239 Days in America, Day 231: November 27, 1912 | New York

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Program for a Durable Peace: 1919 1

“PEACE, PEACE, THE LIPS of potentates and peoples unceasingly proclaim,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was heard to say in the months following the First World War, “whereas the fire of unquenched hatreds still smoulders in their hearts.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá began to advise Americans against putting too much faith in the outcome of the Paris Peace Conference before it had even begun. “Although the representatives of various governments are assembled in Paris in order to lay the foundations of Universal Peace,” he wrote to a friend in Portland, Oregon, on January 10, 1919, two days before the conference convened, “yet misunderstanding . . . is still predominant and self-interest still prevails. In such an atmosphere, Universal Peace will not be practicable, nay rather, fresh difficulties will arise.”

He argued the same point in a long letter to the Central Organization for a Durable Peace, a commission set up in 1915 at The Hague to plan for an eventual postwar reconciliation. Fannie Fern Andrews, one of the American members of the commission, explained its purpose in front of the American Academy of Political and Social Science in 1916. “When the representatives of the states come together in the midst of the wreck and desolation left by the war, their task will be almost overwhelming,” she said. “The fundamental basis of the new world order which must come after the present war must be laid today.” The Organization asked ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to present his proposals for global peace in February, 1916, but he was cut off behind enemy lines and didn’t receive the letter until after the war ended.

The central message of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s letter, which he sent to The Hague from Haifa on December 17, 1919, was that achieving universal peace required a more comprehensive approach than customary international diplomacy would permit. “If the question is restricted to Universal Peace alone the remarkable results which are expected and desired will not be attained,” he wrote. “The scope of Universal Peace must be such that all the communities and religions may find their highest wish realized in it.”

Peace, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá argued, required a massive social transformation of the depth and scope that his father, Bahá’u’lláh, had proposed: the consciousness of the whole human race being a single people; the central motivating role of non-dogmatic, reasonable religious belief; deliberately weeding out religious, racial, class, partisan, and nationalistic prejudices; complete equality between the sexes; universal education for children; the conviction that the whole surface of the earth is one native land. National boundaries, he argued, are imaginary lines that emerged during the early history of civilization to serve the selfish interests of a few individuals, and these in turn led to “intense enmity, bloodshed and rapacity in subsequent centuries.” “In the same way,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá emphasized, “this will continue indefinitely, and if this conception of patriotism remains limited within a certain circle, it will be the primary cause of the world’s destruction.”

Final Days in America: New York City 2

On Wednesday, November 27, during His [Abdu’l-Bahá ] discourses throughout the day, He told His listeners at one point, “‘Their [Manifestations’] only motive was the education of blessed souls and sanctified spirits who became the teachers of the divine education and the promoters of the Great Guidance and the Supreme Favor. The people of Bahá must endeavor day and night to enforce this noble purpose. They must put forth their energy to educate themselves and other sanctified souls.’”

Wednesday, November 27, 1912 3

In the morning the Master gave several talks to the Bahá’ís, one of which was the following:

“The purpose of the divine Manifestations has been the education of holy souls. Some have imagined that their purpose was to found temples and churches or to establish a new nation or to gain personal fame and that for these considerations they accepted severe degradation and became targets for the arrow of fate. These are idle fancies because those holy Beings knew well that the dominion of God existed when there was no trace of them and that it shall continue to exist when no trace of them remains. Thus fame or oblivion, honor or degradation are one and the same to those Gems of existence. Indeed, their ultimate desire is selfless devotion to the one true God and absolute nothingness in His court. Their only motive has been the education of blessed souls and sanctified beings who are the foundation of divine education and promoters of the most great guidance and the supreme favor.

“The people of Bahá must endeavor day and night to promulgate this lofty purpose. They must endeavor and strive strenuously to educate themselves and other sanctified souls. They must awaken the peoples and nations of the world and free them from dogmas and imitations. They must pass beyond the world of names and fix their gaze on realities and inner meanings.”

At the end of the meeting some friends gave Him written petitions asking for spiritual assistance. He said, ‘We have received so many letters that there is no time to read them; how, then, is it possible to answer them?’

In the afternoon again the friends and seekers arrived in groups. The Master’s talk mainly concerned the need for both a spiritual and a material civilization. ‘The coming of age and maturity of man’, He said, ‘will appear when these two civilizations become entwined.’

The Master spoke to a leader of the socialists on economic issues, the brotherhood of humanity and the Bahá’í teachings. The man was overwhelmed to hear such solutions to questions upon which the well-being of the world depend.

The Master spoke to a group of women about education, training, virtues and the rights of women. In brief, every day and night, to a greater and greater extent, the faces shone with the fire of the love of God and the souls beamed with the radiance of the beauty of the Beloved.

23 November 1912, Talk at Banquet, Great Northern Hotel, 118 West Fifty-seventh Street, New York 4

This meeting of yours tonight is very different in character. It is a universal gathering; it is heavenly and divine in purpose because it serves the oneness of the world of humanity and promotes international peace. It is devoted to the solidarity and brotherhood of the human race, the spiritual welfare of mankind, unity of religious belief through knowledge of God and the reconciliation of religious teaching with the principles of science and reason.

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

“The purpose of the divine Manifestations has been the education of holy souls.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 27, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Program for a Durable Peace: 1919.” 239 Days in America, 27 Nov. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/11/27/abdul-bahas-program-for-a-durable-peace-1919/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 189.
  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=9#section249
  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, 447. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/32#955162073

239 Days in America, Day 223: November 19, 1912 | New York

The Trouble With J. P. Morgan’s Millions 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ’S AUTOMOBILE halted in front of 33 East 36th Street in the early afternoon on Monday, November 18, 1912. His party of six ascended a broad flight of steps between two sleek Assyrian lionesses who kept watch in pink Tennessee marble before the recessed portico of an Italian Renaissance villa in midtown Manhattan.

The architect of the place, Charles Follen McKim of the renowned firm McKim, Mead & White, had suffered a nervous breakdown over this building—or, more precisely, over having to accommodate the insistent demands and fastidious tastes of his client. On other projects McKim might have done as he pleased, but one simply did not say no to J. Pierpont Morgan. …

The titan of Wall Street had invited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá for a private interview this afternoon here, at his private library. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá entered through heavy bronze doors into the illuminated splendor of a vaulted rotunda. Mosaic panels, and columns of veined skyros and cippoline marble, textured the space and at ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s feet a colorful marble floor unfurled, inlaid with pieces from the Roman Forum and a central disc of deep purple porphyry. The domed ceiling of blue and white stucco bore paintings and reliefs of classical figures that Henry Siddons Mowbray had modeled on Raphael and installed beneath the gentle light of a central oculus. Gazing upward, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá could see murals inspired by Pinturicchio, which adorned lunettes over the main entrance and above doors to the East and West rooms, depicting scenes and legendary lovers from Greek and Roman epics, Arthurian romances, Dante’s Divine Comedy, and Renaissance lyric poetry. Morgan received guests in the West Room, his large, plush study. His son-in-law wrote that no one could really know him who hadn’t seen him sitting quietly in front of the fire; chomping on a big black cigar; playing solitaire beneath the coffered wooden ceiling; enveloped by the bright red damask silk that lined the study’s walls.

But today he wasn’t there. Some urgent business matter had arisen, and, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá learned, Morgan wouldn’t be able to come. …

Final Days in America: New York City 2

On November 19 Mahmúd noted, “A number of school children gathered near the Beloved saying, ‘Who is this person who looks like Christ?’ Miss Juliet Thompson spoke to them outside the house about the Beloved Cause and the life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. They asked to interview Him and they were invited to come. …”

Tuesday, November 19, 1912 3

The Master spent the day at the home of Mrs Krug in the utmost happiness. A number of the believers and His companions were also very happy to witness the Master’s joy, the influence of the Cause of God and the power of the Covenant of God.

In the afternoon, at a public meeting attended chiefly by women, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke on the equality of the rights of women and their education and progress through the Manifestation of this supreme age. He encouraged them to acquire the perfections and virtues of the world of humanity.

Later, at the home of Mr and Mrs Kinney, He asked Mr [Hooper] Harris to speak at the meeting of the friends.

As Mr MacNutt‘s apparent equivocation and lack of firmness seemed to be causing his degradation in the eyes of the friends, he came to the Master and implored Him to recommend him to them. The Master replied, ‘The remedy depends upon your sincere repentance and your open denouncement of the violators in the meetings of the friends.’ In compliance, Mr MacNutt rose and gave an account of his journey to Chicago and his meeting with [Ibrahim George] Kheiralla. Some felt that he spoke ambiguously. The Master asked him to explain his actions in plain words so that the friends might be satisfied and this blemish on his character be removed. Again he testified in clear terms of his faith in the Covenant and his rejection of the Covenant-breakers. The Master went to the podium and expressed His pleasure at Mr Harris’s talk and for Mr MacNutt’s words of repentance. The Master then went upstairs and called Mr [William] Hoar, Mr Harris, Mr [Arthur P.] Dodge and other friends to Him and asked them to embrace Mr MacNutt and exhorted them to have the utmost love and unity among themselves. He encouraged and inspired them to spread the divine word and to diffuse the fragrances of God. He told them that they must sacrifice all other affairs for the accomplishment of this great affair.

Despite this, the Master and the friends, in their inmost hearts, were saddened by Mr MacNutt’s earlier actions. Some felt that he was not trying hard enough to show his humility and firmness in the Covenant. After the Master’s departure from America, Mr MacNutt went to California and other regions of America. The believers stayed away from him. He wrote many letters of repentance to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, who sent him many encouraging and kind words.

18 November 1912, Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank K. Moxey, 575 Riverside Drive, New York 4

At such a time Bahá’u’lláh dawned from the eastern horizon like the glory of the sun. He renewed the basis of the religions of God, destroyed blind adherence to ancestral forms and established in their stead love and spiritual fellowship so that no strife, discord or hostility remained. This reconciliation of divergent sects is visible and evident. They now live together in love and unity. If you should enter one of their meetings, you would realize that they have become as one race, one native land, one religion; that they associate together in brotherhood and agreement. Praise be to God! These blind imitations and this darkness have ceased to exist, and the reality of the oneness of humanity has been practically proven.

I consider the American people a highly civilized and intelligent nation, a nation investigating truth and reality. It is my hope that through the efforts of this noble nation the solidarity of humanity may be continually advanced, that the illumination of the human world may become widespread, that the banner of universal peace may be held aloft, the lamp of the oneness of the human world be ignited and the hearts of the East and West be conjoined. Then the reality of the divine religions shall become resplendent and refulgent, indicating that they were meant to be the cause of unity and love and that through them heavenly bestowals have ever been conferring light upon the human world.

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

The Master encouraged women to acquire the perfections and virtues of the world of humanity

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 19, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “The Trouble With J. P. Morgan’s Millions.” 239 Days in America, 19 Nov. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/11/19/the-trouble-with-j-p-morgans-millions/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 187.
  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=9#section241
  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, 446-447. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/32#729562953

239 Days in America, Day 213: November 09, 1912 | Washington, D.C.

Challenging Washington’s Oldest Jewish Congregation 1

ON THE EVENING OF November 8, 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá addressed the Washington Hebrew Congregation, led by Rabbi Abram Simon, at the Eighth Street Temple in the nation’s capital. One month earlier, he had spoken to a similar Reform congregation at the Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco, asking them to consider that just as the Jewish prophets had reclaimed a lost people and turned them into a mighty society, so too had Jesus and Muhammad. His approach in Washington was similar, though this time around his argument was met with less enthusiasm. …

‘Abdu’l-Bahá spent a few minutes preparing his audience for the next phase of the argument. He asked them to be “just and fair in your judgment of the following statements.” He then proceeded to articulate the accomplishments of Jesus, going so far as to ask: “Were it not for Jesus Christ, would the Bible, the Torah have reached this land of America? Would the name of Moses be spread throughout the world?”

“This produced a stir among the people,” Agnes Parsons noted in her account of the evening. She states that Rabbi Simon made an effort through the translator, Dr. Fareed, to stop the address. Mahmúd-i-Zarqání, one of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s secretaries, wrote that the people seated near the pulpit made signs that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s time was up. …

Agnes Parsons telephoned Rabbi Simon the next morning and invited him to visit with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Later that evening, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told a small gathering about the conversation that had transpired between the two men. He had told Rabbi Simon that Jews should be proud of Jesus, a “mighty personage” that they had, in fact, given to the world. “When you express your glory and honor in the recollection of Christ,” he told the Rabbi, “rest assured that the Christians will shake your hands in fellowship.”

Rabbi Simon eventually concurred. But he asked one thing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: “Cannot you tell the Christians to love us a little bit more?”

The Journey East: Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., Baltimore 2

Saturday night, November 9, the friends held a banquet at Rauscher’s Hall. In the center of the room the tables were arranged in a figure nine and decorated with flowers. The walls were hung with flags, festoons, lanterns, and signs, with the Greatest Name above them. To the three hundred people at the banquet Mason Remey read a paper congratulating ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and assuring Him of their obedience and renunciation. After they sang, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá prayed and told everyone to begin eating. While they ate, He walked among them distributing candy and flowers and applying attar of roses. When He finished, the friends again sang songs. Then He spoke to them concerning the living of a Bahá’í life, and afterward they again burst into song.

Saturday, November 9, 1912 3

The Master called on the Jewish rabbi, showered him with kindness and countless blessings, and spoke to him regarding peace and harmony among the Jews, Christians and Muslims as well as the need for respect for the leaders of each other’s religions. The Master said:

“Whenever these people mention each other’s leaders with due reverence then all sufferings and contentions shall cease and instead of hatred there will be love and instead of enmity and disunity there will be harmony and affection. This is my purpose.”

The Master continued to speak in this vein with the rabbi, who left His presence with humility and respect.

Several distinguished persons visited the Master on the second floor of Mrs Parsons’s home, to whom He spoke about various spiritual and important issues. The eternal bounties poured forth like refreshing rain, beautifying the gardens of the hearts and causing the world of the spirit to triumph and to overflow with glad tidings.

In the evening the band of lovers observed the Feast of the Covenant with a magnificent banquet in one of the city’s largest halls. The sounds of their congratulations and praises created a festive and beautiful celebration. Large tables were arranged in the center of the hall in the shape of the figure nine. At the head of the tables was the Master’s chair, on two sides were the chairs of His companions, while the remaining chairs were occupied by the friends. The tables were decorated with flowers and other ornaments and the doors and walls were decorated with screens, flags, festoons, lanterns and banners. Above all of these was the symbol of the Greatest Name. More than three hundred guests were present, apart from those serving as hosts. Almost everyone at the banquet was in formal attire and their attention focused on the Master.

As soon as the Master arrived they all sang with one voice a song in praise of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. When He had taken His seat, Mr Remey stood in the center of the hall facing the Master and devoutly read a paper, afterwards congratulating the Master on behalf of the friends and assuring Him of their obedience and renunciation of the world. Before eating ‘Abdu’l-Bahá rose and recited the following prayer:

“He is God! O Lord! We are assembled here in the utmost love and are turned toward Thy Kingdom. We seek none other but Thee and desire not but Thy good pleasure.

“O Lord! Make this food heavenly and make those assembled here of the hosts of Thy Supreme Concourse so that they may become life-giving and the cause of the enlightenment of the world of man, that they may arise to guide all the peoples of the world.

“Thou art the All-Powerful, the Almighty, the Forgiving and the Kind.”

He then invited everyone to begin their dinner, saying, ‘Tonight I myself wish to serve the friends of God.’ He therefore made several rounds, distributing sweets and flowers and anointing each person with attar of rose. When the Master completed one round, the friends sang songs of praise to the accompaniment of the piano. After supper, the Master rose and spoke about the preeminence and distinction of the gatherings of the friends of God, saying that the actions and services of the people of Bahá would be everlasting. This gave further encouragement to the friends to burst enthusiastically into wonderful songs and melodies, giving renewed joy to the hearts and to the souls a new delight. This was one of those great gatherings that demonstrate the majesty and power of the Center of the Covenant.

The Master then went into another room where a number of people were granted private interviews. Among them was a gentleman who had lost both legs in a railway collision and wore artificial limbs. To him the Master said:

“Mutilation of the body brings no harm to the soul. This is one of the proofs of the immortality of the soul, for death consists of the change and dispersion of the members and elements of the body. As a bodily change does not bring about change in the soul, it is evident that the soul is unchanging and imperishable.”

When the Consul General of Turkey and others came to see Him, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke to them about the Universal House of Justice.

Talk at Bahá’í Banquet, Rauscher’s Hall, Washington, D. C. 4

It is my fond and fervent hope through the favor of God that this present meeting may be instrumental in ushering in the day when the standard of the oneness of the world of humanity shall be held aloft in America. May it be the first real foundation of international peace, having for its object universal service to man. May it be divine philanthropy without distinctions or differentiations in humankind. May you consider all religions the instruments of God and regard all races as channels of divine manifestation. May you view mankind as the sheep of God and know for a certainty that He is the real Shepherd. Consider how this kind and tender Shepherd cares for all His flock; how He leads them in green pastures and beside the still waters. How well He protects them! Verily, this Shepherd makes no distinctions whatsoever; to all the sheep He is equally kind. Therefore, we must follow the example of God and strive in pathways of goodwill toward all humanity. May we endeavor with heart and soul to reconcile the religions of the earth, unify the peoples and races and blend the nations in a perfect solidarity. May we uphold the flag of international agreement and enkindle a light which shall illumine all regions with the radiance of oneness. May our purposes centralize in the earnest desire of attaining the good pleasure of God, and may our supreme energies be directed to welding together the human household. Let us not regard our own respective capacities; nay, rather, let us regard forever the favors and bounties of God. The drop must not estimate its own limited capacity; it must realize the volume and sufficiency of the ocean, which ever glorifieth the drop. The tender and simple seed, solitary though it may be, must not look upon its own lack of power. Nay, rather, its attention must ever be directed to the sun, in the rays of which it finds life and quickening; and it must ever consider the downpour of the cloud of mercy. For the bounty of the cloud, the effulgence and heat of the sun and the breath of the vernal zephyrs can transform the tiny seed and develop it into a mighty tree. And may you remember that a single infinitesimal atom in the ray of the sun through a shining beam of the solar energy becomes glorified and radiant.

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

‘Abdu’l-Bahá showers kindness and blessings upon a Jewish rabbi in Washington

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

November 9, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “Challenging Washington’s Oldest Jewish Congregation.” 239 Days in America, 9 Nov. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/11/09/challenging-washingtons-oldest-jewish-congregation/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 180.
  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=9#section231
  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, 420. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/31#965527041

239 Days in America, Day 164: September 21, 1912 | Omaha

‘Abdu’l-Bahá Calls On the “Great Commoner” 1

THE GRITTY CRUNCH OF the dirt road gave way to a rhythmic humming from the smooth bricks that paved the long driveway. Their tiny vibrations traveled along the axles of the rented automobile, through its iron chassis, and into the seat cushion on which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá sat. Trees lined the drive on either side, and at the top of the hill a mansion made of soft-toned red brick looked down across rolling countryside to the thickly wooded valley of nearby Antelope Creek. Fairview, the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Jennings Bryan, stood three miles south of Lincoln, Nebraska. It was the afternoon of Monday, September 23, 1912.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá had taken the train from Omaha to Lincoln, the capital of the state, to return the courtesy of Bryan’s visit to ‘Akká six and a half years earlier. “We called on Abbas Effendi as we were leaving Palestine,” Bryan had written from Vienna on June 5, 1906, in an article for the Chicago Daily News. He was traveling the lands of the Ottoman Empire and had stopped to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá who was still a prisoner in ‘Akká.

“The Great Commoner,” as William Jennings Bryan was known at home in America, had not been impressed with Sultan ‘Abdu’l-Hamíd II and the bureaucracy he ran. “The government of the sultan is the worst on earth,” he wrote. “It is more despotic than the Russian government ever was and adds corruption to despotism. . . . The sultan still rules by his arbitrary will, taking life or granting favor according to his pleasure. He lives in constant fear of assassination and yet he does not seem to have learned that his own happiness, as well as justice to the people, demands that the government shall rest upon the will of the governed.”

He found ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, whose teachings he likened to Tolstoy’s minus the strict pacifism, to be a welcome voice of reform. “How much he may be able to do in the way of eliminating the objectionable features of Mohammedanism no one can say,” Bryan thought, “but it is a hopeful sign that there is . . . an organized effort to raise the plane of discussion from brute force to an appeal to intelligence.”

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

The next morning, September 21, as they were having tea in the room, they read the news of the first Balkan War. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá observed, “‘Our war is the best of all. We conquer all. At the time a crown of thorns was placed on the head of the Christ, He saw the crowns of kings under His feet. Now I see all the powers and nations vanquished and lost in the desert while the Cause of God is victorious over all. The divine Manifestations see with their eyes all the coming events of the world.’”

Saturday, September 21, 1912 3

In the morning, as we were having tea served by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the latest news from the Balkan war was relayed to Him. He commented, in part:

“Our own ‘war’ is good because it conquers all. When a crown of thorns was placed on the head of Christ, He saw with His own eyes the crowns of kings under His feet. Now, when I look, I see all the powers and nations defeated, scattered and lost in the wilderness while the Cause of God is victorious over all and subdues all. All future events are evident and visible to the eyes of the holy Manifestations.”

He illustrated this by narrating the historical events from the digging of ditches to the victory of Islam over the treasuries of Anushírván and Khusraw. The hypocrites, who disbelieved in the promises of Muhammad in their hearts, saw these victories and cried out: ‘This is that which God and His Messenger have promised us.’

The translation of an article regarding universal peace was read to the Master. He said:

“If the republics of the Americas assembled and agreed on the question of peace, and if all of them would turn to the [Peace] Assembly at the Hague, most of the powers of Europe would follow suit. But looking at it from another point of view, if an international war breaks out in Europe, international peace will be established more quickly. Also, if these ideas regarding peace spread among the public, the financiers will refuse to give loans for wars and the manufacture of armaments, the railway companies will abstain from transporting instruments of destruction and the armed forces will not engage in carnage and the spilling of blood. Also the boundaries should be established.”

Later the Master was interviewed by two journalists and spoke to them about the pernicious attitudes of politicians, the destructiveness of war, the validity of the divine teachings regarding universal peace, the unity of religions and the oneness of mankind.

In one of the Tablets revealed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in honor of a friend in Mázindarán, these words were recorded:

“The light of Bahá’u’lláh has shone to such a degree on the continent of America that in every city where a number of believers reside, the call of ‘Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá’ has been raised. In great churches and meetings ‘Abdu’l-Bahá cries out and proves the truth of the Prophet of God [Muhammad] and of the Báb and of the rising sun of Bahá’u’lláh. Most of the newspapers express praise in glowing articles. Where are the Persians, that they may behold the splendors of the Luminary of the World [Bahá’u’lláh] Whose light has shone forth from the horizon of Mount Awrang and now illumines the mountains and plains of America? In spite of all this, the people of Núr are still asleep and do not know what an honor has been showered upon that region.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá had soup prepared especially for Him for lunch. The Master instructed us to have lunch at the hotel. In the afternoon after tea, the Master left for Lincoln to visit Mr [William Jennings] Bryan, the [future] Secretary of State of the United States, and said:

“During Mr and Mrs Bryan’s last visit to Haifa, we were, while in ‘Akká, in great danger, and the enemies were rebellious and increasingly perverse in those last days, thus he was unable to see us. So now we are going to see him.”

The train had left just as the Master reached the station. He decided to wait for the next train. A few minutes later, a man who had seen our Persian dress and kuláhs came to us and said, ‘We received a telegram from the friends in Minneapolis and have been looking for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.’ He immediately ran to give the news to the other friends and brought them to Him. They were extremely grateful that He had not left by the first train. The Master spoke to them about the major calamities that had befallen the Cause of God, saying:

“Up to now, whatever has occurred has had the effect of spreading the Cause of God. When the Blessed Beauty left Tihrán and when He departed from Baghdád for the Holy Land, it was so devastating that the friends shed tears of blood. Now it has become evident what mysteries were concealed in that event and what victories lay in store; even the prophecies of the holy books regarding the Holy Land and the promised Manifestation were fulfilled through that banishment.”

A professor who had heard of some of the principles of the Bahá’í Cause was very happy and grateful to have visited the Master. At midnight the Master left Omaha and three hours later arrived in Lincoln.

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

The great question appertaining to humanity is religion. The first condition is that man must intelligently investigate its foundations. The second condition is that he must admit and acknowledge the oneness of the world of humanity. By this means the attainment of true fellowship among mankind is assured, and the alienation of races and individuals is prevented. All must be considered the servants of God; all must recognize God as the one kind Protector and Creator. In proportion to the acknowledgment of the oneness and solidarity of mankind, fellowship is possible, misunderstandings will be removed and reality become apparent. Then will the light of reality shine forth, and when reality illumines the world, the happiness of humankind will become a verity. Man must spiritually perceive that religion has been intended by God to be the means of grace, the source of life and cause of agreement. If it becomes the cause of discord, enmity and hatred, it is better that man should be without it. For in its teachings we seek the spirit of charity and love to bind the hearts of men together. If, on the contrary, we find it alienates and embitters human hearts, we are justified in casting it aside. Therefore, when man through sincere investigation discovers the fundamental reality of religion, his former prejudices disappear, and his new condition of enlightenment is conducive to the development of the world of humanity.

The purport of our subject is that, just as man is in need of outward education, he is likewise in need of ideal refinement; just as the outer sense of sight is necessary to him, he should also possess insight and conscious perception; as he needs hearing, at the same time memory is essential; as a body is indispensable to him, likewise a mind is requisite; one is a material virtue, the other is ideal. As human creatures fitted and qualified with this dual endowment, we must endeavor through the assistance and grace of God and by the exercise of our ideal power of intellect to attain all lofty virtues, that we may witness the effulgence of the Sun of Reality, reflect the spirit of the Kingdom, behold the manifest evidences of the reality of Divinity, comprehend irrefutable proofs of the immortality of the soul, live in conscious atonement with the eternal world and become quickened and awake with the life and love of God.

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

“All future events are evident and visible to the eyes of the holy Manifestations.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 21, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá Calls On the “Great Commoner”.” 239 Days in America, 21 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/21/abdul-baha-calls-on-the-great-commoner/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 151.
  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#section181
  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, 327-328. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/24#927538974

239 Days in America, Day 136: August 24, 1912 | Green Acre

“The Unmistakable and Universal Reformation” 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ WAS STEPPING INTO the automobile when he noticed Fred Mortensen standing in the crowd that had gathered at Green Acre to bid him goodbye. Just two days earlier, Mr. Fred Mortensen had arrived at the conference center in Eliot, Maine, after having traveled 1,600 miles as a stowaway on the rails. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá asked Fred to get into the car. The former convict would be his personal guest for the next week.

At 1 p.m. they arrived in Malden, Massachusetts, the next stop on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s journey in America. He was staying at the home of Maria Wilson, who, twelve years earlier, had sailed with Sarah J. Farmer, her best friend, to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá while he was still a prisoner. At the time, he had told Miss Wilson: “When I come to America I will visit you.” On August 23, 1912, he made good on that promise.

Montreal 2

‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived in Malden, Massachusetts, at 1:00 P.M. on August 23, and stayed for one week, making trips to Boston and Cambridge. As elsewhere, people in great numbers sought Him out, and He spoke to them individually and in groups. He was the kind, loving host, infusing in them by word and by action the seeds of what they could become.

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

O God! Thou Who art kind. Verily, certain souls have gathered in this meeting turning to Thee with their hearts and spirits. They are seeking the everlasting bounty. They are in need of Thine infinite mercy.

O Lord! Remove the veils from their eyes, and dispel the darkness of ignorance. Confer upon them the light of knowledge and wisdom. Illumine these contrite hearts with the radiance of the Sun of Reality. Make these eyes perceptive through witnessing the lights of Thy sovereignty. Suffer these spirits to rejoice through the great glad tidings, and receive these souls into Thy supreme Kingdom.

O Lord! Verily, we are weak; make us mighty. We are poor; assist us from the treasury of Thy munificence. We are dead; resuscitate us through the breath of the Holy Spirit. We lack patience in tests and in long-suffering; permit us to attain the lights of oneness.

O Lord! Make this assemblage the cause of upraising the standard of the oneness of the world of humanity, and confirm these souls so that they may become the promoters of international peace.

O Lord! Verily, the people are veiled and in a state of contention with each other, shedding the blood and destroying the possessions of each other. Throughout the world there is war and conflict. In every direction there is strife, bloodshed and ferocity.

O Lord! Guide human souls in order that they may turn away from warfare and battle, that they may become loving and kind to each other, that they may enter into affiliation and serve the oneness and solidarity of humanity.

O Lord! The horizons of the world are darkened by this dissension. O God! Illumine them, and through the lights of Thy love let the hearts become radiant. Through the blessing of Thy bestowal resuscitate the spirits until every soul shall perceive and act in accordance with Thy teachings. Thou art the Almighty. Thou art the Omniscient. Thou art the Seer. O Lord, be compassionate to all.

Sunday, August 24, 1912 4

‘Abdu’l-Bahá was engaged in writing letters to the new Bahá’ís in Dublin and bestowing His favors on them. He also wrote to the friends in the Western states. Later, several visitors arrived from Malden and Dublin to see Him. One was the president of the New Thought Forum who had come from Boston to invite the Master to speak to his society. Two people from Tihrán, Persia, who had come to America on business, also came to see Him. He told them:

The Persians destroyed their home with their own hands in the hope of building another one; but now they are left in the desert without a home or shelter. We wrote and exhorted them, pointing out that the union of government and the people is like combining milk and honey; otherwise, the neighboring governments will encroach upon the country. In spite of all this they malevolently made false accusations against us. But God protected us because we were not involved in shedding the blood of even one Persian.

The newspaper ‘Fikr’ [Thought] was mentioned, and He continued:

In this newspaper our letter speaks for itself. We are far from taking part in any seditious movement and we hold fast to the will of the Lord.

In the afternoon another group came to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. One was a minister from Chicago, who asked about the sins of men and the forgiveness of the Manifestations of the Merciful One. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave a detailed explanation, which fascinated the minister. The Master stated that forgiveness depends upon our obedience to the admonitions of the Prophets of God and not on the mere verbal statement of belief or on following the words of the ministers of religion.

That evening the friends and seekers of Malden were treated to a talk about the power of the Greatest Name and the unity of nations and peoples. Each day and night witnesses a stream of new inquirers wishing to come into His holy presence.

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

‘Abdu’l-Bahá revealed Tablets and received visitors

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

August 24 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “‘The Unmistakable and Universal Reformation.’” 239 Days in America, 24 Aug. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/08/24/unmistakable-and-universal-reformation/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 131.
  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, 275. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/19#318885854
  4. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=6#section153