Saturday, June 1, 1912
[New Jersey -- New York]
In great humility a group of Bahá'ís came to the railway station to bid farewell to `Abdu'l-Bahá. Everyone was weeping as the train left. When He left, the Master was in a devout and meditative mood.
Upon His return to New York, He spoke to a gathering of friends about the harm of intoxicating beverages and also related some historical stories to the friends. In the afternoon some Bahá'ís and inquirers visited Him in His room, one after the other. Among them was a socialist. `Abdu'l-Bahá said in part:
Tell the socialists that sharing of property and land in this mortal world is the source of strife and warfare but sharing and inheritance in the Kingdom is the cause of love and unity. If you put your efforts into understanding the precepts of the Kingdom instead of into acquiring worldly shares and rights, you will gain perpetual joy and happiness. The Kingdom of God is vast. He will give you whatever you desire and there will be no place for strife and conflict. Is this not preferable and more pleasing?
Each visitor with a particular interest was addressed similarly and each departed in joy.
Sunday, June 2, 1912
At a large and beautiful gathering at the Church of the Ascension, many were honored with the bounty of hearing the addresses and explanations of the Master and were thus turned towards the Kingdom of God. This was the second time this church was graced by Him around Whom all names revolve. He said:
At the time of my arrival at the church I was in no condition to speak; but when I stood before this great gathering I found the atmosphere of the church filled with the Holy Spirit and so a state of wonderful happiness and joy came over me.
He began His address by saying:
In the terminology of the Holy Books, the church is a symbol of the Covenant, in other words it is a gathering place for different peoples and races so that it may become a sign and token of the true Temple and the Divine Law.123
It was an exposition about the Cause of God as the collective center, the manifestation of the Prophets and the coming of Bahá'u'lláh.
Through the pastor, Dr Grant, some in the audience requested permission to ask some questions, which was granted. Everyone who wished wrote a question on a piece of paper and submitted it through an usher. Through an interpreter, the questions were translated and the answers given to the inquirers. Oh, that the Eastern friends could have been in these churches and gatherings in the West to see with their own eyes the beauty and glory of their Master! They would have rejoiced in perceiving that which no spoken or written words can adequately describe.
Monday, June 3, 1912124
Mr Penshoe, a cabinet member of the United States government, invited `Abdu'l-Bahá to Milford [his estate outside the city]. For a day and a night many prominent statesmen and dignitaries of the Republic were enraptured, fascinated by the Master. His address to one of the meetings has been recorded separately.125
A compendium of the addresses and His answers made during that time would be in itself a complete book.
In response to a question about the war among nations, the Master said:
It will certainly come about but America will not participate in it. This war will be staged in Europe. You are in a corner and have nothing to do with others. You have no desire to gain territories in Europe, and no one lusts after your land. You are safe because the Atlantic Ocean serves as a great natural protection for you. Europe and most other areas will be forced to follow your system. Tremendous changes will take place in Europe. The great centralized powers will break up into smaller independent states. In reality it is not just that vast countries should be governed from a single center, for no matter how great the ability and wisdom of the statesmen of that center, or how developed their sense of justice, they will still not be fully informed of the needs of every town and village and cannot exert themselves justly for the betterment of their surrounding dependencies. For example, all parts of Germany concentrate their efforts to serve a single center, namely Berlin; and the whole of France is to serve Paris. Similarly, each of the colonial countries serves to adorn one great capital. But your government has a good system.
Tuesday, June 4, 1912
When the Master left Milford, as well as the influence of His explanations, His kindness and gifts to the servants of the household made a great impression. Calling them before Him, He thanked them and gave each two gold coins.126
Much affected, all bowed their heads then turned their faces turned towards `Abdu'l-Bahá as He left with majesty and grace. As He turned to observe the lush greenery of that place, tears suddenly poured from His eyes. He was thinking about the Blessed Beauty and was grieved and saddened, recalling the afflictions and sufferings of the Pre-Existent Face.
When the Master returned to New York in the evening, He went to a house built on the shore of the Hudson River which had been rented at His request.127
Here, at a gathering of the friends, He spoke about the achievements of American civilization in education, agriculture and commerce and the high standard of its government and people, saying:
Their material civilization resembles a glass of the utmost transparency and purity but divine civilization is like a shining lamp. When these two combine, the utmost perfection will be realized. The light of the oneness of humanity, of universal peace, of equality of human rights and of divine morals will emanate from this country to all the regions of the world and will illumine them all.
Someone asked whether, with all these worldly occupations and physical labors, it is possible that such a spiritual condition can be realized. `Abdu'l-Bahá replied:
Provided they behave moderately, the more people advance in the material realm, the more their capacity for attaining spirituality is augmented. The sounder the body, the greater is the resplendency and manifestation of the spirit. Truly, what impedes spirituality are the dogmas and imitations that are contrary to true science and a sound mind.
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.
Thursday, June 6, 1912
[New York -- Brooklyn -- New York]
In the morning, a group of the friends gathered in the Master's residence. He spoke to them about the Unity Club's children's event, explaining divine education and morals. He then went to Mrs Newton's home in Brooklyn. The servants of Abdu'l-Bahá were also invited to accompany Him for lunch at the home of Mrs Newton and Mrs Rivers.
Today a new guest came from the East to see the Master and to be in His presence, Mírzá `Alí-Akbar Nakhjavání. At the table the Master asked him about conditions in the East. `Abdu'l-Bahá gave a brief discourse at the table:
Nothing in the world of existence is greater than such gatherings as these because they have been called solely for the love of God. Observe with what love people from the East are seated at the same table with people from the West. Such love and unity were previously impossible. The power of Bahá'u'lláh has created an affinity in these hearts and has drawn these souls under the canopy of one Word. No family ever gathers with such love and associates with such happiness and joy. It is through the divine power and through the potency of the Word of God that we are assembled here with such gladness and delight. We are turned towards the Abhá Kingdom and like the plants of the flower garden we are swayed by the breezes of His kindness and favor. Today is a day which shall never be forgotten, for we are under the shadow of the Blessed Beauty. Our hearts are joyous with His glad tidings; we breathe the fragrant breezes of the Abhá Kingdom; our ears are delighted with the divine summons, and our spirits are alive through heavenly bounties. Such a day shall never be forgotten.
In the afternoon, after a short ride in the large public park of Brooklyn, `Abdu'l-Bahá returned to New York. A group of people had assembled at His residence to see Him. Saying that He wanted to be alone for awhile, He went to a small garden by the bank of the river near His residence. After a few minutes He returned and spoke to the friends of the heavenly melodies.
Friday, June 7, 1912
[New York -- Philadelphia]
One of our companions showed such grave negligence and impudence that the heart of the beloved Master as well as our own hearts were saddened.128
However, observing his behavior and the forbearance of `Abdu'l-Bahá, we have not written about his actions, which were often the source of grief to the Master.
`Abdu'l-Bahá had accepted an invitation from church leaders in Philadelphia and left New York, even though He was exhausted and greatly grieved.129
Nevertheless, He gave two talks to the friends in Philadelphia, one during the day and the other in the evening.130
He spoke on the importance of the steadfastness of the friends and their devotion and sincerity to the Cause and acceptance of afflictions in the path of God. He stated that the purpose of the Supreme Manifestation of Abhá in enduring the severest persecutions and afflictions, and the troubles and martyrdoms suffered by so many innocent souls, was for the purification of the souls, the detachment of the hearts, the happiness of the spirits and the spirituality of the friends.
Because of His extreme exhaustion, `Abdu'l-Bahá did not attend some of the meetings and gave His apologies. But the friends, with increasing fervor and ardor, resembling moths in the court of union, sang His praises and glories like unto enchanted nightingales, desiring neither sleep nor rest.
Saturday, June 8, 1912
There were two large public meetings held in two churches.131
In the morning, at the Unitarian Church, `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke on the reality of divine existence and the meaning of the words of Christ that `the Father is in the Son'. He gave the glad tidings of the Manifestation of the Greatest Name and explained some of the new teachings, concluding with a prayer chanted in Persian. The audience was so transformed that everyone wanted to be near Him, if only for a moment. But it was impossible for all.
The second meeting was held in the evening at the Baptist Temple. As the distinguished pastor had previously announced the visit of `Abdu'l-Bahá and the address He was to deliver, and had also invited dignitaries and statesmen from Washington DC and vicinity, this meeting was of great significance. The Master delivered a detailed address on the methods of natural philosophy and of divine religion and then explained the teachings of the Supreme Pen. His explanations made a great impression, attracting all to His presence, such that everyone expressed humility and sincerity. They appeared to be very happy and honored to be in His presence. The Master's heart was elated with the meetings in Philadelphia and often made mention of them.
Sunday, June 9, 1912
[Philadelphia -- New York]132
As the Master intended to leave Philadelphia for New York in the morning, many friends were disappointed owing to their imminent separation from Him. They came to the railway station in great sadness to see Him off and all along the way supplicated assistance and guidance from Him.
In the evening in New York, the Master gave the friends a poignant account of His journey to Philadelphia, outlining the objective of His visit. He also spoke on spiritual stations and the inner progress of the soul, which are the ultimate fruits of human life.
Today the Master revealed many important Tablets. One of them was to Monsieur Dreyfus:
O thou kind Friend,
I visited Philadelphia, for a few days, at the invitation of two ministers and at the request of the friends of God. Two large congregations gathered in the two churches and I spoke within the measure of my incapacity. But the confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom, as evident as the sun, descended and enfolded us. Although we are powerless, He is Mighty. Although we are poor, He is All-Sufficient. The importance of this blessed verse became truly manifest: `We shall aid whosoever will arise for the triumph of Our Cause with the hosts of the Concourse on high and a company of Our favored angels.'133
I hope that both you and the maidservant of Bahá will be able to render important services on this journey and will become the cause of proclaiming the Word of God. Convey my respectful greetings to the maidservant of Bahá. I pray God for confirmations and assistance for her.
May the Glory of the All-Glorious rest upon thee.
During this time, both day and night, many people besides these servants were present at the table and enjoyed the presence of the Master.
This evening He spoke of the days in Baghdád, saying:
The Blessed Beauty did not make any more public speeches after leaving Baghdád and Adrianople. The mode of His discourse and the style of His utterances were a cause of wonder and were without peer or likeness. However, out of respect, I do not wish to give my speeches in that manner.
Monday, June 10, 1912134
After prayers and meditations in the morning, the Master called us into His presence and requested that we chant some prayers. Later He was occupied managing His affairs. In the meeting with the friends today He spoke about differences that arise within religions after the ascension of their Founders, the Manifestations, to the heavenly abode.135
But the Blessed Beauty has shut the door on such differences and has referred all affairs to the House of Justice so that whatever the House of Justice commands, all must obey and submit to it. He said that if the Bahá'ís should become divided into two branches, each establishing a House of Justice of its own in opposition to the other, both would be false. Bahá'u'lláh wrote His Covenant with His own Pen and, prior to the establishment of the House of Justice, He appointed and confirmed the Center of the Covenant, `Abdu'l-Bahá, directing that `whatever He does is correct'.
The Master spoke with great emotion at the meetings of the Bahá'ís, His exhortations accompanied by sighs of grief. His condition during this time was such as to cause great sadness.
In the afternoon He went to the house of the Persian Consul, Mr Topakyan. When He returned home, one of the friends questioned Him about the influence of dreams, saying that it has frequently occurred that two people from widely different places would call out to each other, recognizing each other's voices in the state of sleep. The Master responded:
It is obvious that a very deep relationship exists between the spirit of man and the world of existence. It often happens that what we see in a dream comes to pass in wakefulness; indeed, even in wakefulness when the soul is unfettered, matters come to mind which later appear in visible form. This shows that between the reasoning power of man and that visible appearance there is a spiritual connection. Furthermore, the spirit of man has the power of discovering facts. When this power is realized, problems become easily resolved. Amusingly, while materialists are engaged in making discoveries concerning the strata of the earth, they are immersed in the very spiritual power whose potency and influence they deny. They also claim to forecast coming events.
Such discourses were frequently discussed in the Holy Presence.
Tuesday, June 11, 1912136
After the morning obligatory prayers and meditation, many came to see `Abdu'l-Bahá. Those with special petitions and seekers visited Him in His room. He then went into the sitting room and spoke to the visitors regarding the insincere faith and blind imitation of people of various religions and their branches, about the ultimate purpose of the Prophets and the penetrating influence of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh.137
Before the meeting ended He was asked how to reconcile two contradictory statements in the writings: that detachment from worldly affairs is enjoined and that it is incumbent upon all to engage in a trade or profession. `Are not these commandments contradictory?' The Master replied:
In the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh it is obligatory for the individual to engage in a trade or profession. For instance, I know mat weaving and you know another trade. The service we perform is equivalent to worship if we perform it with truth and trustworthiness; it is a cause of human advancement. If the heart is not bound and attached to the world, if it is unaffected by the vicissitudes of life, unhampered by worldly wealth from serving humanity and not dejected because of poverty, then this is a human perfection. Otherwise, to profess generosity if one is poor, or justice when one is powerless to extend it, is easy enough, but this will not establish one's spiritual education and awareness.
Another asked that if, after the Master left, some of the believers considered themselves superior to others, how they could be known. The Master replied:
I have already spoken about this matter. You should, according to the saying of Christ, recognize them by their deeds. Those who relate themselves to me will be known by their deeds.
Wednesday, June 12, 1912138
As so many people come every day requesting to see `Abdu'l-Bahá alone, it is more than the Master can bear in His state of fatigue and exhaustion. Therefore, He instructed us in the morning:
If anyone has not yet met me, or if anyone has some urgent business, call them. All others I will meet in the public gatherings because I have no time and it is impossible to see everyone individually.
After seeing a few seekers and settling the affairs of some friends, He came downstairs and delivered a public address on one of the great teachings of Bahá'u'lláh not found in previous dispensations, which is the prohibition of cursing enemies and to pray for their forgiveness.
At another meeting in the afternoon, one of `Abdu'l-Bahá's discourses was on the importance of spiritual relationship, intellectual affinity and sincere affection. `Although the nations and tribes', He said, `have material bonds between them, yet in the world of the heart and soul they are in conflict. But those souls that have close spiritual ties and affinities of the heart are always ready to sacrifice their lives for one another, though they are not outwardly related.'
He also spoke of the greatness of this dispensation:
In the Sh
í`í tradition concerning this dispensation it is recorded that knowledge is composed of twenty-seven letters and that the divine messengers of the past from first to last have revealed but two letters; however, when the promised Qá'im comes, He will appear with all twenty-seven.
Aside from the true meaning of this passage which pertains to the power and might of the Cause of God, to the revelation of verses and signs, to the solution of divine problems, to the disclosure of the mysteries of the Holy Book and to the spread of knowledge -- each of which is a hundred times greater in this mighty revelation than in any previous one -- materially, too, all the learned men of this age agree that the advancements in knowledge, the arts, industries and inventions of this century are equal to those of the last fifty centuries, indeed, even greater than that.
Thursday, June 13, 1912139
In the morning and afternoon several prominent ministers visited the Master to invite Him to their churches. They left happy and submissive after receiving the bounty of being in His presence and witnessing the effulgence of His countenance. After they left, the Master spoke to the friends and newcomers about the power and majesty of the Blessed Beauty. With great power and dignity He related the story of the last days of `Abdu'l-H
and the malicious accusations of the enemies and adversaries:
In spite of all these persecutions and afflictions, the Cause of God triumphed and the Covenant of God gained influence. In fact, even members of the Commission of Inquiry,141
who every hour ordered a more severe persecution and spread a fresh calumny and who had joined our enemies and adversaries at `Akká with the aim of destroying and effacing us, were overtaken by the wrath of God while returning to Constantinople. Affairs changed; all the tyrants were debased; some of the members of this very commission were killed or murdered; and some fled away. Finally, one of them went to the believers in Egypt and begged for minimum subsistence.
The Master gave two talks in the afternoon to the gatherings of the friends. The first was about the differences among the Bahá'ís. `Bahá'u'lláh', He said, `declared that should Bahá'ís dispute, even if it be regarding Bahá'u'lláh Himself, both are wrong. He has enjoined all to turn to the House of Justice. But prior to its being established, all matters should be referred to the Center of the Covenant whom all are commanded to obey.'
After a brief rest, the Master went to another meeting where He spoke on the distinguishing characteristics of the world of humanity.142
His introductory words were as follows:
I was tired and so I slept. While I was sleeping, I was conversing with you as though speaking at the top of my voice. Then through the effect of my own voice I awoke. As I awoke, one word was upon my lips -- the word imtíyáz (`distinction'). So I will speak to you upon that subject.
Friday, June 14, 1912143
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 Muh
`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."'145
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.
Saturday, June 15, 1912146
[New York -- Brooklyn]
`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.147
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.148
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.149
`Abdu'l-Bahá had lunch in Brooklyn at the home of Mr MacNutt.150
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.151
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.
Sunday, June 16, 1912152
In the morning the Master spoke about the meeting held the previous evening at the church in Brooklyn. `This is how we establish the truth of Islam in synagogues, churches and great temples. And see what the Muslims say about us?'
He gave a detailed account of the new teachings to an eminent American author, who was to write about them and who had requested permission from `Abdu'l-Bahá to publish the work.
The subject of `Abdu'l-Bahá's talk in a public meeting today was, `However the material world may advance, it is still in need of the teachings of the Holy Spirit'.
These days He often encourages the friends to teach the Cause of God and to travel to neighboring countries. `You must teach the Cause of God', He said, `with great humility. Just as I feel myself humble before all, even before children, so must you be.' He then spoke about the various degrees of devotion.
In the days of the Blessed Beauty, I never had a desire to write. The friends even complained about it. In reply I finally wrote to Varqá153
saying, `When the shrill of the Supreme Pen can be heard, what is the need of my writing?' However, in the days of the Most Great Luminary others wrote, referring to themselves, as the great sun of God.
Monday, June 17, 1912154
[New York -- Brooklyn -- New York]
At the request of the friends to take a motion picture of Him, `Abdu'l-Bahá went to Mr MacNutt's home in Brooklyn.155
The first scene is a hurried one, showing a ride in an automobile and the respectful reception of the friends. The second scene shows the Master walking, moving gracefully about and talking with His servants, saying:
Observe the power of the Ancient Beauty and the influence of the Greatest Name through which He has united us with the people of America in this way. If all the powers of the world had joined forces, still it would have been impossible that hearts could be attracted to such a degree and that we should be assembled in a meeting such as this with so much love, loving one another heart and soul. See what the power of Bahá'u'lláh has done! He has made the people of the East and of the West love one another. But for His power, the holding of such an assembly would have been impossible. Praise be to God that we are united and that we are of one heart and soul.
In the third scene `Abdu'l-Bahá is shown walking alone, speaking in a melodious voice, saying: `His signs are manifest, His might is established, His bounty encompasses all and His mercy is infinite.'
A fourth scene shows the beloved Master sitting among the children of the American friends, both black and white, while the Persian friends stand near Him.
The fifth scene shows a public meeting as `Abdu'l-Bahá moves about addressing the audience. Then follows a scene of farewell, with the friends shaking His hand.
The friends were very happy at this large meeting. `Abdu'l-Bahá's address was this:
Rejoice! Rejoice! The Sun of Reality has dawned.
Rejoice! Rejoice! The New Jerusalem has descended from heaven.
Rejoice! Rejoice! The glad tidings of God have been revealed.
Rejoice! Rejoice! The mysteries of the Holy Books have been fulfilled.
Rejoice! Rejoice! The Great Day has come.
Rejoice! Rejoice! The banner of the oneness of humanity is hoisted.
Rejoice! Rejoice! The tent of universal peace is pitched.
Rejoice! Rejoice! The Divine Lamp is illumined.
Rejoice! Rejoice! The breezes of the Merciful are wafting.
Rejoice! Rejoice! The joyful tidings and promises of the Prophets have come to pass.
Rejoice! Rejoice! The Glory of Carmel has shed its effulgence on the world.
Rejoice! Rejoice! The East and the West have embraced.
Rejoice! Rejoice! America and Asia like unto two lovers have joined hands.
After the meeting the Master went to visit a Jewish friend, a believer, who was ill at his home 40 miles from Brooklyn. He returned to New York at night exhausted.
Tuesday, June 18, 1912156
At a public meeting `Abdu'l-Bahá again spoke on the Tablet of the Branch,157
His talk centering around the Covenant and its promise. After the meeting, many pleaded for a private interview and continued visiting Him until noon.
Today He received the manuscript of The Brilliant Proof written by Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl, which had been written in answer to the objections of a minister in London. Being pleased with the book, the Master instructed that it be translated and published.
He also spoke of the malice, mischief and misdeeds of the Azalis.158
In the afternoon several friends visited and described the picturesque scenery and interesting places of America. `Abdu'l-Bahá said:
We love meetings of fidelity and not picturesque scenes. We must first be faithful to God, to His ordinances and Covenant and to His servants. If we wish to see places of interest and picturesque scenes, we do so when we go visiting or when we pass through such places and scenes.
Sometimes during these days `Abdu'l-Bahá would evince a mood similar to that He had when He was staying in Egypt, when He wished for martyrdom, desiring to be sacrificed at the Threshold of God. Among the many Tablets revealed at this time was one in honor of Áqá Rid
írází, Qannád, who had recently ascended to the Abhá Kingdom.159
Some of the verses of the Tablet were on this same theme:
Fidelity demands roaming over deserts and mountains. True fidelity is attained when a wanderer, nameless and traceless, becomes a target for the arrows of oppression on the plain of martyrdom. O Lord! Ordain for Thy servant the realization of his utmost wish, this bounty which shines resplendent upon the horizon of fidelity, like unto the sun arisen at dawn. One request I have to put to the loved ones of Bahá, that they prostrate themselves before the holy threshold, lay their heads on the ground and ask that the sinful `Abdu'l-Bahá be granted the cup of immolation, so that he may, in servitude to the threshold of Bahá, taste the sweet savor of a drop from the ocean of fidelity.
Wednesday, June 19, 1912160
As `Abdu'l-Bahá is to go to Montclair tomorrow, He bade farewell to the friends. Today He admonished and encouraged the friends, exhorting them to love and unity and to refrain from differences and disagreements.161
Then, at the request of Miss Juliet Thompson, He went to a photography studio where several photographs were taken. As she is an artist herself, she drew `Abdu'l-Bahá's likeness with her own hands in a few days.
Many people were present in the afternoon. `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke with a minister about the prosperity of humankind and the oneness of the world of humanity.
Mrs Smith, a member of one of the distinguished families in Philadelphia, had recently embraced the Cause and had requested a Persian name. She was given the name Tábandih [Light-giver] by the Master. As she had a headache, He prescribed some medication for her, saying:
You must always be happy. You must associate with joyous and happy people and be adorned with divine morals. Happiness has a direct influence in preserving our health while being upset causes illness. The basis of eternal happiness is spirituality and divine virtue, which is not followed by sorrow. But physical happiness is subject to a thousand changes and vicissitudes.
Have you heard the story of the emperor who looked into the mirror and became very sad and despondent? He said, `Oh! What a healthy and vigorous body I had but how worn it has become now! What a handsome face I had but how ugly it has become now! What graceful stature I had but how bent my body has become with age!' Thus he spoke one by one of the physical conditions of his youth and expressed his sadness at their loss. Such is the end of the physical happiness.
Another friend asked about tribulations and unexpected accidents. `Abdu'l-Bahá replied:
The chain of creation is interwoven in a natural law and divine order. Everything is interlinked. A link cannot be broken without affecting that natural order. Everything that happens is in conformity with this order and is based on consummate wisdom. Because it is decreed by God that every plant that grows must wither, all flourishing vegetation must fade away, every combination must disperse and all compositions must disintegrate. These are the necessary consequences of that universal law and of all relationships and is interpreted as divine decree.
In every meeting `Abdu'l-Bahá gives this kind of philosophical explanation to complex problems, thus illuminating the hearts.
Thursday, June 20, 1912162
The Master went to a house rented for Him in Montclair. Since the weather in New York was hot and humid at this time, the Montclair friends had begged Him to visit. Mr Edsall's relatives were elated and grateful for the beloved Master's visit. This servant told the Eastern friends that there was a possibility that `Abdu'l-Bahá would remain there to rest from His arduous journey and overcome His fatigue, which would alleviate the many troubles and hardships of the past.
That night the Master spoke of the Blessed Beauty's stay in Baghdád and of His Declaration, about His teaching and educating the servants of God.
Friday, June 21, 1912163
In the morning `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke to the Bahá'ís and seekers of Montclair about the difference between the kingdom of the Manifestation of God and the kingdom of the material world. In the afternoon many believers from near and far were honored to visit Him. He spoke about some spiritual matters and counseled the friends that it is forbidden to interfere in political matters and that they should obey the laws of their country. Later, several friends arrived with the minister of the Unity Church, who invited the Master for a ride that they might receive His love and bestowals. Today a courier arrived with a special invitation from the Society of the Annual American Celebration [Independence Day, the 4th of July]. However, the Master did not promise to attend and deferred the matter depending on His schedule.
Saturday, June 22, 1912164
In the morning `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke about the followers of Yahyá, saying:
These people are following their false imaginings. They say that the letter from the Báb to Yah
yá begins thus: `From God, the Mighty, the Beloved, to God, the Mighty, the Beloved.' But this passage is also written at the beginning of the letter to Dayyán165
and to others. In Tablets revealed by the Blessed Beauty there are also many such passages. The intent is an address from the Manifestation to Himself. What does this have to do with Yah
yá? In a Tablet from the Báb to Yah
yá and written in Yah
yá's own handwriting, he is directed by the Báb to ascertain God's intention by asking Siyyid H
usayn, the amanuensis.
The Master then gave various accounts of their vain imaginings and the mischief they caused in both the spiritual and material affairs of Persia. He also spoke about their malicious calumnies against the sincere and trustworthy Bahá'ís of the East and the West. He ended His talk with an exposition on the erroneous notion prevailing among some religious leaders that science is opposed to religion, a belief that leads people to false dogmas and to adhere to vain imaginings.
In the afternoon the Master gave an exposition on the words of Christ: `He that desireth to follow Me, must bear his own cross.' He then mentioned the martyrs of this great Cause and, referring to `Abdu'l-Vahháb-i-Shírází, said:
Before he left the prison to go to the altar of divine sacrifice, he came first and placed his head on Bahá'u'lláh's feet and kissed them. Having embraced all the friends, he hastened to the plain of sacrifice, dancing and snapping his fingers in ecstasy.166
As the Master recounted this event, His voice became so resonant and powerful that it caused the friends to tremble, and then His mood changed. His body dancing and His fingers snapping, He made such ecstatic cries it seemed that the scene of martyrdom had been reenacted before our very eyes.167
Afterwards, He said: `Compare the condition and firmness of the martyrs of this Revelation with those of the disciples of Christ, taking into account the station attained. How great is the difference between this Day and the past. How far the one is from the other.'
Friends and seekers gathered in the evening. `Abdu'l-Bahá's response to Mr Edsall's father-in-law was very inspiring and impressive.168
Sunday, June 23, 1912
After morning prayers of thanksgiving, the Master, with some of these servants, went to the market to purchase food and utensils. `Abdu'l-Bahá Himself supervised the affairs of the kitchen. During this journey He often cooked and prepared the meals, especially when there were special guests. When there were no guests, He would not permit us to go to the trouble of preparing special meals but instead was satisfied with a piece of bread and some cheese. With all this, His glory and majesty caused many to bow humbly before Him. In fact, it was seldom that many did not sit at His table both mornings and evenings to receive the blessings and honor of His presence. After returning from the market and completing His chores in the kitchen, He spoke of the development of Europe:
The material progress of Europe is approaching its zenith. Everything that reaches its zenith undoubtedly begins to decline. I hope that spiritual progress will be bestowed on them and that they will be protected.
It is obvious that whatever is growing, like a tree, is in the process of development. When we were going from Tihrán to Baghdád, there was not a friend to be found on the way but as the tree of the Cause of God was in its infancy and growing, it was apparent that the divine Cause would surround the East and the West and the reign of Násiri'd-Din Sháh would come to naught. Observe what has become of his sovereignty and consider where we are.
In the afternoon the hall of the building was full of people. Many were standing in adjacent rooms to hear `Abdu'l-Bahá. He began by saying:
It is not the place that should be looked at but the illumined faces and hearts of the friends. In Baghdád there was a small room, about one-third the size of this one, in which a number of the believers were living -- but under the shade of the kindness of Bahá'u'lláh and they were very happy.
Monday, June 24, 1912
[Montclair] In the morning `Abdu'l-Bahá said to us:
After the Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh I did everything within my power to promote the Cause of God. I clung to spiritual methods and rendered such servitude at the Threshold of God so that the divine Cause might advance throughout the world. And my correspondence was so heavy that, at the time of the death of an American maidservant of God, my letters to her were counted and numbered sixty-seven; so you can imagine the situation!
When asked about His health at a gathering of the friends, He replied:
Bodily health is not important. What is more important is spiritual health which gives eternal pleasure and has everlasting effect. The more the body is cared for, the worse it becomes. Thus denial is preferable for the body. I took only a cup of milk today and I feel much better. Why should man undergo so much trouble and hardship merely for the purpose of eating?
In the afternoon He gave detailed answers to questions relating to His talks at Green Acre. He then spoke on the blind imitations and prejudices of people.
Tuesday, June 25, 1912169
The Master was invited to breakfast at Mr Edsall's home. When He returned home, He found a number of Bahá'í women, who had come from New York, wearing aprons and cleaning the house. These elegant ladies were washing dishes, sweeping, dusting the furniture and arranging the carpets. They did this with such love and zeal that it is beyond description. `Abdu'l-Bahá said:
See what the power of the Blessed Beauty does! What might and sway, what bounty and favor is this! He has inspired these persons to serve with such sincerity and love! They are washing dishes and sweeping the room. They are serving with heart and soul.
He bestowed great favor on one of the ladies by inquiring about her husband, Dr Cork, a prominent physician in New York. She said to the Master, `From the moment He met you, he has not only ceased his opposition but is now helping me to serve the Cause.'
Later `Abdu'l-Bahá narrated the story of the conquest of Islam in Persia and spoke about the prohibition of the drinking of wine in the Qur'án. He said:
When the Muslims arrested the leader of the Zoroastrians and flogged him for drinking wine, under the whip he cried, `O Muhammad of Arabia, what have you done! What an influence you have shown!' Now they must say, `O Bahá'u'lláh, what have you done! With what power You have made the proud ones the captives of love and have united the East with the West!'
At a meeting at His home that afternoon, the Master answered many questions. Among His pronouncements was the prohibition of self-mortification. He directed that the health and strength of the body be preserved, saying that the more the physical body improves, the more it is capable of making spiritual progress.
In the evening the drawing room and adjacent rooms were filled with people. Because the friends opened the gathering with singing and playing the piano in praise of the Master, He spoke about spiritual music which can enrapture the spirit and influence spirituality.
Wednesday, June 26, 1912
[Montclair -- Newark]
To some people visiting the Master for the first time, He spoke about Christ's words to His disciples:
`Whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven' [Matt. 16:19]. The Christians have not understood its meaning. They imagine that it means the redemption of sins through the Christian leaders. The intention of Christ was to permit His disciples to elaborate or abrogate the laws of the Torah, as He had altered only two, those of the Sabbath and divorce. But, alas! The spiritual leaders of the Christians did not grasp His meaning, so that when the Greeks and Romans became Christians, some of the idolatrous customs were incorporated into Christianity. For example, the adornment of churches with images, self-mortification, abstinence, monks' habits, the lighting of candles in church, the ringing of the bell in the steeple and others. These are all from idolaters.
Another group came into `Abdu'l-Bahá's presence asking about the mysteries of Sufism and reincarnation. Receiving satisfactory answers, they left happy and pleased.
In the afternoon in Newark, near Montclair, both new and old friends gathered at the home of Mrs Kerry.170
The Master spoke to them on the life of the spirit and its effect on the world of humanity and set aglow the fire of the love of God in their hearts. He then went to the Military Park and Gardens, which is the best public place in the town. His walk with His companions presented a magnificent sight. Attired in our Persian kuláhs171
and Eastern dress, and accompanying the Master and the several American men and women who followed Him with great reverence and humility, we formed a unique scene. All eyes turned towards the dignity, beauty and glory of `Abdu'l-Bahá and to that gathering of the East and West.
The Master then went to Mr Harris's home where the friends had gathered before dinner. The Master urged and encouraged the friends to associate with love and unity with all the peoples and nations of the world. After dinner, because it was late and the distance was great, He rested there for the night.
Thursday, June 27, 1912
[Newark -- Montclair]
`Abdu'l-Bahá returned to Montclair today and was in the best of health and happiness. He was engaged all morning explaining religion, dispensing the glad tidings of the Most Great Manifestation and expounding on the veils that envelop the people. Group after group came to Him, and each left with the utmost devotion and humility.
In the afternoon, at the request of Mr Edsall and other friends, `Abdu'l-Bahá went to the park to rest for awhile. He said, as He left the tram at the entrance of the park, `What great changes have occurred! What waves have swept over us and brought us here! Let us see what waves are still to come.'
A gazebo was set on a small rise in the center of the park. There the Master sat on a bench, inviting Mr Edsall, his son-in-law and us to sit near Him. He stated, `The Committee of Union and Progress in Constantinople is very good but both internal and external enemies are laying plans to imprison me again on my return to the Holy Land.' When we said that it might have been better had He remained in Egypt, He replied:
My beginning and my end, the place from which I start and the place to which I return is the Holy Threshold. What I have is from that Threshold and to it I shall return. Had it not been for His aid and assistance, would these people sitting on your right and left have any concern about you and me? We must be just and speak the truth. Who are we that we should be showered with these favors? Compare the position of Persia with that of America.
Later He spoke about certain verses in the Qur'án, saying:
In reality these verses are the most convincing proof of the all-sufficing greatness and nobility of the Prophet of God [Muhammad], Who, triumphant and powerful, yet sets forth God's address to Him with the words: `Thou didst not understand, ere this, what "the Book" was, nor what the faith was'[Qur'án 83:52]. And, `Unless we had confirmed thee, thou hadst certainly been very near inclining unto them [the unbelievers] a little. They would have taken thee for a friend' [Qur'án 17:73-4]. All such verses are proofs of the truth and greatness of Muhammad. An imposter does not express weakness and ignorance when in a state of power and majesty. However, the people of desire interpret these verses otherwise.
Again, He said:
Once I said to Mírzá Muh
ammad Qulí, `Do you remember the days in Bagh
dád when we had not even fifteen paras172
to have a hot bath? We must now appreciate the favors of the Blessed Beauty and, in thankfulness, gird up our loins to serve Him. He has guided, assisted and made us victorious in this world as well as in His Kingdom.'
The Master spoke at length about the withdrawal of the Blessed Beauty from Bagh
He told of the prayers of the friends of God who recited, `Yá Alláh-ul-Mustagh
the receipt of the news of the bequest of Áqá Abu'l-Qásim-i-Hamadání,175
their eventual tracing of Bahá'u'lláh to the place in Sulaymáníyyih where He had taken abode, and then their dispatching a petition to the Blessed Beauty for His return.
The Master then got up and went towards the hotel. When He entered it, two wealthy ladies, guests at the hotel, were seated in the lobby. As soon as they saw Him they requested permission to be introduced to Him. The Master returned to the lobby a littler later and took a seat near them. They asked His purpose and He related to them a brief history of the Cause, something of the prison of `Akká and the spread of the fragrances of God. They remarked that He appeared to be very wealthy. He replied, `My riches are of the Kingdom and not of this world.' They said that the signs of wealth were very evident. The Master then said, `Although I have nothing, yet I am richer than all the world.' Then He spoke about true wealth and the transient nature of worldly affairs, citing passages from the Bible. During this discourse an elegant couple passed by and, hearing `Abdu'l-Bahá's voice, stopped to listen to His explanations. The two ladies and the couple were so astonished and charmed that the believers were spellbound by their transformation. The ladies gave their names and addresses to Mr Edsall so that they might meet with the friends and be counted among the people of Bahá.
What can I say? Every morning and evening hearts are fascinated and souls attracted to the Abhá Kingdom by `Abdu'l-Bahá. This is accomplished even though He had neither rest nor relaxation. He used to say, `If my happiness and spirituality could come to the fore and my mind be at rest, then you would see how hearts could be attracted and souls set ablaze.'
When He returned home, He found a multitude waiting for Him. The gathering was even larger than before, with both new and old friends coming from New York, Newark and Montclair. As it was the last evening of the Master's stay, the hearts were especially attracted and the minds full of a unique spirit. He spoke on the need for the breaths of the Holy Spirit in the material world and about the education of humanity through divine power.
Friday, June 28, 1912176
[Montclair -- West Englewood]
As the Master had previously invited the friends in New York to a Unity Feast in Englewood, He prepared to leave Montclair in the morning. Although most Americans do not awaken until after sunrise, some friends and their children were waiting an hour before dawn to see Him and to receive His blessings. Then another group arrived and received His bestowals.
`Abdu'l-Bahá left Montclair at half past eight in the morning, passed through New York, and after changing trams four times and passing twice by the river, He reached Englewood. Tired from the journey and the warm weather, having traveled from morning to noon, He briefly rested at the home of Mr [Roy] Wilhelm.177
Meanwhile, the friends began to arrive from the surrounding areas and gathered on the lawn adjoining the house. The meeting was arranged in a circle under the trees, with almost two hundred people seated at the table and being served by the Bahá'ís. Everyone enjoyed the delicacies and was extremely happy.
The green lawn under the shade trees was strewn with flowers so that it seemed as if an embroidered carpet had been spread, every design indicative of the power of the Covenant of the Ancient Beauty. To see the Master walking in this green, flower-covered garden, with a gentle breeze blowing, the purity of the air, the cleanliness of the surroundings and the rejoicing of the friends, was most pleasing; all seemed to vie with one another to please the Master.
When `Abdu'l-Bahá entered the circle, He delivered a very eloquent address on the greatness of the Cause, the influence of the Word of God, the importance of the meetings of the friends and the need for unity among the friends of God. He counseled them to be truthful and faithful.178
Afterwards He strolled in the rose garden. `Abdu'l-Bahá gave His permission for His photograph to be taken and was photographed in two groups. In one He is seated in the garden with His Persian servants standing around Him and in the other He is seen with the friends, some of whom are seated while others are standing.
A minister and another important personage came to visit `Abdu'l-Bahá. He invited them into Mr Wilhelm's house and spoke with them until dinner was ready. He later left the house to take a brief stroll. When the friends were seated at the table, He took vials of attar of rose in His hand and anointed, perfumed and blessed them all, one by one. He thus made them the anointed of the Court of Servitude and the recipients of the spirit of devotion to the Threshold of God, for the bounties of the Holy Spirit had descended and the favors of God encompassed all. Standing in the center of this assemblage of lovers, He spoke to them in a voice that was sweeter than honey then returned to Mr Wilhelm's house.
That the friends were ecstatic today need not be stated, since their Host was the Beloved of the Covenant; their meeting was an assembly of love and amity, and the surroundings were green and verdant with trees in full bloom perfuming the air. There was a pilaf, a very delicious Persian dish that had been prepared for the occasion, sherbet, a Persian drink and many sweets. Everyone was happy at the unity of the gathering. The Master said:
This meeting will be productive of great results. It will be the cause of attracting a new bounty. This day in which we have come together is a new day, and this hour a new hour. These meetings will be mentioned in the future and their results will be everlasting in all the divine worlds.
There were two more meetings: one in the afternoon and the other in the evening in Englewood for some of the friends who were not able to take part in the first meeting. They took their seats in the garden adjoining Mr Wilhelm's house, sitting on chairs and benches in rows. After a short walk, `Abdu'l-Bahá joined the visitors, sat down among them and requested the chanting of a prayer. He then spoke eloquently, encouraging the friends to spread the fragrances of God. As He was about to leave, one of the seekers asked Him, `What are the new teachings of this Cause that are not to be found in the other great religions?' The Master stood in the center of the garden and summoned all to come near. They came and stood in two rows. The Master walked between the rows and spoke. His explanation was so magnificent that everyone was astonished. During His discourse a carriage and automobile passed near by. As they neared the gathering and saw `Abdu'l-Bahá, the carriage passengers stopped, alighted and they, too, heard His speech and were attracted to the teachings. The Master described, one by one, the teachings of the Manifestation: the unity of humankind, universal peace, association with all religions, forgiveness of enemies, the prohibition of cursing foes, the equality of rights of men and women, the establishment of the House of Justice and the International Tribunal, compulsory education for both boys and girls, the prohibition of wars between nations and governments, and the harm of all forms of prejudice, be they racial, religious, sectarian, patriotic, political and so on. He spoke on these teachings extensively and in detail. At the end, He asked the audience whether these principles had been brought by past religious dispensations and recorded in their books. They all responded `No'. The inquirer was so overwhelmed that he clapped his hands in delight, expressing his joy and gratitude.
Because it was a moonlit night, this talk was given in the garden, so it was not recorded but these explanations can be found in `Abdu'l-Bahá's other addresses. After the meeting, He remarked, `If these persons were to be confronted with the question, what new teachings did Christ bring other than changing the laws of the Sabbath and divorce, they would be utterly confounded.'
`Abdu'l-Bahá stayed in Englewood for the night.
Saturday, June 29, 1912179
`Abdu'l-Bahá and we were invited to the home of the Persian Consul General, Mr Topakyan.180
On the way the Master stopped by the home of the minister who had visited Him the previous day. When he saw the Master approaching from the distance, he rushed out of his house and with great humility and reverence thanked the Master for gracing his home. His zeal and joy increased minute by minute as he listened to the Master's encouraging words.
`Abdu'l-Bahá then continued the journey by automobile through the wooded countryside and went directly to the home of the Persian Consul General in Morristown, which is one of the most delightful places in the region. One of its charming features is the creek that runs through the green-clad hills whose trees and verdure face the Consul-General's house. This beautiful setting appealed both to the heart and the soul. After the arrival of the Master, who was welcomed by the Consul General and his staff, several important people were invited to meet `Abdu'l-Bahá. A number of reporters also interviewed Him and expressed their delight in His answers to their questions. Around lunch time, a photographer arrived and took two photographs of the Master, one before lunch was served and the other while He was seated at the table. In brief, the Consul General was most courteous and humble in the Master's presence, to such an extent that he refused to sit without permission. He recorded `Abdu'l-Bahá's talk and conversations for publication in the newspapers and was honored to host the Master.
After the Master had a brief rest and a stroll in the afternoon, another reporter came to the house. As he listened to `Abdu'l-Bahá's explanations about the teachings, he recorded them for publication. Then with great majesty, dignity and grandeur, `Abdu'l-Bahá left for New York. When He arrived home, He did not permit us to prepare dinner for Him. Instead, He ate some watermelon and bread and retired for the night.
Sunday, June 30, 1912181
In the morning, after His obligatory prayer and supplications, the Master invited us into His presence and served us tea with His own hand. He spoke of the blessings and confirmations of the Ancient Beauty, the Greatest Name:
This help and assistance are from Him and these confirmations are through His bounty and favor; otherwise, we are nothing but weak servants. We are as reeds and all these melodies are from Him. We are ants and this dignity of Solomon is from Him. We are servants and this heavenly dominion is from Him. We must, therefore, offer our constant gratitude to Him for His favors and must join heart and soul to praise Him for His blessings.
As His home182
is always filled with a continuous stream of visitors, `Abdu'l-Bahá did not accept invitations from societies or organizations to speak at public meetings. Instead He spoke to the people gathered in the evenings, gave special audiences during the day and attended to other tasks. This evening He spoke about His long stay in New York. `As it is the meeting place of the East and the West,' He said, `I desire to make it a center of signs, and pray that the friends may advance and gain precedence in spirituality.'183
Apart from these gatherings, the Master's movements outside attract everyone and His look of favor captivates all.