Deeds, Not Words 1 > THROUGHOUT HIS TIME IN America, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke on peace, social justice, generosity, and even thankfulness. In each case he stressed the need for practical solutions over mere words. “Those who do most good use fewest words,” he once commented. > > On May 14, 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá delivered a talk to the leaders of the peace movement at the Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitration in the Shawangunk Mountains outside of New York. He laid out a number of principles necessary to peace, including the elimination of the extremes of wealth and poverty, and the need for harmony between the systems of science and religion. The next day, to a group of youth, he noted: “It is very easy to come here, camp near this beautiful lake, on these charming hills, far away from everybody and deliver speeches on Universal Peace. These ideals should be spread and put in action over there [Europe], not here in the world’s most peaceful corner.” > > Even as a prisoner under house arrest in ‘Akká, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá took action to provide solutions to the needs of the community. > > He set up a school to educate children, helped feed the poor and find them jobs, and encouraged his fellow exiles to attend to the sick, crippled, and aged, regardless of their religion. In America, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá continued this pattern, making a point of visiting the Bowery Mission in New York. > > On May 30, 1912, at the Theosophical Lodge in New York, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá pointed out that knowledge is not enough to solve the world’s problems. “To admit that health is good does not constitute health,” he said. Knowledge must be applied, he said, “the remedy carried out.”

The attributes of the world of humanity, spiritual courage and valor 2 > ‘Abdu’l-Bahá received an invitation from the Consul General of Turkey. After meeting with the friends and expressing His happiness at their devotion and unity, He left for the Consul’s home. He took the ferry across the water, then a tram and arrived at the Consul General’s house. The Consul himself had gone to meet the Master by another route but his wife and relatives received Him with the utmost respect and reverence until the Consul General returned. > > A number of prominent men and statesmen, as well as the Consul General, were present. The Master rested for a short time in one of the rooms. Then the Consul General, praising ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, introduced Him to the audience. The Master came to the table and spoke on the danger of wine and alcohol. He then considered some philosophical subjects and answered questions from the Consul’s wife about misconduct and its harmful consequences. She was pleased and when He was about to depart expressed her gratitude by kissing His hand. Everyone begged His pardon for any lack in their service to Him. > > The Consul General’s brother-in-law requested and obtained permission to take the Master’s photograph. The Consul General then accompanied the Master to the railway station to see Him off, even though ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had asked him not to do so. > > At a gathering of Armenians in the evening the Master gave a stirring and impressive talk concerning the attributes of the world of humanity, spiritual courage and valor. His talk was not recorded because we arrived at the meeting late.

Universality is of God while every limitation is human. 3 > The esteemed Bahá’í Monsieur Dreyfus of Paris came to visit the Master. One of the Master’s talks at the meeting of the friends was about services beneficial to the world of humanity. ‘Universality is of God,’ He said, ‘while every limitation is human.’ Continuing, He said, ‘The Sun of Truth has risen always in the East and yet it has shone with greater luster in the West.’ Mr Kaufman remarked that he had read in the newspapers about the Master’s journey to the West and understood that the purpose of His journey was for the upliftment and education of the West as well as of the East. Mr Kaufman then asked, ‘Will the East regain its former glory?’ The Master replied, ‘It will be greater than before.’ The Master then spoke about eternal life and everlasting honor and said: > > How many great men have come into the world! What wealth they have owned! What kings have sat on the thrones of glory and riches! What beautiful and comely people have adorned the world of man! But what has been the outcome? Honor, life, luxury and pleasure have all perished. But the fame of the beauty of Joseph is still universal and the honor of the disciples of Christ still endures; their sufferings are the cause of life everlasting. > > At dinner a number of the Eastern and Western friends were at the Master’s table. Mrs True and some other friends asked His permission to serve the guests, which He gave.

  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “Deeds, Not Words.” 239 Days in America, 21 July 2012, [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. [return]
  3. ’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. [return]