Talk given 2 May 1912 at the Chicago Plaza Hotel
by Abdu'l-Bahátranslated by John Walbridge.
published in Bahá'í Studies Bulletin, 5:3-6:1, pages 114-120
first written or published 1912-05-02
About: On 2 May 1912 `Abdu'l-Bahá spent the morning receiving groups of visitors at the Plaza Hotel in Chicago. The previous day He had laid the cornerstone of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in Wilmette. His faithful chronicler Mirza Mahmud Zarqani recorded in his diary:5 Jumada I (2 May). In the morning until noon groups of visitors were received, at first in His room and then when they became numerous in the reception room (biruni). Badayi`u'l-A'thar, 1:64.He goes on to quote excepts from several talks that `Abdu'l-Bahá gave that morning. Allan Ward mentions that He spoke to groups that morning in a large parlor that held about 150 people. Later that day He spoke to a meeting of the Federated Women's Clubs and attended a reception given by the Bahá'í women. Star of the West 3:4 (17 May 1912) gives the English text of one of the talks given that morning, translated by Dr. Ameen U. Fareed and taken stenographically by Mrs. Marzieh Moss. It is give in in the same form in Wisdom Talks of Abdul-Baha: Given at Chicago, Ill., April 30th to May 5th, 1912, p. 11, a collection of `Abdu'l-Bahá's talks distributed with Star of the West. A more polished text appears in Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 78-79 [online here]. However, no text of this talk is to be found in Khitabat-e `Abdu'l-Bahá nor is it quoted by Zarqani. In fact, the Persian text of this talk exists among the uncataloged Persian manuscripts in the National Bahá'í Archives in Wilmette. It is written on the back of a sheet of Plaza Hotel guest stationary with the printed date 191P. The writer is not identified, nor is there any indication as to how this single sheet reached the Archives. However, there can be little doubt that the writer was a member of the audience when the talk was given. Apart from the hotel stationary, there is the handwriting. It begins as a neat, small script but toward the end becomes a large scrawl. Obviously the writer had been unable to keep up with the speaker. However, the text seems complete. As for the text itself, it is a typical example of `Abdu'l-Bahá's extemporaneous talks in America. He begins by remarking on an everyday subject — in this case the weather — and uses it as an analogy to make an irenic theological point, comparing that morning's fog to the veils of religious imitation and fancy that cause disunity and prevent the people from recognizing the Manifestation of God. The translation given here is literal and is based on the Persian text. - John Walbridge
2 May 1912,