239 Days in America, Day 166: September 23, 1912 | Denver

September 23, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

DURING THE PAST WEEK, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá traveled from Chicago to Minneapolis, then continued westward to Omaha, Nebraska, and finally to nearby Lincoln, where he visited the family of William Jennings Bryan.

In the week ahead: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrives in Denver, Colorado, where he addresses the congregation at the Divine Science Church, a center of the New Thought Movement. While in Denver, news reaches him of a much-anticipated marriage that has taken place in New York City. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá then continues his trip west, making stops in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

At 2:00 P.M. on Monday, September 23, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived at the Denver station, He was greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Ashton and other friends and went to the Shirley Hotel. He asked reports who came to His third floor room to return a short time later, which they did, at 5:00 P.M.

At 8:00 P.M. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went to the home of Mrs. Sidney Roberts and spoke with the friends. He also accepted an invitation to speak in a church and asked the others who wished interviews to visit the hotel the next morning.

September 23, 1912 3

At eight in the evening He went to the home of Mrs [Sidney] Roberts where friends both old and new had gathered. There were so many people that they were seen standing as far the front entrance. He spoke to them about the power of the Abhá Kingdom which had enabled Him to travel far in spite of His weak constitution and which had gathered the friends in the assemblies of the love of God. After His talk He bestowed His special blessing on each person. As the Master was leaving the meeting, the pastor of the Church of Divine Science approached Him with the utmost humility and invited Him to speak at his church. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá accepted. Since so many people wished to have an interview with Him, He announced that during the few days He would be in Denver, He would see anyone who would call upon Him at the hotel between nine and twelve in the morning.

Regarding His health, He said:

“In the early stages of our long journey to California my health was affected. But as the journey was made for God and to diffuse the divine fragrances, my longstanding indisposition has been cured without any medicine. The confirmations of Abhá are descending from all sides.”

He added:

“It is written in the Hadíth [Islamic traditions] that cities shall draw nearer to each other. Besides spiritual nearness and communications between the cities of the hearts and friendships between diverse people in the promised Day, how physically close have the cities and countries also become. Truly, if not for railroads and the power of steam, how could these long distances be traversed with such ease? This is one of the miracles of this promised century of our current age.”

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

It is clearly evident that while man possesses powers in common with the animal, he is distinguished from the animal by intellectual attainment, spiritual perception, the acquisition of virtues, capacity to receive the bestowals of Divinity, lordly bounty and emanations of heavenly mercy. This is the adornment of man, his honor and sublimity. Humanity must strive toward this supreme station. Christ has interpreted this station as the second birth. Man is first born from a world of darkness, the matrix of the mother, into this physical world of light. In the dark world from whence he came he had no knowledge of the virtues of this existence. He has been liberated from a condition of darkness and brought into a new and spacious realm where there is sunlight, the stars are shining, the moon sheds its radiance, there are beautiful views, gardens of roses, fruits and all the blessings of the present world. How did he attain these blessings? Through the agency of birth from the mother. Just as man has been physically born into this world, he may be reborn from the realm and matrix of nature, for the realm of nature is a condition of animalism, darkness and defect. In this second birth he attains the world of the Kingdom. There he witnesses and realizes that the world of nature is a world of gloom, whereas the Kingdom is a world of radiance; the world of nature is a world of defects, the Kingdom is a realm of perfection; the world of nature is a world without enlightenment, the Kingdom of spiritual humanity is a heaven of illumination. Great discoveries and revelations are now possible for him; he has attained the reality of perception; his circle of understanding is illimitably widened; he views the realities of creation, comprehends the divine bounties and unseals the mystery of phenomena. This is the station which Christ has interpreted as the second birth. He says that just as ye were physically born from the mother into this world, ye must be born again from the mother world of nature into the life of the divine Kingdom. May you all attain this second, spiritual birth. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

I pray that the confirmation of God may descend upon you. May you all be born again from this mortal world into the realm of the Kingdom. May you clearly witness the signs of God, sense the virtues of the divine, attain the eternal bounties and perceive the reality of everlasting life.

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

Arriving in Denver, resting for a few hours and meeting with reporters, friends and seekers

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 23, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “September 23, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 23 Sept. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/09/23/september-23-1912-the-week-ahead/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 152.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=7#section183
  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, 332-333. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/25#356886008

239 Days in America, Day 162: September 19, 1912 | Minneapolis

Minneapolis, Flour Power, and the Ideal Virtues of Man 1

THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI RIVER rushed over the half-circled ledges of layered limestone and sandstone, pouring forward on its long journey toward America’s south. St. Anthony Falls was the focal point of a city that was the world leader in flour milling: Minneapolis, Minnesota. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke at the industrial center on September 20, 1912. He talked about the need for moral progress in addition to the material progress so evident in America.

“If we review history,” he told his audience, “we will observe that human advancement has been greatest in the development of material virtues. Civilization is the sign and evidence of this progression.”

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

On September 19, the Minneapolis Journal reported:

Long before the other guests at the Plaza hotel were astir today, Abdul Baha Abbas, head of the Bahaists of the world, who believes and teaches the eventual harmony and unity of religious mankind, … was up and about in parlor 603, pacing quietly across the room and back, and pausing occasionally to look meditatively out across Hennepin avenue into Loring Park. …

… He smiled faintly, and two beautiful, large hazel eyes looked about the room. He rose from the divan on which he had been sitting and walked towards the window, Except that his complexion is dark and he is short of stature, he looked not unlike the portraits of General Robert E. Lee, the contour nose being particularly striking. …

H. S. Fugeta, a Japanese from Cleveland, who had joined the party at Chicago, came in and knelt beside a window chair, where Abdul Baha had seated himself and the leader placed his hands on the head of the kneeling man and uttered prayer in Persian. The syllables were strangely effective and rhythmetrical. Mirza Ahmed Sorab translated it aloud.

“Your spiritual growth is noteworthy; you are becoming stronger; your spirit is awake and you will be happy,” was the less poetic English rendition of part of it.

Thursday, September 19, 1912 3

It was reported to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that the proceedings of the Bahá’í meeting the night before had been published in today’s newspapers. He said:

“Notwithstanding this, the Muslims and the Christians alike are not satisfied with us. They are engaged in pleasurable diversions and enjoyable pastimes in their homes while we are laboring to prove the truths of the divine Manifestations in these great temples. So it is with the mischief-makers and Covenant-breakers. Behold how they are preoccupied with themselves and with the satisfaction of their selfish desires, while I am so wholly occupied with spreading the Cause of God in America that I have not had a moment’s rest.”

After a visit with friends and seekers, the Master went to a museum. Among its many antiques objects were some small tear vials from ancient Phoenicia in which people had preserved their tears at the time of the death of their loved ones and then buried with the dead bodies. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, ‘See how these bottles have outlasted the bodies of men under the earth.’ He continued:

“When people of the West become wealthy, they begin to collect antique objects in order to render a service to the world of art. But when Persians become wealthy, they keep one hundred horses in their stables, give themselves up to pomp and show, engage themselves in satiating their selfish desires. But in comparison with service to the Cause, both attitudes are barren, producing no result. For example, if the effort these people put into gathering these objects, and the millions of dollars spent acquiring them, were employed for the Cause of God, their stars of happiness and prosperity would shine evermore from the horizon of both worlds. If in this city they brought ten persons into the Cause of God, it would gain momentum and would become the cause of eternal honor and happiness as well as the source of everlasting life.”

After returning to the hotel, telegrams reporting the good news were prepared and dispatched to the Assemblies of the East.

Among the friends assembled to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá were several philosophers and clergymen. The Master spoke about the oneness of mankind, universal brotherhood and the teachings of God. Everyone expressed their admiration and sincere appreciation. The friends were delighted to see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s influence and power and pleaded with Him to prolong His stay. He replied, ‘We have little time. We must go everywhere to announce the Cause of God. We have called the people here and now we must hasten to other places until we reach California.’

There was a splendid meeting in the afternoon at the home of Mr Hall. Several people were there, including some philosophers, professors, clergymen and women, all of whom listened to the Master’s words with great pleasure. The Master spoke about the oneness and unity of mankind and the increased capacity of this enlightened century. After He spoke, a number of the guests requested the privilege of having a private interview with Him.

Dr [Clement] Woolson brought his automobile to take the Master to a meeting in St Paul, some 15 miles from Minneapolis. The distance was covered in comfort and at a good speed. The Master praised the cleanliness and beauty of the Mississippi River and the greenness of the hills, plains and gardens along the way. He arrived at Dr Woolson’s home and there addressed the assembled friends who were very taken with His words. His explanation of nature’s lack of perfection and its recreation through divine education gave the audience a new perspective.

The Master took a walk in the garden. Several children approached Him and politely asked Him about His country and the purpose of His visit. He spoke with them kindly. They then followed Him in respectful silence and when He approached the house, they asked permission to come inside. To each He gave some coins and showered them with kindness. One tiny child slipped off his father’s lap and ran to the Master, saying. ‘I love you first and then my father.’

When it was time to leave two automobiles were at the door. One belonged to some enthusiastic women who were new to the Cause. The Master sat in their automobile. Then Dr Woolson came out to say that the automobile meant for the Master was the other one. The Master then went to that automobile and they drove to Minneapolis at full speed to attend the meeting being held in the evening at Mr Hall’s home. The other automobile did not reach its destination and it was later learned than it had broken down on the way and that the women had had to make other arrangements. Because they arrived late, they had the honor of having dinner with the Master.

20 September 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. Albert L. Hall, 2030 Queen Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 4

Man possesses two types of virtues: One is material, and the other ideal in character. For example, the body of man expresses certain material virtues, but the spirit of man manifests virtues that are ideal. The sense of sight in man is a physical virtue; but insight, the power of inner perception, is ideal in its nature. The sense of hearing is a physical endowment, whereas memory in man is ideal. Among other human forces the power of ideation, or faculty of intellection, is material, but the power of love is spiritual. The acquisition of the realities of phenomena is an ideal virtue; likewise, the emotions of man and his ability to prove the existence of God. Realization of moral standards and the world of discovery involve virtues essentially ideal.

If we review history, we will observe that human advancement has been greatest in the development of material virtues. Civilization is the sign and evidence of this progression. Throughout the world, material civilization has attained truly wonderful heights and degrees of efficiency—that is to say, the outward powers and virtues of man have greatly developed, but the inner and ideal virtues have been correspondingly delayed and neglected. It is now the time in the history of the world for us to strive and give an impetus to the advancement and development of inner forces—that is to say, we must arise to service in the world of morality, for human morals are in need of readjustment. We must also render service to the world of intellectuality in order that the minds of men may increase in power and become keener in perception, assisting the intellect of man to attain its supremacy so that the ideal virtues may appear. Before a step is taken in this direction we must be able to prove Divinity from the standpoint of reason so that no doubt or objection may remain for the rationalist. Afterward, we must be able to prove the existence of the bounty of God—that the divine bounty encompasses humanity and that it is transcendental. Furthermore, we must demonstrate that the spirit of man is immortal, that it is not subject to disintegration and that it comprises the virtues of humanity.

Material virtues have attained great development, but ideal virtues have been left far behind. If you should ask a thousand persons, “What are the proofs of the reality of Divinity?” perhaps not one would be able to answer. If you should ask further, “What proofs have you regarding the essence of God?” “How do you explain inspiration and revelation?” “What are the evidences of conscious intelligence beyond the material universe?” “Can you suggest a plan and method for the betterment of human moralities?” “Can you clearly define and differentiate the world of nature and the world of Divinity?”—you would receive very little real knowledge and enlightenment upon these questions. This is due to the fact that development of the ideal virtues has been neglected. People speak of Divinity, but the ideas and beliefs they have of Divinity are, in reality, superstition. Divinity is the effulgence of the Sun of Reality, the manifestation of spiritual virtues and ideal powers. The intellectual proofs of Divinity are based upon observation and evidence which constitute decisive argument, logically proving the reality of Divinity, the effulgence of mercy, the certainty of inspiration and immortality of the spirit. This is, in reality, the science of Divinity. Divinity is not what is set forth in dogmas and sermons of the church. Ordinarily when the word Divinity is mentioned, it is associated in the minds of the hearers with certain formulas and doctrines, whereas it essentially means the wisdom and knowledge of God, the effulgence of the Sun of Truth, the revelation of reality and divine philosophy.

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

‘Abdu’l-Bahá “… so wholly occupied with spreading the Cause of God in America …”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 19, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “Minneapolis, Flour Power, and the Ideal Virtues of Man.” 239 Days in America, 19 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/19/minneapolis-flour-power-and-the-ideal-virtues-of-man/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 148-150.
  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#section179
  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, 325-326. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/24#187189111

239 Days in America, Day 112: July 31, 1912 | Dublin

Abbott Thayer, Father of Camouflage 1

“OH, ABBOTT, DON’T DO that!” George de Forest Brush cried, “DON’T!” He stood in his studio in front of his latest perfectly-rendered masterpiece. Abbott Thayer, as was usual, had come to give his opinion on the work. “George,” he said, “I think that there’s a place on that picture where it would be much better if you lowered the tone of it a little bit.” Abbott had just licked his thumb, rubbed it on the dirty floor, and had raised it to the picture ready to lower its tone.

Abbott Handerson Thayer and Brush were best friends. They had studied together in New York and Paris. Unlike Brush, Abbott did not approve of the paintings of Jean-Léon Gérôme: he considered Gérôme to belong to “that raft of whore painters,” given that Gérôme often painted nudes. Brush was so enamored of his teacher that he named his son Gerome. Abbott, however, named his first son Ralph Waldo.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s writings inspired Thayer. In Emerson’s 1836 essay, “Nature,” he writes: “I see the spectacle of morning from the hilltop over against my house, from daybreak to sunrise, with emotions which angels might share.” It was a sentiment that defined Emerson’s Transcendentalism: the presence of God as reflected in the everyday displays of nature, a way of thinking that resonated with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá stood on the lawn near Day-Spring one day, looking at the view over the hills. “When a man observes the wafting of the breeze,” he said, “hears the rustling of the leaves and sees the swaying of the trees, it is as though all are praising and acknowledging the one true God.”

New Hampshire 2

On July 31, at 9:30 A.M., as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá walked to and fro on the veranda of His house talking to George Latimer, Mr. Hannen recorded His words:

The Bahai must first be informed of the principles and Teachings of Baha’o’llah, then go forth and spread the Message. It is like unto a soldier, who must arm himself with the buckler and armor, and then he enters the battlefield to fight against the foe. But if he goes to fight without arming himself, he will be defeated. The Bahais are the Army of God. Their defensive armors or weapons are: First, Faith; second, Assurance; Third, Severance; fourth, Complete Attraction to the Kingdom of Abha. If they are armed with these weapons, they will gain the victory in whatever field they may enter. As long as he is not equipped with these weapons, he will not be successful. He must cut himself entirely from all imitations … 3

Wednesday, July 31, 1912

In the morning the Master went to the [Marienfield] summer school that had been established by Mr [sic] [Charles Hanford] Henderson 20 years ago. It is located some 25 miles from Dublin [Chesham, New Hampshire] and classes are held in tents in a clear, open field. As soon as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s automobile arrived, the students, between the ages of 12 and 18, surrounded it and enthusiastically welcomed Him. They wore uniforms with knickerbockers and moved about busily but courteously. The headmaster then took ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to the school hall and remained standing while the Master spoke to the students and teachers, praising the school and the good manners of its students. Later He visited each of the student’s tents. Some of the children had cameras and requested permission to take the Master’s photograph. Dr Henderson said that when he had established the school 20 years ago there was not a summer school in the whole of America and now there are hundreds of them. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá remarked: ‘Everything praiseworthy spreads rapidly. But the children must first be taught religion so that they may be sincere and trustworthy.’

After tea and refreshments, the pupils requested permission from the Master to show Him their gymnastic exercises. The Master remained there a long while and spoke at length about education. When it was time to leave, the headmaster and school staff expressed their heartfelt gratitude to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

At the public meeting in the afternoon at Mr and Mrs Parsons’s home, the Master spoke on spirituality and eternal happiness. 4

Talk to Theosophical Society, The Kensington, Exeter and Boylston Streets, Boston, Massachusetts, 24 July 1912 5

In the physical powers and senses, however, man and the animal are partners. In fact, the animal is often superior to man in sense perception. For instance, the vision of some animals is exceedingly keen and the hearing of others most acute. Consider the instinct of a dog: how much greater than that of man. But, although the animal shares with man all the physical virtues and senses, a spiritual power has been bestowed upon man of which the animal is devoid. This is a proof that there is something in man above and beyond the endowment of the animal—a faculty and virtue peculiar to the human kingdom which is lacking in the lower kingdoms of existence. This is the spirit of man. All these wonderful human accomplishments are due to the efficacy and penetrating power of the spirit of man. If man were bereft of this spirit, none of these accomplishments would have been possible. This is as evident as the sun at midday.

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

‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited a summer school and was enthusiastically received by the students

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 31, 1912


  1. Menon, Morella. “Abbott Thayer, Father of Camouflage.” 239 Days in America, 31 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/31/abbott-thayer-father-of-camouflage/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 119.
  3. Joseph H. Hannen, “With Abdul-Baha in Dublin, New Hampshire,” Star of the West, 3, no. 11 (Sept. 27, 1912), 5-6.
  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#section129
  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, 241-242. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/17#650985033

239 Days in America, Day 110: July 29, 1912 | Dublin

July 29, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

The residents and vacationers of Dublin, New Hampshire have awoken to find ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in their midst. Special thanks to our guest writer, Morella Menon, for her feature series covering Dublin, which continues through to August 15.

In the week ahead, profiles of Dublin painters George de Forest Brush and Abbott Thayer, surprising news concerning African American Bahá’í Louis Gregory, and Theodore Roosevelt expels southern black delegates from the party at the Progressive Presidential Convention in Chicago.

Monday, July 29, 1912 2

Sitting on the carpet, the Master spoke about Mr Harmon, saying:

“What captives of superstitions people are! What troubles they endure for the sake of name and fame! What fruit will these superstitions bear? All are transitory and perishable and no trace of them will remain. It will be as through they had never existed. They are sowing seeds in a barren land. Man ought to sow pure seeds in a fertile soil.”

Later in the day He spoke with Mr Harmon for a considerable time. Afterwards He reviewed some letters and prepared them for mailing.

He went to Mrs Parsons’s home in the afternoon. He was asked about His health and the climate, to which He replied:

“The air of this place is good. But we are happy wherever we go; our happiness consists in service to the Most Holy Threshold. We have not come to America on a pleasure trip; we are here to serve the Court of the Blessed Beauty. Whenever we succeed in this purpose, that place is good. A merchant is happy whenever his goods find a market, wherever it may be.”

Then He sat in the gazebo facing the garden and related the afflictions and trials of Bahá’u’lláh in Baghdád:

“In spite of all these troubles we were happy beyond description because under His shadow we were favored with the blessing of attainment to His presence.”

Afterwards He went into the house. The drawing room was filled. His address to the visitors concerned both spiritual and material matters, including questions of economics which corrected some of the false ideas of the socialists. The audience was pleased. Each day a new spirit is seen in the meetings. It is difficult to believe that in this mountainous and scenic countryside, meetings that diffuse the fragrances of God can be held. All this is due to the power of the Center of the Covenant. ‘Wherever our king is, it is Paradise, even if it is as small as the eye of a needle.

Talk to Theosophical Society, The Kensington, Exeter and Boylston Streets, Boston, Massachusetts, 24 July 1912 3

Just as the animal is more noble than the vegetable and mineral, so man is superior to the animal. The animal is bereft of ideality—that is to say, it is a captive of the world of nature and not in touch with that which lies within and beyond nature; it is without spiritual susceptibilities, deprived of the attractions of consciousness, unconscious of the world of God and incapable of deviating from the law of nature. It is different with man. Man is possessed of the emanations of consciousness; he has perception, ideality and is capable of discovering the mysteries of the universe. All the industries, inventions and facilities surrounding our daily life were at one time hidden secrets of nature, but the reality of man penetrated them and made them subject to his purposes. According to nature’s laws they should have remained latent and hidden; but man, having transcended those laws, discovered these mysteries and brought them out of the plane of the invisible into the realm of the known and visible.

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

Troubles we “endure for the sake of name and fame”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 29, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “July 29, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 29 July 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/07/29/july-29-1912-the-week-ahead/.
  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#section127
  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, 240-241. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/17#021884557

Where Am I — How Do I Find Out?

My previous post, Where Am I?, presents a number of cosmic possibilities for where one could be. How to narrow the options, though, is a personal decision. One must choose carefully among many reasoned and compelling theories about cosmology even as they are being challenged, revised, or supplanted through new discoveries, developments, and detours. The goal is to settle on whatever instills sufficient confidence to go forward as a “knowledge broker.” 1

Being lost is not a permanent condition. Being found is to confront the primary challenge mentioned above of knowing what integrity is and addressing the confounding questions honestly and openly. Peeling back the onion-like layers of representation that shroud our integrity is an exercise in independent investigation of truth – —a fundamental endeavor for a knowledge broker. 2

Independent Search after Truth, then, becomes the first of three core activities in the pursuit of knowledge:

Furthermore, know ye that God has created in man the power of reason, whereby man is enabled to investigate reality. God has not intended man to imitate blindly his fathers and ancestors. He has endowed him with mind, or the faculty of reasoning, by the exercise of which he is to investigate and discover the truth, and that which he finds real and true he must accept. He must not be an imitator or blind follower of any soul. He must not rely implicitly upon the opinion of any man without investigation; nay, each soul must seek intelligently and independently, arriving at a real conclusion and bound only by that reality. The greatest cause of bereavement and disheartening in the world of humanity is ignorance based upon blind imitation. It is due to this that wars and battles prevail; from this cause hatred and animosity arise continually among mankind. 3

The second core activity is the apprehension of reality through various worlds of perception:

  • material — one that can be perceived through the senses;
  • rational — one that can be perceived through the intellect;
  • historical — one that can be perceived through traditions and narratives; and
  • spiritual (non-material / suprarational) — one that can be perceived through a conduit or postulated as a theoretical possibility, but cannot be tested (observed) or proven with available knowledge. 4

While each realm is valuable in myriad ways, to regard any one of them as a sufficient pathway to applicable knowledge is susceptible to distortion of information and error in judgement. More useful answers emerge from mutually supportive evidence gleaned from several “worlds of perception” (or “multiple intelligences”) 5 and diverse starting conditions.

The third core activity is the adoption of a disciplined, “scientific method” 6 to follow when processing what one perceives in order to achieve a better understanding. This methodology applies in both material and spiritual realities especially when bridging between them as noted in this statement by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

It (science) is of two kinds: material and spiritual. Material science is the investigation of natural phenomena; divine science is the discovery and realization of spiritual verities. The world of humanity must acquire both. A bird has two wings; it cannot fly with one. Material and spiritual science are the two wings of human uplift and attainment. Both are necessary—one the natural, the other supernatural; one material, the other divine. By the divine we mean the discovery of the mysteries of God, the comprehension of spiritual realities, the wisdom of God, inner significances of the heavenly religions and foundation of the law. 7

The diagram below by Keng-Laing Huang 8 illustrates how the scientific method provides a disciplined approach by which an independent seeker can sort through spiritual and material perceptions about any topic and secure a firmer grasp on reality:

Armed with independence, perception and process, one forges ahead as a steeled knowledge broker confident to meet any circumstance during life’s journey. Along the way one learns through the merit of one’s logic, the strength and consistency of one’s narratives, and the perseverance of one’s curiosity and imagination to keep after truth. In effect, one maps one’s place in the cosmos and finds what may have seemed lost.

  1. “I describe myself as a “knowledge broker.” With the pervasiveness of ICT capabilities, the roles we play in our work and relationships to one another are a complex mix of saying our truths, aggregating these diverse points of truth into recognizable frameworks of patterns, and putting theories into action we believe will influence the patterns we see and experience. Knowledge brokers move easily and freely among these three roles depending upon the current circumstances in which they find themselves.”
    Bosserman, Steven L., “Welcome,” Steven L. Bosserman Archives (Blog), August 31, 2005. <https://stevenlbossermanarchives.com/2005/08/25/welcome/>
  2. Bosserman, Steven L., “Integrity and Groundtruth,” Steven L. Bosserman Archives (Blog), August 31, 2005. <https://stevenlbossermanarchives.com/2005/08/31/integrity-and-ground-truth/>
  3. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “Talk at Home of Madame Morey, 34 Hillside Avenue, Malden, Massachusetts, 29 August 1912,” The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912, 2nd ed. (Wilmette, IL: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1982), 291. http://www.bahai.org/r/693658082
  4. “Abdu’l-Bahá 1904-1906. “The Four Methods of Acquiring Knowledge”. Some Answered Questions. (Wilmette, IL: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1981, 297-299).
  5. “The purpose of their performance was three-fold. First, make rhythm and dance integral in the design of the leadership workshop as an appeal to the auditory-musical and bodily-kinesthetic intelligences of attendees, à la Howard Gardner and his theory of multiple intelligences.”
    Bosserman, Steven L., “Keeping the Beat with Jump Rhythm Jazz Project,” Steven L. Bosserman Archives (Blog), December 5, 2005. https://stevenlbossermanarchives.com/2005/12/05/keeping-the-beat-with-jump-rhythm-jazz-project/
  6. “The scientific method is an empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century. It involves careful observation, applying rigorous skepticism about what is observed, given that cognitive assumptions can distort how one interprets the observation. It involves formulating hypotheses, via induction, based on such observations; experimental and measurement-based testing of deductions drawn from the hypotheses; and refinement (or elimination) of the hypotheses based on the experimental findings. These are principles of the scientific method, as distinguished from a definitive series of steps applicable to all scientific enterprises.” <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method>
  7. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. “Talk at the Home of Mr. and Mrs. Francis W. Breed, 367 Harvard Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 23 May 1912,” The Promulgation of World Peace: Talks Delivered by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. 2nd ed. (Wilmette, IL: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1982). 138. http://www.bahai.org/r/988275660
  8. Huang, Keng-Laing, “The Science of Living,” BahaiTeachings.org
    February 28, 2020. <https://bahaiteachings.org/science-of-living/&gt;