately, the more people advance in the material realm, the more their capacity for attaining spirituality is augmented. The sounder the body, the greater is the resplendency and manifestation of the spirit. Truly, what impedes spirituality are the dogmas and imitations that are contrary to true science and a sound mind.” 2

New York, Philadelphia, New York 3

On Tuesday, June 4, before leaving the estate, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá called all the servants together and gave each of them money. On His return to New York, Abdu’l-Bahá, went to the house He had rented along the Hudson River

Talk at Church of the Ascension, Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street, New York, 02 June 1912 4

Question: Is it not a fact that universal peace cannot be accomplished until there is political democracy in all the countries of the world?

Answer: It is very evident that in the future there shall be no centralization in the countries of the world, be they constitutional in government, republican or democratic in form. The United States may be held up as the example of future government—that is to say, each province will be independent in itself, but there will be federal union protecting the interests of the various independent states. It may not be a republican or a democratic form. To cast aside centralization which promotes despotism is the exigency of the time. This will be productive of international peace. Another fact of equal importance in bringing about international peace is woman’s suffrage. That is to say, when perfect equality shall be established between men and women, peace may be realized for the simple reason that womankind in general will never favor warfare. Women will not be willing to allow those whom they have so tenderly cared for to go to the battlefield. When they shall have a vote, they will oppose any cause of warfare. Another factor which will bring about universal peace is the linking together of the Orient and the Occident.

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

Mahmud: June 4 – “…what impedes spirituality are the dogmas and imitations that are contrary to true science and a sound mind.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 4, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “The World Before the War.” 239 Days in America, 4 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/04/the-world-before-the-war/.
  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#section72
  3. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 87.
  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, 167. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/12#261588977.

239 Days in America, Day 50: May 30, 1912 | New York

A Portrait in Moments 1

Many afternoons ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went for a stroll in Riverside Park on the Hudson River. He explained: “When I sleep on the grass, I obtain relief from exhaustion . . . .” Seeing him at a small gathering in Cleveland, a reporter noted: “There was no churchy pomp in his manner.” He was also known to get up early to bake bread, and held dinner parties for which he acted as both chef and host.

Then there were cars. Agnes Parsons recounts the story of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spotting an electric motor car across a busy street in Washington, and sending Mason Remey over with the directive “find out price.” Similar enthusiasm was directed at trains and trams, though ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had less affection for sea travel: the rollicking waves he experienced on the Cedric made his stomach queasy.

Yet lest this convey the impression of a man of leisure, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá slept no more than four or five hours each night. Howard Colby Ives recalls: “From five o’clock in the morning frequently until long after midnight He was actively engaged in service . . . .” Beyond ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s busy schedule of public talks and private meetings, he was also directing the affairs of an international community. During his 7 a.m. breakfast and 10 p.m. dinner each day he responded to a perpetual stream of letters and cablegrams.

New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts 2

On Thursday, May 30, as Ethel Barrymore announced her intention to play in vaudeville, and the bubonic plague broke out in Hong Kong, Abdu’l-Bahá spoke at the Theosophical Lodge and at the University of New York.

Talk at Theosophical Lodge, Broadway and Seventy-ninth Street, New York 3

I am greatly pleased with these expressions of kindly feeling and evidences of spiritual susceptibility. Tonight I am very happy in the realization that our aims and purposes are the same, our desires and longings are one. This is a reflection and evidence of the oneness of the world of humanity and the intention toward accomplishment of the Most Great Peace. Therefore, we are united in will and purpose. In the world of existence there are no greater questions than these. Oneness of the world of humanity ensures the glorification of man. International peace is the assurance of the welfare of all humankind. There are no greater motives and purposes in the human soul. As we are agreed upon them, the certainty of unity and concord between Bahá’ís and Theosophists is most hopeful. Their purposes are one, their desires one, and spiritual susceptibilities are common to both. Their attention is devoted to the divine Kingdom; they partake alike of its bounty.

Thursday, May 30, 1912 4

After meeting with some of the friends and a few seekers, the Master went to a hall at the University of New York and gave an address on scientific questions and divine philosophy. His talk influenced many prominent people, all of whom were deeply moved and fascinated. Seeing the influence of the Cause in these sorts of large gatherings, the Bahá’ís offered thanks and gratitude for the confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom.

During this time the Master occupied Himself by writing Tablets in response to questions from both the Eastern and the Western friends. Today He gave an account of the lives of Varqá and Rúhu’lláh. He showed His great kindness to the sons of this martyr in the path of God, Mírzá Azíz’u’lláh Khán and Mírzá Valíyu’lláh Khán. The Master then told the friends about some of the precepts of the Cause. During these discourses, He said often:

“I am the interpreter of the Writings of the Blessed Beauty, as explicitly designated by the Supreme Pen. All must obey. All matters pertaining to the Faith must be referred to the authorized interpreter. In the future all must turn to the divine House of Justice.”

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

Mahmud: May 30 – Written communications with friends in East and West

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

May 30, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “A Portrait in Moments.” 239 Days in America, 30 May 2012, https://239days.com/2012/05/30/a-day-in-the-life/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 75.
  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, 156. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/12#760155138.
  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=3#section67.

239 Days in America, Day 49: May 29, 1912 | New York

The Good Shepherds 1

YOU MIGHT HAVE EXPECTED ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to speak to the International Peace Forum on the scourge of war, or perhaps the need for international arbitration. Yet, just as he had done at the Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitration, and at various speeches to peace societies in New York, he tackled the subject in an unexpected way. He spoke instead about religion, and about the prophets of God throughout the ages.

The peace movement in the early twentieth century was deeply intertwined with religion. Peace organizations met in churches and synagogues. Their membership pursued the cause of peace with religious conviction. But ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wasn’t simply taking advantage of a captive audience in order to present a religious message; his approach ran much deeper. He argued that the binding power of religion must lie at the core of humankind’s hopes for peace.

“There is a brotherhood greater and superior to all other brotherhoods,” he said, “and that is the spiritual brotherhood, the heavenly brotherhood. This brotherhood is established by the Manifestations of the Holy One.”

New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts 2

The New York City American, the next day [Wednesday, May 29], in an article headed, “URGES ONE RELIGION FOR ALL,” reported about the meeting:

The Metropolitan Temple was filled yesterday with a fashionable and distinguished audience greeting Abdul Baha Abbas. Upon the platform were seated the Rev. Wesley J. Hill, former pastor of the Metropolitan Temple Church, who presided; the Rev. Rabbi Silverman and the Rev. Dr. Frederick Lynch, all of whom spoke…

Abdul Baha said that divine religions, like the waters, are in reality one. He advocated one universal religion with no racial difference.

Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney, 780 West End Avenue, New York 3

The divine Manifestations have been iconoclastic in Their teachings, uprooting error, destroying false religious beliefs and summoning mankind anew to the fundamental oneness of God. All of Them have, likewise, proclaimed the oneness of the world of humanity. The essential teaching of Moses was the law of Sinai, the Ten Commandments. Christ renewed and again revealed the commands of the one God and precepts of human action. In Muḥammad, although the circle was wider, the intention of His teaching was likewise to uplift and unify humanity in the knowledge of the one God. In the Báb the circle was again very much enlarged, but the essential teaching was the same. The Books of Bahá’u’lláh number more than one hundred. Each one is an evident proof sufficient for mankind; each one from foundation to apex proclaims the essential unity of God and humanity, the love of God, the abolition of war and the divine standard of peace. Each one also inculcates divine morality, the manifestation of lordly graces—in every word a book of meanings. For the Word of God is collective wisdom, absolute knowledge and eternal truth.

Wednesday, May 29, 1912 4

A public meeting was held today by the Theosophical Society where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke on matters relating to the spirit and its passage through the world of existence. The effect of His address was such that the president of the society said, in the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, that his greatest desire was to bring about a perfect harmony between the Bahá’ís and the Theosophists. The happiness of Master increased day by day through influence of the Cause of God. Whenever He was asked about His health, He said with the utmost happiness, ‘My health and happiness depend on the progress of the Cause of God. Nothing else merits attention. This happiness is eternal, and this life is life everlasting.’

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

Mahmud: May 29 – “My health and happiness depend on the progress of the Cause of God.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

May 29, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “The Good Shepherds.” 239 Days in America, 29 May 2012, https://239days.com/2012/05/29/the-good-shepherds/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 74-75.
  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, 154. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/12#218331438.
  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=3#section66.