239 Days in America, Day 177: October 4, 1912 | San Francisco
America’s Unique Geopolitical Position 1
“MY GREATEST HAPPINESS THIS morning is this,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle on October 3, 1912, “That I have come to such a modern and progressive city. Praise be to God everything is beautiful and there seems to be much joy here.” …
On the other hand, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá asserted, “The American democracy is not founded upon warlike doctrines. Hence it becomes this democracy to uphold international peace and spread it throughout the world.” But he was advocating more than diplomatic niceties. America, he said, had the ability to use its moral suasion and industrial power to forge an international court of arbitration backed by a binding global collective security agreement that could banish international war. “In case any Government or nation should prove rebellious concerning any decision of the court,” he told the Chronicle, “the other nations should coalesce to force it into obedience.”
“A more fervent hope and a fonder desire concerning the American people,” he concluded, “is that their instrumentality shall be such as to enlarge the scope of this scheme and that earnest concerted action from the nations of the world will result therefrom.”
On October 4, after an afternoon visit to Golden Gate Park, Abdu’l-Bahá sent one of His frequent telegrams to the Persian friends, informing them of the events of His historic journey. This time He reported, “‘We are in utmost joy among the friends of San Francisco. The confirmations are really overwhelming and the happiness overflowing.’”
In reality, the world of being has become a new world. Thus, the principles of religion also must be renewed. 3
After morning prayers, two Japanese Bahá’ís came to see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The Master expressed His happiness on seeing their faith and sincerity in the Cause, saying:
This is an historic event. It is out of the ordinary that an Iranian should meet Japanese people in San Francisco with such love and harmony. This is through the power of Bahá’u’lláh and calls for our thankfulness and happiness. If it be said that Bahá’u’lláh brought a man from heaven and another from earth and caused them to meet midway between the earth and heaven, do not be surprised. The power of Bahá’u’lláh makes all difficulties simple. I like the Japanese greatly because they are audacious and intelligent. Whatever they turn their attention to, it becomes a success.
The visitors invited the Master to come to Japan to promote the potential of the Japanese people and asked His permission to contribute articles on the Faith to the Japanese newspapers. He readily granted their request and showed them great kindness.
In the afternoon a representative from the [San Francisco] Post came to interview the Master, who said to him:
In this enlightened age everything has been renewed – sciences have been renewed, new arts have come into being, new skills have appeared, new thoughts have been expressed, new inventions have come to light and new discoveries have been made. In reality, the world of being has become a new world. Thus, the principles of religion also must be renewed.
To a journalist from the [San Francisco] Bulletin He said:
God created man after His own image and likeness … but now, behaving contrarily, man has become more merciless and fearless than rapacious beasts. A beast kills only one animal each day for his food, while merciless man tears apart a hundred thousand people in a day merely for fame and dominion. Should a wolf tear a sheep apart, they would kill it; but if a man massacres a hundred thousand men in blood and dust, he is given an ovation and is pronounced a marshall or a general. If a man kills another or sets fire to a house, he is condemned as a murderer; but if he annihilates an army and overturns a country, he is called a conqueror and is admired. If a man steals a dollar he is thrown into prison but if he plunders the homes of people and lays waste a city he is called a commander and is praised.
25 September 1912, Talk at Second Divine Science Church, 3929 West Thirty-eighth Avenue, Denver, Colorado 4
In the early part of the nineteenth century the horizon of Persia was shrouded in great darkness and ignorance. The people of that country were in a condition of barbarism. Hatred and bigotry prevailed among the various religions; bloodshed and hostility were frequent among sects and denominations of belief. There were no evidences of affiliation and unity; violent prejudice and antagonism ruled the hearts of men. At such a time as this Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed the first principle of His mission and teaching—the oneness of the world of humanity. His second announcement was the investigation of reality; the third was the oneness of the foundations of the divine religions. Through spiritual education He led the people out of darkness and ignorance into the clear light of truth, illuminated their hearts with the splendor of knowledge, laid a true and universal basis for religious teachings, cultivated the virtues of humanity, conferred spiritual susceptibilities, awakened inner perceptions and changed the dishonor of prejudiced souls to the highest degree of honor and capacity. Today in Persia and the Orient you will find the followers of Bahá’u’lláh united in the closest ties of fellowship and love. They have abandoned religious prejudices and have become as one family. When you enter their meetings, you will find Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Jews and representatives of other beliefs present, all conjoined in a wonderful unity without a trace of bigotry or fanaticism, and the light of the oneness of the world of humanity reflected in their faces. Day by day they are advancing, manifesting greater and still greater love for each other. Their faith is fixed upon the unification of mankind, and their highest purpose is the oneness of religious belief. They proclaim to all humanity the sheltering mercy and infinite grace of God. They teach the reconciliation of religion with science and reason. They show forth in words and deeds the reality of love for all mankind as the servants of one God and the recipients of His universal bounty. These are their thoughts, their beliefs, their guiding principles, their religion. No trace of religious, racial, patriotic or political prejudice can be found among them, for they are real servants of God and obedient to His will and command.
- Menon, Jonathan. “America’s Unique Geopolitical Position.” 239 Days in America, 4 Oct. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/10/04/abdul-baha-assesses-americas-unique-geopolitical-position/ [return]
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 166. [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#section195 [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#685192122 [return]