A Modern Man from the Middle East? 1

“A side idea of Abdul’s is that things modern are just as good as things ancient,” piped the Evening Mail’s editorial page. “This makes the white-bearded and snowy-turbaned leader exactly as much at home on Broadway, in New York, as he was in the lonely cell at Acre … .” He is, they wrote, “the strange anomaly of an oriental mystic who believes in woman suffrage and modern development.” “He is worth his picture in the papers.”

First Days in America: New York City

When He spoke to an immense crowd at Mrs. Marjorie Morten’s home that afternoon, He stood on a staircase, His translator standing a step below Him. When the translator could not render tábistán into English, after a dead silence, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá laughed and said to him, “Summer!”2 3

Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Morten, 141 East Twenty-first Street, New York

The spiritual world is like unto the phenomenal world. They are the exact counterpart of each other. Whatever objects appear in this world of existence are the outer pictures of the world of heaven. When we look upon the phenomenal world, we perceive that it is divided into four seasons; one is the season of spring, another the season of summer, another autumn and then these three seasons are followed by winter.

The appearances of the Manifestations of God are the divine springtime.

Bahá’u’lláh has come into this world. He has renewed that springtime.4

  1. Menon, Jonathan. “A Modern Man from the Middle East?” 239 Days in America, April 13, 2012. https://239days.com/2012/04/13/a-modern-man-from-the-middle-east/. [return]
  2. Diary of Juliet Thompson, National Bahá’í Archives, Wilmette, Ill., entry for Apr. 13, 1912. [return]
  3. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 21. [return]
  4. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 10. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#987049026 [return]