239 Days in America, Day 176: October 3, 1912 | San Francisco
‘Abdu’l-Bahá Reaches the City by the Bay 1
NOT UNTIL 1930 WOULD they build bridges to span the gulf between the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay and the resurrected city that gave it its name. The iron ribbons therefore terminated in Oakland, emptying passengers who had chugged west across the continent into ferry boats for the final ply across the water to their docks. From there they would walk along the wharf, and down a long corridor, and step out onto The Embarcadero to be met.
“Slowly the hours seemed to pass,” Dr. Frederick D’Evelyn wrote many years later. “Eventide came, and with it, disconcerting reports of delay… . Telegrams to railway headquarters brought the discomforting news that [the] schedule time had been abandoned, and no time of arrival was hazarded.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá had departed Salt Lake City at 2:50 p.m. on October 1. After crossing Great Salt Lake he and his party had missed their train connection in Montello, Nevada, causing a delay of many hours. Now it was the middle of the night on October 2. In San Francisco, at 1815 California Street, near Lafayette Park, Dr. D’Evelyn waited impatiently for the visitors to arrive. Just after midnight he received a telegram, telling the friends who were with him not to wait. “Send only one friend to depot,” it read. …
As there are four seasons in this material world, so it is in the spiritual world. 2
Many friends, both old and new, had the honor of visiting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and receiving enlightenment from Him. Some of His words to the gathering of the friends were these:
As there are four seasons in this material world, so it is in the spiritual world. When the divine spring is over and the heavenly bounty ceases, the trees of being lie dormant. Lifelessness and stillness prevail over the world of man. People become spiritless and withered. Autumn and winter set in. There exists no flower or greenery, no cheerfulness or mirth, no happiness or joy. Then the spiritual spring spreads its tent once more. The gardens of the hearts regain their freshness, charm and verdure. The buds of knowledge open and the anemones of reality appear. The world of man becomes another world. This is the divine law and is a requirement of the world of creation. This is the cause of the appearance of the many Manifestations of God.
In the afternoon, after seeing many visitors and answering questions from some reporters, at the invitation of Mrs Goodall the Master went to see the beautiful and tranquil Golden Gate Park located outside of the city. In the automobile on the way to the park the Master spoke about the grandeur of the Revelation of the Blessed Beauty:
No one was a denier of His virtues. All the wise men of the East considered Him the greatest person in the world. But they said, ‘Alas, that He has claimed divinity for Himself.’ Many of the people of the East said and wrote about me, too, ‘all agree that he excels in knowledge, learning, speech and explanation, but, alas! he is the propagator of a new law’. They expected us to be servants and propagators of their old dogmas and customs, not knowing that we are obliged to serve humanity and spread universal love and harmony.
He concluded, ‘If all others have a few daughters and sons, I have thousands of spiritual offspring and heavenly children like you.’
When He returned, and after seeing the friends and bestowing His favors upon them, He sent telegrams to the assemblies in the East. Among them was this: ‘Rejoicing among friends of God in San Francisco. Truly confirmations are overwhelming and happiness complete. ‘Abbás.’
25 September 1912, Talk at Second Divine Science Church, 3929 West Thirty-eighth Avenue, Denver, Colorado 3
The proof of the validity of a Manifestation of God is the penetration and potency of His Word, the cultivation of heavenly attributes in the hearts and lives of His followers and the bestowal of divine education upon the world of humanity. This is absolute proof. The world is a school in which there must be Teachers of the Word of God. The evidence of the ability of these Teachers is efficient education of the graduating classes.
- Menon, Jonathan. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá Reaches the City by the Bay.” 239 Days in America, 3 Oct. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/10/03/abdul-baha-reaches-the-city-by-the-bay/. [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=8#section194 [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, 341. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/26#248628269 [return]