‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey So Far: Month Seven 1
WE HAVE REACHED THE end of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s seventh month in America. We’ll take this opportunity to look back at some of the highlights of the past thirty-one days. …
There are now just twenty-five days left until ‘Abdu’l-Bahá bids farewell to America.
The Journey East: Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., Baltimore 2
On Sunday [November 10] the entire day was occupied with interview after interview, until He went to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Hannen, 1252 Eighth Street, N.W., for a meeting. He looked at the interracial gathering and said:
This is a beautiful assembly. I am very happy that white and black are together. This is the cause of my happiness, for you all are the servants of one God and, therefore, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. In the sight of God there is no distinction between whites and blacks; all are as one. Anyone whose heart is pure is dear to God—whether white or black, red or yellow. 3
He counseled them to be firm in the Cause of God and to hold fast to the mantle of love and union. 4
This was the last day of the Master’s stay in Washington. An enthusiastic crowd assembled early at His residence. His talk covered various subjects. He encouraged the friends by assuring them that divine assistance and confirmations would descend upon them; then He counseled them to show firmness in the Cause of God. He also mentioned the book written by Mírzá Abu’l-Fadl in answer to the objections of a Christian minister.
The friends and seekers continued to come to see Him until noon, at which time Mrs Parsons invited a number of them to dine with Him. Private interviews were granted in the afternoon on the second floor. He responded to questions about the interpretation of dreams, firmness and steadfastness in the Cause of God, the futility of opposition, the teachings of the Abhá Beauty, economic issues and so on.
The Master then came downstairs to a public meeting where He spoke on the oneness of the Divine Essence. At the close of His address, He bade everyone farewell.
A spirit of longing spread over the audience and with the utmost humility and reverence they begged His assistance and blessings. The fire of love blazed within them. After the meeting several people pleaded with Him to grant them private interviews. They were overjoyed when permission to ask a few questions was given. Some brought their children to receive His blessings.
In the evening a meeting attended by both blacks and whites was held at the home of Mr and Mrs Hannen. As this was the last night of His stay, the meeting had a significance of its own and more than ever the hearts were filled with enthusiasm. When the Master arrived He was so tired that He went upstairs to rest for a brief time. When He heard the audience’s restlessness and impatience, He allowed them to come to Him group by group. They came, kissed His hand and requested His assistance and blessings. Even though He was tired, each person received His kindness and blessings. He counseled them to be firm in the Cause of God and to hold fast to the mantle of love and union.
When all these people concluded their visit, grateful for His bestowals, the Master came downstairs and spoke about unity and amity between the blacks and whites, expressing His happiness at seeing both races present in the meeting. During His talk He mentioned the sincerity, honesty and services of Isfandíyár, the black servant of Bahá’u’lláh.
He took supper with a number of the friends. The host and hostess, Mr and Mrs Hannen, were overjoyed beyond measure because their services were accepted by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and He bestowed upon them His special favors.
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons, 1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D. C. 5
What is the reality of Divinity, or what do we understand by God?
When we consider the world of existence, we find that the essential reality underlying any given phenomenon is unknown. Phenomenal, or created, things are known to us only by their attributes. Man discerns only manifestations, or attributes, of objects, while the identity, or reality, of them remains hidden. For example, we call this object a flower. What do we understand by this name and title? We understand that the qualities appertaining to this organism are perceptible to us, but the intrinsic elemental reality, or identity, of it remains unknown. Its external appearance and manifest attributes are knowable; but the inner being, the underlying reality or intrinsic identity, is still beyond the ken and perception of our human powers. Inasmuch as the realities of material phenomena are impenetrable and unknowable and are only apprehended through their properties or qualities, how much more this is true concerning the reality of Divinity, that holy essential reality which transcends the plane and grasp of mind and man? That which comes within human grasp is finite, and in relation to it we are infinite because we can grasp it. Assuredly, the finite is lesser than the infinite; the infinite is ever greater. If the reality of Divinity could be contained within the grasp of human mind, it would after all be possessed of an intellectual existence only—a mere intellectual concept without extraneous existence, an image or likeness which had come within the comprehension of finite intellect. The mind of man would be transcendental thereto. How could it be possible that an image which has only intellectual existence is the reality of Divinity, which is infinite? Therefore, the reality of Divinity in its identity is beyond the range of human intellection because the human mind, the human intellect, the human thought are limited, whereas the reality of Divinity is unlimited. How can the limited grasp the unlimited and transcend it? Impossible. The unlimited always comprehends the limited. The limited can never comprehend, surround nor take in the unlimited. Therefore, every concept of Divinity which has come within the intellection of a human being is finite, or limited, and is a pure product of imagination, whereas the reality of Divinity is holy and sacred above and beyond all such concepts.
- Sockett, Robert. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey So Far: Month Seven.” 239 Days in America, 10 Nov. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/11/10/abdul-bahas-journey-so-far-month-seven/. [return]
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 180-181. [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, 425. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/31#579735117 [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=9#section232 [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, 421-422. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/31#099625472 [return]