’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey So Far: Month Three 1
Today marks the end of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s third month in America. We thought we’d take this opportunity to look back at some of the highlights of the past month…
New York City 2
‘Abdu’l-Bahá searched every face and every heart, encouraging the beginners, urging the learners, directing the more advanced, opening vistas of the spiritual world to their inner vision, inviting them, by His words and examples, to enter this world, and, while walking on the earth, to react to the divine realities instead of the material facade that covered the true spiritual environment.
_Diary of Juliet Thompson_, 12 July 1912 3
But the very next day [July 11] another picture, of very different children, was superimposed upon this.
In the afternoon around three o’clock I returned with Rhoda Nichols only to meet Him just going out with the Persians. He smiled, then walked swiftly toward the river, but Ahmad, dropping behind, called to Rhoda and me: “Come along with us to the Harrises’.” We should have known better than to go, for the Master had not invited us, but we couldn’t resist the temptation. So we followed up Riverside Drive, then West End Avenue, till we came to Ninety-Fifth Street, where Mr [William Hooper] and Mrs [Gertrude] Harris live. A tenement house neighbourhood.
As we approached Ninety-Fifth Street, there we saw them: the different children. There must have been nearly a hundred of them, playing in the street with their hoops and balls. But, when the Master drew near, all shining white in His long flowing robes, they immediately stopped playing. It all happened instantaneously. The next moment they had fallen into formation and were marching down the street behind Him (we had turned east toward Central Park), some of them still rolling their hoops. Without one word they followed, their little faces almost solemn. They made me think of a real and beautiful Children’s Crusade.
We came to the house where the Harrises live and walked up five steep flights, but when Mrs Harris opened her apartment door and Rhoda and I saw a table inside set only for the Master and the Persians, we backed away terribly embarrassed and lost no time in getting downstairs. After all, we couldn’t have foreseen a luncheon at three o’clock!
When we opened the street door, there were the children again, surrounding the house, silently looking up at it. A little yellow-haired girl came running up the stoop to me. She seemed to be the spokesman for the others. Breathlessly she asked: “Please, ma’am, tell us. _Is He Christ?_”
I sat down on the stoop while the whole crowd of children swarmed and pushed around me. “I will tell you all about Him,” I said. Then I whispered to Rhoda: “Go upstairs again, dear, and let the Master know what is happening.”
She returned with a wonderful message from the Master, an invitation to all the children to come to a feast to be given specially for them at the [Edward and Carrie] Kinneys’ house next Sunday.
The divine Tablets should be engraved on precious stones. 4
People from many different backgrounds continuously visited the Master. It seemed He was not silent for a moment. At one time He spoke of the discord among the various branches of Christianity, and at another, the degrees of oneness. He spoke of the despair of the material world and advanced decisive proofs of the necessity for divine power. The next moment He discussed the tribulations and persecutions suffered by the Ancient Beauty and the eventual victory of the Cause of God over all the powers of the world. At yet another moment He spoke of the veils which obscure the people at the time of the appearance of the Manifestation of the Preexistent Beauty. One of the explanations given today concerned the meaning of the Tablets of chrysolite mentioned in the Hidden Words, about which one of the friends had asked. The Master replied:
What is meant is one of the holy Tablets. But it also alludes to the fact that the divine Tablets should be engraved on precious stones. In addition, there is a saying in the East by which the color white symbolizes divine will; red, divine decree and martyrdom; green, predestination; and yellow, execution of the decree.
The day was cloudy and rainy. The weather in New York is like the rainy season in India. The evening was cooler, and when the rain stopped, a large number of friends and seekers came to visit the Master. He spoke to them about the outpouring of the showers of mercy and divine bounty and the fact that the bounties of the All-Bounteous God will never cease.
Today Mr and Mrs Clark said they wished to visit the Master and to obtain permission to go to Tabríz in Persia. The Master asked Valíyu’lláh Khán-i-Varqá to write and ask them to wait a little while. But as they came so eagerly and quickly to New York to secure permission, saying that they had been invited by the people of Tabríz, He permitted them to leave for Persia.
- Sockett, Robert. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey So Far: Month Three ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.” 239 Days in America, 11 July 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/07/11/abdul-bahas-journey-so-far-month-three/. [return]
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 110. [return]
- Thompson, Juliet. The Diary of Juliet Thompson. Edited by Marzieh Gail. 1st ed. 1947. Reprint, Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1983, 335-336. https://bahai-library.com/thompson_diary&chapter=4#fnB90 [return]
- ’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=5#section108 [return]