The World Is Thinking of War 1
“THE PEOPLE OF THIS world are thinking of warfare,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told an audience in Denver, Colorado, on September 24, 1912, “you must be peacemakers.” Two days earlier, in Omaha, Nebraska, news reached ‘Abdu’l-Bahá of the impending conflict in the Balkan Peninsula. By the time he arrived in Colorado, the front pages of every newspaper in the country were trumpeting that the tensions in the Balkans were about to escalate.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá had lamented Italy’s invasion of Tripoli on April 12, 1912, his second day in America. In 1911, Italian troops had landed on the shores of the Ottoman provinces of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, in what is now western Libya. Italy’s victory emboldened the Balkan states in their own military aspirations against the Muslims. During the summer months of 1912, the Christian Balkan states -— Serbia, Greece, Montenegro, and Bulgaria -— created the Balkan League, whose mandate was to rid the area of the Ottomans.
On September 22, in Omaha, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had described how a general European war could be averted. North and South American republics should put pressure on European nations, financiers should refuse to give military loans, railroads should refuse to transport arms. When he arrived in Denver on September 24, he raised the issue of war and peace immediately.
Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2
After the morning sessions on September 24 He walked through the park. Many people stopped and looked, and some took photographs as He passed by. One of the friends remarked that, with their diversity of Easter and Western clothes, people were looking upon the sight as a comedy. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá laughed, “‘Yea, it is heavenly fun, a performance of the Kingdom and a wonderful theater.’”
When He went by train to the suburban home of Mrs. Clark in the afternoon, again some observers were whispering about them. Abdu’l-Bahá told the friends to tell them, “‘We are neither Turks nor Arabs; neither of the East nor of the West; but we are of heaven and of God.’”
I have brought the message of Bahá’u’lláh to this country in order to teach people to investigate truth, to render service to humanity, to endeavor to bring about international peace, to exert every effort to guide humanity, to show kindness to all creatures and to raise the Call of the Kingdom. 3
When the Master arrived at Mrs Clark’s home, several of the friends had already gathered to see Him. He spoke to them about the confirmations of the Abhá Beauty and the power and influence of the Word of God. ‘See how He has made the Easterner and the Westerner friends’, He said, ‘and has bestowed sincere love and true friendship. Otherwise, what connection would there be between us and Americans, between this Japanese youth and Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání? Mrs Clark said: ‘I have frequently dreamt that my home would become honored with the footsteps of the Beloved Master. I am extremely thankful and grateful that my dreams have come true. My heart is now freed from ego, whereas before I used to consider myself better than anyone else.’ The Master said:
Thank God, because the first self-conceited one was Satan. A man must never consider himself greater than others. Rather, he must always be humble and self-effacing. The bird, as long as it sees itself at a low level, is given impetus to soar and progress; but the moment it fancies itself high in the air, it begins to descend.
Someone in the audience asked, ‘What shall I do to become a true servant?’ He replied:
Act in accordance with the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. Do not only read His teachings but put into practice in your lives the Hidden Words and the other holy writings. Whatever I say is not even a drop from the ocean of the Supreme Pen and the treasure-filled sea of the bounty and favor of the Abhá Beauty.
I have brought the message of Bahá’u’lláh to this country in order to teach people to investigate truth, to render service to humanity, to endeavor to bring about international peace, to exert every effort to guide humanity, to show kindness to all creatures and to raise the Call of the Kingdom. Man must be endowed with divine attributes and must enter the concourse of the exalted ones. These teachings are only a drop from the sea concealed in the Hidden Words. We must pray for each other. If we act according to the divine teachings, by God besides Whom there is none other God, we shall shine like lamps. But woe betide those people who are aware of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and know them to be the cause of eternal salvation and divine nearness but still do not bring their actions into conformity with them. Such is a source of great distress. Thus it is incumbent upon us to endeavor day and night to follow the teachings of God. This is the cause of eternal esteem, this is divine favor, this is the honor of mankind and this is everlasting life.
Another person asked about telepathy or communication from mind to mind. He replied:
It is evident. If a lover holds the hand of a beloved, it is obvious what feelings ensue. They communicate face to face and speak heart to heart, as this light is communicating now with human eyes, the sun with the earth, the cloud with the land and the breeze with the tree. This process is found in all things.
The Master was asked about His health and comfort, to which He replied:
I have not come for rest and diversion. I have come to raise the call of the Abhá Kingdom in order to diffuse the divine fragrances. Had I desired rest, I would have secured it more easily in the East. Now I must journey to various cities and countries and call people to the divine Kingdom. Suppose I had rested for a few years, what results would it have had?
Talk at Home of Mrs. Sidney E. Roberts, Denver, Colorado 4
Praise be to God! We are living in a century of light. Praise be to God! We are upon earth in the day of divine effulgence. Praise be to God! We are alive in this time of the manifestation of divine love. Praise be to God that we live in the day of the outpouring of heavenly bounty. Praise be to God! This is a day wherein the lights and splendors have awakened progress throughout the East and the West. Many holy souls in former times longed to witness this century, lamenting night and day, yearning to be upon the earth in this cycle; but our presence and privilege is the beneficent gift of the Lord. In His divine mercy and absolute virtue He has bestowed this upon us, even as Christ declared, “Many are called but few are chosen.” Verily, God has chosen you for His love and knowledge; God has chosen you for the worthy service of unifying mankind; God has chosen you for the purpose of investigating reality and promulgating international peace; God has chosen you for the progress and development of humanity, for spreading and proclaiming true education, for the expression of love toward your fellow creatures and the removal of prejudice; God has chosen you to blend together human hearts and give light to the human world. The doors of His generosity are wide, wide open to us; but we must be attentive, alert and mindful, occupied with service to all mankind, appreciating the bestowals of God and ever conforming to His will.
- Sockett, Robert. “The World Is Thinking of War.” 239 Days in America, 24 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/24/the-world-is-thinking-of-war/. [return]
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 152-153. [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=7#section184 [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, 334-335. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/26#063559568 [return]