“Within Greenacre’s Mystic Charm and Calm”  1

“IT APPEARS A SINGULAR thing,” the reporter wrote, “that so many famous people could have been attracted to this little town up in Maine… . But as soon as one arrives at Greenacre and gets to know that wonderful woman, Miss Sarah Farmer, the life and the spirit of the Greenacre movement, wonder vanishes.”

We don’t know this reporter’s name, but he spent a day in Eliot during the second week of August, 1899, recording his impressions in a long news feature printed in the Lewiston Saturday Journal on the twelfth of the month: “Within Greenacre’s Mystic Charm and Calm: The Remarkable Colony of Ideals That Has Been Grafted Upon a Prosaic Maine Country Side.”

Green Acre 2

In a group of people who came to see Him on August 21 was a girl who said, “‘I have to beg your assistance. Tell me what I am fitted to do so that I may occupy myself with it?’” He asked her, “‘Do you believe in Me?’” When she replied, “‘Yes,’” He answered, “‘Be a perfect Bahá’í. Associate with Bahá’ís. Learn the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. Then you will be assisted in whatever you undertake to do.’” she responded, “‘I am a good Jewess,’” and He told her, “‘A good Jew becomes a Bahá’í. The foundation truth of the religion of His Holiness Moses and His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh is one. Turn yourself towards Bahá’u’lláh and you will get peace and tranquillity. …’” She threw herself at His feet and cried.

17 August 1912, Talk at Green Acre, Eliot, Maine 3

How wonderful it is! How powerful the spirit of man, while his body is so weak! If the susceptibilities of the spirit control him, there is no created being more heroic, more undaunted than man; but if physical forces dominate, you cannot find a more cowardly or fearful object because the body is so weak and incapable. Therefore, it is divinely intended that the spiritual susceptibilities of man should gain precedence and overrule his physical forces. In this way he becomes fitted to dominate the human world by his nobility and stand forth fearless and free, endowed with the attributes of eternal life.

The transformation of such people is a momentous task which will produce great results. 4

He spoke in the same vein with everyone. There were two people, Dr and Mrs Moore, who had been antagonistic towards the Cause of God from the very beginning. However, they had become so attracted and transformed that they came into the Master’s presence with great humility and pledged themselves to the service of the truth. The transformation of such people is a momentous task which will produce great results.

In the afternoon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá went by automobile to the home of Mrs [Kate] Ives and sat next to the driver, which is where members of His entourage usually sit. He sat there until the party arrived. When a number of the friends had gathered, He went with them to the hill of Monsalvat. As soon as He arrived about four hundred people sang songs of praise to Him in unison. He addressed this gathering on the necessity of founding the school for the investigation of religions which Miss Farmer wished to establish on that mountain. A moving picture of this gathering was taken.

The gathering was also characterized by a renewed enthusiasm, ardor and love, which seemed to draw all hearts. It was an auspicious day.

He then went to Mrs [Esther Annie] Magee’s home where He dined with a group of friends. He spoke to them about the proofs and evidences of the existence of God and the composition of elements according to the will of the Almighty.

  1. Menon, Jonathan. “‘Within Greenacre’s Mystic Charm and Calm.’” 239 Days in America, 21 Aug. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/08/21/within-greenacres-mystic-charm-and-calm/. [return]
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 129-130. [return]
  3. 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, 264. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/19#916420712 [return]
  4. ’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#section150 [return]