Out and About in New York 1

Since ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had returned from Chicago on May 11, he had been living on the top floor of the Hudson Apartment House at 227 Riverside Drive, but the landlord had asked him to leave because the constant stream of visitors was too much for his staff to handle. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá then moved for a few days to the home of Edward and Carrie Kinney, just around the corner at 780 West End Avenue. But before returning from Milford, he had asked his staff to rent the new house on West 78th Street.

There was already a gathering waiting to meet him. When speaking to them he compared the material advances of America to “a glass of the utmost transparency and purity,” the purpose of which is to bring about “divine civilization,” which acts as the “shining lamp.” Unlike the other famous Eastern visitors to America, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá did not condemn the industrial success of the nation. Instead, “the more people advance in the material realm, he said, “the more their capacity for attaining spirituality is augmented.” He continued: “The sounder the body, the greater is the resplendency and manifestation of the spirit.” The material world does not impede spirituality, but rather “the dogmas and imitations that are contrary to true science and a sound mind.”

Hearts were saddened 2

One of our companions showed such grave negligence and impudence that the heart of the beloved Master as well as our own hearts were saddened. However, observing his behavior and the forbearance of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, we have not written about his actions, which were often the source of grief to the Master.

New York, Philadelphia, New York 3

The next day, [June 7] Mahmúd noted, “One of the servants showed such negligence and impudence that the Most Holy Heart and the hearts of the servants of the Holy Threshold were made sad.”

  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “Out and About in New York.” 239 Days in America, 7 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/07/new-york-new-york/. [return]
  2. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=4#section75 [return]
  3. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 87. [return]