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

September 23, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

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

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

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

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

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

September 23, 1912 3

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

Regarding His health, He said:

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

He added:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 23, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “September 23, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 23 Sept. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/09/23/september-23-1912-the-week-ahead/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 152.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=7#section183
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 332-333. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/25#356886008

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

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

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

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

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

On September 19, the Minneapolis Journal reported:

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 19, 1912 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 19, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “Minneapolis, Flour Power, and the Ideal Virtues of Man.” 239 Days in America, 19 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/19/minneapolis-flour-power-and-the-ideal-virtues-of-man/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 148-150.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=7#section179
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 325-326. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/24#187189111

239 Days in America, Day 139: August 27, 1912 | Boston

Women’s Work 1

THE PROGRESSIVE ERA WAS not a rewarding time to be a working woman. While the wages of men were low, women’s pay was drastically lower. The number of females employed − typically in factories or as domestic servants − was rapidly increasing. Emma Goldman, a leading voice in the Socialist movement, wrote in 1910: “Nowhere is woman treated according to the merit of her work, but rather as a sex.”

Reverend George L. Perin, a pastor serving inner city Boston, decided to lend a helping hand. He was appalled at the housing that single, working women in Boston were compelled to live in. Through a tireless fundraising effort, Perin managed to buy an unoccupied hotel in Boston’s South End. His goal was to “furnish for girls living away from home a dwelling place which is morally safe, as well as comfortable and sanitary, and to give them food that is both palatable and wholesome.” The New York Times called Franklin Square House “the largest hotel for young working women and girl students in the world.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited Franklin Square House on the evening of August 26, 1912. He had been invited by its superintendent to give a talk to the nearly six hundred women that called the vine-covered, red brick building home. He began by confirming the equality of women and men. “[E]ach is the complement of the other in the divine creative plan.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá noted that God distinguishes a person’s “purity and righteousness” in “deeds and actions,” and not their gender. He acknowledged the history of the subordination of women, attributing it to a lack of equal access to education.

27 August 1912, Talk at Metaphysical Club, Boston, Massachusetts 2

It is evident, then, that each elemental atom of the universe is possessed of a capacity to express all the virtues of the universe. This is a subtle and abstract realization. Meditate upon it, for within it lies the true explanation of pantheism. From this point of view and perception pantheism is a truth, for every atom in the universe possesses or reflects all the virtues of life, the manifestation of which is effected through change and transformation. Therefore, the origin and outcome of phenomena is, verily, the omnipresent God; for the reality of all phenomenal existence is through Him. There is neither reality nor the manifestation of reality without the instrumentality of God. Existence is realized and possible through the bounty of God, just as the ray or flame emanating from this lamp is realized through the bounty of the lamp, from which it originates. Even so, all phenomena are realized through the divine bounty, and the explanation of true pantheistic statement and principle is that the phenomena of the universe find realization through the one power animating and dominating all things, and all things are but manifestations of its energy and bounty. The virtue of being and existence is through no other agency. Therefore, in the words of Bahá’u’lláh, the first teaching is the oneness of the world of humanity.

Tuesday, August 27, 1912 3

‘Abdu’l-Bahá returned to Malden in the morning. He was occupied chiefly in writing letters to the American friends. Believers and seekers came by ones and twos and He lovingly received them.

In the evening there was a well-attended meeting at the Theosophical Society. The gathering became the dawning place of the confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom. The chairman of the meeting introduced the Master to an audience of some five hundred saying:

“Several months ago I attended a convention on the emancipation of religions in this city. Many people of different religions and sects spoke, each one praising the beliefs of his own sect. But a very august personage then stood. By His bearing and by the first few words of His address, everyone felt that this person was spiritual and divinely inspired; that His explanations were heavenly; that He was speaking from God; that He could transform the souls; that He was with God and was the herald of peace and love; that what He said was first practiced by Himself; and that He was a flame from the Kingdom which brightened and illuminated the minds and hearts of all. That august person was ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. I am not worthy to introduce His Holiness to you. You will yourselves know Him better than I.”

’Abdu’l-Bahá then stood and gave a stirring address concerning the movement of atoms and the infinite forms that compose this contingent world and gave an explanation of the new teachings of the Cause. During the address, every heart and soul was enthralled. After the meeting everyone spoke of feeling the bounties of the Holy Spirit and of the need for these teachings of love and unity.

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

Chairman of Theosophical Society gives impressive introduction about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to audience of five-hundred

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

August 27 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “Women’s Work.” 239 Days in America, 27 Aug. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/08/27/womens-work/.
  2. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 285-286. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/20#163204180
  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=6#section156

239 Days in America, Day 88: July 07, 1912 | New York

Who Is ‘Abdu’l-Bahá? 1

On June 2, 1912, at the Church of the Ascension in New York, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was asked a question that got to the heart of how he saw himself. A woman asked: “What relation do you sustain to the founder of your belief? Are you his successor in the same manner as the Pope of Rome?”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá was neither a priest, nor an ecclesiastical leader, nor a figure to be worshipped. His father, Bahá’u’lláh, in his Will and Testament, gave ‘Abdu’l-Bahá sole authority to interpret his teachings. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explained what this meant to an audience in America on December 2, 1912: “To ensure unity and agreement [Bahá’u’lláh] has entered into a Covenant with all the people of the world, including the interpreter and explainer of His teachings, so that no one may interpret or explain the religion of God according to his own view or opinion and thus create a sect founded upon his individual understanding . . . .”

Bahá’u’lláh appointed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to ensure that his religion would never splinter into competing sects, as had happened to every other major faith. His name, literally, means “servant of Bahá.”

New York City 2

On Sunday, July 7, the New York Times carried an article headed, “Billion Dollar Subways World’s Biggest Undertaking.”

When one of the inquirers of Greek background asked ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to accompany Him to a park outside the city where his friends were waiting to ask questions, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went with him. In the subway He said, “‘Man’s nature must attain an inclination to ascend and not to descend.’”

Early that week ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went to the Museum of Natural History and saw the enormous model of a whale. He commented, as Juliet Thompson recalled on July 12, “He could hold seventy Jonahs!” 3

Sunday, July 7, 1912 4

Lua Getsinger was again instructed by the Master to leave for California. His words to her were very emphatic and clear; among them was this admonition:

“The Blessed Beauty entered into this Covenant for obedience and not for opposition. I say this merely for the protection of the Cause of God and for the purpose of safeguarding unity among the friends. Were it not for the removal of vain imaginings and the eradication of differences, I should not have asserted that I am ‘the Center of the Covenant’. We must obey the Blessed Beauty. We must never forget His favors and exhortations. If even a breath of egotism is found in us, we shall perish at once. The friends must be alert. Everyone who expresses a word not from the texts sows discord among the believers. The Blessed Beauty entered into this Covenant for obedience; that is, that no one should utter a word from his own self or cause any conflict. If it were not so, everyone would open a way for himself and expound the Words of God in his own manner. One would say, for instance, ‘As I have the power of the Holy Spirit, I have a greater capacity for understanding.’ Others, even these old ladies, would at once retort, ‘We, too, have the power of the Holy Spirit.’

“The power of the Holy Spirit is limited to the Blessed Beauty and the interpretation thereof to none but me. If it is so, then there will be no differences. We must occupy ourselves with thoughts of spreading the Cause. Know that whoever has any thought other than this will become the cause of discord among the friends.”

’ Abdu’l-Bahá sent Lua with Mrs [Georgia] Ralston, a new believer who had been very much welcomed by the Master. He gave Mrs Ralston a beautiful small Persian carpet.

In the evening at a public meeting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke of the animosity shown by a Catholic priest towards the Cause of God. The Master called the friends to His presence and emphatically exhorted them to associate with one another with love and unity.

Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, 6 July 1912 5

Therefore, in this world he must prepare himself for the life beyond. That which he needs in the world of the Kingdom must be obtained here. Just as he prepared himself in the world of the matrix by acquiring forces necessary in this sphere of existence, so, likewise, the indispensable forces of the divine existence must be potentially attained in this world.

What is he in need of in the Kingdom which transcends the life and limitation of this mortal sphere? That world beyond is a world of sanctity and radiance; therefore, it is necessary that in this world he should acquire these divine attributes. In that world there is need of spirituality, faith, assurance, the knowledge and love of God. These he must attain in this world so that after his ascension from the earthly to the heavenly Kingdom he shall find all that is needful in that eternal life ready for him.

That divine world is manifestly a world of lights; therefore, man has need of illumination here. That is a world of love; the love of God is essential. It is a world of perfections; virtues, or perfections, must be acquired. That world is vivified by the breaths of the Holy Spirit; in this world we must seek them. That is the Kingdom of everlasting life; it must be attained during this vanishing existence.

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

“If even a breath of egotism is found in us, we shall perish at once.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 07, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “Who Is ‘Abdu’l-Bahá?” 239 Days in America, 7 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/07/who-is-abdul-baha/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 108-109.
  3. Thompson, Juliet. The Diary of Juliet Thompson. Edited by Marzieh Gail. 1st ed. 1947. Reprint, Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1983, 329, https://archive.org/details/diaryofjuliettho0000thom/page/328/mode/2up.
  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#section105.
  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, 226. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#653095072

239 Days in America, Day 66: June 15, 1912 | New York

Brooklyn Refuses to Silence ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 1

THE CONTROVERSY JUST WOULDN’T go away. The Reverend Percy Stickney Grant had started it all by seating ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the Bishop’s chair at his Episcopal Church of the Ascension on April 14. It was now June, but the Churchman, the official publication of the Episcopal Church, seemed determined to flog the subject to death.

Reverend John H. Melish had written to the Churchman to defend Grant. The teachings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Melish argued, were essentially Christian, and that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, himself, was “‘by nature Christian,’ as his whole doctrine is that of love.” On June 13, the Church’s response showed up in the daily edition of the Independent.

“The question is,” The Churchman had printed, “What is the law of the Church, not, What is the character of Abdul Baha or the nature of his teaching.”

The Independent agreed. “Dr. Melish cannot defend himself,” its columnist wrote, “except by the bold reply of Peter to the Sanhedrim which forbade him to preach in the temple.” The Independent seemed to be saying that Episcopal pastors who welcomed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to their churches could only justify it if they were willing to claim that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was equal to Christ.

But Brooklyn’s churches didn’t see it that way at all. John Howard Melish was one of their own. He was the Rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, an Episcopal Church on the northwest corner of Clinton and Montague Streets in Brooklyn Heights, a short walk west from Columbus Park and just south of the Brooklyn Bridge. The surrounding churches made their response clear on Sunday, June 16, 1912.

Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York 2

I desire distinction for you. The Bahá’ís must be distinguished from others of humanity. But this distinction must not depend upon wealth—that they should become more affluent than other people. I do not desire for you financial distinction. It is not an ordinary distinction I desire; not scientific, commercial, industrial distinction. For you I desire spiritual distinction—that is, you must become eminent and distinguished in morals. In the love of God you must become distinguished from all else. You must become distinguished for loving humanity, for unity and accord, for love and justice. In brief, you must become distinguished in all the virtues of the human world—for faithfulness and sincerity, for justice and fidelity, for firmness and steadfastness, for philanthropic deeds and service to the human world, for love toward every human being, for unity and accord with all people, for removing prejudices and promoting international peace. Finally, you must become distinguished for heavenly illumination and for acquiring the bestowals of God. I desire this distinction for you. This must be the point of distinction among you.

Diary of Juliet Thompson, 15 June 1912 3

On Friday, 15 June, I was with the Master alone for a while, and I brought up the name of Percy Grant. “He didn’t understand You the other day, my Lord. He thinks that You teach asceticism, that the spirit and the flesh are two separate things.”

“That is not what I said,” the Master replied. “I said that the spiritual man and the materialist were two different beings. The spirit is in the flesh.”

Saturday, June 15, 1912

‘Abdu’l-Bahá had been invited to two large churches in Brooklyn and left New York at 10:00 a.m. Some of the Persian and American friends accompanied Him. At 11:00 a.m. the Unitarian Church was graced with His presence. As the carriage approached, we saw outside the church an announcement in large letters saying ‘The Great Persian Prophet, His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, will speak at 11:00 a.m. in this church on the 15th sic of June.’ What created in us such a sense of wonder was that the pastor of the church had placed the sign announcing the prophethood of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on the door of his church! The moment the Master arrived, the pastor came out, and taking ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s arm with great reverence, accompanied Him to the pulpit. The Master’s address was on the degrees of oneness and unity. At the close of His talk, He chanted, with His hands uplifted and in a melodious tone, a prayer in eloquent Arabic that was translated sentence by sentence.

Afterwards, at the request of the pastor, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited the school, which is conducted in connection with the same church. Here, after the children sang and paid their respects to the Master, He encouraged them and spoke to them regarding their education.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá had lunch in Brooklyn at the home of Mr MacNutt. There He spoke to a gathering of the friends about the admonitions and exhortations [of Bahá’u’lláh, saying that they should be thankful for the bestowals and favors of God.

Later that day He went to the Congregational Church in Brooklyn. The gathering and setting of the church were impressive and magnificent and the breaths of the Holy Spirit were felt by all. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left nothing undone in conveying the teachings of the Cause of God. He delivered a comprehensive address, speaking with authority and majesty on the freedom of conscience, the unity of religions, dogmatic imitations, the deprivation of people and the reality of Islam. He concluded by declaring the appearance of the Greatest Name and by explaining the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. Notwithstanding that the address was primarily about the truth of Islam, everyone came to Him to express their gratitude and thankfulness. Each person, pastors and professors, rich and poor, men and women, and especially representatives from the press, praised Him. No one offered a single objection. The pastor of the church was so earnest and overwhelmed by the love of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that he repeatedly requested the promise of another visit. Owing to the Master’s many engagements and little time, the invitation could not be accepted. On the following day, the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper published ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s address and a description of the gathering 4

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

Mahmud: June 15 – witnessing the great respect ‘Abdu’l-Bahá received from a pastor

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 15, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Brooklyn Refuses To Silence ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.” 239 Days in America, 15 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/15/brooklyn-refuses-to-silence-abdul-baha/.
  2. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 190. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/14#331882631.
  3. Thompson, Juliet. The Diary of Juliet Thompson. Edited by Marzieh Gail. 1st ed. 1947. Reprint, Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1983, 311. https://archive.org/details/diaryofjuliettho0000thom/page/310/mode/2up.
  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=4#section83

239 Days in America, Day 65: June 14, 1912 | New York

“Take Us Out on a Steamer and Drown Us” 1

Yesterday in Manhattan, June 13, 1912, the painter Juliet Thompson had visited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to complete the third and final sitting for his portrait. As she waited to begin her work, she watched ‘Abdu’l-Bahá sitting in the window seat, listening quietly to the outpourings of a distressed young girl.

The girl couldn’t understand why her life was so full of trials, especially when, as she told him, she read the 91st and the 23rd Psalms every night.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá responded: “To pray is not to read the psalms, to pray is to trust in God and to be submissive in all things to Him. . . . Strong ships are not conquered by the sea, they ride the waves. Now be a strong ship, not a battered one.”

Friday, June 14, 1912

The beloved Master called these Servants of His Threshold into His presence, served us tea with His own hand and showered us with great kindness. After a prayer was chanted, He described the devotion, servitude, sincerity and trustworthiness of some of the early believers and expressed great kindness for Siyyid Muhammad-Taqí Manshádí. ‘His station and worth’, He said, ‘will be appreciated in the future.’

In the afternoon at a public meeting He explained the first verse of the Bible and spoke on the reality of the Manifestations of God and the effulgence of the Sun of Supreme Oneness. In the evening He spoke with majesty and grandeur about the days of the Blessed Beauty:

Although He was a prisoner, He pitched His tent with glory on Mount Carmel. Even outwardly His power and majesty were such that for five years the governor of ‘Akká wished to attain His presence but was not permitted to do so by Him; indeed, He took no notice of him.

Later He gave an account of His many addresses in churches and public gatherings in America, saying, ‘What I have spoken is according to the capacity of the people and the exigency of the time. “The father makes gurgling sounds for the newborn infant, although his wisdom can measure the universe.“‘ The Master gave a detailed account of the signs of the Báb and of the Tablets of the Abhá Beauty, relating them to the exigencies of the time. 2

Diary of Juliet Thompson, 14 June 1912 3

The next morning, Thursday, though I went unusually early to the Master, He had already left the house. But Lua, Valíyu’lláh Khán, and I had a wonderful morning. Valíyu’lláh told us so many things.

“My father,” he said, “spent much time with the Blessed Beauty. The Blessed Beauty Himself taught him.

“One time when my father was in His room, Bahá’u’lláh rose and strode back and forth till the very walls seemed to shake. And He told my father that once in an age the Mighty God sent a Soul to earth endowed with the power of the Great Ether, and that such a Soul had all power and was able to do anything. ‘Even this walk of Mine’ said Bahá’u’lláh, ‘has an effect in the world.’

“Then He said that His Holiness Jesus Christ had also come with the power of the Great Ether, but the haughty priesthood of His day thought of Him as a poor, unlettered youth and believed that if they should crucify Him, His Teachings would soon be forgotten. Therefore they did crucify Him. But because His Holiness Jesus possessed the power of the Great Ether, He could not remain underground. This ethereal power rose and conquered the whole earth. ‘And now,’ the Blessed Beauty said, ‘look to the Master, for this same Power is His.’

Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, 11 June 1912

Man must be lofty in endeavor. He must seek to become heavenly and spiritual, to find the pathway to the threshold of God and become acceptable in the sight of God. This is eternal glory—to be near to God. This is eternal sovereignty—to be imbued with the virtues of the human world. This is boundless blessing—to be entirely sanctified and holy above every stain and dross.

Consider the human world. See how nations have come and gone. They have been of all minds and purposes. Some were mere captives of self and desire, engulfed in the passions of the lower nature. They attained to wealth, to the comforts of life, to fame. And what was the final outcome? Utter evanescence and oblivion. Reflect upon this. Look upon it with the eye of admonition. No trace of them remains, no fruit, no result, no benefit; they have gone utterly—complete effacement.

Souls have appeared in the world who were pure and undefiled, who have directed their attention toward God, seeking the reward of God, attaining nearness to the threshold of God, acceptable in the good pleasure of God. They have been the lights of guidance and stars of the Supreme Concourse. Consider these souls, shining like stars in the horizon of sanctity forevermore.

It must not be implied that one should give up avocation and attainment to livelihood. On the contrary, in the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh monasticism and asceticism are not sanctioned. In this great Cause the light of guidance is shining and radiant. Bahá’u’lláh has even said that occupation and labor are devotion. All humanity must obtain a livelihood by sweat of the brow and bodily exertion, at the same time seeking to lift the burden of others, striving to be the source of comfort to souls and facilitating the means of living. This in itself is devotion to God. Bahá’u’lláh has thereby encouraged action and stimulated service. But the energies of the heart must not be attached to these things; the soul must not be completely occupied with them. Though the mind is busy, the heart must be attracted toward the Kingdom of God in order that the virtues of humanity may be attained from every direction and source.

We have forsaken the path of God; we have given up attention to the divine Kingdom; we have not severed the heart from worldly attractions; we have become defiled with qualities which are not praiseworthy in the sight of God; we are so completely steeped in material issues and tendencies that we are not partakers of the virtues of humanity.

Little reflection, little admonition is necessary for us to realize the purpose of our creation. What a heavenly potentiality God has deposited within us! What a power God has given our spirits! He has endowed us with a power to penetrate the realities of things; but we must be self-abnegating, we must have pure spirits, pure intentions, and strive with heart and soul while in the human world to attain everlasting glory.

I have come for the purpose of admonition and voicing the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. It is my hope that His will and guidance may influence your spirits, souls and hearts, causing them to become pure, holy, sanctified and illumined and making you lamps of heavenly illumination to the world. This is my desire; this is my hope through the assistance of God. 4

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

Mahmud: June 14 – An example of Bahá’u’lláh’s outwardly power and majesty

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 14, 1912


  1. Knight, Annabel. “‘Take Us Out on a Steamer and Drown Us.’” 239 Days in America, 14 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/14/put-us-in-a-steamer-and-drown-us/.
  2. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=4#section82
  3. Thompson, Juliet. The Diary of Juliet Thompson. Edited by Marzieh Gail. 1st ed. 1947. Reprint, Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1983, 309. https://archive.org/details/diaryofjuliettho0000thom/page/308/mode/2up.
  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, 186-187. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/14#808708168.

239 Days in America, Day 56: June 05, 1912 | New York

America on the Sidelines 1

At Grey Towers, Gifford Pinchot’s estate in Milford, Pennsylvania, on June 3, 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had argued that justice could not be served by governing vast regions from a single center. “Each of the colonial countries serves to adorn one great capital,” he said. But “Tremendous changes will take place in Europe. The great centralized powers will break up into smaller independent states.” In short, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told the Americans, “Europe will be forced to follow your system.”

It would take the Great War to achieve it.

New York, Philadelphia, New York 2

Abdu’l-Bahá went to the Unity Club on Wednesday [June 5] to speak to a children’s affair at which various civic leaders and statesmen, and Admiral Peary, were also present. He spoke that evening at the Women’s Union on the education of women.

Wednesday, June 5, 1912

In the morning, the Master, together with some of His servants, went to Brooklyn to attend a children’s event given by the Unity Club. The gathering included dignitaries, civic leaders and national statesmen. After exchanging greetings in the drawing room, the Master went to the dining room. All of the rooms, as well as the salon, were exquisitely decorated with flowers of various hues. Many kinds of dishes were brought, some of which the Master did not touch. At the table some of the eminent people spoke to Him. Among them was Admiral Peary, the famous explorer of the North Pole, who gave an account of the voyage he undertook to further his exploration. Admiral Peary then praised the Master and spoke of his good fortune in meeting Him and the importance of the teachings. He asked the Master to make a short speech. Although ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had not planned to speak, He delivered a discourse on the perfection of creation, its present defects and the need for education capable of producing great results by removing these imperfections. He also spoke on the importance of the education of children. Although there had been many speeches, this address created a great excitement, capturing everyone’s attention. When it was time for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to leave, He gave permission for Him to be photographed with us.

In the evening there was a meeting at the Women’s Union. A number of men were also present. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke on the education of women, service to humanity and the freeing of oneself from ego and desire. His address strongly impressed the audience, giving wings to both their hearts and minds. 3

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

Question: What is the attitude of your belief toward the family?

Answer: According to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh the family, being a human unit, must be educated according to the rules of sanctity. All the virtues must be taught the family. The integrity of the family bond must be constantly considered, and the rights of the individual members must not be transgressed. The rights of the son, the father, the mother—none of them must be transgressed, none of them must be arbitrary. Just as the son has certain obligations to his father, the father, likewise, has certain obligations to his son. The mother, the sister and other members of the household have their certain prerogatives. All these rights and prerogatives must be conserved, yet the unity of the family must be sustained. The injury of one shall be considered the injury of all; the comfort of each, the comfort of all; the honor of one, the honor of all.

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

Mahmud: June 5 – A children’s event attended by dignitaries, civic leaders and national statesmen

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 5, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “America on the Sidelines.” 239 Days in America, 5 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/05/waiting-on-america/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 87.
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=4#section73
  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, 168. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/12#526459415.

239 Days in America, Day 51: May 31, 1912 | New York

The Presidential Election Gathers Steam 1

“The 1912 presidential election was a unique moment in the Progressive Era,” writes scholar Brett Flehinger, “because it drew together politicians, social reformers, intellectuals, and economists onto a single stage and produced a many-sided national debate about the future of America’s economic, political, and social structure.” This is the first in a recurring series of features on the political environment of the country in which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke.

New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts 2

On Friday [May 31] the papers announced a waiters’ strike and the death of Wilbur Wright of typhoid fever and stated that future physicians would be hypnotists and psychologists. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went to Fanwood, New Jersey, where He visited Hoar’s Sanitorium, conducted a morning public meeting, and presented an afternoon address in the Town Hall. The friends entreated Him to stay in the refreshing country air for a few days; but He replied, “‘We have no time for amusement. We must engage ourselves in the service of the Threshold of God.’”.

Talk at Town Hall, Fanwood, New Jersey 3

Is it impossible for us to receive the infinite bounties of God? Is it impossible to attain the virtues of the spiritual world because we are not living in the time of Moses, the period of the prophets or the era of Christ? Those were spiritual cycles. Can we not develop spiritually because we are far from them and are living in a materialistic age? The God of Moses and Jesus is able to bestow the same favors, nay, greater favors upon His people in this day. For example, in past ages He bestowed reason, intelligence and understanding upon His servants. Can we say He is not able to confer His bounties in this century? Would it be just if He sent Moses for the guidance of past nations and entirely neglected those living now? Could it be possible that this present period has been deprived of divine bounties while past ages of tyranny and barbarism received an inexhaustible portion of them? The same merciful God Who bestowed His favors in the past has opened the doors of His Kingdom to us. The rays of His sun are shining; the breath of the Holy Spirit is quickening. That omniscient God still assists and confirms us, illumines our hearts, gladdens our souls and perfumes our nostrils with the fragrances of holiness. Divine wisdom and providence have encircled all and spread the heavenly table before us. We must take a bountiful share of this generous favor.

Friday, May 31, 1912 4

At the request of Mr [William H.] Hoar, the Master visited a sanatorium, visiting with the friends and holding two meetings, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. In both meetings He proclaimed the Word of God and spoke of the teachings of the Blessed Beauty. Many were attracted to the Divine Voice. As the village of Fanwood is a summer resort and its fields and countryside very green and refreshing, it was very much enjoyed by the Master. But when they pleaded with Him to prolong His stay for a few days, because of the excessive heat and soot in New York, He said: ‘We have no time for amusement and fresh air. We must engage ourselves in service to the Threshold of Oneness.’ The services and devotion of Mr Hoar and his family were much appreciated by the Master and were spoken of frequently at the Holy Threshold.

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

Mahmud: May 31 – “We have no time for amusement …”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

May 31, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “The Presidential Election Gathers Steam.” 239 Days in America, 31 May 2012, https://239days.com/2012/05/31/the-presidential-election-of-1912/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 75.
  3. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 162. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/12#328662947.
  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#section68.