August 5, 1912: The Week Ahead 1
THE QUIET LITTLE TOWN of Dublin, New Hampshire, it turns out, is a crossroads of some of the most controversial discussions in American life. Over the last ten days we’ve looked at Eugenics, the artistic representation of indigenous peoples, and interracial marriage.
In the week ahead, the new Progressive Party convenes for its national convention in Chicago, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá weighs in on materialist philosophy, and a look at “the language of religion.”
New Hampshire 2
On the afternoon of August 5 among the people that crowded to be with Him in Dublin were two ladies who were hard of hearing, They asked the translator if they could sit near ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in order to hear Him with their ear trumpets. Abdu’l-Bahá replied, “‘Yes, the nearer they come, the better they will hear the Words of God… It matters little in what way or be what means they hear it.’”
Talk at Dublin Inn, Dublin, New Hampshire 3
But we ask for things which the divine wisdom does not desire for us, and there is no answer to our prayer. His wisdom does not sanction what we wish. We pray, “O God! Make me wealthy!” If this prayer were universally answered, human affairs would be at a standstill. There would be none left to work in the streets, none to till the soil, none to build, none to run the trains. Therefore, it is evident that it would not be well for us if all prayers were answered. The affairs of the world would be interfered with, energies crippled and progress hindered. But whatever we ask for which is in accord with divine wisdom, God will answer. Assuredly!
When a man observes the wafting of the breeze among these trees, he hears the rustling of the leaves and sees the swaying of the trees, it is as though all are praising and acknowledging the one true God. 4
Standing on the lawn and facing the green and verdant hills and valleys, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said:
How calm it is. No disturbing sound is heard. When a man observes the wafting of the breeze among these trees, he hears the rustling of the leaves and sees the swaying of the trees, it is as though all are praising and acknowledging the one true God.
Before the afternoon meeting a devoted lady told the Master that one of her friends, when informed that she was planning to attend the meeting, strongly advised her not to go lest she fall into a trap. He said to her:
It has always been the practice of the heedless to hold back the sincere ones from the Cause of God. As for a trap, praise be to God that we have been trapped happily for sixty years and we have no desire to escape. It is a trap that frees people from the shackles of prejudice and superstitions and delivers them from the prison of self and desire. It makes them the captives of the love of God and of service to the Cause of the oneness of humanity.
After delivering the message of God and explaining the divine teachings, the Master spoke humorously about the philosophers.
They say that had there been a spiritual world they would have sensed it. But, as a matter of fact, inability to sense a thing is not a proof of the nonexistence of that thing. If inability to sense constitutes proof of perfection, the cow must be the greatest philosopher, for she does not realize anything beyond the animal world.
This amusing statement that the cow is the greatest of all philosophers caused everyone to laugh. After the meeting, some men and women invited Him to go for a ride in their automobile. While driving, a herd of cows passed in front of the automobile and, becoming frightened, began to run about every which way. The ladies in the car cried out, ‘Oh Master, see the crowd of philosophers. How frightened they are running away from us.’ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá laughed so heartily that He tired Himself. As the Americans like such jests, it became an oft- repeated remark.
- Sockett, Robert. “August 5, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 5 Aug. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/08/05/august-5-1912-the-week-ahead/. [return]
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 121. [return]
- 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, 247. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/18#294361180 [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=6#section134 [return]