Tonight the train carrying the beloved Master reached the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Dr [Frederick] D'Evelyn, a devoted Bahá'í, came running as soon as he saw the Master and prostrated himself at His feet. On the way to the city Dr D'Evelyn described for about 15 minutes the yearning of the friends and how they longed to see the Center of the Covenant. When we reached the house especially prepared for `Abdu'l-Bahá the waiting friends came out to welcome Him. Mr and Mrs Ralston, Mrs Goodall, Mrs Cooper and the other friends were ecstatically happy to have the honor and bounty of being in His presence and to have supper with Him.
From early morning the enthusiasm, eagerness, excitement, joy and singing of the believers surrounded `Abdu'l-Bahá, just as in the stories of the iguana and the sun and the moth and the candle. It was the ultimate example of a joyful reunion among the lovers of God. These ecstatic friends offered thanks for the bounty of attaining His presence and being near to Him.
`Abdu'l-Bahá continuously gave thanks for the confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom and for the power and influence of the Cause of God and encouraged the believers to proclaim the Cause of God. At noon He went for a walk and then took a little rest.
I will describe `Abdu'l-Bahá's residence, as He saw it, because it is unique among all the homes in America which have been graced by Him. It is situated on an elevated plot of land on a wide street surrounded by a spacious garden. `Abdu'l-Bahá would approach the house, climb a few steps and stand on the porch where He would see fragrant flowers and plants set in pots around the veranda and porch. When the Master entered the house, He would see on His right three large rooms, decorated with fine furniture and many varieties of flowers. Each room opens on the other by means of wide doors covered with velvet curtains, which, when drawn, create one large hall.
The third floor, where we have our rooms, is identical to the second floor. We each have our own room and are able to be close to the Master. The kitchen and dining room are on the first floor where some of the friends have the honor of dining with the Master at His table.
At each dawn, after offering prayers of gratitude, the Master calls His servants and serves us tea with His own hands. Using stories and narratives, He explains issues relating to the blessings of God and expresses gratitude for His divine confirmations. Later the friends arrive to experience the bounty of being with Him and to give praise. Whenever a group assembles, the Master comes downstairs to speak to them about great and lofty matters.
Before both lunch and dinner the Master takes a walk or goes for a ride. Mrs Goodall, Mrs Cooper and Mr and Mrs Ralston send two automobiles every day for His use. Whenever He goes out, the friends watch Him from the doors and windows of their houses. Even among the seekers there is much excitement.
`Abdu'l-Bahá is reverently received at the churches by the clergymen. Each respectfully accompanies Him to the pulpit and introduces Him to their congregations with glowing praise. They speak of Him as the Prophet of the East, the messenger of peace and tranquillity and attest to His great station and the importance of the teachings. Following His addresses at the meetings, crowds of people continually surround Him, begging for blessings and confirmations. When He returns to His home afterwards He offers praise and gratitude for the confirmations of the Abhá Beauty.
The Master gave a short address at a public meeting on the subject of spiritual life:
We aspire to find true human beings in this world. Man becomes human only through spiritual life, and the foundation of such a life is made up of heavenly perfections, divine attributes, service to humanity, eagerness to receive eternal bounties, praiseworthy morals, unity, love of God, wisdom and knowledge of God. If the aim were this physical life only, then this creation would be in vain and men would not have more honor or be nobler than other creatures. The greatest of sensual pleasures, beauty of appearance and freedom are found among the animals. Birds excel all in sensual pleasures, for they build nests on the loftiest branches and breathe the purest air. All seeds and fruit are their property. Limpid streams, charming plains, beautiful fields, verdant hills, green valleys, exquisite gardens and lovely flowers are all for their pleasure and happiness. They have no grief, regrets, aspirations, ambitions, quarrels, contentions, wars or massacres. If the purpose of existence is sensual life and pleasures, then animal and man are equal. Happiness and pleasure are rather the possession of the bird and not those of distressed and sorrowful men.
There was a gathering in the afternoon at the home of Mrs Goodall and Mrs Cooper in Oakland. The friends of Oakland and San Francisco rejoiced at meeting Him and the seekers were grateful and appreciative of His guidance. A large crowd filled the spacious house. Both before and after the meeting, those who had not had the honor of meeting `Abdu'l-Bahá came in groups to the second floor and were honored to receive His bounty. The Oakland friends brought their children to be blessed by `Abdu'l-Bahá. His talk to the gathering was on the power of the Word of God, the influence of the Supreme Cause and the union of the people of the East and the West. The audience became increasingly humble as the people listened to the Master.
There is a bay between San Francisco and Oakland which can be crossed in 15 minutes by boat. The Master's automobile was being ferried across the channel at night. When it reached midway, we saw a magnificent sight: lighted boats traveling back and forth against the shimmering lights of San Francisco. The splendid buildings and towers adorned with brilliant lights seemed to be golden palaces set with colored jewels. Lights from the homes crowning the high hills appeared like a string of pearls. The Master enjoyed the scene and whenever He went that way He praised it highly.
Many friends, both old and new, had the honor of visiting `Abdu'l-Bahá and receiving enlightenment from Him. Some of His words to the gathering of the friends were these:
No one was a denier of His virtues. All the wise men of the East considered Him the greatest person in the world. But they said, `Alas, that He has claimed divinity for Himself.' Many of the people of the East said and wrote about me, too, `all agree that he excels in knowledge, learning, speech and explanation, but, alas! he is the propagator of a new law'. They expected us to be servants and propagators of their old dogmas and customs, not knowing that we are obliged to serve humanity and spread universal love and harmony.
He concluded, `If all others have a few daughters and sons, I have thousands of spiritual offspring and heavenly children like you.'
When He returned, and after seeing the friends and bestowing His favors upon them, He sent telegrams to the assemblies in the East. Among them was this: `Rejoicing among friends of God in San Francisco. Truly confirmations are overwhelming and happiness complete. `Abbás.'
After morning prayers, two Japanese Bahá'ís came to see `Abdu'l-Bahá. The Master expressed His happiness on seeing their faith and sincerity in the Cause, saying:
This is an historic event. It is out of the ordinary that an Iranian should meet Japanese people in San Francisco with such love and harmony. This is through the power of Bahá'u'lláh and calls for our thankfulness and happiness. If it be said that Bahá'u'lláh brought a man from heaven and another from earth and caused them to meet midway between the earth and heaven, do not be surprised. The power of Bahá'u'lláh makes all difficulties simple. I like the Japanese greatly because they are audacious and intelligent. Whatever they turn their attention to, it becomes a success.
The visitors invited the Master to come to Japan to promote the potential of the Japanese people and asked His permission to contribute articles on the Faith to the Japanese newspapers. He readily granted their request and showed them great kindness.
In this enlightened age everything has been renewed -- sciences have been renewed, new arts have come into being, new skills have appeared, new thoughts have been expressed, new inventions have come to light and new discoveries have been made. In reality, the world of being has become a new world. Thus, the principles of religion also must be renewed.
God created man after His own image and likeness . . . but now, behaving contrarily, man has become more merciless and fearless than rapacious beasts. A beast kills only one animal each day for his food, while merciless man tears apart a hundred thousand people in a day merely for fame and dominion. Should a wolf tear a sheep apart, they would kill it; but if a man massacres a hundred thousand men in blood and dust, he is given an ovation and is pronounced a marshall or a general. If a man kills another or sets fire to a house, he is condemned as a murderer; but if he annihilates an army and overturns a country, he is called a conqueror and is admired. If a man steals a dollar he is thrown into prison but if he plunders the homes of people and lays waste a city he is called a commander and is praised.
Some clergymen and professors came to visit `Abdu'l-Bahá in the morning in His second-floor room. Some of the Master's words to the pastor of the First Congregational Church in Oakland were these: `If a man is not a clergyman and is unprejudiced, it is not a cause for wonder. But if a man is a clergyman and is not prejudiced, he certainly deserves praise and glory.'
At the public meeting `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke about the material progress of the world:
These countries have reached the apex of material progress. They are like bodies in the utmost health and form which are, however, devoid of spirit. A spiritless body is a dead one. Indeed, its perfection depends on the acquisition of spiritual capacity and divine civilization.
The people of America have a great capacity for the acquisition of spiritual qualities but they are immersed in material affairs. They are like machines which move uncontrollably; they move but are devoid of spirit. They will attain perfection when the spirit of divine civilization is breathed into them and this material civilization becomes infused with spiritual refinement.
The Master went to the public park in the afternoon, which He appreciated very much, especially when He went near the lake and saw the remnants of a few marble pillars left over from the destruction caused by the great earthquake of 1906. He remarked, `The world and its condition will change to such a degree and the Bahá'í Cause will prevail to such an extent that nothing but a remnant -- like these pillars -- will remain of the previous order.' Sitting on a bench, the Master spoke about the sensitivity of the vegetable kingdom:
Although sensitivity in plants is slight as compared with that manifested in animals, within their own kingdom they have sensitivity and vegetable spirit. Cut across a conical shape, sprinkle a little sulphate of copper on it, add a little water and then observe it with a magnifier. You will find its components rushing toward the center. Their sensitivity is apparent in their effort to reach the center until they form a cylinder.
In the evening the Master spoke to the assembled friends at His residence about the ascendancy of spiritual power and the divine life of humanity. The friends, both new and old, were deeply impressed and attracted to Him. At the end of each meeting the friends, one by one, came into His presence to beg His assistance and blessings. Their state was such that it cannot be described.
The Master was invited to deliver an address at the First Unitarian Church of San Francisco. The moment He entered the church the audience stood respectfully. When the music ended, the Master was introduced by the pastor of the church, who dwelt on His 40 years of imprisonment, the martyrdom of the Eastern Bahá'ís, `Abdu'l-Bahá's release from prison and His journey to spread the teachings of the Ancient Beauty. He also mentioned the teachings of universal peace and the unity of nations and peoples under the shadow of the Greatest Name. The pastor then read a translated passage from the Hidden Words.
The Master stood and delivered a comprehensive talk on the degrees of love, amity, peace and the oneness of mankind; the universality of the Manifestations of God; the truth of Islam; and the news of the appearance of Bahá'u'lláh. He concluded by chanting an inspiring prayer in Persian. Again the pastor stood, praised the Master's talk and thanked Him for His address. At the conclusion of the meeting, a crowd of people came to the Master to shake His hand, expressing their sincerity and heartfelt appreciation. Those who had not yet had the honor of visiting Him took His address so they might meet Him at His home.
In the afternoon a number of Bahá'ís and non-Bahá'ís gathered to meet Him. In answer to a question from an Indian regarding Sufism and the Trinity, He stated:
The reality of divinity is holy beyond descent and incarnation but the divine Manifestations are expressive of the attributes and perfections of God, the All-Praised, the Exalted. They are like mirrors placed before the Sun of Truth, so if they claim that the Sun of Truth is in them, they speak the truth. However, they mean that the signs and light of the Sun of Truth are in them, and not the Sun itself.
In the evening `Abdu'l-Bahá went to the First Congregational Church in Oakland. The influence of the Cause and the majesty of the Covenant made such an impression and was so widespread that during his introduction the pastor of the church said: `Tonight the messenger of God will speak in the church of God and you will hear with your own ears.'
The Master spoke magnificently on the fundamental oneness of the principles of religions and the truth of Islam. His words moved and deeply affected everyone, increasing their joy and eagerness and raising the status of the Cause of God.
While tea was being served in the morning, the Master recalled the events of last night, saying:
The pastor said: `The messenger of God will speak in the church of God.' No one will believe it unless they see it themselves. No matter to whom you may write these words, they will think it an exaggeration and will not believe it to be true.
Among those visiting the Master today was the Mayor of Berkeley. He questioned the Master about economic issues and received useful answers. In conclusion `Abdu'l-Bahá said:
We must strive until mankind achieves everlasting felicity. Laws are needed which can both preserve the ranks of individuals and secure peace and stability for them because society is like an army, which needs a general, captains, lieutenants and privates. Not all can be captains nor can all be soldiers. The grades of responsibility are essential and the differences of rank a necessity. Just as a family needs old and young, master and mistress, servants and attendants, likewise society needs organization and structure. However, all must be part of an order which will ensure that each lives in complete comfort within his own station. It should not be that the master lives in comfort while the servant is in pain; that is injustice. Similarly, it is impossible that all be either servants or masters; then there would be no order.
As these laws are in conformity with the demands of the time, they will unfailingly prevail, although they will be implemented gradually. Everything can be prevented or resisted except the demands of the time. The time is ripe for the governments to remedy these ills. Relief must be brought to the toiling masses. Otherwise, if these ills are allowed to become chronic, their cure will be difficult and they will precipitate a great revolution.
The Master then gave an account of the unity and self-sacrifice of the friends of the East and expounded on various aspects of the true economic laws, which He had written while in Dublin. The mayor was so impressed that he could not help expressing his sincere admiration. He then invited the Master to an important meeting to be held in the city that evening. Because this meeting had political aims as its objective, the Master tendered His apologies.
At the request of a Jewish friend, the Master spoke to some Jews who had come, saying:
The day and age promised by the divine Prophets has appeared. This is the day in which Zion dances with joy. The day has come in which Carmel is revived and is rejoicing. That day has come for you to return to Palestine and see how it is flourishing.
Tuesday, October 8, 1912
[San Francisco -- Palo Alto]
Today was one of the most significant days. At the invitation of Dr David Starr Jordan, `Abdu'l-Bahá went to Leland Stanford Junior University in Palo Alto. The teachings of the Cause of God were given to a large, illustrious audience at this important educational center. Apart from some 1,800 students and 180 professors from the university, many civic leaders and prominent people from the area were also assembled in the auditorium; its satellite rooms and hallways were full and many people were standing outside the entrance as well.
The president stood and made his introductory remarks:307
It is our privilege to have with us, through the kindness and courtesy of our Persian friends, one of the great religious teachers of the world, one of the natural successors of the old Hebrew prophets. He is said sometimes to be the founder of a new religion. He has upward of three millions of people following along the lines in which He leads. It is not exactly a new religion, however. The religion of brotherhood, of good will, of friendship between men and nations is as old as good thinking and good living may be. It may be said in some sense to be the oldest of religions . . . I have now the pleasure, the great honor of presenting to you `Abdu'l-Bahá.
The Master then spoke about the unity of all phenomena, man's predominance over nature, universal peace and divine civilization in such a way that the entire audience was overcome with admiration.308
The applause shook the building to its very foundation. The president closed this memorable occasion with these remarks:
We are all under very great obligation to `Abdu'l-Bahá for this illuminating expression of the brotherhood of man and the value of international peace. I think we can best show our appreciation by simply a rising vote of thanks.
The audience immediately rose and showed their respect by clapping and stomping their feet.
The Master had lunch with Dr Jordan at his home. Later that evening the Master spoke at the Unitarian Church of Palo Alto. His theme was the reality of divinity. The people were told the mysteries of the Kingdom and learned of spiritual matters. `Abdu'l-Bahá then went to the home of Mrs Isabel Merriman for dinner. The group present at the table was honored to be in His presence and were enchanted by His words.
Wednesday, October 9, 1912
[Palo Alto -- San Francisco]
Before He left Palo Alto several people gathered around `Abdu'l-Bahá. He spoke of the differences in various religions, with special reference to Christianity, saying:
Some called Christ God, some the Word of God, some others the Prophet of God, and through these differences disputes arose so that instead of spirituality there was hatred and amity was replaced by enmity. But Bahá'u'lláh has closed all the doors to such differences by appointing the interpreter of the Book and by establishing the Universal House of Justice -- that is, the People's Parliament. And by commanding an end to interference in people's beliefs and consciences, He has barred the way to these divisions. He has even said that if two persons differ in a matter and that difference ends in discord, then both are wrong and their position unacceptable.
After many similar talks, the Master returned to San Francisco. A meeting was especially called in the evening at the Japanese Club to hear Him speak.309
As the meeting began, a Japanese scholar stood up, and after obtaining permission from the Master, recited in English an ode about the attributes of the Cause of God and praising `Abdu'l-Bahá. The chairman then introduced the Master with great respect.
The Master then gave a fascinating talk on the dangers of prejudice, the validity and proofs of the Prophets and the truth of Islam and Christianity. He also spoke on the spread of the Cause of God, the influence of the divine teachings and spiritual education, as well as explaining the teachings and writings of Bahá'u'lláh. Even though the talk was first translated from Persian into English and then from English into Japanese, the audience was awed and excited to hear His powerful reasoning and was anxious to hear the translation of the talk.
From this day forward multitudes came every day in great humility to see `Abdu'l-Bahá and to offer praise and thanks for the teachings.
Thursday, October 10, 1912
In addition to the gatherings of the friends at the Master's residence, there were also meetings outside, which demonstrates the grandeur and power of the Centre of the Covenant. One took place at a high school in Berkeley where the Master spoke on the reality of God and the proofs of the revelation of the Manifestations and their teachings. Many from the area were enthused with His talk and came afterwards to receive illumination from Him.
Another meeting was held at the Open Forum in San Francisco.310
Although the audience was composed mostly of philosophers and professors, they were all humbled by the talk. The Master's profound words contrasted the philosophy of the East with that of the West, elucidated the power beyond nature and explained the inherent distinction between mankind and other creatures. He concluded with the assertion that if philosophers believed that the highest perfection was not to believe in abstract and spiritual truth, it would be preferable to go to the cow, who, without any formal training, already had this attribute.311
When the Master uttered these words, everyone burst into laughter. This kind of humor, delivered in such a light-hearted manner, is popular and accepted by the Americans and so brought smiles and joy to the audience. At the conclusion of the Master's talk, when a philosopher stood up, several were heard to say to one another that the cow takes the lead in not believing in intellectual thought. The result was that everyone, even the philosophers, bore witness to the might of the divine teachings and influence of the words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Indeed, the Master's address provided a perfect and decisive proof for such people.312
Friday, October 11, 1912
Some physicians were in His presence today. The Master spoke with them about the use of diet to heal diseases. He then dealt with the spiritual remedy for the intellectual diseases of the people and nations:
Today, the greatest and speediest remedy and the sole effective antidote that the Divine Physician has prescribed for the world's ills is the oneness of humanity, universal peace, the explanation of the principles of the divine religions and the removal of dogmatic imitations and customs which are contrary to science and reason. Indeed, one of the chief reasons for irreligion among people is that the leaders of religion, such as the Catholic priests, take a little bread and wine, blow a breath over it and then say that the bread is the flesh of Christ and the wine is the blood of Christ. Of course, a man of understanding would not accept these dogmas and would say that if this bread and wine is turned into the flesh and blood of Christ by the breath of a priest, then the priest must be superior to Christ. Thus Bahá'u'lláh has said, `Every matter that is contrary to sound reason and science and is opposed to the fundamental principles of the divine religions is an obstacle to progress and a cause of people avoiding and rejecting the laws of God.'
A Bahá'í children's meeting was held in the afternoon at the home of Mrs Goodall and Mrs Cooper. When the Master saw the children, He remarked: `Praise be to God! What radiant children they are!' He spoke briefly, encouraging and praising them for their courtesy and upbringing. Kissing them one by one, He greeted each child in short English sentences and each received from Him some flowers and sweets.
He then went upstairs to meet with some Hindus who had come to visit Him. His conversation with them was this:
Man must irrigate the Blessed Tree which has eternal fruits and is the cause of life for all on earth. This goodly Tree, though hidden at first, will erelong envelop the whole world, and its leaves and branches will reach the heavens. It is like the Tree which Buddha planted: although at first it was a small sapling, it eventually enveloped the countries of Asia.
The Master left Mrs Goodall's home to go for a walk. He stopped at a neighbor's door. The lady of the house brought a chair for Him. He sat for awhile, pleased with the woman's reverence and thoughtfulness, and bestowed His loving kindness upon her.
In the evening the Master spoke before a joyful gathering of the Theosophical Society. The president of the society introduced `Abdu'l-Bahá in glowing terms, referring to the appearance of perfect souls and divine manifestations, saying:
Each of those teachers was an educator of the world of humanity and each brought a Book for the training of the souls. This evening we have the exalted honor to have one of these educators among us. He has brought a new Message for the evolution of humanity and will speak to us this evening. I have the utmost honor to introduce to you His Holiness `Abdu'l-Bahá, whom you know well.
The Master then spoke about the rising of the Sun of Reality from different signs of the zodiac, the immortality of the spirit and the universality of the new Revelation. The audience was very interested and requested His permission to ask questions. Their enthusiasm and admiration was heightened when they heard His persuasive answers.
Saturday, October 12, 1912
The Master's address at the Jewish Temple was unique and magnificent.313
His talk, which was delivered to some two thousand Jews, concerned the truth of Christ, the reality of Islam, the oneness of humanity and universal peace. This gathering was clear evidence of the power and majesty of the Center of the Covenant. Indeed, it can be counted as a miracle. The proofs supporting the truth of the reality of Christ and Muh
ammad, the Messengers of God, flowed from `Abdu'l-Bahá's lips with such majesty and authority that all were dumbfounded. After His talk, many humbly came to see Him to express their gratitude, except for a very few diehards who left in dismay. The chairman of the meeting, considered to be an eminent and learned Jew, introduced the Master:
It is our privilege to welcome in our midst `Abdu'l-Bahá, a great teacher of our age and generation. The heart of the Orient seems to be essentially religious, and now and then, out of the heart of the Orient, the fundamental religious message for the world is stated and restated. This century is very great and this age is the age of the maturity of the world. `Abdu'l-Bahá is the representative of one of the religious systems which appeals to us Jews, because we feel that we have fathered that idea throughout the centuries. This morning He will speak to us, the followers and the children of Israel, in His native tongue through an interpreter, on `The Fundamental Unity of Religious Thought'. I am certain that whatever He says will be of great significance to us.
Address by `Abdu'l-Bahá314
The first bestowal of God to the world of humanity is religion because religion consists of divine teachings. Certainly divine teachings are preferable to all other sources of instructions.
Religion confers upon man life everlasting. Religion is a service to the world of morality. Religion guides humanity to eternal happiness. Religion is the cause of everlasting honor to the world of man. Religion has ever helped humanity towards progress.
But the proof must be established. To achieve this end, we should investigate religion as seekers of truth. When we do so, we find that religion is the cause of progress and development. Let us see, then, whether or not religion is the cause of illumination; whether or not religion is the impetus which enables man to make extraordinary strides.
Let us investigate in search of truth, without being bound by blind imitations or dogmas. If we are bound by blind imitations, some will believe that religion is the cause of happiness and others will say that religion has been the cause of degradation. Hence, we must investigate whether religion is the cause of human advancement or of retrogression, so that no doubt shall linger in our minds.
We shall therefore investigate the Prophets and review the episodes of their lives. We shall avoid traditions that some will find it possible to repudiate and shall cite historical facts provable to all and which are irrefutable. They are these:
Among the Prophets was Abraham, who prohibited idolatry and was a herald of the oneness of God, consequently He was banished by the people from His native land.
Let us observe how religion became an impetus towards progress. Abraham founded a family which God did bless. Owing to its religious basis the Abrahamic house progressed. Through divine benediction, Prophets issued forth from His lineage. There appeared Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, David and Solomon. The Holy Land was ruled by them and a glorious civilization was established. All this was due to the religion which was founded.
Hence, religion is the cause of honor and the happiness of mankind. Unto the present time Abraham's household is spread over the whole world.
Let us consider even a greater reality. The children of Israel were in captivity in the land of Egypt. Being subject to the tyranny and oppression of the Egyptians, they were in the utmost state of degradation and slavery. The Egyptians were so antagonistic towards the Israelites that they were assigned the most arduous and servile tasks.
The children of Israel were in abject poverty, abasement, ignorance and barbarism when Moses appeared among them. Outwardly Moses was no other than a shepherd but through the power of religion He exhibited extraordinary grandeur and efficacy. His prophethood was spread throughout the land and His law became renowned throughout all regions.
Although Moses was single and alone, through the power of religion He rescued all the children of Israel from bondage. He conducted them to the Holy Land and founded a civilization for the world of humanity. He educated the children of Israel and enabled them to attain to the highest degree of honor and glory. Releasing them from their bondage, He caused them to reach the zenith of freedom. They progressed in the acquisition of human perfections and advanced in culture, in the arts and sciences, in philosophy and in craftsmanship. In brief, their growth and progress reached such an exalted state than even the Greek philosophers took journeys to the Holy Land in order to study philosophy with the children of Israel. It is an established historical fact that even Socrates, the Greek philosopher, came to the Holy Land and consorted with Jewish leaders, studying wisdom with them. When he returned to Greece, he formulated his basis for divine unity and advanced his belief regarding the immortality of the spirit after the dissolution of the body. These verities Socrates learned from the children of Israel.
Likewise Hippocrates and many other philosophers went to the Holy Land and acquired lessons from the Jewish prophets about the basis of philosophy and returned to their country to spread such verities.
A Cause which changed such a weak people into a powerful nation, rescued them from captivity, caused them to attain to sovereignty, transformed their ignorance into knowledge and philosophy, granted them prosperity and endowed them with an impetus to advance along all paths of attainment, such a Cause makes it evident that religion is a source of honor and progress for humanity, a foundation for eternal happiness.
But blind imitations and dogmas which crept in later, those are ever a destructive force and the cause of the retrogression of nations. It is written in the Torah and in historical records that when the Jews were fettered by forms and imitations the wrath of God became manifest.
When the foundation of the law of God was ignored, God sent Nebuchadnezzar. He killed the men, enslaved the children, laid waste the Holy Temple, took seventy thousand Jews into captivity to Babylon and caused the Torah to be burned.
We see that the foundation of the divine religions has been the cause of progress and blind imitations have led to abasement and humiliation. Thus, the Greeks and the Romans conquered the Jews and were able to oppress them. Under Titus, the Roman emperor and commander of the army, the Holy Land was attacked. The Israelites were scattered and became fugitives. He killed their men, pillaged their possessions and destroyed Jerusalem. The dispersion of the Jews has continued ever since.
Hence, the foundation of the religion of God which was laid by Moses was the cause of eternal honor, the advancement and development of the nation and the life of the Hebrew people. The dogmas and blind imitations which crept in later debased the Israelites and caused them to be expelled from the Holy Land and to be scattered throughout the earth.
In short, the mission of the Prophets is no other than the advancement and education of the world of humanity. The Prophets are universal Educators.
Should we desire to determine whether these messengers were Prophets, we should investigate the truth. If they have been Educators of the people, enabled them to attain knowledge after having been in the abyss of ignorance, then we are sure that they were Prophets. Such evidence is irrefutable. We do not need to cite other matters which may be denied by some.
The deeds of Moses are conclusive proofs. No other proof is needed. If a man be unbiased and fair in investigating reality, he will undoubtedly bear testimony to the fact that Moses was verily a great Educator.
Let us not digress from the subject. But I ask you to be fair in your judgment, setting aside all prejudice.
We should all be seekers of truth. We should be aware that the purpose of the religion of God has been to promote amity and fellowship among men. Therefore, the foundation of the religions of God is one. Reality does not accept multiplicity. Every religion is divided into two parts. One part is concerned with the world of morality, the upliftment and advancement of the world of humanity, the knowledge of God and the discovery of the realities of things. This part of religion is spiritual and is its essential and fundamental part. It is the foundation of all the religions of God. Therefore, all religions are one and the same.
The second part has to do with social relationships. This part is not essential; it is subject to change according to the requirements of the time. In the time of Noah certain conditions required that all sea foods be made lawful. Because of certain exigencies at the time of Abraham, it was lawful for a man to marry his sister, even as Abel and Cain had done, but in the Torah this practice was prohibited.
Moses lived in the wilderness. There were no prisons for the punishment of criminals. Hence, according to the exigency of the time, the law was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Is it possible to follow such a law now? In the Torah there are ten commandments concerning murder. These ten ordinances, concerning the treatment of murderers, cannot be enforced now.
Even regarding capital punishment, wise men are studying this question, as they maintain that capital punishment should be abolished.
The laws of the Torah were from God but they were suited for that time. If a man committed theft to the extent of a dollar, the exigency of that time demanded that they cut off his hand but now you cannot cut off a man's hand for stealing one thousand dollars. Such laws were laid down in every Dispensation in accordance with the needs of the age and are subject to change; they are non-essential. The essentials are spiritual in character and have to do with morality. They are the one foundation of religions and are subject to neither change or multiplicity.
The basis of the law was promulgated by Christ. That same foundation of religion was promulgated by Muhammad. Since all the Prophets called on the people to accept this reality, the purpose of all the Prophets has been the same. They upheld the honor and advancement of humanity and instituted the divine civilization of man. The proofs of the validity of a Prophet and the signs of the divine revelation received by Him are in the deeds of that Prophet. If His deeds have led to the advancement of humanity, beyond any doubt He is of God.
Be fair in your judgment! At the time when the Israelites had been taken into captivity, when the Roman Empire had effected the dispersion of the Hebrew nation and when the law of God had passed from among them and the foundation of the religion of God had been destroyed, at such a time Christ appeared. The first thing He did was to proclaim the validity of the Mosaic mission. He declared that the Torah was the book of God and all the prophets of Israel were valid and true. He promulgated the prophethood of Moses and proclaimed His name throughout the world.
In Persia, India and Europe the name of Moses had not been heard of before the appearance of Christ. Throughout these regions there was not a copy of the Torah. It was through the instrumentality of Christ that the Torah was translated into six hundred languages. It was Christ who raised aloft the standard of the Prophets of Israel, so that most nations of the world believed that the children of Israel were verily the chosen people of God, that that nation was a holy nation, blessed by God, and that all the prophets of Israel were dawning points of divine inspiration, day springs of divine revelation and shining stars from the eternal Realm.
Hence, Christ promulgated Judaism. He did not deny the prophetic validity of Moses but rather promoted it. He did not efface the Torah but rather published it. The portion of that Dispensation which concerned social transactions underwent changes in accordance with the conditions of the time. This is of no significance. The essential teaching of Moses was promulgated by Christ.
With the superlative power and efficacy of the Word of God, He gathered most of the nations of the East and the West. This achievement was effected at a time when these nations were in the utmost contention and strife. He ushered them into the overshadowing tent of the oneness of humanity. He educated them to become united so that the Roman, the Greek, the Assyrian, the Chaldean and other foreign nations were united and blended into a heavenly civilization. This efficacy of the Word and divine power, which are extraordinary, prove conclusively the validity of the revelation of Christ. Observe how His heavenly sovereignty has endured. This is indeed conclusive proof and manifest evidence.
Now, consider again! When Muhammad appeared, in His first address to His people He said that Moses was a Prophet of God and the Torah was the Book of God. He called on His people to believe in Moses, in the Torah and the Prophets; and also to accept Christ and the Gospel. In His Book the story of Moses is described seven times and in all these passages Moses is praised. Muhammad states that Moses was one of the Prophets endowed with constancy and established a new Law; that He heard God's voice in the wilderness of Mount Sinai; that He was the Interlocutor of God; that He was the bearer of divine Tablets. Although the Arabian tribes opposed Muhammad, eventually He conquered all of them, because falsehood is defeated by truth.
You should consider that Muhammad was born among the barbarous tribes of Arabia and He lived among them. Outwardly He was illiterate and uninformed of the holy books of God. The Arabian nations were in ignorance and barbarism, to the extent that they buried their daughters alive. This act was considered to be the expression of valor and sublimity of nature. They lived under the yoke of the Persian and Roman governments, were scattered throughout the Arabian desert and were subjected to continuous internecine strife and bloodshed.
When the light of Muhammad dawned, the darkness of ignorance was dispelled from the Arabian desert. In a short space of time those barbarous tribes reached a degree of civilization which extended to Spain and was established in Baghdád and influenced the people of Europe. What proof is there concerning His prophethood greater than this? The evidence is clear, unless one ignores impartiality and adheres to unwarranted discrimination.
The Christians believe in Moses as a Prophet of God. The Muslims are believers in Moses and praise Him highly. Has any harm come to Christians and Muslims because they have admitted the validity of Moses? No, on the contrary, their acceptance of Moses and confirmation of the Torah prove that they have been fair-minded.
Why should not the children of Israel praise now Christ and Muhammad? This will do away forever with enmity and hatred which have lasted for two thousand years, so that differences and animosities may pass away forever.
The Muslims admit that Moses was the Interlocutor of God. What harm is there if the Jews would say that Christ was the Spirit of God and Muhammad was the Messenger of God? Thus there will be no hatred, no disputation, no warfare and no bloodshed.
I now declare to you that Moses was the Interlocutor of God; that Moses was the Prophet of God; that Moses brought the fundamental law of God; that Moses was the founder of a basis for the happiness of humanity.
What harm is there is this declaration? Do I lose by saying this to you and believing it as a Bahá'í? No! By God! On the contrary, as a Bahá'í it benefits me. Bahá'u'lláh becomes well-pleased with me and will confirm me. He says, `Well done; you have been fair in your judgment; you have impartially investigated the truth; you have believed in a Prophet of God and you have accepted the Book of God.'
As it is possible to do away with warfare and massacre with a small measure of liberalism in the world, why not do it? Thus bonds are established which can unite the hearts of men. What harm is there in this? Inasmuch as the other nations praise Moses, why should the Jews not also praise the other Prophets?
The followers of each religion should praise the Founders of the other religions so that the welfare of mankind, the happiness of the world of humanity, the eternal honor of man and universal fellowship may ensue.
God is One and He has created all of us. He provides for all; He protects all; He is kind to all. Why should we be so unkind? Why should we engage in strife?
This century is the century of science, it is the century of the discovery of the mysteries of nature; it is the century of service to the world of humanity. It is the century of the manifestation of the reality of things, the century for the oneness of mankind. Does it behoove us in this century to linger in our fanaticism and tarry in our prejudice? Does it behoove us to still be bound by old superstitions and be handicapped by superannuated and empty beliefs and regard these as grounds for waging war, shedding blood and shunning and anathematizing one another?
Is it not better for us to be loving to one another? Is it not preferable for us to enjoy fellowship, raise our voices to the heavens in tune with the melody of the Concourse on High and in glorification of the oneness of mankind? Is it not more praiseworthy to celebrate the unity of God and laud His Prophets in glorious assemblages and public meetings? On such a day, the world will become the paradise of the All-Glorious.
What does this mean?
It means that contending nations which have been characterized by these qualities and religions which have been formerly as wolves and sheep, with divergent creeds, will associate with each other in the utmost affection and amity and unite with each other in fellowship and love.
This is the meaning of the prophecy of Isaiah. Otherwise it will never come to pass literally, for the wolf will never live peacefully with the sheep, and the lion and the deer will never associate together, inasmuch as the deer is food for the lion and the sheep will ever be the prey of the wolf. As you know, the teeth of the lion are carnivorous. It has no molars to eat grass; hence it must eat flesh.
Therefore, this prophecy is symbolic of the state of affairs when nations and races, symbolized by wolves and sheep, among whom there is a bond of fellowship and association, will be unified and will treat each other kindly and liberally in that promised day.
In a word, the century is upon us when fellowship is to be established!
The century has come when all the religions are to be at peace with each other!
The century has come when all the nations shall become one nation!
The century has come when all mankind shall live under the tabernacle of the oneness of mankind.
`Abdu'l-Bahá gave this address in the afternoon at the home of Mrs Goodall and Mrs Cooper:
Today we spoke in the Jewish temple. You saw how it was proven that Christ was the Word of God and Muhammad the Messenger of God. From the beginning of Christianity and Islam up to the present day, no one has spoken thus, proving the validity of Christ and Muhammad in a Jewish temple and in a manner to which no one took exception. Rather, most were appreciative and content. This is none other than the assistance of Bahá'u'lláh.
The effect and influence of the address were such that from then on there was evidence of unity and communication between the Christians and Jews. They even made plans to visit each other's places of worship to give talks about the unity of peoples and religions. Whenever they met `Abdu'l-Bahá or attended Bahá'í gatherings, they expressed their gratitude from the depths of their hearts for this great Cause and its new teachings.
Sunday, October 13, 1912
[San Francisco -- Pleasanton]
In the morning one of the Japanese friends came together with a group of people to visit the Master. This Japanese friend said that he had studied most religions but found none as useful and effective in bringing tranquillity to the people as this Faith. The Master replied:
I hope that you will become heavenly and not just be a Japanese, an Arab, an Englishman or a Persian, Turk or American; that you will become divine and bring your life into accord with the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. Observe: I am one of the servants of Bahá'u'lláh, helpless and weak but as I am under the shadow of His teachings you see what confirmations descend upon me.
The fame, grandeur and beauty of the Master were such that many civic, educational and social leaders of the area visited Him, considering it an honor to be in His presence. His noble mission and talks about the Cause of God, together with the enthusiasm of the people, seemed to fulfill the verse from the Qur'án: `The day when the people shall stand before the Lord of creation.' Mrs [Phoebe] Hearst, a wealthy and prominent person who had visited the Master a few years ago in the Holy Land315
but who had become distant because of her association with worldly people, suddenly requested permission to visit Him. Realizing the privilege of His presence, she invited Him and His companions to her home. Because her invitation was sincere, it was accepted. In the afternoon, the Master and His servants went with Mrs Hearst to her home. After traveling inland, through the streets of Oakland and Berkeley, the automobile passed through verdant hills, green valleys and lovely towns and villages until it reached Mrs Hearst's large, regal mansion. It is situated on a beautiful hillside on the outskirts of Pleasanton, surrounded by luxuriant gardens, green lawns and pathways overflowing with flowers. Some of Mrs Hearst's relatives were also present among her guests.
In keeping with the circumstances of the occasion, for there were people of different backgrounds present, the Master's talks were brief yet full of wisdom. Many important ideas were couched in short sentences, giving the maximum effect with a minimum of words. The guests asked questions of each other about the Cause.
After dinner, the Master went into the outer hall and spoke briefly:
Every universal matter is from God; and limitations are from man. Therefore, if people's services and efforts are undertaken for the benefit of all, they are acceptable to God and leave lasting traces. Otherwise, every other effort is limited and transitory.
After obtaining the Master's permission to have music, the guests sang songs accompanied by the piano. The meeting ended with great joy and happiness.
Monday, October 14, 1912
In the morning `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke about the election of the president of the republic. He said:
The president must be a man who does not insistently seek the presidency. He should be a person free from all thoughts of name and rank; rather, he should say, `I am unworthy and incapable of this position and cannot bear this great burden.' Such persons deserve the presidency. If the object is to promote the public good, then the president must be a well-wisher of all and not a self-seeking person. If the object, however, is to promote personal interests, then such a position will be injurious to humanity and not beneficial to the public.
He then went to lunch. At the request of those present at the table the Master chanted the following prayer:
He is God! Thou seest us, O my God, gathered around this table, praising Thy bounty, with our gaze set upon Thy Kingdom. O Lord! Send down upon us Thy heavenly food and confer upon us Thy blessing. Thou art verily the Bestower, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
The Master then spoke extensively on the history of some famous people.
In the afternoon He went for an automobile ride through valleys, hills and meadows as far as the breakwater. When He returned to the house, the Master rested in the garden on special chairs brought for Him and the others and gave a detailed history of the life and teachings of the Blessed Beauty.
At the dinner table He spoke of His gratitude for the blessings of God and the importance of assisting the weak and poor. He was asked, `How is it that the desires of some people are achieved while others are not?' The gist of the Master's response was:
What conforms with divine decree will be realized. In addition, good intentions and sound thoughts attract confirmations. The desires of human beings are endless. No matter what level a human being reaches, he can still attain higher ones, so he is always making effort and desiring more. He can never find peace but through effort and resignation, so that, notwithstanding all efforts in worldly affairs, the human heart remains free and happy. He neither becomes proud on attaining wealth and position nor becomes dejected on losing them. This station can be attained only through the power of faith.
Such explanations and exhortations repeated at every meeting were warnings and reminders for these prominent people. Day by day their humility and sincerity increased owing to His presence.
Tuesday, October 15, 1912
Early in the morning Mrs Phoebe Hearst presented the Master with flowers of various hues and perfumes. She suggested that, if He wished, He could stroll through the surrounding gardens and nursery. He first toured the house and then went to the nursery which had many beautiful flowers. A few rare specimens attracted His particular attention. He said that the seeds of those flowers should be sent to the Holy Land for cultivation in the gardens adjoining the Shrines of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. Continuing, He said: `The real flowers are those in the garden of the hearts. The flowers of the love of God which are grown with the warmth of the Sun of Truth perfume the peoples of the world and never wither.'
At the table during lunch His discourse concerned the greatness of this time, the dignity of the world of humanity and the importance of acquiring eternal virtues and perfections. Turning to the grandchildren of Mrs Hearst He said:
In reality, children are the ornaments at the table, especially these children, who are very sweet! The hearts of children are extremely pure and simple. A person's heart must be like a child's, pure and free from all contamination.
His prayer at the dinner table was this:
He is God! How can we render Thee thanks, O Lord? Thy bounties are endless and our gratitude cannot equal them. How can the finite utter praise of the Infinite? Unable are we to voice our thanks for Thy favors and in utter powerlessness we turn wholly to Thy Kingdom beseeching the increase of Thy bestowals and bounties. Thou are the Giver, the Bestower, the Almighty.
He then gave an account of the history of the kings of the world and concluded with remarks about the death of Alexander.
When in the city of Zor316
the lamp of his life was extinguished and the last morn had dawned upon him, the wise men assembled by his corpse. One of them said, `Gracious God! The whole world could not contain this ambitious man yesterday but today a small plot of earth is sufficient to hold him.' Another remarked, `With all his greatness, glory and eloquence of speech, Alexander never advised us in such a manner as he is instructing us today with this silence.' Another said, `A few hours ago this man considered himself the sovereign of the whole world but now it has become evident that he was a servant and a subject.'
After dinner, He went into the salon. Mrs Hearst and her guests were so attracted by His words and actions that although she had not spoken openly to her relatives about the Faith and had been cautious about it, without hesitation she invited the Master to speak about the teachings of the Cause of God. He spoke of devotion to the Cause, the appearance of the lights of the Kingdom, universal peace and the oneness of humanity. After an exposition of the teachings, He spoke briefly on the variety and diversity in human capacities, adding: `Christ likened divine words to seeds, and the hearts and capacities of his listeners to soil of different kinds.' Mrs Hearst related her experiences of her days in `Akká and told of her joy on hearing a prayer chanted in the Holy Land. At her request the Master, in a melodious voice, read a prayer in eloquent Arabic. Although the listeners did not understand Arabic, most of them said that the beauty of the Tablet and `Abdu'l-Bahá's voice caused them to draw nearer to God. Some of those present this evening expressed their desire to accept the Faith. They said that although they had been aware of the Cause and had associated with the believers, by listening to the Master they now understood more.
Wednesday, October 16, 1912
[Pleasanton -- San Francisco -- Oakland]
Although some of Mrs Hearst's relatives had previously been narrow-minded and aloof, they were now humbled and transformed. This was most notable when it came time for the Master to depart and He was bidding them farewell. The Master called all of the servants and attendants of the house and the maids, orderlies, cooks and butler stood in a line before Him. He encouraged them to be truthful, honest and devoted to their work. Thanking them for their services, He said: `As I am like a father to you, I wish to leave a memento with you.' He gave each two guineas317
and left. The grand and illustrious guests stood by humbly, astonished and impressed with `Abdu'l-Bahá's generosity, grandeur and majesty.
Mrs Hearst begged `Abdu'l-Bahá to allow her to accompany Him to San Francisco. Her wish was granted and she traveled with the Master. Some of His words to her were these:
The Cause of God is sanctified from all political power and worldly affairs. Among the divine teachings are trustworthiness, detachment and sanctity. So if you should see a man coveting property and evincing greed toward the wealth of others, know that he is not of the people of Bahá. The people of Bahá are they who, should they happen to come upon a valley of gold and silver, would pass by it like lightning in utter disregard.
The Master encouraged her especially to protect and train her youngest grandchild. `This child', He said, `has a well-proportioned forehead and an open, pleasant face and if given heavenly instruction will be the cause of the eternal happiness of this family.'
When the eminent men of America and the liberal-minded people of its cities see such behavior, wisdom, majesty and power exemplified by the Master, even though they are prominent themselves, they are fascinated by His unique character and fall in love with Him.
This afternoon the Master gave an address at the Century Club in San Francisco on the rights and education of women before an audience of women and their husbands. They were captivated and so overcome with joy that they begged to be introduced to Him and to attain His presence. This was a gathering of wealthy people and there was an abundance of food and refreshments. The Master had some tea and sweets and then left. When He was outside the building, crowds of people surrounded Him, demonstrating their joy, love and respect.
After the meeting, the Master remarked:
I speak according to the demands of the time and the capacity of my listeners. `The father makes gurgling sounds for the newborn infant, although his wisdom be capable of measuring the universe.'318
Later in the evening the Master and some of the friends and His servants went to Oakland to attend the Nineteen Day Feast. On the way He spoke of the sadness of the friends in Seattle, saying:
They are upset that I am not going there. However, in spite of the great distance, they have come to see us, notwithstanding the effort involved. Had it been but a one- or two-day trip, I would have gone to Portland and Seattle but the distance is great. I would not visit Los Angeles were it not for the purpose of visiting the tomb of Mr Chase.319
The friends all have expectations but if I should want to go to all these places, the journey would become too long and that is impossible. However, in my heart there is such love for the heavenly friends that I do not wish even a speck of dust to touch them. God forbid! If I see harm coming to one of you, I will throw myself in its path to shield you.
When the Master reached the home of Mrs Goodall and Mrs Cooper He took a walk before the Feast on the shores of the lake.320
He returned for the meeting and spoke to the friends and seekers, saying:
On the way here we were saying that it never occurred to us that we would come to California and meet with the friends in this manner or that we would proclaim the Cause of God in great assemblies. How Bahá'u'lláh suffered, what persecutions and hardships He endured! He saw His property plundered and carried off. He was chained and imprisoned so that hearts would be connected, that the East and the West would find harmony, that the oneness of humanity would come about and that universal peace may reign.
The friends had gathered to play the piano and sing songs of praise while awaiting the arrival of the Master. When their melodious voices reached His ears from the lower hall, He wrote a letter to Hájí Mírzá Haydar-`Alí (the `Angel of Carmel'), beginning:
O thou who art partner and co-sharer with `Abdu'l-Bahá in servitude to the Threshold of Bahá! It is evening and these wandering birds are nestled in the home of the maidservant of God, Mrs Helen Goodall, in Oakland, California. It is the Nineteen Day Feast. A number of the faithful friends and the pure and illumined leaves of God are supplicating the all-glorious Kingdom. All the delicacies are spread and ready and the table is exquisitely arranged. Oh, how thou art missed! Severed from all else, they sing a new song and with a new voice repeat spiritual notes. They are in a state of absolute love and supplication. Oh, how thou art missed! Oh, how thou art missed!
`Abdu'l-Bahá joined the gathering, invited the friends to sit at the table and began to serve them, anointing each with perfume and serving delicacies while circulating amongst them, saying:
Praise be to God! We are assembled in the home of Mrs Goodall and Mrs Cooper in utmost love and affection. Every delicacy is provided. All hearts are in utmost love and serenity. All eyes are turned to the Abhá Kingdom. It is a good gathering, it cannot be surpassed. The Supreme Concourse is now beholding this assemblage and crying out, `Blessed are ye! Blessed are ye! O ye servants of the Blessed Beauty! Blessed are ye; blessed are ye with your radiant countenances! Blessed are ye; blessed are ye with hearts like unto rose gardens! Observe, what a favor is conferred upon you, what a bounty is bestowed upon you that `Abdu'l-Bahá is in your midst, makes mention of you and congratulates and compliments you.'
He then said, `Go on with your supper. I shall go upstairs and then come back.'
After supper `Abdu'l-Bahá returned and spoke engagingly about spiritual susceptibilities, spiritual relationships, brotherhood and the heavenly supper of the friends. The meeting concluded after a prayer in Persian chanted by the Master. The friends, full of enthusiasm and joy, came one by one to shake His hand and to beg His blessings and assistance.321
There was such heavenly joy and happiness among the friends that this meeting shall never be forgotten and shall bring forth wonderful results. The Master stayed there for the night.322
Thursday, October 17, 1912
[Oakland -- San Francisco]
The Master left for San Francisco early in the morning. He had lost His seal, so all of His Tablets and writings made during this time were signed by Him with His own pen.
Mail from the Eastern friends was brought to Him. I read a letter from Hájí Mírzá Haydar-`Alí and, on his behalf, prostrated myself at the feet of the Master. He raised me up with His hands and said, `I embrace you on behalf of Hájí.' He did this with a smile and such kindness that it will never be forgotten.
In today's gathering `Abdu'l-Bahá gave an account of the martyrs of Jahrum,323
testifying to the firmness and steadfastness of the friends in the East. The services and sincerity of Mírzá Abu'l-Fad
l were highly praised by the Master. He also gave accounts of the last days of His imprisonment in `Akká, the oppression of Sult
amíd and the conduct of the Commission of Investigation.
This commission of investigation and oppression was on its way back to Istanbul from `Akká when the majesty of the justice of God revolutionized all matters. Sultán `Abdu'l-Hamíd was deposed and one member of the commission was murdered, another died and two of them absconded. One of these two begged for his daily expenses from the friends in Egypt.
Some philosophers, religionists and civic leaders of the town came one by one to see the Master. They were attracted by His words on spiritual matters and left with the utmost sincerity. One questioned Him about spirit and matter. The Master replied:
This question may be answered in two ways, philosophically as well as spiritually. Philosophically, the answer is easy because in philosophy the spirit is energy and all matter is endowed with energy; and this power is inseparable from matter, as in electricity. In other words, matter is a vehicle for spirit but the transformation of matter does not involve the extinction of that power because transformation and transference are in the properties of matter.
Immaterial beings or realities, however, are protected and preserved and their essential power remains unaltered. The manifestation or appearance of the spirit varies due to changes in matter and bodies. This, however, does not mean that spirit itself is subject to extinction.
The listeners were pleased to hear `Abdu'l-Bahá explain this subject in detail and testified to His divine knowledge and to the cogency of His explanation and argument.
Today the Master spoke twice at public gatherings at His residence. In the first of His addresses He exhorted the audience to keep the soil of their hearts pure and holy so that the flowers of the virtues of humanity might grow and that the blessings of God might descend upon them. In His other address (given after He had taken a short walk), He explained that heat and motion are essential for the contingent world.
Friday, October 18, 1912
[San Francisco -- Los Angeles]
At the time of His departure for Los Angeles, He said to the friends from Portland and Seattle who had begged Him to come to their cities:
Send my love and good wishes to all the friends in Portland and Seattle and tell them that I am always with them. Meeting physically is as nothing compared with spiritual bonds. What is important is spiritual nearness.
When the message of the Master reached those eager friends, they telegraphed their acquiescence and instead requested permission to visit Him. They arrived during the last days of His stay in San Francisco and attained the blessing of His presence, their eyes ever filled with tears and their hearts burning with the fire of love at their nearness to the Master.
At the railway station several believers asked to be permitted to accompany `Abdu'l-Bahá to Los Angeles. Among them was Mrs Goodall. The Master had a very pleasant journey on the train. When various newspaper accounts were read to Him, He said, `These revolutions in Turkey are the preliminary stages for my return.' In the afternoon a resident of Los Angeles received permission to visit the Master in the train and entered His presence with the utmost sincerity and reverence.
Early in the evening `Abdu'l-Bahá arrived at the Hotel Lankershim and the friends from that city, in transports of joy and happiness, gathered around Him. Several church and society leaders invited Him to speak at their meetings but He replied: `I have absolutely no time. I have come here to visit Mr Chase's grave and to meet the friends. I will stay here one or two days and then I must leave.'
Saturday, October 19, 1912
After prayer and meditation, the beloved Master, accompanied by several of the friends, went to Mr Chase's grave.324
The tram stopped near the cemetery, which is located a few miles from the city. The Master alighted and walked towards the grave with dignified solemnity and serenity. He went directly to the grave site without asking directions from anyone. He praised the site and the lushness of the trees and grass. He stood there for a few minutes leaning against a nearby tree. He then stood near the grave of that distinguished man and spread over it bouquets of flowers, adorning that sanctified soil with such love and affection that bystanders were astonished. Facing in the direction of the Holy Land, the Master chanted Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet of Visitation. All stood in solemn reverence behind Him. After chanting the Tablet of Visitation, He recited a prayer in Arabic for the forgiveness of the departed soul. He then gave a short account of this faithful believer's services, steadfastness and forbearance. Before He left, He placed His forehead on the grave and kissed it. Tears flowed from the eyes of the believers as they bowed before that sacred spot, each one longing to attain to that sublime and exalted station. The spot became an abode of lovers.
When we returned to the hotel, we found a multitude of people waiting for the Master. Some representatives of the press were also present and `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke to them on various subjects. One of His statements to a newspaper reporter was this:
In the world of existence, civilization is found to be of two kinds: material civilization and spiritual civilization. Philosophers founded the former while the divine Prophets established the latter. For instance, the philosophers of Greece established a material civilization whereas Christ established a spiritual civilization. Material civilization is the cause of worldly prosperity but divine civilization is the means of eternal prosperity. If divine civilization, which is all-encompassing, is established, then material civilization will also attain perfection. When spiritual perfection is attained, then physical perfection is a certainty. Material civilization alone does not suffice and does not become the means of acquiring spiritual virtues. Rather, it leads to an increase in wars and disputes and becomes the cause of bloodshed and ruin. Despite all this, it is surprising that divine civilization has been completely forgotten and the people are constantly submerged in a sea of materialism. This is why night and day they have no peace and are engaged in war and killing. Every day there is bloodshed and ruin, suffering and distress, preparation for a universal war and the destruction of mankind.
In the afternoon He spoke to a larger crowd about the teachings of the Supreme Pen and the greatness of the Bahá'í Cause. In the course of His talk, He said:
If you desire the nearness of God, you must sever yourself from everything and become purified and sanctified from the dross of this transitory world. You must become submerged in the sea of the love of God. You must occupy your time with His mention and praise. Bahá'u'lláh alone must be the Beloved of the world. Observe: until the disciples of Christ renounced themselves they did not resuscitate the world. Thus, you must always be occupied with the mention of God and in spreading the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh.
Later some of the elite and wealthy came to see Him. They were fascinated and attracted to Him and immensely pleased to be in His presence.
At the evening meeting He spoke on the eternal benefits resulting from the gatherings of the friends, encouraged them to render service to the Cause of God and to turn themselves to the Kingdom of the Almighty Lord. At the conclusion of the meeting the Master was so exhausted that He could not even take supper. We left a little cheese and bread in His room so that He could have it if He got hungry during the night. (Often His food was as simple as this.) He usually took His meals in the dining room of the hotel but it would sometimes be brought to His room.
Sunday, October 20, 1912
Today more than the usual number of friends and seekers, from all strata of society, came to see Him. There were so many that it was impossible to see them individually, except for a very few who were granted private interviews. Therefore, a public meeting was arranged and one of the many topics, which was a warning to people of insight, was the disgrace and ignominy of the son of the arch Covenant-breaker, the lightless Sh
This man, who is wholly severed from God, is engaged in pursuing worldly desires and deception. When the fame of the Center of the Covenant spread through the city, Shu`á`u'lláh spoke about Bahá'u'lláh and his blood relationship with Him. He persuaded a newspaper editor to write two misleading articles in which he tried to show that because of his biological relationship, he was bound to inherit the station of the Prophets. The Master paid no attention to such nonsensical writings and attached no importance to Shu`á's pretensions. When a newspaper editor asked the Master about this man's relationship, He said:
I will tell you one thing and it will suffice once and for all. Beyond this neither question me nor will I reply. And that is the words of Christ when told that `your brothers have come to see you'. He said, `They are not my brethren but you are my brethren and kindred.326
Christ attached no importance to the original relationship with His brethren. Notwithstanding this, my house is open to all. He who wishes may enter and he who wishes to go out may leave.
The editor published the Master's exact words in his newspaper.
The son of the arch Covenant-breaker, who had boasted that he would speak out `in the court of the King of the Covenant' and make his wishes known, was from that time on not heard from again. He had wanted to introduce himself around and to raise himself in the estimation of those who did not know the story but he failed like Kheiralla, who, in Chicago, had sent a message asking to be summoned to see `Abdu'l-Bahá. The Master had answered him in similar terms: `Since my arrival in this city,' He said, `I have not requested to see anybody. But should anyone come to me, I will meet him with utmost kindness and regard.'
Despite this, these unjust people have spread various false rumors. They have gone so far in their careers of untruth to say that although the Master had given His word that He would see them, He had broken His promise. God protect us from the wickedness of the envious! All their impostures and connivings have been shattered, for their only hope was to create doubt and disbelief in the hearts of the people; instead they have become the means of warning them.
The Master repeatedly said: `These two persons have disgraced themselves once again. Otherwise, I would not have mentioned their names but it is not good for the Cause nor are they worthy of mention or attention.' He also said:
If they have good intentions for the Cause of God, they must render some service and they must go out to teach the Cause. If they are able, they should raise the cry of `Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá' in churches and gatherings. What will they reap by sowing doubt and disbelief? They will get nothing but manifest loss in this world and the next. The Blessed Beauty has promised explicitly that the servants and sincere ones who devote themselves to the Cause of God after His ascension shall achieve success and be made victorious. Now see which of the servants are firm and serving and which ones hinder and damage the Cause. One of their misgivings is that the true One has always been oppressed and wronged. What has this to do with the matter? Yes, initially the Cause of God has always been denied but with utmost divine aid and assistance the Lord has ever been the protector and savior of the righteous. The reward of eternity will belong to the God-fearing and honor will belong to the sincere servants of God. Thus He says in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, `Let not your hearts be perturbed, O people, when the glory of My presence is withdrawn, and the ocean of My utterance is stilled. In My presence amongst you there is a wisdom, and in My absence there is yet another, inscrutable to all but God, the Incomparable, the All-Knowing. Verily, We behold you from Our realm of glory, and 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.'327
This evening in a large auditorium the Master gave a detailed address to a group of the friends about many issues pertaining to the Cause. He spoke about the tribulations and afflictions of the Blessed Beauty and encouraged the friends to be obedient to the verses of the Supreme Pen, to be firm in the Covenant of God and to live in harmony with one another. He spoke in such explicit terms that those present were made firmly aware of their duties. He also told them about those things which are the means of preserving unity and harmony among the Bahá'ís.
Monday, October 21, 1912
From morning until noon all the rooms in the Master's suite were filled with people. Even the corridor was filled. The Master moved among the crowd, sometimes in the rooms and sometimes in the corridor, instructing the assemblage in the divine teachings, persuading them to serve the cause of universal peace and encouraging them to develop divine virtues and heavenly perfections in themselves.
When the people were told the Master was leaving, they became saddened and expressed their deep sorrow. Some churches and clubs sent messages inviting the Master to prolong His stay and to speak before their audiences. He was unable to accept their invitations and responded: `I have no time, as I must return soon to the East. Nonetheless, I have great love and attachment for each one of you.'
With great eagerness, friends both old and new brought their children to meet `Abdu'l-Bahá and to receive His blessings and protection.
As the time of departure grew near, the friends in Los Angeles were in a spiritual and prayerful mood. The Master spoke to them:
Thank the Lord that you have attained His eternal favors and have been blessed with seeing eyes. All are blind but you are endowed with sight. All are earthly but you are heavenly. Although you live on earth, you soar high in heaven. It is my hope that day by day you will seek assistance and will rise to promote the Word of God. Go every year to visit the grave of Mr Chase on my behalf, for he was a sanctified soul; his station will be known later.
I have come a long distance to see you; I have traveled 12,000 miles. Praise be to God that I have found you in spiritual joy and happiness. I pray that you may live under the care and protection of God and be assisted by Him in rendering greater service to His mighty Cause, so that each of you may become a fruit-bearing tree in the garden of His favor, full of freshness and life. May you acquire more bounties of the Kingdom and engage yourselves in guiding souls, so that Los Angeles may become a divine city and a center of the lights of the Kingdom. If the friends of God act according to the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, they will succeed in guiding the people, will promote the unity of mankind and will strive for universal peace. Heavenly confirmations will descend upon them and they shall attain that station which is the desire of the holy ones and near ones.
When the Master reached the railway station, it was learned that Mrs Goodall, without telling us, had secured pullman reservations for everyone. Although the Master had a comfortable berth in the train, He was so tired He could not sleep.
Tuesday, October 22, 1912
In the morning the Master remarked, `I did not sleep at all last night but was deep in thought.' When the train arrived at the station a group of friends greeted the Master with joy and happiness. The Master spoke repeatedly today about the steadfastness and enthusiasm of the friends in Los Angeles. His had been elated to witness their constancy in the Cause.
The believers from San Francisco and surrounding areas gathered group by group at the Master's residence, where He received them in His room. He strongly encouraged them to spread the divine fragrances and teach the Cause of God. To the seekers He gave the glad tidings of the dawning of the Morn of Guidance and the coming of the era of peace, tranquillity, amity and unity among the nations of the world.
His address in the morning at the public meeting centered around the days of the Blessed Beauty, the exaltation of the Word of the God and the vain imaginings of the followers of Yahyá. In the afternoon He spoke particularly on the duty of teaching the Cause of God and gave a detailed account of the Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed to the kings and rulers of the world.
After an evening stroll, `Abdu'l-Bahá showed special kindness to the friends from Portland and Seattle, who had arrived today to visit their beloved Master. He spoke with them on several subjects, saying, among other things: said:
Until now it never happened that someone from the East, impelled by the promptings of his conscience, should come to the West to see the friends of God and to associate with respected individuals with such sincere love and friendship and without any political or commercial motive or the desire of sightseeing. It is without precedent and is not recorded in any history. If others have come, it has been to sightsee or for commercial or other reasons.
In response to some questions, He said:
A great war and commotion shall inevitably take place in the world. Things will come to such a pass that the generality of mankind will rise against the statesmen of the world and say, `You sit in your palaces in perfect comfort; you eat and drink sumptuously; you sleep blissfully; you eat delicious food and relax in gardens with beautiful views. But for the sake of your name and worldly fame, you throw us, your subjects, into war, shed our blood and tear our bodies to pieces. But no thorn ever pricks your hands and not for a moment do you leave your rest and comfort.'328
Wednesday, October 23, 1912
[San Francisco -- Oakland]
Today there was a public meeting in Oakland at the home of Mrs Cooper and Mrs Goodall. The Master spoke kindly about the devotion and steadfastness of His hostesses and praised the firmness and enthusiasm of the California Bahá'ís.329
As these were the last days of His stay, the friends' hearts were moved and their enthusiasm and affection increased. He had lunch and dinner there.
In the evening the Master spoke of the retirement of the Blessed Beauty330
and the distress of the believers, speaking at length of Áqá Abu'l-Qásim-i-Hamadání.331
`From the circumstances, as reported,' `Abdu'l-Bahá continued,
we surmised that because Áqá Abu'l-Qásim-i-Hamadání had previously been with Bahá'u'lláh and had also set out on a journey when the Blessed Beauty disappeared, then Darvish Muhammad was really the Blessed Beauty and must be in the vicinity of Sulaymáníyyih. Thus it was that we sent the friends to petition Him, implore and supplicate Him to return to Baghdád.
After the meeting the Master went to His room but the friends implored His presence among them. He then returned to the gathering, saying, among other things:
I have now been for some time in these regions. In any city I have entered I have met with the friends and other people. In all the gatherings and most of the churches I have called out to the Abhá Kingdom and invited people to the Cause of the Blessed Beauty. At night I have implored and supplicated and prayed and asked for assistance, so that the rays of the Sun of Reality may shine on this country, illumine all the regions of America, bestow everlasting life; that its citizens may acquire heavenly civilization and that they may be bountifully favored through the teachings of the Blessed Beauty.
Praise be to God! This has come to pass through the grace of the Blessed Beauty and the assistance of the Abhá Kingdom. The call of God has been raised in all the cities of America. Accounts of the greatness of the Cause have been published even in the newspapers.
He also spoke with joy and happiness about the establishment of the Cause in the countries of the East and the firmness and steadfastness of the Persian friends.
One day, as He was strolling, He called to remembrance the days of the Blessed Beauty, referring with sadness to His sojourn in Sulaymáníyyih, to His loneliness and to the wrongs inflicted upon Him. Though He had often recounted that episode, that day He was so overcome with emotion that He sobbed aloud in His grief . . . All His attendants wept with Him, and were plunged into sorrow as they heard the tale of the woeful trials endured by the Ancient Beauty, and witnessed the tenderness of heart manifested by His Son.332
The Master remained in Oakland for the night.
Thursday, October 24, 1912
A group of believers from Oakland and the vicinity arrived. Some brought their children, supplicating the Master to give them His blessings and protection and requesting Persian names for them. All were honored and delighted to have seen the One around whom all names revolve and their eyes overflowed with tears of joy. He encouraged them to make every effort to bring about universal peace and the unity of mankind. He also spoke about His address at the Jewish temple.
On the way back to San Francisco He spoke to a group of young Bahá'ís who were teaching the Cause of God and were dedicated to diffusing the divine fragrances:
Thank God that the divine bounty has reached you, that the Sun of Truth is shining upon you and that the water of everlasting life has been provided for you. If a man drinks from a sweet spring, he ought to guide others to the same sweet water.
You have asked me to speak about how to teach the Cause of God. I have spoken at length on this but I repeat that the teacher himself must be detached and devoted so that his breath may affect others. Whoever has taken a step in this field has succeeded. The doors of knowledge are opened before him, his eyes become seeing and he is assisted with the breaths of the Holy Spirit. He is guided himself and becomes the cause of guidance of others. Of course, a person sings a joyous song only when he himself is delighted and rapturous. Thus when one begins to guide others and adduces proofs, then his taste becomes sweeter and his heart more joyful.
Moreover, everything is limited except the bounty of God and this bounty descends upon man through teaching the Cause of God; then divine inspiration will assist him. It is for this reason that Christ said that whenever you wish to talk do not think about it, the Holy Spirit will inspire you. If you desire eternal honor, everlasting life and heavenly exaltation, then teach the Cause. Divine confirmations shall attend you; this has been experienced. But it calls for firmness and steadfastness. Consider the disciples of Christ and observe with what firmness they arose until the Cause of God advanced. They even sacrificed their lives for this.
In response to a question about purchasing land for a Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, He said: `It is very good but for the present it is better to help with the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár in Chicago.'
The Master went to visit some schools and interesting places. Among them was a technical school, whose students stood respectfully in His presence. He was pleased with them and bestowed kindness upon them. He then went to see a purpose-built auditorium constructed in a circular shape with stairs and seating on three sides. Overlooking the stage one could see the entire audience. At the other end was a large podium with a platform designed in such a way that when a lecturer spoke, his voice could reach the audience without an echo. The building was very large and had been built for special occasions and public events; it had no roof. It was much admired by the Master.
In the afternoon `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke at a gathering of the believers on the importance of teaching the Cause:
Every day confirmations surround some specific pursuit and every hour has a purpose decreed for it. Today, teaching the Cause of God and spreading the divine teachings are what attract heavenly assistance. It is the season of seed-sowing and of propagating the Word of God.
In the evening He spoke about the imprisonment and persecution of the Blessed Beauty and of the power and influence of the Greatest Name. As He bade farewell to the friends, His words were powerful and impressive. The hearts of the believers were in turmoil and their eyes brimming over with tears. They were saddened because it was the end of the Master's stay among them and His lovers were feeling the pain of separation from Him.333
Friday, October 25, 1912
[San Francisco -- Sacramento]
Today we were to depart from San Francisco. The Master's residence was full to capacity with a multitude of friends. The power of the Cause, the influence of the Covenant of God and the ardor of the friends were overwhelming. What warmth and affection this gathering of true lovers generated in the early hours of the morning! When they heard the Master coming downstairs, everyone rose reverently. When they saw His feet on the stairs they raised the cry of Alláh-u-Abhá, their eyes fixed intently on His face, like sun-loving iguanas. Seeing the ardor and attraction of the friends, the Master was deeply moved, His face transformed. He anointed all with attar of rose and said to them:
Here I want to bid you farewell. This meeting and assemblage are very moving. This is the last draught in the goblet! How thankful we must be to the Blessed Perfection that He has brought the hearts so near to each other. This attar that I give you is but a token of the fragrance of the Abhá Paradise -- the best of all fragrances. I am very sad to be separated from you and I do not know how to express it. It is not possible to give tongue to the feelings of the heart. I am greatly moved because I saw the love of Bahá'u'lláh in you, I witnessed the light of Bahá'u'lláh in your beings. I am so moved that I cannot speak. I leave it to your hearts to feel what I feel. Although I am going away from you, you have your place in my heart. I will never forget you. When I reach the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, I shall lay my head on the Sacred Threshold and beseech confirmation for every one of the friends. These days of our meeting were blissful days. They cannot be bettered. I met you every day and I always found the hearts attracted, the eyes turned unto the Abhá Kingdom. There cannot be better days. Do you not forget them and I shall not. I beg of God that the results of this amity shall become evident, that it shall lead to spirituality in the world, to impart guidance to all who dwell on this earth. I hope for such results from this gathering that it will not be like other gatherings of people who forget each other as soon as they disperse. It is certain that because this gathering has been a divine assemblage, it will never be forgotten and whenever recollected it will produce fresh delight. This is my wish.
He was sad as He left the house. Some of the friends begged His permission to accompany Him to Sacramento, the capital of California. Among them were Mrs Goodall, Mrs Cooper and other wonderful handmaidens of God such as Mrs Ralston, who are serving the Cause with heart and soul.
As the train passed two or three stations beyond San Francisco, it reached a bay where there are ferries on whose decks are two railroad tracks that can be joined to the tracks on the banks. `Abdu'l-Bahá spent His time visiting with the friends and completing an article about the history of Bahá'u'lláh's time and His teachings. The train arrived in Sacramento at noon.
An elegant woman, who had previously received a promise from the Master, was at the station.334
She begged Him to grace her home with His presence. He accepted and we rode in her automobile to her home. Mrs Goodall and Mrs Cooper enthusiastically assisted the other friends accompanying the Master. En route the Master remarked to us, `Let us consult together about staying at this lady's house.' When we arrived at her home, the Master requested that Mrs Goodall and Mrs Cooper be telephoned and asked to come. When they arrived we could see that they too did not wish Him to stay at the house. The Master then said, `We must act according to the consultation with the friends.'
After the Master bestowed His kindness on the hostess, He said:
You desired greatly that we should come to your house. We have come. We shall also take luncheon here. But at night we will stay in the hotel, for in each city we have stayed at hotels. Notwithstanding the supplications of the friends to stay in their homes, we have not accepted these invitations. But today we have come to your house.
The Master spoke in this vein until the woman finally agreed. He then went to the Hotel Sacramento. On the way He spoke and said, `I desire to act always according to the counsel and wishes of the friends unless it is a very important matter which is not good for the Cause of God, then I do hold tenaciously to whatever is advantageous to the Cause.' Continuing, He said: `The value of my conduct and fellowship is not known yet, but it shall be known later.'
A meeting was held in the evening in the salon of the hotel.335
A large number of friends and seekers were attracted to the teachings and discourses of the Master. Since it was evident that there were much interest among the audience, the friends announced there would be a public meeting the following morning in the same hall.336
Saturday, October 26, 1912
`Abdu'l-Bahá's address this morning337
concerned the influence of the Divine Manifestations, together with a brief history of the Cause and its teachings, which clearly had a powerful effect on the audience. After the talk the people came to Him in groups to express their sincere interest. Journalists wrote several complimentary articles about His exposition and the divine teachings.
The friends arranged a farewell luncheon in His honor in the hotel's dining room. The table was exquisitely decorated. More than 50 friends were there, each grateful to be present. This glorious meeting of the friends from the East and the West in the presence of `Abdu'l-Bahá, so full of love and harmony, astonished all who witnessed it and hastened the spread of the Word of God. The manager of the hotel came with the utmost respect and courtesy to see `Abdu'l-Bahá and was given a seat. Later he said, `What I have seen of the majesty of this holy being is that although no one knew him in this city, yet in the course of one day and one night he has created a stir in the city and a spiritual yearning in the hearts of its people.'
Thus did the power of the Covenant of God and the grandeur of the Cause shine resplendently in the eyes of the people.
After lunch `Abdu'l-Bahá bestowed kindness upon each of the friends, exhorting and admonishing them. Every soul offered praise and glory to the Lord of the Kingdom until after midday, when the train left for Denver. When it was time for Him to leave Sacramento, `Abdu'l-Bahá was heard to say: `A spiritual commotion has for the time being been created in this city. Let us see what God desires.'
The Master passed the afternoon with His companions in the train in a delightful manner. At times He told humorous stories and at others praised the scenery of the countryside, the pleasant air and the beauty and verdancy of the surroundings. Some railway employees came to Him saying that the Master had been on the same train with them when they had traveled to California earlier. The Master replied, `Yes, it was so destined that I should see you once more on this trip. On this train there are many Greek passengers. Do you know where they are going?' They informed the Master that they were going to their country in response to a call to fight against Turkey. The Master said:
God does not want war. These wars are against the divine will. He desires peace and love for His servants. I pray that this darkness may be dispelled and the light of the Kingdom may envelop the world. God is kind to all. We, too, should be kind to one another. We should not fight for a handful of dust. The earth is our endless tomb. Is it worthy of us to wage war and shed blood for this tomb while God has destined that we win the cities of men's hearts and bestowed upon us an eternal Kingdom? Is it worthy of us to shut our eyes to such an everlasting honor and instead make war over dust?
A salesman was selling pennants from different schools. The Master said, `Tell him to bring the banner of universal peace if he has it. We want such a flag under which the whole world may find rest and peace.'
Several passengers who heard His discourses left their seats and drew near Him. Among those who were moved and impressed was a Jewish lady, who was very enthusiastic and interested. The Master said to her:
It is obvious that you have a pure character, so I want you to become aware of the truth of divine matters. At the time of each Manifestation of God the people were heedless and ignorant of the truth except for a few who investigated and understood the divine words. The same is true today. So thank God that you have been endowed with capacity and desire to investigate the truth. Know this much: that the treasury of God is replete; He will shower the same bounties and gifts on those of this day as He showered on those of previous generations. We must endeavor to gain heavenly enlightenment, to understand the mysteries of the holy books, to become the cause of guidance to others and to illumine hearts. I pray that you may strive until you are blessed with these favors.
During this conversation people were surrounding the Master, eagerly and attentively listening to His words, which they considered to be both weighty and the truth.
The same woman came to Him again in the evening, saying that she wished to be educated so as to be able to convey the teachings to others. As her words and spiritual capacity were accepted by the Master, He gave her an account of Bahá'u'lláh, explaining the reasons for the opposition to His teachings and unfolding before her the teachings of the Supreme Pen. Meanwhile, two people with socialist views requested permission to be admitted into His presence. He spoke with them on matters concerning economics, universal peace, the unity of religions and the common weal. Their happiness was boundless. As they approached the railway station they asked `Abdu'l-Bahá to give them His address and those of the Bahá'ís so they could write to them. Their request was granted.
Sunday, October 27, 1912
[En route to Salt Lake City]
When the Master emerged from the Pullman section of the train to take tea, the Jewish lady returned, saying that she was convinced of the truth of this Cause and that she had accepted the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh.
Today the Master spoke beautifully about the existence of God and other subjects. During a conversation, an individual questioned Him about His purpose in traveling to America. The Master replied:
I have come to America to raise the standard of universal peace and to promote the unity of mankind. My aim is to create love and harmony among the religions. But some people ask me, `Is your country developed? Is it prosperous and has it good trees, sweet fruits, beautiful animals and swift Arabian horses?' But I speak to them of the trees of the world of existence, of the fruits of human virtues and of heavenly morals and traits and call people to the Kingdom of God.
Such explanations transformed the minds of the hearers and created love and sincerity in their hearts.
In the afternoon we changed trains for Salt Lake City. The Jewish lady was so attracted to the Cause that she tried to change her ticket so that she could accompany the Master from Denver to Chicago. However, she was unable to do so, which made her unhappy as she was to be separated from the Master. The Master then gave her the addresses of some Bahá'ís she could contact.
The Master occupied Himself for about an hour reading many letters from the friends. He later spoke about the days of Baghdád and the apathy and ignorance of the populace. He said:
How they reproached us, but they were ignorant of the future of the Cause. They did not know that the Cause of God can make an atom a brilliant sun, bestow the magnificence of Solomon on an ant, give eternal honor to debased ones and endow the ignorant ones with divine knowledge.
We suggested that He obtain a Pullman berth but He would not permit this, saying, `The seats are comfortable. We can lean back and sleep.'
Monday, October 28, 1912
[en route to Denver]
`Abdu'l-Bahá took tea in the dining car. Áqá `Alí-Akbar Nakhjavání remarked that it seemed the Master was happier because He was going towards the East. The Master replied, `Yes, my greatest happiness is to be near the Holy Shrine.' Looking out of the window, He continued: `I love this plain because it is so much like the plain of `Akká.'
The Master then dictated replies to His letters. In the afternoon, a vendor came by with various items for sale. The Master looked at some ore specimens from the mines when a few children drew close, looking at Him with curiosity. He beckoned to them and asked, `What shall I buy you?' He spoke to them with more love and kindness than the most benevolent father and bought each child various items costing about a dollar. More children ran to Him. He said, `They, too, look poor' and also bought them a dollar's worth of items.
When they saw this, the people were interested, curious to know who this great personage was. When someone asked the Master about His aims, He gave a detailed explanation of the divine teachings. For a long period of time the passengers gathered around His seat, some standing and some sitting, listening to His sweet voice and sublime words. We had never before seen or heard the Cause taught in such a manner. It was characteristic of this journey that the Master raised the call of Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá as the train passed through the mountains, valleys, plains and rivers.
Some Turks came to see Him in the afternoon. They said that there were more than 50 of them on their way to Constantinople in response to a call to assist their government and people. They were impressed to hear the Master's explanation of universal peace and the unity of mankind. The Master asked that tea and water be brought from the train's kitchen to another compartment where He served them tea. They thanked Him for His kindness and became attracted to His noble qualities and conduct.
`Abdu'l-Bahá reached Denver at about midnight. As the Master was very tired, He went to a hotel near the station to rest.
Tuesday, October 29, 1912
When the friends were informed of the Master's arrival, they eagerly hastened to Him to gaze once more on His face. He spoke to several newspaper reporters who had come to interview Him about the Cause and who recorded His statements for publication.
At a meeting He again spoke about the cardinal in California, saying:
One day in California I saw a cardinal walking with pomp and ceremony in front of a procession. Inquiring about the occasion, I was told that a new church had been built and the cardinal was to officially open its doors to the public. I said, `This show and ceremony of the cardinal is like that of Christ. However, there is a slight difference. Christ opened the gate of heaven; this cardinal is going to open that of a church. Christ had a crowd following Him but they were there to hurl contempt and abuse at Him. This cardinal had a crowd with him but they are there to help. Christ had a crown but it was made of thorns, while this cardinal wears a crown set with lustrous jewels. Christ had clothes but they were made of old, coarse cloth, while this man's robe is made of the finest brocade of the day. Christ spent His days in sorrow, while this cardinal's days are spent in security and comfort. Christ's home was a desert, while this cardinal's home is a splendid building, like that of a king. Christ's throne was upon a cross, while this man's place of rest is a throne of ease and comfort. The adornment of Christ's banquet was the blood of that beloved countenance, while the ornament of this man's court is the goblet of colored wine. So, this cardinal's display is similar to that of Christ, with only the slightest differences.'
Although the Master told this story humorously in several gatherings in different words, it was always a warning to the people and the cause of their awakening.
Despite the Master's exhaustion, He gave two public talks: one in the afternoon at the home of Mrs Roberts and the other in the evening at the Church of the Messiah. In both gatherings He spoke of the similarity of the principles of all religions as well as the revision of certain social laws to meet the needs of the time. His explanations were delivered so impressively that the audience was enlightened as well as extremely interested.
As He was leaving the church, `Abdu'l-Bahá said farewell to all those who had gathered around Him. They pleaded with Him to stay a little longer but He said, `I must return soon to the East.'
Returning to the hotel, He instructed us to pack. We hastened to obey His orders and caught the first train. With a happy face, the Master said: `Now we are going again toward the East. We have no more work to do in America.' He did not take a sleeper on the train this evening, saying:
It is not a matter of our reluctance to pay one dollar but of our unwillingness to be dependent on bodily comfort. We must be equal to the hardships of traveling like a soldier in the path of truth and not be slaves to bodily ease and comfort. American trains especially are very clean and comfortable and there isn't great distinction between the trains except for having sleepers.
Wednesday, October 30, 1912
[En route from Denver to Chicago]
While having tea in the morning, the Master said:
This journey has passed pleasantly. The three days from California to Denver were comfortable and delightful. I did not believe that my weak constitution could bear the hardships and length of this journey.
At my request, `Abdu'l-Bahá wrote an account of His travels in America to the friends in the East. This piece of writing and another article about the history and teachings of the Blessed Beauty are still among the papers of His personal belongings and have not as yet been circulated.
In the afternoon `Abdu'l-Bahá conversed with passengers seated near Him, and after a few introductory remarks, spoke to them about the teachings. As the call was raised in the train, others clustered around Him and were delighted to hear His discourse on the unity of mankind, universal peace and divine civilization. Most of the passengers were interested and wanted to know more.
A man of Sufi inclinations saw the others listening with rapt attention, and spellbound by the words of the Master, asked to come near. The Master had him sit close by. After a few words, the man said, `All are from God.' The Master replied:
Yes, this is true, but one man is so exalted that others bow down before Him and He is adored by them like Christ or Moses, who called people to the oneness of divinity and who became the cause of the education of a nation, while another is so degraded that he bows down before dust and worships ants and serpents. Are these two one and the same? No, certainly not! Divine Manifestations are a different creation. All humanity is created by God but how they differ in intelligence. One is the wisest of the wise and the founder of the laws of happiness and prosperity, while the other is the most ignorant of the ignorant and a destroyer of the edifice of peace and honor.
Prophets, therefore, have a station of their own. Many people crossed the desert of Sinai but it was Moses who heard the voice of God because the divine Manifestations have a spiritual power peculiar to themselves. Mighty nations existed at the time of the appearance of the divine Manifestations but they were degraded and became obliterated. But observe what a banner of unique being Christ unfurled without friend or helper. All are from God but all have different stations. Both men and animals are from God but what a difference there is between them.
A minister visited Him. The Master advised him to abstain from dogmatic imitation and described to him the real meaning of baptism. Everyone was impressed by the Master's explanations and asked for addresses of the friends from whom they could learn more about the Bahá'í teachings.
In the evening He said, `Let us reserve sleepers for all of us. We slept in our seats last night and that is enough. Let us not suffer any more hardship.' We suggested that we would just get a sleeper for Him but He replied, `No, we must share equally.' Therefore, six sleepers were reserved for the night.
Thursday, October 31, 1912
[En route from Denver to Chicago]
At daybreak the train was only one station from Chicago. Here, one of the most sincere Bahá'ís, Mr [Albert] Windust, who is the editor of the Star of the West, boarded the train to welcome the Master and became the recipient of His kindness and favors.
The Master remarked this morning:
It is now more than two years that I have been far from the Holy Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh. Now I must return. If God wills it, I shall make another journey in another direction according to a special program which I have already thought out, so that I can proclaim the Word of God in another way. Let us see what is the will of God. Now we are traveling from California to Chicago. Praise be to God that this journey has passed most pleasantly. At the time of leaving Haifa, I had several ailments and did not expect to cross oceans and plains with such ease and comfort and to make such a long journey.
When the train reached the station in Chicago, the friends were transported with joy on seeing the Master's face. The Master went to the Hotel Plaza where He had stayed during His first visit. People came in groups to see Him and remained in His presence until late in the afternoon. Many ministers invited Him to speak in their churches. He accepted some invitations but had to send regrets to others because of the lack of time. Some journalists were given detailed interviews about the history and teachings of this great Cause, which they took down for publication.
Some of `Abdu'l-Bahá's comments to the friends were these:
We went to California and a great commotion was set up in the souls. A new spirit was breathed into people. In universities, churches and gatherings people were stirred and the blessed Cause was proclaimed. Decisive proofs were advanced and the teachings of the Blessed Beauty were explained. No one took exception; rather, all offered praise and glory, even the clergymen.
Some engineers came to Him and He said to them:
This Cause has spread all over the world. It has brought peace and tranquillity to different nations and religions, has united diverse peoples and has laid the foundation for the prosperity of mankind. Among its principles are the establishment of universal peace among nations and governments, the oneness of the world of humanity and the uniting of sects and religions under the tabernacle of unity.
Then turning towards some new inquirers, He said:
Behold the creative power of Bahá'u'lláh! He brought us from the most remote countries of the East and acquainted us with you. How He has connected our hearts and attracted our spirits to each other and has drawn all under the banner of peace and tranquillity! See how He has delivered us from religious, political, national and racial prejudices and saved us from the gloom of superstitions. Behold what a power this is! Had all the powers of the earth combined they could not have joined the hearts in such a manner but Bahá'u'lláh has joined all with a single word. Such is the power of Bahá'u'lláh! We must all turn toward the Abhá Kingdom and pray for confirmation and help so that His aid and assistance can support us from all sides and that we may become the cause of proclaiming the Word of God and of bringing peace and salvation to the people of the world. We must render service to the Kingdom of God so that divine grace may surround all and the favors of Bahá'u'lláh may attain full expression.
To another group of the friends He said:
This is the third time that I am in Chicago. It is now your turn to come and visit the Holy Shrine. Praise be to God that divine grace has encircled you! He has chosen you from among His creation and made you favorites of His court. How many are the divines who have called on God in their churches saying, `O our Lord! O our Lord!' Yet when their Lord appeared they remained veiled. You were neither ministers nor monks and you have attained this grace. This is what Christ meant when He said, `Many are called but few are chosen' [Matt. 20:16; 22:14]. Similarly, He said, `The people are entering the Kingdom from all directions but the sons of the Kingdom are leaving it.'338
Although from distant lands, you have become enlightened whereas most of the countrymen and neighbors of Bahá'u'lláh have remained veiled. Be thankful unto God!
`Abdu'l-Bahá delivered a public address in the hotel's salon, giving decisive proofs of the greatness and power of the Cause.339
As a result, many people learned of the divine teachings and were attracted to the fragrances of God. After dinner Mrs Waite sat at the piano and sang a song she had written in praise of the Beauty of the Covenant.