Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Promulgation of Universal Peace
Author: `Abdu'l-Bahá, 1844-1921
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Promulgation of Universal Peace" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



The Promulgation of Universal Peace


by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá



Edition 1, (September 2006)



                           BAHA’I TERMS OF USE


You have permission to freely make and use copies of the text and any
other information ("Content") available on this Site including printing,
emailing, posting, distributing, copying, downloading, uploading,
transmitting, displaying the Content in whole or in part subject to the
following:

1. Our copyright notice and the source reference must be attached to the
Content;

2. The Content may not be modified or altered in any way except to change
the font or appearance;

3. The Content must be used solely for a non-commercial purpose.

Although this blanket permission to reproduce the Content is given freely
such that no special permission is required, the Bahá’í International
Community retains full copyright protection for all Content included at
this Site under all applicable national and international laws.

For permission to publish, transmit, display or otherwise use the Content
for any commercial purpose, please contact us
(http://reference.bahai.org/en/contact.html).



                                 CONTENTS


Baha’i Terms of Use
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN NEW YORK AND BROOKLYN
   11 April 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney
   780 West End Avenue, New York
   12 April 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Howard MacNutt
   935 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York
   12 April 1912
   Talk at Studio of Miss Phillips
   39 West Sixty-seventh Street, New York
   13 April 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Morten
   141 East Twenty-first Street, New York
   14 April 1912
   Talk at Church of the Ascension
   Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street, New York
   14 April 1912
   Talk at Union Meeting of Advanced Thought Centers
   Carnegie Lyceum
   West Fifty-seventh Street, New York
   15 April 1912
   Talk at Home of Mountfort Mills
   327 West End Avenue, New York
   16 April 1912
   Talk at Hotel Ansonia to Bahá’í Friends of New Jersey
   Broadway and Seventy-third Street, New York
   17 April 1912
   Talk at Hotel Ansonia
   Broadway and Seventy-third Street, New York
   17 April 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney
   780 West End Avenue, New York
   18 April 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall L. Emery
   273 West Ninetieth Street, New York
   19 April 1912
   Talk at Earl Hall
   Columbia University, New York
   19 April 1912
   Talk at Bowery Mission
   227 Bowery, New York
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
   20 April 1912
   Talk at Orient-Occident-Unity Conference
   Public Library Hall, Washington, D.C.
   21 April 1912
   Talk at Studio Hall
   1219 Connecticut Avenue, Washington, D.C.
   21 April 1912
   Talk at Universalist Church
   Thirteenth and L Streets, Washington, D.C.
   22 April 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
   1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
   23 April 1912
   Talk at Howard University
   Washington, D.C.
   23 April 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
   1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
   23 April 1912
   Talk to Bethel Literary Society
   Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church
   M Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
   24 April 1912
   Talk at Children’s Reception
   Studio Hall
   1219 Connecticut Avenue, Washington, D.C.
   24 April 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
   1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
   24 April 1912
   Talk at Home of Mrs. Andrew J. Dyer
   1937 Thirteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
   25 April 1912
   Talk to Theosophical Society
   Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
   1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
   25 April 1912
   Message to Esperantists
   Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
   1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
   25 April 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
   1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN CHICAGO, WILMETTE, AND EVANSTON
   30 April 1912
   Talk at Public Meeting Concluding Convention of Bahá’í Temple Unity
   Drill Hall, Masonic Temple, Chicago, Illinois
   30 April 1912
   Talk at Hull House
   Chicago, Illinois
   30 April 1912
   Talk at Fourth Annual Conference of the National Association
   for the Advancement of Colored People
   Handel Hall, Chicago, Illinois
   1 May 1912
   Talk at Dedication of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár Grounds
   Wilmette, Illinois
   2 May 1912
   Talk at Hotel Plaza
   Chicago, Illinois
   2 May 1912
   Talk to Federation of Women’s Clubs
   Hotel La Salle, Chicago, Illinois
   2 May 1912
   Talk at Bahá’í Women’s Reception
   Hotel La Salle, Chicago, Illinois
   2 May 1912
   Talk at Hotel Plaza
   Chicago, Illinois
   2 May 1912
   Talk at Hotel Plaza
   Chicago, Illinois
   3 May 1912
   Talk at Hotel Plaza
   Chicago, Illinois
   3 May 1912
   Talk at Hotel Plaza
   Chicago, Illinois
   4 May 1912
   Talk to Theosophical Society
   Northwestern University Hall, Evanston, Illinois
   5 May 1912
   Talk at Children’s Meeting
   Hotel Plaza
   Chicago, Illinois
   5 May 1912
   Talk at Plymouth Congregational Church
   935 East Fiftieth Street
   Chicago, Illinois
   5 May 1912
   Talk at All-Souls Church
   Lincoln Center, Chicago, Illinois
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN CLEVELAND
   6 May 1912
   Talk at Euclid Hall
   Cleveland, Ohio
   6 May 1912
   Talk at Sanatorium of Dr. C. M. Swingle
   Cleveland, Ohio
TALK ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN PITTSBURGH
   7 May 1912
   Talk at Hotel Schenley
   Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN NEW YORK, MONTCLAIR, AND JERSEY CITY
   11 May 1912
   Talk at 227 Riverside Drive, New York
   12 May 1912
   Talk at Unity Church
   Montclair, New Jersey
   12 May 1912
   Talk at Meeting of International Peace Forum
   Grace Methodist Episcopal Church
   West 104th Street, New York
   13 May 1912
   Talk at Reception by New York Peace Society
   Hotel Astor, New York
   19 May 1912
   Talk at Church of the Divine Paternity
   Central Park West, New York
   19 May 1912
   Talk at Brotherhood Church
   Bergen and Fairview Avenues, Jersey City, New Jersey
   20 May 1912
   Talk at Woman’s Suffrage Meeting
   Metropolitan Temple
   Seventh Avenue and Fourteenth Street, New York
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN CAMBRIDGE AND BOSTON
   23 May 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Francis W. Breed
   367 Harvard Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts
   24 May 1912
   Talk at Free Religious Association, or Unitarian Conference
   Boston, Massachusetts
   25 May 1912
   Huntington Chambers
   Boston, Massachusetts
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN NEW YORK AND FANWOOD
   26 May 1912
   Talk at Mount Morris Baptist Church
   Fifth Avenue and 126th Street, New York
   28 May 1912
   Talk at Reception at Metropolitan Temple
   Seventh Avenue and Fourteenth Street, New York
   29 May 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney
   780 West End Avenue, New York
   30 May 1912
   Talk at Theosophical Lodge
   Broadway and Seventy-ninth Street, New York
   31 May 1912
   Talk at Town Hall
   Fanwood, New Jersey
   2 June 1912
   Talk at Church of the Ascension
   Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street, New York
   8 June 1912
   Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN PHILADELPHIA
   9 June 1912
   Talk at Unitarian Church
   Fifteenth Street and Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
   9 June 1912
   Talk at Baptist Temple
   Broad and Berks Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN NEW YORK AND BROOKLYN
   11 June 1912
   Talk at Open Committee Meeting
   Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney
   780 West End Avenue, New York
   11 June 1912
   Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York
   11 June 1912
   Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York
   12 June 1912
   Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York
   15 June 1912
   Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York
   16 June 1912
   Talk at Fourth Unitarian Church
   Beverly Road, Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York
   16 June 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Howard MacNutt
   935 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York
   16 June 1912
   Talk at Central Congregational Church
   Hancock Street, Brooklyn, New York
   17 June 1912
   Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York
   18 June 1912
   Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York
   20 June 1912
   Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN MONTCLAIR AND WEST ENGLEWOOD, NEW JERSEY
   23 June 1912
   Talk at Montclair, New Jersey
   29 June 1912
   Talk at Unity Feast, Outdoors
   West Englewood, New Jersey
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN NEW YORK
   1 July 1912
   Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York
   1 July 1912
   Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York
   5 July 1912
   Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York
   5 July 1912
   Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York
   6 July 1912
   Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York
   14 July 1912
   Talk at All Souls Unitarian Church
   Fourth Avenue and Twentieth Street, New York
   15 July 1912
   Talk at Home of Dr. and Mrs. Florian Krug
   830 Park Avenue, New York
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN BOSTON
   23 July 1912
   Talk at Hotel Victoria
   Boston, Massachusetts
   24 July 1912
   Talk to Theosophical Society
   The Kensington
   Exeter and Boylston Streets, Boston, Massachusetts
   25 July 1912
   Talk at Hotel Victoria
   Boston, Massachusetts
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN DUBLIN
   5 August 1912
   Talk at Dublin Inn
   Dublin, New Hampshire
   6 August 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
   Dublin, New Hampshire
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED AT GREEN ACRE
   16 August 1912
   Talk at Green Acre
   Eliot, Maine
   17 August 1912
   Talk at Green Acre
   Eliot, Maine
   17 August 1912
   Talk at Green Acre
   Eliot, Maine
   17 August 1912
   Talk at Green Acre
   Eliot, Maine
   17 August 1912
   Talk at Green Acre
   Eliot, Maine
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN BOSTON AND MALDEN
   25 August 1912
   Talk at the New Thought Forum
   Metaphysical Club
   Boston, Massachusetts
   26 August 1912
   Talk at Franklin Square House
   Boston, Massachusetts
   27 August 1912
   Talk at Metaphysical Club
   Boston, Massachusetts
   29 August 1912
   Talk at Home of Madame Morey
   34 Hillside Avenue, Malden, Massachusetts
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN MONTREAL
   1 September 1912
   Talk at Church of the Messiah
   Montreal, Canada
   1 September 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. William Sutherland Maxwell
   716 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Canada
   1 September 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. William Sutherland Maxwell
   716 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Canada
   2 September 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. William Sutherland Maxwell
   716 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Canada
   5 September 1912
   Talk at St. James Methodist Church
   Montreal, Canada
TALK ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN CHICAGO
   16 September 1912
   Talk at Home of Mrs. Corinne True
   5338 Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, Illinois
TALK ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN MINNEAPOLIS
   20 September 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. Albert L. Hall
   2030 Queen Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota
TALK ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN ST. PAUL
   20 September 1912
   Talk at Home of Dr. and Mrs. Clement Woolson
   870 Laurel Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN DENVER
   24 September 1912
   Talk at Home of Mrs. Roberts
   Denver, Colorado
   25 September 1912
   Talk at Second Divine Science Church
   3929 West Thirty-eighth Avenue, Denver, Colorado
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN OAKLAND, PALO ALTO, SAN FRANCISCO, AND
SACRAMENTO
   7 October 1912
   Talk to Japanese Young Men’s Christian Association
   Japanese Independent Church, Oakland, California
   8 October 1912
   Talk at Leland Stanford Junior University
   Palo Alto, California
   10 October 1912
   Talk at Open Forum
   San Francisco, California
   12 October 1912
   Talk at Temple Emmanu-El
   450 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California
   25 October 1912
   Talk at Hotel Sacramento
   Sacramento, California
   26 October 1912
   Talk at Assembly Hall, Hotel Sacramento
   Sacramento, California
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN CHICAGO
   31 October 1912
   Talk at Hotel Plaza
   Chicago, Illinois
   1 November 1912
   Talk at Home of Mrs. Corinne True
   5338 Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, Illinois
TALK ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN CINCINNATI
   5 November 1912
   Talk at Grand Hotel
   Cincinnati, Ohio
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN WASHINGTON, D. C.
   6 November 1912
   Talk at Universalist Church
   Thirteenth and L Streets, NW, Washington, D.C.
   7 November 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
   1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D. C.
   7 November 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
   1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D. C.
   8 November 1912
   Talk at Eighth Street Temple, Synagogue
   Washington, D. C.
   9 November 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
   1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D. C.
   9 November 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
   1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D. C.
   9 November 1912
   Talk at Bahá’í Banquet
   Rauscher’s Hall, Washington, D. C.
   10 November 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
   1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D. C.
   10 November 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Hannen
   1252 Eighth Street, NW, Washington, D. C.
   10 November 1912
   Talk at 1901 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D. C.
TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN NEW YORK
   15 November 1912
   Talk at Home of Miss Juliet Thompson
   48 West Tenth Street, New York
   16 November 1912
   Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York
   17 November 1912
   Talk at Genealogical Hall
   252 West Fifty-eighth Street, New York
   18 November 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank K. Moxey
   575 Riverside Drive, New York
   23 November 1912
   Talk at Banquet
   Great Northern Hotel
   118 West Fifty-seventh Street, New York
   29 November 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney
   780 West End Avenue, New York
   2 December 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney
   780 West End Avenue, New York
   2 December 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney
   780 West End Avenue, New York
   3 December 1912
   Talk at Home of Dr. and Mrs. Florian Krug
   830 Park Avenue, New York
   3 December 1912
   Talk to Mr. Kinney’s Bible Class
   780 West End Avenue, New York
   3 December 1912
   Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney
   780 West End Avenue, New York
   4 December 1912
   Talk to Theosophical Society
   2228 Broadway, New York
   5 December 1912
   Talk on Day of Departure
   On Board Steamship Celtic, New York



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN NEW YORK AND BROOKLYN



11 April 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney
780 West End Avenue, New York


Notes by Hooper Harris

How are you? Welcome! Welcome!

After arriving today, although weary with travel, I had the utmost longing
and yearning to see you and could not resist this meeting. Now that I have
met you, all my weariness has vanished, for your meeting is the cause of
spiritual happiness.

I was in Egypt and was not feeling well, but I wished to come to you in
America. My friends said, “This is a long journey; the sea is wide; you
should remain here.” But the more they advised and insisted, the greater
became my longing to take this trip, and now I have come to America to
meet the friends of God. This long voyage will prove how great is my love
for you. There were many troubles and vicissitudes, but, in the thought of
meeting you, all these things vanished and were forgotten.

I am greatly pleased with the city of New York. Its harbor entrance, its
piers, buildings and broad avenues are magnificent and beautiful. Truly,
it is a wonderful city. As New York has made such progress in material
civilization, I hope that it may also advance spiritually in the Kingdom
and Covenant of God so that the friends here may become the cause of the
illumination of America, that this city may become the city of love and
that the fragrances of God may be spread from this place to all parts of
the world. I have come for this. I pray that you may be manifestations of
the love of Bahá’u’lláh, that each one of you may become like a clear lamp
of crystal from which the rays of the bounties of the Blessed Perfection
may shine forth to all nations and peoples. This is my highest aspiration.

It was a long, long trip. The more we traveled, the greater seemed the
expanse of the sea. The weather was brilliant and fine throughout; there
was no storm and no end to the sea.

I am very happy to meet you all here today. Praise be to God that your
faces are shining with the love of Bahá’u’lláh. To behold them is the
cause of great spiritual happiness. We have arranged to meet you every day
at the homes of the friends.

In the East people were asking me, “Why do you undertake this long voyage?
Your body cannot endure such hardships of travel.” When it is necessary,
my body can endure everything. It has withstood forty years of
imprisonment and can still undergo the utmost trials.

I will see you again. Now I will greet each one of you personally. It is
my hope that you will all be happy and that we may meet again and again.



12 April 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Howard MacNutt
935 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York


Notes by Howard MacNutt

This is a most happy visit. I have crossed the sea from the land of the
Orient for the joy of meeting the friends of God. Although I am weary
after my long journey, the light of the spirit shining in your faces
brings me rest and reward. In this meeting the divine susceptibilities are
radiant. This is a spiritual house, the home of the spirit. There is no
discord here; all is love and unity. When souls are gathered together in
this way, the divine bestowals descend. The purpose of the creation of man
is the attainment of the supreme virtues of humanity through descent of
the heavenly bestowals. The purpose of man’s creation is, therefore, unity
and harmony, not discord and separateness. If the atoms which compose the
kingdom of the minerals were without affinity for each other, the earth
would never have been formed, the universe could not have been created.
Because they have affinity for each other, the power of life is able to
manifest itself, and the organisms of the phenomenal world become
possible. When this attraction or atomic affinity is destroyed, the power
of life ceases to manifest; death and nonexistence result.

It is so, likewise, in the spiritual world. That world is the Kingdom of
complete attraction and affinity. It is the Kingdom of the One Divine
Spirit, the Kingdom of God. Therefore, the affinity and love manifest in
this meeting, the divine susceptibilities witnessed here are not of this
world but of the world of the Kingdom. When the souls become separated and
selfish, the divine bounties do not descend, and the lights of the Supreme
Concourse are no longer reflected even though the bodies meet together. A
mirror with its back turned to the sun has no power to reflect the sun’s
effulgence. Praise be to God! The purpose of this assembly is love and
unity.

The divine Prophets came to establish the unity of the Kingdom in human
hearts. All of them proclaimed the glad tidings of the divine bestowals to
the world of mankind. All brought the same message of divine love to the
world. Jesus Christ gave His life upon the cross for the unity of mankind.
Those who believed in Him likewise sacrificed life, honor, possessions,
family, everything, that this human world might be released from the hell
of discord, enmity and strife. His foundation was the oneness of humanity.
Only a few were attracted to Him. They were not the kings and rulers of
His time. They were not rich and important people. Some of them were
catchers of fish. Most of them were ignorant men, not trained in the
knowledge of this world. One of the greatest of them, Peter, could not
remember the days of the week. All of them were men of the least
consequence in the eyes of the world. But their hearts were pure and
attracted by the fires of the Divine Spirit manifested in Christ. With
this small army Christ conquered the world of the East and the West. Kings
and nations rose against Him. Philosophers and the greatest men of
learning assailed and blasphemed His Cause. All were defeated and
overcome, their tongues silenced, their lamps extinguished, their hatred
quenched; no trace of them now remains. They have become as nonexistent,
while His Kingdom is triumphant and eternal.

The brilliant star of His Cause has ascended to the zenith, while night
has enveloped and eclipsed His enemies. His name, beloved and adored by a
few disciples, now commands the reverence of kings and nations of the
world. His power is eternal; His sovereignty will continue forever, while
those who opposed Him are sleeping in the dust, their very names unknown,
forgotten. The little army of disciples has become a mighty cohort of
millions. The Heavenly Host, the Supreme Concourse are His legions; the
Word of God is His sword; the power of God is His victory.

Jesus Christ knew this would come to pass and was content to suffer. His
abasement was His glorification; His crown of thorns, a heavenly diadem.
When they pressed it upon His blessed head and spat in His beautiful face,
they laid the foundation of His everlasting Kingdom. He still reigns,
while they and their names have become lost and unknown. He is eternal and
glorious; they are nonexistent. They sought to destroy Him, but they
destroyed themselves and increased the intensity of His flame by the winds
of their opposition.

Through His death and teachings we have entered into His Kingdom. His
essential teaching was the unity of mankind and the attainment of supreme
human virtues through love. He came to establish the Kingdom of peace and
everlasting life. Can you find in His words any justification for discord
and enmity? The purpose of His life and the glory of His death were to set
mankind free from the sins of strife, war and bloodshed. The great nations
of the world boast that their laws and civilization are based upon the
religion of Christ. Why then do they make war upon each other? The Kingdom
of Christ cannot be upheld by destroying and disobeying it. The banners of
His armies cannot lead the forces of Satan. Consider the sad picture of
Italy carrying war into Tripoli. If you should announce that Italy was a
barbarous nation and not Christian, this would be vehemently denied. But
would Christ sanction what they are doing in Tripoli? Is this destruction
of human life obedience to His laws and teachings? Where does He command
it? Where does He consent to it? He was killed by His enemies; He did not
kill. He even loved and prayed for those who hung Him on the cross.
Therefore, these wars and cruelties, this bloodshed and sorrow are
Antichrist, not Christ. These are the forces of death and Satan, not the
hosts of the Supreme Concourse of heaven.

No less bitter is the conflict between sects and denominations. Christ was
a divine Center of unity and love. Whenever discord prevails instead of
unity, wherever hatred and antagonism take the place of love and spiritual
fellowship, Antichrist reigns instead of Christ. Who is right in these
controversies and hatreds between the sects? Did Christ command them to
love or to hate each other? He loved even His enemies and prayed in the
hour of His crucifixion for those who killed Him. Therefore, to be a
Christian is not merely to bear the name of Christ and say, “I belong to a
Christian government.” To be a real Christian is to be a servant in His
Cause and Kingdom, to go forth under His banner of peace and love toward
all mankind, to be self-sacrificing and obedient, to become quickened by
the breaths of the Holy Spirit, to be mirrors reflecting the radiance of
the divinity of Christ, to be fruitful trees in the garden of His
planting, to refresh the world by the water of life of His teachings—in
all things to be like Him and filled with the spirit of His love.

Praise be to God! The light of unity and love is shining in these faces.
These spiritual susceptibilities are the real fruits of heaven. The Báb
and Bahá’u’lláh over sixty years ago proclaimed the glad tidings of
universal peace. The Báb was martyred in the Cause of God. Bahá’u’lláh
suffered forty years as a prisoner and exile in order that the Kingdom of
love might be established in the East and West. He has made it possible
for us to meet here in love and unity. Because He suffered imprisonment,
we are free to proclaim the oneness of the world of humanity for which He
stood so long and faithfully. He was chained in dungeons, He was without
food, His companions were thieves and criminals, He was subjected to every
kind of abuse and infliction, but throughout it all He never ceased to
proclaim the reality of the Word of God and the oneness of humanity. We
have been brought together here by the power of His Word—you from America,
I from Persia—all in love and unity of spirit. Was this possible in former
centuries? If it is possible now after fifty years of sacrifice and
teaching, what shall we expect in the wonderful centuries coming?

Therefore, let your faces be more radiant with hope and heavenly
determination to serve the Cause of God, to spread the pure fragrances of
the divine rose garden of unity, to awaken spiritual susceptibilities in
the hearts of mankind, to kindle anew the spirit of humanity with divine
fires and to reflect the glory of heaven to this gloomy world of
materialism. When you possess these divine susceptibilities, you will be
able to awaken and develop them in others. We cannot give of our wealth to
the poor unless we possess it. How can the poor give to the poor? How can
the soul that is deprived of the heavenly bounties develop in other souls
capacity to receive those bounties?

Array yourselves in the perfection of divine virtues. I hope you may be
quickened and vivified by the breaths of the Holy Spirit. Then shall ye
indeed become the angels of heaven whom Christ promised would appear in
this Day to gather the harvest of divine planting. This is my hope. This
is my prayer for you.



12 April 1912
Talk at Studio of Miss Phillips
39 West Sixty-seventh Street, New York


Notes by John G. Grundy

I give you greeting in love and unity. The affairs of this world are to be
accounted as nothing compared to the joy and heavenly happiness of meeting
the friends of God. It is to experience this great joy and blessing that I
have come here although weary from my long voyage upon the sea. Tonight I
am in the greatest happiness, looking upon this concourse of God. Your
meeting here is surely an evidence that you are upholding the Cause of
God, that you are aiding and assisting in establishing the Kingdom of God.
Therefore, the culmination of my happiness is to look upon your faces and
realize that you have been brought together by the power of the Blessed
Perfection, Bahá’u’lláh. In this meeting you are upholding His standard
and assisting His Cause. Therefore, I behold in you the making of a goodly
tree upon which divine fruits will appear to give sustenance to the world
of humanity.

With hearts set aglow by the fire of the love of God and spirits refreshed
by the food of the heavenly spirit you must go forth as the disciples
nineteen hundred years ago, quickening the hearts of men by the call of
glad tidings, the light of God in your faces, severed from everything save
God. Therefore, order your lives in accordance with the first principle of
the divine teaching, which is love. Service to humanity is service to God.
Let the love and light of the Kingdom radiate through you until all who
look upon you shall be illumined by its reflection. Be as stars, brilliant
and sparkling in the loftiness of their heavenly station. Do you
appreciate the Day in which you live?

This is the century of the Blessed Perfection!

This is the cycle of the light of His beauty!

This is the consummate day of all the Prophets!

These are the days of seed sowing. These are the days of tree planting.
The bountiful bestowals of God are successive. He who sows a seed in this
day will behold his reward in the fruits and harvest of the heavenly
Kingdom. This timely seed, when planted in the hearts of the beloved of
God, will be watered by showers of divine mercy and warmed by the sunshine
of divine love. Its fruitage and flower shall be the solidarity of
mankind, the perfection of justice and the praiseworthy attributes of
heaven manifest in humanity. All who sow such a seed and plant such a tree
according to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh shall surely witness this divine
outcome in the degrees of its perfection and will attain unto the good
pleasure of the Merciful One.

Today the nations of the world are self-engaged, occupied with mortal and
transitory accomplishments, consumed by the fires of passion and self.
Self is dominant; enmity and animosity prevail. Nations and peoples are
thinking only of their worldly interests and outcomes. The clash of war
and din of strife are heard among them. But the friends of the Blessed
Perfection have no thoughts save the thoughts of heaven and the love of
God. Therefore, you must without delay employ your powers in spreading the
effulgent glow of the love of God and so order your lives that you may be
known and seen as examples of its radiance. You must deal with all in
loving-kindness in order that this precious seed entrusted to your
planting may continue to grow and bring forth its perfect fruit. The love
and mercy of God will accomplish this through you if you have love in your
own heart.

The doors of the Kingdom are opened. The lights of the Sun of Truth are
shining. The clouds of divine mercy are raining down their priceless
jewels. The zephyrs of a new and divine springtime are wafting their
fragrant breaths from the invisible world. Know ye then the value of these
days.

Awake ye to the realization of this heavenly opportunity. Strive with all
the power of your souls, your deeds, actions and words to assist the
spread of these glad tidings and the descent of this merciful bounty. You
are the reality and expression of your deeds and actions. If you abide by
the precepts and teachings of the Blessed Perfection, the heavenly world
and ancient Kingdom will be yours—eternal happiness, love and everlasting
life. The divine bounties are flowing. Each one of you has been given the
opportunity of becoming a tree yielding abundant fruits. This is the
springtime of Bahá’u’lláh. The verdure and foliage of spiritual growth are
appearing in great abundance in the gardens of human hearts. Know ye the
value of these passing days and vanishing nights. Strive to attain a
station of absolute love one toward another. By the absence of love,
enmity increases. By the exercise of love, love strengthens and enmities
dwindle away.

Consider me—in the years of my advanced age, burdened with physical
infirmities—crossing the wide ocean to look upon your faces. It is my hope
that through the life of the spirit you may all become as one soul, as one
tree adorning the rose garden of the Kingdom. It is my hope that the
endless treasures of the bestowals of God may be yours here and hereafter.
It is my prayer that the Supreme Concourse may be illumined by your
brilliant lights shining forever in the heavens of eternal glory.



13 April 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Morten
141 East Twenty-first Street, New York


Notes by Esther Foster

Praise be to God! This is a radiant gathering. The faces are brilliant
with the light of God. The hearts are attracted to the Kingdom of Bahá. I
beg of God that day by day your faces may become brighter; day by day you
may draw nearer to God; day by day you may take a greater portion from the
outpourings of the Holy Spirit so that you may become encircled by the
bounties of heaven.

The spiritual world is like unto the phenomenal world. They are the exact
counterpart of each other. Whatever objects appear in this world of
existence are the outer pictures of the world of heaven. When we look upon
the phenomenal world, we perceive that it is divided into four seasons;
one is the season of spring, another the season of summer, another autumn
and then these three seasons are followed by winter. When the season of
spring appears in the arena of existence, the whole world is rejuvenated
and finds new life. The soul-refreshing breeze is wafted from every
direction; the soul-quickening bounty is everywhere; the cloud of mercy
showers down its rain, and the sun shines upon everything. Day by day we
perceive that the signs of vegetation are all about us. Wonderful flowers,
hyacinths and roses perfume the nostrils. The trees are full of leaves and
blossoms, and the blossoms are followed by fruit. The spring and summer
are followed by autumn and winter. The flowers wither and are no more; the
leaves turn gray and life has gone. Then comes another springtime; the
former springtime is renewed; again a new life stirs within everything.

The appearances of the Manifestations of God are the divine springtime.
When Christ appeared in this world, it was like the vernal bounty; the
outpouring descended; the effulgences of the Merciful encircled all
things; the human world found new life. Even the physical world partook of
it. The divine perfections were upraised; souls were trained in the school
of heaven so that all grades of human existence received life and light.
Then by degrees these fragrances of heaven were discontinued; the season
of winter came upon the world; the beauties of spring vanished; the
excellences and perfections passed away; the lights and quickening were no
longer evident; the phenomenal world and its materialities conquered
everything; the spiritualities of life were lost; the world of existence
became life unto a lifeless body; there was no trace of the spring left.

Bahá’u’lláh has come into this world. He has renewed that springtime. The
same fragrances are wafting; the same heat of the Sun is giving life; the
same cloud is pouring its rain, and with our own eyes we see that the
world of existence is advancing and progressing. The human world has found
new life.

I hope that each and all of you may become like unto verdant and green
trees so that through the breezes of the divine spring, the outpouring of
heaven, the heat of the Sun of Truth, you may become eternally refreshed;
that you may bear blossoms and become fruitful; that you may not be as
fruitless trees. Fruitless trees do not bring forth fruits or flowers. I
hope that all of you may become friends of the paradise of Abhá, appearing
with the utmost freshness and spiritual beauty. I pray in your behalf and
beg of God confirmation and assistance.



14 April 1912
Talk at Church of the Ascension
Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street, New York


Notes by Aḥmad Sohráb and Howard MacNutt

In his scriptural lesson this morning the revered doctor read a verse from
the Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, “For now we see through a
glass, darkly; but then face to face.”

The light of truth has heretofore been seen dimly through variegated
glasses, but now the splendors of Divinity shall be visible through the
translucent mirrors of pure hearts and spirits. The light of truth is the
divine teaching, heavenly instruction, merciful principles and spiritual
civilization. Since my arrival in this country I find that material
civilization has progressed greatly, that commerce has attained the utmost
degree of expansion; arts, agriculture and all details of material
civilization have reached the highest stage of perfection, but spiritual
civilization has been left behind. Material civilization is like unto the
lamp, while spiritual civilization is the light in that lamp. If the
material and spiritual civilization become united, then we will have the
light and the lamp together, and the outcome will be perfect. For material
civilization is like unto a beautiful body, and spiritual civilization is
like unto the spirit of life. If that wondrous spirit of life enters this
beautiful body, the body will become a channel for the distribution and
development of the perfections of humanity.

Jesus Christ came to teach the people of the world this heavenly
civilization and not material civilization. He breathed the breath of the
Holy Spirit into the body of the world and established an illumined
civilization. Among the principles of divine civilization He came to
proclaim is the Most Great Peace of mankind. Among His principles of
spiritual civilization is the oneness of the kingdom of humanity. Among
the principles of heavenly civilization He brought is the virtue of the
human world. Among the principles of celestial civilization He announced
is the improvement and betterment of human morals.

Today the world of humanity is in need of international unity and
conciliation. To establish these great fundamental principles a propelling
power is needed. It is self-evident that the unity of the human world and
the Most Great Peace cannot be accomplished through material means. They
cannot be established through political power, for the political interests
of nations are various and the policies of peoples are divergent and
conflicting. They cannot be founded through racial or patriotic power, for
these are human powers, selfish and weak. The very nature of racial
differences and patriotic prejudices prevents the realization of this
unity and agreement. Therefore, it is evidenced that the promotion of the
oneness of the kingdom of humanity, which is the essence of the teachings
of all the Manifestations of God, is impossible except through the divine
power and breaths of the Holy Spirit. Other powers are too weak and are
incapable of accomplishing this.

For man two wings are necessary. One wing is physical power and material
civilization; the other is spiritual power and divine civilization. With
one wing only, flight is impossible. Two wings are essential. Therefore,
no matter how much material civilization advances, it cannot attain to
perfection except through the uplift of spiritual civilization.

All the Prophets have come to promote divine bestowals, to found the
spiritual civilization and teach the principles of morality. Therefore, we
must strive with all our powers so that spiritual influences may gain the
victory. For material forces have attacked mankind. The world of humanity
is submerged in a sea of materialism. The rays of the Sun of Reality are
seen but dimly and darkly through opaque glasses. The penetrative power of
the divine bounty is not fully manifest.

In Persia among the various religions and sects there were intense
differences. Bahá’u’lláh appeared in that country and founded the
spiritual civilization. He established affiliation among the various
peoples, promoted the oneness of the human world and unfurled the banner
of the Most Great Peace. He wrote special Epistles covering these facts to
all the kings and rulers of nations. Sixty years ago He conveyed His
message to the leaders of the political world and to high dignitaries of
the spiritual world. Therefore, spiritual civilization is progressing in
the Orient, and oneness of humanity and peace among the nations is being
accomplished step by step. Now I find a strong movement for universal
peace emanating from America. It is my hope that this standard of the
oneness of the world of humanity may be upraised with the utmost solidity
so that the Orient and Occident may become perfectly reconciled and attain
complete intercommunication, the hearts of the East and West become united
and attracted, real union become unveiled, the light of guidance shine,
divine effulgences be seen day by day so that the world of humanity may
find complete tranquillity, the eternal happiness of man become evident
and the hearts of the people of the world be as mirrors in which the rays
of the Sun of Reality may be reflected. Consequently, it is my request
that you should strive so that the light of reality may shine and the
everlasting felicity of the world of man become apparent.

I will pray for you so you may attain this everlasting happiness. When I
arrived in this city, I was made very happy, for I perceived that the
people here have capacity for divine bestowals and have worthiness for the
civilization of heaven. I pray that you may attain to all merciful
bounties.

O Almighty! O God! O Thou compassionate One! This servant of Thine has
hastened to the regions of the West from the uttermost parts of the East
that, perchance, these nostrils may be perfumed by the fragrances of Thy
bestowals; that the breeze of the rose garden of guidance may blow over
these cities; that the people may attain to the capacity of receiving Thy
favors; that the hearts may be rejoiced through Thy glad tidings; that the
eyes may behold the light of reality; that the ears may hearken to the
call of the Kingdom. O Almighty! Illumine the hearts. O kind God! Make the
souls the envy of the rose garden and the meadow. O incomparable Beloved!
Waft the fragrance of Thy bounty. Radiate the lights of compassion so that
the hearts may be cleansed and purified and that they may take a share and
portion from Thy confirmations. Verily, this congregation is seeking Thy
path, searching for Thy mystery, beholding Thy face and desiring to be
characterized with Thine attributes.

O Almighty! Confer Thou infinite bounties. Bestow Thine inexhaustible
treasury so that these impotent ones may become powerful.

Verily, Thou art the Kind. Thou art the Generous. Thou art the Omniscient,
the Omnipotent.



14 April 1912
Talk at Union Meeting of Advanced Thought Centers
Carnegie Lyceum
West Fifty-seventh Street, New York


Notes by Mountfort Mills and Howard MacNutt

I have come from distant lands to visit the meetings and assemblies of
this country. In every meeting I find people gathered, loving each other;
therefore, I am greatly pleased. The bond of union is evidenced in this
assembly today, where the power of God has brought together in faith,
agreement and concord those who are engaged in furthering the development
of the human world. It is my hope that all mankind may become similarly
united in the bond and agreement of love. Unity is the expression of the
loving power of God and reflects the reality of Divinity. It is
resplendent in this Day through the bestowals of light upon humanity.

Throughout the universe the divine power is effulgent in endless images
and pictures. The world of creation, the world of humanity may be likened
to the earth itself and the divine power to the sun. This Sun has shone
upon all mankind. In the endless variety of its reflections the divine
Will is manifested. Consider how all are recipients of the bounty of the
same Sun. At most the difference between them is that of degree, for the
effulgence is one effulgence, the one light emanating from the Sun. This
will express the oneness of the world of humanity. The body politic, or
the social unity of the human world, may be likened to an ocean, and each
member, each individual, a wave upon that same ocean.

The light of the sun becomes apparent in each object according to the
capacity of that object. The difference is simply one of degree and
receptivity. The stone would be a recipient only to a limited extent;
another created thing might be as a mirror wherein the sun is fully
reflected; but the same light shines upon both.

The most important thing is to polish the mirrors of hearts in order that
they may become illumined and receptive of the divine light. One heart may
possess the capacity of the polished mirror; another, be covered and
obscured by the dust and dross of this world. Although the same Sun is
shining upon both, in the mirror which is polished, pure and sanctified
you may behold the Sun in all its fullness, glory and power, revealing its
majesty and effulgence; but in the mirror which is rusted and obscured
there is no capacity for reflection, although so far as the Sun itself is
concerned it is shining thereon and is neither lessened nor deprived.
Therefore, our duty lies in seeking to polish the mirrors of our hearts in
order that we shall become reflectors of that light and recipients of the
divine bounties which may be fully revealed through them.

This means the oneness of the world of humanity. That is to say, when this
human body politic reaches a state of absolute unity, the effulgence of
the eternal Sun will make its fullest light and heat manifest. Therefore,
we must not make distinctions between individual members of the human
family. We must not consider any soul as barren or deprived. Our duty lies
in educating souls so that the Sun of the bestowals of God shall become
resplendent in them, and this is possible through the power of the oneness
of humanity. The more love is expressed among mankind and the stronger the
power of unity, the greater will be this reflection and revelation, for
the greatest bestowal of God is love. Love is the source of all the
bestowals of God. Until love takes possession of the heart, no other
divine bounty can be revealed in it.

All the Prophets have striven to make love manifest in the hearts of men.
Jesus Christ sought to create this love in the hearts. He suffered all
difficulties and ordeals that perchance the human heart might become the
fountain source of love. Therefore, we must strive with all our heart and
soul that this love may take possession of us so that all humanity—whether
it be in the East or in the West—may be connected through the bond of this
divine affection; for we are all the waves of one sea; we have come into
being through the same bestowal and are recipients from the same center.
The lights of earth are all acceptable, but the center of effulgence is
the sun, and we must direct our gaze to the sun. God is the Supreme
Center. The more we turn toward this Center of Light, the greater will be
our capacity.

In the Orient there were great differences among races and peoples. They
hated each other, and there was no association among them. Various and
divergent sects were hostile, irreconcilable. The different races were in
constant war and conflict. About sixty years ago Bahá’u’lláh appeared upon
the eastern horizon. He caused love and unity to become manifest among
these antagonistic peoples. He united them with the bond of love; their
former hatred and animosity passed away; love and unity reigned instead.
It was a dark world; it became radiant. A new springtime appeared through
Him, for the Sun of Truth had risen again. In the fields and meadows of
human hearts variegated flowers of inner significance were blooming, and
the good fruits of the Kingdom of God became manifest.

I have come here with this mission: that through your endeavors, through
your heavenly morals, through your devoted efforts a perfect bond of unity
and love may be established between the East and the West so that the
bestowals of God may descend upon all and that all may be seen to be the
parts of the same tree—the great tree of the human family. For mankind may
be likened to the branches, leaves, blossoms and fruit of that tree.

The favors of God are unending, limitless. Infinite bounties have
encompassed the world. We must emulate the bounties of God, and just as
each one of them—the bounty of life, for instance—surrounds and
encompasses all, so likewise must we be connected and blended together
until each part shall become the expression of the whole.

Consider: We plant a seed. A complete and perfect tree appears from it,
and from each seed of this tree another tree can be produced. Therefore,
the part is expressive of the whole, for this seed was a part of the tree,
but therein potentially was the whole tree. So each one of us may become
expressive or representative of all the bounties of life to mankind. This
is the unity of the world of humanity. This is the bestowal of God. This
is the felicity of the human world, and this is the manifestation of the
divine favor.



15 April 1912
Talk at Home of Mountfort Mills
327 West End Avenue, New York


Compiled from Stenographic Notes by Howard MacNutt

A few days ago I arrived in New York, coming direct from Alexandria. On a
former trip I traveled to Europe, visiting Paris and London. Paris is most
beautiful in outward appearance. The evidences of material civilization
there are very great, but the spiritual civilization is far behind. I
found the people of that city submerged and drowning in a sea of
materialism. Their conversations and discussions were limited to natural
and physical phenomena, without mention of God. I was greatly astonished.
Most of the scholars, professors and learned men proved to be
materialists. I said to them, “I am surprised and astonished that men of
such perceptive caliber and evident knowledge should still be captives of
nature, not recognizing the self-evident Reality.”

The phenomenal world is entirely subject to the rule and control of
natural law. These myriad suns, satellites and heavenly bodies throughout
endless space are all captives of nature. They cannot transgress in a
single point or particular the fixed laws which govern the physical
universe. The sun in its immensity, the ocean in its vastness are
incapable of violating these universal laws. All phenomenal beings—the
plants in their kingdom, even the animals with their intelligence—are
nature’s subjects and captives. All live within the bounds of natural law,
and nature is the ruler of all except man. Man is not the captive of
nature, for although according to natural law he is a being of the earth,
yet he guides ships over the ocean, flies through the air in airplanes,
descends in submarines; therefore, he has overcome natural law and made it
subservient to his wishes. For instance, he imprisons in an incandescent
lamp the illimitable natural energy called electricity—a material force
which can cleave mountains—and bids it give him light. He takes the human
voice and confines it in the phonograph for his benefit and amusement.
According to his natural power man should be able to communicate a limited
distance, but by overcoming the restrictions of nature he can annihilate
space and send telephone messages thousands of miles. All the sciences,
arts and discoveries were mysteries of nature, and according to natural
law these mysteries should remain latent, hidden; but man has proceeded to
break this law, free himself from this rule and bring them forth into the
realm of the visible. Therefore, he is the ruler and commander of nature.
Man has intelligence; nature has not. Man has volition; nature has none.
Man has memory; nature is without it. Man has the reasoning faculty;
nature is deprived. Man has the perceptive faculty; nature cannot
perceive. It is therefore proved and evident that man is nobler than
nature.

If we accept the supposition that man is but a part of nature, we are
confronted by an illogical statement, for this is equivalent to claiming
that a part may be endowed with qualities which are absent in the whole.
For man who is a part of nature has perception, intelligence, memory,
conscious reflection and susceptibility, while nature itself is quite
bereft of them. How is it possible for the part to be possessed of
qualities or faculties which are absent in the whole? The truth is that
God has given to man certain powers which are supernatural. How then can
man be considered a captive of nature? Is he not dominating and
controlling nature to his own uses more and more? Is he not the very
divinity of nature? Shall we say nature is blind, nature is not
perceptive, nature is without volition and not alive, and then relegate
man to nature and its limitations? How can we answer this question? How
will the materialists and scholastic atheists prove and support such a
supposition? As a matter of fact, they themselves make natural laws
subservient to their own wish and purpose. The proof is complete that in
man there is a power beyond the limitations of nature, and that power is
the bestowal of God.

In New York I find the people more endowed with spiritual
susceptibilities. They are not mere captives of nature’s control; they are
rising out of the bonds and burden of captivity. For this reason I am very
happy and hopeful that, God willing, in this populous country, in this
vast continent of the West, the virtues of the world of humanity shall
become resplendent; that the oneness of human world-power, the love of
God, may enkindle the hearts, and that international peace may hoist its
standards, influencing all other regions and countries from here. This is
my hope.



16 April 1912
Talk at Hotel Ansonia to Bahá’í Friends of New Jersey
Broadway and Seventy-third Street, New York


Notes by Aḥmad Sohráb

Souls from the East and West have been brought together here through the
power of the Holy Spirit. Such a gathering as this would be impossible
through material means. A meeting of this kind has never been established
in New York, for here tonight we find people from remote regions of the
earth, associated with the people of America in the utmost love and
spiritual unity. This is only possible through the power of God. Christ
appeared in this world nineteen hundred years ago to establish ties of
unity and bonds of love between the various nations and different
communities. He cemented together the sciences of Rome and the splendors
of the civilization of Greece. He also accomplished affiliation between
the Assyrian kingdom and the power of Egypt. The blending of these nations
in unity, love and agreement had been impossible, but Christ through
divine power established this condition among the children of men.

A much greater difficulty confronts us today when we endeavor to establish
unity between the Orient and the Occident. Bahá’u’lláh through the power
of heaven has brought the East and the West together. Erelong we shall
know that they have been cemented by the power of God. The oneness of the
kingdom of humanity will supplant the banner of conquest, and all
communities of the earth will gather under its protection. No nation with
separate and restricted boundaries—such as Persia, for instance—will
exist. The United States of America will be known only as a name. Germany,
France, England, Turkey, Arabia—all these various nations will be welded
together in unity. When the people of the future are asked, “To which
nationality do you belong?” the answer will be, “To the nationality of
humanity. I am living under the shadow of Bahá’u’lláh. I am the servant of
Bahá’u’lláh. I belong to the army of the Most Great Peace.” The people of
the future will not say, “I belong to the nation of England, France or
Persia”; for all of them will be citizens of a universal nationality—the
one family, the one country, the one world of humanity—and then these
wars, hatreds and strifes will pass away.

Bahá’u’lláh appeared in a country which was the center of prejudice. In
that country were many different communities, religions, sects and
denominations. All the animosities of past centuries existed among them.
They were ready to kill each other. They considered the killing of others
who did not agree with them in religious belief an act of worship.
Bahá’u’lláh established such unity and agreement between these various
communities that the greatest love and amity are now witnessed among them.

Today the Bahá’ís of the East are longing with deep desire to see you face
to face. Their highest hope and fondest wish is that the day may come when
they will be gathered together in an assembly with you. Consider well the
power that accomplished this wonderful transformation.

The body of the human world is sick. Its remedy and healing will be the
oneness of the kingdom of humanity. Its life is the Most Great Peace. Its
illumination and quickening is love. Its happiness is the attainment of
spiritual perfections. It is my wish and hope that in the bounties and
favors of the Blessed Perfection we may find a new life, acquire a new
power and attain to a wonderful and supreme source of energy so that the
Most Great Peace of divine intention shall be established upon the
foundations of the unity of the world of men with God. May the love of God
be spread from this city, from this meeting to all the surrounding
countries. Nay, may America become the distributing center of spiritual
enlightenment, and all the world receive this heavenly blessing! For
America has developed powers and capacities greater and more wonderful
than other nations. While it is true that its people have attained a
marvelous material civilization, I hope that spiritual forces may animate
this great body and a corresponding spiritual civilization be established.
May the inhabitants of this country become like angels of heaven with
faces turned continually toward God. May all of them become the servants
of the Omnipotent One. May they rise from present material attainments to
such a height that heavenly illumination may stream from this center to
all the peoples of the world.

The divine Jerusalem has come down from heaven. The bride of Zion has
appeared. The voice of the Kingdom of God has been raised. May you attain
supreme capacity and magnetic attraction in this realm of might and
power—manifesting new energy and wonderful accomplishment, for God is your
Assister and Helper. The breath of the Holy Spirit is your comforter, and
the angels of heaven surround you. I desire this power for you. Rest
assured that these bounties now overshadow you.



17 April 1912
Talk at Hotel Ansonia
Broadway and Seventy-third Street, New York


Notes by Howard MacNutt

During my visit to London and Paris last year I had many talks with the
materialistic philosophers of Europe. The basis of all their conclusions
is that the acquisition of knowledge of phenomena is according to a fixed,
invariable law—a law mathematically exact in its operation through the
senses. For instance, the eye sees a chair; therefore, there is no doubt
of the chair’s existence. The eye looks up into the heavens and beholds
the sun; I see flowers upon this table; I smell their fragrance; I hear
sounds outside, etc. This, they say, is a fixed mathematical law of
perception and deduction, the operation of which admits of no doubt
whatever; for inasmuch as the universe is subject to our sensing, the
proof is self-evident that our knowledge of it must be gained through the
avenues of the senses. That is to say, the materialists announce that the
criterion and standard of human knowledge is sense perception. Among the
Greeks and Romans the criterion of knowledge was reason—that whatever is
provable and acceptable by reason must necessarily be admitted as true. A
third standard or criterion is the opinion held by theologians that
traditions or prophetic statement and interpretations constitute the basis
of human knowing. There is still another, a fourth criterion, upheld by
religionists and metaphysicians who say that the source and channel of all
human penetration into the unknown is through inspiration. Briefly then,
these four criteria according to the declarations of men are: first, sense
perception; second, reason; third, traditions; fourth, inspiration.

In Europe I told the philosophers and scientists of materialism that the
criterion of the senses is not reliable. For instance, consider a mirror
and the images reflected in it. These images have no actual corporeal
existence. Yet if you had never seen a mirror, you would firmly insist and
believe that they were real. The eye sees a mirage upon the desert as a
lake of water, but there is no reality in it. As we stand upon the deck of
a steamer, the shore appears to be moving, yet we know the land is
stationary and we are moving. The earth was believed to be fixed and the
sun revolving about it, but although this appears to be so, the reverse is
now known to be true. A whirling torch makes a circle of fire appear
before the eye, yet we realize there is but one point of light. We behold
a shadow moving upon the ground, but it has no material existence, no
substance. In deserts the atmospheric effects are particularly productive
of illusions which deceive the eye. Once I saw a mirage in which a whole
caravan appeared traveling upward into the sky. In the far North other
deceptive phenomena appear and baffle human vision. Sometimes three or
four suns, called by scientists mock suns, will be shining at the same
time, whereas we know that the great solar orb is one and that it remains
fixed and single. In brief, the senses are continually deceived, and we
are unable to separate that which is reality from that which is not.

As to the second criterion—reason—this likewise is unreliable and not to
be depended upon. This human world is an ocean of varying opinions. If
reason is the perfect standard and criterion of knowledge, why are
opinions at variance and why do philosophers disagree so completely with
each other? This is a clear proof that human reason is not to be relied
upon as an infallible criterion. For instance, great discoveries and
announcements of former centuries are continually upset and discarded by
the wise men of today. Mathematicians, astronomers, chemical scientists
continually disprove and reject the conclusions of the ancients; nothing
is fixed, nothing final; everything is continually changing because human
reason is progressing along new roads of investigation and arriving at new
conclusions every day. In the future much that is announced and accepted
as true now will be rejected and disproved. And so it will continue ad
infinitum.

When we consider the third criterion—traditions—upheld by theologians as
the avenue and standard of knowledge, we find this source equally
unreliable and unworthy of dependence. For religious traditions are the
report and record of understanding and interpretation of the Book. By what
means has this understanding, this interpretation been reached? By the
analysis of human reason. When we read the Book of God, the faculty of
comprehension by which we form conclusions is reason. Reason is mind. If
we are not endowed with perfect reason, how can we comprehend the meanings
of the Word of God? Therefore, human reason, as already pointed out, is by
its very nature finite and faulty in conclusions. It cannot surround the
Reality Itself, the Infinite Word. Inasmuch as the source of traditions
and interpretations is human reason, and human reason is faulty, how can
we depend upon its findings for real knowledge?

The fourth criterion I have named is inspiration through which it is
claimed the reality of knowledge is attainable. What is inspiration? It is
the influx of the human heart. But what are satanic promptings which
afflict mankind? They are the influx of the heart also. How shall we
differentiate between them? The question arises: How shall we know whether
we are following inspiration from God or satanic promptings of the human
soul? Briefly, the point is that in the human material world of phenomena
these four are the only existing criteria or avenues of knowledge, and all
of them are faulty and unreliable. What then remains? How shall we attain
the reality of knowledge? By the breaths and promptings of the Holy
Spirit, which is light and knowledge itself. Through it the human mind is
quickened and fortified into true conclusions and perfect knowledge. This
is conclusive argument showing that all available human criteria are
erroneous and defective, but the divine standard of knowledge is
infallible. Therefore, man is not justified in saying, “I know because I
perceive through my senses,” or “I know because it is proved through my
faculty of reason,” or “I know because it is according to tradition and
interpretation of the Holy Book,” or “I know because I am inspired.” All
human standards of judgment are faulty, finite.



17 April 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney
780 West End Avenue, New York


Notes by John G. Grundy

In the Holy Books it is recorded that when the Sun of Truth dawns, it will
appear in the East, and its light will be reflected in the West. Already
its dawning has taken place in the East, and its signs are appearing in
the West. Its illumination shall spread rapidly and widely in the
Occident. The Sun of Truth has risen in Persia, and its effulgence is now
manifest here in America. This is the greatest proof of its appearance in
the horizon of the world, as recorded in the heavenly Books. Praise be to
God! That which is prophesied in the Holy Books has been fulfilled.

On Sunday last at Carnegie Hall the revered soul who introduced
‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave voice to the statement that according to tradition
demons would appear from the land of the sunrise, but now we find angels
appearing instead. At the time this statement was made a reply was not
possible, but today we will speak of it. The great spiritual lights have
always appeared in the East. The Blessed Perfection, Bahá’u’lláh, appeared
in the East. Jesus Christ dawned upon the horizon of the East. Moses,
Aaron, Joseph and all the Israelitish prophets such as Jeremiah, Ezekiel,
Isaiah and others appeared from the Orient. The lights of Muḥammad and the
Báb shone from the East. The eastern horizon has been flooded with the
effulgence of these great lights, and only from the East have they risen
to shine upon the West. Now—praise be to God!—you are living in the dawn
of a cycle when the Sun of Truth is again shining forth from the East,
illumining all regions.

The world has become a new world. The darkness of night which has
enveloped humanity is passing. A new day has dawned. Divine
susceptibilities and heavenly capacities are developing in human souls
under the training of the Sun of Truth. The capacities of souls are
different. Their conditions are various. For example, certain minerals
come from the stony regions of the earth. All are minerals, all are
produced by the same sun, but one remains a stone while another develops
the capacity of a glittering gem or jewel. From one plot of land tulips
and hyacinths grow; from another, thorns and thistles. Each plot receives
the bounty of the sunshine, but the capacity to receive it is not the
same. Therefore, it is requisite that we must develop capacity and divine
susceptibility in order that the merciful bounty of the Sun of Truth
intended for this age and time in which we are living may reflect from us
as light from pure crystals.

The bounties of the Blessed Perfection are infinite. We must endeavor to
increase our capacity daily, to strengthen and enlarge our capabilities
for receiving them, to become as perfect mirrors. The more polished and
clean the mirror, the more effulgent is its reflection of the lights of
the Sun of Truth. Be like a well-cultivated garden wherein the roses and
variegated flowers of heaven are growing in fragrance and beauty. It is my
hope that your hearts may become as ready ground, carefully tilled and
prepared, upon which the divine showers of the bounties of the Blessed
Perfection may descend and the zephyrs of this divine springtime may blow
with quickening breath. Then will the garden of your hearts bring forth
its flowers of delightful fragrance to refresh the nostril of the heavenly
Gardener. Let your hearts reflect the glories of the Sun of Truth in their
many colors to gladden the eye of the divine Cultivator Who has nourished
them. Day by day become more closely attracted in order that the love of
God may illumine all those with whom you come in contact. Be as one
spirit, one soul, leaves of one tree, flowers of one garden, waves of one
ocean.

As difference in degree of capacity exists among human souls, as
difference in capability is found, therefore, individualities will differ
one from another. But in reality this is a reason for unity and not for
discord and enmity. If the flowers of a garden were all of one color, the
effect would be monotonous to the eye; but if the colors are variegated,
it is most pleasing and wonderful. The difference in adornment of color
and capacity of reflection among the flowers gives the garden its beauty
and charm. Therefore, although we are of different individualities,
different in ideas and of various fragrances, let us strive like flowers
of the same divine garden to live together in harmony. Even though each
soul has its own individual perfume and color, all are reflecting the same
light, all contributing fragrance to the same breeze which blows through
the garden, all continuing to grow in complete harmony and accord. Become
as waves of one sea, trees of one forest, growing in the utmost love,
agreement and unity.

If you attain to such a capacity of love and unity, the Blessed Perfection
will shower infinite graces of the spiritual Kingdom upon you, guide,
protect and preserve you under the shadow of His Word, increase your
happiness in this world and uphold you through all difficulties.
Therefore, it is my hope that day by day you will become more and more
effulgent in the horizon of heaven, advance nearer and nearer toward the
Kingdom of Abhá, attain greater and greater bounties of the Blessed
Perfection. I am joyful, for I perceive the evidences of great love among
you. I go to Chicago, and when I return I hope that love will have become
infinite. Then will it be an eternal joy to me and the friends in the
Orient.



18 April 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall L. Emery
273 West Ninetieth Street, New York


Notes by Miss Dixon

Tonight I wish to tell you something of the history of the Bahá’í
Revelation.

The Blessed Perfection, Bahá’u’lláh, belonged to the nobility of Persia.
From earliest childhood He was distinguished among His relatives and
friends. They said, “This child has extraordinary power.” In wisdom,
intelligence and as a source of new knowledge, He was advanced beyond His
age and superior to His surroundings. All who knew Him were astonished at
His precocity. It was usual for them to say, “Such a child will not live,”
for it is commonly believed that precocious children do not reach
maturity. During the period of youth the Blessed Perfection did not enter
school. He was not willing to be taught. This fact is well established
among the Persians of Ṭihrán. Nevertheless, He was capable of solving the
difficult problems of all who came to Him. In whatever meeting, scientific
assembly or theological discussion He was found, He became the authority
of explanation upon intricate and abstruse questions presented.

Until His father passed away, Bahá’u’lláh did not seek position or
political station notwithstanding His connection with the government. This
occasioned surprise and comment. It was frequently said, “How is it that a
young man of such keen intelligence and subtle perception does not seek
lucrative appointments? As a matter of fact, every position is open to
him.” This is an historical statement fully attested by the people of
Persia.

He was most generous, giving abundantly to the poor. None who came to Him
were turned away. The doors of His house were open to all. He always had
many guests. This unbounded generosity was conducive to greater
astonishment from the fact that He sought neither position nor prominence.
In commenting upon this His friends said He would become impoverished, for
His expenses were many and His wealth becoming more and more limited. “Why
is he not thinking of his own affairs?” they inquired of each other; but
some who were wise declared, “This personage is connected with another
world; he has something sublime within him that is not evident now; the
day is coming when it will be manifested.” In truth, the Blessed
Perfection was a refuge for every weak one, a shelter for every fearing
one, kind to every indigent one, lenient and loving to all creatures.

He became well-known in regard to these qualities before the Báb appeared.
Then Bahá’u’lláh declared the Báb’s mission to be true and promulgated His
teachings. The Báb announced that the greater Manifestation would take
place after Him and called the Promised One “Him Whom God shall make
manifest,” saying that nine years later the reality of His own mission
would become apparent. In His writings He stated that in the ninth year
this expected One would be known; in the ninth year they would attain to
all glory and felicity; in the ninth year they would advance rapidly.
Between Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb there was communication privately. The Báb
wrote a letter containing three hundred and sixty derivatives of the root
Bahá. The Báb was martyred in Tabríz; and Bahá’u’lláh, exiled into ‘Iráq
in 1852, announced Himself in Ba_gh_dád. For the Persian government had
decided that as long as He remained in Persia the peace of the country
would be disturbed; therefore, He was exiled in the expectation that
Persia would become quiet. His banishment, however, produced the opposite
effect. New tumult arose, and the mention of His greatness and influence
spread everywhere throughout the country. The proclamation of His
manifestation and mission was made in Ba_gh_dád. He called His friends
together there and spoke to them of God.

At one point He left the city and went alone into the mountains of
Kurdistán, where He made His abode in caves and grottoes. A part of this
time He lived in the city of Sulaymáníyyih. Two years passed during which
neither His friends nor family knew just where He was.

Although Bahá’u’lláh was solitary, secluded and unknown in His retirement,
the report spread throughout Kurdistán that this was a most remarkable and
learned Personage, gifted with a wonderful power of attraction. In a short
time Kurdistán was magnetized with His love. During this period
Bahá’u’lláh lived in poverty. His garments were those of the poor and
needy. His food was that of the indigent and lowly. An atmosphere of
majesty haloed Him as the sun at midday. Everywhere He was greatly revered
and beloved.

After two years He returned to Ba_gh_dád. Friends He had known in
Sulaymáníyyih came to visit Him. They found Him in His accustomed
environment of ease and affluence and were astonished at the appointments
of One Who had lived in seclusion under such frugal conditions in
Kurdistán.

The Persian government believed the banishment of the Blessed Perfection
from Persia would be the extermination of His Cause in that country. These
rulers now realized that it spread more rapidly. His prestige increased;
His teachings became more widely circulated. The chiefs of Persia then
used their influence to have Bahá’u’lláh exiled from Ba_gh_dád. He was
summoned to Constantinople by the Turkish authorities. While in
Constantinople He ignored every restriction, especially the hostility of
ministers of state and clergy. The official representatives of Persia
again brought their influence to bear upon the Turkish authorities and
succeeded in having Bahá’u’lláh banished from Constantinople to
Adrianople, the object being to keep Him as far away as possible from
Persia and render His communication with that country more difficult.
Nevertheless, the Cause still spread and strengthened.

Finally, they consulted together and said, “We have banished Bahá’u’lláh
from place to place, but each time he is exiled his cause is more widely
extended, his proclamation increases in power, and day by day his lamp is
becoming brighter. This is due to the fact that we have exiled him to
large cities and populous centers. Therefore, we will send him to a penal
colony as a prisoner so that all may know he is the associate of
murderers, robbers and criminals; in a short time he and his followers
will perish.” The Sulṭán of Turkey then banished Him to the prison of Akká
in Syria.

When Bahá’u’lláh arrived at Akká, through the power of God He was able to
hoist His banner. His light at first had been a star; now it became a
mighty sun, and the illumination of His Cause expanded from the East to
the West. Inside prison walls He wrote Epistles to all the kings and
rulers of nations, summoning them to arbitration and universal peace. Some
of the kings received His words with disdain and contempt. One of these
was the Sulṭán of the Ottoman kingdom. Napoleon III of France did not
reply. A second Epistle was addressed to him. It stated, “I have written
you an Epistle before this, summoning you to the Cause of God, but you are
of the heedless. You have proclaimed that you were the defender of the
oppressed; now it hath become evident that you are not. Nor are you kind
to your own suffering and oppressed people. Your actions are contrary to
your own interests, and your kingly pride must fall. Because of your
arrogance God shortly will destroy your sovereignty. France will flee away
from you, and you will be overwhelmed by a great conquest. There will be
lamentation and mourning, women bemoaning the loss of their sons.” This
arraignment of Napoleon III was published and spread.

Read it and consider: one prisoner, single and solitary, without assistant
or defender, a foreigner and stranger imprisoned in the fortress of Akká,
writing such letters to the Emperor of France and Sulṭán of Turkey.
Reflect upon this: how Bahá’u’lláh upraised the standard of His Cause in
prison. Refer to history. It is without parallel. No such thing has
happened before that time nor since—a prisoner and an exile advancing His
Cause and spreading His teachings broadcast so that eventually He became
powerful enough to conquer the very king who banished Him.

His Cause spread more and more. The Blessed Perfection was a prisoner
twenty-five years. During all this time He was subjected to the
indignities and revilement of the people. He was persecuted, mocked and
put in chains. In Persia His properties were pillaged and His possessions
confiscated. First, there was banishment from Persia to Ba_gh_dád, then to
Constantinople, then to Adrianople, finally from Rumelia to the prison
fortress of Akká.

During His lifetime He was intensely active. His energy was unlimited.
Scarcely one night was passed in restful sleep. He bore these ordeals,
suffered these calamities and difficulties in order that a manifestation
of selflessness and service might become apparent in the world of
humanity; that the Most Great Peace should become a reality; that human
souls might appear as the angels of heaven; that heavenly miracles would
be wrought among men; that human faith should be strengthened and
perfected; that the precious, priceless bestowal of God—the human
mind—might be developed to its fullest capacity in the temple of the body;
and that man might become the reflection and likeness of God, even as it
hath been revealed in the Bible, “Let us make man in our image.”

Briefly, the Blessed Perfection bore all these ordeals and calamities in
order that our hearts might become enkindled and radiant, our spirits be
glorified, our faults become virtues, our ignorance be transformed into
knowledge; in order that we might attain the real fruits of humanity and
acquire heavenly graces; in order that, although pilgrims upon earth, we
should travel the road of the heavenly Kingdom, and, although needy and
poor, we might receive the treasures of eternal life. For this has He
borne these difficulties and sorrows.

Trust all to God. The lights of God are resplendent. The blessed Epistles
are spreading. The blessed teachings are promulgated throughout the East
and West. Soon you will see that the heavenly Words have established the
oneness of the world of humanity. The banner of the Most Great Peace has
been unfurled, and the great community is appearing.



19 April 1912
Talk at Earl Hall
Columbia University, New York


From Stenographic Notes

If we look with a perceiving eye upon the world of creation, we find that
all existing things may be classified as follows: first, mineral—that is
to say, matter or substance appearing in various forms of composition;
second, vegetable—possessing the virtues of the mineral plus the power of
augmentation or growth, indicating a degree higher and more specialized
than the mineral; third, animal—possessing the attributes of the mineral
and vegetable plus the power of sense perception; fourth, human—the
highest specialized organism of visible creation, embodying the qualities
of the mineral, vegetable and animal plus an ideal endowment absolutely
absent in the lower kingdoms—the power of intellectual investigation into
the mysteries of outer phenomena. The outcome of this intellectual
endowment is science, which is especially characteristic of man. This
scientific power investigates and apprehends created objects and the laws
surrounding them. It is the discoverer of the hidden and mysterious
secrets of the material universe and is peculiar to man alone. The most
noble and praiseworthy accomplishment of man, therefore, is scientific
knowledge and attainment.

Science may be likened to a mirror wherein the images of the mysteries of
outer phenomena are reflected. It brings forth and exhibits to us in the
arena of knowledge all the product of the past. It links together past and
present. The philosophical conclusions of bygone centuries, the teachings
of the Prophets and wisdom of former sages are crystallized and reproduced
in the scientific advancement of today. Science is the discoverer of the
past. From its premises of past and present we deduce conclusions as to
the future. Science is the governor of nature and its mysteries, the one
agency by which man explores the institutions of material creation. All
created things are captives of nature and subject to its laws. They cannot
transgress the control of these laws in one detail or particular. The
infinite starry worlds and heavenly bodies are nature’s obedient subjects.
The earth and its myriad organisms, all minerals, plants and animals are
thralls of its dominion. But man through the exercise of his scientific,
intellectual power can rise out of this condition, can modify, change and
control nature according to his own wishes and uses. Science, so to speak,
is the breaker of the laws of nature.

Consider, for example, that man according to natural law should dwell upon
the surface of the earth. By overcoming this law and restriction, however,
he sails in ships over the ocean, mounts to the zenith in airplanes and
sinks to the depths of the sea in submarines. This is against the fiat of
nature and a violation of her sovereignty and dominion. Nature’s laws and
methods, the hidden secrets and mysteries of the universe, human
inventions and discoveries, all our scientific acquisitions should
naturally remain concealed and unknown, but man through his intellectual
acumen searches them out of the plane of the invisible, draws them into
the plane of the visible, exposes and explains them. For instance, one of
the mysteries of nature is electricity. According to nature this force,
this energy, should remain latent and hidden, but man scientifically
breaks through the very laws of nature, arrests it and even imprisons it
for his use.

In brief, man through the possession of this ideal endowment of scientific
investigation is the most noble product of creation, the governor of
nature. He takes the sword from nature’s hand and uses it upon nature’s
head. According to natural law night is a period of darkness and
obscurity, but man by utilizing the power of electricity, by wielding this
electric sword overcomes the darkness and dispels the gloom. Man is
superior to nature and makes nature do his bidding. Man is a sensitive
being; nature is without sensation. Man has memory and reason; nature
lacks them. Man is nobler than nature. There are powers within him of
which nature is devoid. It may be claimed that these powers are from
nature itself and that man is a part of nature. In answer to this
statement we will say that if nature is the whole and man is a part of
that whole, how could it be possible for a part to possess qualities and
virtues which are absent in the whole? Undoubtedly the part must be
endowed with the same qualities and properties as the whole. For example,
the hair is a part of the human anatomy. It cannot contain elements which
are not found in other parts of the body, for in all cases the component
elements of the body are the same. Therefore, it is manifest and evident
that man, although in body a part of nature, nevertheless in spirit
possesses a power transcending nature; for if he were simply a part of
nature and limited to material laws, he could possess only the things
which nature embodies. God has conferred upon and added to man a
distinctive power—the faculty of intellectual investigation into the
secrets of creation, the acquisition of higher knowledge—the greatest
virtue of which is scientific enlightenment.

This endowment is the most praiseworthy power of man, for through its
employment and exercise the betterment of the human race is accomplished,
the development of the virtues of mankind is made possible and the spirit
and mysteries of God become manifest. Therefore, I am greatly pleased with
my visit to this university. Praise be to God that this country abounds in
such institutions of learning where the knowledge of sciences and arts may
readily be acquired.

As material and physical sciences are taught here and are constantly
unfolding in wider vistas of attainment, I am hopeful that spiritual
development may also follow and keep pace with these outer advantages. As
material knowledge is illuminating those within the walls of this great
temple of learning, so also may the light of the spirit, the inner and
divine light of the real philosophy glorify this institution. The most
important principle of divine philosophy is the oneness of the world of
humanity, the unity of mankind, the bond conjoining East and West, the tie
of love which blends human hearts.

Therefore, it is our duty to put forth our greatest efforts and summon all
our energies in order that the bonds of unity and accord may be
established among mankind. For thousands of years we have had bloodshed
and strife. It is enough; it is sufficient. Now is the time to associate
together in love and harmony. For thousands of years we have tried the
sword and warfare; let mankind for a time at least live in peace. Review
history and consider how much savagery, how much bloodshed and battle the
world has witnessed. It has been either religious warfare, political
warfare or some other clash of human interests. The world of humanity has
never enjoyed the blessing of universal peace. Year by year the implements
of warfare have been increased and perfected. Consider the wars of past
centuries; only ten, fifteen or twenty thousand at the most were killed,
but now it is possible to kill one hundred thousand in a single day. In
ancient times warfare was carried on with the sword; today it is the
smokeless gun. Formerly, battleships were sailing vessels; today they are
dreadnoughts. Consider the increase and improvement in the weapons of war.
God has created us all human, and all countries of the world are parts of
the same globe. We are all His servants. He is kind and just to all. Why
should we be unkind and unjust to each other? He provides for all. Why
should we deprive one another? He protects and preserves all. Why should
we kill our fellow creatures? If this warfare and strife be for the sake
of religion, it is evident that it violates the spirit and basis of all
religion. All the divine Manifestations have proclaimed the oneness of God
and the unity of mankind. They have taught that men should love and
mutually help each other in order that they might progress. Now if this
conception of religion be true, its essential principle is the oneness of
humanity. The fundamental truth of the Manifestations is peace. This
underlies all religion, all justice. The divine purpose is that men should
live in unity, concord and agreement and should love one another. Consider
the virtues of the human world and realize that the oneness of humanity is
the primary foundation of them all. Read the Gospel and the other Holy
Books. You will find their fundamentals are one and the same. Therefore,
unity is the essential truth of religion and, when so understood, embraces
all the virtues of the human world. Praise be to God! This knowledge has
been spread, eyes have been opened, and ears have become attentive.
Therefore, we must endeavor to promulgate and practice the religion of God
which has been founded by all the Prophets. And the religion of God is
absolute love and unity.



19 April 1912
Talk at Bowery Mission
227 Bowery, New York


From Stenographic Notes

Tonight I am very happy, for I have come here to meet my friends. I
consider you my relatives, my companions; and I am your comrade.

You must be thankful to God that you are poor, for Jesus Christ has said,
“Blessed are the poor.” He never said, “Blessed are the rich.” He said,
too, that the Kingdom is for the poor and that it is easier for a camel to
enter a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter God’s Kingdom.
Therefore, you must be thankful to God that although in this world you are
indigent, yet the treasures of God are within your reach; and although in
the material realm you are poor, yet in the Kingdom of God you are
precious. Jesus Himself was poor. He did not belong to the rich. He passed
His time in the desert, traveling among the poor, and lived upon the herbs
of the field. He had no place to lay His head, no home. He was exposed in
the open to heat, cold and frost—to inclement weather of all kinds—yet He
chose this rather than riches. If riches were considered a glory, the
Prophet Moses would have chosen them; Jesus would have been a rich man.
When Jesus Christ appeared, it was the poor who first accepted Him, not
the rich. Therefore, you are the disciples of Jesus Christ; you are His
comrades, for He outwardly was poor, not rich. Even this earth’s happiness
does not depend upon wealth. You will find many of the wealthy exposed to
dangers and troubled by difficulties, and in their last moments upon the
bed of death there remains the regret that they must be separated from
that to which their hearts are so attached. They come into this world
naked, and they must go from it naked. All they possess they must leave
behind and pass away solitary, alone. Often at the time of death their
souls are filled with remorse; and worst of all, their hope in the mercy
of God is less than ours. Praise be to God! Our hope is in the mercy of
God, and there is no doubt that the divine compassion is bestowed upon the
poor. Jesus Christ said so; Bahá’u’lláh said so. While Bahá’u’lláh was in
Ba_gh_dád, still in possession of great wealth, He left all He had and
went alone from the city, living two years among the poor. They were His
comrades. He ate with them, slept with them and gloried in being one of
them. He chose for one of His names the title of The Poor One and often in
His Writings refers to Himself as Darví_sh_, which in Persian means poor;
and of this title He was very proud. He admonished all that we must be the
servants of the poor, helpers of the poor, remember the sorrows of the
poor, associate with them; for thereby we may inherit the Kingdom of
heaven. God has not said that there are mansions prepared for us if we
pass our time associating with the rich, but He has said there are many
mansions prepared for the servants of the poor, for the poor are very dear
to God. The mercies and bounties of God are with them. The rich are mostly
negligent, inattentive, steeped in worldliness, depending upon their
means, whereas the poor are dependent upon God, and their reliance is upon
Him, not upon themselves. Therefore, the poor are nearer the threshold of
God and His throne.

Jesus was a poor man. One night when He was out in the fields, the rain
began to fall. He had no place to go for shelter so He lifted His eyes
toward heaven, saying, “O Father! For the birds of the air Thou hast
created nests, for the sheep a fold, for the animals dens, for the fish
places of refuge, but for Me Thou hast provided no shelter. There is no
place where I may lay My head. My bed consists of the cold ground; My
lamps at night are the stars, and My food is the grass of the field. Yet
who upon earth is richer than I? For the greatest blessing Thou hast not
given to the rich and mighty but unto Me, for Thou hast given Me the poor.
To me Thou hast granted this blessing. They are Mine. Therefore am I the
richest man on earth.”

So, my comrades, you are following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Your
lives are similar to His life; your attitude is like unto His; you
resemble Him more than the rich do. Therefore, we will thank God that we
have been so blessed with real riches. And in conclusion, I ask you to
accept ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as your servant.

At the end of this meeting, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stood at the Bowery entrance to
the Mission hall, shaking hands with four or five hundred men and placing
within each palm a piece of silver.



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN WASHINGTON, D.C.



20 April 1912
Talk at Orient-Occident-Unity Conference
Public Library Hall, Washington, D.C.


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

Tonight I am most happy in presenting myself before an audience such as
this. I am an Oriental and have come into the West to meet the people of
the Occident. Praise be to God! Upon the faces of those assembled here I
perceive the light of God. This I consider an evidence of the possibility
of uniting the East and the West, of establishing a perfect bond between
Persia and America—one of the objects of this conference. For the Persians
there is no government better fitted to contribute to the development of
their natural resources and the helping of their national needs in a
reciprocal alliance than the United States of America, and for the
Americans there could be no better industrial outlet and market than the
virgin commercial soil of Persia. The mineral wealth of Persia is still
latent and untouched. It is my hope that the great American democracy may
be instrumental in developing these hidden resources and that a bond of
perfect amity and unity may be established between the American republic
and the government of Persia. May this bond—whether material or
spiritual—be well cemented. May the material civilization of America find
complete efficacy and establishment in Persia, and may the spiritual
civilization of Persia find acceptance and response in America.

Some of the creatures of existence can live solitary and alone. A tree,
for instance, may live without the assistance and cooperation of other
trees. Some animals are isolated and lead a separate existence away from
their kind. But this is impossible for man. In his life and being
cooperation and association are essential. Through association and meeting
we find happiness and development, individual and collective.

For instance, when there is intercourse and cooperation between two
villages, the advancement of each will be assured. Likewise, if
intercommunication is established between two cities, both will benefit
and progress. And if a reciprocal basis of agreement be reached between
two countries, their individual and mutual interests will find great
development. Therefore, in the unity of this radiant assemblage I behold
the link between Orient and Occident. Such unity is the means and
instrument of cooperation between the various countries of the East and
West. It is evident, then, that the outcomes from this basis of agreement
and accord are numberless and unlimited. Surely there will be great
harvests of results forthcoming for Persia and America. In Persia advanced
material civilization will be established and the doors thrown open wide
to American commerce.

Above and beyond all this, a great love and fountain of affection shall
bind and blend these two remote peoples, for Bahá’u’lláh has proclaimed to
the world the solidarity of nations and the oneness of humanity.
Addressing all mankind He has said, “Ye are all leaves of one tree and the
drops of one sea.” The world of humanity has been expressed by Him as a
unit—as one family. It is, therefore, hoped that the American and Persian
nations may be conjoined and united in reciprocal love. May they become
one race endowed with the same susceptibilities. May these bonds of amity
and accord be firmly established.

Bahá’u’lláh passed forty years of His life in prison and exile in order
that He might upraise the banner of the oneness of the world of men. For
this He bore all these ordeals and difficulties. He was under the dominion
of ‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd. I, too, was in the prison of ‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd until the
Committee of Union and Progress hoisted the standard of liberty and my
fetters were removed. They exhibited great kindness and love toward me. I
was made free and thereby enabled to come to this country. Were it not for
the action of this Committee, I should not be with you here tonight.
Therefore, you must all ask assistance and confirmation in behalf of this
Committee through which the liberty of Turkey was proclaimed.

Briefly, I have traveled this long distance, crossed the Atlantic Ocean to
this western continent in the desire and hope that the strongest bond of
unity may be established between America and Persia. I know this to be
your wish and purpose also and am sure of your cooperation. We shall,
therefore, offer supplication in the divine threshold that a great love
may take possession of the hearts of men and unite the nations of the
world. We will pray that the ensign of international peace may be uplifted
and that the oneness of the world of humanity may be realized and
accomplished. All this is made possible and practicable through your
efforts. May this American democracy be the first nation to establish the
foundation of international agreement. May it be the first nation to
proclaim the universality of mankind. May it be the first to upraise the
standard of the Most Great Peace, and through this nation of democracy may
these philanthropic intentions and institutions be spread broadcast
throughout the world. Truly, this is a great and revered nation. Here
liberty has reached its highest degree. The intentions of its people are
most praiseworthy. They are, indeed, worthy of being the first to build
the Tabernacle of the Most Great Peace and proclaim the oneness of
mankind. I will supplicate God for assistance and confirmation in your
behalf.



21 April 1912
Talk at Studio Hall
1219 Connecticut Avenue, Washington, D.C.


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

I have come here to visit you. With the greatest longing I have wished to
see you. Realizing it was only with great difficulty that you could come
to me and that very few could make the trip, I decided to come to you so
that all might have the pleasure of meeting. Praise be to God! I am here,
and I am looking into your faces—faces radiant with inner beauty, hearts
attracted to the Kingdom of Abhá, spirits exhilarated through the glad
tidings of God. Therefore, I have experienced the greatest possible
happiness. And surely this happiness must be mutual, for the hearts are
connected with each other and are filled with the same vibration. The
flame and the light of love are reflected in all. Spiritual
susceptibilities and heart longings fill every heart. If we should offer a
hundred thousand thanksgivings every moment to the threshold of God for
this love which has blended the Orient and Occident, we would fail to
express our gratitude sufficiently. If all the powers of earth should seek
to bring about this love between East and West, they would prove
incapable. If they wished to establish this unity, it would prove
impossible. But Bahá’u’lláh has accomplished both through the power of the
Holy Spirit, and this bond of unity through love is indissoluble. It shall
continue unto time everlasting, and day by day its power shall increase.
Erelong it shall enchain the world, and eventually the hearts of all the
nations of the world will be brought together by its constraining clasp.
The world of humanity shall become the manifestation of the lights of
Divinity, and the bestowals of God shall surround all. From the
standpoints of both material and spiritual civilization extraordinary
progress and development will be witnessed. In this present cycle there
will be an evolution in civilization unparalleled in the history of the
world. The world of humanity has, heretofore, been in the stage of
infancy; now it is approaching maturity. Just as the individual human
organism, having attained the period of maturity, reaches its fullest
degree of physical strength and ripened intellectual faculties so that in
one year of this ripened period there is witnessed an unprecedented
measure of development, likewise the world of humanity in this cycle of
its completeness and consummation will realize an immeasurable upward
progress, and that power of accomplishment whereof each individual human
reality is the depository of God—that outworking Universal Spirit—like the
intellectual faculty, will reveal itself in infinite degrees of
perfection.

Therefore, thank ye God that ye have come into the plane of existence in
this radiant century wherein the bestowals of God are appearing from all
directions, when the doors of the Kingdom have been opened unto you, the
call of God is being raised, and the virtues of the human world are in the
process of unfoldment. The day has come when all darkness is to be
dispelled, and the Sun of Truth shall shine forth radiantly. This time of
the world may be likened to the equinoctial in the annual cycle. For,
verily, this is the spring season of God. In the Holy Books a promise is
given that the springtime of God shall make itself manifest; Jerusalem,
the Holy City, shall descend from heaven; Zion shall leap forth and dance;
and the Holy Land shall be submerged in the ocean of divine effulgence.

At the time of the vernal equinox in the material world a wonderful
vibrant energy and new life-quickening is observed everywhere in the
vegetable kingdom; the animal and human kingdoms are resuscitated and move
forward with a new impulse. The whole world is born anew, resurrected.
Gentle zephyrs are set in motion, wafting and fragrant; flowers bloom; the
trees are in blossom, the air temperate and delightful; how pleasant and
beautiful become the mountains, fields and meadows. Likewise, the
spiritual bounty and springtime of God quicken the world of humanity with
a new animus and vivification. All the virtues which have been deposited
and potential in human hearts are being revealed from that Reality as
flowers and blossoms from divine gardens. It is a day of joy, a time of
happiness, a period of spiritual growth. I beg of God that this divine
spiritual civilization may have the fullest impression and effect upon
you. May you become as growing plants. May the trees of your hearts bring
forth new leaves and variegated blossoms. May ideal fruits appear from
them in order that the world of humanity, which has grown and developed in
material civilization, may be quickened in the bringing forth of spiritual
ideals. Just as human intellects have revealed the secrets of matter and
have brought forth from the realm of the invisible the mysteries of
nature, may minds and spirits, likewise, come into the knowledge of the
verities of God, and the realities of the Kingdom be made manifest in
human hearts. Then the world will be the paradise of Abhá, the standard of
the Most Great Peace will be borne aloft, and the oneness of the world of
humanity in all its beauty, glory and significance will become apparent.
And now in your presence I wish to pray in your behalf. Let your hearts be
attentive and directed to the Kingdom of Abhá.

Prayer in Persian

It is my hope that the supplication I have offered to the Kingdom of Abhá
in your behalf may soon be answered and that its results and effects may
become manifest in your hearts and lives.



21 April 1912
Talk at Universalist Church
Thirteenth and L Streets, Washington, D.C.


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

The doctrines and creed of this church, so capably expressed by its
revered minister, are truly commendable, sanctified and worthy of praise
and glorification, for these precepts are opposed to the deep-rooted
religious prejudices of the day. It is evident that prejudices arising
from adherence to religious forms and imitation of ancestral beliefs have
hindered the progress of humanity thousands of years. How many wars and
battles have been fought, how much division, discord and hatred have been
caused by this form of prejudice! But inasmuch as this century is a
century of the revelation of reality—praise be to God!—the thoughts of men
are being directed toward the welfare and unity of humanity. Daily the
mirage of imitations is passing away, and the ocean of truth is surging
more tumultuously. All the existing nations had a divine foundation of
truth or reality originally, which was intended to be conducive to the
unity and accord of mankind, but the light of that reality gradually
became obscured. The darkness of superstitions and imitations came and
took its place, binding the world of humanity in the chains and fetters of
ignorance. Enmity arose among men, increasing to such an extent that
nation strove against nation in hatred and violence. War has been a
religious and political human heritage.

Now it is enough! We must investigate reality. We must put away these
superstitions. It is a self-evident truth that all humanity is the
creation of God. All are His servants and under His protection. All are
recipients of His bestowals. God is kind to all His servants. At most it
is this: that some are ignorant; they must be educated in order that they
may become intelligent. Some are immature as children; they must be aided
and assisted in order that they may become mature. Some are sick and
ailing; they must be healed. But the suffering patient must not be tested
by false treatment. The child must not be warped and hindered in its
development. The ignorant must not be restricted by censure and criticism.
We must look for the real, true remedy.

All the Prophets of God, including Jesus Christ, appeared in the world for
the education of humanity, to develop immature souls into maturity, to
transform the ignorant of mankind into the knowing, thereby establishing
love and unity through divine education and training. The Prophets have
not come to cause discord and enmity. For God has wished all good for His
servants, and he who wishes the servants of God evil is against God; he
has not obeyed the will and emulated the example of God; he has followed
Satanic leadings and footprints. The attributes of God are love and mercy;
the attribute of Satan is hate. Therefore, he who is merciful and kind to
his fellowmen is manifesting the divine attribute, and he who is hating
and hostile toward a fellow creature is satanic. God is absolute love,
even as Jesus Christ has declared, and Satan is utter hatred. Wherever
love is witnessed, know that there is a manifestation of God’s mercy;
whenever you meet hatred and enmity, know that these are the evidences and
attributes of Satan. The Prophets have appeared in this world with the
mission that human souls may become the expressions of the Merciful, that
they may be educated and developed, attain to love and amity and establish
peace and agreement.

In the world of existence the animal is a captive of nature. Its actions
are according to the exigencies and requirements of nature. It has no
consideration or consciousness of good and evil. It simply follows its
natural instinct and inclination. The Prophets of God have come to show
man the way of righteousness in order that he may not follow his own
natural impulse but govern his action by the light of Their precept and
example. According to Their teachings he should do that which is found to
be praiseworthy by the standard of reason and judgment of intellect, even
though it be opposed to his natural human inclination; and he should not
do that which is found to be unworthy by that same standard, even though
it be in the direction of his natural impulse and desire. Therefore, man
must follow and manifest the attributes of the Merciful.

The imperfect members of society, the weak souls in humanity, follow their
natural trend. Their lives and actions are in accord with their natural
propensities; they are captives of physical susceptibilities; they are not
in touch or in tune with the spiritual bounties. Man has two aspects: the
physical, which is subject to nature, and the merciful or divine, which is
connected with God. If the physical or natural disposition in him should
overcome the heavenly and merciful, he is, then, the most degraded of
animal beings; and if the divine and spiritual should triumph over the
human and natural, he is, verily, an angel. The Prophets come into the
world to guide and educate humanity so that the animal nature of man may
disappear and the divinity of his powers become awakened. The divine
aspect or spiritual nature consists of the breaths of the Holy Spirit. The
second birth of which Jesus has spoken refers to the appearance of this
heavenly nature in man. It is expressed in the baptism of the Holy Spirit,
and he who is baptized by the Holy Spirit is a veritable manifestation of
divine mercy to mankind. Then he becomes just and kind to all humanity; he
entertains prejudice and ill will toward none; he shuns no nation or
people.

The foundations of the divine religions are one. If we investigate these
foundations, we discover much ground for agreement, but if we consider the
imitations of forms and ancestral beliefs, we find points of disagreement
and division; for these imitations differ, while the sources and
foundations are one and the same. That is to say, the fundamentals are
conducive to unity, but imitations are the cause of disunion and
dismemberment. Whosoever is lacking in love for humanity or manifests
hatred and bigotry toward any part of it violates the foundation and
source of his own belief and is holding to forms and imitations. Jesus
Christ declares that the sun rises upon the evil and the good, and the
rain descends upon the just and the unjust—upon all humanity alike. Christ
was a divine mercy which shone upon all mankind, the medium for the
descent of the bounty of God, and the bounty of God is transcendent,
unrestricted, universal.

The revered minister read from the words of the Gospel, “I have yet many
things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the
Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” The century
has dawned when the Spirit of Truth can reveal these verities to mankind,
proclaim that very Word, establish the real foundations of Christianity
and deliver the nations and peoples from the bondage of forms and
imitations. The cause of discord, prejudice and animosity will be removed,
the basis of love and amity be established. Therefore, all of you must
strive with heart and soul in order that enmity may disappear entirely and
that strife and hatred pass away absolutely from the midst of the human
world. You must listen to the admonition of this Spirit of Truth. You must
follow the example and footprints of Jesus Christ. Read the Gospels. Jesus
Christ was mercy itself, was love itself. He even prayed in behalf of His
executioners—for those who crucified Him—saying, “Father, forgive them;
for they know not what they do.” If they knew what they were doing, they
would not have done it. Consider how kind Jesus Christ was, that even upon
the cross He prayed for His oppressors. We must follow His example. We
must emulate the Prophets of God. We must follow Jesus Christ. We must
free ourselves from all these imitations which are the source of darkness
in the world.

I shall ask you a question: Did God create us for love or for enmity? Did
He create us for peace or discord? Surely He has created us for love;
therefore, we should live in accordance with His will. Do not listen to
anything that is prejudiced, for self-interest prompts men to be
prejudiced. They are thoughtful only of their own will and purposes. They
live and move in darkness. Consider how many different nations and
divergent religious beliefs existed when Christ appeared. Enmity and
strife prevailed among them—Romans, Greeks, Assyrians, Egyptians—all
warring and hostile toward each other. Christ, through the breaths of the
Holy Spirit, united them, established fellowship among them so that no
trace of strife remained. Under His standard they became united and lived
in peace through His teachings. Which is preferable and more commendable?
To follow the example of Jesus Christ or to manifest the satanic instinct?
Let us strive with all our powers to unite the East and West so that the
nations of the world may be advanced and that all may live according to
the one foundation of the religions of God. The essentials of the divine
religion are one reality, indivisible and not multiple. It is one. And
when through investigation we find it to be single, we have a basis for
the oneness of the world of humanity. I will pray for you, asking
confirmation and assistance in your behalf.



22 April 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

See how good Bahá’u’lláh is to us, how great the power of His Word! From
what distant parts of the world He has brought us together in this house
and caused us to meet at this heavenly table, for love has prepared a
feast and bidden ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to let this entertainment be in His name.
What a union of hearts and what a confirmation of Bahá’u’lláh between East
and West has been established! How His bounty has embraced all! How His
favors have been perfected for all!

When the Muslims conquered Persia, the chief of the Zoroastrian high
priests went to drink wine. According to Muslim law wine is forbidden, and
he who drinks it must be punished by eighty-one strokes of the whip.
Therefore, the Muslims arrested the high priest and whipped him. At that
time the Arabs were considered very low and degraded by the Persians,
scarcely to be accounted as human beings. As Muḥammad was an Arab, the
Persians looked upon Him with disdain; but when the high priest saw the
evidences of a power in Muḥammad which controlled these despised people,
he cried out, “O thou Arabian Muḥammad, what hast thou done? What hast
thou done which has made thy people arrest the chief high priest of the
Zoroastrians for committing something unlawful in thy religion?” By this
circumstance the prejudice which caused the Zoroastrian to shun the Muslim
had been overcome, for he recognized in what had happened to him the great
influence Muḥammad exercised over these people.

Today in this meeting we have an evidence of how Bahá’u’lláh through the
power of the love of God has exercised a wonderful spiritual influence
throughout the world. From the remotest parts of Persia and the Orient He
has caused men to come to this table to meet with the people of the West
in the utmost love and affection, union and harmony. Behold how the power
of Bahá’u’lláh has brought the East and West together. And ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is
standing, serving you. There is neither rod nor blow, whip nor sword; but
the power of the love of God has accomplished this.

In this world we judge a cause or movement by its progress and
development. Some movements appear, manifest a brief period of activity,
then discontinue. Others show forth a greater measure of growth and
strength, but before attaining mature development, weaken, disintegrate
and are lost in oblivion. Neither of these mentioned are progressive and
permanent.

There is still another kind of movement or cause which from a very small,
inconspicuous beginning goes forward with sure and steady progress,
gradually broadening and widening until it has assumed universal
dimensions. The Bahá’í Movement is of this nature. For instance, when
Bahá’u’lláh was exiled from Persia with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the rest of His
family, they traveled the long road from Ṭihrán to Ba_gh_dád, passing
through many towns and villages. During the whole of that journey and
distance they did not meet a single believer in the Cause for which they
had been banished. At that time very little was known about it in any part
of the world. Even in Ba_gh_dád there was but one believer who had been
taught by Bahá’u’lláh Himself in Persia. Later on, two or three others
appeared. You will see, therefore, that at the beginning the Cause of
Bahá’u’lláh was almost unknown, but on account of being a divine Movement
it grew and developed with irresistible spiritual power until in this day,
wherever you travel—East or West—and in whatever country you journey, you
will meet Bahá’í assemblies and institutions. This is an evidence that the
Bahá’ís are spreading the blessings of unity and progressive development
throughout the world under the direction of divine guidance and purpose,
while other movements which are only temporary in their activities and
accomplishments have no real, universal significance.



23 April 1912
Talk at Howard University
Washington, D.C.


Translated by Amin Banani

Today I am most happy, for I see here a gathering of the servants of God.
I see white and black sitting together. There are no whites and blacks
before God. All colors are one, and that is the color of servitude to God.
Scent and color are not important. The heart is important. If the heart is
pure, white or black or any color makes no difference. God does not look
at colors; He looks at the hearts. He whose heart is pure is better. He
whose character is better is more pleasing. He who turns more to the Abhá
Kingdom is more advanced.

In the realm of existence colors are of no importance. Observe in the
mineral kingdom colors are not the cause of discord. In the vegetable
kingdom the colors of multicolored flowers are not the cause of discord.
Rather, colors are the cause of the adornment of the garden because a
single color has no appeal; but when you observe many-colored flowers,
there is charm and display.

The world of humanity, too, is like a garden, and humankind are like the
many-colored flowers. Therefore, different colors constitute an adornment.
In the same way, there are many colors in the realm of animals. Doves are
of many colors; nevertheless, they live in utmost harmony. They never look
at color; instead, they look at the species. How often white doves fly
with black ones. In the same way, other birds and varicolored animals
never look at color; they look at the species.

Now ponder this: Animals, despite the fact that they lack reason and
understanding, do not make colors the cause of conflict. Why should man,
who has reason, create conflict? This is wholly unworthy of him.
Especially white and black are the descendants of the same Adam; they
belong to one household. In origin they were one; they were the same
color. Adam was of one color. Eve had one color. All humanity is descended
from them. Therefore, in origin they are one. These colors developed later
due to climates and regions; they have no significance whatsoever.
Therefore, today I am very happy that white and black have gathered
together in this meeting. I hope this coming together and harmony reaches
such a degree that no distinctions shall remain between them, and they
shall be together in the utmost harmony and love.

But I wish to say one thing in order that the blacks may become grateful
to the whites and the whites become loving toward the blacks. If you go to
Africa and see the blacks of Africa, you will realize how much progress
you have made. Praise be to God! You are like the whites; there are no
great distinctions left. But the blacks of Africa are treated as servants.
The first proclamation of emancipation for the blacks was made by the
whites of America. How they fought and sacrificed until they freed the
blacks! Then it spread to other places. The blacks of Africa were in
complete bondage, but your emancipation led to their freedom also—that is,
the European states emulated the Americans, and the emancipation
proclamation became universal. It was for your sake that the whites of
America made such an effort. Were it not for this effort, universal
emancipation would not have been proclaimed.

Therefore, you must be very grateful to the whites of America, and the
whites must become very loving toward you so that you may progress in all
human grades. Strive jointly to make extraordinary progress and mix
together completely. In short, you must be very thankful to the whites who
were the cause of your freedom in America. Had you not been freed, other
blacks would not have been freed either. Now—praise be to God!—everyone is
free and lives in tranquillity. I pray that you attain to such a degree of
good character and behavior that the names of black and white shall
vanish. All shall be called human, just as the name for a flight of doves
is dove. They are not called black and white. Likewise with other birds.

I hope that you attain to such a high degree—and this is impossible except
through love. You must try to create love between yourselves; and this
love does not come about unless you are grateful to the whites, and the
whites are loving toward you, and endeavor to promote your advancement and
enhance your honor. This will be the cause of love. Differences between
black and white will be completely obliterated; indeed, ethnic and
national differences will all disappear.

I am very happy to see you and thank God that this meeting is composed of
people of both races and that both are gathered in perfect love and
harmony. I hope this becomes the example of universal harmony and love
until no title remains except that of humanity. Such a title demonstrates
the perfection of the human world and is the cause of eternal glory and
human happiness. I pray that you be with one another in utmost harmony and
love and strive to enable each other to live in comfort.



23 April 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

Today I have been speaking from dawn until now, yet because of love,
fellowship and desire to be with you, I have come here to speak again
briefly. Within the last few days a terrible event has happened in the
world, an event saddening to every heart and grieving every spirit. I
refer to the Titanic disaster, in which many of our fellow human beings
were drowned, a number of beautiful souls passed beyond this earthly life.
Although such an event is indeed regrettable, we must realize that
everything which happens is due to some wisdom and that nothing happens
without a reason. Therein is a mystery; but whatever the reason and
mystery, it was a very sad occurrence, one which brought tears to many
eyes and distress to many souls. I was greatly affected by this disaster.
Some of those who were lost voyaged on the Cedric with us as far as Naples
and afterward sailed upon the other ship. When I think of them, I am very
sad indeed. But when I consider this calamity in another aspect, I am
consoled by the realization that the worlds of God are infinite; that
though they were deprived of this existence, they have other opportunities
in the life beyond, even as Christ has said, “In my Father’s house are
many mansions.” They were called away from the temporary and transferred
to the eternal; they abandoned this material existence and entered the
portals of the spiritual world. Foregoing the pleasures and comforts of
the earthly, they now partake of a joy and happiness far more abiding and
real, for they have hastened to the Kingdom of God. The mercy of God is
infinite, and it is our duty to remember these departed souls in our
prayers and supplications that they may draw nearer and nearer to the
Source itself.

These human conditions may be likened to the matrix of the mother from
which a child is to be born into the spacious outer world. At first the
infant finds it very difficult to reconcile itself to its new existence.
It cries as if not wishing to be separated from its narrow abode and
imagining that life is restricted to that limited space. It is reluctant
to leave its home, but nature forces it into this world. Having come into
its new conditions, it finds that it has passed from darkness into a
sphere of radiance; from gloomy and restricted surroundings it has been
transferred to a spacious and delightful environment. Its nourishment was
the blood of the mother; now it finds delicious food to enjoy. Its new
life is filled with brightness and beauty; it looks with wonder and
delight upon the mountains, meadows and fields of green, the rivers and
fountains, the wonderful stars; it breathes the life-quickening
atmosphere; and then it praises God for its release from the confinement
of its former condition and attainment to the freedom of a new realm. This
analogy expresses the relation of the temporal world to the life
hereafter—the transition of the soul of man from darkness and uncertainty
to the light and reality of the eternal Kingdom. At first it is very
difficult to welcome death, but after attaining its new condition the soul
is grateful, for it has been released from the bondage of the limited to
enjoy the liberties of the unlimited. It has been freed from a world of
sorrow, grief and trials to live in a world of unending bliss and joy. The
phenomenal and physical have been abandoned in order that it may attain
the opportunities of the ideal and spiritual. Therefore, the souls of
those who have passed away from earth and completed their span of mortal
pilgrimage in the Titanic disaster have hastened to a world superior to
this. They have soared away from these conditions of darkness and dim
vision into the realm of light. These are the only considerations which
can comfort and console those whom they have left behind.

Furthermore, these events have deeper reasons. Their object and purpose is
to teach man certain lessons. We are living in a day of reliance upon
material conditions. Men imagine that the great size and strength of a
ship, the perfection of machinery or the skill of a navigator will ensure
safety, but these disasters sometimes take place that men may know that
God is the real Protector. If it be the will of God to protect man, a
little ship may escape destruction, whereas the greatest and most
perfectly constructed vessel with the best and most skillful navigator may
not survive a danger such as was present on the ocean. The purpose is that
the people of the world may turn to God, the One Protector; that human
souls may rely upon His preservation and know that He is the real safety.
These events happen in order that man’s faith may be increased and
strengthened. Therefore, although we feel sad and disheartened, we must
supplicate God to turn our hearts to the Kingdom and pray for these
departed souls with faith in His infinite mercy so that, although they
have been deprived of this earthly life, they may enjoy a new existence in
the supreme mansions of the Heavenly Father.

Let no one imagine that these words imply that man should not be thorough
and careful in his undertakings. God has endowed man with intelligence so
that he may safeguard and protect himself. Therefore, he must provide and
surround himself with all that scientific skill can produce. He must be
deliberate, thoughtful and thorough in his purposes, build the best ship
and provide the most experienced captain; yet, withal, let him rely upon
God and consider God as the one Keeper. If God protects, nothing can
imperil man’s safety; and if it be not His will to safeguard, no amount of
preparation and precaution will avail.



23 April 1912
Talk to Bethel Literary Society
Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church
M Street, NW, Washington, D.C.


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

As I stand here tonight and look upon this assembly, I am reminded
curiously of a beautiful bouquet of violets gathered together in varying
colors, dark and light. This is an evidence and indication that the United
States of America is a just and free government, for I see black and white
seated together in perfect harmony and agreement. Hearts are united. This
just government makes such a meeting possible. You should thank God
continually that you enjoy the security and protection of a government
which furthers your development and rules with impartial equity and
equality toward all, even as a father; for in the human world there is no
greater blessing. This evening I will speak to you upon scientific
subjects.

The virtues of humanity are many, but science is the most noble of them
all. The distinction which man enjoys above and beyond the station of the
animal is due to this paramount virtue. It is a bestowal of God; it is not
material; it is divine. Science is an effulgence of the Sun of Reality,
the power of investigating and discovering the verities of the universe,
the means by which man finds a pathway to God. All the powers and
attributes of man are human and hereditary in origin—outcomes of nature’s
processes—except the intellect, which is supernatural. Through
intellectual and intelligent inquiry science is the discoverer of all
things. It unites present and past, reveals the history of bygone nations
and events, and confers upon man today the essence of all human knowledge
and attainment throughout the ages. By intellectual processes and logical
deductions of reason this superpower in man can penetrate the mysteries of
the future and anticipate its happenings.

Science is the first emanation from God toward man. All created beings
embody the potentiality of material perfection, but the power of
intellectual investigation and scientific acquisition is a higher virtue
specialized to man alone. Other beings and organisms are deprived of this
potentiality and attainment. God has created or deposited this love of
reality in man. The development and progress of a nation is according to
the measure and degree of that nation’s scientific attainments. Through
this means its greatness is continually increased, and day by day the
welfare and prosperity of its people are assured.

All blessings are divine in origin, but none can be compared with this
power of intellectual investigation and research, which is an eternal gift
producing fruits of unending delight. Man is ever partaking of these
fruits. All other blessings are temporary; this is an everlasting
possession. Even sovereignty has its limitations and overthrow; this is a
kingship and dominion which none may usurp or destroy. Briefly, it is an
eternal blessing and divine bestowal, the supreme gift of God to man.
Therefore, you should put forward your most earnest efforts toward the
acquisition of science and arts. The greater your attainment, the higher
your standard in the divine purpose. The man of science is perceiving and
endowed with vision, whereas he who is ignorant and neglectful of this
development is blind. The investigating mind is attentive, alive; the
callous and indifferent mind is deaf and dead. A scientific man is a true
index and representative of humanity, for through processes of inductive
reasoning and research he is informed of all that appertains to humanity,
its status, conditions and happenings. He studies the human body politic,
understands social problems and weaves the web and texture of
civilization. In fact, science may be likened to a mirror wherein the
infinite forms and images of existing things are revealed and reflected.
It is the very foundation of all individual and national development.
Without this basis of investigation, development is impossible. Therefore,
seek with diligent endeavor the knowledge and attainment of all that lies
within the power of this wonderful bestowal.

We have already stated that science or the attribute of scientific
penetration is supernatural and that all other blessings of God are within
the boundary of nature. What is the proof of this? All created things
except man are captives of nature. The stars and suns swinging through
infinite space, all earthly forms of life and existence—whether mineral,
vegetable or animal—come under the dominion and control of natural law.
Man through scientific knowledge and power rules nature and utilizes her
laws to do his bidding. According to natural limitations he is a creature
of earth, restricted to life upon its surface, but through scientific
utilization of material laws he soars in the sky, sails upon the ocean and
dives beneath it. The products of his invention and discovery, so familiar
to us in daily life, were once mysteries of nature. For instance, man has
brought electricity out of the plane of the invisible into the plane of
the visible, harnessed and imprisoned that mysterious natural agent and
made it the servant of his needs and wishes. Similar instances are many,
but we will not prolong this. Man, as it were, takes the sword out of
nature’s hand and with it for his scepter of authority dominates nature
itself. Nature is without the crown of human faculties and attributes. Man
possesses conscious intelligence and reflection; nature does not. This is
an established fundamental among philosophers. Man is endowed with
volition and memory; nature has neither. Man can seek out the mysteries
latent in nature, whereas nature is not conscious of her own hidden
phenomena. Man is progressive; nature is stationary, without the power of
progression or retrogression. Man is endowed with ideal virtues—for
example, intellection, volition, faith, confession and acknowledgment of
God—while nature is devoid of all these. The ideal faculties of man,
including the capacity for scientific acquisition, are beyond nature’s
ken. These are powers whereby man is differentiated and distinguished from
all other forms of life. This is the bestowal of divine idealism, the
crown adorning human heads. Notwithstanding the gift of this supernatural
power, it is most amazing that materialists still consider themselves
within the bonds and captivity of nature. The truth is that God has
endowed man with virtues, powers and ideal faculties of which nature is
entirely bereft and by which man is elevated, distinguished and superior.
We must thank God for these bestowals, for these powers He has given us,
for this crown He has placed upon our heads.

How shall we utilize these gifts and expend these bounties? By directing
our efforts toward the unification of the human race. We must use these
powers in establishing the oneness of the world of humanity, appreciate
these virtues by accomplishing the unity of whites and blacks, devote this
divine intelligence to the perfecting of amity and accord among all
branches of the human family so that under the protection and providence
of God the East and West may hold each other’s hands and become as lovers.
Then will mankind be as one nation, one race and kind—as waves of one
ocean. Although these waves may differ in form and shape, they are waves
of the same sea. Flowers may be variegated in colors, but they are all
flowers of one garden. Trees differ though they grow in the same orchard.
All are nourished and quickened into life by the bounty of the same rain,
all grow and develop by the heat and light of the one sun, all are
refreshed and exhilarated by the same breeze that they may bring forth
varied fruits. This is according to the creative wisdom. If all trees bore
the same kind of fruit, it would cease to be delicious. In their
never-ending variety man finds enjoyment instead of monotony.

And now as I look into your faces, I am reminded of trees varying in color
and form but all bearing luscious and delectable fruits, fragrant and
delightful to the inner and outer senses. The radiance and spirituality of
this meeting is through the favor of God. Our hearts are uplifted in
thankfulness to Him. Praise be to God! You are living upon the great
continent of the West, enjoying the perfect liberty, security and peace of
this just government. There is no cause for sorrow or unhappiness
anywhere; every means of happiness and enjoyment is about you, for in this
human world there is no greater blessing than liberty. You do not know. I,
who for forty years have been a prisoner, do know. I do know the value and
blessing of liberty. For you have been and are now living in freedom, and
you have no fear of anybody. Is there a greater blessing than this?
Freedom! Liberty! Security! These are the great bestowals of God.
Therefore, praise ye God! I will now pray in your behalf.



24 April 1912
Talk at Children’s Reception
Studio Hall
1219 Connecticut Avenue, Washington, D.C.


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

What a wonderful meeting this is! These are the children of the Kingdom.
The song we have just listened to was very beautiful in melody and words.
The art of music is divine and effective. It is the food of the soul and
spirit. Through the power and charm of music the spirit of man is
uplifted. It has wonderful sway and effect in the hearts of children, for
their hearts are pure, and melodies have great influence in them. The
latent talents with which the hearts of these children are endowed will
find expression through the medium of music. Therefore, you must exert
yourselves to make them proficient; teach them to sing with excellence and
effect. It is incumbent upon each child to know something of music, for
without knowledge of this art the melodies of instrument and voice cannot
be rightly enjoyed. Likewise, it is necessary that the schools teach it in
order that the souls and hearts of the pupils may become vivified and
exhilarated and their lives be brightened with enjoyment.

Today illumined and spiritual children are gathered in this meeting. They
are the children of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of heaven is for such souls
as these, for they are near to God. They have pure hearts. They have
spiritual faces. The effect of the divine teachings is manifest in the
perfect purity of their hearts. That is why Christ has addressed the
world, saying, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye
shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”—that is, men must become pure
in heart to know God. The teachings have had great effect. Spiritual
souls! Tender souls! The hearts of all children are of the utmost purity.
They are mirrors upon which no dust has fallen. But this purity is on
account of weakness and innocence, not on account of any strength and
testing, for as this is the early period of their childhood, their hearts
and minds are unsullied by the world. They cannot display any great
intelligence. They have neither hypocrisy nor deceit. This is on account
of the child’s weakness, whereas the man becomes pure through his
strength. Through the power of intelligence he becomes simple; through the
great power of reason and understanding and not through the power of
weakness he becomes sincere. When he attains to the state of perfection,
he will receive these qualities; his heart becomes purified, his spirit
enlightened, his soul is sensitized and tender—all through his great
strength. This is the difference between the perfect man and the child.
Both have the underlying qualities of simplicity and sincerity—the child
through the power of weakness and the man through the power of strength.

I pray in behalf of these children and beg confirmation and assistance for
them from the Kingdom of Abhá so that each one may be trained under the
shadow of the protection of God, each may become like a lighted candle in
the world of humanity, a tender and growing plant in the rose garden of
Abhá; that these children may be so trained and educated that they shall
give life to the world of humanity; that they may receive insight; that
they may bestow hearing upon the people of the world; that they may sow
the seeds of eternal life and be accepted in the threshold of God; that
they may become characterized with such virtues, perfections and qualities
that their mothers, fathers and relatives will be thankful to God, well
pleased and hopeful. This is my wish and prayer.

I give you my advice, and it is this: Train these children with divine
exhortations. From their childhood instill in their hearts the love of God
so they may manifest in their lives the fear of God and have confidence in
the bestowals of God. Teach them to free themselves from human
imperfections and to acquire the divine perfections latent in the heart of
man. The life of man is useful if he attains the perfections of man. If he
becomes the center of the imperfections of the world of humanity, death is
better than life, and nonexistence better than existence. Therefore, make
ye an effort in order that these children may be rightly trained and
educated and that each one of them may attain perfection in the world of
humanity. Know ye the value of these children, for they are all my
children.



24 April 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

You are welcome this afternoon, most welcome. I am ever happy to see you.
I ask God that meeting me may be productive of results; that it may not be
like ordinary gatherings, for those who hold meetings where groups of
people assemble usually have some interest to further. Praise be to God! I
have no personal interests. I have an interest in the Kingdom, and this is
a sincere intention. I have perfect love for you; therefore, I have
traveled this long distance to meet and greet you. I hope that these
gatherings may be productive of great results, and there is no greater
result than the love of God. There is no greater result than bonds of
service in the divine Kingdom and attainment to the good pleasure of the
Lord. Therefore, I desire that your hearts may be directed to the Kingdom
of God, that your intentions may be pure and sincere, your purposes turned
toward altruistic accomplishment unmindful of your own welfare; nay,
rather, may all your intentions center in the welfare of humanity, and may
you seek to sacrifice yourselves in the pathway of devotion to mankind.
Even as Jesus Christ forfeited His life, may you, likewise, offer
yourselves in the threshold of sacrifice for the betterment of the world;
and just as Bahá’u’lláh suffered severe ordeals and calamities nearly
fifty years for you, may you be willing to undergo difficulties and
withstand catastrophes for humanity in general. May you bear these trials
and tests most willingly and joyously, for every night is followed by a
day, and every day has a night. Every spring has an autumn, and every
autumn has its spring. The coming of a Manifestation of God is the season
of spiritual spring. For instance, the appearance of Christ was a divine
springtime. Therefore, it caused a great commotion and vibrant movement in
the world of humanity. The Sun of Reality dawned, the cloud of mercy
poured down its rain, the breezes of providence moved, the world became a
new world, mankind reflected an extraordinary radiance, souls were
educated, minds were developed, intelligences became acute, and the human
world attained a new freshness of life, like unto the advent of spring.
Then gradually that spring was followed by the autumn of death and decay.
The teachings of Christ were forgotten. The Christly bounties ceased.
Divine moralities disappeared. Day ended in night. The people became
negligent and oblivious. Minds weakened until conditions reached such a
crisis that material science rose in the ascendant. Knowledge and sciences
of the Kingdom became obsolete, the mysteries of God deepened, and the
traces of the bounties of Christ were completely obliterated. The nations
were enmeshed in superstition and blind imitation. Discord and
disagreement arose, culminating in strife, war and bloodshed. Hearts were
torn asunder in violence. Various denominations appeared, diverse sects
and creeds arose, and the whole world was plunged into darkness.

At such a time as this Bahá’u’lláh dawned from the horizon of Persia. He
reformed and renewed the fundamentals and realities of Christ’s teachings.
He endured the greatest difficulties and underwent the severest ordeals.

Praise be to God that the teachings of God are revoiced, the light of
reality has dawned again, the effulgence is increasing daily, and the
radiance is shining more gloriously in the zenith. From the cloud of mercy
a deluge is descending; the Sun of Reality is brilliant in its eternal
station. Again we are hopeful that the same springtime may pitch its tent
and that these boundless bestowals may appear once more among us. Through
your efforts and sincerity this is made possible. If you arise in the
Cause of God with divine power, heavenly grace, the sincerity of the
Kingdom, a merciful heart and decisive intention, it is certain that the
world of humanity will be entirely illumined, the moralities of mankind
will become merciful, the foundations of the Most Great Peace will be
laid, and the oneness of the kingdom of man will become a reality. This is
the great bounty I desire for you, and I pray and supplicate the divine
threshold, imploring in your behalf.

O Thou merciful God! O Thou Who art mighty and powerful! O Thou most kind
Father! These servants have gathered together, turning to Thee,
supplicating Thy threshold, desiring Thine endless bounties from Thy great
assurance. They have no purpose save Thy good pleasure. They have no
intention save service to the world of humanity.

O God! Make this assemblage radiant. Make the hearts merciful. Confer the
bounties of the Holy Spirit. Endow them with a power from heaven. Bless
them with heavenly minds. Increase their sincerity, so that with all
humility and contrition they may turn to Thy kingdom and be occupied with
service to the world of humanity. May each one become a radiant candle.
May each one become a brilliant star. May each one become beautiful in
color and redolent of fragrance in the Kingdom of God.

O kind Father! Confer Thy blessings. Consider not our shortcomings.
Shelter us under Thy protection. Remember not our sins. Heal us with Thy
mercy. We are weak; Thou art mighty. We are poor; Thou art rich. We are
sick; Thou art the Physician. We are needy; Thou art most generous.

O God! Endow us with Thy providence. Thou art the Powerful. Thou art the
Giver. Thou art the Beneficent.



24 April 1912
Talk at Home of Mrs. Andrew J. Dyer
1937 Thirteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

A meeting such as this seems like a beautiful cluster of precious
jewels—pearls, rubies, diamonds, sapphires. It is a source of joy and
delight. Whatever is conducive to the unity of the world of mankind is
most acceptable and praiseworthy; whatever is the cause of discord and
disunion is saddening and deplorable. Consider the significance of unity
and harmony.

This evening I will speak to you upon the subject of existence and
nonexistence, life and death. Existence is the expression and outcome of
composition and combination. Nonexistence is the expression and outcome of
division and disintegration. If we study the forms of existence in the
material universe, we find that all created things are the result of
composition. Material elements have grouped together in infinite variety
and endless forms. Each organism is a compound; each object is an
expression of elemental affinity. We find the complex human organism
simply an aggregation of cellular structure; the tree is a composite of
plant cells; the animal, a combination and grouping of cellular atoms or
units, and so on. Existence or the expression of being is, therefore,
composition; and nonexistence is decomposition, division, disintegration.
When elements have been brought together in a certain plan of combination,
the result is the human organism; when these elements separate and
disperse, the outcome is death and nonexistence. Life is, therefore, the
product of composition; and death signifies decomposition.

Likewise, in the world of minds and souls, fellowship, which is an
expression of composition, is conducive to life, whereas discord, which is
an expression of decomposition, is the equivalent of death. Without
cohesion among the individual elements which compose the body politic,
disintegration and decay must inevitably follow and life be extinguished.
Ferocious animals have no fellowship. The vultures and tigers are
solitary, whereas domestic animals live together in complete harmony. The
sheep, black and white, associate without discord. Birds of various
species and colors wing their flight and feed together without a trace of
enmity or disagreement. Therefore, in the world of humanity it is wise and
seemly that all the individual members should manifest unity and affinity.
In the clustered jewels of the races may the blacks be as sapphires and
rubies and the whites as diamonds and pearls. The composite beauty of
humanity will be witnessed in their unity and blending. How glorious the
spectacle of real unity among mankind! How conducive to peace, confidence
and happiness if races and nations were united in fellowship and accord!
The Prophets of God were sent into the world upon this mission of unity
and agreement: that these long-separated sheep might flock together. When
the sheep separate, they are exposed to danger, but in a flock and under
protection of the shepherd they are safe from the attack of all ferocious
enemies.

When the racial elements of the American nation unite in actual fellowship
and accord, the lights of the oneness of humanity will shine, the day of
eternal glory and bliss will dawn, the spirit of God encompass, and the
divine favors descend. Under the leadership and training of God, the real
Shepherd, all will be protected and preserved. He will lead them in green
pastures of happiness and sustenance, and they will attain to the real
goal of existence. This is the blessing and benefit of unity; this is the
outcome of love. This is the sign of the Most Great Peace; this is the
star of the oneness of the human world. Consider how blessed this
condition will be. I pray for you and ask the confirmation and assistance
of God in your behalf.



25 April 1912
Talk to Theosophical Society
Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

The greatest power in the realm and range of human existence is spirit—the
divine breath which animates and pervades all things. It is manifested
throughout creation in different degrees or kingdoms. In the vegetable
kingdom it is the augmentative spirit or power of growth, the animus of
life and development in plants, trees and organisms of the floral world.
In this degree of its manifestation spirit is unconscious of the powers
which qualify the kingdom of the animal. The distinctive virtue or plus of
the animal is sense perception; it sees, hears, smells, tastes and feels
but is incapable, in turn, of conscious ideation or reflection which
characterizes and differentiates the human kingdom. The animal neither
exercises nor apprehends this distinctive human power and gift. From the
visible it cannot draw conclusions regarding the invisible, whereas the
human mind from visible and known premises attains knowledge of the
unknown and invisible. For instance, Christopher Columbus from information
based upon known and provable facts drew conclusions which led him
unerringly across the vast ocean to the unknown continent of America. Such
power of accomplishment is beyond the range of animal intelligence.
Therefore, this power is a distinctive attribute of the human spirit and
kingdom. The animal spirit cannot penetrate and discover the mysteries of
things. It is a captive of the senses. No amount of teaching, for
instance, would enable it to grasp the fact that the sun is stationary,
and the earth moves around it. Likewise, the human spirit has its
limitations. It cannot comprehend the phenomena of the Kingdom
transcending the human station, for it is a captive of powers and life
forces which have their operation upon its own plane of existence, and it
cannot go beyond that boundary.

There is, however, another Spirit, which may be termed the Divine, to
which Jesus Christ refers when He declares that man must be born of its
quickening and baptized with its living fire. Souls deprived of that
Spirit are accounted as dead, though they are possessed of the human
spirit. Jesus Christ has pronounced them dead inasmuch as they have no
portion of the Divine Spirit. He says, “Let the dead bury their dead.” In
another instance He declares, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh;
and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” By this He means that
souls, though alive in the human kingdom, are nevertheless dead if devoid
of this particular spirit of divine quickening. They have not partaken of
the divine life of the higher Kingdom, for the soul which partakes of the
power of the Divine Spirit is, verily, living.

This quickening spirit emanates spontaneously from the Sun of Truth, from
the reality of Divinity, and is not a revelation or a manifestation. It is
like the rays of the sun. The rays are emanations from the sun. This does
not mean that the sun has become divisible, that a part of the sun has
come out into space. This plant beside me has risen from the seed;
therefore, it is a manifestation and unfoldment of the seed. The seed, as
you can see, has unfolded in manifestation, and the result is this plant.
Every leaf of the plant is a part of the seed. But the reality of Divinity
is indivisible, and each individual of humankind cannot be a part of it as
is often claimed. Nay, rather, the individual realities of mankind, when
spiritually born, are emanations from the reality of Divinity, just as the
flame, heat and light of the sun are the effulgence of the sun and not a
part of the sun itself. Therefore, a spirit has emanated from the reality
of Divinity, and its effulgences have become visible in human entities or
realities. This ray and this heat are permanent. There is no cessation in
the effulgence. As long as the sun exists, the heat and light will exist,
and inasmuch as eternality is a property of Divinity, this emanation is
everlasting. There is no cessation in its outpouring. The more the world
of humanity develops, the more the effulgences or emanations of Divinity
will become revealed, just as the stone, when it becomes polished and pure
as a mirror, will reflect in fuller degree the glory and splendor of the
sun.

The mission of the Prophets, the revelation of the Holy Books, the
manifestation of the heavenly Teachers and the purpose of divine
philosophy all center in the training of the human realities so that they
may become clear and pure as mirrors and reflect the light and love of the
Sun of Reality. Therefore, I hope that—whether you be in the East or the
West—you will strive with heart and soul in order that day by day the
world of humanity may become glorified, more spiritual, more sanctified;
and that the splendor of the Sun of Reality may be revealed fully in human
hearts as in a mirror. This is worthy of the world of mankind. This is the
true evolution and progress of humanity. This is the supreme bestowal.
Otherwise, by simple development along material lines man is not
perfected. At most, the physical aspect of man, his natural or material
conditions, may become stabilized and improved, but he will remain
deprived of the spiritual or divine bestowal. He is then like a body
without a spirit, a lamp without the light, an eye without the power of
vision, an ear that hears no sound, a mind incapable of perceiving, an
intellect minus the power of reason.

Man has two powers; and his development, two aspects. One power is
connected with the material world, and by it he is capable of material
advancement. The other power is spiritual, and through its development his
inner, potential nature is awakened. These powers are like two wings. Both
must be developed, for flight is impossible with one wing. Praise be to
God! Material advancement has been evident in the world, but there is need
of spiritual advancement in like proportion. We must strive unceasingly
and without rest to accomplish the development of the spiritual nature in
man, and endeavor with tireless energy to advance humanity toward the
nobility of its true and intended station. For the body of man is
accidental; it is of no importance. The time of its disintegration will
inevitably come. But the spirit of man is essential and, therefore,
eternal. It is a divine bounty. It is the effulgence of the Sun of Reality
and, therefore, of greater importance than the physical body.

I pray for you. You have come to visit me, and I am most grateful. I shall
ask confirmation and assistance for you from God, the Generous, the
Bestower, that you may be aided in serving the world of humanity.



25 April 1912
Message to Esperantists
Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

Today the greatest need of the world of humanity is discontinuance of the
existing misunderstandings among nations. This can be accomplished through
the unity of language. Unless the unity of languages is realized, the Most
Great Peace and the oneness of the human world cannot be effectively
organized and established because the function of language is to portray
the mysteries and secrets of human hearts. The heart is like a box, and
language is the key. Only by using the key can we open the box and observe
the gems it contains. Therefore, the question of an auxiliary
international tongue has the utmost importance. Through this means
international education and training become possible; the evidence and
history of the past can be acquired. The spread of the known facts of the
human world depends upon language. The explanation of divine teachings can
only be through this medium. As long as diversity of tongues and lack of
comprehension of other languages continue, these glorious aims cannot be
realized. Therefore, the very first service to the world of man is to
establish this auxiliary international means of communication. It will
become the cause of the tranquillity of the human commonwealth. Through it
sciences and arts will be spread among the nations, and it will prove to
be the means of the progress and development of all races. We must
endeavor with all our powers to establish this international auxiliary
language throughout the world. It is my hope that it may be perfected
through the bounties of God and that intelligent men may be selected from
the various countries of the world to organize an international congress
whose chief aim will be the promotion of this universal medium of speech.



25 April 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C.


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

In the world of existence the greatest bestowals of God are His teachings.
The other bounties of God are limited as regards their benefits and
provision. Human existence itself is a divine bestowal, but it is
circumscribed with limitations. Sight and hearing are bounties of God;
both are limited. And so it is with all the other bestowals; the circle of
their operation is confined, restricted, whereas the sphere of the divine
teachings is boundless. Centuries and ages pass away, but their efficacy
continues like the spirit of life which animates the world of existence.
Without the teachings of God the world of humanity is like the animal
kingdom. What difference is there between the animal and man? The
difference is this: that the animal is not capable of apprehending the
divine teachings, whereas man is worthy of them and possesses the capacity
to understand. In the animal kingdom there is no such bestowal; therefore,
there is limited progression. At most, evolution in that kingdom is a
development of the organism. In the beginning it is small, undeveloped; it
develops, becomes larger; but its sphere of intellectual growth is
limited. Therefore, the teachings of God are the bestowals specialized for
man.

Although the divine teachings are truth and reality, yet with the passage
of time thick clouds envelop and obscure them. These clouds are imitations
and superstitions; they are not the fundamentals. Then the Sun of Truth,
the Word of God, arises again, shines forth once more in the glory of its
power and disperses the enveloping darkness.

For a long time the divine precepts of the effulgent Word were obscured by
clouds of superstition and error until Bahá’u’lláh appeared upon the
horizon of humanity, rent the shadows, scattered the clouds and revealed
anew the foundations of the teachings of God.

The first teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the duty incumbent upon all to
investigate reality. What does it mean to investigate reality? It means
that man must forget all hearsay and examine truth himself, for he does
not know whether statements he hears are in accordance with reality or
not. Wherever he finds truth or reality, he must hold to it, forsaking,
discarding all else; for outside of reality there is naught but
superstition and imagination. For example, during the days of Jesus Christ
the Jews were expecting the appearance of the Messiah, praying and
beseeching God day and night that the Promised One might appear. Why did
they reject Him when He did appear? They denied Him absolutely, refused to
believe in Him. There was no abuse and persecution which they did not heap
upon Him. They reviled Him with curses, placed a crown of thorns upon His
head, led Him through the streets in scorn and derision and finally
crucified Him. Why did they do this? Because they did not investigate the
truth or reality of Christ and were not able to recognize Him as the
Messiah of God. Had they investigated sincerely for themselves, they would
surely have believed in Him, respected Him and bowed before Him in
reverence. They would have considered His manifestation the greatest
bestowal upon mankind. They would have accepted Him as the very Savior of
man; but, alas, they were veiled, they held to imitations of ancestral
beliefs and hearsay and did not investigate the truth of Christ. They were
submerged in the sea of superstitions and were, therefore, deprived of
witnessing that glorious bounty; they were withheld from the fragrances or
breaths of the Holy Spirit and suffered in themselves the greatest
debasement and degradation.

Reality or truth is one, yet there are many religious beliefs,
denominations, creeds and differing opinions in the world today. Why
should these differences exist? Because they do not investigate and
examine the fundamental unity, which is one and unchangeable. If they seek
reality itself, they will agree and be united; for reality is indivisible
and not multiple. It is evident, therefore, that there is nothing of
greater importance to mankind than the investigation of truth.

The second teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the oneness of the world of
humanity. Every human creature is the servant of God. All have been
created and reared by the power and favor of God; all have been blessed
with the bounties of the same Sun of divine truth; all have quaffed from
the fountain of the infinite mercy of God; and all in His estimation and
love are equal as servants. He is beneficent and kind to all. Therefore,
no one should glorify himself over another; no one should manifest pride
or superiority toward another; no one should look upon another with scorn
and contempt; and no one should deprive or oppress a fellow creature. All
must be considered as submerged in the ocean of God’s mercy. We must
associate with all humanity in gentleness and kindliness. We must love all
with love of the heart. Some are ignorant; they must be trained and
educated. One is sick; he must be healed. Another is as a child; we must
assist him to attain maturity. We must not detest him who is ailing,
neither shun him, scorn nor curse him, but care for him with the utmost
kindness and tenderness. An infant must not be treated with disdain simply
because it is an infant. Our responsibility is to train, educate and
develop it in order that it may advance toward maturity.

The third teaching or principle of Bahá’u’lláh is that religion and
science are in complete agreement. Every religion which is not in
accordance with established science is superstition. Religion must be
reasonable. If it does not square with reason, it is superstition and
without foundation. It is like a mirage, which deceives man by leading him
to think it is a body of water. God has endowed man with reason that he
may perceive what is true. If we insist that such and such a subject is
not to be reasoned out and tested according to the established logical
modes of the intellect, what is the use of the reason which God has given
man? The eye is the organ of sense by which we view the world of outer
phenomena; hearing is the faculty for distinguishing sounds; taste senses
the properties of objects, such as bitter, sweet; smell detects and
differentiates odors; touch reveals attributes of matter and perfects our
communication with the outer world; yet after all, the circle and range of
perception by the five senses is exceedingly limited. But the intellectual
faculty of man is unlimited in its sphere of action. The eye views details
perhaps a mile, but the intellect can perceive the far East and West. The
ear may hear tone modulations at one thousand feet, but the mind of man
can detect the harmonies of the heavenly spheres as they swing in their
courses. Mind makes geological discoveries in subterranean depths and
determines the processes of creation in the earth’s lowest strata. The
sciences and arts, all inventions, crafts, trades and their products have
come forth from the intellect of man. It is evident that within the human
organism the intellect occupies the supreme station. Therefore, if
religious belief, principle or creed is not in accordance with the
intellect and the power of reason, it is surely superstition.

At another time I shall speak further of the principles revealed in the
teachings of Bahá’u’lláh.



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN CHICAGO, WILMETTE, AND EVANSTON



30 April 1912
Talk at Public Meeting Concluding Convention of Bahá’í Temple Unity
Drill Hall, Masonic Temple, Chicago, Illinois


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

Among the institutes of the Holy Books is that of the foundation of places
of worship. That is to say, an edifice or temple is to be built in order
that humanity might find a place of meeting, and this is to be conducive
to unity and fellowship among them. The real temple is the very Word of
God; for to it all humanity must turn, and it is the center of unity for
all mankind. It is the collective center, the cause of accord and
communion of hearts, the sign of the solidarity of the human race, the
source of eternal life. Temples are the symbols of the divine uniting
force so that when the people gather there in the House of God they may
recall the fact that the law has been revealed for them and that the law
is to unite them. They will realize that just as this temple was founded
for the unification of mankind, the law preceding and creating it came
forth in the manifest Word. Jesus Christ, addressing Peter, said, “Thou
art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” This utterance was
indicative of the faith of Peter, signifying: This faith of thine, O
Peter, is the very cause and message of unity to the nations; it shall be
the bond of union between the hearts of men and the foundation of the
oneness of the world of humanity. In brief, the original purpose of
temples and houses of worship is simply that of unity—places of meeting
where various peoples, different races and souls of every capacity may
come together in order that love and agreement should be manifest between
them. That is why Bahá’u’lláh has commanded that a place of worship be
built for all the religionists of the world; that all religions, races and
sects may come together within its universal shelter; that the
proclamation of the oneness of mankind shall go forth from its open courts
of holiness—the announcement that humanity is the servant of God and that
all are submerged in the ocean of His mercy. It is the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár. The world of existence may be likened to this
temple and place of worship. For just as the external world is a place
where the people of all races and colors, varying faiths, denominations
and conditions come together—just as they are submerged in the same sea of
divine favors—so, likewise, all may meet under the dome of the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár and adore the one God in the same spirit of truth;
for the ages of darkness have passed away, and the century of light has
come. Ignorant prejudices are being dispelled, and the light of unity is
shining. The differences existing between nations and peoples will soon be
annulled, and the fundamentals of the divine religions, which are no other
than the oneness and solidarity of the human race, are being established.
For thousands of years the human race has been at war. It is enough. Now
let mankind, for a time at least, consort in amity and peace. Enmity and
hatred have ruled. Let the world, for a period, exercise love. For
thousands of years the nations have denied each other, considering each
other as infidel and inferior. It is sufficient. We must now realize that
we are the servants of one God, that we turn to one beneficent Father,
live under one divine law, seek one reality and have one desire. Thus may
we live in the utmost friendship and love, and in return the favors and
bounties of God shall surround us; the world of humanity will be reformed;
mankind, enjoy a new life; eternal light will illumine, and heavenly
moralities become manifest.

Then divine policy shall govern the world, for the divine policy is the
oneness of humanity. God is just and kind to all. He considers all as His
servants. He excludes none, and His judgments are correct and true. No
matter how complete human policy and foresight may appear, they are
imperfect. If we do not seek the counsel of God or if we refuse to follow
His dictates, it is presumptive evidence that we are knowing and wise,
whereas God is ignorant; that we are sagacious and God is not. God forbid!
We seek shelter in His mercy for this suggestion! No matter how far the
human intelligence may advance, it is still but a drop, while divine
omniscience is the ocean. Shall we say that a drop is imbued or endowed
with qualities of which the ocean is devoid? Shall we believe that the
policy and plan of this atom of a human soul are superior to the wisdom of
the Omniscient? There is no greater ignorance than this. Briefly, some are
mere children; with the utmost love we must educate them to make them
wise. Others are sick and ailing; we must tenderly treat them until they
recover. Some have unworthy morals; we must train them toward the standard
of true morality. Other than this we are all the servants of one God and
under the providence and protection of one Father.

These are the institutions of God and the foundations of His temple, the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár. The outer edifice is a symbol of the inner. May the
people be admonished thereby.

I pray in your behalf that your hearts may be enlightened with the light
of the love of God; that your minds may develop daily; that your spirits
may become aglow with the fire and illumination of His glad tidings, until
these divine foundations may become established throughout the human
world. The first of these institutions and foundations is the oneness of
humanity and love among mankind. The second is the Most Great Peace.
Praise be to God! This American democracy manifests capacity, showing
forth readiness to become the standard-bearer of the Most Great Peace. May
its hosts be the hosts of the oneness of humanity. May they serve the
threshold of God and spread the message of the good pleasure of God.

O Thou kind Lord! This gathering is turning to Thee. These hearts are
radiant with Thy love. These minds and spirits are exhilarated by the
message of Thy glad tidings. O God! Let this American democracy become
glorious in spiritual degrees even as it has aspired to material degrees,
and render this just government victorious. Confirm this revered nation to
upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity, to promulgate the Most
Great Peace, to become thereby most glorious and praiseworthy among all
the nations of the world. O God! This American nation is worthy of Thy
favors and is deserving of Thy mercy. Make it precious and near to Thee
through Thy bounty and bestowal.



30 April 1912
Talk at Hull House
Chicago, Illinois


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

When we view the world of creation, we find that all living things may be
classified under two aspects of existence. First, they possess bodies
composed of material substance common to all—whether vegetable, animal or
human. This is their point of agreement or, as it is philosophically
termed, their point of contact. Second, they vary and differ from each
other in degree and function—that is to say, in their respective kingdoms.
This is their point of distinction and differentiation. For instance, the
vegetable and animal are alike in the fact that their bodies are composed
of the same material elements but widely different in their kingdoms and
powers. Man is like the animal in physical structure but otherwise
immeasurably separated and superior.

In the human kingdom itself there are points of contact, properties common
to all mankind; likewise, there are points of distinction which separate
race from race, individual from individual. If the points of contact,
which are the common properties of humanity, overcome the peculiar points
of distinction, unity is assured. On the other hand, if the points of
differentiation overcome the points of agreement, disunion and weakness
result. One of the important questions which affect the unity and the
solidarity of mankind is the fellowship and equality of the white and
colored races. Between these two races certain points of agreement and
points of distinction exist which warrant just and mutual consideration.
The points of contact are many; for in the material or physical plane of
being, both are constituted alike and exist under the same law of growth
and bodily development. Furthermore, both live and move in the plane of
the senses and are endowed with human intelligence. There are many other
mutual qualifications. In this country, the United States of America,
patriotism is common to both races; all have equal rights to citizenship,
speak one language, receive the blessings of the same civilization, and
follow the precepts of the same religion. In fact numerous points of
partnership and agreement exist between the two races; whereas the one
point of distinction is that of color. Shall this, the least of all
distinctions, be allowed to separate you as races and individuals? In
physical bodies, in the law of growth, in sense endowment, intelligence,
patriotism, language, citizenship, civilization and religion you are one
and the same. A single point of distinction exists—that of racial color.
God is not pleased with—neither should any reasonable or intelligent man
be willing to recognize—inequality in the races because of this
distinction.

But there is need of a superior power to overcome human prejudices, a
power which nothing in the world of mankind can withstand and which will
overshadow the effect of all other forces at work in human conditions.
That irresistible power is the love of God. It is my hope and prayer that
it may destroy the prejudice of this one point of distinction between you
and unite you all permanently under its hallowed protection. Bahá’u’lláh
has proclaimed the oneness of the world of humanity. He has caused various
nations and divergent creeds to unite. He has declared that difference of
race and color is like the variegated beauty of flowers in a garden. If
you enter a garden, you will see yellow, white, blue, red flowers in
profusion and beauty—each radiant within itself and although different
from the others, lending its own charm to them. Racial difference in the
human kingdom is similar. If all the flowers in a garden were of the same
color, the effect would be monotonous and wearying to the eye.

Therefore, Bahá’u’lláh hath said that the various races of humankind lend
a composite harmony and beauty of color to the whole. Let all associate,
therefore, in this great human garden even as flowers grow and blend
together side by side without discord or disagreement between them.



30 April 1912
Talk at Fourth Annual Conference of the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People
Handel Hall, Chicago, Illinois


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

According to the words of the Old Testament God has said, “Let us make man
in our image, after our likeness.” This indicates that man is of the image
and likeness of God—that is to say, the perfections of God, the divine
virtues, are reflected or revealed in the human reality. Just as the light
and effulgence of the sun when cast upon a polished mirror are reflected
fully, gloriously, so, likewise, the qualities and attributes of Divinity
are radiated from the depths of a pure human heart. This is an evidence
that man is the most noble of God’s creatures.

Each kingdom of creation is endowed with its necessary complement of
attributes and powers. The mineral possesses inherent virtues of its own
kingdom in the scale of existence. The vegetable possesses the qualities
of the mineral plus an augmentative virtue, or power of growth. The animal
is endowed with the virtues of both the mineral and vegetable plane plus
the power of intellect. The human kingdom is replete with the perfections
of all the kingdoms below it with the addition of powers peculiar to man
alone. Man is, therefore, superior to all the creatures below him, the
loftiest and most glorious being of creation. Man is the microcosm; and
the infinite universe, the macrocosm. The mysteries of the greater world,
or macrocosm, are expressed or revealed in the lesser world, the
microcosm. The tree, so to speak, is the greater world, and the seed in
its relation to the tree is the lesser world. But the whole of the great
tree is potentially latent and hidden in the little seed. When this seed
is planted and cultivated, the tree is revealed. Likewise, the greater
world, the macrocosm, is latent and miniatured in the lesser world, or
microcosm, of man. This constitutes the universality or perfection of
virtues potential in mankind. Therefore, it is said that man has been
created in the image and likeness of God.

Let us now discover more specifically how he is the image and likeness of
God and what is the standard or criterion by which he can be measured and
estimated. This standard can be no other than the divine virtues which are
revealed in him. Therefore, every man imbued with divine qualities, who
reflects heavenly moralities and perfections, who is the expression of
ideal and praiseworthy attributes, is, verily, in the image and likeness
of God. If a man possesses wealth, can we call him an image and likeness
of God? Or is human honor and notoriety the criterion of divine nearness?
Can we apply the test of racial color and say that man of a certain
hue—white, black, brown, yellow, red—is the true image of his Creator? We
must conclude that color is not the standard and estimate of judgment and
that it is of no importance, for color is accidental in nature. The spirit
and intelligence of man is essential, and that is the manifestation of
divine virtues, the merciful bestowals of God, the eternal life and
baptism through the Holy Spirit. Therefore, be it known that color or race
is of no importance. He who is the image and likeness of God, who is the
manifestation of the bestowals of God, is acceptable at the threshold of
God—whether his color be white, black or brown; it matters not. Man is not
man simply because of bodily attributes. The standard of divine measure
and judgment is his intelligence and spirit.

Therefore, let this be the only criterion and estimate, for this is the
image and likeness of God. A man’s heart may be pure and white though his
outer skin be black; or his heart be dark and sinful though his racial
color is white. The character and purity of the heart is of all
importance. The heart illumined by the light of God is nearest and dearest
to God, and inasmuch as God has endowed man with such favor that he is
called the image of God, this is truly a supreme perfection of attainment,
a divine station which is not to be sacrificed by the mere accident of
color.



1 May 1912
Talk at Dedication of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár Grounds
Wilmette, Illinois


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

The power which has gathered you here today notwithstanding the cold and
windy weather is, indeed, mighty and wonderful. It is the power of God,
the divine favor of Bahá’u’lláh which has drawn you together. We praise
God that through His constraining love human souls are assembled and
associated in this way.

Thousands of Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kárs, dawning points of praise and mention
of God for all religionists will be built in the East and in the West, but
this, being the first one erected in the Occident, has great importance.
In the future there will be many here and elsewhere—in Asia, Europe, even
in Africa, New Zealand and Australia—but this edifice in Chicago is of
especial significance. It has the same importance as the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár in I_sh_qábád, Caucasus, Russia, the first one built
there. In Persia there are many; some are houses which have been utilized
for the purpose, others are homes entirely devoted to the divine Cause,
and in some places temporary structures have been erected. In all the
cities of Persia there are Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kárs, but the great dawning
point was founded in I_sh_qábád. It possesses superlative importance
because it was the first Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár built. All the Bahá’í
friends agreed and contributed their utmost assistance and effort. The
Afnán devoted his wealth, gave all he had to it. From such a mighty and
combined effort a beautiful edifice arose. Notwithstanding their
contributions to that building, they have assisted the fund here in
Chicago as well. The Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár in I_sh_qábád is almost
completed. It is centrally located, nine avenues leading into it, nine
gardens, nine fountains; all the arrangement and construction is according
to the principle and proportion of the number nine. It is like a beautiful
bouquet. Imagine a very lofty, imposing edifice surrounded completely by
gardens of variegated flowers, with nine avenues leading through them,
nine fountains and pools of water. Such is its matchless, beautiful
design. Now they are building a hospital, a school for orphans, a home for
cripples, a hospice and a large dispensary. God willing, when it is fully
completed, it will be a paradise.

I hope the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár in Chicago will be like this. Endeavor to
have the grounds circular in shape. If possible, adjust and exchange the
plots in order to make the dimensions and boundaries circular. The
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár cannot be triangular in shape. It must be in the
form of a circle.



2 May 1912
Talk at Hotel Plaza
Chicago, Illinois


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

In this Cause consultation is of vital importance, but spiritual
conference and not the mere voicing of personal views is intended. In
France I was present at a session of the senate, but the experience was
not impressive. Parliamentary procedure should have for its object the
attainment of the light of truth upon questions presented and not furnish
a battleground for opposition and self-opinion. Antagonism and
contradiction are unfortunate and always destructive to truth. In the
parliamentary meeting mentioned, altercation and useless quibbling were
frequent; the result, mostly confusion and turmoil; even in one instance a
physical encounter took place between two members. It was not consultation
but comedy.

The purpose is to emphasize the statement that consultation must have for
its object the investigation of truth. He who expresses an opinion should
not voice it as correct and right but set it forth as a contribution to
the consensus of opinion, for the light of reality becomes apparent when
two opinions coincide. A spark is produced when flint and steel come
together. Man should weigh his opinions with the utmost serenity, calmness
and composure. Before expressing his own views he should carefully
consider the views already advanced by others. If he finds that a
previously expressed opinion is more true and worthy, he should accept it
immediately and not willfully hold to an opinion of his own. By this
excellent method he endeavors to arrive at unity and truth. Opposition and
division are deplorable. It is better then to have the opinion of a wise,
sagacious man; otherwise, contradiction and altercation, in which varied
and divergent views are presented, will make it necessary for a judicial
body to render decision upon the question. Even a majority opinion or
consensus may be incorrect. A thousand people may hold to one view and be
mistaken, whereas one sagacious person may be right. Therefore, true
consultation is spiritual conference in the attitude and atmosphere of
love. Members must love each other in the spirit of fellowship in order
that good results may be forthcoming. Love and fellowship are the
foundation.

The most memorable instance of spiritual consultation was the meeting of
the disciples of Jesus Christ upon the mount after His ascension. They
said, “Jesus Christ has been crucified, and we have no longer association
and intercourse with Him in His physical body; therefore, we must be loyal
and faithful to Him, we must be grateful and appreciate Him, for He has
raised us from the dead, He made us wise, He has given us eternal life.
What shall we do to be faithful to Him?” And so they held council. One of
them said, “We must detach ourselves from the chains and fetters of the
world; otherwise, we cannot be faithful.” The others replied, “That is
so.” Another said, “Either we must be married and faithful to our wives
and children or serve our Lord free from these ties. We cannot be occupied
with the care and provision for families and at the same time herald the
Kingdom in the wilderness. Therefore, let those who are unmarried remain
so, and those who have married provide means of sustenance and comfort for
their families and then go forth to spread the message of glad tidings.”
There were no dissenting voices; all agreed, saying, “That is right.” A
third disciple said, “To perform worthy deeds in the Kingdom we must be
further self-sacrificing. From now on we should forego ease and bodily
comfort, accept every difficulty, forget self and teach the Cause of God.”
This found acceptance and approval by all the others. Finally a fourth
disciple said, “There is still another aspect to our faith and unity. For
Jesus’ sake we shall be beaten, imprisoned and exiled. They may kill us.
Let us receive this lesson now. Let us realize and resolve that though we
are beaten, banished, cursed, spat upon and led forth to be killed, we
shall accept all this joyfully, loving those who hate and wound us.” All
the disciples replied, “Surely we will—it is agreed; this is right.” Then
they descended from the summit of the mountain, and each went forth in a
different direction upon his divine mission.

This was true consultation. This was spiritual consultation and not the
mere voicing of personal views in parliamentary opposition and debate.



2 May 1912
Talk to Federation of Women’s Clubs
Hotel La Salle, Chicago, Illinois


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

One of the functions of the sun is to quicken and reveal the hidden
realities of the kingdoms of existence. Through the light and heat of the
great central luminary, all that is potential in the earth is awakened and
comes forth into the realm of the visible. The fruit hidden in the tree
appears upon its branches in response to the power of the sun; man and all
other organisms live, move and have their being under its developing rays;
nature is resplendent with countless evolutionary forms through its
pervading impulse—so that we can say a function of the sun is the
revelation of the mysteries and creative purposes hidden within the
phenomenal world.

The outer sun is a sign or symbol of the inner and ideal Sun of Truth, the
Word of God. Inasmuch as this is the century of light, it is evident that
the Sun of Reality, the Word, has revealed itself to all humankind. One of
the potentialities hidden in the realm of humanity was the capability or
capacity of womanhood. Through the effulgent rays of divine illumination
the capacity of woman has become so awakened and manifest in this age that
equality of man and woman is an established fact. In past ages woman was
wronged and oppressed. This was especially the case in Asia and Africa. In
certain parts of Asia women were not considered as members of humankind.
They were looked upon as inferior, unworthy creatures, subordinate and
subject to man. A certain people known as the Nusayris held to the belief
for a long period that woman was the incarnation of the evil spirit, or
Satan, and that man alone was the manifestation of God, the Merciful. At
last this century of light dawned, the realities shone forth, and the
mysteries long hidden from human vision were revealed. Among these
revealed realities was the great principle of the equality of man and
woman, which is now finding recognition throughout the whole
world—America, Europe and the Orient.

History records the appearance in the world of women who have been signs
of guidance, power and accomplishment. Some were notable poets, some
philosophers and scientists, others courageous upon the field of battle.
Qurratu’l-‘Ayn, a Bahá’í, was a poetess. She discomfited the learned men
of Persia by her brilliancy and fervor. When she entered a meeting, even
the learned were silent. She was so well versed in philosophy and science
that those in her presence always considered and consulted her first. Her
courage was unparalleled; she faced her enemies fearlessly until she was
killed. She withstood a despotic king, the _Sh_áh of Persia, who had the
power to decree the death of any of his subjects. There was not a day
during which he did not command the execution of some. This woman singly
and alone withstood such a despot until her last breath, then gave her
life for her faith.

Consider the mysteries revealed during the last half century, all due to
the effulgence of the Sun of Reality, which has been so gloriously
manifested in this age and cycle. In this day man must investigate reality
impartially and without prejudice in order to reach the true knowledge and
conclusions. What, then, constitutes the inequality between man and woman?
Both are human. In powers and function each is the complement of the
other. At most it is this: that woman has been denied the opportunities
which man has so long enjoyed, especially the privilege of education. But
even this is not always a shortcoming. Shall we consider it an
imperfection and weakness in her nature that she is not proficient in the
school of military tactics, that she cannot go forth to the field of
battle and kill, that she is not able to handle a deadly weapon? Nay,
rather, is it not a compliment when we say that in hardness of heart and
cruelty she is inferior to man? The woman who is asked to arm herself and
kill her fellow creatures will say, “I cannot.” Is this to be considered a
fault and lack of qualification as man’s equal? Yet be it known that if
woman had been taught and trained in the military science of slaughter,
she would have been the equivalent of man even in this accomplishment. But
God forbid! May woman never attain this proficiency; may she never wield
weapons of war, for the destruction of humanity is not a glorious
achievement. The upbuilding of a home, the bringing of joy and comfort
into human hearts are truly glories of mankind. Let not a man glory in
this, that he can kill his fellow creatures; nay, rather, let him glory in
this, that he can love them.

When we consider the kingdoms of existence below man, we find no
distinction or estimate of superiority and inferiority between male and
female. Among the myriad organisms of the vegetable and animal kingdoms
sex exists, but there is no differentiation whatever as to relative
importance and value in the equation of life. If we investigate
impartially, we may even find species in which the female is superior or
preferable to the male. For instance, there are trees such as the fig, the
male of which is fruitless while the female is fruitful. The male of the
date palm is valueless while the female bears abundantly. Inasmuch as we
find no ground for distinction or superiority according to the creative
wisdom in the lower kingdoms, is it logical or becoming of man to make
such distinction in regard to himself? The male of the animal kingdom does
not glory in its being male and superior to the female. In fact, equality
exists and is recognized. Why should man, a higher and more intelligent
creature, deny and deprive himself of this equality the animals enjoy? His
surest index and guide as to the creative intention concerning himself are
the conditions and analogies of the kingdoms below him where equality of
the sexes is fundamental.

The truth is that all mankind are the creatures and servants of one God,
and in His estimate all are human. Man is a generic term applying to all
humanity. The biblical statement “Let us make man in our image, after our
likeness” does not mean that woman was not created. The image and likeness
of God apply to her as well. In Persian and Arabic there are two distinct
words translated into English as man: one meaning man and woman
collectively, the other distinguishing man as male from woman the female.
The first word and its pronoun are generic, collective; the other is
restricted to the male. This is the same in Hebrew.

To accept and observe a distinction which God has not intended in creation
is ignorance and superstition. The fact which is to be considered,
however, is that woman, having formerly been deprived, must now be allowed
equal opportunities with man for education and training. There must be no
difference in their education. Until the reality of equality between man
and woman is fully established and attained, the highest social
development of mankind is not possible. Even granted that woman is
inferior to man in some degree of capacity or accomplishment, this or any
other distinction would continue to be productive of discord and trouble.
The only remedy is education, opportunity; for equality means equal
qualification. In brief, the assumption of superiority by man will
continue to be depressing to the ambition of woman, as if her attainment
to equality was creationally impossible; woman’s aspiration toward
advancement will be checked by it, and she will gradually become hopeless.
On the contrary, we must declare that her capacity is equal, even greater
than man’s. This will inspire her with hope and ambition, and her
susceptibilities for advancement will continually increase. She must not
be told and taught that she is weaker and inferior in capacity and
qualification. If a pupil is told that his intelligence is less than his
fellow pupils, it is a very great drawback and handicap to his progress.
He must be encouraged to advance by the statement, “You are most capable,
and if you endeavor, you will attain the highest degree.”

It is my hope that the banner of equality may be raised throughout the
five continents where as yet it is not fully recognized and established.
In this enlightened world of the West woman has advanced an immeasurable
degree beyond the women of the Orient. And let it be known once more that
until woman and man recognize and realize equality, social and political
progress here or anywhere will not be possible. For the world of humanity
consists of two parts or members: one is woman; the other is man. Until
these two members are equal in strength, the oneness of humanity cannot be
established, and the happiness and felicity of mankind will not be a
reality. God willing, this is to be so.



2 May 1912
Talk at Bahá’í Women’s Reception
Hotel La Salle, Chicago, Illinois


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

When we look upon the kingdoms of creation below man, we find three forms
or planes of existence which await education and development. For
instance, the function of a gardener is to till the soil of the mineral
kingdom and plant a tree which under his training and cultivation will
attain perfection of growth. If it be wild and fruitless, it may be made
fruitful and prolific by grafting. If small and unsightly, it will become
lofty, beautiful and verdant under the gardener’s training, whereas a tree
bereft of his cultivation retrogresses daily, its fruit grows acrid and
bitter as the trees of the jungle, or it may become entirely barren and
bereft of its fruitage. Likewise, we observe that animals which have
undergone training in their sphere of limitation will progress and advance
unmistakably, become more beautiful in appearance and increase in
intelligence. For instance, how intelligent and knowing the Arabian horse
has become through training, even how polite this horse has become through
education. As to the human world: It is more in need of guidance and
education than the lower creatures. Reflect upon the vast difference
between the inhabitants of Africa and those of America. Here the people
have been civilized and uplifted; there they are in the utmost and abject
state of savagery. What is the cause of their savagery and the reason of
your civilization? It is evident that this difference is due to education
and the lack of education. Consider, then, the effectiveness of education
in the human kingdom. It makes the ignorant wise, the tyrant merciful, the
blind seeing, the deaf attentive, even the imbecile intelligent. How vast
this difference. How wide the chasm which separates the educated man from
the man who lacks teaching and training. This is the effect when the
teacher is merely an ordinary teacher.

But—praise be to God!—your Teacher and Instructor is Bahá’u’lláh. He is
the Educator of the Orient and Occident. He is the Teacher of the very
world of divinity and spirituality, the Sun of Truth, the Word of God. The
lights of His education are radiating even as the sun. See what it has
accomplished, how it is developing all humanity so that I, a Persian, have
come to this meeting of revered souls upon the American continent and am
standing here expounding to you in the greatest love. This is through the
training of Bahá’u’lláh, which can unite and has united these hearts. In
this way it has enlightened the world. Even so it has breathed the spirit
of God into men. Even so it has resuscitated the hearts of men.

Therefore, praise be to God that you have been brought under the education
of this One Who is the very Sun of Reality and Who is shining
resplendently upon all humankind, endowing all with a life that is
everlasting.

Praise be to God a thousand times!



2 May 1912
Talk at Hotel Plaza
Chicago, Illinois


Notes by Marzieh Moss

This morning the city is enveloped in fog and mist. How beautiful is a
city brilliant with sunshine. Just as these mists and vapors conceal the
phenomenal sun, so human imaginations obscure the Sun of Truth. Consider
the radiant glory of the great solar center of our planetary system: how
wonderful the sight, how its splendor illumines vision until clouds and
mists veil it from the eye. In the same way, the Sun of Truth becomes
veiled and hidden by the superstitions and imaginations of human minds.
When the sun rises, no matter from what dawning point on the horizon it
appears—northeast, east, southeast—the haze and mists disperse, and we
have clear vision of its glory mounting to the zenith. Similarly, the
nations have been directed to the dawning points of the Sun of Reality,
each to a particular rising place from which the light of religion has
become manifest; but after a time the dawning point has become the object
of worship instead of the Sun itself, which is ever one Sun and stationary
in the heavens of the divine Will. Differences have arisen because of
this, causing clouds and darkness to overshadow again the glorious
luminary of Reality. When the mists and darkness of superstition and
prejudice are dispersed, all will see the Sun aright and alike. Then will
all nations become as one in its radiance.

Inasmuch as these clouds and human vapors of superstition hide the light
of the spiritual Sun, we must put forth our utmost endeavor to dispel
them. May we unite in this and be enlightened to accomplish it, for the
Sun is one and its radiance and bounty universal. All the inhabitants of
earth are recipients of the bounty of the one phenomenal sun, and none are
preferred above others; so, likewise, all receive the heavenly bestowals
of the Word of God; none are specialized as favorites; all are under its
protection and universal effulgence. Human strife and religious
disagreement complex and disfigure the simple purity and beauty of the
divine Cause until clouds obscure the light of reality and disunion
results. Therefore, make use of intelligence and reason so that you may
dispel these dense clouds from the horizon of human hearts and all hold to
the one reality of all the Prophets. It is most certain that if human
souls exercise their respective reason and intelligence upon the divine
questions, the power of God will dispel every difficulty, and the eternal
realities will appear as one light, one truth, one love, one God and a
peace that is universal.



2 May 1912
Talk at Hotel Plaza
Chicago, Illinois


Notes by Henrietta C. Wagner

When we carefully investigate the kingdoms of existence and observe the
phenomena of the universe about us, we discover the absolute order and
perfection of creation. The dull minerals in their affinities, plants and
vegetables with power of growth, animals in their instinct, man with
conscious intellect and the heavenly orbs moving obediently through
limitless space are all found subject to universal law, most complete,
most perfect. That is why a wise philosopher has said, “There is no
greater or more perfect system of creation than that which already
exists.” The materialists and atheists declare that this order and
symmetry is due to nature and its forces; that composition and
decomposition which constitute life and existence are exigencies of
nature; that man himself is an exigency of nature; that nature rules and
governs creation; and that all existing things are captives of nature. Let
us consider these statements. Inasmuch as we find all phenomena subject to
an exact order and under control of universal law, the question is whether
this is due to nature or to divine and omnipotent rule. The materialists
believe that it is an exigency of nature for the rain to fall and that
unless rain fell the earth would not become verdant. They reason that if
clouds cause a downpour, if the sun sends forth heat and light and the
earth is endowed with capacity, vegetation must inevitably follow;
therefore, plant life is a property of these natural forces and is a sign
of nature; just as combustion is the natural property of fire, therefore,
fire burns, and we cannot conceive of fire without its burning.

In reply to these statements we say that from the premises advanced by
materialists, the conclusions are drawn that nature is the ruler and
governor of existence and that all virtues and perfections are natural
exigencies and outcomes. Furthermore, it follows that man is but a part or
member of that whereof nature is the whole.

Man possesses certain virtues of which nature is deprived. He exercises
volition; nature is without will. For instance, an exigency of the sun is
the giving of light. It is controlled—it cannot do otherwise than radiate
light—but it is not volitional. An exigency of the phenomenon of
electricity is that it is revealed in sparks and flashes under certain
conditions, but it cannot voluntarily furnish illumination. An exigency or
property of water is humidity; it cannot separate itself from this
property by its own will. Likewise, all the properties of nature are
inherent and obedient, not volitional; therefore, it is philosophically
predicated that nature is without volition and innate perception. In this
statement and principle we agree with the materialists. But the question
which presents food for reflection is this: How is it that man, who is a
part of the universal plan, is possessed of certain qualities whereof
nature is devoid? Is it conceivable that a drop should be imbued with
qualities of which the ocean is completely deprived? The drop is a part;
the ocean is the whole. Could there be a phenomenon of combustion or
illumination which the great luminary the sun itself did not manifest? Is
it possible for a stone to possess inherent properties of which the
aggregate mineral kingdom is lacking? For example, could the fingernail
which is a part of human anatomy be endowed with cellular properties of
which the brain is deprived?

Man is intelligent, instinctively and consciously intelligent; nature is
not. Man is fortified with memory; nature does not possess it. Man is the
discoverer of the mysteries of nature; nature is not conscious of those
mysteries herself. It is evident, therefore, that man is dual in aspect:
as an animal he is subject to nature, but in his spiritual or conscious
being he transcends the world of material existence. His spiritual powers,
being nobler and higher, possess virtues of which nature intrinsically has
no evidence; therefore, they triumph over natural conditions. These ideal
virtues or powers in man surpass or surround nature, comprehend natural
laws and phenomena, penetrate the mysteries of the unknown and invisible
and bring them forth into the realm of the known and visible. All the
existing arts and sciences were once hidden secrets of nature. By his
command and control of nature man took them out of the plane of the
invisible and revealed them in the plane of visibility, whereas according
to the exigencies of nature these secrets should have remained latent and
concealed. According to the exigencies of nature electricity should be a
hidden, mysterious power; but the penetrating intellect of man has
discovered it, taken it out of the realm of mystery and made it an
obedient human servant. In his physical body and its functions man is a
captive of nature; for instance, he cannot continue his existence without
sleep, an exigency of nature; he must partake of food and drink, which
nature demands and requires. But in his spiritual being and intelligence
man dominates and controls nature, the ruler of his physical being.
Notwithstanding this, contrary opinions and materialistic views are set
forth which would relegate man completely to physical subservience to
nature’s laws. This is equivalent to saying that the comparative degree
exceeds the superlative, that the imperfect includes the perfect, that the
pupil surpasses the teacher—all of which is illogical and impossible. When
it is clearly manifest and evident that the intelligence of man, his
constructive faculty, his power of penetration and discovery transcend
nature, how can we say he is nature’s thrall and captive? This would
indicate that man is deprived of the bounties of God, that he is
retrograding toward the station of the animal, that his keen
superintelligence is without function and that he estimates himself as an
animal, without distinction between his own and the animal’s kingdom.

I was once conversing with a famous philosopher of the materialistic
school in Alexandria. He was strongly opinionated upon the point that man
and the other kingdoms of existence are under the control of nature and
that, after all, man is only a social animal, often very much of an
animal. When he was discomfited in argument, he said impetuously, “I see
no difference between myself and the donkey, and I am not willing to admit
distinctions which I cannot perceive.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá replied, “No, I
consider you quite different and distinct; I call you a man and the donkey
but an animal. I perceive that you are highly intelligent, whereas the
donkey is not. I know that you are well versed in philosophy, and I also
know that the donkey is entirely deficient in it; therefore, I am not
willing to accept your statement.”

Consider the lady beside me who is writing in this little book. It seems a
very trifling, ordinary matter; but upon intelligent reflection you will
conclude that what has been written presupposses and proves the existence
of a writer. These words have not written themselves, and these letters
have not come together of their own volition. It is evident there must be
a writer.

And now consider this infinite universe. Is it possible that it could have
been created without a Creator? Or that the Creator and cause of this
infinite congeries of worlds should be without intelligence? Is the idea
tenable that the Creator has no comprehension of what is manifested in
creation? Man, the creature, has volition and certain virtues. Is it
possible that his Creator is deprived of these? A child could not accept
this belief and statement. It is perfectly evident that man did not create
himself and that he cannot do so. How could man of his own weakness create
such a mighty being? Therefore, the Creator of man must be more perfect
and powerful than man. If the creative cause of man be simply on the same
level with man, then man himself should be able to create, whereas we know
very well that we cannot create even our own likeness. Therefore, the
Creator of man must be endowed with superlative intelligence and power in
all points that creation involves and implies. We are weak; He is mighty,
because, were He not mighty, He could not have created us. We are
ignorant; He is wise. We are poor; He is rich. Otherwise, He would have
been incapable of our creation.

Among the proofs of the existence of a divine power is this: that things
are often known by their opposites. Were it not for darkness, light could
not be sensed. Were it not for death, life could not be known. If
ignorance did not exist, knowledge would not be a reality. It is necessary
that each should exist in order that the other should have reality. Night
and day must be in order that each may be distinguished. Night itself is
an indication and evidence of day which follows, and day itself indicates
the coming night. Unless night were a reality, there could not be day.
Were it not for death, there could be no life. Things are known by their
opposites.

Therefore, our weakness is an evidence that there is might; our ignorance
proves the reality of knowledge; our need is an indication of supply and
wealth. Were it not for wealth, this need would not exist; were it not for
knowledge, ignorance would be unknown; were it not for power, there would
be no impotence. In other words, demand and supply is the law, and
undoubtedly all virtues have a center and source. That source is God, from
Whom all these bounties emanate.



3 May 1912
Talk at Hotel Plaza
Chicago, Illinois


Notes by Marzieh Moss

I was in the Orient, and from the Orient to this part of the world is a
long distance. Travel is difficult, especially difficult for me on account
of my infirmities of body, increased by forty years in prison. My physical
powers are weak; it is the power of will that sustains me. Realize from
this how great has been my exertion and how strong my purpose in
accomplishing this journey through the will of God. May it be the cause of
great illumination in the Occident.

In this western world with its stimulating climate, its capacities for
knowledge and lofty ideals, the message of peace should be easily spread.
The people are not so influenced by imitations and prejudices, and through
their comprehension of the real and unreal they should attain the truth.
They should become leaders in the effort to establish the oneness of
humankind. What is higher than this responsibility? In the Kingdom of God
no service is greater, and in the estimation of the Prophets, including
Jesus Christ, there is no deed so estimable.

Yet even now warfare prevails. Envy and hatred have arisen between
nations. But because I find the American nation so capable of achievement
and this government the fairest of western governments, its institutions
superior to others, my wish and hope is that the banner of international
reconciliation may first be raised on this continent and the standard of
the Most Great Peace be unfurled here. May the American people and their
government unite in their efforts in order that this light may dawn from
this point and spread to all regions, for this is one of the greatest
bestowals of God. In order that America may avail herself of this
opportunity, I beg that you strive and pray with heart and soul, devoting
all your energies to this end: that the banner of international peace may
be upraised here and that this democracy may be the cause of the cessation
of warfare in all other countries.

Observe what is taking place in Tripoli: men cutting each other into
pieces, bombardment from the sea, attacks from the land and the hail of
dynamite from the very heaven itself. The contending armies are thirsting
for each other’s blood. How they can do this is inconceivable. They have
fathers, mothers, children; they are human. What of their wives and
families? Think of their anguish and suffering. How unjust, how terrible!
Human beings should prevent and forbid this. These kings, rulers and
chieftains should strive for the good of their subjects instead of their
destruction. These shepherds should bring their sheep within the fold,
comfort them and give them pasture instead of death and slaughter.

I supplicate the divine Kingdom and ask that you may be instrumental in
establishing the great peace in this country and that this government and
nation may spread it to all the world.



3 May 1912
Talk at Hotel Plaza
Chicago, Illinois


Notes by Marzieh Moss

According to the statement of philosophers the difference in degree of
humankind from lowest to highest is due to education. The proofs they
advance are these. The civilization of Europe and America is an evidence
and outcome of education, whereas the semicivilized and barbarous peoples
of Africa bear witness in their condition that they have been deprived of
its advantages. Education makes the ignorant wise, the tyrant just,
promotes happiness, strengthens the mind, develops the will and makes
fruitless trees of humanity fruitful. Therefore, in the human world some
have attained lofty degrees, while others grope in the abyss of despair.
Nevertheless, the highest attainment is possible for every member of the
human race even to the station of the Prophets. This is the statement and
reasoning of the philosophers.

The Prophets of God are the first Educators. They bestow universal
education upon man and cause him to rise from the lowest levels of
savagery to the highest pinnacles of spiritual development. The
philosophers, too, are educators along lines of intellectual training. At
most, they have only been able to educate themselves and a limited number
about them, to improve their own morals and, so to speak, civilize
themselves; but they have been incapable of universal education. They have
failed to cause an advancement for any given nation from savagery to
civilization.

It is evident that although education improves the morals of mankind,
confers the advantages of civilization and elevates man from lowest
degrees to the station of sublimity, there is, nevertheless, a difference
in the intrinsic or natal capacity of individuals. Ten children of the
same age, with equal station of birth, taught in the same school,
partaking of the same food, in all respects subject to the same
environment, their interests equal and in common, will evidence separate
and distinct degrees of capability and advancement; some will be
exceedingly intelligent and progressive, some of mediocre ability, others
limited and incapable. One may become a learned professor, while another
under the same course of education proves dull and stupid. From all
standpoints the opportunities have been equal, but the results and
outcomes vary from the highest to lowest degree of advancement. It is
evident, therefore, that mankind differs in natal capacity and intrinsic
intellectual endowment. Nevertheless, although capacities are not the
same, every member of the human race is capable of education.

Jesus Christ was an Educator of humanity. His teachings were altruistic;
His bestowal, universal. He taught mankind by the power of the Holy Spirit
and not through human agency, for the human power is limited, whereas the
divine power is illimitable and infinite. The influence and accomplishment
of Christ will attest this. Galen, the Greek physician and philosopher who
lived in the second century A.D., wrote a treatise upon the civilization
of nations. He was not a Christian, but he bore testimony that religious
beliefs exercise an extraordinary effect upon the problems of
civilization. In substance he said, “There are certain people among us,
followers of Jesus, the Nazarene, who was killed in Jerusalem. These
people are truly imbued with moral principles which are the envy of
philosophers. They believe in God and fear Him. They have hopes in His
favors; therefore, they shun all unworthy deeds and actions and incline to
praiseworthy ethics and morals. Day and night they strive that their deeds
may be commendable and that they may contribute to the welfare of
humanity; therefore, each one of them is virtually a philosopher, for
these people have attained unto that which is the essence and purport of
philosophy. These people have praiseworthy morals, even though they may be
illiterate.”

The purpose of this is to show that the holy Manifestations of God, the
divine Prophets, are the first Teachers of the human race. They are
universal Educators, and the fundamental principles they have laid down
are the causes and factors of the advancement of nations. Forms and
imitations which creep in afterward are not conducive to that progress. On
the contrary, these are destroyers of human foundations established by the
heavenly Educators. These are clouds which obscure the Sun of Reality. If
you reflect upon the essential teachings of Jesus, you will realize that
they are the light of the world. Nobody can question their truth. They are
the very source of life and the cause of happiness to the human race. The
forms and superstitions which appeared and obscured the light did not
affect the reality of Christ. For example, Jesus Christ said, “Put up thy
sword into the sheath.” The meaning is that warfare is forbidden and
abrogated; but consider the Christian wars which took place afterward.
Christian hostility and inquisition spared not even the learned; he who
proclaimed the revolution of the earth was imprisoned; he who announced
the new astronomical system was persecuted as a heretic; scholars and
scientists became objects of fanatical hatred, and many were killed and
tortured. How do these actions conform with the teachings of Jesus Christ,
and what relation do they bear to His own example? For Christ declared,
“Love your enemies, ... and pray for them which ... persecute you; that
you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh
his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just
and on the unjust.” How can hatred, hostility and persecution be
reconciled with Christ and His teachings?

Therefore, there is need of turning back to the original foundation. The
fundamental principles of the Prophets are correct and true. The
imitations and superstitions which have crept in are at wide variance with
the original precepts and commands. Bahá’u’lláh has revoiced and
reestablished the quintessence of the teachings of all the Prophets,
setting aside the accessories and purifying religion from human
interpretation. He has written a book entitled the Hidden Words. The
preface announces that it contains the essences of the words of the
Prophets of the past, clothed in the garment of brevity, for the teaching
and spiritual guidance of the people of the world. Read it that you may
understand the true foundations of religion and reflect upon the
inspiration of the Messengers of God. It is light upon light.

We must not look for truth in the deeds and actions of nations; we must
investigate truth at its divine source and summon all mankind to unity in
reality itself.



4 May 1912
Talk to Theosophical Society
Northwestern University Hall, Evanston, Illinois


Notes by Marzieh Moss

I am very happy in being present at this meeting. Praise be to God! I see
before me the faces of those who are endowed with capacity to know and who
desire to investigate truth. This is conducive to the greatest joy.

According to divine philosophy there are two important and universal
conditions in the world of material phenomena: one which concerns life,
the other concerning death; one relative to existence, the other
nonexistence; one manifest in composition, the other in decomposition.
Some define existence as the expression of reality or being and
nonexistence as nonbeing, imagining that death is annihilation. This is a
mistaken idea, for total annihilation is an impossibility. At most,
composition is ever subject to decomposition or disintegration—that is to
say, existence implies the grouping of material elements in a form or
body, and nonexistence is simply the decomposing of these groupings. This
is the law of creation in its endless forms and infinite variety of
expression. Certain elements have formed the composite creature man. This
composite association of the elements in the form of a human body is,
therefore, subject to disintegration, which we call death, but after
disintegration the elements themselves persist unchanged. Therefore, total
annihilation is an impossibility, and existence can never become
nonexistence. This would be equivalent to saying that light can become
darkness, which is manifestly untrue and impossible. As existence can
never become nonexistence, there is no death for man; nay, rather, man is
everlasting and ever-living. The rational proof of this is that the atoms
of the material elements are transferable from one form of existence to
another, from one degree and kingdom to another, lower or higher. For
example, an atom of the soil or dust of earth may traverse the kingdoms
from mineral to man by successive incorporations into the bodies of the
organisms of those kingdoms. At one time it enters into the formation of
the mineral or rock; it is then absorbed by the vegetable kingdom and
becomes a constituent of the body and fibre of a tree; again it is
appropriated by the animal, and at a still later period is found in the
body of man. Throughout these degrees of its traversing the kingdoms from
one form of phenomenal being to another, it retains its atomic existence
and is never annihilated nor relegated to nonexistence.

Nonexistence, therefore, is an expression applied to change of form, but
this transformation can never be rightly considered annihilation, for the
elements of composition are ever present and existent as we have seen in
the journey of the atom through successive kingdoms, unimpaired; hence,
there is no death; life is everlasting. So to speak, when the atom entered
into the composition of the tree, it died to the mineral kingdom, and when
consumed by the animal, it died to the vegetable kingdom, and so on until
its transference or transmutation into the kingdom of man; but throughout
its traversing it was subject to transformation and not annihilation.
Death, therefore, is applicable to a change or transference from one
degree or condition to another. In the mineral realm there was a spirit of
existence; in the world of plant life and organisms it reappeared as the
vegetative spirit; thence it attained the animal spirit and finally
aspired to the human spirit. These are degrees and changes but not
obliteration, and this is a rational proof that man is everlasting,
ever-living. Therefore, death is only a relative term implying change. For
example, we will say that this light before me, having reappeared in
another incandescent lamp, has died in the one and lives in the other.
This is not death in reality. The perfections of the mineral are
translated into the vegetable and from thence into the animal, the virtue
always attaining a superlative degree in the upward change. In each
kingdom we find the same virtues manifesting themselves more fully,
proving that the reality has been transferred from a lower to a higher
form and kingdom of being. Therefore, nonexistence is only relative and
absolute nonexistence inconceivable. This rose in my hand will become
disintegrated and its symmetry destroyed, but the elements of its
composition remain changeless; nothing affects their elemental integrity.
They cannot become nonexistent; they are simply transferred from one state
to another.

Through his ignorance man fears death, but the death he shrinks from is
imaginary and absolutely unreal; it is only human imagination.

The bestowal and grace of God have quickened the realm of existence with
life and being. For existence there is neither change nor transformation;
existence is ever existence; it can never be translated into nonexistence.
It is gradation; a degree below a higher degree is considered as
nonexistence. This dust beneath our feet, as compared with our being, is
nonexistent. When the human body crumbles into dust, we can say it has
become nonexistent; therefore, its dust in relation to living forms of
human being is as nonexistent, but in its own sphere it is existent, it
has its mineral being. Therefore, it is well proved that absolute
nonexistence is impossible; it is only relative.

The purpose is this: that the everlasting bestowal of God vouchsafed to
man is never subject to corruption. Inasmuch as He has endowed the
phenomenal world with being, it is impossible for that world to become
nonbeing, for it is the very genesis of God; it is in the realm of
origination; it is a creational and not a subjective world, and the bounty
descending upon it is continuous and permanent. Therefore, man, the
highest creature of the phenomenal world, is endowed with that continuous
bounty bestowed by divine generosity without cessation. For instance, the
rays of the sun are continuous, the heat of the sun emanates from it
without cessation; no discontinuance of it is conceivable. Even so, the
bestowal of God is descending upon the world of humanity, never ceasing,
continuous, forever. If we say that the bestowal of existence ceases or
falters, it is equivalent to saying that the sun can exist with cessation
of its effulgence. Is this possible? Therefore, the effulgences of
existence are ever present and continuous.

The conception of annihilation is a factor in human degradation, a cause
of human debasement and lowliness, a source of human fear and abjection.
It has been conducive to the dispersion and weakening of human thought,
whereas the realization of existence and continuity has upraised man to
sublimity of ideals, established the foundations of human progress and
stimulated the development of heavenly virtues; therefore, it behooves man
to abandon thoughts of nonexistence and death, which are absolutely
imaginary, and see himself ever-living, everlasting in the divine purpose
of his creation. He must turn away from ideas which degrade the human soul
so that day by day and hour by hour he may advance upward and higher to
spiritual perception of the continuity of the human reality. If he dwells
upon the thought of nonexistence, he will become utterly incompetent; with
weakened willpower his ambition for progress will be lessened and the
acquisition of human virtues will cease.

Therefore, you must thank God that He has bestowed upon you the blessing
of life and existence in the human kingdom. Strive diligently to acquire
virtues befitting your degree and station. Be as lights of the world which
cannot be hid and which have no setting in horizons of darkness. Ascend to
the zenith of an existence which is never beclouded by the fears and
forebodings of nonexistence. When man is not endowed with inner
perception, he is not informed of these important mysteries. The retina of
outer vision, though sensitive and delicate, may, nevertheless, be a
hindrance to the inner eye which alone can perceive. The bestowals of God
which are manifest in all phenomenal life are sometimes hidden by
intervening veils of mental and mortal vision which render man spiritually
blind and incapable, but when those scales are removed and the veils rent
asunder, then the great signs of God will become visible, and he will
witness the eternal light filling the world. The bestowals of God are all
and always manifest. The promises of heaven are ever present. The favors
of God are all-surrounding, but should the conscious eye of the soul of
man remain veiled and darkened, he will be led to deny these universal
signs and remain deprived of these manifestations of divine bounty.
Therefore, we must endeavor with heart and soul in order that the veil
covering the eye of inner vision may be removed, that we may behold the
manifestations of the signs of God, discern His mysterious graces and
realize that material blessings as compared with spiritual bounties are as
nothing. The spiritual blessings of God are greatest. When we were in the
mineral kingdom, although we were endowed with certain gifts and powers,
they were not to be compared with the blessings of the human kingdom. In
the matrix of the mother we were the recipients of endowments and
blessings of God, yet these were as nothing compared to the powers and
graces bestowed upon us after birth into this human world. Likewise, if we
are born from the matrix of this physical and phenomenal environment into
the freedom and loftiness of the spiritual life and vision, we shall
consider this mortal existence and its blessings as worthless by
comparison.

In the spiritual world the divine bestowals are infinite, for in that
realm there is neither separation nor disintegration, which characterize
the world of material existence. Spiritual existence is absolute
immortality, completeness and unchangeable being. Therefore, we must thank
God that He has created for us both material blessings and spiritual
bestowals. He has given us material gifts and spiritual graces, outer
sight to view the lights of the sun and inner vision by which we may
perceive the glory of God. He has designed the outer ear to enjoy the
melodies of sound and the inner hearing wherewith we may hear the voice of
our Creator. We must strive with energies of heart, soul and mind to
develop and manifest the perfections and virtues latent within the
realities of the phenomenal world, for the human reality may be compared
to a seed. If we sow the seed, a mighty tree appears from it. The virtues
of the seed are revealed in the tree; it puts forth branches, leaves,
blossoms, and produces fruits. All these virtues were hidden and potential
in the seed. Through the blessing and bounty of cultivation these virtues
became apparent. Similarly, the merciful God, our Creator, has deposited
within human realities certain latent and potential virtues. Through
education and culture these virtues deposited by the loving God will
become apparent in the human reality, even as the unfoldment of the tree
from within the germinating seed. I will pray for you.

O Thou kind Lord! These are Thy servants who have gathered in this
meeting, have turned unto Thy Kingdom and are in need of Thy bestowal and
blessing. O thou God! Manifest and make evident the signs of Thy oneness
which have been deposited in all the realities of life. Reveal and unfold
the virtues which Thou hast made latent and concealed in these human
realities.

O God! We are as plants, and Thy bounty is as the rain; refresh and cause
these plants to grow through Thy bestowal. We are Thy servants; free us
from the fetters of material existence. We are ignorant; make us wise. We
are dead; make us alive. We are material; endow us with spirit. We are
deprived; make us the intimates of Thy mysteries. We are needy; enrich and
bless us from Thy boundless treasury. O God! Resuscitate us; give us
sight; give us hearing; familiarize us with the mysteries of life, so that
the secrets of Thy kingdom may become revealed to us in this world of
existence and we may confess Thy oneness. Every bestowal emanates from
Thee; every benediction is Thine.

Thou art mighty. Thou art powerful. Thou art the Giver, and Thou art the
Ever-Bounteous.



5 May 1912
Talk at Children’s Meeting
Hotel Plaza
Chicago, Illinois


Notes by Marzieh Moss

You are the children of whom Christ has said, “Of such is the kingdom of
God”; and according to the words of Bahá’u’lláh you are the very lamps or
candles of the world of humanity, for your hearts are exceedingly pure and
your spirits most sensitive. You are near the source; you have not yet
become contaminated. You are the lambs of the heavenly Shepherd. You are
as polished mirrors reflecting pure light. My hope is that your parents
may educate you spiritually and give you thorough moral training. May you
develop so that each one of you shall become imbued with all the virtues
of the human world. May you advance in all material and spiritual degrees.
May you become learned in sciences, acquire the arts and crafts, prove to
be useful members of human society and assist the progress of human
civilization. May you be a cause of the manifestation of divine
bestowals—each one of you a shining star radiating the light of the
oneness of humanity toward the horizons of the East and West. May you be
devoted to the love and unity of mankind, and through your efforts may the
reality deposited in the human heart find its divine expression. I pray
for you, asking the assistance and confirmation of God in your behalf.

You are all my children, my spiritual children. Spiritual children are
dearer than physical children, for it is possible for physical children to
turn away from the Spirit of God, but you are spiritual children and,
therefore, you are most beloved. I wish for you progress in every degree
of development. May God assist you. May you be surrounded by the
beneficent light of His countenance, and may you attain maturity under His
nurture and protection. You are all blessed.

(To the Friends)

I am going away, but you must arise to serve the Word of God. Your hearts
must be pure and your intentions sincere in order that you may become
recipients of the divine bestowals. Consider that although the sun shines
equally upon all things, yet in the clear mirror its reflection is most
brilliant and not in the black stone. This great effulgence and heat have
been produced by the crystal clearness of the glass. If there were no
clearness and purity, these effects would not be witnessed. Should rain
fall upon salty, stony earth, it will never have effect; but when it falls
upon good pure soil, green and verdant growth follows, and fruits are
produced.

This is the day when pure hearts have a portion of the everlasting
bounties and sanctified souls are being illumined by the eternal
manifestations. Praise be to God! You are believers in God, assured by the
words of God and turning to the Kingdom of God. You have heard the divine
call. Your hearts are moved by the breezes of the paradise of Abhá. You
have good intentions; your purpose is the good pleasure of God; you desire
to serve in the Kingdom of the Merciful One. Therefore, arise in the
utmost power. Be in perfect unity. Never become angry with one another.
Let your eyes be directed toward the kingdom of truth and not toward the
world of creation. Love the creatures for the sake of God and not for
themselves. You will never become angry or impatient if you love them for
the sake of God. Humanity is not perfect. There are imperfections in every
human being, and you will always become unhappy if you look toward the
people themselves. But if you look toward God, you will love them and be
kind to them, for the world of God is the world of perfection and complete
mercy. Therefore, do not look at the shortcomings of anybody; see with the
sight of forgiveness. The imperfect eye beholds imperfections. The eye
that covers faults looks toward the Creator of souls. He created them,
trains and provides for them, endows them with capacity and life, sight
and hearing; therefore, they are the signs of His grandeur. You must love
and be kind to everybody, care for the poor, protect the weak, heal the
sick, teach and educate the ignorant.

It is my hope that the unity and harmony of the friends in Chicago may be
the cause of the unity of the friends throughout America and that all
people may become recipients of their love and kindness. May they be an
example for mankind. Then the confirmations of the Kingdom of Abhá and the
bestowals of the Sun of Reality will be all-encircling.



5 May 1912
Talk at Plymouth Congregational Church
935 East Fiftieth Street
Chicago, Illinois


Notes by Marzieh Moss

I offer thanks to God for the privilege of being present in an assemblage
which is commemorating Him, whose members have no thought or intention
save His good pleasure and the unbiased investigation of reality. I praise
God for this meeting of human souls free from the bondage of imitations
and prejudice, willing to examine reasonably and accept that which is
found to be true.

In our solar system the center of illumination is the sun itself. Through
the will of God this central luminary is the one source of the existence
and development of all phenomenal things. When we observe the organisms of
the material kingdoms, we find that their growth and training are
dependent upon the heat and light of the sun. Without this quickening
impulse there would be no growth of tree or vegetation; neither would the
existence of animal or human being be possible; in fact, no forms of
created life would be manifest upon the earth. But if we reflect deeply,
we will perceive that the great bestower and giver of life is God; the sun
is the intermediary of His will and plan. Without the bounty of the sun,
therefore, the world would be in darkness. All illumination of our
planetary system proceeds or emanates from the solar center.

Likewise, in the spiritual realm of intelligence and idealism there must
be a center of illumination, and that center is the everlasting,
ever-shining Sun, the Word of God. Its lights are the lights of reality
which have shone upon humanity, illumining the realm of thought and
morals, conferring the bounties of the divine world upon man. These lights
are the cause of the education of souls and the source of the
enlightenment of hearts, sending forth in effulgent radiance the message
of the glad tidings of the Kingdom of God. In brief, the moral and ethical
world and the world of spiritual regeneration are dependent for their
progressive being upon that heavenly Center of illumination. It gives
forth the light of religion and bestows the life of the spirit, imbues
humanity with archetypal virtues and confers eternal splendors. This Sun
of Reality, this Center of effulgences, is the Prophet or Manifestation of
God. Just as the phenomenal sun shines upon the material world producing
life and growth, likewise, the spiritual or prophetic Sun confers
illumination upon the human world of thought and intelligence, and unless
it rose upon the horizon of human existence, the kingdom of man would
become dark and extinguished.

The Sun of Reality is one Sun, but it has different dawning places, just
as the phenomenal sun is one although it appears at various points of the
horizon. During the time of summer the luminary of the physical world
rises far to the north of the equinoctial, in spring and fall it dawns
midway, and in winter it appears in the most southerly point of its
zodiacal journey. These daysprings or dawning points differ widely, but
the sun is ever the same sun—whether it be the phenomenal or spiritual
luminary. Souls who focus their vision upon the Sun of Reality will be the
recipients of light no matter from what point it rises, but those who are
fettered by adoration of the dawning point are deprived when it appears in
a different station upon the spiritual horizon.

Furthermore, just as the solar cycle has its four seasons, the cycle of
the Sun of Reality has its distinct and successive periods. Each brings
its vernal season or springtime. When the Sun of Reality returns to
quicken the world of mankind, a divine bounty descends from the heaven of
generosity. The realm of thoughts and ideals is set in motion and blessed
with new life. Minds are developed, hopes brighten, aspirations become
spiritual, the virtues of the human world appear with freshened power of
growth, and the image and likeness of God become visible in man. It is the
springtime of the inner world. After the spring, summer comes with its
fullness and spiritual fruitage; autumn follows with its withering winds
which chill the soul; the Sun seems to be going away, until at last the
mantle of winter overspreads, and only faint traces of the effulgence of
that divine Sun remain. Just as the surface of the material world becomes
dark and dreary, the soil dormant, the trees naked and bare and no beauty
or freshness remains to cheer the darkness and desolation, so the winter
of the spiritual cycle witnesses the death and disappearance of divine
growth and extinction of the light and love of God. But again the cycle
begins and a new springtime appears. In it the former springtime has
returned; the world is resuscitated, illumined and attains spirituality;
religion is renewed and reorganized, hearts are turned to God, the summons
of God is heard, and life is again bestowed upon man. For a long time the
religious world had been weakened and materialism had advanced; the
spiritual forces of life were waning, moralities were becoming degraded,
composure and peace had vanished from souls, and satanic qualities were
dominating hearts; strife and hatred overshadowed humanity, bloodshed and
violence prevailed. God was neglected; the Sun of Reality seemed to have
gone completely; deprivation of the bounties of heaven was a fact; and so
the season of winter fell upon mankind. But in the generosity of God a new
springtime dawned, the lights of God shone forth, the effulgent Sun of
Reality returned and became manifest, the realm of thoughts and kingdom of
hearts became exhilarated, a new spirit of life breathed into the body of
the world, and continuous advancement became apparent.

I hope that the lights of the Sun of Reality will illumine the whole world
so that no strife and warfare, no battles and bloodshed remain. May
fanaticism and religious bigotry be unknown, all humanity enter the bond
of brotherhood, souls consort in perfect agreement, the nations of earth
at last hoist the banner of truth, and the religions of the world enter
the divine temple of oneness, for the foundations of the heavenly
religions are one reality. Reality is not divisible; it does not admit
multiplicity. All the holy Manifestations of God have proclaimed and
promulgated the same reality. They have summoned mankind to reality
itself, and reality is one. The clouds and mists of imitations have
obscured the Sun of Truth. We must forsake these imitations, dispel these
clouds and mists and free the Sun from the darkness of superstition. Then
will the Sun of Truth shine most gloriously; then all the inhabitants of
the world will be united, the religions will be one, sects and
denominations will reconcile, all nationalities will flow together in the
recognition of one Fatherhood, and all degrees of humankind will gather in
the shelter of the same tabernacle, under the same banner.

Until the heavenly civilization is founded, no result will be forthcoming
from material civilization, even as you observe. See what catastrophes
overwhelm mankind. Consider the wars which disturb the world. Consider the
enmity and hatred. The existence of these wars and conditions indicates
and proves that the heavenly civilization has not yet been established. If
the civilization of the Kingdom be spread to all the nations, this dust of
disagreement will be dispelled, these clouds will pass away, and the Sun
of Reality in its greatest effulgence and glory will shine upon mankind.

O God! O Thou Who givest! This congregation is turning to Thee, casting
their glances toward Thy Kingdom and favor, longing to behold the lights
of Thy face. O God! Bless this nation. Confirm this government. Reveal Thy
glory unto this people and confer upon them life eternal. O God! Illumine
the faces, render the hearts radiant, exhilarate the breasts, crown the
heads with the diadem of Thy providence, cause them to soar in Thy pure
atmosphere so they may reach the highest pinnacles of Thy splendor. Assist
them in order that this world may ever find the light and effulgence of
Thy presence. O God! Shelter this congregation and admonish this nation.
Render them progressive in all degrees. May they become leaders in the
world of humanity. May they be Thine examples among humankind. May they be
manifestations of Thy grace. May they be filled with the inspiration of
Thy Word. Thou art the Powerful. Thou art the Mighty. Thou art the Giver,
and Thou art the Omniscient.



5 May 1912
Talk at All-Souls Church
Lincoln Center, Chicago, Illinois


Notes by Marzieh Moss

The divine religions were founded for the purpose of unifying humanity and
establishing universal peace. Any movement which brings about peace and
agreement in human society is truly a divine movement; any reform which
causes people to come together under the shelter of the same tabernacle is
surely animated by heavenly motives. At all times and in all ages of the
world, religion has been a factor in cementing together the hearts of men
and in uniting various and divergent creeds. It is the peace element in
religion that blends mankind and makes for unity. Warfare has ever been
the cause of separation, disunion and discord.

Consider how Jesus Christ united the divergent peoples, sects and
denominations of the early days. It is evident that the fundamentals of
religion are intended to unify and bind together; their purpose is
universal, everlasting peace. Prior to the time of Jesus Christ the Word
of God had unified opposite types and conflicting elements of human
society; and since His appearance the divine Teachers of the primal
principles of the law of God have all intended this universal outcome. In
Persia Bahá’u’lláh was able to unite people of varying thought, creed and
denomination. The inhabitants of that country were Christians, Muslims,
Jews, Zoroastrians and a great variety of subdivided forms and beliefs
together with racial distinctions such as Semitic, Arabic, Persian, Turk,
etc.; but through the power and efficacy of religion Bahá’u’lláh united
these differing peoples and caused them to consort together in perfect
agreement. Such unity and accord became manifest among them that they were
considered as one people and one kind.

The cause of this fellowship and unity lies in the fact that the divine
law has two distinct aspects or functions: one the essential or
fundamental, the other the material or accidental. The first aspect of the
revealed religion of God is that which concerns the ethical development
and spiritual progress of mankind, the awakening of potential human
susceptibilities and the descent of divine bestowals. These ordinances are
changeless, essential, eternal. The second function of the divine religion
deals with material conditions, the laws of human intercourse and social
regulation. These are subject to change and transformation in accordance
with the time, place and conditions. The essential ordinances of religion
were the same during the time of Abraham, the day of Moses and the cycle
of Jesus, but the accidental or material laws were abrogated and
superseded according to the exigency and requirement of each succeeding
age. For example, in the law of Moses there were ten distinct commandments
in regard to murder, which were revealed according to the requirement and
capacity of the people, but in the day of Jesus these were abrogated and
superseded in conformity with the changed and advanced human conditions.

The central purpose of the divine religions is the establishment of peace
and unity among mankind. Their reality is one; therefore, their
accomplishment is one and universal—whether it be through the essential or
material ordinances of God. There is but one light of the material sun,
one ocean, one rain, one atmosphere. Similarly, in the spiritual world
there is one divine reality forming the center and altruistic basis for
peace and reconciliation among various and conflicting nations and
peoples. Consider how the Roman Empire and Greek nation were at war in
enmity and hatred after the Messianic day, how the hostilities of Egypt
and Assyria, though subdued in intensity, still flamed in the warring
element of these ancient and declining nations. But the teachings of Jesus
Christ proved to be the cement by which they were united; warfare ceased,
strife and hatred passed away, and these belligerent peoples associated in
love and friendship. For strife and warfare are the very destroyers of
human foundations, whereas peace and amity are the builders and safeguards
of human welfare. As an instance, two nations which have remained at peace
for centuries declare war against each other. What destruction and loss
befalls both in one year of strife and conflict—the undoing of centuries.
How urgent their necessity and demand for peace, with its comfort and
progress, instead of war, which blasts and destroys the foundation of all
human attainment.

The body politic may be likened to the human organism. As long as the
various members and parts of that organism are coordinated and cooperating
in harmony, we have as a result the expression of life in its fullest
degree. When these members lack coordination and harmony, we have the
reverse, which in the human organism is disease, dissolution, death.
Similarly, in the body politic of humanity dissension, discord and warfare
are always destructive and inevitably fatal. All created beings are
dependent upon peace and coordination, for every contingent and phenomenal
being is a composition of distinct elements. As long as there is affinity
and cohesion among these constituent elements, strength and life are
manifest; but when dissension and repulsion arise among them,
disintegration follows. This is proof that peace and amity, which God has
willed for His children, are the saving factors of human society, whereas
war and strife, which violate His ordinances, are the cause of death and
destruction. Therefore, God has sent His Prophets to announce the message
of goodwill, peace and life to the world of mankind.

Inasmuch as the essential reality of the religions is one and their
seeming variance and plurality is adherence to forms and imitations which
have arisen, it is evident that these causes of difference and divergence
must be abandoned in order that the underlying reality may unite mankind
in its enlightenment and upbuilding. All who hold fast to the one reality
will be in agreement and unity. Then shall the religions summon people to
the oneness of the world of humanity and to universal justice; then will
they proclaim equality of rights and exhort men to virtue and to faith in
the loving mercy of God. The underlying foundation of the religions is
one; there is no intrinsic difference between them. Therefore, if the
essential and fundamental ordinances of the religions be observed, peace
and unity will dawn, and all the differences of sects and denominations
will disappear.

And now let us consider the various peoples of the world. All the
nations—American, British, French, German, Turkish, Persian, Arab—are
children of the same Adam, members of the same human household. Why should
dissension exist among them? The surface of the earth is one native land,
and that native land was provided for all. God has not set these
boundaries and race limitations. Why should imaginary barriers which God
has not originally destined be made a cause of contention? God has created
and provided for all. He is the Preserver of all, and all are submerged in
the ocean of His mercy. Not a single soul is deprived. Inasmuch as we have
such a loving God and Creator, why should we be at war with each other?
Now that His light is shining universally, why should we cast ourselves
into darkness? As His table is spread for all His children, why should we
deprive each other of its sustenance? As His effulgence is shining upon
all, why should we seek to live among the shadows? There is no doubt that
the only cause is ignorance and that the result is perdition. Discord
deprives humanity of the eternal favors of God; therefore, we must forget
all imaginary causes of difference and seek the very fundamentals of the
divine religions in order that we may associate in perfect love and accord
and consider humankind as one family, the surface of the earth as one
nationality and all races as one humanity. Let us live under the
protection of God, attaining eternal happiness in this world and
everlasting life in the world to come.

O Thou kind Lord! Thou hast created all humanity from the same stock. Thou
hast decreed that all shall belong to the same household. In Thy Holy
Presence they are all Thy servants, and all mankind are sheltered beneath
Thy Tabernacle; all have gathered together at Thy Table of Bounty; all are
illumined through the light of Thy Providence.

O God! Thou art kind to all, Thou hast provided for all, dost shelter all,
conferrest life upon all. Thou hast endowed each and all with talents and
faculties, and all are submerged in the Ocean of Thy Mercy.

O Thou kind Lord! Unite all. Let the religions agree and make the nations
one, so that they may see each other as one family and the whole earth as
one home. May they all live together in perfect harmony.

O God! Raise aloft the banner of the oneness of mankind.

O God! Establish the Most Great Peace.

Cement Thou, O God, the hearts together.

O Thou kind Father, God! Gladden our hearts through the fragrance of Thy
love. Brighten our eyes through the Light of Thy Guidance. Delight our
ears with the melody of Thy Word, and shelter us all in the Stronghold of
Thy Providence.

Thou art the Mighty and Powerful, Thou art the Forgiving and Thou art the
One Who overlooketh the shortcomings of all mankind.



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN CLEVELAND



6 May 1912
Talk at Euclid Hall
Cleveland, Ohio


From Stenographic Notes

This is a very joyous evening, an evidence in itself of the possibility of
uniting the East and the West—an eastern man appearing before an
assemblage of reverent western people. The East and West, the Orient and
Occident, shall be united. If we search history, we shall not find the
record of such an occasion where one has traveled from the far East to the
far West to address a meeting of this universal character. This is a
miracle of the twentieth century which proves that the seemingly
impossible may become real and possible in the kingdom of man. Praise be
to God! The dark ages have disappeared, and the age of light has at last
arrived. The Sun of Reality has dawned with supreme effulgence, the
realities of things have become manifest and renewed, the mysteries of the
unknown have been revealed, and great inventions and discoveries mark this
period as a most wonderful age.

Through the ingenuity and inventions of man it is possible to cross the
wide oceans, fly through the air and travel in submarine depths. At any
moment the Orient and Occident can communicate with each other. Trains
speed across the continents. The human voice has been arrested and
reproduced, and now man can speak at long distances from any point. These
are some of the signs of this glorious century. The great progress
mentioned has taken place in the material world. Remarkable signs and
evidences have become manifest. Hidden realities and mysteries have been
disclosed. This is the time for man to strive and put forth his greatest
efforts in spiritual directions. Material civilization has reached an
advanced plane, but now there is need of spiritual civilization. Material
civilization alone will not satisfy; it cannot meet the conditions and
requirements of the present age; its benefits are limited to the world of
matter. There is no limitation to the spirit of man, for spirit in itself
is progressive, and if the divine civilization be established, the spirit
of man will advance. Every developed susceptibility will increase the
effectiveness of man. Discoveries of the real will become more and more
possible, and the influence of divine guidance will be increasingly
recognized. All this is conducive to the divine form of civilization. This
is what is meant in the Bible by the descent of the New Jerusalem. The
heavenly Jerusalem is none other than divine civilization, and it is now
ready. It is to be and shall be organized, and the oneness of humankind
will be a visible fact. Humanity will then be brought together as one. The
various religions will be united, and different races will be known as one
kind. The Orient and Occident will be conjoined, and the banner of
international peace will be unfurled. The world shall at last find peace,
and the equalities and rights of men shall be established. The capacity of
humankind will be tested, and a degree shall be attained where equality is
a reality.

All the peoples of the world will enjoy like interests, and the poor shall
possess a portion of the comforts of life. Just as the rich are surrounded
by their luxuries in palaces, the poor will have at least their
comfortable and pleasant places of abode; and just as the wealthy enjoy a
variety of food, the needy shall have their necessities and no longer live
in poverty. In short, a readjustment of the economic order will come
about, the divine Sonship will attract, the Sun of Reality will shine
forth, and all phenomenal being will attain a portion.

Consider: What is this material civilization of the day giving forth? Has
it not produced the instruments of warfare and destruction? In olden times
the weapon of war was the sword; today it is the smokeless gun. Warships a
century ago were sailing vessels; now we have dreadnoughts. Instruments
and means of human destruction have enormously multiplied in this era of
material civilization. But if material civilization shall become organized
in conjunction with divine civilization, if the man of moral integrity and
intellectual acumen shall unite for human betterment and uplift with the
man of spiritual capacity, the happiness and progress of the human race
will be assured. All the nations of the world will then be closely related
and companionable, and the religions will merge into one, for the divine
reality within them all is one reality. Abraham proclaimed this reality;
Jesus promulgated it; all the Prophets who have appeared in the world have
founded Their teachings upon it. Therefore, the people of the world have
this one true, unchangeable basis for peace and agreement, and war, which
has raged for thousands of years, will pass away.

For centuries and cycles humanity has been engaged in war and conflict. At
one time the pretext for war has been religion, at another time
patriotism, racial prejudice, national politics, territorial conquest or
commercial expansion; in brief, humanity has never been at peace during
the period of known history. What blood has been shed! How many fathers
have mourned the loss of sons; how many sons have wept for fathers, and
mothers for dear ones! Human beings have been the food and targets of the
battlefield, and everywhere warfare and strife have been the theme and
burden of history. Ferocity has characterized men even more than animals.
The lion, tiger, bear and wolf are ferocious because of their needs.
Unless they are fierce, cruel and unrelenting, they will die of
starvation. The lion cannot graze; its teeth are fitted only for food of
flesh. This is also true of other wild animals. Ferocity is natural to
them as their means of subsistence; but human ferocity proceeds from
selfishness, greed and oppression. It springs from no natural necessity.
Man needlessly kills a thousand fellow creatures, becomes a hero and is
glorified through centuries of posterity. A great city is destroyed in one
day by a commanding general. How ignorant, how inconsistent is humankind!
If a man slays another man, we brand him as a murderer and criminal and
sentence him to capital punishment, but if he kills one hundred thousand
men, he is a military genius, a great celebrity, a Napoleon idolized by
his nation. If a man steals one dollar, he is called a thief and put into
prison; if he rapes and pillages an innocent country by military invasion,
he is crowned a hero. How ignorant is humankind! Ferocity does not belong
to the kingdom of man. It is the province of man to confer life, not
death. It behooves him to be the cause of human welfare, but inasmuch as
he glories in the savagery of animalism, it is an evidence that divine
civilization has not been established in human society. Material
civilization has advanced unmistakably, but because it is not associated
with divine civilization, evil and wickedness abound. In ancient times if
two nations were at war twelve months, not over twenty thousand men would
be killed; now the instruments of death have become so multiplied and
perfected that one hundred thousand can be destroyed in a day. In three
months during the Russo-Japanese War one million perished. This was
undreamed of in former cycles. The cause is the absence of divine
civilization.

This revered American nation presents evidences of greatness and worth. It
is my hope that this just government will stand for peace so that warfare
may be abolished throughout the world and the standards of national unity
and reconciliation be upraised. This is the greatest attainment of the
world of humanity. This American nation is equipped and empowered to
accomplish that which will adorn the pages of history, to become the envy
of the world and be blest in the East and the West for the triumph of its
democracy. I pray that this may come to pass, and I ask the blessing of
God in behalf of you all.



6 May 1912
Talk at Sanatorium of Dr. C. M. Swingle
Cleveland, Ohio


Notes by Sigel T. Brooks

This is a beautiful city; the climate is pleasant; the views are charming.
All the cities of America seem to be large and beautiful, and the people
appear prosperous. The American continent gives signs and evidences of
very great advancement; its future is even more promising, for its
influence and illumination are far-reaching, and it will lead all nations
spiritually. The flag of freedom and banner of liberty have been unfurled
here, but the prosperity and advancement of a city, the happiness and
greatness of a country depend upon its hearing and obeying the call of
God. The light of reality must shine therein and divine civilization be
founded; then the radiance of the Kingdom will be diffused and heavenly
influences surround. Material civilization is likened to the body, whereas
divine civilization is the spirit in that body. A body not manifesting the
spirit is dead; a fruitless tree is worthless. Jesus declares that there
is spiritual capacity in some people, for all are not submerged in the sea
of materialism. They seek the Divine Spirit; they turn to God; they long
for the Kingdom. It is my hope that these revered people present may
attain both material and spiritual progress. As they have advanced
wonderfully in material degrees, so may they, likewise, advance in
spiritual development until the body shall become refined and beautiful
through the wealth of spiritual potentiality and efficiency.

Praise be to God! The Sun of Reality has dawned, and its effulgences are
shining from all horizons. The signs of God are resplendent, and the
teachings of the heavenly Messengers are being spread. May the hearts be
directed to the Kingdom of God and become illuminated by witnessing the
lights of God in order that all created beings may obtain a portion of the
divine bestowals. May the spirit of life be restored through the divine
graces of the Almighty, and may the East and West be bound together. May
oneness and harmony become manifest in all regions. May the people of the
world become as one family and obtain the everlasting bounty. May the
doors of the Kingdom be opened from all directions and the praise of the
name Abhá be heard throughout the earth.



TALK ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN PITTSBURGH



7 May 1912
Talk at Hotel Schenley
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Notes by Suzanne Beatty

I have come from the Orient to visit your country. Surely this continent
is praiseworthy from all points of view, and there are signs of prosperity
everywhere. The people show refinement, and evidences of progressive
civilization abound. I will give you a brief exposition of the fundamental
principles of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings in order that you may be informed of
the nature and significance of the Bahá’í movement.

About sixty years ago the greatest enmity and strife existed among the
various peoples and religious denominations of Persia. Throughout the
world generally war and dissension prevailed. At this time Bahá’u’lláh
appeared in Persia and began devoting Himself to the uplift and education
of the people. He united divergent sects and creeds, removed religious,
racial, patriotic and political prejudices and established a strong bond
of unity and reconciliation among varying degrees and classes of mankind.
The enmity then existing among the people was so bitter and intense that
even ordinary association was out of the question. They would not meet and
consult with each other at all. Through the power of the teachings of
Bahá’u’lláh the most wonderful results were witnessed. He removed the
prejudices and hatred from human hearts and wrought such transformation in
their attitudes toward each other that today in Persia there is perfect
accord among hitherto bigoted religionists, varying sects and divergent
classes. This was not an easy accomplishment, for Bahá’u’lláh underwent
severe trials, great difficulties and violent persecution. He was
imprisoned, tortures were inflicted upon Him, and finally He was banished
from His native land. He bore every ordeal and infliction cheerfully. In
His successive exiles from country to country up to the time of His
ascension from this world, He was enabled to promulgate His teachings,
even from prison. Wherever His oppressors sent Him, He hoisted the
standard of the oneness of the world of humanity and promulgated the
principles of the unity of mankind. Some of these principles are as
follows. First, it is incumbent upon all mankind to investigate truth. If
such investigation be made, all should agree and be united, for truth or
reality is not multiple; it is not divisible. The different religions have
one truth underlying them; therefore, their reality is one.

Each of the divine religions embodies two kinds of ordinances. The first
is those which concern spiritual susceptibilities, the development of
moral principles and the quickening of the conscience of man. These are
essential or fundamental, one and the same in all religions, changeless
and eternal—reality not subject to transformation. Abraham heralded this
reality, Moses promulgated it, and Jesus Christ established it in the
world of mankind. All the divine Prophets and Messengers were the
instruments and channels of this same eternal, essential truth.

The second kind of ordinances in the divine religions is those which
relate to the material affairs of humankind. These are the material or
accidental laws which are subject to change in each day of manifestation,
according to exigencies of the time, conditions and differing capacities
of humanity. For instance, in the day of Moses ten commandments in regard
to murder were revealed by Him. These commandments were in accordance with
the requirements of that day and time. Other laws embodying drastic
punishments were enacted by Moses—an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
The penalty for theft was amputation of the hand. These laws and penalties
were applicable to the degree of the Israelitish people of that period,
who dwelt in the wilderness and desert under conditions where severity was
necessary and justifiable. But in the time of Jesus Christ this kind of
law was not expedient; therefore, Christ abrogated and superseded the
commands of Moses.

In brief, every one of the divine religions contains essential ordinances,
which are not subject to change, and material ordinances, which are
abrogated according to the exigencies of time. But the people of the world
have forsaken the divine teachings and followed forms and imitations of
the truth. Inasmuch as these human interpretations and superstitions
differ, dissensions and bigotry have arisen, and strife and warfare have
prevailed. By investigating the truth or foundation of reality underlying
their own and other beliefs, all would be united and agreed, for this
reality is one; it is not multiple and not divisible.

The second principle or teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the proclamation of the
oneness of the world of humanity—that all are servants of God and belong
to one family; that God has created all and, therefore, His bestowals are
universal; and that His providence, training, sustenance and
loving-kindness surround all mankind.

This is the divine policy, and it is impossible for man to lay the
foundation of a better plan and policy than that which God has instituted.
Therefore, we must recognize and assist the purpose of the glorious Lord.
Inasmuch as God is kind and loving to all, why should we be unkind? As
this human world is one household, why should its members be occupied with
animosity and contention? Therefore, humanity must be looked upon with the
eye of equal estimate and in the same attitude of love. The noblest of men
is he who serves humankind, and he is nearest the threshold of God who is
the least of His servants. The glory and majesty of man are dependent upon
his servitude to his fellow creatures and not upon the exercise of
hostility and hatred.

The third principle or teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the oneness of religion
and science. Any religious belief which is not conformable with scientific
proof and investigation is superstition, for true science is reason and
reality, and religion is essentially reality and pure reason; therefore,
the two must correspond. Religious teaching which is at variance with
science and reason is human invention and imagination unworthy of
acceptance, for the antithesis and opposite of knowledge is superstition
born of the ignorance of man. If we say religion is opposed to science, we
lack knowledge of either true science or true religion, for both are
founded upon the premises and conclusions of reason, and both must bear
its test.

The fourth principle or teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the readjustment and
equalization of the economic standards of mankind. This deals with the
question of human livelihood. It is evident that under present systems and
conditions of government the poor are subject to the greatest need and
distress while others more fortunate live in luxury and plenty far beyond
their actual necessities. This inequality of portion and privilege is one
of the deep and vital problems of human society. That there is need of an
equalization and apportionment by which all may possess the comforts and
privileges of life is evident. The remedy must be legislative readjustment
of conditions. The rich too must be merciful to the poor, contributing
from willing hearts to their needs without being forced or compelled to do
so. The composure of the world will be assured by the establishment of
this principle in the religious life of mankind.

The fifth principle or teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the abandoning of
religious, racial, patriotic and political prejudices, which destroy the
foundations of human society. All mankind are creatures and servants of
the one God. The surface of the earth is one home; humanity is one family
and household. Distinctions and boundaries are artificial, human. Why
should there be discord and strife among men? All must become united and
coordinated in service to the world of humanity.

The sixth principle or teaching of Bahá’u’lláh concerns the equality of
man and woman. He has declared that in the estimation of God there is no
distinction of sex. The one whose heart is most pure, whose deeds and
service in the Cause of God are greater and nobler, is most acceptable
before the divine threshold—whether male or female. In the vegetable and
animal kingdoms sex exists in perfect equality and without distinction or
invidious estimate. The animal, although inferior to man in intelligence
and reason, recognizes sex equality. Why should man, who is endowed with
the sense of justice and sensibilities of conscience, be willing that one
of the members of the human family should be rated and considered as
subordinate? Such differentiation is neither intelligent nor
conscientious; therefore, the principle of religion has been revealed by
Bahá’u’lláh that woman must be given the privilege of equal education with
man and full right to his prerogatives. That is to say, there must be no
difference in the education of male and female in order that womankind may
develop equal capacity and importance with man in the social and economic
equation. Then the world will attain unity and harmony. In past ages
humanity has been defective and inefficient because it has been
incomplete. War and its ravages have blighted the world; the education of
woman will be a mighty step toward its abolition and ending, for she will
use her whole influence against war. Woman rears the child and educates
the youth to maturity. She will refuse to give her sons for sacrifice upon
the field of battle. In truth, she will be the greatest factor in
establishing universal peace and international arbitration. Assuredly,
woman will abolish warfare among mankind. Inasmuch as human society
consists of two parts, the male and female, each the complement of the
other, the happiness and stability of humanity cannot be assured unless
both are perfected. Therefore, the standard and status of man and woman
must become equalized.

Among other teachings and principles Bahá’u’lláh counsels the education of
all members of society. No individual should be denied or deprived of
intellectual training, although each should receive according to capacity.
None must be left in the grades of ignorance, for ignorance is a defect in
the human world. All mankind must be given a knowledge of science and
philosophy—that is, as much as may be deemed necessary. All cannot be
scientists and philosophers, but each should be educated according to his
needs and deserts.

Bahá’u’lláh teaches that the world of humanity is in need of the breath of
the Holy Spirit, for in spiritual quickening and enlightenment true
oneness is attained with God and man. The Most Great Peace cannot be
assured through racial force and effort; it cannot be established by
patriotic devotion and sacrifice; for nations differ widely and local
patriotism has limitations. Furthermore, it is evident that political
power and diplomatic ability are not conducive to universal agreement, for
the interests of governments are varied and selfish; nor will
international harmony and reconciliation be an outcome of human opinions
concentrated upon it, for opinions are faulty and intrinsically diverse.
Universal peace is an impossibility through human and material agencies;
it must be through spiritual power. There is need of a universal impelling
force which will establish the oneness of humanity and destroy the
foundations of war and strife. None other than the divine power can do
this; therefore, it will be accomplished through the breath of the Holy
Spirit.

No matter how far the material world advances, it cannot establish the
happiness of mankind. Only when material and spiritual civilization are
linked and coordinated will happiness be assured. Then material
civilization will not contribute its energies to the forces of evil in
destroying the oneness of humanity, for in material civilization good and
evil advance together and maintain the same pace. For example, consider
the material progress of man in the last decade. Schools and colleges,
hospitals, philanthropic institutions, scientific academies and temples of
philosophy have been founded, but hand in hand with these evidences of
development, the invention and production of means and weapons for human
destruction have correspondingly increased. In early days the weapon of
war was the sword; now it is the magazine rifle. Among the ancients, men
fought with javelins and daggers; now they employ shells and bombs.
Dreadnoughts are built, torpedoes invented, and every few days new
ammunition is forthcoming.

All this is the outcome of material civilization; therefore, although
material advancement furthers good purposes in life, at the same time it
serves evil ends. The divine civilization is good because it cultivates
morals. Consider what the Prophets of God have contributed to human
morality. Jesus Christ summoned all to the Most Great Peace through the
acquisition of pure morals. If the moral precepts and foundations of
divine civilization become united with the material advancement of man,
there is no doubt that the happiness of the human world will be attained
and that from every direction the glad tidings of peace upon earth will be
announced. Then humankind will achieve extraordinary progress, the sphere
of human intelligence will be immeasurably enlarged, wonderful inventions
will appear, and the spirit of God will reveal itself; all men will
consort in joy and fragrance, and eternal life will be conferred upon the
children of the Kingdom. Then will the power of the divine make itself
effective and the breath of the Holy Spirit penetrate the essence of all
things. Therefore, the material and the divine, or merciful, civilizations
must progress together until the highest aspirations and desires of
humanity shall become realized.

These are a few of the teachings and principles of Bahá’u’lláh, briefly
presented so that you may be informed of their significance and purpose
and find them a stimulus to your knowledge and actions. I ask God to
assist this prosperous and progressive nation and to bestow His blessings
upon this just government and wonderful continent of the West.



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN NEW YORK, MONTCLAIR, AND JERSEY CITY



11 May 1912
Talk at 227 Riverside Drive, New York


Notes by John G. Grundy

It is only three weeks that we have been away from the New York friends,
yet so great has been the longing to see you that it seems like three
months. We have had no rest by day or night since we left you—either
traveling, moving about or speaking—yet it was all so pleasantly done, and
we have been most happy. Praise be to God! Everywhere and all the time it
has been harakat, harakat, harakat (“motion, motion, motion”).

The friends in America are very good. All the people we have met here are
kind and pleasant. They are polite and not antagonistic, although somewhat
inquisitive. A small minority of them seem prejudiced, yet even these have
their good points. The American people have a real love for advancement.
They are not content to stand still. They are most energetic and
progressive. When you see a tree growing and developing, be hopeful of its
outcome. It will blossom and bear fruit eventually. If you see dry wood or
old trees, there is no hope whatever of fruitage.

The questions asked us have been opportune and to the point. Our answers
have not been utilized for controversy and argument. We met savants and
learned men and satisfied them with our explanations. Important people
expressed their satisfaction and pleasure at our replies to their
inquiries. In brief, it would be difficult to find in the aggregate of
people we met anyone who was dissatisfied. Some scholastic minds aimed
only at fruitless discussion. In Chicago we met two clergymen—delivering
an address at the church of one and having dinner with the other. Both
manifested great love. Likewise, among all the people we met, not a single
soul arose in opposition or went away disappointed.

Yesterday in Washington we met a group of important people. One prominent
in political circles came with a justice of the Supreme Court. There were
many ladies of the diplomatic circle present. After we had spoken, the
politician referred to raised the point that the foundation of all
religions from time immemorial had been peace, love and accord—principles
conducive to fellowship and unification—yet Jesus, he declared, had been
“the cause of discord and strife and not a factor in the realization of
unity.” “Therefore,” he said, “I cannot accept your statements and
explanations that religion has been the source of human betterment.” After
we explained further he said, “What you have stated may cause me to change
my views and agree with you.” During this time the justice remained
silent. Fearing he might have some feeling of dissatisfaction, we asked if
anything presented had been objectionable to his opinion. He replied, “Not
at all! Not at all! It’s all right! It’s all right!” This is the
characteristic expression of the Occident—“All right! All right!”

There were also present at this meeting several cabinet officers, United
States senators, many from the foreign diplomatic service, army and navy
officials and other dignitaries. The servant of God, our hostess,
experienced much trouble in preparation and entertainment but was always
active and energetic in service, inviting important and influential people
to the gatherings. We spoke to all from their own standpoints with most
satisfactory results; we were working day and night so there was very
little time for individual and private interviews.

In Washington, too, we called a meeting of the blacks and whites. The
attendance was very large, the blacks predominating. At our second
gathering this was reversed, but at the third meeting we were unable to
say which color predominated. These meetings were a great practical lesson
upon the unity of colors and races in the Bahá’í teaching.

We said in part: The black man must ever be grateful to the white man, for
he has manifested great courage and self-sacrifice in behalf of the black
race. Four years he fought their cause, enduring severe hardships,
sacrificing life, family, treasure, all for his black brother until the
great war ended in the proclamation of freedom. By this effort and
accomplishment the black race throughout the world was influenced and
benefited. Had this not been accomplished, the black man in Africa would
still be bound by the chains of slavery. Therefore, his race should
everywhere be grateful, for no greater evidence of humanism and courageous
devotion could be shown than the white man has displayed. If the blacks of
the United States forget this sacrifice, zeal and manhood on the part of
the whites, no ingratitude could be greater or more censurable. If they
could see the wretched conditions and surroundings of the black people of
Africa today, the contrast would be apparent and the fact clearly evident
that the black race in America enjoys incomparable advantages. The comfort
and civilization under which they live here are due to the white man’s
effort and sacrifice. Had this sacrifice not been made, they would still
be in the bonds and chains of slavery, scarcely lifted out of an
aboriginal condition. Therefore, always show forth your gratitude to the
white man. Eventually all differences will disappear, and you will
completely win his friendship.

God maketh no distinction between the white and the black. If the hearts
are pure both are acceptable unto Him. God is no respecter of persons on
account of either color or race. All colors are acceptable to Him, be they
white, black, or yellow. Inasmuch as all were created in the image of God,
we must bring ourselves to realize that all embody divine possibilities.
If you go into a garden and find all the flowers alike in form, species
and color, the effect is wearisome to the eye. The garden is more
beautiful when the flowers are many-colored and different; the variety
lends charm and adornment. In a flock of doves some are white, some black,
red, blue; yet they make no distinction among themselves. All are doves no
matter what the color.

This variety in forms and colorings which is manifest in all the kingdoms
is according to creative wisdom and has a divine purpose. Nevertheless,
whether the creatures be all alike or all different should not be the
cause of strife and quarreling among them. Especially why should man find
cause for discord in the color or race of his fellow creature? No educated
or illumined mind will allow that this differentiation and discord should
exist or that there is any ground for it. Therefore, the whites should be
just and kind to the blacks, who in turn should reflect an equal measure
of appreciation and gratitude. Then will the world become as one great
garden of flowering humanity, variegated and multicolored, rivaling each
other only in the virtues and graces which are spiritual.



12 May 1912
Talk at Unity Church
Montclair, New Jersey


Notes by Esther Foster

I wish to speak upon the subject of divine unity, the oneness of God,
before this revered assemblage.

It is a self-evident fact that phenomenal existence can never grasp nor
comprehend the ancient and essential Reality. Utter weakness cannot
understand absolute strength. When we view the world of creation, we
discover differences in degree which make it impossible for the lower to
comprehend the higher. For example, the mineral kingdom, no matter how
much it may advance, can never comprehend the phenomena of the vegetable
kingdom. Whatever development the vegetable may attain, it can have no
message from nor come in touch with the kingdom of the animal. However
perfect may be the growth of a tree, it cannot realize the sensation of
sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch; these are beyond its limitation.
Although it is the possessor of existence in the world of creation, a
tree, nevertheless, has no knowledge of the superior degree of the animal
kingdom. Likewise, no matter how great the advancement of the animal, it
can have no idea of the human plane, no knowledge of intellect and spirit.
Difference in degree is an obstacle to this comprehension. A lower degree
cannot comprehend a higher although all are in the same world of
creation—whether mineral, vegetable or animal. Degree is the barrier and
limitation. In the human plane of existence we can say we have knowledge
of a vegetable, its qualities and product; but the vegetable has no
knowledge or comprehension whatever of us. No matter how near perfection
this rose may advance in its own sphere, it can never possess hearing and
sight. Inasmuch as in the creational world, which is phenomenal,
difference of degree is an obstacle or hindrance to comprehension, how can
the human being, which is a created exigency, comprehend the ancient
divine Reality, which is essential? This is impossible because the reality
of Divinity is sanctified beyond the comprehension of the created being,
man.

Furthermore, that which man can grasp is finite to man, and man to it is
as infinite. Is it possible then for the reality of Divinity to be finite
and the human creature infinite? On the contrary, the reverse is true; the
human is finite while the essence of Divinity is infinite. Whatever comes
within the sphere of human comprehension must be limited and finite. As
the essence of Divinity transcends the comprehension of man, therefore God
brings forth certain Manifestations of the divine Reality upon Whom He
bestows heavenly effulgences in order that They may be intermediaries
between humanity and Himself. These holy Manifestations or Prophets of God
are as mirrors which have acquired illumination from the Sun of Truth, but
the Sun does not descend from its high zenith and does not effect entrance
within the mirror. In truth, this mirror has attained complete polish and
purity until the utmost capacity of reflection has been developed in it;
therefore, the Sun of Reality with its fullest effulgence and splendor is
revealed therein. These mirrors are earthly, whereas the reality of
Divinity is in its highest apogee. Although its lights are shining and its
heat is manifest in them, although these mirrors are telling their story
of its effulgence, the Sun, nevertheless, remains in its own lofty
station; it does not descend; it does not effect entrance, because it is
holy and sanctified.

The Sun of Divinity and of Reality has revealed itself in various mirrors.
Though these mirrors are many, yet the Sun is one. The bestowals of God
are one; the reality of the divine religion is one. Consider how one and
the same light has reflected itself in the different mirrors or
manifestations of it. There are certain souls who are lovers of the Sun;
they perceive the effulgence of the Sun from every mirror. They are not
fettered or attached to the mirrors; they are attached to the Sun itself
and adore it, no matter from what point it may shine. But those who adore
the mirror and are attached to it become deprived of witnessing the light
of the Sun when it shines forth from another mirror. For instance, the Sun
of Reality revealed itself from the Mosaic mirror. The people who were
sincere accepted and believed in it. When the same Sun shone from the
Messianic mirror, the Jews who were not lovers of the Sun and who were
fettered by their adoration of the mirror of Moses did not perceive the
lights and effulgences of the Sun of Reality resplendent in Jesus;
therefore, they were deprived of its bestowals. Yet the Sun of Reality,
the Word of God, shone from the Messianic mirror through the wonderful
channel of Jesus Christ more fully and more wonderfully. Its effulgences
were manifestly radiant, but even to this day the Jews are holding to the
Mosaic mirror. Therefore, they are bereft of witnessing the lights of
eternity in Jesus.

In brief, the sun is one sun, the light is one light which shines upon all
phenomenal beings. Every creature has a portion thereof, but the pure
mirror can reveal the story of its bounty more fully and completely.
Therefore, we must adore the light of the Sun, no matter through what
mirror it may be revealed. We must not entertain prejudice, for prejudice
is an obstacle to realization. Inasmuch as the effulgence is one
effulgence, the human realities must all become recipients of the same
light, recognizing in it the compelling force that unites them in its
illumination.

As this is the radiant century, it is my hope that the Sun of Truth may
illumine all humanity. May the eyes be opened and the ears become
attentive; may souls become resuscitated and consort together in the
utmost harmony as recipients of the same light. Perchance, God will remove
this strife and warfare of thousands of years. May this bloodshed pass
away, this tyranny and oppression cease, this warfare be ended. May the
light of love shine forth and illumine hearts, and may human lives be
cemented and connected until all of us may find agreement and tranquillity
beneath the same tabernacle and with the standard of the Most Great Peace
above us move steadily onward.

O Thou kind Lord! O Thou Who art generous and merciful! We are the
servants of Thy threshold and are gathered beneath the sheltering shadow
of Thy divine unity. The sun of Thy mercy is shining upon all, and the
clouds of Thy bounty shower upon all. Thy gifts encompass all, Thy loving
providence sustains all, Thy protection overshadows all, and the glances
of Thy favor are cast upon all. O Lord! Grant Thine infinite bestowals,
and let the light of Thy guidance shine. Illumine the eyes, gladden the
hearts with abiding joy. Confer a new spirit upon all people and bestow
upon them eternal life. Unlock the gates of true understanding and let the
light of faith shine resplendent. Gather all people beneath the shadow of
Thy bounty and cause them to unite in harmony, so that they may become as
the rays of one sun, as the waves of one ocean, and as the fruit of one
tree. May they drink from the same fountain. May they be refreshed by the
same breeze. May they receive illumination from the same source of light.
Thou art the Giver, the Merciful, the Omnipotent.



12 May 1912
Talk at Meeting of International Peace Forum
Grace Methodist Episcopal Church
West 104th Street, New York


Notes by Esther Foster

When we review history from the beginning down to the present day, we find
that strife and warfare have prevailed throughout the human world.
Wars—religious, racial or political—have arisen from human ignorance,
misunderstanding and lack of education. We will first consider religious
strife and conflict.

It is evident that the divine Prophets have appeared in the world to
establish love and agreement among mankind. They have been the Shepherds
and not the wolves. The Shepherd comes forth to gather and lead his flock
and not to disperse them by creating strife. Every divine Shepherd has
assembled a flock which had formerly been scattered. Among the Shepherds
was Moses. At a time when the tribes of Israel were wandering and
dispersed, He assembled, united and educated them to higher degrees of
capacity and progress until they passed out of the wilderness of
discipline into the holy land of possession. He transformed their
degradation into glory, changed their poverty into wealth and replaced
their vices by virtues until they rose to such a zenith that the splendor
of the sovereignty of Solomon was made possible, and the fame of their
civilization extended to the East and the West. It is evident, therefore,
that Moses was a divine Shepherd, for He gathered the tribes of Israel
together and united them in the power and strength of a great nationhood.

When the Messianic star of Jesus Christ dawned, He declared He had come to
gather together the lost tribes or scattered sheep of Moses. He not only
shepherded the flock of Israel but brought together people of Chaldea,
Egypt, Syria, ancient Assyria and Phoenicia. These people were in a state
of utmost hostility, thirsting for the blood of each other with the
ferocity of animals; but Jesus Christ brought them together, cemented and
united them in His Cause and established such a bond of love among them
that enmity and warfare were abandoned. It is evident, therefore, that the
divine teachings are intended to create a bond of unity in the human world
and establish the foundations of love and fellowship among mankind. Divine
religion is not a cause for discord and disagreement. If religion becomes
the source of antagonism and strife, the absence of religion is to be
preferred. Religion is meant to be the quickening life of the body
politic; if it be the cause of death to humanity, its nonexistence would
be a blessing and benefit to man. Therefore, in this day the divine
teachings must be sought, for they are the remedies for the present
conditions of the world of humanity. The purpose of a remedy is to heal
and cure. If it be productive of worse symptoms, its absence or
discontinuance is preferable.

At a time when the Arabian tribes and nomadic peoples were widely
separated, living in the deserts under lawless conditions, strife and
bloodshed continual among them, no tribe free from the menace of attack
and destruction by another—at such a critical time Muḥammad appeared. He
gathered these wild tribes of the desert together, reconciled, united and
caused them to agree so that enmity and warfare ceased. The Arabian nation
immediately advanced until its dominion extended westward to Spain and
Andalusia.

From these facts and premises we may conclude that the establishing of the
divine religions is for peace, not for war and the shedding of blood.
Inasmuch as all are founded upon one reality which is love and unity, the
wars and dissensions which have characterized the history of religion have
been due to imitations and superstitions which arise afterward. Religion
is reality, and reality is one. The fundamentals of the religion of God
are, therefore, one in reality. There is neither difference nor change in
the fundamentals. Variance is caused by blind imitations, prejudices and
adherence to forms which appear later; and inasmuch as these differ,
discord and strife result. If the religions of the world would forsake
these causes of difficulty and seek the fundamentals, all would agree, and
strife and dissension would pass away; for religion and reality are one
and not multiple.

Other wars are caused by purely imaginary racial differences; for humanity
is one kind, one race and progeny, inhabiting the same globe. In the
creative plan there is no racial distinction and separation such as
Frenchman, Englishman, American, German, Italian or Spaniard; all belong
to one household. These boundaries and distinctions are human and
artificial, not natural and original. All mankind are the fruits of one
tree, flowers of the same garden, waves of one sea. In the animal kingdom
no such distinction and separation are observed. The sheep of the East and
the sheep of the West would associate peacefully. The Oriental flock would
not look surprised as if saying, “These are sheep of the Occident; they do
not belong to our country.” All would gather in harmony and enjoy the same
pasture without evidence of local or racial distinction. The birds of
different countries mingle in friendliness. We find these virtues in the
animal kingdom. Shall man deprive himself of these virtues? Man is endowed
with superior reasoning power and the faculty of perception; he is the
manifestation of divine bestowals. Shall racial ideas prevail and obscure
the creative purpose of unity in his kingdom? Shall he say, “I am a
German,” “I am a Frenchman” or an “Englishman” and declare war because of
this imaginary and human distinction? God forbid! This earth is one
household and the native land of all humanity; therefore, the human race
should ignore distinctions and boundaries which are artificial and
conducive to disagreement and hostility. We have come from the East.
Praise be to God! We find this continent prosperous, the climate
salubrious and delightful, the inhabitants genial and courteous, the
government equitable and just. Shall we entertain any other thought and
feeling than that of love for you? Shall we say, “This is not our native
land; therefore, everything is objectionable”? This would be gross
ignorance to which man must not subject himself. Man is endowed with
powers to investigate reality, and the reality is that humanity is one in
kind and equal in the creative plan. Therefore, false distinctions of race
and native land, which are factors and causes of warfare, must be
abandoned.

Consider what is happening in Tripoli: how the poor are being killed and
the blood of the helpless is being shed upon both sides; children, made
fatherless; fathers, lamenting the death of their sons; mothers, bewailing
the loss of dear ones. And what is the benefit after all? Nothing
conceivable. Is it, therefore, justifiable? The domestic animals do not
manifest hatred and cruelty toward each other; that is the attribute of
the wild and ferocious beasts. In a flock of one thousand sheep you will
witness no bloodshed. Numberless species of birds are peaceful in flocks.
Wolves, lions, tigers are ferocious because it is their natural and
necessary means for obtaining food. Man has no need of such ferocity; his
food is provided in other ways. Therefore, it is evident that warfare,
cruelty and bloodshed in the kingdom of man are caused by human greed,
hatred and selfishness. The kings and rulers of nations enjoy luxury and
ease in their palaces and send the common people to the battlefield—offer
them as the food and targets of cannon. Each day they invent new
instruments for the more complete destruction of the foundations of the
human race. They are callous and merciless toward their fellow creatures.
What shall atone for the sufferings and grief of mothers who have so
tenderly cared for their sons? What sleepless nights they have spent, and
what days of devotion and love they have given to bring their children to
maturity! Yet the savagery of these warring rulers causes great numbers of
their victims to be torn and mutilated in a day. What ignorance and
degradation, yea even greater than the ferocious beasts themselves! For a
wolf will carry away and devour one sheep at a time, whereas an ambitious
tyrant may cause the death of one hundred thousand men in a battle and
glory in his military prowess, saying, “I am commander in chief; I have
won this mighty victory.” Consider the ignorance and inconsistency of the
human race. If a man kills another, no matter what the cause may be, he is
pronounced a murderer, imprisoned or executed; but the brutal oppressor
who has slain one hundred thousand is idolized as a hero, conqueror or
military genius. A man steals a small sum of money; he is called a thief
and sent to the penitentiary; but the military leader who invades and
pillages a whole kingdom is acclaimed heroic and a mighty man of valor.
How base and ignorant is man!

In Persia previous to the middle of the nineteenth century among the
various tribes and peoples, sects and denominations there existed the
greatest animosity, strife and hatred. At that time, too, all the other
nations of the East were in the same condition. Religionists were hostile
and bigoted, sects were at enmity, races hated each other, tribes were
constantly at war; everywhere antagonism and conflict prevailed. Men
shunned and were suspicious of each other. The man who could kill a number
of his fellow creatures was glorified for his heroism and strength. Among
religionists it was esteemed a praiseworthy deed to take the life of one
who held an opposite belief. At this time Bahá’u’lláh arose and declared
His mission. He founded the oneness of the world of humanity, proclaimed
that all are servants of the loving and merciful God Who has created,
nourished and provided for all; therefore, why should men be unjust and
unkind to each other, showing forth that which is contrary to God? As He
loves us, why should we entertain animosity and hate? If God did not love
all, He would not have created, trained and provided for all.
Loving-kindness is the divine policy. Shall we consider human policy and
attitude superior to the wisdom and policy of God? This would be
inconceivable, impossible. Therefore, we must emulate and follow the
divine policy, dealing with each other in the utmost love and tenderness.

Bahá’u’lláh declared the Most Great Peace and international arbitration.
He voiced these principles in numerous Epistles which were circulated
broadcast throughout the East. He wrote to all the kings and rulers,
encouraging, advising and admonishing them in regard to the establishment
of peace, making it evident by conclusive proofs that the happiness and
glory of humanity can only be assured through disarmament and arbitration.
This was nearly fifty years ago. Because He promulgated the message of
universal peace and international agreement, the kings of the Orient arose
against Him, for they did not find their personal and national benefits
advanced by His admonition and teaching. They persecuted Him bitterly,
inflicted upon Him every torment, imprisoned, bastinadoed, banished Him
and eventually confined Him in a fortress. Then they arose against His
followers. For the establishment of international peace the blood of
twenty thousand Bahá’ís was spilled. Their homes were destroyed, their
children made captives and their possessions pillaged, yet none of these
people waxed cold or wavered in devotion. Even to this day the Bahá’ís are
persecuted, and quite recently a number were killed, for wherever they are
found they put forth the greatest efforts to establish the peace of the
world. They not only promulgate principles; they are people of action.

In Persia today through the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh you will find people
of various beliefs and denominations living together in the utmost peace
and agreement. The former enmities and hatred have passed away, and they
exercise the utmost love toward all mankind, for they realize and know
that all are the creatures and servants of one God. This is directly due
to the divine teachings. At most it is simply this: that the ignorant must
be educated, the ailing must be healed, those who are as children in the
scale of development must be helped to reach the age of maturity. We must
not be unfriendly to anyone because of ignorance; neither must we reject
the immature or turn away from the sick but administer the remedy for each
human need until all are united in the providence of God. Therefore, it is
evident that the essential foundations of the divine religions are unity
and love. If religion be productive of discord among mankind, it is a
destroyer and not divine, for religion implies unity and binding together
and not separation. Mere knowledge of principles is not sufficient. We all
know and admit that justice is good, but there is need of volition and
action to carry out and manifest it. For example, we might think it good
to build a church, but simply thinking of it as a good thing will not help
its erection. The ways and means must be provided; we must will to build
it and then proceed with the construction. All of us know that
international peace is good, that it is conducive to human welfare and the
glory of man, but volition and action are necessary before it can be
established. Action is essential. Inasmuch as this century is a century of
light, capacity for action is assured to mankind. Necessarily the divine
principles will be spread among men until the time of action arrives.
Surely this has been so, and truly the time and conditions are ripe for
action now. All men know that, verily, war is a destroyer of human
foundations, and in every country of the world this is admitted and
apparent. I find the United States of America an exceedingly progressive
nation, the government just, the people in a state of readiness and the
principle of equality established to an extraordinary degree. Therefore,
it is my hope that, inasmuch as the standard of international peace must
be upraised, it may be upraised upon this continent, for this nation is
more deserving and has greater capacity for such an initial step than any
other. If other nations should attempt to do this, the motive would be
misunderstood. For instance, if Great Britain should declare for
international peace, it would be said that it has been done to ensure the
safety of her colonies. If France should hoist the standard, other nations
would declare some hidden diplomatic policy underlies the action; Russia
would be suspected of national designs if the first step were taken by
that people, and so on with all the European and eastern governments. But
the United States of America could not be accused of any such selfish
interest. Your government has, strictly speaking, no colonies to protect.
You are not endeavoring to extend your domain, nor have you need of
territorial expansion. Therefore, if America takes the first step toward
the establishing of world peace, it is certain to be ascribed to
unselfishness and altruism. The world will say, “There is no other motive
than altruism and service to humanity in this action by the United
States.” Therefore, it is my hope that you may stand forth as the first
herald of peace and hoist this banner, for this banner will be hoisted.
Raise it aloft, for you are the most qualified and deserving of nations.
The other countries await this summons, expect this call to the standard
of reconciliation, for the whole world is distressed because of the
excessive burden and irreparable damage of war. Taxes are levied to meet
its drain. Every year the burden increases, and the people have come to
their end. Just now Europe is a battlefield of ammunition ready for a
spark, and one spark will set aflame the whole world. Before these
complications and cataclysmic events happen, take the step to prevent it.

The foundations of all the divine religions are peace and agreement, but
misunderstandings and ignorance have developed. If these are caused to
disappear, you will see that all the religious agencies will work for
peace and promulgate the oneness of humankind. For the foundation of all
is reality, and reality is not multiple or divisible. Moses founded it,
Jesus raised its tent, and its brilliant light has shone forth in all the
religions. Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed this one reality and spread the message
of the Most Great Peace. Even in prison He rested not until He lighted
this lamp in the East. Praise be to God! All who have accepted His
teachings are lovers of peace, peacemakers ready to sacrifice their lives
and expend their possessions for it. Now let this standard be upraised in
the West, and many will respond to the call. America has become renowned
for her discoveries, inventions and artistic skill, famous for equity of
government and stupendous undertakings; now may she also become noted and
celebrated as the herald and messenger of universal peace. Let this be her
mission and undertaking, and may its blessed impetus spread to all
countries. I pray for all of you that you may render this service to the
world of humanity.



13 May 1912
Talk at Reception by New York Peace Society
Hotel Astor, New York


Notes by Esther Foster

Although I felt indisposed this afternoon, yet because I attach great
importance to this assembly and was longing to see your faces, I have
come. The expression of kindly feelings and the spirit of hospitality
manifested by the former speakers are most grateful. I am thankful for the
susceptibilities of your hearts, for it is an evidence that your greatest
desire is the establishment of international peace. You are lovers of the
oneness of humanity, seekers after the good pleasure of the Lord,
investigators of the foundations of the divine religions.

Today there is no greater glory for man than that of service in the cause
of the Most Great Peace. Peace is light, whereas war is darkness. Peace is
life; war is death. Peace is guidance; war is error. Peace is the
foundation of God; war is a satanic institution. Peace is the illumination
of the world of humanity; war is the destroyer of human foundations. When
we consider outcomes in the world of existence, we find that peace and
fellowship are factors of upbuilding and betterment, whereas war and
strife are the causes of destruction and disintegration. All created
things are expressions of the affinity and cohesion of elementary
substances, and nonexistence is the absence of their attraction and
agreement. Various elements unite harmoniously in composition, but when
these elements become discordant, repelling each other, decomposition and
nonexistence result. Everything partakes of this nature and is subject to
this principle, for the creative foundation in all its degrees and
kingdoms is an expression or outcome of love. Consider the restlessness
and agitation of the human world today because of war. Peace is health and
construction; war is disease and dissolution. When the banner of truth is
raised, peace becomes the cause of the welfare and advancement of the
human world. In all cycles and ages war has been a factor of derangement
and discomfort, whereas peace and brotherhood have brought security and
consideration of human interests. This distinction is especially
pronounced in the present world conditions, for warfare in former
centuries had not attained the degree of savagery and destructiveness
which now characterizes it. If two nations were at war in olden times, ten
or twenty thousand would be sacrificed, but in this century the
destruction of one hundred thousand lives in a day is quite possible. So
perfected has the science of killing become and so efficient the means and
instruments of its accomplishment that a whole nation can be obliterated
in a short time. Therefore, comparison with the methods and results of
ancient warfare is out of the question.

According to an intrinsic law all phenomena of being attain to a summit
and degree of consummation, after which a new order and condition is
established. As the instruments and science of war have reached the degree
of thoroughness and proficiency, it is hoped that the transformation of
the human world is at hand and that in the coming centuries all the
energies and inventions of man will be utilized in promoting the interests
of peace and brotherhood. Therefore, may this esteemed and worthy society
for the establishment of international peace be confirmed in its sincere
intentions and empowered by God. Then will it hasten the time when the
banner of universal agreement will be raised and international welfare
will be proclaimed and consummated so that the darkness which now
encompasses the world shall pass away.

Sixty years ago Bahá’u’lláh was in Persia. Seventy years ago the Báb
appeared there. These two Blessed Souls devoted Their lives to the
foundation of international peace and love among mankind. They strove with
heart and soul to establish the teachings by which divergent people might
be brought together and no strife, rancor or hatred prevail. Bahá’u’lláh,
addressing all humanity, said that Adam, the parent of mankind, may be
likened to the tree of nativity upon which you are the leaves and
blossoms. Inasmuch as your origin was one, you must now be united and
agreed; you must consort with each other in joy and fragrance. He
pronounced prejudice—whether religious, racial, patriotic, political—the
destroyer of the body politic. He said that man must recognize the oneness
of humanity, for all in origin belong to the same household, and all are
servants of the same God. Therefore, mankind must continue in the state of
fellowship and love, emulating the institutions of God and turning away
from satanic promptings, for the divine bestowals bring forth unity and
agreement, whereas satanic leadings induce hatred and war.

This remarkable Personage was able by these principles to establish a bond
of unity among the differing sects and divergent people of Persia. Those
who followed His teachings, no matter from what denomination or faction
they came, were conjoined by the ties of love, until now they cooperate
and live together in peace and agreement. They are real brothers and
sisters. No distinctions of class are observed among them, and complete
harmony prevails. Daily this bond of affinity is strengthening, and their
spiritual fellowship continually develops. In order to ensure the progress
of mankind and to establish these principles Bahá’u’lláh suffered every
ordeal and difficulty. The Báb became a martyr, and over twenty thousand
men and women sacrificed their lives for their faith. Bahá’u’lláh was
imprisoned and subjected to severe persecutions. Finally, He was exiled
from Persia to Mesopotamia; from Ba_gh_dád He was sent to Constantinople
and Adrianople and from thence to the prison of Akká in Syria. Through all
these ordeals He strove day and night to proclaim the oneness of humanity
and promulgate the message of universal peace. From the prison of Akká He
addressed the kings and rulers of the earth in lengthy letters, summoning
them to international agreement and explicitly stating that the standard
of the Most Great Peace would surely be upraised in the world.

This has come to pass. The powers of earth cannot withstand the privileges
and bestowals which God has ordained for this great and glorious century.
It is a need and exigency of the time. Man can withstand anything except
that which is divinely intended and indicated for the age and its
requirements. Now—praise be to God!—in all countries of the world, lovers
of peace are to be found, and these principles are being spread among
mankind, especially in this country. Praise be to God! This thought is
prevailing, and souls are continually arising as defenders of the oneness
of humanity, endeavoring to assist and establish international peace.
There is no doubt that this wonderful democracy will be able to realize
it, and the banner of international agreement will be unfurled here to
spread onward and outward among all the nations of the world. I give
thanks to God that I find you imbued with such susceptibilities and lofty
aspirations, and I hope that you will be the means of spreading this light
to all men. Thus may the Sun of Reality shine upon the East and West. The
enveloping clouds shall pass away, and the heat of the divine rays will
dispel the mist. The reality of man shall develop and come forth as the
image of God, his Creator. The thoughts of man shall take such upward
flight that former accomplishments shall appear as the play of children,
for the ideas and beliefs of the past and the prejudices regarding race
and religion have ever lowered and been destructive to human evolution. I
am most hopeful that in this century these lofty thoughts shall be
conducive to human welfare. Let this century be the sun of previous
centuries, the effulgences of which shall last forever, so that in times
to come they shall glorify the twentieth century, saying the twentieth
century was the century of lights, the twentieth century was the century
of life, the twentieth century was the century of international peace, the
twentieth century was the century of divine bestowals, and the twentieth
century has left traces which shall last forever.



19 May 1912
Talk at Church of the Divine Paternity
Central Park West, New York


Notes by Esther Foster

Religions are many, but the reality of religion is one. The days are many,
but the sun is one. The fountains are many, but the fountainhead is one.
The branches are many, but the tree is one.

The foundation of the divine religions is reality; were there no reality,
there would be no religions. Abraham heralded reality. Moses promulgated
reality. Christ established reality. Muḥammad was the Messenger of
reality. The Báb was the door of reality. Bahá’u’lláh was the splendor of
reality. Reality is one; it does not admit multiplicity or division.
Reality is as the sun, which shines forth from different dawning points;
it is as the light, which has illumined many lanterns.

Therefore, if the religions investigate reality and seek the essential
truth of their own foundations, they will agree and no difference will be
found. But inasmuch as religions are submerged in dogmatic imitations,
forsaking the original foundations, and as imitations differ widely,
therefore, the religions are divergent and antagonistic. These imitations
may be likened to clouds which obscure the sunrise; but reality is the
sun. If the clouds disperse, the Sun of Reality shines upon all, and no
difference of vision will exist. The religions will then agree, for
fundamentally they are the same. The subject is one, but predicates are
many.

The divine religions are like the progression of the seasons of the year.
When the earth becomes dead and desolate and because of frost and cold no
trace of vanished spring remains, the springtime dawns again and clothes
everything with a new garment of life. The meadows become fresh and green,
the trees are adorned with verdure and fruits appear upon them. Then the
winter comes again, and all the traces of spring disappear. This is the
continuous cycle of the seasons—spring, winter, then the return of spring.
But though the calendar changes and the years move forward, each
springtime that comes is the return of the springtime that has gone; this
spring is the renewal of the former spring. Springtime is springtime, no
matter when or how often it comes. The divine Prophets are as the coming
of spring, each renewing and quickening the teachings of the Prophet Who
came before Him. Just as all seasons of spring are essentially one as to
newness of life, vernal showers and beauty, so the essence of the mission
and accomplishment of all the Prophets is one and the same. Now the people
of religion have lost sight of the essential reality of the spiritual
springtime. They have held tenaciously to ancestral forms and imitations,
and because of this there is variance, strife and altercation among them.
Therefore, we must now abandon these imitations and seek the foundation of
the divine teachings; and inasmuch as the foundation is one reality, the
divergent religionists must agree in it so that love and unity will be
established among all people and denominations.

At a time when the Orient was rent by religious dissension Bahá’u’lláh
appeared. He founded teachings which became the means of uniting the
various and divergent peoples. He promulgated principles which removed the
cause of their dissension, until today in Persia those who had been
constantly at war are united. Christians, Muslims, Zoroastrians,
Jews—people of every belief and denomination who have followed the
teachings of Bahá’u’lláh—have attained complete fellowship and spiritual
agreement. Former differences and dissensions have passed away entirely.
Some of the principles of Bahá’u’lláh’s teaching are as follows:

First, that the oneness of humanity shall be recognized and established.
All men are the servants of God. He has created all; He is the Provider
and Preserver; He is loving to all. Inasmuch as He is just and kind, why
should we be unjust toward each other? As God has quickened us with life,
why should we be the cause of death? As He has comforted us, why should we
be the cause of anxiety and suffering? Can humanity conceive a plan and
policy better and superior to that of God? It is certain that no matter
how capable man may be in origination of plan and organization of purpose,
his efforts will be inadequate when compared with the divine plan and
purpose; for the policy of God is perfect. Therefore, we must follow the
will and plan of God. As He is kind to all, we must be likewise; and it is
certain that this will be most acceptable to God.

Second, that truth or reality must be investigated; for reality is one,
and by investigating it all will find love and unity. Those who are
ignorant must be educated, the ailing must be healed, the undeveloped must
be brought to maturity. Shall we reject or oppose the ignorant, sick or
immature because of their incapacity? Is it not better to be kind and
gentle and to provide the means of remedy? Therefore, under no
circumstances whatsoever should we assume any attitude except that of
gentleness and humility.

Third, that religion is in harmony with science. The fundamental
principles of the Prophets are scientific, but the forms and imitations
which have appeared are opposed to science. If religion does not agree
with science, it is superstition and ignorance; for God has endowed man
with reason in order that he may perceive reality. The foundations of
religion are reasonable. God has created us with intelligence to perceive
them. If they are opposed to science and reason, how could they be
believed and followed?

Fourth, that religion must be conducive to love and unity among mankind;
for if it be the cause of enmity and strife, the absence of religion is
preferable. When Moses appeared, the tribes of Israel were in a state of
disunion as captives of the Pharaohs. Moses gathered them together, and
the divine law established fellowship among them. They became as one
people, united, consolidated, after which they were rescued from bondage.
They passed into the promised land, advanced in all degrees, developed
sciences and arts, progressed in material affairs, increased in divine or
spiritual civilization until their nation rose to its zenith in the
sovereignty of Solomon. It is evident, therefore, that religion is the
cause of unity, fellowship and progress among mankind. The function of a
shepherd is to gather the sheep together and not to scatter them. Then
Christ appeared. He united varying and divergent creeds and warring people
of His time. He brought together Greeks and Romans, reconciled Egyptians
and Assyrians, Chaldeans and Phoenicians. Christ established unity and
agreement among people of these hostile and warring nations. Therefore, it
is again evident that the purpose of religion is peace and concord.
Likewise, Muḥammad appeared at a time when the peoples and tribes of
Arabia were divergent and in a state of continual warfare. They killed
each other, pillaged and took captive wives and children. Muḥammad united
these fierce tribes, established a foundation of fellowship among them so
that they gave up warring against each other absolutely and established
communities. The result was that the Arabian tribes freed themselves from
the Persian yoke and Roman control, established an independent sovereignty
which rose to a high degree of civilization, advanced in sciences and
arts, extended the Saracen dominion as far west as Spain and Andalusia and
became famous throughout the world. Therefore, it is proved once more that
the religion of God is intended to be the cause of advancement and
solidarity and not of enmity and dissolution. If it becomes the cause of
hatred and strife, its absence is preferable. Its purpose is unity, and
its foundations are one.

When Bahá’u’lláh appeared in Persia, violent strife and hatred separated
the peoples and tribes of that country. They would not come together for
any purpose except war; they would not partake of the same food, or drink
of the same water; association and intercourse were impossible.
Bahá’u’lláh founded the oneness of humanity among these people and bound
their hearts together with such ties of love that they were completely
united. He reestablished the prophetic foundations, reformed and renewed
the principles laid down by the Messengers of God who had preceded Him.
And now it is hoped that through His life and teachings the East and West
shall become so united that no trace of enmity, strife and discord shall
remain.



19 May 1912
Talk at Brotherhood Church
Bergen and Fairview Avenues, Jersey City, New Jersey


Notes by Esther Foster

Because this is called the Church of Brotherhood, I wish to speak upon the
brotherhood of mankind. There is perfect brotherhood underlying humanity,
for all are servants of one God and belong to one family under the
protection of divine providence. The bond of fraternity exists in humanity
because all are intelligent beings created in the realm of evolutionary
growth. There is brotherhood potential in humanity because all inhabit
this earthly globe under the one canopy of heaven. There is brotherhood
natal in mankind because all are elements of one human society subject to
the necessity of agreement and cooperation. There is brotherhood intended
in humanity because all are waves of one sea, leaves and fruit of one
tree. This is physical fellowship which ensures material happiness in the
human world. The stronger it becomes, the more will mankind advance and
the circle of materiality be enlarged.

The real brotherhood is spiritual, for physical brotherhood is subject to
separation. The wars of the outer world of existence separate humankind,
but in the eternal world of spiritual brotherhood separation is unknown.
Material or physical association is based upon earthly interests, but
divine fellowship owes its existence to the breaths of the Holy Spirit.
Spiritual brotherhood may be likened to the light, while the souls of
humankind are as lanterns. The incandescent lamps here are many, yet the
light is one.

At a time in the Orient when even physical brotherhood was not in
existence Bahá’u’lláh appeared. At first He set forth the principles of
physical brotherhood and afterward founded the spiritual brotherhood. He
breathed such a spirit into the countries of the Orient that various
peoples and warring tribes were blended in unity. Their bestowals and
susceptibilities became one, their purposes one purpose, their desires one
desire to such a degree that they sacrificed themselves for each other,
forfeiting name, possessions and comfort. Their fellowship became
indissoluble. This is eternal, spiritual fellowship, heavenly and divine
brotherhood, which defies dissolution. Material civilization advances
through the physical association of mankind. The progress you observe in
the outer world is founded mainly upon the fraternity of material
interests. Were it not for this physical and mental association,
civilization would not have progressed. Now—praise be to God!—the
indissoluble spiritual association is evident; therefore, it is certain
that divine civilization has been founded, and the world will progress and
advance spiritually. In this radiant century divine knowledge, merciful
attributes and spiritual virtues will attain the highest degree of
advancement. The traces have become manifest in Persia. Souls have
advanced to such a degree as to forfeit life and possessions for each
other. Their spiritual perceptions have developed; their intelligence has
quickened; their souls are awakened. The utmost love has been manifested.
Therefore, it is my hope that spiritual fraternity shall unite the East
and the West and bring about the complete abolition of warfare among
mankind. May it bind together individuals and members of the human family
and be the cause of advancing minds, illuminating hearts and allowing
divine bestowals to encompass us from all directions. May spiritual
susceptibilities set hearts aglow with the message of glad tidings. May
spiritual brotherhood cause rebirth and regeneration, for its creative
quickening emanates from the breaths of the Holy Spirit and is founded by
the power of God. Surely that which is founded through the divine power of
the Holy Spirit is permanent in its potency and lasting in its effect.

Material brotherhood does not prevent nor remove warfare; it does not
dispel differences among mankind. But spiritual alliance destroys the very
foundation of war, effaces differences entirely, promulgates the oneness
of humanity, revivifies mankind, causes hearts to turn to the Kingdom of
God and baptizes souls with the Holy Spirit. Through this divine
brotherhood the material world will become resplendent with the lights of
Divinity, the mirror of materiality will acquire its lights from heaven,
and justice will be established in the world so that no trace of darkness,
hatred and enmity shall be visible. Humanity shall come within the bounds
of security, the Prophethood of all the Messengers of God shall be
established, Zion shall leap and dance, Jerusalem shall rejoice, the
Mosaic flame shall ignite, the Messianic light shall shine, the world will
become another world, and humanity shall put on another power. This is the
greatest divine bestowal; this is the effulgence of the Kingdom of God;
this is the day of illumination; this is the merciful century. We must
appreciate these things and strive in order that the utmost desire of the
Prophets may now be realized and all the glad tidings be fulfilled. Trust
in the favor of God. Look not at your own capacities, for the divine
bestowal can transform a drop into an ocean; it can make a tiny seed a
lofty tree. Verily, divine bestowals are like the sea, and we are the
fishes of that sea. The fishes must not look at themselves; they must
behold the ocean, which is vast and wonderful. Provision for the
sustenance of all is in this ocean; therefore, the divine bounties
encompass all, and love eternal shines upon all.

The question has been asked: Will the spiritual progress of the world
equal and keep pace with material progress in the future? In a living
organism the full measure of its development is not known or realized at
the time of its inception or birth. Development and progression imply
gradual stages or degrees. For example, spiritual advancement may be
likened to the light of the early dawn. Although this dawn light is dim
and pale, a wise man who views the march of the sunrise at its very
beginning can foretell the ascendancy of the sun in its full glory and
effulgence. He knows for a certainty that it is the beginning of its
manifestation and that later it will assume great power and potency.
Again, for example, if he takes a seed and observes that it is sprouting,
he will know assuredly that it will ultimately become a tree. Now is the
beginning of the manifestation of the spiritual power, and inevitably the
potency of its life forces will assume greater and greater proportions.
Therefore, this twentieth century is the dawn, or beginning, of spiritual
illumination, and it is evident that day by day it will advance. It will
reach such a degree that spiritual effulgences will overcome the physical,
so that divine susceptibilities will overpower material intelligence and
the heavenly light dispel and banish earthly darkness. Divine healing
shall purify all ills, and the cloud of mercy will pour down its rain. The
Sun of Reality will shine, and all the earth shall put on its beautiful
green carpet. Among the results of the manifestation of spiritual forces
will be that the human world will adapt itself to a new social form, the
justice of God will become manifest throughout human affairs, and human
equality will be universally established. The poor will receive a great
bestowal, and the rich attain eternal happiness. For although at the
present time the rich enjoy the greatest luxury and comfort, they are
nevertheless deprived of eternal happiness; for eternal happiness is
contingent upon giving, and the poor are everywhere in the state of abject
need. Through the manifestation of God’s great equity the poor of the
world will be rewarded and assisted fully, and there will be a
readjustment in the economic conditions of mankind so that in the future
there will not be the abnormally rich nor the abject poor. The rich will
enjoy the privilege of this new economic condition as well as the poor,
for owing to certain provisions and restrictions they will not be able to
accumulate so much as to be burdened by its management, while the poor
will be relieved from the stress of want and misery. The rich will enjoy
his palace, and the poor will have his comfortable cottage.

The essence of the matter is that divine justice will become manifest in
human conditions and affairs, and all mankind will find comfort and
enjoyment in life. It is not meant that all will be equal, for inequality
in degree and capacity is a property of nature. Necessarily there will be
rich people and also those who will be in want of their livelihood, but in
the aggregate community there will be equalization and readjustment of
values and interests. In the future there will be no very rich nor
extremely poor. There will be an equilibrium of interests, and a condition
will be established which will make both rich and poor comfortable and
content. This will be an eternal and blessed outcome of the glorious
twentieth century which will be realized universally. The significance of
it is that the glad tidings of great joy revealed in the promises of the
Holy Books will be fulfilled. Await ye this consummation.



20 May 1912
Talk at Woman’s Suffrage Meeting
Metropolitan Temple
Seventh Avenue and Fourteenth Street, New York


Notes by Esther Foster

Today questions of the utmost importance are facing humanity, questions
peculiar to this radiant century. In former centuries there was not even
mention of them. Inasmuch as this is the century of illumination, the
century of humanity, the century of divine bestowals, these questions are
being presented for the expression of public opinion, and in all the
countries of the world, discussion is taking place looking to their
solution.

One of these questions concerns the rights of woman and her equality with
man. In past ages it was held that woman and man were not equal—that is to
say, woman was considered inferior to man, even from the standpoint of her
anatomy and creation. She was considered especially inferior in
intelligence, and the idea prevailed universally that it was not allowable
for her to step into the arena of important affairs. In some countries man
went so far as to believe and teach that woman belonged to a sphere lower
than human. But in this century, which is the century of light and the
revelation of mysteries, God is proving to the satisfaction of humanity
that all this is ignorance and error; nay, rather, it is well established
that mankind and womankind as parts of composite humanity are coequal and
that no difference in estimate is allowable, for all are human. The
conditions in past centuries were due to woman’s lack of opportunity. She
was denied the right and privilege of education and left in her
undeveloped state. Naturally, she could not and did not advance. In
reality, God has created all mankind, and in the estimation of God there
is no distinction as to male and female. The one whose heart is pure is
acceptable in His sight, be that one man or woman. God does not inquire,
“Art thou woman or art thou man?” He judges human actions. If these are
acceptable in the threshold of the Glorious One, man and woman will be
equally recognized and rewarded.

Furthermore, the education of woman is more necessary and important than
that of man, for woman is the trainer of the child from its infancy. If
she be defective and imperfect herself, the child will necessarily be
deficient; therefore, imperfection of woman implies a condition of
imperfection in all mankind, for it is the mother who rears, nurtures and
guides the growth of the child. This is not the function of the father. If
the educator be incompetent, the educated will be correspondingly lacking.
This is evident and incontrovertible. Could the student be brilliant and
accomplished if the teacher is illiterate and ignorant? The mothers are
the first educators of mankind; if they be imperfect, alas for the
condition and future of the race.

Again, it is well established in history that where woman has not
participated in human affairs the outcomes have never attained a state of
completion and perfection. On the other hand, every influential
undertaking of the human world wherein woman has been a participant has
attained importance. This is historically true and beyond disproof even in
religion. Jesus Christ had twelve disciples and among His followers a
woman known as Mary Magdalene. Judas Iscariot had become a traitor and
hypocrite, and after the crucifixion the remaining eleven disciples were
wavering and undecided. It is certain from the evidence of the Gospels
that the one who comforted them and reestablished their faith was Mary
Magdalene.

The world of humanity consists of two parts: male and female. Each is the
complement of the other. Therefore, if one is defective, the other will
necessarily be incomplete, and perfection cannot be attained. There is a
right hand and a left hand in the human body, functionally equal in
service and administration. If either proves defective, the defect will
naturally extend to the other by involving the completeness of the whole;
for accomplishment is not normal unless both are perfect. If we say one
hand is deficient, we prove the inability and incapacity of the other; for
single-handed there is no full accomplishment. Just as physical
accomplishment is complete with two hands, so man and woman, the two parts
of the social body, must be perfect. It is not natural that either should
remain undeveloped; and until both are perfected, the happiness of the
human world will not be realized.

The most momentous question of this day is international peace and
arbitration, and universal peace is impossible without universal suffrage.
Children are educated by the women. The mother bears the troubles and
anxieties of rearing the child, undergoes the ordeal of its birth and
training. Therefore, it is most difficult for mothers to send to the
battlefield those upon whom they have lavished such love and care.
Consider a son reared and trained twenty years by a devoted mother. What
sleepless nights and restless, anxious days she has spent! Having brought
him through dangers and difficulties to the age of maturity, how agonizing
then to sacrifice him upon the battlefield! Therefore, the mothers will
not sanction war nor be satisfied with it. So it will come to pass that
when women participate fully and equally in the affairs of the world, when
they enter confidently and capably the great arena of laws and politics,
war will cease; for woman will be the obstacle and hindrance to it. This
is true and without doubt.

It has been objected by some that woman is not equally capable with man
and that she is deficient by creation. This is pure imagination. The
difference in capability between man and woman is due entirely to
opportunity and education. Heretofore woman has been denied the right and
privilege of equal development. If equal opportunity be granted her, there
is no doubt she would be the peer of man. History will evidence this. In
past ages noted women have arisen in the affairs of nations and surpassed
men in their accomplishments. Among them was Zenobia, Queen of the East,
whose capital was Palmyra. Even today the site of that city bears witness
to her greatness, ability and sovereignty; for there the traveler will
find ruins of palaces and fortifications of the utmost strength and
solidity built by this remarkable woman in the third century after Christ.
She was the wife of the governor-general of Athens. After her husband’s
death she assumed control of the government in his stead and ruled her
province most efficiently. Afterward she conquered Syria, subdued Egypt
and founded a most wonderful kingdom with political sagacity and
thoroughness. The Roman Empire sent a great army against her. When this
army replete with martial splendor reached Syria, Zenobia herself appeared
upon the field leading her forces. On the day of battle she arrayed
herself in regal garments, placed a crown upon her head and rode forth,
sword in hand, to meet the invading legions. By her courage and military
strategy the Roman army was routed and so completely dispersed that they
were not able to reorganize in retreat. The government of Rome held
consultation, saying, “No matter what commander we send, we cannot
overcome her; therefore, the Emperor Aurelian himself must go to lead the
legions of Rome against Zenobia.” Aurelian marched into Syria with two
hundred thousand soldiers. The army of Zenobia was greatly inferior in
size. The Romans besieged her in Palmyra two years without success.
Finally, Aurelian was able to cut off the city’s supply of provisions so
that she and her people were compelled by starvation to surrender. She was
not defeated in battle. Aurelian carried her captive to Rome. On the day
of his entry into the city he arranged a triumphal procession—first
elephants, then lions, tigers, birds, monkeys—and after the monkeys,
Zenobia. A crown was upon her head, a chain of gold about her neck. With
queenly dignity and unconscious of humiliation, looking to the right and
left, she said, “Verily, I glory in being a woman and in having withstood
the Roman Empire.” (At that time the dominion of Rome covered half the
known earth.) “And this chain about my neck is a sign not of humiliation
but of glorification. This is a symbol of my power, not of my defeat.”

Among other historical women was Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great.
Russia and Turkey were at war. Muḥammad Pá_sh_á, commander of the Turkish
forces, had defeated Peter and was about to take St. Petersburg. The
Russians were in a most critical position. Catherine, the wife of Peter,
said, “I will arrange this matter.” She had an interview with Muḥammad
Pá_sh_á, negotiated a treaty of peace and induced him to turn back. She
saved her husband and her nation. This was a great accomplishment.
Afterward she was crowned Empress of Russia and ruled with wisdom until
her death.

The discovery of America by Columbus was during the reign of Isabella of
Spain, to whose intelligence and assistance this wonderful accomplishment
was largely due. In brief, many remarkable women have appeared in the
history of the world, but further mention of them is not necessary.

Today among the Bahá’ís of Persia there are many women who are the very
pride and envy of the men. They are imbued with all the virtues and
excellences of humanity. They are eloquent; they are poets and scholars
and embody the quintessence of humility. In political ability and acumen
they have been able to cope and compete with representative men. They have
consecrated their lives and forfeited their possessions in martyrdom for
the sake of humanity, and the traces of their glory will last forever. The
pages of the history of Persia are illumined by the lives and records of
these women.

The purpose, in brief, is this: that if woman be fully educated and
granted her rights, she will attain the capacity for wonderful
accomplishments and prove herself the equal of man. She is the coadjutor
of man, his complement and helpmeet. Both are human; both are endowed with
potentialities of intelligence and embody the virtues of humanity. In all
human powers and functions they are partners and coequals. At present in
spheres of human activity woman does not manifest her natal prerogatives,
owing to lack of education and opportunity. Without doubt education will
establish her equality with men. Consider the animal kingdom, where no
distinction is observed between male and female. They are equal in powers
and privileges. Among birds of the air no distinction is evidenced. Their
powers are equal; they dwell together in complete unity and mutual
recognition of rights. Shall we not enjoy the same equality? Its absence
is not befitting to mankind.



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN CAMBRIDGE AND BOSTON



23 May 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Francis W. Breed
367 Harvard Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts


From Stenographic Notes

Scientific knowledge is the highest attainment upon the human plane, for
science is the discoverer of realities. It is of two kinds: material and
spiritual. Material science is the investigation of natural phenomena;
divine science is the discovery and realization of spiritual verities. The
world of humanity must acquire both. A bird has two wings; it cannot fly
with one. Material and spiritual science are the two wings of human uplift
and attainment. Both are necessary—one the natural, the other
supernatural; one material, the other divine. By the divine we mean the
discovery of the mysteries of God, the comprehension of spiritual
realities, the wisdom of God, inner significances of the heavenly
religions and foundation of the law.

This is 23 May, the anniversary of the message and Declaration of the Báb.
It is a blessed day and the dawn of manifestation, for the appearance of
the Báb was the early light of the true morn, whereas the manifestation of
the Blessed Beauty, Bahá’u’lláh, was the shining forth of the sun.
Therefore, it is a blessed day, the inception of the heavenly bounty, the
beginning of the divine effulgence. On this day in 1844 the Báb was sent
forth heralding and proclaiming the Kingdom of God, announcing the glad
tidings of the coming of Bahá’u’lláh and withstanding the opposition of
the whole Persian nation. Some of the Persians followed Him. For this they
suffered the most grievous difficulties and severe ordeals. They withstood
the tests with wonderful power and sublime heroism. Thousands were cast
into prison, punished, persecuted and martyred. Their homes were pillaged
and destroyed, their possessions confiscated. They sacrificed their lives
most willingly and remained unshaken in their faith to the very end. Those
wonderful souls are the lamps of God, the stars of sanctity shining
gloriously from the eternal horizon of the will of God.

The Báb was subjected to bitter persecution in _Sh_íráz, where He first
proclaimed His mission and message. A period of famine afflicted that
region, and the Báb journeyed to Iṣfáhán. There the learned men rose
against Him in great hostility. He was arrested and sent to Tabríz. From
thence He was transferred to Mákú and finally imprisoned in the strong
castle of _Ch_ihríq. Afterward He was martyred in Tabríz.

This is merely an outline of the history of the Báb. He withstood all
persecutions and bore every suffering and ordeal with unflinching
strength. The more His enemies endeavored to extinguish that flame, the
brighter it became. Day by day His Cause spread and strengthened. During
the time when He was among the people He was constantly heralding the
coming of Bahá’u’lláh. In all His Books and Tablets He mentioned
Bahá’u’lláh and announced the glad tidings of His manifestation,
prophesying that He would reveal Himself in the ninth year. He said that
in the ninth year “you will attain to all happiness”; in the ninth year
“you will be blessed with the meeting of the Promised One of Whom I have
spoken.” He mentioned the Blessed Perfection, Bahá’u’lláh, by the title
“Him Whom God shall make manifest.” In brief, that blessed Soul offered
His very life in the pathway of Bahá’u’lláh, even as it is recorded in
historical writings and records. In His first Book, the Best of Stories,
He says, “O Remnant of God! I am wholly sacrificed to Thee; I am content
with curses in Thy path; I crave nought but to be slain in Thy love; and
God, the Supreme, sufficeth as an eternal protection.”

Consider how the Báb endured difficulties and tribulations; how He gave
His life in the Cause of God; how He was attracted to the love of the
Blessed Beauty, Bahá’u’lláh; and how He announced the glad tidings of His
manifestation. We must follow His heavenly example; we must be
self-sacrificing and aglow with the fire of the love of God. We must
partake of the bounty and grace of the Lord, for the Báb has admonished us
to arise in service to the Cause of God, to be absolutely severed from all
else save God during the day of the Blessed Perfection, Bahá’u’lláh, to be
completely attracted by the love of Bahá’u’lláh, to love all humanity for
His sake, to be lenient and merciful to all for Him and to upbuild the
oneness of the world of humanity. Therefore, this day, 23 May, is the
anniversary of a blessed event.



24 May 1912
Talk at Free Religious Association, or Unitarian Conference
Boston, Massachusetts


From Stenographic Notes

Creation is the expression of motion. Motion is life. A moving object is a
living object, whereas that which is motionless and inert is as dead. All
created forms are progressive in their planes, or kingdoms of existence,
under the stimulus of the power or spirit of life. The universal energy is
dynamic. Nothing is stationary in the material world of outer phenomena or
in the inner world of intellect and consciousness.

Religion is the outer expression of the divine reality. Therefore, it must
be living, vitalized, moving and progressive. If it be without motion and
nonprogressive, it is without the divine life; it is dead. The divine
institutes are continuously active and evolutionary; therefore, the
revelation of them must be progressive and continuous. All things are
subject to reformation. This is a century of life and renewal. Sciences
and arts, industry and invention have been reformed. Law and ethics have
been reconstituted, reorganized. The world of thought has been
regenerated. Sciences of former ages and philosophies of the past are
useless today. Present exigencies demand new methods of solution; world
problems are without precedent. Old ideas and modes of thought are fast
becoming obsolete. Ancient laws and archaic ethical systems will not meet
the requirements of modern conditions, for this is clearly the century of
a new life, the century of the revelation of reality and, therefore, the
greatest of all centuries. Consider how the scientific developments of
fifty years have surpassed and eclipsed the knowledge and achievements of
all the former ages combined. Would the announcements and theories of
ancient astronomers explain our present knowledge of the suns and
planetary systems? Would the mask of obscurity which beclouded medieval
centuries meet the demand for clear-eyed vision and understanding which
characterizes the world today? Will the despotism of former governments
answer the call for freedom which has risen from the heart of humanity in
this cycle of illumination? It is evident that no vital results are now
forthcoming from the customs, institutions and standpoints of the past. In
view of this, shall blind imitations of ancestral forms and theological
interpretations continue to guide and control the religious life and
spiritual development of humanity today? Shall man, gifted with the power
of reason, unthinkingly follow and adhere to dogma, creeds and hereditary
beliefs which will not bear the analysis of reason in this century of
effulgent reality? Unquestionably this will not satisfy men of science,
for when they find premise or conclusion contrary to present standards of
proof and without real foundation, they reject that which has been
formerly accepted as standard and correct and move forward from new
foundations.

The divine Prophets have revealed and founded religion. They have laid
down certain laws and heavenly principles for the guidance of mankind.
They have taught and promulgated the knowledge of God, established
praiseworthy ethical ideals and inculcated the highest standards of
virtues in the human world. Gradually these heavenly teachings and
foundations of reality have been beclouded by human interpretations and
dogmatic imitations of ancestral beliefs. The essential realities, which
the Prophets labored so hard to establish in human hearts and minds while
undergoing ordeals and suffering tortures of persecution, have now well
nigh vanished. Some of these heavenly Messengers have been killed, some
imprisoned, all of Them despised and rejected while proclaiming the
reality of Divinity. Soon after Their departure from this world, the
essential truth of Their teachings was lost sight of and dogmatic
imitations adhered to.

Inasmuch as human interpretations and blind imitations differ widely,
religious strife and disagreement have arisen among mankind, the light of
true religion has been extinguished and the unity of the world of humanity
destroyed. The Prophets of God voiced the spirit of unity and agreement.
They have been the Founders of divine reality. Therefore, if the nations
of the world forsake imitations and investigate the reality underlying the
revealed Word of God, they will agree and become reconciled. For reality
is one and not multiple.

The nations and religions are steeped in blind and bigoted imitations. A
man is a Jew because his father was a Jew. The Muslim follows implicitly
the footsteps of his ancestors in belief and observance. The Buddhist is
true to his heredity as a Buddhist. That is to say, they profess religious
belief blindly and without investigation, making unity and agreement
impossible. It is evident, therefore, that this condition will not be
remedied without a reformation in the world of religion. In other words,
the fundamental reality of the divine religions must be renewed, reformed,
revoiced to mankind.

From the seed of reality religion has grown into a tree which has put
forth leaves and branches, blossoms and fruit. After a time this tree has
fallen into a condition of decay. The leaves and blossoms have withered
and perished; the tree has become stricken and fruitless. It is not
reasonable that man should hold to the old tree, claiming that its life
forces are undiminished, its fruit unequaled, its existence eternal. The
seed of reality must be sown again in human hearts in order that a new
tree may grow therefrom and new divine fruits refresh the world. By this
means the nations and peoples now divergent in religion will be brought
into unity, imitations will be forsaken, and a universal brotherhood in
reality itself will be established. Warfare and strife will cease among
mankind; all will be reconciled as servants of God. For all are sheltered
beneath the tree of His providence and mercy. God is kind to all; He is
the giver of bounty to all alike, even as Jesus Christ has declared that
God “sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust”—that is to say, the mercy
of God is universal. All humanity is under the protection of His love and
favor, and unto all He has pointed the way of guidance and progress.
Progress is of two kinds: material and spiritual. The former is attained
through observation of the surrounding existence and constitutes the
foundation of civilization. Spiritual progress is through the breaths of
the Holy Spirit and is the awakening of the conscious soul of man to
perceive the reality of Divinity. Material progress ensures the happiness
of the human world. Spiritual progress ensures the happiness and eternal
continuance of the soul. The Prophets of God have founded the laws of
divine civilization. They have been the root and fundamental source of all
knowledge. They have established the principles of human brotherhood, of
fraternity, which is of various kinds—such as the fraternity of family, of
race, of nation and of ethical motives. These forms of fraternity, these
bonds of brotherhood, are merely temporal and transient in association.
They do not ensure harmony and are usually productive of disagreement.
They do not prevent warfare and strife; on the contrary, they are selfish,
restricted and fruitful causes of enmity and hatred among mankind. The
spiritual brotherhood which is enkindled and established through the
breaths of the Holy Spirit unites nations and removes the cause of warfare
and strife. It transforms mankind into one great family and establishes
the foundations of the oneness of humanity. It promulgates the spirit of
international agreement and ensures universal peace. Therefore, we must
investigate the foundation of this heavenly fraternity. We must forsake
all imitations and promote the reality of the divine teachings. In
accordance with these principles and actions and by the assistance of the
Holy Spirit, both material and spiritual happiness shall become realized.
Until all nations and peoples become united by the bonds of the Holy
Spirit in this real fraternity, until national and international
prejudices are effaced in the reality of this spiritual brotherhood, true
progress, prosperity and lasting happiness will not be attained by man.
This is the century of new and universal nationhood. Sciences have
advanced; industries have progressed; politics have been reformed; liberty
has been proclaimed; justice is awakening. This is the century of motion,
divine stimulus and accomplishment, the century of human solidarity and
altruistic service, the century of universal peace and the reality of the
divine Kingdom.



25 May 1912
Huntington Chambers
Boston, Massachusetts


From Stenographic Notes

I am going away from your city, but I leave my heart with you. My spirit
will be here; I will not forget you. I ask confirmation for you from the
Kingdom of Bahá’u’lláh. I pray that you may advance continually in
spiritual susceptibilities, that day by day you may grow more radiant and
draw nearer to God until you become instrumental in illumining the world
of humanity. May these confirmations of the Kingdom of God encompass you.
This is my hope, my prayer.

In the estimation of historians this radiant century is equivalent to one
hundred centuries of the past. If comparison be made with the sum total of
all former human achievements, it will be found that the discoveries,
scientific advancement and material civilization of this present century
have equaled, yea far exceeded the progress and outcome of one hundred
former centuries. The production of books and compilations of literature
alone bears witness that the output of the human mind in this century has
been greater and more enlightening than all the past centuries together.
It is evident, therefore, that this century is of paramount importance.
Reflect upon the miracles of accomplishment which have already
characterized it: the discoveries in every realm of human research.
Inventions, scientific knowledge, ethical reforms and regulations
established for the welfare of humanity, mysteries of nature explored,
invisible forces brought into visibility and subjection—a veritable
wonder-world of new phenomena and conditions heretofore unknown to man now
open to his uses and further investigation. The East and West can
communicate instantly. A human being can soar in the skies or speed in
submarine depths. The power of steam has linked the continents. Trains
cross the deserts and pierce the barriers of mountains; ships find
unerring pathways upon the trackless oceans. Day by day discoveries are
increasing. What a wonderful century this is! It is an age of universal
reformation. Laws and statutes of civil and federal governments are in
process of change and transformation. Sciences and arts are being molded
anew. Thoughts are metamorphosed. The foundations of human society are
changing and strengthening. Today sciences of the past are useless. The
Ptolemaic system of astronomy and numberless other systems and theories of
scientific and philosophical explanation are discarded, known to be false
and worthless. Ethical precedents and principles cannot be applied to the
needs of the modern world. Thoughts and theories of past ages are
fruitless now. Thrones and governments are crumbling and falling. All
conditions and requisites of the past unfitted and inadequate for the
present time are undergoing radical reform. It is evident, therefore, that
counterfeit and spurious religious teaching, antiquated forms of belief
and ancestral imitations which are at variance with the foundations of
divine reality must also pass away and be reformed. They must be abandoned
and new conditions be recognized. The morals of humanity must undergo
change. New remedies and solutions for human problems must be adopted.
Human intellects themselves must change and be subject to the universal
reformation. Just as the thoughts and hypotheses of past ages are
fruitless today, likewise dogmas and codes of human invention are obsolete
and barren of product in religion. Nay, it is true that they are the cause
of enmity and conducive to strife in the world of humanity; war and
bloodshed proceed from them, and the oneness of mankind finds no
recognition in their observance. Therefore, it is our duty in this radiant
century to investigate the essentials of divine religion, seek the
realities underlying the oneness of the world of humanity and discover the
source of fellowship and agreement which will unite mankind in the
heavenly bond of love. This unity is the radiance of eternity, the divine
spirituality, the effulgence of God and the bounty of the Kingdom. We must
investigate the divine source of these heavenly bestowals and adhere unto
them steadfastly. For if we remain fettered and restricted by human
inventions and dogmas, day by day the world of mankind will be degraded,
day by day warfare and strife will increase and satanic forces converge
toward the destruction of the human race.

If love and agreement are manifest in a single family, that family will
advance, become illumined and spiritual; but if enmity and hatred exist
within it, destruction and dispersion are inevitable. This is, likewise,
true of a city. If those who dwell within it manifest a spirit of accord
and fellowship, it will progress steadily and human conditions become
brighter, whereas through enmity and strife it will be degraded and its
inhabitants scattered. In the same way, the people of a nation develop and
advance toward civilization and enlightenment through love and accord and
are disintegrated by war and strife. Finally, this is true of humanity
itself in the aggregate. When love is realized and the ideal spiritual
bonds unite the hearts of men, the whole human race will be uplifted, the
world will continually grow more spiritual and radiant and the happiness
and tranquillity of mankind be immeasurably increased. Warfare and strife
will be uprooted, disagreement and dissension pass away and universal
peace unite the nations and peoples of the world. All mankind will dwell
together as one family, blend as the waves of one sea, shine as stars of
one firmament and appear as fruits of the same tree. This is the happiness
and felicity of humankind. This is the illumination of man, the eternal
glory and everlasting life; this is the divine bestowal. I desire this
station for you, and I pray God that the people of America may achieve
this great end in order that the virtue of this democracy may be ensured
and their names be glorified eternally. May the confirmations of God
uphold them in all things and their memories become revered throughout the
East and the West. May they become the servants of the Most High God, near
and dear to Him in the oneness of the heavenly Kingdom.

Bahá’u’lláh endured ordeals and hardships sixty years. There was no
persecution, vicissitude or suffering He did not experience at the hand of
His enemies and oppressors. All the days of His life were passed in
difficulty and tribulation—at one time in prison, another in exile,
sometimes in chains. He willingly endured these difficulties for the unity
of mankind, praying that the world of humanity might realize the radiance
of God, the oneness of humankind become a reality, strife and warfare
cease and peace and tranquillity be realized by all. In prison He hoisted
the banner of human solidarity, proclaiming universal peace, writing to
the kings and rulers of nations, summoning them to international unity and
counseling arbitration. His life was a vortex of persecution and
difficulty; yet catastrophes, extreme ordeals and vicissitudes did not
hinder the accomplishment of His work and mission. Nay, on the contrary,
His power became greater and greater, His efficiency and influence spread
and increased until His glorious light shone throughout the Orient, love
and unity were established, and the differing religions found a center of
contact and reconciliation.

Therefore, we also must strive in this pathway of love and service,
sacrificing life and possessions, passing our days in devotion,
consecrating our efforts wholly to the Cause of God so that, God willing,
the ensign of universal religion may be uplifted in the world of mankind
and the oneness of the world of humanity be established.

In your hearts I have beheld the reflection of a great and wonderful love.
The Americans have shown me uniform kindness, and I entertain a deep
spiritual love for them. I am pleased with the susceptibilities of your
hearts. I will pray for you, asking divine assistance, and then say
farewell.

O my God! O my God! Verily, these servants are turning to Thee,
supplicating Thy kingdom of mercy. Verily, they are attracted by Thy
holiness and set aglow with the fire of Thy love, seeking confirmation
from Thy wondrous kingdom, and hoping for attainment in Thy heavenly
realm. Verily, they long for the descent of Thy bestowal, desiring
illumination from the Sun of Reality. O Lord! Make them radiant lamps,
merciful signs, fruitful trees and shining stars. May they come forth in
Thy service and be connected with Thee by the bonds and ties of Thy love,
longing for the lights of Thy favor. O Lord! Make them signs of guidance,
standards of Thine immortal kingdom, waves of the sea of Thy mercy,
mirrors of the light of Thy majesty.

Verily, Thou art the Generous. Verily, Thou art the Merciful. Verily, Thou
art the Precious, the Beloved.



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN NEW YORK AND FANWOOD



26 May 1912
Talk at Mount Morris Baptist Church
Fifth Avenue and 126th Street, New York


Notes by Esther Foster

As I entered the church this evening, I heard the hymn “Nearer my God, to
Thee.” The greatest attainment in the world of humanity is nearness to
God. Every lasting glory, honor, grace and beauty which comes to man comes
through nearness to God. All the Prophets and apostles longed and prayed
for nearness to the Creator. How many nights they passed in sleepless
yearning for this station; how many days they devoted to supplication for
this attainment, seeking ever to draw nigh unto Him! But nearness to God
is not an easy accomplishment. During the time Jesus Christ was upon the
earth mankind sought nearness to God, but in that day no one attained it
save a very few—His disciples. Those blessed souls were confirmed with
divine nearness through the love of God. Divine nearness is dependent upon
attainment to the knowledge of God, upon severance from all else save God.
It is contingent upon self-sacrifice and to be found only through
forfeiting wealth and worldly possessions. It is made possible through the
baptism of water and fire revealed in the Gospels. Water symbolizes the
water of life, which is knowledge, and fire is the fire of the love of
God; therefore, man must be baptized with the water of life, the Holy
Spirit and the fire of the love of the Kingdom. Until he attains these
three degrees, nearness to God is not possible. This is the process by
which the Bahá’ís of Persia have attained it. They gave their lives for
this station, sacrificed honor, comfort and possessions, hastened with the
utmost joy to the place of martyrdom; their blood was spilled, their
bodies were tortured and destroyed, their homes pillaged, their children
carried into captivity. They endured all these conditions joyfully and
willingly. Through such sacrifice nearness to God is made possible. And be
it known that this nearness is not dependent upon time or place. Nearness
to God is dependent upon purity of the heart and exhilaration of the
spirit through the glad tidings of the Kingdom. Consider how a pure,
well-polished mirror fully reflects the effulgence of the sun, no matter
how distant the sun may be. As soon as the mirror is cleaned and purified,
the sun will manifest itself. The more pure and sanctified the heart of
man becomes, the nearer it draws to God, and the light of the Sun of
Reality is revealed within it. This light sets hearts aglow with the fire
of the love of God, opens in them the doors of knowledge and unseals the
divine mysteries so that spiritual discoveries are made possible. All the
Prophets have drawn near to God through severance. We must emulate those
Holy Souls and renounce our own wishes and desires. We must purify
ourselves from the mire and soil of earthly contact until our hearts
become as mirrors in clearness and the light of the most great guidance
reveals itself in them.

Bahá’u’lláh proclaims in the Hidden Words that God inspires His servants
and is revealed through them. He says, “Thy heart is My home; sanctify it
for My descent. Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My
manifestation.” Therefore, we learn that nearness to God is possible
through devotion to Him, through entrance into the Kingdom and service to
humanity; it is attained by unity with mankind and through loving-kindness
to all; it is dependent upon investigation of truth, acquisition of
praiseworthy virtues, service in the cause of universal peace and personal
sanctification. In a word, nearness to God necessitates sacrifice of self,
severance and the giving up of all to Him. Nearness is likeness.

Behold how the sun shines upon all creation, but only surfaces that are
pure and polished can reflect its glory and light. The darkened soul has
no portion of the revelation of the glorious effulgence of reality; and
the soil of self, unable to take advantage of that light, does not produce
growth. The eyes of the blind cannot behold the rays of the sun; only pure
eyes with sound and perfect sight can receive them. Green and living trees
can absorb the bounty of the sun; dead roots and withered branches are
destroyed by it. Therefore, man must seek capacity and develop readiness.
As long as he lacks susceptibility to divine influences, he is incapable
of reflecting the light and assimilating its benefits. Sterile soil will
produce nothing, even if the cloud of mercy pours rain upon it a thousand
years. We must make the soil of our hearts receptive and fertile by
tilling in order that the rain of divine mercy may refresh them and bring
forth roses and hyacinths of heavenly planting. We must have perceiving
eyes in order to see the light of the sun. We must cleanse the nostril in
order to scent the fragrances of the divine rose garden. We must render
the ears attentive in order to hear the summons of the supreme Kingdom. No
matter how beautiful the melody, the ear that is deaf cannot hear it,
cannot receive the call of the Supreme Concourse. The nostril that is
clogged with dust cannot inhale the fragrant odors of the blossoms.
Therefore, we must ever strive for capacity and seek readiness. As long as
we lack susceptibility, the beauties and bounties of God cannot penetrate.
Christ spoke a parable in which He said His words were like the seeds of
the sower; some fall upon stony ground, some upon sterile soil, some are
choked by thorns and thistles, but some fall upon the ready, receptive and
fertile ground of human hearts. When seeds are cast upon sterile soil, no
growth follows. Those cast upon stony ground will grow a short time, but
lacking deep roots will wither away. Thorns and thistles destroy others
completely, but the seed cast in good ground brings forth harvest and
fruitage.

In the same way, the words I speak to you here tonight may produce no
effect whatever. Some hearts may be affected, then soon forget; others
owing to superstitious ideas and imaginations may even fail to hear and
understand; but the blessed souls who are attentive to my exhortation and
admonition, listening with the ear of acceptance, allowing my words to
penetrate effectively, will advance day by day toward full fruition, yea
even to the Supreme Concourse. Consider how the parable makes attainment
dependent upon capacity. Unless capacity is developed, the summons of the
Kingdom cannot reach the ear, the light of the Sun of Truth will not be
observed, and the fragrances of the rose garden of inner significance will
be lost. Let us endeavor to attain capacity, susceptibility and worthiness
that we may hear the call of the glad tidings of the Kingdom, become
revivified by the breaths of the Holy Spirit, hoist the standard of the
oneness of humanity, establish human brotherhood, and under the protection
of divine grace attain the everlasting and eternal life.

O Thou forgiving God! These servants are turning to Thy kingdom and
seeking Thy grace and bounty. O God! Make their hearts good and pure in
order that they may become worthy of Thy love. Purify and sanctify the
spirits that the light of the Sun of Reality may shine upon them. Purify
and sanctify the eyes that they may perceive Thy light. Purify and
sanctify the ears in order that they may hear the call of Thy kingdom.

O Lord! Verily, we are weak, but Thou art mighty. Verily, we are poor, but
Thou art rich. We are the seekers, and Thou art the One sought. O Lord!
Have compassion upon us and forgive us; bestow upon us such capacity and
receptiveness that we may be worthy of Thy favors and become attracted to
Thy kingdom, that we may drink deep of the water of life, may be enkindled
by the fire of Thy love, and be resuscitated through the breaths of the
Holy Spirit in this radiant century.

O God, my God! Cast upon this gathering the glances of Thy
loving-kindness. Keep safe each and all in Thy custody and under Thy
protection. Send down upon these souls Thy heavenly blessings. Immerse
them in the ocean of Thy mercy and quicken them through the breaths of the
Holy Spirit.

O Lord! Bestow Thy gracious aid and confirmation upon this just
government. This country lieth beneath the sheltering shadow of Thy
protection and this people is in Thy service. O Lord! Confer upon them Thy
heavenly bounty and render the outpourings of Thy grace and favor copious
and abundant. Suffer this esteemed nation to be held in honor and enable
it to be admitted into Thy kingdom.

Thou art the Powerful, the Omnipotent, the Merciful, and Thou art the
Generous, the Beneficent, the Lord of grace abounding.



28 May 1912
Talk at Reception at Metropolitan Temple
Seventh Avenue and Fourteenth Street, New York


Notes by Esther Foster

The Fatherhood of God, His loving-kindness and beneficence are apparent to
all. In His mercy He provides fully and amply for His creatures, and if
any soul sins, He does not suspend His bounty. All created things are
visible manifestations of His Fatherhood, mercy and heavenly bestowals.
Human brotherhood is, likewise, as clear and evident as the sun, for all
are servants of one God, belong to one humankind, inhabit the same globe,
are sheltered beneath the overshadowing dome of heaven and submerged in
the sea of divine mercy. Human brotherhood and dependence exist because
mutual helpfulness and cooperation are the two necessary principles
underlying human welfare. This is the physical relationship of mankind.
There is another brotherhood—the spiritual—which is higher, holier and
superior to all others. It is heavenly; it emanates from the breaths of
the Holy Spirit and the effulgence of merciful attributes; it is founded
upon spiritual susceptibilities. This brotherhood is established by the
Manifestations of the Holy One.

The divine Manifestations since the day of Adam have striven to unite
humanity so that all may be accounted as one soul. The function and
purpose of a shepherd is to gather and not disperse his flock. The
Prophets of God have been divine Shepherds of humanity. They have
established a bond of love and unity among mankind, made scattered peoples
one nation and wandering tribes a mighty kingdom. They have laid the
foundation of the oneness of God and summoned all to universal peace. All
these holy, divine Manifestations are one. They have served one God,
promulgated the same truth, founded the same institutions and reflected
the same light. Their appearances have been successive and correlated;
each One has announced and extolled the One Who was to follow, and all
laid the foundation of reality. They summoned and invited the people to
love and made the human world a mirror of the Word of God. Therefore, the
divine religions They established have one foundation; Their teachings,
proofs and evidences are one; in name and form They differ, but in reality
They agree and are the same. These holy Manifestations have been as the
coming of springtime in the world. Although the springtime of this year is
designated by another name according to the changing calendar, yet as
regards its life and quickening it is the same as the springtime of last
year. For each spring is the time of a new creation, the effects,
bestowals, perfections and life-giving forces of which are the same as
those of the former vernal seasons, although the names are many and
various. This is 1912, last year was 1911 and so on, but in fundamental
reality no difference is apparent. The sun is one, but the dawning points
of the sun are numerous and changing. The ocean is one body of water, but
different parts of it have particular designations—Atlantic, Pacific,
Mediterranean, Antarctic, etc. If we consider the names, there is
differentiation; but the water, the ocean itself, is one reality.

Likewise, the divine religions of the holy Manifestations of God are in
reality one, though in name and nomenclature they differ. Man must be a
lover of the light, no matter from what dayspring it may appear. He must
be a lover of the rose, no matter in what soil it may be growing. He must
be a seeker of the truth, no matter from what source it come. Attachment
to the lantern is not loving the light. Attachment to the earth is not
befitting, but enjoyment of the rose which develops from the soil is
worthy. Devotion to the tree is profitless, but partaking of the fruit is
beneficial. Luscious fruits, no matter upon what tree they grow or where
they may be found, must be enjoyed. The word of truth, no matter which
tongue utters it, must be sanctioned. Absolute verities, no matter in what
book they be recorded, must be accepted. If we harbor prejudice, it will
be the cause of deprivation and ignorance. The strife between religions,
nations and races arises from misunderstanding. If we investigate the
religions to discover the principles underlying their foundations, we will
find they agree; for the fundamental reality of them is one and not
multiple. By this means the religionists of the world will reach their
point of unity and reconciliation. They will ascertain the truth that the
purpose of religion is the acquisition of praiseworthy virtues, the
betterment of morals, the spiritual development of mankind, the real life
and divine bestowals. All the Prophets have been the promoters of these
principles; none of Them has been the promoter of corruption, vice or
evil. They have summoned mankind to all good. They have united people in
the love of God, invited them to the religions of the unity of mankind and
exhorted them to amity and agreement. For example, we mention Abraham and
Moses. By this mention we do not mean the limitation implied in the mere
names but intend the virtues which these names embody. When we say
Abraham, we mean thereby a manifestation of divine guidance, a center of
human virtues, a source of heavenly bestowals to mankind, a dawning point
of divine inspiration and perfections. These perfections and graces are
not limited to names and boundaries. When we find these virtues, qualities
and attributes in any personality, we recognize the same reality shining
from within and bow in acknowledgment of the Abrahamic perfections.
Similarly, we acknowledge and adore the beauty of Moses. Some souls were
lovers of the name Abraham, loving the lantern instead of the light, and
when they saw this same light shining from another lantern, they were so
attached to the former lantern that they did not recognize its later
appearance and illumination. Therefore, those who were attached and held
tenaciously to the name Abraham were deprived when the Abrahamic virtues
reappeared in Moses. Similarly, the Jews were believers in Moses, awaiting
the coming of the Messiah. The virtues and perfections of Moses became
apparent in Jesus Christ most effulgently, but the Jews held to the name
Moses, not adoring the virtues and perfections manifest in Him. Had they
been adoring these virtues and seeking these perfections, they would
assuredly have believed in Jesus Christ when the same virtues and
perfections shone in Him. If we are lovers of the light, we adore it in
whatever lamp it may become manifest, but if we love the lamp itself and
the light is transferred to another lamp, we will neither accept nor
sanction it. Therefore, we must follow and adore the virtues revealed in
the Messengers of God—whether in Abraham, Moses, Jesus or other
Prophets—but we must not adhere to and adore the lamp. We must recognize
the sun, no matter from what dawning point it may shine forth, be it
Mosaic, Abrahamic or any personal point of orientation whatever, for we
are lovers of sunlight and not of orientation. We are lovers of
illumination and not of lamps and candles. We are seekers for water, no
matter from what rock it may gush forth. We are in need of fruit in
whatsoever orchard it may be ripened. We long for rain; it matters not
which cloud pours it down. We must not be fettered. If we renounce these
fetters, we shall agree, for all are seekers of reality. The counterfeit
or imitation of true religion has adulterated human belief, and the
foundations have been lost sight of. The variance of these imitations has
produced enmity and strife, war and bloodshed. Now the glorious and
brilliant twentieth century has dawned, and the divine bounty is radiating
universally. The Sun of Truth is shining forth in intense enkindlement.
This is, verily, the century when these imitations must be forsaken,
superstitions abandoned and God alone worshiped. We must look at the
reality of the Prophets and Their teachings in order that we may agree.

Praise be to God! The springtime of God is at hand. This century is,
verily, the spring season. The world of mind and kingdom of soul have
become fresh and verdant by its bestowals. It has resuscitated the whole
realm of existence. On one hand, the lights of reality are shining; on the
other, the clouds of divine mercy are pouring down the fullness of
heavenly bounty. Wonderful material progress is evident, and great
spiritual discoveries are being made. Truly, this can be called the
miracle of centuries, for it is replete with manifestations of the
miraculous. The time has come when all mankind shall be united, when all
races shall be loyal to one fatherland, all religions become one religion,
and racial and religious bias pass away. It is a day in which the oneness
of humankind shall uplift its standard and international peace, like the
true morning, flood the world with its light. Therefore, we offer
supplications to God, asking Him to dispel these gloomy clouds and uproot
these imitations in order that the East and West may become radiant with
love and unity, that the nations of the world shall embrace each other and
the ideal spiritual brotherhood illumine the world like the glorious sun
of the high heavens. This is our hope, our wish and desire. We pray that
through the bounty and grace of God we may attain thereto. I am very happy
to be present at this meeting which has innate radiance, intelligence,
perception and longing to investigate reality. Such meetings are the glory
of the world of mankind. I ask the blessing of God in your behalf.



29 May 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney
780 West End Avenue, New York


Notes by Howard MacNutt

The divine Manifestations have been iconoclastic in Their teachings,
uprooting error, destroying false religious beliefs and summoning mankind
anew to the fundamental oneness of God. All of Them have, likewise,
proclaimed the oneness of the world of humanity. The essential teaching of
Moses was the law of Sinai, the Ten Commandments. Christ renewed and again
revealed the commands of the one God and precepts of human action. In
Muḥammad, although the circle was wider, the intention of His teaching was
likewise to uplift and unify humanity in the knowledge of the one God. In
the Báb the circle was again very much enlarged, but the essential
teaching was the same. The Books of Bahá’u’lláh number more than one
hundred. Each one is an evident proof sufficient for mankind; each one
from foundation to apex proclaims the essential unity of God and humanity,
the love of God, the abolition of war and the divine standard of peace.
Each one also inculcates divine morality, the manifestation of lordly
graces—in every word a book of meanings. For the Word of God is collective
wisdom, absolute knowledge and eternal truth.

Consider the statement recorded in the first chapter of the book of John:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word
was God.” This statement is brief but replete with the greatest meanings.
Its applications are illimitable and beyond the power of books or words to
contain and express. Heretofore the doctors of theology have not expounded
it but have restricted it to Jesus as “the Word made flesh,” the
separation of Jesus from God, the Father, and His descent upon the earth.
In this way the individualized separation of the godhead came to be
taught.

The essential oneness of Father, Son and Spirit has many meanings and
constitutes the foundation of Christianity. Today we will merely give a
synopsis of explanation. Why was Jesus the Word?

In the universe of creation all phenomenal beings are as letters. Letters
in themselves are meaningless and express nothing of thought or ideal—as,
for instance, a, b, etc. Likewise, all phenomenal beings are without
independent meaning. But a word is composed of letters and has independent
sense and meaning. Therefore, as Christ conveyed the perfect meaning of
divine reality and embodied independent significance, He was the Word. He
was as the station of reality compared to the station of metaphor. There
is no intrinsic meaning in the leaves of a book, but the thought they
convey leads you to reflect upon reality. The reality of Jesus was the
perfect meaning, the Christhood in Him which in the Holy Books is
symbolized as the Word.

“The Word was with God.” The Christhood means not the body of Jesus but
the perfection of divine virtues manifest in Him. Therefore, it is
written, “He is God.” This does not imply separation from God, even as it
is not possible to separate the rays of the sun from the sun. The reality
of Christ was the embodiment of divine virtues and attributes of God. For
in Divinity there is no duality. All adjectives, nouns and pronouns in
that court of sanctity are one; there is neither multiplicity nor
division. The intention of this explanation is to show that the Words of
God have innumerable significances and mysteries of meanings—each one a
thousand and more.

The Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh are many. The precepts and teachings they
contain are universal, covering every subject. He has revealed scientific
explanations ranging throughout all the realms of human inquiry and
investigation—astronomy, biology, medical science, etc. In the
Kitáb-i-Íqán He has given expositions of the meanings of the Gospel and
other heavenly Books. He wrote lengthy Tablets upon civilization,
sociology and government. Every subject is considered. His Tablets are
matchless in beauty and profundity. Even His enemies acknowledge the
greatness of Bahá’u’lláh, saying He was the miracle of humanity. This was
their confession although they did not believe in Him. He was eulogized by
Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and Muslims who denied His claim. They
frequently said, “He is matchless, unique.” A Christian poet in the Orient
wrote, “Do not believe him a manifestation of God, yet his miracles are as
great as the sun.” Mírzá Abu’l-Fadl has mentioned many poems of this kind,
and there are numerous others. The testimony of His enemies witnessed that
He was the “miracle of mankind,” that He “walked in a special pathway of
knowledge” and was “peerless in personality.” His teachings are universal
and the standard for human action. They are not merely theoretical and
intended to remain in books. They are the principles of action. Results
follow action. Mere theory is fruitless. Of what use is a book upon
medicine if it is never taken from the library shelf? When practical
activity has been manifested, the teachings of God have borne fruit.

The great and fundamental teachings of Bahá’u’lláh are the oneness of God
and unity of mankind. This is the bond of union among Bahá’ís all over the
world. They become united among themselves, then unite others. It is
impossible to unite unless united. Christ said, “Ye are the salt of the
earth; but if the salt has lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?”
This proves there were dissensions and lack of unity among His followers.
Hence His admonition to unity of action.

Now must we, likewise, bind ourselves together in the utmost unity, be
kind and loving to each other, sacrificing all our possessions, our honor,
yea, even our lives for each other. Then will it be proved that we have
acted according to the teachings of God, that we have been real believers
in the oneness of God and unity of mankind.



30 May 1912
Talk at Theosophical Lodge
Broadway and Seventy-ninth Street, New York


Notes by Howard MacNutt

I am greatly pleased with these expressions of kindly feeling and
evidences of spiritual susceptibility. Tonight I am very happy in the
realization that our aims and purposes are the same, our desires and
longings are one. This is a reflection and evidence of the oneness of the
world of humanity and the intention toward accomplishment of the Most
Great Peace. Therefore, we are united in will and purpose. In the world of
existence there are no greater questions than these. Oneness of the world
of humanity ensures the glorification of man. International peace is the
assurance of the welfare of all humankind. There are no greater motives
and purposes in the human soul. As we are agreed upon them, the certainty
of unity and concord between Bahá’ís and Theosophists is most hopeful.
Their purposes are one, their desires one, and spiritual susceptibilities
are common to both. Their attention is devoted to the divine Kingdom; they
partake alike of its bounty.

Today the human world is in need of a great power by which these glorious
principles and purposes may be executed. The cause of peace is a very
great cause; it is the Cause of God, and all the forces of the world are
opposed to it. Governments, for instance, consider militarism as the step
to human progress, that division among men and nations is the cause of
patriotism and honor, that if one nation attack and conquer another,
gaining wealth, territory and glory thereby, this warfare and conquest,
this bloodshed and cruelty are the cause of that victorious nation’s
advancement and prosperity. This is an utter mistake. Compare the nations
of the world to the members of a family. A family is a nation in
miniature. Simply enlarge the circle of the household, and you have the
nation. Enlarge the circle of nations, and you have all humanity. The
conditions surrounding the family surround the nation. The happenings in
the family are the happenings in the life of the nation. Would it add to
the progress and advancement of a family if dissensions should arise among
its members, all fighting, pillaging each other, jealous and revengeful of
injury, seeking selfish advantage? Nay, this would be the cause of the
effacement of progress and advancement. So it is in the great family of
nations, for nations are but an aggregate of families. Therefore, as
strife and dissension destroy a family and prevent its progress, so
nations are destroyed and advancement hindered.

All the heavenly Books, divine Prophets, sages and philosophers agree that
warfare is destructive to human development, and peace constructive. They
agree that war and strife strike at the foundations of humanity.
Therefore, a power is needed to prevent war and to proclaim and establish
the oneness of humanity.

But knowledge of the need of this power is not sufficient. Realizing that
wealth is desirable is not becoming wealthy. The admission that scientific
attainment is praiseworthy does not confer scientific knowledge.
Acknowledgment of the excellence of honor does not make a man honorable.
Knowledge of human conditions and the needed remedy for them is not the
cause of their betterment. To admit that health is good does not
constitute health. A skilled physician is needed to remedy existing human
conditions. As a physician is required to have complete knowledge of
pathology, diagnosis, therapeutics and treatment, so this World Physician
must be wise, skillful and capable before health will result. His mere
knowledge is not health; it must be applied and the remedy carried out.

The attainment of any object is conditioned upon knowledge, volition and
action. Unless these three conditions are forthcoming, there is no
execution or accomplishment. In the erection of a house it is first
necessary to know the ground, and design the house suitable for it;
second, to obtain the means or funds necessary for the construction;
third, actually to build it. Therefore, a power is needed to carry out and
execute what is known and admitted to be the remedy for human
conditions—namely, the unification of mankind. Furthermore, it is evident
that this cannot be realized through material process and means. The
accomplishment of this unification cannot be through racial power, for
races are different and diverse in tendencies. It cannot be through
patriotic power, for nationalities are unlike. Nor can it be effected
through political power since the policies of governments and nations are
various. That is to say, any effort toward unification through these
material means would benefit one and injure another because of unequal and
individual interests. Some may believe this great remedy can be found in
dogmatic insistence upon imitations and interpretations. This would
likewise be without foundation and result. Therefore, it is evident that
no means but an ideal means, a spiritual power, divine bestowals and the
breaths of the Holy Spirit will heal this world sickness of war,
dissension and discord. Nothing else is possible; nothing can be conceived
of. But through spiritual means and the divine power it is possible and
practicable.

Consider history. What has brought unity to nations, morality to peoples
and benefits to mankind? If we reflect upon it, we will find that
establishing the divine religions has been the greatest means toward
accomplishing the oneness of humanity. The foundation of divine reality in
religion has done this, not imitations of ancestral religious forms.
Imitations are opposed to each other and have ever been the cause of
strife, enmity, jealousy and war. The divine religions are collective
centers in which diverse standpoints may meet, agree and unify. They
accomplish oneness of native lands, races and policies. For instance,
Christ united various nations, brought peace to warring peoples and
established the oneness of humankind. The conquering Greeks and Romans,
the prejudiced Egyptians and Assyrians were all in a condition of strife,
enmity and war, but Christ gathered these varied peoples together and
removed the foundations of discord—not through racial, patriotic or
political power, but through divine power, the power of the Holy Spirit.
This was not otherwise possible. All other efforts of men and nations
remain as mere mention in history, without accomplishment.

As this great result is contingent upon divine power and bestowals, where
shall the world obtain that power? God is eternal and ancient—not a new
God. His sovereignty is of old, not recent—not merely existent these five
or six thousand years. This infinite universe is from everlasting. The
sovereignty, power, names and attributes of God are eternal, ancient. His
names presuppose creation and predicate His existence and will. We say God
is Creator. This name Creator appears when we connote creation. We say God
is the Provider. This name presupposes and proves the existence of the
provided. God is Love. This name proves the existence of the beloved. In
the same way God is Mercy, God is Justice, God is Life, etc. Therefore, as
God is Creator, eternal and ancient, there were always creatures and
subjects existing and provided for. There is no doubt that divine
sovereignty is eternal. Sovereignty necessitates subjects, ministers,
trustees and others subordinate to sovereignty. Could there be a king
without country, subjects and armies? If we conceive of a time when there
were no creatures, no servants, no subjects of divine lordship, we
dethrone God and predicate a time when God was not. It would be as if He
had been recently appointed and man had given these names to Him. The
divine sovereignty is ancient, eternal. God from everlasting was Love,
Justice, Power, Creator, Provider, the Omniscient, the Bountiful.

As the divine entity is eternal, the divine attributes are coexistent,
coeternal. The divine bestowals are, therefore, without beginning, without
end. God is infinite; the works of God are infinite; the bestowals of God
are infinite. As His divinity is eternal, His lordship and perfections are
without end. As the bounty of the Holy Spirit is eternal, we can never say
that His bestowals terminate, else He terminates. If we think of the sun
and then try to conceive of the cessation of the solar flame and heat, we
have predicated the nonexistence of the sun. For separation of the sun
from its rays and heat is inconceivable. Therefore, if we limit the
bestowals of God, we limit the attributes of God and limit God.

Let us then trust in the bounty and bestowal of God. Let us be exhilarated
with the divine breath, illumined and exalted by the heavenly glad
tidings. God has ever dealt with man in mercy and kindness. He Who
conferred the divine spirit in former times is abundantly able and capable
at all times and periods to grant the same bestowals. Therefore, let us be
hopeful. The God Who gave to the world formerly will do so now and in the
future. God Who breathed the breath of the Holy Spirit upon His servants
will breathe it upon them now and hereafter. There is no cessation to His
bounty. The Divine Spirit is penetrating from eternity to eternity, for it
is the bounty of God, and the bounty of God is eternal. Can you conceive
of limitation of the divine power in atomic verities or cessation of the
divine bounty in existing organisms? Could you conceive the power now
manifest in this glass in cohesion of its atoms becoming nonexistent? The
energy by which the water of the sea is constituted failing to exert
itself and the sea disappearing? A shower of rain today and no more
showers afterward? The effulgence of the sun terminated and no more light
or heat?

When we observe that in the kingdom of minerals the divine bounties are
continuous, how much more shall we expect and realize in the divine
spiritual Kingdom! How much greater the radiation of the lights of God and
the bounty of everlasting life upon the soul of man! As the body of the
universe is continuous, indestructible, the bounties and bestowals of the
divine spirit are everlasting.

I praise God that I am privileged to be present in this revered assembly
which is quickened with spiritual susceptibilities and heavenly
attraction—its members investigating reality, their utmost hope the
establishment of international peace and their greatest purpose service to
the world of humanity.

When we observe the world of created phenomena, we discover that each atom
of the atoms of substance is moving through the various degrees and
kingdoms of organic life. For instance, consider the ethereal element
which is penetrating and traveling through all the contingent realities.
When there is vibration or movement in the ethereal element, the eye is
affected by that vibration and beholds what is known as light.

In the same manner the bestowals of God are moving and circulating
throughout all created things. This illimitable divine bounty has no
beginning and will have no ending. It is moving, circulating and becomes
effective wherever capacity is developed to receive it. In every station
there is a specialized capacity. Therefore, we must be hopeful that
through the bounty and favor of God this spirit of life infusing all
created beings shall quicken humanity, and from its bestowals the human
world shall become a divine world, this earthly kingdom become the mirror
of the realm of Divinity, the virtues and perfections of the world of
humanity become unveiled and the image and likeness of God be reflected
from this temple.

I am most grateful to the president of this society and express my most
respectful greetings to him. It is my hope that all of you may be assisted
in attaining the good pleasure of God. The spiritual susceptibility of
those present has made me very happy, and I beg of God assistance and
confirmation for all.



31 May 1912
Talk at Town Hall
Fanwood, New Jersey


From Persian Notes

The material world is subject to change and transformation. The Cause of
the Kingdom is eternal; therefore, it is the most important. But, alas,
day by day the power of the Kingdom in human hearts is weakened, and
material forces gain the ascendancy. The divine signs are becoming less
and less, and human evidences grow stronger. They have reached such a
degree that materialists are advancing and aggressive while divine forces
are waning and vanishing. Irreligion has conquered religion. The cause of
the chaotic condition lies in the differences among the religions and
finds its origin in the animosity and hatred existing between sects and
denominations. The materialists have availed themselves of this dissension
amongst the religions and are constantly attacking them, intending to
uproot the tree of divine planting. Owing to strife and contention among
themselves, the religions are being weakened and vanquished. If a
commander is at variance with his army in the execution of military
tactics, there is no doubt he will be defeated by the enemy. Today the
religions are at variance; enmity, strife and recrimination prevail among
them; they refuse to associate; nay, rather, if necessary they shed each
other’s blood. Read history and record to see what dreadful events have
happened in the name of religion. For instance, the Hebrew prophets were
sent to announce Christ, but unfortunately the Talmud and its
superstitions veiled Him so completely that they crucified their promised
Messiah. Had they renounced the talmudic traditions and investigated the
reality of the religion of Moses, they would have become believers in
Christ. Blind adherence to forms and imitations of ancestral beliefs
deprived them of their messianic bounty. They were not refreshed by the
downpouring rain of mercy, nor were they illumined by the rays of the Sun
of Truth.

Imitation destroys the foundation of religion, extinguishes the
spirituality of the human world, transforms heavenly illumination into
darkness and deprives man of the knowledge of God. It is the cause of the
victory of materialism and infidelity over religion; it is the denial of
Divinity and the law of revelation; it refuses Prophethood and rejects the
Kingdom of God. When materialists subject imitations to the intellectual
analysis of reason, they find them to be mere superstitions; therefore,
they deny religion. For instance, the Jews have ideas as to the purity and
impurity of religion, but when you subject these ideas to scientific
scrutiny, they are found to be without foundation.

Is it impossible for us to receive the infinite bounties of God? Is it
impossible to attain the virtues of the spiritual world because we are not
living in the time of Moses, the period of the prophets or the era of
Christ? Those were spiritual cycles. Can we not develop spiritually
because we are far from them and are living in a materialistic age? The
God of Moses and Jesus is able to bestow the same favors, nay, greater
favors upon His people in this day. For example, in past ages He bestowed
reason, intelligence and understanding upon His servants. Can we say He is
not able to confer His bounties in this century? Would it be just if He
sent Moses for the guidance of past nations and entirely neglected those
living now? Could it be possible that this present period has been
deprived of divine bounties while past ages of tyranny and barbarism
received an inexhaustible portion of them? The same merciful God Who
bestowed His favors in the past has opened the doors of His Kingdom to us.
The rays of His sun are shining; the breath of the Holy Spirit is
quickening. That omniscient God still assists and confirms us, illumines
our hearts, gladdens our souls and perfumes our nostrils with the
fragrances of holiness. Divine wisdom and providence have encircled all
and spread the heavenly table before us. We must take a bountiful share of
this generous favor.

The work of the shepherd is to bring together the scattered sheep. If he
disperses the united flock, he is not the shepherd. As the Prophets
fulfilled Their mission in this respect, They are the true Shepherds. When
Moses appeared, the Israelitish people were disorganized. Enmity and
discord increased their disunion. With divine power He assembled and
united this scattered flock, placed within their hearts the pearl of love,
freed them from captivity and led them out of Egypt into the Holy Land.
They made wonderful progress in sciences and arts. Bonds of social and
national strength cemented them. Their progress in human virtues was so
rapid and wonderful that they rose to the zenith of the Solomonic
sovereignty. Could it be said that Moses was not a real Shepherd and that
He did not gather these scattered people together?

Christ was a real Shepherd. At the time of His manifestation, the Greeks,
Romans, Assyrians and Egyptians were like so many scattered flocks. Christ
breathed upon them the spirit of unity and harmonized them.

Therefore, it is evident that the Prophets of God have come to unite the
children of men and not to disperse them, to establish the law of love and
not enmity. Consequently, we must lay aside all prejudice—whether it be
religious, racial, political or patriotic; we must become the cause of the
unification of the human race. Strive for universal peace, seek the means
of love, and destroy the basis of disagreement so that this material world
may become divine, the world of matter become the realm of the Kingdom and
humanity attain to the world of perfection.



2 June 1912
Talk at Church of the Ascension
Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street, New York


Notes by Esther Foster

In the terminology of the Holy Books the church has been called the house
of the covenant for the reason that the church is a place where people of
different thoughts and divergent tendencies—where all races and
nations—may come together in a covenant of permanent fellowship. In the
temple of the Lord, in the house of God, man must be submissive to God. He
must enter into a covenant with his Lord in order that he shall obey the
divine commands and become unified with his fellowman. He must not
consider divergence of races nor difference of nationalities; he must not
view variation in denomination and creed, nor should he take into account
the differing degrees of thoughts; nay, rather, he should look upon all as
mankind and realize that all must become united and agreed. He must
recognize all as one family, one race, one native land; he must see all as
the servants of one God, dwelling beneath the shelter of His mercy. The
purport of this is that the church is a collective center. Temples are
symbols of the reality and divinity of God—the collective center of
mankind. Consider how within a temple every race and people is seen and
represented—all in the presence of the Lord, covenanting together in a
covenant of love and fellowship, all offering the same melody, prayer and
supplication to God. Therefore, it is evident that the church is a
collective center for mankind. For this reason there have been churches
and temples in all the divine religions; but the real Collective Centers
are the Manifestations of God, of Whom the church or temple is a symbol
and expression. That is to say, the Manifestation of God is the real
divine temple and Collective Center of which the outer church is but a
symbol.

Recall the statement of Jesus Christ in the Gospel. Addressing Peter, He
said, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” It is
evident, therefore, that the church of God is the law of God and that the
actual edifice is but one symbol thereof. For the law of God is a
collective center which unites various peoples, native lands, tongues and
opinions. All find shelter in its protection and become attracted by it.
For example, Moses and the Mosaic law were the unifying center for the
scattered sheep of Israel. He united these wandering flocks, brought them
under control of divine law, educated and unified them, caused them to
agree and uplifted them to a superlative degree of development. At a time
when they were debased, they became glorified; ignorant, they were made
knowing; in the bonds of captivity, they were given freedom; in short,
they were unified. Day by day they advanced until they attained the
highest degree of progress witnessed in that age. We prove, therefore,
that the Manifestation of God and the law of God accomplish unity.

It is self-evident that humanity is at variance. Human tastes differ;
thoughts, native lands, races and tongues are many. The need of a
collective center by which these differences may be counterbalanced and
the people of the world be unified is obvious. Consider how nothing but a
spiritual power can bring about this unification, for material conditions
and mental aspects are so widely different that agreement and unity are
not possible through outer means. It is possible, however, for all to
become unified through one spirit, just as all may receive light from one
sun. Therefore, assisted by the collective and divine center which is the
law of God and the reality of His Manifestation, we can overcome these
conditions until they pass away entirely and the races advance.

Consider the time of Christ. Peoples, races and governments were many;
religions, sects and denominations were various; but when Christ appeared,
the Messianic reality proved to be the collective center which unified
them beneath the same tabernacle of agreement. Reflect upon this. Could
Jesus Christ have united these divergent factors or brought about such
results through political power? Was this unity and agreement possible
through material forces? It is evident that it was not; nay, rather, these
various peoples were brought together through a divine power, through the
breaths of the Holy Spirit. They were blended and quickened by the
infusion of a new life. The spirituality of Christ overcame their
difficulties so that their disagreements passed away completely. In this
way these divergent peoples were unified and became welded in a bond of
love which alone can unite hearts. Therefore, it is shown that the divine
Manifestations, the holy Mouthpieces of God, are the Collective Centers of
God. These heavenly Messengers are the real Shepherds of humanity, for
whenever They appear in the world They unite the scattered sheep. The
Collective Center has always appeared in the Orient. Abraham, Moses, Jesus
Christ, Muḥammad were Collective Centers of Their day and time, and all
arose in the East. Today Bahá’u’lláh is the Collective Center of unity for
all mankind, and the splendor of His light has likewise dawned from the
East. He founded the oneness of humanity in Persia. He established harmony
and agreement among the various peoples of religious beliefs,
denominations, sects and cults by freeing them from the fetters of past
imitations and superstitions, leading them to the very foundation of the
divine religions. From this foundation shines forth the radiance of
spirituality, which is unity, the love of God, the knowledge of God,
praiseworthy morals and the virtues of the human world. Bahá’u’lláh
renewed these principles, just as the coming of spring refreshes the earth
and confers new life upon all phenomenal beings. For the freshness of the
former springtimes had waned, the vivification had ceased, the life-giving
breezes were no longer wafting their fragrances, winter and the season of
darkness had come. Bahá’u’lláh came to renew the life of the world with
this new and divine springtime, which has pitched its tent in the
countries of the Orient in the utmost power and glory. It has refreshed
the world of the Orient, and there is no doubt that if the world of the
Occident should abandon dogmas of the past, turn away from empty
imitations and superstitions, investigate the reality of the divine
religions, holding fast to the example of Jesus Christ, acting in
accordance with the teachings of God and becoming unified with the Orient,
an eternal happiness and felicity would be attained.

In the western world material civilization has attained the highest point
of development, but divine civilization was founded in the land of the
East. The East must acquire material civilization from the West, and the
West must receive spiritual civilization from the East. This will
establish a mutual bond. When these two come together, the world of
humanity will present a glorious aspect, and extraordinary progress will
be achieved. This is clear and evident; no proof is needed. The degree of
material civilization in the Occident cannot be denied; nor can anyone
fail to confirm the spiritual civilization of the Orient, for all the
divine foundations of human uplift have appeared in the East. This,
likewise, is clear and evident. Therefore, you must assist the East in
order that it may attain material progress. The East must, likewise,
promulgate the principles of spiritual civilization in the western world.
By this commingling and union the human race will attain the highest
degree of prosperity and development. Material civilization alone is not
sufficient and will not prove productive. The physical happiness of
material conditions was allotted to the animal. Consider how the animal
has attained the fullest degree of physical felicity. A bird perches upon
the loftiest branch and builds there its nest with consummate beauty and
skill. All the grains and seeds of the meadows are its wealth and food;
all the fresh water of mountain springs and rivers of the plain are for
its enjoyment. Truly, this is the acme of material happiness, to which
even a human creature cannot attain. This is the honor of the animal
kingdom. But the honor of the human kingdom is the attainment of spiritual
happiness in the human world, the acquisition of the knowledge and love of
God. The honor allotted to man is the acquisition of the supreme virtues
of the human world. This is his real happiness and felicity. But if
material happiness and spiritual felicity be conjoined, it will be
“delight upon delight,” as the Arabs say. We pray that God will unite the
East and the West in order that these two civilizations may be exchanged
and mutually enjoyed. I am sure it will come to pass, for this is the
radiant century. This is an age for the outpouring of divine mercy upon
the exigency of this new century—the unity of the East and the West. It
will surely be accomplished.

Question: What is the status of woman in the Orient?

Answer: The status of woman in former times was exceedingly deplorable,
for it was the belief of the Orient that it was best for woman to be
ignorant. It was considered preferable that she should not know reading or
writing in order that she might not be informed of events in the world.
Woman was considered to be created for rearing children and attending to
the duties of the household. If she pursued educational courses, it was
deemed contrary to chastity; hence women were made prisoners of the
household. The houses did not even have windows opening upon the outside
world. Bahá’u’lláh destroyed these ideas and proclaimed the equality of
man and woman. He made woman respected by commanding that all women be
educated, that there be no difference in the education of the two sexes
and that man and woman share the same rights. In the estimation of God
there is no distinction of sex. One whose thought is pure, whose education
is superior, whose scientific attainments are greater, whose deeds of
philanthropy excel, be that one man or woman, white or colored, is
entitled to full rights and recognition; there is no differentiation
whatsoever. Therefore, the status of women in the East has undergone
change. At present they attend schools and colleges, pursue the ordinary
curriculum and day by day are becoming indispensable to men and equal to
them. This is the present condition of womankind in Persia.

Question: What relation do you sustain to the founder of your belief? Are
you his successor in the same manner as the Pope of Rome?

Answer: I am the servant of Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder; and in this I glory.
No honor do I consider greater than this, and it is my hope that I may be
confirmed in servitude to Bahá’u’lláh. This is my station.

Question: Is it not a fact that universal peace cannot be accomplished
until there is political democracy in all the countries of the world?

Answer: It is very evident that in the future there shall be no
centralization in the countries of the world, be they constitutional in
government, republican or democratic in form. The United States may be
held up as the example of future government—that is to say, each province
will be independent in itself, but there will be federal union protecting
the interests of the various independent states. It may not be a
republican or a democratic form. To cast aside centralization which
promotes despotism is the exigency of the time. This will be productive of
international peace. Another fact of equal importance in bringing about
international peace is woman’s suffrage. That is to say, when perfect
equality shall be established between men and women, peace may be realized
for the simple reason that womankind in general will never favor warfare.
Women will not be willing to allow those whom they have so tenderly cared
for to go to the battlefield. When they shall have a vote, they will
oppose any cause of warfare. Another factor which will bring about
universal peace is the linking together of the Orient and the Occident.

Question: What is your belief about reincarnation?

Answer: The subject of reincarnation has two aspects. One is that which
the Hindustani people believe, and even that is subdivided into two:
reincarnation and metempsychosis. According to one belief the soul goes
and then returns in certain reincarnations; therefore, they say that a
sick person is sick because of actions in a previous incarnation and that
this is retribution. The other school of Hinduism believes that man
sometimes appears as an animal—a donkey, for instance—and that this is
retribution for past acts. I am referring to the beliefs in that country,
the beliefs of the schools. There is a reincarnation of the prophetic
mission. Jesus Christ, speaking of John the Baptist, declared he was
Elias. When John the Baptist was questioned, “Art thou Elias?” he said, “I
am not.” These two statements are apparently contradictory, but in reality
they do not contradict. The light is one light. The light which illumined
this lamp last night is illuminating it tonight. This does not mean that
the identical rays of light have reappeared but the virtues of
illumination. The light which revealed itself through the glass reveals
itself again so that we can say the light of this evening is the light of
last evening relighted. This is as regards its virtues and not as regards
its former identity. This is our view of reincarnation. We believe in that
which Jesus Christ and all the Prophets have believed. For example, the
Báb states, “I am the return of all the Prophets.” This is significant of
the oneness of the prophetic virtues, the oneness of power, the oneness of
bestowal, the oneness of radiation, the oneness of expression, the oneness
of revelation.

Question: What is the attitude of your belief toward the family?

Answer: According to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh the family, being a
human unit, must be educated according to the rules of sanctity. All the
virtues must be taught the family. The integrity of the family bond must
be constantly considered, and the rights of the individual members must
not be transgressed. The rights of the son, the father, the mother—none of
them must be transgressed, none of them must be arbitrary. Just as the son
has certain obligations to his father, the father, likewise, has certain
obligations to his son. The mother, the sister and other members of the
household have their certain prerogatives. All these rights and
prerogatives must be conserved, yet the unity of the family must be
sustained. The injury of one shall be considered the injury of all; the
comfort of each, the comfort of all; the honor of one, the honor of all.

Question: What is the relation of the Bahá’í teaching to the ancient
Zoroastrian religion?

Answer: The religions of God have the same foundation, but the dogmas
appearing later have differed. Each of the divine religions has two
aspects. The first is essential. It concerns morality and development of
the virtues of the human world. This aspect is common to all. It is
fundamental; it is one; there is no difference, no variation in it. As
regards the inculcation of morality and the development of human virtues,
there is no difference whatsoever between the teachings of Zoroaster,
Jesus and Bahá’u’lláh. In this they agree; they are one. The second aspect
of the divine religions is nonessential. It concerns human needs and
undergoes change in every cycle according to the exigency of the time. For
example, in the time of Moses divorce was conformable to the needs and
conditions; Moses, therefore, established it. But in the time of Christ,
divorces were numerous and the cause of corruption; as they were not
suitable for the time, he made divorce unlawful and likewise changed other
laws. These are needs and conditions which have to do with the conduct of
society; therefore, they undergo change according to the exigency of the
time. Moses dwelt in the desert. As there were no penitentiaries, no means
of restitution in the desert and wilderness, the laws of God were an eye
for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Could this be carried out now? If a man
destroys another man’s eye, are you willing to destroy the eye of the
offender? If a man’s teeth are broken or his ear cut off, will you demand
a corresponding mutilation of his assailant? This would not be conformable
to conditions of humanity at the present time. If a man steals, shall his
hand be cut off? This punishment was just and right in the law of Moses,
but it was applicable to the desert, where there were no prisons and
reformatory institutions of later and higher forms of government. Today
you have government and organization, a police system, a judge and trial
by jury. The punishment and penalty is now different. Therefore, the
nonessentials which deal with details of community are changed according
to the exigency of the time and conditions. But the essential foundation
of the teachings of Moses, Zoroaster, Jesus and Bahá’u’lláh is identical,
is one; there is no difference whatsoever.

Question: Is peace a greater word than love?

Answer: No! Love is greater than peace, for peace is founded upon love.
Love is the objective point of peace, and peace is an outcome of love.
Until love is attained, peace cannot be; but there is a so-called peace
without love. The love which is from God is the fundamental. This love is
the object of all human attainment, the radiance of heaven, the light of
man.

Question: Will you state the tenets of your faith?

Answer: First, investigate reality. Man must leave imitation and seek
reality. The contemporaneous religious beliefs differ because of their
allegiance to dogma. It is necessary, therefore, to abandon imitations and
seek their fundamental reality.

Second, the oneness of humanity. All human creatures are the servants of
God. All are submerged in the sea of His mercy. The Creator of all is one
God; the Provider, the Giver, the Protector of all is one God. He is kind
to all; why should we be unkind? All live beneath the shadow of His love;
why should we hate each other? There are certain people who are ignorant;
they must be educated. Some are like children; they must be trained and
educated until they reach maturity. Others are sickly, intellectually ill,
spiritually ill; they must be treated and healed. But all are the servants
of God.

Third, religion must be conducive to love of all, the cause of fellowship,
unity and light. If it be the cause of enmity, bloodshed and hatred, its
nonbeing is better than its being, its nonexistence better than its
existence. Religion and science conform and agree. If a question of
religion violates reason and does not agree with science, it is
imagination and not worthy of credence.

Fourth, equality between men and women. In all degrees they are equal. The
readjustment of the economic laws for the livelihood of man must be
effected in order that all humanity may live in the greatest happiness
according to their respective degrees.

Fifth, spiritual brotherhood. All mankind must attain to spiritual
fraternity—that is to say, fraternity in the Holy Spirit—for patriotic,
racial and political fraternity are of no avail. Their results are meager;
but divine fraternity, spiritual fraternity, is the cause of unity and
amity among mankind. As heretofore material civilization has been
extended, the divine civilization must now be promulgated. Until the two
agree, real happiness among mankind will be unknown. By mere intellectual
development and power of reason, man cannot attain to his fullest
degree—that is to say, by means of intellect alone he cannot accomplish
the progress effected by religion. For the philosophers of the past strove
in vain to revivify the world of mankind through the intellectual faculty.
The most of which they were capable was educating themselves and a limited
number of disciples; they themselves have confessed failure. Therefore,
the world of humanity must be confirmed by the breath of the Holy Spirit
in order to receive universal education. Through the infusion of divine
power all nations and peoples become quickened, and universal happiness is
possible.

These are some of the principles of the Bahá’ís.

Question: Will women or men aid this new religion most? Which will be more
capable?

Answer: In Persia the men have aided it more, but in the West perchance
the women. In the West women evidently have precedence in religion, but in
the East men surpass the women.

Question: What will be the food of the united people?

Answer: As humanity progresses, meat will be used less and less, for the
teeth of man are not carnivorous. For example, the lion is endowed with
carnivorous teeth, which are intended for meat, and if meat be not found,
the lion starves. The lion cannot graze; its teeth are of different shape.
The digestive system of the lion is such that it cannot receive
nourishment save through meat. The eagle has a crooked beak, the lower
part shorter than the upper. It cannot pick up grain; it cannot graze;
therefore, it is compelled to partake of meat. The domestic animals have
herbivorous teeth formed to cut grass, which is their fodder. The human
teeth, the molars, are formed to grind grain. The front teeth, the
incisors, are for fruits, etc. It is, therefore, quite apparent according
to the implements for eating that man’s food is intended to be grain and
not meat. When mankind is more fully developed, the eating of meat will
gradually cease.



8 June 1912
Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York


Notes by John G. Grundy

The body politic today is greatly in need of a physician. It is similar to
a human body afflicted with severe ailments. A doctor diagnoses the case
and prescribes treatment. He does not prescribe, however, until he has
made the diagnosis. The disease which afflicts the body politic is lack of
love and absence of altruism. In the hearts of men no real love is found,
and the condition is such that, unless their susceptibilities are
quickened by some power so that unity, love and accord may develop within
them, there can be no healing, no agreement among mankind. Love and unity
are the needs of the body politic today. Without these there can be no
progress or prosperity attained. Therefore, the friends of God must adhere
to the power which will create this love and unity in the hearts of the
sons of men. Science cannot cure the illness of the body politic. Science
cannot create amity and fellowship in human hearts. Neither can patriotism
nor racial allegiance effect a remedy. It must be accomplished solely
through the divine bounties and spiritual bestowals which have descended
from God in this day for that purpose. This is an exigency of the times,
and the divine remedy has been provided. The spiritual teachings of the
religion of God can alone create this love, unity and accord in human
hearts.

Therefore, hold to these heavenly agencies which God has provided so that
through the love of God this soul-bond may be established, this
heart-attachment realized and the light of the reality of unity be
reflected from you throughout the universe. If we do not hold fast to
these divine agencies and means, no result will be possible. Let us pray
to God that He will exhilarate our spirits so we may behold the descent of
His bounties, illumine our eyes to witness His great guidance and attune
our ears to enjoy the celestial melodies of the heavenly Word. This is our
greatest hope. This is our ultimate purpose.



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN PHILADELPHIA



9 June 1912
Talk at Unitarian Church
Fifteenth Street and Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Notes by Edna McKinney

I have come from distant countries of the Orient where the lights of
heaven have ever shone forth, from regions where the Manifestations of God
have appeared and the radiance and power of God have been revealed to
mankind. The purpose and intention of my visit is that, perchance, a bond
of unity and agreement may be established between the East and West, that
divine love may encompass all nations, divine radiance enlighten both
continents and the bounties of the Holy Spirit revivify the body of the
world. Therefore, I supplicate the threshold of God that the Orient and
Occident may become as one, that the various peoples and religions be
unified and souls be blended as the waves of one sea. May they become as
trees, flowers and roses which adorn and beautify the same garden.

The realm of Divinity is an indivisible oneness, wholly sanctified above
human comprehension; for intellectual knowledge of creation is finite,
whereas comprehension of Divinity is infinite. How can the finite
comprehend the infinite? We are utter poverty, whereas the reality of
Divinity is absolute wealth. How can utter poverty understand absolute
wealth? We are utter weakness, whereas the reality of Divinity is absolute
power. Utter weakness can never attain nor apprehend absolute power. The
phenomenal beings, which are captives of limitations, are ever subject to
transformation and change in condition. How can such phenomenal beings
ever grasp the heavenly, eternal, unchanging reality? Assuredly this is an
absolute impossibility, for when we study the creational world, we see
that the difference of degree is a barrier to such knowing. An inferior
degree can never comprehend a higher degree or kingdom. The mineral, no
matter how far it may advance, can never attain knowledge of the
vegetable. No matter how the plant or vegetable may progress, it cannot
perceive the reality of the animal kingdom—in other words, it cannot grasp
a world of life that is endowed with the power of the senses. The animal
may develop a wonderful degree of intelligence, but it can never attain
the powers of ideation and conscious reflection which belong to man. It is
evident, therefore, that difference in degree is ever an obstacle to
comprehension of the higher by the lower, the superior by the inferior.
This flower, so beautiful, fresh, fragrant and delicately scented,
although it may have attained perfection in its own kingdom, nevertheless
cannot comprehend the human reality, cannot possess sight and hearing;
therefore, it exists unaware of the world of man, although man and itself
are both accidental or conditional beings. The difference is difference of
degree. The limitation of an inferior degree is the barrier to
comprehension.

This being so, how can the human reality, which is limited, comprehend the
eternal, unmanifest Creator? How can man comprehend the omniscient,
omnipresent Lord? Undoubtedly, he cannot, for whatever comes within the
grasp of human mind is man’s limited conception, whereas the divine
Kingdom is unlimited, infinite. But although the reality of Divinity is
sanctified beyond the comprehension of its creatures, it has bestowed its
bounties upon all kingdoms of the phenomenal world, and evidences of
spiritual manifestation are witnessed throughout the realms of contingent
existence. The lights of God illumine the world of man, even as the
effulgences of the sun shine gloriously upon the material creation. The
Sun of Reality is one; its bestowal is one; its heat is one; its rays are
one; it shines upon all the phenomenal world, but the capacity for
comprehending it differs according to the kingdoms, each kingdom receiving
the light and bounty of the eternal Sun according to its capacity. The
black stone receives the light of the material sun; the trees and animals
likewise are recipients of it. All exist and are developed by that one
bounty. The perfect soul of man—that is to say, the perfect individual—is
like a mirror wherein the Sun of Reality is reflected. The perfections,
the image and light of that Sun have been revealed in the mirror; its heat
and illumination are manifest therein, for that pure soul is a perfect
expression of the Sun.

These mirrors are the Messengers of God Who tell the story of Divinity,
just as the material mirror reflects the light and disc of the outer sun
in the skies. In this way the image and effulgence of the Sun of Reality
appear in the mirrors of the Manifestations of God. This is what Jesus
Christ meant when He declared, “the father is in the son,” the purpose
being that the reality of that eternal Sun had become reflected in its
glory in Christ Himself. It does not signify that the Sun of Reality had
descended from its place in heaven or that its essential being had
effected an entrance into the mirror, for there is neither entrance nor
exit for the reality of Divinity; there is no ingress or egress; it is
sanctified above all things and ever occupies its own holy station.
Changes and transformations are not applicable to that eternal reality.
Transformation from condition to condition is the attribute of contingent
realities.

At a time when warfare and strife prevailed among nations, when enmity and
hatred separated sects and denominations and human differences were very
great, Bahá’u’lláh appeared upon the horizon of the East, proclaiming the
oneness of God and the unity of the world of humanity. He promulgated the
teaching that all mankind are the servants of one God; that all have come
into being through the bestowal of the one Creator; that God is kind to
all, nurtures, rears and protects all, provides for all and extends His
love and mercy to all races and people. Inasmuch as God is loving, why
should we be unjust and unkind? As God manifests loyalty and mercy, why
should we show forth enmity and hatred? Surely the divine policy is more
perfect than human plan and theory; for no matter how wise and sagacious
man may become, he can never attain a policy that is superior to the
policy of God. Therefore, we must emulate the attitude of God, love all
people, be just and kind to every human creature. We must consider all as
the leaves, branches and fruit of one tree, children of one household; for
all are the progeny of Adam. We are waves of one sea, grass of the same
meadow, stars in the same heaven; and we find shelter in the universal
divine Protector. If one be sick, he must be treated; the ignorant must be
educated; the sleeping must be awakened; the dead must be quickened with
life. These were principles of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh.

In proclaiming the oneness of mankind He taught that men and women are
equal in the sight of God and that there is no distinction to be made
between them. The only difference between them now is due to lack of
education and training. If woman is given equal opportunity of education,
distinction and estimate of inferiority will disappear. The world of
humanity has two wings, as it were: One is the female; the other is the
male. If one wing be defective, the strong perfect wing will not be
capable of flight. The world of humanity has two hands. If one be
imperfect, the capable hand is restricted and unable to perform its
duties. God is the Creator of mankind. He has endowed both sexes with
perfections and intelligence, given them physical members and organs of
sense, without differentiation or distinction as to superiority;
therefore, why should woman be considered inferior? This is not according
to the plan and justice of God. He has created them equal; in His estimate
there is no question of sex. The one whose heart is purest, whose deeds
are most perfect, is acceptable to God, male or female. Often in history
women have been the pride of humanity—for example, Mary, the mother of
Jesus. She was the glory of mankind. Mary Magdalene, Ásíyih, daughter of
Pharaoh, Sarah, wife of Abraham, and innumerable others have glorified the
human race by their excellences. In this day there are women among the
Bahá’ís who far outshine men. They are wise, talented, well-informed,
progressive, most intelligent and the light of men. They surpass men in
courage. When they speak in meetings, the men listen with great respect.
Furthermore, the education of women is of greater importance than the
education of men, for they are the mothers of the race, and mothers rear
the children. The first teachers of children are the mothers. Therefore,
they must be capably trained in order to educate both sons and daughters.
There are many provisions in the words of Bahá’u’lláh in regard to this.

He promulgated the adoption of the same course of education for man and
woman. Daughters and sons must follow the same curriculum of study,
thereby promoting unity of the sexes. When all mankind shall receive the
same opportunity of education and the equality of men and women be
realized, the foundations of war will be utterly destroyed. Without
equality this will be impossible because all differences and distinction
are conducive to discord and strife. Equality between men and women is
conducive to the abolition of warfare for the reason that women will never
be willing to sanction it. Mothers will not give their sons as sacrifices
upon the battlefield after twenty years of anxiety and loving devotion in
rearing them from infancy, no matter what cause they are called upon to
defend. There is no doubt that when women obtain equality of rights, war
will entirely cease among mankind.

Bahá’u’lláh promulgated the fundamental oneness of religion. He taught
that reality is one and not multiple, that it underlies all divine
precepts and that the foundations of the religions are, therefore, the
same. Certain forms and imitations have gradually arisen. As these vary,
they cause differences among religionists. If we set aside these
imitations and seek the fundamental reality underlying our beliefs, we
reach a basis of agreement because it is one and not multiple.

Among other principles of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings was the harmony of
science and religion. Religion must stand the analysis of reason. It must
agree with scientific fact and proof so that science will sanction
religion and religion fortify science. Both are indissolubly welded and
joined in reality. If statements and teachings of religion are found to be
unreasonable and contrary to science, they are outcomes of superstition
and imagination. Innumerable doctrines and beliefs of this character have
arisen in the past ages. Consider the superstitions and mythology of the
Romans, Greeks and Egyptians; all were contrary to religion and science.
It is now evident that the beliefs of these nations were superstitions,
but in those times they held to them most tenaciously. For example, one of
the many Egyptian idols was to those people an authenticated miracle,
whereas in reality it was a piece of stone. As science could not sanction
the miraculous origin and nature of a piece of rock, the belief in it must
have been superstition. It is now evident that it was superstition.
Therefore, we must cast aside such beliefs and investigate reality. That
which is found to be real and conformable to reason must be accepted, and
whatever science and reason cannot support must be rejected as imitation
and not reality. Then differences of belief will disappear. All will
become as one family, one people, and the same susceptibility to the
divine bounty and education will be witnessed among mankind.

O Thou forgiving Lord! Thou art the shelter of all these Thy servants.
Thou knowest the secrets and art aware of all things. We are all helpless,
and Thou art the Mighty, the Omnipotent. We are all sinners, and Thou art
the Forgiver of sins, the Merciful, the Compassionate. O Lord! Look not at
our shortcomings. Deal with us according to Thy grace and bounty. Our
shortcomings are many, but the ocean of Thy forgiveness is boundless. Our
weakness is grievous, but the evidences of Thine aid and assistance are
clear. Therefore, confirm and strengthen us. Enable us to do that which is
worthy of Thy holy Threshold. Illumine our hearts, grant us discerning
eyes and attentive ears. Resuscitate the dead and heal the sick. Bestow
wealth upon the poor and give peace and security to the fearful. Accept us
in Thy kingdom and illumine us with the light of guidance. Thou art the
Powerful and the Omnipotent. Thou art the Generous. Thou art the Clement.
Thou art the Kind.



9 June 1912
Talk at Baptist Temple
Broad and Berks Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Notes by Edna McKinney

I am greatly pleased to be present this evening. Truly this is a spiritual
gathering. I perceive the fragrances of the heavenly Kingdom among
you—devotion to God, sincere intention and spiritual love. Glad tidings!

From the time of the creation of Adam to this day there have been two
pathways in the world of humanity: one the natural or materialistic, the
other the religious or spiritual. The pathway of nature is the pathway of
the animal realm. The animal acts in accordance with the requirements of
nature, follows its own instincts and desires. Whatever its impulses and
proclivities may be, it has the liberty to gratify them; yet it is a
captive of nature. It cannot deviate in the least degree from the road
nature has established. It is utterly lacking spiritual susceptibilities,
ignorant of divine religion and without knowledge of the Kingdom of God.
The animal possesses no power of ideation or conscious intelligence; it is
a captive of the senses and deprived of that which lies beyond them. It is
subject to what the eye sees, the ear hears, the nostrils sense, the taste
detects and touch reveals. These sensations are acceptable and sufficient
for the animal. But that which is beyond the range of the senses, that
realm of phenomena through which the conscious pathway to the Kingdom of
God leads, the world of spiritual susceptibilities and divine religion—of
these the animal is completely unaware, for in its highest station it is a
captive of nature.

One of the strangest things witnessed is that the materialists of today
are proud of their natural instincts and bondage. They state that nothing
is entitled to belief and acceptance except that which is sensible or
tangible. By their own statements they are captives of nature, unconscious
of the spiritual world, uninformed of the divine Kingdom and unaware of
heavenly bestowals. If this be a virtue, the animal has attained it to a
superlative degree, for the animal is absolutely ignorant of the realm of
spirit and out of touch with the inner world of conscious realization. The
animal would agree with the materialist in denying the existence of that
which transcends the senses. If we admit that being limited to the plane
of the senses is a virtue, the animal is indeed more virtuous than man,
for it is entirely bereft of that which lies beyond, absolutely oblivious
of the Kingdom of God and its traces, whereas God has deposited within the
human creature an illimitable power by which he can rule the world of
nature.

Consider how all other phenomenal existence and beings are captives of
nature. The sun, that colossal center of our solar system, the giant stars
and planets, the towering mountains, the earth itself and its kingdoms of
life lower than the human—all are captives of nature except man. No other
created thing can deviate in the slightest degree from obedience to
natural law. The sun in its glory and greatness millions of miles away is
held prisoner in its orbit of universal revolution, captive of universal
natural control. Man is the ruler of nature. According to natural law and
limitation he should remain upon the earth, but behold how he violates
this command and soars above the mountains in airplanes. He sails in ships
upon the surface of the ocean and dives into its depths in submarines. Man
makes nature his servant; he harnesses the mighty energy of electricity,
for instance, and imprisons it in a small lamp for his uses and
convenience. He speaks from the East to the West through a wire. He is
able to store and preserve his voice in a phonograph. Though he is a
dweller upon earth, he penetrates the mysteries of starry worlds
inconceivably distant. He discovers latent realities within the bosom of
the earth, uncovers treasures, penetrates secrets and mysteries of the
phenomenal world and brings to light that which according to nature’s
jealous laws should remain hidden, unknown and unfathomable. Through an
ideal inner power man brings these realities forth from the invisible
plane to the visible. This is contrary to nature’s law.

It is evident, therefore, that man is ruler over nature’s sphere and
province. Nature is inert; man is progressive. Nature has no
consciousness; man is endowed with it. Nature is without volition and acts
perforce, whereas man possesses a mighty will. Nature is incapable of
discovering mysteries or realities, whereas man is especially fitted to do
so. Nature is not in touch with the realm of God; man is attuned to its
evidences. Nature is uninformed of God; man is conscious of Him. Man
acquires divine virtues; nature is denied them. Man can voluntarily
discontinue vices; nature has no power to modify the influence of its
instincts. Altogether it is evident that man is more noble and superior,
that in him there is an ideal power surpassing nature. He has
consciousness, volition, memory, intelligent power, divine attributes and
virtues of which nature is completely deprived and bereft; therefore, man
is higher and nobler by reason of the ideal and heavenly force latent and
manifest in him.

How strange then it seems that man, notwithstanding his endowment with
this ideal power, will descend to a level beneath him and declare himself
no greater than that which is manifestly inferior to his real station. God
has created such a conscious spirit within him that he is the most
wonderful of all contingent beings. In ignoring these virtues he descends
to the material plane, considers matter the ruler of existence and denies
that which lies beyond. Is this virtue? In its fullest sense this is
animalistic, for the animal realizes nothing more. In fact, from this
standpoint the animal is the greater philosopher because it is completely
ignorant of the Kingdom of God, possesses no spiritual susceptibilities
and is uninformed of the heavenly world. In brief, this is a view of the
pathway of nature.

The second pathway is that of religion, the road of the divine Kingdom. It
involves the acquisition of praiseworthy attributes, heavenly illumination
and righteous actions in the world of humanity. This pathway is conducive
to the progress and uplift of the world. It is the source of human
enlightenment, training and ethical improvement—the magnet which attracts
the love of God because of the knowledge of God it bestows. This is the
road of the holy Manifestations of God; for They are, in reality, the
foundation of the divine religion of oneness. There is no change or
transformation in this pathway. It is the cause of human betterment, the
acquisition of heavenly virtues and the illumination of mankind.

Alas that humanity is completely submerged in imitations and unrealities,
notwithstanding that the truth of divine religion has ever remained the
same. Superstitions have obscured the fundamental reality, the world is
darkened, and the light of religion is not apparent. This darkness is
conducive to differences and dissensions; rites and dogmas are many and
various; therefore, discord has arisen among the religious systems,
whereas religion is for the unification of mankind. True religion is the
source of love and agreement amongst men, the cause of the development of
praiseworthy qualities, but the people are holding to the counterfeit and
imitation, negligent of the reality which unifies, so they are bereft and
deprived of the radiance of religion. They follow superstitions inherited
from their fathers and ancestors. To such an extent has this prevailed
that they have taken away the heavenly light of divine truth and sit in
the darkness of imitations and imaginations. That which was meant to be
conducive to life has become the cause of death; that which should have
been an evidence of knowledge is now a proof of ignorance; that which was
a factor in the sublimity of human nature has proved to be its
degradation. Therefore, the realm of the religionist has gradually
narrowed and darkened, and the sphere of the materialist has widened and
advanced; for the religionist has held to imitation and counterfeit,
neglecting and discarding holiness and the sacred reality of religion.
When the sun sets, it is the time for bats to fly. They come forth because
they are creatures of the night. When the lights of religion become
darkened, the materialists appear. They are the bats of night. The decline
of religion is their time of activity; they seek the shadows when the
world is darkened and clouds have spread over it.

Bahá’u’lláh has risen from the eastern horizon. Like the glory of the sun
He has come into the world. He has reflected the reality of divine
religion, dispelled the darkness of imitations, laid the foundation of new
teachings and resuscitated the world.

The first teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the investigation of reality. Man
must seek reality himself, forsaking imitations and adherence to mere
hereditary forms. As the nations of the world are following imitations in
lieu of truth and as imitations are many and various, differences of
belief have been productive of strife and warfare. So long as these
imitations remain, the oneness of the world of humanity is impossible.
Therefore, we must investigate reality in order that by its light the
clouds and darkness may be dispelled. Reality is one reality; it does not
admit multiplicity or division. If the nations of the world investigate
reality, they will agree and become united. Many people and sects in
Persia have sought reality through the guidance and teaching of
Bahá’u’lláh. They have become united and now live in a state of agreement
and love; among them there is no longer the least trace of enmity and
strife.

The Jews were expecting the appearance of the Messiah, looking forward to
it with devotion of heart and soul, but because they were submerged in
imitations, they did not believe in Jesus Christ when He appeared. Finally
they rose against Him even to the extreme of persecution and shedding His
blood. Had they investigated reality, they would have accepted their
promised Messiah. These blind imitations and hereditary prejudices have
invariably become the cause of bitterness and hatred and have filled the
world with darkness and violence of war. Therefore, we must seek the
fundamental truth in order to extricate ourselves from such conditions and
then with illumined faces find the pathway to the Kingdom of God.

The second teaching of Bahá’u’lláh concerns the unity of mankind. All are
the servants of God and members of one human family. God has created all,
and all are His children. He rears, nourishes, provides for and is kind to
all. Why should we be unjust and unkind? This is the policy of God, the
lights of which have shone throughout the world. His sun bestows its
effulgence unsparingly upon all; His clouds send down rain without
distinction or favor; His breezes refresh the whole earth. It is evident
that humankind without exception is sheltered beneath His mercy and
protection. Some are imperfect; they must be perfected. The ignorant must
be taught, the sick healed, the sleepers awakened. The child must not be
oppressed or censured because it is undeveloped; it must be patiently
trained. The sick must not be neglected because they are ailing; nay,
rather, we must have compassion upon them and bring them healing. Briefly,
the old conditions of animosity, bigotry and hatred between the religious
systems must be dispelled and the new conditions of love, agreement and
spiritual brotherhood be established among them.

The third teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is that religion must be the source of
fellowship, the cause of unity and the nearness of God to man. If it
rouses hatred and strife, it is evident that absence of religion is
preferable and an irreligious man better than one who professes it.
According to the divine Will and intention religion should be the cause of
love and agreement, a bond to unify all mankind, for it is a message of
peace and goodwill to man from God.

The fourth teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the agreement of religion and
science. God has endowed man with intelligence and reason whereby he is
required to determine the verity of questions and propositions. If
religious beliefs and opinions are found contrary to the standards of
science, they are mere superstitions and imaginations; for the antithesis
of knowledge is ignorance, and the child of ignorance is superstition.
Unquestionably there must be agreement between true religion and science.
If a question be found contrary to reason, faith and belief in it are
impossible, and there is no outcome but wavering and vacillation.

Bahá’u’lláh also taught that prejudices—whether religious, racial,
patriotic or political—are destructive to the foundations of human
development. Prejudices of any kind are the destroyers of human happiness
and welfare. Until they are dispelled, the advancement of the world of
humanity is not possible; yet racial, religious and national biases are
observed everywhere. For thousands of years the world of humanity has been
agitated and disturbed by prejudices. As long as it prevails, warfare,
animosity and hatred will continue. Therefore, if we seek to establish
peace, we must cast aside this obstacle; for otherwise, agreement and
composure are not to be attained.

Sixth, Bahá’u’lláh set forth principles of guidance and teaching for
economic readjustment. Regulations were revealed by Him which ensure the
welfare of the commonwealth. As the rich man enjoys his life surrounded by
ease and luxuries, so the poor man must, likewise, have a home and be
provided with sustenance and comforts commensurate with his needs. This
readjustment of the social economy is of the greatest importance inasmuch
as it ensures the stability of the world of humanity; and until it is
effected, happiness and prosperity are impossible.

Seventh, Bahá’u’lláh taught that an equal standard of human rights must be
recognized and adopted. In the estimation of God all men are equal; there
is no distinction or preferment for any soul in the dominion of His
justice and equity.

Eighth, education is essential, and all standards of training and teaching
throughout the world of mankind should be brought into conformity and
agreement; a universal curriculum should be established, and the basis of
ethics be the same.

Ninth, a universal language shall be adopted and be taught by all the
schools and institutions of the world. A committee appointed by national
bodies of learning shall select a suitable language to be used as a medium
of international communication. All must acquire it. This is one of the
great factors in the unification of man.

Tenth, Bahá’u’lláh emphasized and established the equality of man and
woman. Sex is not particularized to humanity; it exists throughout the
animate kingdoms but without distinction or preference. In the vegetable
kingdom there is complete equality between male and female of species.
Likewise, in the animal plane equality exists; all are under the
protection of God. Is it becoming to man that he, the noblest of
creatures, should observe and insist upon such distinction? Woman’s lack
of progress and proficiency has been due to her need of equal education
and opportunity. Had she been allowed this equality, there is no doubt she
would be the counterpart of man in ability and capacity. The happiness of
mankind will be realized when women and men coordinate and advance
equally, for each is the complement and helpmeet of the other.

The world of humanity cannot advance through mere physical powers and
intellectual attainments; nay, rather, the Holy Spirit is essential. The
divine Father must assist the human world to attain maturity. The body of
man is in need of physical and mental energy, but his spirit requires the
life and fortification of the Holy Spirit. Without its protection and
quickening the human world would be extinguished. Jesus Christ declared,
“Let the dead bury their dead.” He also said, “That which is born of the
flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” It is
evident, therefore, according to Christ that the human spirit which is not
fortified by the presence of the Holy Spirit is dead and in need of
resurrection by that divine power; otherwise, though materially advanced
to high degrees, man cannot attain full and complete progress.



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN NEW YORK AND BROOKLYN



11 June 1912
Talk at Open Committee Meeting
Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney
780 West End Avenue, New York


Notes by Howard MacNutt

It is my hope that the meetings of the Bahá’í Assembly in New York shall
become like meetings of the Supreme Concourse. When you assemble, you must
reflect the lights of the heavenly Kingdom. Let your hearts be as mirrors
in which the radiance of the Sun of Reality is visible. Each bosom must be
a telegraph station—one terminus of the wire attached to the soul, the
other fixed in the Supreme Concourse—so that inspiration may descend from
the Kingdom of Abhá and questions of reality be discussed. Then opinions
will coincide with truth; day by day there will be progression, and the
meetings will become more radiant and spiritual. This attainment is
conditioned upon unity and agreement. The more perfect the love and
agreement, the more the divine confirmations and assistance of the Blessed
Perfection will descend. May this prove to be a divine meeting, and may
boundless bestowals come down upon you. Strive with all your hearts and
with the very power of life that unity and love may continually increase.
In discussions look toward the reality without being self-opinionated. Let
no one assert and insist upon his own mere opinion; nay, rather, let each
investigate reality with the greatest love and fellowship. Consult upon
every matter, and when one presents the point of view of reality itself,
that shall be acceptable to all. Then will spiritual unity increase among
you, individual illumination will be greater, happiness will be more
abundant, and you will draw nearer and nearer to the Kingdom of God.



11 June 1912
Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York


Notes by Howard MacNutt

We have just returned from a visit to Philadelphia, spending two nights
there and speaking in two large churches. The weather proved unpleasant
and affected my health. The purpose in these movements here and there is a
single purpose—it is to spread the light of truth in this dark world. On
account of my age it is difficult to journey. Sometimes the difficulties
are arduous, but out of love for the friends of God and with desire to
sacrifice myself in the pathway of God, I bear them in gladness. The
purpose is the result which is accomplished—love and unity among mankind.
For the world is dark with discord and selfishness, hearts are negligent,
souls are bereft of God and His heavenly bestowals. Man is submerged in
the affairs of this world. His aims, objects and attainments are mortal,
whereas God desires for him immortal accomplishments. In his heart there
is no thought of God. He has sacrificed his portion and birthright of
divine spirituality. Desire and passion, like two unmanageable horses,
have wrested the reins of control from him and are galloping madly in the
wilderness. This is the cause of the degradation of the world of humanity.
This is the cause of its retrogression into the appetites and passions of
the animal kingdom. Instead of divine advancement we find sensual
captivity and debasement of heavenly virtues of the soul. By devotion to
the carnal, mortal world human susceptibilities sink to the level of
animalism.

What are the animals’ propensities? To eat, drink, wander about and sleep.
The thoughts, the minds of the animals are confined to these. They are
captives in the bonds of these desires. Man becomes a prisoner and slave
to them when his ultimate desire is no higher than his welfare in this
world of the senses. Consider how difficult for man is the attainment of
pleasures and happiness in this mortal world. How easy it is for the
animal. Look upon the fields and flowers, prairies, streams, forests and
mountains. The grazing animals, the birds of the air, the fishes neither
toil nor undergo hardships; they sow not, nor are they concerned about the
reaping; they have no anxiety about business or politics—no trouble or
worry whatsoever. All the fields and grasses, all the meadows of fruits
and grains, all the mountain slopes and streams of salubrious water belong
to them. They do not labor for their livelihood and happiness because
everything is provided and made possible for them. If the life of man be
confined to this physical, material outlook, the animal’s life is a
hundred times better, easier and more productive of comfort and
contentment. The animal is nobler, more serene and confident because each
hour is free from anxiety and worriment; but man, restless and
dissatisfied, runs from morn till eve, sailing the seas, diving beneath
them in submarines, flying aloft in airplanes, delving into the lowest
strata of the earth to obtain his livelihood—all with the greatest
difficulty, anxiety and unrest. Therefore, in this respect the animal is
nobler, more serene, poised and confident. Consider the birds in the
forest and jungle: how they build their nests high in the swaying
treetops, build them with the utmost skill and beauty—swinging, rocking in
the morning breezes, drinking the pure, sweet water, enjoying the most
enchanting views as they fly here and there high overhead, singing
joyously—all without labor, free from worry, care and forebodings. If
man’s life be confined to the elemental, physical world of enjoyment, one
lark is nobler, more admirable than all humanity because its livelihood is
prepared, its condition complete, its accomplishment perfect and natural.

But the life of man is not so restricted; it is divine, eternal, not
mortal and sensual. For him a spiritual existence and livelihood is
prepared and ordained in the divine creative plan. His life is intended to
be a life of spiritual enjoyment to which the animal can never attain.
This enjoyment depends upon the acquisition of heavenly virtues. The
sublimity of man is his attainment of the knowledge of God. The bliss of
man is the acquiring of heavenly bestowals, which descend upon him in the
outflow of the bounty of God. The happiness of man is in the fragrance of
the love of God. This is the highest pinnacle of attainment in the human
world. How preferable to the animal and its hopeless kingdom!

Therefore, consider how base a nature it reveals in man that,
notwithstanding the favors showered upon him by God, he should lower
himself into the animal sphere, be wholly occupied with material needs,
attached to this mortal realm, imagining that the greatest happiness is to
attain wealth in this world. How purposeless! How debased is such a
nature! God has created man in order that he may be a dove of the Kingdom,
a heavenly candle, a recipient of eternal life. God has created man in
order that he may be resuscitated through the breaths of the Holy Spirit
and become the light of the world. How debased the soul which can find
enjoyment in this darkness, occupied with itself, the captive of self and
passion, wallowing in the mire of the material world! How degraded is such
a nature! What an ignorance this is! What a blindness! How glorious the
station of man who has partaken of the heavenly food and built the temple
of his everlasting residence in the world of heaven!

The Manifestations of God have come into the world to free man from these
bonds and chains of the world of nature. Although They walked upon the
earth, They lived in heaven. They were not concerned about material
sustenance and prosperity of this world. Their bodies were subjected to
inconceivable distress, but Their spirits ever soared in the highest
realms of ecstasy. The purpose of Their coming, Their teaching and
suffering was the freedom of man from himself. Shall we, therefore, follow
in Their footsteps, escape from this cage of the body or continue subject
to its tyranny? Shall we pursue the phantom of a mortal happiness which
does not exist or turn toward the tree of life and the joys of its eternal
fruits?

I have come to this country in the advanced years of my life, undergoing
difficulties of health and climate because of excessive love for the
friends of God. It is my wish that they may be assisted to become servants
of the heavenly Kingdom, captives in the service of the will of God. This
captivity is freedom; this sacrifice is glorification; this labor is
reward; this need is bestowal. For service in love for mankind is unity
with God. He who serves has already entered the Kingdom and is seated at
the right hand of his Lord.



11 June 1912
Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York


Notes by Emma C. Melick

Man must be lofty in endeavor. He must seek to become heavenly and
spiritual, to find the pathway to the threshold of God and become
acceptable in the sight of God. This is eternal glory—to be near to God.
This is eternal sovereignty—to be imbued with the virtues of the human
world. This is boundless blessing—to be entirely sanctified and holy above
every stain and dross.

Consider the human world. See how nations have come and gone. They have
been of all minds and purposes. Some were mere captives of self and
desire, engulfed in the passions of the lower nature. They attained to
wealth, to the comforts of life, to fame. And what was the final outcome?
Utter evanescence and oblivion. Reflect upon this. Look upon it with the
eye of admonition. No trace of them remains, no fruit, no result, no
benefit; they have gone utterly—complete effacement.

Souls have appeared in the world who were pure and undefiled, who have
directed their attention toward God, seeking the reward of God, attaining
nearness to the threshold of God, acceptable in the good pleasure of God.
They have been the lights of guidance and stars of the Supreme Concourse.
Consider these souls, shining like stars in the horizon of sanctity
forevermore.

It must not be implied that one should give up avocation and attainment to
livelihood. On the contrary, in the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh monasticism and
asceticism are not sanctioned. In this great Cause the light of guidance
is shining and radiant. Bahá’u’lláh has even said that occupation and
labor are devotion. All humanity must obtain a livelihood by sweat of the
brow and bodily exertion, at the same time seeking to lift the burden of
others, striving to be the source of comfort to souls and facilitating the
means of living. This in itself is devotion to God. Bahá’u’lláh has
thereby encouraged action and stimulated service. But the energies of the
heart must not be attached to these things; the soul must not be
completely occupied with them. Though the mind is busy, the heart must be
attracted toward the Kingdom of God in order that the virtues of humanity
may be attained from every direction and source.

We have forsaken the path of God; we have given up attention to the divine
Kingdom; we have not severed the heart from worldly attractions; we have
become defiled with qualities which are not praiseworthy in the sight of
God; we are so completely steeped in material issues and tendencies that
we are not partakers of the virtues of humanity.

Little reflection, little admonition is necessary for us to realize the
purpose of our creation. What a heavenly potentiality God has deposited
within us! What a power God has given our spirits! He has endowed us with
a power to penetrate the realities of things; but we must be
self-abnegating, we must have pure spirits, pure intentions, and strive
with heart and soul while in the human world to attain everlasting glory.

I have come for the purpose of admonition and voicing the teachings of
Bahá’u’lláh. It is my hope that His will and guidance may influence your
spirits, souls and hearts, causing them to become pure, holy, sanctified
and illumined and making you lamps of heavenly illumination to the world.
This is my desire; this is my hope through the assistance of God.



12 June 1912
Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York


Notes by Mary J. MacNutt

You are all exceedingly welcome. Do you realize how much you should thank
God for His blessings? If you should thank Him a thousand times with each
breath, it would not be sufficient because God has created and trained
you. He has protected you from every affliction and prepared every gift
and bestowal. Consider what a kind Father He is. He bestows His gift
before you ask. We were not in the world of existence, but as soon as we
were born, we found everything prepared for our needs and comfort without
question on our part. He has given us a kind father and compassionate
mother, provided for us two springs of salubrious milk, pure atmosphere,
refreshing water, gentle breezes and the sun shining above our heads. In
brief, He has supplied all the necessities of life although we did not ask
for any of these great gifts. With pure mercy and bounty He has prepared
this great table. It is a mercy which precedes asking. There is another
kind of mercy, which is realized after questioning and supplication. He
has bestowed both upon us—without asking and with supplication. He has
created us in this radiant century, a century longed for and expected by
all the sanctified souls in past periods. It is a blessed century; it is a
blessed day. The philosophers of history have agreed that this century is
equal to one hundred past centuries. This is true from every standpoint.
This is the century of science, inventions, discoveries and universal
laws. This is the century of the revelation of the mysteries of God. This
is the century of the effulgence of the rays of the Sun of Truth.
Therefore, you must render thanks and glorification to God that you were
born in this age. Furthermore, you have listened to the call of
Bahá’u’lláh. Your nostrils are perfumed with the breezes of the paradise
of Abhá. You have caught glimpses of the light from the horizon of the
Orient. You were asleep; you are awakened. Your ears are attentive; your
hearts are informed. You have acquired the love of God. You have attained
to the knowledge of God. This is the most great bestowal of God. This is
the breath of the Holy Spirit, and this consists of faith and assurance.
This eternal life is the second birth; this is the baptism of the Holy
Spirit. God has destined this station for you all. He has prepared this
for you. You must appreciate the value of this bounty and engage your time
in mentioning and thanking the True One. You must live in the utmost
happiness. If any trouble or vicissitude comes into your lives, if your
heart is depressed on account of health, livelihood or vocation, let not
these things affect you. They should not cause unhappiness, for
Bahá’u’lláh has brought you divine happiness. He has prepared heavenly
food for you; He has destined eternal bounty for you; He has bestowed
everlasting glory upon you. Therefore, these glad tidings should cause you
to soar in the atmosphere of joy forever and ever. Render continual thanks
unto God so that the confirmations of God may encircle you all.



15 June 1912
Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York


Notes by Howard MacNutt

I have made you wait awhile, but as I was tired, I slept. While I was
sleeping, I was conversing with you as though speaking at the top of my
voice. Then through the effect of my own voice I awoke. As I awoke, one
word was upon my lips—the word imtíyáz (“distinction”). So I will speak to
you upon that subject this morning.

When we look upon the world of existence, we realize that all material
things have a common bond; and yet, on the other hand, there are certain
points of distinction between them. For instance, all earthly objects have
common bodily ties. The minerals, vegetables and animals have elemental
bodies in common with each other. Likewise, they have place in the order
of creation. This is the common tie or point of contact between them. All
of them pass through the process of composition and decomposition; this is
a natural law to which all are subject. This law is ruling throughout
creation and constitutes a bond of connection among created things. But at
the same time there are certain distinguishing features between these
objects. For instance, between the mineral and vegetable, the vegetable
and animal, the animal and human, points of distinction exist which are
unmistakable and significant. Likewise, there are distinctions between
kinds and species of each kingdom. When we consider the mineral kingdom in
detail, we observe not only points of similarity between objects but
points of distinction as well. Some are immovable bodies, some hard and
solid; some have the power of expansion and contraction; some are liquid,
some gaseous; some have weight; others, like fire and electricity, have
not. So there are many points of distinction among these kinds of
elements.

In the vegetable kingdom also we observe distinction between the various
sorts and species of organisms. Each has its own form, color and
fragrance. In the animal kingdom the same law rules as many distinctions
in form, color and function are noticeable. It is the same in the human
kingdom. From the standpoint of color there are white, black, yellow and
red people. From the standpoint of physiognomy there is a wide difference
and distinction among races. The Asian, African and American have
different physiognomies; the men of the North and men of the South are
very different in type and features. From an economic standpoint in the
law of living there is a great deal of difference. Some are poor, others
wealthy; some are wise, others ignorant; some are patient and serene, some
impatient and excitable; some are prone to justice, others practice
injustice and oppression; some are meek, others arrogant. In brief, there
are many points of distinction among humankind.

I desire distinction for you. The Bahá’ís must be distinguished from
others of humanity. But this distinction must not depend upon wealth—that
they should become more affluent than other people. I do not desire for
you financial distinction. It is not an ordinary distinction I desire; not
scientific, commercial, industrial distinction. For you I desire spiritual
distinction—that is, you must become eminent and distinguished in morals.
In the love of God you must become distinguished from all else. You must
become distinguished for loving humanity, for unity and accord, for love
and justice. In brief, you must become distinguished in all the virtues of
the human world—for faithfulness and sincerity, for justice and fidelity,
for firmness and steadfastness, for philanthropic deeds and service to the
human world, for love toward every human being, for unity and accord with
all people, for removing prejudices and promoting international peace.
Finally, you must become distinguished for heavenly illumination and for
acquiring the bestowals of God. I desire this distinction for you. This
must be the point of distinction among you.



16 June 1912
Talk at Fourth Unitarian Church
Beverly Road, Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York


Notes by Esther Foster

This is a Unitarian church, and in the Arabic tongue this day may well be
called Yawm-al’Ittihád (“the Unitarian Day”). Therefore, I consider it
appropriate to speak to you upon the subject of unity.

What is real unity? When we observe the human world, we find various
collective expressions of unity therein. For instance, man is
distinguished from the animal by his degree, or kingdom. This
comprehensive distinction includes all the posterity of Adam and
constitutes one great household or human family, which may be considered
the fundamental or physical unity of mankind. Furthermore, a distinction
exists between various groups of humankind according to lineage, each
group forming a racial unity separate from the others. There is also the
unity of tongue among those who use the same language as a means of
communication; national unity where various peoples live under one form of
government such as French, German, British, etc.; and political unity,
which conserves the civil rights of parties or factions of the same
government. All these unities are imaginary and without real foundation,
for no real result proceeds from them. The purpose of true unity is real
and divine outcomes. From these limited unities mentioned only limited
outcomes proceed, whereas unlimited unity produces unlimited result. For
instance, from the limited unity of race or nationality the results at
most are limited. It is like a family living alone and solitary; there are
no unlimited or universal outcomes from it.

The unity which is productive of unlimited results is first a unity of
mankind which recognizes that all are sheltered beneath the overshadowing
glory of the All-Glorious, that all are servants of one God; for all
breathe the same atmosphere, live upon the same earth, move beneath the
same heavens, receive effulgence from the same sun and are under the
protection of one God. This is the most great unity, and its results are
lasting if humanity adheres to it; but mankind has hitherto violated it,
adhering to sectarian or other limited unities such as racial, patriotic
or unity of self-interests; therefore, no great results have been
forthcoming. Nevertheless, it is certain that the radiance and favors of
God are encompassing, minds have developed, perceptions have become acute,
sciences and arts are widespread, and capacity exists for the proclamation
and promulgation of the real and ultimate unity of mankind, which will
bring forth marvelous results. It will reconcile all religions, make
warring nations loving, cause hostile kings to become friendly and bring
peace and happiness to the human world. It will cement together the Orient
and Occident, remove forever the foundations of war and upraise the ensign
of the Most Great Peace. These limited unities are, therefore, signs of
that great unity which will make all the human family one by being
productive of the attractions of conscience in mankind.

Another unity is the spiritual unity which emanates from the breaths of
the Holy Spirit. This is greater than the unity of mankind. Human unity or
solidarity may be likened to the body, whereas unity from the breaths of
the Holy Spirit is the spirit animating the body. This is a perfect unity.
It creates such a condition in mankind that each one will make sacrifices
for the other, and the utmost desire will be to forfeit life and all that
pertains to it in behalf of another’s good. This is the unity which
existed among the disciples of Jesus Christ and bound together the
Prophets and holy Souls of the past. It is the unity which through the
influence of the divine spirit is permeating the Bahá’ís so that each
offers his life for the other and strives with all sincerity to attain his
good pleasure. This is the unity which caused twenty thousand people in
Persia to give their lives in love and devotion to it. It made the Báb the
target of a thousand arrows and caused Bahá’u’lláh to suffer exile and
imprisonment forty years. This unity is the very spirit of the body of the
world. It is impossible for the body of the world to become quickened with
life without its vivification. Jesus Christ—may my life be a sacrifice to
Him!—promulgated this unity among mankind. Every soul who believed in
Jesus Christ became revivified and resuscitated through this spirit,
attained to the zenith of eternal glory, realized the everlasting life,
experienced the second birth and rose to the acme of good fortune.

In the Word of God there is still another unity—the oneness of the
Manifestations of God, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, Muḥammad, the Báb and
Bahá’u’lláh. This is a unity divine, heavenly, radiant, merciful—the one
reality appearing in its successive Manifestations. For instance, the sun
is one and the same, but its points of dawning are various. During the
summer season it rises from the northern point of the ecliptic; in winter
it appears from the southern point of rising. Each month between, it
appears from a certain zodiacal position. Although these dawning points
are different, the sun is the same sun which has appeared from them all.
The significance is the reality of Prophethood which is symbolized by the
sun, and the holy Manifestations are the dawning places or zodiacal
points.

There is also the divine unity or entity, which is sanctified above all
concept of humanity. It cannot be comprehended nor conceived because it is
infinite reality and cannot become finite. Human minds are incapable of
surrounding that reality because all thoughts and conceptions of it are
finite, intellectual creations and not the reality of Divine Being which
alone knows itself. For example, if we form a conception of Divinity as a
living, almighty, self-subsisting, eternal Being, this is only a concept
apprehended by a human intellectual reality. It would not be the outward,
visible reality, which is beyond the power of human mind to conceive or
encompass. We ourselves have an external, visible entity; but even our
concept of it is the product of our own brain and limited comprehension.
The reality of Divinity is sanctified above this degree of knowing and
realization. It has ever been hidden and secluded in its own holiness and
sanctity above our comprehending. Although it transcends our realization,
its lights, bestowals, traces and virtues have become manifest in the
realities of the Prophets, even as the sun becomes resplendent in various
mirrors. These holy realities are as reflectors, and the reality of
Divinity is as the sun, which, although it is reflected from the mirrors,
and its virtues and perfections become resplendent therein, does not stoop
from its own station of majesty and glory and seek abode in the mirrors;
it remains in its heaven of sanctity. At most it is this: that its lights
become manifest and evident in its mirrors or manifestations. Therefore,
its bounty proceeding from them is one bounty, but the recipients of that
bounty are many. This is the unity of God; this is oneness—unity of
Divinity, holy above ascent or descent, embodiment, comprehension or
idealization—divine unity. The Prophets are its mirrors; its lights are
revealed through Them; its virtues become resplendent in Them, but the Sun
of Reality never descends from its own highest point and station. This is
unity, oneness, sanctity; this is glorification whereby we praise and
adore God.

O my God! O my God! Verily, these are servants at the threshold of Thy
mercy, and maidservants at the door of Thy oneness. Verily, they have
gathered in this temple to turn to Thy face of glory, holding to the hem
of Thy garment and to Thy singleness, seeking Thy good pleasure and ascent
into Thy Kingdom. They receive effulgence from the Sun of Reality in this
glorious century, and they long for Thy goodwill in all great affairs. O
Lord! Illumine their sight with a vision of Thy signs and riches, and
quicken their ears with hearkening to Thy Word. Render their hearts
replete with Thy love, and gladden their spirits with Thy meeting. Deign
to bestow upon them spiritual good in Thine earth and heaven, and make
them signs of unity among Thy servants in order that the real unity may
appear and all may become one in Thy Cause and Kingdom. Verily, Thou art
the Generous. Verily, Thou art the Mighty, the Spiritual. Thou art the
Merciful, the Clement.

(To the children in the Sunday School)

I am glad to see these bright, radiant children. God willing, all of them
may realize the hopes and aspirations of their parents.

Praise be to God! I see before me these beautiful children of the Kingdom.
Their hearts are pure, their faces are shining. They shall soon become the
sons and daughters of the Kingdom. Thanks be to God! They are seeking to
acquire virtues and will be the cause of the attainment of the excellences
of humanity. This is the cause of oneness in the Kingdom of God. Praise be
to God! They have kind and revered teachers who train and educate them
well and who long for confirmation in order that, God willing, like tender
plants in the garden of God they may be refreshed by the downpour of the
clouds of mercy, grow and become verdant. In the utmost perfection and
delicacy may they at last bring forth fruit.

I supplicate God that these children may be reared under His protection
and that they may be nourished by His favor and grace until all, like
beautiful flowers in the garden of human hopes and aspirations, shall
blossom and become redolent of fragrance.

O God! Educate these children. These children are the plants of Thine
orchard, the flowers of Thy meadow, the roses of Thy garden. Let Thy rain
fall upon them; let the Sun of Reality shine upon them with Thy love. Let
Thy breeze refresh them in order that they may be trained, grow and
develop, and appear in the utmost beauty. Thou art the Giver. Thou art the
Compassionate.



16 June 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Howard MacNutt
935 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York


Notes by Esther Foster

This is a splendid gathering, a meeting of the maidservants of the
Merciful and the beloved of God. Whenever such gatherings have taken place
in this world, the results have been very great. They have exerted an
influence upon the world of hearts and minds. Wherever a lamp is lighted
in the night, naturally people are attracted and gather around it. When
you see such an assemblage as this, you may know that a light is
illumining the darkness. There are lamps the light of which is limited.
There are lamps the light of which is unlimited. There are lamps which
illumine small places and lamps which illumine the horizons. The lamp of
the guidance of God, wherever lighted, has shed its radiance throughout
the East and the West. Praise be to God! It has been lighted in this
country; day by day its radiance is becoming more resplendent and its
effulgence more widespread. This is not known now, but later on its traces
will become evident. Consider the days of Christ: how the light of
guidance brightened twelve hearts. How limited it seemed, but how
expansive it became afterward and illumined the world! You are not a large
body of people, but because the lamp of guidance has been lighted in your
hearts, the effects will be wonderful in the years to come. It is evident
and manifest that the world will be illumined by this light; therefore,
you must thank God that—praise be to God!—through His grace and favor the
lamp of the most great guidance has been ignited in your hearts, and He
has summoned you to His Kingdom. He has caused the call of the Supreme
Concourse to reach your ears. The doors of heaven have been opened unto
you. The Sun of Reality is shining upon you, the cloud of mercy is pouring
down, and the breezes of providence are wafting through your souls.
Although the bestowal is great and the grace is glorious, yet capacity and
readiness are requisite. Without capacity and readiness the divine bounty
will not become manifest and evident. No matter how much the cloud may
rain, the sun may shine and the breezes blow, the soil that is sterile
will give no growth. The ground that is pure and free from thorns and
thistles receives and produces through the rain of the cloud of mercy. No
matter how much the sun shines, it will have no effect upon the black
rock, but in a pure and polished mirror its lights become resplendent.
Therefore, we must develop capacity in order that the signs of the mercy
of the Lord may be revealed in us. We must endeavor to free the soil of
the hearts from useless weeds and sanctify it from the thorns of worthless
thoughts in order that the cloud of mercy may bestow its power upon us.
The doors of God are open, but we must be ready and fitted to enter. The
ocean of divine providence is surging, but we must be able to swim. The
bestowals of the Almighty are descending from the heaven of grace, but
capacity to receive them is essential. The fountain of divine generosity
is gushing forth, but we must have thirst for the living waters. Unless
there be thirst, the salutary water will not assuage. Unless the soul
hungers, the delicious foods of the heavenly table will not give
sustenance. Unless the eyes of perception be opened, the lights of the sun
will not be witnessed. Until the nostrils are purified, the fragrance of
the divine rose garden will not be inhaled. Unless the heart be filled
with longing, the favors of the Lord will not be evident. Unless a perfect
melody be sung, the ears of the hearers will not be attracted. Therefore,
we must endeavor night and day to purify the hearts from every dross,
sanctify the souls from every restriction and become free from the
discords of the human world. Then the divine bestowals will become evident
in their fullness and glory. If we do not strive and sanctify ourselves
from the defects and evil qualities of human nature, we will not partake
of the bestowals of God. It is as if the sun is shining in its full glory,
but no reflection is forthcoming from hearts that are black as stone. If
an ocean of salubrious water is surging and we be not thirsty, what
benefit do we receive? If the candle be lighted and we have no eyes, what
enjoyment do we obtain from it? If melodious anthems should rise to the
heavens and we are bereft of hearing, what enjoyment can we find?

Therefore, we must endeavor always, cry, supplicate and invoke the Kingdom
of God to grant us full capacity in order that the bestowals of God may
become revealed and manifest in us. And as we attain to these heavenly
bounties, we shall offer thanks unto the threshold of oneness. Then shall
we rejoice in the Lord that in this wonderful century and glorious age,
under the shelter of the Kingdom of God we have enjoyed these bestowals
and will arise in praise and thanksgiving. Therefore, I first exhort
myself and then I entreat you to appreciate this great bestowal, recognize
this most great guidance, accept these bounties of the Lord. You must
endeavor day and night to become worthy of a generous portion of these
gifts and realize full capacity of attainment. Praise be to God! Your
hearts are illumined, your faces are turned toward the Kingdom of God. It
is my hope that all of these degrees may be reached and these friends
attain a station which shall be an example and stimulus for all friends in
the world. May the love of God spread from here onward and outward; may
the knowledge of God be sent broadcast from this place; may spiritual
forces become effective here; may the lights of the Kingdom shine; may
intelligent souls be found here so that with all power they may be
occupied in the service of God, furthering the oneness of the human world
and the cause of the Most Great Peace. May these souls be lighted candles
and fruitful trees; may they be pearls of the shells of providence; may
they be stars of heaven. This is my supplication to God. This is my
request from the Beauty of Abhá: that He may submerge all of you in the
ocean of His grace.

(Afterward, speaking of numbers)

Such suppositions regarding lucky or unlucky numbers are purely imaginary.
The superstition concerning thirteen had its origin in the fact that Jesus
Christ was surrounded by twelve disciples and that Judas Iscariot was the
thirteenth member of their gathering. This is the source of the
superstition, but it is purely imaginary. Although Judas was outwardly a
disciple, in reality he was not. Twelve is the original number of
significance and completion. Jacob had twelve sons from whom descended
twelve tribes. The disciples of Jesus were twelve; the Imáms of Muḥammad
were twelve. The zodiacal signs are twelve; the months of the year are
twelve, etc.

The mysteries of the Holy Books have become explained in the manifestation
of Bahá’u’lláh. Before He appeared, these mysteries were not understood.
Bahá’u’lláh opened and unsealed these mysteries. It was my wish to come
here today to have this meeting.



16 June 1912
Talk at Central Congregational Church
Hancock Street, Brooklyn, New York


Notes by Esther Foster

This is a goodly temple and congregation, for—praise be to God!—this is a
house of worship wherein conscientious opinion has free sway. Every
religion and every religious aspiration may be freely voiced and expressed
here. Just as in the world of politics there is need for free thought,
likewise in the world of religion there should be the right of
unrestricted individual belief. Consider what a vast difference exists
between modern democracy and the old forms of despotism. Under an
autocratic government the opinions of men are not free, and development is
stifled, whereas in democracy, because thought and speech are not
restricted, the greatest progress is witnessed. It is likewise true in the
world of religion. When freedom of conscience, liberty of thought and
right of speech prevail—that is to say, when every man according to his
own idealization may give expression to his beliefs—development and growth
are inevitable. Therefore, this is a blessed church because its pulpit is
open to every religion, the ideals of which may be set forth with openness
and freedom. For this reason I am most grateful to the reverend doctor; I
find him indeed a servant of the oneness of humanity.

The holy Manifestations Who have been the Sources or Founders of the
various religious systems were united and agreed in purpose and teaching.
Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, Muḥammad, the Báb and
Bahá’u’lláh are one in spirit and reality. Moreover, each Prophet
fulfilled the promise of the One Who came before Him and, likewise, Each
announced the One Who would follow. Consider how Abraham foretold the
coming of Moses, and Moses embodied the Abrahamic statement. Moses
prophesied the Messianic cycle, and Christ fulfilled the law of Moses. It
is evident, therefore, that the Holy Manifestations Who founded the
religious systems are united and agreed; there is no differentiation
possible in Their mission and teachings; all are reflectors of reality,
and all are promulgators of the religion of God. The divine religion is
reality, and reality is not multiple; it is one. Therefore, the
foundations of the religious systems are one because all proceed from the
indivisible reality; but the followers of these systems have disagreed;
discord, strife and warfare have arisen among them, for they have forsaken
the foundation and held to that which is but imitation and semblance.
Inasmuch as imitations differ, enmity and dissension have resulted. For
example, Jesus Christ—may my spirit be a sacrifice unto Him!—laid the
foundation of eternal reality, but after His departure many sects and
divisions appeared in Christianity. What was the cause of this? There is
no doubt that they originated in dogmatic imitations, for the foundations
of Christ were reality itself, in which no divergence exists. When
imitations appeared, sects and denominations were formed.

If Christians of all denominations and divisions should investigate
reality, the foundations of Christ will unite them. No enmity or hatred
will remain, for they will all be under the one guidance of reality
itself. Likewise, in the wider field if all the existing religious systems
will turn away from ancestral imitations and investigate reality, seeking
the real meanings of the Holy Books, they will unite and agree upon the
same foundation, reality itself. As long as they follow counterfeit
doctrines or imitations instead of reality, animosity and discord will
exist and increase. Let me illustrate this. Moses and the prophets of
Israel announced the advent of the Messiah but expressed it in the
language of symbols. When Christ appeared, the Jews rejected Him, although
they were expecting His manifestation and in their temples and synagogues
were crying and lamenting, saying, “O God, hasten the coming of the
Messiah!” Why did they deny Him when He announced Himself? Because they
had followed ancestral forms and interpretations and were blind to the
reality of Christ. They had not perceived the inner significances of the
Holy Bible. They voiced their objections, saying, “We are expecting
Christ, but His coming is conditioned upon certain fulfillments and
prophetic announcements. Among the signs of His appearance is one that He
shall come from an unknown place, whereas now this claimant of Messiahship
has come from Nazareth. We know his home, and we are acquainted with his
mother.

“Second, one of the signs or Messianic conditions is that His scepter
would be an iron rod, and this Christ has not even a wooden staff.

“Third, He was to be seated upon the throne of David, whereas this
Messianic king is in the utmost state of poverty and has not even a mat.

“Fourth, He was to conquer the East and the West. This person has not even
conquered a village. How can he be the Messiah?

“Fifth, He was to promulgate the laws of the Bible. This one has not only
failed to promulgate the laws of the Bible, but he has broken the law of
the sabbath.

“Sixth, the Messiah was to gather together all the Jews who were scattered
in Palestine and restore them to honor and prestige, but this one has
degraded the Jews instead of uplifting them.

“Seventh, during His sovereignty even the animals were to enjoy blessings
and comfort, for according to the prophetic texts, He should establish
peace to such a universal extent that the eagle and quail would live
together, the lion and deer would feed in the same meadow, the wolf and
lamb would lie down in the same pasture. In the human kingdom warfare was
to cease entirely; spears would be turned into pruning hooks and swords
into plowshares. Now we see in the day of this would-be Messiah such
injustice prevails that even he himself is sacrificed. How could he be the
promised Christ?”

And so they spoke infamous words regarding Him.

Now inasmuch as the Jews were submerged in the sea of ancestral
imitations, they could not comprehend the meaning of these prophecies. All
the words of the prophets were fulfilled, but because the Jews held
tenaciously to hereditary interpretations, they did not understand the
inner meanings of the Holy Bible; therefore, they denied Jesus Christ, the
Messiah. The purpose of the prophetic words was not the outward or literal
meaning, but the inner symbolical significance. For example, it was
announced that the Messiah was to come from an unknown place. This did not
refer to the birthplace of the physical body of Jesus. It has reference to
the reality of the Christ—that is to say, the Christ reality was to appear
from the invisible realm—for the divine reality of Christ is holy and
sanctified above place.

His sword was to be a sword of iron. This signified His tongue which
should separate the true from the false and by which great sword of attack
He would conquer the kingdoms of hearts. He did not conquer by the
physical power of an iron rod; He conquered the East and the West by the
sword of His utterance.

He was seated upon the throne of David, but His sovereignty was neither a
Napoleonic sovereignty nor the vanishing dominion of a Pharaoh. The Christ
Kingdom was everlasting, eternal in the heaven of the divine Will.

By His promulgating the laws of the Bible the reality of the law of Moses
was meant. The Sinaitic law is the foundation of the reality of
Christianity. Christ promulgated it and gave it higher, spiritual
expression.

He conquered and subdued the East and West. His conquest was effected
through the breaths of the Holy Spirit, which eliminated all boundaries
and shone from all horizons.

In His day, according to prophecy, the wolf and the lamb were to drink
from the same fountain. This was realized in Christ. The fountain referred
to was the Gospel, from which the water of life gushes forth. The wolf and
lamb are opposed and divergent races symbolized by these animals. Their
meeting and association were impossible, but having become believers in
Jesus Christ those who were formerly as wolves and lambs became united
through the words of the Gospel.

The purport is that all the meanings of the prophecies were fulfilled, but
because the Jews were captives of ancestral imitations and did not
perceive the reality of the meanings of these words, they denied Christ;
nay, they even went so far as to crucify Him. Consider how harmful is
imitation. These were interpretations handed down from fathers and
ancestors, and because the Jews held fast to them, they were deprived.

It is evident, then, that we must forsake all such imitations and beliefs
so that we may not commit this error. We must investigate reality, lay
aside selfish notions and banish hearsay from our minds. The Jews consider
Christ the enemy of Moses, whereas, on the contrary, Christ promoted the
Word of Moses. He spread the name of Moses throughout the Orient and
Occident. He promulgated the teachings of Moses. Had it not been for
Christ, you would not have heard the name of Moses; and unless the
manifestation of Messiahship had appeared in Christ, we would not have
received the Old Testament.

The truth is that Christ fulfilled the Mosaic law and in every way upheld
Moses; but the Jews, blinded by imitations and prejudices, considered Him
the enemy of Moses.

Among the great religious systems of the world is Islám. About three
hundred million people acknowledge it. For more than a thousand years
there has been enmity and strife between Muslims and Christians, owing to
misunderstanding and spiritual blindness. If prejudices and imitations
were abandoned, there would be no enmity whatever between them, and these
hundreds of millions of antagonistic religionists would adorn the world of
humanity by their unity.

I wish now to call your attention to a most important point. All Islám
considers the Qur’án the Word of God. In this sacred Book there are
explicit texts which are not traditional, stating that Christ was the Word
of God, that He was the Spirit of God, that Jesus Christ came into this
world through the quickening breaths of the Holy Spirit and that Mary, His
mother, was holy and sanctified. In the Qur’án a whole chapter is devoted
to the story of Jesus. It records that in the time of His youth He
worshiped God in the temple at Jerusalem, that manna descended from heaven
for His sustenance and that He uttered words immediately after His birth.
In brief, in the Qur’án there is eulogy and commendation of Christ such as
you do not find in the Gospel. The Gospel does not record that the child
Jesus spoke at birth or that God caused sustenance to descend from heaven
for Him, but in the Qur’án it is repeatedly stated that God sent down
manna day by day as food for Him. Furthermore, it is significant and
convincing that when Muḥammad proclaimed His work and mission, His first
objection to His own followers was, “Why have you not believed on Jesus
Christ? Why have you not accepted the Gospel? Why have you not believed in
Moses? Why have you not followed the precepts of the Old Testament? Why
have you not understood the prophets of Israel? Why have you not believed
in the disciples of Christ? The first duty incumbent upon ye, O Arabians,
is to accept and believe in these. You must consider Moses as a Prophet.
You must accept Jesus Christ as the Word of God. You must know the Old and
the New Testaments as the Word of God. You must believe in Jesus Christ as
the product of the Holy Spirit.” His people answered, “O Muḥammad! We will
become believers although our fathers and ancestors were not believers,
and we are proud of them. Tell us what is going to become of them?”
Muḥammad replied, “I declare unto you that they occupy the lowest stratum
of hell because they did not believe in Moses and Christ and because they
did not accept the Bible; and although they are my own ancestors, yet they
are in despair in hell.” This is an explicit text of the Qur’án; it is not
a story or tradition but from the Qur’án itself, which is in the hands of
the people. Therefore, it is evident that ignorance and misunderstanding
have caused so much warfare and strife between Christians and Muslims. If
both should investigate the underlying truth of their religious beliefs,
the outcome would be unity and agreement; strife and bitterness would pass
away forever and the world of humanity find peace and composure. Consider
that there are two hundred and fifty million Christians and three hundred
million Muslims. How much blood has flowed in their wars; how many nations
have been destroyed; how many children have been made fatherless; how many
fathers and mothers have mourned the loss of children and dear ones! All
this has been due to prejudice, misunderstanding and imitations of
ancestral beliefs without investigation of reality. If the Holy Books were
rightly understood, none of this discord and distress would have existed,
but love and fellowship would have prevailed instead. This is true with
all the other religions as well. The conditions I have named will apply
equally to all. The essential purpose of the religion of God is to
establish unity among mankind. The divine Manifestations were Founders of
the means of fellowship and love. They did not come to create discord,
strife and hatred in the world. The religion of God is the cause of love,
but if it is made to be the source of enmity and bloodshed, surely its
absence is preferable to its existence; for then it becomes satanic,
detrimental and an obstacle to the human world.

In the Orient the various peoples and nations were in a state of
antagonism and strife, manifesting the utmost enmity and hatred toward
each other. Darkness encompassed the world of mankind. At such a time as
this Bahá’u’lláh appeared. He removed all the imitations and prejudices
which had caused separation and misunderstanding and laid the foundation
of the one religion of God. When this was accomplished, Muslims,
Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Buddhists all were united in actual
fellowship and love. The souls who followed Bahá’u’lláh from every nation
have become as one family living in agreement and accord, willing to
sacrifice life for each other. The Muslim will give his life for the
Christian, the Christian for the Jew and all of them for the Zoroastrian.
They live together in love, fellowship and unity. They have attained to
the condition of rebirth in the Spirit of God. They have become revivified
and regenerated through the breaths of the Holy Spirit. Praise be to God!
This light has come forth from the East, and eventually there shall be no
discord or enmity in the Orient. Through the power of Bahá’u’lláh all will
be united. He upraised this standard of the oneness of humanity in prison.
When subjected to banishment by two kings, while a refugee from enemies of
all nations and during the days of His long imprisonment He wrote to the
kings and rulers of the world in words of wonderful eloquence, arraigning
them severely and summoning them to the divine standard of unity and
justice. He exhorted them to peace and international agreement, making it
incumbent upon them to establish a board of international arbitration—that
from all nations and governments of the world there should be delegates
selected for a congress of nations which should constitute a universal
arbitral court of justice to settle international disputes. He wrote to
Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, the Czar of Russia, the Emperor of
Germany, Napoleon III of France and others, inviting them to world unity
and peace. Through a heavenly power He was enabled to promulgate these
ideals in the Orient. Kings could not withstand Him. They endeavored to
extinguish His light but served only to increase its intensity and
illumination. While in prison He stood against the _Sh_áh of Persia and
Sulṭán of Turkey and promulgated His teachings until He firmly established
the banner of truth and the oneness of humankind. I was a prisoner with
Him for forty years until the Young Turks of the Committee of Union and
Progress overthrew the despotism of ‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd, dethroned him and
proclaimed liberty. This committee set me free from tyranny and
oppression; otherwise, I should have been in prison until the days of my
life were ended. The purport is this: that Bahá’u’lláh in prison was able
to proclaim and establish the foundations of peace although two despotic
kings were His enemies and oppressors. The King of Persia, Náṣiri’d-Dín
_Sh_áh, had killed twenty thousand Bahá’ís, martyrs who in absolute
severance and complete willingness offered their lives joyfully for their
faith. These two powerful and tyrannical kings could not withstand a
prisoner; this Prisoner upheld the standard of humanity and brought the
people of the Orient into agreement and unity. Today in the East, only
those who have not followed Bahá’u’lláh are in opposition and enmity. The
people of the nations who have accepted Him as the standard of divine
guidance enjoy a condition of actual fellowship and love. If you should
attend a meeting in the East, you could not distinguish between Christian
and Muslim; you would not know which was Jew, Zoroastrian or Buddhist, so
completely have they become fraternized and their religious differences
been leveled. They associate in the utmost love and spiritual fragrance as
if they belonged to one family, as if they were one people.



17 June 1912
Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York


Notes by Emma C. Melick

We should all visit the sick. When they are in sorrow and suffering, it is
a real help and benefit to have a friend come. Happiness is a great healer
to those who are ill. In the East it is the custom to call upon the
patient often and meet him individually. The people in the East show the
utmost kindness and compassion to the sick and suffering. This has greater
effect than the remedy itself. You must always have this thought of love
and affection when you visit the ailing and afflicted.

The world of humanity may be likened to the individual man himself; it has
its illness and ailments. A patient must be diagnosed by a skillful
physician. The Prophets of God are the real Physicians. In whatever age or
time They appear They prescribe for human conditions. They know the
sicknesses; They discover the hidden sources of disease and indicate the
necessary remedy. Whosoever is healed by that remedy finds eternal health.
For instance, in the day of Jesus Christ the world of humanity was
afflicted with various ailments. Jesus Christ was the real Physician. He
appeared, recognized the symptoms and prescribed the real remedy. What was
that remedy? It was His revealed teaching especially applicable to that
age. Later on many new ailments and disorders appeared in the body
politic. The world became sick; other severe maladies appeared, especially
in the peninsula of Arabia. God manifested Muḥammad there. He came and
prescribed for the conditions so that the Arabs became healthy, strong and
virile in that time.

In this present age the world of humanity is afflicted with severe
sicknesses and grave disorders which threaten death. Therefore,
Bahá’u’lláh has appeared. He is the real Physician, bringing divine remedy
and healing to the world of man. He has brought teachings for all
ailments—the Hidden Words, I_sh_ráqát, Tarazát, Tajallíyát, Words of
Paradise, Glad Tidings, etc. These Holy Words and teachings are the remedy
for the body politic, the divine prescription and real cure for the
disorders which afflict the world. Therefore, we must accept and partake
of this healing remedy in order that complete recovery may be assured.
Every soul who lives according to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is free
from the ailments and indispositions which prevail throughout the world of
humanity; otherwise, selfish disorders, intellectual maladies, spiritual
sicknesses, imperfections and vices will surround him, and he will not
receive the life-giving bounties of God.

Bahá’u’lláh is the real Physician. He has diagnosed human conditions and
indicated the necessary treatment. The essential principles of His healing
remedies are the knowledge and love of God, severance from all else save
God, turning our faces in sincerity toward the Kingdom of God, implicit
faith, firmness and fidelity, loving-kindness toward all creatures and the
acquisition of the divine virtues indicated for the human world. These are
the fundamental principles of progress, civilization, international peace
and the unity of mankind. These are the essentials of Bahá’u’lláh’s
teachings, the secret of everlasting health, the remedy and healing for
man.

It is my hope that you may assist in healing the sick body of the world
through these teachings so that eternal radiance may illumine all the
nations of mankind.



18 June 1912
Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York


Notes by Emma C. Melick

No matter how much the world of humanity advances in material
civilization, it is nevertheless in need of the spiritual development
mentioned in the Gospel. The virtues of the material world are limited,
whereas divine virtues are unlimited. Inasmuch as material virtues are
limited, man’s need of the perfections of the divine world is unlimited.

Throughout human history we find that although the very apex of human
virtues has been reached at various times, yet they were limited, whereas
divine attainments have ever been unbounded and infinite. The limited is
ever in need of the unlimited. The material must be correlated with the
spiritual. The material may be likened to the body, but divine virtues are
the breathings of the Holy Spirit itself. The body without spirit is not
capable of real accomplishment. Although it may be in the utmost condition
of beauty and excellence, it is, nevertheless, in need of the spirit. The
chimney of the lamp, no matter how polished and perfect it be, is in need
of the light. Without the light, the lamp or candle is not illuminating.
Without the spirit, the body is not productive. The teacher of material
principles is limited. The philosophers who claimed to be the educators of
mankind were at most only able to train themselves. If they educated
others, it was within a restricted circle; they failed to bestow general
education and development. This has been conferred upon humanity by the
power of the Holy Spirit.

For example, Christ educated and developed mankind universally. He rescued
nations and peoples from the bondage of superstition and idolatry. He
summoned them all to the knowledge of the oneness of God. They were dark,
they became illumined; they were material, they became spiritual; earthly
they were, they became heavenly. He enlightened the world of morality.
This general, universal development is not possible through the power of
philosophy. It is only attainable through the pervading influence of the
Holy Spirit. Therefore, no matter how far the world of humanity advances,
it fails to attain the highest degree unless quickened by the education
and divine bestowals of the Holy Spirit. This ensures human progress and
prosperity.

Therefore, I exhort you to be devoted to your spiritual development. Just
as you have striven along material lines and have attained to high degrees
of worldly advancement, may you likewise become strengthened and
proficient in the knowledge of God. May divine susceptibilities be
increased and awakened; may your devotion to the heavenly Kingdom become
intense. May you be the recipients of the impulses of the Holy Spirit, be
assisted in the world of morality and attain ideal power so that the
sublimity of the world of mankind may become apparent in you. Thus may you
attain the highest happiness, the eternal life, the everlasting glory, the
second birth, and become manifestations of the bestowals of God.



20 June 1912
Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York


Notes by Howard MacNutt

I am about to leave the city for a few days rest at Montclair. When I
return, it is my wish to give a large feast of unity. A place for it has
not yet been found. It must be outdoors under the trees, in some location
away from city noise—like a Persian garden. The food will be Persian food.
When the place is arranged, all will be informed, and we will have a
general meeting in which hearts will be bound together, spirits blended
and a new foundation for unity established. All the friends will come.
They will be my guests. They will be as the parts and members of one body.
The spirit of life manifest in that body will be one spirit. The
foundation of that temple of unity will be one foundation. Each will be a
stone in that foundation, solid and interdependent. Each will be as a
leaf, blossom or fruit upon one tree. For the sake of fellowship and unity
I desire this feast and spiritual gathering.

Whatsoever is conducive to unity is merciful and from the divine bounty
itself. Every universal affair is divine. Everything which conduces to
separation and estrangement is satanic because it emanates from the
purposes of self. Consider how clearly it is shown in creation that the
cause of existence is unity and cohesion and the cause of nonexistence is
separation and dissension. By a divine power of creation the elements
assemble together in affinity, and the result is a composite being.
Certain of these elements have united, and man has come into existence.
Certain other combinations produce plants and animals. Therefore, this
affinity of the inanimate elements is the cause of life and being. Through
their commingling, therefore, human affinity, love and fellowship are made
possible. If the elements were not assembled together in affinity to
produce the body of man, the higher intelligent forces could not be
manifest in the body. But when these elements separate, when their
affinity and cohesion are overcome, death and dissolution of the body they
have built inevitably follow. Therefore, affinity and unity among even
these material elements mean life in the body of man, and their discord
and disagreement mean death. Throughout all creation, in all the kingdoms,
this law is written: that love and affinity are the cause of life, and
discord and separation are the cause of death.

Consider the bodies of all the natural organisms. Certain elements have
gathered and combine in chemical affinity. The tree, the man, the fish are
due to this attraction and cohesion which have brought the elements
together. A composition or composite being has resulted. The outcome of
certain atomic grouping, for instance, is a mirror, table or clock because
a cohesive power has magnetized and bound these atoms together. When that
attracting power is withdrawn, dissolution and disintegration follow; no
mirror, table or clock remain—no trace, no existence. Therefore,
commingling of the atoms brings forth a reality, while dispersion or
dissemination of them is equivalent to nonexistence.

Study the law of affinity among the domestic animals. They manifest
fellowship, they live in flocks and herds; the love of association is
evident among them. Among birds we see evidences of instinctive fellowship
and love. But the ferocious animals and birds of prey are just the reverse
of the domestic. Sheep, cows and horses graze together in concord and
agreement, but ferocious animals are never seen associating in love and
fellowship. Each lives solitary and alone or with a single mate. When they
see each other, they manifest the utmost ferocity. Dogs pounce upon dogs;
wolves, tigers, lions rage, snarl and fight to the death. Their ferocity
is instinctive. There is a creative reason for it. Birds of prey, like
eagles and hawks, live solitary and build their nests apart, but doves fly
in flocks and nest in the same branches. When an eagle meets another
eagle, there is a furious battle. The meeting of two doves is a peace
meeting. Therefore, it is evident that these blessed characteristics as
well as the reverse are found among the creatures of a lower kingdom.

The great mass of humanity does not exercise real love and fellowship. The
elect of humanity are those who live together in love and unity. They are
preferable before God because the divine attributes are already manifest
in them. The supreme love and unity is witnessed in the divine
Manifestations. Among Them unity is indissoluble, changeless, eternal and
everlasting. Each One is expressive and representative of all. If we deny
One of the Manifestations of God, we deny all. To inflict persecution upon
One is to persecute the Others. In all degrees of existence each One
praises and sanctifies the Others. Each of Them holds to the solidarity of
mankind and promotes the unity of human hearts. Next to the divine
Manifestations come the believers whose characteristics are agreement,
fellowship and love. The Bahá’í friends in Persia attained such a
brotherhood and love that it really became a hindrance in the conduct of
material affairs. Each one into whatever house of the friends he went
considered himself the owner of the house, so to speak. There was no
duality but complete mutuality of interests and love. The visiting friend
would have no hesitation in opening the provision box and taking out
enough food for his needs. They wore each other’s clothes as their own
when necessary. If in need of a hat or cloak, they would take and use it.
The owner of the clothing would be thankful and grateful that the garment
had gone. When he returned home, he would perhaps be told, “So and so was
here and took away your coat.” He would reply, “Praise be to God! I am so
grateful to him. Praise be to God! I am so thankful I have been given this
opportunity of showing my love for him.” To such an extreme degree this
love and fellowship expressed itself that Bahá’u’lláh commanded that no
one should take possession of another’s belongings unless presented with
them. The intention is to show to what an extent unity and love prevailed
among the Bahá’í friends in the East.

I hope that this same degree and intensity of love may become manifest and
apparent here; that the spirit of God shall so penetrate your hearts that
each one of the beloved of God shall be considered as all; that each one
may become a cause of unity and center of accord and all mankind be bound
together in real fellowship and love.



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN MONTCLAIR AND WEST ENGLEWOOD, NEW JERSEY



23 June 1912
Talk at Montclair, New Jersey


Notes by Frank E. Osborne

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: You are always smiling.

Mr. Osborne: Surely our faces should reflect happiness in this presence.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Yes! This is the day of Bahá’u’lláh, the age of the Blessed
Perfection, the cycle of the Greatest Name. If you do not smile now, for
what time will you await and what greater happiness could you expect? This
is the springtime of manifestation. The vernal shower has descended from
the cloud of divine mercy; the life-giving breeze of the Holy Spirit is
wafting the perfume of blossoms. From field and meadow rises a fragrant
breath of thanksgiving like pure incense ascending to the throne of God.
The world has become a new world; souls are quickened, spirits renewed,
refreshed. Truly it is a time for happiness.

(To people coming in) Welcome! Welcome! You are very welcome! (The church
bells begin to ring)

I was not feeling very well this morning, or I would have gone to church.
Everywhere we hear the call of the spiritual world; in everything we
behold the works of God. The church bells are pealing in memory of Jesus
Christ although more than nineteen hundred years have passed since He
lived upon the earth. This is through the power of the spirit. No material
power could do this. Yet people in their blindness deny Christ, seeking to
perpetuate their names in worldly deeds. Everyone wishes to be remembered.
Through earthly and material accomplishments one will hardly be remembered
nine years, while the memory and glory of Christ continue after nineteen
hundred have passed. For His name is eternal and His glory everlasting.
Therefore, man should hear with attentive ear the call of the spiritual
world, seeking first the Kingdom of God and its perfections. This is
eternal life; this is everlasting remembrance.

How great the difference between the glory of Christ and the glory of an
earthly conqueror! It is related by historians that Napoleon Bonaparte I
embarked secretly by night from Egypt. His destination was France. During
his campaign in Palestine revolution had broken out and grave difficulties
had arisen in the home government. Christian worship had been forbidden by
the revolutionists. The priests of Christianity had fled in terror. France
had become atheistic; anarchy prevailed. The ship sailed out into a night
brilliant with the light of the moon. Napoleon was pacing up and down the
deck. His officers were sitting together, talking. One of them spoke of
the similarity between Bonaparte and Christ. Napoleon stopped and said
grimly, “Do you think I am going back to France to establish religion?”

Jesus Christ established the religion of God through love. His sovereignty
is everlasting. Napoleon overthrew governments in war and bloodshed. His
dominion passed away; he himself was dethroned. Bonaparte destroyed human
life; Christ was a Savior. Bonaparte controlled the physical bodies of
men; Christ was a conqueror of human hearts. None of the Prophets of God
were famous men, but They were unique in spiritual power. Love is the
eternal sovereignty. Love is the divine power. By it all the kings of
earth are overthrown and conquered. What evidence of this could be greater
than the accomplishment of Bahá’u’lláh? He appeared in the East and was
exiled. He was sent to the prison of Akká in Palestine. Two powerful
despotic kings arose against Him. During His exile and imprisonment He
wrote Tablets of authority to the kings and rulers of the world,
announcing His spiritual sovereignty, establishing the religion of God,
upraising the heavenly banners of the Cause of God. One of these Tablets
was sent to Napoleon III, Emperor of France. He received it with contempt
and cast it behind his back. Bahá’u’lláh addressed a second Tablet to him,
containing these words, “Hadst thou been sincere in thy words, thou
wouldst have not cast behind thy back the Book of God, when it was sent
unto thee.... We have proved thee through it, and found thee other than
that which thou didst profess. Arise, and make amends for that which
escaped thee. Erelong the world and all that thou possessest will perish,
and the kingdom will remain unto God. ...For what thou hast done, thy
kingdom shall be thrown into confusion, and thine empire shall pass from
thine hands, as a punishment for that which thou hast wrought. Then wilt
thou know how thou hast plainly erred.... Thy pomp ... shall soon pass
away, unless thou holdest fast by this firm Cord. We see abasement
hastening after thee....” All this happened just as announced by
Bahá’u’lláh. Napoleon III was dethroned and exiled. His empire passed away
and became nonexistent while the dominion and sovereignty of Bahá’u’lláh,
the Prisoner, has become eternal through the confirmation of God. This is
as evident as the light of the sun at midday except to those who are
spiritually blind. If we are afflicted with a cold, we cannot inhale the
delicate fragrances emanating from the rose garden of the divine Kingdom.

In brief, the nations of the world are becoming united under the
sovereignty of the divine Kingdom. The East and the West are embracing
here in love and affection today. This is not a commercial or political
unity, but unity through the love of God. We have crossed the sea to
spread that love in America, to announce the call of the Kingdom, to
establish the spiritual foundations of international peace. Although men
may arise against the Kingdom, the dominion and sovereignty of God will be
set up. It is an eternal Kingdom, a divine sovereignty. In His day Christ
was called Satan, Beelzebub, but hear the bells now ringing for Him! He
was the Word of God and not Satan. They mocked Him, led Him through the
city upon a donkey, crowned Him with thorns, spat upon His blessed face
and crucified Him, but He is now with God and in God because He was the
Word and not Satan. Fifty years ago no one would touch the Christian Bible
in Persia. Bahá’u’lláh came and asked, “Why?” They said, “It is not the
Word of God.” He said, “You must read it with understanding of its
meanings, not as those who merely recite its words.” Now Bahá’ís all over
the East read the Bible and understand its spiritual teaching. Bahá’u’lláh
spread the Cause of Christ and opened the book of the Christians and Jews.
He removed the barriers of names. He proved that all the divine Prophets
taught the same reality and that to deny One is to deny the Others, for
all are in perfect oneness with God.

In London some of the Christians said we were deniers of Christ. We say
Christ is the Word of God. We are gathered here this morning for His
mention. The bells have called us together in love and unity. This house
is the temple of God. All are welcome! Very welcome!

Question: How shall we determine the truth or error of certain biblical
interpretation, as, for instance, the higher criticism and other
present-day Christian teachings?

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Your question is an abstruse and important one. Complete
answer to it would require a long time. I will reply to it briefly. The
only true Explainer of the Book of God is the Holy Spirit, for no two
minds are alike, no two can comprehend alike, no two can speak alike. That
is to say, from the mere human standpoint of interpretation there could be
neither truth nor agreement.

Question: Do you approve of the new thought in which the control of mind
over matter is the central principle?

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Philosophy develops the mind. Christ and the Word of God are
revealed through the Spirit. Plato says, “The mental conclusions are so
and so.” Christ says, “Be led of the Spirit.”

Question: Should children be allowed to read the higher criticism?

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: They should first be taught the reality of religion as a
foundation. For instance, in the Catholic Church the child is taught that
through some act of the priest the bread and wine of the sacrament become
the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. The mind cannot accept this. The
child must be taught that this transformation is symbolical of the truth
that Christ is the food from heaven, the eating of which produces eternal
life. The Jews had memorized the Bible but failed to grasp its meanings.
If they had understood the spiritual significances of the scriptures, they
would have been the first believers in Christ. You are among the first
believers in this country. You are the children of the Kingdom.
Bahá’u’lláh has taught you the reality of religion. There are many of the
Bahá’í friends in Persia whom we do not know, but we know you here in
America. Turn your faces to the Sun of Reality. That Sun has always risen
in the East. Find the answer to your questions in your heart. Be as little
children. Until the soil is prepared, it cannot receive the benefit of
planting.



29 June 1912
Talk at Unity Feast, Outdoors
West Englewood, New Jersey


Notes by Esther Foster

This is a delightful gathering; you have come here with sincere
intentions, and the purpose of all present is the attainment of the
virtues of God. The motive is attraction to the divine Kingdom. Since the
desire of all is unity and agreement, it is certain that this meeting will
be productive of great results. It will be the cause of attracting a new
bounty, for we are turning to the Kingdom of Abhá, seeking the infinite
bestowals of the Lord. This is a new Day, and this hour is a new Hour in
which we have come together. Surely the Sun of Reality with its full
effulgence will illumine us, and the darkness of disagreements will
disappear. The utmost love and unity will result; the favors of God will
encompass us; the pathway of the Kingdom will be made easy. Like candles
these souls will become ignited and made radiant through the lights of
supreme guidance. Such gatherings as this have no equal or likeness in the
world of mankind, where people are drawn together by physical motives or
in furtherance of material interests, for this meeting is a prototype of
that inner and complete spiritual association in the eternal world of
being.

True Bahá’í meetings are the mirrors of the Kingdom wherein images of the
Supreme Concourse are reflected. In them the lights of the most great
guidance are visible. They voice the summons of the heavenly Kingdom and
echo the call of the angelic hosts to every listening ear. The efficacy of
such meetings as these is permanent throughout the ages. This assembly has
a name and significance which will last forever. Hundreds of thousands of
meetings shall be held to commemorate this occasion, and the very words I
speak to you today shall be repeated in them for ages to come. Therefore,
be ye rejoiced, for ye are sheltered beneath the providence of God. Be
happy and joyous because the bestowals of God are intended for you and the
life of the Holy Spirit is breathing upon you.

Rejoice, for the heavenly table is prepared for you.

Rejoice, for the angels of heaven are your assistants and helpers.

Rejoice, for the glance of the Blessed Beauty, Bahá’u’lláh, is directed
upon you.

Rejoice, for Bahá’u’lláh is your Protector.

Rejoice, for the everlasting glory is destined for you.

Rejoice, for the eternal life is awaiting you.

How many blessed souls have longed for this radiant century, their utmost
hopes and desires centered upon the happiness and joy of one such day as
this. Many the nights they passed sleepless and lamenting until the very
morn in longing anticipation of this age, yearning to realize even an hour
of this time. God has favored you in this century and has specialized you
for the realization of its blessings. Therefore, you must praise and thank
God with heart and soul in appreciation of this great opportunity and the
attainment of this infinite bestowal—that such doors have been opened
before your faces, that such abundance is pouring down from the cloud of
mercy and that these refreshing breezes from the paradise of Abhá are
resuscitating you. You must become of one heart, one spirit and one
susceptibility. May you become as the waves of one sea, stars of the same
heaven, fruits adorning the same tree, roses of one garden in order that
through you the oneness of humanity may establish its temple in the world
of mankind, for you are the ones who are called to uplift the cause of
unity among the nations of the earth.

First, you must become united and agreed among yourselves. You must be
exceedingly kind and loving toward each other, willing to forfeit life in
the pathway of another’s happiness. You must be ready to sacrifice your
possessions in another’s behalf. The rich among you must show compassion
toward the poor, and the well-to-do must look after those in distress. In
Persia the friends offer their lives for each other, striving to assist
and advance the interests and welfare of all the rest. They live in a
perfect state of unity and agreement. Like the Persian friends you must be
perfectly agreed and united to the extent and limit of sacrificing life.
Your utmost desire must be to confer happiness upon each other. Each one
must be the servant of the others, thoughtful of their comfort and
welfare. In the path of God one must forget himself entirely. He must not
consider his own pleasure but seek the pleasure of others. He must not
desire glory nor gifts of bounty for himself but seek these gifts and
blessings for his brothers and sisters. It is my hope that you may become
like this, that you may attain to the supreme bestowal and be imbued with
such spiritual qualities as to forget yourselves entirely and with heart
and soul offer yourselves as sacrifices for the Blessed Perfection. You
should have neither will nor desire of your own but seek everything for
the beloved of God and live together in complete love and fellowship. May
the favors of Bahá’u’lláh surround you from all directions. This is the
greatest bestowal and supreme bounty. These are the infinite favors of
God.



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN NEW YORK



1 July 1912
Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York


Notes by Howard MacNutt

What could be better before God than thinking of the poor? For the poor
are beloved by our heavenly Father. When Christ came upon the earth, those
who believed in Him and followed Him were the poor and lowly, showing that
the poor were near to God. When a rich man believes and follows the
Manifestation of God, it is a proof that his wealth is not an obstacle and
does not prevent him from attaining the pathway of salvation. After he has
been tested and tried, it will be seen whether his possessions are a
hindrance in his religious life. But the poor are especially beloved of
God. Their lives are full of difficulties, their trials continual, their
hopes are in God alone. Therefore, you must assist the poor as much as
possible, even by sacrifice of yourself. No deed of man is greater before
God than helping the poor. Spiritual conditions are not dependent upon the
possession of worldly treasures or the absence of them. When one is
physically destitute, spiritual thoughts are more likely. Poverty is a
stimulus toward God. Each one of you must have great consideration for the
poor and render them assistance. Organize in an effort to help them and
prevent increase of poverty. The greatest means for prevention is that
whereby the laws of the community will be so framed and enacted that it
will not be possible for a few to be millionaires and many destitute. One
of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings is the adjustment of means of livelihood in
human society. Under this adjustment there can be no extremes in human
conditions as regards wealth and sustenance. For the community needs
financier, farmer, merchant and laborer just as an army must be composed
of commander, officers and privates. All cannot be commanders; all cannot
be officers or privates. Each in his station in the social fabric must be
competent—each in his function according to ability but with justness of
opportunity for all.

Lycurgus, King of Sparta, who lived long before the day of Christ,
conceived the idea of absolute equality in government. He proclaimed laws
by which all the people of Sparta were classified into certain divisions.
Each division had its separate rights and function. First, farmers and
tillers of the soil. Second, artisans and merchants. Third, leaders or
grandees. Under the laws of Lycurgus, the latter were not required to
engage in any labor or vocation, but it was incumbent upon them to defend
the country in case of war and invasion. Then he divided Sparta into nine
thousand equal parts or provinces, appointing nine thousand leaders or
grandees to protect them. In this way the farmers of each province were
assured of protection, but each farmer was compelled to pay a tax to
support the grandee of that province. The farmers and merchants were not
obliged to defend the country. In lieu of labor the grandees received the
taxes. Lycurgus, in order to establish this forever as a law, brought nine
thousand grandees together, told them he was going upon a long journey and
wished this form of government to remain effective until his return. They
swore an oath to protect and preserve his law. He then left his kingdom,
went into voluntary exile and never came back. No man ever made such a
sacrifice to ensure equality among his fellowmen. A few years passed, and
the whole system of government he had founded collapsed, although
established upon such a just and wise basis.

Difference of capacity in human individuals is fundamental. It is
impossible for all to be alike, all to be equal, all to be wise.
Bahá’u’lláh has revealed principles and laws which will accomplish the
adjustment of varying human capacities. He has said that whatsoever is
possible of accomplishment in human government will be effected through
these principles. When the laws He has instituted are carried out, there
will be no millionaires possible in the community and likewise no
extremely poor. This will be effected and regulated by adjusting the
different degrees of human capacity. The fundamental basis of the
community is agriculture, tillage of the soil. All must be producers. Each
person in the community whose need is equal to his individual producing
capacity shall be exempt from taxation. But if his income is greater than
his needs, he must pay a tax until an adjustment is effected. That is to
say, a man’s capacity for production and his needs will be equalized and
reconciled through taxation. If his production exceeds, he will pay a tax;
if his necessities exceed his production, he shall receive an amount
sufficient to equalize or adjust. Therefore, taxation will be
proportionate to capacity and production, and there will be no poor in the
community.

Bahá’u’lláh, likewise, commanded the rich to give freely to the poor. In
the Kitáb-i-Aqdas it is further written by Him that those who have a
certain amount of income must give one-fifth of it to God, the Creator of
heaven and earth.



1 July 1912
Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York


From Stenographic Notes

I desire to make manifest among the friends in America a new light that
they may become a new people, that a new foundation may be established and
complete harmony be realized; for the foundation of Bahá’u’lláh is love.
When you go to Green Acre, you must have infinite love for each other,
each preferring the other before himself. The people must be so attracted
to you that they will exclaim, “What happiness exists among you!” and will
see in your faces the lights of the Kingdom; then in wonderment they will
turn to you and seek the cause of your happiness. You must give the
message through action and deed, not alone by word. Word must be conjoined
with deed. You must love your friend better than yourself; yes, be willing
to sacrifice yourself. The Cause of Bahá’u’lláh has not yet appeared in
this country. I desire that you be ready to sacrifice everything for each
other, even life itself; then I will know that the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh
has been established. I will pray for you that you may become the cause of
upraising the lights of God. May everyone point to you and ask, “Why are
these people so happy?” I want you to be happy in Green Acre, to laugh,
smile and rejoice in order that others may be made happy by you. I will
pray for you.



5 July 1912
Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York


Notes by Howard MacNutt

Question: You have stated that we are living in a universal cycle, the
first Manifestation of which was Adam and the universal Manifestation of
which is Bahá’u’lláh. Does this imply that other universal cycles preceded
this one and that all traces of them have been effaced—cycles in which the
ultimate purpose was the divine spiritualization of man just as it is the
creative intention in this one?

The divine sovereignty is an ancient sovereignty, not an accidental
sovereignty.

If we imagine this world of existence has a beginning, we can say the
divine sovereignty is accidental—that is, there was a time when it did not
exist. A king without a kingdom is impossible. He cannot be without a
country, without subjects, without an army, without dominion, or he would
be without kingship. All these exigencies or requirements of sovereignty
must exist for a king. When they do exist, we can apply the word
sovereignty to him. Otherwise, his sovereignty is imperfect, incomplete.
If none of these conditions exists, sovereignty does not exist.

If we acknowledge that there is a beginning for this world of creation, we
acknowledge that the sovereignty of God is accidental—that is, we admit a
time when the reality of Divinity has been without dominion (lit.
“defeated”). The names and attributes of Divinity are requirements of this
world. The names the Powerful, the Living, the Provider, the Creator
require and necessitate the existence of creatures. If there were no
creatures, Creator would be meaningless. If there were none to provide
for, we could not think of the Provider. If there were no life, the Living
would be beyond the power of conception. Therefore, all the names and
attributes of God require the existence of objects or creatures upon which
they have been bestowed and in which they have become manifest. If there
was a time when no creation existed, when there was none to provide for,
it would imply a time when there was no existent One, no Trainer, and the
attributes and qualities of God would have been meaningless and without
significance. Therefore, the requirements of the attributes of God do not
admit of cessation or interruption, for the names of God are actually and
forever existing and not potential. Because they convey life, they are
called Life-giving; because they provide, they are called Bountiful, the
Provider; because they create, they are called Creator; because they
educate and govern, the name Lord God is applied. That is to say, the
divine names emanate from the eternal attributes of Divinity. Therefore,
it is proved that the divine names presuppose the existence of objects or
beings.

How then is a time conceivable when this sovereignty has not been
existent? This divine sovereignty is not to be measured by six thousand
years. This interminable, illimitable universe is not the result of that
measured period. This stupendous laboratory and workshop has not been
limited in its production to six thousand revolutions of the earth about
the sun. With the slightest reflection man can be assured that this
calculation and announcement is childish, especially in view of the fact
that it is scientifically proved the terrestrial globe has been the
habitation of man long prior to such a limited estimate.

As to the record in the Bible concerning Adam’s entering paradise, His
eating from the tree and His expulsion through the temptation of Satan:
These are all symbols beneath which there are wonderful and divine
meanings not to be calculated in years, dates and measurement of time.
Likewise, the statement that God created the heaven and the earth in six
days is symbolic. We will not explain this further today. The texts of the
Holy Books are all symbolical, needing authoritative interpretation.

When man casts even a cursory glance of reflection upon the question of
the universe, he discovers it is very ancient. A Persian philosopher was
looking up into the heavens, lost in wonder. He said, “I have written a
book containing seventy proofs of the accidental appearance of the
universe, but I still find it very ancient.”

Bahá’u’lláh says, “The universe hath neither beginning nor ending.” He has
set aside the elaborate theories and exhaustive opinions of scientists and
material philosophers by the simple statement, “There is no beginning, no
ending.” The theologians and religionists advance plausible proofs that
the creation of the universe dates back six thousand years; the scientists
bring forth indisputable facts and say, “No! These evidences indicate ten,
twenty, fifty thousand years ago,” etc. There are endless discussions pro
and con. Bahá’u’lláh sets aside these discussions by one word and
statement. He says, “The divine sovereignty hath no beginning and no
ending.” By this announcement and its demonstration He has established a
standard of agreement among those who reflect upon this question of divine
sovereignty; He has brought reconciliation and peace in this war of
opinion and discussion.

Briefly, there were many universal cycles preceding this one in which we
are living. They were consummated, completed and their traces obliterated.
The divine and creative purpose in them was the evolution of spiritual
man, just as it is in this cycle. The circle of existence is the same
circle; it returns. The tree of life has ever borne the same heavenly
fruit.



5 July 1912
Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York


Notes by Emma C. Melick and Howard MacNutt

You are very welcome, very welcome, all of you! In the divine Holy Books
there are unmistakable prophecies giving the glad tidings of a certain Day
in which the Promised One of all the Books would appear, a radiant
dispensation be established, the banner of the Most Great Peace and
conciliation be hoisted and the oneness of the world of humanity
proclaimed. Among the various nations and peoples of the world no enmity
or hatred should remain. All hearts were to be connected one with another.
These things are recorded in the Torah, or Old Testament, in the Gospel,
the Qur’án, the Zend-Avesta, the books of Buddha and the book of
Confucius. In brief, all the Holy Books contain these glad tidings. They
announce that after the world is surrounded by darkness, radiance shall
appear. For just as the night, when it becomes excessively dark, precedes
the dawn of a new day, so likewise when the darkness of religious apathy
and heedlessness overtakes the world, when human souls become negligent of
God, when materialistic ideas overshadow spirituality, when nations become
submerged in the world of matter and forget God—at such a time as this
shall the divine Sun shine forth and the radiant morn appear.

Consider to what a remarkable extent the spirituality of people has been
overcome by materialism so that spiritual susceptibility seems to have
vanished, divine civilization become decadent, and guidance and knowledge
of God no longer remain. All are submerged in the sea of materialism.
Although some attend churches and temples of worship and devotion, it is
in accordance with the traditions and imitations of their fathers and not
for the investigation of reality. For it is evident they have not found
reality and are not engaged in its adoration. They are holding to certain
imitations which have descended to them from their fathers and ancestors.
They have become accustomed to passing a certain length of time in temple
worship and conforming to imitations and ceremonies. The proof of this is
that the son of every Jewish father becomes a Jew and not a Christian; the
son of every Muslim becomes a follower of Islám; the son of every
Christian proves to be a Christian; the son of every Zoroastrian is a
Zoroastrian, etc. Therefore, religious faith and belief is merely a
remnant of blind imitations which have descended through fathers and
ancestors. Because this man’s father was a Jew, he considers himself a
Jew. Not that he has investigated reality and proved satisfactorily to
himself that Judaism is right—nay, rather, he is aware that his
forefathers have followed this course; therefore, he has held to it
himself.

The purpose of this is to explain that the darkness of imitations
encompasses the world. Every nation is holding to its traditional
religious forms. The light of reality is obscured. Were these various
nations to investigate reality, there is no doubt they would attain to it.
As reality is one, all nations would then become as one nation. So long as
they adhere to various imitations and are deprived of reality, strife and
warfare will continue and rancor and sedition prevail. If they investigate
reality, neither enmity nor rancor will remain, and they will attain to
the utmost concord among themselves.

During the years when the darkness of heedlessness was most intense in the
Orient and the people were so submerged in imitations that nations were
thirsting for the blood of each other, considering each other as
contaminated and refusing to associate—at such a time as this Bahá’u’lláh
appeared. He arose in the Orient, uprooting the very foundations of
imitations, and brought the dawn of the light of reality. Through Him
various nations became united because all desired reality. Inasmuch as
they investigated reality in religion, they found that all men are the
servants of God, the posterity of Adam, children of one household and that
the foundations of all the Prophets are one. For inasmuch as the teachings
of the Prophets are reality, Their foundations are one. The enmity and
strife of nations, therefore, are due to religious imitations and not to
the reality which underlies the teachings of the Prophets. Through
Bahá’u’lláh the nations and peoples grew to understand and comprehend
this. Therefore, hearts became united, and lives were cemented together.
After centuries of hatred and bitterness the Christian, Jew, Zoroastrian,
Muslim and Buddhist met in fellowship, all of them in the utmost love and
unity. They became welded and cemented because they had perceived reality.

The divine Prophets are conjoined in the perfect state of love. Each One
has given the glad tidings of His successor’s coming and each successor
has sanctioned the One Who preceded Him. They were in the utmost unity,
but Their followers are in strife. For instance, Moses gave the message of
the glad tidings of Christ, and Christ confirmed the Prophethood of Moses.
Therefore, between Moses and Jesus there is no variation or conflict. They
are in perfect unity, but between the Jew and the Christian there is
conflict. Now, therefore, if the Christian and Jewish peoples investigate
the reality underlying their Prophets’ teachings, they will become kind in
their attitude toward each other and associate in the utmost love, for
reality is one and not dual or multiple. If this investigation of reality
becomes universal, the divergent nations will ratify all the divine
Prophets and confirm all the Holy Books. No strife or rancor will then
remain, and the world will become united. Then will we associate in the
reality of love. We will become as fathers and sons, as brothers and
sisters living together in complete unity, love and happiness; for this
century is the century of light. It is not like former centuries. Former
centuries were epochs of oppression. Now human intellects have developed,
and human intelligence has increased. Each soul is investigating reality.
This is not a time when we shall wage war and be hostile toward each
other. We are living at a time when we should enjoy real friendship.

Fifty years ago Bahá’u’lláh sent Epistles to all the kings and nations of
the world, at a time when there was no mention of international peace. One
of these Epistles was sent by Him to the president of the American
democracy. In these communications He summoned all to international peace
and the oneness of the human world. He summoned mankind to the
fundamentals of the teachings of all the Prophets. Some of the European
kings were arrogant. Among them was Napoleon III. Bahá’u’lláh wrote a
second Epistle to him, which was published thirty years ago. The context
is this: “O Napoleon! Thou hast become haughty indeed. Thou hast become
proud. Thou hast forgotten God. Thou dost imagine that this majesty is
permanent for thee, that this dominion is abiding for thee. A letter have
we sent unto thee for acceptance with thy greatest love; but, instead,
thou hast shown arrogance. Therefore, God shall uproot the edifice of thy
sovereignty; thy country shall flee away from thee. Thou shalt find
humiliation hastening after thee because thou didst not arise for that
which was enjoined upon thee, whereas that which was a duty incumbent upon
thee was the cause of life to the world. The punishment of God shall soon
be dealt out to thee.”

This Epistle was revealed in the year 1869, and after one year the
foundations of the Napoleonic sovereignty were completely uprooted.

Among these Epistles was a very lengthy one to the _Sh_áh of Persia. It
was printed and spread broadcast throughout all the countries. This
Epistle was revealed in the year 1870. In it Bahá’u’lláh admonished the
_Sh_áh of Persia to be kind to all his subjects, summoning him to dispense
justice, counseling him to make no distinction between the religions,
charging him to deal equally with Jew, Christian, Muslim and Zoroastrian
and to remove the oppression prevailing in his country.

At that time the Jews were greatly oppressed in Persia. Bahá’u’lláh
especially recommended justice for them, saying that all people are the
servants of God, and in the eye of the government they should be equally
estimated. “If justice is not dealt out, if these oppressions are not
removed and if thou dost not obey God, the foundations of thy government
will be razed, and thou shalt become evanescent, become as nothing. Thou
shouldst gather all the learned men, and then summon Me. There I shall be
present. I will then advance proofs and evidences as to My validity. I
will manifest My proof and anything that you may ask. I am ready. But if
no attention is paid to this book, thou, like unto the kings who became
nonexistent, shalt likewise become nonexistent.” The _Sh_áh did not answer
this Epistle of the Blessed Perfection. Then God destroyed the foundations
of his sovereignty.

Among those to whom Bahá’u’lláh wrote was the Sulṭán of Turkey. In it He
arraigned him, saying, “Verily, thou didst incarcerate and make Me a
prisoner. Dost thou imagine that imprisonment is a loss to Me, that
imprisonment is a humiliation for Me? This imprisonment is a glory for Me
because it is in the pathway of God. I have not committed a crime. It is
for the sake of God that I have received this ordeal. Therefore, I am very
happy; I am exceedingly joyous. But thou must wait; God will send thee a
punishment; thou shalt receive retribution. Erelong thou shalt observe how
ordeals shall descend upon thee like rain, and thou shalt become
nonexistent.” And even so it was.

Likewise, He sent messages to the other kings and crowned heads of the
earth, summoning all of them to love, equity, international peace and the
oneness of humanity in order that mankind might become unified and agreed;
that strife, warfare and sedition should pass away; that bitterness and
enmity might cease and all arise to serve the one God.

In brief, two kings arose against Bahá’u’lláh: the _Sh_áh of Persia and
the Sulṭán of Turkey. They imprisoned Him in the fortress of Akká in order
to extinguish His light and exterminate His Cause. But Bahá’u’lláh while
in prison wrote severe letters of arraignment to them. He declared that
imprisonment was no obstacle to Him. He said, “This imprisonment will
prove to be the means of the promotion of My Cause. This imprisonment
shall be the incentive for the spreading of My teachings. No harm shall
come to Me because I have sacrificed My life, I have sacrificed My blood,
I have sacrificed My possessions, I have sacrificed all and for Me this
imprisonment is no loss.” And just as He declared, so it came to pass. In
prison He hoisted His banner, and His Cause spread throughout the world.
It has reached America. Now the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh is extending to all
nations of the earth. You go to Asia, and wherever you travel you will
find Bahá’ís. You go to Africa, Europe; there you will find the Cause of
Bahá’u’lláh. In America it is just beginning to grow and spread.

These two kings could not do anything to withstand Bahá’u’lláh, but God
through Him was capable of destroying both of them. I, too, was in prison.
God removed the chains from my neck and placed them around the neck of
‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd. It was done suddenly—not a long time, in a moment as it
were. The same hour that the Young Turks declared liberty, the Committee
of Union and Progress set me free. They lifted the chains from my neck and
threw them around the neck of ‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd. That which he did to me was
inflicted upon him. Now the position is precisely reversed. His days are
spent in prison just as I passed the days in prison at Akká, with this
difference: that I was happy in imprisonment. I was in the utmost elation
because I was not a criminal. They had imprisoned me in the path of God.
Every time I thought of this, that I was a prisoner in the pathway of God,
the utmost elation overcame me. ‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd is now suffering punishment
for his deeds. Because of the sins he committed, he is now in prison. This
is retribution for his acts. Every hour he is mortified anew and his
ignominy revived. He is in the utmost sorrow and disappointment while I am
in perfect happiness. I was happy that—praise be to God!—I was a prisoner
in the Cause of God, that my life was not wasted, that it was spent in the
divine service. Nobody who saw me imagined that I was in prison. They
beheld me in the utmost joy, complete thankfulness and health, paying no
attention to the prison.



6 July 1912
Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York


Notes by Emma C. Melick

In the world of existence man has traversed successive degrees until he
has attained the human kingdom. In each degree of his progression he has
developed capacity for advancement to the next station and condition.
While in the kingdom of the mineral he was attaining the capacity for
promotion into the degree of the vegetable. In the kingdom of the
vegetable he underwent preparation for the world of the animal, and from
thence he has come onward to the human degree, or kingdom. Throughout this
journey of progression he has ever and always been potentially man.

In the beginning of his human life man was embryonic in the world of the
matrix. There he received capacity and endowment for the reality of human
existence. The forces and powers necessary for this world were bestowed
upon him in that limited condition. In this world he needed eyes; he
received them potentially in the other. He needed ears; he obtained them
there in readiness and preparation for his new existence. The powers
requisite in this world were conferred upon him in the world of the matrix
so that when he entered this realm of real existence he not only possessed
all necessary functions and powers but found provision for his material
sustenance awaiting him.

Therefore, in this world he must prepare himself for the life beyond. That
which he needs in the world of the Kingdom must be obtained here. Just as
he prepared himself in the world of the matrix by acquiring forces
necessary in this sphere of existence, so, likewise, the indispensable
forces of the divine existence must be potentially attained in this world.

What is he in need of in the Kingdom which transcends the life and
limitation of this mortal sphere? That world beyond is a world of sanctity
and radiance; therefore, it is necessary that in this world he should
acquire these divine attributes. In that world there is need of
spirituality, faith, assurance, the knowledge and love of God. These he
must attain in this world so that after his ascension from the earthly to
the heavenly Kingdom he shall find all that is needful in that eternal
life ready for him.

That divine world is manifestly a world of lights; therefore, man has need
of illumination here. That is a world of love; the love of God is
essential. It is a world of perfections; virtues, or perfections, must be
acquired. That world is vivified by the breaths of the Holy Spirit; in
this world we must seek them. That is the Kingdom of everlasting life; it
must be attained during this vanishing existence.

By what means can man acquire these things? How shall he obtain these
merciful gifts and powers? First, through the knowledge of God. Second,
through the love of God. Third, through faith. Fourth, through
philanthropic deeds. Fifth, through self-sacrifice. Sixth, through
severance from this world. Seventh, through sanctity and holiness. Unless
he acquires these forces and attains to these requirements, he will surely
be deprived of the life that is eternal. But if he possesses the knowledge
of God, becomes ignited through the fire of the love of God, witnesses the
great and mighty signs of the Kingdom, becomes the cause of love among
mankind and lives in the utmost state of sanctity and holiness, he shall
surely attain to second birth, be baptized by the Holy Spirit and enjoy
everlasting existence.

Is it not astonishing that although man has been created for the knowledge
and love of God, for the virtues of the human world, for spirituality,
heavenly illumination and eternal life, nevertheless, he continues
ignorant and negligent of all this? Consider how he seeks knowledge of
everything except knowledge of God. For instance, his utmost desire is to
penetrate the mysteries of the lowest strata of the earth. Day by day he
strives to know what can be found ten meters below the surface, what he
can discover within the stone, what he can learn by archaeological
research in the dust. He puts forth arduous labors to fathom terrestrial
mysteries but is not at all concerned about knowing the mysteries of the
Kingdom, traversing the illimitable fields of the eternal world, becoming
informed of the divine realities, discovering the secrets of God,
attaining the knowledge of God, witnessing the splendors of the Sun of
Truth and realizing the glories of everlasting life. He is unmindful and
thoughtless of these. How much he is attracted to the mysteries of matter,
and how completely unaware he is of the mysteries of Divinity! Nay, he is
utterly negligent and oblivious of the secrets of Divinity. How great his
ignorance! How conducive to his degradation! It is as if a kind and loving
father had provided a library of wonderful books for his son in order that
he might be informed of the mysteries of creation, at the same time
surrounding him with every means of comfort and enjoyment, but the son
amuses himself with pebbles and playthings, neglectful of all his father’s
gifts and provision. How ignorant and heedless is man! The Father has
willed for him eternal glory, and he is content with blindness and
deprivation. The Father has built for him a royal palace, but he is
playing with the dust; prepared for him garments of silk, but he prefers
to remain unclothed; provided for him delicious foods and fruits, while he
seeks sustenance in the grasses of the field.

Praise be to God! You have heard the call of the Kingdom. Your eyes are
opened; you have turned to God. Your purpose is the good pleasure of God,
the understanding of the mysteries of the heart and investigation of the
realities. Day and night you must strive that you may attain to the
significances of the heavenly Kingdom, perceive the signs of Divinity,
acquire certainty of knowledge and realize that this world has a Creator,
a Vivifier, a Provider, an Architect—knowing this through proofs and
evidences and not through susceptibilities, nay, rather, through decisive
arguments and real vision—that is to say, visualizing it as clearly as the
outer eye beholds the sun. In this way may you behold the presence of God
and attain to the knowledge of the holy, divine Manifestations.

You must come into the knowledge of the divine Manifestations and Their
teachings through proofs and evidences. You must unseal the mysteries of
the supreme Kingdom and become capable of discovering the inner realities
of things. Then shall you be the manifestations of the mercy of God and
true believers, firm and steadfast in the Cause of God.

Praise be to God! The door of divine knowledge has been opened by
Bahá’u’lláh, for He has laid the foundation whereby man may become
acquainted with the verities of heaven and earth and has bestowed the
utmost confirmation in this day. He is our Teacher and Adviser; He is our
Seer and the One clement toward us. He has prepared His gifts and
vouchsafed His bounties, revealed every admonition and behest, prepared
for us the means of eternal glory, breathed upon us the life-quickening
breaths of the Holy Spirit, opened before our faces the doors of the
paradise of Abhá and caused the lights of the Sun of Truth to shine upon
us. The clouds of mercy have poured down their precious rain. The sea of
favor is swelling and surging toward us.

The spiritual springtime has come. Infinite bounties and graces have
appeared. What bestowal is greater than this? We must appreciate the
divine generosity and act in accordance with the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh
so that all good may be stored up for us and in both worlds we shall
become precious and acceptable to God, attain to everlasting blessings,
taste the delicacy of the love of God, find the sweetness of the knowledge
of God, perceive the heavenly bestowal and witness the power of the Holy
Spirit.

This is my advice, and this is my admonition.



14 July 1912
Talk at All Souls Unitarian Church
Fourth Avenue and Twentieth Street, New York


Notes by John G. Grundy and Howard MacNutt

Today I wish to speak to you upon the subject of the oneness of humanity,
for in this great century the most important accomplishment is the unity
of mankind. Although in former centuries and times this subject received
some measure of mention and consideration, it has now become the paramount
issue and question in the religious and political conditions of the world.
History shows that throughout the past there has been continual warfare
and strife among the various nations, peoples and sects; but now—praise be
to God!—in this century of illumination, hearts are inclined toward
agreement and fellowship, and minds are thoughtful upon the question of
the unification of mankind. There is an emanation of the universal
consciousness today which clearly indicates the dawn of a great unity.

In the investigation of a subject the right method of approach is to
carefully examine its premises. Therefore, we must go back to the
foundation upon which human solidarity rests—namely, that all are the
progeny of Adam, the creatures and servants of one God; that God is the
Protector and Provider; that all are submerged in the sea of divine mercy
and grace and God is loving toward all.

Humanity shares in common the intellectual and spiritual faculties of a
created endowment. All are equally subject to the various exigencies of
human life and are similarly occupied in acquiring the means of earthly
subsistence. From the viewpoint of creation human beings stand upon the
same footing in every respect, subject to the same requirements and
seeking the enjoyment and comfort of earthly conditions. Therefore, the
things humanity shares in common are numerous and manifest. This equal
participation in the physical, intellectual and spiritual problems of
human existence is a valid basis for the unification of mankind.

Consider how discord and dissension have prevailed in this great human
family for thousands of years. Its members have ever been engaged in war
and bloodshed. Up to the present time in history the world of humanity has
neither attained nor enjoyed any measure of peace, owing to incessant
conditions of hostility and strife. History is a continuous and
consecutive record of warfare brought about by religious, sectarian,
racial, patriotic and political causes. The world of humanity has found no
rest. Mankind has always been in conflict, engaged in destroying the
foundations, pillaging the properties and possessing the lands and
territory of each other, especially in the earlier periods of savagery and
barbarism where whole races and peoples were carried away captive by their
conquerors. Who shall measure or estimate the tremendous destruction of
human life resulting from this hostility and strife? What human powers and
forces have been employed in the prosecution of war and applied to inhuman
purposes of battle and bloodshed? In this most radiant century it has
become necessary to divert these energies and utilize them in other
directions, to seek the new path of fellowship and unity, to unlearn the
science of war and devote supreme human forces to the blessed arts of
peace. After long trial and experience we are convinced of the harmful and
satanic outcomes of dissension; now we must seek after means by which the
benefits of agreement and concord may be enjoyed. When such means are
found, we must give them a trial.

Consider the harmful effect of discord and dissension in a family; then
reflect upon the favors and blessings which descend upon that family when
unity exists among its various members. What incalculable benefits and
blessings would descend upon the great human family if unity and
brotherhood were established! In this century when the beneficent results
of unity and the ill effects of discord are so clearly apparent, the means
for the attainment and accomplishment of human fellowship have appeared in
the world. Bahá’u’lláh has proclaimed and provided the way by which
hostility and dissension may be removed from the human world. He has left
no ground or possibility for strife and disagreement.

First, He has proclaimed the oneness of mankind and specialized religious
teachings for existing human conditions. The first form of dissension
arises from religious differences. Bahá’u’lláh has given full teachings to
the world which are conducive to fellowship and unity in religion.
Throughout past centuries each system of religious belief has boasted of
its own superiority and excellence, abasing and scorning the validity of
all others. Each has proclaimed its own belief as the light and all others
as darkness. Religionists have considered the world of humanity as two
trees: one divine and merciful, the other satanic; they themselves the
branches, leaves and fruit of the divine tree and all others who differ
from them in belief the product of the tree which is satanic. Therefore,
sedition and warfare, bloodshed and strife have been continuous among
them. The greatest cause of human alienation has been religion because
each party has considered the belief of the other as anathema and deprived
of the mercy of God.

The teachings specialized in Bahá’u’lláh are addressed to humanity. He
says, “Ye are all the leaves of one tree.” He does not say, “Ye are the
leaves of two trees: one divine, the other satanic.” He has declared that
each individual member of the human family is a leaf or branch upon the
Adamic tree; that all are sheltered beneath the protecting mercy and
providence of God; that all are the children of God, fruit upon the one
tree of His love. God is equally compassionate and kind to all the leaves,
branches and fruit of this tree. Therefore, there is no satanic tree
whatever—Satan being a product of human minds and of instinctive human
tendencies toward error. God alone is Creator, and all are creatures of
His might. Therefore, we must love mankind as His creatures, realizing
that all are growing upon the tree of His mercy, servants of His
omnipotent will and manifestations of His good pleasure.

Even though we find a defective branch or leaf upon this tree of humanity
or an imperfect blossom, it, nevertheless, belongs to this tree and not to
another. Therefore, it is our duty to protect and cultivate this tree
until it reaches perfection. If we examine its fruit and find it
imperfect, we must strive to make it perfect. There are souls in the human
world who are ignorant; we must make them knowing. Some growing upon the
tree are weak and ailing; we must assist them toward health and recovery.
If they are as infants in development, we must minister to them until they
attain maturity. We should never detest and shun them as objectionable and
unworthy. We must treat them with honor, respect and kindness; for God has
created them and not Satan. They are not manifestations of the wrath of
God but evidences of His divine favor. God, the Creator, has endowed them
with physical, mental and spiritual qualities that they may seek to know
and do His will; therefore, they are not objects of His wrath and
condemnation. In brief, all humanity must be looked upon with love,
kindness and respect; for what we behold in them are none other than the
signs and traces of God Himself. All are evidences of God; therefore, how
shall we be justified in debasing and belittling them, uttering anathema
and preventing them from drawing near unto His mercy? This is ignorance
and injustice, displeasing to God; for in His sight all are His servants.

Another cause of dissension and disagreement is the fact that religion has
been pronounced at variance with science. Between scientists and the
followers of religion there has always been controversy and strife for the
reason that the latter have proclaimed religion superior in authority to
science and considered scientific announcement opposed to the teachings of
religion. Bahá’u’lláh declared that religion is in complete harmony with
science and reason. If religious belief and doctrine is at variance with
reason, it proceeds from the limited mind of man and not from God;
therefore, it is unworthy of belief and not deserving of attention; the
heart finds no rest in it, and real faith is impossible. How can man
believe that which he knows to be opposed to reason? Is this possible? Can
the heart accept that which reason denies? Reason is the first faculty of
man, and the religion of God is in harmony with it. Bahá’u’lláh has
removed this form of dissension and discord from among mankind and
reconciled science with religion by revealing the pure teachings of the
divine reality. This accomplishment is specialized to Him in this Day.

Still another cause of disagreement and dissension has been the formation
of religious sects and denominations. Bahá’u’lláh said that God has sent
religion for the purpose of establishing fellowship among humankind and
not to create strife and discord, for all religion is founded upon the
love of humanity. Abraham promulgated this principle, Moses summoned all
to its recognition, Christ established it, and Muḥammad directed mankind
to its standard. This is the reality of religion. If we abandon hearsay
and investigate the reality and inner significance of the heavenly
teachings, we will find the same divine foundation of love for humanity.
The purport is that religion is intended to be the cause of unity, love
and fellowship and not discord, enmity and estrangement. Man has forsaken
the foundation of divine religion and adhered to blind imitations. Each
nation has clung to its own imitations, and because these are at variance,
warfare, bloodshed and destruction of the foundation of humanity have
resulted. True religion is based upon love and agreement. Bahá’u’lláh has
said, “If religion and faith are the causes of enmity and sedition, it is
far better to be nonreligious, and the absence of religion would be
preferable; for we desire religion to be the cause of amity and
fellowship. If enmity and hatred exist, irreligion is preferable.”
Therefore, the removal of this dissension has been specialized in
Bahá’u’lláh, for religion is the divine remedy for human antagonism and
discord. But when we make the remedy the cause of the disease, it would be
better to do without the remedy.

Other sources of human dissension are political, racial and patriotic
prejudices. These have been removed by Bahá’u’lláh. He has said, and has
guarded His statement by rational proofs from the Holy Books, that the
world of humanity is one race, the surface of the earth one place of
residence and that these imaginary racial barriers and political
boundaries are without right or foundation. Man is degraded in becoming
the captive of his own illusions and suppositions. The earth is one earth,
and the same atmosphere surrounds it. No difference or preference has been
made by God for its human inhabitants; but man has laid the foundation of
prejudice, hatred and discord with his fellowman by considering
nationalities separate in importance and races different in rights and
privileges.

Diversity of languages has been a fruitful cause of discord. The function
of language is to convey the thought and purpose of one to another.
Therefore, it matters not what language man speaks or employs. Sixty years
ago Bahá’u’lláh advocated one language as the greatest means of unity and
the basis of international conference. He wrote to the kings and rulers of
the various nations, recommending that one language should be sanctioned
and adopted by all governments. According to this each nation should
acquire the universal language in addition to its native tongue. The world
would then be in close communication, consultation would become general,
and dissensions due to diversity of speech would be removed.

Another teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is in relation to universal peace: that
all mankind must be awakened to and become conscious of the harm of war,
that they should be brought to realize the benefits of peace and know that
peace is from God while warfare is satanic. Man must emulate the merciful
God and turn away from satanic promptings in order that universal
inclination shall be toward peace, love and unity and the discord of war
vanish.

Lack of equality between man and woman is, likewise, a cause of human
dissension. Bahá’u’lláh has named this as an important factor of discord
and separation, for so long as humankind remains unequally divided in
right and importance between male and female, no unity can be established.
In a perfect human body it is not possible for one organ to be complete
and another defective. In the great body of human society it is impossible
to establish unity and coordination if one part is considered perfect and
the other imperfect. When the perfect functions of both parts are in
operation, harmony will prevail. God has created man and woman equal as to
faculties. He has made no distinction between them. Woman has not reached
the level of man in human accomplishment because of the lack of
opportunity and education. If educational opportunities were made equal
and similar, the two parts, man and woman, would equalize in attainment.
God has intended no difference between them that should be productive of
discord. He has endowed all with human faculties, and all are
manifestations of His mercy. If we say man and woman differ in creational
endowment, it is contrary to divine justice and intention. Both are human.
If God has created one perfect and the other defective, He is unjust. But
God is just; all are perfect in His intention and creative endowment. To
assume imperfection in the creature is to presuppose imperfection in the
almighty Creator. The soul that excels in attainment of His attributes and
graces is most acceptable before God.

We are considering the divine plan for the reconciliation of the religious
systems of the world. Bahá’u’lláh has said that if one intelligent member
be selected from each of the varying religious systems, and these
representatives come together seeking to investigate the reality of
religion, they would establish an interreligious body before which all
disputes and differences of belief could be presented for consideration
and settlement. Such questions could then be weighed and viewed from the
standpoint of reality and all imitations be discarded. By this method and
procedure all sects, denominations and systems would become one.

Do not question the practicability of this, and be not astonished. It has
been accomplished and effected in Persia. In that country the various
religionists have conjoined in investigating reality and have united in
complete fellowship and love. No traces of discord or differences remain
among them; now affection and unity are manifest instead. They live
together in harmony and accord like a single family. Antagonism and strife
have passed away; love and agreement have taken the place of hatred and
animosity. Furthermore, those souls who have followed Bahá’u’lláh and
attained this condition of fellowship and affiliation are Muslims, Jews,
Christians, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Nestorians, Sunnites, Shiites and
others. No discord exists among them. This is a proof of the possibility
of unification among the religionists of the world through practical
means. Imitations and prejudices which have held men apart have been
discarded, and the reality of religion envelops them in a perfect unity.
When reality envelops the soul of man, love is possible. The divine
purpose in religion is pure love and agreement. The Prophets of God
manifested complete love for all. Each One announced the glad tidings of
His successor, and each subsequent One confirmed the teachings and
prophecies of the Prophet Who preceded Him. There was no disagreement or
variance in the reality of Their teaching and mission. Discord has arisen
among Their followers, who have lost sight of reality and hold fast to
imitations. If imitations be done away with and the radiant shining
reality dawn in the souls of men, love and unity must prevail. In this way
humanity will be rescued from the strife and wars which have prevailed for
thousands of years; dissensions will pass away and the illumination of
unity dawn. Consider how all the Prophets of God were persecuted and what
hardships They experienced. Jesus Christ endured affliction and accepted
martyrdom upon the cross in order to summon mankind to unity and love.
What sacrifice could be greater? He brought the religion of love and
fellowship into the world. Shall we make use of it to create discord,
violence and hatred among mankind?

Moses was persecuted and driven out into the desert, Abraham was banished,
Muḥammad took refuge in caves, the Báb was killed and Bahá’u’lláh was
exiled and imprisoned forty years. Yet all of Them desired fellowship and
love among men. They endured hardships, suffered persecution and death for
our sakes that we might be taught to love one another and be united and
affiliated instead of discordant and at variance. Enough of these long
centuries which have brought such vicissitudes and hardships into the
world through strife and hatred. Now in this radiant century let us try to
do the will of God that we may be rescued from these things of darkness
and come forth into the boundless illumination of heaven, shunning
division and welcoming the divine oneness of humanity. Perchance, God
willing, this terrestrial world may become as a celestial mirror upon
which we may behold the imprint of the traces of Divinity, and the
fundamental qualities of a new creation may be reflected from the reality
of love shining in human hearts. From the light and semblance of God in us
may it be, indeed, proved and witnessed that God has created man after His
own image and likeness.

O my God! O my God! Verily, I invoke Thee and supplicate before Thy
threshold, asking Thee that all Thy mercies may descend upon these souls.
Specialize them for Thy favor and Thy truth.

O Lord! Unite and bind together the hearts, join in accord all the souls,
and exhilarate the spirits through the signs of Thy sanctity and oneness.
O Lord! Make these faces radiant through the light of Thy oneness.
Strengthen the loins of Thy servants in the service of Thy kingdom.

O Lord, Thou possessor of infinite mercy! O Lord of forgiveness and
pardon! Forgive our sins, pardon our shortcomings, and cause us to turn to
the kingdom of Thy clemency, invoking the kingdom of might and power,
humble at Thy shrine and submissive before the glory of Thine evidences.

O Lord God! Make us as waves of the sea, as flowers of the garden, united,
agreed through the bounties of Thy love. O Lord! Dilate the breasts
through the signs of Thy oneness, and make all mankind as stars shining
from the same height of glory, as perfect fruits growing upon Thy tree of
life.

Verily, Thou art the Almighty, the Self-Subsistent, the Giver, the
Forgiving, the Pardoner, the Omniscient, the One Creator.



15 July 1912
Talk at Home of Dr. and Mrs. Florian Krug
830 Park Avenue, New York


Notes by Howard MacNutt

I am greatly pleased to see you. Your hearts are illumined by the lights
of Bahá. This meeting is in reality a divine, celestial assembly under the
favor of God, for we have no other purpose than praising and meeting God.
The prayer you have just offered is a prayer of thankfulness.

Thankfulness is of various kinds. There is a verbal thanksgiving which is
confined to a mere utterance of gratitude. This is of no importance
because perchance the tongue may give thanks while the heart is unaware of
it. Many who offer thanks to God are of this type, their spirits and
hearts unconscious of thanksgiving. This is mere usage, just as when we
meet, receive a gift and say thank you, speaking the words without
significance. One may say thank you a thousand times while the heart
remains thankless, ungrateful. Therefore, mere verbal thanksgiving is
without effect. But real thankfulness is a cordial giving of thanks from
the heart. When man in response to the favors of God manifests
susceptibilities of conscience, the heart is happy, the spirit is
exhilarated. These spiritual susceptibilities are ideal thanksgiving.

There is a cordial thanksgiving, too, which expresses itself in the deeds
and actions of man when his heart is filled with gratitude. For example,
God has conferred upon man the gift of guidance, and in thankfulness for
this great gift certain deeds must emanate from him. To express his
gratitude for the favors of God man must show forth praiseworthy actions.
In response to these bestowals he must render good deeds, be
self-sacrificing, loving the servants of God, forfeiting even life for
them, showing kindness to all the creatures. He must be severed from the
world, attracted to the Kingdom of Abhá, the face radiant, the tongue
eloquent, the ear attentive, striving day and night to attain the good
pleasure of God. Whatsoever he wishes to do must be in harmony with the
good pleasure of God. He must observe and see what is the will of God and
act accordingly. There can be no doubt that such commendable deeds are
thankfulness for the favors of God.

Consider how grateful anyone becomes when healed from sickness, when
treated kindly by another or when a service is rendered by another, even
though it may be of the least consequence. If we forget such favors, it is
an evidence of ingratitude. Then it will be said a loving-kindness has
been done, but we are thankless, not appreciating this love and favor.
Physically and spiritually we are submerged in the sea of God’s favor. He
has provided our foods, drink and other requirements; His favors encompass
us from all directions. The sustenances provided for man are blessings.
Sight, hearing and all his faculties are wonderful gifts. These blessings
are innumerable; no matter how many are mentioned, they are still endless.
Spiritual blessings are likewise endless—spirit, consciousness, thought,
memory, perception, ideation and other endowments. By these He has guided
us, and we enter His Kingdom. He has opened the doors of all good before
our faces. He has vouchsafed eternal glory. He has summoned us to the
Kingdom of heaven. He has enriched us by the bestowals of God. Every day
he has proclaimed new glad tidings. Every hour fresh bounties descend.

Consider how all the people are asleep, and ye are awake. They are dead,
and ye are alive through the breaths of the Holy Spirit. They are blind
while ye are endowed with perceptive sight. They are deprived of the love
of God, but in your hearts it exists and is glowing. Consider these
bestowals and favors.

Therefore, in thanksgiving for them ye must act in accordance with the
teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. Ye must read the Tablets—the Hidden Words,
I_sh_ráqát, Glad Tidings—all the holy utterances, and act according to
them. This is real thanksgiving, to live in accord with these utterances.
This is true thankfulness and the divine bestowal. This is thanksgiving
and glorification of God.

I hope you all may attain thereto, be mindful of these favors of God and
be attentive. It is my hope that I may go away from New York with a happy
heart, and my heart is happy when the friends of God love each other, when
they manifest the mercy of God to all people. If I see this, I shall go
away happy.

Salutations!



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN BOSTON



23 July 1912
Talk at Hotel Victoria
Boston, Massachusetts


Notes by Edna McKinney

The Bahá’ís must not engage in political movements which lead to sedition.
They must interest themselves in movements which conduce to law and order.
In Persia at the present time the Bahá’ís have no part in the
revolutionary upheavals which have terminated in lawlessness and
rebellion. Nevertheless, a Bahá’í may hold a political office and be
interested in politics of the right type. Ministers, state officials and
governor-generals in Persia are Bahá’ís, and there are many other Bahá’ís
holding governmental positions; but nowhere throughout the world should
the followers of Bahá’u’lláh be engaged in seditious movements. For
example, if there should be an uprising here in America having for its
purpose the establishment of a despotic government, the Bahá’ís should not
be connected with it.

The Bahá’í Cause covers all economic and social questions under the
heading and ruling of its laws. The essence of the Bahá’í spirit is that,
in order to establish a better social order and economic condition, there
must be allegiance to the laws and principles of government. Under the
laws which are to govern the world, the socialists may justly demand human
rights but without resort to force and violence. The governments will
enact these laws, establishing just legislation and economics in order
that all humanity may enjoy a full measure of welfare and privilege; but
this will always be according to legal protection and procedure. Without
legislative administration, rights and demands fail, and the welfare of
the commonwealth cannot be realized. Today the method of demand is the
strike and resort to force, which is manifestly wrong and destructive of
human foundations. Rightful privilege and demand must be set forth in laws
and regulations.

While thousands are considering these questions, we have more essential
purposes. The fundamentals of the whole economic condition are divine in
nature and are associated with the world of the heart and spirit. This is
fully explained in the Bahá’í teaching, and without knowledge of its
principles no improvement in the economic state can be realized. The
Bahá’ís will bring about this improvement and betterment but not through
sedition and appeal to physical force—not through warfare, but welfare.
Hearts must be so cemented together, love must become so dominant that the
rich shall most willingly extend assistance to the poor and take steps to
establish these economic adjustments permanently. If it is accomplished in
this way, it will be most praiseworthy because then it will be for the
sake of God and in the pathway of His service. For example, it will be as
if the rich inhabitants of a city should say, “It is neither just nor
lawful that we should possess great wealth while there is abject poverty
in this community,” and then willingly give their wealth to the poor,
retaining only as much as will enable them to live comfortably.

Strive, therefore, to create love in the hearts in order that they may
become glowing and radiant. When that love is shining, it will permeate
other hearts even as this electric light illumines its surroundings. When
the love of God is established, everything else will be realized. This is
the true foundation of all economics. Reflect upon it. Endeavor to become
the cause of the attraction of souls rather than to enforce minds.
Manifest true economics to the people. Show what love is, what kindness
is, what true severance is and generosity. This is the important thing for
you to do. Act in accordance with the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. All His
Books will be translated. Now is the time for you to live in accordance
with His words. Let your deeds be the real translation of their meaning.
Economic questions will not attract hearts. The love of God alone will
attract them. Economic questions are most interesting; but the power which
moves, controls and attracts the hearts of men is the love of God.



24 July 1912
Talk to Theosophical Society
The Kensington
Exeter and Boylston Streets, Boston, Massachusetts


Notes by Edna McKinney

In the world of existence there is nothing so important as spirit, nothing
so essential as the spirit of man. The spirit of man is the most noble of
phenomena. The spirit of man is the meeting between man and God. The
spirit of man is the animus of human life and the collective center of all
human virtues. The spirit of man is the cause of the illumination of this
world. The world may be likened to the body; man is the spirit of the
body, because the light of the world is the human spirit. Man is the life
of the world, and the life of man is the spirit. The happiness of the
world depends upon man, and the happiness of man is dependent upon the
spirit. The world may be likened to the lamp chimney, whereas man is the
light. Man himself may be likened to the lamp; his spirit is the light
within the lamp. Therefore, we will speak of this spirit.

The philosophers of the world are divided into two classes: materialists,
who deny the spirit and its immortality, and the divine philosophers, the
wise men of God, the true illuminati who believe in the spirit and its
continuance hereafter. The ancient philosophers taught that man consists
simply of the material elements which compose his cellular structure and
that when this composition is disintegrated the life of man becomes
extinct. They reasoned that man is body only, and from this elemental
composition the organs and their functions, the senses, powers and
attributes which characterize man have proceeded, and that these disappear
completely with the physical body. This is practically the statement of
all the materialists.

The divine philosophers proclaim that the spirit of man is ever-living and
eternal, and because of the objections of the materialists, these wise men
of God have advanced rational proofs to support the validity of their
statement. Inasmuch as the materialistic philosophers deny the Books of
God, scriptural demonstration is not evidence to them, and materialistic
proofs are necessary. Answering them, the men of divine knowledge have
said that all existing phenomena may be resolved into grades or kingdoms,
classified progressively as mineral, vegetable, animal and human, each of
which possesses its degree of function and intelligence. When we consider
the mineral, we find that it exists and is possessed of the power of
affinity or combination. The vegetable possesses the qualities of the
mineral plus the augmentative virtue or power of growth. It is, therefore,
evident that the vegetable kingdom is superior to the mineral. The animal
kingdom in turn possesses the qualities of the mineral and vegetable plus
the five senses of perception whereof the kingdoms below it are lacking.
Likewise, the power of memory inherent in the animal does not exist in the
lower kingdoms.

Just as the animal is more noble than the vegetable and mineral, so man is
superior to the animal. The animal is bereft of ideality—that is to say,
it is a captive of the world of nature and not in touch with that which
lies within and beyond nature; it is without spiritual susceptibilities,
deprived of the attractions of consciousness, unconscious of the world of
God and incapable of deviating from the law of nature. It is different
with man. Man is possessed of the emanations of consciousness; he has
perception, ideality and is capable of discovering the mysteries of the
universe. All the industries, inventions and facilities surrounding our
daily life were at one time hidden secrets of nature, but the reality of
man penetrated them and made them subject to his purposes. According to
nature’s laws they should have remained latent and hidden; but man, having
transcended those laws, discovered these mysteries and brought them out of
the plane of the invisible into the realm of the known and visible. How
wonderful is the spirit of man! One of the mysteries of natural phenomena
is electricity. Man has discovered this illimitable power and made it
captive to his uses. How many of nature’s secrets have been penetrated and
revealed! Columbus, while in Spain, discovered America. Man has accurately
determined that the sun is stationary while the earth revolves about it.
The animal cannot do this. Man perceives the mirage to be an illusion.
This is beyond the power of the animal. The animal can only know through
sense impressions and cannot grasp intellectual realities. The animal
cannot conceive of the power of thought. This is an abstract intellectual
matter and not limited to the senses. The animal is incapable of knowing
that the earth is round. In brief, abstract intellectual phenomena are
human powers. All creation below the kingdom of man is the captive of
nature; it cannot deviate in the slightest degree from nature’s laws. But
man wrests the sword of dominion from nature’s hand and uses it upon
nature’s head. For example, it is a natural exigency that man should be a
dweller upon the earth, but the power of the human spirit transcends this
limitation, and he soars aloft in airplanes. This is contrary to the law
and requirement of nature. He sails at high speed upon the ocean and dives
beneath its surface in submarines. He imprisons the human voice in a
phonograph and communicates in the twinkling of an eye from East to West.
These are things we know to be contrary to the limitations of natural law.
Man transcends nature, while the mineral, vegetable and animal are
helplessly subject to it. This can be done only through the power of the
spirit, because the spirit is the reality.

In the physical powers and senses, however, man and the animal are
partners. In fact, the animal is often superior to man in sense
perception. For instance, the vision of some animals is exceedingly keen
and the hearing of others most acute. Consider the instinct of a dog: how
much greater than that of man. But, although the animal shares with man
all the physical virtues and senses, a spiritual power has been bestowed
upon man of which the animal is devoid. This is a proof that there is
something in man above and beyond the endowment of the animal—a faculty
and virtue peculiar to the human kingdom which is lacking in the lower
kingdoms of existence. This is the spirit of man. All these wonderful
human accomplishments are due to the efficacy and penetrating power of the
spirit of man. If man were bereft of this spirit, none of these
accomplishments would have been possible. This is as evident as the sun at
midday.

All the organisms of material creation are limited to an image or form.
That is to say, each created material being is possessed of a form; it
cannot possess two forms at the same time. For example, a body may be
spherical, triangular or square; but it is impossible for it to be two of
these shapes simultaneously. It may be triangular, but if it is to become
square, it must first rid itself of the triangular shape. It is absolutely
impossible for it to be both at the same time. Therefore, it is evident in
the reality of material organisms that different forms cannot be
simultaneously possessed. In the spiritual reality of man, however, all
geometrical figures can be simultaneously conceived, while in physical
realities one image must be forsaken in order that another may be
possible. This is the law of change and transformation, and change and
transformation are precursors of mortality. Were it not for this change in
form, phenomena would be immortal; but because the phenomenal existence is
subject to transformation, it is mortal. The reality of man, however, is
possessed of all virtues; it is not necessary for him to give up one image
for another as mere physical bodies do. Therefore, in that reality there
is no change or transformation; it is immortal and everlasting. The body
of man may be in America while his spirit is laboring and working in the
Far East, discovering, organizing and planning. While occupied in
governing, making laws and erecting a building in Russia, his body is
still here in America. What is this power which, notwithstanding that it
is embodied in America, is operating at the same time in the Orient,
organizing, destroying, upbuilding? It is the spirit of man. This is
irrefutable.

When you wish to reflect upon or consider a matter, you consult something
within you. You say, shall I do it, or shall I not do it? Is it better to
make this journey or abandon it? Whom do you consult? Who is within you
deciding this question? Surely there is a distinct power, an intelligent
ego. Were it not distinct from your ego, you would not be consulting it.
It is greater than the faculty of thought. It is your spirit which teaches
you, which advises and decides upon matters. Who is it that interrogates?
Who is it that answers? There is no doubt that it is the spirit and that
there is no change or transformation in it, for it is not a composition of
elements, and anything that is not composed of elements is eternal. Change
and transformation are peculiarities of composition. There is no change
and transformation in the spirit. In proof of this, the body may become
weakened in its members. It may be dismembered, or one of its members may
be incapacitated. The whole body may be paralyzed; and yet the mind, the
spirit, remains ever the same. The mind decides; the thought is perfect;
and yet the hand is withered, the feet have become useless, the spinal
column is paralyzed, and there is no muscular movement at all, but the
spirit is in the same status. Dismember a healthy man; the spirit is not
dismembered. Amputate his feet; his spirit is there. He may become lame;
the spirit is not affected. The spirit is ever the same; no change or
transformation can you perceive, and because there is no change or
transformation, it is everlasting and permanent.

Consider man while in the state of sleep; it is evident that all his parts
and members are at a standstill, are functionless. His eye does not see,
his ear does not hear, his feet and hands are motionless; but,
nevertheless, he does see in the world of dreams, he does hear, he speaks,
he walks, he may even fly in an airplane. Therefore, it becomes evident
that though the body be dead, yet the spirit is alive and permanent. Nay,
the perceptions may be keener when man’s body is asleep, the flight may be
higher, the hearing may be more acute; all the functions are there, and
yet the body is at a standstill. Hence, it is proof that there is a spirit
in the man, and in this spirit there is no distinction as to whether the
body be asleep or absolutely dead and dependent. The spirit is not
incapacitated by these conditions; it is not bereft of its existence; it
is not bereft of its perfections. The proofs are many, innumerable.

These are all rational proofs. Nobody can refute them. As we have shown
that there is a spirit and that this spirit is permanent and everlasting,
we must strive to learn of it. May you become informed of its power,
hasten to render it divine, to have it become sanctified and holy and make
it the very light of the world illumining the East and the West.



25 July 1912
Talk at Hotel Victoria
Boston, Massachusetts


Notes by Edna McKinney

I am very happy to greet you here today. This is the second time the
breeze of God has wafted over Boston. I am expecting results from this
visit and hope that my coming may not be fruitless. The results I expect
are these: that the individual soul shall be released from self and desire
and freed from the bondage of satanic suggestions. May the mirrors of
hearts be cleansed from dust in order that the Sun of Truth may be
reflected therein.

Man possesses two kinds of susceptibilities: the natural emotions, which
are like dust upon the mirror, and spiritual susceptibilities, which are
merciful and heavenly characteristics.

There is a power which purifies the mirror from dust and transforms its
reflection into intense brilliancy and radiance so that spiritual
susceptibilities may chasten the hearts and heavenly bestowals sanctify
them. What is the dust which obscures the mirror? It is attachment to the
world, avarice, envy, love of luxury and comfort, haughtiness and
self-desire; this is the dust which prevents reflection of the rays of the
Sun of Reality in the mirror. The natural emotions are blameworthy and are
like rust which deprives the heart of the bounties of God. But sincerity,
justice, humility, severance, and love for the believers of God will
purify the mirror and make it radiant with reflected rays from the Sun of
Truth.

It is my hope that you may consider this matter, that you may search out
your own imperfections and not think of the imperfections of anybody else.
Strive with all your power to be free from imperfections. Heedless souls
are always seeking faults in others. What can the hypocrite know of
others’ faults when he is blind to his own? This is the meaning of the
words in the Seven Valleys. It is a guide for human conduct. As long as a
man does not find his own faults, he can never become perfect. Nothing is
more fruitful for man than the knowledge of his own shortcomings. The
Blessed Perfection says, “I wonder at the man who does not find his own
imperfections.”



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN DUBLIN



5 August 1912
Talk at Dublin Inn
Dublin, New Hampshire


Notes by Howard MacNutt

The people of Christianity have clung to literal interpretation of the
statement in the Gospel that Christ came from heaven. The Jews, likewise,
at the time of His manifestation held to outward and visible expectation
of the fulfillment of the prophecies. They said, “The Messiah shall appear
from heaven. This man came from Nazareth; we know his house; we know his
parents and people. It is only hearsay that he descended from heaven; this
cannot be proved.”

The text of the Gospel states that He came from heaven although physically
born of the mother. The meaning is that the divine reality of Christ was
from heaven, but the body was born of Mary. Therefore, He came according
to the prophecies of the Holy Book and, likewise, according to natural
law—His reality from heaven, His body earthly. As He came before, so must
He come this time in the same way. But some arise with objections, saying,
“We must have literal proof of this through the senses.”

The reality of Christ was always in heaven and will always be. This is the
intention of the text of the Gospel. For while Jesus Christ walked upon
the earth, He said, “The Son of Man is in heaven.” Therefore, holding to
literal interpretation and visible fulfillment of the text of the Holy
Books is simply imitation of ancestral forms and beliefs; for when we
perceive the reality of Christ, these texts and statements become clear
and perfectly reconcilable with each other. Unless we perceive reality, we
cannot understand the meanings of the Holy Books, for these meanings are
symbolical and spiritual—such as, for instance, the raising of Lazarus,
which has spiritual interpretation. We must first establish the fact that
the power of God is infinite, unlimited, and that it is within that power
to accomplish anything.

Second, we must understand the interpretation of Christ’s words concerning
the dead. A certain disciple came to Christ and asked permission to go and
bury his father. He answered, “Let the dead bury their dead.” Therefore,
Christ designated as dead some who were still living—that is, let the
living dead, the spiritually dead, bury your father. They were dead
because they were not believers in Christ. Although physically alive, they
were dead spiritually. This is the meaning of Christ’s words, “That which
is born of flesh is flesh; and that which is born of Spirit is spirit.” He
meant that those who were simply born of the human body were dead
spiritually, while those quickened by the breaths of the Holy Spirit were
living and eternally alive. These are the interpretations of Christ
Himself. Reflect upon them, and the meanings of the Holy Books will become
clear as the sun at midday.

The Holy Books have their special terminologies which must be known and
understood. Physicians have their own peculiar terms; architects,
philosophers have their characteristic expressions; poets have their
phrases; and scientists, their nomenclature. In the scripture we read that
Zion is dancing. It is evident that this has other than literal
interpretation. The meaning is that the people of Zion shall rejoice. The
Jews said Christ was not the Messiah but Antichrist, because one of the
signs of the Messiah’s coming was the dancing of Mount Zion, which had not
yet come to pass. In reality, when Christ appeared, not only Mount Zion
but all Palestine danced and rejoiced. Again in scriptures it is said,
“The trees of the field shall clap their hands.” This is symbolical. There
are terms and expressions of usage in every language which cannot be taken
literally. For instance, in oriental countries it is customary to say,
“When my friend entered the house, the doors and walls began to sing and
dance.” In Persia they say, “Get at the head,” meaning engage in the
matter according to its own terms and usages. All these have other and
inner meanings.

You have asked concerning approval of Christian Science treatment and
healing. Spirit has influence; prayer has spiritual effect. Therefore, we
pray, “O God! Heal this sick one!” Perchance God will answer. Does it
matter who prays? God will answer the prayer of every servant if that
prayer is urgent. His mercy is vast, illimitable. He answers the prayers
of all His servants. He answers the prayer of this plant. The plant prays
potentially, “O God! Send me rain!” God answers the prayer, and the plant
grows. God will answer anyone. He answers prayers potentially. Before we
were born into this world did we not pray, “O God! Give me a mother; give
me two fountains of bright milk; purify the air for my breathing; grant me
rest and comfort; prepare food for my sustenance and living”? Did we not
pray potentially for these needed blessings before we were created? When
we came into this world, did we not find our prayers answered? Did we not
find mother, father, food, light, home and every other necessity and
blessing, although we did not actually ask for them? Therefore, it is
natural that God will give to us when we ask Him. His mercy is
all-encircling.

But we ask for things which the divine wisdom does not desire for us, and
there is no answer to our prayer. His wisdom does not sanction what we
wish. We pray, “O God! Make me wealthy!” If this prayer were universally
answered, human affairs would be at a standstill. There would be none left
to work in the streets, none to till the soil, none to build, none to run
the trains. Therefore, it is evident that it would not be well for us if
all prayers were answered. The affairs of the world would be interfered
with, energies crippled and progress hindered. But whatever we ask for
which is in accord with divine wisdom, God will answer. Assuredly!

For instance, a very feeble patient may ask the doctor to give him food
which would be positively dangerous to his life and condition. He may beg
for roast meat. The doctor is kind and wise. He knows it would be
dangerous to his patient so he refuses to allow it. The doctor is
merciful; the patient, ignorant. Through the doctor’s kindness the patient
recovers; his life is saved. Yet the patient may cry out that the doctor
is unkind, not good, because he refuses to answer his pleading.

God is merciful. In His mercy He answers the prayers of all His servants
when according to His supreme wisdom it is necessary.



6 August 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
Dublin, New Hampshire


Notes by Howard MacNutt

Today we are enjoying temperate weather. As there are many strangers
present, we will answer questions.

Question: Are not all Christians Bahá’ís? Is there any difference?

Answer: When Christians act according to the teachings of Christ, they are
called Bahá’ís. For the foundations of Christianity and the religion of
Bahá’u’lláh are one. The foundations of all the divine Prophets and Holy
Books are one. The difference among them is one of terminology only. Each
springtime is identical with the former springtime. The distinction
between them is only one of the calendar—1911, 1912 and so on. The
difference between a Christian and a Bahá’í, therefore, is this: There was
a former springtime, and there is a springtime now. No other difference
exists because the foundations are the same. Whoever acts completely in
accordance with the teachings of Christ is a Bahá’í. The purpose is the
essential meaning of Christian, not the mere word. The purpose is the sun
itself and not the dawning points. For though the sun is one sun, its
dawning points are many. We must not adore the dawning points but worship
the sun. We must adore the reality of religion and not blindly cling to
the appellation Christianity. The Sun of Reality must be worshiped and
followed. We must seek the fragrance of the rose from whatever bush it is
blooming—whether oriental or western. Be seekers of light, no matter from
which lantern it shines forth. Be not lovers of the lantern. At one time
the light has shone from a lantern in the East, now in the West. If it
comes from North, South, from whatever direction it proceeds, follow the
light. Let me illustrate further. A certain person bestowed a coin upon
five beggars. They resolved to spend it for food. The Englishman said,
“Buy grapes.” The Turk wanted uzum, the Arab anáb, the Greek stafi’li, the
Persian angúr. Not understanding each other’s language, they quarreled and
fought. A stranger came along. He was familiar with all five languages. He
said, “Give me the coin; I will buy what you wish.” When he brought them
grapes, they were all satisfied. They wanted the same thing but differed
in the term only. Briefly, when reality dawns in the midst of the
religions, all will be unified and reconciled.

Question: Does ‘Abdu’l-Bahá find Christianity is not lived up to and
carried out in America?

Answer: My meaning is that it should be completely carried out and lived
up to. Man needs eyes, ears, arms, a head, feet and various other members.
When he possesses all and all work together, there is symmetry and
perfection in him. So Christ said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your
Father which is in heaven is perfect,” meaning that perfection is the
requirement of Christianity. Be the image and likeness of God. This is not
easy. It necessitates the focalization of all heavenly virtues. It
requires that we become recipients of all the perfections of God. Then we
become His image and likeness. For in the Bible it is stated, “Let us make
man in our image, after our likeness.” The attainment of this is most
difficult.

When Christ appeared with those marvelous breaths of the Holy Spirit, the
children of Israel said, “We are quite independent of him; we can do
without him and follow Moses; we have a book and in it are found the
teachings of God; what need, therefore, have we of this man?” Christ said
to them, “The book sufficeth you not.” It is possible for a man to hold to
a book of medicine and say, “I have no need of a doctor; I will act
according to the book; in it every disease is named, all symptoms are
explained, the diagnosis of each ailment is completely written out, and a
prescription for each malady is furnished; therefore, why do I need a
doctor?” This is sheer ignorance. A physician is needed to prescribe.
Through his skill the principles of the book are correctly and effectively
applied until the patient is restored to health. Christ was a heavenly
Physician. He brought spiritual health and healing into the world.
Bahá’u’lláh is, likewise, a divine Physician. He has revealed
prescriptions for removing disease from the body politic and has remedied
human conditions by spiritual power.

Therefore, mere knowledge is not sufficient for complete human attainment.
The teachings of the Holy Books need a heavenly power and divine potency
to carry them out. A house is not built by mere acquaintance with the
plans. Money must be forthcoming; volition is necessary to construct it; a
carpenter must be employed in its erection. It is not enough to say, “The
plan and purpose of this house are very good; I will live in it.” There
are no walls of protection, there is no roof of shelter in this mere
statement; the house must be actually built before we can live in it.

Briefly, the teachings of the Holy Books need a divine potency to complete
their accomplishment in human hearts. In Persia Bahá’u’lláh reared and
taught souls, established a bond of affiliation among various peoples and
united divergent religious beliefs to such an extent that twenty thousand
devoted ones sacrificed themselves for the Cause of God in the glorious
unity of martyrdom. No differences whatever remained among these blessed
souls—Christians, Jews, Muslims, Zoroastrians, all blended, unified and
agreed through the potency of His heavenly power, not by mere words, not
by merely saying, “Unity is good, and love is praiseworthy.”

Bahá’u’lláh not only proclaimed this unity and love; He established it. As
a heavenly Physician He not only gave prescriptions for these ailments of
discord and hatred but accomplished the actual healing. We may read in a
medical book that a certain form of illness requires such and such a
remedy. While this may be absolutely true, the remedy is useless unless
there be volition and executive force to apply it. Every man in the king’s
army can give a command; but when the king speaks, it is carried out. This
one, that one, may say, “Go conquer a country”; but when the king says,
“Go!”, the army advances. Therefore, it is evident that the confirmation
of the Holy Spirit and impelling influence of a heavenly power are needed
to accomplish the divine purpose in human hearts and conditions. Jesus
Christ, single, solitary and alone, accomplished what all the kings of the
earth could not have carried out. If all the kingdoms and nations of the
world had combined to effect it, they would have failed.

It is, therefore, evident and proved that an effort must be put forward to
complete the purpose and plan of the teachings of God in order that in
this great Day of days the world may be reformed, souls resuscitated, a
new spirit of life found, hearts become illumined, mankind rescued from
the bondage of nature, saved from the baseness of materialism and attain
spirituality and radiance in attraction toward the divine Kingdom. This is
necessary; this is needful. Mere reading of the Holy Books and texts will
not suffice.

Many years ago in Ba_gh_dád I saw a certain officer sitting upon the
ground. Before him a large paper was placed into which he was sticking
needles tipped with small red and white flags. First he would stick them
into the paper, then thoughtfully pull them out and change their position.
I watched him with curious interest for a long time, then asked, “What are
you doing?” He replied, “I have in mind something which is historically
related of Napoleon I during his war against Austria. One day, it is said,
his secretary found him sitting upon the ground as I am now doing,
sticking needles into a paper before him. His secretary inquired what it
meant. Napoleon answered, ‘I am on the battlefield figuring out my next
victory. You see, Italy and Austria are defeated, and France is
triumphant.’ In the great campaign which followed, everything came out
just as he said. His army carried his plans to a complete success. Now, I
am doing the same as Napoleon, figuring out a great campaign of military
conquest.” I said, “Where is your army? Napoleon had an army already
equipped when he figured out his victory. You have no army. Your forces
exist only on paper. You have no power to conquer countries. First get
ready your army, then sit upon the ground with your needles.” We need an
army to attain victory in the spiritual world; mere plans are not
sufficient; ideas and principles are helpless without a divine power to
put them into effect.

Aside from all this, there is need of the stimulus of the joy of glad
tidings in human hearts. Certain spiritual attraction is requisite in
order that hearts may willingly take the step forward in the divine Cause.
We must become attracted to God. The breaths of the Holy Spirit must take
effect. Unless this is so, it is impossible for the teachings of God to
accomplish in us. An ideal power is necessary. The people of America have
remarkably quick perception, intelligence and understanding. Their
thoughts are free and not fettered by the yoke of governmental tyranny.
They should investigate reality and not be occupied with ancestral forms
and imitations. Consider what Christ accomplished. He caused souls to
attain a station where with complete willingness and joy they laid down
their lives. What a power! Thousands of human souls, in the utmost joy
because of their spiritual susceptibilities, were so attracted to God that
they were dispossessed of volition, deprived of will in His path. If they
had been told simply that sacrifice in the path of God was good and
praiseworthy, this would never have happened. They would not have acted.
Christ attracted them, wrested the reins of control from them, and they
went forth in ecstasy to sacrifice themselves.

Qurratu’l-‘Ayn was a Persian woman without fame and importance—unknown,
like all other Persian women. When she saw Bahá’u’lláh, she changed
completely, visibly, and looked within another world. The reins of
volition were taken out of her hands by heavenly attraction. She was so
overcome that physical susceptibilities ceased. Her husband, her sons and
her family arose in the greatest hostility against Bahá’u’lláh. She became
so attracted to the divine threshold that she forsook everything and went
forth to the plain of Bada_sh_t, no fear in her heart, dauntless,
intrepid, openly proclaiming the message of light which had come to her.
The Persian government stood against her. They made every effort to quiet
her, they imprisoned her in the governor’s house, but she continued to
speak. Then she was taken and killed. To her very last breath she spoke
with fervid eloquence and so became famous for her complete attraction in
the path of God. If she had not seen Bahá’u’lláh, no such effect would
have been produced. She had read and heard the teachings of scriptures all
her life, but the action and enkindlement were missing. All women in
Persia are enveloped in veils in public. So completely covered are they
that even the hand is not visible. This rigid veiling is unspeakable.
Qurratu’l-‘Ayn tore off her veils and went forth fearlessly. She was like
a lioness. Her action caused a great turmoil throughout the land of
Persia. So excessive and compulsory is the requirement for veiling in the
East that the people in the West have no idea of the excitement and
indignation produced by the appearance of an unveiled woman.
Qurratu’l-‘Ayn lost all thought of herself and was unconscious of fear in
her attraction to God.

Question: Do the Bahá’í women go without veils in the East? Answer: It is
not possible for them to do so universally yet, but the conditions are not
nearly so restrictive as they were. The Bahá’í men and women meet
together. This is the beginning of woman’s emancipation from the thralldom
of centuries. Qurratu’l-‘Ayn was really the liberator of all Persian
women.



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED AT GREEN ACRE



16 August 1912
Talk at Green Acre
Eliot, Maine


Notes by Edna McKinney

Every subject presented to a thoughtful audience must be supported by
rational proofs and logical arguments. Proofs are of four kinds: first,
through sense perception; second, through the reasoning faculty; third,
from traditional or scriptural authority; fourth, through the medium of
inspiration. That is to say, there are four criteria or standards of
judgment by which the human mind reaches its conclusions. We will first
consider the criterion of the senses. This is a standard still held to by
the materialistic philosophers of the world. They believe that whatever is
perceptible to the senses is a verity, a certainty and without doubt
existent. For example, they say, “Here is a lamp which you see, and
because it is perceptible to the sense of sight, you cannot doubt its
existence. There is a tree; your sense of vision assures you of its
reality, which is beyond question. This is a man; you see that he is a
man; therefore, he exists.” In a word, everything confirmed by the senses
is assumed to be as undoubted and unquestioned as the product of five
multiplied by five; it cannot be twenty-six nor less than twenty-five.
Consequently, the materialistic philosophers consider the criterion of the
senses to be first and foremost.

But in the estimation of the divine philosophers this proof and assurance
is not reliable; nay, rather, they deem the standard of the senses to be
false because it is imperfect. Sight, for instance, is one of the most
important of the senses, yet it is subject to many aberrations and
inaccuracies. The eye sees the mirage as a body of water; it regards
images in the mirror as realities when they are but reflections. A man
sailing upon the river imagines that objects upon the shore are moving,
whereas he is in motion, and they are stationary. To the eye the earth
appears fixed, while the sun and stars revolve about it. As a matter of
fact, the heavenly orbs are stationary, and the earth is turning upon its
axis. The colossal suns, planets and constellations which shine in the
heavens appear small, nay, infinitesimal to human vision, whereas in
reality they are vastly greater than the earth in dimension and volume. A
whirling spark appears to the sight as a circle of fire. There are
numberless instances of this kind which show the error and inaccuracy of
the senses. Therefore, the divine philosophers have considered this
standard of judgment to be defective and unreliable.

The second criterion is that of the intellect. The ancient philosophers in
particular considered the intellect to be the most important agency of
judgment. Among the wise men of Greece, Rome, Persia and Egypt the
criterion of true proof was reason. They held that every matter submitted
to the reasoning faculty could be proved true or false and must be
accepted or rejected accordingly. But in the estimation of the people of
insight this criterion is likewise defective and unreliable, for these
same philosophers who held to reason or intellect as the standard of human
judgment have differed widely among themselves upon every subject of
investigation. The statements of the Greek philosophers are contradictory
to the conclusions of the Persian sages. Even among the Greek philosophers
themselves there is continual variance and lack of agreement upon any
given subject. Great difference of thought also prevailed between the wise
men of Greece and Rome. Therefore, if the criterion of reason or intellect
constituted a correct and infallible standard of judgment, those who
tested and applied it should have arrived at the same conclusions. As they
differ and are contradictory in conclusions, it is an evidence that the
method and standard of test must have been faulty and insufficient.

The third criterion or standard of proof is traditional or
scriptural—namely, that every statement or conclusion should be supported
by traditions recorded in certain religious books. When we come to
consider even the Holy Books—the Books of God—we are led to ask, “Who
understands these books? By what authority of explanation may these Books
be understood?” It must be the authority of human reason, and if reason or
intellect finds itself incapable of explaining certain questions, or if
the possessors of intellect contradict each other in the interpretation of
traditions, how can such a criterion be relied upon for accurate
conclusions?

The fourth standard is that of inspiration. In past centuries many
philosophers have claimed illumination or revelation, prefacing their
statements by the announcement that “this subject has been revealed
through me” or “thus do I speak by inspiration.” Of this class were the
philosophers of the Illuminati. Inspirations are the promptings or
susceptibilities of the human heart. The promptings of the heart are
sometimes satanic. How are we to differentiate them? How are we to tell
whether a given statement is an inspiration and prompting of the heart
through the merciful assistance or through the satanic agency?

Consequently, it has become evident that the four criteria or standards of
judgment by which the human mind reaches its conclusions are faulty and
inaccurate. All of them are liable to mistake and error in conclusions.
But a statement presented to the mind accompanied by proofs which the
senses can perceive to be correct, which the faculty of reason can accept,
which is in accord with traditional authority and sanctioned by the
promptings of the heart, can be adjudged and relied upon as perfectly
correct, for it has been proved and tested by all the standards of
judgment and found to be complete. When we apply but one test, there are
possibilities of mistake. This is self-evident and manifest.

We will now consider the subject of love which has been suggested,
submitting it to the four standards of judgment and thereby reaching our
conclusions.

We declare that love is the cause of the existence of all phenomena and
that the absence of love is the cause of disintegration or nonexistence.
Love is the conscious bestowal of God, the bond of affiliation in all
phenomena. We will first consider the proof of this through sense
perception. As we look upon the universe, we observe that all composite
beings or existing phenomena are made up primarily of single elements
bound together by a power of attraction. Through this power of attraction
cohesion has become manifest between atoms of these composing elements.
The resultant being is a phenomenon of the lower contingent type. The
power of cohesion expressed in the mineral kingdom is in reality love or
affinity manifested in a low degree according to the exigencies of the
mineral world. We take a step higher into the vegetable kingdom where we
find an increased power of attraction has become manifest among the
composing elements which form phenomena. Through this degree of attraction
a cellular admixture is produced among these elements which make up the
body of a plant. Therefore, in the degree of the vegetable kingdom there
is love. We enter the animal kingdom and find the attractive power binding
together single elements as in the mineral, plus the cellular admixture as
in the vegetable, plus the phenomena of feelings or susceptibilities. We
observe that the animals are susceptible to certain affiliation and
fellowship and that they exercise natural selection. This elemental
attraction, this admixture and selective affinity is love manifest in the
degree of the animal kingdom.

Finally, we come to the kingdom of man. As this is the superior kingdom,
the light of love is more resplendent. In man we find the power of
attraction among the elements which compose his material body, plus the
attraction which produces cellular admixture or augmentative power, plus
the attraction which characterizes the sensibilities of the animal
kingdom, but still beyond and above all these lower powers we discover in
the being of man the attraction of heart, the susceptibilities and
affinities which bind men together, enabling them to live and associate in
friendship and solidarity. It is, therefore, evident that in the world of
humanity the greatest king and sovereign is love. If love were
extinguished, the power of attraction dispelled, the affinity of human
hearts destroyed, the phenomena of human life would disappear.

This is a proof perceptible to the senses, acceptable to reason, in accord
with traditions and teachings of the Holy Books and verified by the
promptings of human hearts themselves. It is a proof upon which we can
absolutely rely and declare to be complete. But these are only degrees of
love which exist in the natural or physical world. Their manifestation is
ever according to the requirement of natural conditions and standards.

Real love is the love which exists between God and His servants, the love
which binds together holy souls. This is the love of the spiritual world,
not the love of physical bodies and organisms. For example, consider and
observe how the bestowals of God successively descend upon mankind, how
the divine effulgences ever shine upon the human world. There can be no
doubt that these bestowals, these bounties, these effulgences emanate from
love. Unless love be the divine motive, it would be impossible for the
heart of man to attain or receive them. Unless love exists, the divine
blessing could not descend upon any object or thing. Unless there be love,
the recipient of divine effulgence could not radiate and reflect that
effulgence upon other objects. If we are of those who perceive, we realize
that the bounties of God manifest themselves continuously, even as the
rays of the sun unceasingly emanate from the solar center. The phenomenal
world through the resplendent effulgence of the sun is radiant and bright.
In the same way the realm of hearts and spirits is illumined and
resuscitated through the shining rays of the Sun of Reality and the
bounties of the love of God. Thereby the world of existence, the kingdom
of hearts and spirits, is ever quickened into life. Were it not for the
love of God, hearts would be inanimate, spirits would wither, and the
reality of man would be bereft of the everlasting bestowals.

Consider to what extent the love of God makes itself manifest. Among the
signs of His love which appear in the world are the dawning points of His
Manifestations. What an infinite degree of love is reflected by the divine
Manifestations toward mankind! For the sake of guiding the people They
have willingly forfeited Their lives to resuscitate human hearts. They
have accepted the cross. To enable human souls to attain the supreme
degree of advancement, They have suffered during Their limited years
extreme ordeals and difficulties. If Jesus Christ had not possessed love
for the world of humanity, surely He would not have welcomed the cross. He
was crucified for the love of mankind. Consider the infinite degree of
that love. Without love for humanity John the Baptist would not have
offered his life. It has been likewise with all the Prophets and Holy
Souls. If the Báb had not manifested love for mankind, surely He would not
have offered His breast for a thousand bullets. If Bahá’u’lláh had not
been aflame with love for humanity, He would not have willingly accepted
forty years’ imprisonment.

Observe how rarely human souls sacrifice their pleasure or comfort for
others, how improbable that a man would offer his eye or suffer himself to
be dismembered for the benefit of another. Yet all the divine
Manifestations suffered, offered Their lives and blood, sacrificed Their
existence, comfort and all They possessed for the sake of mankind.
Therefore, consider how much They love. Were it not for Their love for
humanity, spiritual love would be mere nomenclature. Were it not for Their
illumination, human souls would not be radiant. How effective is Their
love! This is a sign of the love of God, a ray of the Sun of Reality.

Therefore, we must give praise unto God, for it is the light of His bounty
which has shone upon us through His love which is everlasting. His divine
Manifestations have offered Their lives through love for us. Consider,
then, what the love of God means. Were it not for the love of God, all the
spirits would be inanimate. The meaning of this is not physical death;
nay, rather, it is that condition concerning which Christ declared, “Let
the dead bury their dead,” for “That which is born of the flesh is flesh;
and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Were it not for the love
of God, the hearts would not be illumined. Were it not for the love of
God, the pathway of the Kingdom would not be opened. Were it not for the
love of God, the Holy Books would not have been revealed. Were it not for
the love of God, the divine Prophets would not have been sent to the
world. The foundation of all these bestowals is the love of God.
Therefore, in the human world there is no greater power than the love of
God. It is the love of God which has brought us together here tonight. It
is the love of God which is affiliating the East and the West. It is the
love of God which has resuscitated the world. Now we must offer thanks to
God that such a great bestowal and effulgence has been revealed to us.

We come to another aspect of our subject: Are the workings and effects of
love confined to this world, or do they extend on and on to another
existence? Will its influence affect our existence here only, or will it
extend to the everlasting life? When we look upon the human kingdom, we
readily observe that it is superior to all others. In the differentiation
of life in the world of existence, there are four degrees or kingdoms: the
mineral, vegetable, animal and human. The mineral kingdom is possessed of
a certain virtue which we term cohesion. The vegetable kingdom possesses
cohesive properties plus the power of growth, or augmentative power. The
animal kingdom is possessed of the virtues of the mineral and vegetable
plus the powers of the senses. But the animal, although gifted with
sensibilities, is utterly bereft of consciousness, absolutely out of touch
with the world of consciousness and spirit. The animal possesses no powers
by which it can make discoveries which lie beyond the realm of the senses.
It has no power of intellectual origination. For example, an animal
located in Europe is not capable of discovering the continent of America.
It understands only phenomena which come within the range of its senses
and instinct. It cannot abstractly reason out anything. The animal cannot
conceive of the earth being spherical or revolving upon its axis. It
cannot apprehend that the little stars in the heavens are tremendous
worlds vastly greater than the earth. The animal cannot abstractly
conceive of intellect. Of these powers it is bereft. Therefore, these
powers are peculiar to man, and it is made evident that in the human
kingdom there is a reality of which the animal is lacking. What is that
reality? It is the spirit of man. By it man is distinguished above all the
other phenomenal kingdoms. Although he possesses all the virtues of the
lower kingdoms, he is further endowed with the spiritual faculty, the
heavenly gift of consciousness.

All material phenomena are subject to nature. All material organisms are
captives of nature. None of them can deviate in the slightest from the
laws of nature. This earth, these great mountains, the animals with their
wonderful powers and instincts cannot go beyond natural limitations. All
things are captives of nature except man. Man is the sovereign of nature;
he breaks nature’s laws. Though an animal fitted by nature to live upon
the surface of the earth, he flies in the air like a bird, sails upon the
ocean and dives deep beneath its waves in submarines. Man is gifted with a
power whereby he penetrates and discovers the laws of nature, brings them
forth from the world of invisibility into the plane of visibility.
Electricity was once a latent force of nature. According to nature’s laws
it should remain a hidden secret, but the spirit of man discovered it,
brought it forth from its secret depository and made its phenomena
visible. It is evident and manifest that man is capable of breaking
nature’s laws. How does he accomplish it? Through a spirit with which God
has endowed him at creation. This is a proof that the spirit of man
differentiates and distinguishes him above all the lower kingdoms. It is
this spirit to which the verse in the Old Testament refers when it states,
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” The
spirit of man alone penetrates the realities of God and partakes of the
divine bounties.

This great power must evidently be differentiated from the physical body
or temple in which it is manifested. Observe and understand how this human
body changes; nevertheless, the spirit of man remains ever in the same
condition. For instance, the body sometimes grows weak, it becomes strong
or stout, sometimes it grows smaller or may be dismembered, but there is
no effect upon the spirit. The eye may become blind, the foot may be
amputated, but no imperfection afflicts the spirit. This is proof that the
spirit of man is distinct from his body. Defects in the body or its
members do not imply defects in the spirit. This leads to the accurate
conclusion that if the whole body should be subjected to a radical change,
the spirit will survive that change; that even if the body of man is
destroyed and becomes nonexistent, the spirit of man remains unaffected.
For the spirit of man is everlasting. Sometimes the body sleeps, the eyes
do not see, the ears do not hear, the members cease to act, every function
is as inactive as death; nevertheless, the spirit sees, hears and soars on
high. For it is possessed of these faculties which operate without the
instrumentality of the body. In the world of thought it sees without eyes,
hears without ears and travels without the motion of foot. Without
physical force it exercises every function. This makes it evident that
during sleep the spirit is alive though the body is as dead. In the world
of dreams the body becomes absolutely passive, but the spirit still
functions actively, possessed of all susceptibilities. This leads to the
conclusion that the life of the spirit is neither conditional nor
dependent upon the life of the body. At most it can be said that the body
is a mere garment utilized by the spirit. If that garment be destroyed,
the wearer is not affected but is, in fact, protected.

Furthermore, all phenomena are subject to changes from one condition to
another, and the revolution caused by this transformation produces a form
of nonexistence. For instance, when a man is transformed from the human
kingdom to the mineral, we say that he is dead, for he has relinquished
the physical form of man and assumed the condition of the mineral
substances. This transformation or transmutation is called death.
Therefore, it follows that no phenomenal organism can be possessed of two
forms at the same time. If an object or phenomenon presents a triangular
shape, it cannot simultaneously possess the shape of a square. If it is
spherical, it cannot at the same time be pentagonal or hexagonal. In order
to assume any given figure or form it must relinquish its previous shape
or dimension. Thus the triangular must be abandoned to assume the square;
the square must change to become a pentagon. These transformations or
changes from one condition to another are equivalent to death. But the
reality of man, the human spirit, is simultaneously possessed of all forms
and figures without being bereft of any of them. It does not require
transformation from one concept to another. Were it to be bereft of one or
all figures, we would then say it has been transferred to another, and
this would be equivalent to death. But as the human spirit possesses all
the figures simultaneously, it has no transformation or death.

Again, according to natural philosophy it is an assured fact that single
or simple elements are indestructible. As nature is indestructible, every
simple element of nature is lasting and permanent. Death and annihilation
affect only compounds and compositions. That is to say, compositions are
destructible. When decomposition takes place, death occurs. For example,
certain single elements have combined to make this flower. When this
combination is disintegrated, this composition decomposed, the flower dies
as an organism of the vegetable kingdom. But the single elements of which
this flower is composed do not suffer death, for all single elements are
permanent, everlasting and not subject to destruction. They are
indestructible because they are single and not compound. Thus they cannot
disintegrate nor become separated in their component atoms but are single,
simple and, therefore, everlasting.

If an elementary substance is possessed of immortality, how can the human
spirit or reality, which is wholly above combination and composition, be
destroyed? Nay, rather, that spirit, which is all in all, is a unit and
not a compound. Its destruction, therefore, is not possible. The spirit of
man transcends the qualities and attributes of any natural element. It is
greater in attributes than gold, silver or iron, which are single elements
and indestructible. As they are free from destruction and qualified with
permanence, how much more so is the human spirit free and immortal. How
will that ever be destroyed? This is a subject of great importance. There
are innumerable proofs in support of it. I hope we may continue it at
another time.

Before we leave, I desire to offer a prayer in behalf of Miss Farmer; for,
verily, she has been the founder of this organization, the source of this
loving fellowship and assemblage.

O Thou kind God! Encircle these servants with the glances of Thy
providence. Set aglow the hearts of this assemblage with the fire of Thy
love. Illumine these faces with the light of heaven. Enlighten these
hearts with the light of the most great guidance.

O God! The clouds of superstitions have covered the horizons of the
hearts. O Lord! Dispel these clouds so that the lights of the Sun of
Reality may shine. O Lord! Illumine our eyes so that we may behold Thy
light. O Lord! Attune our ears so that we may hear the call of the Supreme
Concourse. O Lord! Render our tongues eloquent so that we may become
engaged in Thy commemoration. O Lord! Sanctify and purify the hearts so
that the effulgence of Thy love may shine therein.

O Thou kind Lord! Bestow quick recovery through Thy power and bounty upon
the founder of this Association. O Lord! This woman has served Thee, has
turned her face toward Thy Kingdom and has established these conferences
in order that reality might be investigated and the light of reality
shine.

O Lord! Be Thou ever her support. O Lord! Be Thou ever her comforter. O
Lord! Bestow upon her quick healing. Verily, Thou art the Clement. Verily,
Thou art the Merciful. Verily, Thou art the Generous.



17 August 1912
Talk at Green Acre
Eliot, Maine


Notes by Edna McKinney

The physical beauty of this place is very wonderful. We hope that a
spiritual charm may surround and halo it; then its beauty will be perfect.
There is a spiritual atmosphere manifest here particularly at sunset.

In cities like New York the people are submerged in the sea of
materialism. Their sensibilities are attuned to material forces, their
perceptions purely physical. The animal energies predominate in their
activities; all their thoughts are directed to material things; day and
night they are devoted to the attractions of this world, without
aspiration beyond the life that is vanishing and mortal. In schools and
temples of learning knowledge of the sciences acquired is based upon
material observations only; there is no realization of Divinity in their
methods and conclusions—all have reference to the world of matter. They
are not interested in attaining knowledge of the mysteries of God or
understanding the secrets of the heavenly Kingdom; what they acquire is
based altogether upon visible and tangible evidences. Beyond these
evidences they are without susceptibilities; they have no idea of the
world of inner significances and are utterly out of touch with God,
considering this an indication of reasonable attitude and philosophical
judgement whereof they are self-sufficient and proud.

As a matter of fact, this supposed excellence is possessed in its
superlative degree by the animals. The animals are without knowledge of
God; so to speak, they are deniers of Divinity and understand nothing of
the Kingdom and its heavenly mysteries. As deniers of the Kingdom, they
are utterly ignorant of spiritual things and uninformed of the
supernatural world. Therefore, if it be a perfection and virtue to be
without knowledge of God and His Kingdom, the animals have attained the
highest degree of excellence and proficiency. Then the donkey is the
greatest scientist and the cow an accomplished naturalist, for they have
obtained what they know without schooling and years of laborious study in
colleges, trusting implicitly to the evidence of the senses and relying
solely upon intuitive virtues. The cow, for instance, is a lover of the
visible and a believer in the tangible, contented and happy when pasture
is plenty, perfectly serene, a blissful exponent of the transcendental
school of philosophy. Such is the status of the material philosophers, who
glory in sharing the condition of the cow, imagining themselves in a lofty
station. Reflect upon their ignorance and blindness.

Nay, rather, the virtue of man is this: that he can investigate the ideals
of the Kingdom and attain knowledge which is denied the animal in its
limitation. The station of man is this: that he has the power to attain
those ideals and thereby differentiate and consciously distinguish himself
an infinite degree above the kingdoms of existence below him.

The station of man is great, very great. God has created man after His own
image and likeness. He has endowed him with a mighty power which is
capable of discovering the mysteries of phenomena. Through its use man is
able to arrive at ideal conclusions instead of being restricted to the
mere plane of sense impressions. As he possesses sense endowment in common
with the animals, it is evident that he is distinguished above them by his
conscious power of penetrating abstract realities. He acquires divine
wisdom; he searches out the mysteries of creation; he witnesses the
radiance of omnipotence; he attains the second birth—that is to say, he is
born out of the material world just as he is born of the mother; he
attains to everlasting life; he draws nearer to God; his heart is replete
with the love of God. This is the foundation of the world of humanity;
this is the image and likeness of God; this is the reality of man;
otherwise, he is an animal. Verily, God has created the animal in the
image and likeness of man, for though man outwardly is human, yet in
nature he possesses animal tendencies.

You must endeavor to understand the mysteries of God, attain the ideal
knowledge and arrive at the station of vision, acquiring directly from the
Sun of Reality and receiving a destined portion from the ancient bestowal
of God.



17 August 1912
Talk at Green Acre
Eliot, Maine


Notes by Edna McKinney

Although the body was weak and not fitted to undergo the vicissitudes of
crossing the Atlantic, yet love assisted us, and we came here. At certain
times the spirit must assist the body. We cannot accomplish really great
things through physical force alone; the spirit must fortify our bodily
strength. For example, the body of man may be able to withstand the ordeal
of imprisonment for ten or fifteen years under temperate conditions of
climate and restful physical routine. During our imprisonment in Akká
means of comfort were lacking, troubles and persecutions of all kinds
surrounded us, yet notwithstanding such distressful conditions, we were
able to endure these trials for forty years. The climate was very bad,
necessities and conveniences of life were denied us, yet we endured this
narrow prison forty years. What was the reason? The spirit was
strengthening and resuscitating the body constantly. We lived through this
long, difficult period in the utmost love and heavenly servitude. The
spirit must assist the body under certain conditions which surround us,
because the body of itself cannot endure the extreme strain of such
hardships.

The human body is in reality very weak; there is no physical body more
delicately constituted. One mosquito will distress it; the smallest
quantity of poison will destroy it; if respiration ceases for a moment, it
will die. What instrument could be weaker and more delicate? A blade of
grass severed from the root may live an hour, whereas a human body
deprived of its forces may die in one minute. But in the proportion that
the human body is weak, the spirit of man is strong. It can control
natural phenomena; it is a supernatural power which transcends all
contingent beings. It has immortal life, which nothing can destroy or
pervert. If all the kingdoms of life arise against the immortal spirit of
man and seek its destruction, this immortal spirit, singly and alone, can
withstand their attacks in fearless firmness and resolution because it is
indestructible and empowered with supreme natural virtues. For this reason
we say that the spirit of man can penetrate and discover the realities of
all things, can solve the secrets and mysteries of all created objects.
While living upon the earth, it discovers the stars and their satellites;
it travels underground, finds the metals in their hidden depths and
unlocks the secrets of geological ages. It can cross the abysses of
interstellar space and discover the motion of inconceivably distant suns.
How wonderful it is! It can attain to the Kingdom of God. It can penetrate
the mysteries of the divine Kingdom and attain to everlasting life. It
receives illumination from the light of God and reflects it to the whole
universe. How wonderful it is! How powerful the spirit of man, while his
body is so weak! If the susceptibilities of the spirit control him, there
is no created being more heroic, more undaunted than man; but if physical
forces dominate, you cannot find a more cowardly or fearful object because
the body is so weak and incapable. Therefore, it is divinely intended that
the spiritual susceptibilities of man should gain precedence and overrule
his physical forces. In this way he becomes fitted to dominate the human
world by his nobility and stand forth fearless and free, endowed with the
attributes of eternal life.



17 August 1912
Talk at Green Acre
Eliot, Maine


Notes by Edna McKinney

Are you all well and happy? This is a delightful spot; the scenery is
beautiful, and an atmosphere of spirituality haloes everything. In the
future, God willing, Green Acre shall become a great center, the cause of
the unity of the world of humanity, the cause of uniting hearts and
binding together the East and the West. This is my hope.

Tonight I wish to speak upon the oneness of the world of humanity. This is
one of the important subjects of the present period. If the oneness of the
human world were established, all the differences which separate mankind
would be eradicated. Strife and warfare would cease, and the world of
humanity would find repose. Universal peace would be promoted, and the
East and West would be conjoined in a strong bond. All men would be
sheltered beneath one tabernacle. Native lands would become one; races and
religions would be unified. The people of the world would live together in
harmony, and their well-being would be assured.

From the beginning of human history down to the present time the various
religions of the world have anathematized and accused each other of
falsity. Each religion has considered the others bereft of the face of
God, deprived of His mercy and in the direct line of divine wrath.
Therefore, they have shunned each other most rigidly, exercising mutual
animosity and rancor. Consider the record of religious warfare, the
battles between nations, the bloodshed and destruction in the name of
religion. One of the greatest religious wars, the Crusades, extended over
a period of two hundred years. In this succession of great campaigns the
western crusaders were constantly invading the Orient, bent upon
recovering the Holy City from the hands of the Islamic people. Army after
army raised in Europe poured its fanatical legions into the East. The
kings of European nations personally led these Crusades, killing and
shedding the blood of the Orientals. During this period of two hundred
years the East and West were in a state of violence and commotion.
Sometimes the crusaders were successful, killing, pillaging and taking
captive the Muslim people; sometimes the Muslims were victorious,
inflicting bloodshed, death and ruin in turn upon the invaders. So they
continued for two centuries, alternately fighting with fury and relaxing
from weakness, until the European religionists withdrew from the East,
leaving ashes of desolation behind them and finding their own nations in a
condition of turbulence and upheaval. Hundreds of thousands of human
beings were killed and untold wealth wasted in this fruitless religious
warfare. How many fathers mourned the loss of their sons! How many mothers
and wives lamented the absence of their dear ones! Yet this was only one
of the “holy” wars. Consider and reflect.

Religious wars have been many. Nine hundred thousand martyrs to the
Protestant cause was the record of conflict and difference between that
sect of Christians and the Catholics. Consult history and confirm this.
How many languished in prisons! How merciless the treatment of captives!
All in the name of religion! Consider and estimate the outcome of other
wars between the people and sects of religious belief.

From the beginning of human history down to this time the world of
humanity has not enjoyed a day of absolute rest and relaxation from
conflict and strife. Most of the wars have been caused by religious
prejudice, fanaticism and sectarian hatred. Religionists have
anathematized religionists, each considering the other as deprived of the
mercy of God, abiding in gross darkness and the children of Satan. For
example, the Christians and Muslims considered the Jews satanic and the
enemies of God. Therefore, they cursed and persecuted them. Great numbers
of Jews were killed, their houses burned and pillaged, their children
carried into captivity. The Jews in turn regarded the Christians as
infidels and the Muslims as enemies and destroyers of the law of Moses.
Therefore, they call down vengeance upon them and curse them even to this
day.

Consider what injuries, ordeals and calamities have been inflicted upon
mankind since the beginning of history. Every city, country, nation and
people has been subjected to the destruction and havoc of war. Each one of
the divine religions considers itself as belonging to a goodly and blessed
tree, the tree of the Merciful, and all other religious systems as
belonging to a tree of evil, the tree of Satan. For this reason they heap
execration and abuse upon each other. This is clearly apparent in books of
historical record and prevailed until the time of the appearance of
Bahá’u’lláh.

When the light of Bahá’u’lláh dawned from the East, He proclaimed the
promise of the oneness of humanity. He addressed all mankind, saying, “Ye
are all the fruits of one tree. There are not two trees: one a tree of
divine mercy, the other the tree of Satan.” Again He said, “Ye are all the
fruits of one tree, the leaves of one branch.” This was His announcement;
this was His promise of the oneness of the world of humanity. Anathema and
execration were utterly abrogated. He said, “It is not becoming in man to
curse another; it is not befitting that man should attribute darkness to
another; it is not meet that one human being should consider another human
being as bad; nay, rather, all mankind are the servants of one God; God is
the Father of all; there is not a single exception to that law. There are
no people of Satan; all belong to the Merciful. There is no darkness; all
is light. All are the servants of God, and man must love humanity from his
heart. He must, verily, behold humanity as submerged in the divine mercy.”

Bahá’u’lláh has made no exception to this rule. He said that among mankind
there may be those who are ignorant; they must be trained. Some are sick;
they must be treated. Some are immature; they must be helped to attain
maturity. In other respects humanity is submerged in the ocean of divine
mercy. God is the Father of all. He educates, provides for and loves all;
for they are His servants and His creation. Surely the Creator loves His
creatures. It would be impossible to find an artist who does not love his
own production. Have you ever seen a man who did not love his own actions?
Even though they be bad actions, he loves them. How ignorant, therefore,
the thought that God, Who created man, educated and nurtured him,
surrounded him with all blessings, made the sun and all phenomenal
existence for his benefit, bestowed upon him tenderness and kindness and
then did not love him. This is palpable ignorance, for no matter to what
religion a man belongs, even though he be an atheist or materialist,
nevertheless, God nurtures him, bestows His kindness and sheds upon him
His light. How then can we believe God is wrathful and unloving? How can
we even imagine this, when as a matter of fact we are witnesses of the
tenderness and mercy of God upon every hand? All about us we behold
manifestations of the love of God. If, therefore, God be loving, what
should we do? We have nothing else to do but to emulate Him. Just as God
loves all and is kind to all, so must we really love and be kind to
everybody. We must consider none bad, none worthy of detestation, no one
as an enemy. We must love all; nay, we must consider everyone as related
to us, for all are the servants of one God. All are under the instructions
of one Educator. We must strive day and night that love and amity may
increase, that this bond of unity may be strengthened, that joy and
happiness may more and more prevail, that in unity and solidarity all
mankind may gather beneath the shadow of God, that people may turn to God
for their sustenance, finding in Him the life that is everlasting. Thus
may they be confirmed in the Kingdom of God and live forever through His
grace and bounty.

Bahá’u’lláh has clearly said in His Tablets that if you have an enemy,
consider him not as an enemy. Do not simply be long-suffering; nay,
rather, love him. Your treatment of him should be that which is becoming
to lovers. Do not even say that he is your enemy. Do not see any enemies.
Though he be your murderer, see no enemy. Look upon him with the eye of
friendship. Be mindful that you do not consider him as an enemy and simply
tolerate him, for that is but stratagem and hypocrisy. To consider a man
your enemy and love him is hypocrisy. This is not becoming of any soul.
You must behold him as a friend. You must treat him well. This is right.

We return to the subject. When we observe the phenomena of the universe,
we realize that the axis around which life revolves is love, while the
axis around which death and destruction revolve is animosity and hatred.
Let us view the mineral kingdom. Here we see that if attraction did not
exist between the atoms, the composite substance of matter would not be
possible. Every existent phenomenon is composed of elements and cellular
particles. This is scientifically true and correct. If attraction did not
exist between the elements and among the cellular particles, the
composition of that phenomenon would never have been possible. For
instance, the stone is an existent phenomenon, a composition of elements.
A bond of attraction has brought them together, and through this cohesion
of ingredients this petrous object has been formed. This stone is the
lowest degree of phenomena, but nevertheless within it a power of
attraction is manifest without which the stone could not exist. This power
of attraction in the mineral world is love, the only expression of love
the stone can manifest.

Look now upon the next highest stage of life, the vegetable kingdom. Here
we see that the plant is the result of cohesion among various elements,
just as the mineral is in its kingdom; but, furthermore, the plant has the
power of absorption from the earth. This is a higher degree of attraction
which differentiates the plant from the mineral. In the kingdom of the
vegetable this is an expression of love, the highest capacity of
expression the vegetable possesses. By this power of attraction, or
augmentation, the plant grows day by day. Therefore, in this kingdom,
also, love is the cause of life. If repulsion existed among the elements
instead of attraction, the result would be disintegration, destruction and
nonexistence. Because cohesion exists among the elements and cellular
attraction is manifest, the plant appears. When this attraction is
dispelled and the ingredients separate, the plant ceases to exist.

Then we come to the animal world, which is still higher in degree than the
vegetable kingdom. In it the power of love makes itself still more
manifest. The light of love is more resplendent in the animal kingdom
because the power of attraction whereby elements cohere and cellular atoms
commingle now reveals itself in certain emotions and sensibilities which
produce instinctive fellowship and association. The animals are imbued
with kindness and affinity which manifests itself among those of the same
species.

Finally, we reach the kingdom of man. Here we find that all the degrees of
the mineral, vegetable and animal expressions of love are present plus
unmistakable attractions of consciousness. That is to say, man is the
possessor of a degree of attraction which is conscious and spiritual. Here
is an immeasurable advance. In the human kingdom spiritual
susceptibilities come into view, love exercises its superlative degree,
and this is the cause of human life.

The proof is clear that in all degrees and kingdoms unity and agreement,
love and fellowship are the cause of life, whereas dissension, animosity
and separation are ever conducive to death. Therefore, we must strive with
life and soul in order that day by day unity and agreement may be
increased among mankind and that love and affinity may become more
resplendently glorious and manifest. In the animal kingdom you will
observe that domestic species live together in the utmost fellowship. See
how sociable and friendly sheep gather together in a flock. Look at the
doves and other domestic birds. There is no partisanship among them, no
separation due to notions of patriotism. They live together in the utmost
love and unity, flying, feeding, associating. Ferocious animals—beasts of
prey such as the wolf, bear, tiger and hyena—are never amicable and do not
associate together. They attack one another. Whenever they meet, they
fight. Three wolves are never seen associating happily. If you see them
together, it is with some ferocious intent. They are like selfish, brutal
men who are inimical, cursing and killing each other. Better that man
should resemble the domestic animals than the ferocious beasts of prey,
for in the estimation of God love is acceptable, whereas hatred and
animosity are rejected. Why should we act contrary to the good pleasure of
God? Why should we be as ferocious animals, constantly shedding blood,
pillaging and destroying? Because we belong to one race or family of
humankind, why should we consider all others bad and inferior, deserving
of death, pillage and invasion—people of darkness, worthy of hatred and
detestation by God? Why does man show forth such attitude and actions
toward his fellowman? We see that God is kind to all. Just as He loves us,
He loves all others; just as He provides for us, He provides for the rest.
He nurtures and trains all with equal solicitude.

God is great! God is kind! He does not behold human shortcomings; He does
not regard human weaknesses. Man is a creature of His mercy, and to His
mercy He summons all. Why then should we despise or detest His creatures
because this one is a Jew, another a Buddhist or Zoroastrian and so on?
This is ignorance, for the oneness of humanity as servants of God is an
assured and certain fact.

Bahá’u’lláh has proclaimed the promise of the oneness of humanity.
Therefore, we must exercise the utmost love toward each other. We must be
loving to all the people of the world. We must not consider any people the
people of Satan, but know and recognize all as the servants of the one
God. At most it is this: Some do not know; they must be guided and
trained. They must be taught to love their fellow creatures and be
encouraged in the acquisition of virtues. Some are ignorant; they must be
informed. Some are as children, undeveloped; they must be helped to reach
maturity. Some are ailing, their moral condition is unhealthy; they must
be treated until their morals are purified. But the sick man is not to be
hated because he is sick, the child must not be shunned because he is a
child, the ignorant one is not to be despised because he lacks knowledge.
They must all be treated, educated, trained and assisted in love.
Everything must be done in order that humanity may live under the shadow
of God in the utmost security, enjoying happiness in its highest degree.



17 August 1912
Talk at Green Acre
Eliot, Maine


Notes by Edna McKinney

The worlds of God are in perfect harmony and correspondence one with
another. Each world in this limitless universe is, as it were, a mirror
reflecting the history and nature of all the rest. The physical universe
is, likewise, in perfect correspondence with the spiritual or divine
realm. The world of matter is an outer expression or facsimile of the
inner kingdom of spirit. The world of minds corresponds with the world of
hearts.

If we look reflectively upon the material world, we realize that all outer
phenomena are dependent upon the sun. Without the sun the phenomenal world
would be in a state of utter darkness and devoid of life. All earthly
creation—whether mineral, vegetable, animal or human—is dependent upon the
heat, light and splendor of the great central solar body for training and
development. Were it not for the solar heat and sunlight, no minerals
would have been formed, no vegetable, animal and human organisms would or
could have become existent. It is clearly evident, therefore, that the sun
is the source of life to all earthly and outer phenomena.

In the inner world, the world of the Kingdom, the Sun of Reality is the
Trainer and Educator of minds, souls and spirits. Were it not for the
effulgent rays of the Sun of Reality, they would be deprived of growth and
development; nay, rather, they would be nonexistent. For just as the
physical sun is the trainer of all outer and phenomenal forms of being
through the radiation of its light and heat, so the radiation of the light
and heat of the Sun of Reality gives growth, education and evolution to
minds, souls and spirits toward the station of perfection.

Christ was the Sun of Reality which shone from the heavenly horizon of
Christianity, training, protecting, confirming minds, souls and spirits
until they came into harmony with the divine Kingdom and attained capacity
for descent of the infinite bounties of God. Were it not for the
appearance of His splendor, they would have remained in the darkness of
imperfection and remoteness from God. But because that Sun of Reality
shone forth and flooded its light into the world of minds, souls and
spirits, they became radiant. He conferred a new and eternal life upon
them.

When the phenomenal sun appears from the vernal point of dawning in the
zodiac, a wondrous and vibrant commotion is set up in the body of the
earthly world. The withered trees are quickened with animation, the black
soil becomes verdant with new growth, fresh and fragrant flowers bloom,
the world of dust is refreshed, renewed life forces surge through the
veins of every animate being, and a new springtime carpets the meadows,
plains, mountains and valleys with wondrous forms of life. That which was
dead and desolate is revived and resuscitated; that which was withered,
faded and stricken is transformed by the spirit of a new creation. In the
same way the Sun of Reality, when it illumines the horizon of the inner
world, animates, vivifies and quickens with a divine and wonderful power.
The trees of human minds clothe themselves in new and verdant robes,
putting on leaves and blossoms and bearing spiritual fruits of the
heavenly glad tidings. Then fragrant flowers of inner significances appear
from the soil of human souls, and the whole being of man awakens to a new
and divine activity. This is the growth and development of the inner world
through the effulgent light of divine guidance and the heat of the fire of
the love of God.

The physical sun has its rising and its setting. The earthly world has its
day and its night. After each sunset there is a sunrise and the coming of
a new dawn. The Sun of Reality, likewise, has its rising and setting.
There is a day and a night in the world of spirituality. After each
departure there is a return and the dawning light of a new day.

Furthermore, the reality of Divinity is characterized by certain names and
attributes. Among these names are Creator, Resuscitator, Provider, the
All-Present, Almighty, Omniscient and Giver. These names and attributes of
Divinity are eternal and not accidental. This is a very subtle point which
demands close attention. Their existence is proved and necessitated by the
appearance of phenomena. For example, Creator presupposes creation,
Resuscitator implies resuscitation, Provider necessitates provision;
otherwise, these would be empty and impossible names. Merciful evidences
an object upon which mercy is bestowed. If mercy were not manifest, this
attribute of God would not be realized. The name Lord proves the existence
of subjects over whom sovereignty is exercised. The name Omniscient
demands the objects of all-knowing. Unless these objects existed,
omniscience would be meaningless and without function. The name the Wise
necessitates objects for the exercise of wisdom; and unless wisdom
comprehended them, this name would be inconceivable. Therefore, the divine
names and attributes presuppose the existence of phenomena implied by
those names and attributes. And vice versa—the sovereignty of God is
proved and established through their verity and being.

Reflect then carefully that the sovereignty of God is not accidental but
everlasting and eternal, and that it necessitates the existence of
phenomenal being. Kingship necessitates a kingdom, an army, a treasury,
subjects, a court and ministers. How could there be a king without
subjects, dominion and wealth? Otherwise, anybody could claim to be a
king. “Where is your army?” “I do not need one.” “Where is your country?”
“It is unnecessary. I am a king without a kingdom, without army, subjects
or sovereignty.” Is this possible?

Therefore, divine sovereignty necessitates a creation over which its
dominion is exercised. There must be evidences of sovereignty. If we try
to conceive of a time when creation was nonexistent, when there were no
subjects or creatures under divine dominion and control, Divinity itself
would disappear; there would be a cessation of the bounty of God, just as
the kingship and favor of an earthly monarch would disappear if his
kingdom did not exist. The sovereignty of God is eternal. There has been
no beginning; there will be no end. This is as evident as the sun at
midday, even to one endowed with limited reason.

When we consider the phenomenal sun, we see that its heat and light are
continuous. There is no cessation to the solar bounty. If the sun at any
time were without light or heat, it would not be the sun. How do we
recognize the sun? Through its heat and effulgence. If it be deprived of
its rays and heat, it is no longer a sun; it is merely a dark globe or
sphere in the heavens. The bounties of the sun must be perpetual in order
that it may be qualified as a solar center of energy, illumination and
attraction.

Likewise, the divine bounties of the Sun of Reality are perpetual. Its
light is forever shining. Its love is forever radiating. Its bounty never
ceases. It could not be said that the power and effulgence of God was ever
subject to cessation. It could not be claimed that the divinity of the
Almighty One had come to an end. For the divinity of God is eternal.
Therefore, the divine bounties—whether phenomenal and accidental or
spiritual and ideal—are perpetual. But the people of religion are of two
kinds: Some worship the sun, and some adore the dawning points from which
the sun rises. For instance, the Jews adore the Mosaic point of dawning,
the Zoroastrians that of Zoroaster. The people of Abraham turned to the
point of rising in Abraham. When the Sun of Reality transferred its
illumination from the Abrahamic to the Mosaic point of dawning, the people
of Abraham denied its appearance because they were turning toward the
point and not to the Sun of Reality itself. When that Sun of Reality with
its divine bestowal, its heavenly glow and effulgence transferred to the
Messianic point of rising, the Jews denied its appearance in Jesus, for
they were not worshipers of the Sun itself but adored its rising in Moses.
Had they been worshipers of the Sun of Reality, they would have turned to
Christ instead of denying Him as the Messiah.

What was the reason of this deprivation? It was simply because they were
imitating fathers and ancestors in forms of belief instead of turning
toward the Sun of Divinity. For this reason they were deprived of the
bounty which dawned in the Messianic dayspring. Holding tenaciously to the
former dawning point, they still remain in this position of deprivation.
Consider the people and nations of the earth today and observe this same
tenacious allegiance to ancestral belief. He whose father was a
Zoroastrian is a Zoroastrian. He whose father was a Buddhist remains a
Buddhist. The son of a Muslim continues a Muslim, and so on throughout.
Why is this? Because they are slaves and captives of mere imitation. They
have not investigated the reality of religion and arrived at its
fundamentals and conclusions. The Jew, for instance, has not proved the
validity of Moses by investigating reality. He is a Jew because his father
was a Jew. He imitates the forms and belief of his fathers and ancestors.
There is no thought or mention of reality. And so it is with the other
peoples of religion. This is the purpose of our statement that they
worship the dawning point rather than the Sun of Reality itself.

If in the day of Jesus Christ the Jews had forsaken imitation and
investigated reality, they would assuredly have believed in and accepted
Him, for the Messianic effulgence was far greater than the Mosaic. The Sun
of Reality, when it appeared from the dawning point of Christ, was as the
midsummer sun in brilliancy and beauty.

Now, therefore, we must be admonished and realize that mere imitation of
fathers and ancestors is fruitless. Nay, rather, we must exert ourselves
to the utmost in investigating and turning toward the Sun of Reality, no
matter from what dayspring or dawning point it may appear. The phenomenal
sun is one sun. If tomorrow it should rise in the West, it is the same
sun. We cannot say, “This is not the sun because it has appeared in the
West.” For East and West are but earthly and imaginary directions. In the
station of the sun there is neither East nor West. It is ever shining from
its place in the heavens. In the focal point of the solar circle there is
no rising, no setting. Therefore, sunrise and sunset have relation to
earthly observation and not to the luminary itself. Nay, rather, night in
the solar orb is inconceivable. In that center of effulgence, constant
light and illumination prevail. Its risings and settings are, therefore,
only apparent and not actual. They have relation to our earthly point of
view. We could not consider it the sun if there were a cessation of its
light, heat and splendor. To do so would be equivalent to calling a black
stone a diamond. This would be meaningless. If a man is a miser and you
call him generous, it will produce no change in him.

The purport of this is that God is almighty, but His greatness cannot be
brought within the grasp of human limitation. We cannot limit God to a
boundary. Man is limited, but the world of Divinity is unlimited.
Prescribing limitation to God is human ignorance. God is the Ancient, the
Almighty; His attributes are infinite. He is God because His light, His
sovereignty, is infinite. If He can be limited to human ideas, He is not
God. Strange it is that, notwithstanding these are self-evident truths,
man continues to build walls and fences of limitation about God, about
Divinity so glorious, illimitable, boundless. Consider the endless
phenomena of His creation. They are infinite; the universe is infinite.
Who shall declare its height, its depth and length? It is absolutely
infinite. How could an almighty sovereignty, a Divinity so wondrous, be
brought within the limitations of faulty human minds even as to terms and
definition? Shall we then say that God has performed a certain thing and
He will never be able to perform it again? That the Sun of His effulgence
once shone upon the world but now has set forever? That His mercy, His
grace, His bounty once descended but now have ceased? Is this possible?
No! We can never say nor believe with truth that His Manifestation, the
adored verity, the Sun of Reality, shall cease to shine upon the world.

O God! Thou Who art kind. Verily, certain souls have gathered in this
meeting turning to Thee with their hearts and spirits. They are seeking
the everlasting bounty. They are in need of Thine infinite mercy.

O Lord! Remove the veils from their eyes, and dispel the darkness of
ignorance. Confer upon them the light of knowledge and wisdom. Illumine
these contrite hearts with the radiance of the Sun of Reality. Make these
eyes perceptive through witnessing the lights of Thy sovereignty. Suffer
these spirits to rejoice through the great glad tidings, and receive these
souls into Thy supreme Kingdom.

O Lord! Verily, we are weak; make us mighty. We are poor; assist us from
the treasury of Thy munificence. We are dead; resuscitate us through the
breath of the Holy Spirit. We lack patience in tests and in
long-suffering; permit us to attain the lights of oneness.

O Lord! Make this assemblage the cause of upraising the standard of the
oneness of the world of humanity, and confirm these souls so that they may
become the promoters of international peace.

O Lord! Verily, the people are veiled and in a state of contention with
each other, shedding the blood and destroying the possessions of each
other. Throughout the world there is war and conflict. In every direction
there is strife, bloodshed and ferocity.

O Lord! Guide human souls in order that they may turn away from warfare
and battle, that they may become loving and kind to each other, that they
may enter into affiliation and serve the oneness and solidarity of
humanity.

O Lord! The horizons of the world are darkened by this dissension. O God!
Illumine them, and through the lights of Thy love let the hearts become
radiant. Through the blessing of Thy bestowal resuscitate the spirits
until every soul shall perceive and act in accordance with Thy teachings.
Thou art the Almighty. Thou art the Omniscient. Thou art the Seer. O Lord,
be compassionate to all.



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN BOSTON AND MALDEN



25 August 1912
Talk at the New Thought Forum
Metaphysical Club
Boston, Massachusetts


Notes by Edna McKinney

O Thou kind God! In the utmost state of humility and submission do we
entreat and supplicate at Thy threshold, seeking Thine endless
confirmations and illimitable assistance. O Thou Lord! Regenerate these
souls, and confer upon them a new life. Animate the spirits, inform the
hearts, open the eyes, and make the ears attentive. From Thine ancient
treasury confer a new being and animus, and from Thy preexistent abode
assist them to attain to new confirmations.

O God! Verily, the world is in need of reformation. Bestow upon it a new
existence. Give it newness of thoughts, and reveal unto it heavenly
sciences. Breathe into it a fresh spirit, and grant unto it a holier and
higher purpose.

O God! Verily, Thou hast made this century radiant, and in it Thou hast
manifested Thy merciful effulgence. Thou hast effaced the darkness of
superstitions and permitted the light of assurance to shine. O God! Grant
that these servants may be acceptable at Thy threshold. Reveal a new
heaven, and spread out a new earth for habitation. Let a new Jerusalem
descend from on high. Bestow new thoughts, new life upon mankind. Endow
souls with new perceptions, and confer upon them new virtues. Verily, Thou
art the Almighty, the Powerful. Thou art the Giver, the Generous.

It is easy to bring human bodies under control. A king can bring under his
rule and authority the bodies of his subjects throughout a whole country.
In former centuries kings and rulers have absolutely dominated millions of
men and have been thereby enabled to carry out whatsoever they desire. If
they willed to bestow happiness and peace, they could do so; and if they
determined to inflict suffering and discomfort, they were equally capable.
If they desired to send men to the field of battle, none could oppose
their authority; and if they decreed their kingdoms should enjoy the bliss
and serenity of immunity from war, this condition prevailed. In a word,
kings and rulers have been able to control millions of human beings and
have exercised that dominion with the utmost despotism and tyranny.

The point is this: that to gain control over physical bodies is an
extremely easy matter, but to bring spirits within the bonds of serenity
is a most arduous undertaking. This is not the work of everybody. It
necessitates a divine and holy potency, the potency of inspiration, the
power of the Holy Spirit. For example, Christ was capable of leading
spirits into that abode of serenity. He was capable of guiding hearts into
that haven of rest. From the day of His manifestation to the present time
He has been resuscitating hearts and quickening spirits. He has exercised
that vivifying influence in the realm of hearts and spirits; therefore,
His resuscitating is everlasting.

In this century of the latter times Bahá’u’lláh has appeared and so
resuscitated spirits that they have manifested powers more than human.
Thousands of His followers have given their lives; and while under the
sword, shedding their blood, they have proclaimed, “Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá!”
Such resuscitation is impossible except through a heavenly potency, a
supernatural power, the divine power of the Holy Spirit. Through a natural
and mere human power this is impossible. Therefore, the question arises:
How is this resuscitation to be accomplished?

There are certain means for its accomplishment by which mankind is
regenerated and quickened with a new birth. This is the second birth
mentioned in the heavenly Books. Its accomplishment is through the baptism
of the Holy Spirit. The resuscitation or rebirth of the spirit of man is
through the science of the love of God. It is through the efficacy of the
water of life. This life and quickening is the regeneration of the
phenomenal world. After the coming of the spiritual springtime, the
falling of the vernal showers, the shining of the Sun of Reality, the
blowing of the breezes of perfection, all phenomena become imbued with the
life of a new creation and are reformed in the process of a new genesis.
Reflect upon the material springtime. When winter comes, the trees are
leafless, the fields and meadows withered, the flowers die away into
dustheaps; in prairie, mountain and garden no freshness lingers, no beauty
is visible, no verdure can be seen. Everything is clad in the robe of
death. Wherever you look around, you will find the expression of death and
decay. But when the spring comes, the showers descend, the sun floods the
meadows and plains with light; you will observe creation clad in a new
robe of expression. The showers have made the meadows green and verdant.
The warm breezes have caused the trees to put on their garments of leaves.
They have blossomed and soon will produce new, fresh and delightful
fruits. Everything appears endowed with a newness of life; a new animus
and spirit is everywhere visible. The spring has resuscitated all
phenomena and has adorned the earth with beauty as it willeth.

Even so is the spiritual springtime when it comes. When the holy, divine
Manifestations or Prophets appear in the world, a cycle of radiance, an
age of mercy dawns. Everything is renewed. Minds, hearts and all human
forces are reformed, perfections are quickened, sciences, discoveries and
investigations are stimulated afresh, and everything appertaining to the
virtues of the human world is revitalized. Consider this present century
of radiance, and compare it with the past centuries. What a vast
difference exists between them! How minds have developed! How perceptions
have deepened! How discoveries have increased! What great projects have
been accomplished! How many realities have become manifest! How many
mysteries of creation have been probed and penetrated! What is the cause
of this? It is through the efficacy of the spiritual springtime in which
we are living. Day by day the world attains a new bounty. In this radiant
century neither the old customs nor the old sciences, crafts, laws and
regulations have remained. The old political principles are undergoing
change, and a new body politic is in process of formation. Nevertheless,
some whose thoughts are congealed and whose souls are bereft of the light
of the Sun of Reality seek to arrest this development in the world of the
minds of men. Is this possible?

In the unmistakable and universal reformation we are witnessing, when
outer conditions of humanity are receiving such impetus, when human life
is assuming a new aspect, when sciences are stimulated afresh, inventions
and discoveries increasing, civic laws undergoing change and moralities
evidencing uplift and betterment, is it possible that spiritual impulses
and influences should not be renewed and reformed? Naturally, new
spiritual thoughts and inclinations must also become manifest. If
spirituality be not renewed, what fruits come from mere physical
reformation? For instance, the body of man may improve, the quality of
bone and sinew may advance, the hand may develop, other limbs and members
may increase in excellence, but if the mind fails to develop, of what use
is the rest? The important factor in human improvement is the mind. In the
world of the mind there must needs be development and improvement. There
must be reformation in the kingdom of the human spirit; otherwise, no
result will be attained from betterment of the mere physical structure.

In this new year new fruits must be forthcoming, for that is the provision
and intention of spiritual reformation. The renewal of the leaf is
fruitless. From the reformation of bark or branch no fruit will come
forth. The renewal of verdure produces nothing. If there be no renewal of
fruit from the tree, of what avail is the reformation of bark, blossom,
branch and trunk? For a fruitless tree is of no special value. Similarly,
of what avail is the reformation of physical conditions unless they are
concomitant with spiritual reformations? For the essential reality is the
spirit, the foundation is the spirit, the life of man is due to the
spirit; the happiness, the animus, the radiance, the glory of man—all are
due to the spirit; and if in the spirit no reformation takes place, there
will be no result to human existence.

Therefore, we must strive with life and heart that the material and
physical world may be reformed, human perception become keener, the
merciful effulgence manifest and the radiance of reality shine. Then the
star of love shall appear and the world of humanity become illumined. The
purpose is that the world of existence is dependent for its progress upon
reformation; otherwise, it will be as dead. Consider: If a new springtime
failed to appear, what would be the effect upon this globe, the earth?
Undoubtedly it would become desolate and life extinct. The earth has need
of an annual coming of spring. It is necessary that a new bounty should be
forthcoming. If it comes not, life would be effaced. In the same way the
world of spirit needs new life, the world of mind necessitates new animus
and development, the world of souls a new bounty, the world of morality a
reformation, the world of divine effulgence ever new bestowals. Were it
not for this replenishment, the life of the world would become effaced and
extinguished. If this room is not ventilated and the air freshened,
respiration will cease after a length of time. If no rain falls, all life
organisms will perish. If new light does not come, the darkness of death
will envelop the earth. If a new springtime does not arrive, life upon
this globe will be obliterated.

Therefore, thoughts must be lofty and ideals uplifted in order that the
world of humanity may become assisted in new conditions of reform. When
this reformation affects every degree, then will come the very Day of the
Lord of which all the prophets have spoken. That is the Day wherein the
whole world will be regenerated. Consider: Are the laws of past ages
applicable to present human conditions? Evidently they are not. For
example, the laws of former centuries sanctioned despotic forms of
government. Are the laws of despotic control fitted for present-day
conditions? How could they be applied to solve the questions surrounding
modern nations? Similarly, we ask: Would the status of ancient thought,
the crudeness of arts and crafts, the insufficiency of scientific
attainment serve us today? Would the agricultural methods of the ancients
suffice in the twentieth century? Transportation in the former ages was
restricted to conveyance by animals. How would it provide for human needs
today? If modes of transportation had not been reformed, the teeming
millions now upon the earth would die of starvation. Without the railway
and the fast-going steamship, the world of the present day would be as
dead. How could great cities such as New York and London subsist if
dependent upon ancient means of conveyance? It is also true of other
things which have been reformed in proportion to the needs of the present
time. Had they not been reformed, man could not find subsistence.

If these material tendencies are in such need of reformation, how much
greater the need in the world of the human spirit, the world of human
thought, perception, virtues and bounties! Is it possible that that need
has remained stationary while the world has been advancing in every other
condition and direction? It is impossible.

Therefore, we must invoke and supplicate God and strive with the utmost
effort in order that the world of human existence in all its degrees may
receive a mighty impulse, complete human happiness be attained and the
resuscitation of all spirits and emanations be realized through the
boundless favor of the mercy of God.



26 August 1912
Talk at Franklin Square House
Boston, Massachusetts


Notes by Edna McKinney

Among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is the principle of equality of man and
woman. Bahá’u’lláh has said that both belong to humankind and that in the
estimation of God they are equal, for each is the complement of the other
in the divine creative plan. The only distinction between them in the
sight of God is the purity and righteousness of their deeds and actions,
for that one is preferred by God who is most nearly in the spiritual image
and likeness of the Creator. Throughout the kingdoms of living organisms
there is sex differentiation in function, but no preference or distinction
is made in favor of either male or female. In the animal kingdom
individual sex exists, but rights are equal and without distinction.
Likewise, in the plane or kingdom of the vegetable sex appears, but
equality of function and right is evident. Inasmuch as sex distinction and
preference are not observed in these kingdoms of inferior intelligence, is
it befitting the superior station of man that he should make such
differentiation and estimate, when as a matter of fact there is no
difference indicated in the law of creation?

In ancient times and medieval ages woman was completely subordinated to
man. The cause of this estimate of her inferiority was her lack of
education. A woman’s life and intellect were limited to the household.
Glimpses of this may be found even in the Epistles of Saint Paul. In later
centuries the scope and opportunities of a woman’s life broadened and
increased. Her mind unfolded and developed; her perceptions awakened and
deepened. The question concerning her was: Why should a woman be left
mentally undeveloped? Science is praiseworthy—whether investigated by the
intellect of man or woman. So, little by little, woman advanced, giving
increasing evidence of equal capabilities with man—whether in scientific
research, political ability or any other sphere of human activity. The
conclusion is evident that woman has been outdistanced through lack of
education and intellectual facilities. If given the same educational
opportunities or course of study, she would develop the same capacity and
abilities.

There are some who declare that woman is not naturally endowed or imbued
with the same capabilities as man; that she is intellectually inferior to
man, weaker in willpower and lacking his courage. This theory is
completely contradicted by history and facts of record. Certain women of
superlative capacity and determination have appeared in the world, peers
of man in intellect and equally courageous. Zenobia was the wife of the
governor-general of Athens. Her husband died, and like the Russian Queen,
Catherine, she manifested the highest degree of capability in the
administration of public affairs. The Roman government appointed her to
succeed her husband. Afterward she conquered Syria, conducted a successful
campaign in Egypt and established a memorable sovereignty. Rome sent an
army against her under direction of distinguished commanders. When the two
forces met in battle, Zenobia arrayed herself in gorgeous apparel, placed
the crown of her kingdom upon her head and rode forth at the head of her
army, defeating the Roman legions so completely that they were not able to
reorganize. The Emperor of Rome himself took command of the next army of
one hundred thousand soldiers and marched into Syria. At that time Rome
was at the zenith of greatness and was the strongest military power in the
world. Zenobia withdrew with her forces to Palmyra and fortified it to
withstand a siege. After two years the Roman Emperor cut off her supplies,
and she was forced to surrender.

The Romans returned in triumphal procession and pageant to their own
country. They entered Rome in great pomp and splendor, led by African
elephants. After the elephants there were lions, then tigers, bears and
monkeys, and after the monkeys, Zenobia—barefooted, walking, a chain of
gold about her neck and a crown in her hand, dignified, majestic, queenly
and courageous notwithstanding her downfall and defeat.

Among other noted women of history was Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, who held
her kingdom against the armies of Rome for a long time. Catherine, wife of
Peter the Great, displayed courage and military strategy of the very
highest order during the war between Russia and Muḥammad Pá_sh_á. When the
cause of Russia seemed hopeless, she took her jewels and went before the
Turkish victor, presented them to him and pled the justice of her
country’s cause with such convincing skill and diplomacy that peace was
declared.

Victoria, Queen of England, was really superior to all the kings of Europe
in ability, justness and equitable administration. During her long and
brilliant reign the British Empire was immensely extended and enriched,
due to her political sagacity, skill and foresight.

The history of religion, likewise, furnishes eloquent examples of woman’s
capability under conditions of great difficulty and necessity. The
conquest of the Holy Land by the Israelites after forty years’ wandering
in the desert and wilderness of Judea was accomplished through the
strategy and cunning of a woman.

After the martyrdom of Christ, to Whom be glory, the disciples were
greatly disturbed and disheartened. Even Peter had denied Christ and tried
to shun Him. It was a woman, Mary Magdalene, who confirmed the wavering
disciples in their faith, saying, “Was it the body of Christ or the
reality of Christ that ye have seen crucified? Surely it was His body. His
reality is everlasting and eternal; it hath neither beginning nor ending.
Therefore, why are ye perplexed and discouraged? Christ always spoke of
His being crucified.” Mary Magdalene was a mere villager, a peasant woman;
yet she became the means of consolation and confirmation to the disciples
of Christ.

In the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh there have been women who were superior to men
in illumination, intellect, divine virtues and devotion to God. Among them
was Qurratu’l-‘Ayn. When she spoke, she was listened to reverently by the
most learned men. They were most respectful in her presence, and none
dared to contradict her. Among the Bahá’í women in Persia today there are
Rúhu’lláh and others who are gifted with knowledge, invincible
steadfastness, courage, virtue and power of will. They are superior to men
and well-known throughout Persia.

Briefly, history furnishes evidence that during the past centuries there
have been great women as well as great men; but in general, owing to lack
of educational advantages, women have been restricted and deprived of
opportunity to become fully qualified and representative of humankind.
When given the opportunity for acquiring education, they have shown equal
capacity with men. Some philosophers and writers have considered woman
naturally and by creation inferior to man, claiming as a proof that the
brain of man is larger and heavier than that of woman. This is frail and
faulty evidence, inasmuch as small brains are often found coupled with
superior intellect and large brains possessed by those who are ignorant,
even imbecilic. The truth is that God has endowed all humankind with
intelligence and perception and has confirmed all as His servants and
children; therefore, in the plan and estimate of God there is no
distinction between male or female. The soul that manifests pure deeds and
spiritual graces is most precious in His sight and nearer to Him in its
attainments.

The realities of things have been revealed in this radiant century, and
that which is true must come to the surface. Among these realities is the
principle of the equality of man and woman—equal rights and prerogatives
in all things appertaining to humanity. Bahá’u’lláh declared this reality
over fifty years ago. But while this principle of equality is true, it is
likewise true that woman must prove her capacity and aptitude, must show
forth the evidences of equality. She must become proficient in the arts
and sciences and prove by her accomplishments that her abilities and
powers have merely been latent. Demonstrations of force, such as are now
taking place in England, are neither becoming nor effective in the cause
of womanhood and equality. Woman must especially devote her energies and
abilities toward the industrial and agricultural sciences, seeking to
assist mankind in that which is most needful. By this means she will
demonstrate capability and ensure recognition of equality in the social
and economic equation. Undoubtedly God will confirm her in her efforts and
endeavors, for in this century of radiance Bahá’u’lláh has proclaimed the
reality of the oneness of the world of humanity and announced that all
nations, peoples and races are one. He has shown that although individuals
may differ in development and capacity, they are essentially and
intrinsically equal as human beings, just as the waves of the sea are
innumerable and different, but the reality of the sea is one. The
plurality of humanity may be likened to the waves, but the reality of
humankind is like the sea itself. All the waves are of the same water; all
are waves of one ocean.

Therefore, strive to show in the human world that women are most capable
and efficient, that their hearts are more tender and susceptible than the
hearts of men, that they are more philanthropic and responsive toward the
needy and suffering, that they are inflexibly opposed to war and are
lovers of peace. Strive that the ideal of international peace may become
realized through the efforts of womankind, for man is more inclined to war
than woman, and a real evidence of woman’s superiority will be her service
and efficiency in the establishment of universal peace.



27 August 1912
Talk at Metaphysical Club
Boston, Massachusetts


Notes by Edna McKinney

Upon the faces of those present I behold the expression of thoughtfulness
and wisdom; therefore, I shall discourse upon a subject involving one of
the divine questions, a question of religious and metaphysical
importance—namely, the progressive and perpetual motion of elemental atoms
throughout the various degrees of phenomena and the kingdoms of existence.
It will be demonstrated and become evident that the origin and outcome of
phenomena are identical and that there is an essential oneness in all
existing things. This is a subtle principle appertaining to divine
philosophy and requiring close analysis and attention.

The elemental atoms which constitute all phenomenal existence and being in
this illimitable universe are in perpetual motion, undergoing continuous
degrees of progression. For instance, let us conceive of an atom in the
mineral kingdom progressing upward to the kingdom of the vegetable by
entering into the composition and fibre of a tree or plant. From thence it
is assimilated and transferred into the kingdom of the animal and finally,
by the law and process of composition, becomes a part of the body of man.
That is to say, it has traversed the intermediate degrees and stations of
phenomenal existence, entering into the composition of various organisms
in its journey. This motion or transference is progressive and perpetual,
for after disintegration of the human body into which it has entered, it
returns to the mineral kingdom whence it came and will continue to
traverse the kingdoms of phenomena as before. This is an illustration
designed to show that the constituent elemental atoms of phenomena undergo
progressive transference and motion throughout the material kingdoms.

In its ceaseless progression and journeyings the atom becomes imbued with
the virtues and powers of each degree or kingdom it traverses. In the
degree of the mineral it possessed mineral affinities; in the kingdom of
the vegetable it manifested the augmentative virtue or power of growth; in
the animal organism it reflected the intelligence of that degree; and in
the kingdom of man it was qualified with human attributes or virtues.

Furthermore, the forms and organisms of phenomenal being and existence in
each of the kingdoms of the universe are myriad and numberless. The
vegetable plane or kingdom, for instance, has its infinite variety of
types and material structures of plant life—each distinct and different
within itself, no two exactly alike in composition and detail—for there
are no repetitions in nature, and the augmentative virtue cannot be
confined to any given image or shape. Each leaf has its own particular
identity—so to speak, its own individuality as a leaf. Therefore, each
atom of the innumerable elemental atoms, during its ceaseless motion
through the kingdoms of existence as a constituent of organic composition,
not only becomes imbued with the powers and virtues of the kingdoms it
traverses but also reflects the attributes and qualities of the forms and
organisms of those kingdoms. As each of these forms has its individual and
particular virtue, therefore, each elemental atom of the universe has the
opportunity of expressing an infinite variety of those individual virtues.
No atom is bereft or deprived of this opportunity or right of expression.
Nor can it be said of any given atom that it is denied equal opportunities
with other atoms; nay, all are privileged to possess the virtues existent
in these kingdoms and to reflect the attributes of their organisms. In the
various transformations or passages from kingdom to kingdom the virtues
expressed by the atoms in each degree are peculiar to that degree. For
example, in the world of the mineral the atom does not express the
vegetable form and organism, and when through the process of transmutation
it assumes the virtues of the vegetable degree, it does not reflect the
attributes of animal organisms, and so on.

It is evident, then, that each elemental atom of the universe is possessed
of a capacity to express all the virtues of the universe. This is a subtle
and abstract realization. Meditate upon it, for within it lies the true
explanation of pantheism. From this point of view and perception pantheism
is a truth, for every atom in the universe possesses or reflects all the
virtues of life, the manifestation of which is effected through change and
transformation. Therefore, the origin and outcome of phenomena is, verily,
the omnipresent God; for the reality of all phenomenal existence is
through Him. There is neither reality nor the manifestation of reality
without the instrumentality of God. Existence is realized and possible
through the bounty of God, just as the ray or flame emanating from this
lamp is realized through the bounty of the lamp, from which it originates.
Even so, all phenomena are realized through the divine bounty, and the
explanation of true pantheistic statement and principle is that the
phenomena of the universe find realization through the one power animating
and dominating all things, and all things are but manifestations of its
energy and bounty. The virtue of being and existence is through no other
agency. Therefore, in the words of Bahá’u’lláh, the first teaching is the
oneness of the world of humanity.

When the man who is spiritually sagacious and possessed of insight views
the world of humanity, he will observe that the lights of the divine
bounty are flooding all mankind, just as the lights of the sun shed their
splendor upon all existing things. All phenomena of material existence are
revealed through the ray emanating from the sun. Without light nothing
would be visible. Similarly, all phenomena in the inner world of reality
receive the bounties of God from the source of divine bestowal. This human
plane, or kingdom, is one creation, and all souls are the signs and traces
of the divine bounty. In this plane there are no exceptions; all have been
recipients of their bestowals through the heavenly bounty. Can you find a
soul bereft of the nearness of God? Can you find one whom God has deprived
of its daily sustenance? This is impossible. God is kind and loving to
all, and all are manifestations of the divine bounty. This is the oneness
of the world of humanity.

But some souls are weak; we must endeavor to strengthen them. Some are
ignorant, uninformed of the bounties of God; we must strive to make them
knowing. Some are ailing; we must seek to restore them to health. Some are
immature as children; they must be trained and assisted to attain
maturity. We nurse the sick in tenderness and the kindly spirit of love;
we do not despise them because they are ill. Therefore, we must exercise
extreme patience, sympathy and love toward all mankind, considering no
soul as rejected. If we look upon a soul as rejected, we have disobeyed
the teachings of God. God is loving to all. Shall we be unjust or unkind
to anyone? Is this allowable in the sight of God? God provides for all. Is
it befitting for us to prevent the flow of His merciful provisions for
mankind? God has created all in His image and likeness. Shall we manifest
hatred for His creatures and servants? This would be contrary to the will
of God and according to the will of Satan, by which we mean the natural
inclinations of the lower nature. This lower nature in man is symbolized
as Satan—the evil ego within us, not an evil personality outside.

Bahá’u’lláh teaches that the foundations of the divine religion are one
reality which does not admit of multiplicity or division. Therefore, the
commandments and teachings of God are one. The religious differences and
divisions which exist in the world are due to blind imitations of forms
without knowledge or investigation of the fundamental divine reality which
underlies all the religions. Inasmuch as these imitations of ancestral
forms are various, dissensions have arisen among the people of religion.
Therefore, it is necessary to free mankind from this subjection to blind
belief by pointing the way of guidance to reality itself, which is the
only basis of unity.

Bahá’u’lláh says that religion must be conducive to love and unity. If it
proves to be the source of hatred and enmity, its absence is preferable;
for the will and law of God is love, and love is the bond between human
hearts. Religion is the light of the world. If it is made the cause of
darkness through human misunderstanding and ignorance, it would be better
to do without it.

Religion must conform to science and reason; otherwise, it is
superstition. God has created man in order that he may perceive the verity
of existence and endowed him with mind or reason to discover truth.
Therefore, scientific knowledge and religious belief must be conformable
to the analysis of this divine faculty in man.

Prejudices of all kinds—whether religious, racial, patriotic or
political—are destructive of divine foundations in man. All the warfare
and bloodshed in human history have been the outcome of prejudice. This
earth is one home and native land. God has created mankind with equal
endowment and right to live upon the earth. As a city is the home of all
its inhabitants although each may have his individual place of residence
therein, so the earth’s surface is one wide native land or home for all
races of humankind. Racial prejudice or separation into nations such as
French, German, American and so on is unnatural and proceeds from human
motive and ignorance. All are the children and servants of God. Why should
we be separated by artificial and imaginary boundaries? In the animal
kingdom the doves flock together in harmony and agreement. They have no
prejudices. We are human and superior in intelligence. Is it befitting
that lower creatures should manifest virtues which lack expression in man?

Bahá’u’lláh has proclaimed and promulgated the foundation of international
peace. For thousands of years men and nations have gone forth to the
battlefield to settle their differences. The cause of this has been
ignorance and degeneracy. Praise be to God! In this radiant century minds
have developed, perceptions have become keener, eyes are illumined and
ears attentive. Therefore, it will be impossible for war to continue.
Consider human ignorance and inconsistency. A man who kills another man is
punished by execution, but a military genius who kills one hundred
thousand of his fellow creatures is immortalized as a hero. One man steals
a small sum of money and is imprisoned as a thief. Another pillages a
whole country and is honored as a patriot and conqueror. A single
falsehood brings reproach and censure, but the wiles of politicians and
diplomats excite the admiration and praise of a nation. Consider the
ignorance and inconsistency of mankind. How darkened and savage are the
instincts of humanity!

Bahá’u’lláh has announced that no matter how far the world of humanity may
advance in material civilization, it is nevertheless in need of spiritual
virtues and the bounties of God. The spirit of man is not illumined and
quickened through material sources. It is not resuscitated by
investigating phenomena of the world of matter. The spirit of man is in
need of the protection of the Holy Spirit. Just as he advances by
progressive stages from the mere physical world of being into the
intellectual realm, so must he develop upward in moral attributes and
spiritual graces. In the process of this attainment he is ever in need of
the bestowals of the Holy Spirit. Material development may be likened to
the glass of a lamp, whereas divine virtues and spiritual susceptibilities
are the light within the glass. The lamp chimney is worthless without the
light; likewise, man in his material condition requires the radiance and
vivification of the divine graces and merciful attributes. Without the
presence of the Holy Spirit he is lifeless. Although physically and
mentally alive, he is spiritually dead. Christ announced, “That which is
born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is
spirit,” meaning that man must be born again. As the babe is born into the
light of this physical world, so must the physical and intellectual man be
born into the light of the world of Divinity. In the matrix of the mother
the unborn child was deprived and unconscious of the world of material
existence, but after its birth it beheld the wonders and beauties of a new
realm of life and being. In the world of the matrix it was utterly
ignorant and unable to conceive of these new conditions, but after its
transformation it discovers the radiant sun, trees, flowers and an
infinite range of blessings and bounties awaiting it. In the human plane
and kingdom man is a captive of nature and ignorant of the divine world
until born of the breaths of the Holy Spirit out of physical conditions of
limitation and deprivation. Then he beholds the reality of the spiritual
realm and Kingdom, realizes the narrow restrictions of the mere human
world of existence and becomes conscious of the unlimited and infinite
glories of the world of God. Therefore, no matter how man may advance upon
the physical and intellectual plane, he is ever in need of the boundless
virtues of Divinity, the protection of the Holy Spirit and the face of
God.



29 August 1912
Talk at Home of Madame Morey
34 Hillside Avenue, Malden, Massachusetts


Notes by Edna McKinney

In the Books of the Prophets certain glad tidings are recorded which are
absolutely true and free from doubt. The East has ever been the dawning
point of the Sun of Reality. All the Prophets of God have appeared there.
The religions of God have been promulgated, the teachings of God have been
spread and the law of God founded in the East. The Orient has always been
the center of lights. The West has acquired illumination from the East,
but in some respects the reflection of the light has been greater in the
Occident. This is especially true of Christianity. Christ appeared in
Palestine, and His teachings were founded there. Although the doors of the
Kingdom were opened in that country and the bestowals of Divinity were
spread broadcast from its center, the people of the West have embraced and
promulgated Christianity more fully than those in the East. The Sun of
Reality shone forth from the horizon of the East, but its heat and ray are
most resplendent in the West, where the radiant standard of Christ has
been upraised. I have great hopes that the lights of Bahá’u’lláh’s
appearance may also find the fullest manifestation and reflection in these
western regions, for the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh are especially
applicable to the conditions of the people here. The western nations are
endowed with the capability of understanding the rational and peerless
words of Bahá’u’lláh and realizing that the essence of the teachings of
all the former Prophets can be found in His utterance.

The teachings of Christ have been promulgated by Bahá’u’lláh, Who has also
revealed new teachings applicable to present conditions in the world of
humanity. He has trained the people of the East through the power and
protection of the Holy Spirit, cemented the souls of humanity together and
established the foundations of international unity.

Through the power of His words the hearts of the people of all religions
have been attuned in harmony. For instance, among the Bahá’ís in Persia
there are Christians, Muslims, Zoroastrians, Jews and many others of
varying denominations and beliefs who have been brought together in unity
and love in the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. Although these people were formerly
hostile and antagonistic, filled with hatred and bitterness toward each
other, bloodthirsty and pillaging, considering that animosity and attack
were the means of attaining the good pleasure of God, they have now become
loving and filled with the radiant zeal of fellowship and brotherhood, the
purpose of them all being service to the world of humanity, promotion of
international peace, the unification of the divine religions and deeds of
universal philanthropy. By their words and actions they are proving the
verity of Bahá’u’lláh.

Consider the animosity and hatred existing today between the various
nations of the world. What disagreements and hostilities arise, what
warfare and contention, how much bloodshed, what injustice and tyranny!
Just now there is war in eastern Turkey, also war between Turkey and
Italy. Nations are devoted to conquest and bloodshed, filled with the
animus of religious hatred, seeking the good pleasure of God by killing
and destroying those whom in their blindness they consider enemies. How
ignorant they are! That which is forbidden by God they consider acceptable
to Him. God is love; God seeketh fellowship, purity, sanctity and
long-suffering; these are the attributes of Divinity. Therefore, these
warring, raging nations have arisen against Divinity, imagining they are
serving God. What gross ignorance this is! What injustice, blindness and
lack of realization! Briefly, we must strive with heart and soul in order
that this darkness of the contingent world may be dispelled, that the
lights of the Kingdom shall shine upon all the horizons, the world of
humanity become illumined, the image of God become apparent in human
mirrors, the law of God be well established and that all regions of the
world shall enjoy peace, comfort and composure beneath the equitable
protection of God. My admonition and exhortation to you is this: Be kind
to all people, love humanity, consider all mankind as your relations and
servants of the most high God. Strive day and night that animosity and
contention may pass away from the hearts of men, that all religions shall
become reconciled and the nations love each other so that no racial,
religious or political prejudice may remain and the world of humanity
behold God as the beginning and end of all existence. God has created all,
and all return to God. Therefore, love humanity with all your heart and
soul. If you meet a poor man, assist him; if you see the sick, heal him;
reassure the affrighted one, render the cowardly noble and courageous,
educate the ignorant, associate with the stranger. Emulate God. Consider
how kindly, how lovingly He deals with all, and follow His example. You
must treat people in accordance with the divine precepts—in other words,
treat them as kindly as God treats them, for this is the greatest
attainment possible for the world of humanity.

Furthermore, know ye that God has created in man the power of reason,
whereby man is enabled to investigate reality. God has not intended man to
imitate blindly his fathers and ancestors. He has endowed him with mind,
or the faculty of reasoning, by the exercise of which he is to investigate
and discover the truth, and that which he finds real and true he must
accept. He must not be an imitator or blind follower of any soul. He must
not rely implicitly upon the opinion of any man without investigation;
nay, each soul must seek intelligently and independently, arriving at a
real conclusion and bound only by that reality. The greatest cause of
bereavement and disheartening in the world of humanity is ignorance based
upon blind imitation. It is due to this that wars and battles prevail;
from this cause hatred and animosity arise continually among mankind.
Through failure to investigate reality the Jews rejected Jesus Christ.
They were expecting His coming; by day and night they mourned and
lamented, saying, “O God! Hasten Thou the day of the advent of Christ,”
expressing most intense longing for the Messiah; but when Christ appeared,
they denied and rejected Him, treated Him with arrogant contempt,
sentenced Him to death and finally crucified Him. Why did this happen?
Because they were blindly following imitations, believing that which had
descended to them as a heritage from their fathers and ancestors,
tenaciously holding to it and refusing to investigate the reality of
Christ. Therefore, they were deprived of the bounties of Christ, whereas
if they had forsaken imitations and investigated the reality of the
Messiah, they would have surely been guided to believing in Him. Instead
of this they said, “We have heard from our fathers and have read in the
Old Testament that Christ must come from an unknown place; now we find
that this one has come from Nazareth.” Steeped in the literal
interpretation and imitating the beliefs of fathers and ancestors, they
failed to understand the fact that although the body of Jesus came from
Nazareth, the reality of the Christ came from the unknown place of the
divine Kingdom. They also said that the scepter of Christ would be of
iron—that is to say, He should wield a sword. When Christ appeared, He did
possess a sword; but it was the sword of His tongue with which He
separated the false from the true. But the Jews were blind to the
spiritual significance and symbolism of the prophetic words. They also
expected that the Messiah would sit upon the throne of David, whereas
Christ had neither throne nor semblance of sovereignty; nay, rather, He
was a poor man, apparently abject and vanquished; therefore, how could He
be the veritable Christ? This was one of their most insistent objections
based upon ancestral interpretation and teaching. In reality, Christ was
glorified with an eternal sovereignty and everlasting dominion—spiritual
and not temporal. His throne and Kingdom were established in human hearts,
where He reigns with power and authority without end. Notwithstanding the
fulfillment of all the prophetic signs in Christ, the Jews denied Him and
entered the period of their deprivation because of their allegiance to
imitations and ancestral forms.

Among other objections they said, “We are promised through the tongue of
the prophets that Christ at the time of His coming would proclaim the law
of the Torah, whereas now we see this person abrogating the commands of
the Pentateuch, disturbing our blessed Sabbath and abolishing the law of
divorce. He has left nothing of the ancient law of Moses; therefore, he is
the enemy of Moses.” In reality, Christ proclaimed and completed the law
of Moses. He was the very helper and assister of Moses. He spread the Book
of Moses throughout the world and established anew the fundamentals of the
law revealed by Him. He abolished certain unimportant laws and forms which
were no longer compatible with the exigencies of the time, such as divorce
and plurality of wives. The Jews did not comprehend this, and the cause of
their ignorance was blind and tenacious adherence to imitations of ancient
forms and teachings; therefore, they finally sentenced Christ to death.

They, likewise, said, “Through the tongues of the prophets it was
announced that during the time of Christ’s appearance the justice of God
would prevail throughout the world, tyranny and oppression would be
unknown, justice would even extend to the animal kingdom, ferocious beasts
would associate in gentleness and peace, the wolf and the lamb would drink
from the same spring, the lion and the deer meet in the same meadow, the
eagle and quail dwell together in the same nest; but instead of this, we
see that during the time of this supposed Christ the Romans have conquered
Palestine and are ruling it with extreme tyranny, justice is nowhere
apparent, and signs of peace in the animal kingdom are conspicuously
absent.” These statements and attitudes of the Jews were inherited from
their fathers—blind allegiance to literal expectations which did not come
to pass during the time of Jesus Christ. The real purport of these
prophetic statements was that various peoples, symbolized by the wolf and
lamb, between whom love and fellowship were impossible would come together
during the Messiah’s reign, drink from the same fountain of life in His
teachings and become His devoted followers. This was realized when peoples
of all religions, nationalities and dispositions became united in their
beliefs and followed Christ in humility, associating in love and
brotherhood under the shadow of His divine protection. The Jews, being
blind to this and holding to their bigoted imitations, were insolent and
arrogant toward Christ and crucified Him. Had they investigated the
reality of Christ, they would have beheld His beauty and truth.

God has given man the eye of investigation by which he may see and
recognize truth. He has endowed man with ears that he may hear the message
of reality and conferred upon him the gift of reason by which he may
discover things for himself. This is his endowment and equipment for the
investigation of reality. Man is not intended to see through the eyes of
another, hear through another’s ears nor comprehend with another’s brain.
Each human creature has individual endowment, power and responsibility in
the creative plan of God. Therefore, depend upon your own reason and
judgment and adhere to the outcome of your own investigation; otherwise,
you will be utterly submerged in the sea of ignorance and deprived of all
the bounties of God. Turn to God, supplicate humbly at His threshold,
seeking assistance and confirmation, that God may rend asunder the veils
that obscure your vision. Then will your eyes be filled with illumination,
face to face you will behold the reality of God and your heart become
completely purified from the dross of ignorance, reflecting the glories
and bounties of the Kingdom.

Holy souls are like soil which has been plowed and tilled with much
earnest labor, the thorns and thistles cast aside and all weeds uprooted.
Such soil is most fruitful, and the harvest from it will prove full and
plenteous. In this same way man must free himself from the weeds of
ignorance, thorns of superstitions and thistles of imitations that he may
discover reality in the harvests of true knowledge. Otherwise, the
discovery of reality is impossible, contention and divergence of religious
belief will always remain, and mankind, like ferocious wolves, will rage
and attack each other in hatred and antagonism. We supplicate God that He
may destroy the veils which limit our vision and that these becloudings,
which darken the way of the manifestation of the shining lights, may be
dispelled in order that the effulgent Sun of Reality may shine forth. We
implore and invoke God, seeking His assistance and confirmation. Man is a
child of God, most noble, lofty and beloved by God, his Creator.
Therefore, he must ever strive that the divine bounties and virtues
bestowed upon him may prevail and control him. Just now the soil of human
hearts seems like black earth, but in the innermost substance of this dark
soil there are thousands of fragrant flowers latent. We must endeavor to
cultivate and awaken these potentialities, discover the secret treasure in
this very mine and depository of God, bring forth these resplendent powers
long hidden in human hearts. Then will the glories of both worlds be
blended and increased and the quintessence of human existence be made
manifest.

We must not be content with simply following a certain course because we
find our fathers pursued that course. It is the duty of everyone to
investigate reality, and investigation of reality by another will not do
for us. If all in the world were rich and one man poor, of what use are
these riches to that man? If all the world be virtuous and a man steeped
in vice, what good results are forthcoming from him? If all the world be
resplendent and a man blind, where are his benefits? If all the world be
in plenty and a man hungry, what sustenance does he derive? Therefore,
every man must be an investigator for himself. Ideas and beliefs left by
his fathers and ancestors as a heritage will not suffice, for adherence to
these are but imitations, and imitations have ever been a cause of
disappointment and misguidance. Be investigators of reality that you may
attain the verity of truth and life.

You have asked why it was necessary for the soul that was from God to make
this journey back to God? Would you like to understand the reality of this
question just as I teach it, or do you wish to hear it as the world
teaches it? For if I should answer you according to the latter way, this
would be but imitation and would not make the subject clear.

The reality underlying this question is that the evil spirit, Satan or
whatever is interpreted as evil, refers to the lower nature in man. This
baser nature is symbolized in various ways. In man there are two
expressions: One is the expression of nature; the other, the expression of
the spiritual realm. The world of nature is defective. Look at it clearly,
casting aside all superstition and imagination. If you should leave a man
uneducated and barbarous in the wilds of Africa, would there be any doubt
about his remaining ignorant? God has never created an evil spirit; all
such ideas and nomenclature are symbols expressing the mere human or
earthly nature of man. It is an essential condition of the soil of earth
that thorns, weeds and fruitless trees may grow from it. Relatively
speaking, this is evil; it is simply the lower state and baser product of
nature.

It is evident, therefore, that man is in need of divine education and
inspiration, that the spirit and bounties of God are essential to his
development. That is to say, the teachings of Christ and the Prophets are
necessary for his education and guidance. Why? Because They are the divine
Gardeners Who till the earth of human hearts and minds. They educate man,
uproot the weeds, burn the thorns and remodel the waste places into
gardens and orchards where fruitful trees grow. The wisdom and purpose of
Their training is that man must pass from degree to degree of progressive
unfoldment until perfection is attained. For instance, if a man should
live his entire life in one city, he cannot gain a knowledge of the whole
world. To become perfectly informed he must visit other cities, see the
mountains and valleys, cross the rivers and traverse the plains. In other
words, without progressive and universal education perfection will not be
attained.

Man must walk in many paths and be subjected to various processes in his
evolution upward. Physically he is not born in full stature but passes
through consecutive stages of fetus, infant, childhood, youth, maturity
and old age. Suppose he had the power to remain young throughout his life.
He then would not understand the meaning of old age and could not believe
it existed. If he could not realize the condition of old age, he would not
know that he was young. He would not know the difference between young and
old without experiencing the old. Unless you have passed through the state
of infancy, how would you know this was an infant beside you? If there
were no wrong, how would you recognize the right? If it were not for sin,
how would you appreciate virtue? If evil deeds were unknown, how could you
commend good actions? If sickness did not exist, how would you understand
health? Evil is nonexistent; it is the absence of good. Sickness is the
loss of health; poverty, the lack of riches. When wealth disappears, you
are poor; you look within the treasure box but find nothing there. Without
knowledge there is ignorance; therefore, ignorance is simply the lack of
knowledge. Death is the absence of life. Therefore, on the one hand, we
have existence; on the other, nonexistence, negation or absence of
existence.

Briefly, the journey of the soul is necessary. The pathway of life is the
road which leads to divine knowledge and attainment. Without training and
guidance the soul could never progress beyond the conditions of its lower
nature, which is ignorant and defective.



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN MONTREAL



1 September 1912
Talk at Church of the Messiah
Montreal, Canada


From Stenographic Notes

God, the Almighty, has created all mankind from the dust of earth. He has
fashioned them all from the same elements; they are descended from the
same race and live upon the same globe. He has created them to dwell
beneath the one heaven. As members of the human family and His children He
has endowed them with equal susceptibilities. He maintains, protects and
is kind to all. He has made no distinction in mercies and graces among His
children. With impartial love and wisdom He has sent forth His Prophets
and divine teachings. His teachings are the means of establishing union
and fellowship among mankind and awakening love and kindness in human
hearts. He proclaims the oneness of the kingdom of humanity. He rebukes
those things which create differences and destroy harmony; He commends and
praises every means that will conduce to the solidarity of the human race.
He encourages man in every step of advancement which leads to ultimate
union. The Prophets of God have been inspired with the message of love and
unity. The Books of God have been revealed for the upbuilding of
fellowship and union. The Prophets of God have been the servants of
reality; Their teachings constitute the science of reality. Reality is
one; it does not admit plurality. We conclude, therefore, that the
foundation of the religions of God is one foundation. Notwithstanding
this, certain forms and imitations have been persistently adhered to which
have nothing to do with the foundation of the teachings of the Prophets of
God. As these imitations are various and different, contention and strife
prevail among the people of religious beliefs, and the foundation of the
religion of God has become obscured. Like beasts of prey, men are warring
and killing each other, destroying cities and homes, devastating countries
and kingdoms.

God has created His servants in order that they may love and associate
with each other. He has revealed the glorious splendor of His sun of love
in the world of humanity. The cause of the creation of the phenomenal
world is love. All the Prophets have promulgated the law of love. Man has
opposed the will of God and acted in opposition to the plan of God.
Therefore, from the beginning of history to the present time the world of
humanity has had no lasting rest; warfare and strife have continuously
prevailed, and hearts have manifested hatred toward each other. The cause
of bloodshed and battle, strife and hatred throughout the past has been
either religious, racial, patriotic or political prejudice. Therefore, the
world of humanity has ever been in torment. These prejudices are more
pronounced in the Orient, where freedom is restricted. In the nineteenth
century the nations of the East were restless and in a state of inner
commotion. The darkness of imitations and forms had enveloped religious
belief. The people of religions were in constant warfare, filled with
enmity, hatred and bitterness. In the midst of these conditions
Bahá’u’lláh appeared. He proclaimed the oneness of the world of humanity
and announced that all are the servants of God. He taught that all the
religions are beneath the shadow and protection of the Almighty, that God
is compassionate and loving to all, that the revelations of all the
Prophets of the past have been in perfect unity and agreement, that the
heavenly Books have confirmed each other; therefore, why should contention
and strife exist among the people?

As all mankind have been created by the one God, we are sheep under the
care and protection of one Shepherd. Therefore, as His sheep we must
associate in accord and agreement. If one single lamb becomes separated
from the flock, the thoughts and efforts of all the others must be to
bring it back again. Consequently, Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed that, inasmuch
as God is the one heavenly Shepherd and all mankind are the sheep of His
fold, the religion or guidance of God must be the means of love and
fellowship in the world. If religion proves to be the source of hatred,
enmity and contention, if it becomes the cause of warfare and strife and
influences men to kill each other, its absence is preferable. For that
which is productive of hatred amongst the people is rejected by God, and
that which establishes fellowship is beloved and sanctioned by Him.
Religion and divine teachings are like unto a remedy. A remedy must
produce the condition of health. If it occasions sickness, it is wiser and
better to have no remedy whatever. This is the significance of the
statement that if religion becomes the cause of warfare and bloodshed,
irreligion and the absence of religion are preferable among mankind.

Bahá’u’lláh has declared that religion must be in accord with science and
reason. If it does not correspond with scientific principles and the
processes of reason, it is superstition. For God has endowed us with
faculties by which we may comprehend the realities of things, contemplate
reality itself. If religion is opposed to reason and science, faith is
impossible; and when faith and confidence in the divine religion are not
manifest in the heart, there can be no spiritual attainment.

According to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh all religious, racial, patriotic
and political prejudice must be abandoned, for these are the destroyers of
the real foundation of humanity. He has announced that the religion of God
is one, for all revelations of it are based upon reality. Abraham summoned
the people to reality; Moses proclaimed reality; Christ founded reality.
Likewise, all the Prophets were the servants and promulgators of reality.
Reality is one and indivisible. Therefore, the prejudices and bigotries
which exist today among the religions are not justifiable, inasmuch as
they are opposed to reality. All prejudices are against the will and plan
of God. Consider, for instance, racial distinction and enmity. All
humanity are the children of God; they belong to the same family, to the
same original race. There can be no multiplicity of races, since all are
the descendants of Adam. This signifies that racial assumption and
distinction are nothing but superstition. In the estimate of God there are
no English, French, Germans, Turkish or Persians. All these in the
presence of God are equal; they are of one race and creation; God did not
make these divisions. These distinctions have had their origin in man
himself. Therefore, as they are against the plan and purpose of reality,
they are false and imaginary. We are of one physical race, even as we are
of one physical plan of material body—each endowed with two eyes, two
ears, one head, two feet. Among the animals racial prejudice does not
exist. Consider the doves; there is no distinction as to whether it is an
oriental or an occidental dove. The sheep are all of one race; there is no
assumption of distinction between an eastern and a western sheep. When
they meet, they associate with perfect fellowship. If a dove from the West
should go to the Orient, it will associate with the eastern doves
unhesitatingly. There will be no attitude of unwillingness as if saying,
“You belong to the East; I am from the West.” Is it reasonable or
allowable that a racial prejudice which is not observed by the animal
kingdom should be entertained by man?

Consider the prejudice of patriotism. This is one globe, one land, one
country. God did not divide it into national boundaries. He created all
the continents without national divisions. Why should we make such
division ourselves? These are but imaginary lines and boundaries. Europe
is a continent; it is not naturally divided; man has drawn the lines and
established the limits of kingdoms and empires. Man declares a river to be
a boundary line between two countries, calling this side French and the
other side German, whereas the river was created for both and is a natural
artery for all. Is it not imagination and ignorance which impels man to
violate the divine intention and make the very bounties of God the cause
of war, bloodshed and destruction? Therefore, all prejudices between man
and man are falsehoods and violations of the will of God. God desires
unity and love; He commands harmony and fellowship. Enmity is human
disobedience; God Himself is love.

Bahá’u’lláh has announced that inasmuch as ignorance and lack of education
are barriers of separation among mankind, all must receive training and
instruction. Through this provision the lack of mutual understanding will
be remedied and the unity of mankind furthered and advanced. Universal
education is a universal law. It is, therefore, incumbent upon every
father to teach and instruct his children according to his possibilities.
If he is unable to educate them, the body politic, the representative of
the people, must provide the means for their education.

In the Orient women were degraded and considered subordinate to man.
Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed equality of the sexes—that both man and woman are
servants of God before Whom there is no distinction. Whosoever has a pure
heart and renders good deeds is nearer to God and the object of His
favor—whether man or woman. The sex distinction which exists in the human
world is due to the lack of education for woman, who has been denied equal
opportunity for development and advancement. Equality of the sexes will be
established in proportion to the increased opportunities afforded woman in
this age, for man and woman are equally the recipients of powers and
endowments from God, the Creator. God has not ordained distinction between
them in His consummate purpose.

Bahá’u’lláh has proclaimed the adoption of a universal language. A
language shall be agreed upon by which unity will be established in the
world. Each person will require training in two languages: his native
tongue and the universal auxiliary form of speech. This will facilitate
intercommunication and dispel the misunderstandings which the barriers of
language have occasioned in the world. All people worship the same God and
are alike His servants. When they are able to communicate freely, they
will associate in friendship and concord, entertain the greatest love and
fellowship for each other, and in reality the Orient and Occident will
embrace in unity and agreement.

The world is in greatest need of international peace. Until it is
established, mankind will not attain composure and tranquillity. It is
necessary that the nations and governments organize an international
tribunal to which all their disputes and differences shall be referred.
The decision of that tribunal shall be final. Individual controversy will
be adjudged by a local tribunal. International questions will come before
the universal tribunal, and so the cause of warfare will be taken away.

Fifty years ago Bahá’u’lláh wrote Epistles to the kings and rulers of the
world in which the teachings and principles revealed by Him were embodied
and set forth. These Epistles were printed in India forty years ago and
spread broadcast.

Briefly, by the promulgation of these principles Bahá’u’lláh has caused
the prejudices which afflicted the people of the Orient to disappear. The
communities which have accepted His teachings are now living together in
the greatest love and harmony. When you enter a meeting of these people,
you will find Christians, Jews, Muslims, Zoroastrians, Buddhists gathered
together in perfect fellowship and agreement. In their discussions the
greatest spirit of tolerance and friendship has supplanted the former
hostility and hatred witnessed among them.

I have visited America and find everywhere the evidences of just and
equitable government. Therefore, I pray God that these western peoples may
become the means of establishing international peace and spreading the
oneness of the world of humanity. May you become the cause of unity and
agreement among the nations. May a lamp be lighted here which will
illumine the whole universe with the oneness of the world of humanity,
with love between the hearts of the children of men, and the unity of all
mankind. I hope that you may become assisted in this supreme
accomplishment, that you may raise the flag of international peace and
reconciliation upon this continent, that this government and people may be
the means of spreading these lofty ideals in order that the world of man
may find rest, in order that the good pleasure of the Most High God shall
be attained and His favors encircle the Orient and Occident.

O Thou compassionate, almighty One! This assemblage of souls have turned
their faces unto Thee in supplication. With the utmost humility and
submission they look toward Thy Kingdom and beg Thee for pardon and
forgiveness. O God! Endear this assembly to Thyself. Sanctify these souls,
and cast upon them the rays of Thy guidance. Illumine their hearts, and
gladden their spirits with Thy glad tidings. Receive all of them in Thy
holy Kingdom; confer upon them Thine inexhaustible bounty; make them happy
in this world and in the world to come. O God! We are weak; give us
strength. We are poor; bestow upon us Thine illimitable treasures. We are
sick; grant unto us Thy divine healing. We are impotent; give us Thy
heavenly power. O Lord! Make us useful in this world; free us from the
condition of self and desire. O Lord! Make us brethren in Thy love, and
cause us to be loving toward all Thy children. Confirm us in service to
the world of humanity so that we may become the servants of Thy servants,
that we may love all Thy creatures and become compassionate to all Thy
people. O Lord, Thou art the Almighty. Thou art the Merciful. Thou art the
Forgiver. Thou art the Omnipotent.



1 September 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. William Sutherland Maxwell
716 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Canada


From Stenographic Notes

I am exceedingly happy to meet you. Praise be to God! I see before me
souls who have unusual capability and the power of spiritual advancement.
In reality, the people of this continent possess great capacity; they are
the cause of my happiness, and I ever pray that God may confirm and assist
them to progress in all the degrees of existence. As they have advanced
along material lines, may they develop in idealistic degrees, for material
advancement is fruitless without spiritual progress and not productive of
everlasting results. For example, no matter how much the physical body of
man is trained and developed, there will be no real progression in the
human station unless the mind correspondingly advances. No matter how much
man may acquire material virtues, he will not be able to realize and
express the highest possibilities of life without spiritual graces. God
has created all earthly things under a law of progression in material
degrees, but He has created man and endowed him with powers of advancement
toward spiritual and transcendental kingdoms. He has not created material
phenomena after His own image and likeness, but He has created man after
that image and with potential power to attain that likeness. He has
distinguished man above all other created things. All created things
except man are captives of nature and the sense world, but in man there
has been created an ideal power by which he may perceive intellectual or
spiritual realities. He has brought forth everything necessary for the
life of this world, but man is a creation intended for the reflection of
divine virtues. Consider that the highest type of creation below man is
the animal, which is superior to all degrees of life except man.
Manifestly, the animal has been created for the life of this world. Its
highest virtue is to express excellence in the material plane of
existence. The animal is perfect when its body is healthy and its physical
senses are whole. When it is characterized by the attributes of physical
health, when its physical forces are in working order, when food and
surrounding conditions minister to its needs, it has attained the ultimate
perfection of its kingdom. But man does not depend upon these things for
his virtues. No matter how perfect his health and physical powers, if that
is all, he has not yet risen above the degree of a perfect animal. Beyond
and above this, God has opened the doors of ideal virtues and attainments
before the face of man. He has created in his being the mysteries of the
divine Kingdom. He has bestowed upon him the power of intellect so that
through the attribute of reason, when fortified by the Holy Spirit, he may
penetrate and discover ideal realities and become informed of the
mysteries of the world of significances. As this power to penetrate the
ideal knowledges is superhuman, supernatural, man becomes the collective
center of spiritual as well as material forces so that the divine spirit
may manifest itself in his being, the effulgences of the Kingdom shine
within the sanctuary of his heart, the signs of the attributes and
perfections of God reveal themselves in a newness of life, the everlasting
glory and eternal existence be attained, the knowledge of God illumine,
and the mysteries of the realm of might be unsealed.

Man is like unto this lamp, but the effulgences of the Kingdom are like
the rays of the lamp. Man is like unto the glass, but spiritual splendors
are like unto the light within the glass. No matter how translucent the
glass may be, as long as there is no light within, it remains dark.
Likewise, man, no matter how much he advances in material accomplishments,
will remain like the glass without light if he is deprived of the
spiritual virtues. Material virtues are like unto a perfect body, but this
body is in need of the spirit. No matter how handsome and perfect the body
may be, if it is deprived of the spirit and its animus, it is dead. But
when that same body is affiliated with the spirit and expressing life,
perfection and virtue become realized in it. Deprived of the Holy Spirit
and its bounties, man is spiritually dead.

Children, for instance, no matter how good and pure, no matter how healthy
their bodies, are, nevertheless, considered imperfect because the power of
intellect is not fully manifest in them. When the intellectual power fully
displays its influences and they attain to the age of maturity, they are
considered as perfect. Likewise, man, no matter how much he may advance in
worldly affairs and make progress in material civilization, is imperfect
unless he is quickened by the bounties of the Holy Spirit; for it is
evident that until he receives that divine impetus he is ignorant and
deprived. For this reason Jesus Christ said, “Except a man be born of
water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” By this
Christ meant that unless man is released from the material world, freed
from the captivity of materialism and receiving a portion of the bounties
of the spiritual world, he shall be deprived of the bestowals and favors
of the Kingdom of God, and the utmost we can say of him is that he is a
perfect animal. No one can rightly call him a man. In another place He
said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of
the Spirit is spirit.” The meaning of this is that if man is a captive of
nature, he is like unto an animal because he is only a body physically
born—that is, he belongs to the world of matter and remains subject to the
law and control of nature. But if he is baptized with the Holy Spirit, if
he is freed from the bondage of nature, released from animalistic
tendencies and advanced in the human realm, he is fitted to enter into the
divine Kingdom. The world of the Kingdom is the realm of divine bestowals
and the bounties of God. It is attainment of the highest virtues of
humanity; it is nearness to God; it is capacity to receive the bounties of
the ancient Lord. When man advances to this station, he attains the second
birth. Before his first or physical birth man was in the world of the
matrix. He had no knowledge of this world; his eyes could not see; his
ears could not hear. When he was born from the world of the matrix, he
beheld another world. The sun was shining with its splendors, the moon
radiant in the heavens, the stars twinkling in the expansive firmament,
the seas surging, trees verdant and green, all kinds of creatures enjoying
life here, infinite bounties prepared for him. In the world of the matrix
none of these things existed. In that world he had no knowledge of this
vast range of existence; nay, rather, he would have denied the reality of
this world. But after his birth he began to open his eyes and behold the
wonders of this illimitable universe. Similarly, as long as man is in the
matrix of the human world, as long as he is the captive of nature, he is
out of touch and without knowledge of the universe of the Kingdom. If he
attains rebirth while in the world of nature, he will become informed of
the divine world. He will observe that another and a higher world exists.
Wonderful bounties descend; eternal life awaits; everlasting glory
surrounds him. All the signs of reality and greatness are there. He will
see the lights of God. All these experiences will be his when he is born
out of the world of nature into the divine world. Therefore, for the
perfect man there are two kinds of birth: the first, physical birth, is
from the matrix of the mother; the second, or spiritual birth, is from the
world of nature. In both he is without knowledge of the new world of
existence he is entering. Therefore, rebirth means his release from the
captivity of nature, freedom from attachment to this mortal and material
life. This is the second, or spiritual, birth of which Jesus Christ spoke
in the Gospels.

The majority of people are captives in the matrix of nature, submerged in
the sea of materiality. We must pray that they may be reborn, that they
may attain insight and spiritual hearing, that they may receive the gift
of another heart, a new transcendent power, and in the eternal world the
unending bestowal of divine bounties.

Today the world of humanity is walking in darkness because it is out of
touch with the world of God. That is why we do not see the signs of God in
the hearts of men. The power of the Holy Spirit has no influence. When a
divine spiritual illumination becomes manifest in the world of humanity,
when divine instruction and guidance appear, then enlightenment follows, a
new spirit is realized within, a new power descends, and a new life is
given. It is like the birth from the animal kingdom into the kingdom of
man. When man acquires these virtues, the oneness of the world of humanity
will be revealed, the banner of international peace will be upraised,
equality between all mankind will be realized, and the Orient and Occident
will become one. Then will the justice of God become manifest, all
humanity will appear as the members of one family, and every member of
that family will be consecrated to cooperation and mutual assistance. The
lights of the love of God will shine; eternal happiness will be unveiled;
everlasting joy and spiritual delight will be attained.

I will pray, and you must pray, likewise, that such heavenly bounty may be
realized; that strife and enmity may be banished, warfare and bloodshed
taken away; that hearts may attain ideal communication and that all people
may drink from the same fountain. May they receive their knowledge from
the same divine source. May all hearts become illumined with the rays of
the Sun of Reality; may all of them enter the university of God, acquire
spiritual virtues and seek for themselves heavenly bounties. Then this
material, phenomenal world will become the mirror of the world of God, and
within this pure mirror the divine virtues of the realm of might will be
reflected.



1 September 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. William Sutherland Maxwell
716 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Canada


From Stenographic Notes

The subject of immortality has been suggested.

Life is the expression of composition; and death, the expression of
decomposition. In the world or kingdom of the minerals certain materials
or elemental substances exist. When through the law of creation they enter
into composition, a being or organism comes into existence. For example,
certain material atoms are brought together, and man is the result. When
this composition is destroyed and disintegrated, decomposition takes
place; this is mortality, or death. When certain elements are composed, an
animal comes into being. When these elements are scattered or decomposed,
this is called the death of the animal. Again, certain atoms are bound
together by chemical affinity; a composition called a flower appears. When
these atoms are dispersed and the composition they have formed is
disintegrated, the flower has come to its end; it is dead. Therefore, it
is evident that life is the expression of composition, and mortality, or
death, is equivalent to decomposition. As the spirit of man is not
composed of material elements, it is not subject to decomposition and,
therefore, has no death. It is self-evident that the human spirit is
simple, single and not composed in order that it may come to immortality,
and it is a philosophical axiom that the individual or indivisible atom is
indestructible. At most, it passes through a process of construction and
reconstruction. For example, these individual atoms are brought together
in a composition, and through this composition a given organism—such as a
man, an animal or a plant—is created. When this composition is decomposed,
that created organism is brought to an end, but the component atoms are
not annihilated; they continue to exist because they are single,
individual and not composed. Therefore, it may be said that these
individual atoms are eternal. Likewise, the human spirit, inasmuch as it
is not composed of individual elements or atoms—as it is sanctified above
these elements—is eternal. This is a self-evident proof of its
immortality.

Second, consider the world of dreams, wherein the body of man is
immovable, seemingly dead, not subject to sensation; the eyes do not see,
the ears do not hear nor the tongue speak. But the spirit of man is not
asleep; it sees, hears, moves, perceives and discovers realities.
Therefore, it is evident that the spirit of man is not affected by the
change or condition of the body. Even though the material body should die,
the spirit continues eternally alive, just as it exists and functions in
the inert body in the realm of dreams. That is to say, the spirit is
immortal and will continue its existence after the destruction of the
body.

Third, the human body has one form. In its composition it has been
transferred from one form to another but never possesses two forms at the
same time. For example, it has existed in the elemental substances of the
mineral kingdom. From the mineral kingdom it has traversed the vegetable
kingdom and its constituent substances; from the vegetable kingdom it has
risen by evolution into the kingdom of the animal and from thence attained
the kingdom of man. After its disintegration and decomposition it will
return again to the mineral kingdom, leaving its human form and taking a
new form unto itself. During these progressions one form succeeds another,
but at no time does the body possess more than one.

The spirit of man, however, can manifest itself in all forms at the same
time. For example, we say that a material body is either square or
spherical, triangular or hexagonal. While it is triangular, it cannot be
square; and while it is square, it is not triangular. Similarly, it cannot
be spherical and hexagonal at the same time. These various forms or shapes
cannot be manifest at the same instant in one material object. Therefore,
the form of the physical body of man must be destroyed and abandoned
before it can assume or take unto itself another. Mortality, therefore,
means transference from one form to another—that is, transference from the
human kingdom to the kingdom of the mineral. When the physical man is
dead, he will return to dust; and this transference is equivalent to
nonexistence. But the human spirit in itself contains all these forms,
shapes and figures. It is not possible to break or destroy one form so
that it may transfer itself into another. As an evidence of this, at the
present moment in the human spirit you have the shape of a square and the
figure of a triangle. Simultaneously also you can conceive a hexagonal
form. All these can be conceived at the same moment in the human spirit,
and not one of them needs to be destroyed or broken in order that the
spirit of man may be transferred to another. There is no annihilation, no
destruction; therefore, the human spirit is immortal because it is not
transferred from one body into another body.

Consider another proof: Every cause is followed by an effect and vice
versa; there could be no effect without a cause preceding it. Sight is an
effect; there is no doubt that behind that effect there is a cause. When
we hear a discourse, there is a speaker. We could not hear words unless
they proceeded from the tongue of a speaker. Motion without a mover or
cause of motion is inconceivable. Jesus Christ lived two thousand years
ago. Today we behold His manifest signs; His light is shining; His
sovereignty is established; His traces are apparent; His bounties are
effulgent. Can we say that Christ did not exist? We can absolutely
conclude that Christ existed and that from Him these traces proceeded.

Still another proof: The body of man becomes lean or fat; it is afflicted
with disease, suffers mutilation; perhaps the eyes become blind, the ears
deaf; but none of these imperfections and failings afflict or affect the
spirit. The spirit of man remains in the same condition, unchanged. A man
is blinded, but his spirit continues the same. He loses his hearing, his
hand is cut off, his foot amputated; but his spirit remains the same. He
becomes lethargic, he is afflicted with apoplexy; but there is no
difference, change or alteration in his spirit. This is proof that death
is only destruction of the body, while the spirit remains immortal,
eternal.

Again, all phenomena of the material world are subject to mortality and
death, but the immortal spirit does not belong to the phenomenal world; it
is holy and sanctified above material existence. If the spirit of man
belonged to the elemental existence, the eye could see it, the ear hear
it, the hand touch. As long as these five senses cannot perceive it, the
proof is unquestioned that it does not belong to the elemental world and,
therefore, is beyond death or mortality, which are inseparable from that
material realm of existence. If being is not subject to the limitation of
material life, it is not subject to mortality.

There are many other proofs of the immortality of the spirit of man. These
are but a few of them. Salutations!



2 September 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. William Sutherland Maxwell
716 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Canada


From Stenographic Notes

Nature is the material world. When we look upon it, we see that it is dark
and imperfect. For instance, if we allow a piece of land to remain in its
natural condition, we will find it covered with thorns and thistles;
useless weeds and wild vegetation will flourish upon it, and it will
become like a jungle. The trees will be fruitless, lacking beauty and
symmetry; wild animals, noxious insects and reptiles will abound in its
dark recesses. This is the incompleteness and imperfection of the world of
nature. To change these conditions, we must clear the ground and cultivate
it so that flowers may grow instead of thorns and weeds—that is to say, we
must illumine the dark world of nature. In their primal natural state, the
forests are dim, gloomy, impenetrable. Man opens them to the light, clears
away the tangled underbrush and plants fruitful trees. Soon the wild
woodlands and jungle are changed into productive orchards and beautiful
gardens; order has replaced chaos; the dark realm of nature has become
illumined and brightened by cultivation.

If man himself is left in his natural state, he will become lower than the
animal and continue to grow more ignorant and imperfect. The savage tribes
of central Africa are evidences of this. Left in their natural condition,
they have sunk to the lowest depths and degrees of barbarism, dimly
groping in a world of mental and moral obscurity. If we wish to illumine
this dark plane of human existence, we must bring man forth from the
hopeless captivity of nature, educate him and show him the pathway of
light and knowledge, until, uplifted from his condition of ignorance, he
becomes wise and knowing; no longer savage and revengeful, he becomes
civilized and kind; once evil and sinister, he is endowed with the
attributes of heaven. But left in his natural condition without education
and training, it is certain that he will become more depraved and vicious
than the animal, even to the extreme degree witnessed among African tribes
who practice cannibalism. It is evident, therefore, that the world of
nature is incomplete, imperfect until awakened and illumined by the light
and stimulus of education.

In these days there are new schools of philosophy blindly claiming that
the world of nature is perfect. If this is true, why are children trained
and educated in schools, and what is the need of extended courses in
sciences, arts and letters in colleges and universities? What would be the
result if humanity were left in its natural condition without education or
training? All scientific discoveries and attainments are the outcomes of
knowledge and education. The telegraph, phonograph, telephone were latent
and potential in the world of nature but would never have come forth into
the realm of visibility unless man through education had penetrated and
discovered the laws which control them. All the marvelous developments and
miracles of what we call civilization would have remained hidden, unknown
and, so to speak, nonexistent, if man had remained in his natural
condition, deprived of the bounties, blessings and benefits of education
and mental culture. The intrinsic difference between the ignorant man and
the astute philosopher is that the former has not been lifted out of his
natural condition, while the latter has undergone systematic training and
education in schools and colleges until his mind has awakened and unfolded
to higher realms of thought and perception; otherwise, both are human and
natural.

God has sent forth the Prophets for the purpose of quickening the soul of
man into higher and divine recognitions. He has revealed the heavenly
Books for this great purpose. For this the breaths of the Holy Spirit have
been wafted through the gardens of human hearts, the doors of the divine
Kingdom opened to mankind and the invisible inspirations sent forth from
on high. This divine and ideal power has been bestowed upon man in order
that he may purify himself from the imperfections of nature and uplift his
soul to the realm of might and power. God has purposed that the darkness
of the world of nature shall be dispelled and the imperfect attributes of
the natal self be effaced in the effulgent reflection of the Sun of Truth.
The mission of the Prophets of God has been to train the souls of humanity
and free them from the thralldom of natural instincts and physical
tendencies. They are like unto Gardeners, and the world of humanity is the
field of Their cultivation, the wilderness and untrained jungle growth
wherein They proceed to labor. They cause the crooked branches to become
straightened, the fruitless trees to become fruitful, and gradually
transform this great wild, uncultivated field into a beautiful orchard
producing wonderful abundance and outcome.

If the world of nature were perfect and complete in itself, there would be
no need of such training and cultivation in the human world—no need of
teachers, schools and universities, arts and crafts. The revelations of
the Prophets of God would not have been necessary, and the heavenly Books
would have been superfluous. If the world of nature were perfect and
sufficient for mankind, we would have no need of God and our belief in
Him. Therefore, the bestowal of all these great helps and accessories to
the attainment of divine life is because the world of nature is incomplete
and imperfect. Consider this Canadian country during the early history of
Montreal when the land was in its wild, uncultivated and natural
condition. The soil was unproductive, rocky and almost uninhabitable—vast
forests stretching in every direction. What invisible power caused this
great metropolis to spring up amid such savage and forbidding conditions?
It was the human mind. Therefore, nature and the effect of nature’s laws
were imperfect. The mind of man remedied and removed this imperfect
condition, until now we behold a great city instead of a savage unbroken
wilderness. Before the coming of Columbus America itself was a wild,
uncultivated expanse of primeval forest, mountains and rivers—a very world
of nature. Now it has become the world of man. It was dark, forbidding and
savage; now it has become illumined with a great civilization and
prosperity. Instead of forests, we behold productive farms, beautiful
gardens and prolific orchards. Instead of thorns and useless vegetation,
we find flowers, domestic animals and fields awaiting harvest. If the
world of nature were perfect, the condition of this great country would
have been left unchanged.

If a child is left in its natural state and deprived of education, there
is no doubt that it will grow up in ignorance and illiteracy, its mental
faculties dulled and dimmed; in fact, it will become like an animal. This
is evident among the savages of central Africa, who are scarcely higher
than the beast in mental development.

The conclusion is irresistible that the splendors of the Sun of Truth, the
Word of God, have been the source and cause of human upbuilding and
civilization. The world of nature is the kingdom of the animal. In its
natural condition and plane of limitation the animal is perfect. The
ferocious beasts of prey have been completely subject to the laws of
nature in their development. They are without education or training; they
have no power of abstract reasoning and intellectual ideals; they have no
touch with the spiritual world and are without conception of God or the
Holy Spirit. The animal can neither recognize nor apprehend the spiritual
power of man and makes no distinction between man and itself, for the
reason that its susceptibilities are limited to the plane of the senses.
It lives under the bondage of nature and nature’s laws. All the animals
are materialists. They are deniers of God and without realization of a
transcendent power in the universe. They have no knowledge of the divine
Prophets and Holy Books—mere captives of nature and the sense world. In
reality they are like the great philosophers of this day who are not in
touch with God and the Holy Spirit—deniers of the Prophets, ignorant of
spiritual susceptibilities, deprived of the heavenly bounties and without
belief in the supernatural power. The animal lives this kind of life
blissfully and untroubled, whereas the material philosophers labor and
study for ten or twenty years in schools and colleges, denying God, the
Holy Spirit and divine inspirations. The animal is even a greater
philosopher, for it attains the ability to do this without labor and
study. For instance, the cow denies God and the Holy Spirit, knows nothing
of divine inspirations, heavenly bounties or spiritual emotions and is a
stranger to the world of hearts. Like the philosophers, the cow is a
captive of nature and knows nothing beyond the range of the senses. The
philosophers, however, glory in this, saying, “We are not captives of
superstitions; we have implicit faith in the impressions of the senses and
know nothing beyond the realm of nature, which contains and covers
everything.” But the cow, without study or proficiency in the sciences,
modestly and quietly views life from the same standpoint, living in
harmony with nature’s laws in the utmost dignity and nobility.

This is not the glory of man. The glory of man is in the knowledge of God,
spiritual susceptibilities, attainment to transcendent powers and the
bounties of the Holy Spirit. The glory of man is in being informed of the
teachings of God. This is the glory of humanity. Ignorance is not glory
but darkness. Can these souls who are steeped in the lower strata of
ignorance become informed of the mysteries of God and the realities of
existence while Jesus Christ was without knowledge of them? Is the
intellect of these people greater than the intellect of Christ? Christ was
heavenly, divine and belonged to the world of the Kingdom. He was the
embodiment of spiritual knowledge. His intellect was superior to these
philosophers, His comprehension deeper, His perception keener, His
knowledge more perfect. How is it that He overlooked and denied Himself
everything in this world? He attached little importance to this material
life, denying Himself rest and composure, accepting trials and voluntarily
suffering vicissitudes because He was endowed with spiritual
susceptibilities and the power of the Holy Spirit. He beheld the splendors
of the divine Kingdom, embodied the bounties of God and possessed ideal
powers. He was illumined with love and mercy, and so, likewise, were all
the Prophets of God.



5 September 1912
Talk at St. James Methodist Church
Montreal, Canada


From Stenographic Notes

Praise be to God! It is with a deep realization of happiness that I am
present here this evening, for I am looking upon the faces of those who
are earnest in their search for reality and who sincerely long to attain
knowledge of truth. God has created man and endowed him with the power of
reason whereby he may arrive at valid conclusions. Therefore, man must
endeavor in all things to investigate the fundamental reality. If he does
not independently investigate, he has failed to utilize the talent God has
bestowed upon him. I am pleased with the American people because, as a
rule, they are independent seekers of the truth; their minds are actively
employed instead of remaining idle and unproductive. This is most
praiseworthy.

Some souls imagine that there is a cessation to the bounties of God, as if
at one time the divine bestowals are poured out, at another time withheld
from mankind and ceasing. If we carefully reflect upon this matter, we
find that such a statement is in fact a denial of Divinity, for the
reality of Divinity is evidenced by virtue of its outpourings or
bestowals. The cessation of the bestowals of God at any time would be
equivalent to the cessation of the sovereignty of God. The sun is the sun
because of its ray and heat; it is the sun because of its bestowal; but if
at any time its effulgence, splendor and radiance should cease to emanate,
it would no longer be the sun. Consequently, it is inconceivable that the
bounties of Divinity should cease, for the attributes of Divinity are
everexistent. God has ever been divine; He hath ever exercised His
sovereignty and still possesses everlasting divinity and sovereignty. He
is like the sun, which has ever had its splendor, heat and radiance and
will continue to possess these bounties and attributes. If at any time its
splendor and heat should cease, it would no longer be pronounced the sun.
Therefore, the sound reasoning mind concludes that the bounties of the
Holy Spirit are continuous and that holy souls are ever the recipients of
these divine emanations. The potency of the Holy Spirit is everlasting,
not temporary; for the sanctity of the Holy Spirit is its power and
efficacy manifest in the spirits it quickens. We pray that all of us may
become recipients of its bestowals, that we may be illumined by the lights
of heaven, edified through the teachings of God and imbued with the
virtues of divine character, as mirrors reflecting the light of the sun.
Unless the mirror reflects the sunlight, it is only dark, inanimate
matter. Likewise, the hearts and spirits of mankind, when deprived and
without their portion of the bounties of the Holy Spirit, linger in the
abyss of darkness and ignorance.

From time immemorial the divine teachings have been successively revealed,
and the bounties of the Holy Spirit have ever been emanating. All the
teachings are one reality, for reality is single and does not admit
multiplicity. Therefore, the divine Prophets are one, inasmuch as They
reveal the one reality, the Word of God. Abraham announced teachings
founded upon reality, Moses proclaimed reality, Christ established reality
and Bahá’u’lláh was the Messenger and Herald of reality. But humanity,
having forsaken the one essential and fundamental reality which underlies
the religion of God, and holding blindly to imitations of ancestral forms
and interpretations of belief, is separated and divided in the strife,
contention and bigotry of various sects and religious factions. If all
should be true to the original reality of the Prophet and His teaching,
the peoples and nations of the world would become unified, and these
differences which cause separation would be lost sight of. To accomplish
this great and needful unity in reality, Bahá’u’lláh appeared in the
Orient and renewed the foundations of the divine teachings. His revelation
of the Word embodies completely the teachings of all the Prophets,
expressed in principles and precepts applicable to the needs and
conditions of the modern world, amplified and adapted to present-day
questions and critical human problems. That is to say, the words of
Bahá’u’lláh are the essences of the words of the Prophets of the past.
They are the very spirit of the age and the cause of the unity and
illumination of the East and the West. The followers of His teachings are
in conformity with the precepts and commands of all the former heavenly
Messengers. Differences and dissensions, which destroy the foundations of
the world of humanity and are contrary to the will and good pleasure of
God, disappear completely in the light of the revelation of Bahá’u’lláh;
difficult problems are solved, unity and love are established. For the
good pleasure of God is the effulgence of love and the establishment of
unity and fellowship in the human world, whereas discord, contention,
warfare and strife are satanic outcomes and contrary to the will of the
Merciful. In order that human souls, minds and spirits may attain
advancement, tranquillity and vision in broader horizons of unity and
knowledge, Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed certain principles or teachings, some of
which I will mention.

First, man must independently investigate reality, for the disagreements
and dissensions which afflict and affect humanity primarily proceed from
imitations of ancestral beliefs and adherences to hereditary forms of
worship. These imitations are accidental and without sanction in the Holy
Books. They are the outcomes of human interpretations and teachings which
have arisen, gradually obscuring the real light of divine meaning and
causing men to differ and dissent. The reality proclaimed in the heavenly
Books and divine teachings is ever conducive to love, unity and
fellowship.

Second, the oneness of the world of humanity shall be realized, accepted
and established. When we reflect upon this blessed principle, it will
become evident and manifest that it is the healing remedy for all human
conditions. All mankind are the servants of the glorious God, our Creator.
He has created all. Assuredly He must have loved them equally; otherwise,
He would not have created them. He protects all. Assuredly He loves His
creatures; otherwise, He would not protect them. He provides for all,
proving His love for all without distinction or preference. He manifests
His perfect goodness and loving-kindness toward all. He does not punish us
for our sins and shortcomings, and we are all immersed in the ocean of His
infinite mercy. Inasmuch as God is clement and loving to His children,
lenient and merciful toward our shortcomings, why should we be unkind and
unforgiving toward each other? As He loves humanity without distinction or
preference, why should we not love all? Can we conceive of a plan and
policy superior to the divine purpose? Manifestly, we cannot. Therefore,
we must strive to do the will of the glorious Lord and emulate His policy
of loving all mankind. The wisdom and policy of God are reality and truth,
whereas human policy is accidental and limited to our finite
understanding. The policy of God is infinite. We must emulate His example.
If a soul be ailing and infirm, we must produce remedies; if ignorant, we
must provide education; if defective, we must train and perfect that which
is lacking; if immature and undeveloped, we must supply the means of
attainment to maturity. No soul should be hated, none neglected; nay,
rather, their very imperfections should demand greater kindness and tender
compassion. Therefore, if we follow the example of the Lord of divinity,
we will love all mankind from our hearts, and the means of the unity of
the world of humanity will become as evident and manifest to us as the
light of the sun. And from our example the light of the love of God will
be enkindled among men. For God is love, and all phenomena find source and
emanation in that divine current of creation. The love of God haloes all
created things. Were it not for the love of God, no animate being would
exist. This is clear, manifest vision and truth unless a man is veiled by
superstitions and a captive to imaginations, differentiating mankind
according to his own estimate, loving some and hating others. Such an
attitude is most unworthy and ignoble.

Third, religion must be the mainspring and source of love in the world,
for religion is the revelation of the will of God, the divine fundamental
of which is love. Therefore, if religion should prove to be the cause of
enmity and hatred instead of love, its absence is preferable to its
existence.

Fourth, religion must reconcile and be in harmony with science and reason.
If the religious beliefs of mankind are contrary to science and opposed to
reason, they are none other than superstitions and without divine
authority, for the Lord God has endowed man with the faculty of reason in
order that through its exercise he may arrive at the verities of
existence. Reason is the discoverer of the realities of things, and that
which conflicts with its conclusions is the product of human fancy and
imagination.

Fifth, prejudice—whether it be religious, racial, patriotic or political
in its origin and aspect—is the destroyer of human foundations and opposed
to the commands of God. God has sent forth His Prophets for the sole
purpose of creating love and unity in the world of human hearts. All the
heavenly Books are the written word of love. If they prove to be the cause
of prejudice and human estrangement, they have become fruitless.
Therefore, religious prejudice is especially opposed to the will and
command of God. Racial and national prejudices which separate mankind into
groups and branches, likewise, have a false and unjustifiable foundation,
for all men are the children of Adam and essentially of one family. There
should be no racial alienation or national division among humankind. Such
distinctions as French, German, Persian, Anglo-Saxon are human and
artificial; they have neither significance nor recognition in the
estimation of God. In His estimate all are one, the children of one
family; and God is equally kind to them. The earth has one surface. God
has not divided this surface by boundaries and barriers to separate races
and peoples. Man has set up and established these imaginary lines, giving
to each restricted area a name and the limitation of a native land or
nationhood. By this division and separation into groups and branches of
mankind, prejudice is engendered which becomes a fruitful source of war
and strife. Impelled by this prejudice, races and nations declare war
against each other; the blood of the innocent is poured out, and the earth
torn by violence. Therefore, it has been decreed by God in this day that
these prejudices and differences shall be laid aside. All are commanded to
seek the good pleasure of the Lord of unity, to follow His command and
obey His will; in this way the world of humanity shall become illumined
with the reality of love and reconciliation.

Sixth, the world of humanity is in need of the confirmations of the Holy
Spirit. True distinction among mankind is through divine bestowals and
receiving the intuitions of the Holy Spirit. If man does not become the
recipient of the heavenly bestowals and spiritual bounties, he remains in
the plane and kingdom of the animal. For the distinction between the
animal and man is that man is endowed with the potentiality of divinity in
his nature, whereas the animal is entirely bereft of that gift and
attainment. Therefore, if a man is bereft of the intuitive breathings of
the Holy Spirit, deprived of divine bestowals, out of touch with the
heavenly world and negligent of the eternal truths, though in image and
likeness he is human, in reality he is an animal; even as Christ declared,
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the
Spirit is spirit.” This means that if man be a captive of physical
susceptibilities and be lacking the quickening of spiritual emotions, he
is merely an animal. But every soul who possesses spiritual
susceptibilities and has attained a goodly portion of the bestowals of the
Holy Spirit is alive with the divine life of the higher Kingdom. The soul
that is portionless and bereft is as dead. Therefore, He said, “Let the
dead bury their dead.” Just as the physical body of man is in need of its
force of life, even so the human soul is in need of the divine animus and
vivification emanating from the Holy Spirit. Without this vivification and
sustenance, man would be an animal, nay, rather, dead.

Seventh, the necessity of education for all mankind is evident. Children
especially must be trained and taught. If the parent cannot afford to do
this owing to lack of means, the body politic must make necessary
provision for its accomplishment. Through the broadening spirit of
education illiteracy will disappear, and misunderstandings due to
ignorance will pass away.

Eighth, universal peace will be established among the nations of the world
by international agreement. The greatest catastrophe in the world of
humanity today is war. Europe is a storehouse of explosives awaiting a
spark. All the European nations are on edge, and a single flame will set
on fire the whole of that continent. Implements of war and death are
multiplied and increased to an inconceivable degree, and the burden of
military maintenance is taxing the various countries beyond the point of
endurance. Armies and navies devour the substance and possessions of the
people; the toiling poor, the innocent and helpless are forced by taxation
to provide munitions and armament for governments bent upon conquest of
territory and defense against powerful rival nations. There is no greater
or more woeful ordeal in the world of humanity today than impending war.
Therefore, international peace is a crucial necessity. An arbitral court
of justice shall be established by which international disputes are to be
settled. Through this means all possibility of discord and war between the
nations will be obviated.

Ninth, there must be an equality of rights between men and women. Women
shall receive an equal privilege of education. This will enable them to
qualify and progress in all degrees of occupation and accomplishment. For
the world of humanity possesses two wings: man and woman. If one wing
remains incapable and defective, it will restrict the power of the other,
and full flight will be impossible. Therefore, the completeness and
perfection of the human world are dependent upon the equal development of
these two wings.

Tenth, there shall be an equality of rights and prerogatives for all
mankind.

Eleventh, one language must be selected as an international medium of
speech and communication. Through this means misunderstandings will be
lessened, fellowship established and unity assured.

These are a few of the principles proclaimed by Bahá’u’lláh. He has
provided the remedy for the ailments which now afflict the human world,
solved the difficult problems of individual, social, national and
universal welfare and laid the foundation of divine reality upon which
material and spiritual civilization are to be founded throughout the
centuries before us.

Praise be to God! I find these two great American nations highly capable
and advanced in all that appertains to progress and civilization. These
governments are fair and equitable. The motives and purposes of these
people are lofty and inspiring. Therefore, it is my hope that these
revered nations may become prominent factors in the establishment of
international peace and the oneness of the world of humanity; that they
may lay the foundations of equality and spiritual brotherhood among
mankind; that they may manifest the highest virtues of the human world,
revere the divine lights of the Prophets of God and establish the reality
of unity so necessary today in the affairs of nations. I pray that the
nations of the East and West shall become one flock under the care and
guidance of the divine Shepherd. Verily, this is the bestowal of God and
the greatest honor of man. This is the glory of humanity. This is the good
pleasure of God. I ask God for this with a contrite heart.

O my Lord! Thou Who art ever-forgiving! Verily, this assembly hath turned
its face toward Thy Kingdom. Verily, they are all of Thy flock, and Thou
art the one Shepherd of all. O Thou real Shepherd! Educate and train Thy
sheep in Thy green and verdant pastures. Suffer these birds of Thine to
build their nests in Thy rose garden. Adorn Thine orchard with these fresh
plants and flowers. Refresh these human trees by Thy shower of beneficence
and favor. O God! Verily, we are all Thy servants—all Thine—and Thou art
the One Lord. We all adore Thee, and Thou art the beneficent Master. O
Lord! Render the eyes perceptive that they may witness the lights of Thy
Kingdom. Render the ears attentive that they may hear the heavenly
summons. Resuscitate the spirits that they may be exhilarated through the
breath of the Holy Spirit. O Lord! Verily, we are weak, but Thou art
almighty. We are poor, but Thou art rich. Have mercy upon us. Apportion
unto us a goodly share of Thy realities, and lead us into the arena of
Thine attainments. Thou art the Powerful. Thou art the Able. Thou art the
kind Lord.



TALK ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN CHICAGO



16 September 1912
Talk at Home of Mrs. Corinne True
5338 Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, Illinois


Notes by Gertrude Buikema

Alláh-u-Abhá! Praise be to God! I have spent a number of days among you,
associating with you in love and fragrance. Praise be to God! Your hearts
are pure, your faces radiant, your spirits exhilarated through the glad
tidings of God. I pray in your behalf, seeking heavenly confirmations for
you that each one may become a radiant candle, shedding light in the world
of humanity. May you become the quintessence of love. May you prove to be
the effulgence of God, replete with the efficacy of the Holy Spirit and
the cause of unity and fellowship in the world of humanity, for today
mankind has the greatest need of love and agreement. If the world should
remain as it is today, great danger will face it. But if reconciliation
and unity are witnessed, if security and confidence be established, if
with heart and soul we strive in order that the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh
may find effective penetration in the realities of humankind, inducing
fellowship and accord, binding together the hearts of the various
religions and uniting divergent peoples, the world of mankind shall attain
peace and composure, the will of God will become the will of man and the
earth a veritable habitation of angels. Souls shall be educated, vice be
dispelled, the virtues of the world of humanity prevail, materialism pass
away, religion be strengthened and prove to be the bond which shall cement
together the hearts of men.

In the world of existence there are various bonds which unite human
hearts, but not one of these bonds is completely effective. The first and
foremost is the bond of family relationship, which is not an efficient
unity, for how often it happens that disagreement and divergence rend
asunder this close tie of association. The bond of patriotism may be a
means of fellowship and agreement, but oneness of native land will not
completely cement human hearts; for if we review history, we shall find
that people of the same race and native land have frequently waged war
against each other. Often in civil strife they have shed the same racial
blood and destroyed the possessions of their own native kind. Therefore,
this bond is not sufficient. Another means of seeming unity is the bond of
political association, where governments and rulers have been allied for
reasons of intercourse and mutual protection, but which agreement and
union afterward became subject to change and violent hatred even to the
extreme of war and bloodshed. It is evident that political oneness is not
permanently effective.

The source of perfect unity and love in the world of existence is the bond
and oneness of reality. When the divine and fundamental reality enters
human hearts and lives, it conserves and protects all states and
conditions of mankind, establishing that intrinsic oneness of the world of
humanity which can only come into being through the efficacy of the Holy
Spirit. For the Holy Spirit is like unto the life in the human body, which
blends all differences of parts and members in unity and agreement.
Consider how numerous are these parts and members, but the oneness of the
animating spirit of life unites them all in perfect combination. It
establishes such a unity in the bodily organism that if any part is
subjected to injury or becomes diseased, all the other parts and functions
sympathetically respond and suffer, owing to the perfect oneness existing.
Just as the human spirit of life is the cause of coordination among the
various parts of the human organism, the Holy Spirit is the controlling
cause of the unity and coordination of mankind. That is to say, the bond
or oneness of humanity cannot be effectively established save through the
power of the Holy Spirit, for the world of humanity is a composite body,
and the Holy Spirit is the animating principle of its life.

Therefore, we must strive in order that the power of the Holy Spirit may
become effective throughout the world of mankind, that it may confer a new
quickening life upon the body politic of the nations and peoples and that
all may be guided to the protection and shelter of the Word of God. Then
this human world will become angelic, earthly darkness pass away and
celestial illumination flood the horizons, human defects be effaced and
divine virtues become resplendent. This is possible and real, but only
through the power of the Holy Spirit. Today the greatest need of the world
is the animating, unifying presence of the Holy Spirit. Until it becomes
effective, penetrating and interpenetrating hearts and spirits, and until
perfect, reasoning faith shall be implanted in the minds of men, it will
be impossible for the social body to be inspired with security and
confidence. Nay, on the contrary, enmity and strife will increase day by
day, and the differences and divergences of nations will be woefully
augmented. Continual additions to the armies and navies of the world will
be made, and the fear and certainty of the great pandemic war—the war
unparalleled in history—will be intensified; for armament, heretofore
limited, is now being increased upon a colossal scale. Conditions are
becoming acute, drawing nigh unto the degree of men warring upon the seas,
warring upon the plains, warring in the very atmosphere with a violence
unknown in former centuries. With the growth of armament and preparation
the dangers are increasingly great.

We must use our utmost endeavors in order that the Holy Spirit may
influence minds and hearts toward peace, the bounties of God surround, the
divine effulgences become successive, human souls advance, minds expand in
wider vision, souls become more holy and the world of humanity be rid of
its great menace. For the betterment of the world Bahá’u’lláh endured all
the hardships, ordeals and vicissitudes of life, sacrificing His very
being and comfort, forfeiting His estates, possessions and honor—all that
pertains to human existence—not for one year, nay, rather, for nearly
fifty years. During this long period He was subjected to persecution and
abuse, was cast into prison, was banished from His native land, underwent
severities and humiliation and was exiled four times. He was first exiled
from Persia to Ba_gh_dád, thence to Constantinople, thence to Rumelia and
finally to the great prison-fortress of Akká in Syria, where He passed the
remainder of His life. Every day a new oppression and abuse was heaped
upon Him until He winged His flight from the dungeon to the supreme world
and returned to His Lord. He endured these ordeals and difficulties in
order that this earthly human world might become heavenly, that the
illumination of the divine Kingdom should become a reality in human
hearts, that the individual members of mankind might progress, the power
of the Holy Spirit increase its efficacy and penetration and the happiness
of the world of humanity be assured. He desired for all tranquillity and
composure and exercised loving-kindness toward the nations regardless of
conditions and differences. He addressed humanity, saying, “O humankind!
Verily, ye are all the leaves and fruits of one tree; ye are all one.
Therefore, associate in friendship; love one another; abandon prejudices
of race; dispel forever this gloomy darkness of human ignorance, for the
century of light, the Sun of Reality hath appeared. Now is the time for
affiliation, and now is the period of unity and concord. For thousands of
years ye have been contending in warfare and strife. It is enough. Now is
the time for unity. Lay aside all self-purposes, and know for a certainty
that all men are the servants of one God Who will bind them together in
love and agreement.”

Inasmuch as great differences and divergences of denominational belief had
arisen throughout the past, every man with a new idea attributing it to
God, Bahá’u’lláh desired that there should not be any ground or reason for
disagreement among the Bahá’ís. Therefore, with His own pen He wrote the
Book of His Covenant, addressing His relations and all people of the
world, saying, “Verily, I have appointed One Who is the Center of My
Covenant. All must obey Him; all must turn to Him; He is the Expounder of
My Book, and He is informed of My purpose. All must turn to Him.
Whatsoever He says is correct, for, verily, He knoweth the texts of My
Book. Other than He, no one doth know My Book.” The purpose of this
statement is that there should never be discord and divergence among the
Bahá’ís but that they should always be unified and agreed. In His prayers
Bahá’u’lláh also said, “O God! Whosoever violates My Covenant, O God,
humiliate him. Verily, whosoever violates My Covenant, O God, erase and
efface him.” In all His Tablets, among which is the Tablet of the Branch,
He has mentioned and explained the attributes and qualities of the
Personage to Whom He referred in the Book of His Covenant. He has fully
expounded the function and potency of that Personage, so that no one shall
say, “I understand this from the writings of Bahá’u’lláh,” for He has
appointed the Center, or Expounder, of the Book. He said, “Verily, He is
the appointed one; other than He, there is none,” intending that no sects
or prejudices should be formed, and preventing every man here and there
with a new thought from creating dissension and variance. It is as though
a king should appoint a governor-general. Whosoever obeys him, obeys the
king. Whosoever violates and disobeys him, violates the king. Therefore,
whosoever obeys the Center of the Covenant appointed by Bahá’u’lláh has
obeyed Bahá’u’lláh, and whosoever disobeys Him has disobeyed Bahá’u’lláh.
It has nothing to do with Him (‘Abdu’l-Bahá) at all—precisely as the
governor-general appointed by the king—whosoever obeys the
governor-general obeys the king; whosoever disobeys the governor-general
disobeys the king.

Therefore, you must read the Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh. You must read the
Tablet of the Branch and regard that which He has so clearly stated.
Beware! Beware! lest anyone should speak from the authority of his own
thoughts or create a new thing out of himself. Beware! Beware! According
to the explicit Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh you should care nothing at all for
such a person. Bahá’u’lláh shuns such souls. I have expounded these things
for you, for the conservation and protection of the teachings of
Bahá’u’lláh, in order that you may be informed, lest any souls shall
deceive you and lest any souls shall cause suspicion among you. You must
love all people, and yet if any souls put you in doubt, you must know that
Bahá’u’lláh is severed from them. Whosoever works for unity and fellowship
is a servant of Bahá’u’lláh, and Bahá’u’lláh is his assistant and helper.
I ask God that He may cause you to be the very means of agreement and
unity, that He may make you radiant, merciful, heavenly children of the
divine Kingdom; that you may advance day by day; that you may become as
bright as these lamps, bestowing light upon all humanity. Salutations and
farewell!



TALK ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN MINNEAPOLIS



20 September 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. Albert L. Hall
2030 Queen Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota


Notes by Ellen T. Pursell

Praise be to God! This is a beautiful and radiant assemblage. It is a
merciful gathering, for you have met here in the utmost love and
spirituality. There are many meetings in the world, thousands of them
perhaps being held at this very moment, mostly for social, political,
scientific or commercial purposes; but our gathering here tonight is for
God, for heavenly purposes. We are neither attached to commerce nor is our
interest scientific; our spirit and motive are solely for the
manifestation of divine bestowals.

Man possesses two types of virtues: One is material, and the other ideal
in character. For example, the body of man expresses certain material
virtues, but the spirit of man manifests virtues that are ideal. The sense
of sight in man is a physical virtue; but insight, the power of inner
perception, is ideal in its nature. The sense of hearing is a physical
endowment, whereas memory in man is ideal. Among other human forces the
power of ideation, or faculty of intellection, is material, but the power
of love is spiritual. The acquisition of the realities of phenomena is an
ideal virtue; likewise, the emotions of man and his ability to prove the
existence of God. Realization of moral standards and the world of
discovery involve virtues essentially ideal.

If we review history, we will observe that human advancement has been
greatest in the development of material virtues. Civilization is the sign
and evidence of this progression. Throughout the world, material
civilization has attained truly wonderful heights and degrees of
efficiency—that is to say, the outward powers and virtues of man have
greatly developed, but the inner and ideal virtues have been
correspondingly delayed and neglected. It is now the time in the history
of the world for us to strive and give an impetus to the advancement and
development of inner forces—that is to say, we must arise to service in
the world of morality, for human morals are in need of readjustment. We
must also render service to the world of intellectuality in order that the
minds of men may increase in power and become keener in perception,
assisting the intellect of man to attain its supremacy so that the ideal
virtues may appear. Before a step is taken in this direction we must be
able to prove Divinity from the standpoint of reason so that no doubt or
objection may remain for the rationalist. Afterward, we must be able to
prove the existence of the bounty of God—that the divine bounty
encompasses humanity and that it is transcendental. Furthermore, we must
demonstrate that the spirit of man is immortal, that it is not subject to
disintegration and that it comprises the virtues of humanity.

Material virtues have attained great development, but ideal virtues have
been left far behind. If you should ask a thousand persons, “What are the
proofs of the reality of Divinity?” perhaps not one would be able to
answer. If you should ask further, “What proofs have you regarding the
essence of God?” “How do you explain inspiration and revelation?” “What
are the evidences of conscious intelligence beyond the material universe?”
“Can you suggest a plan and method for the betterment of human
moralities?” “Can you clearly define and differentiate the world of nature
and the world of Divinity?”—you would receive very little real knowledge
and enlightenment upon these questions. This is due to the fact that
development of the ideal virtues has been neglected. People speak of
Divinity, but the ideas and beliefs they have of Divinity are, in reality,
superstition. Divinity is the effulgence of the Sun of Reality, the
manifestation of spiritual virtues and ideal powers. The intellectual
proofs of Divinity are based upon observation and evidence which
constitute decisive argument, logically proving the reality of Divinity,
the effulgence of mercy, the certainty of inspiration and immortality of
the spirit. This is, in reality, the science of Divinity. Divinity is not
what is set forth in dogmas and sermons of the church. Ordinarily when the
word Divinity is mentioned, it is associated in the minds of the hearers
with certain formulas and doctrines, whereas it essentially means the
wisdom and knowledge of God, the effulgence of the Sun of Truth, the
revelation of reality and divine philosophy.

Philosophy is of two kinds: natural and divine. Natural philosophy seeks
knowledge of physical verities and explains material phenomena, whereas
divine philosophy deals with ideal verities and phenomena of the spirit.
The field and scope of natural philosophy have been greatly enlarged, and
its accomplishments are most praiseworthy, for it has served humanity. But
according to the evidence of present world conditions divine
philosophy—which has for its object the sublimation of human nature,
spiritual advancement, heavenly guidance for the development of the human
race, attainment to the breaths of the Holy Spirit and knowledge of the
verities of God—has been outdistanced and neglected. Now is the time for
us to make an effort and enable it to advance apace with the philosophy of
material investigation so that awakening of the ideal virtues may progress
equally with the unfoldment of the natural powers. In the same proportion
that the body of man is developing, the spirit of man must be
strengthened; and just as his outer perceptions have been quickened, his
inner intellectual powers must be sensitized so that he need not rely
wholly upon tradition and human precedent. In divine questions we must not
depend entirely upon the heritage of tradition and former human
experience; nay, rather, we must exercise reason, analyze and logically
examine the facts presented so that confidence will be inspired and faith
attained. Then and then only the reality of things will be revealed to us.
The philosophers of Greece—such as Aristotle, Socrates, Plato and
others—were devoted to the investigation of both natural and spiritual
phenomena. In their schools of teaching they discoursed upon the world of
nature as well as the supernatural world. Today the philosophy and logic
of Aristotle are known throughout the world. Because they were interested
in both natural and divine philosophy, furthering the development of the
physical world of mankind as well as the intellectual, they rendered
praiseworthy service to humanity. This was the reason of the triumph and
survival of their teachings and principles. Man should continue both these
lines of research and investigation so that all the human virtues, outer
and inner, may become possible. The attainment of these virtues, both
material and ideal, is conditioned upon intelligent investigation of
reality, by which investigation the sublimity of man and his intellectual
progress is accomplished. Forms must be set aside and renounced; reality
must be sought. We must discover for ourselves where and what reality is.
In religious beliefs nations and peoples today are imitators of ancestors
and forefathers. If a man’s father was a Christian, he himself is a
Christian; a Buddhist is the son of a Buddhist, a Zoroastrian of a
Zoroastrian. A gentile or an idolator follows the religious footsteps of
his father and ancestry. This is absolute imitation. The requirement in
this day is that man must independently and impartially investigate every
form of reality.

The great question appertaining to humanity is religion. The first
condition is that man must intelligently investigate its foundations. The
second condition is that he must admit and acknowledge the oneness of the
world of humanity. By this means the attainment of true fellowship among
mankind is assured, and the alienation of races and individuals is
prevented. All must be considered the servants of God; all must recognize
God as the one kind Protector and Creator. In proportion to the
acknowledgment of the oneness and solidarity of mankind, fellowship is
possible, misunderstandings will be removed and reality become apparent.
Then will the light of reality shine forth, and when reality illumines the
world, the happiness of humankind will become a verity. Man must
spiritually perceive that religion has been intended by God to be the
means of grace, the source of life and cause of agreement. If it becomes
the cause of discord, enmity and hatred, it is better that man should be
without it. For in its teachings we seek the spirit of charity and love to
bind the hearts of men together. If, on the contrary, we find it alienates
and embitters human hearts, we are justified in casting it aside.
Therefore, when man through sincere investigation discovers the
fundamental reality of religion, his former prejudices disappear, and his
new condition of enlightenment is conducive to the development of the
world of humanity.

The purport of our subject is that, just as man is in need of outward
education, he is likewise in need of ideal refinement; just as the outer
sense of sight is necessary to him, he should also possess insight and
conscious perception; as he needs hearing, at the same time memory is
essential; as a body is indispensable to him, likewise a mind is
requisite; one is a material virtue, the other is ideal. As human
creatures fitted and qualified with this dual endowment, we must endeavor
through the assistance and grace of God and by the exercise of our ideal
power of intellect to attain all lofty virtues, that we may witness the
effulgence of the Sun of Reality, reflect the spirit of the Kingdom,
behold the manifest evidences of the reality of Divinity, comprehend
irrefutable proofs of the immortality of the soul, live in conscious
at-one-ment with the eternal world and become quickened and awake with the
life and love of God.



TALK ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN ST. PAUL



20 September 1912
Talk at Home of Dr. and Mrs. Clement Woolson
870 Laurel Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota


From Stenographic Notes

The materialists hold to the opinion that the world of nature is complete.
The divine philosophers declare that the world of nature is incomplete.
There is a wide difference between the two. The materialists call
attention to the perfection of nature, the sun, moon and stars, the trees
in their adornment, the whole earth and the sea—even unimportant phenomena
revealing the most perfect symmetry. The divine philosophers deny this
seeming perfection and completeness in nature’s kingdom, even though
admitting the beauty of its scenes and aspects and acknowledging the
irresistible cosmic forces which control the colossal suns and planets.
They hold that while nature seems perfect, it is, nevertheless, imperfect
because it has need of intelligence and education. In proof of this they
say that man, though he be a very god in the realm of material creation,
is himself in need of an educator. Man undeveloped by education is savage,
animalistic, brutal. Laws and regulations, schools, colleges and
universities have for their purpose the training of man and his uplift
from the dark borderland of the animal kingdom. What is the difference
between the people of America and the inhabitants of central Africa?

All are human beings. Why have the people of America advanced to a high
degree of civilization while the tribes of central Africa remain in
extreme ignorance and barbarism? The difference and distinction between
them is the degree of education. This is unquestioned. The people of
Europe and America have been uplifted by education and training from the
world of defects and have ascended toward the realm of perfection, whereas
the people of Africa, denied educational development, remain in a natural
condition of illiteracy and deprivation, for nature is incomplete and
defective. Education is a necessity. If a piece of ground be left in its
natural and original state, it will either become a thorny waste or be
covered by worthless weeds. When cleared and cultivated, this same
unproductive field will yield plentiful harvests of food for human
sustenance.

This same difference is noticeable among animals; some have been
domesticated, educated, others left wild. The proof is clear that the
world of nature is imperfect, the world of education perfect. That is to
say, man is rescued from the exigencies of nature by training and culture;
consequently, education is necessary, obligatory. But education is of
various kinds. There is a training and development of the physical body
which ensures strength and growth. There is intellectual education or
mental training for which schools and colleges are founded. The third kind
of education is that of the spirit. Through the breaths of the Holy Spirit
man is uplifted into the world of moralities and illumined by the lights
of divine bestowals. The moral world is only attained through the
effulgence of the Sun of Reality and the quickening life of the divine
spirit. For this reason the holy Manifestations of God appear in the human
world. They come to educate and illuminate mankind, to bestow spiritual
susceptibilities, to quicken inner perceptions and thereby adorn the
reality of man—the human temple—with divine graces. Through Them man may
become the point of the emanations of God and the recipient of heavenly
bounties. Under the influence of Their teachings he may become the
manifestation of the effulgences of God and a magnet attracting the lights
of the supreme world. For this reason the holy, divine Manifestations are
the first Teachers and Educators of humanity; Their traces are the highest
evidences, and Their spiritual tuition is universal in its application to
the world of mankind. Their influence and power are immeasurable and
unlimited. One heavenly Personage has developed many nations. For example,
Jesus Christ, single and unassisted, educated the Roman, Greek and
Assyrian nations and all of Europe. It is evident, therefore, that the
greatest education is that of the Spirit.

The spirit of man must acquire its bounties from the Kingdom of God in
order that it may become the mirror and manifestation of lights and the
dawning point of divine traces, because the human reality is like the
soil. If no bounty of rain descends from heaven upon the soil, if no heat
of the sun penetrates, it will remain black, forbidding, unproductive; but
when the moistening shower and the effulgent glow of the sun’s rays fall
upon it, beautiful and redolent flowers grow from its bosom. Similarly,
the human spirit or reality of man, unless it becomes the recipient of the
lights of the Kingdom, develops divine susceptibilities and consciously
reflects the effulgence of God, will not be the manifestation of ideal
bounties, for only the reality of man can become the mirror wherein the
lights of God are revealed. The reality of man will then be as the spirit
of this world, for just as the animus of life quickens the physical human
body, so the body of the world will receive its vivification through the
animating virtue of the sanctified spirit of man.

It is evident that the holy Manifestations and divine dawning points are
necessary, for these blessed and glorious Souls are the foremost Teachers
and Educators of mankind, and all human souls are developed through Them
by the bounty of the Holy Spirit of God.

During the ministry of Jesus Christ in Palestine He was surrounded by
people of various nations, including the Jews, all of them living in the
condition of extreme ignorance, bereft of the Word of God and darkened in
consciousness. Christ educated these people and quickened them with the
life of the Word so that they in turn became the instruments of educating
the world, illumining the East and the West.

Consider the wonderful effect of spiritual education and training. By it
the fisherman Peter was transformed into the greatest of teachers.
Spiritual education made the disciples radiant lamps in the darkness of
the world and caused the Christians of the first and second centuries to
become renowned everywhere for their virtues. Even philosophers bore
testimony to this. Among them was Galen, the physician, who wrote a book
upon the subject of the progress of the nations. He was a celebrated
philosopher of the Greeks, although not a Christian. In his book he stated
that religious beliefs exercise a tremendous influence upon civilization
and that the world is in need of such belief. In proof of this, he said,
in substance, “In our time there is a certain people called Christians,
who, though neither philosophers nor scholastically trained, are superior
to all others as regards their morality. They are perfect in morals. Each
one of them is like a great philosopher in morals, ethics and turning
toward the Kingdom of God.” This is evidence from the testimony of an
intelligent outside observer that spiritual education is the light of the
world of humanity and that its absence in the world is darkness itself.

Bahá’u’lláh appeared in Persia at a time when the darkness of ignorance
enveloped the East, and there was no trace of human love and fellowship.
Through divine education and the power of the breaths of the Holy Spirit
He so refined the souls of the Persians who followed Him that they
attained a station of highest intelligence and reflected the attributes of
perfection to the world. Whereas formerly they were ignorant, they became
knowing; they were weak, they became mighty; they were without integrity,
they became conscientious; they were hostile toward all men, they
developed love for humanity; they were spiritually negligent, they became
mindful and attentive; they were sleeping, they became awakened; they
disagreed among themselves, they united in love and are now striving to
render service to the world of humankind. Service to God and mankind is
their sole intention; they have neither wish nor desire save that which is
in accordance with the good pleasure of God. The good pleasure of God is
love for His creatures. The will and plan of God is that each individual
member of humankind shall become illumined like unto a lamp, radiant with
all the destined virtues of humanity, leading his fellow creatures out of
natural darkness into the heavenly light. Therein rests the virtue and
glory of the world of humanity. This is the perfection, honor and glory of
man; otherwise, man is an animal and without differentiation from the
creatures of that lower kingdom.

It is clearly evident that while man possesses powers in common with the
animal, he is distinguished from the animal by intellectual attainment,
spiritual perception, the acquisition of virtues, capacity to receive the
bestowals of Divinity, lordly bounty and emanations of heavenly mercy.
This is the adornment of man, his honor and sublimity. Humanity must
strive toward this supreme station. Christ has interpreted this station as
the second birth. Man is first born from a world of darkness, the matrix
of the mother, into this physical world of light. In the dark world from
whence he came he had no knowledge of the virtues of this existence. He
has been liberated from a condition of darkness and brought into a new and
spacious realm where there is sunlight, the stars are shining, the moon
sheds its radiance, there are beautiful views, gardens of roses, fruits
and all the blessings of the present world. How did he attain these
blessings? Through the agency of birth from the mother. Just as man has
been physically born into this world, he may be reborn from the realm and
matrix of nature, for the realm of nature is a condition of animalism,
darkness and defect. In this second birth he attains the world of the
Kingdom. There he witnesses and realizes that the world of nature is a
world of gloom, whereas the Kingdom is a world of radiance; the world of
nature is a world of defects, the Kingdom is a realm of perfection; the
world of nature is a world without enlightenment, the Kingdom of spiritual
humanity is a heaven of illumination. Great discoveries and revelations
are now possible for him; he has attained the reality of perception; his
circle of understanding is illimitably widened; he views the realities of
creation, comprehends the divine bounties and unseals the mystery of
phenomena. This is the station which Christ has interpreted as the second
birth. He says that just as ye were physically born from the mother into
this world, ye must be born again from the mother world of nature into the
life of the divine Kingdom. May you all attain this second, spiritual
birth. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born
of the Spirit is spirit.”

I pray that the confirmation of God may descend upon you. May you all be
born again from this mortal world into the realm of the Kingdom. May you
clearly witness the signs of God, sense the virtues of the divine, attain
the eternal bounties and perceive the reality of everlasting life.



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN DENVER



24 September 1912
Talk at Home of Mrs. Roberts
Denver, Colorado


From Stenographic Notes

I have come from distant lands of the East to visit you, crossing the
great ocean and traveling a long distance upon this continent. Consider
how I have longed to meet you, for my body is frail and weak, incapable of
long endurance, yet—praise be to God!—we have at last reached Denver. Such
a gathering as this is worthy of thanksgiving; it is peerless and unique
among meetings. Other meetings are held from motives of material
interests—such as social, political, commercial, educational—but this
assemblage has no other purpose than attainment to the divine Kingdom;
therefore, it is unique, unequaled. The hearts have turned to God; spirits
are exalted through the glad tidings of God; the intentions of all are
directed to God. What better meeting could be imagined than this?

Such a gathering is fundamentally spiritual, sincere and most important.
But we must arise in the accomplishment of its purposes, for our attention
is directed toward the heavenly Kingdom unto which we must render faithful
service. Therefore, all individuals present here must be in the attitude
of perfect love and fellowship, manifesting the utmost humility and
self-sacrifice, turning our thoughts toward the Kingdom of God so that our
meeting may be an expression of the glorified hosts of the Supreme
Concourse.

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.

Observe how darkness has overspread the world. In every corner of the
earth there is strife, discord and warfare of some kind. Mankind is
submerged in the sea of materialism and occupied with the affairs of this
world. They have no thought beyond earthly possessions and manifest no
desire save the passions of this fleeting, mortal existence. Their utmost
purpose is the attainment of material livelihood, physical comforts and
worldly enjoyments such as constitute the happiness of the animal world
rather than the world of man.

The honor of man is through the attainment of the knowledge of God; his
happiness is from the love of God; his joy is in the glad tidings of God;
his greatness is dependent upon his servitude to God. The highest
development of man is his entrance into the divine Kingdom, and the
outcome of this human existence is the nucleus and essence of eternal
life. If man is bereft of the divine bestowals and if his enjoyment and
happiness are restricted to his material inclinations, what distinction or
difference is there between the animal and himself? In fact, the animal’s
happiness is greater, for its wants are fewer and its means of livelihood
easier to acquire. Although it is necessary for man to strive for material
needs and comforts, his real need is the acquisition of the bounties of
God. If he is bereft of divine bounties, spiritual susceptibilities and
heavenly glad tidings, the life of man in this world has not yielded any
worthy fruit. While possessing physical life, he should lay hold of the
life spiritual, and together with bodily comforts and happiness, he should
enjoy divine pleasures and content. Then is man worthy of the title man;
then will he be after the image and likeness of God, for the image of the
Merciful consists of the attributes of the heavenly Kingdom. If no fruits
of the Kingdom appear in the garden of his soul, man is not in the image
and likeness of God, but if those fruits are forthcoming, he becomes the
recipient of ideal bestowals and is enkindled with the fire of the love of
God. If his morals become spiritual in character, his aspirations heavenly
and his actions conformable to the will of God, man has attained the image
and likeness of his Creator; otherwise, he is the image and likeness of
Satan. Therefore, Christ hath said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”

What are the fruits of the human world? They are the spiritual attributes
which appear in man. If man is bereft of those attributes, he is like a
fruitless tree. One whose aspiration is lofty and who has developed
self-reliance will not be content with a mere animal existence. He will
seek the divine Kingdom; he will long to be in heaven although he still
walks the earth in his material body, and though his outer visage be
physical, his face of inner reflection will become spiritual and heavenly.
Until this station is attained by man, his life will be utterly devoid of
real outcomes. The span of his existence will pass away in eating,
drinking and sleeping, without eternal fruits, heavenly traces or
illumination—without spiritual potency, everlasting life or the lofty
attainments intended for him during his pilgrimage through the human
world. You must thank God that your efforts are high and noble, that your
endeavors are worthy, that your intentions are centered upon the Kingdom
of God and that your supreme desire is the acquisition of eternal virtues.
You must act in accordance with these requirements. A man may be a Bahá’í
in name only. If he is a Bahá’í in reality, his deeds and actions will be
decisive proofs of it. What are the requirements? Love for mankind,
sincerity toward all, reflecting the oneness of the world of humanity,
philanthropy, becoming enkindled with the fire of the love of God,
attainment to the knowledge of God and that which is conducive to human
welfare.

This evening we were speaking of the fellowship and unity of the Persian
Bahá’ís. They can truly be called lovers. For example, if one of the
friends of God arrived in their city, all the friends would rejoice and
assemble together in a meeting with him. If he were ill, they would care
for him; if sad, they would comfort him. They would care for him in every
way and give unmistakable evidence that there is a spiritual relationship
amongst them.

Strangers and outsiders are astonished at this love and radiant affection
existing among the Bahá’ís. They inquire about it. They observe the unity
and agreement manifest among them. They say, “What a beautiful spirit
shines in their faces!” All envy it and wish that such a bond of love
might be witnessed everywhere. Therefore, to you my first admonition is
this: Associate most kindly with all; be as one family; pursue this same
pathway. Let your intentions be one that your love may permeate and affect
the hearts of others so that they may grow to love each other and all
attain to this condition of oneness.

The world of humanity is filled with darkness; you are its radiant
candles. It is very poor; you must be the treasury of the Kingdom. It is
exceedingly debased; you must be the cause of its exaltation. It is bereft
of divine graces; you must give it impetus and spiritual quickening.
According to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh you must love and cherish each
individual member of humanity.

The first sign of faith is love. The message of the holy, divine
Manifestations is love; the phenomena of creation are based upon love; the
radiance of the world is due to love; the well-being and happiness of the
world depend upon it. Therefore, I admonish you that you must strive
throughout the human world to diffuse the light of love. The people of
this world are thinking of warfare; you must be peacemakers. The nations
are self-centered; you must be thoughtful of others rather than
yourselves. They are neglectful; you must be mindful. They are asleep; you
should be awake and alert. May each one of you be as a shining star in the
horizon of eternal glory. This is my wish for you and my highest hope. I
have come long distances that you may attain these attributes and divine
favors. Praise be to God! I have attended this meeting which has for its
purpose the commemoration of God.



25 September 1912
Talk at Second Divine Science Church
3929 West Thirty-eighth Avenue, Denver, Colorado


From Stenographic Notes

In the Orient I was informed of the lofty purposes and wonderful
attainments of the American people. When I arrived in this country, I
realized that American ideals are indeed most praiseworthy and that the
people here are lovers of truth. They investigate reality, and there is no
trace of fanaticism among them. Today the nations of the world are on the
verge of war, influenced and impelled by prejudices of ignorance and
racial fanaticism. Praise be to God! You are free from such prejudice, for
you believe in the oneness and solidarity of the world of humanity. There
is no doubt that the divine confirmations will uphold you.

One of the forms of prejudice which afflict the world of mankind is
religious bigotry and fanaticism. When this hatred burns in human hearts,
it becomes the cause of revolution, destruction, abasement of humankind
and deprivation of the mercy of God. For the holy Manifestations and
divine Founders of religion Themselves were completely unified in love and
agreement, whereas Their followers are characterized by bitter antagonism
and attitudes of hostility toward each other. God has desired for mankind
the effulgence of love, but through blindness and misapprehension man has
enveloped himself in veils of discord, strife and hatred. The supreme need
of humanity is cooperation and reciprocity. The stronger the ties of
fellowship and solidarity amongst men, the greater will be the power of
constructiveness and accomplishment in all the planes of human activity.
Without cooperation and reciprocal attitude the individual member of human
society remains self-centered, uninspired by altruistic purposes, limited
and solitary in development like the animal and plant organisms of the
lower kingdoms. The lower creatures are not in need of cooperation and
reciprocity. A tree can live solitary and alone, but this is impossible
for man without retrogression. Therefore, every cooperative attitude and
activity of human life is praiseworthy and foreintended by the will of
God. The first expression of cooperation is family relationship, which is
unreliable and uncertain in its potency, for it is subject to separation
and does not permanently cement together the individual members of
humanity. There is also a cooperation and oneness in nativity or race
which is likewise not efficient, for although its members may agree in
general, they differ radically in personal and particular points of view.
Racial association, therefore, will not ensure the requirements of divine
relationship. There are other means in the human world by which physical
association is established, but these fail to weld together the hearts and
spirits of men and are correspondingly inefficient. Therefore, it is
evident that God has destined and intended religion to be the cause and
means of cooperative effort and accomplishment among mankind. To this end
He has sent the Prophets of God, the holy Manifestations of the Word, in
order that the fundamental reality and religion of God may prove to be the
bond of human unity, for the divine religions revealed by these holy
Messengers have one and the same foundation. All will admit, therefore,
that the divine religions are intended to be the means of true human
cooperation, that they are united in the purpose of making humanity one
family, for they rest upon the universal foundation of love, and love is
the first effulgence of Divinity.

Each one of the divine religions has established two kinds of ordinances:
the essential and the accidental. The essential ordinances rest upon the
firm, unchanging, eternal foundations of the Word itself. They concern
spiritualities, seek to stabilize morals, awaken intuitive
susceptibilities, reveal the knowledge of God and inculcate the love of
all mankind. The accidental laws concern the administration of outer human
actions and relations, establishing rules and regulations requisite for
the world of bodies and their control. These are ever subject to change
and supersedure according to exigencies of time, place and condition. For
example, during the time of Moses, ten commandments concerning the
punishment of murder were revealed in His Book. Divorce was sanctioned and
polygamy allowable to a certain extent. If a man committed theft, his hand
was cut off. This was drastic law and severe punishment applicable to the
time of Moses. But when the time of Christ came, minds had developed,
realizations were keener and spiritual perceptions had advanced so that
certain laws concerning murder, plurality of wives and divorce were
abrogated. But the essential ordinances of the Mosaic dispensation
remained unchanged. These were the fundamental realities of the knowledge
of God and the holy Manifestations, the purification of morals, the
awakening of spiritual susceptibilities—eternal principles in which there
is no change or transformation. Briefly, the foundation of the divine
religions is one eternal foundation, but the laws for temporary conditions
and exigencies are subject to change. Therefore, by adherence to these
temporary laws, blindly following and imitating ancestral forms,
difference and divergence have arisen among followers of the various
religions, resulting in disunion, strife and hatred. Blind imitations and
dogmatic observances are conducive to alienation and disagreement; they
lead to bloodshed and destruction of the foundations of humanity.
Therefore, the religionists of the world must lay aside these imitations
and investigate the essential foundation or reality itself, which is not
subject to change or transformation. This is the divine means of agreement
and unification.

The purpose of all the divine religions is the establishment of the bonds
of love and fellowship among men, and the heavenly phenomena of the
revealed Word of God are intended to be a source of knowledge and
illumination to humanity. So long as man persists in his adherence to
ancestral forms and imitation of obsolete ceremonials, denying higher
revelations of the divine light in the world, strife and contention will
destroy the purpose of religion and make love and fellowship impossible.
Each of the holy Manifestations announced the glad tidings of His
successor, and each One confirmed the message of His predecessor.
Therefore, inasmuch as They were agreed and united in purpose and
teaching, it is incumbent upon Their followers to be likewise unified in
love and spiritual fellowship. In no other way will discord and alienation
disappear and the oneness of the world of humanity be established.

After we have proved the validity of the Manifestations of the Word of God
by investigating the divine teachings, we must discover for a certainty
whether They have been real Educators of mankind. Among the revelators of
the law of God was Moses. When He appeared, all the contemporaneous
nations rejected Him. Notwithstanding this, single and alone He
promulgated the divine teachings and liberated a nation from the lowest
condition of degradation and bondage. The people of Israel were ignorant,
lowly, debased in morals—a race of slaves under burdensome oppression.
Moses led them out of captivity and brought them to the Holy Land. He
educated and disciplined them, established among them the foundations of
material and divine civilization. Through the education of Moses these
ignorant people attained an advanced degree of power and prestige,
culminating in the glory of the reign of Solomon. From the abyss of
bereavement and slavery they were uplifted to the highest plane of
progress and civilized nationhood. It is evident, therefore, that Moses
was an Educator and Teacher. The purpose and mission of the holy, divine
Messengers is the training and advancement of humanity, the cultivation of
divine fruits in the gardens of human hearts, the reflection of heavenly
effulgence in the mirrors of human souls, the quickening of mental
capacity and the increase of spiritual susceptibilities. When these
results and outcomes are witnessed in mankind, the function and mission of
the Manifestations are unmistakable. Christ, single and alone, without
schooling or outward education and trained to labor in the shop of a
carpenter, appeared in the world at the time when the Jewish nation was in
the greatest abasement. This radiant Youth, without wealth, power of
armies or prestige, rescued the Jews who believed on Him from tyranny and
degradation and lifted them to the highest plane of development and glory.
Peter, His disciple, was a fisherman. Through the power of Christ he shed
light upon all the horizons of the world. Furthermore, various people of
the Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Assyrian nations were brought together in
unity and agreement; where warfare and bloodshed had existed, humility and
love were manifest, and the foundations of divine religion were
established, never to be destroyed. This proves that Christ was a heavenly
Teacher and Educator of the world of humanity, for such evidences are
historical and irrefutable, not based upon tradition and circumstantial
report. The power of His Word in cementing these nations together is as
clear and evident as the sun at midday. There is no need of further
demonstration.

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.

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.

My highest hope and desire is that the strongest and most indissoluble
bond shall be established between the American nation and the people of
the Orient. This is my prayer to God. May the day come when through divine
and spiritual activity in the human world the religions shall be
reconciled and all races of mankind come together in unity and love. Fifty
years ago Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed the peace of the nations and oneness of
the divine religions, addressing His words to all the kings and rulers of
the world in specific Tablets. Therefore, my supreme desire is the unity
of the East and West, universal peace and the oneness of the world of
humanity.



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN OAKLAND, PALO ALTO, SAN FRANCISCO, AND
SACRAMENTO



7 October 1912
Talk to Japanese Young Men’s Christian Association
Japanese Independent Church, Oakland, California


Notes by Bijou Straun

It is a great happiness to be here this evening, especially for the reason
that the members of this Association have come from the region of the
Orient. For a long time I have entertained a desire to meet some of the
Japanese friends. That nation has achieved extraordinary progress in a
short space of time—a progress and development which have astonished the
world. Inasmuch as they have advanced in material civilization, they must
assuredly possess the capacity for spiritual development. For this reason,
I have an excessive longing to meet them. Praise be to God! This pleasure
is now afforded me, for here in this city I am face to face with a revered
group of the Japanese. According to report the people of the Japanese
nation are not prejudiced. They investigate reality. Wherever they find
truth, they prove to be its lovers. They are not attached tenaciously to
blind imitations of ancient beliefs and dogmas. Therefore, it is my great
desire to discourse with them upon a subject in order that the unity and
blending together of the nations of the East and the nations of the West
may be furthered and accomplished. In this way religious, racial and
political prejudice, partisan bias and sectarianism will be dispelled
amongst men. Any kind of prejudice is destructive to the body politic.

When we review history from the beginning of human existence to the
present age in which we live, it is evident all war and conflict,
bloodshed and battle, every form of sedition has been due to some form of
prejudice—whether religious, racial or national—to partisan bias and
selfish prejudice of some sort. Even today we witness an upheaval in the
Balkans, a war of religious prejudice. Some years ago when I was living in
Rumelia, war broke out among the religious peoples. There was no attitude
of justice or equity whatever amongst them. They pillaged the properties
of each other, burning each others’ homes and houses, slaughtering men,
women and children, imagining that such warfare and bloodshed was the
means of drawing near to God. This clearly proved that prejudice is a
destroyer of the foundations of the world of humanity, whereas religion
was meant to be the cause of fellowship and agreement.

Religion must be the cause of love. Religion must be the cause of justice,
for the wisdom of the Manifestations of God is directed toward the
establishing of the bond of a love which is indissoluble. The bonds which
hold together the body politic are not sufficient. These bonds may be
mentioned—for instance, the bond of patriotism. This is evidently not a
sufficient bond, for how often it happens that people of the same nation
wage civil war amongst themselves. The bond of fellowship may be racial,
but history proves this is not sufficiently strong, for tremendous wars
have broken out between peoples of the same racial lineage. Again, the
bond holding men together may be political. How often it happens that the
diplomacy of nations makes a treaty of peace one day and on the morrow a
declaration of war! It is historically evident and manifest that these
bonds are not self-sufficient.

The real bond of integrity is religious in character, for religion
indicates the oneness of the world of humanity. Religion serves the world
of morality. Religion purifies the hearts. Religion impels men to achieve
praiseworthy deeds. Religion becomes the cause of love in human hearts,
for religion is a divine foundation, the foundation ever conducive to
life. The teachings of God are the source of illumination to the people of
the world. Religion is ever constructive, not destructive.

The foundation of all the divine religions is one. All are based upon
reality. Reality does not admit plurality, yet amongst mankind there have
arisen differences concerning the Manifestations of God. Some have been
Zoroastrians, some are Buddhists, some Jews, Christians, Muslims and so
on. This has become a source of divergence, whereas the teachings of the
holy Souls Who founded the divine religions are one in essence and
reality. All these have served the world of humanity. All have summoned
souls to peace and accord. All have proclaimed the virtues of humanity.
All have guided souls to the attainment of perfections, but among the
nations certain imitations of ancestral forms of worship have arisen.
These imitations are not the foundation and essence of the divine
religions. Inasmuch as they differ from the reality and the essential
teachings of the Manifestations of God, dissensions have arisen, and
prejudice has developed. Religious prejudice thus becomes the cause of
warfare and battle.

If we abandon these timeworn blind imitations and investigate reality, all
of us will be unified. No discord will remain; antagonism will disappear.
All will associate in fellowship. All will enjoy the cordial bonds of
friendship. The world of creation will then attain composure. The dark and
gloomy clouds of blind imitations and dogmatic variances will be scattered
and dispelled; the Sun of Reality will shine most gloriously.

Verily, we should consider the divine Prophets as the intermediaries, but
mankind has made use of Them as causes of dissension and pretexts for
warfare and strife. In reality, They were the intermediaries of love and
reconciliation. If They were not sources of love and fellowship amongst
men, then undoubtedly They were not true, for the divine wisdom and
purpose in sending the Prophets was the manifestation of love in human
hearts. Therefore, we must investigate reality. First of all, let us
determine whether these Prophets were valid or not by using rational
proofs and shining arguments, not simply by quoting traditionary
evidences, because traditions are divergent and the source of dissension.

Among the holy, divine Manifestations of God was Moses. The sending of
Prophets has ever been for the training of humanity. They are the first
Educators and Trainers. If Moses has developed the body politic, there is
no doubt that He was a true Teacher and Educator. This will be proof and
evidence that He was a Prophet. We shall consider how He was sent to the
children of Israel when they were in the abyss of despair, in the lowest
degree of ignorance and heedlessness, degraded and under conditions of
bondage. Moses rescued these degraded people of Israel from that state of
bondage. He raised them from that condition of ignorance, saved them from
barbarism and led them into the Holy Land. He educated them, endowed them
with sagacious instincts, made them worthy and honorable. He civilized
them, raised them to a higher plane of existence until they were enabled
to establish a national sovereignty, the great kingdom of Solomon. This
proves that Moses was a Teacher and an Educator. He had neither army nor
dominion; neither did He possess wealth. It was only through an idealistic
power that He cemented them together, proving that He was a Prophet of
God, an Educator and Trainer.

Likewise, must we set aside prejudice in considering other divine
Educators by investigating reality. For instance, let us take Christ. He
achieved results greater than Moses. He educated the body politic, trained
mighty nations. There is no doubt whatever that such Souls were Prophets,
for the mission of Prophethood is education, and these wondrous Souls
trained and educated mankind.

Christ was a unique Personage, without helper or assistant. Single and
solitary He arose to train great and mighty nations; the Romans, Greeks,
Egyptians, Syrians, Chaldeans and Assyrians came under His influence. He
was able to bind together many nations, melting them together, as it were,
and pouring them into one mold, changing their enmity into love, war into
peace. Under His influence satanic souls became veritable angels,
tyrannical rulers became just, the human moral standard was raised. This
proves that Christ was an Educator, a Teacher and Trainer of nations. If
we deny this, it is nought but injustice.

Blessed souls—whether Moses, Jesus, Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Confucius
or Muḥammad—were the cause of the illumination of the world of humanity.
How can we deny such irrefutable proof? How can we be blind to such light?
How can we dispute the validity of Christ? This is injustice. This is a
denial of reality. Man must be just. We must set aside bias and prejudice.
We must abandon the imitations of ancestors and forefathers. We ourselves
must investigate reality and be fair in judgment.

The old nation of Persia denied all these facts, harboring the utmost
hatred and enmity toward other religious beliefs besides their own. We
have investigated reality and found that these holy souls were all sent of
God. All of them have sacrificed life, endured ordeals and tribulations in
order that They might educate us. How can such love be forgotten? The
light of Christ is evident. The candle of Buddha is shining. The star of
Moses is sparkling. The flame ignited by Zoroaster is still burning. How
can we deny Them? It is injustice. It is a denial of complete evidence. If
we forsake imitations, all will become united, and no differences will
remain to separate us.

We entertain no prejudice against Muḥammad. Outwardly the Arabian nation
was instrumental in overthrowing the Pársí dominion, the sovereignty of
Persia. Therefore, the old Pársí nation manifested the utmost contempt
toward the Arabs. But we deal justly and will never abandon the standard
of fairness. The Arabians were in the utmost state of degradation. They
were bloodthirsty and barbarous, so savage and degraded that the Arabian
father often buried his own daughter alive. Consider: Could any barbarism
be lower than this? The nation consisted of warring, hostile tribal
peoples inhabiting the vast Arabian peninsula, and their business
consisted in fighting and pillaging each other, making captive women and
children, killing each other. Muḥammad appeared among such a people. He
educated and unified these barbarous tribes, put an end to their shedding
of blood. Through His education they reached such a degree of civilization
that they subdued and governed continents and nations. What a great
civilization was established in Spain by the Muslims! What a marvelous
civilization was founded in Morocco by the Moors! What a powerful
caliphate or successorship was set up in Ba_gh_dád! How much Islám served
and furthered the cause of science! Why then should we deny Muḥammad? If
we deny Him, we awaken enmity and hatred. By our prejudice we become the
cause of war and bloodshed, for prejudice was the cause of the tremendous
storm which swept through human history for thirteen hundred years and
still continues. Even now in the Balkans a commotion is apparent,
reflecting it.

The Christian people number nearly three hundred millions and the Muslims
about the same. It is no small task to do away with such numbers. And
furthermore, why should they be obliterated? For these are all servants of
the one God. Let us strive to establish peace between Christians and
Muslims. Is it not better? What is the benefit of war? What is its
fruitage? For thirteen hundred years there has been warfare and hostility.
What good result has been forthcoming? Is it not folly? Is God pleased
with it? Is Christ pleased? Is Muḥammad? It is evident that They are not.
The Prophets have extolled each other to the utmost. Muḥammad declared
Christ to be the Spirit of God. This is an explicit text of the Qur’án. He
declared Christ to be the Word of God. He eulogized the disciples of
Christ to the utmost. He bestowed upon Mary, the mother of Christ, the
highest praise. Likewise, Christ extolled Moses. He spread broadcast the
Old Testament, the Torah, and caused the name of Moses to reach unto the
East and the West. The purpose is this: that the Prophets Themselves have
manifested the utmost love toward each other, but the nations who believe
and follow Them are hostile and antagonistic among themselves.

The world was in this condition of darkness when Bahá’u’lláh appeared upon
the Persian horizon. He hoisted the banner of the oneness of the world of
humanity. He proclaimed international peace. He admonished the Persian
nation to investigate reality, announced that religion must be the cause
of unity and love, that it must be the means of binding hearts together,
the cause of life and illumination. If religion becomes the cause of
enmity and bloodshed, then irreligion is to be preferred, for religion is
the remedy for every ailment, and if a remedy should become the cause of
ailment and difficulty, it is better to abandon it. Today in Persia you
will see the Muslims, Christians, Zoroastrians, Buddhists assembled
together in the same meeting, living in accordance with the teachings of
Bahá’u’lláh, manifesting utmost love and accord. Rancor, hatred,
antagonism and violence have disappeared; they live together as one
family.

And ye who are the people of the Orient—the Orient which has ever been the
dawning point of lights from whence the Sun of Reality has ever shone
forth, casting its effulgence upon the West—ye, therefore, must become the
manifestations of lights. Ye must become brilliant lamps. Ye must shine as
stars radiating the light of love toward all mankind. May you be the cause
of love amongst the nations. Thus may the world become witness that the
Orient has ever been the dawning point of illumination, the source of love
and reconciliation. Make peace with all the world. Love everybody; serve
everybody. All are the servants of God. God has created all. He provideth
for all. He is kind to all. Therefore, must we be kind to all.

I am greatly pleased with this meeting. I am joyous and happy, for here in
these western regions I find Orientals seeking education and who are free
from prejudice. May God assist you!



8 October 1912
Talk at Leland Stanford Junior University
Palo Alto, California


Notes by Bijou Straun

The greatest attainment in the world of humanity has ever been scientific
in nature. It is the discovery of the realities of things. Inasmuch as I
find myself in the home of science—for this is one of the great
universities of the country and well known abroad—I feel a keen sense of
joy.

The highest praise is due to men who devote their energies to science, and
the noblest center is a center wherein the sciences and arts are taught
and studied. Science ever tends to the illumination of the world of
humanity. It is the cause of eternal honor to man, and its sovereignty is
far greater than the sovereignty of kings. The dominion of kings has an
ending; the king himself may be dethroned; but the sovereignty of science
is everlasting and without end. Consider the philosophers of former times.
Their rule and dominion is still manifest in the world. The Greek and
Roman kingdoms with all their grandeur passed away; the ancient
sovereignties of the Orient are but memories, whereas the power and
influence of Plato and Aristotle still continue. Even now in schools and
universities of the world their names are revered and commemorated, but
where do we hear the names of bygone kings extolled? They are forgotten
and rest in the valley of oblivion. It is evident that the sovereignty of
science is greater than the dominion of rulers. Kings have invaded
countries and achieved conquest through the shedding of blood, but the
scientist through his beneficent achievements invades the regions of
ignorance, conquering the realm of minds and hearts. Therefore, his
conquests are everlasting. May you attain extraordinary progress in this
center of education. May you become radiant lights flooding the dark
regions and recesses of ignorance with illumination.

Inasmuch as the fundamental principle of the teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is
the oneness of the world of humanity, I will speak to you upon the
intrinsic oneness of all phenomena. This is one of the abstruse subjects
of divine philosophy.

Fundamentally all existing things pass through the same degrees and phases
of development, and any given phenomenon embodies all others. An ancient
statement of the Arabian philosophers declares that all things are
involved in all things. It is evident that each material organism is an
aggregate expression of single and simple elements, and a given cellular
element or atom has its coursings or journeyings through various and
myriad stages of life. For example, we will say the cellular elements
which have entered into the composition of a human organism were at one
time a component part of the animal kingdom; at another time they entered
into the composition of the vegetable, and prior to that they existed in
the kingdom of the mineral. They have been subject to transference from
one condition of life to another, passing through various forms and
phases, exercising in each existence special functions. Their journeyings
through material phenomena are continuous. Therefore, each phenomenon is
the expression in degree of all other phenomena. The difference is one of
successive transferences and the period of time involved in evolutionary
process.

For example, it has taken a certain length of time for this cellular
element in my hand to pass through the various periods of metabolism. At
one period it was in the mineral kingdom subject to changes and
transferences in the mineral state. Then it was transferred to the
vegetable kingdom where it entered into different grades and stations.
Afterward it reached the animal plane, appearing in forms of animal
organisms until finally in its transferences and coursings it attained to
the kingdom of man. Later on it will revert to its primordial elemental
state in the mineral kingdom, being subject, as it were, to infinite
journeyings from one degree of existence to another, passing through every
stage of being and life. Whenever it appears in any distinct form or
image, it has its opportunities, virtues and functions. As each component
atom or element in the physical organisms of existence is subject to
transference through endless forms and stages, possessing virtues peculiar
to those forms and stations, it is evident that all phenomena of material
being are fundamentally one. In the mineral kingdom this component atom or
element possesses certain virtues of the mineral; in the kingdom of the
vegetable it is imbued with vegetable qualities or virtues; in the plane
of animal existence it is empowered with animal virtues—the senses; and in
the kingdom of man it manifests qualities peculiar to the human station.

As this is true of material phenomena, how much more evident and essential
it is that oneness should characterize man in the realm of idealism, which
finds its expression only in the human kingdom. Verily, the origin of all
material life is one and its termination likewise one. In view of this
fundamental unity and agreement of all phenomenal life, why should man in
his kingdom of existence wage war or indulge in hostility and destructive
strife against his fellowman? Man is the noblest of the creatures. In his
physical organism he possesses the virtues of the mineral kingdom.
Likewise, he embodies the augmentative virtue, or power of growth, which
characterizes the kingdom of the vegetable. Furthermore, in his degree of
physical existence he is qualified with functions and powers peculiar to
the animal, beyond which lies the range of his distinctive human mental
and spiritual endowment. Considering this wonderful unity of the kingdoms
of existence and their embodiment in the highest and noblest creature, why
should man be at variance and in conflict with man? Is it fitting and
justifiable that he should be at war, when harmony and interdependence
characterize the kingdoms of phenomenal life below him? The elements and
lower organisms are synchronized in the great plan of life. Shall man,
infinitely above them in degree, be antagonistic and a destroyer of that
perfection? God forbid such a condition!

From the fellowship and commingling of the elemental atoms life results.
In their harmony and blending there is ever newness of existence. It is
radiance, completeness; it is consummation; it is life itself. Just now
the physical energies and natural forces which come under our immediate
observation are all at peace. The sun is at peace with the earth upon
which it shines. The soft breathing winds are at peace with the trees. All
the elements are in harmony and equilibrium. A slight disturbance and
discord among them might bring another San Francisco earthquake and fire.
A physical clash, a little quarreling among the elements as it were, and a
violent cataclysm of nature results. This happens in the mineral kingdom.
Consider, then, the effect of discord and conflict in the kingdom of man,
so superior to the realm of inanimate existence. How great the attendant
catastrophe, especially when we realize that man is endowed by God with
mind and intellect. Verily, mind is the supreme gift of God. Verily,
intellect is the effulgence of God. This is manifest and self-evident.

For all created things except man are subjects or captives of nature; they
cannot deviate in the slightest degree from nature’s law and control. The
colossal sun, center of our planetary system, is nature’s captive,
incapable of the least variation from the law of command. All the orbs and
luminaries in this illimitable universe are, likewise, obedient to
nature’s regulation. Our planet, the earth, acknowledges nature’s
omnipresent sovereignty. The kingdoms of the mineral, vegetable and animal
respond to nature’s will and fiat of control. The great bulky elephant
with its massive strength has no power to disobey the restrictions nature
has laid upon him; but man, weak and diminutive in comparison, empowered
by mind which is an effulgence of Divinity itself, can resist nature’s
control and apply natural laws to his own uses.

According to the limitations of his physical powers man was intended by
creation to live upon the earth, but through the exercise of his mental
faculties, he removes the restriction of this law and soars in the air
like a bird. He penetrates the secrets of the sea in submarines and builds
fleets to sail at will over the ocean’s surface, commanding the laws of
nature to do his will. All the sciences and arts we now enjoy and utilize
were once mysteries, and according to the mandates of nature should have
remained hidden and latent, but the human intellect has broken through the
laws surrounding them and discovered the underlying realities. The mind of
man has taken these mysteries out of the plane of invisibility and brought
them into the plane of the known and visible.

It has classified and adapted these laws to human needs and uses, this
being contrary to the postulates of nature. For example, electricity was
once a hidden, or latent, natural force. It would have remained hidden if
the human intellect had not discovered it. Man has broken the law of its
concealment, taken this energy out of the invisible treasury of the
universe and brought it into visibility. Is it not an extraordinary
accomplishment that this little creature, man, has imprisoned an
irresistible cosmic force in an incandescent lamp? It is beyond the vision
and power of nature itself to do this. The East can communicate with the
West in a few minutes. This is a miracle transcending nature’s control.
Man takes the human voice and stores it in a phonograph. The voice
naturally should be free and transient according to the law and phenomenon
of sound, but man arrests its vibrations and puts it in a box in defiance
of nature’s laws. All human discoveries were once secrets and mysteries
sealed and stored up in the bosom of the material universe until the mind
of man, which is the greatest of divine effulgences, penetrated them and
made them subservient to his will and purpose. In this sense man has
broken the laws of nature and is constantly taking out of nature’s
laboratory new and wonderful things. Notwithstanding this supreme bestowal
of God, which is the greatest power in the world of creation, man
continues to war and fight, killing his fellowman with the ferocity of a
wild animal. Is this in keeping with his exalted station? Nay, rather,
this is contrary to the divine purpose manifest in his creation and
endowment.

If the animals are savage and ferocious, it is simply a means for their
subsistence and preservation. They are deprived of that degree of
intellect which can reason and discriminate between right and wrong,
justice and injustice; they are justified in their actions and not
responsible. When man is ferocious and cruel toward his fellowman, it is
not for subsistence or safety. His motive is selfish advantage and willful
wrong. It is neither seemly nor befitting that such a noble creature,
endowed with intellect and lofty thoughts, capable of wonderful
achievements and discoveries in sciences and arts, with potential for ever
higher perceptions and the accomplishment of divine purposes in life,
should seek the blood of his fellowmen upon the field of battle. Man is
the temple of God. He is not a human temple. If you destroy a house, the
owner of that house will be grieved and wrathful. How much greater is the
wrong when man destroys a building planned and erected by God!
Undoubtedly, he deserves the judgment and wrath of God.

God has created man lofty and noble, made him a dominant factor in
creation. He has specialized man with supreme bestowals, conferred upon
him mind, perception, memory, abstraction and the powers of the senses.
These gifts of God to man were intended to make him the manifestation of
divine virtues, a radiant light in the world of creation, a source of life
and the agency of constructiveness in the infinite fields of existence.
Shall we now destroy this great edifice and its very foundation, overthrow
this temple of God, the body social or politic? When we are not captives
of nature, when we possess the power to control ourselves, shall we become
captives of nature and act according to its exigencies?

In nature there is the law of the survival of the fittest. Even if man be
not educated, then according to the natural institutes this natural law
will demand of man supremacy. The purpose and object of schools, colleges
and universities is to educate man and thereby rescue and redeem him from
the exigencies and defects of nature and to awaken within him the
capability of controlling and appropriating nature’s bounties. If we
should relegate this plot of ground to its natural state, allow it to
return to its original condition, it would become a field of thorns and
useless weeds, but by cultivation it will become fertile soil, yielding a
harvest. Deprived of cultivation, the mountain slopes would be jungles and
forests without fruitful trees. The gardens bring forth fruits and flowers
in proportion to the care and tillage bestowed upon them by the gardener.
Therefore, it is not intended that the world of humanity should be left to
its natural state. It is in need of the education divinely provided for
it. The holy, heavenly Manifestations of God have been the Teachers. They
are the divine Gardeners Who transform the jungles of human nature into
fruitful orchards and make the thorny places blossom as the rose. It is
evident, then, that the intended and especial function of man is to rescue
and redeem himself from the inherent defects of nature and become
qualified with the ideal virtues of Divinity. Shall he sacrifice these
ideal virtues and destroy these possibilities of advancement? God has
endowed him with a power whereby he can even overcome the laws and
phenomena of nature, wrest the sword from nature’s hand and use it against
nature itself. Shall he, then, remain its captive, even failing to qualify
under the natural law which commands the survival of the fittest? That is
to say, shall he continue to live upon the level of the animal kingdom
without distinction between them and himself in natural impulses and
ferocious instincts? There is no lower degree nor greater debasement for
man than this natural condition of animalism. The battlefield is the acme
of human degradation, the cause of the wrath of God, the destruction of
the divine foundation of man.

Praise be to God! I find myself in an assemblage, the members of which are
peace loving and advocates of international unity. The thoughts of all
present are centered upon the oneness of the world of mankind, and every
ambition is to render service in the cause of human uplift and betterment.
I supplicate God that He may confirm and assist you, that each one of you
may become a professor emeritus in the world of scientific knowledge, a
faithful standard-bearer of peace and bonds of agreement between the
hearts of men.

Fifty years ago Bahá’u’lláh declared the necessity of peace among the
nations and the reality of reconciliation between the religions of the
world. He announced that the fundamental basis of all religion is one,
that the essence of religion is human fellowship and that the differences
in belief which exist are due to dogmatic interpretation and blind
imitations which are at variance with the foundations established by the
Prophets of God. He proclaimed that if the reality underlying religious
teaching be investigated all religions would be unified, and the purpose
of God, which is love and the blending of human hearts, would be
accomplished. According to His teachings if religious belief proves to be
the cause of discord and dissension, its absence would be preferable; for
religion was intended to be the divine remedy and panacea for the ailments
of humanity, the healing balm for the wounds of mankind. If its
misapprehension and defilement have brought about warfare and bloodshed
instead of remedy and cure, the world would be better under irreligious
conditions.

Bahá’u’lláh especially emphasized international peace. He declared that
all mankind is the one progeny of Adam and members of one great universal
family. If the various races and distinct types of mankind had each
proceeded from a different original paternity—in other words, if we had
two or more Adams for our human fathers—there might be reasonable ground
for difference and divergence in humanity today; but inasmuch as we belong
to one progeny and one family, all names which seek to differentiate and
distinguish mankind as Italian, German, French, Russian and so on are
without significance and sanction. We are all human, all servants of God
and all come from Mr. Adam’s family. Why, then, all these fallacious
national and racial distinctions? These boundary lines and artificial
barriers have been created by despots and conquerors who sought to attain
dominion over mankind, thereby engendering patriotic feeling and rousing
selfish devotion to merely local standards of government. As a rule they
themselves enjoyed luxuries in palaces, surrounded by conditions of ease
and affluence, while armies of soldiers, civilians and tillers of the soil
fought and died at their command upon the field of battle, shedding their
innocent blood for a delusion such as “we are Germans,” “our enemies are
French,” etc., when, in reality, all are humankind, all belong to the one
family and posterity of Adam, the original father. This prejudice or
limited patriotism is prevalent throughout the world, while man is blind
to patriotism in the larger sense which includes all races and native
lands. From every real standpoint there must and should be peace among all
nations.

God created one earth and one mankind to people it. Man has no other
habitation, but man himself has come forth and proclaimed imaginary
boundary lines and territorial restrictions, naming them Germany, France,
Russia, etc. And torrents of precious blood are spilled in defense of
these imaginary divisions of our one human habitation, under the delusion
of a fancied and limited patriotism.

After all, a claim and title to territory or native land is but a claim
and attachment to the dust of earth. We live upon this earth for a few
days and then rest beneath it forever. So it is our graveyard eternally.
Shall man fight for the tomb which devours him, for his eternal sepulcher?
What ignorance could be greater than this? To fight over his grave, to
kill another for his grave! What heedlessness! What a delusion!

It is my hope that you who are students in this university may never be
called upon to fight for the dust of earth which is the tomb and sepulcher
of all mankind, but that during the days of your life you may enjoy the
most perfect companionship one with another, even as one family—as
brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers—associating together in peace and true
fellowship.



10 October 1912
Talk at Open Forum
San Francisco, California


Notes by Bijou Straun

Although I was feeling indisposed this evening, yet owing to the love I
entertain for you I have attended this meeting. For I have heard that this
is an open forum, investigating reality; that you are free from blind
imitations, desiring to arrive at the truth of things, and that your
endeavors are lofty. Therefore, I have thought it expedient to discourse
upon the subject of philosophy, which is alike interesting to the East and
the West, enabling us to consider the analogies and differences between
the philosophical teachings of the Orient and Occident.

The criterion of judgment in the estimation of western philosophers is
sense perception. They consider that which is tangible or perceptible to
the senses to be a reality—that there is no doubt of its existence. For
example, we prove the existence of this light through the sense of sight;
we visualize this room; we see the sun, the green fields; we use our sense
of sight to observe them. The opinion of these philosophers is that such
perception is reality, that the senses are the highest standard of
perception and judgment, in which there can neither be doubt nor
uncertainty. In the estimation of the philosophers of the Orient,
especially those of Greece and Persia, the standard of judgment is the
intellect. They are of the opinion that the criterion of the senses is
defective, and their proof is that the senses are often deceived and
mistaken. That which is liable to mistake cannot be infallible, cannot be
a true standard of judgment.

Among the senses the most powerful and reliable is that of sight. This
sense views a mirage as a body of water and is positive as to its
character, whereas a mirage is nonexistent. The sense of vision, or sight,
sees reflected images in a mirror as verities, when reason declares them
to be nonexistent. The eye sees the sun and planets revolving around the
earth, whereas in reality the sun is stationary, central, and the earth
revolves upon its own axis. The sense of sight sees the earth as a plane,
whereas the faculty of reason discovers it to be spherical. The eye views
the heavenly bodies in boundless space as small and insignificant, whereas
reason declares them to be colossal suns. The sense of sight beholds a
whirling spark of fire as a circle of light and is without doubt as to it,
whereas such a circle is nonexistent. A man sailing in a ship sees the
banks on either side as if they were moving, whereas the ship is moving.
Briefly, there are many instances and evidences which disprove the
assertion that tangibilities and sense impressions are certainties, for
the senses are misleading and often mistaken. How, then, can we rightly
declare that they prove reality when the standard or criterion itself is
defective?

The philosophers of the East consider the perfect criterion to be reason
or intellect, and according to that standard the realities of all objects
can be proved; for, they say, the standard of reason and intellect is
perfect, and everything provable through reason is veritable. Therefore,
those philosophers consider all philosophical deductions to be correct
when weighed according to the standard of reason, and they state that the
senses are the assistants and instruments of reason, and that although the
investigation of realities may be conducted through the senses, the
standard of knowing and judgment is reason itself. In this way the
philosophers of the East and West differ and disagree. The materialistic
philosophers of the West declare that man belongs to the animal kingdom,
whereas the philosophers of the East—such as Plato, Aristotle and the
Persians—divide the world of existence or phenomena of life into two
general categories or kingdoms: one the animal kingdom, or world of
nature, the other the human kingdom, or world of reason.

Man is distinguished above the animals through his reason. The perceptions
of man are of two kinds: tangible, or sensible, and reasonable, whereas
the animal perceptions are limited to the senses, the tangible only. The
tangible perceptions may be likened to this candle, the reasonable
perceptions to the light. Calculations of mathematical problems and
determining the spherical form of the earth are through the reasonable
perceptions. The center of gravity is a hypothesis of reason. Reason
itself is not tangible, perceptible to the senses. Reason is an
intellectual verity or reality. All qualities are ideal realities, not
tangible realities. For instance, we say this man is a scholarly man.
Knowledge is an ideal attainment not perceptible to the senses. When you
see this scholarly man, your eye does not see his knowledge, your ear
cannot hear his science, nor can you sense it by taste. It is not a
tangible verity. Science itself is an ideal verity. It is evident,
therefore, that the perceptions of man are twofold: the reasonable and the
tangible, or sensible.

As to the animal: It is endowed only with sense perception. It is lacking
the reasonable perception. It cannot apprehend ideal realities. The animal
cannot conceive of the earth as a sphere. The intelligence of an animal
located in Europe could never have planned the discovery of the continent
of America. The animal kingdom is incapable of discovering the latent
mysteries of nature—such as electricity—and bringing them forth from the
invisible to the plane of visibility. It is evident that the discoveries
and inventions transcend the animal intelligence. The animal cannot
penetrate the secrets of genesis and creation. Its mind is incapable of
conceiving the verity of ether. It cannot know the mysteries of magnetism
because the bestowals of abstract reason and intellect are absent in its
endowment. That is to say, the animal in its creation is a captive of the
senses. Beyond the tangibilities and impressions of the senses it cannot
accept anything. It denies everything. It is incapable of ideal perception
and, therefore, a captive of the senses.

Virtue, or perfection, belongs to man, who possesses both the capacity of
the senses and ideal perception. For instance, astronomical discoveries
are man’s accomplishments. He has not gained this knowledge through his
senses. The greater part of it has been attained through intellect,
through the ideal senses. Man’s inventions have appeared through the
avenue of his reasonable faculties. All his scientific attainments have
come through the faculty of reason. Briefly, the evidences of intellect or
reason are manifest in man. By them he is differentiated from the animal.
Therefore, the animal kingdom is distinct and inferior to the human
kingdom. Notwithstanding this, the philosophers of the West have certain
syllogisms, or demonstrations, whereby they endeavor to prove that man had
his origin in the animal kingdom; that although he is now a vertebrate, he
originally lived in the sea; from thence he was transferred to the land
and became vertebrate; that gradually his feet and hands appeared in his
anatomical development; then he began to walk upon all fours, after which
he attained to human stature, walking erect. They find that his anatomy
has undergone successive changes, finally assuming human form, and that
these intermediate forms or changes are like links connected. Between man
and the ape, however, there is one link missing, and to the present time
scientists have not been able to discover it. Therefore, the greatest
proof of this western theory of human evolution is anatomical, reasoning
that there are certain vestiges of organs found in man which are peculiar
to the ape and lower animals, and setting forth the conclusion that man at
some time in his upward progression has possessed these organs which are
no longer functioning but appear now as mere rudiments and vestiges.

For example, a serpent has a certain appendage which indicates that at one
time it was possessed of long limbs, but as this creature began to find
its habitation in the holes of the earth, these limbs, no longer needed,
became atrophied and shrunk, leaving but a vestige, or appendage, as an
evidence of the time when they were lengthy and serviceable. Likewise, it
is claimed man had a certain appendage which shows that there was a time
when his anatomical structure was different from his present organism and
that there has been a corresponding transformation or change in that
structure. The coccyx, or extremity of the human spinal column, is
declared to be the vestige of a tail which man formerly possessed but
which gradually disappeared when he walked erect and its utility ceased.
These statements and demonstrations express the substance of western
philosophy upon the question of human evolution.

The philosophers of the Orient in reply to those of the western world say:
Let us suppose that the human anatomy was primordially different from its
present form, that it was gradually transformed from one stage to another
until it attained its present likeness, that at one time it was similar to
a fish, later an invertebrate and finally human. This anatomical evolution
or progression does not alter or affect the statement that the development
of man was always human in type and biological in progression. For the
human embryo when examined microscopically is at first a mere germ or
worm. Gradually as it develops it shows certain divisions; rudiments of
hands and feet appear—that is to say, an upper and a lower part are
distinguishable. Afterward it undergoes certain distinct changes until it
reaches its actual human form and is born into this world. But at all
times, even when the embryo resembled a worm, it was human in potentiality
and character, not animal. The forms assumed by the human embryo in its
successive changes do not prove that it is animal in its essential
character. Throughout this progression there has been a transference of
type, a conservation of species or kind. Realizing this we may acknowledge
the fact that at one time man was an inmate of the sea, at another period
an invertebrate, then a vertebrate and finally a human being standing
erect. Though we admit these changes, we cannot say man is an animal. In
each one of these stages are signs and evidences of his human existence
and destination. Proof of this lies in the fact that in the embryo man
still resembles a worm. This embryo still progresses from one state to
another, assuming different forms until that which was potential in
it—namely, the human image—appears. Therefore, in the protoplasm, man is
man. Conservation of species demands it.

The lost link of Darwinian theory is itself a proof that man is not an
animal. How is it possible to have all the links present and that
important link absent? Its absence is an indication that man has never
been an animal. It will never be found.

The significance is this: that the world of humanity is distinct from the
animal kingdom. This is the teaching of the philosophers of the Orient.
They have a proof for it. The proof is that the animals are captives of
nature. All existence and phenomena of the lower kingdoms are captives of
nature; the mighty sun, the numberless stars, the kingdoms of the
vegetable and mineral, none of these can deviate one hair’s breadth from
the limitation of nature’s laws. They are, as it were, arrested by
nature’s hands. But man breaks the laws of nature and makes them
subservient to his uses. For instance, man is an animate earthly being in
common with the animals. The exigency of nature demands that he should be
restricted to the earth; but he, by breaking the laws of nature, soars in
the atmosphere high above it. By the application of his intellect he
overcomes natural law and dives beneath the seas in submarines or sails
across them in ships. He arrests a mighty force of nature such as
electricity and imprisons it in an incandescent lamp. According to the law
of nature he should be able to communicate at a distance of, say, one
thousand feet; but through his inventions and discoveries he communicates
with the East and with the West in a few moments. This is breaking the
laws of nature. Man arrests the human voice and reproduces it in a
phonograph. At most his voice should be heard only a few hundred feet
away, but he invents an instrument which transmits it one thousand miles.
In brief, all the present arts and sciences, inventions and discoveries
man has brought forth were once mysteries which nature had decreed should
remain hidden and latent, but man has taken them out of the plane of the
invisible and brought them into the plane of the visible. This is contrary
to nature’s laws. Electricity should be a latent mystery, but man
discovers it and makes it his servant. He wrests the sword from nature’s
hand and uses it against nature, proving that there is a power in him
which is beyond nature, for it is capable of breaking and subduing the
laws of nature. If this power were not supernatural and extraordinary,
man’s accomplishments would not have been possible.

Furthermore, it is evident that in the world of nature conscious knowledge
is absent. Nature is without knowing, whereas man is conscious. Nature is
devoid of memory; man possesses memory. Nature is without perception and
volition; man possesses both. It is evident that virtues are inherent in
man which are not present in the world of nature. This is provable from
every standpoint.

If it be claimed that the intellectual reality of man belongs to the world
of nature—that it is a part of the whole—we ask is it possible for the
part to contain virtues which the whole does not possess? For instance, is
it possible for the drop to contain virtues of which the aggregate body of
the sea is deprived? Is it possible for a leaf to be imbued with virtues
which are lacking in the whole tree? Is it possible that the extraordinary
faculty of reason in man is animal in character and quality? On the other
hand, it is evident and true, though most astounding, that in man there is
present this supernatural force or faculty which discovers the realities
of things and which possesses the power of idealization or intellection.
It is capable of discovering scientific laws, and science we know is not a
tangible reality. Science exists in the mind of man as an ideal reality.
The mind itself, reason itself, is an ideal reality and not tangible.

Notwithstanding this, some of the sagacious men declare: We have attained
to the superlative degree of knowledge; we have penetrated the laboratory
of nature, studying sciences and arts; we have attained the highest
station of knowledge in the human world; we have investigated the facts as
they are and have arrived at the conclusion that nothing is rightly
acceptable except the tangible, which alone is a reality worthy of
credence; all that is not tangible is imagination and nonsense.

Strange indeed that after twenty years training in colleges and
universities man should reach such a station wherein he will deny the
existence of the ideal or that which is not perceptible to the senses.
Have you ever stopped to think that the animal already has graduated from
such a university? Have you ever realized that the cow is already a
professor emeritus of that university? For the cow without hard labor and
study is already a philosopher of the superlative degree in the school of
nature. The cow denies everything that is not tangible, saying, “I can
see! I can eat! Therefore, I believe only in that which is tangible!”

Then why should we go to the colleges? Let us go to the cow.



12 October 1912
Talk at Temple Emmanu-El
450 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California


Notes by Bijou Straun

The greatest bestowal of God in the world of humanity is religion, for
assuredly the divine teachings of religion are above all other sources of
instruction and development to man. Religion confers upon man eternal life
and guides his footsteps in the world of morality. It opens the doors of
unending happiness and bestows everlasting honor upon the human kingdom.
It has been the basis of all civilization and progress in the history of
mankind.

We will, therefore, investigate religion, seeking from an unprejudiced
standpoint to discover whether it is the source of illumination, the cause
of development and the animating impulse of all human advancement. We will
investigate independently, free from the restrictions of dogmatic beliefs,
blind imitations of ancestral forms and the influence of mere human
opinion; for as we enter this question, we will find some who declare that
religion is a cause of uplift and betterment in the world, while others
assert just as positively that it is a detriment and a source of
degradation to mankind. We must give these questions thorough and
impartial consideration so that no doubt or uncertainty may linger in our
minds regarding them.

How shall we determine whether religion has been the cause of human
advancement or retrogression?

We will first consider the Founders of the religions—the Prophets—review
the story of Their lives, compare the conditions preceding Their
appearance with those subsequent to Their departure, following historical
records and irrefutable facts instead of relying upon traditionary
statements which are open to both acceptance and denial.

Among the great Prophets was Abraham, Who, being an iconoclast and a
Herald of the oneness of God, was banished from His native land. He
founded a family upon which the blessing of God descended, and it was
owing to this religious basis and ordination that the Abrahamic house
progressed and advanced. Through the divine benediction noteworthy and
luminous prophets issued from His lineage. There appeared Isaac, Ishmael,
Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, David and Solomon. The Holy Land was
conquered by the power of the Covenant of God with Abraham, and the glory
of the Solomonic wisdom and sovereignty dawned. All this was due to the
religion of God which this blessed lineage established and upheld. It is
evident that throughout the history of Abraham and His posterity this was
the source of their honor, advancement and civilization. Even today the
descendants of His household and lineage are found throughout the world.

There is another and more significant aspect to this religious impulse and
impetus. The children of Israel were in bondage and captivity in the land
of Egypt four hundred years. They were in an extreme state of degradation
and slavery under the tyranny and oppression of the Egyptians. While they
were in the condition of abject poverty, in the lowest degree of
abasement, ignorance and servility, Moses suddenly appeared among them.
Although He was but a shepherd, such majesty, grandeur and efficiency
became manifest in Him through the power of religion that His influence
continues to this day. His Prophethood was established throughout the
land, and the law of His Word became the foundation of the laws of the
nations. This unique Personage, single and alone, rescued the children of
Israel from bondage through the power of religious training and
discipline. He led them to the Holy Land and founded there a great
civilization which has become permanent and renowned and under which these
people attained the highest degree of honor and glory. He freed them from
bondage and captivity. He imbued them with qualities of progressiveness
and capability. They proved to be a civilizing people with instincts
toward education and scholastic attainment. Their philosophy became
renowned; their industries were celebrated throughout the nations. In all
lines of advancement which characterize a progressive people they achieved
distinction. In the splendor of the reign of Solomon their sciences and
arts advanced to such a degree that even the Greek philosophers journeyed
to Jerusalem to sit at the feet of the Hebrew sages and acquire the basis
of Israelitish law. According to eastern history this is an established
fact. Even Socrates visited the Jewish doctors in the Holy Land,
consorting with them and discussing the principles and basis of their
religious belief. After his return to Greece he formulated his
philosophical teaching of divine unity and advanced his belief in the
immortality of the spirit beyond the dissolution of the body. Without
doubt, Socrates absorbed these verities from the wise men of the Jews with
whom he came in contact. Hippocrates and other philosophers of the Greeks
likewise visited Palestine and acquired wisdom from the Jewish prophets,
studying the basis of ethics and morality, returning to their country with
contributions which have made Greece famous.

When a movement fundamentally religious makes a weak nation strong,
changes a nondescript tribal people into a mighty and powerful
civilization, rescues them from captivity and elevates them to
sovereignty, transforms their ignorance into knowledge and endows them
with an impetus of advancement in all degrees of development (this is not
theory, but historical fact), it becomes evident that religion is the
cause of man’s attainment to honor and sublimity.

But when we speak of religion, we mean the essential foundation or reality
of religion, not the dogmas and blind imitations which have gradually
encrusted it and which are the cause of the decline and effacement of a
nation. These are inevitably destructive and a menace and hindrance to a
nation’s life—even as it is recorded in the Torah and confirmed in history
that when the Jews became fettered by empty forms and imitations, the
wrath of God became manifest. When they forsook the foundations of the law
of God, Nebuchadnezzar came and conquered the Holy Land. He killed and
made captive the people of Israel, laid waste the country and populous
cities and burned the villages. Seventy thousand Jews were carried away
captive to Babylon. He destroyed Jerusalem, despoiled the great Temple,
desecrated the Holy of Holies and burned the Torah, the heavenly book of
Scriptures. Therefore, we learn that allegiance to the essential
foundation of the divine religions is ever the cause of development and
progress, whereas the abandonment and beclouding of that essential reality
through blind imitations and adherence to dogmatic beliefs are the causes
of a nation’s debasement and degradation. After their conquest by the
Babylonians the Jews were successively subjugated by the Greeks and
Romans. Under the Roman general Titus in A.D. 70 the Holy Land was
stripped and pillaged, Jerusalem razed to its foundations and the
Israelites scattered broadcast throughout the world. So complete was their
dispersion that they have continued without a country and government of
their own to the present day.

From this review of the history of the Jewish people we learn that the
foundation of the religion of God laid by Moses was the cause of their
eternal honor and national prestige, the animating impulse of their
advancement and racial supremacy and the source of that excellence which
will always command the respect and reverence of those who understand
their peculiar destiny and outcome. The dogmas and blind imitations which
gradually obscured the reality of the religion of God proved to be
Israel’s destructive influences, causing the expulsion of these chosen
people from the Holy Land of their Covenant and promise.

What, then, is the mission of the divine Prophets? Their mission is the
education and advancement of the world of humanity. They are the real
Teachers and Educators, the universal Instructors of mankind. If we wish
to discover whether any one of these great Souls or Messengers was in
reality a Prophet of God, we must investigate the facts surrounding His
life and history, and the first point of our investigation will be the
education He bestowed upon mankind. If He has been an Educator, if He has
really trained a nation or people, causing it to rise from the lowest
depths of ignorance to the highest station of knowledge, then we are sure
that He was a Prophet. This is a plain and clear method of procedure,
proof that is irrefutable. We do not need to seek after other proofs. We
do not need to mention miracles, saying that out of rock water gushed
forth, for such miracles and statements may be denied and refused by those
who hear them. The deeds of Moses are conclusive evidences of His
Prophethood. If a man be fair, unbiased and willing to investigate
reality, he will undoubtedly testify to the fact that Moses was, verily, a
man of God and a great Personage.

In further consideration of this subject, I wish you to be fair and
reasonable in your judgment, setting aside all religious prejudices. We
should earnestly seek and thoroughly investigate realities, recognizing
that the purpose of the religion of God is the education of humanity and
the unity and fellowship of mankind. Furthermore, we will establish the
point that the foundations of the religions of God are one foundation.
This foundation is not multiple, for it is reality itself. Reality does
not admit of multiplicity, although each of the divine religions is
separable into two divisions. One concerns the world of morality and the
ethical training of human nature. It is directed to the advancement of the
world of humanity in general; it reveals and inculcates the knowledge of
God and makes possible the discovery of the verities of life. This is
ideal and spiritual teaching, the essential quality of divine religion,
and not subject to change or transformation. It is the one foundation of
all the religions of God. Therefore, the religions are essentially one and
the same.

The second classification or division comprises social laws and
regulations applicable to human conduct. This is not the essential
spiritual quality of religion. It is subject to change and transformation
according to the exigencies and requirements of time and place. For
instance, in the time of Noah certain requirements made it necessary that
all seafood be allowable or lawful. During the time of the Abrahamic
Prophethood it was considered allowable, because of a certain exigency,
that a man should marry his aunt, even as Sarah was the sister of
Abraham’s mother. During the cycle of Adam it was lawful and expedient for
a man to marry his own sister, even as Abel, Cain and Seth, the sons of
Adam, married their sisters. But in the law of the Pentateuch revealed by
Moses these marriages were forbidden and their custom and sanction
abrogated. Other laws formerly valid were annulled during the time of
Moses. For example, it was lawful in Abraham’s cycle to eat the flesh of
the camel, but during the time of Jacob this was prohibited. Such changes
and transformations in the teaching of religion are applicable to the
ordinary conditions of life, but they are not important or essential.
Moses lived in the wilderness of Sinai where crime necessitated direct
punishment. There were no penitentiaries or penalties of imprisonment.
Therefore, according to the exigency of the time and place it was a law of
God that an eye should be given for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. It
would not be practicable to enforce this law at the present time—for
instance, to blind a man who accidentally blinded you. In the Torah there
are many commands concerning the punishment of a murderer. It would not be
allowable or possible to carry out these ordinances today. Human
conditions and exigencies are such that even the question of capital
punishment—the one penalty which most nations have continued to enforce
for murder—is now under discussion by wise men who are debating its
advisability. In fact, laws for the ordinary conditions of life are only
valid temporarily. The exigencies of the time of Moses justified cutting
off a man’s hand for theft, but such a penalty is not allowable now. Time
changes conditions, and laws change to suit conditions. We must remember
that these changing laws are not the essentials; they are the accidentals
of religion. The essential ordinances established by a Manifestation of
God are spiritual; they concern moralities, the ethical development of man
and faith in God. They are ideal and necessarily permanent—expressions of
the one foundation and not amenable to change or transformation.
Therefore, the fundamental basis of the revealed religion of God is
immutable, unchanging throughout the centuries, not subject to the varying
conditions of the human world.

Christ ratified and proclaimed the foundation of the law of Moses.
Muḥammad and all the Prophets have revoiced that same foundation of
reality. Therefore, the purposes and accomplishments of the divine
Messengers have been one and the same. They were the source of advancement
to the body politic and the cause of the honor and divine civilization of
humanity, the foundation of which is one and the same in every
dispensation. It is evident, then, that the proofs of the validity and
inspiration of a Prophet of God are the deeds of beneficent accomplishment
and greatness emanating from Him. If He proves to be instrumental in the
elevation and betterment of mankind, He is undoubtedly a valid and
heavenly Messenger.

I wish you to be reasonable and just in your consideration of the
following statements:

At the time when the Israelites had been dispersed by the power of the
Roman Empire and the national life of the Hebrew people had been effaced
by their conquerors—when the law of God had seemingly passed from them and
the foundation of the religion of God was apparently destroyed—Jesus
Christ appeared. When He arose among the Jews, the first thing He did was
to proclaim the validity of the Manifestation of Moses. He declared that
the Torah, the Old Testament, was the Book of God and that all the
prophets of Israel were valid and true. He extolled the mission of Moses,
and through His proclamation the name of Moses was spread throughout the
world. Through Christianity the greatness of Moses became known among all
nations. It is a fact that before the appearance of Christ, the name of
Moses had not been heard in Persia. In India they had no knowledge of
Judaism, and it was only through the Christianizing of Europe that the
teachings of the Old Testament became spread in that region. Throughout
Europe there was not a copy of the Old Testament. But consider this
carefully and judge it aright: Through the instrumentality of Christ,
through the translation of the New Testament, the little volume of the
Gospel, the Old Testament, the Torah, has been translated into six hundred
languages and spread everywhere in the world. The names of the Hebrew
prophets became household words among the nations, who believed that the
children of Israel were, verily, the chosen people of God, a holy nation
under the especial blessing and protection of God, and that, therefore,
the prophets who had arisen in Israel were the daysprings of revelation
and brilliant stars in the heaven of the will of God.

Therefore, Christ really promulgated Judaism; for he was a Jew and not
opposed to the Jews. He did not deny the Prophethood of Moses; on the
contrary, He proclaimed and ratified it. He did not invalidate the Torah;
He spread its teachings. That portion of the ordinances of Moses which
concerned transactions and unimportant conditions underwent
transformation, but the essential teachings of Moses were revoiced and
confirmed by Christ without change. He left nothing unfinished or
incomplete. Likewise, through the supreme efficacy and power of the Word
of God He united most of the nations of the East and the West. This was
accomplished at a time when these nations were opposed to each other in
hostility and strife. He led them beneath the overshadowing tent of the
oneness of humanity. He educated them until they became united and agreed,
and through His spirit of conciliation the Roman, Greek, Chaldean and
Egyptian were blended in a composite civilization. This wonderful power
and extraordinary efficacy of the Word prove conclusively the validity of
Christ. Consider how His heavenly sovereignty is still permanent and
lasting. Verily, this is conclusive proof and manifest evidence.

From another horizon we see Muḥammad, the Prophet of Arabia, appearing.
You may not know that the first address of Muḥammad to His tribe was the
statement, “Verily, Moses was a Prophet of God, and the Torah is a Book of
God. Verily, O ye people, ye must believe in the Torah, in Moses and the
prophets. Ye must accept all the prophets of Israel as valid.” In the
Qur’án, the Muslim Bible, there are seven statements or repetitions of the
Mosaic narrative, and in all the historic accounts Moses is praised.
Muḥammad announces that Moses was the greatest Prophet of God, that God
guided Him in the wilderness of Sinai, that through the light of guidance
Moses hearkened to the summons of God, that He was the Interlocutor of God
and the bearer of the tablet of the Ten Commandments, that all the
contemporary nations of the world arose against Him and that eventually
Moses conquered them, for falsehood and error are ever overcome by truth.
There are many other instances of Muḥammad’s confirmation of Moses. I am
mentioning but a few. Consider that Muḥammad was born among the savage and
barbarous tribes of Arabia, lived among them and was outwardly illiterate
and uninformed of the Holy Books of God. The Arabian people were in the
utmost ignorance and barbarism. They buried their infant daughters alive,
considering this to be an evidence of a valorous and lofty nature. They
lived in bondage and serfdom under the Persian and Roman governments and
were scattered throughout the desert, engaged in continual strife and
bloodshed. When the light of Muḥammad dawned, the darkness of ignorance
was dispelled from the deserts of Arabia. In a short period of time those
barbarous peoples attained a superlative degree of civilization which,
with Ba_gh_dád as its center, extended as far westward as Spain and
afterward influenced the greater part of Europe. What proof of Prophethood
could be greater than this, unless we close our eyes to justice and remain
obstinately opposed to reason?

Today the Christians are believers in Moses, accept Him as a Prophet of
God and praise Him most highly. The Muslims are, likewise, believers in
Moses, accept the validity of His Prophethood, at the same time believing
in Christ. Could it be said that the acceptance of Moses by the Christians
and Muslims has been harmful and detrimental to those people? On the
contrary, it has been beneficial to them, proving that they have been
fair-minded and just. What harm could result to the Jewish people, then,
if they in return should accept Christ and acknowledge the validity of the
Prophethood of Muḥammad? By this acceptance and praiseworthy attitude the
enmity and hatred which have afflicted mankind so many centuries would be
dispelled, fanaticism and bloodshed pass away and the world be blessed by
unity and agreement. Christians and Muslims believe and admit that Moses
was the Interlocutor of God. Why do you not say that Christ was the Word
of God? Why do you not speak these few words that will do away with all
this difficulty? Then there will be no more hatred and fanaticism, no more
warfare and bloodshed in the Land of Promise. Then there will be peace
among you forever.

Verily, I now declare to you that Moses was the Interlocutor of God and a
most noteworthy Prophet, that Moses revealed the fundamental law of God
and founded the real ethical basis of the civilization and progress of
humanity. What harm is there in this? Have I lost anything by saying this
to you and believing it as a Bahá’í? On the contrary, it benefits me; and
Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Movement, confirms me, saying, “You
have been fair and just in your judgment; you have impartially
investigated the truth and arrived at a true conclusion; you have
announced your belief in Moses, a Prophet of God, and accepted the Torah,
the Book of God.” Inasmuch as it is possible for me to sweep away all
evidences of prejudice by such a liberal and universal statement of
belief, why is it not possible for you to do likewise? Why not put an end
to this religious strife and establish a bond of connection between the
hearts of men? Why should not the followers of one religion praise the
Founder or Teacher of another? The other religionists extol the greatness
of Moses and admit that He was the Founder of Judaism. Why do the Hebrews
refuse to praise and accept the other great Messengers Who have appeared
in the world? What harm could there be in this? What rightful objection?
None whatever. You would lose nothing by such action and statement. On the
contrary, you would contribute to the welfare of mankind. You would be
instrumental in establishing the happiness of the world of humanity. The
eternal honor of man depends upon the liberalism of this modern age.
Inasmuch as our God is one God and the Creator of all mankind, He provides
for and protects all. We acknowledge Him as a God of kindness, justice and
mercy. Why then should we, His children and followers, war and fight,
bringing sorrow and grief into the hearts of each other? God is loving and
merciful. His intention in religion has ever been the bond of unity and
affinity between humankind.

Praise be to God! The medieval ages of darkness have passed away and this
century of radiance has dawned, this century wherein the reality of things
is becoming evident, wherein science is penetrating the mysteries of the
universe, the oneness of the world of humanity is being established, and
service to mankind is the paramount motive of all existence. Shall we
remain steeped in our fanaticisms and cling to our prejudices? Is it
fitting that we should still be bound and restricted by ancient fables and
superstitions of the past, be handicapped by superannuated beliefs and the
ignorances of dark ages, waging religious wars, fighting and shedding
blood, shunning and anathematizing each other? Is this becoming? Is it not
better for us to be loving and considerate toward each other? Is it not
preferable to enjoy fellowship and unity, join in anthems of praise to the
most high God and extol all His Prophets in the spirit of acceptance and
true vision? Then, indeed, this world will become a paradise, and the
promised Day of God will dawn. Then, according to the prophecy of Isaiah,
the wolf and the lamb will drink from the same stream, the owl and the
vulture will nest together in the same branches, and the lion and the calf
pasture in the same meadow. What does this mean? It means that fierce and
contending religions, hostile creeds and divergent beliefs will reconcile
and associate, notwithstanding their former hatreds and antagonism.
Through the liberalism of human attitude demanded in this radiant century
they will blend together in perfect fellowship and love. This is the
spirit and meaning of Isaiah’s words. There will never be a day when this
prophecy will come to pass literally, for these animals by their natures
cannot mingle and associate in kindness and love. Therefore, this prophecy
symbolizes the unity and agreement of races, nations and peoples who will
come together in attitudes of intelligence, illumination and spirituality.

The age has dawned when human fellowship will become a reality.

The century has come when all religions shall be unified.

The dispensation is at hand when all nations shall enjoy the blessings of
international peace.

The cycle has arrived when racial prejudice will be abandoned by tribes
and peoples of the world.

The epoch has begun wherein all native lands will be conjoined in one
great human family.

For all mankind shall dwell in peace and security beneath the shelter of
the great tabernacle of the one living God.



25 October 1912
Talk at Hotel Sacramento
Sacramento, California


Notes by Bijou Straun

When Christ appeared, certain blessed souls followed His example. They
were with their Master, ever watching and observing His conduct, movements
and thoughts. They witnessed the persecutions which were heaped upon Him
and were informed of all the events appertaining to that marvelous
life—recipients of His kindness and favors. After the ascension of Christ
they hastened to various regions of the world, scattering broadcast the
teachings and instructions which He had given them. Through their devotion
and efforts other places and remote nations became informed of the
principles revealed by Him.

Through their instrumentality the East was illumined, and the light which
flooded the East flooded the West. This light was the cause of guiding
great hosts of people. It proved to be a preventive of warfare in many
instances. This is evidenced in the unification and conjoining of various
nations which had formerly been hostile to each other—such as the Greeks,
Romans, Egyptians, Syrians, Chaldeans and Assyrians. Through Christ the
oneness of the world of humanity received its expression and proved to be
the cause of spiritual illumination for mankind. The breaths of the Holy
Spirit became effective in the hearts of people.

Now we have, likewise, come from the Orient, announcing the appearance of
Bahá’u’lláh, Who shone from the horizon of the East. We have observed His
life and beheld His deeds. We have been witnesses of His ordeals and
sufferings, observers of His imprisonment and exile. We are fully
acquainted with the persecutions heaped upon His blessed Personality.
Therefore, we who are His disciples have been scattered throughout the
world in order that His teachings may be widespread and be heard by every
ear. Thus may the people receive the glad tidings of the dawn of His great
dispensation, become aware of the divine evidences manifest in Him, be
informed of the wonderful episodes of His marvelous life, the greatness of
His power in withstanding the kings of the Orient, the might of His spirit
in upholding under all circumstances the standard of the oneness of the
world of mankind. Perchance you have heard or read of Him. I will give you
a brief epitome of His life in order that you may be informed of the
history of His great movement and know His teachings.

Bahá’u’lláh was a Persian personage descended from prominent lineage.
During His early years a Youth Whose name was ‘Alí-Muḥammad appeared in
Persia. He was entitled the Báb, which means door or gate. The bearer of
this title was a great Soul from Whom spiritual signs and evidences became
manifest. He withstood the tests of time and lived contrary to the custom
and usages of Persia. He revealed a new system of faith opposed to the
beliefs in His country and promulgated certain principles contrary to the
thoughts of the people. For this, that remarkable Personality was
imprisoned by the Persian government. Eventually, by order of the
government He was martyred. The account of this martyrdom, briefly stated,
is as follows: He was suspended in a square as a target and shot to death.
This revered Personage foreshadowed the advent of another Soul of Whom He
said, “When He cometh He shall reveal greater things unto you.”

Thus, after the martyrdom of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh appeared. The government
arose against Him. The priesthood in Persia opposed Him, subjecting Him to
severe persecution. His possessions were confiscated, His relatives and
friends were killed, and He was placed in a dungeon. For a long period He
was imprisoned, chained and subjected to severest suffering. Afterward, He
was exiled to ‘Iráq, or Mesopotamia, from thence to Constantinople, then
transferred to Adrianople and finally to Akká in Syria. He spent
twenty-four years in the prison of Akká, where He underwent the severest
ordeals and privations without a day or night of relaxation and repose.
Notwithstanding this imprisonment and suffering, He manifested utmost
spiritual power and majesty. Although imprisoned, He withstood two tyrant
kings and eventually overcame both.

Shortly after His imprisonment He addressed Epistles, or Tablets, to all
the kings and rulers of the world, summoning them to universal peace, to
unity and international brotherhood. Among these sovereigns was the _Sh_áh
of Persia, through whose instrumentality chiefly He had been imprisoned.
In His letter to that ruler He arraigned him severely and prophesied his
downfall, saying, “Thou art a tyrant; thy country will be laid waste; and
thy family, humiliated and debased.” He wrote to the Sulṭán of Turkey in
similar terms, saying, “Thy dominion will pass away from thee.” The
Epistles to the kings and rulers summoning them to international peace
were written by Bahá’u’lláh fifty years ago. Everything He wrote has come
to pass. These letters were published in Bombay thirty years ago and are
now spread broadcast throughout the world. Briefly, Bahá’u’lláh endured
forty years of vicissitudes, ordeals and hardships for the purpose of
spreading His teachings, which may be mentioned as follows:

The first teaching is that man should investigate reality, for reality is
contrary to dogmatic interpretations and imitations of ancestral forms of
belief to which all nations and peoples adhere so tenaciously. These blind
imitations are contrary to the fundamental basis of the divine religions,
for the divine religions in their central and essential teaching are based
upon unity, love and peace, whereas these variations and imitations have
ever been productive of warfare, sedition and strife. Therefore, all souls
should consider it incumbent upon them to investigate reality. Reality is
one; and when found, it will unify all mankind. Reality is the love of
God. Reality is the knowledge of God. Reality is justice. Reality is the
oneness or solidarity of mankind. Reality is international peace. Reality
is the knowledge of verities. Reality unifies humanity.

In brief, His theme was that reality underlies all the great religious
systems of the world. He summoned the nations and peoples of the world to
it. Hostile nations because of their acceptance of the reality of His
words became unified. Strife, discord and contention among them passed
away; they attained a station of utmost love. At present in Asia those who
have accepted His teachings and followed His example, although formerly
most hostile and bitter toward each other, now associate in brotherhood
and fellowship. The strife and warfare of past times have ceased among
them. Jews, Zoroastrians, Christians, Muslims and others have attained to
a superlative state of love and agreement through Bahá’u’lláh. They now
consort together as one family. They have investigated reality. Reality
does not accept multiplicity, nor is it subject to divisibility. These
irreconcilable peoples have become unified and agreed.

The second teaching of Bahá’u’lláh is the principle of the oneness of the
world of humanity. God is one; His servants are, likewise, one. God has
created all; He is kind to all. Inasmuch as He is such a tender Father to
all, why should His children disagree? Why should they war and fight? Like
the Heavenly Father we must live in love and unity. Man is the temple of
God, the image and likeness of the Lord. Surely if one should destroy the
temple of God, he will incur the displeasure of the Creator. For this
reason, we must live together in amity and love. Bahá’u’lláh has addressed
the world of humanity, saying, “Verily, ye are the fruits of one tree and
the leaves of one branch.” This signifies that the entire world of
humanity is one tree. The various nations and peoples are the branches of
that tree. Individual members of mankind are represented by the twigs and
blossoms. Why should these parts of the same tree manifest strife and
discord toward each other?

The third teaching of Bahá’u’lláh concerns universal peace among the
nations, among the religions, among the races and native lands. He has
declared that so long as prejudice—whether religious, racial, patriotic,
political or sectarian—continues to exist among mankind, universal peace
cannot become a reality in the world. From the earliest history of man
down to the present time all the wars and bloodshed which have taken place
were caused either by religious, racial, political or sectarian bias.
Therefore, it is evident that so long as these prejudices continue, the
world of humanity cannot attain peace and composure.

Among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is His declaration that religion must
be the cause of love and fellowship, must be the source of unity in the
hearts of men. If religion becomes a cause of enmity and hatred, it is
evident that the abolition of religion is preferable to its promulgation;
for religion is a remedy for human ills. If a remedy should be productive
of disease, it is certainly advisable to abandon it.

Furthermore, the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh announce that religion must be
in conformity with science and reason; otherwise, it is superstition; for
science and reason are realities, and religion itself is the Divine
Reality unto which true science and reason must conform. God has bestowed
the gift of mind upon man in order that he may weigh every fact or truth
presented to him and adjudge whether it be reasonable. That which conforms
to his reason he may accept as true, while that which reason and science
cannot sanction may be discarded as imagination and superstition, as a
phantom and not reality. Inasmuch as the blind imitations or dogmatic
interpretations current among men do not coincide with the postulates of
reason, and the mind and scientific investigation cannot acquiesce
thereto, many souls in the human world today shun and deny religion. That
is to say, imitations, when weighed in the scales of reason, will not
conform to its standard and requirement. Therefore, these souls deny
religion and become irreligious, whereas if the reality of the divine
religions becomes manifest to them and the foundation of the heavenly
teachings is revealed coinciding with facts and evident truths,
reconciling with scientific knowledge and reasonable proof, all may
acknowledge them, and irreligion will cease to exist. In this way all
mankind may be brought to the foundation of religion, for reality is true
reason and science, while all that is not conformable thereto is mere
superstition.

The teachings of Bahá’u’lláh also proclaim equality between man and woman,
for He has declared that all are the servants of God and endowed with
capacity for the attainment of virtues and bestowals. All are the
manifestations of the mercy of the Lord. In the creation of God no
distinction obtains. All are His servants. In the estimation of God there
is no gender. The one whose deeds are more worthy, whose sayings are
better, whose accomplishments are more useful is nearest and dearest in
the estimation of God, be that one male or female. When we look upon
creation, we find the male and female principle apparent in all phenomena
of existence. In the vegetable kingdom we find the male and female fig
tree, the male and female palm, the mulberry tree and so on. All plant
life is characterized by this difference in gender, but no distinction or
preference is evidenced. Nay, rather, there is perfect equality. Likewise,
in the animal kingdom gender obtains; we have male and female, but no
distinction or preference. Perfect equality is manifest. The animal,
bereft of the degree of human reason and comprehension, is unable to
appreciate the questions of suffrage, nor does it assert its prerogative.
Man, endowed with his higher reason, accomplished in attainments and
comprehending the realities of things, will surely not be willing to allow
a great part of humanity to remain defective or deprived. This would be
the utmost injustice. The world of humanity is possessed of two wings: the
male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in
strength, the bird will not fly. Until womankind reaches the same degree
as man, until she enjoys the same arena of activity, extraordinary
attainment for humanity will not be realized; humanity cannot wing its way
to heights of real attainment. When the two wings or parts become
equivalent in strength, enjoying the same prerogatives, the flight of man
will be exceedingly lofty and extraordinary. Therefore, woman must receive
the same education as man and all inequality be adjusted. Thus, imbued
with the same virtues as man, rising through all the degrees of human
attainment, women will become the peers of men, and until this equality is
established, true progress and attainment for the human race will not be
facilitated.

The evident reasons underlying this are as follows: Woman by nature is
opposed to war; she is an advocate of peace. Children are reared and
brought up by the mothers who give them the first principles of education
and labor assiduously in their behalf. Consider, for instance, a mother
who has tenderly reared a son for twenty years to the age of maturity.
Surely she will not consent to having that son torn asunder and killed in
the field of battle. Therefore, as woman advances toward the degree of man
in power and privilege, with the right of vote and control in human
government, most assuredly war will cease; for woman is naturally the most
devoted and staunch advocate of international peace.

Bahá’u’lláh teaches that material civilization is incomplete, insufficient
and that divine civilization must be established. Material civilization
concerns the world of matter or bodies, but divine civilization is the
realm of ethics and moralities. Until the moral degree of the nations is
advanced and human virtues attain a lofty level, happiness for mankind is
impossible. The philosophers have founded material civilization. The
Prophets have founded divine civilization. Christ was the Founder of
heavenly civilization. Mankind receives the bounties of material
civilization as well as divine civilization from the heavenly Prophets.
The capacity for achieving extraordinary and praiseworthy progress is
bestowed by Them through the breaths of the Holy Spirit, and heavenly
civilization is not possible of attainment or accomplishment otherwise.
This evidences the need of humanity for heavenly bestowals, and until
these heavenly bestowals are received, eternal happiness cannot be
realized.

In brief, the purport is this: The teachings of Bahá’u’lláh are boundless,
innumerable; time will not allow us to mention them in detail. The
foundation of progress and real prosperity in the human world is reality,
for reality is the divine standard and the bestowal of God. Reality is
reasonableness, and reasonableness is ever conducive to the honorable
station of man. Reality is the guidance of God. Reality is the cause of
illumination of mankind. Reality is love, ever working for the welfare of
humanity. Reality is the bond which conjoins hearts. This ever uplifts man
toward higher stages of progress and attainment. Reality is the unity of
mankind, conferring everlasting life. Reality is perfect equality, the
foundation of agreement between the nations, the first step toward
international peace.



26 October 1912
Talk at Assembly Hall, Hotel Sacramento
Sacramento, California


Notes by Bijou Straun

I have visited your Capitol and its gardens. No other Capitol has such
beautiful surroundings. Just as it is imposing and distinguished above all
others, so may the people of California become the most exalted and
perfect altruists of the world. California is, indeed, a blessed country.
The climate is temperate, the sun ever shining, the fruits abundant and
delicious. All outer blessings are evident here. The Californians are a
noble people; therefore, I hope they may make extraordinary progress and
become renowned for their virtues.

The issue of paramount importance in the world today is international
peace. The European continent is like an arsenal, a storehouse of
explosives ready for ignition, and one spark will set the whole of Europe
aflame, particularly at this time when the Balkan question is before the
world. Even now war is raging furiously in some places, the blood of
innocent people is being shed, children are made captive, women are left
without support, and homes are being destroyed. Therefore, the greatest
need in the world today is international peace. The time is ripe. It is
time for the abolition of warfare, the unification of nations and
governments. It is the time for love. It is time for cementing together
the East and the West.

Inasmuch as the Californians seem peace loving and possessed of great
worthiness and capacity, I hope that advocates of peace may daily increase
among them until the whole population shall stand for that beneficent
outcome. May the men of affairs in this democracy uphold the standard of
international conciliation. Then may altruistic aims and thoughts radiate
from this center toward all other regions of the earth, and may the glory
of this accomplishment forever halo the history of this country. May the
first flag of international peace be upraised in this state. May the first
illumination of reality shine gloriously upon this soil. May this center
and capital become distinguished in all degrees of accomplishment, for the
virtues of humanity and the possibilities of human advancement are
boundless. There is no end to them, and whatever be the degree to which
humanity may attain, there are always degrees beyond. There is no
attainment in the contingent realm of which it may be said, “Beyond this
state of being and perfection there is no other,” or “This has achieved
the superlative degree.” No matter how perfect it may appear, there is
always a greater degree of attainment to be reached. Therefore, no matter
how much humanity may advance, there are ever higher stations to be
attained because virtues are unlimited. There is a consummation for
everything except virtues, and although this country has achieved
extraordinary progress, I hope that its attainment may be immeasurably
greater, for the divine bounties are infinite and unlimited.

There are some who believe that the divine bounties are subject to
cessation. For example, they think that the revelation of God, the
effulgence of God and the bounties of God have ended. This is
self-evidently a mistaken idea, for none of these is subject to
termination. The reality of Divinity is like unto the sun, and revelation
is like unto the rays thereof. If we should assert that the bounties of
God are not everlasting, we are forced to believe that Divinity can come
to an end, whereas the reality of Divinity enfolds all virtues and by
reason of these bounties is perfect. Were it not possessed of all these
perfections or virtues, it could not be Divinity. The sun is the sun
because of its rays, light and heat. If it could be dispossessed of them,
it would not be the sun. Therefore, if we say that the divinity or
sovereignty of God is accidental and subject to termination, we must
perforce think that Divinity itself is accidental, without foundation and
not essential.

God is the Creator. The word creator presupposes or connotes creation. God
is the Provider. The word provider implies recipients of provision.
Another name for the Creator is the Resuscitator, which demands the
existence of creatures to be resuscitated. If He be not the Provider, how
could we conceive of creatures to receive His bounty? If He be not the
Lord, how could we conceive of subjects? If He be not the Knower, how
could we conceive of those known? If we should say that there was a time
in past ages when God was not possessed of His creation or that there was
a beginning for the world, it would be a denial of creation and the
Creator. Or if we should declare that a time may come when there will be a
cessation of divine bounties, we should virtually deny the existence of
Divinity. It is as though man should conceive of a king without country,
army, treasury and all that constitutes sovereignty or kingdom. Is it
possible to conceive of such a sovereign? A king must be possessed of a
dominion, an army and all that appertains to sovereignty in order that his
sovereignty may be a reality. It is even so with the reality of Divinity
which enfolds all virtues. The sovereignty thereof is everlasting, and the
creation thereof is without beginning and without end.

Among the bounties of God is revelation. Hence revelation is progressive
and continuous. It never ceases. It is necessary that the reality of
Divinity with all its perfections and attributes should become resplendent
in the human world. The reality of Divinity is like an endless ocean.
Revelation may be likened to the rain. Can you imagine the cessation of
rain? Ever on the face of the earth somewhere rain is pouring down.
Briefly, the world of existence is progressive. It is subject to
development and growth. Consider how great has been the progress in this
radiant century. Civilization has unfolded. Nations have developed.
Industrialism and jurisprudence have expanded. Sciences, inventions and
discoveries have increased. All of these show that the world of existence
is continuously progressing and developing; and therefore, assuredly, the
virtues characterizing the maturity of man must, likewise, expand and
grow.

The greatest bestowal of God to man is the capacity to attain human
virtues. Therefore, the teachings of religion must be reformed and renewed
because past teachings are not suitable for the present time. For example,
the sciences of bygone centuries are not adequate for the present because
sciences have undergone reform. The industrialism of the past will not
ensure present efficiency because industrialism has advanced. The laws of
the past are being superseded because they are not applicable to this
time. All material conditions pertaining to the world of humanity have
undergone reform, have achieved development, and the institutes of the
past are not to be compared with those of this age. The laws and
institutes of former governments cannot be current today, for legislation
must be in conformity with the needs and requirements of the body politic
at this time.

This has been the case also with the religious teachings so long set forth
in the temples and churches, because they were not based upon the
fundamental principles of the religions of God. In other words, the
foundation of the divine religions had become obscured and nonessentials
of form and ceremony were adhered to—that is, the kernel of religion had
apparently disappeared, and only the shell remained. Consequently, it was
necessary that the fundamental basis of all religious teaching should be
restored, that the Sun of Reality which had set should rise again, that
the springtime which had refreshed the arena of life in ages gone by
should appear anew, that the rain which had ceased should descend, that
the breezes which had become stilled should blow once more.

Therefore, Bahá’u’lláh appeared from the horizon of the Orient and
reestablished the essential foundation of the religious teachings of the
world. The worn-out traditional beliefs current among men were removed. He
caused fellowship and agreement to exist between the representatives of
varying denominations so that love became manifest among the contending
religions. He created a condition of harmony among hostile sects and
upheld the banner of the oneness of the world of humanity. He established
the foundation for international peace, caused the hearts of nations to be
cemented together and conferred new life upon the various peoples of the
East. Among those who have followed the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh no one
says, “I am a Persian,” “I am a Turk,” “I am a Frenchman,” or “I am an
Englishman.” No one says, “I am a Muslim, upholding the only true
religion,” “I am a Christian, loyal to my traditional and inherited
beliefs,” “I am a Jew, following talmudic interpretations,” or “I am a
Zoroastrian and opposed to all other religions.” On the contrary, all have
been rescued from religious, racial, political and patriotic prejudices
and are now associating in fellowship and love to the extent that if you
should attend one of their meetings you would be unable to observe any
distinction between Christian and Muslim, Jew and Zoroastrian, Persian and
Turk, Arab and European; for their meetings are based upon the essential
foundations of religion, and real unity has been established among them.
Former antagonisms have passed away; the centuries of sectarian hatred are
ended; the period of aversion has gone by; the medieval conditions of
ignorance have ceased to exist.

Verily, the century of radiance has dawned, minds are advancing,
perceptions are broadening, realizations of human possibilities are
becoming universal, susceptibilities are developing, the discovery of
realities is progressing. Therefore, it is necessary that we should cast
aside all the prejudices of ignorance, discard superannuated beliefs in
traditions of past ages and raise aloft the banner of international
agreement. Let us cooperate in love and through spiritual reciprocity
enjoy eternal happiness and peace.



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN CHICAGO



31 October 1912
Talk at Hotel Plaza
Chicago, Illinois


Notes by Gertrude Buikema

In Los Angeles and San Francisco great interest was manifested in the
teachings of Bahá’u’lláh by the newspapers, universities and churches. Our
addresses were lengthy, the message of the Cause was proclaimed and
arguments and evidences advanced. There was no dissent. All heard the glad
tidings with complete acquiescence, and praise was unanimous, even
including the ministers.

The friends in Los Angeles and San Francisco are very firm in the
Covenant. If they sense the least violation on the part of anyone, they
shun him entirely; for they know that such a person is engaged in
extinguishing the lamps of faith ignited by the light of the Covenant,
thereby producing weakness and indifference in the divine Cause. For
instance, the firm ones teach a person. Then the violators go to him and
instill suspicion until he becomes lukewarm. There have been violators
here in Chicago for twenty years. What have they done? Nothing. Have they
been able to teach anybody? Have they been able to speak in churches or
address audiences elsewhere? Have they been able to make anybody firm in
the Cause? They are doing nothing except extinguishing the lamps we
ignite. The friends in San Francisco are exceedingly firm. They do not
receive violators in their homes. Recently a violator went to that city.
The Bahá’í friends turned him away, saying, “You are not with us; why do
you try to come among us?” Today the most important principle of faith is
firmness in the Covenant, because firmness in the Covenant wards off
differences. Therefore, you must be firm as mountains.

After the departure of Christ many appeared who were instrumental in
creating factions, schisms and discussions. It became difficult to know
which one was following the right path. One of these disturbers was
Nestorius, a Syrian, who proclaimed that Christ was not a Prophet of God.
This created a division and sect called the Nestorians. The Catholics
declared Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, even pronouncing Him to be
Deity itself. The Protestants announced the doctrine that Christ embodied
two elements: the human and the divine. In brief, divisions were created
in the religion of God, and it was not known which was pursuing the right
pathway because there was no appointed center to whom Christ referred
everyone, no successor whose word was a gateway to the truth. If Christ
had revealed a Covenant with some soul, commanding all to cling to his
word and interpretation as correct, it would have been evident which
belief and statement was valid and true.

Inasmuch as there was no appointed explainer of the Book of Christ,
everyone made the claim to authority, saying, “This is the true pathway
and others are not.” To ward off such dissensions as these and prevent any
person from creating a division or sect the Blessed Perfection,
Bahá’u’lláh, appointed a central authoritative Personage, declaring Him to
be the expounder of the Book. This implies that the people in general do
not understand the meanings of the Book, but this appointed One does
understand. Therefore, Bahá’u’lláh said, “He is the explainer of My Book
and the Center of My Testament.” In the last verses of the Book
instructions are revealed, declaring that, “After Me,” you must turn
toward a special Personage and “whatsoever He says is correct.” In the
Book of the Covenant Bahá’u’lláh declares that by these two verses this
Personage is meant. In all His Books and Tablets He has praised those who
are firm in the Covenant and rebuked those who are not. He said, “Verily,
shun those who are shaken in the Covenant. Verily, God is the Confirmer of
the firm ones.” In His prayers He has said, “O God! Render those who are
firm in the Covenant blessed, and degrade those who are not. O God! Be the
Protector of him who protecteth Him, and confirm him who confirms the
Center of the Covenant.” Many utterances are directed against the
violators of the Covenant, the purpose being that no dissension should
arise in the blessed Cause; that no one should say, “My opinion is this”;
and that all may know Who is the authoritative expounder and whatsoever He
says is correct. Bahá’u’lláh has not left any possible room for
dissension. Naturally, there are some who are antagonistic, some who are
followers of self-desire, others who hold to their own ideas and still
others who wish to create dissension in the Cause. For example, Judas
Iscariot was one of the disciples, yet he betrayed Christ. Such a thing
has happened in the past, but in this day the Blessed Perfection has
declared, “This person is the expounder of My Book and all must turn to
Him.” The purpose is to ward off dissension and differences among His
followers. Notwithstanding this safeguard and provision against
disagreement, there are certain souls here in America and a few in Akká
who have violated this explicit command. For twenty years these violators
have accomplished nothing. Have they accomplished anything in Chicago? The
friends here must be like the friends in San Francisco. Whenever they
sense the least violation from anyone, they should say, “Begone! You shall
not associate with us.”



1 November 1912
Talk at Home of Mrs. Corinne True
5338 Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, Illinois


Notes by Gertrude Buikema

I am well pleased with every person here this evening and most happy in
meeting the friends of God and maidservants of the Merciful. Praise be to
God! The faces are radiant, and the hearts are attracted to the Kingdom of
Abhá. Faith is evident in the countenances of all, and this is a source of
joy. The Blessed Perfection, Bahá’u’lláh, endured hardships and
vicissitudes nearly fifty years. There was no ordeal or difficulty He did
not experience, yet He endured all in perfect joy and happiness.

Those who beheld Him were assured of His great happiness, for no trace of
sadness or sorrow was ever visible upon His face. Even in prison He was
like a king enthroned in majesty and greatness, and He ever bore Himself
with supreme confidence and dignity. When the officers and grandees of the
government were presented to Him, they became respectful at once. His
majesty and dignity were awe-inspiring. Remember: He was a prisoner—He was
in prison. He endured ordeals and calamities for the sole purpose of
illuminating us and in order that our hearts might be attracted to the
Kingdom of God, our faces become radiant with the glad tidings of God; in
order that we might be submerged in the ocean of lights and be as
brilliant and shining candles, illuminating the dark recesses and flooding
the regions with brightness. Now, as I look around, I observe that your
faces—praise be to God!—are shining, your hearts are filled with the love
of God, and you are thinking of service in the Cause of God. Therefore, I
am very happy to be here, and I hope that this happiness will be with you
always—an eternal condition.

We visited San Francisco and from there went to Los Angeles. In these
places we found most devoted friends. Truly zealous and aglow with the
fire of the love of God, their sole purpose is ever to serve the Kingdom
of Abhá. I hope that you may serve even more faithfully and take
precedence over all the other friends. May the fire of the love of God be
so enkindled in Chicago that all the cities in America shall be ignited.
This is my hope.

My third visit here expresses the degree of my longing to see you and the
extent of my love. It was thought that I should go direct from San
Francisco to New York and thence to the Orient; but impelled by excessive
love, I have visited Chicago again to associate with you in fellowship and
fragrance. I hope that these three visits may be most productive of future
results. May you all become signs of unity; may each one be a standard of
Bahá’u’lláh, each one shine as a star, each one become precious and worthy
in the Kingdom of God. May you attain such a condition of spirituality
that the people will be astounded, saying, “Verily, these souls are proofs
in themselves of the validity of Bahá’u’lláh, for through His training
they have been completely regenerated. These souls are peerless; they are
truly the people of the Kingdom; they are distinguished above the people
about them. This is in reality a proof of Bahá’u’lláh. Behold how educated
and illumined they have become.”

When this Cause appeared in the Orient, the friends and followers were
self-sacrificing to the utmost, forfeiting everything. It is a significant
and wonderful fact that, although the most precious thing on earth is
life, yet twenty thousand people offered themselves willingly in the
pathway of martyrdom. Recently, in Yazd two hundred of the Bahá’í friends
were cruelly slain. They went to the place of martyrdom in the utmost
ecstasy of attraction, smiling with joy and gratitude upon their
persecutors. Some of them offered sweetmeats to their executioners,
saying, “Taste of this in order that with sweetness and enjoyment you may
bestow upon us the blessed cup of martyrdom.” Among these beloved and
glorified ones were a number of women who were subjected to the most cruel
manner of execution. Some were cut to pieces; and their executioners, not
content with such butchery, set others on fire, and their bodies were
consumed. Throughout these terrible ordeals not a single soul among the
Bahá’í friends objected or recanted. They offered no resistance, although
the Bahá’ís in that city were most courageous and strong. In physical
strength and fortitude one of these Bahá’ís could have withstood many of
their enemies, but they accepted martyrdom in the spirit of complete
resignation and nonresistance. Many of them died, crying out, “O Lord!
Forgive them; they know not what they do. If they knew, they would not
commit this wrong.” In the throes of martyrdom they willingly offered all
they possessed in this life.

It is stated in certain prophecies that when the standard of God appears
in the East, its signs will become evident in the West. This is truly good
news and glad tidings for you. I hope that this promise may be fulfilled
in you and that all may be able to testify to the spirit and truth of the
prophetic announcement, saying, “Verily, the standard of God did appear in
the East, and its tokens have become resplendent in the West.” This
realization will be a source of great joy to all the friends in the Orient
who anticipate the good news and await the glad tidings from the land of
the Occident. They look forward to hearing that the friends in the West
have become firm and steadfast, that they have distinguished themselves by
establishing the oneness of the world of humanity, that they are even
offering their lives for the foundations of international peace, that they
have become the lights of the Kingdom and have proved to be the
manifestations of divine mercy, that the friends in the West are the
expression of the favors of the Blessed Perfection, the very stars of the
bestowal of God, blessed trees and flowers in the garden of His purity and
sanctity. Any good news from here is the cause of rejoicing in the East
and a source of deep gratitude to them. They hold a feast and praise God
for the blessed tidings. If the occasion demanded, they would give their
lives for you without the least hesitation. The friends in the East are
all united and agreed.

There are none who waver in the East, none who oppose the Covenant of God.
There is not a single soul among the Bahá’ís in Persia who is opposed to
the Covenant. They are all steadfast. If any soul wishes to speak in this
Cause, they will ask, “Is this a word of your own, or is it by the
authority of the Center of the Covenant? If you have the authority of the
Center of the Covenant, produce it. Where is the letter from Him? Where is
His signature?” If he produces the letter, they will accept it. If he
fails to do so, they say, “We cannot accept your words because they
emanate from you only and return to you. We have no command from the
Blessed Perfection, Bahá’u’lláh, to obey you. He has revealed a Book in
which He has covenanted with us to obey an appointed Center of the
Covenant. He has not covenanted with us to obey you. Therefore, the
statement you make is rejected. You must furnish proof of your authority
and sanction. We are commanded to turn to one Center. We do not obey
various centers. The Blessed Perfection has made a Covenant with us, and
we are holding to this Covenant and Testament. We do not listen to
anything else, for people may arise who speak words of their own, and we
are commanded not to pay attention to them.”

It was not so in former dispensations. Christ, for instance, did not
appoint a center of authority and explanation. He did not say to His
followers, “Obey the one whom I have chosen.” Upon one occasion He asked
His disciples, “Whom say ye that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said,
“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Christ, wishing to make
firm the faith of Peter, said, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will
build my church,” meaning that the faith of Peter was the true faith. It
was a sanction of Peter’s faith. He did not say that all should turn to
Peter. He did not say, “He is the branch extended from my ancient root.”
He did not say, “O God! Bless all who serve Peter. O God! Degrade those
who are not obedient to him. Shun him who is a violator of the Covenant. O
God! Thou knowest that I love all who are steadfast in the Covenant.” This
has been revealed, however, in all the Books, Writings and Epistles of
Bahá’u’lláh regarding the appointed Center of the Covenant in this
dispensation. Therefore, the Bahá’í dispensation is distinguished from all
others in this fact, the purpose of Bahá’u’lláh being that no one could
arise to cause differences and disunion. After the departure of Christ
various sects and denominations arose, each one claiming to be the true
channel of Christianity, but none of them possessed a written authority
from Christ; none could produce proof from Him; yet all claimed His
sanction and approval. Bahá’u’lláh has written a Covenant and Testament
with His own pen, declaring that the One Whom He has appointed the Center
of the Covenant shall be turned to and obeyed by all. Therefore, thank God
that Bahá’u’lláh has made the pathway straight. He has clearly explained
all things and opened every door for advancing souls. There is no reason
for hesitation by anyone. The purpose of the Covenant was simply to ward
off disunion and differences so that no one might say, “My opinion is the
true and valid one.”

Any opinion expressed by the Center of the Covenant is correct, and there
is no reason for disobedience by anyone. Be watchful, for perchance there
may be violators (náqidín) of the Covenant among you. Do not listen to
them. Read the Book of the Covenant. All have been commanded to obey the
Covenant, and the first admonition is addressed to the sons of
Bahá’u’lláh, the Branches: “You must turn to the appointed Center; He is
the expounder of the Book.”

Should any soul so clearly violate and disobey this command, can he even
say he is a Bahá’í? If anyone disobeys the explicit command of Christ, can
he truthfully say he is a Christian?

In conclusion, I would say that I am greatly pleased with this meeting. I
shall pray for you, seeking confirmation from the Blessed Perfection.
Praise be to God! You must be grateful that He has chosen you from among
the people of the world, that such glorious bestowal and such endless
graces and favors have been specialized for you. You must not look at
present accomplishments, for this is but the beginning as it was at the
time of Christ. Before long you will see that you will be distinguished
among all people. In every way the divine confirmation will uphold you,
and the radiance of the Kingdom of Bahá’u’lláh will illumine your
countenances. Be truly grateful for all these blessings. I hope I may
always hear good news of you, showing that the friends in Chicago are
occupied with service in the divine Cause, filled with the joy of
promoting the Word of God, engaged in spreading the teachings of
Bahá’u’lláh and manifesting love and kindness to all humanity. This is my
hope and anticipation. I am sure that you will endeavor to accomplish this
so that the friends in Persia and I may experience the happiness of the
good tidings. May you be a source of joy and happiness to us, a source of
tranquillity and composure.



TALK ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN CINCINNATI



5 November 1912
Talk at Grand Hotel
Cincinnati, Ohio


From Stenographic Notes

As we are in Cincinnati, the home of President Taft, who has rendered such
noble service in the cause of peace, I will dictate a statement for the
people of Cincinnati and America generally. In the Orient I was informed
that there are many lovers of peace in America. Therefore, I left my
native land to associate here with those who are the standard-bearers of
international conciliation and agreement. Having traveled from coast to
coast, I find the United States of America vast and progressive, the
government just and equitable, the nation noble and independent. I
attended many meetings where international peace was discussed and am
always extremely happy to witness the results of such meetings, for one of
the great principles of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings is the establishment of
agreement among the peoples of the world. He founded and taught this
principle in the Orient fifty years ago. He proclaimed international
unity, summoned the religions of the world to harmony and reconciliation
and established fellowship among many races, sects and communities. At
that time He wrote Epistles to the kings and rulers of the world, calling
upon them to arise and cooperate with Him in spreading these principles,
saying that the stability and advancement of humanity could only be
realized through the unity of the nations. Through His efforts this
principle of universal harmony and agreement was practically demonstrated
in Persia and other countries. Today in Persia, for instance, there are
many people of various races and religions who have followed the
exhortations of Bahá’u’lláh and are living together in love and fellowship
without religious, patriotic or racial prejudices—Muslims, Jews,
Christians, Buddhists, Zoroastrians and many others.

America has arisen to spread the teachings of peace, to increase the
illumination of humankind and bestow happiness and prosperity upon the
children of men. These are the principles and evidences of divine
civilization. America is a noble nation, the standard-bearer of peace
throughout the world, shedding light to all regions. Foreign nations are
not untrammeled and free from intrigues and complications like the United
States; therefore, they are not able to bring about universal harmony. But
America—praise be to God!—is at peace with all the world and is worthy of
raising the flag of brotherhood and international agreement. When this is
done, the rest of the world will accept. All nations will join in adopting
the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh revealed more than fifty years ago. In His
Epistles He asked the parliaments of the world to send their wisest and
best men to an international world conference which should decide all
questions between the peoples and establish universal peace. This would be
the highest court of appeal, and the parliament of man so long dreamed of
by poets and idealists would be realized. Its accomplishment would be more
far-reaching than the Hague tribunal.

I am most grateful to President Taft for having extended his influence
toward the establishment of universal peace. What he has accomplished in
making treaties with various nations is very good, but when we have the
interparliamentary body composed of delegates from all the nations of the
world and devoted to the maintenance of agreement and goodwill, the
utopian dream of sages and poets, the parliament of man, will be realized.



TALKS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ DELIVERED IN WASHINGTON, D. C.



6 November 1912
Talk at Universalist Church
Thirteenth and L Streets, NW, Washington, D.C.


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

Praise be to God! The standard of liberty is held aloft in this land. You
enjoy political liberty; you enjoy liberty of thought and speech,
religious liberty, racial and personal liberty. Surely this is worthy of
appreciation and thanksgiving. In this connection let me mention the
freedom, hospitality and universal welcome extended to me during my recent
travels throughout America. I wish also to reciprocate fully and
completely the warm greeting and friendly attitude of the reverend doctor,
pastor of this church, whose loving and quickened susceptibilities
especially command acknowledgment. Surely men who are leaders of thought
must conform to the example of his kindliness and goodwill. Liberalism is
essential in this day—justness and equity toward all nations and people.
Human attitudes must not be limited; for God is unlimited, and whosoever
is the servant of the threshold of God must, likewise, be free from
limitations. The world of existence is an emanation of the merciful
attribute of God. God has shone forth upon the phenomena of being through
His effulgence of mercy, and He is clement and kind to all His creation.
Therefore, the world of humanity must ever be the recipient of bounties
from His majesty, the eternal Lord, even as Christ has declared, “Be ye
therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” For
His bounties, like the light and heat of the sun in the material heavens,
descend alike upon all mankind. Consequently, man must learn the lesson of
kindness and beneficence from God Himself. Just as God is kind to all
humanity, man also must be kind to his fellow creatures. If his attitude
is just and loving toward his fellowmen, toward all creation, then indeed
is he worthy of being pronounced the image and likeness of God.

Brotherhood, or fraternity, is of different kinds. It may be family
association, the intimate relationship of the household. This is limited
and subject to change and disruption. How often it happens that in a
family love and agreement are changed into enmity and antagonism. Another
form of fraternity is manifest in patriotism. Man loves his fellowmen
because they belong to the same native land. This is also limited and
subject to change and disintegration as, for instance, when sons of the
same fatherland are opposed to each other in war, bloodshed and battle.
Still another brotherhood, or fraternity, is that which arises from racial
unity, the oneness of racial origin, producing ties of affinity and
association. This, likewise, has its limitation and liability to change,
for often war and deadly strife have been witnessed between people and
nations of the same racial lineage. There is a fourth kind of brotherhood,
the attitude of man toward humanity itself, the altruistic love of
humankind and recognition of the fundamental human bond. Although this is
unlimited, it is, nevertheless, susceptible to change and destruction.
Even from this universal fraternal bond the looked-for result does not
appear. What is the looked-for result? Loving-kindness among all human
creatures and a firm, indestructible brotherhood which includes all the
divine possibilities and significances in humanity. Therefore, it is
evident that fraternity, love and kindness based upon family, native land,
race or an attitude of altruism are neither sufficient nor permanent since
all of them are limited, restricted and liable to change and disruption.
For in the family there is discord and alienation; among sons of the same
fatherland, strife and internecine warfare are witnessed; between those of
a given race, hostility and hatred are frequent; and even among the
altruists, varying aspects of opinion and lack of unselfish devotion give
little promise of permanent and indestructible unity among mankind.

Therefore, the Lord of mankind has caused His holy, divine Manifestations
to come into the world. He has revealed His heavenly Books in order to
establish spiritual brotherhood and through the power of the Holy Spirit
has made it practicable for perfect fraternity to be realized among
mankind. And when through the breaths of the Holy Spirit this perfect
fraternity and agreement are established amongst men—this brotherhood and
love being spiritual in character, this loving-kindness being heavenly,
these constraining bonds being divine—a unity appears which is
indissoluble, unchanging and never subject to transformation. It is ever
the same and will forever remain the same. For example, consider the
foundation of the brotherhood laid by Christ. Observe how that fraternity
was conducive to unity and accord and how it brought various souls to a
plane of uniform attainment where they were willing to sacrifice their
lives for each other. They were content to renounce possessions and ready
to forfeit joyously life itself. They lived together in such love and
fellowship that even Galen, the famous Greek philosopher who was not a
Christian, in his work entitled “The Progress of the Nations” said that
religious beliefs are greatly conducive to the foundation of real
civilization. As a proof thereof he said, “A certain number of people
contemporaneous with us are known as Christians. These enjoy the
superlative degree of moral civilization. Each one of them is as a great
philosopher because they live together in the utmost love and good
fellowship. They sacrifice life for each other. They offer worldly
possessions for each other. You can say of the Christian people that they
are as one person. There is a bond amongst them that is indissoluble in
character.”

It is evident, therefore, that the foundation of real brotherhood, the
cause of loving cooperation and reciprocity and the source of real
kindness and unselfish devotion is none other than the breaths of the Holy
Spirit. Without this influence and animus it is impossible. We may be able
to realize some degrees of fraternity through other motives, but these are
limited associations and subject to change. When human brotherhood is
founded upon the Holy Spirit, it is eternal, changeless, unlimited.

In various parts of the Orient there was a time when brotherhood,
loving-kindness and all the praiseworthy qualities of mankind seemed to
have disappeared. There was no evidence of patriotic, religious or racial
fraternity; but conditions of bigotry, hatred and prejudice prevailed
instead. The adherents of each religion were violent enemies of the
others, filled with the spirit of hostility and eager for shedding of
blood. The present war in the Balkans furnishes a parallel of these
conditions. Consider the bloodshed, ferocity and oppression manifested
there even in this enlightened century—all of it based fundamentally upon
religious prejudice and disagreement. For the nations involved belong to
the same races and native lands; nevertheless, they are savage and
merciless toward each other. Similar deplorable conditions prevailed in
Persia in the nineteenth century. Darkness and ignorant fanaticism were
widespread; no trace of fellowship or brotherhood existed amongst the
races. On the contrary, human hearts were filled with rage and hatred;
darkness and gloom were manifest in human lives and conditions everywhere.
At such a time as this Bahá’u’lláh appeared upon the divine horizon, even
as the glory of the sun, and in that gross darkness and hopelessness of
the human world there shone a great light. He founded the oneness of the
world of humanity, declaring that all mankind are as sheep and that God is
the real and true Shepherd. The Shepherd is one, and all people are of His
flock.

The world of humanity is one, and God is equally kind to all. What, then,
is the source of unkindness and hatred in the human world? This real
Shepherd loves all His sheep. He leads them in green pastures. He rears
and protects them. What, then, is the source of enmity and alienation
among humankind? Whence this conflict and strife? The real underlying
cause is lack of religious unity and association, for in each of the great
religions we find superstition, blind imitation of creeds, and theological
formulas adhered to instead of the divine fundamentals, causing difference
and divergence among mankind instead of agreement and fellowship.
Consequently, strife, hatred and warfare have arisen, based upon this
divergence and separation. If we investigate the foundations of the divine
religions, we find them to be one, absolutely changeless and never subject
to transformation. For example, each of the divine religions contains two
kinds of laws or ordinances. One division concerns the world of morality
and ethical institutions. These are the essential ordinances. They instill
and awaken the knowledge and love of God, love for humanity, the virtues
of the world of mankind, the attributes of the divine Kingdom, rebirth and
resurrection from the kingdom of nature. These constitute one kind of
divine law which is common to all and never subject to change. From the
dawn of the Adamic cycle to the present day this fundamental law of God
has continued changeless. This is the foundation of divine religion.

The second division comprises laws and institutions which provide for
human needs and conditions according to exigencies of time and place.
These are accidental, of no essential importance and should never have
been made the cause and source of human contention. For example, during
the time of Moses—upon Him be peace!—according to the exigencies of that
period, divorce was permissible. During the cycle of Christ, inasmuch as
divorce was not in conformity with the time and conditions, Jesus Christ
abrogated it. In the cycle of Moses plurality of wives was permissible.
But during the time of Christ the exigency which had sanctioned it did not
exist; therefore, it was forbidden. Moses lived in the wilderness and
desert of Sinai; therefore, His ordinances and commandments were in
conformity with those conditions. The penalty for theft was to cut off a
man’s hand. An ordinance of this kind was in keeping with desert life but
is not compatible with conditions of the present day. Such ordinances,
therefore, constitute the second or nonessential division of the divine
religions and are not of importance, for they deal with human transactions
which are ever changing according to the requirements of time and place.
Therefore, the intrinsic foundations of the divine religions are one. As
this is true, why should hostility and strife exist among them? Why should
this hatred and warfare, ferocity and bloodshed continue? Is this
allowable and justified? God forbid!

An essential principle of Bahá’u’lláh’s teaching is that religion must be
the cause of unity and love amongst men; that it is the supreme effulgence
of Divinity, the stimulus of life, the source of honor and productive of
eternal existence. Religion is not intended to arouse enmity and hatred
nor to become the source of tyranny and injustice. Should it prove to be
the cause of hostility, discord and the alienation of mankind, assuredly
the absence of religion would be preferable. Religious teachings are like
a course of treatment having for its purpose the cure and healing of
mankind. If the only outcome of a course of treatment should be mere
diagnosis and fruitless discussion of symptoms, it would be better to
abandon and abolish it. In this sense the absence of religion would be at
least some progress toward unity.

Furthermore, religion must conform to reason and be in accord with the
conclusions of science. For religion, reason and science are realities;
therefore, these three, being realities, must conform and be reconciled. A
question or principle which is religious in its nature must be sanctioned
by science. Science must declare it to be valid, and reason must confirm
it in order that it may inspire confidence. If religious teaching,
however, be at variance with science and reason, it is unquestionably
superstition. The Lord of mankind has bestowed upon us the faculty of
reason whereby we may discern the realities of things. How then can man
rightfully accept any proposition which is not in conformity with the
processes of reason and the principles of science? Assuredly such a course
cannot inspire man with confidence and real belief.

The teachings of Bahá’u’lláh embody many principles; I am giving you only
a synopsis. One of these principles concerns equality between men and
women. He declared that as all are created in the image and likeness of
the one God, there is no distinction as to sex in the estimation of God.
He who is purest in heart, whose knowledge exceeds and who excels in
kindness to the servants of God, is nearest and dearest to the Lord, our
Creator, irrespective of sex. In the lower kingdoms, the animal and
vegetable, we find sex differentiation in function and organism. All
plants, trees and animals are subject to that differentiation by creation,
but among themselves there is absolute equality without further
distinction as to sex. Why, then, should mankind make a distinction which
the lower creatures do not regard? Especially so when we realize that all
are of the same kingdom and kindred; that all are the leaves of one tree,
the waves of one sea? The only reasonable explanation is that woman has
not been afforded the same educational facilities as man. For if she had
received the same opportunities for training and development as man has
enjoyed, undoubtedly she would have attained the same station and level.
In the estimate of God no distinction exists; both are as one and possess
equal degrees of capacity. Therefore, through opportunity and development
woman will merit and attain the same prerogatives. When Jesus Christ died
upon the cross, the disciples who witnessed His crucifixion were disturbed
and shaken. Even Peter, one of the greatest of His followers, denied Him
thrice. Mary Magdalene brought them together and confirmed their faith,
saying, “Why are ye doubting? Why have ye feared? O thou Peter! Why didst
thou deny Him? For Christ was not crucified. The reality of Christ is
ever-living, everlasting, eternal. For that divine reality there is no
beginning, no ending, and, therefore, there can be no death. At most, only
the body of Jesus has suffered death.” In brief, this woman, singly and
alone, was instrumental in transforming the disciples and making them
steadfast. This is an evidence of extraordinary power and supreme
attributes, a proof that woman is the equivalent and complement of man.
The one who is better trained and educated, whose aptitude is greater and
whose ideals are higher is most distinguished and worthy—whether man or
woman.

Through the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh the horizon of the East was made
radiant and glorious. Souls who have hearkened to His words and accepted
His message live together today in complete fellowship and love. They even
offer their lives for each other. They forego and renounce worldly
possessions for one another, each preferring the other to himself. This
has been due to the declaration and foundation of the oneness of the world
of humanity. Today in Persia there are meetings and assemblages wherein
souls who have become illumined by the teachings of
Bahá’u’lláh—representative Muslims, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians,
Buddhists and of the various denominations of each—mingle and conjoin in
perfect fellowship and absolute agreement. A wonderful brotherhood and
love is established among them, and all are united in spirit and service
for international peace. More than twenty thousand Bahá’ís have given
their lives in martyrdom for the Cause of God. The governments of the East
arose against them, bent upon their extermination. They were killed
relentlessly, but day by day their numbers have increased, day by day they
have multiplied in strength and become more eloquent. They have been
strengthened through the efficacy of a wonderful spiritual power. How
savage and fearful the ferocity of man against his fellowman! Consider
what is taking place now in the Balkans, what blood is being shed. Even
the wild beasts and ferocious animals do not commit such acts. The most
ferocious wolf kills but one sheep a day, and even that for his food. But
now in the Balkans one man destroys ten fellow beings. The commanders of
armies glory in having killed ten thousand men, not for food, nay, rather,
for military control, territorial greed, fame and possession of the dust
of the earth. They kill for national aggrandizement, notwithstanding this
terrestrial globe is but a dark world of grossest matter. It is a world of
sorrow and grief, a world of disappointment and unhappiness, a world of
death. For after all, the earth is but the everlasting graveyard, the
vast, universal cemetery of all mankind. Yet men fight to possess this
graveyard, waging war and battle, killing each other. What ignorance! How
spacious the earth is with room in plenty for all! How thoughtful the
providence which has so allotted that every man may derive his sustenance
from it! The Lord, our Creator, does not ordain that anyone should starve
or live in want. All are intended to participate in the blessed and
abundant bestowals of our God. Fundamentally, all warfare and bloodshed in
the human world are due to the lack of unity between the religions, which
through superstitions and adherence to theological dogmas have obscured
the one reality which is the source and basis of them all.

As to the American people: This noble nation, intelligent, thoughtful,
reflective, is not impelled by motives of territorial aggrandizement and
lust for dominion. Its boundaries are insular and geographically separated
from the other nations. Here we find a oneness of interest and unity of
national policy. These are, indeed, United States. Therefore, this nation
possesses the capacity and capability for holding aloft the banner of
international peace. May this noble people be the cause of unifying
humanity. May they spread broadcast the heavenly civilization and
illumination, become the cause of the diffusion of the love of God,
proclaim the solidarity of mankind and be the cause of the guidance of the
human race. Therefore, I ask that you will give this all-important
question your most serious consideration and efforts. May the world of
humanity find peace and composure and this dark earth be transformed into
a realm of radiance. May the East and West clasp hands together. May the
oneness of God become reflected and fully revealed in the hearts of
humanity and all mankind prove to be the manifestations of the favors of
God.

Necessarily there will be some who are defective amongst men, but it is
our duty to enable them by kind methods of guidance and teaching to become
perfected. Some will be found who are morally sick; they should be treated
in order that they may be healed. Others are immature and like children;
they must be trained and educated so that they may become wise and mature.
Those who are asleep must be awakened; the indifferent must become mindful
and attentive. But all this must be accomplished in the spirit of kindness
and love and not by strife, antagonism nor in a spirit of hostility and
hatred, for this is contrary to the good pleasure of God. That which is
acceptable in the sight of God is love. Love is, in reality, the first
effulgence of Divinity and the greatest splendor of God.

O Thou compassionate Lord, Thou Who art generous and able! We are servants
of Thine sheltered beneath Thy providence. Cast Thy glance of favor upon
us. Give light to our eyes, hearing to our ears, and understanding and
love to our hearts. Render our souls joyous and happy through Thy glad
tidings. O Lord! Point out to us the pathway of Thy kingdom and
resuscitate all of us through the breaths of the Holy Spirit. Bestow upon
us life everlasting and confer upon us never-ending honor. Unify mankind
and illumine the world of humanity. May we all follow Thy pathway, long
for Thy good pleasure and seek the mysteries of Thy kingdom. O God! Unite
us and connect our hearts with Thine indissoluble bond. Verily, Thou art
the Giver, Thou art the Kind One and Thou art the Almighty.



7 November 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D. C.


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

Consider events in the Balkans today where a great conflagration of war is
furiously raging and so much blood is being shed. Virtually the whole
world of humanity is mourning and lamenting because of the revival of
these calamitous conditions. Governments are in the process of change and
transformation. The sovereignty of oriental nations is tottering; outcomes
are wrapped in the greatest uncertainty. I desire, therefore, to speak to
you upon this subject.

I will call your attention more especially to the aspects of this war
which Bahá’u’lláh prophesied forty years ago fully and completely. During
His exile and while under surveillance in the prison of Akká He addressed
a letter to the Sulṭán of Turkey. He, likewise, sent Epistles to Napoleon
III and to the _Sh_áh of Persia. All His letters to the kings and rulers
of the earth were compiled in a book published thirty-five years ago in
Bombay, India. There were several editions of this book.

I have with me a copy of an edition published twenty-two years ago. In
1891 Professor E. G. Browne of Cambridge University, England, wrote a book
detailing his visit to Akká. This was followed by a second volume in which
he quoted extracts from Bahá’u’lláh’s Epistles to the kings and rulers.
There are also translations of some of these Epistles in your libraries.
When you get them, you will read the remarkable statements made by
Bahá’u’lláh.

I will read to you from the Arabic text the very words written by
Bahá’u’lláh in His Epistle to the Sulṭán of Turkey. They will be
translated to you as I read. “O King! Thou hast committed that by reason
of which Muḥammad, the Prophet of God, lamenteth in the highest heaven.
Verily, the world hath made thee proud so that thou hast turned away from
the face of Him by Whose light the people of the supreme assembly are
illuminated, and erelong thou shalt find thyself in manifest loss. Thou
hast united with the Persian chief in opposition to Me after I came unto
you from the rising place of greatness and might with a matter which has
consoled the eyes of those near unto God. Verily, this is a day wherein
the Fire speaketh through all things, declaring that the Beloved of the
two worlds hath come, and on the part of everything an Interlocutor of the
matter hath sprung up to listen unto the Word of thy Lord, the Precious,
the Knowing. Dost thou imagine that thou canst quench the fire which God
hath kindled in the horizons? No! By Himself, the True One, wert thou of
those who know. Rather, by that which thou hast done its burning is
increased and its blaze augmented; and it shall encompass the earth and
whosoever is thereupon. Thus the matter hath been decreed, and whosoever
is in the heavens and upon the earth could not withstand His command.

“The day is approaching when the Land of Mystery [Adrianople], and what is
beside it shall be changed, and shall pass out of the hands of the king,
and commotions shall appear, and the voice of lamentation shall be raised,
and the evidences of mischief shall be revealed on all sides, and
confusion shall spread by reason of that which hath befallen these
captives at the hands of the hosts of oppression. The course of things
shall be altered, and conditions shall wax so grievous, that the very
sands on the desolate hills will moan, and the trees on the mountain will
weep, and blood will flow out of all things. Then wilt thou behold the
people in sore distress. Was Pharaoh able to hinder God by exercising his
dominion when he rebelled upon the earth and was of the disobedient? We
have indeed manifested the Interlocutor [Moses] from his house in spite of
his will; verily, we were able to do this. And remember when Nimrod
kindled the fire of polytheism whereby he would burn the Friend of God
[Abraham]. Verily, we extinguished the fire by the truth and brought upon
Nimrod manifest grief. Verily, the oppressor [King of Persia] slew the
Beloved of the Worlds [the Báb] that he might thereby extinguish the light
of God among His creatures and deprive mankind of the pure water of life
in the days of his Lord, the Mighty, the Kind. We have made the matter
manifest in the country and elevated His mention among the unitarians.
Verily, the Servant hath assuredly come to vivify the world and bring to
union whosoever is upon the surface of the whole earth. That which God
willeth shall overcome, and thou shalt see the earth as the garden of
Abhá. Thus hath it been written by the pen of command in an irrevocable
Tablet.”

There are many other prophecies in this book, especially in the Epistle to
the _Sh_áh of Persia, all of which prophecies have come to pass. As they
are lengthy, we will not have time to quote them.

The purpose of these quotations is to show that Bahá’u’lláh’s great
endeavor in the East was to unify mankind, to cause them to agree and
become reconciled, thereby manifesting the oneness of the world of
humanity, preparing the way for international peace and establishing the
foundations of happiness and welfare. But the nations have not hearkened
to His summons and message. The Persian and Turkish governments arose
against His Cause, and the result is that both these governments have been
disintegrated and broken. Had they been attentive to His commands and
received His admonitions, they would have been protected. They would have
enjoyed happiness and prosperity. They would have been bound together in
ties of fellowship and brotherhood, availing themselves of the wonderful
bounties of love and unity and dwelling in the delectable paradise of the
divine Kingdom. But, alas, the commands and guidance of the Blessed One
have been neglected and ignored. Day by day they have followed their own
devices and imaginations, until now this fire of war is raging most
furiously.



7 November 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D. C.


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

In the world of nature we behold the living organisms in a ceaseless
struggle for existence. Everywhere we are confronted by evidences of the
physical survival of the fittest. This is the very source of error and
misapprehension in the opinions and theories of men who fail to realize
that the world of nature is inherently defective in cause and outcome and
that the defects therein must be removed by education. For example,
consider man himself. If we study human beings such as the aboriginal
tribes of central Africa, who have been reared in complete subjection to
nature’s rule, we will find them deficient indeed. They are without
religious education; neither do they give evidences of any advance
whatever toward civilization. They have simply grown and developed in the
natural plane of barbarism. We find them bloodthirsty, immoral and
animalistic in type to such an extent that they even kill and devour each
other. It is evident, therefore, that the world of nature unassisted is
imperfect because it is a plane upon which the struggle for physical
existence expresses itself.

If a piece of ground is left in its natural state, wild weeds, thorns and
trees of the jungle will grow upon it. But if we cultivate that same piece
of ground, the result will be that it will rid itself of natural
imperfections and become transformed into a beautiful rose garden or an
orchard of fruitful trees. This is proof that the world of nature is
defective. The founding of schools and establishing of educational systems
in the world are intended to replace the defects of nature with virtues
and perfections. If there were no defects, there would be no need of
training, culture and education, but inasmuch as we find that children
need training and schooling, it is a conclusive proof that the world of
nature must be developed. Many things show this clearly. One of the basic
evidences is the survival of the fittest in the animal kingdom, their
ignorance, sensuality and unbridled instincts and passions. Therefore, in
the natural world there is need of an Educator and Teacher for mankind. He
must be universal in his powers and accomplishments. Teachers are of two
kinds: universal and special. The universal Instructors are the Prophets
of God, and the special teachers are the philosophers. The philosophers
are capable of educating and training a limited circle of human souls,
whereas the holy, divine Manifestations of God confer general education
upon humanity. They arise to bestow universal moral training. For example,
Moses was a universal Teacher. He trained and disciplined the people of
Israel, enabled them to rescue themselves from the lowest abyss of despair
and ignorance and caused them to attain an advanced degree of knowledge
and development. They were captives and in the bondage of slavery; through
Him they became free. He led them out of Egypt into the Holy Land and
opened the doors of their advancement into higher civilization. Through
His training this oppressed and downtrodden people, slaves and captives of
the Pharaohs, established the splendor of the Solomonic sovereignty. This
is an example of a universal Teacher, a universal Educator. Again,
consider Christ: how that marvelous expression of unity bestowed education
and ethical training upon the Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Syrian and Assyrian
nations and welded together a people from them in a permanent and
indissoluble bond. These nations were formerly at enmity and in a state of
continual hostility and strife. He cemented them together, caused them to
agree, conferred tranquillity upon humanity and established the
foundations of human welfare throughout the world. Therefore, He was a
real Educator, the Instructor of reality.

When we review the conditions existing in the East prior to the rise of
the Prophet of Arabia, we find that throughout the Arabian peninsula
intense mental darkness and the utmost ignorance prevailed among its
inhabitants. Those tribal peoples were constantly engaged in war, killing
and shedding blood, burning and pillaging the homes of each other and
living in conditions of the utmost debasement and immorality. They were
lower and more brutal than the animals. Muḥammad appeared as a Prophet
among such a people. He educated these barbarous tribes, lifted them out
of their ignorance and savagery and put an end to the continuous strife
and hatred which had existed among them. He established agreement and
reconciliation among them, unified them and taught them to look upon each
other as brothers. Through His training they advanced rapidly in prestige
and civilization. They were formerly ignorant; they became wise. They were
barbarous; they attained refinement and culture. They were debased and
brutal; He uplifted and elevated them. They were humiliated and despised;
their civilization and renown spread throughout the world. This is perfect
proof that Muḥammad was an Educator and Teacher.

In the nineteenth century strife and hostility prevailed among the people
of the Orient. Apathy and ignorance characterized the nations. They were
indeed gloomy and dark, negligent of God and under the subjection of the
baser instincts and passions of mankind. The struggle for existence was
intense and universal. At such a time as this Bahá’u’lláh appeared among
them like a luminary in the heavens. He flooded the East with light. He
proclaimed new principles and teachings. He laid a basis for new
institutions which are the very spirit of modernism, the light of the
world, the development of the body politic and eternal honor. The souls
who hearkened to these teachings among the various oriental nations
immediately renounced the spirit of strife and hostility and began to
associate in goodwill and fellowship. From extremes of animosity they
attained the acme of love and brotherhood. They had been warring and
quarreling; now they became loving and lived together in complete unity
and agreement. Among them today you will find no religious, political or
patriotic prejudice; they are friendly, loving and associate in the
greatest happiness. They have no part in the war and strife which take
place in the East; their attitude toward all men is that of goodwill and
loving-kindness. A standard of universal peace has been unfurled among
them. The light of guidance has flooded their souls. It is light upon
light, love upon love. This is the education and training of Bahá’u’lláh.
He has led these souls to this standard and given them teachings which
ensure eternal illumination. Anyone who becomes well versed in His
teachings will say, “Verily, I declare that these words constitute the
illumination of humanity, that this is the everlasting honor, that these
are heavenly precepts and the cause of never-ending life among men.”



8 November 1912
Talk at Eighth Street Temple, Synagogue
Washington, D. C.


Notes by Joseph H. Hannen

God is one, the effulgence of God is one, and humanity constitutes the
servants of that one God. God is kind to all. He creates and provides for
all, and all are under His care and protection. The Sun of Truth, the Word
of God, shines upon all mankind; the divine cloud pours down its precious
rain; the gentle zephyrs of His mercy blow, and all humanity is submerged
in the ocean of His eternal justice and loving-kindness. God has created
mankind from the same progeny in order that they may associate in good
fellowship, exercise love toward each other and live together in unity and
brotherhood.

But we have acted contrary to the will and good pleasure of God. We have
been the cause of enmity and disunion. We have separated from each other
and risen against each other in opposition and strife. How many have been
the wars between peoples and nations! What bloodshed! Numberless are the
cities and homes which have been laid waste. All of this has been contrary
to the good pleasure of God, for He hath willed love for humanity. He is
clement and merciful to all His creatures. He hath ordained amity and
fellowship amongst men.

Most regrettable of all is the state of difference and divergence we have
created between each other in the name of religion, imagining that a
paramount duty in our religious belief is that of alienation and
estrangement, that we should shun each other and consider each other
contaminated with error and infidelity. In reality, the foundations of the
divine religions are one and the same. The differences which have arisen
between us are due to blind imitations of dogmatic beliefs and adherence
to ancestral forms of worship. Abraham was the founder of reality. Moses,
Christ, Muḥammad were the manifestations of reality. Bahá’u’lláh was the
glory of reality. This is not simply an assertion; it will be proved.

Let me ask your closest attention in considering this subject. The divine
religions embody two kinds of ordinances. First, there are those which
constitute essential, or spiritual, teachings of the Word of God. These
are faith in God, the acquirement of the virtues which characterize
perfect manhood, praiseworthy moralities, the acquisition of the bestowals
and bounties emanating from the divine effulgences—in brief, the
ordinances which concern the realm of morals and ethics. This is the
fundamental aspect of the religion of God, and this is of the highest
importance because knowledge of God is the fundamental requirement of man.
Man must comprehend the oneness of Divinity. He must come to know and
acknowledge the precepts of God and realize for a certainty that the
ethical development of humanity is dependent upon religion. He must get
rid of all defects and seek the attainment of heavenly virtues in order
that he may prove to be the image and likeness of God. It is recorded in
the Holy Bible that God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our
likeness.” It is self-evident that the image and likeness mentioned do not
apply to the form and semblance of a human being because the reality of
Divinity is not limited to any form or figure. Nay, rather, the attributes
and characteristics of God are intended. Even as God is pronounced to be
just, man must likewise be just. As God is loving and kind to all men, man
must likewise manifest loving-kindness to all humanity. As God is loyal
and truthful, man must show forth the same attributes in the human world.
Even as God exercises mercy toward all, man must prove himself to be