November 25, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

TODAY ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ IS the guest of the Minerva Club, a women’s club in New York, where he is speaking on sex equality at their annual luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria. Wherever he has gone in America during the last seven months, he says, everything is always “hurry, hurry, hurry.”

“‘He made a great hit with the assembled Minervas,’” the New York Tribune reports, “because he called them ‘a radiant faced assemblage,’ and told them that women were fully the equal of men where they weren’t men’s superiors.”

“The only real difference between men and women,’ he said, ‘is that men’s faces are covered with disagreeable growths of hair, while women’s faces are clean and decent.’”

“‘And even that is true now only in Oriental countries, for I perceive that here in America gentlemen are doing away with that difference by shaving.’ Here the white haired sage let his blue eyes twinkle a little, just to show that a seer could crack a joke,” the reporter wrote.

The coming week will be ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s last full week in America. We will continue to look ahead to the future, the end of the Great War, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s program for global collective security, how the Progressive Era ends in a disappointing “return to normalcy” after the war, and we follow the places ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited in New York as they grow and change through the twentieth century.

Final Days in America: New York City 2

On November 25 the crowds kept coming to see Him [‘Abdu’l-Bahá]. Mahmúd noted, “As the multitude grew He could not conveniently see them individually so He came down stairs to apologize for not being able to see them.”

He appealed to them to abandon harmful prejudices and to acquire heavenly virtues and eternal perfections through spiritual power 3

Some of the friends came to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s residence early this morning, asking that they be admitted into His presence during His prayers so they could be blessed and their souls cleansed. As soon as they reached Him they fell into transports of joy, awe-struck at the august spirit of that moment.

Later a Christian minister came into His presence in the utmost humility and, weeping, held the Master’s ‘abá in his hands and begged that his wife and children be healed. The Master showered him with kindness, consoled him and prayed for him. Although the minister was not a Bahá’í, he showed the reverence and respect to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that is usually reserved for Christ.

The Master’s fame, grandeur and holiness has spread so far that in every city of the United States of America prominent people become in His presence like humble servants, while knowledgeable and well-known scholars refer to Him as the Prophet of the East and the Messenger of Peace, even though He has always forbidden the use of such terms for Himself in writing or speech. He always explains to them His servitude to the Threshold of the Abhá Beauty.

As the multitude grew, and the Master could not easily see everyone individually, He went downstairs to apologize for not being able to see them owing to the volume of His work, His preoccupation with other matters and His fatigue and frailty. He prayed for all and inspired and encouraged the friends to put all their energy into propagating and spreading the fragrances of God.

In the afternoon, the Master was invited to two meetings. The first was at the Women’s Club of New York where He spoke on the education of women, their acquisition of good morals and the equality of their rights. The audience was interested and excited and everyone came to shake His hand, begging confirmation that they might better serve and acquire human perfections.

The Master then went to Mrs [Aso-Neith] Cochran’s home where most of the visitors were newcomers who had not previously been in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s presence. He appealed to them to abandon harmful prejudices and to acquire heavenly virtues and eternal perfections through spiritual power. The address appeared to breathe a new spirit into all those present. 4

  1. Menon, Jonathan. “November 25, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 25 Nov. 2012, [return]
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 188. [return]
  3. ’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. [return]
  4. [380] For another account of the events of November 25, 1912, see Diary of Juliet Thompson, pp. 376-80. [return]