239 Days in America, Day 99: July 18, 1912 | New York

“Bind Ye the Broken With the Hands of Justice” 1

WHILE UNDER HOUSE ARREST in Adrianople, Bahá’u’lláh addressed the rulers of the nineteenth century in his Tablet of the Kings. Over the next few years he would continue to write messages to the monarchs in Europe and the Middle East. Sometimes he wrote letters directly to them, and at other times addressed them by name in his other works. In 1873, in his book of laws, Bahá’u’lláh called the leaders of the New World to a unique role in establishing justice…

Later, in the Most Holy Book, Baha’u’lláh gave a specific mission to the leaders across the Atlantic. “Hearken ye, O Rulers of America and the Presidents of the Republics therein,” he wrote. “Bind ye the broken with the hands of justice, and crush the oppressor who flourisheth with the rod of the commandments of your Lord, the Ordainer, the All-Wise.”

New York City 2

On July 18, The Independent magazine carried an editorial entitled “The Persian Prophet”:

The visit of Abdul Baha to this country is an interesting event even to those of us who do not see in Bahaism a new revelation destined to supersede the older faiths. It is interesting, at the least, to have brought visibly before us evidence that Asia, the aged mother of all the great religions of the world, has not yet become barren. For he who is now in our midst is by as many millions of people today regarded as a prophet, “yea and much more than a prophet.” The number of his followers can, of course, be only vaguely estimated .. the foremost aim of Bahaism is unity. It would “the Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects” not “confute,” but combine …

Such in essence is the Bahai doctrine, tho stripped of the poetic imagery and illustration that grows in a Persian garden. A strange offshoot from Mohammedanism in these latter days—this religion of universal peace, mutual toleration and equal rights. Tho its lessons may be most needed in Islam, yet they are far from being superfluous to Christendom.3

Thursday, July 18, 2022

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s talk today centered on the persecutions and tribulations of the Blessed Beauty and the triumph of the Cause of God in the face of opposition from the most powerful enemies.

When the Master later expressed His intention to move from New York to Dublin [in New Hampshire], the friends were stirred by emotion and excitement. He said:

My weakened condition and excessive work hamper me, otherwise many extraordinary souls would have arisen among these friends. As long as such souls do not arise, the real object will not have been accomplished. A certain amount of enthusiasm and ability can be discerned among them, it is other persons who are to arise.

He then mentioned the names of Mullá Hasan and Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Latíf, saying:

They were deputized by the mujtahid to see the Blessed Beauty in Mázandarán. The moment they approached Him, they were transformed and became a new creation, not seeking rest for a moment whether by day or night. After undergoing great suffering and persecutions in Mashhad, Mullá ‘Abdu’l-Latíf sacrificed his life in the field of martyrdom and hastened to the Abhá Kingdom. Similarly, a blind Indian Shaykh attained the presence of Bahá’u’lláh in Mázindarán and danced and sang ecstatically from night till morn. Thus are people required to arise for the Cause of God. Such are the people who are worthy of the field of service and sacrifice.

In the evening the Master spoke on the importance of unity and amity among the friends, on the composition and decomposition of elements, and on the existence and disappearance of matter. 4

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

Another cause of dissension and disagreement is the fact that religion has been pronounced at variance with science. Between scientists and the followers of religion there has always been controversy and strife for the reason that the latter have proclaimed religion superior in authority to science and considered scientific announcement opposed to the teachings of religion. Bahá’u’lláh declared that religion is in complete harmony with science and reason. If religious belief and doctrine is at variance with reason, it proceeds from the limited mind of man and not from God; therefore, it is unworthy of belief and not deserving of attention; the heart finds no rest in it, and real faith is impossible. How can man believe that which he knows to be opposed to reason? Is this possible? Can the heart accept that which reason denies? Reason is the first faculty of man, and the religion of God is in harmony with it. Bahá’u’lláh has removed this form of dissension and discord from among mankind and reconciled science with religion by revealing the pure teachings of the divine reality. This accomplishment is specialized to Him in this Day.

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

“I desire for you that which I desire for My own daughters, Tuba and Ruha”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 18, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “‘Bind Ye the Broken With the Hands of Justice.’” 239 Days in America, 18 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/18/with-the-hands-of-justice/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 111-113.
  3. “The Persian Prophet” (editorial), The Independent, 73 (July 18, 1912), 159-60.
  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#section116
  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, 231. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#579448233

239 Days in America, Day 43: May 23, 1912 | Boston

“Free” Religion? 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ LOOKED OUT upon an audience of 1,000 Unitarian ministers and 2,000 guests on the evening of May 22, 1912, in the largest church in the New England region. Religion, he told them, was fundamentally dead. “The essential realities, which the Prophets labored so hard to establish in human hearts and minds, while undergoing ordeals and suffering tortures of persecution, have now well nigh vanished.”

It was the eighty-seventh anniversary celebration of the American Unitarian Association, a week-long event held at Tremont Temple in Boston.

New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts 2

Great numbers of people flocked to see Him in Boston on Thursday, May 23. In the early afternoon He visited the Greek-Syrian Relief Society, where a reception featuring Eastern dishes was held. Before leaving He made a contribution to the agency. From there He drove with a university professor to Worcester. From there He drove with a university professor to Worcester. Along the way He commented on the greenness of the region and mentioned how much Bahá’u’lláh had enjoyed such scenes. Several times He asked the driver to stop, and the rest of the party stood and waited as He viewed the area.

At the University in Worcester He spoke to a special assembly including a thousand students and faculty members. The President provided Him with a car for traveling on to Cambridge to the one of Mrs. [Alice Ives] Francis W. Breed, where a large number of friends had gathered to celebrate ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s sixty-eight birthday.

Thursday, May 23, 1912 3

Many Bahá’ís and non-Bahá’ís came group by group to visit the Master. His bestowals and favors revived their souls and brought joy to their hearts. In but five minutes one of the journalists was so impressed that he accepted the Cause and decided to write and publish articles on the Faith. As he left the gathering, he wept at the feet of the Beloved and most reverently supplicated to be confirmed in dedicating the rest of his life in service to the Cause.

At noon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited the house maintained for the poor of Syria and Greece [the Greek-Syrian Relief Society]. Members of this association had prepared lunch for Him with great care. The lady who was the president of the association had been busy making preparations for His reception. In one of the large rooms there was a table laden with various Eastern dishes. The Master was given the seat of honor to the right of the hostess, which, according to Western etiquette, is a sign of respect. Many association members were also present. Among the Master’s comments at the table was this: ‘Happy are you who are engaged in serving the poor. My greatest happiness is this, that I may be counted among the poor.’

After lunch the Master gave an elegant address about poverty and detachment, filling the hearts of all those present with hope and delight. All, both young and old, expressed their heartfelt gratitude.

Upon leaving the meeting, He gave ten pounds for the poor. Later, sitting in Professor Blacks’s home surrounded by admirers, He showered kindness upon all. The professor accompanied the Master to the town of Worcester, located about 50 miles from Boston.

Passing through green and verdant plains and breathing the invigorating and pleasant air, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke sorrowfully in remembrance of the Blessed Beauty and the Greatest Name, saying: ‘Would that the Blessed Beauty could have come to these regions! He loved such scenery very much.’ Whenever He saw the green and fragrant countryside, He asked the driver to stop. At one place, near the shore of a lake, the greenness of the landscape, the translucence of the water and the purity of the air so pleased Him that He instructed the driver to stop for awhile. The entire group stood and waited. No one dared say anything about the delay.

The Master spoke of the Blessed Beauty in mournful terms, which deeply moved us all. In two hours we reached Worcester. The Master accepted the professor’s invitation to rest for awhile in his home. After tea ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went to the meeting at the university (most likely Clark University), which had been arranged especially for His visit. More than one thousand students and faculty had assembled. Professor (President?) [Granville Stanley?] Hall thanked ‘Abdu’l-Bahá for coming to the meeting.

The Master spoke on the value and importance of science. The hearts of those present were attracted and their souls enkindled with the fire of love to such a degree that they soared in the heaven of knowledge, their minds indelibly engraved with the words of the Master.

After His address, some distinguished individuals and seekers were invited to a magnificent reception prepared for the Master. As the chancellor (president?) of the university had himself invited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, he himself served the Master. A number of Japanese, Chinese and Turkish students came into His presence and greatly appreciated His words.

When it was time to leave, the Master took both the president’s hands in His and said:

I am very pleased with you and delighted to see your university. You are, indeed, serving the world of humanity and expending your life for mankind. Above all, I wish for you the blessings of the Kingdom and desire that you will be a cause of the spread of sciences and arts. I will pray on your behalf that God may make you a standard of guidance and that the love of God may shine upon your heart. I have seen a great love and affection in you, as well as in the professors and scholars. I shall never forget this meeting, and I shall always remember and mention your services.

Later He returned to Boston in the automobile especially provided for Him by the chancellor. The Master went directly to the home of Mrs Alice Breed. As that evening was the commemoration of the Declaration of the Báb as well as the birthday of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Bahá’ís, with the utmost happiness and joy, had arranged a magnificent feast. When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived, He rested for awhile and then joined the gathering of the friends, illuminating the meeting with His presence. With joyful and shining faces, all eyes were directed towards the Master. The freshness and verdure of that gathering was like a flower garden and was proof that the Tree of the Cause of God has been firmly rooted in American soil and that it has produced leaves and blossoms of the utmost beauty.

The Master spoke briefly about the greenery of the surrounding countryside, the magnificence of the city of Boston, as well as the university. He then gave an account of the life of the Báb that gladdened the hearts and cheered the souls.

Tea, drinks and sweets were served in another room. Mrs Breed brought before the Master a birthday cake with 68 candles, representing His age. At her request, He lit the first candle and then each of the friends in turn lit a candle, each person like a moth burning with the fire of love. When the cake was cut, each guest took a slice as a sacred relic. Mrs Breed, indeed, lit the candle of servitude and steadfastness that evening and, in doing so, became the recipient of bounty from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s presence. 4

Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Francis W. Breed , 367 Harvard Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 5

Scientific knowledge is the highest attainment upon the human plane, for science is the discoverer of realities. It 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.

This is 23 May, the anniversary of the message and Declaration of the Báb. It is a blessed day and the dawn of manifestation, for the appearance of the Báb was the early light of the true morn, whereas the manifestation of the Blessed Beauty, Bahá’u’lláh, was the shining forth of the sun. Therefore, it is a blessed day, the inception of the heavenly bounty, the beginning of the divine effulgence. On this day in 1844 the Báb was sent forth heralding and proclaiming the Kingdom of God, announcing the glad tidings of the coming of Bahá’u’lláh and withstanding the opposition of the whole Persian nation.

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

Mahmud: May 23 – A visiting journalist accepts the Cause


  1. Sockett, Robert. “‘Free’ Religion?” 239 Days in America, 23 May 2012, https://239days.com/2012/05/23/free-religion/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 71-72.
  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=3#section60.
  4. Gail, Marzieh. Arches of the Years. Oxford England: George Ronald, 1991, 89. https://archive.org/details/archesofyears0000gail/page/88/mode/2up.
  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, 138. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/10#939611165.

239 Days in America, Day 35: May 15, 1912 | Lake Mohonk

The Parliament of Rats 1

Once upon a time, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá narrated, the rats and mice held an important conference, the subject of which was to make peace with the cat. The cat, [William] Langland wrote, “came whenever he liked and leapt on them easily and seized them at his will, and played with them perilously and batted them about.”

“A rat of renown, most eloquent of speech,” Langland continues, “presented an excellent remedy to them all. ‘I have seen men in the city of London wearing bright necklaces around their necks, and some craftily worked collars. They go about unleashed both in warren and wasteland wherever they like, and elsewhere at other times, as I hear tell. Were there a bell on their necklace, by Jesus, it seems to me that men might know where they were and run away.’ ”

“ ‘And so,’ ” said the rat, “ ‘reason tells me to buy a bell of brass or bright silver and fasten it on a collar for our common good and hang it on the cat’s neck; then we can hear whether he rides, rests, or roams about to play. If he wishes to amuse himself, then we can appear in his presence, and if he is angry, we can be wary and shun his way.’ ”

This seemed like an excellent plan, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explained, until the question arose as to who should undertake the dangerous job of belling the cat. None of the rats liked the idea and the mice thought they were altogether too weak. So the conference broke up in confusion.

“Everyone laughed,” [Howard Colby] Ives tells, “‘Abdu’l-Bahá with them. After a short pause he added that that is much like these Peace Conferences. Many words, but no one is likely to approach the question of who will bell the Czar of Russia, the Emperor of Germany, the President of France and the Emperor of Japan.”

“Faces were now more grave,” Ives wrote.

New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts 2

On May 15 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ walked around the beautiful grounds with a group of young people following Him. “‘It is very easy,’” He told them, “‘to come here, camp near this beautiful lake, on these charming hills, far away from everybody and deliver speeches on Universal Peace. These ideas should be spread and put in action over there, (Europe) not here in the world’s most peaceful corner.’” 3

Talk at Church of the Ascension, Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street, New York, 14 April 1912

Today the world of humanity is in need of international unity and conciliation. To establish these great fundamental principles a propelling power is needed. It is self-evident that the unity of the human world and the Most Great Peace cannot be accomplished through material means. They cannot be established through political power, for the political interests of nations are various and the policies of peoples are divergent and conflicting. They cannot be founded through racial or patriotic power, for these are human powers, selfish and weak. The very nature of racial differences and patriotic prejudices prevents the realization of this unity and agreement. Therefore, it is evidenced that the promotion of the oneness of the kingdom of humanity, which is the essence of the teachings of all the Manifestations of God, is impossible except through the divine power and breaths of the Holy Spirit. Other powers are too weak and are incapable of accomplishing this.

For man two wings are necessary. One wing is physical power and material civilization; the other is spiritual power and divine civilization. With one wing only, flight is impossible. Two wings are essential. Therefore, no matter how much material civilization advances, it cannot attain to perfection except through the uplift of spiritual civilization.

All the Prophets have come to promote divine bestowals, to found the spiritual civilization and teach the principles of morality. Therefore, we must strive with all our powers so that spiritual influences may gain the victory. For material forces have attacked mankind. The world of humanity is submerged in a sea of materialism. The rays of the Sun of Reality are seen but dimly and darkly through opaque glasses. The penetrative power of the divine bounty is not fully manifest. 4

Wednesday, May 15, 1912 5

The Master remained at Lake Mohonk. Many came into His presence and to each He taught the Cause of God, answering their questions in the way best suited to the understanding of the listener. Concerning the peace conference, He related a story:

Once I wrote to the Persian friends that if the workers of peace conferences do not apply in their own lives what they advocate, they are like those wine sellers who convene and make emphatic speeches regarding the harmfulness of wine and proposing its prohibition. But when they go out of the meeting, they begin again to sell wine and to do what they were doing in the past. Therefore it is necessary for the power of execution and effect to spiritually penetrate the body of the world.

The Master gave two addresses at this conference. At the request of the president, He wrote in detail explanations of the divine questions, which were to be published in a book recording the proceedings of the conference. A copy of the other address which He gave on the first evening was written by us.

At Lake Mohonk Conference — The Oneness of the Reality of Humankind 6

When we consider history, we find that civilization is progressing, but in this century its progress cannot be compared with that of past centuries. This is the century of light and of bounty. In the past, the unity of patriotism, the unity of nations and religions was established; but in this century, the oneness of the world of humanity is established; hence this century is greater than the past.

Sixty years ago Asia was in great turmoil of wars; England, Russia, Turkey and France went to war. There were wars in Persia, wars among the religions and wars between nations, especially in Persia on account of the existence of the different nationalities, such as Turks, Persians, Arabs and Kurds, and the various religions, namely, Mohammedan, Jewish, Christian and Zoroastrian. Among these different religions the greatest enmity and rancor were extant.

At such a time as this, His Holiness, Baha’u’llah appeared. He proclaimed the oneness of the world of humanity and the greatest peace. He wrote to all the kings and addressed epistles to all the religionists of Persia, and all the souls who accepted his platform and emulated and followed his teachings — whether Christians, Mohammedans, Jews or Zoroastrians — were united and attained the greatest amity and unity. Through those teachings, the Kurd, the Arab, the Persian and the Turk freed themselves from the prejudice of race and were people agreed to an extent which is indescribable, indeed, in such a manner, that were you to enter their meeting you could not distinguish between the Persian, the Christian, the Arab or the Turk, and you would not observe any differences of religious opinion. Among those people the utmost of love and oneness of peace now obtain, for the great teachings of Baha’o’llah make for the oneness of the world and for humanity, universal peace and arbitration. The following are a few of the principles of Baha’u’llah.

First, that all must investigate reality. It is incumbent on all nations to investigate truth. For Baha’u’llah declares that the foundations of the divine religion are one and that one is reality and reality is not multiple but indivisible. But the imitations which have come in, being different in character, have caused divisions and separations. If we forsake the imitations and revert to the original foundations of the divine religion, we shall find that the foundations are that reality which is one and not multiple.

The second principle of Baha’u’llah is the oneness of human kind. All humanity belongs to one family, inhabiting the same globe; all are beneath the providence of God, God has created all and has nurtured all and provideth for all and preserveth all. This is the policy of God. God is kind to all and why should we be unkind? Is there any policy wiser and better than God’s policy? No matter how keen the human mind may be, it cannot surpass the policy of God. The policy of God is perfect and we must follow it and not our own self-interest.

The third teaching of Baha’u’llah is that religion and science are twins. If a religious question be not in accordance with science, it is imagination. All religious matter must correspond with science, every question which meets the criterion of science shall be acceptable, and those questions which do not come to the standard of science are not to be given credence.

The fourth teaching of Baha’u’llah is that religion should be the one bond which shall unite society, which shall cement together the various peoples, which shall cause a unity among all the creeds. If religion should be productive of strife and division, if it should cause bloodshed and war and rapine, irreligion is preferable to religion. Religion was meant to be a bond of love among mankind.

The fifth principle is that racial bias, religious prejudice, patriotic prejudice, political prejudice, are the destroyers of the very foundations of the body politic. All humanity is one in kind, the surface of the earth one home, and the foundations of the divine religions one. All the wars which have taken place since the inception of human history have emanated either from religious prejudice, racial prejudice, patriotic bias or political greed and interest. As long as these prejudices last, so long will the foundations of humanity tremble. When such prejudices pass away the world will at last find peace.

The sixth principle of Baha’u’llah is equality between mankind and womankind. Woman and man are both human and both the manifestations of God’s grace. God has created man and has endowed him with knowledge and intelligence. The difference which now exists between man and woman is only a difference of education, and when woman shall receive the same education no doubt her equality with man shall become a reality. The world of humanity is composed of two organizations — the male and the female. If one organ be defective, that defect will affect the other. Until perfect strength shall obtain in both, and woman shall attain equality with man, the happiness of humanity will not be insured.

The seventh principle concerns the readjustment of the economic questions in the social body. The rich now enjoy the greatest luxury, whereas the poor are in abject misery. Certain laws must be made whereby the rich cannot become over-rich and the poor shall not starve, both rich and poor enjoying the comforts according to their respective deserts.

The eighth principle of Baha’u’llah is that philosophy sufficeth not and is not conducive to the absolute happiness of mankind. Great philosophers have been capable of educating themselves, or a few who followed them, but generally education, ethical education, they could not endow. Therefore, the world of humanity is evermore in need of the breath of the Holy Spirit. The greatest peace will not be realized without the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit of God which insures the safety of humanity, for human thoughts differ, human susceptibilities differ. You cannot make the susceptibilities of all humanity one except through the common channel of the Holy Spirit. 7

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

Mahmud: May 15 — Speaking at Lake Mohonk


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “The Parliament of Rats.” 239 Days in America, May 15, 2012. https://239days.com/2012/05/15/the-conference-of-the-mice/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 67-68.
  3. Zia Bagdadi, “Abdu’l-Bahá’ in America,” Star of the West, 19, no. 6 (Sept. 1928), 181.
  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, 11-12. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#616248837
  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=3#section52.
  6. Talks of ’Abdu’l-Baha. “Talks of ’Abdu’l-Baha: At Lake Mohonk Conference—The Oneness of the Reality of Humankind,” April 25, 2012. https://centerofcovenanttalks.blogspot.com/2012/04/abdul-bahas-address-at-lake-mohonk.html.
  7. “Report of the Eight Annual Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitration, May 15-17, 1912.” Mohonk Lake, NY: Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitration, 1912, 42-44. https://books.google.com/books?id=g2kNAAAAYAAJ&lpg=PA42&ots=EkL03bcERq&pg=PA42&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false.

239 Days in America, Day 28: May 08, 1912 | Washington, D.C.

Juliet Thompson’s Inside View 1

THE YOUNG JAPANESE CHERRY trees on the northern shore of the Tidal Basin bloomed in coral pink. Washington in spring is a treat to the eyes of a painter. Juliet Thompson 2 was born nearby, and although she has lived in Paris and New York she has returned — not to paint it, but to follow ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

She met ‘Abdu’l-Bahá for the first time in ‘Akká in 1909, then was drawn to Thonon-les-Bains, France, when he was there in 1911, and now back to Washington. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá holds Juliet in high regard, not for her skill as a painter, (when she was 24, the New York Times called her “one of the most promising young artists of the day”), but for her sincerity. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá observed of her: “Everybody is your friend.”

…[On] May 7, 1912, Juliet started to write her account of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s first trip to Washington. Her diary will become one of the most important historical sources about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s journey across America. 3

Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C.

On Wednesday, May 8, after an early morning tea, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá packed, and caught the 9:00 A.M. train for a second visit to Washington, D.C. His companions begged Him to take a special compartment or a berth on the train; but He refused saying, “‘I spend money only to help people and to serve the Cause of God; and I have never liked distinctions since my childhood.’”

After a twelve-hour train ride they arrived in Washington; but this time ‘Abdu’l-Bahá refused Mrs. Parsons’ invitation to stay in her home. Instead He rented an apartment at 1340 Harvard Street. From there He went to the Parsons’ home where there was an assemblage of people waiting for Him. 4

Talk at Hotel Schenley, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 7 May 1912

Wherever His oppressors sent Him, He hoisted the standard of the oneness of the world of humanity and promulgated the principles of the unity of mankind. Some of these principles are as follows. First, it is incumbent upon all mankind to investigate truth. If such investigation be made, all should agree and be united, for truth or reality is not multiple; it is not divisible. The different religions have one truth underlying them; therefore, their reality is one. 5

The second principle or teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the proclamation of the oneness of the world of humanity—that all are servants of God and belong to one family; that God has created all and, therefore, His bestowals are universal; and that His providence, training, sustenance and loving-kindness surround all mankind.

This is the divine policy, and it is impossible for man to lay the foundation of a better plan and policy than that which God has instituted. Therefore, we must recognize and assist the purpose of the glorious Lord. Inasmuch as God is kind and loving to all, why should we be unkind? As this human world is one household, why should its members be occupied with animosity and contention? Therefore, humanity must be looked upon with the eye of equal estimate and in the same attitude of love. The noblest of men is he who serves humankind, and he is nearest the threshold of God who is the least of His servants. The glory and majesty of man are dependent upon his servitude to his fellow creatures and not upon the exercise of hostility and hatred.

The third principle or teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the oneness of religion and science. Any religious belief which is not conformable with scientific proof and investigation is superstition, for true science is reason and reality, and religion is essentially reality and pure reason; therefore, the two must correspond. Religious teaching which is at variance with science and reason is human invention and imagination unworthy of acceptance, for the antithesis and opposite of knowledge is superstition born of the ignorance of man. If we say religion is opposed to science, we lack knowledge of either true science or true religion, for both are founded upon the premises and conclusions of reason, and both must bear its test. 6

Wednesday, May 8, 1912 7

Early in the morning, as the Master was having tea, preparations were underway to continue our journey. We received copies of some of the newspapers carrying accounts of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit and His explanations of the most intricate problems of life and the influence that the Cause had had in that city. Every day the call of the Cause of God was awakening the inhabitants of Cleveland and Pittsburgh who had been asleep on the bed of negligence and this was increasingly reported.

The time for the Peace Congress, which the Master had promised to attend, was fast approaching. He moved like lightning from place to place and at each He tore asunder the veils of vain imaginings. In a very short time He accomplished many great tasks. Because the meetings in these cities had been scheduled in advance, several were held in one day and thousands of people were attracted and transformed by Him.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá left Pittsburgh at 9:00 a.m. and at 9:00 p.m. the friends in Washington DC, who were anxiously awaiting His arrival at the railway station, were overjoyed to see Him. At every stop He had been shown such great respect that it was like the bowing and bending of the cypress trees, demonstrating the power of the spiritual springtime and the tranquillity and flourishing of the garden of humanity. After lunch on the train, some of the friends pleaded with Him to secure a cabin that He might sleep and get some rest. He replied: ‘I make certain expenditures only to help people and to serve the Cause of God; and since my childhood I have never liked distinctions.’ He spoke for some time on this subject and warned us against making such personal distinctions.

When the Master arrived in Washington DC He was driven to a house especially rented for Him at [1340] Harvard Street, which was near Mrs Parsons’s home. Joining us today were Dr Zia Bagdadi of Chicago, the son of Muhammad Mustafa Bagdadi, and Mírzá Ahmad Sohrab of Washington DC, both of whom were given the tasks of translating and writing.

The Master spoke today about the meaning of the prophecies and signs of the Day of the Manifestation of God:

“Through their ignorance of these meanings people have always remained veiled from the manifestations of the bounties of Him Who is the Causer of Causes. Although in the divine scriptures mention is made of a heaven and an earth other than the physical heaven and earth, yet they have interpreted these signs literally and have deprived themselves of spiritual worlds and divine knowledge.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá then went to Mrs Parsons’s home where He spoke about the teachings on economics to the friends, who were extremely pleased with His explanation.

  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “Juliet Thompson’s Inside View.” 239 Days in America, May 8, 2012. https://239days.com/2012/05/08/juliet-thompsons-washington/.
  2. Ahdieh, Hussein. “Juliet Thompson: Champion of the Baha’i Faith in New York City.” Bahá’í Blog, 26 May 2021, https://www.bahaiblog.net/2021/05/juliet-thompson-champion-of-the-bahai-faith-in-new-york-city/.
  3. Thompson, Juliet. The Diary of Juliet Thompson. Edited by Marzieh Gail. 1st ed. 1947. Reprint, Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1983. https://bahai-library.com/thompsondiary.
  4. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 64.
  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, 105-106. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/7#173120438
  6. 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, 106-107. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/7#489305200
  7. ’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#section45.

239 Days in America, Day 26: May 06, 1912 | Cleveland

The Ultimate Taboo 1

‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived at Cleveland’s Union Station on the New York Central train from Chicago at 4:20 p.m. on May 7 [May 6 – ed.], 1912. During the past two weeks, Americans had learned of his battle against the ideologies of racial prejudice from major Washington newspapers and the Chicago Defender. But hardly anyone, whether black or white, had any inkling of just how far ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was willing to go.

Reporters and visitors followed him up to his rooms after his evening talk to 200 people at the Hotel Euclid. To an African-American clergyman and a group of about twenty white women sitting in a circle, he broached the most dangerous of all subjects. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, one of Ohio’s biggest newspapers, reported it unvarnished the next morning [May 7]:

“Abdul Baha . . . declared last night for an amalgamation of the white and negro races by intermarriage.” What ‘Abdu’l-Bahá advocated was illegal in twenty-nine of the forty-eight states — but not in Ohio.

Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C.

The friends and reporters met ‘Abdu’l-Bahá at the train station when He arrived at 4:00 P.M. on May 6. He checked into rooms at the Hotel Euclid and talked to the reporters, and an hour later went to Dr. C. M. Swingle’s home to talk to the Bahá’ís.

He returned to the Hotel for a public meeting attended by some five hundred people, many of whom had to stand. Afterward, a number of them, including reporters, followed Him to His rooms and asked Him questions on various subjects, including intermarriage. This latter discussion caused front-page headlines the next day.

The Cleveland News article stated:

WED RACES? SURE …

“Perfect results follow the marriage of black and white races. All men are the progeny of one… They are of different colors, but the follow is nothing.” — Abdu’l-Bahá

“I believe Abdul Baha is absolutely right. It is inevitable that all races will unite. Black and white and yellow will intermarry and make one perfect race. It is the only logical conclusion.” — Mrs. C. M. Swingle. 2

Talk at Euclid Hall, Cleveland, Ohio

This revered American nation presents evidences of greatness and worth. It is my hope that this just government will stand for peace so that warfare may be abolished throughout the world and the standards of national unity and reconciliation be upraised. This is the greatest attainment of the world of humanity. This American nation is equipped and empowered to accomplish that which will adorn the pages of history, to become the envy of the world and be blest in the East and the West for the triumph of its democracy. I pray that this may come to pass, and I ask the blessing of God in behalf of you all. 3

Monday, May 6, 1912 4

‘Abdu’l-Bahá left Chicago for Cleveland in the morning. As He was leaving, Bahá’ís and non-Bahá’ís surrounded Him like moths around a light, their hearts burning with thoughts of separation and tears flowing from their eyes.

The train reached Cleveland in the afternoon. Many friends and newspaper reporters were at the station to welcome Him. The reporters photographed Him with His companions and asked for an interview.

After making arrangements at the Euclid Hotel for His stay, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave the reporters permission to visit. He gave them an account of the history and teachings of the Cause. One of them questioned Him about His mission. He replied:

My message is the oneness of humanity and universal peace; the harmony of true science and religion; the equality of rights; the elimination of religious, racial and political prejudices; the truth of all the divine religions; the removal of religious imitations and superstitions; the education of women to such a degree that they may have equal rights with men; the adjustment of the economic condition of all people so that if a rich man enjoys honor and affluence, the poor man may also have a mat to lie on and a house to dwell in; the establishment of spiritual civilization; the reformation of human morals; the unity of all religions, so that when the people of the world recognize the truth of all religions, they may become united since truth is one — if they follow imitation, war and dissension shall remain, because imitations are the cause of differences.

After an hour, He left the hotel for Dr Swingle’s home for a meeting with the Bahá’ís. After He had some tea, He entered a room that was filled to capacity. He spoke to the friends about the prosperity of America and the perfecting of material civilization with spiritual refinement, the rising of the Sun of Truth, the raising of the divine call and spreading the teachings of God. The friends were deeply moved and full of admiration. Through their meeting with Him, they had found new life. At the beginning of the meeting, a photograph was taken of Him with His companions and some of the friends.

In the evening, the auditorium of the Euclid Hotel was full and there was standing room only. About five hundred Bahá’ís and non-Bahá’ís were enchanted by His charm and speech. The meeting began and ended with music. The audience was most appreciative of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s talk on the necessity of religion, the dangers of war and the benefits of love, unity and harmony.

  1. Menon, Jonathan. “The Ultimate Taboo.” 239 Days in America, May 6, 2012. https://239days.com/2012/05/06/the-ultimate-taboo/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 60.
  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, 103. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/6#532038348
  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#section43.

239 Days in America, Day 15: April 25, 1912 | Washington, DC

What Makes a President 1

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, a man who drove to the heart of virtually all of America’s pressing challenges, failed to comment even once on the election – neither about the headlines, nor the candidates, nor even about the winner once it was all over. Yet, like his father Bahá’u’lláh before him, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had a good deal to say about the qualities of leadership and of principled governance. He had even written a book on the subject back in 1875, when he was just thirty-one years old, addressed to the rulers and people of Persia. He titled it The Secret of Divine Civilization.

In America, while avoiding commenting on the election at hand, he did offer his views on the kind of individual who should be President.

“The president,” he said, “must be a man who does not insistently seek the presidency. He should be a person free from all thoughts of name and rank; rather, he should say, ‘I am unworthy and incapable of this position and cannot bear this great burden.’ Such persons deserve the presidency. If the object is to promote the public good, then the president must be a well-wisher of all and not a self-seeking person. If the object, however, is to promote personal interests, then such a position will be injurious to humanity . . . ”

In a hard-fought election year where the headlines screamed self-aggrandizement and entrenched partisanship, ‘Abdul-Bahá simply directed his voice elsewhere.

Washington D. C. 2

On Thursday, April 25, a large delegation from the Theosophical Society arrived at the Parsons’ home at 10:30 A.M. They had barely departed when a group of Esperantists came. He told them “The heart is like a box and language is the key.” 3 By the afternoon when the crowds were pouring into the Parsons’ home for the daily reception, ‘Abdul-Bahá joked with Mrs. Parsons, “It is very difficult to have one like me as a guest. Every guest and traveler has a limited number of friends with whom he makes special dates for visits, but you are forced all day long to be the entertainer of all.’” 4

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

The first teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the duty incumbent upon all to investigate reality. What does it mean to investigate reality? It means that man must forget all hearsay and examine truth himself, for he does not know whether statements he hears are in accordance with reality or not. Wherever he finds truth or reality, he must hold to it, forsaking, discarding all else; for outside of reality there is naught but superstition and imagination. 5

The second teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the oneness of the world of humanity. Every human creature is the servant of God. All have been created and reared by the power and favor of God; all have been blessed with the bounties of the same Sun of divine truth; all have quaffed from the fountain of the infinite mercy of God; and all in His estimation and love are equal as servants. He is beneficent and kind to all. Therefore, no one should glorify himself over another; no one should manifest pride or superiority toward another; no one should look upon another with scorn and contempt; and no one should deprive or oppress a fellow creature. All must be considered as submerged in the ocean of God’s mercy. We must associate with all humanity in gentleness and kindliness. We must love all with love of the heart. 6

The third teaching or principle of Bahá’u’lláh is that religion and science are in complete agreement. Every religion which is not in accordance with established science is superstition. Religion must be reasonable. If it does not square with reason, it is superstition and without foundation. It is like a mirage, which deceives man by leading him to think it is a body of water. God has endowed man with reason that he may perceive what is true. If we insist that such and such a subject is not to be reasoned out and tested according to the established logical modes of the intellect, what is the use of the reason which God has given man? 7

Thursday, April 25, 1912

In the evening the Turkish Ambassador, his honor Díyá Páshá, invited the Master to a royal feast. Most of us were also invited, as were many dignitaries, all of whom were dressed in formal attire. The Master gave a short talk at the table with the utmost majesty and beauty on the subject of the influence of the words of the Manifestations of God and their all-conquering power. The Ambassador then read from a prepared statement written in praise of the Master and presented it to Him:

“The light of His honor’s quality and knowledge in this new land and new world is now shining upon all peoples, showering them with His encouragement and enlightenment. He has suffered and sacrificed everything for the purpose of disseminating good qualities for humanity. He has now honored us by His presence. His Honor, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, is unique in our age and is highly esteemed and treasured by all of us. With prayer to the Lord of the worlds, I wish Him a long life and good health.”

When the Ambassador [Díyá Páshá] completed his statement, the Master spoke:

“This night is a very blessed night, worthy of the utmost praise and joy for many reasons. First, praise be to God, we are in a country which is famous for its prosperity and freedom. Second, we are in a house which is connected to the great Ottoman Power. Third, we are the guests of His Excellency the Ambassador who shines like the sun in the world of morality. Fourth, this meeting provides a tangible demonstration of the love and unity that is possible between the East and the West.

His Excellency the Ambassador is from the East, while his wife is an American. Similarly, His Excellency the Ambassador of Persia is from the nobility of the Orient, while his wife is also an American. This is a proof that the Orient and Occident can meet, love and unite. The greatest wish of people of thought and broad vision and sound understanding is the oneness and unity of humanity. This reality was not so apparent in former times but in this enlightened age which is the age of science and the progress of the world of humanity, this important fact has become manifest through the help and assistance of God: that all peoples are related, that all are from one family, citizens of one country and one world. This is the century of the oneness of the world of humanity and of the decline and abrogation of the superstitions of past ages. Every learned person is persuaded that this is the century for oneness and unity and the time for fanciful prejudices to fade away. We pray that misunderstandings among nations may disappear completely so that it may be evident that the foundation of all divine principles is the oneness of mankind and that the real purpose of all divine Manifestations has been to educate humanity. Divine religions are not the cause of dissension, nor do they beget enmity and hatred, for the foundation of all of them is truth and truth is one, it has no plurality.

The differences which we find are the results of imitations. As the imitations vary one from another, they become the cause of animosity and difference. The gloom of these imitations has wholly obscured the Sun of Reality. But, praise be to God, day by day these clouds are being dispersed and dissipated; ere long, they shall be wholly removed and the Sun of Reality shall be seen to shine most brilliantly. The standard of the oneness of humanity will be unfurled, the tabernacle of the universal peace will be raised, and this world will become another world.

I thank His Excellency the Ambassador who brought about this meeting of people of different nationalities in his home. Such meetings, in truth, deserve much praise and commendation.”

At the close of the meeting the Ambassador again arose to show his respect and appreciation. He accompanied the Master to His carriage with the utmost humility and esteem.

During these days, many dignitaries and important people visited the Master. Even President [Theodore] Roosevelt came, with humility and respect, especially to see the Master. 8

  1. Menon, Jonathan. “What Makes a President.” 239 Days in America, April 25, 2012. https://239days.com/2012/04/25/the-election-year/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 44.
  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, 60. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/3#293573670
  4. Bagdadi, Zia. “’Abdu’l-Bahá in America.” Star of the West, June 1928, 90.
  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, 62. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/3#502326955.
  6. 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, 63. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/3#732109286.
  7. 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, 63. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/3#907730916.
  8. Mahmud-i-Zarqani, Mirza. 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=2#section32

239 Days in America, Day 13: April 23, 1912 | Washington, DC

This Shining Colored Man 1

Reverend Wilbur Patterson Thirkield, Howard’s eighth President, introduced ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. “This was a most notable occasion,” wrote Joseph Hannen, who was also in the audience, “and here, as everywhere when both white and colored people were present, Abdul-Baha seemed happiest. The address was received with breathless attention by the vast audience, and was followed by a positive ovation and a recall.” 2 3

‘Abdu’l-Bahá began by drawing attention to the diversity in the room. “Today I am happy,” he said, “for I see . . . white and black sitting together.” He then proceeded to reject prevailing black and white views about the essentialism of race — the popular belief that a person’s race was central to his or her humanity:

There are no whites and blacks before God. All colors are one, and that is the color of servitude to God. Scent and color are not important. The heart is important. If the heart is pure, white or black or any color makes no difference. 4

Washington D. C. 5

From Howard University He rode to the Persian Embassy, where Ali-Kuli Khan was preparing a reception. ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá went upstairs to rest and to grant a few private interviews, including conversations with Admiral Peary and Alexander Graham Bell. Mrs. Hebe Struven, who helped arrange the affair, recalling it years later, said that after the place cards had been arranged at the plates to seat people by strict Washington protocol, ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá at the last minute gathered them all up, shuffled and redistributed them, and then brought Louis G. Gregory to the place of honor at the head of the table in the otherwise all-white gathering. He thus—literally in this gather and symbolically for all occasions—abolished racial prejudice and social segregation.

Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons, 1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 23 April 1912

…Although such an event is indeed regrettable, we must realize that everything which happens is due to some wisdom and that nothing happens without a reason. Therein is a mystery; but whatever the reason and mystery, it was a very sad occurrence, one which brought tears to many eyes and distress to many souls. I was greatly affected by this disaster. Some of those who were lost voyaged on the Cedric with us as far as Naples and afterward sailed upon the other ship. When I think of them, I am very sad indeed. But when I consider this calamity in another aspect, I am consoled by the realization that the worlds of God are infinite; that though they were deprived of this existence, they have other opportunities in the life beyond, even as Christ has said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” They were called away from the temporary and transferred to the eternal; they abandoned this material existence and entered the portals of the spiritual world. Foregoing the pleasures and comforts of the earthly, they now partake of a joy and happiness far more abiding and real, for they have hastened to the Kingdom of God. The mercy of God is infinite, and it is our duty to remember these departed souls in our prayers and supplications that they may draw nearer and nearer to the Source itself. 6

Talk to Bethel Literary Society, Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, M Street, NW, Washington, D.C.

All blessings are divine in origin, but none can be compared with this power of intellectual investigation and research, which is an eternal gift producing fruits of unending delight. Man is ever partaking of these fruits. All other blessings are temporary; this is an everlasting possession. Even sovereignty has its limitations and overthrow; this is a kingship and dominion which none may usurp or destroy. Briefly, it is an eternal blessing and divine bestowal, the supreme gift of God to man. Therefore, you should put forward your most earnest efforts toward the acquisition of science and arts. The greater your attainment, the higher your standard in the divine purpose. The man of science is perceiving and endowed with vision, whereas he who is ignorant and neglectful of this development is blind. The investigating mind is attentive, alive; the callous and indifferent mind is deaf and dead. A scientific man is a true index and representative of humanity, for through processes of inductive reasoning and research he is informed of all that appertains to humanity, its status, conditions and happenings. He studies the human body politic, understands social problems and weaves the web and texture of civilization. In fact, science may be likened to a mirror wherein the infinite forms and images of existing things are revealed and reflected. It is the very foundation of all individual and national development. Without this basis of investigation, development is impossible. Therefore, seek with diligent endeavor the knowledge and attainment of all that lies within the power of this wonderful bestowal. 7

How shall we utilize these gifts and expend these bounties? By directing our efforts toward the unification of the human race. We must use these powers in establishing the oneness of the world of humanity, appreciate these virtues by accomplishing the unity of whites and blacks, devote this divine intelligence to the perfecting of amity and accord among all branches of the human family so that under the protection and providence of God the East and West may hold each other’s hands and become as lovers. Then will mankind be as one nation, one race and kind—as waves of one ocean. Although these waves may differ in form and shape, they are waves of the same sea. Flowers may be variegated in colors, but they are all flowers of one garden. Trees differ though they grow in the same orchard. All are nourished and quickened into life by the bounty of the same rain, all grow and develop by the heat and light of the one sun, all are refreshed and exhilarated by the same breeze that they may bring forth varied fruits. This is according to the creative wisdom. If all trees bore the same kind of fruit, it would cease to be delicious. In their never-ending variety man finds enjoyment instead of monotony. 8

Tuesday, April 23, 1912

Today the Master went to Howard University, an educational institution for blacks. The hosts (mostly black with a few whites) had made special arrangements so that when the Master arrived He was welcomed by music from a band while the audience applauded with excitement and exuberance. It is difficult to describe the scene adequately. The president of the university was very cordial and introduced ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as the Prophet of Peace and the harbinger of unity and salvation. Then the Master rose from His seat and spoke on the subject of the harmony between blacks and whites and the unity of humankind. The audience repeatedly applauded Him during the talk, delighted at His words. At the conclusion, the president of the university thanked ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on behalf of all those gathered. As He left the auditorium, group after group formed two lines, one on each side, all showing their highest respect by bowing and waving their hats and handkerchiefs in farewell to the beloved Master.

’ Abdu’l-Bahá had lunch at the home of Ali Kuli Khan. Several believers were present, including ourselves. 9 10 11

There was a public meeting in the afternoon at the same house. The majority attending the meeting were ladies from high society. At this meeting the Master spoke about the education and improvement of women and the promotion of unity and peace in the world of humanity. After the meeting several new people arrived and sat for a brief time in the Master’s presence. They so enjoyed His company they did not want to leave.

In the evening, close to bedtime, when the Master was alone and extremely tired from the day’s activities, He prayed, praising and thanking the Blessed Beauty. On one occasion He said:

“We must offer thanks to the Blessed Beauty because it is His help that has stirred the people; it is His grace that has changed the hearts. The assistance of the Abhá Kingdom has transformed a drop into a mighty ocean. The aid of the Most High has turned a gnat into an eagle, has invested an ant with the power of a Solomon and has caused the debased one to become a source of eternal honor.’”

A third meeting was held this evening in a black church. All those present paid Him the highest respect and were delighted to hear about the new teachings. The Master’s talk, they felt, gave them honor and would cause them to progress. As is customary at churches, there was a collection and the Master made a contribution. 12

  1. Menon, Jonathan. “This Shining Colored Man.” 239 Days in America, April 23, 2012. https://239days.com/2012/04/23/this-shining-colored-man/.
  2. Hannen, Joseph H. “Abdul-Baha in Washington, D.C.” Star of the West, April 28, 1912, 6-8.
  3. Buck, Christopher. “Public Discourse on Race: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Howard University Speech.” PDF presented at the Centenary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Visit to North America, Louhelen Bahá’í School, Davison, Michigan, February 11, 2012. https://bahai-library.com/pdf/b/buckabdulbahahowardlouhelen.pdf.
  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, 44. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/3#098175321.
  5. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 40-41.
  6. 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, 46-47. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/3#242218565
  7. 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, 50. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/3#325690063.
  8. 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, 51. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/3#838638236.
  9. Hutchison, Sandra Lynn. ’Abdu’l-Baha in America: The Diary of Agnes Parsons. Edited by Richard Hollinger. Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1996, 31. https://archive.org/details/abdulbahainameri0000pars/page/30/mode/2up.
  10. Ober, Harlan F. “Louis G. Gregory.” Bahá’í World, 1956, 666-670.
  11. Thompson, Juliet. The Diary of Juliet Thompson. Edited by Marzieh Gail. 1st ed. 1947. Reprint, Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1983, 269. https://archive.org/details/diaryofjuliettho0000thom/page/268/mode/2up
  12. Mahmud-i-Zarqani, Mirza. 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=2#section30